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Saturday, April 25, 2020

Here’s What I’d Like to See in the Coming CBA Fight

When you see the “we said, they said” press release exchanges in the media between MLB and the MLBPA concerning salaries in a fanless baseball world, it serves as a reminder that baseball’s biggest fight is actually the one on the horizon. By comparison, that fight might make the COVID-19 policy squabbling look like a nursery school shoving match.

Baseball’s current collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2021 season, and long before the novel coronavirus altered the 2020 baseball landscape, players had real grievances they wished to see resolved in the next labor agreement. After two tepid winters of free agency — it did thaw a bit this last winter — and teams treating luxury tax thresholds as soft salary caps, ...

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QLE Posted: April 25, 2020 at 01:03 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: cba, dan szymborski, fight, fight, fight

Does Cheating Matter?

“It’s hard for me not to look at my own numbers against them and be pissed,” a retired major league pitcher said. “Everyone involved deserves to be seriously punished because it’s wrong.”

– a retired major league pitcher on the Astros, quoted in ESPN, January 2020

Cheating is serious business. We know this, almost instinctively, from earliest childhood — the righteous anger one feels when you catch someone sneaking a peek at your cards, dropping a rock only after seeing you put down scissors, sticking out a suspiciously well-placed foot preventing your escape in a game of tag. That’s not fair — cheater! You appeal to others around you, trying to get them to see, to mete out justice. Something has been disrupted here; ...

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QLE Posted: April 25, 2020 at 01:01 AM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: dirty rotten cheaters

‘Major League’ a hit with mix of antics, believable action

The door to the bullpen swings open, a reliever emerges and a familiar song comes blasting through the stadium’s PA system, energizing the crowd.

Before Hall of Famers Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman took the mound with this type of fanfare, there was Ricky Vaughn, the fictitious bad-boy pitcher who entered the climactic game of the movie “Major League” with the song “Wild Thing” announcing his presence.

“I was listening to the recording of ‘Wild Thing’ — not the original one by the Troggs, but the one by X, and it was such a big sound, it sounded like a thousand people were singing it,” said David S. Ward, the movie’s director. “I thought, this would be really interesting if people got so into this kid, this ...

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QLE Posted: April 25, 2020 at 12:54 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: major league, movies

Man beaten in Dodgers parking lot sues team for negligence

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers are being sued for negligence by a man who was attacked in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium and left with brain damage, his lawyers announced Friday.

The lawsuit, filed this week by Rafael Reyna and his wife, contends that the stadium lacked adequate security.

“We have no comment” on the lawsuit, team spokesman Joe Jareck said in an email.

Reyna, 45, was attacked while walking to his car shortly after midnight on March 30, 2019, after watching a 13-inning game that ended in a 5-4 win by the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to the lawsuit.

 

QLE Posted: April 25, 2020 at 12:51 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, security

The Natural: Charboneau’s career played like fictional Hobbs

Joe Charboneau sees a little bit of himself in the iconic baseball film “ The Natural.”

Outside of the obvious, which is that the former Cleveland Indians outfielder actually appeared in a few scenes of the 1984 film that finished tied for No. 8 in The Associated Press Top 25 favorite sports movies poll.

Movie line: “They would’ve said, ‘There goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was in this game,’” Robert Redford’s character, Roy Hobbs, lamented of his shortened career.

Cue Charboneau, the 1980 AL Rookie of the Year.

A consideration of baseball folk heroes, real and fictional- but isn’t The Natural at its core a story about the Fisher King?

 

QLE Posted: April 25, 2020 at 12:48 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: joe charboneau, the natural

What MLB Can Learn From the NFL Draft

Welcome to the era of the virtual draft. The WNBA kicked the sports world off here last week, and, after much agonizing over the question of tech support, the NFL joined on Thursday. So what does it mean for MLB?

The answer might ultimately be nothing: In last month’s joint agreement between MLB and the MLBPA, the league built in the ability to move the draft from its originally scheduled date of June 10 to as late as July 20. Depending on public health guidelines this summer, the event could look more or less normal. (Or, at least, as close to “normal” as you can get with a draft that will be shortened to as few as five rounds, a result of the same agreement that created the flexibility around its date.) But it could just as easily ...

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QLE Posted: April 25, 2020 at 12:44 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: draft, nfl

Cape Cod League Cancels 2020 Season

The Cape Cod League, the premier college summer league, on Friday announced it had canceled its 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic. The decision was made through a unanimous vote of the league’s executive committee.

