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Found 138 results

  1. Today is Jackie Robinson Day, when every player on every major-league team will wear jersey #42. It is the only day of the season when #42 is permitted to be worn, as MLB retired the number from every team. Special mention also to Branch Rickey, who had the foresight, wisdom, and humanity to hand-select Robinson for the chore of being named the first black MLB player, because Rickey knew Robinson was tough enough, and gentle enough, to endure the racial taunting. And also to Bill Veeck, who attempted integration in 1942, but was thwarted. Not enough attention is paid to these two men, without whom, Jackie Robinson would most likely be in the Hall of Fame as a Negro League player. In honor of one of the great Americans in history, Jackie Robinson. And some trivia (which is too important to be trivia): We all know that Jessie Owens won the 200-meter dash in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, but almost nobody knows that the silver medalist for the same event, finishing 0.4 seconds behind Owens, was Mack Robinson, Jackie's older brother.
  2. People justifiably remember Joe Garagiola as an amiable announcer, but he was also a respected major-league player, spending his entire nine-year career in the National League - in game 4 of the 1946 World Series (*), Garagiola went 4-5 with 3 RBI's. Garagiola coincidentally grew up across the street from Yogi Berra. How can you possibly not love someone who once said, "Not only was I not the best catcher in the Major Leagues, I wasn't even the best catcher on my street!" Likewise, on playing for four different teams in an eight-team league: "I felt like I was modeling uniforms for the National League." After a decent, but somewhat underachieving, major-league career (Garagiola was initially thought to be better than Berra,, but never fully recovered from a separated shoulder), Garagiola made his mark in broadcasting, being a full- or part-time announcer for close to 50 years, 30 of them with NBC. He is a member of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame. Garagiola was also often seen on both The Today Show as a panelist, and The Tonight Show as a guest host. I think it's fitting to include the article about Garagiola's passing from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which features a nice photo with Berra: "Catcher, Broadcaster, and Hill Icon Joe Garagiola Dies at 90" by Rick Hummel on stltoday.com More than anything else, my strongest memory of Joe Garagiola was that he just seemed like a nice guy. Thanks for your time here, Mr. Garagiola, and say hello to Mr. Berra from all of us. (*) In the 1946 World Series, the Cardinals defeated the Red Sox in game 7 by the score of 4-3 - this, after being down 3 games to 2. Garagiola went 4-5 in one game; Ted Williams went 5-25 in the entire Series. This intense World Series is perhaps best remembered for (and appropriately symbolized by) Enos Slaughter's "Mad Dash" to the plate from first base," which turned out to be the winning run (the 4th run) in game 7 (just as Abdul-Rauf was a pre-Curry, Slaughter was a pre-Rose, warts and all).
  3. "Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza Voted Into Hall of Fame" by Tyler Kepner on nytimes.com And just in case you've forgotten this rather incredible piece of trivia: "20 Years Ago: Griffeys Go Back-To-Back" by Jim Street on mlb.com
  4. Pete Rose has apparently applied for reinstatement to baseball. Sorry, Pete, but it's called Rule 21.D. It's posted in every major league clubhouse. Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible. Please, Commissioner Manfred, do the right thing and tell him to suck ventworm balls.
  5. Strikes Pitched Per Inning Disregarding Umpires' Shitty Calls Which Were Overturned By Instant Replay Minus Balls Thrown In Less Than Twenty Seconds Between Pitches
  6. Quoted entirely from Scott Ham of The Bronx View for his original research.... The New York Yankees uniform is one of the most icon uniforms in all of sports. Ever wonder where the Yankee insignia came from? I did. So I did a little research. The famous interlocking NY that resides on the current Yankee uniforms dates back to 1877. It was created by Louis B. Tiffany for a medal presented to the first New York City police officer to be shot in the line of duty. In 1907, the symbol was adopted for the then called New York Highlanders by owner Bill Devery. Devery, as it turned out, was a former New York City police chief (here's hoping he actually paid for the rights!). The Highlanders adopted the symbol and added it to their plain white uniforms. In 1912, another radical shift happened. The plain white uniforms were adorned with dark blue pinstripes. The look didn't stick however and was abandoned at the end of the season. Two years later, though, the pinstripes returned and became a fixture of the uniform and would remain for the next one hundred years. There was still some tinkering though. In 1917, it was decided to take the interlocking NY off of the uniform and just leave it on the cap. The cap had gone through many a design change, including pinstripes on the hat itself, until 1922 when they finally settled on the navy blue with an interlocking NY. It wasn't until 1936 that the interlocking NY insignia finally returned to the uniform where it would remain for good. Today, the uniform is largely unchanged. And just like in the early 1900s, the uniforms today are made in the USA. Early uniforms were made of wool rather than cotton. Cotton would have been less expensive and probably more comfortable for the players but was mostly used and associated with work clothing. Baseball teams instead decided to make their uniforms out of wool which would supposedly elevate the teams above the working class and into a higher status. Today, all of the uniforms are made out of polyester, which is even more breathable than cotton. They are manufactured in the USA by Majestic Athletic, who in addition to making their official on-field jerseys, also produce replicas, and custom name jerseys that can be purchased by fans so they can dress just like their favorite stars.
