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Hugh "Sir Hugh" Duffy (1866-1954)

 

5'7"

BR TR

Debut June 23, 1888

Final Game April 13, 1906

HOF 1945

 

Hugh Duffy broke in with Cap Anson's Chicago White Stockings in 1888 as a 21 year old outfielder. A mere 5'7", when he walked into Anson's office, Anson reportedly asked "Where's the rest of you?" Duffy played two seasons for the White Stockings before jumping to the upstart Players League in 1890. He batted .320 for the Chicago Pirates, beginning a stretch of seven seasons batting above .300. When the Players League collapsed, Duffy joined the Boston Reds in the American Association, where he batted .336 with 85 stolen bases and just 29 strike outs. But the American Association collapsed after that season, and again Duffy changed leagues. This time to the Boston Beaneaters, where he teamed up with fellow outfielder Tommy McCarthy to form 'the heavenly twins.' Here, Duffy became famous for his outstanding defensive play in addition to his superb hitting. In 1894, Duffy reached his peak, batting a record .440 (corrected from the original .438) with 18 home runs, 145 rbi's, a monster .502 obp, and thus the triple crown (just the second time in history for such a feat).

 

Duffy batted .300 four more times in his career for a total of 11 .300+ seasons. This includes hitting .300 in 4 different major leagues (NL, AA, PL, AL), a feat accomplished by no one else in history. He managed teams for several seasons in the early 1900's and 20's, but never had much success. He settled down in the Red Sox orgonization as a coach, and was Ted William's hitting coach at the beginning of Teddy's career. Duffy was elected to the Hall of Fame by the veterans committee in 1945. He died October 9, 1954 at the age of 86. His career batting average was .324 amassing 2,282 hits, 119 3b's, 106 hr's 574 sb, and a career fielding % of .943 (OF).

 

180px-Hugh_Duffy_Baseball.jpg

 

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Van Lingle Mungo

Real name: Van Lingle Mungo
1931-41 Brooklyn
1942-45 New York Giants
W 120 L 115 ERA 3.4



Mungo.jpg

In the mid-1930s, Mungo was considered to have the talent of contemporaries Dizzy Dean and Carl Hubbell, but he pitched for losing Dodger clubs and made matters worse by being easily upset by his teammates' ineptitude. Accused of wasting his strength by compiling strikeouts early in his games, he believed the only sure way to retire batters was to fan them. He was the 1936 National League strikeout leader, with 238. He also led the NL in walks three times. In an era when starters were expected to go the distance, Mungo, who led the NL in games started in 1934 and 1936, only finished 47% of his career starts. But between 1932 and 1936, he averaged 16 wins a year.

Mungo was wild and mean, a high-kicking fireballer with a fierce temper. He was known as a drinker, and was involved in some bizarre off-the-field incidents. He once had to be smuggled out of Cuba to escape the machete-wielding husband of a nightclub dancer with whom he'd been caught in bed. His career went downhill after he injured his arm in the 1937 All-Star Game. He won only 13 ML games over his next six seasons. Becoming a junkballer, he went 14-7 in 1945. The lifetime .221 hitter sometimes pinch-hit. In 1970 his colorful name was prominently used in a nostalgic bossa nova ballad. ***

***Song included here in this post. It is a jazz song that was written over 35 years ago.

Van Lingle Mungo.mp3

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Here's my one of my three favorite players, Rube Waddell. (The other ones are Sandy Koufax and Rabbit Maranville.) This is a great article by John Thorn:

http://www.mrbaseball.com/rube_spot.php

 

Rube Waddell.jpg

 

And, Rabbit Maranville, another crazy one.

 

http://www.baseballlibrary.com/ballplayers...Maranville_1891

 

 

 

Rabbit Maranville.jpg

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Leo Durocher

Hall of Fame, 1994 (posthumously)

Durocher_Leo_5.jpeg

 

Durocher had many adjectives applied to him during his colorful career, both kind and unkind. He was a brash, abrasive, hustling, light-hitting, slick-fielding, umpire-baiting bench jockey who was in baseball for nearly five decades as a player, manager, coach, and commentator.

 

Durocher spent his first full major league season with the 1928 World Champion Yankees, and became New York's starting shortstop in 1929. He moved on to the Reds in 1930, and the Cardinals in 1933, becoming captain of the "Gashouse Gang" in 1934. His last season as a first-stringer came with the 1939 Dodgers. Never much of a hitter, he topped .260 only five times in 17 years, with a high of .286 in 1936. He became an All-Star mostly on the strength of his glovework; a flashy, acrobatic SS, he led the NL in fielding in '36 and 1938.

Durocher went on to a long, distinguished, and tumultuous career as a manager. He was player-manager of the Dodgers in 1939-41, 1943, and 1945, though he played only a few games in the latter three years. He guided the Dodgers to the NL pennant in 1941, and to second-place finishes in 1940, 1942, and 1946. Perhaps his finest moment as Dodger manager came in spring training of 1947 when he personally quashed a rebellion by players who were protesting the presence of Jackie Robinson.

 

Durocher's tenure in Brooklyn was marked by - among other things - feuds with GM Branch Rickey, who could not always tolerate Durocher's antics and managing style. Durocher lived life in the fast lane. He was a pro at the card table, and favored the horse track. Stories emerged that he was friendly with such characters as Bugsy Siegel. In 1945, he was indicted for assaulting a fan under the stands. His problems reached a peak in 1947, when he was suspended for the season for reputed association with gamblers. The Dodgers won the pennant with Burt Shotton at the helm instead.

 

Durocher returned in 1948, gave rookie Roy Campanella the catching job, and moved young Gil Hodges to first base. But the Dodgers fell to last place on July 7. Eight days later, Rickey fired Durocher and rehired Shotton, as the rival Giants fired their manager, Mel Ott, and hired Durocher. Durocher guided the Giants to a pennant in 1951, overtaking the Dodgers in a spectacular race and defeating them in the subsequent playoff, thanks to Bobby Thomson. In 1954, Durocher led New York to his only WS victory. After the 1955 season, he became a TV commentator.

 

Durocher returned to manage the Cubs from 1966 until late in 1972, and the Astros through 1973, finishing second several times. Toward the end, his players were aware that he was becoming senile; some were with Durocher for weeks before the manager knew who they were. He retired among the all-times leaders in games managed (3740), wins (2010), and losses (1710). His life story was told in his autobiography, Nice Guys Finish Last, co-written with Ed Linn. The phrase (or something to that effect) was one that had been attributed to Durocher in '47, referring to Ott, whose Giants had been losing.

 

 

 

Leo Durocher.jpg

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Tom Seaver

Pitcher

 

Batted: Right

Threw: Right

300 game winner. Hall of Fame 1982

 

Teams: Mostly New York Mets (also Reds and White Sox and Red Sox)

 

 

An intelligent, hard-working perfectionist and the quintessential professional, Seaver was the first true star for the Mets and led them to their miracle World Championship in 1969. In his 10 years in New York from 1967 to 1977, he won 25% of the Mets' games. The 17th 300-game winner in major league history, Seaver set a major league record by striking out 200 or more hitters in 10 seasons, nine in a row from 1968 to 1976.

 

Seaver came to the Mets via a strange lottery: In 1966, the Braves offered him $40,000, but the NCAA and baseball commissioner William Eckert voided the offer and made Seaver, still at USC, available to any team willing to match the Braves' offer. The Phillies, Indians, and Mets were willing and, in a drawing held in the commissioner's office, the Mets were picked out of a hat. Seaver was an immediate star, picked to the All-Star team in his first season when he won 16 games for a Met team that won just 61 games, and captured Rookie of the Year honors. In 1969 he won his first of three Cy Young Awards with a 25-7 record and a 2.21 ERA and led the NL in wins and winning percentage.

 

On July 9, Seaver lost a perfect game when rookie Jimmy Qualls of the Cubs singled with one out in the ninth. The game was more important, however, since the Mets won 4-0, and began to make their move on the Cubs on their way to the World Championship. In Game One of the LCS against the Braves, Seaver was pinch hit for in the eighth inning, down 5-4, and emerged the winner over Phil Niekro as the Mets rallied for five runs. Seaver had less luck in Game One of the World Series, as he surrendered a homer to the Orioles' first batter, Don Buford, and lost 4-1. He came back to win a 2-1 ten-inning thriller in Game Four, helped by Ron Swoboda's game-saving catch in the ninth inning.

 

Seaver picked up where he left off the next season. On April 22, 1970, he struck out 19 Padres, including a record 10 in a row to end the game, to tie the then-ML record for a nine-inning game, set by Steve Carlton. Although he didn't duplicate his 20-win season, he led the league in strikeouts (283) and ERA (2.81). Seaver himself felt that 1971 was his best season; he compiled a 20-10 record and led the league for the second year in a row in with a 1.76 ERA and 289 strikeouts. Overshadowed by Steve Carlton in 1972, in 1973 Seaver became the first non-20-game winner to win the Cy Young Award when he led the NL in ERA (2.08) and strikeouts (251) and tied for the lead in complete games (18) while leading the Mets to another improbable pennant. In Game One of the LCS, Seaver drove in the Mets' only run and almost made it stand for the victory, walking none and striking out 13, but he gave up solo homers to Pete Rose and Johnny Bench in the eighth and ninth innings to take the loss. The Mets' chronically weak offense often let him down during his career, but never so glaringly. He did come back in Game Five to win the clincher 7-2, giving up only one earned run. He took a no-decision in the Mets' 11-inning 3-2 loss in Game Three of the World Series, striking out 12 in eight innings. He pitched another strong game in the sixth contest, surrendering two runs in seven innings, but once again lost a tough one 3-1.

 

A sore hip caused Seaver's worst season in 1974 with an 11-11 record and his first ERA over 3.00 (3.20). He bounced back in 1975 with his last great season for the Mets, going 22-9 and leading the league in strikeouts, wins, and winning percentage to capture another Cy Young trophy. In September, Seaver put together a seven-game winning streak, including another near no-hitter against the Cubs, broken up by Joe Wallis. By 1976, Seaver was having trouble with Met general manager M. Donald Grant over Seaver's salary and how the team was being run, and the two traded private and public taunts. On April 17, 1977, Seaver pitched his third one-hitter against the Cubs, a single in the fifth by Steve Ontiveros keeping him from the elusive no-hitter. Two months later, on June 15, the bomb dropped. Seaver was unceremoniously dealt to Cincinnati for four players, Pat Zachry, Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson, and Dan Norman, a trade that ripped out the hearts of New York fans. Seaver completed his last 20-win season with the Reds, finishing with a combined 21-6 mark and leading the NL with seven shutouts. Almost exactly a year from the trade, on June 16, 1978, Seaver finally got his no-hitter, blanking the Cardinals 4-0.

 

Seaver had four winning years with the Reds, including 1979, when he went 16-6 and led the NL in winning percentage and shutouts (5). He took another tough no-decision in the LCS when he left Game One after eight innings tied 2-2 with the Pirates' John Candelaria; Pittsburgh won in the 11th inning. In the strike-shortened 1981 season, Seaver went 14-2 and led the majors in victories but lost a controversial Cy Young vote to rookie sensation Fernando Valenzuela.

 

After Seaver slumped to 5-13 in 1982, the Reds completed the circle by trading The Franchise back to the Mets for three players. Although compiling only a 9-14 record (due mostly to the Mets' usual poor offense; his ERA was a better-than-average 3.55), fans were outraged when he was claimed by the White Sox after he was mysteriously left unprotected in the free agent compensation pool. He won 15 games for the White Sox in 1984, and 16 in 1985 when he set several career standards. On August 4 in Yankee Stadium, he won his 300th game, a 4-1 complete game on a six-hitter. On October 4, he moved past Walter Johnson into third place on the all-time strikeout list.

 

After getting off to a slow start the following season, he was dealt to Boston (closer to his Greenwich, CT home), where he finished his career. An ankle injury prevented him from appearing against the Mets in the World Series, and the Red Sox released him following the season. Seaver tried to latch on with the Mets in 1987, but called it quits when he wasn't satisfied with his performance while getting into shape. After sitting out the 1988 season, Seaver was named to replace newly named National League president Bill White in the Yankee broadcast booth, and replaced Joe Garagiola for NBC Saturday telecasts with Vin Scully.

 

 

Tom Seaver.jpg

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Nice posts ... I enjoy reading them ...

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What if they Phillies had won that lottery for Seaver? Might they have had a 1-2 punch of Seaver/Carlton?

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Walter Johnson

The Greatest Pitcher of All-Time without a doubt. My first pick for Greatest Team.

 

BIRTH NAME: Walter Perry Johnson

NICKNAMES: Big Train, Sir Walter, White Knight

BIRTH DATE: November 6, 1887

BIRTH PLACE: Humboldt, Kansas

DEATH DATE: December 10, 1946

DEATH PLACE: Washington, D.C.

