Veterans in the Baseball Hall of Fame …..God Bless America!

Note:  This is a “Re-post” of my 11/11/14 Blog.

I’m currently on vacation in Central America but didn’t want to pass up an opportunity to salute our Veterans, and especially those Veterans who were named to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.   We know that freedom isn’t free and we’re privileged to honor all Veterans everywhere, on this your special day!Baseball Hall of Fame Veterans

Listed below in alphabetical order by conflict are members / inductees (including non-players) of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown who are officially classified as Veterans – each having served in the United States Armed Services during wartime.

 “But the mainstay of the big leagues was the reservoir of 4-Fs – males of draft age who had been rejected on physical grounds by the Armed Forces. Not since harem attendants had gone out of style were men’s physical deficiencies so highly prized. ” – Frank Graham, Jr. in Farewell to Heroes (1981)
Hall Of Fame Veterans Members Who Served in the U.S. Armed Forces
Name [Link to Stats] Branch of the Service
The Civil War
Morgan Bulkeley United States Army
World War I
Grover Alexander (bio) United States Army
Happy Chandler United States Army
Oscar Charleston United States Army
Ty Cobb United States Army
Eddie Collins United States Marines
Jocko Conlan United States Navy
Red Faber United States Navy
Warren Giles United States Army
Burleigh Grimes United States Navy
Harry Heilmann United States Navy
Waite Hoyt United States Army
George Kelly United States Army
Larry MacPhail United States Army
Rabbit Maranville United States Navy
Rube Marquard United States Navy
Christy Mathewson United States Army
Herb Pennock United States Navy
Sam Rice United States Army
Branch Rickey United States Army
Eppa Rixey United States Army
Bullet Rogan United States Army
Joe Sewell United States Army
George Sisler United States Army
Tris Speaker United States Navy
Casey Stengel United States Navy
World War II
Luke Appling (bio) United States Army
Al Barlick United States Coast Guard
Yogi Berra United States Navy
Nestor Chylak United States Army
Mickey Cochrane United States Navy
Leon Day United States Army
Bill Dickey United States Navy
Joe DiMaggio United States Army
Larry Doby United States Navy
Bobby Doerr United States Army
Bob Feller United States Navy
Charlie Gehringer United States Navy
Hank Greenberg United States Army
Billy Herman United States Navy
Monte Irvin United States Army
Ralph Kiner United States Navy
Bob Lemon United States Navy
Ted Lyons United States Marines
Larry MacPhail United States Army
Lee MacPhail United States Navy
Johnny Mize United States Navy
Stan Musial United States Navy
Pee Wee Reese United States Navy
Phil Rizzuto United States Navy
Robin Roberts United States Army
Jackie Robinson United States Army
Red Ruffing United States Army
Red Schoendienst United States Army
Enos Slaughter United States Army
Duke Snider United States Navy
Warren Spahn United States Army
Bill Veeck United States Marines
Ted Williams United States Marines
Early Wynn United States Army
Korean War
                    Ernie Banks United States Army
                    Whitey Ford United States Army
                    Eddie Mathews United States Navy
                   Willie Mays United States Army
                   Ted Williams United States Marines
Name [Link to Stats] Branch of the Service
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Dodgers & the New York Yankees!

Be honest. Aren’t most of you secretly hoping for a Dodger/Yankee World Series?  After all, baseball is about a whole lot of memories and what better ones to share than those of  Ebbets Field and Yankee Stadium.  I didn’t come of baseball age until the early 1950’s so I may have a tainted view of what constitutes a valid baseball memory, but believe me, the Dodgers and Yankees are right at the top.

The Yankees have won the most World Series in history and it’s not even close.  They’ve won  participated in 40 while their closest contender, the SF Giants (okay New York Giants if you’re an oldie) is second with only 20.  But no matter.  I have different thoughts on who should even be in the playoffs.  Back in those days there was only the American League and the National League.  No Divisions.  That was it.  So the team that won the most games in each league were the Pennant Winners and automatic World Series participants.

