Baseball Toaster The Griddle
Monthly archives: July 2008


Nats cut loose two vets
2008-07-31 20:40
by Bob Timmermann

The Washington Nationals have released shortstop Felipe Lopez and catcher/first baseman/erstwhile hero of Los Angeles Paul Lo Duca, according to the Washington Post.

Washington fans are likely not crying much over this.

2008-07-31 09:33
by Bob Timmermann

I'm sure most regular readers of the Toaster will know about the trades before I post them, but I will try to put up a summary as the day goes on:

And so...

This thread has now been made useless by Manny Ramirez. So should I talk about my fantasy team? Grady Sizemore homered again today!
Shoppach joins Boudreau in AL extra base history
2008-07-30 23:21
by Bob Timmermann

Cleveland catcher Kelly Shoppach picked up five extra base hits in the Indians' 14-12 loss in 13 innings to Detroit at Progressive Field, tying a major league record. Shoppach hit three doubles and two home runs.

Lou Boudreau was the only other AL player to pick up five extra base hits in a game, back in the first game of a doubleheader on July 14, 1946 against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Six NL players have had five extra base hits in a game, the most recent one being Shawn Green of the Dodgers who hit four home runs and a double against Milwaukee on May 23, 2002. (Green had a single as well in the game) One AA player, George Strief, also had a five extra base hit game back in 1885.

Shoppach's 14 total bases were the most in a game since Alfonso Soriano hit three homers and a double back on April 21, 2006.

Time to get out the old crystal set
2008-07-30 06:55
by Bob Timmermann

There are two games on the schedule today, that are not going to be televised by either participating team.

At 9:37 am PT, the first place Tampa Bay Rays take on the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

At 12:35 pm PT, Kansas City will play at Oakland.

MLB.TV claims that they will show some sort of broadcast, but I rather be prepared for the likes of Andy Freed, Jerry Howarth, Ken Korach, and Bob Davis to take me on a wonderful journey through my own imagination.

Euphemism alert!
2008-07-29 22:00
by Bob Timmermann

The Peoria Chiefs played a game tonight against Kane County at Wrigley Field tonight. It was suspended in the 9th at 6-6 after rains hit.

Peoria manager Ryne Sandberg spoke about his team's recent brawl against Dayton. You can see video of it here.

“I’m pretty excited about the opportunity. I think it’s a big thrill for all of us to be here,” Sandberg said before the game. “I talked to them about (the fight). This is all a learning situation for them.”

Juan Marichal beating up John Roseboro? Was that a learning experience? What did Peoria learn from getting in a vicious brawl?

The long and short of it (UPDATED)
2008-07-29 17:56
by Bob Timmermann

Tall Chris Young returns from the disabled list today in San Diego. And it's just in time for him to Short Chris Young of the D-Backs.

In 14 previous appearances, SCY has zero hits in 12 ABs with six strikeouts and two walks.

UPDATE - TCY strikes out SCY in his first at bat in the first inning.

SCY drew a walk in the fourth inning.

SCY struck out in the fifth and then TCY left the game.

Short-handed day at work
2008-07-29 17:00
by Bob Timmermann

A couple people phoned in sick and another went home early. Fortunately, I was able to rally those who were left with this motivational speech.

In the mood
2008-07-29 13:29
by Bob Timmermann
How to properly handle cat discipline
2008-07-29 06:00
by Bob Timmermann
Notice to Correct Deficiencies

Pet Name: Casey Cat

Job Classification: Cat II

Department: Pets

Location: Home

Statement of Deficiencies:

Cat was warned that he should not use supervisor/owner's furniture to satisfy his clawing needs. Cat was informed that there were other avenues available (specifically two scratching posts) to satisfy his clawing needs.

Cat also refused to allow the supervisor/owner to trim his claws in an orderly fashion, often lashing out by scratching or biting. This often lead to potential safety hazards, primarily involving biomedical situations.

Cat was warned that repeated instances of this clawing or biting could lead to further disciplinary action that would be include potential suspension or termination.

Signed: Bob Timmermann, Supervisor/Owner


Response from Union Representative


Stanley L. Snagglepuss of Felines in Urban Residences (FUR), Local 5


Speaking on behalf of Mr. Cat, I must state that he is quite dismayed by this action. He has said that he was never clearly informed of the rules regarding which materials were designated as acceptable clawing surfaces. Clawing is a very important ritual for Mr. Cat and he has suffered great psychological stress trying to figure out what to claw.

Furthermore, Mr. Cat has been traumatized by what he feels have been violent attacks on his unique feline nature by management with the nail trimming scissors. At first, he assumed that management was attempting to hurt him. This problem was exacerbated by management shooting a spray of water at Mr. Cat from a blue bottle.

Mr. Cat believes that further attempts to denigrate his character in this fashion by management may result in the filing of a formal grievance or the possibility of legal action.

More fallout from Dayton-Peoria brawl
2008-07-28 16:00
by Bob Timmermann

The Dayton Dragons, a Reds affiliate in the Midwest League, released infielder Angel Cabrera, whose hard slide into second base early in Saturday's (July 26) game set off the chain of events that ended up with 15 players and 2 managers ejected, one player (Peoria pitcher Julio Castillo) arrested, and one fan sent to the hospital.

The Dragons, a Cincinnati Reds’ Class A minor-league club, cut the 22-year-old player on Monday because Cabrera’s behavior has been an ongoing problem, manager Donnie Scott said.

Cabrera elbowed the Chiefs’ first baseman in an earlier game, then slid hard into second base after being hit by a pitch Thursday night. Soon after that play, there was a confrontation between managers, followed by a bench-clearing melee.

Cabrera had been the third player hit in the game, which was still in the first inning.

On Sunday night, Cabrera threw his helmet in the dugout. The helmet bounced and hit pitching coach Doug Bair in the leg.

The moral of the story: don't hit Doug Bair with your helmet.

And here I thought I was going to Michigan in a few weeks
2008-07-28 08:55
by Bob Timmermann

United Airlines just sent me a schedule change via e-mail:

Flight Number:
Operated By:
Departing From:
Chicago O'Hare
1:37 p.m.
Arriving In:
Gerald R. Ford
3:29 p.m.
August 27
For those not familiar with that mysterious place, I'm going here.

Doesn't everybody want to go there?

Russ Gibson: 1939-2008
2008-07-27 16:45
by Bob Timmermann

Untitled Russ Gibson, a backup catcher in the majors for six seasons with the Red Sox and Giants, passed away this weekend in Swansea, Massachusetts at age 69.


Gibson broke in with the Red Sox in their Impossible Dream season of 1967 and made two appearances in the World Series that year.

Link via BTF.

Move over George, here comes Brad!
2008-07-27 16:10
by Bob Timmermann

Oakland reliever Brad Ziegler pitched two scoreless innings today against Texas in Oakland's 6-5 win over the Rangers.

That stretched Ziegler's scoreless streak to start his career to 27 innings, 2 better than George McQuillan of the 1907 Phillies.

It's called playing the percentages, Smithers.
2008-07-27 10:31
by Bob Timmermann

On Saturday night, Skip Schumaker of the Cardinals went 6 for 7 in the leadoff spot in St. Louis' 10-8 win over the Mets. Schumaker was the first Cardinal to get 6 hits in a game since Terry Moore did so on September 5, 1935.

Schumaker is batting ninth in the lineup for the Cardinals today against Johan Santana of the Mets. Schumaker is batting .148 against lefties this year with an OPS+ of 2.

Schumaker is the only batter since 1956 to have six hits in a game AND have a sacrifice in it.

Cubs farmhand released from jail
2008-07-27 09:53
by Bob Timmermann

Julio Castillo, who was arrested for felony assault in Dayton after he threw a baseball into the stands that hit a fan, was released from a Montgomery County jail after posting a $50,000 bond.

This line appears in the "Transactions" section of the Peoria Chiefs website:

07/26/2008 - Julio Castillo - Demoted to Mesa (Arizona Rookie League)

On Tuesday, Peoria will play Kane County at Wrigley Field. It is believed that it will be the first minor league game ever played at Wrigley Field.

Some may argue that this game on April 10, 2005 when the Cubs started a middle infield combo of Neifi Perez and Jose Macias may also qualify as minor league.

The day of the great NL traffic jam
2008-07-27 09:05
by Bob Timmermann

If ...

  1. The Mets lose at home to St. Louis (Johan Santana vs. Kyle Lohse)...
  2. The Phillies beat the Braves at home (Joe Blanton vs. Jorge Campillo)
  3. The Brewers lose at home to Houston (Jeff Suppan vs. Randy Wolf)
  4. The Marlins beat the Cubs in Chicago (Rick VandenHurk vs. Jason Marquis)
  5. The Diamondbacks lose at San Francisco (Randy Johnson vs. Barry Zito)
  6. The Dodgers beat the Nationals at home (Clayton Kershaw vs. Jason Bergmann)


There will be a three-way tie for first in the NL East, a two-way tie for the NL Central (with the Cubs in the wild card slot), and a two-way tie in the NL West.