BURIAL LOCATION: Rockville Union Cemetery - Rockville, Maryland

HEIGHT: 6' 1"

WEIGHT: 200 lbs

HAIR COLOR: Brown

THREW: Right

BATTED: Right

PLAYED FOR: Washington Senators (1907-1927)

ML DEBUT: August 2, 1907 (Facing the Detroit Tigers)

FINAL GAME: September 30, 1927 (Facing the New York Yankees)

HONORS: AL Most Valuable Player (1913, 1924), Hall of Fame Inductee (1936)

STATS:

Check them out - Who knows how many wins he would have had with another team.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/j/johnswa01.shtm

FACTS:

* A high school in Bethesda, Maryland is named after Johnson, the only high school in the United States named after a baseball player.

* Most estimates place his fast ball at 97-99 MPH (7-12 MPH faster than most other great pitchers of his time)

* Pitched the most consecutive innings without giving up a home run (369)

* In 1907 during the Idaho State League - he pitched 77 scoreless innings as a 19 year old. Made his big league debut that August.

"The first time I faced him (Walter Johnson) I watched him take that easy windup and then something went past me that made me flinch. The thing just hissed with danger. We couldn't touch him....every one of us knew we'd met the most powerful arm ever turned loose in a ball park." - Ty Cobb

 

 

Walter Johnson 1914 Washington Senators.jpg

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What a great thread! Glad I stumbled onto this site a few days ago. Here's my favorite player of all time, Al Kaline of the Detroit Tigers:

 

From Wikipedia.com:

 

Albert William "Al" Kaline (born December 19, 1934 in Baltimore, Maryland) is a former Major League Baseball player. Kaline was active from 1953 to 1974 and spent his entire career with the Detroit Tigers (hence the nickname "Mr. Tiger"), bypassing the minor league system and joining the team directly from high school as a "bonus baby" signee. For most of his career, Kaline played in the outfield, mainly right field, where he was known for his strong throwing arm. He once threw out two baserunners at home in the same inning. Near the end of his career, he also played at first base and, in his last season, was the Tigers' designated hitter.

 

In 1955, Kaline hit .340 for the season, becoming the youngest player ever to win a major league batting title, a distinction previously held by the Tiger's hall-of-famer Ty Cobb. During the 1955 season, Kaline became the 13th man in major league history to hit two home runs in the same inning and finished the year with 200 hits, 27 HRs and 102 RBIs to go along with the batting title. Although it would be his only batting title, in 1956 he followed that great season with another as he batted .314 with 27 HRs and 128 RBIs and became one of baseball's brightest young stars and a future hall-of-famer. In 1958, he amassed 23 assists, extremely high for an outfielder. Versatile and well-rounded, he won ten Gold Glove Awards (1957-59 and 1961-67) for excellence in the field and appeared in fifteen All-Star games (1955-67, 1971, 1974). He was a member of the World Series championship team in 1968 and excelled in his only World Series appearance by batting .379 with 2 home runs and 8 RBIs helping the Tigers come back from a 3 games to 1 deficit to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals in 7 games.

 

Kaline finished his career with 3,007 hits (25th on the all-time list) and 399 home runs (a Tigers record and 43rd on the all-time list). He batted over .300 nine times in his career to finish with a lifetime batting average of .297 and while never considered a true power hitter, Kaline did hit 25 or more home runs seven times in his career. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980, his first year of eligibility, and subsequently honored by the Tigers as the first of their players to have his uniform number (6) retired. With earlier legend Ty Cobb having been more respected and feared than loved, Kaline is the most popular player ever to play for the Tigers, and possibly the most popular athlete in Detroit history.

 

Since retiring from the playing field, Kaline has lived in the Detroit area, and has remained active within the Tigers organization, serving first as a color commentator on the team's television broadcasts (1975-2002) mostly with play by play announcer and former Tiger George Kell, and then later as a consultant to the team. Cherry Street, which ran behind the left-field stands at Tiger Stadium, was renamed Kaline Drive in his honor.

 

In 1999, he ranked Number 76 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. Later that year, on September 27, when the team played its last game at Tiger Stadium, Kaline was invited to appear in uniform and present the last lineup card to the umpires. He did so along with George Brett, considered one of the greatest players ever for the Tigers' opponents that day, the Kansas City Royals.

 

Since 2003, Kaline has served as a Special Assistant to Tigers President/CEO/General Manager Dave Dombrowski. Former Tigers teammate Willie Horton also holds this position, and the two threw out the first pitch of the 2006 World Series at Comerica Park.

 

 

Al Kaline.jpg

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Eddie Collins

 

Edward Trowbridge Collins, Sr. (May 2, 1887 – March 25, 1951), nicknamed "Cocky", was an American second baseman, manager and executive in Major League Baseball who played from 1906 to 1930 for the Philadelphia Athletics and Chicago White Sox.

 

At the end of his career, he ranked second in major league history in career games (2,826), walks (1,499) and stolen bases (744), third in runs scored (1,821), fourth in hits (3,315) and at bats (9,949), sixth in on base percentage (.424), and eighth in total bases (4,268); he was also fourth in AL history in triples (187). He still holds the major league record of 512 career sacrifice hits, over 100 more than any other player. He was the first major leaguer in modern history to steal 80 bases in a season, and still shares the major league record of six steals in a game, which he accomplished twice in September 1912. He regularly batted over .320, retiring with a career average of .333. He also holds major league records for career games (2,650), assists (7,630) and total chances (14,591) at second base, and ranks second in putouts (6,526). Under the win shares statistical rating system created by baseball historian and analyst Bill James, Collins was the greatest second baseman of all time.

 

Collins was part of the Athletics' so-called "$100,000 infield" (and the highest-paid of the quartet) which propelled the team to four American League (AL) pennants and three World Series titles between 1910 and 1914. He earned the league's Chalmers Award (early Most Valuable Player recognition) in 1914.

 

In 1914, the newly formed Federal League disrupted Major League contract stability by luring away established stars from the AL and NL with inflated salaries. To retain Collins, Athletics manager Connie Mack offered his second baseman the longest guaranteed contract (five years) that had ever been offered to a player. Collins declined, and after the 1914 season Mack sold Collins to the White Sox for $50,000, the highest price ever paid for a player up to that point. The Sox paid Collins $15,000 for 1915, making him the third highest paid player in the league, behind Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker.

 

In Chicago, Collins continued to post top-ten batting and stolen base numbers, and he helped the Sox capture pennants in 1917 and 1919. He was part of the notorious "Black Sox" team that threw the 1919 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds; Collins was not part of the conspiracy and played honestly (his low .226 batting average notwithstanding).

 

He was the playing manager of the White Sox from August 1924 through the 1926 season, posting a record of 174-160 (.521). He then returned to the Athletics in 1927 and retired after the 1930 season. In 1931-1932, he served as a Philadelphia coach and, from 1933 through 1947, as the general manager for the Boston Red Sox.

 

Collins finished his career with 1,300 runs batted in. Collins is still the only player in history to play for two teams in at least 12 seasons each. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939.

 

 

Eddie Collins.jpg

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Bill Dickey

 

Bill Dickey.jpg

 

The premier catcher of the late 1930s and early 1940s, the lefthanded-hitting Dickey was the soul of the Yankee dynasty bridging the Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio eras as a player, and the Mickey Mantle era as a coach. He was a keen handler of pitchers, especially the erratic Lefty Gomez, as quiet as his roommate, Gehrig, consistent, setting a major league record for catching 100 or more games in 13 straight seasons, and never played another game at another position. He was the first Yankee to find out about Gehrig's illness and was the only active player to play himself in the Gary Cooper movie "Pride of the Yankees." The Yankees retired his number 8, but ironically Dickey didn't wear that number at the start or the end of his Yankee days. When Dickey first came up, Benny Bengough wore number eight. When he came back to coach, Yogi Berra was wearing it.

 

Dickey's quiet demeanor off the field belied fiery behavior behind the plate. On July 4, 1932 he was suspended for 30 days and fined $1,000 for breaking the jaw of the Senators' Carl Reynolds with one punch, after a collision at home plate. In the 1934 All-Star Game, Dickey broke Carl Hubbell's strikeout string with a single. After six straight .300-plus seasons, Dickey dipped to .279 in 1935, but came back the next season with a fury. From 1936 to 1939, Dickey, who had never hit more than 14 homers in a season, belted 102 in four years. He had a career high of 29 in 1937, including grand slams on consecutive days, August 3 and 4. His batting average bloomed as well, with a career-high .362 in 1936, followed by a .332 mark in 1937.

 

Dickey continued his batting onslaught in the second game of the 1936 World Series against the crosstown Giants when he hit a two-run homer and knocked in five runs. On July 26, 1939 he slammed three straight homers against the Browns in a 14-1 win. In the four-game World Series sweep that year against the Reds, Dickey slammed two homers and drove in five runs, including the winning run in the bottom of the ninth in Game One. Dickey also caught more World Series games than any catcher, 38.

 

Both Dickey's average and power dropped drastically in 1940 and 1941, totaling only 16 homers in two years. In 1942, Dickey caught only 82 games, and only 85 in 1943, but drove in the only two runs with a homer in the fifth and final game of the World Series against the Cardinals, avenging the Yankees' loss the year before. At the end of the season, at age 36, Dickey enlisted in the Navy. He came back for a final go-round in 1946, but appeared in only 54 games. Midway through the season, he took over the managerial reins from Joe McCarthy, who had gone to manage the Red Sox. He guided the Yankees to a 57-48 mark, but resigned right after the season. He came back as a coach under Casey Stengel from 1947 to 1957, passing along his knowledge to Berra. He scouted for the Yankees in 1959 before retiring.

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George Herman "Babe" Ruth

 

Born

George Herman Ruth was born on February 6, 1895, in Baltimore, MD.

 

Died

August 16, 1948, New York, NY

 

Batted: Left

Threw: Left

 

Nicknames

The Bambino,The Sultan Of Swat

 

Also known as "The Colossus of Clout," "The Wali of Wallop," "The Wazir of Wham," "The Maharajah of Mash," "The Rajah of Rap," "The Caliph of Clout," and "The Behemoth of Bust." Ruth was first called "Babe" by teammates on the Baltimore Orioles, because of his boyish face and his young age.

 

Babe Ruth in 1920.jpg

 

"He was a circus, a play and a movie, all rolled into one," said teammate Lefty Gomez. "Kids adored him, Men idolized him. Women loved him. There was something about him that made him great." Babe Ruth was more than a great baseball player, he was an American hero who became a legend and an icon. Long after his last home run, his name has come to signify greatness and strength.

 

Early in life it was not evident that George Herman "Babe" Ruth would be a slugger of legendary proportions. He was an awkward-looking young man from the streets of Baltimore, where he grew up in the care of his father, a saloon-kepper, and later in a boys home, after his parents gave up trying to keep him out of trouble. It was in the boys home that Ruth learned to harness his great energy and play the game of baseball. He signed with the mionor league Baltimore Orioles in 1912 and by 1914 he was in the major leagues with the Boston Red Sox, as a pitcher.

 

The Red Sox were the best team in the American League, and a perfect place for Ruth to learn to be a major leaguer. In 1916 he got his first chance to pitch in a World Series and made the most of his one appearance. After giving up a run in the first inning, he drove in the tying run himself, then held the Brooklyn Dodgers scoreless for the next eleven innings until his team could score the winning run. In the 1918 World Series he continued his pitching heroics, running his series record to 29 2/3 scoreless innings, a mark that stood for forty-three years.

 

With the talented Sox, Ruth went 18-8 in 1915, 23-12 (with a league-leading 1.75 ERA and nine shutouts) in 1916, 24-13 (2.01 ERA) in 1917, and 13-7 in 1918. He was the winningest left-handed pitcher in baseball from 1915-1917. The Red Sox won the World Series in 1915, 1916 and 1918. Ruth's pitching mark was 89-46 with the Sox, but his booming bat was too loud to be heard only every four days. Red Sox manager Ed Barrow, at the suggestion of outfielder Harry Hooper, began playing the Babe in the outfield in-between his starts.

In 1918, Ruth led the American League with 11 home runs, despite playing just 59 games as an outfielder. The next season he started just 15 games on the mound and led the loop in homers again, with an unheard of total of 29. He was gaining attention with his home run trot, rounding the bases with what one observer noted were tiny "debutante" ankles. In 1919, he played 130 games and was now an everyday player. He seemed poised to lead the Red Sox to the top of the league for years to come. But, despite Ruth's obvious value as a slugger, he was dealt to the New York Yankees prior to the 1920 season, in a deal that haunted Boston owner Harry Frazee for years to come. Over the next 15 years, Ruth would hit hundreds of homers while helping the Yankees to the World Series seven times. The Red Sox did not win another World Series title for 86 years.

 

Crushed by his sale to the Yankees, Ruth was unsure of his future in New York. But his doubts failed to affect his performance in 1920. Ruth's 54 homers surpassed every other team in the majors except one. That same season, Ruth slugged an astonishing .847, a record that stood for more than 80 years. In 1920, the Yankees, coincidentally, became the first team to draw more than one million fans to a ballpark, more than double the attendance of any other club. As Yankee manager Miller Huggins said, "They all flock to see him," because the American fan "likes the fellow who carries the wallop."

 

Jail Stripes to Pinstripes

 

On the morning of June 8, 1921, Ruth was arrested for speeding in New York City. Sitting in jail while he arranged for his release, Ruth was allowed to change into his uniform in his cell. He arrived at Yankee Stadium in time to play in New York's 4-3 victory over Cleveland.

