October 31, 2014

Lining Up the 1995 Mariners and 2014 Royals

October 6, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

For Seattle Mariners fans, the clear sentimental favorite in this year’s playoffs is the Kansas City Royals. There is no overwhelming, uncanny sense of deja vu when you compare the 2014 Royals to the 1995 Mariners, but there are some key similarities between the two teams that explain the simpatico feeling between M’s and Royals […]

An Interview With 1960s Yankees Minor Leaguer Ike Futch

July 12, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Ike Futch, who played second base, mostly, for a variety of Yankee minor league teams from 1959 through 1964, recently wrote this about Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra in a comment responding to a post I’d written about the two Yankee greats: “I had the privilege to be on the same field with this fine […]

Do You Enjoy Baseball as Much as You Used to?

March 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

This question is aimed at people who started following major league baseball before the late ’90s, that is, before the Internet became a big deal, before every game of a season was televised, and before the home run boom really got going. Was MLB more enjoyable in the earlier years? If it was, did that […]

An Annotated Article on Baseball in New York City in 1854

December 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Here, from the New York Times of December 19, 1854, is an article on the status of baseball in and around New York City as of that date. I’ve added various notes, comments, and annotations in brackets to help give a sense of the sport’s status in 1854, seven years before the Civil War started. […]

The Most Discouraging Franchises of the Last Decade

November 22, 2013 by · 2 Comments 

This idea isn’t as much about the worst teams over the 2004-2013 span as it is about the franchises that have done the most to strip away hope from their fans in the last decade. The surest way to do it is by losing games, but a franchise can also achieve it by lying to […]

One Way to Properly Value Baseball’s Wild Card

November 8, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

Major League Baseball said the advent of the Wild Card Game in 2012 would improve competitiveness by giving added value to winning your division and decreasing the value of being the wild-card team that survives the play-in game to reach the division round. The Wild Card Game does this, but it’s also a gimmick, a […]

A Portrait of Ron Washington in 1989, at the End of His Playing Career

September 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

In 1989, David Lamb spent the summer rambling around the U.S. in his RV, watching minor league baseball games as he traveled. A couple years later, he published a book, Stolen Season, about his journey. Lamb caught up with Ron Washington in Tucson, where the future Rangers manager was playing shortstop, mostly, for the Houston […]

Visiting Aging Lefty Warren Spahn in 1989

September 7, 2013 by · 2 Comments 

Warren Spahn was tending to his southeast Oklahoma cattle ranch or, more accurately, relaxing at the Broken Arrow country club near the ranch when journalist David Lamb met him while traveling cross-country in his RV in 1989. (A couple years later, Lamb published a book, Stolen Season, about his journey and the minor-league baseball he […]

Which Man Has Had the Best Overall Career in MLB History?

June 26, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

A blogging friend, Bill Miller, wrote about Walter Johnson’s hitting proficiency a while ago; it was something I had not known about. His post prompted me to come up with this question: Which man has had the best overall baseball career in MLB history, covering the roles of pitcher, position player and/or hitter, and manager? […]

Recalling the Death of Tim Crews and Steve Olin in 1993 Spring Training

March 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

A few years ago I looked back at the Cleveland Indians’ speedboat wreck in Florida on March 22, 1993, that killed Steve Olin and Tim Crews, and nearly killed Bob Ojeda. The 20th anniversary of the tragedy is this week. If any in the Seamheads audience remember the tragedy and your reaction to it, I’d […]

Taking a Look at Rick Reuschel

February 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

A few days ago I saw an article on High Heat Stats making one sabermetric case for Rick Reuschel as a viable Hall of Famer. So, I revisited a post I’d done on Reuschel a few years ago, and here is a reworking of the post. In July 1985, Sports Illustrated wrote: When the Yankees […]

Thoughts on the 1950 Movie, The Jackie Robinson Story

January 2, 2013 by · 3 Comments 

I recently happened to catch some of Jackie Robinson playing himself in The Jackie Robinson Story, a 1950 movie that, from what I saw, spends most of its 77 minutes showing Jackie signing with the Dodgers and beginning his career with the team, first in spring training, with their Montreal Royals farm team, and then […]