  7. Refer also to "Parity in Baseball: A Blessing or a Curse?" Not to mention the splitting of the leagues into divisions in 1969, which means that the best team in the league was no longer guaranteed of going to the World Series. I was recently doing some research about Al Kaline and Harmon Killebrew vis-a-vis Mickey Mantle to see whether or not there was some merit to the hypothesis that those two players would have gotten Mantle-like fame had they played for the Yankees (I believe they would have, if they had comparable stats) - but I didn't get far enough into my research, because I read that in 1961, Al Kaline finished 2nd in the American League batting race, losing to his teammate Norm Cash. Norm Cash won the batting title? Really? So I did some more digging, and found out that Kaline batted a fine.324 that year, but Cash batted an *unbelievable* .361. Are you kidding me? .361? That is the highest single-season batting average that *any* major-league player hit in the 1960s! And he hit 41 home runs and 132 RBIs! That's a better year than Bryce Harper had in 2015, without question. When Norm Cash retired, he was in 4th place all-time for most home runs ever by an American League left-handed hitter, behind Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, and Lou Gehrig. That's some pretty sweet competition. And the 1961 Detroit Tigers won 101 games! That's a record of 101-61! But because *The Best Team* won the pennant every year through 1968 (without any of this playoff nonsense), the 1961 Yankees, with Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris hitting a combined 115 home runs, won 109 games (109-53!), and won the pennant by 8 full games. Kind of takes the excitement out of it, doesn't it? Having a "real" pennant race perhaps once only every decade? But what it *also* does is ensure that the best teams win, year in, and year out, and that's why the Yankees always won - because over the course of 154 (or in this case 162) games, they were almost *always* the best team.
  8. "Royals Rally Past Mets for First World Series Title since 1985" (*) by Billy Witz on nytimes.com "Kansas City Royals Rally - Again - To Win World Series" by Doug Criss on cnn.com "Relentless Royals Win World Series after Mets Throw it all Away in Ninth" by Bill Shaikin on latimes.com "Boswell: Fittingly, Royals Rally for Clinching World Series Win in Game 5" by Thomas Boswell on washingtonpost.com --- (*) And for those who don't remember the Don Denkinger incident (which I almost hate to bring up, because he had a long and honorable career): 1985 World Series on wikipedia.com
  9. I have never read "Ball Four," but I suspect at least a couple of people here have, and I'm wondering if it's worth spending time on now that all the dirty laundry has been aired. "'Ball Four' Changed Sports *and* Books" by Rob Neyer on static.espn.go.com "Wit, Wisdom, and Social Commentary" by Jim Caple on staic.espn.go.com If nothing else, "Ball Four" is probably the most significant thing ever to come out of the Seattle Pilots expansion team, which lasted exactly one year before moving to Milwaukee and becoming the Brewers.
  10. Norm Cash, another youngster dealt away by the White Sox at the time. Cash, Johnny Callison, and a couple others. During their 17-year run of consecutive winning seasons in the 50s and 60s, their strength was pitching, defense, and the running game (hence the Go-Go Sox), their weakness was power hitting. If they had kept them, who knows, maybe they would've squeaked in another pennant win besides 1959.
  11. I post this not because I like David Ortiz (I am, after all, a Yankees fan) but for a number of reasons both positive and negative. On the positive side, and setting aside my Yankee fandom, he is an icon for the Red Sox. He is a beloved character in Boston and was a member of three world championships ... after 86 years without a championship in Fenway Park. And there have only been four players to play on three world championships and hit 500 HRs, with Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, and Reggie Jackson preceding him. On the negative side, he has an association with PEDs. Of course, there is no "proof" per se, but his best friend on the Red Sox during those championship years was Manny Ramirez, who was caught and suspended multiple times for PEDs use. A few others of those Red Sox players during that period of time were also suspected of PEDs use, and Big Papi (or "Big Sloppy" to Yankees fans) was at least gulty by association. Besides, how did he lose that hole in his swing that he had when he was David Arias of the Twins? (But my primary gripe about any and all of this is simply that the 500 HR Club is not what it once was. When I was growing up, it was the absolute power hitter mark of excellence, the line of demarcation between the very good and the great. Now, it has been removed from that status by the stench of PEDs use. And that is a shame, pure and simple.) Anyway, from a Yankees fan, here is a tip of the cap to Ortiz, for his accomplishments, for what he means to his fan base, and for his eventual enshrinement in baseball's Hall of Fame.
