Tag Archives: Spring Training

Orioles In Spring Training – 1972

Mark “Dutch” Weems, Ralph “Mickey” Scott and Wayne Garland

Mark Weems Ralph Scott Wayne Garland March 1972

They were supposed to be the Baltimore Orioles pitchers of the future. Of the three Orioles pitchers seen here at spring training in March 1972, only one would have success in the major leagues.

Mark “Dutch” Weems (left) never made it to the majors and was out of organized ball in 1973 at the age of 22 after posting a 24-19 record in five minor league seasons. Ralph “Mickey” Scott (center – throwing) bounced round the majors from 1972 -1977 appearing in 133 games and compiling a 8-7 record. He passed away at the age of 64 in 2011.

The star of this group was Wayne Garland (right), the Orioles the fifth overall pick in the first round of the 1969 (June secondary) amateur baseball draft.

The Orioles took a chance by drafting Garland who had declined previous chances to play. The Pittsburgh Pirates chose Garland in the fifth round of the 1968 amateur draft but he did not sign with them. The St. Louis Cardinals then made him the first overall pick in the (January secondary) 1969 draft, but once again Garland did not sign.

Wayne Garland had six nondescript seasons in the minors and majors until 1976 when he went 20-7 with a 2.67 ERA for the Orioles. He was paid $23,000 that season and became a free agent in the off season.

It was the beginning of the free agency era in baseball and Garland became one of the highest paid players in the majors when he signed with the Cleveland Indians for $2.3 million for 10 years.

At the time I thought it was bizarre to give any player a ten year contract. As Ira Berkow of New York Times pointed out, “Many baseball people wondered how the Indians could pay so much for a player with only one good major league season. They are still wondering.” Continue reading

Dodgers In Spring Training – 1963

Podres, Koufax And Perranoski Get Ready For A Great Season – March 1963

Podres Koufax Perranoski 1963 March

Three of the anchors of the Dodger pitching staff, Johnny Podres, Sandy Koufax, and Ron Perranoski reach for the same ball at spring training in March 1963.

This trio of Los Angeles Dodgers hurlers would play a big part in helping propel the Dodgers to a World Championship in 1963. The 99-63 Dodgers would humble the 104-57 Yankees in a four game World Series sweep holding the Yankees to a measly four runs.

Johnny Podres hero of the Brooklyn Dodgers 1955 World Series Championship would go 14-12 in 1963 and win game two of the World Series against the Yankees pitching eight and a third innings and allowing just one run in a 4-1 Dodger victory at Yankee Stadium.

Sandy Koufax had his breakout year in 1963 going a magnificent 25-5 with a 1.88 ERA and chalked up 301 strikeouts in 311 innings pitched. He won the Cy Young Award and National League Most Valuable Player Award. In the World Series he won game one and game four allowing just three runs while striking out 23 batters!

Dodgers relief ace Ron Perranoski had his best season ever in the majors with a 16-3 record and 21 saves to go along with a miniscule 1.67 ERA. He received the save in Podres’ victory.

Don Drysdale pitched the third game in the World Series and shut out the Yankees 1-0.

Mets In Spring Training – 1970

Tom Seaver Instructs Duffy Dyer, Ken Boswell And Cleon Jones -March 1970

Dyer Boswell Seaver Jones March 1970

The World Champion Miracle Mets of 1969 were looking forward to 1970. During spring training in March 1970, Tom Seaver has some instructions for Duffy Dyer, Ken Boswell and Cleon Jones.

The Mets would have a disappointing season going just 83-79 and finishing in third place in the National League Eastern division.

Yankees In Spring Training -1954

Jerry Coleman & Billy Martin, Yankees Spring Training, St. Petersburg 1954

Billy Martin Jerry Coleman 3 2 1954

Two Men Holding The Bag

St. Petersburg, FL – March 2 – Jerry Coleman, left, and Billy Martin, hero of the New York Yankees’ 1953 World Series victory, indulge in some training camp antics as both squat on second base at today’s workout. Billy playfully plunks ball in Jerry’s mitt. Should Martin go into service Coleman is expected to take over Billy’s second base spot. (AP Wirephoto) 1954

Sure enough Billy Martin did indeed miss the entire 1954 season to serve in the military. Coleman had missed most of  the previous two seasons serving in the military, flying combat missions in Korea. In 1954 Coleman played in 107 games, 79 of them at second base, but the versatile Gil McDougald was the Yankees primary second baseman for the season. The Yankees unprecedented run of five consecutive world championships came to an end even though they won 103 games.  The Cleveland Indians won the 1954 American League championship with a record 111 victories.