“Following CDC guidelines and medical recommendations, the league determined it would be impossible to guarantee the safety of players, coaches, umpires, host families, volunteers and fans during this unprecedented health crisis,” the statement said.

The Cape was slated to begin its season June 13, the latest Opening Day for any major college summer league. But the countdown to the return of baseball on the Cape now must be extended by a year.

The Cape Cod League traces its roots to 1885 but had stops and ...

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QLE Posted: April 25, 2020 at 12:39 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: cancellations, cape cod league

Today in Baseball History: Casey Stengel fined for appearing in a beer ad

Beer and baseball go together like nothing else. But on this day in 1962, Major League Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick decided that Mets manager Casey Stengel was a bit too familiar with beer for his tastes, and fined him $500. How did that come about?

While today’s baseball/beer sponsorship landscape is dominated by multinational behemoths like Anheuser-Busch InBev and Molson Coors, it was a very different story back in the early 1960s. At that time the name of regional beer brands were far more common on billboards, scoreboards, and on tap at the ballpark.

In Baltimore it was Natty Boh. In Chicago it was Old Style. In Minnesota it was Hamm’s. Narragansett Beer sponsored the Red Sox. In Cleveland it was Carling. Stroh’s was the ...

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QLE Posted: April 25, 2020 at 12:32 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: beer, casey stengel, history

David Ortiz says Red Sox sign stealing penalties were unfair: ‘It’s what everybody’s doing in the le

David Ortiz wasn’t happy with the punishment Major League Baseball handed down to the Red Sox for stealing signs in 2018.

Appearing on FOX with Kevin Burkhardt and Alex Rodriguez on Friday, Ortiz said he believed MLB’s decision to strip the Red Sox of a second-round draft pick and suspend video assistant J.T. Watkins was too harsh.

“They were searching trying to find out if anything that happened in Houston happened in Boston,” Ortiz said. “Basically, it wasn’t even close to a similar situation. What happened in Boston is what everybody’s doing in the league right now. I think the punishment was not fair, to be honest with you.”

In January, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred found that the Astros used a center-field video ...

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QLE Posted: April 25, 2020 at 12:24 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: david ortiz, dirty rotten cheaters

Friday, April 24, 2020

Steve Dalkowski, ‘fastest pitcher in baseball history,’ dies at 80

Steve Dalkowski, a wild left-hander who was said to have been dubbed “the fastest pitcher in baseball history” by Ted Williams, died this week in New Britain, Connecticut. He was 80.

Dalkowski, who once struck out 24 batters in a minor league game—and walked 18—never made it to the big leagues. Though radar guns were not in use in the late 1950s, when he was working his way through the minors, his fastball was estimated to travel at 100 mph, with Orioles manager Cal Ripken Sr. putting it at 115 mph, and saying Dalkowski threw harder than Sandy Koufax or Nolan Ryan.

Dalkowski, a football and baseball star in New Britain, was signed to a minor league contract by the Orioles in 1957. He had an unusual buggy-whip style, and his pitches were ...

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QLE Posted: April 24, 2020 at 02:30 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: obituaries, rip, steve dalkowski

The Red Sox Got Slapped on the Wrist for Their Illegal Sign-Stealing

Tonight, on As The Red Sox Turns:

If you were hunkered down under a stay-at-home order waiting for Major League Baseball to release its long-awaited report on the Red Sox’s illegal sign-stealing efforts, then we have good news for you: the wait is over. On Wednesday, the league announced the conclusions of its investigation and the punishments handed down by commissioner Rob Manfred. If you were expecting the discipline to be comparable to that received by the Astros in January, you may want to get back to binge-watching Tiger King, because according to the report, there simply isn’t a lot to see here.

In the case of the Astros, when Manfred issued his report on January 13, he found that the team illegally stole signs during the 2017 ...

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Any given ballgame: What are MLB’s most unbeatable single-game achievements?

A sample of the analysis on offer:

Achievement: Bryce Harper reaches base 7 times without taking a swing

The Chicago Cubs had a plan on May 8, 2016. And it worked.

That’s how Bryce Harper himself described the day he reached base a major-league record seven times without recording an official at-bat. For that matter, Harper, who saw 27 pitches total, never saw fit to swing the bat even once throughout the entire 13-inning game. Those were the extremes then-Cubs manager Joe Maddon was willing to go to just to guarantee that Harper didn’t beat them. Though Harper scored one run, the bold strategy ultimately paid off with a 4-3 Cubs win.

Harper walked six times, which tied the MLB record for walks in a single game. Three of those were ...