Eleven Standouts in the Career Sub-70 Home Run Ranks

December 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

This set of 11 retired players who were active after the dead ball era ended is not exactly a sequel to my earlier list of players with under 400 career homers, but it works on the similar idea that less is more for some hitters. It enforces Mark McGwire’s 70-homer season in ’98 as the […]

Some of the Best Players After the Dead Ball Era With Under 400 Career Homers

December 7, 2012 by · 3 Comments 

The players who are in the 500-home run club used to be guaranteed a place in the Hall of Fame. The offensive boom of the last two decades cheapened membership some, but they’re still guaranteed either fame or notoriety, and sometimes both. This list of retired players who hit mostly or entirely after the dead […]

A Glimpse of Eddie Mathews in 1989

November 18, 2012 by · 4 Comments 

In a 1991 book called Stolen Season, journalist David Lamb describes his solo journey by RV through the U.S. on a tour of the minor leagues in 1989. Lamb, a devoted fan of the Milwaukee Braves in the late ’50s as a boy in Boston, which the Braves had left a few years earlier, caught […]

Which MLB franchise do you most respect?

September 12, 2012 by · 4 Comments 

By most respect, I don’t mean the franchise you most want to win, or the one with the most wins and losses, or the one with the most World Series titles, but the franchise that you think is the best overall model for the other 29 franchises to follow. Maybe you respect the Yankees, not […]

April 20, 1912: The First Game at Fenway Park

April 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park, here is a look at how the Boston Globe of April 21, 1912 described the first game at Fenway, played the day previously. Of course it was a Red Sox-Yankees affair, with perhaps Boston’s best team ever winning 7-6 on a run in the 11th. (The Yankees, […]

Thinking About Jamie Moyer at 49

April 1, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

Jamie Moyer is old enough to have helped prompt the Chicago Cubs to trade Dennis Eckersley to the Oakland A’s in the spring of 1987, when Moyer was a rising prospect displacing Eckersley as a starter, and to have been traded along with Rafael Palmeiro to the Texas Rangers for Mitch Williams before the 1989 […]

A Best Of Collection of Favorite Obscure Baseball Players

March 27, 2012 by · 5 Comments 

A year ago I started a project on my blog of asking people to name their favorite obscure baseball figure from the past: not exclusively players, but anyone employed by the game. The volume of responses (many came from the now-defunct Baseball-Reference blog) surprised me, and led me to start the project up again this […]

Talking About the Dynamics and Emotions of Spring Training With Jack Perconte

March 14, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The surface rituals of spring training are well known to fans, but camp presents unique challenges to players whether they’re established starters, prospects or trying to make sure they hold onto their big league jobs. Baseball instructor Jack Perconte, who now coaches players privately in Illinois, was in spring training most years in the ’80s, […]

How Would You Reconstruct MLB From Scratch?

February 17, 2012 by · 3 Comments 

Here’s a hypothetical question: If you could restart MLB from scratch, how many teams would you have, and where would you put them? I mean, would you maintain all 30 teams, in each of the 30 places they currently call home, or would you construct a 28-team league, a 26-team league, a 32-team league? Would […]

Picking Your Favorite Obscure Baseball Figure

February 8, 2012 by · 11 Comments 

Last year I started a project on my blog of asking fans to send in their picks for their favorite obscure baseball figure from the past. As the word “figure” indicates, the person didn’t have to be a player; it can be anyone employed within the game itself, by a team or by a league, […]

The Birth of the Cool Papa Bell Legend

September 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Here is Buck Leonard, about five years before he died, relating to Wilt Browning of the Greensboro News & Record the story of the birth of the legend that Cool Papa Bell was fast enough to turn out the light and get in bed before the room got dark: “Cool and I roomed together for […]

Looking Back at Alex Rodriguez, the Young Seattle Mariner: 1993 Through 1995

May 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

I recently looked through the news archives for information about Alex Rodriguez’s introduction to Seattle as a 1993 draftee from Miami, then as a minor leaguer, a rookie in 1994, and a backup in 1995, to see what foreshadowings of his future controversies and successes were present when he was still a teenager. Rodriguez’s seasonal […]

