My friend Richard Hershberger called this antique article to my attention the other day, as he does every now and then. (Six months ago he had sent me another such story, which I happily posted here: https://ourgame.mlblogs.com/lovers-and-cranks-a7117d85dcad#.g32oxjw87.) No one is a better researcher into the early days of the game than Richard, and no one loves a word picture of a day at the ballpark more than he does, unless it is me. Of the story below, published in the Philadelphia Times of July 3, 1887, he writes:
“Take a look at the attached file. It is a word picture of the Polo Grounds from 1887. This is right up your alley, and complements the 1884 piece from the NY Sun via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. This time it is from my new best friend, the Philadelphia Times. Nice touches include the description of ticket scalpers and how the Giants were cheerfully breaking both New York City and National League law by selling beer.
After a two-year search, the Braves may have found their new spring-training home.
Officials in Sarasota County, Fla., announced Tuesday that the Braves have entered into exclusive negotiations to build a facility in the southwest Florida city of North Port.
If terms are agreed upon and approved, the Braves will move their spring base from Disney World to Sarasota County as soon as 2019.
“Hopefully this thing goes forward, the county commissioners vote on it, and off we go,” Braves Vice Chairman John Schuerholz told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution late Tuesday.
“We have a really positive view of how the county is looking at this opportunity,” Schuerholz said. “I don’t believe there will be any large level of concern that it wouldn’t be approved, but we don’t know until they confer and decide. But we’re optimistic.”
Ty Cobb, Detroit slugger, speed merchant, said but two words in defining his stand on the baseball strike situation. “I’m neutral,” said the Georgia peach, in a telegram to a St. Louis sport editor today. He had been asked whether he would join the Tigers on their spring training jaunt or line up with Dave Fultz in the proposed strike.
The tip was out, but could not be confirmed, that [AL president] Ban Johnson and [AFL president] Samuel Gompers were as close as Damon and Pythias. Indeed, it was said unofficially that Johnson held a contract that bound the federation not to butt into baseball.
This contract was subscribed to by the union heads some years ago as a means of settling a labor strike that arose in connection with the building of the Cleveland American League Club grandstand. The unions of the Middle West have been going strong for the American League for some time.
This is obviously 20/20 hindsight on my part, but it’s almost like the entire universe was jumping up and down, screaming and waving red flags, trying to tell union head Dave Fultz not to call a strike.
McCovey pleaded guilty to income tax-fraud conspiracy in 1995, alongside fellow baseball star Duke Snider, for failing to report thousands of dollars each in fees received from memorabilia and autograph shows.
The plea carried a sentence of up to seven months in jail. Both McCovey and Snider, who died in 2011, were given two years’ probation and a $5,000 fine in 1996.
The Blue Jays and Bautista have agreed to a one-year contract that includes a mutual option but is pending the completion of a physical, sources told MLB.com on Tuesday afternoon. The deal’s options could keep Bautista in Toronto through 2019. The club has not confirmed the agreement.
In 1972, the Washington Senators packed up and moved down to Texas to become the Rangers. In the 45 years since the Senators’ departure, however, only a single other Major League Baseball franchise has relocated: the Montreal Expos (owned by MLB at the time) moved to Washington before the 2005 season and became the Nationals.
During that same 45-year period, meanwhile, the National Football League has seen the relocation of franchises on nine occasions (10 if Oakland completes their move to Las Vegas). The National Hockey League has featured nine moves of their own (including one merger); the NBA, eight.
There are quite a few reasons for MLB’s stability relative to the other leagues, including antitrust protection, willing local governments, and a little bit more patience when it comes to stadium issues. And baseball hasn’t always possessed such geographic consistency. Consider: the creation of the Rangers actually marked the end of a 20-year period that saw quite a bit of movement throughout Major League Baseball. Rarely did a move leave a city without a franchise — and for those cities left without teams, all had new teams in short order — but there was activity nonetheless.