 

Babe Ruth died of cancer at 8:01 p.m., August 16, 1948. He was only fifty-three years old. Over 100,000 fans paid their respects at Yankee Stadium, where he lay in rest. Grieving fathers held up their sons for a final look at the face of the greatest player in baseball history. Ruth's old teammates volunteered as pallbearers and the flag at Yankee Stadium flew at half-mast.

 

Ruthian Feats

Three home runs in a World Series game twice... The Babe hit 340 solo home runs, 252 two-run shots, and 98 three-run taters. He also slugged 16 Grand Slams... 51% of his homers came with a man or men on base... He hit 16 homers in extra-innings, 10 inside-the-park variety, and one as a pinch-hitter (in 1916 with the Red Sox)... 459 of his career regular season homers came against right-handed pitchers, or 64%. 219 times he blasted a circuit blow off a lefty... In six seasons with the Red Sox he hit 49 homers, 11 in Fenway Park, 38 on the road. With the Yankees in 15 seasons, he slugged 659 long blows, 334 at home, 325 on the road... Ruth hit at least one home run in 12 different ballparks... 72 times, Ruth slugged a pair of homers in a game, a major league record that still stands. He connected for three homers on May 21, 1930, with New York, and with the Braves on May 25, 1935, including the final homer of his career, off Pirate Guy Bush... His 686 home runs as an outfielder are the most by any player at any position. He hit 15 long balls as a pitcher... Collected RBI in 11 consecutive games in 1931... Stole home 10 times... Won two legs of the Triple Crown seven times (1919, 1920-1921, 1923-1924, 1926, 1928)... First player to hit three home runs in a single game in the AL and NL... 11 consecutive games with at least one extra-base hit (August 28 to September 8, 1921) the second longest streak in major league history... Holds the all-time single season record for most total bases (457 in 1921) and times reached base (375 in 1923)... Three times he had 4 extra-base hits in a game... Ruth had six five-hit games in his career... Scored five runs in a game twice... On April 20, 1926, he drove in eight runs, his career high... Collected more RBI than games played in six seasons. (1921-27-29-30-31-32).

 

Babe Ruth.jpg

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Henry Louis "Lou" Gehrig

 

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Lou Gehrig was the greatest first baseman ever and a key component in the Yankee legend. Gehrig's record of 2,130 consecutive games played perfectly reflected his steady, dependable character. Because he was also handsome, a native New Yorker, and eventually a tragic figure, he became as glamorous as a retiring "mama's boy" could be.

 

Born in a German neighborhood, Gehrig began his legendary career at Columbia University. Freshmen weren't eligible for varsity play, but in his sophomore season Gehrig set multiple school records, most notably season marks of seven HR, a .444 batting average, and a .937 slugging average. Also a pitcher, he still holds the Columbia record for strikeouts in a game, fanning 17 Williams batters in a game he lost. It is rumored that Columbia coach Andy Coakley, a former major leaguer, was paid $500 by the Yankees to convince the youngster to sign with the Yankees. By the way, although Gehrig did hit some prodigious shots at Columbia, he never hit one through a window in the athletic office in Low Library, as depicted in The Pride of the Yankees - nobody could.

 

It was in 1927, when he was moved to the cleanup spot and had Bob Meusel protecting him in the order that became known as Murderer's Row, that Gehrig put up big numbers for the first time. He won the MVP award (then given by the league and not awarded to repeat winners) and led the AL with 175 RBI, 52 doubles, and 447 total bases. He finished behind Ruth with 47 HR, 149 runs, a .765 slugging average, and 109 walks. His .373 batting average also ranked second.

 

Ruth and Gehrig carried the Yankees, but there were some years when they just weren't enough. Connie Mack's Athletics won three straight years, 1929-31, before the Yankees came back in 1932 for another World Championship. In the following seasons, it became clear that Ruth was fading. In their last year together, 1934, Gehrig won the Triple Crown with 49 HR, 165 RBI, and a .363 BA; in 1935 he dropped off to .329 with 30 HR and 119 RBI. He was also bothered more and more by lumbago; in 1934 he had suffered an attack on the field and had to be carried off. He was quite aware of his consecutive games streak, as were manager Joe McCarthy and the writers. The next day he was penciled in the lineup as the leadoff hitter, listed at shortstop. Hardly able to stand, he singled, and Red Rolfe pinch ran for him and finished the game at shortstop. He kept his string going through the years despite a broken thumb, a broken toe, back spasms, and lumbago, stoically, in fact proudly, playing through the pain.

 

The arrival of Joe DiMaggio in 1936 made enough of a difference that Gehrig had his last two great seasons in 1936 and 1937 as the Yankees won World Championships. The Giants managed something no other team had done since 1926: they won a World Series game from the Yankees. But Gehrig homered in close contests in Games Three and Four. He was always a good World Series hitter, with 10 HR lifetime, including a record-setting four in the four-game 1928 WS.

 

The Yankees repeated in 1938, but Gehrig dropped below .300 for the first time since his rookie season. In 1939 he was obviously enfeebled, and on May 2 he took himself out of the lineup. He was hitting just .143, and was quite clumsy afield. Many players were afraid he would injure himself, but nobody would suggest that he sit down, not even manager McCarthy. Gehrig had to take the initiative himself. He never played again, and although, in his capacity as team captain, he continued to carry the lineup card out every day, eventually even that proved more than he could handle. He was diagnosed as having a rare, almost unknown, and incurable disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, forever after known as Lou Gehrig's disease. It was not announced that he was doomed, although many suspected it and Gehrig knew. On July 4, 1939, Lou Gehrig Day was held at Yankee Stadium. It may be the most famous ceremony in baseball history, with Gehrig's assertion that "today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth" an unforgettable statement. The waiting period for the new Hall of Fame was waived, and he was admitted the year it opened, in 1939. He spent his last two years of life working for New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, and died on June 2, 1941.

 

Lou Gehrig New York Yankees.jpg

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Lefty Gomez

 

Remembered mainly for his colorful personality, Lefty Gomez was also one of baseball's greatest winners, ranking third in Yankee history in regular-season wins with 189. His 6-0 World Series record gave him the most wins without a loss in World Series history. His three victories in All-Star Game competition (against one loss) also are a record.

 

Gomez's zaniness set him apart from the decorous Yankees of the 1930s. He once held up a World Series game, exasperating manager Joe McCarthy (as he did with some frequency), to watch an airplane pass by. Gomez got away with needling his buddy, Joe DiMaggio, because DiMaggio, like everyone else, enjoyed the Gomez wit, which produced such statements as: "I've got a new invention. It's a revolving bowl for tired goldfish."

 

The Yankees purchased Gomez from his hometown San Francisco Seals in 1929 for $35,000. Two years later he won 21 games for them. His smoking fastball belied his slender frame. He was a nail, with a whiplash arm and a high leg kick.

 

Gomez and righthander Red Ruffing formed the lefty-righty pitching core for the great New York teams of the 1930s. In 1934 he led the league in seven major categories, including wins (26), ERA (2.33), and strikeouts (158), the pitching equivalent of the Triple Crown. He led the league again in the top three pitching categories in 1937.

 

Arm miseries hounded him throughout his career. As his fastball lost its effectiveness, Gomez moved from power pitcher to finesse pitcher. "I'm throwing as hard as I ever did," he quipped, "the ball's just not getting there as fast." Gomez fooled hitters and made a beautiful, slow curve work for him. He had a great comeback in 1941 (15-5) after a 3-3 mark in 1940, leading the league in winning percentage (.750).

 

Gomez threw a shutout in 1941 while issuing 11 walks, the most walks ever allowed in a shutout. And though a notoriously poor hitter, he produced the first RBI in All-Star history and singled home the winning run in the 1937 World Series clincher.

 

After pitching one game for Washington (he lost) in 1943, Gomez retired, later to hook up with the Wilson sporting goods company as a goodwill ambassador. He was asked on joining Wilson why he had left his last position. Gomez, who never took himself seriously, responded that he left because he couldn't "get the side out."

 

 

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Stan Musial

 

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Few players in the history of baseball have matched the accomplishments and consistency of Stan Musial. Even fewer so engendered the admiration and affection of fans, not only at home but in every ballpark on the circuit, as did this Polish-American from a steel-mill town in Pennsylvania.

 

Signed as a pitcher when he was seventeen, Musial was 15-8 in two seasons with Williamson, West Virginia, but the scouting report filed on the young southpaw recommended his release because he was wild and inconsistent. Despite the report, he was sent to Daytona Beach as a pitcher for the 1940 season and, under the tutelage of former White Sox great Dickie Kerr, he compiled an 18-5 record. Kerr, who often had as few as 15 players on his roster, also played Musial in the outfield. Stan responded by batting .352. Late in the season, he made a diving catch in the outfield, crashing on his left shoulder, and the consequent injury finished him as a pitcher. Musial was convinced by Kerr to remain in baseball as an outfielder. The next year he ripped through Class C and the International League before hitting .426 in a September call-up with the Cardinals.

 

That was the beginning of a love affair with St. Louis that would keep Musial a Cardinal for 22 seasons, a team record. After his playing days he served as general manager, and senior vice president of the Cardinals for more than 25 years.

 

The lefthanded-hitting Musial had good speed and was famous for his compressed, closed batting crouch, from which he appeared to be peering at the pitcher around a corner. He won his first NL batting title in his second full year and led the NL in hits six times, doubles eight times, triples five times, runs five times, while winning five more batting titles. Preacher Roe claimed to have the best way to pitch Musial: "I throw him four wide ones and then I try to pick him off first base." Although not initially expected to be a long-ball hitter, Musial developed his power without increasing strikeouts, and averaged 31 home runs per season from 1948 to 1957. Musial once told Roger Kahn that he hit so well because he always knew what the pitch was by seeing the rotation of the ball as it approached the plate. When he retired, Musial owned or shared 29 NL records, 17 ML records, 9 All-Star records, including most home runs (6), and almost every Cardinals career offensive record. In 1956 TSN named Musial its first Player of the Decade.

 

For one who played so long, Musial was unbelievably consistent. He smacked 1,815 hits at home and the same number on the road. He scored 1,949 runs and drove in 1,951. He batted .310 or better 16 straight seasons and added a .330 season just short of his 42nd birthday. Over 21 full seasons he averaged a remarkable 172 hits, 92 runs scored, 92 RBI, 34 doubles, and 23 home runs per year. His best offensive season was 1948, when he hit a career-high .376 and missed the NL Triple Crown by a single homer. That year he led the NL in batting average, slugging, hits, doubles, triples, runs, and RBI. On May 2, 1954, he set a ML record with five home runs in a doubleheader. And on July 12, 1955 his 12th-inning home run won the All-Star Game for the NL. Brooklyn fans labeled him "Stan the Man" for the havoc he wreaked on Dodger pitching every time he came to Ebbets Field. Musial rarely experienced long slumps; he put together strong starts, solid mid-seasons, and great finishes. He hit .323 or better in every month of the season, with September-October his best stretches. He was also the first man to play more than 1,000 games each at two positions.

 

Immediately following Musial's retirement as an active player in 1964, President Johnson named him director of the National Council on Physical Fitness. For a single season, 1967, Musial was St. Louis's general manager. With Musial's longtime roommate and close friend Red Schoendienst as field manager, the Cardinals romped to a pennant and beat the Red Sox in the World Series.

 

On or off the field he wore a smile and meant it. Although he obviously did not always agree with umpires or managers, he did not argue calls or tactical moves. He made time for his family, fans, church, and civic organizations. A bronze statue stands in front of Busch Stadium in St. Louis as a permanent tribute to the greatest Cardinal, Stan the Man. And in 1972 he achieved the unique distinction of becoming the first foreigner to receive the Polish government's Merited Champions Medal, their highest sports award.

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Whitey Ford

 

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They called Ford "The Chairman of the Board" for good reason. He was for more than a decade the star pitcher of a team that operated with corporate efficiency, and his intelligence and confidence were on display whenever he was on the mound. In contrast to pitchers who dominated hitters with overpowering physical abilities, the 5'10" 180-lb lefthander controlled games with his mastery of the mental aspects of pitching and pinpoint control. Batters had to deal with his assortment of pitches: He mixed splendid changeups, marvelous curves, and a good fastball. He had one of the league's best pickoff moves, and he was an excellent fielder. And, like most successful businessmen, he was at his best when the pressure was greatest.

 

His most eye-catching statistics are his consistently low ERAs and his high winning percentage. In 11 of 16 seasons he was under a 3.00 ERA, and his worst was 3.24. His .690 winning percentage ranks third all-time and first among modern pitchers with 200 or more wins. Of course, he benefited from strong Yankee bat support, defense, and relief pitching, but his winning percentage was usually higher than the team's. He allowed an average of only 10.94 baserunners per nine innings and posted 45 career shutouts, including eight 1-0 victories.

 

After joining the Yankees in mid-season 1950, he won nine straight before a home run by Philadelphia's Sam Chapman gave him his only loss. In the WS, he pitched 8-2/3 innings without allowing an earned run to win the fourth game of a Yankee sweep. He spent 1951 and 1952 in the service, but returned to post 18-6 and 16-8 marks in 1953 and 1954.

