September 20, 2014

“They broke all the records, but we won the game.”

September 16, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

So said Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Gino Cimoli in the frantic aftermath of one of the most exciting games of ball ever played. The 1960 World Series has long been considered one of the most memorable Fall Classics. However, while it is of course most remembered for Bill Mazeroski’s sayonara home run in the last of […]

In Praise of Timeless Bears

September 12, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

One of the greatest baseball movies and American comedies of all time has been largely laying low in tall outfield grass for 38 years. Despite its commercial success,The Bad News Bears is rarely mentioned on critics’ lists of classic movies. It’s high time it was put on the pedestal it deserves. Recently, I attended a […]

How Major League Owners Justified Opposition to Integration in 1946

September 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Sixty-eight years ago, even as Jackie Robinson was clearly demonstrating he belonged in the major leagues while playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate in Montreal, major league owners marshaled the same argument expressed in an internal e-mail by the owner of the NBA Atlanta Hawks—that black fans at his arena were hurting his team’s bottom […]

Something Smells Rotten in the TV Rights Dispute in DC

August 28, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Maximizing profits and income is what businessmen do. But somehow, when they are caught doing it as baseball owners it takes on an uglier dimension because they operate in a protected environment. MLB, Inc. is an enterprise that operates outside the scrutiny to which normal business owners are subject. The largely un-examined, private country club […]

Bob Dylan, Henry Aaron: Searching For Dignity

August 19, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

Someone showed me a picture and I just laughed Dignity never been photographed Or so Bob Dylan says in “Dignity,” a song he wrote in 1988 after learning of the death of basketball great Pete Maravich. Dylan has a point. Dignity isn’t an item or commodity that can be replicated and mass-produced. It’s a quality […]

The Radio Guy and The Judge, Cookie and The Brat

August 16, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

We take for granted today that broadcasters on both radio and TV will dissect game situations, offer opinions on strategy, and feel free to second-guess managers and criticize players for mistakes–all of which helps to educate those of us listening at home (or in our cars) on the many nuances of a complex game. It […]

Negro Leagues DB Update: 1920/21 Cuban League

August 10, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The latest addition to the Seamheads Negro Leagues DB covers the 1920/21 winter league season in Cuba. Heading the bill that off-season was none other than the biggest name in baseball at the time, one George Herman Ruth, fronting the New York Giants. The Babe was a little late, showing up only for the last […]

Charlie Dressen’s Worst Day at the Office (Part II): To Walk or Not to Walk Thomson, Was That Ever the Question?

August 7, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

What if, surely knowing that Bobby Thomson was not a good match-up for Ralph Branca, Dodger manager Charlie Dressen decided to walk him with first base open, putting the potential pennant-winning run on base, and have Branca take on Willie Mays instead? What factors might have led Dressen to make such a decision–the emphasis on […]

The Ox That Ate The Georgia Peach

August 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s on the short list of baseball’s records least likely to be broken: Ty Cobb’s lifetime major league batting average of .367. Another Detroit Tiger, Miguel Cabrera, holds the highest active lifetime average at this writing, at .320, with Minnesota’s Joe Mauer and the Angels’ Albert Pujols just percentage points behind. But what player holds […]

The Improbable Career of Adolph “Otto” Rettig

July 31, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The St. Louis Browns had never seen the Philadelphia Athletics starter previously, someone who was listed as “Rettiz” in the scorecard. There was some of the usual razzing of the unknown rookie, but that soon stopped as batter after batter was fooled by the newcomer’s “slow ball.” It was July 19, 1922, and Adolph “Otto” […]

Tommy Holmes’s Sensational Summer of 1945

July 27, 2014 by · 2 Comments 

During World War 2, baseball’s talent level was at an all-time low. Rosters were depleted as players headed off to do their duty for Uncle Sam. Hall of Famers had large chunks of their prime years wiped out, including Hank Greenberg, Bob Feller, Ted Williams, and Joe DiMaggio. Major League Baseball made the best of […]

Removing An Obstruction, a New Tide Is Restoring the Sox

July 21, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Three hundred fifty years ago, when New England built roadbeds and train tracks through coastal salt marshes, the builders had the good sense to build culverts and other openings to let the tidal sea water in. The mistake they made was allowing an inadequate amount to flow through, resulting in dieback and the other symptoms […]

