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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Jim Kaat: Will we finally get The Real Deal?

Kaat Said: Orientalism.

A couple of short stories about Asian pitchers and Irabu: I was announcing Yankee games in the mid-90s when I said over the air, “I wonder if we’ll ever see an Oriental position player in the Major Leagues?” Dion James was playing for the Yankees at the time, and told me about an exciting 19-year old named Ichiro Suzuki who had a chance to be the first. We all know that story. Big fan of Bernie Williams from watching Yankee games in Japan. Wears number 51 because of that.

So, I get a letter about a week later from an Asian baseball fan. Not a malicious letter but scolding me gently for referring to Asian players as “Oriental.” He said, “Noodles and rugs are Oriental, not people. We are Asians.” Fortunately for me, he put his phone number in the letter, so I called him.

We had a pleasant conversation and I told him I certainly didn’t intentionally say “Oriental’ as a slur or condescending remark. It was said innocently out of ignorance. He understood. I asked him if he would be watching the next game we televised. He said he would. He was a huge baseball fan and was complimentary of our telecasts on the MSG Network. I asked if he would please watch and listen in the top of the 4th inning. He said he would.  I took the opportunity to clear up the Oriental/Asian situation.

...So, I’lll be keeping a close eye on Yu Darvish and see if he is finally the one to be able to challenge and dominate our bigger, more powerful big league hitters. For his and the Rangers’ sake, I hope he does. It will be good for the game and the Rangers profit and loss statement!

Repoz Posted: January 21, 2012 at 06:20 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: announcers, history, international, japan, media, rangers, yankees

NYT: Q. & A. With Tom Seaver

Q. Ryan has campaigned against pitch counts. Do you agree?

A. There’s nothing wrong with pitch counts. But there’s an addendum to that. I presume Nolan thinks the same way. But it isn’t a blanket pitch count. People say, “I bet the pitch count drives you nuts.” Heck no. I had a pitch count. My pitch count as a general rule was 135. And I knew how many pitches I had when I went to the mound for the last three innings. And I wasn’t going to spend eight pitches on the No. 8 hitter. On the second or third pitch, he should be hitting a ground ball to shortstop. It might not work like that all the time. But theoretically, you have an approach about how you’re spending your bullets.

There’s nothing wrong with pitch counts. But not when it’s spit out by a computer and the computer does not look at an individual’s mechanics. And you can’t look at his genes. It should come from the individual and the pitching coach and the manager.

Q. Will your former manager Gil Hodges, a former Dodger, ever get into the Hall of Fame?

A. I don’t know. Everybody in the New York area wonders why he’s not in. His numbers are high middle. But what else did he do? He was the leader on that ball club that went to the World Series and beat the Yankees. He was the leader of a ball club and franchise that went to the World Series. If you look at his body of work I say yes. Absolutely.

Q. Should steroid users be allowed into the Hall of Fame?

A. The commissioner and baseball has to figure that out. They’re going to have guys that have great numbers not in the Hall of Fame. They have to figure that out.

Thanks to Wrecki.

Repoz Posted: January 21, 2012 at 05:36 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: history, mets, sabermetrics

Moore: Age is just a number for Niekro and Moyer

Phil Niekro: The sparks is still there!

“Oh, yeah. I threw my last [Major League] pitch when I was 48, but I could have gone another year or two,” Niekro said, recalling his final season in 1987. It began with the Cleveland Indians, but he was traded near the end of the season to the pennant-hopeful Toronto Blue Jays.

After two rough starts, then-Blue Jays general manager Pat Gillick released Niekro and told Toronto reporters that he thought Niekro’s career was over.

“Since I have total respect for [Gillick], and also out of fairness to myself, I just took his word and decided that maybe he knew more about myself than I did, and that maybe he sees something that I don’t see, so I went by his words,” said Niekro, who made one final start with Atlanta that season. “After I retired, the next Spring Training, I got the fever. Then the next Spring Training after that, I got the fever.”

In fact, Niekro still has the fever.

Said Niekro, chuckling, but only a little, “I still feel like I can get guys out in the big leagues right now. My arm feels as good now as it did when I retired.”

