Category Archives: Baseball

Ted Williams At The All-Star Game

Ted Williams In Action At The 1946 & 1947 All-Star Games

Ted Williams hitting a home run off of Rip Sewell's blooper pitch in the 1946 All-Star game

Ted Williams hitting a home run off of Rip Sewell’s blooper pitch in the 1946 All-Star game

One of the most famous moments in the history of baseball’s All Star game occurred when Ted Williams connected for a long home run on a Rip Sewell eephus or blooper pitch in the July 9, 1946 game held at Boston’s Fenway Park. The eighth inning homer came with the American League holding an 8-0 lead. The home run definitely put a charge into the bored crowd. The game ended up being a 12-0 American League blowout over the National League.

Rip Sewell said it was the only time anyone ever hit a home run off of his high arc, super slow blooper pitch. What many people do not know is that Williams fouled off the first eephus pitch Sewell threw. Williams challenged Sewell to throw the pitch again, which he did. Below is Sewell describing the homer and film footage of the famous clout.

In 1947 Ted Williams started again in left field for the American League All-Star team and went two for four in an A.L. 2-1 victory. Continue reading

Pee Wee Reese and Red Schoendienst – Action At 2nd Base – 1949

A Play So Close You Need Two Umpires To Make The Call

Pee Wee Reese and Red Schoendienst 7 23 1949Reese Safe at Second on Long Double
New York: Pee Wee Reese of the Brooklyn Dodgers slides safely into second in third inning of game with the St. Louis Cardinals at Ebbets Field July 23. Al Schoendienst dives in vain for the putout, but is too late. The two umpires calling the play are Art Gore (left) and Scotty Robb. Cardinals won 5-4. Credit: Acme 7/23/49

The fact that there are two umpires about to call this play is not so unusual. What makes it strange is that Continue reading

Photographs of Presidents At Opening Day in Washington D.C.

Presidents of the United States Attend Baseball’s Opening Day

President William Howard Taft throws out the ceremonial first pitch at opening day

President William Howard Taft throws out the ceremonial first pitch at opening day  -1911.

President McKinley was invited to the Baltimore Orioles National League opening day in 1897, and though he assured the team he would try to make it to the game, he ended up not going. Had McKinley attended he might have been the first president to attend baseball’s opening day and throw out a ceremonial first pitch.

In 1910 President William Howard Taft threw a ceremonial first pitch to begin the baseball season. Taft, threw the baseball from the grandstand to pitcher Walter Johnson, but catcher Gabby Street who Taft was supposed to throw it to, took the ball from Johnson and promptly put the ball in his pocket to keep as a souvenir. Later, Street returned the baseball to Johnson who went on to pitch a one-hit, 3-0  shutout against the visiting Philadelphia Athletics.

After the game Johnson sent the ball to the White House to have it autographed by Taft. President Taft returned the ball to Johnson with this inscription:  “To Walter Johnson, with the hope that he may continue to be as formidable as in yesterday’s game. William H. Taft.”

Since then it has become a tradition for the president to attend baseball’s opening day and toss a pitch.

President Wilson Opening Day 1916President Woodrow Wilson with his wife Edith at opening day – 1916.

It was relatively easy for the president to show up at opening day with the Washington Senators having their home games at Griffith Stadium from 1911 – 1961, only five miles from the White House.

In recent years many presidents have shirked the tradition and have attended only one or two opening games during their presidential tenure. While he was President, Jimmy Carter never attended an opening day, but did throw out a ceremonial first pitch at the 1979 World Series. In his eight years as commander-in-chief Barack Obama has only attended one opening day.

Here is a gallery of president’s at opening day.

President Harding first pitch 2 photo locPresident Warren G. Harding at opening day – 1922. Continue reading

Old Time Baseball Stars With Their Wives

Baseball Wives Of Yesterday

Feb 14, 1956 --- New York Giants star outfielder Willie Mays, 25, is shown with his bride of a few hours, Marguerite, (Wendelle), 27, at her home in Elmhurst, New York, after their wedding in Elkton, Maryland, early on February 14th. It is Willie's first and her third marriage. En route to Elkton, Mays was arrested for driving 70 miles an hour on the New Jersey turnpike and paid a $15 fine. photo - Associated Press

Feb 14, 1956 — New York Giants star outfielder Willie Mays, 25, is shown with his bride of a few hours, Marguerite, (Wendelle), 27, at her home in Elmhurst, New York, after their wedding in Elkton, Maryland, early on February 14th. It is Willie’s first and her third marriage. En route to Elkton, Mays was arrested for driving 70 miles an hour on the New Jersey turnpike and paid a $15 fine. photo – Associated Press

Baseball players traditionally have never had any trouble attracting women, see Jim Bouton’s book Ball Four for more details on the subject.