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QLE Posted: April 24, 2020 at 01:17 AM | 106 comment(s)
  Beats: achievements

The Best Bunts, and Bunters, of 2019

I have a confession to make, one that might be uncool in the modern, hyper-optimized world of baseball analysis. I love bunts.

I know, I know. I’ve been spending most of a recent article series on old World Series tactics railing about bad bunts. I’ve read Moneyball; outs are bad and runs are good. That’s all true, but I can’t help it. I love to see a well-executed bunt for a hit. Drag bunts, sneak attacks aimed at shifts — I love them all. So today, I set out to find the best bunter.

A quick refresher of why bunting is bad: it makes outs. If you want some proof of this, look no further than a run expectancy chart from 2019

...

If you haven’t read one of these before, no worries. Each number represents how many runs scored, ...

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QLE Posted: April 24, 2020 at 01:05 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: bunting, bunts

Where Mike Trout Stands Out Most

If someone asked you what Mike Trout’s signature skill is, what would your answer be? You might say it’s his power, even though he’s never led his league in homers, or his elite approach, even though he still strikes out a little more often than he walks. If you watched him in person when he was much younger, you might say it isn’t even his steady hitting that defines him, but the way the 6-foot-2, 235-pound mammoth of a man moves, sprinting with top-line speed to steal bases and gliding to field balls hit to center field. The correct answer, of course, isn’t any of those things. What separates Mike Trout from the pack is that he is one of the best, if not the best, at virtually everything. He is the sum of several staggeringly ...

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QLE Posted: April 24, 2020 at 01:02 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: mike trout, statcast

Nats’ star Ryan Zimmerman’s AP diary: Memories of day games

But not, as far as I can tell, of two Mondays:

For me, especially for day games, you can’t recreate walking through the tunnel—the sound, the sight, the feel.

For a 1 o’clock home game on a weekday — no batting practice — I usually leave my house at around 9:15, so I can get behind traffic. I drive in and get to the field by 9:45 or 10, and then I’m basically inside.

A quick breakfast, and I’m right into my routine.

Training room—anything I need to do there—and weight room. And then you’re pretty much getting ready: getting dressed for the game, hitting in the indoor batting cage underneath the stands. I also do all of my defensive daily work in those cages.

 

QLE Posted: April 24, 2020 at 12:56 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: day baseball, ryan zimmerman

Cubs foursome sharing house, experiences awaiting baseball

CHICAGO (AP) — When the coronavirus pandemic stopped spring training last month, Ian Happ offered Nico Hoerner, Zack Short and Dakota Mekkes a place to stay if they wanted to remain in Arizona.

That’s how “The Compound” was born.

Happ, Hoerner, Short and Mekkes — four players from the Cubs’ organization — are living together while they await word on the baseball season. In addition to their workouts and tennis matches, they also are doing a podcast and posting videos of their day-to-day life at the house.

“I think it just helps to have camaraderie in this time,” Happ said. “A lot of guys are at home, away from the team and kind of missing that element. So for us, just to be around teammates, around guys that ...

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QLE Posted: April 24, 2020 at 12:52 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, dakota mekkes, ian happ, nico hoerner, zack short

Should MLB Still Play an Official World Series?

MLB is heading toward a season unlike any other, if it’s heading toward a season at all. We don’t know how many games the league can safely play or even where they can play them.

But no matter the terms of the season, should it still end in a regular, best-of-seven World Series? Do a minimum number of games need to be played to reach the usual endpoint of every other season? Does it even matter when the final series of the year is called? SI’s MLB staff weighs in

How about the Giants and Royals play each other for the 2017, 2018, and 2020 titles?

 

QLE Posted: April 24, 2020 at 12:47 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus, world series

Today in Baseball History: Fernando Tatís hits two grand slams in one inning

Fernando Tatís spent parts of 11 seasons in the major leagues, playing for the Rangers, Cardinals, Expos, Orioles, and Mets. In nearly 3,500 plate appearances, he hit .265/.344/.442 with 113 home runs and 448 RBI. It was a fine, fine, career.

He’ll probably be remembered most for two things, though: (1) being the father of Fernando Tatís Jr., who in less than one full major league season already looks like he’ll be a massive, massive superstar; and (2) the time on April 23, 1999 he hit two grand slams in a single inning.

The feat had, needless to say, never happened before. Indeed, up to that date, only four teams had ever hit two grand slams in an inning: the 1969 Houston Astros, 1986 Baltimore Orioles, 1980 Milwaukee Brewers, and ...

