Posts Tagged ‘baseball’

Ted Williams’ Hall of Fame Speech

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

I meant to post this the other day, as Monday was the 45th anniversary of Ted Williams’ induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. In his speech Williams mentioned, almost off-handedly, that players from the segregated Negro Leagues be allowed into the hall.

So picture the scene. It’s the summer of 1966, not even three years since Martin Luther King Jr’s speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. It wasn’t even a year and a half since the first march from Selma to Montgomery, and not even a year after the Watts Riots.

Gutsy stuff from the best hitter in baseball.

And lastly, I have to mention the sad, embarrassing fact that the Boston Red Sox were the last major league baseball team to integrate their roster, waiting until 1959 to bring up a black player from the minor leagues.

Here’s the text of Williams’ speech:

“I guess every player thinks about going into the Hall of Fame. Now that the moment has come for me I find it difficult to say what is really in my heart. But I know it is the greatest thrill of my life. I received two hundred and eighty-odd votes from the writers. I know I didn’t have two hundred and eighty-odd friends among the writers. I know they voted for me because they felt in their minds and in their hearts that I rated it, and I want to say to them: Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Today I am thinking about a lot of things. I am thinking about my playground director in San Diego, Rodney Luscomb, my high school coach, Wos Caldwell, and my managers, who had so much patience with me–fellows like Frank Shellenback, Donie Bush, Joe Cronin, and Joe McCarthy. I am thinking of Eddie Collins, who had so much faith in me–and to be in the Hall with him particularly, as well as those other great players, is a great honor. I’m sorry Eddie isn’t here today.

I’m thinking of Tom Yawkey. I have always said it: Tom Yawkey is the greatest owner in baseball. I was lucky to have played on the club he owned, and I’m grateful to him for being here today.

But I’d not be leveling if I left it at that. Ballplayers are not born great. They’re not born great hitters or pitchers or managers, and luck isn’t a big factor. No one has come up with a substitute for hard work. I’ve never met a great player who didn’t have to work harder at learning to play ball than anything else he ever did. To me it was the greatest fun I ever had, which probably explains why today I feel both humility and pride, because God let me play the game and learn to be good at it.

The other day Willie Mays hit his five hundred and twenty-second homerun. He has gone past me, and he’s pushing, and I say to him, ‘go get ‘em Willie.’

Baseball gives every American boy a chance to excel. Not just to be as good as anybody else, but to be better. This is the nature of man and the name of the game. I hope some day Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson will be voted into the Hall of Fame as symbols of the great Negro players who are not here only because they weren’t given the chance.

As time goes on I’ll be thinking baseball, teaching baseball, and arguing for baseball to keep it right on top of American sports, just as it is in Japan, Mexico, Venezuela, and other Latin American and South American countries. I know Casey feels the same way. . . . I also know I’ll lose a dear friend if I don’t stop talking. I’m eating into his time, and that is unforgivable. So in closing, I am greatful and know how lucky I was to have been born an American and had the chance to play the game I love, the greatest game.”

Ted Williams
July 25, 1966
Cooperstown, New York

A post-script – both Paige and Gibson were two of nine players elected to the hall by the “Committee on Negro Baseball Leagues” in 1971 and 1972. And just five years ago another Special Committee on Negro Leagues elected 17 more Negro leaguers.

Lee to Philly! Lee to Philly!

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

One week you wake up with a new Red Sox player, the next you wake up to a new … Philly?!

Apparently ace pitcher Cliff Lee didn’t sign with the Rangers or the Yankees last night, and instead signed with Philadelphia!

From the Inquirer: “Lee returning to Phillies in five-year deal“:

Pinch yourself, Phillies fans.

What used to be fantasy has now become reality.

Cliff Lee, even after being offered more money by the American League champion Texas Rangers and the 27-time World Series champion New York Yankees, has decided to sign with the Phillies.

That’s the kind of Philadelphia story most of you probably thought you’d never read.

My anti-Yankee sentiment had me all excited, until I realized that Philly now has Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels.

I’m calling it right now: in eleven months it’s going to be a Philadelphia/Boston World Series.

Easton Metal Bat Lawsuit

Friday, December 10th, 2010

I hadn’t heard this story yet: “Boy left deaf in one ear after line drive; family sues bat maker“.

Apparently several states have banned metal baseball bats, like the one that hurt this 11 year old.

