Category Archives: Baseball

The Woman in the First Row Behind Home Plate At Milwaukee Brewers Games? It’s “Front Row Amy”

“Front Row Amy” Gets National Attention Sitting Behind Home Plate During The Milwaukee Brewers Playoff Run

She is there for every pitch – “Front Row Amy”

The Milwaukee Brewers are battling the Los Angeles Dodgers in the playoffs and the games are being nationally televised. This has led to a discovery for most (male) fans outside of Milwaukee.

Front Row Amy

You’d have to be completely oblivious not to notice there is a woman sitting in the first row behind home plate at the Brewers home games always wearing a low cut blouse.

You may think she is there to distract the opposing team’s pitcher. She is not. She has been going to Brewers games for over 10 years and her name is Amy Williams, aka “Front Row Amy.”

Amy is a die-hard fan. As a season ticket holder she attends around 50 games per year. In 2011 she moved to her signature front row seat and started getting “noticed.”

As she told OnMilwaukee.com in 2011, “What first got people’s attention was probably, well, you know, “the girls.” But, I think what keeps their attention is that fact that I am so passionate about the Brewers. Brewers fans appreciate the fact that I drive an hour and a half to games by myself, that I keep score, and that I really get into the game! The Brewers are my life during baseball season, and I guess that shows when I’m at games. I love them so much it hurts! And baseball is the greatest game on Earth!” How famous is Amy? Well she has a bobble-head available for purchase. I don’t know many fans who have received that honor. She also has imitators at Miller Park, such as this person, “Front Row Andy.” Getting to the ballpark Continue reading

George Steinbrenner May Be Dead, But His Yankee “Hair Policy” Remains In Effect

George Steinbrenner’s “No Long Hair Or Beard Rule” Is Still Followed

Thurman Munson’s 1976 Topps baseball card shows something you won’t see on any Yankee today, a defiant beard.

At Yankee Stadium’s home opening game on April 11, 1973, the new owner and managing general partner, George M. Steinbrenner III was on hand to see his team. As he watched his players line up along the foul lines and remove their caps for the national anthem,  Steinbrenner pulled out an envelope from his suit pocket. He began writing down a series of numbers on the back of the envelope.

After the game the envelope was given to manager Ralph Houk.

“What is this?” Houk wanted to know.

Sparky Lyle 1974 Topps Baseball card showing his “long” hair

Players who need a haircut was the reply.

Still not knowing any of his players names, Steinbrenner had listed the players numbers who had hair that was not to his liking.

Among the stars on the list were Bobby Murcer,  Fritz Peterson, Thurman Munson, Sparky Lyle and Roy White.

Houk posted the list in the locker room and reluctantly informed his hippie players to go to a barber.

Steinbrenner had been perturbed about the long hair since first seeing the Yankees in spring training. Now it was time to do something about it.

This incident marked the beginning of George Steinbrenner’s 37 year odyssey of interference and unpredictability as owner of the Yankees.

To Steinbrenner, short hair and being clean shaven represented order and discipline. No one mentioned to Steinbrenner that baseball was not the military.

Mike Burke, part owner and president of the Yankees, had very long hair himself. Burke was not very concerned about Steinbrenner’s meddling and downplayed the hair cutting incident.

NEW YORK – JANUARY 3, 1973 Yankees President Michael Burke & George Steinbrenner at press conference at Yankee Stadium where the announcement is made that an ownership group led by Steinbrenner are the new owners of the Yankees. (Photo by: Olen Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images)

Burke, who had been Yankee president since 1966, was instrumental in putting the deal together for Steinbrener and his 13 limited partners, to buy the Yankees from CBS. Burke was led to believe he would be considered a co-partner on an equal level with Steinbrenner.

When Steinbrenner spoke to the press on January 3, 1973 , he said he would be an absentee owner and Burke would run the team. “We’re not going to pretend we’re something we aren’t. I’ll stick to building ships.”

Burke should have more concerned about Steinbrenner’s controlling behavior and desire to be solely in charge.  Soon after the haircut incident, Steinbrenner started firing off memos left and right asserting his control of the team. Less than 3 weeks after opening day, Burke resigned. The truth was Burke had been forced out as president of the Yankees and later gave up his ownership stake.