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QLE Posted: April 24, 2020 at 12:40 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: fernando tatis, grand slam, history

MLB The Show Players League games to air on ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 & MLB Network

Select games from the final 10 days of the MLB The Show Players League, including the Playoff tournament, will be broadcast on ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 and MLB Network beginning this Thursday, April 23rd. The Players League is benefiting Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada with a total of $175,000 being donated across the 30 MLB Club communities.

ESPN2 will broadcast select regular season matchups this Thursday and Saturday from the first-ever competitive league of Sony Interactive Entertainment’s MLB The Show, solely featuring Major League players. MLB Network will broadcast select regular season matchups this Sunday, April 26 at 8:00 p.m. ET. MLB Network will also air a one-hour MLB The Show: Recap program ...

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QLE Posted: April 24, 2020 at 12:36 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: broadcasting, espn, fs1, mlb network, mlb the show

Former Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully hospitalized after taking a fall at his home

Vin Scully took a fall in his home Tuesday and was taken to the hospital, where he was “resting comfortably,” the Dodgers announced Thursday.

“I won’t be doing anymore headfirst sliding, I never liked it,” the Hall of Fame broadcaster said in the team’s statement posted on Twitter.

 

QLE Posted: April 24, 2020 at 12:33 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: vin scully

Dan Walters, former Padre and San Diego police officer, dies at 53

Dan Walters, who appeared in 84 games for the Padres in 1992 and ’93, died Thursday from ongoing complications related to an injury he suffered in the line of duty while he was a San Diego police officer.

Walters, who played at Santana High, was 53. His death is considered a line-of-duty fatality.

A San Diego Police Department dispatcher came over the police radio to announce Walters’ death, or “end of watch.”

“Dan grew up locally, played professional baseball here in San Diego and proudly served his city as a police officer,” SDPD said in a statement. “He will forever be remembered by the members of this Department.”

QLE Posted: April 24, 2020 at 12:29 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: dan walters, obituaries, rip

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-23-2020

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, April 23, 1920:

The New York Americans opened their home season [in New York yesterday] by defeating Philadelphia, 8 to 6, in a loosely played game…The game was marred by an accident to George Ruth, New York’s $125,000 batsman, who was making his first local appearance with the Yankees. Ruth injured himself in batting practice before the game, pulling a cartilage out of place. He struck out in the first inning, but was in great pain and had to be assisted off the field.

Mark my words: This whole Babe Ruth thing isn’t going to work out well for the Yankees. It’s already looking like a disaster.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 23, 2020 at 10:11 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Giants prospect Ryan Halstead keeps arm ready thanks to sister Paige

Gabe Kapler leaned on positivity in his first camp as manager of the Giants, and while talking a few weeks ago about this hiatus, he said it’s been encouraging to see how players are using family members to get creative and stay in shape. He’ll surely get a kick out of what one of the organization’s prospects is doing to keep his arm ready.

Ryan Halstead, a pitcher in the upper minors, went somewhat viral this week when he posted a video of a game of catch. The right-hander is firing rockets across a residential street and they’re easily being snagged by his sister, Paige.

She was the starting catcher at UCLA, where she won the 2019 NCAA softball championship. Paige also spent three summers playing for Team USA.

  ...Read More...

QLE Posted: April 23, 2020 at 01:51 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: brothers and sisters, giants, prospects, ryan halstead, softball

Former Mets GM remembers Jerry Krause’s skills as a baseball scout

Both before and after his time as the general manager who helped the Bulls win six championships in the 1990s, Jerry Krause worked in baseball as a scout.

He worked for seven different teams dating back to the 1970s and all the way up to into the 2010s: the White Sox, the Cleveland Indians, Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees, New York Mets and Arizona Diamondbacks.

While “The Last Dance” is exploring what kind of general manager he was in the NBA, what kind of scout was Krause in Major League Baseball?

“He was a hard worker and had great knowledge on how to break down a player from a scouting perspective,” former Mets general manager Omar Minaya told the New York Post’s Ken Davidoff. “He also had a real ...

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QLE Posted: April 23, 2020 at 01:44 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: jerry krause, mets mets mets, scouts

ZiPS Time Warp: Eric Davis

On a purely objective level, Eric Davis had a solid major league career. He played parts of the 17 seasons in the majors, hit 282 homers, and collected 1,430 hits. Davis received MVP votes, made All-Star appearances, and earned three Gold Glove awards. Of a group of three childhood friends consisting of Davis, Darryl Strawberry, and Chris Brown, he’s the one who came out of baseball seemingly the least affected by personal setbacks and tragedy. Davis is still involved in Major League Baseball and has worked with underprivileged kids, something he knows about having grown up in South Central Los Angeles.