What's going through their heads?
2008-07-27 00:21
by Bob Timmermann

I can only guess it's something like this:

Pat Corrales: "Look at that!"
Lenny Harris: "What?"
Corrales: "Man, Derek Lowe has a set of gams."

The Return of the King?
2008-07-26 22:06
by Bob Timmermann

Juan Pierre singled on this Odalis Perez offering in the first inning of Saturday night's game between the Nats and Dodgers. It went downhill from there. The Dodgers won 6-0.

Perhaps the end of Olympic baseball is all for the best (UPDATE)
2008-07-26 12:15
by Bob Timmermann

From the LA Times Olympics blog:


Extra innings during Beijing Olympic baseball games will have something extra.

The rules will stay the same for the first 10 innings, but if a contest stretches into an 11th inning, each team would begin its next at-bat with runners on first and second. Managers also will be allowed to start the 11th at any point in their batting order.

Here's how it would work, according to the Associated Press: A manager who chooses to lead off the 11th with the club's No. 3 hitter would have to put the No. 1 batter on second base and the No. 2 hitter on first. If there's a 12th inning, it would begin wherever the previous lineup left off -- again with two batters on base and one at the plate.

Now there is a variation of this in softball, but that's a much lower-scoring game than baseball.


I remember sitting through a 14-inning game in 1984 between Taiwan (Chinese Taipei) and Korea that was scoreless through 13 before the Taiwanese pushed across three in the top of the 14 to win 3-0. Korea had just three hits. I still remember the audible groan by the sold out crowd at Dodger Stadium when the Taiwanese right fielder threw out a Korean runner at the plate in the 11th.

Not that the crowd was rooting more for one side or the other. They just wanted the game over. We had to go chant "USA! USA! USA!" for the likes of Barry Larkin, Mark McGwire, and Will Clark. Except Japan won the gold by a 6-3 score.

UPDATE - Japanese team manager Senichi Hoshino is not happy about the rule change at all.

"I want to strongly protest this," Hoshino said. "We're not playing exhibitions. We will be fighting all out to be the best in the world.

"I cannot be satisfied with the international federation making this change without consultation."

USA team coach Davey Johnson hasn't spoken publicly about the rule change as far as I can tell.

Coming soon, very soon, to a stadium near you
2008-07-26 10:08
by Bob Timmermann

If the stadium is in Philadelphia that is.

The scheduled starter for the Braves in their 12:55 pm PT game against the Phillies is Mike Hampton.

So you know how it as a horse race that once the horses break out of the gate, an ambulance trails behind them? I hear that's planned in Philadelphia.

Peoria and Dayton: The Day After
2008-07-26 08:21
by Bob Timmermann

A day after their Pier Six and a Half Brawl, Dayton and Peoria concluded their season series with a peaceful 3-2 win by the home town Dragons at Fifth Third Field.

Peoria pitcher Julio Castillo is still in jail in Dayton awaiting arraignment on his felony charge for throwing a baseball in the stands and injuring fan Chris McCarthy. McCarthy was released from the hospital the same night.

Midwest league president John Spelius will mete out suspensions soon. Peoria's normal manager is Ryne Sandberg, but he is in Cooperstown for tomorrow's Hall of Fame inductions.

Dayton Daily News writer Greg Simms thinks that the fans probably enjoyed the brawl. Bah, Ohioans! And the paper has weird URLs that don't like right. So I hate the Buckeye State even more!

Crank up the merry-go-round! Twice!
2008-07-25 12:00
by Bob Timmermann

Back in 1930 on this day, the Philadelphia Athletics became the only team to pull off the triple steal twice in one game. The two stolen runs weren't needed in the end as the A's routed Cleveland 14-2 at League Park in Cleveland.

In the first inning, with Al Simmons on third, Bing Miller on second, and Dib Williams on first, Philadelphia pulled off a triple steal against Cleveland right-hander Pete Jablonowski (who would later change his name to Pete Appleton). That was the final run of the A's 3-run first inning.

In the fourth, Mickey Cochrane was on third, Jimmie Foxx on second, and Al Simmons was on first, when the A's decided to steal home again. That was part of a 6-run fourth that sent Jablonowski to the showers.

Miller would steal another base in the game and the A's had seven overall for the game.

This stolen base output was rather unusual for the A's in 1930, who would go 102-52 en route to their second straight World Series win. The A's stole just 48 bases all season, the 7th lowest total in the AL. Last place Boston stole just 42.

Cleveland had the last triple steal in the majors and it was this back on May 27.

A mortal enemy of mine surfaces in the majors
2008-07-25 10:07
by Bob Timmermann

The Cubs have recalled a pitcher from Iowa to replace the injured Kerry Wood.

I hate him.


In other disturbing A ball action
2008-07-25 10:01
by Bob Timmermann

A California League game between Modesto and Visalia was postponed Thursday after a Tulare County sheriff's deputy was stabbed trying to serve an eviction notice at a home a block away from the Visalia Stadium.

Minor league brawl lasts over an hour and injures fan; 17 ejected; player arrested
2008-07-24 22:23
by Bob Timmermann

15 players and both managers were ejected from a Midwest League game between Peoria and Dayton at Fifth Third Field in Dayton. A fan was hurt when Peoria pitcher Julio Castillo threw a ball in the stands. The game was delayed for over an hour by the incident and Castillo was arrested and charged with felony assault.

Some of the ejections were reversed so the game would not have to be completed with pitchers playing in the field.

The summary reveals all the gory details.

Dayton Daily News story and video.

USA Olympic baseball team finally finalized
2008-07-24 11:33
by Bob Timmermann

After two late callups to the majors (Clayton Richard to the White Sox and Gino Espinelli to the Giants), USA Baseball finalized its 24-man roster for the Beijing Olympics, which will begin on 8/8/08.

There was already one empty spot, which was a wild card of sorts, and that went to Jayson Nix from the Rockies organization. Colby Rasmus of the Cardinals got hurt, so there were three other spots to fill and they went to Jeremy Cummings (Rays), Brian Duensing (Twins), and Nate Schierholtz (Giants).

In addition to quadrennial favorite Cuba, Japan is sending a strong team made up of players from its major leagues, including Nippon Ham pitching sensation Yu Darvish.

Not a prospect, but still worth following
2008-07-24 09:34
by Bob Timmermann

King Kaufman of interviews San Diego Padres farmhand Nick Dirk Hayhurst (Portland), who pens (keyboards?) a column for Baseball America called "Non-Prospect Diaries."

You call your column Non Prospect Diary. That was your idea?

It was my idea.

That's obviously just self-deprecating humor, but why did you decide that?

If you read Baseball America -- and this is not a knock on Baseball America -- but if you read Baseball America and you read most of your media about sports, you'll find that it caters mainly toward the next big thing. The up-and-coming superstar. Who's going to be the next guy in the Yankees rotation? Is Joba Chamberlain really going to be the man? They spent a whole bunch of money on this dude and he's going to be the next Satchel Paige, or whatever it is.

The big prophesy. It's such a prophesy-based business. Especially if you've played for a while, you really feel like, "Man, do these guys really know this or are they just rubbing the crystal ball and making predictions on stats?" So there's --


Suspended animation in Baltimore! Again
2008-07-23 20:06
by Bob Timmermann

For the second time this year, the Baltimore Orioles have been involved in a suspended game. In tonight's game at Camden Yards against the Blue Jays, Toronto took a 2-1 lead in the top of the sixth on an RBI single by Lyle Overbay. But the inning was still going on with the Blue Jays at bat and Overbay on third with two outs when heavy rains hit.

The umpires ruled the game suspended under Rule 4.12 (a) (5) that states "A game shall become a suspended game that must be completed at a future date if the game is terminated for (w)eather, if a regulation game is called while an inning is in progress and
before the inning is completed, and the visiting team has scored one or more
runs to take the lead, and the home team has not retaken the lead;

The game is scheduled to restart Thursday morning at 9:05 am PT, prior to the start of the regularly scheduled 9:35 am game. Which will likely start later.

The Orioles and White Sox will complete their suspended game from April 23 on August 25, although that game will be finished up in Chicago, not Baltimore.

After the game, the Blue Jays sent pitcher Jesse Litsch to the minors and recalled David Purcey, whom I believe would be eligible to pitch in the final few innings of the suspended game.

The rule on suspsended games that this game falls under is designed to prevent shenanigans like what was described here.

Buy me some non-allergenic food ..
2008-07-23 18:00
by Bob Timmermann

Cause I don't want to go into anaphalactic shock...

(I think there are some severe problems with the meter here, but just work with me!)

The Seattle Mariners are trying out two peanut-free sections at Safeco Field for games on August 5 against the Twins and September 9 against the Rangers.

From the story:

Sections 311 and 312 in the right-field upper seating area will be cleaned thoroughly before each of the games. Signs will also be posted nearby to alert fans of a ban on all peanut products in those two sections. No peanuts or foods containing peanut products will be sold at nearby concession stands to ensure the safety of those in the section. People who buy tickets in those sections must agree to obey the peanut ban.