And isn’t that the way is should still be?  Good grief.  It’s bad enough having really bad Division Winners being able to compete for the Pennant.  Some teams under .500 can still compete for the Pennant depending on how bad the rest of the division is.  And forget about the Wild Card.  The only possible reason for having that competition is for gate receipts and MONEY.  MLB is good at that.  They’re running unbelievable ads during the playoffs trying to get kids, I mean 8 and 9 year olds, sucked into buying MLB products online.  MLB.com?  That’s what’s happening, reminiscent of Wheaties and Cheerios ads in the old days.  Get ’em while they’re young.  And that merchandise is expensive.  How can the average joe afford to buy this stuff for his kids?

I digress.  The teams with the best records in MLB for any given season should be the Pennant Winners for each League and they alone should advance to the World Series.  And there should be NO INTER-LEAGUE PLAY DURING THE SEASON.  Inter-league play undermines the Divisions.  How can you say the best team in any Division is one or the other if they’re all playing each other during the regular season.  That’s what the World Series is supposed to determine.

So here it is.  The Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros – 2017 Pennant Winners.  That’s the way it should be. (Well, actually Houston was one off from the most league wins but they’re there so we’ll leave it alone.)

World Series winner to be determined.

 

 

 

 

 

Oh Those Lowly Dodgers ……..

Baseball Surprises!

Recently, I asked my brother-in-law if he thought the Dodgers would be able to put together 100 wins this season.   It seemed a given, but they’ve lost 9 of their last 10 games and it reminds me of the 2008 season when the first place San Diego Padres lost 10 in a row in the last month of the season to allow the Giants to win the division, and eventually the World Series.

I know.  I get it.  Us Giants fans are supposed to hate the Dodgers so we’re always cheering for their demise, but I’m older and have a different perspective.  Back in the 1950’s when there were only 16 MLB teams, the closest being located in the Midwest, you had to be a Dodger or Yankee fan, but you couldn’t be both.  I was torn because Mickey Mantle was my hero.  But the Dodger’s were generally considered the underdog, so they had to be my team.

When the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers moved West it changed everything.   West Coast fans were of course delighted.  Since I was an Oregonian at the time the closest MLB team was now San Francisco Giants.  And that’s how it’s been since 1958, when I got to watch my first live pro baseball game between the Giants & Dodgers at Seal Stadium.

I may be the only Giants fan who’s delighted in watching  Yasiel Puig, the snot nosed rookie from Cuba, dive in over his head to become a bonafide contender against the odds.  And it wasn’t because he didn’t have the talent, he did.  But his attitude stunk up the place and we generally cheered for his demise. His numbers aren’t all that great even now, but I still pay attention when he’s at bat.  And then there’s Kershaw.  If we could have him and the D’Backs Goldschmidt we could easily be back in the saddle again.   But “what ifs” are for Fantasy players.

So this morning’s Wall Street J0urnal published a great article by Jared Diamond bringing up some memories of the 2001 Mariners and comparing that team to the current Dodgers in their win/loss record.  The semblance is striking and should make the Dodgers a bit nervous about their chances in this year’s playoffs.

After the awful season the Giants have put us through this year, I’m going to root for the Dodgers and hope I can get some sort of satisfaction through them.  I’ll just pretend it’s 1958 and start all over again.

 

Professional Sports Teams on visiting the White House …..

“Why would any team go to the White House?”   Or more specifically, “Why would any team in any sport go to the White House to see any president, ever?”

These are a few of the questions posed by Sportswriter Mark Purdy in today’s Santa Cruz Sentinel.  It would be laughable if it weren’t so infuriating.  He’s specifically referring to the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors. They supposedly voted unanimously last week to refuse an invitation to visit the White House, which was fake news because as of today they haven’t even been invited.  Steph Curry, Andre Igoudala and Coach Kerr have all expressed negative feelings about President Trump.

Two years ago when the Warriors won the NBA Championship they busted their tails to make it to the White House to visit Barack Obama.  Thrill of a lifetime I think they put it. Steph Curry has publicly stated that Obama is one of his biggest hero’s of all time, but of course Obama’s a big basketball fan so I’m sure that’s what all the gushing was about.

Barack Obama’s no longer in the White House, the thrill is gone and the current President is chopped liver.  So now no team in any sport should ever visit the White House again, ever.

Funny how that works.

 

Blame it on the Catcher!

