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Today in history 1984 …..Pete Rose passes Ty Cobb’s single hits record.

The record at that time was 3,053.   Pete Rose has a lot of major league records.   He’s the all time Major League leader in hits (4,256), in games played (3,562) in at-bats (14,053) and in outs (10,328).   Rose went on to hit another 162 singles and still holds that record of 3,215.  Pete Rose is one of baseball’s most controversial figures after publicly admitting in 2004 that he had bet on baseball and on his own team, the Cincinnati Reds. 

On  August 31, 1989, after weeks of  legal wrangling, Commissioner Bart Giamatti permanently bans Pete Rose from baseball for his alleged gambling on major league games. Although the five-page document signed by both parties includes no formal findings, Giamatti says that he considers Rose’s acceptance of the ban to be a no-contest plea to the charges

But here’s what’s interesting.   Rose played from 1963 to 1986.  That’s 24 years.  And these records plus others listed below still hold.   We’ve seen lots of talent in the past 50 years and still, Pete Rose holds all these records.  Think of baseball greats like Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Cal Ripken, Stan Musial, Mickey Mantle, Rickey Henderson, Carl Yazstremski, Ken Griffey, Brooks Rob inson, and on and on.   I guess that’s why I find this day in history interesting and just a little disturbing.   I’m thinking particularly of  Baseball’s Hall of Fame.  Take a look at the following records that Pete Rose holds today:

Major League records:

    • Most career hits – 4,256
    • Most career outs – 10,328
    • Most career games played – 3,562
    • Most career at bats – 14,053
    • Most career singles – 3,215
    • Most career runs by a switch hitter – 2,165
    • Most career doubles by a switch hitter – 746
    • Most career walks by a switch hitter – 1,566
    • Most career total bases by a switch hitter – 5,752
    • Most seasons of 200 or more hits – 10
    • Most consecutive seasons of 100 or more hits – 23
    • Most consecutive seasons with 600 or more at bats – 13 (1968–1980)
    • Most seasons with 600 at bats – 17
    • Most seasons with 150 or more games played – 17
    • Most seasons with 100 or more games played – 23
    • Record for playing in the most winning games – 1,972
    • Only player in major league history to play more than 500 games at five different positions – 1B (939), LF (671), 3B (634), 2B (628), RF (595)
  • National League records:
  •  
    • Most years played – 24
    • Most consecutive years played – 24
    • Most career runs – 2,165
    • Most career doubles – 746
    • Most career games with 5 or more hits – 10
    • Modern (post-1900) record for longest consecutive game hitting streak – 44
    • Modern record for most consecutive hitting streaks of 20 or more games – 7

The National Baseball Hall of Fame honors  persons who have excelled in playing, managing, and serving the sport.  The Hall’s Motto:  “Preserving History, Honoring Excellence, Connecting Generations”.    I don’t know about you, but I don’t think history’s meant to be “selective”.   I don’t have a problem with the asterisk crowd ~ oh, okay, go ahead and put an asterisk by the name and list what you want,  but for pete’s sake (no pun intended) list the accomplishments as accomplishments, and the small stuff  if you must.   But fame is fame and if the Hall of Fame is to be truly a Hall of Fame shouldn’t it  include those records and achievements that are so substantial they remain as unbeaten records 26 years later?

Back to New York, Yankee Stadium & the Mariners …..

Whew!   Finally getting back to finishing my June 29 blog.   It was Day 4 of our baseball tour, Mariners vs. Yankees.   I took time to post the stats and final score after the schlocking  the Mariners gave the Yankees, much to the thrill of our Pacific Northwest and Canadian fans onboard, but  fell asleep at 2:30 AM…….so here it is again, continued…..

Sitting in the Yankee Dugout!

 

Just wanted to take a minute to comment on the New Yankee Stadium.   Naturally, I’d expect it to be the best and the greatest since the Yankee organization has the money to do all these things.   But I can’t tell you how great it is to sit your bum on a ballpark seat that’s actually “comfortable”!  Who knew?    They were leather (seemed like it) padded seats with wriggle room to cross your legs.   It’s state of the art in every way.  Our seats were next to the Mariner bullpen and we spent a good deal of time watching Cliff Lee warm up.  This was great stuff whether a Yankee or Mariner fan!

This was a night game so we had the day to run around New York City, all by ourselves on the subway.  Whatta hoot!  We found our

Roxy's Reuben & Potato Salad

 

way to 42nd and Broadway street and were able to interact with some great street performers.  After getting some much needed help from one of NYPD’s finest, really, we ended up in the heaven of heavens, “Roxy’s Delicatessen” @ 46th and Broadway.  Our waiter was “Jess” and

Jess @ Roxy's Deli

 

he was the  ultimate New York City greeter!  Great service and sense of humor.   In downtown New York City.  Who knew?   