Please note that I am sympathetic to people who are allergic to peanuts. I just hope this doesn't turn into Quarantine Night.

Recalling Mike Coolbaugh
2008-07-23 05:23
by Bob Timmermann

A year and a day ago, Tulsa Drillers first base coach Mike Coolbaugh was killed during a game against the Arkansas Travelers when a foul ball off the bat of Tino Sanchez hit Coolbaugh in his neck, rupturing his left verterbral artery and killing him almost instantly.

The radio announcer for the home team Travelers, Phil Elson, was interviewed by Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pittsburgh is Elson's home town.

No hits, no walks, no hit batters, and a loss
2008-07-22 19:32
by Bob Timmermann

Spurred by a comment by overkill94 over at Dodger Thoughts, I tried to see which other pitchers pulled off the same sad unique fate that Joe Smith of the Mets had tonight. That is, taking the loss, while not giving up a hit, walk, or a hit batter, as well not recording an out.

Smith came into the game in the 9th inning with the bases loaded and the Mets clinging to a 5-2 lead. Smith faced catcher Carlos Ruiz who hit a grounder to shortstop Jose Reyes who threw to the plate to try force Jayson Werth, but the throw was late tagged second base too late to get the force on Shane Victorino. The play was scored as a fielder's choice and an RBI for Ruiz.

That was all for Smith on the game and Pedro Feliciano game into give up RBI doubles to So Taguchi and Jimmy Rollins as well as an RBI groundout to Ryan Howard. Rollins' hit drove in Ruiz with run #6 and that proved to be the winner as the Phillies won 8-6.

Since 1956, 12 other pitchers had taken the loss without giving up a hit, walk, or HBP or getting an out. However, all 12 had errors committed behind them (or by them).

NL Baseball 2K in one inning
2008-07-22 06:00
by Bob Timmermann

Back on this day in 1916, the National League had its first instance of a batter striking out twice in the same inning. And it was no slouch who did it. It was future Hall of Famer Edd Roush of the Cincinnati Reds, who was rung up twice by Philadelphia's George Chalmers in the sixth inning.

The Reds would win the game 4-2 and scored all four of their runs in the sixth inning. The Reds had six of their ten hits in the sixth and Roush struck out the second time with the bases loaded. Roush did hit a triple in the game, but he also committed an error.

Roush had been acquired by the Reds just two days earlier as part of a big trade that saw the Giants send three future Hall of Famers to Cincinnati: Roush, Christy Mathewson (who would take over as Reds manager), and Bill McKechnie (who would make it to Cooperstown as a manager). Heading back to New York were Buck Herzog and Red Killefer.

Roush had a brief tryout with the White Sox in 1913, but made his name in the Federal League in 1914 and 1915, having good seasons for Indianapolis and Newark. After the Federal League folded, Roush ended up with the Giants where he and John McGraw developed an instant and lifelong dislike for each other.

Most players would not have liked going to Cincinnati, one of the lesser lights of the NL, but Roush thrived. In 69 games in Cincinnati, Roush had an OPS+ of 132 and he would put up an OPS+ well above 100 until 1927 when the Giants reacquired him at age 34. And Roush still hated McGraw.

Roush was not an easy player to strike out either. He fanned just 260 times in 18 big league seasons. In 1916, Roush struck out just 23 times in 108 games. But on this day in 1916, Chalmers got him twice in one inning.

Billy Purtell of the White Sox was the first player in either league to strike out twice in one inning. He did it in the sixth inning of a game on May 10, 1910 at Washington. And Purtell was facing Walter Johnson.

An enlightening look at Pitch F/X
2008-07-21 22:36
by Bob Timmermann

Cory Schwartz of interviewed Prof. Alan Nathan of the University of Illinois about his presentation at the most recent SABR convention about Pitch F/x. It's a video of a little under four minutes and is quite enlightening.

One of Nathan's conclusions is that one of the most important aspects of pitching is not speed and not the amount of break, but rather location.

Jerome Holtzman: 1926-2008
2008-07-21 19:04
by Bob Timmermann

Jerome Holtzman, a longtime baseball writer in Chicago for both the Sun-Times and the Tribune, passed away Saturday in Evanston at the age of 81.

Holtzman received the Baseball Hall of Fame's Spink Award in 1989. He also popularized the use of the save statistic and is often considered its father, although Holtzman did not envision the rule as it is set up today.

After his retirement from the Tribune in 1999, Commissioner Bud Selig appointed Holtzman as the first "official historian" of Major League Baseball.


Who owns these heads? (Answer)
2008-07-21 19:03
by Bob Timmermann

Final mystery photo! Who are the three men with cleanly shaven pates?

They are from left to right: Rocky Bridges, Pete Reiser, and Fred Koenig. They were all coaches for the California Angels in 1971.




Also, the mysterious batter in the 1963 World Series photo has been confirmed (at least to my satisfaction) as Bobby Richardson. I updated the link with the evidence.

Who am I? (Answered)
2008-07-21 13:15
by Bob Timmermann

It's Gene Leek! Perhaps the greatest major leaguer ever to be named for a type of onion.

Nats finally put offense on 3 X 5 card
2008-07-20 17:53
by Bob Timmermann

The Washington Nationals scored 15 runs in a game today for the first time since the franchise moved from Montreal to Washington for the 2005 season. The Nats beat the Braves in Atlanta, 15-6.

In that same time period, every other team in the majors had scored at least 15 runs at least once and the Yankees had done it 16 times.

Jesus Flores had five hits in the game and he was the first catcher in franchise history (Washington or Montreal) to do that in a game. Flores was only the second Nationals player to have five hits in a 9-inning game, joining Nook Logan.

Stay tuned to this blog for further installments of "Great Moments in Washington Nationals Baseball History."

Coming up next week: A discussion of why the Nationals have four catchers on their roster.

Who's at bat, part two? (CASE CLOSED)
2008-07-20 15:18
by Bob Timmermann

This time, I don't know the answer and the photo below is on display at the Los Angeles Public Library's Central Library.



It's from Game 4 of the 1963 World Series. So your choices are:


  • Bobby Richardson
  • Tom Tresh
  • Mickey Mantle
  • Clete Boyer
  • Phil Linz

Those were the only five right-handed, fair-skinned batters for the Yankees in the game. I'm leaning to Richardson as the photographer would have tried to take a shot early in the game. Richardson was batting second. And the batter is choking up a bit on the bat, which is not something Mantle or Tresh would have done.

Don't be fooled by the fact that all the crowd was in their seats. This other photo taken of Koufax warming up and getting ready to face leadoff man Tony Kubek, shows an equally full house.

Photo by Gordon Dean of the Hollywood Citizen News

UPDATE - I posted the query to the SABR mailing list. So far I have received word from people who insist that the batter is Bobby Richardson. Or Tom Tresh. Or Mickey Mantle. Or possibly either Richardson or Tresh. And it would only be a few more months before the Warren Commission was assembled to study such matters from the time this photo was taken.

Wayne McElreavy has sent me a link to a picture of a 1961 baseball card showing Bobby Richardson at bat. Richardson is holding the bat almost exactly like the batter in the photo.

You make the call
2008-07-20 12:12
by Bob Timmermann

So is Maury Wills safe or out in this play?

The day the Giants were second for just about everybody
2008-07-20 06:00
by Bob Timmermann

Back on this day in 1954, the New York Giants set an NL record by using five second basemen in a 13-inning, 2-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds at Crosley Field. I would consider this to be the most second basemen used in a game because the manager actually wanted to use them.

The AL record is six by Oakland back on September 19, 1972 in a 15-inning game when Oakland manager refused to let his second baseman have an at bat in the game. Catchers Gene Tenace and Fred Haney played second in that game. Dick Williams and his second basemen in Oakland had ... issues.

But in 1954, Giants manager Leo Durocher kept trying to pull off the magic strategic move and ended up looking like a genius. Eventually.

Continue reading...

Who got kicked out?
2008-07-19 20:32
by Bob Timmermann

Two NL teams brawl. Two players were kicked out. Who were they?

Loewen leaves the mound and hopes to succeed at the bat
2008-07-19 17:55
by Bob Timmermann

Orioles lefty Adam Loewen has decided that after multiple arm injuries that a pitching career isn't going to work for him and is planning to make a comeback as an outfielder.

After visiting several doctors, Loewen realized his elbow wouldn’t be able to take the stress of throwing up to 100 times in the span of three hours.

“They believe the only reason my arm feels the way it does is strictly from throwing off the mound (with) high intensity,” he said. “So, if I was playing first base or outfield, or having time between throws, not throwing 90 to 93 off the mound, then my arm is going to be fine. It’s not going to bother me swinging the bat.

“…It was devastating news, but I always had a backup plan so I’m sure I didn’t take it as hard as anyone else would.”

