This day in baseball history: Mets roar into first place

Featured image The New York Mets’ come from behind victory over the Chicago Cubs in early July of 1969 left the Mets believing they could catch the Cubs and win the NL East. When the Mets took a series from the Cubs later that month to pull within 3.5 games of the Cubs, they believed this even more. After that, though, the Mets went into a tailspin. By mid-August, they trailed the »

Orioles’ pitchers make the wrong kind of history

Featured image With more than a month remaining in the regular season, the Baltimore Orioles have set the major league record for most home runs allowed. When Tampa Bay’s Austin Meadows homered off of Asher Wojciechowski yesterday, it was the 259th home run allowed by the Birds’ staff this season. That surpassed the record set in 2016 by the Cincinnati Reds. How did the Orioles break this record after only 128 games? »

This day in baseball history: Mets prevail in 14 innings, keep pennant hopes alive

Featured image By mid-August of 1969, it was clear that the New York Mets would have a banner season. Not only were the Mets virtually assured of their first winning season in club history, they were on pace for 90 wins. A pennant seemed out of reach, though. On the morning of August 19, they trailed the Chicago Cubs by 7.5 games. But the Mets hadn’t given up. They still thought they »

This day in baseball history: NL races head in opposite directions

Featured image 1969 was the first year that major baseball broke up its two leagues into divisions. It did so to accommodate the four new teams added that season. With both leagues now consisting of 12 teams, it made sense to divide each into two division with six teams. For the first time, the National League had two pennant races. They took widely divergent paths. In the NL East, the Chicago Cubs »

A base-brawl for the ages

Featured image In response to my post about this week’s brawl between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds, a friend sent me video of a memorable baseball fight from 1984. The contestants were the Atlanta Braves and the San Diego Padres. The hero of this brawl was the Braves’ Bob Horner, an outstanding slugger of the era. He was on the disabled list at the time, and had spent the game »

Yesterday in baseball: A brawl to remember

Featured image Baseball fights are usually rather tedious, but last night’s bout between the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates was an exception. It featured something I don’t recall seeing before — one player attacking opposing players in front of the opposing team’s dugout. (I understand that Brian McRae of the Kansas City Royals charged the Texas Rangers’ dugout in the 1990s.) Trouble has been brewing between the Reds and Pirates all »

Ernie Broglio, RIP

Featured image Pumpsie Green wasn’t the only old-time major leaguer of note to pass away this month. Pitcher Ernie Broglio also died in July. The two players are closely connected. Both Green and Broglio were natives of the East Bay portion of the San Francisco Bay region. Indeed, Broglio said that Green was his catcher in high school. Both signed with the Oakland Oaks, though only Broglio played for them. Broglio is »

Pumpsie Green, RIP

Featured image July saw the passing of Elijah “Pumpsie” Green, a utility infielder for the Boston Red Sox and, briefly, the New York Mets. Green was the Red Sox’s first black ballplayer. That fact is particular noteworthy because Boston was the last major league team to integrate. The Red Sox did so in 1959, twelve years after Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier. Green died almost 60 years to the day that »

This day in baseball history: A starry afternoon

Featured image Major League baseball declared 1969 its centennial year. To commemorate the centennial, it held the annual All-Star game in Washington, D.C. The game was supposed to be played on Tuesday night, July 22. However, one of those torrential Washington summer storms washed the game out. It was the first time an All-Star game had been postponed. The game was rescheduled for the following afternoon. I didn’t have a ticket for »

This day in baseball: A first for me

Featured image I’ve been attending professional baseball games since 1957, when my father took me to one at Griffith Stadium for my eighth birthday. Until tonight, I had never seen, in person, a nine-inning no-hitter. Tonight, I saw Michael Baumann of the Bowie Baysox pitch one against the Harrisburg Senators. Bowie is the Double A farm team of the Baltimore Orioles. Harrisburg is a Washington Nationals affiliate. I suspect that nine-inning no-hitters »

Jim Bouton, RIP

Featured image Jim Bouton, the author of Ball Four, died this week. Half a decade before he wrote that classic, Bouton was a star pitcher for the New York Yankees. But arm trouble derailed him and his decline coincided with the end of the Yankee dynasty. Bouton reinvented himself as a knuckleball pitcher, caught on with the expansion Seattle Pilots, and chronicled his season with them (and with the Houston Astros after »

A Day at the Ball Park

Featured image We went to a baseball game this afternoon, nine from my family altogether. The Minnesota Twins played the Texas Rangers. It was Armed Forces Appreciation Day. As we approached Target Field–considered by knowledgeable observers (i.e., me) the best baseball park in the major leagues–there were military vehicles, an Army information booth, military personnel explaining the equipment and excited children climbing over it. As we went through security to enter the »

Gil Hodges for the Hall of Fame?

Featured image This year is the 50th anniversary of the New York Mets improbable run to World Series victory. William McGurn of the Wall Street Journal uses the occasion to argue that Gil Hodges, who managed the Mets to glory, should be in the Hall of Fame. He calls Hodges’s absence from the HOF “baseball’s greatest continuing injustice.” That’s quite an overstatement. Hodges’s managerial career is not Hall of Fame caliber. Yes, »

The Seattle Pilots in baseball history

Featured image This year marks the 50th anniversary of the only season in which the Seattle Pilots graced major league baseball. “Graced” is probably a stretch. They finished last in the American League West with a record of 64-98. The Pilots punched above their weight in the notoriety department though, thanks to Jim Bouton’s tell-all book Ball Four. The book chronicled the 1969 season in which Bouton pitched for Seattle until being »

Media heads explode over Trump’s tongue-in-cheek tweet about the Red Sox

Featured image I filed this post under “media bias.” “Media stupidity” might be a better tag. Today, President Trump tweeted: Has anyone noticed that all the Boston @RedSox have done is WIN since coming to the White House! Others also have done very well. The White House visit is becoming the opposite of being on the cover of Sports Illustrated! By the way, the Boston players were GREAT guys! At Politico, Caitlin »

This day in baseball history: Gibson does it all

Featured image On May 12, 1969, the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-2 at Busch Stadium. Bob Gibson pitched a complete game for the Cards, allowing two runs on seven hits. He struck out six and walked one. There was nothing exceptional about Gibson’s pitching performance that day. It was a typical one for him that year, except for the relatively low number of strikeouts. But Gibson’s contributions weren’t »

Goose for Heine (and the General) [UPDATED]

Featured image A few days ago, I discussed the Joe Torre for Orlando Cepeda trade. I said this was the only straight swap of Hall of Famers I could think of. Initially, I thought the 1930 mid-season trade that sent Heine Manush from the St. Louis Browns to the Washington Senators in exchange for Goose Goslin was another such deal. When I researched it, however, I learned that Alvin “General” Crowder also »