Today, the public has an unquenchable and somewhat bizarre fascination for baseball stars and their private lives which extends to what their spouses look like. Just search “baseball wives” to get an idea.

There was a reality TV program in 2011 called Baseball Wives that aired eight episodes on VH1 before being canceled. Comprised mostly of ex-wives of ballplayers, the show apparently did not intrigue enough viewers even if the women were “hot”. Tawny Kitean 1980 photo Neil Zlozower

Generally the wives of baseball players keep a low profile with some exceptions like video star Tawny Kitean who was once arrested for spousal abuse of her then husband, pitcher Chuck Finley.

In the old days baseball wives pretty much wanted to stay out of the limelight and usually did.

With that said you may never have seen these old time baseball stars together with their wives. So we present a short gallery.

Bill Dickey and wife Violet Arnold
Bill Dickey and Wife Oct 4 1932Yankee Catcher and Bride To Be
Bill Dickey, first string catcher on the world champion New York Yankees, and his bride-to-be, Violet Arnold of Jackson Heights, N.Y. They are shown as they attended the wedding of Sammy Byrd to Miss Rachel Smith of Birmingham, ALA., at St. Malachy’s Church, N.Y., October 4, when Dickey served as best man. They will be married in the next few days. – Associated Press Photo 10/4/32

Dizzy Dean and wife Patricia NashDizzy Dean and wife 1934Cardinals Invade Detroit
Jerome “Dizzy” Dean, the biggest half of baseball’s greatest brother team, and Mrs. Dean read telegrams wishing success, shortly after their arrival in Detroit, MI., Oct. 2nd, for the World Series with the Tigers. – Credit Line Acme 10/2/34

Eddie Matthews and wife Virjean LaubyEddie Mathews and wife Dec 4 1954 Continue reading

Carl Yastrzemski Heads Up The Red Sox Outfield – 1961

Spring Training 1961, Carl Yastrzemski Offers Hope To Red Sox Faithful

Carl Yastrzemski and Red Sox 1961 outfieldEarly indications in the Red Sox spring training camp in Scottsdale, Arizona are that this trio will be patrolling the outfield for the Red Sox in 1961. (l-r) Carl Yastrzemski, Gary Geiger and Jackie Jensen. (March 1961 – photo: Sporting News)

After 1960, the Boston Red Sox would be without their stalwart star Ted Williams who had retired at the end of the season. The reins to lead the team would be passed to Carl Yastrzsemski and he would not disappoint. Yastrzemski was born and raised in Long Island, NY and was signed by the Red Sox organization in 1958 and rapidly advanced through the minor league system.

Continue reading

Bob Feller Signs His Final Contract – 1956

60 Years Ago Today Bob Feller Signs His Final Playing Contract

Indians pitcher Bob Feller (l) and catcher Jim Hegan (r) sit between GM Hank Greenberg as they sign their 1956 contracts - February 9, 1956

Indians pitcher Bob Feller (l) and catcher Jim Hegan (r) sit between GM Hank Greenberg as they sign their 1956 contracts – February 9, 1956

Bob Feller was one of the greatest pitchers in baseball; certainly many of his contemporaries thought so like Ted Williams who said that Feller was the fastest and best pitcher he ever faced. Feller’s career record of winning 266 games while losing just 162 was just one facet of his dominance. His blazing fastball helped him earn 44 shutouts, throw three no-hitters and 12 one-hitters.

Feller became the first American professional athlete to enlist in World War II by volunteering Continue reading

The Domed Stadium That Would Have Kept The Dodgers In Brooklyn

The Unbuilt Brooklyn Dodgers Domed Baseball Stadium – 1956

Model of the proposed domed all-weather sports stadium planned to house the Brooklyn Dodgers is unveiled at the Dodger offices. photo Bob Laird February 6 1956

Model of the proposed domed all-weather sports stadium planned to house the Brooklyn Dodgers is unveiled at the Dodger offices. photo Bob Laird February 6 1956

There are many “might have been’s” in baseball. One of the greatest has always been what if the Dodgers never left Brooklyn?

This photograph of what looks more like a kiddy pool with a baseball diamond in it, is a low-tech model of the proposed all-weather baseball stadium the Brooklyn Dodgers wanted to build. The Dodgers proposal was made ten years before the Houston Astrodome, the world’s first domed sports stadium made its debut in 1965.

For years before they moved to Los Angeles in 1958, Walter O’Malley, the Dodgers owner, had complained about the functionality of Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. The ballpark had character, but  O’Malley considered it old and too small with only 32,111 seats and parking for 700 cars.