  12. Cal Yastrzemski, affectionately (and practically) known as "Yaz" by his fans, was an incredibly durable 18-time All-Star for the Boston Red Sox. Although he played some of his later career at 1st Base and Designated Hitter, he was primarily known as a Left Fielder. Yaz was the first player with both 3,000 hits and 400 home runs. His longevity made him not only a beloved fixture in Boston, but also earned him second place all-time in MLB Games Played, and third place all-time for MLB At-Bats. He is the all-time Red Sox leader in career RBIs, runs, hits, singles, doubles, total bases, and games played, and is third only to Ted Williams and David Ortiz in home runs. What a career this man had, especially in 1967 when he won both the AL Triple Crown and MVP Award. Here is an ESPN "SportsCentury" documentary (a wonderful biography series which ran from 1999-2007) about Carl Yastrzemski, who seems to be unjustifiably fading (along with other great outfielders such as Al Kaline, Tony Oliva, etc.) in the minds of young baseball fans:
  13. Man, the Seattle Mariners have had a rough couple of days. After Hisashi Iwakuma threw a no-hitter three days ago, in the past two days (yesterday and today), the Mariners have given up - this is not a typo - 37 runs and 47 hits. Is this some sort of record?
  14. Some fun trivia about two-dozen of the greatest hitters in baseball history: "Trivia on the 3000-Hit Club" on baseball-reference.com It's charts like this one which change my initial opinion of Rickey Henderson being on the list of 8 Greatest Living Ballplayers - he accomplished *so much more* than I ignorantly assumed he did. Meh, I still don't like what he did to Lou Brock, but I'll get over it.
  15. "Are Johnson, Martinez, Smoltz Best Pitching Class Ever at Hall of Fame?" by Jay Jaffe on si.com The 4th inductee is Craig Biggio, who will undoubtedly be overshadowed by the 9 combined Cy Young Awards the three hurlers share between them. The Sports Illustrated article is interesting, as it attempts to rank the HOF classes in terms of "Best Pitchers," and, as it turns out, this year's class only ranks #2 using their methodology.
  16. "2015 MLB All-Star Game: Everything You Need To Know about Mike Trout's MVP Performance" by Maria Guardado on nj.com "Mike Trout, Prince Fielder Lead AL to All-Star Game Win" by Steve Gardner on usatoday.com "Manny Machado Helps AL Win All-Star Game, 6-3" by Ronald Blum on baltimoresun.com
  17. If anyone has any comparables, please post them here; I've never seen anything like this that I remember: "Mike Trout Shows Off Insane Athleticism To Beat Tag At Third" by Nina Mandell on ftw.usatoday.com
  18. "Pirates Turn First 4-5-4 Triple Play In MLB History In Crazy Fashion" by Joe Rodgers on sportingnews.com Enjoy this now because MLB will have the video removed from YouTube due to copyright. --- ETA: It was removed from YouTube, but it's still here: "Must C: Pirates Turn Triple Play" on m.mlb.com "Bucs Stun Cards with First 4-5-4 Triple Play" on m.mlb.com
  19. In 1910, Hugh Chalmers of Chalmers Motor Car Company came up with a promotion that awarded the American League and National League batting champions each a new Chalmers Model 30, which was considered a pretty sweet ride in its day. Well, needless to say, this meant something to players at the time - in fact, it meant a lot. How much? Ty Cobb sat out the final 2 games of the 1910 season because he was a few points ahead of Napoleon "Nap" Lajoie of the St. Louis Browns, and didn't want to lose his lead. (Contrast this to what Ted Williams did on the final day of the 1941 season when he batted .406 that year - coming into a double-header, Williams' average was .39955 which would have rounded up to .400. Williams could have sat out and officially hit .400, but elected to play both games - and he went 6 for 8!) But Cobb wanted the car (and the title), so he sat out, and Lajoie - like Williams, playing a double-header on the final day of the season - was purposely played deep by the Cleveland Indians, but he bunted 6 times for 6 hits (with a wink and a nod by the Indians, who wanted him to win the title - Ty Cobb had enemies). And, on top of that, he hit a triple and a single; his only official "out" was on an error by the Indians' shortstop, which made him 8 for 9 on the day. If he had gone 9 for 9, he would have absolutely won the batting title and the car; as it stood, Lajoie and Cobb were just about tied. The owner of Lajoie's team sent out the batboy with a note to the umpire - they tried to bribe him with a new set of clothes if he'd change the ruling from an error to a single, but the umpire honorably declined. Fans around the country were angry that Cobb sat out, but absolutely incensed that Lajoie was essentially being handed base hits, making a mockery of the game. Chalmers calmed things down by giving a car to both players. "1910 Chalmers Award" on baseball-reference.com "1910 Chalmers Award" on wikipedia.com "March 25, 1910: Chalmers Award Is Born" by Craig Muder on baseballhall.org "1910 - A Carload Of Trouble" on thisgreatgame.com