Can you imagine today’s ballplayer’s having to interrupt their careers by having to perform military service?

Babe Ruth’s 1920 Uniform Sells For $4.4 Million At Auction

Babe Ruth, King Of The Sports Memorabilia World

Nearly sixty-four years after his death, Babe Ruth set another record on Sunday May 20, 2012 . His circa 1920 Yankees road jersey sold at SCP auctions for a staggering $4.4 million.

Photo © SCP auctions

This eclipses the previous highest amount paid for a piece of sports memorabilia, a Honus Wagner baseball card, which sold in 2008 for $2.8 million.

To put the amount of the sale price in some perspective, Babe Ruth earned approximately $910,000 during his entire major league baseball playing career from 1914 -1935. This of course does not account for inflation. In modern dollars with inflation Ruth would have earned $15.3 million.

Also Ruth made vast amounts of money during the off-season, barnstorming and doing various product endorsements and personal appearances.

How would Ruth have felt about his uniform selling for more than he made his entire career? I’d like to think Ruth would have had a good laugh at that fact.

Babe Ruth, second from left, with his Yankee teammates, early 1920’s

Here is a photograph of Babe Ruth early in his New York Yankee career during spring training, possibly wearing the multi-million dollar uniform.

On a side note

The Kansas City Royals defeated the New York Yankees last night, May 21 at Yankee Stadium by a score of 6-0.  What made me notice this otherwise unremarkable game was what the New York Times said today in the sports section:

But the clutch-hitting woes of the Yankees — not just their wheezing All-Star first baseman — remained for another game, a 6-0 loss to the Kansas City Royals in front of 39,229 fans.

Anyone attending or watching the game on television knows the announced attendance of 39,229 was a joke. Looking at the mostly empty stadium, there were probably no more than 8,000 people attending the dreary game, which was played under a constant, steady rain.

The idea that baseball attendance is counted not by clicks of the turnstile, but by tickets sold is ridiculous. It’s another slight problem in a laundry list of things that MLB should address before baseball becomes completely irrelevant.

Classic Hollywood #13 – Betty Grable & Marilyn Monroe

Candid Photographs of Marilyn Monroe

Instead of the typical movie publicity or glamor photographs of Marilyn Monroe, we thought we’d highlight three photographs that show Marilyn in a bit of a different light.

Betty Grable and her How To Marry A Millionaire (1953) co-star Marilyn Monroe emerge from a Hollywood restaurant. Grable who was 20th Century Fox’s blond bombshell for most of the 1940’s was being “replaced” by Monroe. Grable was relieved as she was getting tired of fighting with Daryl F. Zanuck, Fox’s studio chief. Supposedly she told Marilyn privately, “Honey, I’ve had my time in the spotlight, now it’s your turn!”

Marilyn takes a break and kneels on the steps of a brownstone while filming Billy Wilder’s The Seven Year Itch (1955).  A portion of the film was shot on location in New York City. The brownstone where the lead character, Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell) lives with Marilyn subletting the apartment above him, is located at 164 East 61st Street. The building is still there, though somewhat modified.

Marilyn Monroe with a very dour looking Joe DiMaggio in Florida in 1961. Monroe was visiting DiMaggio, who was a special instructor to the New York Yankees during spring training. After their nine month marriage ended in divorce in 1954, the couple remained friends and got closer as the years passed. There were rumors that Monroe and DiMaggio were contemplating remarrying one another when Monroe passed away in 1962.

Yankees Spring Training 1963

Mickey Mantle Bunting

The opening of the 2012 baseball season is only weeks away. It is a time to practice skills that may be needed during the regular season.

In this photograph from 1963, Mickey Mantle is attempting to bunt against the Cincinnati Reds in a spring training game. Mantle would bunt frequently during the early years of his career, many times to try and beat it out. But as his knees went through wear and tear, he would rarely attempt to bunt for hits in the 1960’s. So a spring training game was a good time to get in some bunting practice.

Here he appears to miss the drag bunt as Elston Howard watches from the on-deck circle.  The Yankees lost this game 4-2.