 

His 18-7 record in 1955 tied him for most AL wins. He led in complete games (18) and was second in ERA (2.63). TSN named him to its annual ML all-star team. In the final month of the season, he pitched consecutive one-hitters. The following year he was even better, going 19-6, to lead the AL in winning percentage and ERA (2.47). Again he was named to the TSN all-star team. He won his second ERA crown in 1958 (2.01).

 

Through 1960, Yankee manager Casey Stengel limited Ford's starts, often resting him at least four days between appearances, and aiming him for more frequent use against better teams. In 1961 new manager Ralph Houk put him in a regular four-man rotation, and Ford led the AL in starts (39) and innings pitched (283) and earned the Cy Young Award with a 25-4 record, leading the ML in wins and percentage. Two years later, he again led in wins, percentage, starts, and innings pitched, with a 24-7 mark. At the time there was only a single Cy Young award for both leagues. Sandy Koufax won for 1963, but Ford was voted the top AL pitcher by TSN. They opposed each other in both the first and fourth games of the '63 WS, with Koufax winning both times. In Game Four Ford lost a two-hitter on an unearned run.

 

The Yankees won 11 pennants in Ford's years with them. He ranks first all-time in WS wins (10), losses (8, games and games started (22), innings pitched, hits, bases on balls, and strikeouts. In the 1960, '61, and '62 Series, he pitched 33 consecutive scorelesss innings, breaking Babe Ruth's WS record of 29-2/3.

 

A fun-loving native New Yorker, Whitey formed a curious odd couple with Oklahoman Mickey Mantle. The two were a familiar duo in the Big Apple's nightclubs. They were inducted into the Hall of Fame together in 1974.

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Hiram Bithorn

 

On September 30, 1941, Bithorn was drafted by the Chicago Cubs and debuted in the Major Leagues on April 15, 1942, making history as the first Puerto Rican to play in the Major Leagues.

 

Only 9-14 as a Cub rookie in 1942, the burly righthander blossomed to 18-12 the next year, fourth in the NL in wins. He led the league in shutouts (7) and posted a 2.60 ERA. He spent the next two seasons in military service, ballooning to 225. In 1946 he pitched mostly in relief with sporadic success. Sold to the Pirates, who released him in spring training, he pitched two innings for the White Sox in 1947 before a sore arm ended his ML career.

 

In four seasons, Bithorn had a 34-31 record with 185 strikeouts, a 3.16 ERA, 30 complete games, eight shutouts, five saves, and 509 innings pitched in 105 games (53 as a starter).

 

Bithorn tried a comeback a few years later in the Mexican winter league. But on December 30, 1951, at age 35, he was shot by a police officer in Mexico. He died later in a hospital. Initially, the officer claimed that Bithorn was violent and also claimed that Bithorn had said he was part of a "Communist cell," but eventually this argument was debunked and the officer was sent to prison for Bithorn's murder.

 

 

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Charlie Keller

 

The talent-laden Yankees kept the lefthanded slugger in Newark (International League) the season after he was the league batting champion and TSN Minor League Player of the Year for 1937. A place was made for him in 1939, and he hit .334 with the first of six Yankee pennant winners for which he would play.

 

Through of his career, Keller was a feared slugger and a competent fielder. In his rookie season he hit .334 with 11 home runs and 83 RBI in 111 games. He topped his splendid major league debut by crushing three homers and batting .438 as the Yankees swept four games from the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series.

 

He was a five-time All-Star and reached highs of 33 HR and 122 RBI in 1941. He led the AL in walks with 106 in both 1940 and 1943. Keller 's career was interrupted for maritime service in WWII. He had chronic back problems which eventually relegated him to pinch hitting, and he led the league in that department (9-for-38) in 1951, his final full season. Keller coached for the Yankees before retiring to rural Maryland to run a horse farm. His brother Hal caught briefly for the Senators and spent over 20 years as a front-office man for the Senators, Rangers, and Mariners. His son, Charlie Jr., led the Eastern League in hitting with a .349 average before being sidelined by the same congenital back problem that had plagued his father.

 

In a 13-season career, Keller was a .286 hitter with 189 home runs and 760 RBI in 1170 games. A five-time All-Star selection, he compiled a career .410 on base percentage and a .518 slugging average for a combined .928 OPS. In his four World Series appearances, he batted .306 with five home runs, and 18 RBI in 19 games.

 

Following his retirement as a player, Keller founded Yankeeland Farm and had a successful career as a horse breeder – pacers and trotters – near his hometown of Middletown, Maryland. He named many of his horses after the franchises he played for: Fresh Yankee, Handsome Yankee, Yankee Slugger and Guy Yankee. He also benefited by owning syndicated shares of several stallions, which entitled him to free stud fees.

 

 

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Sam Rice

One of baseball's greatest singles hitters, Rice fell only 13 hits shy of 3,000. In 20 ML seasons, he never hit below .293 and averaged .322. Although he lacked power (21 of his 34 career home runs were hit inside the park), he met every other requirement for stardom. At bat, he usually made contact, averaging only one strikeout in every 34 at-bats. On the bases, he was fast and intelligent, leading the AL with 63 stolen bases in 1920. In the outfield, he was swift and had an excellent arm.

 

His most famous play was on defense. In Game Three of the 1925 WS, he raced full-tilt after Pirate Earl Smith's drive, leaped and backhanded it. He and the ball disappeared into the stands, but when Rice emerged with the ball in his glove, the umpire called Smith out. Had he really caught the ball? He refused to say but left a sealed letter at the Hall of Fame to be opened after his death. In it, he'd written: "At no time did I lose possession of the ball."

 

Rice joined the Senators as a pitcher in 1915 but by the next season was moved to right field. A lefthanded hitter, he stood nearly erect in the batter's box, crowding the plate. Although his speed helped him to 497 career two-base hits and the AL lead in triples in 1923, his forte was the slap single. Of his 2,987 career hits, 2,272 went for one base. With a good batting eye he added 709 walks, and he scored 1,515 runs in his career. In 1924, when the Senators won the World Championship, Rice led the AL in hits with 216 and had a 31-game hitting streak. The next year, for Washington's second pennant winner, he amassed 227 hits and batted a career-high .350. He led the AL with 216 hits in 1926. All told, he topped 200 hits seven times.

 

 

 

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Bob Lemon

The easygoing Lemon learned to pitch in the major leagues and went on to become one of the most successful righthanders of the post-WWII period. He was enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 1976. In two trials as a third baseman before the war he failed to stick with the Indians because of his mediocre hitting. He showed a strong arm in the field, but his throws had a natural sinking effect. Upon his return to Cleveland after three years in the Navy, he turned to pitching at age twenty-six.

 

Cleveland won the 1948 pennant, as Feller, Lemon, and rookie Gene Bearden combined for 59 wins. Lemon, at 20-14, led the AL in shutouts (10), complete games (20), and innings pitched (294). On June 30, he threw a no-hitter to top the Tigers 2-0. In the World Series, he picked up two wins (1.65 ERA) as the Indians defeated the Braves.

 

Lemon became the leader of the outstanding Indians pitching staffs of the 1950s that also included Feller, Early Wynn, Mike Garcia, and later Herb Score. In a remarkably consistent nine-year stretch (1948-56), Lemon won 20 or more games seven times. He missed the magic number only in 1951 with 17 victories and 1955 when his 18 wins topped the league. A workhorse, he led in complete games five times and innings pitched four. TSN named him the Outstanding AL Pitcher three times (1948, 50, 54).

 

The 1954 Indians set an AL record with 111 victories (in 154 games) as Lemon led the pitching staff with a 23-7 mark. He opened the World Series against the Giants and took a 2-2 tie into the tenth inning before giving up a three-run home run to pinch hitter Dusty Rhodes. When the Indians lost the next two, manager Al Lopez brought Lemon back on two days' rest, but he was shelled early as the Giants swept the Series.

 

Lemon's money pitch was his sinking fastball. He led the AL in strikeouts with 170 in 1950, but he was most effective when opposing batters were beating the ball into the dirt. Always slightly wild, his season bases on balls and strikeout marks were usually similar, as were his career bases totals of 1,251 walks and 1,277 strikeouts.

 

Lemon was considered to be one of the best-hitting pitchers of his time and was often used as a pinch hitter, totaling 31 hits in 109 pinch-hit appearances (.284). His 37 home runs lifetime is just one behind Wes Ferrell's record for pitchers, and his 7 HR in 1949 ties him for second on the pitchers' season list.

 

 

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I learn something new every time there's a post in this thread. Thanks Y4L. :)

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Hugh Mulcahy

 

Hugh Mulcahy's nine year major league career record for the Phillies and Pirates was 45-89 with an ERA of 4.49. You may ask why he is being featured in this thread. Well, it's because Mulcahy has probably one of the most funniest nicknames in all of baseball. Mulcahy's nickname was Losing Pitcher Mulcahy.

 

Now how did this come about?

 

It seemed that every time Mulcahy pitched he would be the losing pitcher in the game and when the PA announcer would give the totals for the just-completed game, he would say "Winning Pitcher, So-and-so" and "Losing Pitcher, Mulcahy." The sportswriters heard "Losing Pitcher, Mulcahy" so many times that they started calling Mulcahy Losing Pitcher Mulcahy. :lol:

 

Mulcahy is also the answer to the trivia question of being the first major league regular to be drafted in World War II.

 

 

Hugh Mulcahy.jpg

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Walter "Boom Boom" Beck

 

Ok, just one more story about another player with another funny nickname. Walter Beck was also a right handed pitcher and like Hugh Mulcahy, was an unsuccessful one because of the teams he was on.

 

He played from 1924 to 1945 for the Browns, Dodgers, Phillies, Tigers, Reds and Pirates and had a career won-loss record of 38-69 with a 4.30 ERA.

 

When Beck was with the Dodgers he was on the mound facing the Phils in Philadelphia at the Baker Bowl. He was getting shelled. Anything he threw the Phils were killing it. BOOM! They'd hit the ball and then BOOM! it would be hit off the wall. Before long they started calling him Boom Boom Beck. The first boom was when the bat hit the ball. The second boom was when the ball hit off the wall. :lol:

 

You got to admit they had some good nicknames back then!

 

One final tidbit about this. After awhile Dodger manager Casey Stengel came out to the mound let Beck know that his services were no longer required for the rest of the afternoon. While this mound conference was going on, Dodger right fielder Hack Wilson had his hands on his knees and his head to the ground because he was trying to catch his breath from all the running he was doing. Seems as if Wilson had a rough night the night before and drank a little bit more than he should have so he was in fact nursing a hangover.

 

Well, when Stengel informed Beck that he was out of the game, Beck was furious. He turned around and threw the ball out to right field and it hit the right field wall. Another BOOM! Wilson, hearing this, turned and ran after the ball and threw a perfect strike to second base. Stengel later said it was the best throw he made all year.

 

 

Boom Boom Beck.jpg

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For some reason, baseball today doesn't seem to have the same fire, the charisma, that the old players had. If a player did even half the things they did back then today, he'd be fined so much that he'd be on less than minimum salary. He'd be on double-A wages. :lol:

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Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown

Mordecai Peter Centennial Brown (October 19, 1876 – February 14, 1948), nicknamed "Three Finger" or "Miner", was an American Major League Baseball pitcher at the turn of the 20th century. Due to a farm-machinery accident in his youth, Brown lost parts of two fingers on his right hand and eventually acquired his nickname as a result. Overcoming this handicap and turning it to his advantage, he became one of the elite pitchers of his era.

 

After a spectacular minor league career commencing in Terre Haute of the Three-I League in 1901, Brown came to the majors rather late, at age 26, in 1903, and lasted until 1916 when he was close to 40.

 

Brown's most productive period was when he played for the Chicago Cubs from 1904 until 1912. During this stretch, he won 20 or more games six times and was part of two World Series championships. New York Giants manager John McGraw regarded his own Christy Mathewson and Brown as the two best pitchers in the National League. In fact, Brown often defeated Mathewson in competition, most significantly in the final regular season game of the 1908 season. Brown had a slim career 13-11 edge on Mathewson, with one no-decision in their 25 classic pitching matchups.

 

Brown was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1949.

 

 

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Joe Medwick

 

Joe Medwick's reputation as a bad-ball hitter who slashed doubles to all fields got him into the Hall of Fame, but he is most often remembered for his unusual removal from Game Seven of the 1934 World Series. With the Cardinals winning a blowout in Detroit, he slid hard into Tiger third baseman Marv Owen on his sixth-inning triple, even though the throw hadn't come in yet. When Medwick went out to left field with the score 9-0, Detroit fans threw bottles, food, and garbage at him. Commissioner Landis, in attendance as always at the Series game, ordered Medwick from the field for his own safety so the game could be resumed, and Chick Fullis replaced him in left field. Medwick hit .379 with five RBI for the Series, including four hits, one a HR, in the opener.