The Orioles will need to rework Loewen's contract because he is out of options and cannot be sent to the minors without being exposed to waivers. The Orioles would likely want to pay Loewen less money as a minor league outfielder than as a major league pitcher.

Legally online again
2008-07-19 13:17
by Bob Timmermann

Now that I no longer have to hijack my neighbor's signal to get online, I can go back to dedicating myself to providing high quality content for this blog.

Unfortunately, I don't have any. I think it's a hangover from the All-Star Break. And nobody is getting called for catcher's interference.

Then I turn on the TV to watch the Fox Saturday game and they want me to listen to Thom Brennaman. Ugh.

Let's see what other news there is:

But I need to run a few errands now. And I hope I fare better in my transportation than Guy Clark (it's a fairly old video and there is an odd 10 seconds at the end):

Who's at bat, part three
2008-07-18 18:00
by Bob Timmermann

A variation on the theme. I would think most people can identify the two people in this photo. But there is a batter who put the ball into play. The ball was hit to second baseman Tommy Herr. The batter is going to be out to complete an inning-ending double play. Who was the batter?

Who's at bat?
2008-07-17 23:04
by Bob Timmermann
I'm 99% sure I know who it is, do you?
Cybersquatters and sinkholes
2008-07-17 20:10
by Bob Timmermann

With my own internet connection down because the vagaries of Time Warner's cable internet modem decided that if it were ever unplugged, it would never come back on again, I've been forced to find a signal wherever I can. And I'm not quite sure where this signal is coming from. But I have a signal of sorts, but there will be limited posting until Saturday.

Last night, a pothole on the Pasadena Freeway grew into a sinkhole and it shut down the northbound side of the freeway a few blocks up from my house. It hasn't inconvenienced me because it's north of where I get on and off the freeway. But for some, it's been a problem.

View Larger Map

And the linked L.A. Times article has this:


Commuters to Pasadena and South Pasadena, such as Nadine Romero, a manager at a Starbucks on Fair Oaks Avenue, saw their commute almost double.

"It usually takes me just 15 minutes from Silver Lake to Pasadena, but today it ended up making me spend 45 minutes on the freeway," Romero, 31, said. "The 110 is usually not a problem and is quite an enjoyable drive in the mornings with the L.A. River and nice landscapes."

I have absolutely no idea which route this woman is taking, but you really can't go from Silver Lake to South Pasadena via the 110 Freeway unless you take a very odd route. And the Los Angeles River doesn't go near the 110 Freeway, or at least the Pasadena Freeway section. The Arroyo Seco is the river that goes by the freeway. Which is why the freeway is also called the Historic Arroyo Seco Parkway. (Some sources use Arroyo Seco Historic Parkway.) That was the name of the freeway when it opened in 1939. (Except for the "Historic Park")


Speaking as an L.A. street geek, usually from Silver Lake to South Pasadena, you can try heading up Fletcher and get on the 2 North and then the 134 South and then you wait for that to hook up to the 210 East and you get off at California Avenue and make your way into South Pasadena.

And there are ways to get from Silver Lake to South Pasadena without even taking the freeway, although you still have to get on to one of the streets that crosses over the Arroyo Secto. But I don't see how you would ever end up on the northern terminus of the freeway, which is in the city of Pasadena, if you were coming from Silver Lake.

I shall now have to go to this Starbucks (one of three in the city of South Pasadena on Fair Oaks Avenue) and tell the manager that her directions are bad and her knowledge of geography is faulty. I'm sure such comments will be welcomed!

I probably shouldn't use that Starbucks to get the wifi.

Of course, now that I've reread the story, I was expecting the woman to be coming SOUTH on the 110 and not NORTH. So her route does make sense. And now you can see what a trip up the Pasadena Freeway is like if you're not from around here. This is without a sinkhole.

At least it's a start
2008-07-17 06:00
by Bob Timmermann

The Major League season resumes tonight with just four games and only one of them involves a team that would make the playoffs right now, San Diego at St. Louis.

But it's a start.

In the meantime, you can entertain yourself by watching the Baseball Project, a group which I apparently don't listen to. Because I apparently don't like music. Oh wait, that's Bob Timmerman. I can't vouch for him.

But I guess I will just concentrate on today.

This is how I've always dreamt of relaxing during the summertime
2008-07-16 14:00
by Bob Timmermann

The worst day of the baseball season...
2008-07-16 06:00
by Bob Timmermann

Is without a doubt the day after the All-Star Game. There is just nothing going on that interests me. I will spend Wednesday night point the remote control at my TV in vain hoping that some game will come on. But there won't be.

This is what I feel like the day after the All-Star Game:




Somebody's Golden Age? A look back at a Dodgers-Mets game from 1972
2008-07-15 06:00
by Bob Timmermann

Although we've had it hammered into us that baseball's "golden age" was sometime in the 1940s or 1950s, or possibly the 1920s, or maybe now, but baseball has played through eras of different nicknames. And I'm not sure what 1972 would qualify as. Perhaps it was the Avocado Green Era.

I got the chance to watch a few innings of a July 9, 1972 game between the Dodgers and Mets at Shea Stadium. It was quite a pitching matchup with Tom Seaver facing Claude Osteen, both of whom would be 20-game winners that season.

Continue reading...

Hail to the leaders
2008-07-14 15:15
by Bob Timmermann

The leader or leaders in each league

  • Hitting per AB: Chipper Jones, .376; Ian Kinsler, .337
  • Onbasing per PA: Jones, .472; Milton Bradley, .440
  • Bases per AB: Lance Berkman, .653; Bradely, .610
  • 2 + 3: Berkman, 1.096; Bradley, 1.049
  • Showing up: Ryan Howard, 96; Justin Morneau, Dustin Pedroia, Ichiro Suzuki, Raul Ibanez, 95
  • Coming to bat when it "counts": Cristian Guzman, 403; Kinsler 398
  • Coming to bat: Kinsler, 452; Jose Reyes, 441
  • Crossing the plate: Kinsler, 84; Hanley Ramirez, 80
  • Hitting 'em where they ain't: Kinsler, 134; Guzman, 126
  • Touching a lot of bases: Berkman, 218; Kinsler, 218
  • Earl Webb rests easy: Kinsler, 34; Nate McLouth, 33
  • Owen Wilson doesn't even bother checking anymore: Reyes, 10; Brian Roberts, 8
  • Barry Bonds scoffs: Howard, 28; Sizemore, 23
  • Hack Wilson sleeps it off again: Josh Hamilton, 95; Howard, 84
  • "He's too lazy to swing the bat": Pat Burrell and Adam Dunn, 69; Jack Cust, 67
  • "Boy, what a swing! Strike three!": Howard, 129; Cust, 114
  • "Stop, thief!": Willy Taveras, 39; Jacoby Ellsbury, 35
  • "One, please": Suzuki, 102; Ryan Theriot, 97
  • "So what's a good number in this? Over 100?": Jones, 189; Bradley, 180
  • Creative runs: Berkman, 100; Kinsler, 92
  • Runs checked by an insurance company: Berkman, 45; Bradley, 34
  • Winners at the plate: Berkman, 4.2; Bradley 3.9
  • Overall greediness in base hits: Berkman and McLouth, 55; Kinsler, 52
  • "He gets on base a lot": Kinsler, 177; Berkman, 176
  • Percentage of wins at bat: Jones, .841; Bradley, .803
  • "OUCH": Jason Giambi, 14; Kevin Kouzmanoff, 12
  • The ultimate sacrifice, until the next time up: Aaron Cook and Ryan Dempster, 11; Jamey Carroll and Alexi Casilla, 7
  • "I really meant to do that": Hamilton and Jose Lopez, 9; Bengie Molina, 9
  • "They're afraid of me": Albert Pujols, 22; Vladimir Guerrero, 11
  • Two for the price of one: Derrek Lee, 19; Lyle Overbay and Jhonny Peralta, 15
  • "I've got the culprit here": B.J. Upton, 11; Reyes, 10
  • The Bobby Bonds Memorial Metric: Ramirez, 23.0; Sizemore, 22.5
  • Making contact: Yadier Molina, every 19.7 ABs; Yuniesky Betancourt, every 16.3
  • Making contact that goes far: Dunn, every 11.2 ABs; Giambi, every 13.7
  • Helping the games end: Short Chris Young, 305; Orlando Cabrera, 300
  • "I only feel a little bit responsible": Justin Duchscherer, 1.82; Edinson Volquez, 2.29
  • Joe Morgan's stat: Brandon Webb, 13; Cliff Lee and Joe Saunders, 12
  • A high percentage of Joe Morgan approved stats: Daisuke Matsuzaka, .900; Tim Lincecum and Kyle Lohse, .846
  • WHIPped into shape: Duchscherer, .865; Dan Haren, .955
  • "You can't hit what you can't catch": Duchscherer, 5.88; Volquez, 6.88
  • "Thou shalt not pass": Roy Halladay, 1.29; Haren, 1.58
  • "Take a seat at this rate": Chad Billingsley, 9.9; A.J. Burnett, 8.93
  • "Tonight's call to the bullpen ...": Blaine Boyer, 51; Sean Green, 48
  • Usually the last three outs: Francisco Rodriguez, 38; Jonathan Papelbon and George Sherrill, 28
  • Overeaters: Halladay, 146 1/3; Cole Hamels 142 2/3
  • "Take a seat, overall": CC Sabathia, 137 (in both leagues); Lincecum, 135; Burnett, 126
  • "Taking the ball": Lots of guys with 20
  • Finishing what you started: Halladay, 7; Ben Sheets, 3
  • Nothing but zeroes: Six guys with 2
  • "Look at it go!": Brett Myers, 24; Paul Byrd, 23
  • Getting squeezed by the umps excessively: Tom Gorzelanny and Ubaldo Jimenez, 61; Burnett, 57
  • Letting them hit it where they ain't: Livan Hernandez, 173; Aaron Cook, 147
  • 3:4: Halladay, 5.76; Haren, 5.09
  • Negative Joe Morgan stats: Joe Blanton, 12; Barry Zito, 12
  • I have a lot I'm responsible for: Hernandez, 73; Mark Hendrickson, 72
  • "Just a little outside": Jimenez, 13; Daniel Cabrera, 11
  • "Back off!": Cabrera, 12; Micah Owings, 11
  • "How many more of these guys do I have to face?": Halladay, 579; Cook, 569
  • Finishing what others started: Kevin Gregg and Jose Valverde, 43; Rodriguez, 41
  • Adjusted responsibility: Duchscherer, 210; Volquez, 195
  • Geezers: Jamie Moyer, 45; Kenny Rogers, 43
  • Little shavers: Clayton Kershaw, 20; Nick Adenhart, 21