...“I’ll throw some BP down there, so my arm is no problem,” Niekro said. “To stick around a long time, it’s a discipline thing for a player, where you have to stay healthy. You also have to be fortunate, just to spend any time in the big leagues. I’ve got no squabbles about anything. I just kick myself in the butt for not hanging around for another year or two.”

Repoz Posted: January 21, 2012 at 12:34 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, history

Card collector accuses USPS of losing mint Mantle

Has anyone thought of checking Bob Costas’ swollen ass pocket?

Anthony Johnson is suing the agency, claiming it lost his jewelry and card collection valued at $329,000. He says the valuables were stolen in 2009 by a house guest and shipped to California.

Johnson says he alerted the Postal Service, which intercepted the goods. But the Grosse Pointe man says he’s only recovered cash that was taken, not the collection. The memorabilia include mint cards of DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Hank Aaron.

Johnson tells the Detroit Free Press it’s been a “three-year runaround.” The Postal Service has denied any negligence. Johnson says the collection was sent to an Atlanta postal site where it sat for months.

Today’s whereabouts? Unknown.

Repoz Posted: January 21, 2012 at 08:44 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: business, history, memorabilia

Friday, January 20, 2012

THT: Jackson: Thinking big in Big D in 1950

During the late 1940s, the Cotton Bowl, located in Dallas’ Fair Park, had been expanded to more than 75,000 seats, largely because of ticket demand for SMU football games during the Doak Walker era. Some Dallas people were boasting that the Cotton Bowl now held more people than Yankee Stadium. Perhaps that was what put the idea in Dick Burnett’s head to stage a baseball game there.

Great article, both for its richness of detail and the sheer novelty of what it describes.  With all the staging of football and hockey games and what-not at baseball parks in recent years, I think it’s time that baseball was reciprocated.  Time for a Rangers series in the Cotton Bowl!

BDC Posted: January 20, 2012 at 12:57 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: history, minor leagues

Grantland: Bill James: The 100 Best Pitchers’ Duels of 2011

Bill James sez it all!

My list of the 100 best pitchers’ duels of 2011 is better than your list, for one reason and one reason only.

You don’t have any list.

 

 

Repoz Posted: January 20, 2012 at 10:06 AM | 69 comment(s)
  Beats: history, reviews, sabermetrics

Q&A: Larry Walker on his Hall of Fame snub

“Mr. Walker is not a suspect…We don’t know if the person was killed at the site or if his body was dumped there.”

CBCSports.ca: Who’s more upset about your low vote total in the second year of your 15 years of eligibility: you or your family, friends and former teammates with Colorado and Montreal?

LW: I don’t think it bothers me a lot. Why am I going to get my feathers all ruffled over something that’s out of my control? Obviously, it would be an amazing honour.

Some people have pointed some things out to me that made me wonder. [Designated hitter] Edgar Martinez [only played 592 of his 2,055 career games in the field] and he’s getting twice as many votes as me [36.5 per cent to Walker’s 22.9 per cent]. Is Edgar Martinez twice the better player than me?

Not to pat myself on the back but I think I was as good as Edgar Martinez.

But I’m not going to rack my brain. I’m sure there’s people that are in the Hall of Fame that a lot people think shouldn’t be there or some that should be there and aren’t.

CBCSports.ca: The knock against you when people say Larry Walker shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame is that you played 10 of your 17 seasons at hitter-friendly Coors Field in Colorado. But a lot of times players can’t control where they play, right?

LW: I was in the big leagues, man. Are you she—-in me? You can’t always pick where you go or what happens. You just roll with the friggin’ punches. I was in the dugout trying to beat the other 25 guys in the dugout beside us. That’s all I tried to do. I can’t control where I’m at and the numbers that go up. Every ballpark has its quirks.

If you read something in the paper or a magazine or hear something on TV, whether it’s negative or positive, people tend to want to go that way with it. If what was being printed all this time was ‘Walker deserves the [Hall of Fame nod], he’s going to make it,’ I bet my percentage would be a lot higher. But all you hear about is Coors Field. That’s all I’ve heard since my first game in Denver [in 1995].

Repoz Posted: January 20, 2012 at 05:51 AM | 51 comment(s)
  Beats: expos, hall of fame, history, rockies

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-20-2012

Providence Evening Tribune, January 20, 1912:

Organized baseball will be fought under the Sherman Anti-trust law if it attacks the new Columbian Baseball League, according to John T. Powers, President of the new organization.

