Baseball

Hall of Fame excludes Curt Schilling due to his politics

Featured image Yesterday, a group of sportswriters voted David Ortiz into the Hall of Fame. They did this even though Ortiz tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in 2003, around the time he transformed himself from a below average hitter to a star. In other Hall of Fame news, Curt Schilling fell well short of the number of votes required for admission because woke sportswriters with ballots don’t like his politics. Here »

The Ken Holtzman for Rick Monday trade

Featured image Yesterday, I wrote about five baseball trades made in late November/early December of 1971 involving Hall of Fame caliber players. But a trade need not involve players at that level to be hugely significant. On November 29, 1971 — the same day as the blockbuster deals that sent Joe Morgan to Cincinnati and Gaylord Perry to Cleveland for Sam McDowell — the Oakland A’s acquired Ken Holtzman from the Chicago »

This day in baseball history, an infamous trade

Featured image In the old days, baseball winters were warmed by big trades, not free agent signings which didn’t yet exist. Several huge trades heated up the winter of 1971-72. One of them — the most infamous — was consummated on this day in baseball history. On December 10, 1971, the New York Mets dealt Nolan Ryan to the California Angels for Jim Fregosi. The Mets also threw in Leroy Stanton, Don »

The tomahawk chop, a postscript

Featured image John and I both wrote last night about the use of the tomahawk chop by fans of the Atlanta Braves. I speculated that even if the Atlanta Braves tried to stop fans from chopping, the effort would probably be unsuccessful. Today, a Braves fan informs me that the Braves did, in fact, try to do away with the tomahawk chop two years ago. He writes: On the first day of »

The World Series, cheaters vs. choppers

Featured image The other day, I wrote that baseball is not a morality play. I meant that the outcome of baseball games and baseball seasons has nothing to do with morality. There are no “baseball gods.” Nice guys finish first, last, and in the middle. So do guys who aren’t nice. This doesn’t mean that fans should keep their moral views on the sidelines when thinking about baseball. It’s normal for fans »

Chop On!

Featured image I checked out on this year’s baseball season due to wokeness on the part of Major League Baseball (moving the All-Star game out of Atlanta) and the Minnesota Twins. I paid virtually no attention to baseball all year, but haven’t been able to resist tuning in on the World Series. I had no clear favorite. I like the Astros, in part because one of their biggest stars, Jose Altuve, is »

Baseball is no morality play, and certainly not a woke-left one

Featured image The Washington Post keeps getting worse, and that’s true of all its main sections including the sports pages. The reason for the deterioration of the sports pages is the same as the reason for the rest of paper’s descent — the leftism of its reporters and columnists. The Post’s sports columnists are relentlessly woke. Their work is long on scolding and short on insight. Naturally, the sports reporters have less »

Georgia Gets the Last Laugh

Featured image Of all the despicable acts of woke capitalism, Major League Baseball’s yanking the All-Star Game out of Atlanta might be the worst. MLB sided with the Democratic Party in a purely partisan dispute, cluelessly disparaging Georgia’s election reform legislation without ever saying what was wrong with it. MLB’s partisanship cost Atlanta businesses a considerable amount of money, but Atlanta and the state of Georgia are getting the last laugh. The »

This day in baseball history: Pirates prevail in Game Seven

Featured image The 1971 Baltimore Orioles had four ace starting pitchers — Jim Palmer, Dave McNally, Mike Cuellar, and Pat Dobson, 20-game-winners all. The Pittsburgh Pirates had two — Dock Ellis and Steve Blass, and only one after Ellis’ bad elbow flared up in Game One of the World Series. But in a winner-take-all game, one ace was usually all a team needed back when ace starters typically turned in at least »

This day in baseball history: F. Robinson and Clemente shine in classic

Featured image Willie Mays and Hank Aaron were the dominant baseball players of the 1960s. They overshadowed other stars of that era, including Frank Robinson and Roberto Clemente. Robinson came out of the shadows with his Triple Crown season in 1966. Clemente didn’t get his due until the 1971 World Series. It was only then that America got to see the full range of his talents. Curt Gowdy, NBC’s lead announcer in »

This day in baseball history: The first World Series night game

Featured image The Baltimore Orioles jumped out to a two games to none lead over Pittsburgh in the 1971 World Series. In Game Three, Pittsburgh, finally playing at home, got back in the argument with a 5-1 victory. Steve Blass went all the way to best Mike Cuellar. He allowed only three hits and two walks. Pittsburgh took charge of the game in the seventh inning with three runs. Roberto Clemente reached »

This day in baseball history: Baltimore takes command

Featured image After sweeping the Oakland A’s in the 1971 ALCS, the Baltimore Orioles were favorites in the World Series. The Birds were the defending champions. They had won 101 regular season games, losing only 57. In the past three seasons, they were winners of 318 regular season games. Since falling unexpectedly to the New York Mets in 1969, their post-season record was 10-1. The Pittsburgh Pirates stood between the O’s and »

This day in baseball history: The 1971 ALCS

Featured image 1971 was the third year of expanded, four-team MLB playoffs. The American matchup between the Baltimore Orioles and Oakland A’s was the first league championship series that offered a match-up of two great teams. The Orioles were the defending champions of baseball and winners of two consecutive American League pennants. Their ALCS record was 6-0. They had won 101 games during the 1971 regular season. The A’s, also winners of »

This day in baseball history: A long good-bye

Featured image By September 30, 1971, Washington had hosted American League baseball for 71 full years, the entire existence of the “junior circuit.” But that day would mark the end. The American League’s last game in the nation’s capital was played on this day in baseball history. Bob Short, a Democrat politician from Minnesota, owned the Washington Senators. During the 1971 season, he gained permission to move the team to the Dallas-Fort »

Experiment confirms that baseball needs a pitch clock

Featured image For years, I’ve argued that major league baseball desperately needs a pitch clock. Everyone seems to agree that baseball’s painfully slow pace of play is a huge problem. Yet, MLB hasn’t implemented the one measure that would speed play up — a limit on how long pitchers can hold the ball without putting it in play. Watching dozens of old games on MLB-TV during the pandemic, I noticed that pitchers »

This day in baseball history: J.R. Richard debuts

Featured image 1971 was the year of Vida Blue. The 22 year-old lefty won 24 games and captured the American League Cy Young and MVP awards. But another African-American pitcher from Louisiana also made a splash in 1971. 21 year-old James Rodney Richard debuted in the majors on September 5. Blue threw extremely hard, but Richard’s heater was next-level. Only Nolan Ryan, his future teammate, was in the same class. Johnny Bench »

This day in baseball history: The Vida Blue-Sonny Siebert rematch

Featured image In late May 1971, Sonny Siebert and the Boston Red Sox defeated Vida Blue and the Oakland A’s at Fenway Park. John and I attended the game. Blue’s loss was his first in almost two months. It took his record for the season to 10-2 and Siebert’s to 9-0. Siebert and Blue faced each other again on August 11, 1971 at Fenway. Much had changed in the intervening two and »