But as accomplished a player as Davis was, he was capable of being more. Like another All-Universe athlete from the 1980s who made the ...

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QLE Posted: April 23, 2020 at 01:30 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: dan szymborski, eric davis, zips

If I Could Be Transported to Any Season in Baseball History…

The question got my attention, no doubt because the man asking it was a friend who had tagged me among some esteemed company when he posted it to Twitter. “You can be transported to any baseball season in history,” wrote Jon Weisman, the longtime proprietor of Dodger Thoughts and the author of two books about the team’s history. “Once transported, you will not know what has happened — you will experience it all unfold in real time. Which season do you pick?”

Elsewhere within his series of tweets, Weisman laid out the dilemma at hand: “whether to relive a season you adored, or newly experience a season you would adore.”

In the midst of making dinner, I resisted the temptation to fire off a knee-jerk response. When ...

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QLE Posted: April 23, 2020 at 01:24 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: history, jay jaffe, time travel

Glavine, Klesko share fond memories of Braves’ 1995 title

ATLANTA (AP) — Tom Glavine still remembers it vividly, that challenge he made to his teammates during the clinching game of the 1995 World Series.

Amid a scoreless Game 6 against the Cleveland Indians, Glavine implored the Braves’ hitters to score a single run. It was all the team would need, he vowed, “because they’re not getting any.”

“I knew I was on my game,” Glavine said Wednesday. “The truth be told, it’s not like that was the one and only time I did that in my career. From time to time as a pitcher, you’re feeling your oats a little bit in a tight game.”

Of course, he quickly added: “It’s one thing to do that on a Sunday afternoon in August. It’s another to do it in Game 6 of the World Series.”

 

...Read More...
QLE Posted: April 23, 2020 at 01:17 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: anniversaries, braves, ryan klesko, tom glavine

Minor leaguers, college players get creative to stay ready

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Andre Nnebe hollers over the breeze coming off the bay behind home plate and announces to the group, “First pitch, 2:10!”

The Milwaukee Brewers minor leaguer thanks college catcher Eamonn Lance for showing up because now there can be live batting practice, something Nnebe hasn’t done since the coronavirus put a sudden halt on sports.

“You saved the day,” Nnebe tells Lance.

For this informal simulated game last week at a noted high school field, the catcher isn’t the only player wearing a mask. Nnebe stands in wearing a protective face covering, and same with the guy waiting in the on-deck circle.

Another piece for those curious about how current events affect players on levels other than MLB.

  ...Read More...

QLE Posted: April 23, 2020 at 01:12 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: college baseball, minor leaguers, players

ESPN – KBO broadcasting deal in jeopardy after ESPN tried to acquire rights for free

Yonhap News is reporting that ESPN’s attempt to acquire broadcasting rights to the KBO League, South Korea’s major baseball league, might be coming up short due to ESPN wanting the rights for free.

....

ESPN’s desire to show Korean baseball was understandable given the lack of ongoing American sports, but free broadcasting rights are quite an outlandish request. The KBO has practically all of the leverage in this scenario given that ESPN has the need for content, and the league has that content. It’s unclear where exactly ESPN got the idea that they could somehow show KBO games without having to pay for the right to do so.

Mind you, in certain regards this behavior (such as it is) isn’t a surprise- note how many of the ...

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QLE Posted: April 23, 2020 at 01:01 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: espn, greed, korean baseball

Today in Baseball History: Yankees trade for Hideki Irabu

Before George Steinbrenner would, cruelly, give him a different nickname which we’ll get to in a minute, Hideki Irabu was known as “the Japanese Nolan Ryan.” He sort of looked like the Japanese Roger Clemens, actually. He was 6’4″ and 250 pounds and pitched at a time when most Japanese pitchers were slighter guys whose games were more about finesse than power. That wasn’t Irabu’s game. He was a hard-thrower, leading NPB’s Pacific League in wins in 1994, in ERA in 1995 and 1996, and in strikeouts in 1994 and 1995. He was a pretty damn big deal.

And he wanted to a big deal in America. Which, at the time was not exactly an easy thing to do for a Japanese player.

While we’re all basically familiar with the posting system ...

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QLE Posted: April 23, 2020 at 12:55 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: hideki irabu, history, trades, yankees

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