Baseball

Spring Training Follies

Featured image Later on tonight, I am planning on doing a post or two about budget numbers. But before undertaking that green-eyeshade task, let’s talk spring training. Spring training has a special resonance here in the North; the overnight low last night was one degree, and there is a pile of snow ten feet high in my cul-de-sac. Around here spring is only a rumor, save for the far-off crack of bat »

Remembering Chuck Hinton

Featured image Chuck Hinton, an outfielder for the Washington Senators and the Cleveland Indians during the 1960s and early 1970s, died this week at age 78. Hinton was the first African-American baseball player who plied his trade in predominantly black Washington, DC to be perceived as a star. Actually, Earl Battey, who played for the pre-expansion Senators, was probably a better player than Hinton. But Battey, a catcher, found himself overshadowed by »

Say It Ain’t So, Derek!

Featured image My wife, who is a big Derek Jeter fan, will be disappointed to see this: Derek Jeter interrupted his rehab work on his surgically repaired left ankle to rub shoulders with the world’s most powerful at the Davos Economic Forum. Jeter — invited by Pepsi — said he hopes climate change would be discussed: “I was in New York for Hurricane Sandy . . . It’s something that needs to »

“What the Heck, It’s Only a Game”

Featured image Last night my wife and I were guests of our good friend Clark Griffith, whose family used to own the Washington Senators and the Minnesota Twins, and his beautiful wife at an unofficial baseball Hot Stove League event. The president of the Twins was there, along with umpire Tim Tschida and a couple of popular former Twins, Tom Brunansky and Jack Morris, among other luminaries. It was a fun event »

The RG III-Steven Strasburg Comparison

Featured image Thomas Boswell in the Washington Post compares the Washington Nationals’ treatment of young pitching star Stephen Strasburg with the Washington Redskins treatment of young quarterbacking sensation Robert Griffin, III. In case you have been vacationing in Mongolia, the Redskins created quite a controversy by not pulling Griffin, who was playing on a damaged knee, from their playoff game against Seatle even after he was hobbling visibly and throwing ineffectively. Eventually, »

No one elected to baseball hall of fame

Featured image The Baseball Writers of America have declined to elect anyone to the Baseball Hall of Fame this year. It’s only the second time in four decades that this has occurred. As expected, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, the two biggest stars eligible this year, were passed over because of the taint of steroids. But there were at least two other players who, in my view, had strong Hall of Fame »

What will happen to the Hall of Fame?

Featured image Bill James once wrote a book called Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame? My question is, what will happen to baseball’s Hall of Fame now? Today, the Hall of Fame will unveil its class of 2013. This is the first year of eligibility for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa, three stars of baseball’s steroid era, all of whom were tainted by it. “Exit polling” of those who »

Remembering Eddie Yost

Featured image Eddie Yost died on Wednesday at the age of 86. Yost was a key player on the first baseball team I ever followed, the Washington Senators of the mid 1950s. Yost wasn’t our best player; that was slugger Roy Sievers. But he was the team leader and, as far as I could tell, the most popular player among adult Senators fans. Yost is famous for drawing walks. He led the »

This day in baseball history — a classic game decides the World Series

Featured image On October 16, 1962, the New York Yankees and the San Francisco Giants played Game 7 of the World Series at Candlestick Park. This game is generally (and correctly, in my view) considered one of the top 10 World Series games of all-time. The game is remembered for the line drive that ended it, for the double play that produced its only run, and, by some, for the impact of »

This day in baseball history — after the deluge

Featured image On Monday, October 15, 1962, the New York Yankees and the San Francisco Giants resumed the World Series after four days off. The two teams had last played on Wednesday, October 10. Since then, there had been a travel day and then three consecutive rain-outs in San Francisco. You can get an idea of the magnitude of the storms that caused the postponements, and catch a glimpse of “Candlestick Pond,” »

Steven Strasburg and the Nats playoff defeat

Featured image In the wake of the Washington Nationals heartbreaking playoff series loss to St. Louis, John Feinstein takes to the pages of the Washington Post to write a bitter and unfair attack on the club’s management for shutting down ace pitcher Steven Strasburg before the playoffs. Feinstein believes that the Nationals, once they realized they would make the playoffs, should have “stretched out” Strasburg’s season so he could pitch in October »

Heartbreak by the numbers

Featured image Back when I followed baseball closely, I sometimes heard hardcore fans say that the playoffs will expose a team’s weakness. I never really believed this, though. The playoffs provide too few games to guarantee a full, searching probe of a baseball team. The limits of the playoffs as arbiter of pure baseball quality seem even clearer in these days of “wild card” teams. Except in cases of an exceptional injury »

This day in baseball history — keeping the faith, a preview of things to come

Featured image On Wednesday, October 10, 1962, the New York Yankees took a 3 games to 2 lead over the San Francisco Giants in the World Series. The Yankees accomplished this by coming from behind to win Game 5 by a score of 5-3. Game 5 was supposed to be played the previous day, but rain postponed it. This meant that both starting pitchers, Jack Sanford and Ralph Terry, would pitch with »

This day in baseball history — a classic pitching matchup aborted

Featured image On October 8, 1962, the San Francisco Giants and the New York Yankees played Game 4 of the World Series at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees took a 2 games to 1 lead into the contest. The pitching matchup featured two future Hall of Famers, young Juan Marichal (18-11, 3.35) and veteran Whitey Ford (17-8, 2.90). This was the first matchup of Hall of Famers since 1958, when Ford and Warren »

This day in baseball history — The Yankees win a pivotal game

Featured image On Sunday, October 7, 1962, the San Francisco Giants and the New York Yankees played Game 3 of the World Series at Yankee Stadium. The pitching matchup was Billy Pierce (16-6, 3.49) against Bill Stafford (14-9, 3.67). For the 35-year old Pierce, this was a long awaited opportunity to start a World Series game. In the 1959 Series, Chicago White Sox manager Al Lopez had limited his long-time ace to »

This day in baseball history — a dramatic end to a classic series

Featured image On Wednesday, October 3, 1962, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants played the final game of their playoff series. Though the 1962 playoff series is all but forgotten, it was a classic, made so by an epic second game and a dramatic finale. If these two teams had still been in New York, as they were during their legendary 1951 series, I suspect this playoff would still »

This day in baseball history — the Dodgers and Giants produce an epic

Featured image On Tuesday October 2, 1962, the Los Angeles Dodgers played a must-win game against the San Francisco Giants, who led them by one game to none in a best of three games playoff for the National League pennant. Dodgers manager Walter Alston turned to his ace, 25-game winner Don Drysdale. Although Double D would have to pitch on only two days of rest, he seemed a better option than rookie »