David L. Fultz, president of the Baseball Players’ Fraternity, [yesterday] set February 20 as the date the players’ strike is likely to become effective.
[Fultz:] “If the present baseball tangle is not straightened out by that time…not one of the 18 leading members of the [Cubs will report to spring training]...The other clubs, who had unsigned fraternity players, will be up against a similar situation when they order mobilization at the training camps. The players simply will not budge.”
Cubs pitcher Al Demaree on a Fultz’s strike threat:
“All I can say is that we pledged our loyalty to Fultz and the fraternity. We would be poor fraternity members if we didn’t. I shall not say a word about Fultz’s letter, for I was not authorized to make it public.
Tepid support from Demaree. Following this story is like watching a slow motion trainwreck.
“Efficiency” is the buzzword Matheny used Monday to describe the spring training work, and he said he and his staff “may go against the grain of what traditionally has been done — implementing different priorities.”
Overall, the Cardinals nail player development. The organization scouts and teaches well. Matheny has fostered a prospect-friendly environment at the big league level, making certain that his veterans are welcoming and helpful.
This is the Cardinal Way. It’s not just a philosophy, it is a business model. By building and maintaining a self-renewing talent base, the Cardinals fill most needs internally without spending big money on free agents like Dexter Fowler.
They keep contending and keep making money. The Build-a-Player Workshop turns a nice profit year after year. Relatively low front-end investment often yields huge long-term returns.
But the process is inexact. Life intervenes. Injuries and slumps occur and frustration builds.
“I took my first ground ball and I was like, ‘Oh, gosh! I’m way too stiff.’ ” Bell said. “All season long, (Young) was busting on me: ‘I told you to go to yoga. What, you say your hips are tight? I told you to go to yoga.’ So, the first day of (this past) offseason, I started going to yoga.”
So, I don’t view the news from Monday involving Bautista or Saunders as particularly damaging for the Orioles. But I do see the Saunders signing as an indication that the number of free-agent outfielders who can truly help the Orioles, is starting to wane.
That’s key, because adding Welington Castillo and Seth Smith has to be the start of the club’s plan to be better than it was in 2016 and not the full plan.
These days, there may be more value placed on defense and certainly more time spent on evaluating and quantifying it than ever before. When MLBPipeline.com surveyed front-office officials as to which prospects stood out most for their glovework, there was no shortage of candidates.
In fact, there were so many talented defenders that among the 18 votes we received, no player garnered more than Padres outfielder Manuel Margot’s three and a half. Thirteen players received at least a half a vote—we allowed executives to split their picks—and another five were brought up as worthy of discussion.
The Royals and left-handed starter Danny Duffy on Monday agreed to a new five-year, $65 million contract that runs through the 2021 season.
Duffy could have become a free agent after the 2017 season, his final year of arbitration, but will instead make $5 million this season, $14 million in 2018, $15.25 million in 2019 and 2020 and $15.5 million in 2021.
After twenty years of singular focus and desire, twenty years of getting knocked down and picking yourself up, twenty years of eating ####, twenty years of crawling over broken glass, twenty years of getting on a crowded bus to brave that goddamned commute, twenty years of bearing it, you are finally and publicly acknowledged as the very best in your chosen profession.
You’ve MADE it. You’ve reached the goal you’ve been chasing every day for the last twenty years. It should be the very best day of your professional life.
And all you’re thinking about, because of the way you’ve been treated along the way, all you’re thinking about is getting out. Leaving it behind. All you’re thinking is “I can’t take it anymore. This is going to kill me.”
Imagine having the best day of your life taken from you like that.
The Hall of Fame only started publically releasing voting percentages for the Era and Veterans Committees elections in 2003, yet in that short period of time the tiny electorate has had five candidates miss being voted into Cooperstown by a single tally. Each of those five candidates have appeared on both the Veterans Committee and Era Committee ballots where their Hall of Fame candidacies have been affected by the frequent changes in the format used by this voting body