Yankee Third baseman Graig Nettles asked with a straight face, “Was his hair too long?” Continue reading

Gary Sanchez Needs A Major Attitude Adjustment – A Trip To The Minor Leagues Might Do The Trick

It’s Time For Gary Sanchez To Be Sent To The Minors

The catcher is supposed to be the anchor of your team.

Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez has not been an anchor this year, but a weight.

Sanchez made the final out in a 7-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday July 23, 2018. * That out should serve as a clear sign that it is time to send Gary Sanchez to the minors – not for rehab, but for a major attitude adjustment.  *(see note at the end of the article) Continue reading

There’s Something The Cleveland Indians Haven’t Done in 51 Years

A Cleveland Indians Pitcher Has Not Stolen A Base Since 1967

In 1967 Cleveland Indians pitcher John O’Donoghue accomplished something that was not that uncommon at the time. On July 5, in the bottom of the fifth against the Detroit Tigers, O’Donoghue reached base on a force out. He then stole second base.

His steal was so uneventful it was not mentioned in most newspaper accounts of the game.

That unremarkable steal wound up being quite an achievement. It is the last time a Cleveland Indians pitcher stole a base. That’s right, 51 years ago, 1967. That it is the longest stretch any team in major league baseball has gone without one of their pitchers stealing a base.

There are three teams that came into the league through expansion where no pitcher has ever stolen a base. Two AL teams, the Seattle Mariners (1977) and the Tampa Bay Rays (1998) and one NL team the Miami Marlins (1993). Every other team has had a pitcher steal a base in the subsequent years.

Of course stolen bases have been steadily declining over the years for all of baseball.

But the idea has been propagated that pitchers are one-dimensional entities today. They’re specialists. They’re starters. They’re relievers. They may only be brought in to pitch to one batter. They’re not hitters. And they’re definitely not base runners. Continue reading

Incredible Film Footage Of Yankee Stadium On Opening Day 1931 With Sound!

The Sights & Sounds Of Yankee Stadium 1931 – Yankees vs. Red Sox

What follows is a rare and amazing 14 minutes of film.

Yankee Stadium on opening day April 14, 1931. Yankees versus the Red Sox. Happenings before and during the game.

What makes it so unusual is that the film crew was experimenting with syncing the sound to the action. So there are microphones recording what was being said or the resonant sounds of baseball. The players don’t quite know what to say when asked to speak. The natural sounds of the ballpark are just so different from today.

Batting practice with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Mayor Jimmy Walker throws out the first ball. An IRT train passes and stops beyond the left field bleachers. Everyone in the stands is well dressed as you’d expect. Large signs remind everyone that “Betting is prohibited.”

The lack of technology is pure pleasure. The advertising is on billboards same as now, but no ads or deafening music being blasted from speakers.  Your visual senses are not assaulted by a jumbotron. Fans look at the field, no distractions.

No P.A. system. A guy with a megaphone comes out and announces each team’s battery – a term rarely used today – for pitcher and catcher.

Then there is not only a patriotic marching band entertaining fans, but all the players from both teams march along with the band.

The game itself is great to see, but the things you notice while the game is going on seem so foreign to a modern viewing audience. Continue reading

10 Modern Era Single Season Pitching Records That Will Never Be Broken

Ten Post-1901 Pitching Records That Will Never Be Broken

Jack Chesbro with the Boston Red Sox in 1909.

They say, “never say never.”

Records are meant to be broken.

But there are some pitching records that will probably never be broken and others that certainly will never be broken. We’re looking at records from the modern era only – post 1901.

Here they are:

10. Johnny Vander Meer 2 consecutive complete game no-hitters (1938)

Johnny Vander Meer had the good fortune to be the only pitcher to ever throw back to back no-hitters on June 11 and June 15, 1938 for the Cincinnati Reds.

