Philadelphia — 1912. In a matter of hours, college student Allan Travers, 20, went from having never pitched a game in his life to starting pitcher for the Detroit Tigers. [more inside]
In the spring of 2003, Milton Bradley, a switch-hitting outfielder for the Indians, met his future wife, Monique Williams, a community relations intern with the team. He was about to turn 25. She was 22. Over the next decade—while the erratic, belligerent Bradley was given a pass by many MLB teams, media members and the sports culture at large—he and Williams would be locked in a cycle of emotional and physical abuse, separation and reconciliation, police intervention and court conflict. The Ray Rice elevator video, shocking as it was, captured only one moment. But a trove of public records shows the tragic extent of the Bradleys' violent relationship. This Is What Domestic Abuse Looks Like from Sports Illustrated [Trigger Warning; Graphic text and photos].
This is where Norris has chosen to live while he tries to win a job in the Blue Jays' rotation: a broken down van parked under the blue fluorescent lights of a Wal-Mart in the Florida suburbs.
"I am extremely grateful that Major League Baseball has always judged me on my work and nothing else"In a "very quiet and understated way", 29-year veteran MLB umpire Dale Scott has become the first active official in any of the major US sports to come out as gay.
Baseball writer Rany Jazayerli tells us about his online acquaintance Sung Woo Lee, fan of the Kansas City Royals, who is having a good week. He's been a Royals fan since the 1990s and this week, he came to the US to see them play for the first time. KC rolled out the red carpet and the Royals are even winning. [more inside]
Lou Gehrig's farewell speech at Yankee Stadium on its 75th anniversary. It was immortalized by Gary Cooper in the 1942 film Pride of the Yankees, although the speech as delivered in the movie differed a little bit from the actual speech. The Historic Films Stock Footage Archive has this video of the speech on Youtube. Today, Major League Baseball pays tribute to Gehrig by putting together a video in which contemporary players recite the speech. (Video of this is embedded in the first link).
Baseball Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn has died at age 54. In his 20 years with the San Diego Padres, Gwynn racked up over 3,100 hits, a .338 career batting average--the 18th-best of all time--and eight batting title, the second-most in Major League history.
It's easy to explain why you love a conventionally excellent player, but way, way more fun to try and explain the appeal of a top-flight athlete whose every step and twitch appeared to be bringing him dangerously close to death itself. You had this guy, St. Louis, and he was awesome and everything, but every time he hit a triple he'd pop up and have the saddest look on his face like everything he loved had died, and left him with the soul of an ancient, sad, and immortal Golem. It was like watching Buster Keaton play centerfield, and he was like that every time he played.SB Nation Reviews: Willie McGee
45 years ago today at Montreal's Jarry Park, outfielder Mack "The Knife" Jones hit a 3-run homer and a 2-run triple to lead his Montreal Expos to an 8-7 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in the first Major League baseball game ever played outside the US (home opener coverage starts at 4:28 of the CBC video). [more inside]
Major league baseball is doing something dumb. They asked fans to nominate a player from their team to be THE FACE OF MLB, whatever that means. Yankees fans picked Derek Jeter. Angels fans picked Mike Trout. Oakland A's fans picked a 4-eyed utility infielder named Eric Sogard. And he's winning.
Dan LeBatard of ESPN gave away his baseball Hall of Fame vote to Deadspin, and talking heads had a lot to say about it.
The Atlanta Braves have announced plan to move out of Atlanta to nearby Cobb County by 2017. The Marietta Daily Journal reports that a new $672 million stadium will be built just to the northwest of Atlanta. The announcement has left everyone "kind of stunned." [more inside]
A 30 for 30 short tells the story of the husband and wife team who created MLB's schedule every year for two decades, using only pencil and paper.
Mike Tanier of Sports on Earth discusses poorly designed sports team logos throughout history.
Why Do Baseball Players Still Bunt So Damn Much?
It’s the most maddening and demonstrably ineffective strategy in baseball and has been for quite some time. So why do teams keep doing it?
It’s the most maddening and demonstrably ineffective strategy in baseball and has been for quite some time. So why do teams keep doing it?
At the age of 19, Joe Engel started pitching for the Washington Senators in 1912 (Google books preview), but he only played one game per year in 1917, '19, and '20, due to arm injuries. Unimpressed with his performance, Manager Clark Griffith shooed Engel off to swap himself for someone from the minors who could play ball. Engel sent back the catcher Edward Patrick ("Ed" or "Patsy") Gharrity. Gharrity turned out to be so good that Engel was hired to scout for Washington, and later manage the Chattanooga Lookouts, then the farm team for Washington. It was there in Chattanooga that Engel's true career in baseball took off, where he was given the title "Barnum of Baseball." [more inside]
Milwaukee Brewer Ryan Braun has been suspended for the rest of the season due to his involvement with a former "anti-aging" clinic called Biogenesis that allegedly supplied athletes with human growth hormone, anabolic steroids, testosterone, and other performance-enhancing drugs (Taiwanese animation video). Alex Rodriguez is expected to be suspended next, along with 15-20 other Major League Baseball players, with punishments expected to linger into the 2014 season.
