July 22, 2017

The Big Rude

March 8, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Hey baseball fans! The team that represented the American League in my favorite World Series (1993: Toronto Blue Jays vs. Philadelphia Phillies) was filled to the brim with All Stars like Joe Carter and Jack Morris and Hall of Famers like Rickey Henderson and Paul Molitor. However, perhaps the most important player on the team that season was the AL batting champion […]

Which Independent Players Will Make It to Opening Day? 51 Have Been in Major League Camps

March 6, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

One year it was Chris Coste, another Jon Weber and last season Scott Rice and Chris Colabello. The names change, but the stories are similar.  Players who have devoted years of determination and grit to beat the odds of climbing all the way from Independent Baseball leagues, through the affiliated minors and perhaps…just perhaps…squeezing their […]

Chris Colabello: Time Can’t Stop Rookie From Reaching Major Leagues with Minnesota Twins

September 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Dreams can be hard to achieve, but fortunately there is no expiration date on their fulfillment. Professional baseball player Chris Colabello learned that this year, as years of hard work finally paid off and landed him in the major leagues. Colabello, a big right-handed first baseman/outfielder, played his college ball for Division II Assumption in […]

With Talent and Motivation, Kevin Hooper ‘Without Concern’ As Wichita Powerhouse Readies for Playoffs

August 30, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

“To be honest, there is no concern.” How often does a manager talk in such confident terms?   Never might be too soon, right? Yet, that was exactly what Wichita (KS) Wingnuts Manager Kevin Hooper said this week when I asked him what his biggest concern was heading into next week’s American Association playoffs. Let me […]

Can Washington Continue to Compete Without Major International Signings?

August 13, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

As an organization the Washington Nationals have eschewed big international signings. The few forays they have made have been disappointing at best. They announced today that they are pursuing legal options to recoup the $1.4 million that they paid to Dominican phenom Smiley Gonzalez in 2006. Smiles turned to frowns when the 16-year old Gonzalez […]

The Baseball Historian’s Notes for July 15, 2013: Is it Time to Change the All Star Game?

July 15, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Despite making his major league debut on June 3rd and only playing in 37 games, 23-year-old Los Angeles Dodgers rookie sensation Yasiel Puig received a huge surge of support to make this year’s National League All Star team. The outfielder has done his best Roy Hobbs impression by hitting a blistering .392 with eight home […]

“The Greatest Game Ever Pitched” At 50

July 2, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Today is the 50th anniversary of a pitching duel I chronicled in a book called “The Greatest Game Ever Pitched.” On July 2-3, 1963, 42-year-old Warren Spahn of the Milwaukee Braves and 25-year-old Juan Marichal of the San Francisco Giants staged a 16-inning, 428-pitch clash that might still be going if it weren’t for a […]

Clearing The Bases

April 17, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Arizona Diamondbacks: Pretty tough week for the DBacks as they lose 2B Aaron Hill until June with a broken hand. Hill suffered the injury when he was hit by an Edwin Jackson pitch. Tried to play with it over the weekend but just couldn’t do it. Outfielder Jason Kubel was also placed on the DL […]

Clearing The Bases

April 9, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

Baltimore Orioles: Tough news for 2B Brian Roberts. He ruptured a tendon in the back of his knee and will miss most of, if not all of April. The problem for Roberts is this, even if he does return during the 2-4 week timetable, it would seem to be highly unlikely that he wouldn’t suffer […]

What Irony If Chris Colabello and Curt Smith End Up Competing for Same Job With Twins

March 21, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

It was only a week ago in this space that I found myself praising the WBC performances of Chris Colabello and Curt Smith.  I hope that cruel irony does not step in for this pair. Minnesota gave Colabello, the longtime Can-Am League standout (Worcester, MA and Nashua, NH) only two at-bats after Team Italy was […]

Cole Frenzel: Seeking His Opportunity with the New York Mets

March 17, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The New York Mets face a bleak situation with their offense as the 2013 season nears. Other than third baseman David Wright and first baseman Ike Davis, they lack any above-average bats, but hope that help may be on the way courtesy of their minor league system. One player who could be in the mix […]