 

Medwick came up in September 1932 and hit .349 to win the job. He hit .300 his first 11 seasons, and won the NL's last Triple Crown in 1937 with career highs of 31 HR, 154 RBI, and a .374 BA. He was NL MVP that year, also leading in slugging, runs, and doubles. For three straight years, 1936-38, he led the NL in both RBI and doubles. He drove in at least 100 runners six straight seasons (1934-39), scored 100 runs six times, including five consecutive years (1934-38), hit 40 doubles seven straight years (1933-39), and had seven seasons of 10 or more triples.

 

His prime seasons came with the Cardinals. After dropping off slightly in 1939, he was sold to the Dodgers in mid-1940 for the then-astronomical sum of 125,000. He helped Brooklyn to their first pennant in over 20 years in 1941 with his last great season, but suffered a life-threatening beaning by former teammate Bob Bowman after quarreling with him in an elevator; Larry MacPhail thought it was an attempt by St. Louis to ruin Medwick. Within twenty four hours of the beaning MacPhail had Brooklyn's District Attorney conduct a criminal investigation. In it, MacPhail demanded that the DA go after "Beanball Inc" which he described as a conspiracy among National League pitchers to kill off the Dodgers' pennant chances by eliminating their leading players.

 

During a USO tour by a number of players in 1944, Medwick was among several individuals given an audience by Pope Pius XII. Upon being asked by the Pope what his vocation was, Medwick replied, "Your Holiness, I'm Joe Medwick. I, too, used to be a Cardinal."

He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1968. Medwick died of a heart attack in St. Petersburg, Florida at age 63 in 1975.

 

 

Joe Medwick.jpg

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Bobby Thomson


Bobby Thomson hit what is perhaps the most famous home run in baseball history. His dramatic "shot heard 'round the world" on October 3, 1951, a three-run, ninth-inning homer off Brooklyn pitcher Ralph Branca, capped the Giants' historic comeback to win the NL pennant. Thomson also hit a sixth-inning homer off Branca in the opening game of the playoffs, which erased a 1-0 Dodger lead.

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, the Staten Island Scot hit 24 or more homers six times in his seven full seasons with the Giants. A key to the 1951 pennant was Thomson's switch to third base, allowing Willie Mays to take over centerfield. Following the 1953 season, Thomson was sent to the Milwaukee Braves in a trade that brought future 20-game winner Johnny Antonelli to the Giants. Thomson broke his ankle in spring training with the Braves in 1954, and that injury kept Hank Aaron from being sent to the minors. Later that year, when Thomson was in the lineup, Aaron pinch ran for him and broke his ankle.

A nice , likable guy, known as a good low-ball hitter, Thomson had a comeback season for the Cubs in 1958, when he hit 21 homers and collected 82 RBI while batting .283. In 1969, Thomson was named to the Giants' all-time outfield along with Mel Ott and Willie Mays.

 

 

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Arlas Taylor

Never heard of him? Perfectly understandable. In fact, probably the only people who know of Arlas Taylor today are his relatives from Warrick County, Indiana where he was born in 1896. This young lefthanded pitcher had a very, very brief career in the major leagues - one game, and that was for the 1921 Philadelphia Athletics, a team that would go on to finish in last place with a 53-100 record.

 

As I stated, Taylor was in one game for Connie Mack's Athletics that year. A game that he started and only lasted two innings against the World Champion Cleveland Indians. Here is his line for the two innings he pitched:

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As you can see for yourself, he gave up 7 hits in 2 innings, 5 runs, all earned and so on and so on. But look closely. He struck out one player and this is the reason why I made this post. The one player that this young 25 year old lefty struck out was a player named Joe Sewell, who just happens to be the hardest player in the entire history of the game to strike out. How hard? Sewell averaged one strikeout every 63 at bats and also has the distinction of going 115 games without striking out, another major league record. To me, this little known record is as unbeatable as Dimaggio's 56 game hitting streak. In his entire career Sewell only struck out 114 times in 7,132 at bats. Imagine that. Guys like Adam Dunn can do that before the All Star break.

 

And yet this obscure pitcher, lost in the baseball record books, managed to strike Sewell out during his one and only major league game. This just goes to show that an appearance by any ballplayer over the years, no matter how minuscule it may appear, means something. There's a lot of Arlas Taylor's in the baseball record book. I was just lucky enough to find one of them.

 

Joe Sewell of the Indians. Sewell came to the Indians as a replacement for Ray Chapman in 1920. Chapman died from a pitch by New York's Carl Mays. Sewell went on to have a .312 career batting average and made the Hall of Fame in 1977.

 

 

Joe Sewell.jpg

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I love this kind of stuff Y4L thanks for the post. And I am going to go back and read some more of this thread too, that i didnt know existed.

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I too just found this thread,I'm usually busy doing mods and other stuff and never really took the time and check the site out but im getting ready to format my comp because of probs with a windows update it cause some of my programs like tys editor and other needed programs to quit working and thought id take a break before i start the process.I started watching baseball in 1970 in school because the pirates and reds where in the playoffs and our teacher didnt wanna miss the game lol.Right away 2 players stood out and that was roberto clemente and willie stargell.I wanted to meet clemente but i didnt get to see my first game until after clemente died.However i did get to see my other hero willie stargell during a photo day in which we could meet pirates and padres players on 3 rivers stadium field.And willie didnt disapoint.He loved his fans and loved kids and was always smiling.Ive seen players like ollie brown who was rude and threatened autograph seeking kids that hed punch them if they didnt get out of his way when he played for the phillies.But stargell respected fans as much as they respected him.One thing ill never forget is

willies pump before hed hit a ball and when hed hit a home run old bob prince would yell "chicken on the hill" or "kiss it goodbye"

 

Wilver Dornell "Willie" Stargell (March 6, 1940 – April 9, 2001), nicknamed "Pops" in the later years of his career, was a Major League Baseball left fielder and first baseman. He played his entire 21-year baseball career (1962-1982) with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Over his 21-year career with the Pirates, he batted .282, with 2,232 hits, 423 doubles, 475 home runs and 1540 runs batted in, helping his team capture six National League East division titles, two National League pennants and two World Series (1971, 1979).

 

Career

Stargell was born in Earlsboro, Oklahoma, but later moved to Alameda, California where he attended Encinal High School. He was signed by the Pirates at age 22, and made his Major League debut at the end of the 1962 season. He soon became a standout player, making his first of 7 trips to the All-Star Game in 1964.

 

Beloved in Pittsburgh for his style of play and affable manner, Stargell was known for hitting monstrous home runs, including 7 of the 16 balls ever hit completely out of Forbes Field and several of the upper-tier home runs at its successor, Three Rivers Stadium. At one time, Stargell held the record for the longest homer in nearly half of the National League parks. Standing 6 feet 2 inches, Stargell seemed larger, with his long arms and unique bat-handling practice of holding only the knob of the bat with his lower hand combining to provide extra bat extension, Stargell's swings seemed designed to hit home runs of the Ruthian variety. When most batters would use a simple lead-weighted bat in the on-deck circle, Stargell took to warming up with a sledgehammer, adding another layer of intimidation. While standing in the batter's box, he would windmill his bat until the pitcher started his windup.

 

Stargell hit the first home run at Shea Stadium in the first game played in that stadium on April 17, 1964.

 

Only four home runs have ever been hit out of Dodger Stadium, and Stargell hit two of them. The first came on August 6, 1969 off Alan Foster and measured 507 feet—to date, the longest home run ever hit at Dodger Stadium. The second, on May 8, 1973 against Andy Messersmith, measured 470 feet. Dodger starter Don Sutton said of Stargell, "I never saw anything like it. He doesn't just hit pitchers, he takes away their dignity."

 

On June 25, 1971, Stargell hit the longest home run in Veterans Stadium history during a 14-4 Pirates win over the Philadelphia Phillies.[1] The spot where the ball landed (the shot came in the second inning and chased starting pitcher Jim Bunning) was eventually marked with a yellow star with a black "S" inside a white circle until Stargell's 2001 death, when the white circle was painted black.[2] The star remained in place until the stadium's 2004 demolition.

 

In 1973 Stargell achieved the rare feat of simultaneously leading the league in both doubles and homers. Stargell had more than 40 of each; he was the first player to chalk up this 40-40 accomplishment since Hank Greenberg in 1940; other players have done so since (notably Albert Belle, the only 50-50 player).

 

In 1978, against Wayne Twitchell of the Montreal Expos, Stargell hit the only fair ball ever to reach the upper deck of Olympic Stadium. The seat where the ball landed (the home run was measured at 535 feet) has since been painted in yellow, while the other seats in the upper deck are red.

 

Bob Prince, the colorful longtime Pirate radio announcer would greet a Stargell home run with the phrase "Chicken on the Hill". This referred to Stargell's ownership of a chicken restaurant in Pittsburgh's Hill District. For a time, whenever he homered, Stargell's restaurant would give away free chicken to all patrons present in the restaurant at the time of the home run, in a promotion dubbed "Chicken on the Hill with Will".

 

Stargell also originated the practice of giving his teammates "stars" for their caps. Upon a good play or game, Stargell would give fellow players an embroidered star to place on their caps, which at the time were old-fashioned pillbox caps. These stars became known as "Stargell Stars". The practice began during the turbulent 1978 season, when the Pirates came from fourth place and 11.5 games behind in mid-August, to challenge the first-place Philadelphia Phillies for the division title. As fate would have it, the season was scheduled to end in a dramatic, four-game showdown against the Phillies in Pittsburgh, in which the Pirates had to win all four games to claim the title. Following a Pirate sweep of the Friday-night double-header, Stargell belted a grand slam in the bottom of the first inning of the season's ultimate game to give the Pirates an early 4-1 lead, although the Pirates would relinquish that lead later in the game and fall two runs short after a four-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning,[3] thus eliminating themselves from contention for the pennant. Stargell called that 1978 team his favorite team ever, and predicted that the Pirates would win the World Series the following year.

 

And the Pirates did just that in 1979, in a fashion similar to the way they had ended the 1978 season: from last place in the NL East at the end of April, the Pirates clawed their way into a first place battle with the Montreal Expos during the latter half of the season, exciting fans with numerous come-from-behind victories along the way (many during their final at-bat) to claim the division pennant on the last day of the season. And Stargell led all the way. At his urging as captain, the team adopted the Sister Sledge hit song "We Are Family" as the team anthem. Then his play on the field inspired his teammates and earned him the MVP awards in both the NLCS and the World Series. Stargell capped off the year by hitting a dramatic home run in Baltimore during the late innings of a close Game 7 to seal a Pirates championship. The home run, coincidentally, credited Stargell with the winning runs in both Game 7's of the two post-season meetings between the Pirates and the Orioles (1971 and 1979). The 1979 World Series victory also made the Pirates the only franchise in baseball history to twice recover from a three-games-to-one deficit and win a World Series (previously they had done so in 1925 against the Washington Senators).

 

In addition to his NLCS and World Series MVP awards, Stargell was named the co-MVP of the 1979 season (along with St. Louis' Keith Hernandez). Stargell is the only player to have won all three trophies in a single year. He shared the Sports Illustrated magazine's "Sportsmen of the Year" award with NFL quarterback Terry Bradshaw, who also played at Three Rivers Stadium, for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

 

Pirates manager Chuck Tanner said of Stargell, "Having him on your ball club is like having a diamond ring on your finger." Teammate Al Oliver once said, "If he asked us to jump off the Fort Pitt Bridge, we would ask him what kind of dive he wanted. That's how much respect we have for the man."

 

Legacy, post-retirement and death

95px-Pirates_Willie_Stargell.pngWillie Stargell's number 8 was retired by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1982.

Observers believe Stargell's career total of 475 home runs was depressed by playing in Forbes Field, whose deep left-center field distance was 457 feet. Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente estimated, perhaps generously, that Stargell hit 400 fly balls to the warning track in left and center fields during his eight seasons in the park. In addition, the short fence in right field (300 feet to the foul pole) was guarded by a screen more than 20 feet high which ran from the right-field line to the 375-foot mark in right center. Three Rivers Stadium, a neutral hitter's park, boosted Stargell's power numbers. The Pirates moved into Three Rivers in mid-1970, and he hit 310 of his 475 career home runs from 1970 until his retirement, despite turning 30 in 1970. In his first full season in the Pirates' new stadium, 1971, Stargell led the league with 48 home runs. He won one other home run title in 1973, a year in which he hit 44 home runs, drove in 119 runs and had a .646 slugging percentage.

 

After retirement, Stargell spent several years as a coach for the Atlanta Braves. While working for the Braves, he heavily influenced a young Chipper Jones. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988, his first year of eligibility. In 1999, he ranked 81st on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was also nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. Stargell was the last person to throw out the first pitch at Three Rivers Stadium.

 

His autograph suggests that he preferred "Wilver" to "Willie," and Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully typically called him "Wilver Stargell."

In the 1985 trial of alleged cocaine dealer Curtis Strong, Stargell was accused by Dale Berra (Yogi's son) and John Milner (both former Pirates teammates) of distributing "greenies" (amphetamines) to players. Stargell strongly denied these charges.

 

After years of suffering from a kidney disorder, he died of complications related to a stroke in Wilmington, North Carolina, on April 9, 2001; on that same day (coincidentally, the first game at the Pirates' new stadium, PNC Park), a larger-than-life statue of him was unveiled as part of the opening-day ceremonies.

