This day in baseball history — Tigers spoil the party in New York

The 1964 baseball season is best remembered for the collapse of the Philadelphia Phillies — the result of an 10 game losing streak to close out September. But it should also be remembered for three remarkable surges: (1) the Cincinnati Reds’ nine game winning streak during the same period, which pushed them into first place, (2) the St. Louis Cardinals’ eight game winning streak, also in the same period, which saw them catch Cincinnati, and (3) the New York Yankees surge throughout the month of September, during which they went 22-6.

As a result of their surge, the Yankees went from third place, three games behind, at the end of August to first place, three and a half games ahead, at the end of September.

Heading into October, the Yankees’ magic number was 2 in relation to the Chicago White Sox and 1 in relation to the Baltimore Orioles. New York had five games left to play; Chicago and Baltimore had four and three, respectively.

On October 1, the Yankees played a double-header against Detroit at Yankee Stadium. A sweep would bring them their fifth consecutive pennant and their ninth in ten seasons. As hot as the Yankees were — they had taken a double-header from Detroit the day before — this didn’t seem like a tall order.

The Yankees looked in good shape in the opener. They took a 2-1 lead into the ninth inning behind their sensational late season call-up, Mel Stottlemyre.

But Bill Bruton and Jerry Lumpe led off the inning with singles. The great Al Kaline was next up.

With two good left-handed batters — Gates Brown and Norm Cash — due up next, and no southpaw ace in the Yankees’ bullpen, Tigers’ manager Charlie Dressen had Kaline sacrifice. When Stottlemyre failed to handle the bunt, the bases were loaded with no outs.

Brown, best remembered as a great pinch-hitter, was having a fine year in his only season as a regular. He drove home Bruton and pinch-runner George Smith with a single to centerfield.

New York manager Ralph Houk then pulled Stottlemyre in favor of Pete Ramos, another great late season acquisition. Ramos retired the Yankees, but not before Kaline scored on a sacrifice fly by Don Wert.

The Yankees threatened in the bottom of the ninth against Tiger reliever Mickey Lolich, who had been shelled as a starter the previous day. But Tom Tresh and Clete Boyer were left stranded when Lolich fanned pinch-hitter Pedro Gonzales and Phil Linz to end the game.

The second game featured Detroit’s young gun Denny McLain, completing his first full major league season, against Roland Sheldon. The Tigers jumped to a 3-0 led in the fourth inning thanks mostly to a triple by Wert and a double by Bill Freehan (who had been Detroit’s catcher for every inning of every game since August 8). However, New York reached McLain for a run in the bottom of the inning and another in the bottom of the fifth.

After that, McLain was nearly unhittable. The Tigers put the game away in the top of the ninth against Bill Stafford. McLain helped his cause with a single in the middle of that inning.

Meanwhile in Baltimore, another young gun, Dave McNally, shut out the Washington Senators. Baltimore thus surged from 4 games behind New York to two and a half. The White Sox, idle on the day, were also two and half back, but with two more games remaining than Baltimore.

The Yankees’ magic number was still 2 in relation to Chicago and 1 in relation to Baltimore. But now they had only three games left to play, all at home against the Cleveland Indians, a perennially .500 team in this era.

Found: Another Honest Liberal

I never much cared for the political analysis of Thomas Bryne Edsall, nowadays of the New York Times—especially his book Chain Reaction, which helped to launch today’s popular leftist narrative that conservatism is just racism and . . . well, just racism. I did meet him person once and found him more congenial and engaging than I expected.

Today in the Times he asks “Are Liberals Fund-Raising Hypocrites?”, and pretty much answers the question with an emphatic Yes. The article is at its best in noting the weak responses of the liberal money grandees:

Gara LaMarche, the president of Democracy Alliance, defended his members, who have been accused of hypocrisy. The charge, coming from both the left and right, LaMarche wrote, centers “on the assertion that progressive wealthy donors are spending a lot of money in elections when they also claim to be for getting money out of elections.”

LaMarche countered in an email that

there is a big difference between this and the Kochs and their ilk. Our donors are using the current political system to bring about laws and policies that would change that system in a way that gives their wealth less weight. Not to mention advocating policies that would often tax or regulate them more.

In contrast, political spending by the Kochs and their allies

is in effect a business expense — it coincides with and advances their bottom line financial interests. There’s a moral distinction here.

Edsall snorts at this:

LaMarche’s argument is politically risky. Claiming the moral high ground to assert that you can do something that your morally crippled adversaries cannot is one of the more effective strategies to alienate people.

