Baseball

Midnight madness

Featured image Why is the World Series like Italian neo-realist cinema? Because both have produced classics that too few Americans got to see. This year’s World Series, between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros, has produced two classics so far — Game 2 and Game 5. Houston won Game 2 in eleven innings by a score of 7-6. The Astros got the game to extra innings by scoring one run »

This day in baseball history — Gibson gets it done on mound and at plate

Featured image On October 12, 1967, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox met at Fenway Park in Game 7 of the World Series. Bob Gibson, winner of Games 1 and 4, both complete games and one of them a shutout, was on the mound for St. Louis. Boston countered with Jim Lonborg, winner of Games 2 and 5, both complete games and one of them a shutout. The difference »

This day in baseball: Michael A. Taylor shines

Featured image Almost all of my writing about baseball pertains to the distant past. Once in a while, though, I discuss the contemporary game. In August 2014, I wrote a post about Michael Taylor, a rookie outfielder with the Washington Nationals. I called it “A Baseball Star is Born, I Hope.” Taylor has not yet become a star. In fact, when he struggled in 2015 and 2016, I started to wonder whether »

This day in baseball history — Boston evens it up

Featured image The 1967 World Series resumed in Boston on October 11. The Red Sox were down three games to two. Thus, they needed to beat the Cardinals back-to-back. As Bosox manager Dick Williams reminded the media, his team had prevailed facing the same situation when they played a two-game set with Minnesota at the end of regular season. Williams did not mention the obvious distinction — the Twins had no Bob »

This day in baseball history: Lonborg keeps Boston alive

Featured image The 1967 World Series between St. Louis and Boston stood at one game apiece when it moved to St. Louis on October 7. Game 3 featured a pair of right-handed starters: veteran Gary Bell, the very model of a .500 pitcher, for Boston against 24 year-old Nelson Briles. The Cardinals had only scored two runs in the first two games. But, unlike Boston manager Dick Williams who reshuffled his lineup »

This day in baseball history: Lonborg’s masterpiece

Featured image Game Two of the 1967 World Series was played on October 5 at Fenway Park. The Red Sox called on their ace Jim Lonborg to salvage a split of the two games in Boston. Lonborg had attended Stanford on an academic scholarship. He had majored in biology. He was fond of the symphony. This background earned him the nickname “Dr. Lonborg.” Clearly, he was not the typical big leaguer of »

This day in baseball history: Gibson gives Cards an early edge

Featured image The 1967 World Series began on Wednesday, October 4 in Fenway Park. The Boston Red Sox participated for the first time since 1946 when they lost in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals, their opponent once again. The Red Sox didn’t clinch the 1967 pennant until after their final game of the season ended, when Detroit lost to California. The Cardinals, by contrast, clinched the pennant in mid-September. They »

This day in baseball history: The impossible dream comes true

Featured image In September 1967, my parents drove me to Hanover, New Hampshire for my freshman year at Dartmouth. My father made it a two-day trip so we could experience the charm of small town New England. On the way, we encountered baseball fever like I had never seen in Washington or New York. Every village and hamlet was buzzing about the Boston Red Sox and their quest to win the pennant »

This day in baseball history: Yaz, sir

Featured image Saturday, September 30, 1967 saw the first place Minnesota Twins playing the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. A Minnesota win would eliminate the Red Sox, who trailed by one game. However, the Detroit Tigers would remain alive if they won at least one game of their doubleheader against the California Angels. A Red Sox win would bring them level with Minnesota, and give the Tigers a half game lead »

This day in baseball history — Bob Gibson returns

Featured image On September 7, 1967, Bob Gibson returned to the mound for the St. Louis Cardinals after an absence of almost two months. In mid-July, Roberto Clemente had fractured Gibson’s leg with line drive up the middle. Remarkably, Gibson faced three more batters before succumbing to the injury, but would miss more than seven weeks thereafter. The Cardinals did not suffer during Gibson’s absence. Their record the day he went down »

This day in baseball history — now that was a pennant race

Featured image Labor Day used to mark the beginning of the home stretch in baseball pennant races, back in the old days when we had pennant races rather than scrambles to make the playoffs. The American League standings on Labor Day 1967 promised a great pennant race. Here is how things stood at the end of play on Monday, September 4: Minnesota – Boston 0.5 Chicago 1.0 Detroit 1.5 These standings were »

Meet Byron Buxton

Featured image Baseball is a beautiful game when it’s played well and you can watch it with a rooting interest in the home team. I have continued watching the Minnesota Twins this season even though management recently gave up on their playoff chances, trading away their closer (Brandon Kintzler) and a newly acquired starter (Jaime Garcia) after one appearance. We nevertheless have the pleasure of watching some talented young players come into »

This day in baseball history: The Senators reach .500

Featured image On August 7, 1967, the Washington Senators reached the .500 mark by beating the Minnesota Twins 5-0 at Metropolitan Stadium. Phil Ortega, an undistinguished pitcher enjoying a career year, shut out the mighty Twins on three hits. Reaching .500 might not seem like much. However, the expansion version of the Senators had never been close to that mark as late as August during their six year history. And the original »

Tim Tebow update

Featured image Last month, the New York Mets promoted Tim Tebow from Columbia in the South Atlantic League (“Low A” ball) to St. Lucie, a “High A” team in the Florida State League. Tebow hadn’t done anything to deserve the promotion. At the time, he was batting .222, with an on-base percentage of .311 and a slugging percentage of .340. As I noted, though, the move made financial sense for the Mets. »

Make baseball great again

Featured image I wrote here about the need for a clock in baseball — a clock that would limit the time pitchers can take between pitches. I suggested a 20 second clock. The need for a clock arises from the ever-increasing amount of time it takes to complete a ball game. This season, the average major league game is taking 3 hours and 8 minutes to complete, the longest time in history. »

This day in baseball history: NL wins marathon pitching duel

Featured image On July 11, 1967, the National League won the all-star game by a score of 2-1. The game, played in Anaheim, California, lasted 15 innings, tied for the most in all-star game history (the 2008 game also went 15 innings). The duration was 3:41. Nowadays, it often takes that long to play nine innings. The 2008 all-star game, a 4-3 affair, took 4:50. The National League used seven pitchers in »

Yesterday in baseball history — Durocher’s Cubs surge into first [UPDATED]

Featured image Heading into the 1967 season, the Chicago Cubs had not finished in the top half of the National League since 1946, and had experienced only one winning season since that year (1963, when they went 82-80). The Cubs had hoped that their fortunes would turn around when, in 1966, they hired Leo Durocher as manager. Durocher had won a pennant managing the Brooklyn Dodgers and two pennants and a world »