 

Stargell's own quotations

  • "The (umpire) says 'play' ball, not 'work' ball."
  • "Trying to hit Sandy Koufax was like trying to drink coffee with a fork."[5]
  • "Throwing a knuckleball for a strike is like throwing a butterfly with hiccups across the street into your neighbor's mailbox."
  • "They give you a round bat and they throw you a round ball and they tell you to hit it square." (Ted Williams and Pete Rose have also been credited with similar versions of this quote.)
  • "Now I know why they boo Richie—Dick Allen—all the time. When he hits a home run, there's no souvenir." (Allen, also well known for mammoth home runs and not very beloved by Philadelphia Phillies fans, had hit a ball over the left-center field roof of Philadelphia's Connie Mack Stadium.)
  • (After winning a game in 1979 against the Cincinnati Reds with a pinch RBI single after a disputed check-swing call) "Maybe it was this black bat I used. Or this black shirt or my black arms that made the Reds think they saw something."
  • "Now when they walk down the street, the people of Pittsburgh can say that we come from a city that has nothing but champions!" (Stargell during the celebratory parade in the city after the 1979 World Series, that year Pittsburgh won both their third Super Bowl and second World Series of the seventies. This quote is attributed to the creation of one of Pittsburgh's nicknames: "The City Of Champions")

Highlights

 

 

  • Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee (1988)
  • National League Co-MVP (shared with Keith Hernandez, 1979)
  • 7-time Top 10 MVP (1971–75, 1978–79)
  • 7-time All-Star (1964–66, 1971–73, 1978)
  • National League Championship Series MVP (1979)
  • World Series MVP (1979)
  • ABC's Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year (1979)
  • Led National League in Slugging Percentage (1973)
  • Twice led National League in OPS (1973–74)
  • Led National League in Doubles (1973)
  • Twice led National League in Home Runs (1971 and 1973)
  • Led National League in RBI (1973)
  • Twice led National League in Extra-Base Hits (1971 and 1973)
  • Hit for the cycle (1964)
  • Threw the last pitch at Three Rivers Stadium, as part of the park's farewell ceremony (2000)

 

 

willie-stargell-civil-war-hat.jpg

pnc04.jpg

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Roberto Clemente Walker (August 18, 1934 December 31, 1972) was a Puerto Rican Major League Baseball right fielder. He was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, the youngest of seven children. On November 14, 1964, he married Vera Zabala at San Fernando Church in Carolina. The couple had three children: Roberto Jr., Luis Roberto and Enrique Roberto. He began his professional career playing with the Santurce Crabbers in the Puerto Rican Professional Baseball League (LBPPR). While he was playing in Puerto Rico, the Brooklyn Dodgers offered him a contract to play with the Montreal Royals. Clemente accepted the offer and was active with the team until the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired him in the Major League Baseball Rule 5 Draft of 1954.

 

Clemente would then play his entire 18-year baseball career with the Pirates (1955-72). He was awarded the National League's Most Valuable Player Award in 1966. During the course of his career, Clemente was selected to participate in the league's All Star Game on twelve occasions. He won twelve Gold Glove Awards and led the league in batting average in four different seasons. He was also involved in humanitarian work in Puerto Rico and other Latin American countries, often delivering baseball equipment and food to them.

 

He died in an aviation accident on December 31, 1972, while en route to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. His body was never recovered. He was elected to the Hall of Fame posthumously in 1973, thus becoming the first Latin American to be selected and the only current Hall of Famer for whom the mandatory five year waiting period has been waived since the wait was instituted in 1954. Clemente is also the first Hispanic player to win a World Series as a starter (1960), win a league MVP award (1966) and win a World Series MVP award (1971).

 

Baseball career

Clemente's professional career began when Pedrín Zorilla offered him a contract with the Santurce Crabbers of the LBBPR. He was a bench player during his first campaign, but was promoted to the team's starting lineup the following season. During this season he hit .288 as the team's leadoff hitter. While Clemente was playing in the LBBPR, the Brooklyn Dodgers offered him a contract with the team's Triple-A subsidiary. He then moved to Montreal to play with the Montreal Royals. The climate and language differences affected Clemente early on, but he received the assistance of his teammate Joe Black, who was able to speak Spanish. In 1954, Clyde Sukeforth, a scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates, noticed that Clemente was being used as a bench player for the team and discussed the possibility of drafting Clemente to the Pirates with the team's manager, Max Macon. The Pirates selected Clemente as the first selection of the rookie draft that took place on November 22, 1954.

 

Pittsburgh Pirates

Clemente debuted with the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 17, 1955 in the first game of a double header against the Brooklyn Dodgers.  At the beginning of his time with the Pirates, he experienced frustration because of racial tension between himself, the local media, and even some of his teammates. Clemente responded to this by stating, "I don't believe in color".  He noted that, during his upbringing, he was taught to never discriminate against someone based on ethnicity.

 

During the middle of the season, Clemente was involved in a car accident; this caused him to miss several games with an injury in his lower back.He finished his rookie season with an average of .255, despite confronting trouble hitting certain types of pitches. His defensive skills, however, were highlighted during this season.

 

During the off season, Clemente played with the Santurce Crabbers in the Puerto Rican baseball winter league, where he was already considered a star.

 

The 1960s

The Pirates experienced several difficult seasons through the 1950s, although they did manage their first winning season since 1948 in 1959. During the winter season of 1958-59, Clemente didn't play winter baseball in Puerto Rico; instead, he served in the United States Marine Corps Reserves. He spent six months in his military commitment at Parris Island, South Carolina, and Camp LeJeune in North Carolina. At Parris Island, Clemente received his basic training with Platoon 346 of the 3rd Recruit Battalion. In Camp Lejeune, he served as an infantryman. The rigorous training program helped Clemente physically; he added strength by gaining ten pounds and said his back troubles had disappeared.

220px-RobertoClementeStatueatPNCPark.jpg Statue of Clemente in Pittsburgh.

He remained in the reserves until September 1964. Early in the 1960 season, Clemente led the league, batting an average of .353 and scoring Runs Batted In (RBIs) in twenty-five out of twenty-seven games. Roberto's batting average stayed above the .300 mark throughout the course of the campaign. In August, he was inactive for five games as a result of an injury on his chin; he received this injury when his head impacted a concrete wall while he was trying to catch a hard line hit that reached the park's outer wall. Following this accident, he was transported to a local hospital, where the doctors stitched his chin; this prohibited him from playing until the injury was healed.The Pirates compiled a 95-59 record during the regular season, winning the National League pennant, and defeated the New York Yankees in a seven-game World Series. Clemente batted .310 in the series, hitting safely at least once in every game His .314 batting average, 16 home runs, and defense during the course of the season earned him his first participation in the All-Star game, where he served as a reserve player.

 

During 1961 spring training, Clemente tried to modify his batting technique by using a heavier bat in order to slow the speed of his swing, following advice from Pirates' batting coach George Sisler.During the 1961 season, Clemente was selected as the starting right fielder for the National League in the All-Star game. In this game, he batted a triple on his first at-bat and scored the team's first run. With the American League ahead 4-3 in the tenth inning, Clemente hit a double that gave the National League a decisive 5-4 win.

 

Following the season, he traveled to Puerto Rico along with Orlando Cepeda, who was a native of Ponce. When both players arrived, they were received by 18,000 people. On November 14, 1964, Clemente married Vera Zabula. The ceremony took place in the church of San Fernando in Carolina and was attended by thousands of fanatics. During this time, he was also involved in managing the Senadores de San Juan in the LBPPR, as well as playing with the team during the Major League offseason. During the course of the winter league, Clemente was injured and only participated as a pinch hitter in the league's All-Star game. He experienced a complication on his injury during the course of this game and underwent surgery shortly after being carried off of the playing field.

 

This condition limited his role with the Pirates in the first half of the 1965 season, during which he batted an average of .257. He was inactive for several games during this stage of the campaign before being fully active; when he returned to the starting lineup, he hit in thirty-three out of thirty-four games and his average improved to .340. Roberto and Vera had their first son on August 17, 1965, when Roberto Clemente, Jr. was born; he was the first of three children, along with Luis Roberto and Enrique Roberto. During the 1960s, he batted over .300 in every year except 1968, when he hit .291.He was selected to every All-Star game, and he was given a Gold Glove every season from 1961 onwards. He led the National League in batting average four times (1961, 1964, 1965, and 1967), led the National League in hits twice (1964 and 1967), and won the Most Valuable Player award in the 1966 season, when he hit .317 while setting career highs in home runs (29) and RBI (119). In 1967, he registered a career high .357 average and hit twenty-three home runs and 110 runs batted in.The 1970 season was the last one that the Pittsburgh Pirates played in Forbes Field before moving to Three Rivers Stadium; for Clemente, abandoning this stadium was an emotional situation. The Pirates' final game at Forbes Field took place on June 28, 1970. That day, Clemente noted that it was hard to play in a different field, saying, "I spent half my life there".The night of July 4, 1970 was declared "Roberto Clemente Night"; on this day, several Puerto Rican fans traveled to Three Rivers Stadium and cheered Clemente while wearing traditional Puerto Rican indumentary. A ceremony to honor Clemente took place, during which he received a scroll with 300,000 signatures compiled in Puerto Rico, and several thousands of dollars were donated to charity work following Clemente's request.

 

During the 1970 campaign, Clemente compiled an average of .352; the Pirates won the National League East pennant but were subsequently eliminated by the Cincinnati Reds. In the offseason, Clemente experienced some tense situations while he was working as manager of the Senators and when his father, Melchor Clemente, experienced medical problems and was subjected to a surgery.

In the 1971 season, the Pirates won the National League pennant and faced the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series. Baltimore had won 100 games and swept the American League Championship Series, both for the third consecutive year, and were the defending World Series champions. The Orioles won the first two games in the series, but Pittsburgh won the championship in seven games. This marked the second occasion that Clemente had won a World Series with the Pirates. Over the course of the series, Clemente batted a .414 average , performed well defensively, and hit a solo home run in the deciding 2-1 seventh game victory. Following the conclusion of the season, he received the World Series Most Valuable Player award. Struggling with injuries, Clemente only managed to appear in 102 games in 1972, but he still hit .312 for his final .300 season. On September 30, in a game at Three Rivers Stadium, he hit a double off Jon Matlack of the New York Mets for his 3,000th hit. It was the last at-bat of his career during a regular season, though he did play in the 1972 NLCS playoffs against the Cincinnati Reds In the playoffs, he batted .235 as he went 4 for 17. His last game ever was at Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium in the fifth game of the playoff series.

 

Death in airplane accident

Clemente spent much of his time during the off-season involved in charity work. When Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua, was affected by a massive earthquake on December 23, 1972, Clemente (who had been visiting Managua three weeks before the quake) immediately set to work arranging emergency relief flights. He soon learned, however, that the aid packages on the first three flights had been diverted by corrupt officials of the Somoza government, never reaching victims of the quake.

 

Clemente decided to accompany the fourth relief flight, hoping that his presence would ensure that the aid would be delivered to the survivors.The airplane he chartered for a New Year's Eve flight, a Douglas DC-7, had a history of mechanical problems and sub-par flight personnel, and it was overloaded by 5,000 pounds. It crashed into the ocean off the coast of Isla Verde, Puerto Rico immediately after takeoff on December 31, 1972.A few days after the crash, the body of the pilot and part of the fuselage of the plane were found. An empty flight case apparently belonging to Clemente was the only personal item recovered from the plane. Clemente's teammate and close friend Manny Sanguillen was the only member of the Pirates not to attend Roberto's memorial service. The catcher chose instead to dive into the waters where Clemente's plane had crashed in an effort to find his teammate. Clemente's body was never recovered.At the time of his death, Clemente had established several records within the Pittsburgh Pirates, including possessing the record for hitting the most triples in a single game with three and the record for most hits in two consecutive games with ten, as well as achieving other accomplishments that were unparalleled at the moment. These include tying the record for most Gold Glove Awards won among outfielders with twelve, which he shares with Willie Mays. He also became the only player to have ever hit a walk-off inside-the-park grand slam He accomplished this historic baseball-event on July 25, 1956 in a 9-8 Pittsburgh win against the Chicago Cubs, at Forbes Field. In addition, he was one of four players to have ten or more Gold Gloves and a lifetime batting average of over .300.

 

Roberto%20Clemente.jpgRobertoClemente.jpg

Three of the greatest who ever played Clemente, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron.

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And since i mentioned bob prince i wanted to add this as well.For those who may have never heard bob announce u really missed some quite colorful words known as gunnerisms lolol

 

Robert Ferris Prince (July 1, 1916 - June 10, 1985) was an American radio and television sportscaster and commentator best known for his 28-year stint as the voice of the Pittsburgh Pirates Major League Baseball club, with whom he earned the nickname "The Gunner" and became a cultural icon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

 

Prince was one of the most distinct, colorful and popular voices in sports broadcast history, known for his gravel voice, unabashed style and clever nicknames and phrases, which came to be known as "Gunnerisms." His unique manner influenced a number of broadcasters after him, a list that includes Pittsburgh Penguins voice Mike Lange and Pittsburgh Steelers color analyst Myron Cope among others.