  Back at Yankee Stadium we had taken a tour of the park and

"We Remember" Plaque

 

one of the highlights was the “Gallery of Plaques” that included baseball history of course but also a plaque commemorating September 11th.   It was appropriate.  I remember cheering for the Yankees in 2001, just because, and this brought it all back to me.   New York and Yankee Stadium were one of my favorite parts of the trip.  That’s why I wanted to spend a little more time on this blog.  Fans either love or hate the Yankees, there’s rarely an in-between.   But the stadium as usual was packed!  Of course, we were thrilled to see the Mariners who are having a really lousy season, step up to the plate and sock it to em, but down deep I’ll always have a special place reserved for those dang Yankees.   Probably goes back to my Mickey Mantle  high school locker days (see my very first post).   All in all,  Tuesday, June 29, 2010, was a really great day!

Day 7. Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs!

Friday, 7/2/2010.  1:20PM Game time   Left our hotel and boarded the bus this morning at 7:00AM so we’d have time to tour around Wrigley Field before the game started.  This is a very old and historic field with lots to do and see.   When we left for the tour one week ago I was told to be sure and try the “Italian Beef” roll at Wrigley, that ‘s the only place you can get the original “Italian Beef” so I set out to be sure and do just that.  And I did!   Whatta treat!   You can load it up with sweet and/or hot peppers and condiments of all kinds, but I chose to take just the beef on a bun with sweet peppers, because that’s what I was told to do!   It was exactly as described to me and I’ll be sure and thank those who recommended it. 

The most popular food at Wrigley I’m told, and it must be true if you look at the fans waiting in line, is the Chicago Dog!  But the dogs here are Ballpark Franks unlike the Nathans used at Yankee stadium and I think there’s a difference.  Maybe I was just a little more hungry at Yankee Stadium or could it possibly be that I’d already eaten that huge Italian Beef?    But officially the Chicago Dog is the food of choice at Wrigley Field!   Also prices are better here.  Hot dogs are $4.75 vs $5 – $7.50 at Yankee Stadium.

I really have to spend just a bit of time talking about the ballgame today.   Final score Cincinnati 12 – Chicago 0.  Ugghh……. Reds scored 8 runs in the 7th inning alone!    The  Reds went through their entire lineup in the 7th inning with only one hit before it all broke loose (this included 5 walks)!   What’s interesting here is the Cubs have lost 20 of their last 30 games but you’d never know it by looking in the stands.  Over 40,000 in attendance cheering as if this was a game of monumental importance in the standings.   Cubbie fans have a reputation of being rough and rowdy and I’ve experienced this before.  But not today.  Today these were  just loyal fans hoping for better from their beloved team.   It wasn’t there.   But I’ll bet tomorrow they’ll be back at the ballpark cheering the team on.    Lots of parks are losing attendance and it’s usually because the team is doing poorly, i.e., Baltimore Orioles.  The Oriole game we just saw  had around 25,000 in attendance.  This was a beautiful park with the visiting team (Washington Nationals)  located only a few miles away.  The stadium should have been packed.  So you have to hand it to the Chicago Cub fans.  They’re definitely not fair weather fans.   They love their Cubs!

I’ve always had this stereotype of Chicago in my mind that resembles inner-city slums and poverty.  Perhaps of recent we’ve been made to believe that or maybe it’s just the politics of the whole thing that slanted me in that direction.  In any event, don’t believe it.  Chicago has some beautiful areas and I tried to capture a few thru the bus windows as we were driving the Lakefront area on the way to the park.   That, along with the incredible skycraper landscapes, puts a whole new idea of Chicago in my mind.  Here are a few so you can get the idea.  If you’ve been to Chicago you already know this.   So there you have it!   We leave tomorrow morning for home and I’ll write some final notes on our trip! 

Day 6. Philadelphia Phillies vs. Pittsburgh Pirates!

Thursday, 7/1/2010.     Long day on the bus to get to a great ballpark and a great game!  Pirates won 4-2 as I remember.  We left this morning at 8:00AM   and arrived at PNC Park at 6PM after a couple of quick 20 minutes stops, rushed into the stadium to find our seating.  Whew!  Grueling day for most but honestly I slept most of the day so was ready to go once we got there!  The park itself was set on the river and directly opposite the Steelers football stadium.  We could stand at the concessions and look out over the river.   Really great views! 