Jury Is Out On John Grisham’s Baseball Novel

June 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

“At long last,” it says on the back cover of John Grisham’s new novel,Calico Joe, “America’s favorite storyteller takes on America’s favorite pastime.” Calico Joe is a good story, smoothly and movingly told, although after page 19 I was able to predict most of what would happen the rest of the way. A bigger tipoff appears one […]

Indy Domination? It Was in This Eastern League Game With Mates Getting Win, Save and All Six RBI

June 22, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Independent Baseball players who have had their contracts purchased by major league organizations seem to understand what a neat little fraternity they have.  They are in the minority on affiliated minor league rosters with the norm probably only a couple of hopefuls on a 25-man team. Longtime Can-Am League first baseman Chris Colabello knew all […]

New Grip Helps Brock Peterson Slug Eight Homers in Nine Games And Climb to Top of Atlantic League Ladder

June 15, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Brock Peterson remembers one time when he banged out something like 17 consecutive hits. But that was as an American Legion player, and he was using a metal bat. His latest streak was much more vital to his career because eight home runs in nine games in a 10-day period in the Atlantic League is […]

The Glory Days: First NL Expansion Draft

June 10, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

The New York Mets and the Houston Colt .45s stocked their rosters with players selected in the expansion draft held by the National League on October 10 of 1961 at the Netherland-Hilton Hotel in Cincinnati. The Mets’ brain trust was headed up by general manager George Weiss and manager Casey Stengel, both of whom had […]

White Sox Rising

June 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

May 31, 2012 When the Chicago White Sox swept the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field two weeks ago it was fun but, really, can’t an old person with a fly swatter beat the Cubs? The Sox, however, were apparently emboldened by that three-game ear-gouge of their crosstown rivals because now the Pale Hose are taking […]

Willie Upshaw Already Has a Significant Major League Resume, But Bridgeport Skipper Longs for Chance to Lead a Team

May 31, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Willie Upshaw’s post-playing-days reputation as both a major and minor league hitting guru seems unchallenged and he enjoys the opportunity to be near his home in Fairfield, CT, but he is much like those he manages in the Atlantic League in that he wants a different job. “I get pigeonholed as a hitting coach”, the […]

All For Paul

May 28, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

May 27, 2012 Jimi Hendrix, Albert Einstein, Prince Planet, Julie Christie, Harper Lee and Joan of Arc.  What do they all have in common?  They’re about half as cool as Paul Konerko. Konerko, the venerable Chicago White Sox first baseman, is swinging the bat like a honey badger hocked up on Cherry Coke trapped inside […]

A Four Course Feast of Baseball Ignorance

May 14, 2012 by · 2 Comments 

The past couple of weeks have brought an even greater parade of baseball ignorance than usual from the professionals who play and report on the game. I started to write about one of them, but before I could fully digest that affront to my baseball taste, another one jumped out at me, followed by two […]

Independent Baseball Season Fires Up Next Week With Three More Leagues Starting Play

May 11, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Joe Calfapietra is one of the real veterans among the 32 Independent Baseball managers preparing teams to open the season in one week (May 17) when the Can-Am League, American Association and Frontier League hear the “Play Ball” cry. The 42-year-old New Jersey Jackals skipper has had time to develop a plan for building a […]

There Are Things That “Go Bad”

May 8, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

A few days ago, almost the entire Media declared a “national holiday with extension to the Caribbean” because a game is decided by Alex Rodriguez. But, when Albert Pujol hits his first home run of this campaign, after 111 times at bat without producing one, the scandal must have been heard on the moon. As much […]

How Hack Wilson’s Historic 1930 Season Avoided Knockout Punch

April 13, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Lewis “Hack” Wilson enjoyed one of the most inspired seasons in baseball history in 1930. Playing outfield for the Chicago Cubs, he hit .356 with 56 home runs and a major league record 191 RBI. He had set the National League RBI record the year before with 159, but shattered that with his inspired play […]

A New York View of the 1913 Merkle Play

December 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

For those who read the accounts of Fred Merkle’s handling the ball hit to him in the third inning of the final game of the 1913 World Series—from the Philadelphia sport writers’ view—I have some follow up that presents the play from the New York writers’ view. One major difference is the Philadelphia writers all […]

