Category Archives: Baseball

Oh Brother! Could They Pitch – The Dean, Perry, Martinez & Niekro Brothers

Winning Brothers, Dizzy & Daffy Dean

Dizzy & Daffy Dean 1935

Hold Chat On Bleachers

Dizzy and Daffy, those two Dean boys. Paul on the left looks a little skeptical as Dizzy shows his brother the way a ball is held for a “hook”. Just before the Giants and Cardinals got going  March 15 at Flamingo Park, Miami Beach, Florida, these two boys held a chat on the bleachers. The Giants defeated the Cardinals 2-0. — 3/17/1935 Associated Press Photo

In the history of Major League Baseball there have been many brothers who have each taken the mound to be pitchers. For both of them to be successful however, is another story. Continue reading

Brooklyn Dodgers And Fans Avoid A Foul Ball In Spring Training 1953

Look Out! – No Screens, Fences or Protection For Brooklyn Dodgers Players or Fans At Spring Training

Clearwater, FL, March 26, 1953 – Brooklyn Dugout and Fans Dodge Fly Foul Ball – George Shuba, Ben Wade and Coach Jake Pitler cover up. photo: International News

Ah, the baseball spring training of yesteryear.

Note the deluxe dugout and lavish seats for the players.

Behind coach Pitler, as the fans scatter, Dodgers catcher Roy Campanella tracks the foul ball which is headed into the stands. It appears that there are only a couple of hundred people in attendance for this spring training game. The fans sit in bleacher type seating with no backs

Today many spring training games attract thousands of fans in souped-up ballparks offering fancy amenities. Fans are also now “protected” from foul balls with an obstruction called a “safety net.”

To show you how much the game has changed, Dodgers starting pitcher Preacher Roe Continue reading

Yankees Rookie Bill “Moose” Skowron Can Hold A Lot Of Bats

Bill Dickey With Rookie Moose Skowron In Spring Training – 1953

Lake Wales, FL Feb. 21 – BIG GUNS – New York Yankees coach Bill Dickey (left) looks over the big bats carried by Bill Skowron, rookie outfielder at the Yankees baseball school here today. Skowron, from Austin, Minn., hit .341 for Kansas City last season and won the American Association’s most valuable player title while blasting 31 home runs. (AP Wirephoto 1953)

Evidentlly Bill “Moose” Skowron could swing seven bats at once. You would think with the kind of season that Bill Skowron put up in the minors in 1952 he would at least get on the roster with the big team in 1953.

Nothing doing. The 22-year-old Skowron spent the entire 1953 season in the minor leagues with Kansas City. Continue reading

Baseball Approves Of Legalized Gambling In 2019 – Isn’t It Time To Re-Examine Joe Jackson?

MLB Approves Gambling On Baseball, Maybe Its Time To Reconsider “Shoeless” Joe Jackson’s Lifetime Ban

Joe Jackson 1915

“Shoeless” Joe Jackson before game vs. Yankees at Comiskey Park August 23, 1915

“Shoeless” Joe Jackson, believed by many to have been the greatest natural hitter of all-time, was banned from baseball for life after the 1920 season by Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis.

Jackson had a .356 batting average in his abbreviated 13 year career. Controversially, Jackson remains on baseball’s permanent ineligible list, meaning he can never be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. His alleged crime, as many people know, was participating in the 1919 “Black Sox” scandal.  Eight members of the Chicago White Sox including  Jackson were influenced by gamblers with promised payoffs to throw the World Series.

As the old car commercial goes “Baseball, Hot Dogs Apple Pie and Chevrolet, they go together in the good ole’ USA.” Where does gambling fit in? Apparently right beside baseball. Continue reading

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