He could have been stronger with this response: LaMarche and other leftists are essentially arguing: because we’re right and they’re wrong! Which isn’t an argument at all.  It wouldn’t even pass muster on a grade school playground.  Before long I expect they’ll start saying “Because 97 percent!” (Actually I’m wondering if the Climatistas didn’t adapt their slogan from Occupy Wall Street’s “99 percent” zombie chant.) Isn’t there at least a minimal duty to argue that the Kochs’ philosophy of classical liberalism is defective? Apparently not. Much easier just to assume your opponent is wrong, and go from there with the political equivalent of a tantrum.

Kudos for Edsall. I’m sure the Times is hoping he’ll retire soon.

Meet Mike McFadden

Tonight we recorded a special edition of the Hinderaker-Ward Experience: an interview with Republican Senate candidate Mike McFadden. McFadden is challenging Al Franken in Minnesota. This morning he and Franken had their first debate of the campaign, in Duluth. McFadden turned in an energetic performance against a tired incumbent who is a soulless, dispirited defender of the status quo.

Even if you haven’t subscribed to HWX, you should listen to our McFadden interview. If you are so moved, you can contribute to or volunteer for Mike’s campaign here.

You can watch this morning’s debate in its entirety here.

If you enjoy this episode of the Hinderaker-Ward Experience, you can subscribe on iTunes and listen to archived episodes.

Did Barack Obama Allow Ebola Into the U.S.?

That’s what Laura Ingraham thinks. Britain and France stopped flights from African countries afflicted by the disease some time ago, but the Obama administration declined to do the same. Now the first confirmed ebola case is in Dallas, having recently arrived from Liberia. Laura comments:

President Obama said it was “unlikely” that ebola would break out in the United States, but he was wrong. So, where do we go from here? The Hill reports that the Obama administration does not intend to impose travel restrictions, even after ebola arrived via airplane from West Africa:

The White House said Wednesday it will not impose travel restrictions or introduce new airport screenings to prevent additional cases of Ebola from entering the United States.

Spokesman Josh Earnest said that current anti-Ebola measures, which include screenings in West African airports and observation of passengers in the United States, will be sufficient to prevent the “wide spread” of the virus.

But they weren’t sufficient to prevent the first case from arriving in Dallas. As so often with Barack Obama, one wonders: of what country does he think he is the president?

Whom will Obama pick to replace Holder?

Eric Holder leaves the Obama administration with an approval rating of only 26 percent, according to a new YouGov poll. 37 percent disapprove of Holder’s performance.

It could have been worse. When Eric Shinseki stepped down as Secretary of Veterans Affairs, only 18 percent approved of his shambolic performance, compared to 40 percent who disapproved. Kathleen Sebelius was just as severely underwater (19 percent approval; 41 percent disapproval).

Who will Obama select to replace Holder? The latest speculation seems to be that he will select a U.S. Senator. Why? Because the Senate normally confirms Senators.

But I agree with Roll Call’s David Hawkings that ease of confirmation will not be the key factor in Obama’s decision. Holder is the darling of his leftist base, and Obama’s priority will be to find a replacement who will please the left. He will likely see this as all the more imperative now that the two other most visible cabinet members — John Kerry and Chuck Hagel — are helping to wage war (if you can our efforts against ISIS war).

With the filibuster eliminated for cabinet nominees, Obama can probably confirm nearly anyone he likes during the lame duck period, when Mark Pryor, Mary Landrieu, Kay Hagan, and the like can once again vote their liberal conscience.

What does this mean for the prospects that Obama will nominate a Senator? The three most prominently mentioned are Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.

Would any of these three appease the Democratic left? It’s hard for me to say. From where I sit, Whitehouse and Blumenthal are strident kool aid drinkers. But I’m not a leftist.

Obama will not want to jeopardize Democratic control of the Senate. Nominating Klobuchar would not be problematic from this point of view. Gov. Mark Dayton would appoint a suitably liberal replacement who would serve for two years.

However, in Rhode Island, the governor lacks appointment power, so Whitehouse’s seat would remain vacant probably until next spring, well after the new Senate is formed. And in Connecticut, an appointee’s term would expire after 32 weeks.

The only constraint on Obama’s ability to select a hard left successor to Holder is the November election. Obama presumably will not want to generate controversy before then. Doing so would only highlight the link between his unpopular administration and the Senate, at a time when key Democratic incumbents are trying to downplay the connection.

Obama could wait until the day after the election to make his selection. But this would limit the amount of time available in which to ram the nominee through.