Prince called Pirates games from 1948 to 1975, including the World Series championship years of 1960 and 1971. Nationally, Prince broadcast the 1960, 1966, and 1971 World Series and the 1965 All-Star Game for NBC. He also broadcast at different times for other Pittsburgh-area sports teams, including Steelers football and Penguins hockey.

 

"The Green Weenie"

 

In 1966, Prince popularized a good-luck charm known as the Green Weenie, a plastic rattle in the shape of an oversized green pickle that Pirates fans used to jinx opponents. "Never underestimate the power of the Green Weenie," he liked to assure listeners. At the height of the term's popularity in 1966, Prince often punctuated the last out of a Bucs' victory by exclaiming, "The Great Green Weenie has done it again!" The pin's shape and color is derived from the pickle shaped pins distributed to schoolchildren when they toured the H._J._Heinz_Company factory in Pittsburgh. By late season, with the Pirates in a terrific pennant race with the Dodgers and Giants, some fans would parade a giant replica of the Green Weenie through the grandstand as a rally symbol. The hex symbol had started in the dugout with trainer Danny Whelan. Prince picked up on it and began talking about it on the broadcasts. No one thought to trademark the Green Weenie, so tens of thousands were sold in 1966, but Prince, Whelan and the Pirates didn't profit from it.

 

Prince used dozens of pet words and phrases that were often imitated but never duplicated in his profession. Here are some:

  • "A bloop and a blast": A base hit and a home run, usually late in the game when the Bucs were down by a run.
  • "There's a bug loose on the rug" or just "A bug on a rug": A ground ball that scooted between all the fielders on the defensive team, often skipping/rolling all the way to the outfield wall. Also possibly refers to the artificial turf as a "rug".
  • "A dying quail": A bloop base hit, more commonly known as a "Texas Leaguer."
  • "Can o' corn" or "A No. 8 can of Golden Bantam": A routine fly ball or popup which came straight down, from old-time grocery stores in which canned goods (including corn) were on a very high shelf and a stick was used to pull them off the shelf ... and be neatly caught by the clerk. Golden Bantam was a popular brand of corn.
  • "Foul by a gnat's eyelash" and "Close as fuzz on a tick's ear": The difference between a ball being fair or foul or a player being safe or out.
  • "Frozen rope": A hard line drive, often hit by Roberto Clemente.
  • "Hidden vigorish": A call for help for the Pirates or for an individual player, as in, "He just needs a little hidden vigorish." (Vigorish, from a Yiddish slang term, is the somewhat hidden profit that bookmakers get for a bet, regardless of who wins or loses.)
  • "Low hummin' riser": A fastball.
  • "Rug-cuttin' time" and "For all the money, marbles, and chalk": The deciding moment; crunch time.
  • "Runnin' through the raindrops": Escaping without serious damage, as when a Pirate pitcher gives up several hits and/or walks in an inning but the other team did not score.
  • "He couldn't hit that with a bed slat": After a batter chased a pitch way outside.
  • "A little bingle": A little hit (single); a way to get on base and start a rally.
  • "Aspirin tablets": Fastballs so quick they seem that small.
  • "Atem balls": A pun describing hard batted balls that went right to a fielder—right "at 'em." When this happened a few times in a game, Prince would say that a Pirate pitcher "has his atem ball workin' tonight."
  • "Babushka power": Prince would call on the power of the headscarves that women fans wore. At Prince's urging, the women sometimes would take off their scarves and wave them; Steelers announcer Myron Cope later adapted the idea into the "Terrible Towel." that Steeler fans still wave.
  • "Arriba!": Spanish for above or aloft, used by Prince in reverential reference to Clemente and his astonishing skills. Fans adopted the word as Clemente's nickname. Prince was fluent in Spanish and helped mentor and translate for Hispanic players, including Clemente, a Puerto Rican who spoke English with a heavy accent.
  • "How sweet it is!": Exclaimed whenever the result was sweet for the Pirates. The phrase apparently was also used by Rosey Rosewell, longtime Pirate announcer who Prince joined at the beginning of his career. It is originally attributed to entertainer Jackie Gleason.
  • "Good night, Mary Edgerly, wherever you are": His trademark farewell, although he never explained on-air who she was. Prince admitted the phrase was a variation of comedian Jimmy Durante's nightly good-bye to an unseen Mrs. Calabash on his television show. Mary Frances Smith Edgerly was, indeed, a real person, a dear friend of Bob and Betty Prince who resided at the Blue Waters Beach Club in St. Petersburg, Florida. "Mayme" was a lifelong baseball fan and used to spend hours in the stands during spring training watching her beloved Pirates. She was a lively and interesting lady who died at the age of 105, two weeks after attending an Old-Timers' game in Buffalo, New York. Clemente also loved Mary and gave her one of his record-setting bats.
  • "Hoover": A double play in which the Pirates would "vacuum" runners from the bases, which happened often, as second baseman Bill Mazeroski holds the all-time record for double plays. Once criticized for "promoting" a vacuum cleaner company that was not a sponsor, Prince—who did not like anyone challenging his sayings—invented the explanation that he was referring to the tax relief policies of former President Herbert Hoover.
  • "Pull out the plug, mother!": When the other team's rally went down the drain, often due to an inning-ending double play.
  • "Kiss it good-bye!" or "You can kiss it good-bye!" or "You can kiss this baby good-bye!": legendary home run call and current broadcast standard.
  • "Radio ball": A fastball thrown so hard it "could be heard but not seen."
  • "Soup cooler": A pitch delivered high and inside, so termed because it was up around the lips (which blow on soup to cool it).
  • "Spread some chicken on the Hill with Will" or just "Chicken on the Hill": After a home run hit by Pirates slugger Willie Stargell who owned a fried chicken establishment in the Hill District of Pittsburgh and offered free chicken to any customer who was in line when Stargell homered.
  • "Sufferin' catfish": Words of frustration after the baseball gods conspired against his team. A fairly common southern term.
  • "The alabaster plaster": The rock-hard infield surface at Pittsburgh's Forbes Field. An "alabaster blast" was the basehit that came off the hard infield, more commonly known as a "Baltimore chop".
  • "The House of Thrills": Forbes Field itself.
  • "The bases are F.O.B.": The bases are loaded ("Full of Bucs," probably borrowed from Red Barber's "Full of Brooklyns").
  • "'Tweener": a hit to the left or right field gap and thus between the fielders.
  • "We had 'em alllll the way" or "The Buccos had 'em alllll the way": A way to say that the Pirates never trailed in a game. Also used humorously and ironically after the Pirates scored an improbable, come-from-behind victory.
  • "Call a doctor, it's outta here": when an opposing player hit a home run off a Pirate pit

 

 

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Hugo Bezdek

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Again you ask, who??? Hugo Bezdek was the only man ever to manage a baseball team in the Major Leagues and coach in the National Football League. Interestingly enough, he never played Major League ball or played in the NFL.

Bezdek managed the Pittsburgh Pirates in mid 1917 for the last 91 games of the season. He inherited a last place team and that's where they ended up when the season finished. But in the next two years as Pirates manager, he lead the team to two fourth place finishes.

After leaving Pittsburgh after the 1919 season, he returned to football as head coach at Penn State and took Penn to the Rose Bowl in 1924. In 1937, the Cleveland Rams, who would later become the Los Angeles Rams and then St. Louis Rams, hired Bezdek as their coach for their very first year in the NFL. The Rams went 1-10 under Bezdek in 1937 and when the team started out 1-3 in 1938, Bezdek resigned.

Bezdek was president of the National Association of Football Coaches in 1948 and was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1954. His lifetime college record was 127–58–16.

Bezdek was born in Prague, Austria-Hungary in 1884 and died in 1952.

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May as well try to contribute to this thread again. For newer users this was a thread where you would post a mini-biography of any player and basically present it any way you'd like to. This thread right here shows you all the players that have already been detailed in this thread.

 

I'll resume this with one of the best hitters from the 70's and early 80's.

 

Rod Carew

 

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Rod Carew played from 1967 to 1985 for the Minnesota Twins and the California Angels and was elected to the All-Star game every season except his last. In 1991, Carew was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. While Carew was never a home run threat (only 92 of his 3,053 hits were home runs), he made a career out of being a consistent contact hitter. He threw right handed and batted left handed.

 

Carew won the American League's Rookie of the Year award in 1967 and was elected to the first of 18 consecutive All-Star game appearances. Carew stole home seven times in the 1969 season to lead the major, just missing Ty Cobb's Major League record of eight and the most in the major leagues since Pete Reiser stole seven for the Brooklyn Dodgers back in 1946. Carew's career total of 17 steals of home currently puts him tied for 17th on the list with former New York Giant MVP Larry Doyle and fellow Hall of Famer Eddie Collins. In 1972, Carew led the American League in batting, hitting 3.18 and remarkably, without hitting a single home run for the only time in his career. Carew is to date the only player in the American League or in the modern era to win the batting title with no home runs. In 1975 Carew joined Ty Cobb as the only players to lead both the American and National Leagues in batting average for three consecutive seasons. In the 1977 season, Carew batted .388, which was the highest since Boston's Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941, and won the American League's Most Valuable Player.

 

Carew was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991, his first year of eligibility, the 22nd player so elected. In 1999 he ranked #61 on The Sporting News' list of 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was nominated as a finalist for Major League Baseball's All-Century Team.


Voted into the Hall of Fame (1991). He was also named the Roberto Clemente Award winner (1977) by Major League Baseball as the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship and community involvement. He was only the third person to have his uniform (#29) retired by two teams.

Edited by Yankee4Life

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Babe Herman

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Babe Herman was born on Friday, June 26, 1903, in Buffalo, New York. Herman was 22 years old when he broke into the big leagues on April 14, 1926, with the Brooklyn Robins.

 

When Babe Herman died in 1987 one headline said "Daffiest of the Dodgers." But Babe Herman, the daffiest Dodger, wasn't daffy at all. When he died the newspaper obits recalled his legendary exploits. The time at Ebbets Field a fly ball bounced off Babe's head and over the fence for a ground-rule double. The time he doubled into a double play.

 

Babe never took issue with the sportswriters who etched the semi-fiction into stone with their typewriters.

 

That fly ball never bounced off his head. It bounced off the head of teammate Al Tyson, who replaced Babe a few innings earlier. The official scorer failed to notice the substitution. True, a fly ball lost in the sun once bounced off Babe's shoulder, but as he explained at the time, "Shoulders don't count."

 

He did double into a double play, but only because a teammate fell asleep between second and third and got passed by a hustling Babe.

The cigar story is absolutely true. Babe was chomping on the cigar. Called to the phone, he stuffed the cigar into the breast pocket of his suit. After hanging up, he fished out the stogie and, without a match, puffed it back to life. Seems there was a spark smoldering in the ash of the seemingly-dead cigar. But that's not so much daffiness as a simple case of a man knowing his cigar.

 

The funny stories almost make you forget that the Babe turned himself into an outstanding outfielder for the Dodgers, and that he could hit a baseball.

 

Rogers Hornsby said Herman hit the ball harder than anyone. Al Lopez once said, "Babe swung a bat with more ease and grace than any man I ever saw."

 

He was tall, 6-4, and a rangy player, but unlike the other Babe, Herman's swing wasn't an awesome power sweep. It was a rapier-like slash. Ty Cobb taught Herman to aim for the pitcher's forehead and let the hits fall where they may. One season, 1930, 241 of them fell.

"People think Herman was a stupid clown when he was at the height of his career," Charlie Dressen once said. "I know different, because I played with him and also managed him. Let me tell you, Herman was a good outfielder. He could hit and throw. He was nobody's fool."

Herman retired in 1945 with a career batting average of .324 with 181 home runs and 997 RBI.

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Ken Harrelson

 

Ken Harrelson played for four teams: the Kansas City Athletics (1963-66, 1967), Washington Senators (1966-67), Boston Red Sox (1967-69), and Cleveland Indians (1969-71). In his nine-season career, Harrelson was a .239 hitter with 131 home runs and 421 RBI in 900 games.

His time with the Athletics ended abruptly in 1967 when Harrelson angrily denounced team owner Charlie Finley following the dismissal of manager Alvin Dark. Saying that Finley was "a menace to baseball", Harrelson was released and ended up signing a lucrative deal with the Boston Red Sox, who were in contention to win their first pennant since 1946.

Brought in to replace the injured Tony Conigliaro, Harrelson helped the team win the pennant, but watched the team drop the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games. However, in 1968, he had his finest season, making the American League All-Star team and leading the American League in runs batted in with 109. He also finished third in the American League Most Valuable Player balloting, with two Detroit Tigers finishing ahead of him -- pitcher Denny McLain won the award and catcher Bill Freehan finished second.

He began his broadcasting career in 1975 with the Boston Red Sox on WSBK-TV, partnering with Dick Stockton. He became highly popular, especially after being teamed with veteran play-by-play man Ned Martin in 1979, but after being publicly critical of player personnel decisions made by Boston co-owner Haywood Sullivan, Harrelson was fired at the close of the 1981 season.

