March 24, 2017

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 […]

Touring the Bases With Bob Wolff

May 16, 2012 by · 2 Comments 

Bob Wolff is one of the most famous television and radio announcers of the second half of the Twentieth Century. He has been inducted to both the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown and the Basketball Hall of Fame as well. His call of Don Larsen’s World Series Perfect Game in 1956 for Mutual Radio […]

Adjusting for Military Service

May 6, 2012 by · 4 Comments 

Many fans have wondered over the years about those players who lost playing time to military service – and how that may have impacted their total careers. One interesting aspect of win shares and the CAWS Career Gauge is that it is fairly easy to reasonably adjust a player’s career numbers to reflect this lost […]

Hi Bithorn: Puerto Rico’s Baseball Pioneer

January 20, 2012 by · 2 Comments 

More than 225 players who were born in Puerto Rico have played major league baseball, representing a staggering amount for such a small country. Their successes were paved by right handed pitcher Hiram “Hi” Bithorn, who was the first of them to debut, with the Chicago Cubs in 1942. Bithorn is not well-remembered today because […]

Pre-War Japanese Baseball Cards

November 15, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

I was writing an update for my web site on the history of Japanese baseball cards when I realized that American fans might enjoy seeing this baseball eye candy. So, I’m posting this short history of pre-World War II Japanese cards here on Seamheads. This is not meant to be a comprehensive history; it’s just […]

Roy Smalley, Jr.—A Baseball Classic

October 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

This past week baseball lost Roy Smalley, Jr., another member of the World War II generation that has been rapidly slipping away in recent years. He was a player, a manager, an armed services veteran, and the father of Roy Smalley III, also a major leaguer. He was part of a vanishing generation that played […]

“All In” – Starting Pitchers and the Hall of Fame

August 1, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

With the induction of Bert Blyleven into the Hall of Fame in 2011, every starting pitcher in the second half of the 20th century who has HOF numbers is now in Cooperstown. Let me be a bit more precise.  According to the CAWS Career Gauge, every starting pitcher whose career began after World War II […]

Stanley “Doc” Glenn Fondly Remembered in Quebec

May 16, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

Word came down the other day that 84-year old Stanley “Doc” Glenn had passed away on April 16. Glenn, a rangy 6’ 2” son of a Virginia fisherman who once described himself as a journeyman catcher, was in fact a superior defensive rearguard with a great arm. During the 1940s he made his mark with […]

Ultimate Sacrifice Baseball Card Set

April 16, 2011 by · 6 Comments 

Of the 142 professional baseball players who lost their lives during World War II, I doubt any of them ever appeared on a baseball card. This got me thinking about how nice it would be to create cards for each of them and I have to admit I have taken my inspiration from Gary Cieradkowski’s […]

Dreams Turned Nightmares

April 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

In 1949, a 29-year-old Phillies first baseman was surging. Standing more than 6-feet tall, 175 lbs. and equipped with a pleasant disposition, he had the total package. Whether at the plate or in the field, he exuded cool. Former teammate Lennie Merullo said of Eddie Waitkus, “It was like his head actually rested on top […]

Bill Hosie: Young Canadian Ballplayer Killed in WWII

March 30, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Over the past ten years or so, I have scoured countless newspapers from the 1930s looking for references to ballplayers who were killed while serving with the armed forces during World War II. In addition to the 141 former professional players that I’ve uncovered I have found reference to hundreds of semi-pro, college and high […]

The Duke’s-Eye View

March 7, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

This has been a tough winter for baseball Hall of Famers. Sparky Anderson died in November, the seemingly indestructible Bob Feller left us in December, and now Duke Snider is gone. I never got to meet Snider, which I’m told was my loss. But he was the protagonist in one of my favorite Hall of […]

139 Ballplayers Died in Service in World War II

March 4, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

Names such as Bob Feller and Ted Williams instantly spring to mind when we think of dedication to service during the war years, but little is heard of the minor league players who also served. While the majority of big leaguers enjoyed an almost normal existence (albeit for $21 a month service pay) playing baseball […]

Further Details on Walt Navie’s 1945 Suicide

February 12, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Walter Navie was a 20-game winner in the minors and headed for a career with the White Sox. But four years of military service ended in tragic circumstances. I have recently uncovered more details on the circumstances surrounding Navie’s death.