Gambling on the 1917 White Sox-Giants World Series

May 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The recent New York Times article about speculation that the Cubs threw the 1918 World Series to the Red Sox brings up the broader issue of how deeply major league baseball was corrupted by gambling and a money culture in the 1910s. A while ago I looked up how the Chicago Tribune covered the end […]

“Pitchers of Beer: The Story of the Seattle Rainiers” by Dan Raley

March 25, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

WELL-DONE HISTORY OF BYGONE SEATTLE BASEBALL ERA As someone who used to literally sit at my grandfather’s knee listening to his stories of the old Seattle Rainiers and the Pacific Coast League, I became quite familiar with names of people who built baseball in Seattle in the years from 1938 onward.  Grandpa was the head […]

Rob Nelson on the Future (and Could-Have Been Past) of Pro Baseball in Portland

March 20, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

I recently talked with Rob Nelson, the co-creator of Big League Chew shredded bubble gum, Portland Mavericks pitcher (and pitching coach) in the mid-1970s, and all-around fixture of Portland’s baseball scene. Our conversation centered on Big League Chew and the Mavs, but we also eventually got around to the plight of pro baseball in Portland […]

The Status of the Sendai-Based Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball

March 14, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

Here’s some of a story from the Daily Yomiuri on what’s happening with the Eagles following the massive damage to Sendai and the rest of Miyagi Prefecture in Friday’s earthquake and tsunami: After holding meetings on Sunday morning at their hotel, the Eagles held a somber workout at the Yomiuri Giants’ minor league facility in […]

A Composite Portrait of Barry Bonds Before He Reached the Majors

March 5, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

These items are pulled together from various articles in newspapers from 1974 to early 1986. They’re presented here to shed some light on Bonds’ early personality and the talent and power he displayed before reaching the majors, many years before the steroids talk began. In 1974, Barry Bonds’ father, Bobby, left the Giants for the […]

Part II of the Rob Nelson Interview: Playing for the Portland Mavericks, a Game Called Boku, Et Cetera

January 30, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

I earlier posted the portion of my talk with Rob Nelson in which he talks about co-creating Big League Chew and his 30 years managing one of the legendary bubble gums. In this part, Rob Nelson describes how he came to be a Portland Maverick, what it was like to be on the team, and […]

Talking With Rob Nelson About Big League Chew

January 28, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

The story of the creation of Big League Chew in the Portland Mavericks’ bullpen in 1977 is told in shorthand on the back of every package of “the ballplayers bubble gum,” and Rob Nelson, the co-creator, along with Jim Bouton, has told the longhand story on a few occasions. I talked with Nelson recently about […]

Some Background Information About the Mookie Wilson Grounder to Bill Buckner in October 1986

January 8, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

We all know about Buckner and game 6 of the 1986 World Series. But on October 14, 1986, a profile of Buckner by Ross Newhan noted that in 1985 he had “set a big league record for assists by a first baseman with 184.” But, Newhan also noted the long-term impact from “April 18, 1975, […]

One Short Argument for the Hall of Fame Candidacy of Designated Hitters

January 5, 2011 by · 4 Comments 

The debate over whether Edgar Martinez should be a Hall of Famer has typically swung on the question of the value of a designated hitter, and whether Martinez’s level of offensive production outweighs the loss of value from him not being available to play defense for the majority of his career. A point in the […]

Bob Feller, Phil Cavarretta, and the End of the Pre-World War II Generation of Major Leaguers

December 26, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Earlier this year I used Wikipedia’s list of former major league players age 90 and up to put together an all-star lineup of such players. In the following half year, Bob Feller, Ralph Houk, Phil Cavarretta, and George Binks have all left that lineup. Feller and Houk were both well known for their time serving […]

Bob Feller in His Own Words

December 15, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

A few months ago I went through newspaper archives from the past 30 years or so to gather up some of Bob Feller’s remarks on his life, his baseball career, and many other topics. Feller was one of the last surviving stars who’d played major league baseball before the U.S. entered World War II. Besides […]

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