Baseball

A baseball star is born, I hope

Featured image Michael Taylor had a major league debut to remember for the Washington Nationals last night. In his first major league at-bat, he singled. Later on, he belted a two-run homer, as the Nats routed the New York Mets, 7-1. My interest in Taylor stems from a visit earlier this year to Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Virginia. That’s the home of the Potomac Nationals, the Nats “High A” farm club. Taylor »

Managers take center stage at Cooperstown

Featured image The baseball Hall of Fame inducted six new members today. Among the inductees were managers Tony La Russa, Joe Torre, and Bobby Cox (the others were Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, and Tom Glavine). One thing about inducting managers: you don’t have to worry about whether their performance was enhanced by drugs. There was a time, though, when it seemed like La Russa was managing on steroids. That time was the »

This day in baseball history — Callison’s walk-off all star game homer

Featured image The Major League All Star Game has produced come from behind wins and walk-off home runs. The 1964 All Star Game, played on July 7, 1964 at Shea Stadium in New York, produced both. The National League had won six of the previous eight contests and featured the stronger team in 1964. For example the starting NL outfielders — Billy Williams, Willie Mays, and Roberto Clemente — all ended up »

This day in baseball history — baseball’s longest game gives rise to a pitching star

Featured image The 1964 baseball season produced two outstanding pennant races. In the National League, where the Philadelphia Phillies famously folded, the top three teams ended the season within one game of each other, and a fourth was just three games off the pace. In the American League, the three top teams finished within two games of each other. At the beginning of June both races seemed very much up for grabs. »

Instant Replay In Baseball? No Thanks

Featured image We went to the Twins game against the Detroit Tigers this afternoon. It was a fun game; starter Phil Hughes was excellent and the Twins won 5-3. We had terrific seats, front row in center field. There were five balls hit off the right field wall or to the warning track, and by leaning forward we had a great view of them. It was our first game of the season »

A Sunday sports trifecta

Featured image As John can attest, I’ve been supporting mostly bad sports teams for more than half a century. Thus, it’s a rare occasion when three of my teams win important victories on the same day. But that’s what happened yesterday. Until yesterday, Everton had not won both of its matches against Manchester United since the 1969-70 season and had not finished ahead of the Red Devils since 1990. Those streaks ended »

A stellar hall of fame class

Featured image The baseball Hall of Fame has selected three new members: Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas. They will join three managers selected late last year: Bobby Cox, Joe Torre, and Tony LaRussa. Maddux is one of the ten best pitchers of all-time. Four times, he was the National League ERA leader. Six times, he posted an ERA of under 2.50. In 1994 (the strike year) and 1995, his record »

You can’t go home again

Featured image In April 1960, the Detroit Tigers traded Harvey Kuenn to the Cleveland Indians for Rocky Colavito. It was a blockbuster deal involving the reigning American League batting champion (Kuenn) and the reigning American League home run king (Colavito). The Indians soon developed a case of buyer’s remorse. Colavito proved to be (and already had been) a much more valuable player than Kuenn. He had also been a fan favorite in »

This month in baseball history — Tigers deal Bunning to Phillies

Featured image I missed the anniversary date (December 5), but 50 years ago this month, the Detroit Tigers dealt Jim Bunning (future Hall of Famer and future U.S. Senator) to the Philadelphia Phillies. Already a five-time All Star, Bunning had won 110 games for the Tigers in seven full years as a starting pitcher. In his four seasons with the Phillies, Bunning would win 71 games. In exchange for Bunning (age 32), »

Cobb, Kaline, and Cabrera — an all-time Tigers team

Featured image We complete our selection of all-time squads for this year’s Championship Series teams with the Detroit Tigers. We have already selected squads for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, and St. Louis Cardinals. The Tigers won the AL pennant in 1907-09, but failed to win the World Series during that stretch. Since then, they have won back-to-back pennants only once (1934-35) under player-manager Mickey Cochrane. This year they are »

Dizzy, Ducky, The Man, and The Wizard — an all-time Cardinals team

Featured image The St. Louis Cardinals have won more championships (11) than any baseball franchise other than the New York Yankees. And their fans are among the best, if not the best, in the sport. In addition to an abundance of talent, the Cardinals have been blessed with quality managers. Five of them have guided the team to multiple World Series. They are: Gabby Street, Billy Southworth, Red Schoendienst, Whitey Herzog, and »

The Splinter, Yaz, and Big Papi — an all-time Red Sox team

Featured image Boston’s American League franchise played in baseball’s first World Series (as the Boston Americans). In total, the franchise has played in 11 Fall Classics, winning seven. It has won two of the last nine World Series played. Red Sox fans have also experienced plenty of disappointment along the way. But the club’s history does not come close to justifying the self-pity many of its followers display. Red Sox fans have »

Jackie, Sandy, and the Duke — an all-time Dodgers team

Featured image The baseball playoffs are down to a final four: the Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox, and Detroit Tigers. These are four of the sport’s most venerable franchises. So why not pick all-time teams (25 players and a manager) for each of them? Doing so is a highly subjective exercise, of course. The biggest problem is comparing players who played well for a team for many years »

This day in baseball history

Featured image On October 6, 1963, the Los Angeles Dodgers completed a four-game sweep of the New York Yankees. It was the first time in their illustrious history that the Yankees had been swept in the World Series in four games. The New York Giants beat them in the 1922 Series 4 games to 0, but there was also a tie game called off due to darkness after 10 innings. We have »

This day in baseball history

Featured image In the old days, before wild card teams, wild card games, and games to play into the wild card game, the World Series almost always featured two excellent teams. This didn’t always produce an excellent World Series, of course, which was unfortunate because until the very late 1960s there was no other post-season baseball. But at least the World Champion was almost always an excellent team, as opposed, say, to »

This day in baseball history — Denny McLain’s debut

Featured image On September 21, 1962, Denny McLain pitched his first major league game, a complete game 4-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox, the team that originally signed him. The White Sox let McLain go after only half a season in the minor leagues. He had pitched well that season, but had already showed signs of being “trouble,” having gone AWOL a few times. Whether for that reason or based on »

This day in baseball history

Featured image On September 18, 1963, the St. Louis Cardinals played a must-win game at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the finale of a three-game series. At the start of the series, the Cards trailed the Dodgers by just one game, having won 19 of their last 20 contests. But the Dodgers won the first two games, limiting the Cards to one run and seven hits. In the previous 20 »