This was the most accessible and user-friendly park to get around of all the parks we’ve been to so far.  Took about 5 minutes off the bus to our seats which is pretty amazing when you compare it to some of the marathon walks we’ve been through!   As far as ballpark food goes, the Fermenti Bros sandwich lays claim to the best food at PNC and they’re probably right!   This sandwich sure makes carrying it back to your seat “easy”.   It not only loads the bread with lots of deli sliced roast beef, but also layers the coleslaw, condiments AND french fries on the sandwich.  No kidding!   And they were lined up to get it!   The Quaker State BBQ Chicken looked great but had an awful sauce.  Big mistake so I was glad I got the smallest order.  It pays to listen to the locals!    As far as the game went, Pittsburgh has one of the worst records this year, and the Phillies are doing great.  But we were all compelled to cheer for the Pirates which I wanted to do anyhow.  So it was fun to hear the cheers and enthusiasm when they pulled it out in the end.  They were ahead the entire game but it was one of those “you score – I score” games and was never really comfortable until the end!   This is a great ballpark.   The backdrop looking out from the 3rd base line toward Right Field is spectacular, resembling a Hollywood backdrop of high rise buildings that look super-imposed, not the real thing!    We arrived here at our hotel after the evening game at 1:30AM and leave 7AM for Chicago.   It’s now 2:45AM so goodnight all!  Next stop Wrigley Field in Chicago!

Day 5. Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox!

Wednesday, 6/30/2010.   Arrived one of my favorite all time American cities, Boston, Massachusetts!  I skipped the scheduled tour of Fenway Park  in favor of a tour around town.   This started with the grand old Trolley Tour that took us to all the highlights of Boston and there are many!  30 Universitie and Colleges in Boston proper, and history of our founding fathers everywhere!   Boston Harbor and of course Fenway Park are always main attractions.  Fenway is a  grand old ballpark.  First thing I noticed was the big wood scoreboard over centerfield.  They still turn the scores by hand!   All the scores are kept current for other games throughout the day, and as the scores change, they reach out and manually put up the new numbers, in real time. as it happens.  Of course, they have  electronic scoreboards in other parts of the field, but my attention was focused on the old one.  Fascinating stuff in this age of super electronics.

The general consensus of the group is Red Sox fans are the best!   Well for sure they’re the friendliest.  Everywhere you go in Boston, not just at the ballpark, everyone wants to talk baseball.  Maybe it was just because it was a game day, I don’t know, but Bostononians love their Sox!   Even the Boston cops were approachable and friendly!   During the game they played “MTA” by the Kingston Trio which we all got a chuckle out of, having just arrived via the MTA.  We didn’t find it daunting at all, but very user friendly, especially compared to the New York subway system!  The game itself was somewhat of a disaster for the home fans, ending up 9 – 2 in favor of the Rays, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the Red Sox fans.  The sellout crowd (it’s been a sellout for the past 380 games we were told!) was friendly and chattering as we all left the stadium, no sign of letdown in their spirits.   This was a great place for a ballgame!

Everywhere, including at the ballpark, you hear the touts of a special “lobster roll” which is a pile of lobster mixed with a little mayo and celery on a sandwich roll.   It was a disappointment,  but the most popular and best tasting was the Kielbasa on a bun.  Big, fat, juicy and we were told later by the locals, that’s what local Boston fans want to be known for!  And now we know!

Boston harbor was bustling to get ready for their annual 4th of July celebration, fireworks loaded on barges in the harbor, and a general feeling of festivities.  That’s one thing to put on my list of things to do, spend the 4th of July with the Boston Pops live and in person!  It’s a great feeling of community spirit here and you can stop and talk with anyone on the street or in the subways and it’s a generally friendly feeling.    And now once again it’s 2:00AM!  Whew!  These late nights are tough since our bus takes off  again at 8:00AM for destination Pittsburg!   Haven’t had time to read a paper or watch the evening news for 5 days now!  It’ll be nice to find out what’s going on in the world.   Or maybe not.   It’s been a nice reprieve that’s for sure!  We’ll talk again tomorrow from Pittsburg!

Up, Up and Away ……..

We’re leaving for our baseball trip this afternoon, taking the red eye flight to Boston and then a short hop to Baltimore!  Trying to figure out my new  Ipod so I can take some videos and also listen to the games on the radio (Ipod radio, who knew?)  98 degrees and “humid” in Baltimore…..really excited about our trip, but will miss our beautiful Pacific ocean air!