“We are not fighting capital with capital and do not seek a fight with any person or combination,” said Powers. “But we have the statutory right to exist and compete with the ‘Baseball Trust.’”

There is more in the threat of the new outlaw league in the west to fight organized baseball under the Sherman Anti-trust law than appears on the surface, or the average fan believes.
...

The fly in the ointment lies in the fact that the trust law was designed to prevent restriction of business and commercial activities, and did not refer to amusement enterprizes [sic], such as baseball and theatricals.

As it turns out, organized baseball did exactly what it should have done with regard to the Columbian League: They sat back and watched it collapse all by itself before it ever played a game. The postscript, though, is that John T. Powers spent the next offseason getting the Federal League off the ground. The Federal League, of course, eventually led to Federal Baseball Club v. National League, which indeed revolved around baseball and the Sherman Act.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 20, 2012 at 05:17 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: business, dugout, history

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Platoon Advantage: Jack Morris is going to be a Hall of Famer, and that’s OK

BTW…I’m compiling a (H/T Moral Idiot) massivo (HA!) list of BBWAA ballotears for their Pro-Bonds/Clemens (9 as of now) ~ Anti-Bonds/Clemens (12 as of now) promised HOF ballots.

For a second thing: it’s getting to be a cliche by now, but it’s absolutely true that 2013 is going to be completely unlike any ballot that has come before. Jaffe’s reasoning is that “Morris probably won’t move up enough because it is such a strong batch of new guys.” I don’t think so. There are certainly a lot of should-be slam dunks coming in, but the only new guy who figures to finish particularly strong in the voting is Craig Biggio, and he’s far from a first-ballot lock. By and large, the guys interested in voting for Morris aren’t the same ones who might be tempted to bump Morris off because they’re voting for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens and Biggio, and/or some combination of deserving first-timers or holdovers like Mike Piazza, Sammy Sosa, Curt Schilling, Kenny Lofton, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro and Edgar Martinez. If anything, the vast majority of them will bump any of those guys off (even Bonds or Clemens, maybe especially Bonds or Clemens) in favor of the presumptively “clean” Morris, who won’t have the fourteen shots left most of these guys will (assuming they get 5% of the vote, which I think will be a problem for Lofton and possibly Palmeiro).

Rather, the real 1999-like year, in terms of players the voters are actually likely to want to enshrine, is the following year, 2014: Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas are all pretty close to first-ballot shoo-ins. You might as well think of 2013 as Morris’ last year on the ballot, because he’s not going in with those dudes.

So, that’s why I think Morris goes in next year. As amazing as the talent on the 2013 ballot is, it’s not going to pull many votes off of Morris, thanks to the “PE"D questions and because it’ll be viewed as his last realistic shot. It’s 2013 or nothing…and for 75%-plus of the voters, it’s going to be 2013. He’s going in. Might as well get used to it.

Repoz Posted: January 19, 2012 at 06:01 AM | 193 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, history, projections, sabermetrics

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-19-2012

Connie Mack, quoted in the Mansfield Daily Shield 100 years ago today:

Jack Crooks, playing third for the Browns, was escorting a bunt that way one afternoon, and saw that it was surely safe. He knelt beside the slow-rolling ball, and blew it out of the line. There was some yowl, believe me but what could they do? He hadn’t touched the ball with hand or foot, and the umpire had to call it foul.


Lenny Randle approves.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 19, 2012 at 05:05 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Former American League umpire Marty Springstead is dead at age 74

Marty Springstead, who at the age of 36 in 1973 became the youngest umpire crew chief in World Series history, has died. He was 74.

Major League Baseball said Wednesday that Springstead was found dead at his home in Florida on Tuesday night.

A native of Nyack, N.Y., Springstead was an American League umpire from 1966-85. Among his three World Series were 1978 and 1983, and he also was an umpire at the All-Star game in 1969, 1975 and 1982 and at five AL championship series.

After retiring from the field, he became the AL’s executive director of umpires, then worked as an umpire supervisor for MLB after umpire staffs from the leagues merged.

He retired from his management position before the 2010 season.