Negro Leagues DB Update: 1935 Negro National League

July 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Check out the newest addition to the Negro Leagues DB: the 1935 Negro National League season. The defending champion Philadelphia Stars fell off quite a bit in 1935, partly because several of their key performers (Biz Mackey, Chaney White) were aging, but mostly because their ace, 1934’s 20-game winner Slim Jones, couldn’t stay away from […]

Thoughts on the Hall of Fame Career of Ichiro

July 16, 2014 by · 2 Comments 

Now 40 years old, the New York Yankees’ Ichiro Suzuki is nearing the end of an extraordinary career. One of the finest-conditioned athletes in the game, he certainly has the body to play for another two or three years. But is the desire there? Ichiro will be a free agent after this season. It is […]

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 […]

The Kid Returneth?

June 29, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Referencing Bryce Harper as “The Kid” is more than a play on his youth, but one that also brings to mind the great hitter Ted Williams who likewise was a star from the first moment he stepped onto an emerald diamond at age 20. Williams, known as the “Kid” for many years in Boston, generated […]

Goodbye, “Mr. Padre”

June 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Dear Mr. Gwynn: I dislike writing pieces like this–about legends taken from this world much before their time; I guess it remains (and always will) a cold reality in a very unfair world. Sometimes, words just aren’t enough, y’know? However, I’ll give it a try. When I first learned of your death last week at […]

“Everything’s a Big Deal In Boston”

June 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

This is no time for A.J. Pierzynski to get weird, but there he was accepting all of the blame for that day’s loss. “I guess I just didn’t frame the pitches good enough,” he said, or something like that. “On the play at the plate, I dropped the throw. (Dustin Pedroia’s) a gold-glove defender, but […]

Which College World Series Teams Play Moneyball the Best?

June 12, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Nearly all discussion of the Moneyball/sabermetrics revolution in baseball has centered on MLB. As part of this revolution, teams such as the Boston Red Sox and Oakland A’s have enjoyed success over roughly the past decade with data-based approaches to the game that emphasize certain principles. These principles include getting on base (with walks being […]

No Chance: ’39 Yankees and ’06 Cubs Dominated the Scoreboard

Through Sunday, the Oakland Athletics have scored an average of two runs more per game than their game opponents. With still over 60 percent of the schedule yet to be played, the A’s are very unlikely to sustain that pace. Should that happen, however, they would be in the close-in suburbs of the exclusive neighborhood […]

Henry Aaron: A Superstar Who Spans the Generations

June 6, 2014 by · 4 Comments 

For those of us who have lost our dads, Father’s Day is tough. While it can mean spending time with our own children, it also reminds us of a hole in our lives that can’t be filled. Sometimes, the best we can do is to cherish memories of the good things that we shared with […]

Don Zimmer Passes Away At Age 83

June 5, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—After 66 years in professional baseball, Rays Senior Baseball Advisor Don Zimmer passed away today BayCare Alliant Hospital in Dunedin, Fla.. He was 83. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Jean (“Soot”), his son Thomas, daughter Donna, and four grandchildren: Beau, Whitney, Ron and Lane. Over the course of his […]

Drew Is Set To Return, But Who Wants Him?

June 2, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Red Sox fans can credit the Stephen Drew signing as having turned around the season – even if most of them don’t want to see him play for the Red Sox. Actually, the Sox were still looking pretty lousy for a few days after they made the Drew announcement on May 20. For example, upon […]

How Baseball Teams Became Tribes

May 31, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Prior to the middle of the 1970’s there was a separation in baseball between fans and teams. In the thousands of photos that exist of crowds prior to 1975, you will not see team hats and shirts on fans. Now, such a photo shows that fans are also in uniform. This change occurred in 1975 […]

Nothing Beats a Sunday Doubleheader

May 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

I’m old enough to have come of baseball age at a time when Sunday doubleheaders were common. In 1961, the first year I paid close attention to the major leagues as my father and I rooted his hometown Cincinnati Reds to the National League pennant, the Reds played 19 doubleheaders, a dozen of them on […]

