Tag Archives: Spring Training

Lou Gehrig’s Mom Visits During Spring Training 1930

Lou Gehrig With His Real Mom, March 22, 1930

Lou Gehrig wit his mother at St. Petersburg Florida on March 22, 1930 at Yankees spring training

Lou Gehrig and his mother Christina March 22, 1930 in St. Petersburg, FL at Yankees spring training.

Above is Yankee legend Lou Gehrig with his real mother in contrast to movie Gehrig and mom.

Elsa Janssen and Gary Cooper The Pride of the Yankees 1942

Elsa Janssen and Gary Cooper

Mrs. Gehrig: “I want you to be somebody.”

Lou: “Sure, Mom.”

Mrs. Gehrig Like your Uncle Otto, Louie. He went to university. He graduated. Don’t you see, Louie? That’s why I’m cooking at Columbia, so you can go there some day……and be an engineer like your Uncle Otto. Lou you are going to become an engineer like your Uncle Otto.”

Those are the words Mrs. Gehrig says to young Lou Gehrig in the 1942 movie The Pride of the Yankees. Continue reading

Goose In Flight – 1934 Spring Training Lakeland Florida

Goose Goslin Jumping High In Spring Training

Goose Goslin 1934 spring trainingBefore Rich “Goose” Gossage another great “Goose” played pro baseball. Suiting up  for the Washington Senators, St. Louis Browns and Detroit Tigers  was Leon “Goose” Goslin. Here Goose leaps high to stab a ball at spring training in Lakeland, Florida. Continue reading

Spring Training 1940 Ted Williams Takes The Grapefruit League Literally

Ted Williams Smashes Some Grapefruits

Ted Williams hitting a grapefruit March 6 1949

Ted Williams – grapefruit pulverizer photo Acme: March 2, 1940

We know the Florida spring training circuit is known as the Grapefruit Leauge. But that doesn’t mean that grapefruits are a good substitute for rawhide. So, to explain this photo – were they low on baseballs? Or is this just a silly publicity picture dreamed up by a reporter? I can’t imagine Red Sox slugger Ted Williams accommodating a press photographer with a request. Continue reading

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

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

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

6 Uncorrected Baseball Card Errors. Can You Spot Them?

Topps Made A Mistake

When you produce thousands of baseball cards over many decades you’re going to make some mistakes. Eagle-eyed baseball card collectors usually catch the errors. They would then write in to Topps baseball card company and sometimes the cards would get corrected.  Some mistakes were pretty obvious and could have been caught and corrected.

None of these were.

For a couple of these cards, if you are an old time baseball fan, you might recognize what the mistake is. For the others it takes a sharp eye. See if you can spot the mistake on each of these cards.

First our lead photo of the 1957 Topps Hank Aaron card. The mistake is not that his proper name is Henry, not Hank. Look closely.

Second, the 1969 Topps Larry Haney card. The Seattle Pilots lasted only one season before moving to Milwaukee and becoming the Brewers. Haney’s error is difficult to discern.

Third up is the 1959 Topps card of 1957 World Series pitching star, Lew Burdette. Lew looks pretty serious doesn’t he?

Fourth is the man who is probably better known for the surgery named after him rather than his pitching career. Tommy John won 288 games. This is his 1969 Topps card.

Claude Raymond’s 1966 Topps card poses him looking up at something. Should he really be looking up?

Before Billy Martin’s multiple managing stints with the Yankees, he was the manager of the Detroit Tigers and before that the Minnesota Twins. This is his 1972 Topps card.

So what are the errors that Topps didn’t catch and never bothered to correct?

The first card of Hank Aaron is probably the easiest error to spot. The print is reversed. Look at Aaron’s uniform number 44. Most people know the great slugger batted right handed, not left.

Next, you probably wouldn’t pay much attention to Larry Haney’s card. It shows the catcher posed ready to catch a ball.  Ardent students of the game know that almost no left handed catchers have ever played major league baseball. No, Haney is not the exception, once again, Topps reversed the negative. It is the same photo Topps used of Haney for his 1968 card except they got that one right.

With Lew Burdette’s card, one mistake is right in print and it is not a big deal. It is “Lew,” not “Lou.” But that is not the big error. Lew Burdette had a sense of humor. He asked his teammate and future Hall-of-Fame pitcher Warren Spahn if he could borrow his glove. That would be fine except that Spahn was a lefty and Burdette was a righty. Many children wrote to Topps in 1959 informing them of the “mistake.” 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