“For a quarter-century, Marty mentored a new generation of our umpires, not only in the major leagues but around the world,” Commissioner Bud Selig said. “Marty was an avid teacher, a great storyteller and a friend to countless people around our game. Like so many of my colleagues, I always appreciated his wonderful sense of humor and the pride he had for his profession.”

Thanks to Rod Nelson.

Repoz Posted: January 18, 2012 at 04:09 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: history, obituaries

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-18-2012

St. Joseph News-Press, January 18, 1912:

A bill that will cause much excitement in the ranks of baseball men is to be introduced in the New York state legislature by Senator James J. Frawley…It is Senator Frawley’s plan to tax the gross receipts of baseball clubs exceeding a certain limit, the money thus collected to be turned over to the playgrounds in the leading cities and towns.
...

The officials of the major league clubs have never made public the amount of their gross rceipts, expenditures and profits. There is no doubt, however, that the returns are enormous.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 18, 2012 at 05:32 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: business, dugout, history

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Genetti: Lack of black players will open baseball HOF doors to others

This anti-Jeter gunk has got to stop!

Lee Smith, Tim Raines, Fred McGriff, Bernie Williams and Willie McGee aren’t in the Hall of Fame.

But they will be.

...The last thing baseball is going to want is some statistic come out showing a small number of blacks inducted into the Hall of Fame over a certain amount of time, so the next thing — which will more than likely happen — is well-deserving black players will be inducted here and there over time.

Perhaps it’s a stretch to have this thought, but if you look at the great white and Hispanic players that have dominated the game over the last couple of decades, there’s really no outstanding black players to get excited over. That’s why this lack of African-American players in baseball will give those currently on the ballot a bigger opportunity. Even at this moment the only black player who is baseball Hall of Fame-worthy is Prince Fielder.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not going to be done out of sympathy, I just believe the powers that be are going to conserve these players so there’s no absence of African-Americans going into Cooperstown over the next 10 or more years.

All of the players I’ve mentioned are very much worthy of the Hall of Fame, I just hope they’re inducted sooner rather than later.

Repoz Posted: January 17, 2012 at 11:24 PM | 241 comment(s)
  Beats: fantasy baseball, hall of fame, history

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-17-2012

Baseball notes from the Pittsburgh Press, January 17, 1912:

About the slowest way to get a ball player in trade is to go after him…We will give the [recently announced outlaw leagues, the Columbian League and United States League] this: They may land Bugs Raymond and Rube Waddell…Pres. Witman, of the United States league, says his league season will be short. Yes, probably two weeks…Keokuk club of the Central association, has signed 56 players for next season. The contract to finish the Panama canal must have been sublet to this team…Pres. John M. Ward is against his Boston team playing baseball on Sunday. Last year Boston didn’t play baseball Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays…Frank Smith, the piano mover, reports he is having the time of his life in Europe. “Smitty” admits he never had much use for dukes and earls, but he simply wanted to see what they looked like at close range.

You know what else Smitty never had much use for?  Pants.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 17, 2012 at 05:53 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

BPP: An interview with Robert Creamer

Creamer: His Life and Times. Terrific interview with Womack. (answers shortened here to save site/brain from exploding)

Who’s the greatest baseball player you covered?

Willie Mays. Period.

I seem to remember that Bill James, using his fabulous, desiccated statistics, demonstrated that Mickey Mantle, who was Willie’s almost exact contemporary, was actually the better player, and I’m not equipped to argue with Bill, although I’ll try. And there are DiMaggio, Williams, Musial, Barry Bonds, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez – no, wait. I didn’t cover DiMaggio, who retired after the 1951 season — I didn’t start with Sports Illustrated until 1954. But that’s still a pretty impressive collection of players to put Willie on top of.

You’ve written biographies on Casey Stengel and Babe Ruth. If steroids had been a part of the game when Stengel and Ruth were players, do you think they would have used?

Sure. Yes. Absolutely. Hell, for decades before the big scandal about steroids in baseball, clubhouses used to have plates or dishes filled with little candy-like pills players gulped or chewed on routinely. My mind is gone – I forget what they were called.. Uppers? Bennies? I can’t recall. But that was standard. Athletes are always looking for an edge and that was a way to get them fired up. I have never been as upset by steroid use as the moralistic holier-than-thou baseball writers who vote on the Hall of Fame. What a bunch of self-important phonies!