Obviously the attitude of a Stanford man
2008-07-14 00:53
by Bob Timmermann

Ken Rosenthal is not trying to get on Jon's good side.

From his latest column:

Here comes Jed

The Red Sox are not looking for a shortstop to replace Julio Lugo, who is out 4-to-6 weeks with a torn left quadriceps. Jed Lowrie, promoted from Class AAA, will split time with Alex Cora, who is most useful in a limited role.

Lowrie irritated some members of the Red Sox's staff during his first callup with his know-it-all manner — a common criticism of players who attended Stanford, and one that is occasionally tinged with jealousy.

There is no word if Ned Colletti or Joe Torre have ruled out ever acquiring a Stanford player for the Dodgers since "those people" JUST ... DON'T ... LISTEN.

Why can't Lowrie be more like that nice Conor Jackson kid?

Steve Mingori: 1944-2008
2008-07-13 21:13
by Bob Timmermann

Steve Mingori, who pitched for the Indians and Royals from 1970-79, died Thursday at age 64 of what was called natural causes.

Link via BTF.



Dave Ricketts: 1935-2008
2008-07-13 20:30
by Bob Timmermann

Untitled Dave Ricketts, a reserve catcher with the Cardinals and Pirates from 1963-1970, as well as a coach for both organizations, passed away Sunday at the age of 73 from renal cancer.

Ricketts, although he did not make much of an impact as a player, was considered to be one of the best catching instructors in baseball.

“Sometimes the word ‘great’ is overused, and it’s a shame,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. “There have been some truly great Cardinals that have come through our organization, but I don’t know anybody as great or more beloved than Dave Ricketts. I put him in the George Kissell category - or Red Schoendienst - as far as people that he associated with and the fondness that they feel for him.”

Chuck Stobbs, 1929-2008
2008-07-13 09:54
by Bob Timmermann

Chuck Stobbs, who pitched in the majors for 15 years starting at age 17 with the Red Sox in 1947 and finishing up with the Twins in 1961, passed away Friday from cancer.

Stobbs is best known for surrendering a supposed 565 foot home run to Mickey Mantle back on April 17, 1953 at Griffith Stadium. Stobbs also pitched for the White Sox, Browns, Cardinals.

His son spoke of his father's retirement at age 31 in 1961:

“He always told me that he threw just as hard in ‘61 as he did in ‘47; it just didn’t get there as fast,” Charley Stobbs said.

Link via BTF.

Bobby Murcer, 1946-2008
2008-07-12 16:05
by Bob Timmermann

Former Yankee, Cub, and Giant Bobby Murcer passed away Saturday from brain cancer at age 62.

Check Bronx Banter for more details.


So close and yet so far
2008-07-12 06:00
by Bob Timmermann

The AP ran an article on the Atlanta Braves penchant for losing games that are decided by one run. This season the Braves are 5-22 in 1-run games and 0-17 on the road. Which means that the Braves are 5-5 in 1-run games at home, which isn't all that bad. Overall, the Braves are 43-50. The Braves Pythagorean record is 49-44.

Chipper Jones theory on why the Braves are losing the close games:

Jones says the Braves would win more one-run games if they produced more one-run innings.

“You know, to win one-run games, pitchers have to get bunts down,” Jones said. “You’ve got to hit behind runners. You’ve got to put the ball in play with a guy on third and less than two outs. You have to do the little things to win those one-run games, because a run here and a run there is the difference.

“We don’t do it consistently.”

Hmm... interesting, but that's probably not the case. At this point, I'd come up with some sabermetric study showing how a team's record in 1-run games is not much different from its overall record. But, instead like Woody Allen pulling Marshall McLuhan out of nowhere in "Annie Hall," I just asked a noted sabermetrician (or as Rob Neyer called him "one of the top sabermetricians you probably never have heard of") Phil Birnbaum to explain why 1-run losses aren't all that much different than any other loss.

Suppose that team A is 3 runs a game better than team B (which is extreme, but what the heck). Normally they win 6-3 or something.

For team A to win by only one run (6-5), team B has to be two runs better than usual (or team A two runs worse, or some combination. But never mind for now). For team B to win by one run (6-7), it has to be four runs better than usual.

Those two numbers are fairly close -- two runs versus four.

But now, consider five-run blowouts.

For team A to win by five runs, team B has to be two runs worse than normal. (8-3)
For team B to win by five runs, team B has to be EIGHT RUNS BETTER than
normal. (6-11)

These two numbers are far apart -- two runs versus EIGHT.

Therefore, when there's a one run game, the chance that B wins it is pretty
close to the chance A wins it. But when there's a blowout, the chance that
B wins it is far from the chance A wins it. Therefore, B has a huge
advantage in blowouts.

Since the "typical" game is partway between a one-run game and a blowout, one-run games should be closer to .500 than typical, and blowouts should be farther from .500 than typical.

In games decided by 5 or more runs this season, the Braves are 16-12. And the Braves have outscored their opponents by a margin of 405-379.

So maybe Friday wasn't a great day in baseball
2008-07-11 22:32
by Bob Timmermann

Let's see:

One out isn't as easy as it looks
2008-07-11 21:35
by Bob Timmermann

Trevor Hoffman of the Padres added to his Major League record for saves, recording #541 tonight in San Diego's 4-0 win over Atlanta at Petco Park. Hoffman relieved Mike Adams in the ninth with two on and two out and struck out Brent Lillibridge to end the game.

Hoffman hasn't picked up all that many saves that were of the one out variety. It was just his 28th. Rollie Fingers leads all pitchers (since the institution of the save rule in 1969) with one out saves with 39.

Hoffman's other 514 saves break down this way:

  • 2 2/3 IP - 1
  • 2 1/3 IP - 1
  • 2 IP - 5
  • 1 2/3 IP - 9
  • 1 1/3 IP - 39
  • 2/3 IP - 15
  • 1 IP - 443
Nothing says 'America' like ...
2008-07-11 18:00
by Bob Timmermann

Buying one of these from


Cleveland balances the books
2008-07-11 11:32
by Bob Timmermann

One of my biggest beefs with Cleveland was getting stranded at the airport for 45 minutes without any explanation when the Cleveland train system mysteriously stopped.

So I did what normally do in this situation: write a self-righteous complaining e-mail to the customer service department. It was really just to vent.

But yesterday what did I get? An apology:

Dear Mr. Timmermann:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the service on the 66X line, the
service delayed was due in part to a Mechanical defect and scheduling.
Please accept my apology for the inconvenience that you experienced. RTA
strives to provide dependable and reliable service to our customers;
unfortunately, sometimes we come up short of meeting our goals.

Thank you again for your patronage.  I hope that you will  give us
another chance to meet your transportation needs.

Cleveland ended its 10-game losing streak yesterday with a 13-2 win over Tampa Bay.

I now consider the matter closed. I shall complain about Cleveland no more forever.

Taking names, making a list, and wondering if it's a hit or error
2008-07-11 10:19
by Bob Timmermann

Chris Hine of the Los Angeles Times has an article about the freaks like me who keep score at baseball games.


And the attentiveness requirement isn't the only impediment. There's always the danger of ridicule.

"People laugh at me, and they look at me really strange and they say, 'Why do you keep score? What are you going to do with that?' " said South Pasadena resident Kelly Wallace, who keeps score at approximately 30 Dodgers games a season.