It is now rare for a pitcher to throw a shutout, or even a complete game. In an era of relief specialization, analytics and match-ups, no-hitter’s are becoming a thing of the past. As of May 2018 there have been 297 no-hitters thrown in the past 117 years. 10 of those no-hitters were a team effort, thrown by two or more pitchers in the game. In 2015 there were seven no-hitters thrown. In 2016 and 2017 a total of just two no-hitters were thrown.

The notion that anyone will ever again throw two no-hitters in a row is a longshot. Three no-hitters in a row? No way.

9. Rube Marquard 19 consecutive wins (1912)

New York Giants starting pitcher Rube Marquard strung together 19 straight wins to begin the 1912 season. Long winning streaks by starting pitchers are uncommon nowadays. They’re yanked from games earlier than ever and no longer control the outcome in close games because they’ve hit their pitch count limits.  Can a modern day pitcher win 20 games in a row? If it were to happen, it would be a miracle.

8. Roy Face .947 Winning Percentage (1959)

How do you get a .947 winning percentage? You lose only one game and win 18. Pirates pitcher Roy Face achieved that lofty winning percentage all in relief. Face did not start one game. It is conceivable a pitcher could have a better winning percentage. It is also conceivable we will one day have world peace.

7. Nolan Ryan 383 strikeouts (1973)

Nolan Ryan was a strikeout machine. In 27 big league seasons Ryan mowed down 5,714 hitters primarily using his blazing speed.  If a pitcher struck out more than 383 batters in a season as Ryan did for the 1973 California Angels, it would mean striking out an average of about 1.5 batters per inning based on a 256 inning season.

In 2017 only ten pitchers threw 200 or more innings. Boston’s Chris Sale led all major leaguers with only 214.1 innings pitched.  Sale also struck out a stupendous 308 batters.

Since starting pitchers are pitching less innings than ever before, it seems highly improbable that any pitcher will ever strike out more than 383 batters in a season.

6. Ed Walsh 467 innings pitched (1908)

Talking about innings thrown this number is just insane, but White Sox Hall-of Famer Ed Walsh threw 467 innings in 1908. You read that right four hundred sixty seven. It’s probably a good thing they did not have pitch counts in 1908. This record is definitely safe.

5. Jack Chesbro 51 games started (1904)

This is one of three single season pitching records that Jack Chesbro of the New York Highlanders set in 1904 and will never be broken.

Pitchers don’t even start 35 games in a season anymore. With six man rotations coming into existence, it seems likely that we’re heading towards pitchers starting no more than 30 games per season. The last pitcher to come close to breaking Chesbro’s record was Chicago White Sox knuckleballer Wilbur Wood who started 49 games in 1972. Continue reading

Bob Feller Throws His 12th Career One-Hitter

Bob Feller’s Twelfth One-Hitter Sets A Record – May 1 1955

Cleveland, May 1 – 12th One-Hitter – Bobby Feller spells out “12” with baseballs today after winning his 12th one-hit game. Feller who held the major league record for single hitters even before today, came within eight outs of posting his fourth no-hitter as the Cleveland Indians beat Boston 2-0. credit: AP wirephoto

There will always be the proverbial argument of who was the fastest pitcher in baseball history. Had the modern radar gun technology been around 70 years ago, there is no doubt that Bob Feller would have been credited as the hardest thrower of his generation.

Roger Peckinpaugh (1891-1977) who was a player and managed from the dead ball era through the modern era and saw everyone from Walter Johnson to Nolan Ryan. Peckinpaugh reminisced in Donald Honig’s The Man in the Dugout (1977, Follett) about flame throwing pitchers.

“I never batted against Addie Joss, but I did against Smokey Joe Wood, Walter Johnson, and Lefty Grove, and I managed Bob Feller in his heyday. Who was the fastest? That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? I would say Walter Johnson. Now Bobby was fast all right, but he had that great big curveball to go along with it.”  Continue reading

Yankee Managery Aarony Booney Has A Namey Problemy

Aaron Boone Apparently Has A New Nickname for Every Yankee & It Ends With a “Y”

One of the worst innovations in baseball telecasts has been the managers interview in the dugout during the game.