I mean, you’d think all an ordinary player would have to do is take steroids to hit 70 home runs or bat .350. But I think McGwire was telling the truth — he took steroids to hold back distress, to make him physically able to play the game. Steroids don’t make a player good. Think of the hundreds, even thousands of players who have been in and out of the major leagues and who may have dabbled in steroids and think how few have hit 50, let alone 60 or 70 homers.

Repoz Posted: January 17, 2012 at 05:41 AM | 59 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, history, media, steroids

Jesse Barfield says arm tells all in war for drug-free baseball

Yikes! Greg Luzinski must have been on turanabull from a very young age!

Since Barfield is so familiar with strong arms he thinks it’s a giveaway to which players are on performance enhancing drugs. The giveaway is not when an outfielder suddenly develops a rocket arm. It’s when someone with a rocket arm suddenly can’t throw.

“When you look at guys, you have a pretty good idea of whether they are on something or not. It’s not natural to have muscles growing out of your neck like this,” Barfield said, holding his hands on his neck in a big circle.

Barfield said outfielders using PED’s build up their muscles so much around their shoulders, they can’t throw.

“They can’t get the arm up over the top because of how the muscles are built up,” he said. “It’s not natural. Guys who could throw, suddenly can’t throw.”

Barfield said it was never an issue with the Blue Jays of his era. With Lloyd Moseby and George Bell as his outfield mates, Toronto had one of the finest young outfields in the business.

“As close as we were as a team we would know if anyone was doing anything like that and if they were, we would have . . . stopped it right away.”

Repoz Posted: January 17, 2012 at 04:57 AM | 51 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, history, steroids

Monday, January 16, 2012

Retrosimba: An interview with former Cardinals pitcher Al Jackson

Q: You began the 1967 season in the Cardinals’ rotation and in April pitched a one-hit shutout, beating the Astros, 4-0, in Houston. Bob Aspromonte broke up the no-hitter with a leadoff single in the eighth. Do you recall what happened?

Al Jackson: Yes, I do _ big-time. It wasn’t so much the no-hitter. I just wanted to maintain the stuff that I had that night, the control that I had. I wasn’t throwing as good as I was earlier in the game but I also knew that when I got a little tired, I was a better pitcher because I could keep the ball down. Against Aspromonte, I got the groundball I wanted. The pitch may have been down the middle because it was hit in the hole between short and third. If I had thrown it a little further away, the ball may have gone to the shortstop. I wasn’t worried about losing the game. I just wanted to stay on top of mine.

I also had pitched a one-hitter with the Mets against Houston. Joe Amalfitano got the hit. Boxscore Later, I was asked to speak at a dinner in New York. I began by saying I disliked Italians. The room was full of Italians and they looked at me like I was crazy. Then I had to explain: the two guys who broke up my no-hitters are named Amalfitano and Aspromonte. It got a laugh.

Q: Musial was 4-for-5 in his career against you. He batted .800 against you. You were smart to put him on with the walk…

Al Jackson: I’m glad I had a place to put him. I was asked after the game, “Why would you walk him? He’s a left-handed hitter.”  I said, “Why? That’s Musial.” Just look at his record. He’s known for beating teams. And here I am in that small ballpark _ just 250 feet down both lines. I know he can hit for power down both lines. And I never thought about striking him out. That wasn’t on my mind at all.

Thanks to Heck.

Repoz Posted: January 16, 2012 at 06:32 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, history, mets

THT: Jaffe: The possible upcoming Cooperstown ballot apocalypse

What should happen? Well, among non-Bonds/Clements voters, Biggio should get around 85 percent. With the others, he’ll get less in what’s already a crowded ballot for people willing to support PED-rs. I’d guess he gets 65-70 percent of their vote. Maybe less.

Upshot: Biggio has a very good shot to get in. Assuming he gets 85 percent of the non-Bonds/Clemens guys (and he really should, given the clustering of Molitor/Winfield/Murray right at 85 percent), and assuming Bonds and Clemens get about 40 percent of the vote, Biggio needs only 60 percent of the votes from the supporters of Bonds and Clemens. That should happen.