  20. Any baseball fan knows the Louisville Slugger is part of the sport's historical foundation. Hillerich & Bradsby, the independent company that used to equip all major leaguers, has seen their market share shrink in recent years (to about 60% now) as domestic and overseas brands like Marucci and Mizuno have signed star players to use competing bats. Other challenges have included lawsuits and supply chain issues. They've tried to respond. The Louisville Slugger Museum in Louisville, Kentucky is a must-see for any avid baseball fan, right up there with Cooperstown. I've been a few times and spent a couple of hours there as recently as two years ago. Today, a CEO with the same last name as the founder has thrown in the towel...or bat. Very sad news as the company is being sold to Wilson Sporting Goods, part of a $2.5 Billion Finnish Company. Per the norm, all parties proclaim it good for all with few changes for now. Sigh.
  21. I wonder if we have any old-time Cleveland Indians fans here - I wonder, because I found a baseball from when I was a kid, and I'm trying to figure out what year it's from. It's autographed by a bunch of Cleveland Indians, but some of these signatures are pretty illegible: (It has been glossed over, and I'd written "Donald" on it - twice (once right on top of Mike Paul's signature) - so it isn't worth anything. I also don't think there's either Sam McDowell or Graig Nettles on it.) 1968-1971 - Mike Paul 1970-1972 - Roy Foster 1970-1971 - Vada Pinson 1971-1971 - John Lipon (well, I guess I just figured it out) <--- great website, btw 1967-1972 - Ray Fosse 1971-1971 - Gomer Hodge 1969-1972 - Jack Heidemann ????-???? - Ill Egible ????-???? - Un Readable 1968-1972 - Eddie Leon 1970-1973 - Steve Mingori 1971-1971 - Jim Clark ????-???? - Who Knows (it looks like "Cut Deal") 1969-1971 - Frank "Sacrfice Bunt" Baker 1971-1974 - Chris Chambliss (before he won Rookie of the Year!) 1969-1972 - Phil Hennigan 1971-1972 - Kurt Bevacqua 1968-1971 - Ken Suarez (?)
  22. Jonah Keri, Montreal native, has a new book out on his love for the Expos, I just ordered it and can't wait to read it. 1994 was a special season, with Matt Williams chasing though far away from 61, a couple players including my favorite Frank Thomas chasing an unlikely Triple Crown, having the best year of his career and one of the greatest seasons ever seen in MLB, Tony Gwynn chasing .400, Greg Maddux having a historically great season, and the first season of re-alignment seeing a woeful new AL West. It hurt a lot as a 10-year old White Sox fan to have that team not get a chance to compete again in the playoffs after losing to the defending and eventual champions the fall before. And it was the Sox owner who led the hardline owners in the strike. Coming back in 1995, the team wasn't the same--broken up because of a bitter owner who didn't want to invest in new lucrative free agency and broke up the existing team. It took years for the franchise to recover, and arguably still hasn't seen the heights in popularity that they had in the early 1990s (which even a World Series title in 2005 couldn't quite cure). "Up, Up, and Away: The Kid, the Hawk, Rock, Vladi, Pedro, le Grand Orange, Youppi!, the Crazy Business of Baseball, and the Ill-fated but Unforgettable Montreal Expos" by Jonah Keri Although the Expos may be long gone from Olympic Stadium, special sporting moments can still happen there, as seen just a couple days ago with MLS' Montreal Impact:
  23. Does anyone know how the term "Southpaw" was coined to describe a left-handed pitcher? Traditionally, baseball parks -- in the days before night baseball games -- were laid out so the batter faced east. After all, the sun rises in the east, and by early afternoon when a game starts, the sun would be well overhead and heading to the western side of the stadium behind the batter. The batter would therefore never have the sun in his eyes. That would mean the pitcher faced west, and imposing an imaginary compass on the pitcher's head, the left arm would be on his south side. Thus, "southpaw" was the natural nickname. (Of course, you might wonder why "northpaw" for the righthander never caught on, but who really cares?)
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