Category Archives: Baseball

Tigers Star Catcher Bill Freehan Dies At 79 – Wrote One Of Baseball’s Best Books

Bill Freehan Dies, Tigers All-Star Catcher, Gold Glove Winner & Author

Detroit Tigers catcher Bill Freehan at Yankee Stadium 1969

Before Thurman Munson and Carlton Fisk arrived in the late 1960s and early 1970s there was no question as to who was the best catcher in the American League. It was the Detroit Tigers Bill Freehan.

I won’t recount Freehan’s excellent baseball career or personal story in too much detail here. Freehan told it himself while at the height of his playing days in a little known autobiography.

Author

Freehan’s terrific 1970 book, Behind The Mask: An Inside Baseball Diary (World Publishing) was written with editors Dick Schaap and Steve Gelman and was quickly forgotten.

It is one of the best books ever written about the nuances of baseball. Behind The Mask was overshadowed because it came out the same year as ex-Yankee pitcher Jim Bouton’s explosive tell-all Ball Four. Continue reading

Fox, The Players & MLB Has Ruined The All-Star Game

A Once Exciting Annual Contest Has Become Pathetically Bad

Photo below: 1968 All-Star Game Hank Aaron Swipes 2nd Base In A Competitive Game
Photo George Honeycutt Houston Chronicle

National League’s Hank Aaron (44) steals second base in sixth inning. Rod Carew takes throw with umpire Mel Steiner on top of play in All-Star game. July 9, 1968 Photo :George Honeycutt Houston Chronicle

While reluctantly watching this year’s baseball All-Star Game there was a pre-game tribute to Hank Aaron who passed away January 22, 2021. This may have been the high point of the evening as the Fox broadcast and the game itself was lacking in any drama or competitiveness.

Where’s The Drama?

The All-Star Game has become a love-fest between the players and interleague play has ruined what was once a fierce rivalry between the American and National Leagues. In the 1950 All-Star Game in Chicago, Ted Williams fractured his left elbow making a leaping, off-the-wall catch on a Ralph Kiner smash in the 1st inning. Williams remained in the game, and put the American League ahead, 3 – 2, in the fifth inning with an RBI single. Ted Williams said he was never the same after fracturing his elbow. Williams, like many players went all out playing in the All-Star Game, which is an exhibition game with no meaning in the standings. The AL and NL teams used to badly want to beat the opposition in the annual showdown.

Not anymore. Continue reading

Hall Of Famer Carl Hubbell & His Brother John Hubbell – 1937

John Hubbell Is A Mirror Image of All-Star Carl Hubbell – 1937

Giants star pitcher Carl Hubbell with brother John Hubbell at spring training 1937 photo International News

Unfortunately for the New York Giants the mirror image does not mirror the talent.

Southpaw, Carl Hubbell known as “The Meal Ticket,” was the anchor of the New York Giants pitching staff in the 1930s. Carl was one of five brothers who played baseball and the only one who had big league success.

Our photo’s original caption says: Continue reading

Question – What Did $675 Buy You At Yankee Stadium In 1984?

Answer – A Field Box Seat Ticket To All 81 Yankee Home Games

In 2021, Two Field Level Tickets For Just One Game Costs More

Digging around my closet I came up with this memento. It’s the 1984 Yankees home schedule.

It should come as no surprise that the ticket prices 37 years ago were very fair especially compared to today.

Yankee ticket prices 1984At $675 per seat you could buy a field, main, mezzanine or upper box seat for the entire season.

Crazy Modern Prices

Checking the Yankee schedule of 2021, a single field level ticket to an upcoming Yankees – White Sox game costs $388.35 including Ticketmaster fees. Continue reading

Rare 1971 Tonight Show Clip With Johnny Carson & The Hilarious Bob Uecker

Johnny Carson Looks At Press Photos With Bob Uecker, Going Over Bob’s Legendary Baseball Career

In the mid-90s actor Leslie Nielsen was doing publicity for a comedic book “Bad Golf My Way.”  The radio stations who set up interviews with Nielsen expected the star of “Airplane” and  “Police Squad / The Naked Gun” to be as witty as the man who was in those movies.

While Leslie Nielsen had a sense of humor he was not a funny man. The public seems to forget that writers write those funny lines for actors to say.

Nielsen did his best, doing four hours of back to back interviews with FM stations across the country. But the radio hosts mostly got a reality check. Just because you’re a comedic actor does not translate into being a funny guest.

On the other hand Bob Uecker was a professional baseball catcher for six seasons in the 1960s who had a career .200 batting average. While Uecker was by his own estimate not a particularly good ballplayer, he was very funny. Uecker parlayed his natural sense of humor into a fifty year career as a baseball announcer and talk show guest, and he is still going strong, The 87-year-old Uecker remains the radio voice of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Here is Uecker’s seventh appearance on The Tonight Show, September 23, 1971.