Actually, I find this a bit surprising. A week ago, I assumed that Biggio was doomed on this messy ballot. That would set off the real nightmare, because if everyone from this year’s vote went into next year, it would be that much harder for anyone to rise up.

But Biggio should go in next year. No one else should. If Fisk couldn’t get elected as the fourth-best new guy in 1999, Piazza won’t in 2012. Schilling will finish further down, and Sosa may be under 10 percent. As for the backloggers, Morris probably won’t move up enough because it is such a strong batch of new guys. I think he’ll get close but ultimately have to go to the VC.

VC = Viva Caputo!

Repoz Posted: January 16, 2012 at 02:17 PM | 48 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, history, projections, site news

CAPUTO: Why I won’t vote for Bonds, Clemens or Sosa for the Hall of Fame

Former Tigers pitcher Jack Morris was named on the second-most ballots - nearly 67 percent.

In the aftermath, Peter Gammons, one of the preeminent baseball writers of all time, talked on MLB Network about how he put Morris on the ballot the first three years he was eligible, but stopped because another baseball writer had displayed extensive statistical proof to him that Morris’ 3.90 ERA was “not because he pitched to the score” but rather because he lost a lot of leads.

Right then I decided this coming year, the first time they are eligible for election to the Hall of Fame, I am not voting for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens or Sammy Sosa.

...Gammons said Bagwell is like a hockey player (whatever that means) and was one of those 10-to-12 hour per day in the weight room guys, who lost weight later in his career (ala Pudge Rodriguez) because he had a shoulder injury that prevented him from lifting. It’s the type of thinking that was prevalent from many baseball writers during the steroids era. Always buying the story. Unfortunately, I was one of them. I’d like to think I’ve learned my lesson.

...But if Hall voters are going to be so picky about the career ERA of Jack Morris, why not about possible PED use?

I strongly feel this: If Morris gets in, it will still be the Hall of Fame.

If Bonds, Clemens and Sosa are inducted, it would become

(Yanks out Rogers’ Dictionary of Cliches ~ Looks for entry form)

the Hall of Shame.

Repoz Posted: January 16, 2012 at 05:40 AM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, history, media, steroids, tigers

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-16-2012

Mansfield Daily Shield, January 16, 1912:

Edmund Lamy, who played right field and who will occupy the same position on the Mansfield club in the Ohio State league this season, may become the world’s champion skater this winter. He must win from Morris Wood in a series of matches which has been arranged between the two, to be held at Saranac Lake, N.Y., January 30 and 31. Wood is the present holder of the championship.
...

Lamy has always been prominent as a skater. He was holder of the amateur championship until he entered professional ball and played in this city.

Lamy won. He was a pretty good ballplayer - hit .320 with doubles power in Class B ball as a 23-year-old, but his baseball career ended with a broken collarbone.

After his baseball career and a stint in the military during World War I, Lamy went on to become a legendary speed skater and barrel jumper.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 16, 2012 at 05:37 AM | 40 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, minor leagues

Sunday, January 15, 2012

George Brett says young Royals remind him of his playing days

Sans Zdebonair, of course.

Sans Zdebonair

The words are flowing quickly from George Brett’s mouth. The greatest player in Royals history can’t stop talking about winning baseball in Kansas City.

He’s saying the same names and phrases you’ve heard before.

Eric Hosmer can be a star. And the young left-handed pitchers can turn into studs. And guys like Johnny Giavotella and Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez can win with talent AND chemistry.

“What were they doing in Double-A two years ago?” Brett says. “They were voted the best (darn) team in all of minor-league baseball.”

Repoz Posted: January 15, 2012 at 08:51 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: history, royals

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Seamheads: Produced Before Steroids: Happy Felsch’s Great Clouts in 1914

“the leather almost peels off when he kisses one on the trademark.” Dig it!