On April 3rd, MLB pitcher Brandon McCarthy (wikipedia, twitter) will take the mound for his first regular season start as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks. It will also be the first regular season game he plays in since taking a line drive off the head last September. Buzzfeed contributor Michael J. Mooney profiles McCarthy.
One man documents his neverending quest to collect all the Tim Wallach baseball cards. Not one of each card, but every single copy of every single Tim Wallach card ever made in the history of baseball cards. If you have any in your possession, he asks that you mail them to his law office's PO box. Maybe you can work out a deal. [more inside]
Today is the 85th birthday of Hall of Fame baseball announcer Vin Scully. He will be returning next year for his unprecedented 64th season calling games for the Dodgers, in a career reaching back to the team's Brooklyn days and their move to Los Angeles in 1958. The New York Yankees tried to pry him away in the 1960s, but he remained with the team and has become an LA institution. In the 21st Century, he has inspired blog names and tattoos and even dabbled in the online world himself during a game last season -- as an experiment, he asked fans to get a topic trending on Twitter about Dodger catcher A.J. Ellis, "a nice boy." Later in the broadcast he announced sheepishly that Ellis was trending across the U.S. This coming Monday, he will be taking over the team's Twitter feed to answer questions -- tag your tweets #askvin. [more inside]
"If at any time during my tenure here you find there’s a pattern of owners and owners’ officials singing my praises, you’d better fire me. I’m not kidding."
Down by three runs with runners at first and second and one out in last night's first-ever NL Wildcard Playoff Game, Braves' shortstop Andrelton Simmons hit a pop fly to left field. Cardinals' shortstop Pete Kozma went back to make the catch but broke off at the last second, and the ball dropped. The runners advanced, and almost everyone thought it was bases loaded with one out. But left-field umpire Sam Holbrook invoked the infield fly rule, and so, Simmons was out on the play. Video of the whole thing here. Braves fans were not happy. [more inside]
Their last winning season came in 1997. Only one member of their Opening Day starting rotation remains, a 27-year-old from Taiwan who hadn't pitched in the majors before this year. The others have been replaced by a Red Sox cast-off picked up from the Mexican League, an ex-prospect with a career ERA of 5.5 in his first three years, and the son of one of their former pitchers, a throw-in in a 2009 trade with the Dodgers. They have only one regular hitting over .270, they're missing two-thirds of their Opening Day outfield, and their 20-year-old third baseman started the year at AA. Nate Silver's PECOTA projection system reckoned they'd finish in last place, 24 games behind the Yankees. And tomorrow night, the Baltimore Orioles will play their first postseason game in 15 years. [more inside]
Miguel Cabrera has won the Triple Crown. The list of Triple Crown winners is quite short (considering that Major League Baseball is 136 years old). [more inside]
"Facing a 50-game suspension for doping, San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera created a phony website and a fake product in an attempt to dodge the ban by proving he inadvertently ingested a banned substance, according to a report."
Tonight, for only the third time in Major League Baseball history, a player (Kendrys Morales of the Los Angeles Angels) hit two home runs in the same inning, one from each side of the plate. Morales' second home run of the inning was a grand slam, his first since the ill-fated events of 5/29/10, when he suffered a freak ankle injury jumping onto home plate in celebration of his game-winning hit, just as his career was really beginning to take off. Morales subsequently missed nearly two full seasons of baseball, returning just this year.
NYTimes: The Glory and Pain of Pitching. Bobby Ojeda, starting pitcher for one of the greatest games in the history of Major League Baseball, takes us into the mind of the career athlete and his relationship with a constant companion -- pain.