I don't think I've ever been ridiculed for keeping score. At least to my face. And I was able to keep score and carry on a conversation with two people during the game. I can produce witnesses who can testify to that.


Now, keeping score at a Japanese baseball game will get you a very strange look. But then again, I'm also the gaijin who is a couple cms short of being two meters tall, so I've got that working against me. There was one kid who asked me if I was a scout. Someone should go into the Dodger Thoughts comments and find my projections of Akinori Iwamura and Kosuke Fukudome.

Hitting on 15 and still winning
2008-07-10 23:52
by Bob Timmermann

Los Angeles Angels pitcher John Lackey gave up 15 hits to the Texas Rangers Thursday night in just 5 2/3 innings. And he left the game with a chance to win as the Angels were ahead 10-6 at the time. The Angels eventually won 11-10 in 11 innings.

Lackey threw 103 pitches and faced 30 batters in total in the game and 16 of them reached base safely as he also walked one batter. That put Lackey into some rare company. Since 1956, only four other pitchers have allowed that many batters to reach base in such a short time.

Kansas City pitcher Mark Gubicza gave up 15 hits with a walk and a hit batter in 5 1/3 innings of work in the first game of a doubleheader against the Blue Jays on September 4, 1995. Gubicza only needed 89 pitches for this feat. And he gave up only five runs, although the Jays won the game 6-1.

Charles Nagy in 1992, Zack Greinke in 2005, and Scott Sanders in 1998 somewhat transcended bad luck.

The Rangers became the third team this season to lose a game after getting 20 or more hits this season. The Marlins lost in Colorado on July 4 with 22 hits and the Reds lost in San Diego with 21 hits on May 25.

For three dollars you can...
2008-07-10 13:15
by Bob Timmermann

Wash three loads of laundry at my apartment building.

Dry four loads of laundry at my apartment building.

Buy about 2/3 of a gallon of gas in the L.A. area.

Or watch batting practice from the All-Star game over the Internet!

See, the city of Cleveland should have been nicer to me
2008-07-10 12:24
by Bob Timmermann

I attended this game at Progressive Field on June 27. I sat through a one-hour delay at the outset because of rain and then watched the Indians, behind the then C.C. Sabathia, shut out the Reds 6-0.

The Indians have not won a game since. 10 straight losses.

Do not get on my bad side.

A semblance of baseball at 'The Corner'
2008-07-10 08:49
by Bob Timmermann

Tiger Stadium, at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull in Detroit, is being torn down, but City of Detroit officials agreed to save the stadium's field and foul poles.

Current state of the demolition (AP Photo):

The stadium in its heyday:


Playing all the hits for you in the AL, a whole lot of them
2008-07-10 06:00
by Bob Timmermann

Today marks the 76th anniversary of the highest single day total of hits in the American (or any other) League. In just six games played by the eight teams in the AL, there were an astounding 190 hits.

Only one team failed to reach double figures in hits in a game. And surprisingly, it was the Yankees who failed to do it. The same 1932 Yankees who would go 107-47 and score 1002 runs.

The hit total was helped not just by the two doubleheaders (Detroit at Boston, St. Louis at New York), but also by a single game that served as a doubleheader, an 18-inning game between the A's and Indians in Cleveland that featured 58 hits as the A's won 18-17.

Norman Macht detailed the Philadelphia-Cleveland game in an article for the SABR 38 Convention publication Batting Four Thousand: Baseball in the Western Reserve. Macht's article is entitled "Marathon at League Park."

The A's had just finished playing three consecutive doubleheaders against the White Sox in Philadelphia. They could not play home games on Sunday because of Phiadelphia blue laws, so the A's and Indians were scheduled to play one game in Cleveland on Sunday and then head back to play four in Philadelphia.

With his pitching staff tired, Mack decided to take just two pitchers to Cleveland with him: rookie Lew Krausse and veteran Ed Rommel. After Krausse gave up three runs in the first, Mack pulled him and put in Rommel. Mack had only other sub with him, his third string catcher Ed Madjeski. Second string catcher John Heving had started.

With literally no relief in sight, Rommel stayed in while the Indians battered him to the tune of 29 hits and 14 runs allowed in 17 innings of relief. And Rommel got the win as the A's held on for a win. Johnny Burnett of Cleveland got a record 9 hits in a losing cause.

Elsewhere in the AL this day, the Tigers split a doubleheader against the woeful Red Sox at Fenway Park. The Tigers won the opener 7-5 and the Red Sox took the nightcap 13-2. There were a total of 49 hits in the doubleheader.

The Browns swept a pair from the Yankees in the Bronx, winning 10-9 and 8-7 in 10 innings. There were 52 hits in this doubleheader. The Yankees 9 hit effort in the first game was the low mark for the day.

Finally, over in Washington, the Senators pounded the White Sox 13-3 with a total of 31 hits in the game. (It adds up to 190. It bet somebody else double-checked.)

The NL single day high in hits is a mere 183 in eight games played on July 21, 1963.




Mulder lasts 16 pitches in return to big leagues
2008-07-09 17:40
by Bob Timmermann

Mark Mulder's long-awaited return to the majors for the Cardinals lasted 16 pitches and three batters in Philadelphia before he departed the game with shoulder pain. Mulder struck out Jimmy Rollins and then walked Shane Victorino and Chase Utley.

Cardinals reactivate Mulder
2008-07-09 17:38
by Bob Timmermann

Mark Mulder made his long awaited return from the DL tonight in Philadelphia. He is aiming for his first win in the majors since June 15, 2006.

The game that finally broke Tony Conigliaro
2008-07-09 00:10
by Bob Timmermann

Today is not the 37th anniversary of not Jack Hamilton's beaning of Tony Conigliaro, but rather this game, a 1-0 win by the Oakland A's over the California Angels in 20 innings.


Untitled The game featured 43 strikeouts, 26 of them by Oakland pitchers, the most ever in a major league game. Angels cleanup hitter and left fielder Billy Cowan struck out six times and Conigliaro went 0 for 8 with five strikeouts.


In his last at bat, Conigliaro argued the strikeout call and was ejected by home plate umpire Merle Anthony. Angels manager Lefty Phillips had ordered Conigliaro to bunt in an attempt to sacrifice over Ken Berry in the 19th inning. But Congiliaro missed on two bunt attempts and then tried to pull the bat back on the third, but Anthony ruled that Conigliaro had offered at the pitch and called him out. Congiliaro threw his bat, helmet, cap, and some other objects on the field in protest as he left.



At 5 am after the game (which finished at 1:05 am), Conigliaro called a press conference in the a hotel lobby and announced his retirement. Although Conigliaro had played pretty well in 1969 and 1970 trying to come back from his severe eye injury suffered in 1967, he felt that the strain was too much on his eye and his psyche.

Conigliaro talked of how he felt that he was going to lose his mind while standing in the outfield. He could not wait to get on a plane and fly home to his family in New England. Conigliaro was batting just .222 with 4 homers at the time. He had hit 56 home runs the previous two seasons for Boston.


Untitled Phillips was not overly sympathetic. During Conigliaro's argument with Anthony, Phillips was quoted as twice saying "The man belongs in an institution." And after Conigliaro announced his retirement, Phillips downplayed any vision problems on the part of Conigliaro and said that the man knew the risks inherent in playing baseball.


But Conigliaro was true to his word and he didn't come back to the Angels. He tried another comeback with Boston in 1975, but that was even worse. Conigliaro passed away in 1990.

The 1971 Angels may have had the poisonous clubhouse atmosphere in the history of baseball. There is an excellent examination of the team in Mark Armour and Dan Levitt's Paths to Glory: How Great Baseball Teams Got That Way.

I had my first vague notions of baseball in 1971. But I never really found out about what happened with that Angels season. And when I asked my brothers or mom about it, I tended to get, "You'll figure it out when you're older." I still don't know if that's true.


The Gray Lady won't give in
2008-07-08 09:09
by Bob Timmermann

According to the New York Times, the newest pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers is still "C.C. Sabathia."

However, the Times isn't changing the spelling as it comes out over the AP wire.

In this story about Ryan Church, Omar Minaya is quoted as saying that the Mets may (about Church) "D.L. him." But they have to wait for "CT scans."

Sigh, if I only used my powers for good, and not pedantry.

TV Series Review: Baseball's Golden Age
2008-07-07 22:02
by Bob Timmermann

Once upon a time, producer George Roy gathered together a huge collection of home movies, nearly all of them in color, of baseball players and some game action from the 1930s through the 1950s.

Roy put them together into three documentaries for HBO under the title of "When It Was a Game." I remember watching the first two with my mother and she loved seeing the action from the time when she watched the game as a kid in the 1940s. I even bought one of them, although it's in VHS format, which means it makes a nice bookend.

However, after three documentaries, Roy felt he still had more footage to show, so he got Fox Sports to put together a series of thirteen half-hour shows called "Baseball's Golden Age."