In the early part of the 1914 regular season, Felsch put on a long ball display that became legendary at the time. On April 28 the Brewers entertained the Cleveland Spiders at Athletic Park. With darkness setting in, Happy hit a titanic home run in the 10th inning to win the game 3 to 2. The Sentinel humorously reported the clout “cleared the fence by forty feet, traveled clear across Eighth Street, hitting the front porch of one of our best known German citizens. It then bounded through a perfectly good plate of glass and landed in the lap of Mrs. Herman Hassenfeffer, who was sitting near the window sewing a new button on her husband’s Sunday pants. Incidentally it cost [Brewer President] Al Timme three bucks for a new pane of glass, but he should worry. Didn’t it win us the game?” From the newspaper report it was obvious the hometown Felsch had a big following:

  “As soon as Happy hit the ball over the wall the bugs flocked out of the bleachers, and there was a reception committee of over a hundred fans at the plate by the time he had completed the circuit. They nearly shook his hand off, while a flock of kids followed him all the way to the clubhouse, patting him on the back and acting as only baseball bugs can act.”

A direct result of Felsch’s homer was that the Brewer management decided the 56 foot high flag pole in deep left centerfield, which was to fly the 1913 pennant, had to be raised to 75 feet, as not to obstruct Hap’s long hits.

Repoz Posted: January 14, 2012 at 02:44 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: history, minor leagues

Friday, January 13, 2012

BPP: Darowski: The Small Hall (of wWAR)

Erardiabolical!

Joe recently wrote a post called To the BBWAA: Focus on the Great, Not the Very Good. In the post, Joe explains his “small Hall” stance. It’s not a stance I agree with, but I’ve been intrigued by the idea of a “small Hall” since coming up with my system to rank Hall of Famers (via Weighted WAR and the Hall of wWAR). To get a “small Hall” by wWAR, you just have to pick a higher cutoff than I use for my Hall.

So, let’s see what a Small Hall of wWAR would look like.

Center Field

  Ty Cobb (305.5)
  Willie Mays (298.8)
  Tris Speaker (247.9)
  Mickey Mantle (228.4)
  Joe DiMaggio (145.7)
  Billy Hamilton (118.6)
  Duke Snider (115.0)

There are not very many center fielders in the Hall of wWAR. But gosh is the position top-heavy. Look at that. Four guys above 200 (225, even). And that doesn’t even include Joltin’ Joe and the Duke. Who’s next? There’s a huge 20 wWAR drop-off before we get to Jimmy Wynn (95.1). Then there’s Richie Ashburn (84.8) and 19th century stars George Gore (82.9) and Paul Hines (78.3). Exiting the Hall would be Ashburn, Hugh Duffy, Larry Doby (again, just because this is purely statistical), Earle Combs, Kirby Puckett, Edd Roush, Earl Averill, Hack Wilson, and Lloyd Waner.

Repoz Posted: January 13, 2012 at 12:59 PM | 65 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, history, sabermetrics

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-13-2012

Pittsburgh Press, January 13, 1912:

When the Giants go to their camp at Marlin Springs next month they will be without their mascot, Charley Faust. Manager McGraw has decided, after careful consideration, that he is a jinx, and therefore he will not be allowed to be a member of the band of New York national players next season.

McGraw has already waived claim on this freakiest of freak ball players, and any club that would like a combination of mascot and pitcher had better hurry up and claim Charley.

League offices all around North America were undoubtedly flooded with claims for Faust.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 13, 2012 at 05:26 AM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Yankees Team Dentist Recovers Stolen Sports Memorabilia Through Craigslist Ad

A Ballantine Odontoblast!

In a way, Dr. William Strupp is a five time World Series champion. He has the rings to prove it.

He is the team dentist for the Yankees. It’s been that way since he fixed George Steinbrenner’s teeth in 1995. He wears the 2000 ring with most pride and is honored to get all five of his rings still while Steinbrenner was alive.

...More than 100 baseballs signed by players over the years, three baseball bats and a football signed by Heisman winners were among the items tucked in the back room in part of the office. It was a treasure trove of sports memorabilia that was stolen sometime between Nov. 16 and 17.

To get the sports memorabilia back would take a hail mary pass.

Because many of the items stolen would be difficult to pawn, detectives talked to Strupp about the possibility of posting an ad on Craigslist.

“It was an ingenious idea,” Strupp said.

Strupp set up a “stolen Yankees” ad Nov. 24. It contained several photos of the stolen items and an offer of a reward for their return.

“You kind of throw it out there and hope some idiot bites,” Strupp said.

Repoz Posted: January 12, 2012 at 04:30 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: history, memorabilia, yankees

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