If you haven’t been to San Jose International Airport this is a great week-end to visit!  Grand opening and guided tours all week-end.  Go online and reserve a spot for the tour!  The airport is a beauty and once

New SJC International Airport

we figure out how to maneuver our way around it’ll be fun!   We were safe since we took the shuttle service,  but if you’re going it alone, be sure and allow time.  

 This is our first experience with Jet Blue – they had the best non-stop schedule to Boston and the red eye was appealing since we could sleep (that’s the plan :)) and then have time to take a really quick trip on the subway/train to Washington DC. before checking into our hotel.    Okay, so that’s the plan.  I’ll let you know what “really” happens on the next blog!  See you in Baltimore!

Buster at the bat ….. (Inspired by Casey?)

 I watched the  Giants game today in San Francisco and for some reason that crazy poem “Casey at the Bat” has been going through my head ever since.   I’d been looking forward to seeing Buster Posey play and  had high hopes for an afternoon of home runs, doubles, etc.   However, his MLB average dropped to under .400 for the first time today and even though he wasn’t very productive, he still looked great and it was just a really good experience witnessing this rising new phenom.   I just had to dive in and read this delightful poem again and actually recite it aloud ( I used to know it by heart…..) maybe inspired in my head by Buster, or at least by the thought of Buster, even though he didn’t actually strike out today.   So here it is for those who don’t mind a dose of nostalgia.

CASEY AT THE BAT by Ernest Lawrence Thayer ©

Published: The Examiner (06-03-1888)
The Outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day:
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play.
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.
A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, if only Casey could get but a whack at that –
We’d put up even money, now, with Casey at the bat.
But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a lulu and the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey’s getting to the bat.
But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despis-ed, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred,
There was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.
Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.
There was ease in Casey’s manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey’s bearing and a smile on Casey’s face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt ’twas Casey at the bat.
Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance gleamed in Casey’s eye, a sneer curled Casey’s lip.
And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped-
“That ain’t my style,” said Casey. “Strike one,” the umpire said.
From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
“Kill him! Kill the umpire!” shouted someone on the stand;
And its likely they’d a-killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey’s visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew;
But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, “Strike two.”

“Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn’t let that ball go by again.

The sneer is gone from Casey’s lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey’s blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville – mighty Casey has struck out

Baltimore Orioles, Camden Yards & Crabcakes!

One of my favorite ballparks is Oriole Park at Camden Yards.   When I first saw it back in 2004 I felt like I’d been there before, which of course I hadn’t.   Maybe it just reminded me of pictures of grand old stadiums with the brick facades, with it’s  brick B & O Warehouse as a partial border.  It’s Oriole Park located on a river that empties into the Chesapeake Bay and is only a few minutes walk to the Inner Harbor shops & restaurants.  The playing field sits 16 feet below street level.   Its a grand stadium and the food is terrific so I’m told.   

My determination to dine on Maryland Crabcakes took me to Phillips Seafood restaurant at the Inner Harbor, about 12 minute walk from Camden Yards.   I really wanted to try the Crabcake sandwich at the ballpark but  it was raining (the game was eventually rained out) and I wasn’t quite ready to settle into the ballpark, so I ventured toward the harbor and landed at Phillips.  It was a great choice and  I was not disappointed!   Shirley Phillips, co-founder of the restaurant shares her award winning recipe below.   Costco has lump crab meat in 1# containers that works great with this recipe!

SHIRLEY PHILLIPS CRABCAKES

8oz. Phillips Crab Meat
½ tsp. Seafood Seasoning
1 egg
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp. dry mustard
1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
½ tsp. lemon juice
1 ½ tsp. mustard
1 ½ tsp. melted butter
½ tsp. parsley flakes
¼ c. breadcrumbs

Preparation Instructions

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except for crab meat. Gently fold in the crab meat, being careful not to break up the lumps.  Shape into cakes.  Pan fry or bake at 375°F degrees for 12-15 minutes or until evenly brown on each side and reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

GRAB YOUR MITT AND TURN UP THE VOLUME…..!!