MLB Searches for Talent, but Not in the Right Places

May 19, 2014 by · 2 Comments 

Major League Baseball works to develop replacement talent needed to keep the professional game going, basing its training centers in so-called academies built at places around the world where the administrators of the men’s game believe that talent can be nurtured. Those places include countries like the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Australia, and even Italy (the […]

1932 All-Star Game: Simmons, Grove Carry Junior Loop to Win Over National League

May 15, 2014 by · 2 Comments 

SIMMONS, GROVE CARRY JUNIOR LOOP TO WIN OVER NATIONAL LEAGUE “Bucketfoot Al” Belts Three-Run Homer HOGAN WOWS FANS WITH LONG CLOUT PHILADELPHIA, July 12.—The Philadelphia Athletics gifted the Phillies Shibe Park for the afternoon so it’s no surprise that a trio of A’s carried the American League past the Nationals in today’s All-Star game by […]

Negro Leagues DB Update: 1923-24 Cuban League

May 10, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Possibly for the first time anywhere (and certainly for the first time in recent history) the Seamheads DB is presenting (nearly) complete statistics for both the 1923/24 Cuban League season as well as the 1924 Gran Premio that followed it. (We’re missing only a single box score.) The 1923/24 Santa Clara club is the most […]

Will a Better Bryce Harper Emerge in the Second Half?

May 6, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Bryce Harper has significant value to the Washington Nationals franchise whether he is on the field or not. The merchandising of a star means that he makes money for the team even on the dl. But there are legitimate questions about Bryce Harper’s value as a marquee player that only will be answered later this […]

Catching Up With the ’64 Phillies: Mauch the Platoonmeister

Fifty years ago, at the end of play on May 1st, the Philadelphia Phillies had gotten off to a 10-2 start and were two games up on the competition.  (San Francisco was second, St. Louis third, half a game behind the Giants, and Cincinnati–off to a 7-7 start and having just lost a two-game set […]

Mike Trout and Bryce Harper: Pat Boone and Elvis

April 23, 2014 by · 2 Comments 

Mike Trout is all smiles everywhere he goes at Nationals Park, whether it is during the game as he settles at first base after a single, or in the dugout with his team mate Albert Pujols, who has just hit his 500th home run–congrats big fellow. Bryce Harper by contrast has found little to smile […]

Alexander Cartwright, The Life Behind the Baseball Legend, by Monica Nucciarone

April 16, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

The Spring 2014 edition of the Baseball Research Journal came in the mail just as I was finishing Monica Nucciarone’s fine book, Alexander Cartwright, The Life Behind the Baseball Legacy. The Journal includes an article by Richard Hershberger about Alexander Cartwright, which examines the proposition whether Cartwright “invented baseball.” Having just read Nucciarone’s book, it seemed to […]

1930 All-Star Game: National League Outslugs Americans In Homer-Filled Contest

April 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

NATIONAL LEAGUE OUTSLUGS AMERICANS IN HOMER-FILLED CONTEST Klein Swats Two Four-Baggers For Seniors  VANCE, WALKER COMBINE   FOR SIX HITLESS FRAMES BROOKLYN, July 8.—Phillies slugger Chuck Klein took advantage of a stiff breeze blowing toward Bedford Avenue and carried the National League’s offense on his back for the first three innings of the seniors’ 8 to […]

Lazzari’s Sports Roundup: 2014 Predictions

April 1, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Yes, it’s that time of the year, folks–time to offer some MLB predictions. Yeah, it’s the usual “crapshoot”; trust me–this yearly undertaking is more difficult than trying to type while wearing boxing gloves. Anyway, here’s how they’ll finish in 2014…… AL EAST T.B. Rays Boston Red Sox N.Y. Yankees Toronto Blue Jays Baltimore Orioles AL […]

Can Matt Williams Manage the Expectations

March 28, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Who Me? That was the collective reaction of the Washington Nationals in 2013 as they came out of Florida with their ace Stephen Strasburg on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the magazine predicting a World Series win for the team. Last season proved that something was missing in the Nationals clubhouse and Davey Johnson […]

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