I found the complaint at 10-cv-7751.

Here are a couple of the facts (including the very specific details of the game in question):

7. At all times relevant herein, Defendant, EASTON, designed, manufactured and tested baseball bats to intentionally maximize the “exit velocity” or speed at which a baseball comes off the bat.
8. At all times relevant herein, Defendant, EASTON, marketed such baseball bats as having incredible exit velocity, including advertisements featuring professional athletes hitting baseballs through cement building walls while using Easton baseball bats.
16. At the aforesaid time and place, Plaintiff, JAKE, was pitching for the Mokena Blaze in the bottom of the fifth inning with two outs when a batter on the opposing team stepped up to the plate using an Easton BT265 bat.

Apparently they say that Easton failed to observe known safety hazards of the Easton BT265 and failed to adequately warn foreseeable uses of the bat.

Now, I’m not a lawyer, but if I were, I’d argue that this was a freak accident. It’s not like the poor batter was using a space laser bat from the year 2050. He was using a bat that the league allowed.

I feel bad for the hurt child, I do, but lawsuits like this are the reason that so many products are labeled with lawyer-speak warnings.

John Paul Stevens and Babe Ruth

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

I missed 60 Minutes this week, but apparently Associate Justice of the Supreme Court John Paul Stevens was on, and talked about being a 12 year old at Game 3 of the 1932 World Series.

That’s the game where Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig hit back-to-back home runs, Ruth’s being the one that he supposedly called by pointing at center field before the pitch. With the grainy film comes debate.

For some people.

Not for Stevens.

Here’s an article that transcribes part of the interview: “John Paul Stevens was there and says Babe Ruth called his shot.”

Key quote:

Stevens: “He took the bat in his right hand and pointed it right at the center field stands and then, of course, the next pitch he hit a home run to center field. There’s no doubt about the fact that he did point before he hit the ball.”

Pelley: “So the called shot actually happened?”

Stevens: “There’s no doubt about that.”

Pelley: “That’s your ruling?”

Stevens: “That’s my ruling.”

Neat Story.

Yankees and Rays

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

One of the reasons that I love baseball is the statistical element.

Today’s the final game of the season for my Boston Red Sox, after having been statistically eliminated from the post season last week. Both the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Devil Rays are mathematically guaranteed to make the playoffs; one team will be the American League East champions and one will be the wild card.

Today’s game of the Sox versus the Yankees, isn’t going to shake out like Major League Baseball’s wanted, with baseball’s most storied rivalry to end the season. But it is still key to the Yankees winning the AL East title, as opposed to the less prestigious wild card; the Yankees and Devil Rays are tied for the lead in the AL East, so the Yankees need to win today, and have the Rays lose, to win the AL East.

Every other scenario gives the division to Tampa Bay.

Interesting, isn’t it?

A-Rod Deserves a Star

Thursday, August 5th, 2010


So this finally happened yesterday: “Rodriguez Hits 600th Career Home Run.”

Yep, give that guy a star!

Red Sox Fun Fact

Monday, July 12th, 2010

At this All-Star Break the Boston Red Sox have the fourth best winning percentage in all of Major League Baseball – yet they’re still only in third place in the American League East.

Says something about that division, doesn’t it?

If You Sell It, They Will Buy …

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Saw an interesting article in the Des Moines Register (what, you don’t read the ‘DMR’ every day?): “‘Field of Dreams’ site for sale (guess the asking price)“.

Yes, the ballfield/cornfield from the 1989 Kevin Costner movie is up for $5.4 million. You also get the house. And two souvenir stands that cater to the 65,000 visitors a year.

Back in 1998 when I moved to California we stopped there. It was pretty cool – it’s at the end of a small road in this sleepy little town. My brother and I were among a dozen or so tourists checking it out. Don’t believe me?

Here’s a photo of my brother at the site:

It was pretty neat, but maybe not worth $5.4 million …

Who Even Thinks About Cleveland?

Friday, April 30th, 2010

A new report says the Sox are the second most hated MLB team … after the Indians?


Racist Arizona

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

The Daily Kos had an interesting article the other day: “Join Major League Baseball Boycott of Arizona: Hit the Pocketbooks.”

Next year’s MLB All-Star game is scheduled to be played at the Diamondbacks home in Phoenix. But last week’s new overly-strict/possibly unconstitutional anti-illegal immigration measure SB 1070 has put the state in hot water.