And after watching the first installment, I can say that I never found baseball's history so completely, and utterly boring. The footage is somewhat interesting, but it's cut up so FSN can duck in commercials. And the narration by Alec Baldwin is incredibly overwrought.

The first episode starts off with a paean to the game and sets out what the show is going to be about. And there are extreme closeups of the men who are going to be giving us their thoughts about the game. It's the usual suspects: Bob Costas, Maury Allen, Ernie Banks, Bob Feller, Leigh Montville, Alan Dershowitz, Larry King, Rudy Giuiliani, and a lot of other guys from the New York City area. All the men are shown in extreme closeup and someone needs to work on the makeup. Costas' visage on my TV made me think he was the Joker.

Part two was a comparison of Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio. Did you know that Joe DiMaggio played on more World Series winners than Ted Williams? But Williams hit better? There you go.

Part three was an examination of baseball's greatest rivalries. Except there was only one rivalry looked at: Dodgers vs Giants. Dershowitz yells. Giuliani refuses to apologize for being a Yankee fan living in Brooklyn. Joe Torre says Bobby Thomson's homer in 1951 was the biggest moment in his life at the time. Leo Durocher's uniform switches from being blue and white to being black, white, and orange.

And then there was something about Babe Ruth. Although I'm not quite sure what it was.

I never thought I would miss Ken Burns' group of talking heads discussing baseball.

I'm sure that some people who saw this loved it, but I am not compelled to spend 30 minutes watching Maury Allen tell me for the 300th time why Joe DiMaggio was a great player.

Baseball's Golden Age is not a time set in stone. It's the time when each person learned to fall in love with the game. So give me a bunch of talking heads discussing who was better The Mustache Gang or the Big Red Machine and I'll be sure to tune in. But for now, I'll pass on FSN's Golden Age.

Milton Bradley, New York Times blogger
2008-07-07 21:25
by Bob Timmermann

The headline speaks for itself.

Bradley does say he had a torn ACL and not a torn A.C.L., but I'm betting that he never calls his high school alma mater, Long Beach Polytechnic. I don't know anybody who's ever called the school by that name.

Nippert puts in lonnnng relief
2008-07-07 20:30
by Bob Timmermann

It must be really long because I spelled long with four Ns!

Dustin Nippert of the Texas Rangers pitched seven innings in relief of starter Luis Mendoza in Arlington tonight against the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels won the game 9-6. Nippert threw 103 pitches in the game.

Nippert's seven innings of relief was the longest relief stint since Ryan Madson of the Phillies put in seven innings last year on May 23 against the Mets, but that was in a 16-inning game.

The last pitcher to throw seven innings of relief in a nine-inning game was Rob Bell of Tampa Bay against Arizona on June 19, 2004.

Scott Sanderson was the last pitcher to pitch eight innings of relief (several have done 7 1/3 or 7 2/3) that was back on August 6, 1989.

Neil Allen was the last pitcher to go nine innings of relief back on May 31, 1988 for the Yankees in Oakland. Allen relieved starter Al Leiter who was injured on a ball hit lined back to the mound by leadoff hitter Carney Lansford. Allen shut out the A's the rest of the game, and, under scoring rules, was given credit for a shutout and a complete game, but not a game started.

Sabathia makes announcement guaranteed to irritate New York Times
2008-07-07 14:35
by Bob Timmermann

Newly arrived Milwaukee Brewers pitcher C.C. Sabathia has announced that his first name will now no longer sport any periods. He wishes to be called CC Sabathia. A man of Sabathia's size (officially listed at 6'7" and 290  lbs) likely has a lot of CCs in him.

According to the New York Times story (from the AP) about the trade Sabathia had a 3.83 "E.R.A."

Split screen leads to big ratings and confused viewers
2008-07-07 13:51
by Bob Timmermann

Tom Hoffarth of the Daily News in his Farther Off the Wall Blog listed the markets in the U.S. that got the highest overnight Nielsen ratings for the Nadal-Federer match at Wimbledon.

And the top market was St. Louis. St. Louis, home of Dwight Davis, the man who started the Davis Cup!

But no so fast...

My St. Louis-living brother, who is actually in Berlin now, informed that because the match ran long, the channel in St. Louis showing it ran into a problem because it also had to show the Cubs-Cardinals game, starting at 2:15 pm Central Time.

So, what did the station, KSDK, do? They went to a split screen and showed baseball and tennis simultaneously. This turned out not to be very popular with fans of either tennis, baseball, or human beings with binocular vision. You can find an image of what the screen looked in this link from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Also, without looking it up, what do you think was the total difference in points won between Nadal and Federer for the match?

Colavito ... for the win!
2008-07-07 07:10
by Bob Timmermann

The sad tale of Jamie Burke taking the loss for the Mariners Sunday made me interested in looking up why another position player got a win. And that was Rocky Colavito of the Yankees back on August 25, 1968.

To set the scene, the Tigers and Yankees were set to play a four-game series at Yankee Stadium starting on Friday, August 23 with a twi-night doubleheader.

The Yankees won the opener 2-1 with a complete game from Stan Bahnsen, but the second game ended in a 3-3 tie after 19 innings. The AL had a 1:00 am curfew in place at the time and, apparently, the rule was written so that games tied at the time would be declared over and not suspended. The Yankees used five pitchers in the second game, with reliever Lindy McDaniel going seven innings. John Hiller pitched 9 innings of shutout relief for the Tigers.

The Yankees and Tigers had a day game on Saturday, so the makeup game was pushed to Sunday. The Yankees won the Saturday game, 2-1, with a complete game outing from Mel Stottlemyre, handing Denny McLain just his 5th loss against 25 wins.

When the Sunday doubleheader came around, Yankees manager Ralph Hour, according to the New York Times, warned Colavito, who was just about through as a player, that he might have to pitch as he though that the bullpen was tired. Remember that in 1968, teams rarely carried more than 10 pitchers on the staff.

Steve Barber got the start for the Yankees, but the Tigers touched him for five runs and seven hits in 3 1/3 innings. Colavito was summoned from the pen and he pitched 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, giving up just one hit, a double to Al Kaline. The Times describes Colavito as throwing "mainly overhand fastballs."

The Yankees scored five times in the sixth, aided by a 3-run homer from Bill Robinson, to take a 6-5 lead and Dooley Womack relieved Colavito in the 7th and McDaniel closed out the game in the 8th and 9th.

In the nightcap, Colavito started in right field, batted fifth, and homered off of Mickey Lolich as the Yankees completed their sweep of the Tigers with a 5-4 win.

After the Tigers left, the Angels came into town for a four game series played over two days with a pair of doubleheaders, which the Yankees split. The Yankees then had a doubleheader on August 30, and four more in September, but were able to take advantage of the roster expansion, so Colavito's pitching career was over.

It's Honkbalweek in Haarlem!
2008-07-07 06:00
by Bob Timmermann

One of the oldest baseball tournaments in Europe, the Haarlem Honkbalweek (Baseball Week in Haarlem) is underway. The tournament has been contested every every other year since 1961 (with one three year gap to switch the tournament to even-numbered years.)

This year's tournament is the last big international tournament before the Olympic Games in Beijing start next month.

Team USA won its first two games, besting Japan 5-2 and edging Cuba 1-0. The other three participants are Taiwan, Netherlands, and a team called "The Dutch Caribbean" (presumably the Netherlands Antilles and Curacao.)

The top four finishers after round robin play meet in single elimination games to determine the champion. The Dutch have won the last two Honkbalweek tournaments.

Haarlem is the only place in Europe where I have seen significant numbers of baseball diamonds in parks. And kids playing in them.

I also went to the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem, where I had to check my camera. I put in a free locker, but failed to take the key with me. So it was pretty much just sitting out on display for everyone. I then went back to Amsterdam. And then I remembered where I had left my camera. And I went back and it was still there, sitting out on display for anyone to steal. Which no one did.

Haarlem > Cleveland.


Catcher takes the loss for Mariners against Tigers (UPDATED)
2008-07-06 20:18
by Bob Timmermann

Third-string catcher Jaime Burke was pressed into duty in the 15th inning of today's game between Seattle and Detroit at Safeco Field. And it was Burke who ended up taking the loss in the Tigers 2-1 win.

Burke gave up a leadoff double to Miguel Cabrera (boring note: on my fantasy team!) and then wild pitched him to third. Marcus Thames drove home pinch runner Michael Hollimon with what turned out to be the winning run.

The last position player to get a decision as a pitcher was Brent Mayne of Colorado Rockies, who was the winning pitcher in a 7-6, 14 inning game against the Braves on August 22, 2000.

The last position player to get a loss was Jeff Hamilton of the Dodgers in a 22 inning game against the Astros on June 3, 1989. The Astros won the game 5-4.

(I will note that I don't know of a good way of compiling a list of such events. I'm just going from memory. And as of today, I still have a good memory.)