The list of non-Senators Obama might select includes former White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler and Solicitor General Donald M. Verrilli Jr. Neither, however, is likely to excite the left.

Thus, Obama might look to the likes of Loretta Lynch, the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, who would become the first African-American woman to run the Justice Department; Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney who prosecuted Dinesh D’Souza, who would be the first Indian-American member of the Cabinet; or Jenny Durkan, the former U.S. Attorney in Seattle, who would be the first openly gay Cabinet secretary.

Tom Perez and Jeh Johnson, a pair of reliable leftists and Obamaites, are already in the cabinet, but should not completely be ruled out.

Any new Attorney General will probably enjoy a grace period simply by virtue of not being Eric Holder. But I hope the grace period will not be long. After all, Holder was a great favorite of Obama, and we can thus expect his successor to continue marching down the same lawless path.

Why The Secret Service Fiasco Shouldn’t Surprise Us

So Julia Pierson, the first female head of the Secret Service, is falling on her service revolver today and resigning as a result of the recent fiasco at the White House, in which an intruder got much further into the presidential mansion than any sensible person would think possible. You can understand how the Secret Service got lazy at the sight of unlikely intruders; after all, Obama made it much further into the White House than any sensible person would think possible.

Another Obama promise broken: The job obviously didn’t work out like the “Life of Julia” for Pierson. This Julia was brought in for politically correct reasons after some agents took their agency a little too far with hookers in South America a while back. I dissent a little from the outrage over this Omar Gonzalez fellow embarrassing the Secret Service, though it interesting to speculate whether the reaction would have ben different if Omar’s last name had been Abdullah or something. I suspect the rhetoric of reaction would have been more conflicted.

Two prior Secret Service lapses rank as much more serious scandals in my mind. First, the Secret Service told agents to “stand down” when some nut shot seven bullets into the White House a few months ago, and persisted in the fiction for several days that it was either a car backfiring, or crossfire from a gang shooting. Then we learn that the Secret Service allowed an ex-convict serving as an armed security guard at the CDC on to an elevator with the President. But if that wasn’t stupid enough, the agents involved apparently didn’t fill out an after-action report explaining the incident.

Why this ass-covering and slovenliness? Is it simply to be expected that every federal agency will sooner or later beclown itself? Possibly, but there may be another more fundamental reason. I suspect that one reason for the apparent decline in the performance and rectitude of the Secret Service may be related to its transfer from its historic home in the Treasury Department to the Department of Homeland Security. I hear stories that the culture of the Secret Service changed, and not for the better, after it was put inside a different—and highly problematic—bureaucratic structure. After all, DHS are the wonderfully bright people who bring you airport security lines. Has the Secret Service succumbed to the same “security theater” mentality as the airport directorate of DHS? It would explain a lot.

Prediction: Like airport security lines after the failed underwear bomber, the Secret Service is going to adapt in all kinds of stupid but visible ways to “show” that they’re being tougher on potential security threats to the President.  They’ll probably start by closing up Manhattan island completely next time Obama goes to a fundraiser.

Is Al Franken In Trouble?

As regular readers probably know, I have been skeptical of Republican Mike McFadden’s chances of unseating Al Franken in this year’s Senate race. This is not because Franken is invulnerable; on the contrary, Franken has never been very popular and has been a cipher during his six years in Washington. But an incumbent with a D next to his name is never an underdog in a state-wide race in Minnesota, and I hadn’t seen enough from McFadden’s campaign to suggest that he was likely to close the deal with voters.

Still, hope springs eternal. This morning Franken and McFadden held the first of their debates, in Duluth. The Minneapolis Star Tribune had two reporters live-blog the debate. While I don’t know the reporters personally, it is reasonable to assume that they are Democrats.

Their tweets indicate that they were underwhelmed by Franken’s performance. Some examples:

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 1.19.59 PM

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 1.21.30 PM

Screen Shot2 2014-10-01 at 1.22.43 PM

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 1.25.54 PM

Public polls have shown Franken with a double-digit lead, notwithstanding his lackluster performance in the Senate. The most recent poll, which evidently comes from a Republican source, has Franken up by only six points, 48%-42%. What is consistent about the polling is a lack of enthusiasm for Franken; I don’t think I have ever seen his re-elect percentage above 50. So, who knows? If McFadden continues to run an aggressive campaign, maybe he has a shot.

The Hinderaker-Ward Experience is scheduled to interview McFadden at 6:00 this evening. Assuming nothing goes awry, I will post that interview here, either later tonight or in the morning.