What makes this clip rare is that for the first 10 years that Carson hosted The Tonight Show from New York, almost every tape was subsequently erased. Continue reading

A Superstar Who Knew The Yankees Bobby Brown Was A Special Player

Yankees Bobby Brown Dies At 96

Chose To Be A Great Doctor, Over Being A Great Baseball Player

Bobby Brown 1946 photo: Acme

Bobby Brown 1946. photo Acme

Bobby Brown (Oct. 24, 1924- March 25, 2021) the golden boy Yankee star whose brief career in pinstripes bridged two star-studded Yankee eras, died Thursday March 25 in Fort Worth, TX.

After batting .341 in 148 games at Newark in his only minor league season, Brown was a late September 1946 call-up to the Yankees, playing in only seven games for the big club that year. In this brief stint, Brown made quite an impression with his sure fielding and batting .333 by going 8 for 24.

There’s probably few players more qualified than Red Sox superstar Ted Williams to point out a rival’s strengths .

After playing the Yankees, Ted Williams honed in on how good Brown and another Yankees call-up, Yogi Berra were. In the September 26, Boston Daily Globe Williams wrote:

“Of the new Yankee players I’ve seen the last couple of days, the one who has impressed me the most as a bright prospect, is Bobby Brown, the shortstop. And I’ve seen quite a few of their new players: pitchers Al Lyons and Karl Drews, catcher Larry Berra whom the call “The Yogi,” and he has the facial appearance to fit the name; third baseman Joe Bockman and outfielder Frank Coleman.

Berra is a little man who seems to be all muscles. He looks like he can hit a ball a long way if he connects. The others didn’t show too much, except for Brown. He looks the part of a ballplayer. I thought so when I first saw him in uniform before he even made a play or hit a ball.

The thing I liked best about Brown is that he will make the right play all the time. He showed me something in two games I haven’t seen all season. Twice he came up with a hard hit ball and threw out one of our runners trying to make third from second base. That is one of the most difficult plays for a shortstop to make and he did it twice in as many games  as though he had been doing it all his life,

Bobby has a swell pair of hands. He can run well. Up at bat he reminds me of Red Rolfe. I think he hits at a ball the way the Yankee coach and old third baseman did. He takes a sharp cut at the ball.”

Bobby Brown played alongside the 1930s-40s  era Yankee greats; Joe DiMaggio, Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #108 – Ann Sheridan At Bat

The “Oomph Girl” Ann Sheridan Does Her Spring Training

Ann Sheridan 1930s Catalina Island with Gabby HartnettI made a positive print of this undated photographic negative, identified as Ann Sheridan. If correct, it is a very early publicity photo of the actress nicknamed the “Oomph Girl.” Besides that, there is no information about when or where the photo was taken or who the man in uniform with Sheridan is.

Obviously the photo was taken at a beach. At first glance the man squatting with the big smile resembles Continue reading

A Different Kind of “Dog Catcher” At New York Giants Spring Training 1956

The Catcher Was A Dog – Spring Training Phoenix, Arizona 1956

Is Being A Catcher A Dog’s Life?

Sparky the dog in Wes Westrum’s catching gear March 12, 1956 photo; United Press

Baseball catchers wear the so-called tools of ignorance. They get hit by wild pitches, foul balls and errant bats, constantly taking a beating behind the plate. So who wants to be a catcher? Continue reading

The Soon Not To Be Cleveland “Indians” At Spring Training 1954

Indians About To Tackle The Cameraman? No, Just A Foot Race At Spring Training 1954

Here we see the Cleveland Indians at spring training in 1954. The news slug reads:

Tucson, Arizona: Speed is what manager Al Lopez wants and these three outfielders got it. They are left to right – Larry Doby, Gale Wade and Dave Philley. photo : UPI Telephoto 3/5/54

They’ve been called the  Cleveland Indians since 1915 but the team will abandon their moniker after the 2021 season.

Are Native Americans truly offended by the name Indians? With partisan and politically motivated surveys and popular polls there is contradictory evidence that self-identifying Native Americans are bothered by the name “Indians.” Continue reading

Eddie Robinson The Oldest Living Baseball Player Is 100-Years-Old Today

Eddie Robinson, Four Time All-Star & The Oldest Living Major League Baseball Player Is 100 Today

Minnie Minoso and Eddie Robinson examine Ted Williams bat

Eddie Robinson, a big six foot two lefty first baseman who played for seven teams in a 13 year major league career, turns 100 December 15, 2020.

Born in Paris, TX, Eddie Robinson is among the few players still alive who played alongside and saw firsthand many of the great players of the twentieth century.

Robinson was in the big leagues from 1942 – 1957, missing three prime seasons to serve in the military during World War II. His career numbers are 172 home runs, 723 RBI’s and a .268 batting average.

The Indians

Playing in the World Series could bring a player a financial bonanza, sometimes nearly as much as a regular season salary, When Robinson was traded after the season from the 1948 World Champion Cleveland Indians to the perennially terrible Washington Senators, he was surprisingly relieved and happy. Continue reading