Baseball nation is going nuts today over the brawl at the Giants and Nats game.  Actually the disagreement was between Bryce Harper and Hunter Strickland after Harper was hit by a pitch thrown by Strickland.  To be perfectly honest here, Bryce Harper has never been one of my favorite ball players.  In fact,  I don’t like much about the guy.  He’s an arrogant hot head that gives baseball a bad name.  Has anyone ever seen the guy crack even the smallest bit of a smile?  Didn’t think so.  But in fairness it sure looked like Strickland threw that pitch with intent to nail him, which I’m pretty sure he did.

But my words here are about the tweets, blogs and overall bad press Buster Posey is getting from his actions behind the plate.  I mean, he didn’t make any effort to step out from behind the plate to help his poor defenseless pitcher who found himself in a real bind as Harper went charging at him like a bull in a china closet.  The ESPN announcers kept bellowing about the fact that the Giants Catcher, Posey, did nothing to help his pitcher out ~ they’d just never seen anything like it, a catcher who didn’t jump in and join the fiasco.

Some thoughts about this, besides the fact Posey’s a leader so probably doesn’t feel a need to jump in the middle of the dogpile:

  1. Anyone who knows anything about baseball will remember the tragic injury Posey suffered a few years back that almost ended his playing career.  He was in rehab for a year trying to scratch and crawl his way back to the game to overcome the injuries he sustained from that incident.  I’m sure he’s been warned not to do anything stupid that might cause a relapse.  Just saying …….
  2. Looking at the play after the fact, it sure looks like Buster was calling for a fastball right down the middle of the plate.  And if a professional pitcher can’t throw one he’s in the wrong business, unless, of course, he was trying to throw the exact pitch he threw.  A little inside you say?  No kidding.
  3. Knowing the history of these two, Harper and Strickland, it’s possible there was a talk in the Giants locker room before the game that no retaliation pitches were to be thrown.  If that’s the case, Buster could easily been thinking, you want it?  You got it.
  4. This retaliation thing is rampant in the Majors.  Don’t believe me?  Just listen to Mike Krukow explain it during some of his color commentating.  It’s a thing to be proud of, according to Mike.  And no respectable pitcher would let an infraction go by without retaliating.

I mean, come on. Harper gets two home runs off Strickland two years ago and this is “pay back”?  Give me a break. Not wise since they’ll probably both get fined and worse, suspended, causing problems not just for themselves, but for the rest of the team.

And tomorrow it’s likely the players will be warned ~ no inside pitches, and/or no hit by a pitch from either side or the pitcher gets ejected.  What pitcher needs to play with that kind of pressure on him?  So even if he accidentally hits a batter, the pitcher gets ejected and the batter takes the base.

Get your smarts in order pitchers.   This is old school stupid stuff and has no place in today’s game.  In my humble opinion, of course.

What Does Canadian Hockey have to do with Baseball?

Not a lot, and I have no idea why this video turned me into a blubbering idiot.  Maybe it’s the fallout of the Giants/Dodgers game tonight, but for whatever reason, hats off to those 18,000 Canadians who sang their hearts out for our National Anthem.  Here take a listen and see what you think …… Courtesy of You Tube Videos.

The First Baseman’s Stretch…….

This has been happening a lot lately.  Almost every game in fact.  The announcer bellows what a fantastic throw the shortstop has made to 1st base to throw someone out.  And it’s usually true.  They have.  And it doesn’t have to be the shortstop.  Could be the 2nd baseman, 3rd baseman catcher.  You get the picture.

But the third time it happened tonight in the Giants vs Padres game I was compelled to grab my camera and take a snapshot of the TV screen.  It was important to me to validate what a fantastic job the 1st Baseman does in catching (more like salvaging) a ball that, without his outstanding athletic ability, would have ended up in the dugout or worse.

 

I call it the First Baseman’s Stretch.  And if you’ll watch for it, you’ll be surprised how often it happens. That’s probably why it’s a really good idea to get a 6’5″, left-handed guy to handle that base.   Even while doing the splits this guy needs the wingspan of a 747 for the reach to make the play.

I just wish the commentators would be more aware of giving credit to the player that’s miraculously avoiding a pulled groin every time he stretches to make that catch while at the same time keeping at least one of his toes on that first base bag.

Above, Michael Morse makes it look easy ….. kinda …..  sort of.