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Found 6 results

  1. Some people might not know that the Washington Senators of Walter Johnson fame were a different franchise than the lovable losers we had playing here during the 1960s - the original team (which played 1901-1960) became the Minnesota Twins, while this franchise (1961-1971) became the Texas Rangers (*). These Senators' highlights were Frank Howard, and Ted Williams - who managed them to a winning season in 1969 (unless you want to include Ed "Big Stick" Brinkman, for whom Mark Belanger was grateful (*)). Here's Richard Nixon throwing out the opening day ball in 1969, with Teddy Ballgame also in the picture (the Yankee is Ralph Houk; behind him stands the owner, Bob Short, who outbid Bob Hope (!) for ownership of the team): <--- See the guy taking a picture at the top-center? He could have featured prominently in this photo; now, he's forever anonymous. Season 3, Episode 8 of "Dragnet" (which aired on Nov 14, 1968), had this sequence when the President (who was actually Lyndon Johnson at the time of airing) came to visit Los Angeles - Gannon and Friday are addressing the press corps: (*) Actually, they weren't the original Washington Senators: Believe it or not, there were two other Washington Senators teams (making a total of four) that played around the fin de siècle, but weren't in the Major Leagues. (**) It should be noted that Brinkman, whose *best* batting average from 1961 through 1968 was an abysmal .224, worked on his hitting with Williams in 1969: That year, he batted a relatively amazing .266. Remarkably, he played on the same high school team as Pete Rose, and Brinkman was considered the better prospect by a fair margin. I still remember this baseball card:
  2. This may sound ridiculous, given that he's 16-years older than I am, but Jim Palmer was actually somewhat *after* my time as a baseball fanatic (at ages 7-12, I knew more about baseball than I know now, and I was something of a prodigy) - Palmer really didn't hit his stride until halfway through "my prime." I had always thought that he was something of a prima donna, but after watching the video I'm going to present to you, I think I was wrong - he had a very difficult childhood, having been adopted at birth, having lost his beloved adoptive father, Mo Wiesen, at age 9, and having gone from being named Jim Wiesen to Jim Palmer when his beloved mother, Polly Wiesen, married actor Max Palmer in 1956 - this child had three fathers by the time he was eleven! And he had legitimate, career-threatening injury problems from 1967 through 1969 - I always thought he was just a self-pampering person, but I was dead wrong - if you watch this video, you'll see just how much he loved his three parents, both adoptive-, and step-; he never knew his biological parents, but he isn't affected by that in the video (titled, "Jim Palmer - The Making of a Hall of Famer,," and narrated by legendary Orioles broadcaster, Chuck Thompson). He was an All-State athlete in three sports, and yes, he is somewhat cocky, and maybe even a bit "self-aware" when it comes to his athletic talent (and his looks don't exactly hurt), but given the gifts he had, he comes across, primarily, as a loving, devoted son to me - I never knew! In Game 2 of the 1966 World Series, Jim Palmer pitched a four-hit shutout against Sandy Koufax, in what was to be Koufax's final game ever. In the process, the 20-year-old Palmer became the youngest person ever to pitch a shutout in a World Series game - a record which stands to this very day. On Aug 13, 1969, a day after I turned 8-years old, Palmer pitched his only no-hitter: an "ugly" game, as he puts it, with 11 strikeouts and *9* walks! But it was good enough for a no-no against the expansion Kansas City Royals (one of four expansion teams in 1969, the very first year of the League Championship Series (the Royals would exact their revenge in the 2014 ALCS)). Palmer is also the only pitcher ever to win a World Series game in three different decades, and he did it the hard way - beginning in 1966, and ending in 1983. I'm so glad I watched this video - I always respected Palmer; now, I really, really like him as well.
  3. Considering their relative lack of big-name talent over the decades, the Astros have one of the most interesting *team* histories in all of baseball: * From 1888-1961, the only professional baseball in Houston was the Minor League Houston Buffaloes - a (mostlly) Texas League team affiliated (mostly) with the St. Louis Cardinals * They began their life as the Houston Colt .45s (after a "neam the team" contest - the Colt .45 was "the gun that won the West"). Their National League counterparts were the expansion New York Mets, and the two teams alternated draft picks from unprotected players from other Major League teams. * Several Houston Buffaloes personnel were allowed to continue working for the Astros, and some of the players made the team as well. * The Colt .45s played in the temporary Colt Stadium - very impressive for a structure meant to last three years. * In 1963, they picked up Rusty Staub and Joe Morgan. Incidentally, Staub is a known connoisseur of fine wine. * In 1965, they became the Astros (Houston being the "space capital" of the U.S.), and began playing in the "8th wonder of the world," the Astrodome. * There's plenty more about their history on Wikipedia - it's an interesting read if you're a baseball fan.
  4. 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.
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