Fenway Park, in Boston, is a lyric little bandbox of a ballpark. Everything is painted green and seems in curiously sharp focus, like the inside of an old-fashioned peeping-type Easter egg. It was built in 1912 and rebuilt in 1934, and offers, as do most Boston artifacts, a compromise between Man's Euclidean determinations and Nature's beguiling irregularities. So wrote John Updike in his moving tribute to Red Sox legend Ted Williams -- an appropriately pedigreed account for this oldest and most fabled of ballfields that saw its first major league game played one century ago today. As a team in flux hopes to recapture the magic with an old-school face-off against the New York
Highlanders Yankees, it's hard to imagine the soul of the Sox faced the specter of demolition not too long ago. Now legally preserved, in a sport crowded with corporate-branded superdome behemoths, Fenway abides, bursting with history, idiosyncrasy, record crowds, and occasional song. [more inside]
Opening Day is upon us once again. As always, there are a ton of predictions being made for the season. [more inside]
At the age of 49 years and 4 months, Jamie Moyer of the Colorado Rockies is the oldest baseball player to ever earn a regular roster spot on a Major League Baseball team (Satchel Paige pitched 3 innings in a 1965 game at age 59 as a publicity stunt). There are many current players, including some of the game's best, who weren't even born when Moyer made his MLB debut, making Moyer's feat all the more impressive.
Not Guilty! Not exactly innocent... Ryan Braun, the left fielder for the Milwaukee Brewers, won the Most Valuable Player award in 2011. Through a test report that was leaked to the New York Times, it was learned that Braun had tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. He has repeated that he is innocent and rumors have swirled around what supplement he was taking that could have lead to a false positive. His suspension was overturned today because of a technicality. "There was improper protocol followed in the collection of Braun's urine, the persons said, noting the collection was stored and refrigerated at the home of one of the drug administers, but not sent immediately to the drug testing lab." The reaction to this is mixed.
Hu's on First - an update of the classic Abbott and Costello routine, using names of (real) modern baseball players. [more inside]
The Last Act of the Notorious Howie Spira. The conventional shorthand for what George Steinbrenner did wrong, in press accounts of the mudslinging-and-extortion scandal, is this: The Yankees owner had an "association with Howard Spira." It made Spira sound menacing—this known gambler, this criminal element. He was the embodiment of the Yankees owner's dark side: Steinbrenner the Nixon bagman, the convicted-and-pardoned felon. Under questioning in court, Steinbrenner described their relationship in ominous terms. Did Spira "destroy" him? "As far as baseball is concerned, yes," Steinbrenner said. "He did a very good job."
After beating the Texas Rangers on Sept. 3, the Boston Red Sox were 84-54. Although half a game behind the Yankees in the American League East, the Red Sox had a nine-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays for the wild card and roughly a 99.6 percent chance of making the playoffs. Fast forward one excruciating month to a dead heat with Tampa coming into tonight's bitter imbroglio. Boston struggles ahead of laughingstock Baltimore by a single run until a rain delay clears the field, leaving them in the surreal position of rooting for the hated Yankees playing down in Florida. They can only watch from the sidelines as the rival Rays, tied with Boston in the pennant race but down 7-0 against New York, roar back to life with six runs in the eighth inning and a tie run on the final pitch at the bottom of the ninth. And then, after blowing two different strikes that would have salvaged the game, Boston loses to Baltimore, completing what is arguably the worst late-breaking collapse in the history of major league baseball.
Who was the worst defender in the history of baseball? A commenter in a baseball-fever thread compiles a list of the bottom 100 career dWAR figures of all time -- in other words, the 100 players who cost their teams the most wins with the glove. (Joe Posnanski on the WAR metric, for those unfamiliar with it.) The list is an interesting mix of players whose bats allowed them to stay in the game for years despite terrible glovework (Bernie Williams, Manny Ramirez, Dave Winfield) and players who were so bad in the field that they managed to rack up a lot of negative dWAR in shorter careers (Chris Gomez, Dean Palmer.) Toby "Stone Fingers" Harrah is #14 with a -10.9 dWAR. Dick "Dr. Strangeglove" Stuart just misses at -6.1. Some active players have a chance to finish high on the list: Ty Wigginton is only 33 and has already bumbled away enough balls in 2011 to "improve" his ranking from 24th to 15th. Worst of all time? No, it's not the Captain -- Derek Jeter is #2 on the all time list with -13.4 dWAR. Can you guess the "winner"?
"The Killer," Harmon Killebrew, a slugger for the Minnesota Twins (formerly Washington Senators) has died today at 74. [more inside]
"My NY Mets sketchbook. I create an entry after each Mets game or commentary on the crazy stuff going on around the team."
The recently retired Manny Ramirez was one of the most inscrutable players in recent history. Ben McGrath of the New Yorker attempted to figure out Ramirez's motivations in this 2007 piece.
Talkin' Baseball: Cali, Cardinals, Giants, Mets, Red Sox, Tigers, Twins, Yankees, The Simpsons softball. [more inside]
Today, Deadspin leaked financial documents detailing the finances of several MLB teams, including a few that are getting revenue sharing money. They show that several of MLB's "poorest" franchises turned a profit due to these cash infusions. [more inside]
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