Of course, being in the southwest (as well as being horribly racist), they’re used to hot water. Think that’s harsh? Where was Super Bow XXVII played in 1993? Why, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

But where was it supposed to be played?

Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona.

It was pulled because Arizona voted against a Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

So I say pull the game. Give it to Minnesota for their kick-ass new Target Field.

I’d say Boston, but we want the 2012 one, for the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park.

New Baseball Idea

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Another cool Freakonomics blog from the New York Times: “A New Kind of Starting Pitcher?

The suggestion is start a baseball game with “the Opener”, kind of like a closer, someone to pitch lights-out for the first two innings and then hand over the next six or seven innings to, well, the starting pitcher.


So, why ask starters to pitch until they fail? Why not ask them to pitch for just six innings, the third through the eighth? Most starters would be delighted by this “light” load and pace themselves accordingly. I’m not a pitcher or even a baseball player, but I just think there’s a lot of weakness in not knowing how long you’re going to be out there.

Pretty clever stuff …


Friday, April 16th, 2010

Good article about Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield: “Wakefield’s longevity in perspective.”

Key stats:

With 17 more innings, he’ll tie Cy Young for second most innings pitched in Red Sox history and could pass Roger Clemens (whom he trails by 64 2/3) by the All-Star break.

He’s the oldest player in the American League, and second only to the Phillies’ Jamie Moyer, Wakefield turns 44 in August.

If Wakefield is still playing in May of next year (he is signed though 2011), he will become the oldest Red Sox player ever, a distinction currently held by something of an interloper. Deacon McGuire was 85 days shy of his 45th birthday when he played his final of seven games in a Boston uniform in 1908.

Just how long has Wakefield been around? He actually played on the last winning Pirates team, a franchise that has posted 17 straight losing seasons, a record for all four major sports.


Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

If you’re in New England and haven’t just woken up, you’ve probably heard the news: “Nomar to retire as a member of the Red Sox today.”

The “Nomar” in question (if there are even multiple “Nomars” out there?) is former Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, who of course was a member of the historic 2004 World Series team – up until the trade deadline in July.

I was in Boston that weekend, and although I didn’t write about it at the time, I did take this photo:

August 01, 2004. The day after Nomar was traded to the Cubs.
Ironic, eh? 'Keep the Faith.'

Anyway, immediately after I heard the news today I got to thinking about retiring his jersey, number five. Rocco had it last season, but now he’s retired, too. So it’s free.

But the Red Sox official policy on retiring uniform numbers is based on the following criteria:

Election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame
At least 10 years played with the Red Sox

He’s a six-time All-Star and was the 1997 American League Rookie of the Year, so the Hall of Fame shouldn’t be a problem, we’ll have to wait five years but that’s no problem.

The second part – problem.

Nomar was only with the Sox from August of 1996 to the aforementioned July of 2004 – nine years.


Guess we do have five years to change that rule …

Red Sox Spring Training Facility

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Today the Boston Red Sox released details of their new Spring Training Ballpark and Player Development Complex that’ll open in Fort Meyers, Florida in 2012.

Similar to Minor League Sea Dogs’ Hadlock Field, there’s a replica Green Monster at the new park:

Populous/Parker/Mudgett/Smith Architects, Inc.

Populous/Parker/Mudgett/Smith Architects, Inc.

Oh Manny!

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Los Angeles Dodgers logoThe Boston Globe headline really says it all: “Manny Ramirez says this is his final season in LA.”

Can you imagine spring training has barely begun and he’s already saying stuff like, “I know I’m not going to be here next year”?

Oh I’m so very glad he’s not on the Red Sox anymore.

Gordon Edes

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Boston Red Sox LogoNow that Boston Red Sox spring training is in full swing with pitchers and catchers reporting, I wanted to share a link with you.

Apparently Gordon Edes, former sportswriter for the Boston Globe and then national baseball writer for Yahoo! Sports has recently joined the new site. His new articles are here.

Play ball!

Spring Break Live

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of Spring Break, and I love me some baseball. Shoot, I even love Peter Gammons.

But this ad … there’s just something fundamentally wrong with it:

Personally I’d rename the concept, as a sixty-five year old white guy in a suit doesn’t sell “Spring Break” to me.