Without fail the meaningless banter yields no insight and distracts viewers from the game itself.

Listening to new Yankee manager Aaron Boone during spring training, has been especially annoying. In about eight interviews I’ve heard with Skipper Boone, nearly every Yankee has been renamed by placing a “Y” sound at the end of their first or last name. Not being in the Yankees clubhouse I cannot be certain that the Yankees don”t rechristen themselves as Boone has done, but I somehow doubt it.

So during the MLB, YES or ESPN broadcast interviews this spring, Boone sounds more like a schoolboy, than a major league manager.

When Boone is referring to Aaron Judge, he is “Judgey.” Brett Gardner has become “Gardy.” Aroldis Chapman is “Chappy.” Greg Bird is “Birdy.”  Aaron Hicks has become “Hicksy.” Chad Green is “Greeny.”

Jordan Montgomery is now the British expeditionary leader of WWII, “Monty.” Like our 40th president Ronald Torryes is “Ronnie.” Chasen Shreve is “Shrevey” which sounds like something akin to a short pervert. Jacoby Ellsbury who could have remained Jacoby or Ellsbury, is not a cow, but must represent Borden milk, as he has become “Elsie.”. Continue reading

Players Who Could Wallop A Baseball & Rarely Struck Out

Sluggers With Discriminating Eyes

Players With 25 or More Home Runs In A Season & Fewer Strikeouts Than Home Runs

Johnny Mize hit the most home runs in a season, having more homers (51) than strikeouts (42)

As baseball commentators rave about all the power hitters with their prodigious home run numbers, few broadcasters and writers will allude to the obscene strikeout totals put up by these same power hitters.

Not that most players are capable of hitting a lot of home runs and avoiding striking out, but the great players of the past could.

This list from baseball-reference.com shows the top 37 players with more home runs than strikeouts in a season. Any number in bold means the player led the league in that category.