World Series 2011 Observations

October 29, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

The 2011 World Series will be remembered as a great one despite an anti-climactic Game 7.  Before that there were 4 nail-biters plus Albert Pujols epic game and an unforgettable game 6. If ever there was a team of destiny, it’s the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals. Future regular season and World Series comebacks will be […]

Kemp Unanimous Pick For NL Stan Musial Award

October 28, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

Bautista holds off Ellsbury in American League There were some outstanding performances this year in Major League Baseball.  However, one clearly stood out from the pack. Los Angeles Dodger outfielder Matt Kemp was named the National League Stan Musial Award winner for 2011 in voting held by the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.  Kemp received all 15 […]

Don’t Let Albert Pujols Fool You

October 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Game 3 of the 2011 World Series was a signature moment in the career of Albert Pujols. The three home runs he hit placed him in elite company with Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson, as the only other players to accomplish such a feat. Pujols is undoubtedly one of the best players of all time, […]

Kimbrel, Hosmer, Hellickson Selected Top Rookies By BBA‏

October 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Craig Kimbrel of the Atlanta Braves easily won the Baseball Bloggers Alliance‘s Willie Mays Award for top rookie in the National League.  The American League award, though, was a much different story. Kansas City first baseman Eric Hosmer and Tampa Bay pitcher Jeremy Hellickson both received 67 points in American League voting, creating the first […]

The Hall of Famers: The 5 Levels of Greatness – Part 4

September 19, 2011 by · 5 Comments 

In this article (the last in this series), I will present the Level 5 players who posted Hall of Fame numbers during the 20th century.  In Levels 1 through 4, there were eighty-eight (88) position players who had a CAWS career score of at least 280.  In Level 5, we have the other twenty-eight (28) […]

Hunter or Hunted?

July 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Long before Pete Rose, there was Hal Chase. In “The Black Prince of Baseball: Hal Chase and the Mythology of the Game,” authors Donald Dewey and Nicholas Acocella examine whether Chase left an indelible black mark on baseball or whether the culture of baseball scourged Hal Chase. Read this book because: 1. Chase was one […]

All Phillies…All the Time — Who’s on First?

June 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The Phillies have had several outstanding first basemen over the years… it’s just that very few of them, for various reasons, bothered to hang around for very long. Most notable among this group are Jim Thome (three years), Dolph Camilli (four years), Dick Allen (three years at first), Von Hayes (ditto, three years primarily at […]

All Phillies…All the Time — The Catchers

June 10, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Herewith is the first installment of the All-Time Greatest Phillies Team. Before undertaking this endeavor, some ground rules… This is one version of the “Greatest Phillies of All Time.” The key word is “great,” and it will be used in the larger meaning of the word, that is, beyond pure statistics. This is sort of […]

The Memorial Day Brawl of 1932

May 29, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Administrative duties have kept me from writing much lately, so I thought I’d dust off an article I wrote for Memorial Day 2009. Enjoy! Twelve years after the Black Sox scandal decimated the White Sox and led to lifetime bans of eight players, a postgame brawl with umpire George Moriarty on Memorial Day 1932 could […]

Audio Interview With Dodgers Prospect Scott Van Slyke

May 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

On May 6th, I had an opportunity to interview Chattanooga Lookouts first baseman/outfielder Scott Van Slyke. He was recently selected Southern League Hitter of the Week (April 18th-24th). Scott currently leads the Southern League in batting average, doubles and extra-base hits. This interview focuses on the offensive and defensive changes he’s made during the 2011 […]

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL AND MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYERS ASSOCIATION REACH AGREEMENT REGARDING PAYMENTS FOR PRE-1980 PLAYERS

April 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

My friend Doug Gladstone, author of A Bitter Cup of Coffee: How MLB and The Players Association Threw 874 Retirees a Curve, has been championing the cause of MLB players who retired between 1947 and 1980 and who didn’t qualify for a pension if they had less than four years of service time.  It looks […]

Another Indy Milestone Achieved With 150th Major Leaguer

April 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

     Independent Baseball reached another impressive milestone shortly after the major league season opened.             Appearances by rookies Tom Wilhelmsen and Aaron Crow plus a re-appearance by Eric Almonte, who is at the game’s highest level for the first time in eight years, jumped the non-affiliated branch of baseball past the 150 mark in getting […]

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