Harrelson served as a Chicago White Sox announcer from 1982 to 1985 and briefly left broadcasting during the 1986 season to become the White Sox's General Manager. During his one season as GM, Harrelson fired field manager Tony La Russa (who was soon hired by the Oakland Athletics) and assistant general manager Dave Dombrowski (who became baseball's youngest general manager with the Montreal Expos just two years later). Harrelson also traded rookie Bobby Bonilla, later a six-time All-Star, to the Pittsburgh Pirates for pitcher José DeLeón.

Since 1990, he has served as the main play-by-play announcer for the White Sox television broadcasts. During this time he won five Emmy Awards and two Illinois Sportscaster of the Year awards.



 

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JIM CREIGHTON

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Jim was probably Baseballs first real star player and made his pitching debut with the Brooklyn Niagras at age 19, in 1859. He then changed clubs in 1860 to the "Excelsior Club" for "under the table inducements", making him most likely the first paid player in history, and not Al Reach.

 

At the time Jim played, the ball had to be pitched stiff armed, and under hand. Its noted that he was one of the first to bend that rule by adding a almost undetectable snap to his wrist in the motion, thus speeding his pitches dramatically compared to how it was done by others. He would also throw without the snap mixing his speeds exactly how good MLB pitchers do today. During this era of baseball, it was the pitchers job to help the hitter strike the ball, not hinder him,thus letting fielding decide the fate of the game, many many players and clubs initially detested Creightons style of hurling, and on November 8th of 1860, Creighton recorded baseballs first shutout.

 

It could also be said that Creighton was a phenom at the plate as well, and as far as recorded history can tell, he was retired at the bat only 4 times in the 1862 season. (yes while the American Civil War raged)

 

On October 18th 1862, at the age of 21,Creighton hit a home run, and on deck hitter John Chapman reports hearing an unusual snap during Creighton's swing. Jim assures Chapman it was his belt snapping, however, Creighton would die 4 days later of internal bleeding, having ruptured his spleen or bladder.

 

Creightons approach to the game, his pitching style would forever change the way the game was played, turning it from a struggle between hitters/runners against fielders into the intense duels between batters and pitchers we know today.

RIP Jim Creighton, more should know your name.

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Thank you redeck for your contribution to this thread. As you said, more people should know James Creighton's name. This guy was one of the very first stars the game ever had. And do you realize that when he got hurt and died days later the Civil War was still going on? Thanks for the history on him and I have updated his name in the players list that lists every player covered in this thread.

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Hank Aaron


 

American baseball icon Hank Aaron, nicknamed "Hammerin' Hank," is widely regarded as one of the greatest hitters in the history of the sport. For nearly 23 years (1954–76), Aaron played as an outfielder for the Braves and the Milwaukee Brewers, setting several records and winning a number of honors along the way.

 

Born Henry Louis Aaron on February 5, 1934, in a poor black section of Mobile, Alabama, called "Down The Bay," Hank Aaron was the third of eight children born to Estella and Herbert Aaron, who made a living as a tavern owner and a dry dock boilermaker's assistant.

Aaron developed a strong affinity for baseball and football at a young age, and tended to focus more heavily on sports than his studies. During his freshman and sophomore years, he attended Central High School, a segregated high school in Mobile, where he excelled at both football and baseball. On the baseball diamond, he played shortstop and third base. In his junior year, Aaron transferred to the Josephine Allen Institute, a neighboring private school that had an organized baseball program. Before the end of his first year at Allen, he had more than proved his abilities on the baseball field. Then, perhaps sensing that he had a bigger future ahead of him, in 1951, the 18-year-old Aaron quit school to play for the Negro Baseball League's Indianapolis Clowns.

 

After leading his club to victory in the league's 1952 World Series, in June 1952, Aaron was recruited by the Milwaukee Braves (formerly of Boston and later of Atlanta) for $10,000. The Braves assigned their new player to one of their farm clubs, The Eau Claire Bears. Again, Aaron did not disappoint, earning the esteemed title of "Northern League Rookie of the Year."

 

Hank Aaron made his Major League debut in 1954, at age 20, when a spring training injury to a Braves outfielder created a roster spot for him. Following a respectable first year (he hit .280), Aaron charged through the 1955 season with a blend of power (27 home runs), run production (106 runs batted in), and average (.328) that would come to define his long career. In 1956, after winning the first of two of his batting titles, Aaron registered an unrivaled 1957 season, taking home the National League MVP and nearly nabbing the Triple Crown by hitting 44 homeruns, knocking in another 132, and batting .322.

 

That same year, Aaron demonstrated his ability to come up big when it counted most. His 11th inning home run in late September propelled the Braves to the World Series, where he led underdog Milwaukee to an upset win over the New York Yankees in seven games.

Over the next decade and a half, the always-fit Aaron banged out a steady stream of 30 and 40 homerun seasons. In 1973, at the age of 39, Aaron was still a force, clubbing a remarkable 40 homeruns to finish just one run behind Babe Ruth's all-time career mark of 714.

 

In 1974, after tying the Babe on Opening Day in Cincinnati, Aaron came home with his team. On April 15, he banged out his record 715th homerun at 9:07 p.m. in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was a triumph and a relief. The more than 50,000 fans on hand cheered him on as he rounded the bases. There were fireworks and a band, and when he crossed home plate, Aaron's parents were there to greet him.

Overall, Aaron finished the 1974 season with 20 home runs. He played two more years, moving back to Milwaukee to finish out his career to play in the same city where he'd started.

After retiring as a player, Aaron moved into the Atlanta Braves front office as executive vice-president, where he has been a leading spokesman for minority hiring in baseball. He was elected to baseball's Hall of Fame in 1982. His autobiography, I Had a Hammer, was published in 1990.



 

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Wally Pipp

 

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Wally Pipp is the guy that lost his job to Lou Gehrig, who just happens to the greatest first baseman in baseball history. But Pipp was hardly a slouch on the field. And he was rarely off the field, missing just a handful of games over the previous four seasons before Gehrig took his job in 1925.

 

In fact, Pipp anchored Yankee pennant winners in 1921, 1922 and the championship 1923 team, which were the Yanks first. He was coming off a career year in 1924 when he hit .295 with nine home runs, 114 RBI and an American League-leading 19 triples.

 

As the story goes, that day Pipp told Yankee Manager Miller Huggins that he had a headache, and Huggins replaced him with Gehrig in the Yankee lineup. Lou Gehrig, who had pinch hit for Yankee shortstop Pee Wee Wanninger the previous day to start his famous consecutive games streak, didn’t sit down for nearly 15 years, 2,130 games later.

 

Pipp’s recollection of that day is somewhat hazy. Decades later, in a 1953 interview, he recounted that he did have a headache—because he had been beaned in batting practice.

 

That’s not exactly how it went down. In fact, Pipp was a pinch-hitter the very next day, June 3, after his supposed beaning. Although Pipp never started another game at first base for the Yankees, Gehrig didn’t exactly tear the league apart in 1925, and Huggins had pinch hit for a few times because the Yankees’ manager was disappointed in Gehrig’s performance against left-handers.

 

Pipp’s beaning took place exactly a month later—on July 2. According to various accounts he suffered a fractured skull or a concussion—certainly more than a headache. He played sparingly the rest of the season and was shipped to Cincinnati at the end of it.

 

Pipp had a solid career and was one of the best first basemen of his era. He led the American League in home runs with 12 in 1916 and nine in 1917. He hit .281 for this career, with 90 HRs, 997 RBI and 1,941 hits.

 

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Ted Kluszewski

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A highly popular player, Ted 'Big Klu' Kluszewski was a powerful, slugging first baseman. He was a symbol of raw strength and probably was one of the strongest men ever to play in the major leagues. Big Klu's arm were so huge that he cut of the sleeves of his uniform because they were restricting his ability to swing the bat. In 1950, Kluszewski hit 25 homers, drove in 111 runs and hit .307 for the Cincinnati Reds. He seemed to get bigger and stronger the longer he played. In 1953, he hit 40 home runs, had 108 RBI's, scored 97 runs and batted .316 and even with all this power, Klu struck out only 34 times.

 

In 1954, Ted Kluszewski led the National League with 49 home runs, 141 RBIs, .326 BA; and only struckout a total of 35 times. Again in 1955, Kluszewski powered 47 HR's, scored 116 runs, had 113 RBIs, and batted .314. Ted Kluszewski was still the Reds' strong boy and in 1956, he hit 35 HRs with 102 RBIs. His trade by the Reds to the Pittsburgh Pirates was met with boo's from his many loyal Red's fans. Playing for the White Sox, fans cheered for Big Klu in the 1959 World Series against the Dodgers, as Kluszewski hit two homers in the first game and ended with 10 RBI's for the whole series. The Dodgers won the series 4 games to 2. Ted Kluszewski had a .298 career batting average with 290 doubles and 279 home runs. Ted Kluszewski was a popular ball player during this era and even opposing fans cheered him on. In the 1970s and early 1980s he was a batting coach for Cincinnati.

 

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Mickey Cochrane

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Gordon Stanley "Mickey" Cochrane was one of baseball's greatest catchers. He compiled a .320 lifetime batting average over 13 seasons from 1925 to 1937, handled outstanding pitchers Lefty Grove and Schoolboy Rowe during their record-tying 16-game winning streaks, and in 1947 was the first catcher elected by the Baseball Writers Association of America to the Hall of Fame.

 

Cochrane wasn't just a great baseball player, though. He was a hero and role model to millions of people during the Great Depression of the 1930s when as player-manager of the Detroit Tigers he led the downtrodden Tigers to their first pennant in 25 years. The combination of Cochrane's fierce competitiveness on the field and his likable personality off the field, mixed with his successful rise from humble beginnings, helped Americans take their minds off the widespread unemployment during the Great Depression and encouraged them that they too could weather the economic times. Many parents named their children after Cochrane, including one Oklahoma family named Mantle.

 

Playing for the Philadelphia Athletics and Detroit Tigers, Cochrane led five teams to American League pennants during the seven-year span from 1929 through 1935, an era most fans remember as being dominated by Babe Ruth and the New York Yankees. Three of these five teams went on to win World Series titles. Cochrane was the catcher on Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics team that won three consecutive pennants from 1929 to 1931. It was as player-manager of the Detroit Tigers, however, that Cochrane achieved national fame and adulation, leading the Tigers to pennants in 1934 and 1935, and to Detroit's first World Series title in 1935.

 

Following the World Series victory in 1935, he suffered a breakdown in 1936 after being elevated to general manager in addition to his player-manager duties. On May 25, 1937, soon after his recovery from the breakdown, he was hit in the head by a pitch from Yankee pitcher Bump Hadley in those helmetless days and was nearly killed, ending his major league playing career. Cochrane came back as bench manager in 1938, but was ineffective outside his playing-field leadership and was fired on August 6, 1938. He was a great leader on the field, but cast as a "caged lion" bench manager, he never managed again in the major leagues.

 

While hitting just 119 home runs in his career, Cochrane had 64 triples, the most among Hall of Fame catchers that played in the 20th century. His ability to launch doubles and triples lands him just outside the game's top 100 in slugging percentage with his .478 average. Cochrane's lack of home run production over his career - which wasn't required because he batted in front of such sluggers as Al Simmons, Jimmie Foxx, and Hank Greenberg - has somewhat unfairly diminished the luster of his contribution to the game.

 

Cochrane was selected as American League MVP twice, in 1928 and 1934, primarily on his leadership abilities rather than his statistical accomplishments. On the field, Cochrane had a certain inspiration that infected other players to do their best. Cochrane never played on a team that finished worse than third place.

 

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Preacher Roe

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Elwin Charles "Preacher" Roe pitched for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1949, 1952, and 1953 World Series, each match up against the New York Yankees.
 
Though Roe never won a series ring, the left handed pitcher was a standout player in the National League throughout the 40s and early 50s during baseball’s heyday, playing alongside legendary Dodgers Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese.
 
Roe’s career began in 1938 with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he pitched only one losing game before being shipped off to the team’s minor league for five seasons.
 
It wasn’t until 1944 that he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The next season, he racked up 148 strikeouts, the highest number in the National League.
 
But Roe’s real claim to fame was during his time with the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1951, he led the team to the World Series with a pitching record of 22 wins and only 3 losses. This record led The Sporting News to name Roe “Pitcher of the Year.”
 
After the 1953 season, the Dodgers sold Roe to the Baltimore Orioles. But unable to keep up with the physical demands of the game late in his career, he retired from baseball in 1954.
 
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Terry Moore

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A popular and classy centerfielder with speed and a strong arm, Moore was considered among the league's best. Underrated because he was overshadowed by more colorful teammates, he was captain of two Cardinal World Championship teams (1942 and 1946).

As a rookie in 1935, he hit two doubles and two homers in one game, and a few weeks later went 6-for-6 in another. He was an All-Star from 1939 through 1942, a stretch during which he hit .295.

 

Moore put together a 20-game hitting streak in 1942 and entered the military that fall. He seemed to have lost his batting eye, but not his fielding flair, when he returned in 1946.

 

He was kept out of the lineup by an old knee injury. He had nine consecutive hits and rebounded for a .283 average in 1947. Retiring after 1948, he was a Cardinals coach in 1949-52, and again in 1956-58 after managing the Phillies for part of 1954.

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