Red Ruffing: HOF Perseverance

January 8, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

How does a pitcher start his career 39-96 and end up in the Hall of Fame?  This is the amazing story of Charles  Herbert “Red” Ruffing.  He was born on May 3, 1905 in the tiny village of Granville, Illinois.  At an early age,  Ruffing dropped out of school and tended to a mine ventilation […]

The Favorite Toy and…Bob Feller

December 21, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

In the wake of Bob Feller’s death on Wednesday, many a tribute has been paid to the man they called “Rapid Robert,” including one by our very own Arne Christensen, who wrote “Bob Feller in His Own Words,” in which the Hall of Fame hurler states, “A lot of folks say that had I not […]

Another One Bites The Dust

November 11, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

I didn’t know the late William Lee “Bill” Jennings. Never met him, never had a chat with him, never even knew of him until recently, in fact. What little I do know about Mr. Jennings, who died at the age of 85 on October 20, 2010, is attributable to his passing being prominently mentioned on […]

The Song Doesn’t Always Remain The Same

October 20, 2010 by · 4 Comments 

Baseball history, as far as I’m concerned, was made during Tuesday night’s 10-3 victory for the Texas Rangers over the New York Yankees in Game Four of the American League Championship Series.  In the bottom of the 7th inning actor Patrick Wilson came out to perform “God Bless America,” the singing of which has become […]

Mickey Grasso’s Wartime Journal

August 20, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

A 150-page journal that was kept by big leaguer catcher Mickey Grasso while he was a prisoner of the Germans in World War II, has just been discovered in Miami. Now the owner wants to reunite the book with Mickey’s surviving family. On February 14, 1943, Mickey Grasso, a young catcher with the Interstate League’s […]

They Belong to the Ages: The 2010 Pittsburgh Pirates

July 14, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Sometimes we notice incompetence only when it assumes its most spectacular forms.  The chemist who blows up her lab.   The surgeon who amputates the wrong leg.  The mechanic who fills your radiator with wiper fluid. But often we overlook the grinding, day-to-day manifestations of ineptitude, the kind you live with and suffer through until one […]

Elmer Gedeon – A True Hero of World War II

July 13, 2010 by · 3 Comments 

Elmer Gedeon, nephew of former American League infielder Joe Gedeon, was a three-sport star at the University of Michigan and a major league outfielder in the 1930s. He is one of only two players with major league experience to be killed while serving his country during World War II. Elmer J. Gedeon was born in […]

Major League Baseball….in Altoona?

June 6, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

Altoona, Pennsylvania is the kind of place Bruce Springsteen sings about – a cold, gray blight, best experienced through the rear-view mirror at about 80 miles-an-hour.  When the Pennsylvania Railroad crumbled after World War II, Altoona crashed down right along with it.  Today, the garish lights of its endless chain restaurants and strip malls are […]

Lefty Brewer: A D-Day Hero

June 6, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

On this day, 66 years ago, baseball lost a true D-Day hero. Lefty Brewer, owned by the Washington Senators, died fighting for his country more than 3,000 miles from home. Francis Field, home of the St. Augustine Saints of the Florida State League, was a magical place during the summer of 1938. As the smell […]

Remembering Baseball’s Dead of World War II on Memorial Day

May 30, 2010 by · 3 Comments 

We don’t celebrate Memorial Day in Scotland. We have a day for military veterans in November called Remembrance Day, just like you have Veterans Day, but nothing at this time of year. I think we should. So, until our government listen to my advice and make it happen, I’m going to share yours. Obviously, when […]

Hall of Fame Killers

May 18, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Any Seamheads reader should know by now that there’s a lot of good information at baseball-reference.com. In particular, in the Play Index. For instance: in the last decade, Miguel Tejada led the majors with 223 groundball double play, 28 more than runner-up Paul Konerko. That is only one ground ball short of Jim Rice’s 224 […]

Baseball’s Dead of World War II

April 21, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

There has never been a baseball book like Baseball’s Dead of World War II.  (Baseball historian Bill Swank) A few years ago I began compiling biographies on professional baseball players who lost their lives in military service during World War II. At the time I had around 25 names to work with . . . […]

Billy The Kid

March 15, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

People talk about coaching trees in other sports, but I don’t hear much about managerial trees.  Leonard Koppett and Bill James did touch on the subject in their seminal books on managers.  By the way, there is a new book on managers that just came out.  It’s by a longtime friend of mine named Chris […]