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILFWDwVJQxs&feature=related

Centerfield by John C. Fogerty (1985)
Centerfield
Well, beat the drum and hold the phone – the sun came out today!
We’re born again, there’s new grass on the field.
A-roundin’ third, and headed for home, it’s a brown-eyed handsome man;
Anyone can understand the way I feel.Oh, put me in, Coach – I’m ready to play today;
Put me in, Coach – I’m ready to play today;
Look at me, I can be Centerfield.Well, I spent some time in the Mudville Nine, watchin’ it from the bench;
You know I took some lumps when the Mighty Casey struck out.
So Say Hey Willie, tell Ty Cobb and Joe DiMaggio;
Don’t say “it ain’t so”, you know the time is now.Oh, put me in, Coach – I’m ready to play today;
Put me in, Coach – I’m ready to play today;
Look at me, I can be Centerfield.Yeah! I got it, I got it!Got a beat-up glove, a homemade bat, and brand-new pair of shoes;
You know I think it’s time to give this game a ride.
Just to hit the ball and touch ’em all – a moment in the sun;
(pop) It’s gone and you can tell that one goodbye!Oh, put me in, Coach – I’m ready to play today;
Put me in, Coach – I’m ready to play today;
Look at me, I can be Centerfield.Oh, put me in, Coach – I’m ready to play today;
Put me in, Coach – I’m ready to play today;
Look at me, I can be Centerfield.Yeah!
Centerfield

Video Courtesy of BoofMcBoofy

It was 1958 when I first met Willie Mays …..

It was 1958 and Pan Am introduced the first 707 trans Atlantic jet service,  President Eisenhower sent 5,000 Marines to Lebanon,  The United States launched its first satellite  and the New York Giants moved to San Francisco.    The latter is important because if they had stayed in New York, chances are good I never would have seen a Professional Baseball Game.  And I  never would have met Willie Mays.  At least not when I was 15, when it really counted!  

Dad and mom took me and my cousin, Denny, to watch  the San Francisco Giants play at Seal Stadium on August 31, 1958.  I can remember everything.  The stadium probably wasn’t very big but to me it was the biggest stadium ever

Seals Stadium

 built.  And the crowd was probably pretty small by today’s standards, maybe 10,ooo, but to me it was huge, with the  best, loudest and wildest bunch of fans ever gathered for a sports event.  I was overjoyed with the thought of it all!  I’d spent the entire summer scoring every broadcast game, play by play, glued to the radio and occasionally the tv.  If there was a game that day, I had my home-made scorecard ready complete with line-ups, pencils sharpened and ready to go, and carefully recorded every play.  When dad walked through the door at night I went over the game with him,  play by play, every detail recorded precisely as it happened.

But this day I didn’t have my home-made scorecard and pencils.  No, today, I was a spectator at a Giants and Dodger game and boy was I proud to be there!    The one thing I remember most about that game was when Willie Mays hit his home run.  There were a couple home runs hit that day, but the only one I remember was Willie’s.  When Willie hit his

Willie Mays

home run and he  threw the bat down,  and he began his trip  around the bases, it was an incredible sight to see.  He had the longest legs I had ever seen, and they stretched out, straight out, with every step, and I swear it only took him  12 steps to get around the bases.   I kept telling my dad, “did you see that,  did you see that?”  We (Denny and I) were jumping up and down .   I’ve seen pictures of Willie Mays running the bases since then and it doesn’t seem like anything spectacular, but back on August 31, 1958, it was truly a spectacular thing.    

After the game, when the players left the ballpark, I leaned over the railing and yelled at Willie  and he looked at me and I did catch his eye for a split second (a very split second), and that was when I first met Willie Mays, at least in my mind, for a split second,  even though I’m sure  he would never remember this.  To a 15 year old kid back in 1958 , it was the making of a memory of a lifetime.  And that’s the way I’ll always remember it.  Me and Willie Mays, together at Seals Stadium, in downtown San Francisco, on August 31, 1958.

Today in Baseball History……Ted Williams

  • May 16th.  1954 – Ted Williams returns to action after breaking his collarbone in spring training and goes 8-for-9 with two home runs and seven RBI in a doubleheader against the Tigers. Williams has three hits in game one, a 7-6 loss. He goes five-for-five in the nightcap, including two home runs, but Boston loses 9-8 in 14 innings.  

Today I planned on blogging about my first major league baseball game , but when I read this staggering ditty about Ted Williams I had to share it with you.  Think about this.  Ted Williams breaks his collarbone in spring training.  That means by May 16 , his first game back, his recovery couldn’t have been more than 3 months max.  Everything written about him tells us he was one of the cockiest, most self-confident, hardest working gamers of all time.   He played 21 years in MLB with 5 years absence as a Marine Corps Pilot and retired on 9/28/1960 after hitting a home run in his final at bat. 

Ted Williams Career Statistics

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG
2,292 7,706 1,798 2,654 525 71 521 1,839 24 17 2,019 709 .344 .482 .634

 .344 Lifetime Batting Average.    Are you kidding me?  And look at the other Stats!   I guess that just about says it all.   (Does anyone know what “CS 17” means?  It’s making me nuts…….)