Rk Player HR SO Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B RBI BB BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Johnny Mize 51 42 1947 34 NYG 154 664 586 137 177 26 2 138 74 .302 .384 .614 .998 *3
2 Ted Kluszewski 49 35 1954 29 CIN 149 659 573 104 187 28 3 141 78 .326 .407 .642 1.049 *3
3 Lou Gehrig 49 46 1936 33 NYY 155 719 579 167 205 37 7 152 130 .354 .478 .696 1.174 *3
4 Lou Gehrig 49 31 1934 31 NYY 154 690 579 128 210 40 6 165 109 .363 .465 .706 1.172 *3/6
5 Ted Kluszewski 47 40 1955 30 CIN 153 686 612 116 192 25 0 113 66 .314 .382 .585 .967 *3
6 Joe DiMaggio 46 37 1937 22 NYY 151 692 621 151 215 35 15 167 64 .346 .412 .673 1.085 *8
7 Barry Bonds 45 41 2004 39 SFG 147 617 373 129 135 27 3 101 232 .362 .609 .812 1.422 *7/D
8 Mel Ott 42 38 1929 20 NYG 150 674 545 138 179 37 2 151 113 .328 .449 .635 1.084 *9/4
9 Ted Kluszewski 40 34 1953 28 CIN 149 629 570 97 180 25 0 108 55 .316 .380 .570 .950 *3
10 Johnny Mize 40 37 1948 35 NYG 152 658 560 110 162 26 4 125 94 .289 .395 .564 .959 *3
11 Joe DiMaggio 39 30 1948 33 NYY 153 669 594 110 190 26 11 155 67 .320 .396 .598 .994 *8
12 Stan Musial 39 34 1948 27 STL 155 694 611 135 230 46 18 131 79 .376 .450 .702 1.152 987/3
13 Ken Williams 39 31 1922 32 SLB 153 678 585 128 194 34 11 155 74 .332 .413 .627 1.040 *78
14 Ted Williams 37 27 1941 22 BOS 143 606 456 135 185 33 3 120 147 .406 .553 .735 1.287 *7/9
15 Andy Pafko 36 32 1950 29 CHC 146 595 514 95 156 24 8 92 69 .304 .397 .591 .989 *8/9
16 Willard Marshall 36 30 1947 26 NYG 155 656 587 102 171 19 6 107 67 .291 .366 .528 .894 *9
17 Al Simmons 36 34 1930 28 PHA 138 611 554 152 211 41 16 165 39 .381 .423 .708 1.130 *7/8
18 Ted Kluszewski 35 31 1956 31 CIN 138 574 517 91 156 14 1 102 49 .302 .362 .536 .898 *3
19 Joe DiMaggio 32 21 1938 23 NYY 145 660 599 129 194 32 13 140 59 .324 .386 .581 .967 *8
20 Lefty O’Doul 32 19 1929 32 PHI 154 731 638 152 254 35 6 122 76 .398 .465 .622 1.087 *79
21 Joe DiMaggio 31 30 1940 25 NYY 132 572 508 93 179 28 9 133 61 .352 .425 .626 1.051 *8
22 Yogi Berra 30 29 1956 31 NYY 140 597 521 93 155 29 2 105 65 .298 .378 .534 .911 *2/7
23 Yogi Berra 30 24 1952 27 NYY 142 605 534 97 146 17 1 98 66 .273 .358 .478 .835 *2
24 Joe DiMaggio 30 13 1941 26 NYY 139 621 541 122 193 43 11 125 76 .357 .440 .643 1.083 *8
25 Joe DiMaggio 30 20 1939 24 NYY 120 524 462 108 176 32 6 126 52 .381 .448 .671 1.119 *8
26 Bill Dickey 29 22 1937 30 NYY 140 608 530 87 176 35 2 133 73 .332 .417 .570 .987 *2
27 Ted Williams 28 24 1955 36 BOS 98 417 320 77 114 21 3 83 91 .356 .496 .703 1.200 *7
28 Yogi Berra 28 12 1950 25 NYY 151 656 597 116 192 30 6 124 55 .322 .383 .533 .915 *2
29 Ted Williams 28 21 1950 31 BOS 89 416 334 82 106 24 1 97 82 .317 .452 .647 1.099 *7
30 Tommy Holmes 28 9 1945 28 BSN 154 713 636 125 224 47 6 117 70 .352 .420 .577 .997 *97/8
31 Bill Terry 28 23 1932 33 NYG 154 677 643 124 225 42 11 117 32 .350 .382 .580 .962 *3
32 Yogi Berra 27 20 1955 30 NYY 147 615 541 84 147 20 3 108 60 .272 .349 .470 .819 *2
33 Yogi Berra 27 20 1951 26 NYY 141 594 547 92 161 19 4 88 44 .294 .350 .492 .842 *2
34 Bill Dickey 27 22 1938 31 NYY 132 532 454 84 142 27 4 115 75 .313 .412 .568 .981 *2
35 Johnny Mize 25 24 1950 37 NYY 90 305 274 43 76 12 0 72 29 .277 .351 .595 .946 *3
36 Joe DiMaggio 25 24 1946 31 NYY 132 567 503 81 146 20 8 95 59 .290 .367 .511 .878 *8/7
37 Ken Williams 25 14 1925 35 SLB 102 462 411 83 136 31 5 105 37 .331 .390 .613 1.003 *7

It’s a rarity today to find players with a great batting eye and good power like, Joey Votto. Continue reading

In 2017 Aaron Judge Broke Another Record That No One Talks About

In 2017 Aaron Judge Became The New Single Season Strikeout King

When Aaron Judge makes contact with a baseball it can be an breathtaking sight. His home runs are the definition of tape measure shots, some balls traveling 500 feet or more. Not since Mickey Mantle has a ballplayer hit such long distance bombs with such regularity.

When Aaron Judge doesn’t make contact, the big swing breeze he creates can cool off fans in the first ten rows near the dugouts. And Judge’s propensity for striking out in 2017 was prodigious.

Last season Judge struck out 236 times, 208 strikeouts in the regular season and 28 times in the postseason establishing a new major league record for most total strikeouts in a season. No news outlet bothered to point this out.

Granted, Judge’s strikeout record gets an asterisk because of his postseason participation. Continue reading