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Monday, December 16, 2013

Marty Appel: My Favorite Player: BOBBY RICHARDSON

I was just like Marty Appel…until Bobby Richardson single-handedly ruined my Challenge the Yankees and Strat-O-Matic teams which sent me straight into the loving harms of morotgara.

In 1962, the fan club held a contest asking members “in which game would Bobby get his 100th hit of the season?” By then I was a little SABRmatician, and of course I said, “the 81st game,” and of course I won. (He would get 209 hits that season, and, trust me, I am not pausing to double-check this on Baseball-Reference.com.)  My prize was an autographed baseball from Bobby and an in-person meeting at Yankee Stadium.

I still remember the meeting; for it was the first time I was ever that close to a real Yankee. The flannel uniform, the dark cap (which sometimes photographed black, not navy), and the presence of my hero, greeting me at the railing by the first base box seats, were priceless memories.

We fast forward. I’ve now gone through high school and college, Bobby has retired to South Carolina, and I’m hired by the Yankees PR department to answer Mantle’s fan mail. It’s the summer of 1968, and I’m on the Yankees payroll.

So I write to Bobby on Yankees stationery and say, “Guess what?”  And thus begins what could have been a very awkward transition. We were once hero-child “friends,” and now we are going to become adult friends. It is not always an easy dynamic. But Bobby made it so.

We were able to strike up a more genuine friendship, and as the years went on, I became the team’s PR director in 1973 and his principal conduit to all things Yankee. I’d send him his Old-Timers Day invitations and keep him posted on news of interest. I had long ago sent him the four volumes of scrapbooks I had kept during my youth.

Repoz Posted: December 16, 2013 at 05:26 PM | 20 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, yankees

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: December 16, 2013 at 08:33 PM (#4619236)
Because of the similar names and roughly similar eras, I have a hard time keeping Bobby Thomson and Bobby Richardson straight, even to the point of always thinking Thomson was a 2B (Robby Thompson not helping out here either). If it wasn't for the Shot Heard Round the World I wouldn't stand a chance.
   2. hardrain Posted: December 16, 2013 at 09:54 PM (#4619269)
Richardson was the religious guy who hit leadoff and had a horrible OBP.
   3. Rough Carrigan Posted: December 16, 2013 at 11:10 PM (#4619314)
Yup, the guy who Bouton said seriously believed in the early and mid 60's that black people wanted to live segregated.
   4. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 16, 2013 at 11:33 PM (#4619324)
Yup, the guy who Bouton said seriously believed in the early and mid 60's that black people wanted to live segregated.

That probably describes half the ballplayers of Richardson's time. Ballplayers have never been noted for their ability to see beyond their own experience. The Ted Williamses and Pete Roses were more the exception than the rule.

I always liked Richardson until he made two of the most unfortunately timed errors of all time in consecutive games, errors that took what would have been a relatively routine 5 game Yankees World Series win and instead handed it to the Cardinals in 7 games. You can look it up, games 4 and 5 of the 1964 World Series.
   5. Hank G. Posted: December 17, 2013 at 12:28 PM (#4619559)
Bobby Richardson - Played 12 years, 7 All-Star games, 2nd in MVP voting one year, career WAR: 8.3.
   6. stanmvp48 Posted: December 17, 2013 at 01:36 PM (#4619624)
Bobby Richardson 1961. 8.8 plate appearances/run scored
League average 1961. 8.49 plate appearances/run scored

   7. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: December 17, 2013 at 03:23 PM (#4619698)
Yup, the guy who Bouton said seriously believed in the early and mid 60's that black people wanted to live segregated.


Doubtless there were many blacks who felt that way then, and even now. But separate, by definition, ain't equal.
   8. Steve Treder Posted: December 17, 2013 at 03:58 PM (#4619738)
Bobby Richardson 1961. 8.8 plate appearances/run scored
League average 1961. 8.49 plate appearances/run scored


Yeah, but Richardson suffered from not having any decent power hitters behind him in the lineup.

Oh, wait ...
   9. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: December 17, 2013 at 04:03 PM (#4619744)
Bobby Richardson 1961. 8.8 plate appearances/run scored
League average 1961. 8.49 plate appearances/run scored

Yeah, but Richardson suffered from not having any decent power hitters behind him in the lineup.

Oh, wait ...

I've often said that's one of the singular achievements in MLB history.: 704 PA's at leadoff for the 61 Yanks and 80 runs scored. (That's eight-zero)
   10. Steve Treder Posted: December 17, 2013 at 04:16 PM (#4619756)
I've often said that's one of the singular achievements in MLB history.: 704 PA's at leadoff for the 61 Yanks and 80 runs scored. (That's eight-zero)

Well, to be fair, he did bat 8th in 160 of those 704 PAs. But still: 65 runs scored in 543 PAs batting first or second.
   11. Rants Mulliniks Posted: December 17, 2013 at 04:17 PM (#4619759)
It certainly is, and complaining about Ichiro only scoring 101 times in his 262-hit year now seems silly.
   12. stanmvp48 Posted: December 17, 2013 at 04:55 PM (#4619804)
I guess they really didn't have a decent choice for a lead off hitter that year

You can win a lot of barroom wagers on the subject of "Which team scored more runs, the 61 Yanks or the 62 Dodgers?
   13. Steve Treder Posted: December 17, 2013 at 06:36 PM (#4619879)
I guess they really didn't have a decent choice for a lead off hitter that year

They didn't, but given that, they'd have been a lot better off just batting Mantle leadoff and Maris second.
   14. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: December 17, 2013 at 08:26 PM (#4619926)
I think Houk always led off with second basemen. IIRC, During his stint with Boston, Jerry Remy led off.
   15. dejarouehg Posted: December 17, 2013 at 08:45 PM (#4619935)
I think Houk always led off with second basemen. IIRC, During his stint with Boston, Jerry Remy led off.
I don't remember - seriously - did he bat Horace Clarke and Lou Whitaker lead-off?
   16. dejarouehg Posted: December 17, 2013 at 08:48 PM (#4619937)
Doubtless there were many blacks who felt that way then, and even now. But separate, by definition, ain't equal.


I disagree. I think most people are more comfortable amongst "their own," especially in the suburbs. And separate can be equal as long as it isn't mandated but by choice.
   17. Steve Treder Posted: December 17, 2013 at 08:54 PM (#4619941)
I don't remember - seriously - did he bat Horace Clarke and Lou Whitaker lead-off?

He batted Clarke leadoff. In Detroit he went with Ron LeFlore.
   18. SOLockwood Posted: December 17, 2013 at 09:02 PM (#4619942)
In which book does Bouton say that about Richardson? I know it isn't "Ball Four."
   19. Publius Publicola Posted: December 17, 2013 at 09:11 PM (#4619949)
Hook was pretty creative with Dwight Evans, batting him lead off, then second when Boggs came along.
   20. Rough Carrigan Posted: December 18, 2013 at 01:06 AM (#4620022)
#18. Might've been Glad You Didn't Take it Personally.

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