In 1955, O’Malley enlisted architect R. Buckminster Fuller to design a domed stadium to possibly replace Ebbets Field. The stadium would be in the form of a large bowl and seat approximately 55,000 people. Over the stadium, supported on a light-weight aluminum truss structure, would be a thin plastic dome 750 feet in diameter. The dome would be 300 feet high at its center and it would weigh only 500 tons. Up to that time the largest dome ever built was the 365 foot diameter Dome of Discovery at the Festival of Britain in 1951. Continue reading

Minnesota’s Original Baseball Stadium

Metropolitan Stadium Under Construction

Construction of Metropolitan Stadium 12 22. 1955

Although the weather can be unpredictable in Minnesota, this scene was not photographed during baseball season. Taken 60 years ago today, December 22, 1955, this photograph predates the Twins baseball team by more than five years.

Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, MN is shown nearing completion here.

The caption reads:

Here’s something that should be a smile-bringer to bond drivers and bond buyers both as the Metropolitan Stadium push hits the final post. You see the Bloomington project stands are this far along looking from the right field approach. Johnson Drake and Piper, the construction firm in charge, says work is progressing very satisfactorily despite the weather. Both dugouts are in and you may see the first base bench in the picture. 12-22-55 photo – Chester Freden

Built  to attract a major league baseball team, Metropolitan Stadium was originally home to the American Association’s Minneapolis Millers. Continue reading

The End Of Baseball’s Take-Out Slide?

Mickey Mantle Breaks Up A Double Play – 1961

Is The Take-Out Slide About To Be Made Illegal?

Mickey Mantle Breaking up double play May 13 1961New York – May 13 – ON THE DOUBLE – Mickey Mantle of the New York Yankees is force out victim at second base and Detroit Tigers’ shortstop Chico Fernandez gets off throw to first to complete double play in fourth inning at New York’s Yankee Stadium today. Behind Mantle is Tigers second baseman Jake Wood, who fielded Bill Skowron’s grounder and started the twin killing by tossing to Fernande. Tigers won 8-3 (AP Wirephoto – 1961)

This is a play you may never see again.

Mickey Mantle is nowhere near second base and certainly does not look like he is sliding. No, the Mick is definitely trying to take out Chico Fernandez and stop a double play. It was a legal play in 1961, but soon it may not be.

After the 2015 playoff injury to the Mets Ruben Tejada when the Dodgers Chase Utley steamrolled him in a violent collision, Major League Baseball decided to review the rules governing taking out a fielder during a slide. There is a strong possibility of introducing a rule in the near future to stop a runner from barreling into a fielder.

There is already a rule in the books, Rule 5.09(a)(13), which states:

A batter is out when — A preceding runner shall, in the umpire’s judgment, intentionally interfere with a fielder who is attempting to catch a thrown ball or to throw a ball in an attempt to complete any play.  Comment: The objective of this rule is to penalize the offensive team for deliberate, unwarranted, unsportsmanlike action by the runner in leaving the baseline for the obvious purpose of crashing the pivot man on a double play, rather than trying to reach the base. Obviously this is an umpire’s judgment play.

I don’t believe that any player should intentionally hurt another player in sliding, but taking out the fielder who is trying to complete a double play should not be made illegal or penalized with the threat of suspension if the fielder gets hurt. Continue reading

Gangster Al Capone Goes To A Baseball Game

Hall-of-Famer Gabby Hartnett Signs Autographs For Al Capone and His Son – 1931

Al Capone sees a Cubs game with son as Gabby Hartnett signs autograph 1931 9 10Associated Press Photo From Chicago

Al Capone takes his son to the ball game surrounded by his watchful lieutenants. Chicago’s gang chief and his 12-year-old son, Al Jr., get Gabby Hartnett of the Cubs to autograph a baseball just before the Cubs defeated the White Sox, 3 to 0, in a charity game before 35,000 spectators at Comiskey Park, Chicago, Sept. 9. Pictures of Capone before the public are not frequent, and a pose with his son is rare. He affectionately calls the boy “Sonny.”

Note the watchfulness of one of his bodyguards directly behind him. A pop-corn vendor evidently rubbed his shoulder and he looks ready to protect his chief. 9-9-31

This photograph made me wonder if Al Capone’s bodyguards were licensed to carry firearms and if they were packing heat when they visited Comiskey Park? It certainly looks like the bodyguard is reaching into his jacket to pull out his “roscoe” or maybe it was his wallet to pay for the popcorn.

One other thing to note: “Sonny,” does not look thrilled to be at the ballpark, much less getting an autograph from Gabby Hartnett.