UPDATE - Rocky Colavito got a win for the Yankees in the first game of a doubleheader against the Tigers on August 25, 1968. Colavito entered the game in the fourth inning. Johnny O'Brien of the Pirates, who pitched in several games in his rookie year and 25 overall although he was primarily an infielder, got a win for the Pirates against the Phillies on July 3, 1956. Jose Oquendo took the loss for the Cardinals in a 19-inning game against the Braves on May 14, 1988. Take note of the positions played by Tom Brunansky and Jose De Leon in the game. Granny Hamner, an emergency starter for the Phillies after Harvey Haddix hurt himself warming up, was the loser for the Phillies against the Pirates on August 31, 1956. The Pirates pitcher batted seventh in this game also.

Today was the day of the long games with the Braves beating the Astros in 17 innings, the Mets beating the Phillies in a 12 inning game that featured a rain delay of 168 minutes, and the Red Sox and Yankees finishing in a rather brief 10 innings. Brief by Yankees-Red Sox standards.

And please be careful about worrying dogs unneccesarily.


Parents, don't let your kids do this
2008-07-06 16:37
by Bob Timmermann

In the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University, resides a book titled The Book of Accidents: Designed for Young Children. It was published in 1823.

The book tells parents and children what to watch out for, such as "Playing with horses", "Worrying dogs," "Crossing Streets," and "Falling out of Coaches."

However, there are two that are timeless and oddly funny in this day and age "Playing with Knives" and "Playing with Fire-Arms."

There's some good solid advice in there.

These links came from Room 26 Cabinet of Curiousities via This Book is For You.

Journal Sentinel reports that Sabathia to Milwaukee deal is complete
2008-07-06 16:15
by Bob Timmermann

Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is reporting that the deal to send pitcher C.C. Sabathia to Milwaukee in exchange for Matt LaPorta and two other minor leaguers is complete.

Sabathia should start for the Brewers Tuesday in the Cream City against the Rockies.

Cleveland is such a horrible city that it makes Milwaukee seem like heaven on earth.

"Is this Purgatory?"

"No, it's just Milwaukee."

"Where's hell?"

"That's over in Cleveland."

"OK, thanks..."

Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! (Updated)
2008-07-06 11:37
by Bob Timmermann

The Yankees and Red Sox combined for an AL record-tying seven HBPs today in the Yankees 2-1 win at home.

Manny Ramirez was hit three times, tying a record held by many, and Kevin Youkilis, Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, and Jose Molina had the others.

The last AL game with 7 HBPs was back on June 7, 2001 when Oakland and Anaheim failed to get out of the way very well. The A's were hit five times and the Angels were hit twice.

On September 3, 1989, the Royals and Rangers combined for 7 HBPs in Arlington. The Royals got hit five times. The Royals were involved in another 7 HBP game on April 13, 1971 at home against the Twins. The Twins got hit four times and the Royals thrice.

The Washington Senators and Detroit Tigers played the first 7 HBP game in AL history back on August 24, 1914 in the second game of a doubleheader. The Tigers won the game 11-0. Tigers starter Hooks Dauss hit three Washington batters while pitching a shutout. Dauss would lead the AL with 18 HBPs.

But in the NL, teams knew how to get hit by pitches, especilally in the 19th Century. There have been two games in NL history with 8 HBPs. On May 9, 1896, Washington (5) and Pittsburgh (3) engaged in a game of dodge ball for the ages (1896 was the season when Baltimore's Hugh Jennings got hit a record 51 times in one season). The mark was matched in the first game of a doubleheader on July 31, 1897 between Louisville (6) and St. Louis (2).

Louisville's 6 HBPs in one game is tied for the major league record. Brooklyn of the AA got hit 6 times in a game against Baltimore on April 25, 1887. The Yankees got hit 6 times in a game by Washington on June 20, 1913 in the second game of a doubleheader.

UPDATE - I dug up the box score of the May 9, 1896 game with 8 HBPs. It's very hard to read, but it appears that Pittsburgh pitcher Pink Hawley hit five batters and Washingston starter Win Mercer hit three. The boxscore doesn't list who they hit, although the official statistics of the time only kept track of HBPs by batters and not by pitchers. Washington won the game 14-9 after scoring 11 times in the eighth inning.

In the 1897 game between Louisville and St. Louis, John Grimes (Grimey to his friends) hit a major league record six batters. Grimes pitched in just two games in the majors and hit 7 batters in total. Grimes also lived to be 94. So he probably got to watch Bob Gibson and Don Drysdale and say "Heck, I've done worse." St. Louis lost the game to Louisville by an 11-6 margin en route to a sterling 29-102 season. But the fans all stayed to the end of the game and were really friendly.

In the 1913 game when the Yankees were hit a record six times, three Washington pitchers combined for the target practice. Bert Gallia hit three Yankees, Joe Engel hit two, and Tom Hughes hit one.

The 1913 Yankees finished 57-94 and in seventh. The Senators finished in second at 90-64, helped in part by a guy named Walter Johnson, who was 36-7 with a 1.14 ERA. That's an ERA+ of 259, the sixth best mark of alltime. (Of the five better ones, two are by Greg Maddux and one is by Pedro Martinez. Dutch Leonard has another and the alltime mark is 294 by Tim Keefe in 1880.)


Let's change the color scheme
2008-07-05 06:00
by Bob Timmermann

After MLB decided that every team had to wear red, white, and blue caps (except the Blue Jays) on July 4, leading to monstrosities like this:



I felt it was time to change the color scheme. And here is a photo without red, white, or blue. Just lavender, green, yellow, and black.





Why not play two? Because it takes too long!
2008-07-04 23:07
by Bob Timmermann

Bill Dwyre, sports editor emeritus of the LA Times (unlike people who will just leave the paper after getting a nice chat with the folks from HR), bemoans the lack of doubleheaders played on holidays.

It's a piece waxing nostalgic on doubleheaders with some delightful anecdotes. But Dwyre forgets the one big reason why teams don't schedule doubleheaders unless they're forced to: they take a long time to play.

Unless you know ahead of time that you've got two Greg Maddux-like pitchers going for each team in each game and nobody is planning to score much, then you're in business. If not, you're likely looking at keeping people in the park for six to seven hours.

I could probably handle that and lot of people reading this wouldn't mind that much time at the stadium. But the average doesn't want to do it. I couldn't picture taking a child under the age of 13 to a baseball stadium for that length of time.

What if the Yankees and Red Sox had played a single admission doubleheader back on August 18, 2006. Game one lasted 3:55. Game two lasted 4:45. Neither game went into extra innings. Eight hours and forty minutes in total. If those games had been played right after another, it would have been a nine hour day. The fans don't get paid time and a half.

I've attended one doubleheader in my life. It was on June 26, 1988 in Oakland. The Twins swept the A's, winning the first game 11-0, and the second one 5-0. I sat in the right field bleachers with my then-girlfriend, a Minneapolis native and a big Twins fan. She made it through the first game and a couple of innings of the second before heading off to some concert that I recall having no interest in attending.

I do recall that it was a very long day. And there were a lot of very hammered people on the BART train on the way back to Berkeley. I look back at that doubleheader as more of an endurance test rather than a fun day at the park.

The Biggest Losers
2008-07-04 22:00
by Bob Timmermann

The Florida Marlins piled up 17 runs tonight in Denver. And lost 18-17 to the Rockies after blowing a 9-run lead.

The Marlins didn't come to close to the major league record for most runs by the losing team, or if you're Ned Flanders, the team that didn't win. The Philadelphia Phillies hold that distinction, losing 26-23 to the Cubs back on August 25, 1922. The game was played at what was then called Cubs Park.

The Cubs scored in just four innings in the game. And in two of the innings, the Cubs scored just one run. But the Cubs had a 10-run second and a 14-run fourth also. The Cubs led 26-9 after six, but allowed the Phillies to tally eight runs in the eighth and six in the ninth to make the final a more respectable 26-23. The Cubs used five pitchers to nail down the win. The Phillies used two. The Phillies left 16 runners on base. Time of game, 3:01.

The Cubs were the last team to score at least 17 runs and lose. That was back on May 17, 1979 when the Cubs lost to the Phillies, 23-22 at Wrigley Field in 10 innings.

The Phillies also scored 17 times in a loss to the Reds on August 3, 1969 at Connie Mack Stadium. The Reds won 19-17.

The key play in that game came in the 7th. Dick Allen homered to lead off the inning to cut the Reds lead to 18-17. Wayne Granger came in to relieve. The first two Phillies he faced, Johnny Callison and Deron Johnson singled.

Phillies manager Bob Skinner had Ron Stone bunt, but Granger turned the play into a forceout at third. Don Money then grounded into a DP.

The Phillies got two runners on with two outs in the ninth against Granger, but Stone lined out to right to end the game. Skinner was fired a few days later.

For the Reds, it was a big win as it kept them in third place in the wild NL West that season. They were just a 1/2 game back of Atlanta and San Francisco with the Giants ahead by .001. The Dodgers were one game back in fourth and the Astros were two games back in fifth.

Independence Day Feats
2008-07-04 06:00
by Bob Timmermann

Courtesy of the Sporting News Complete Baseball Record Book, here are some of the records that have been set on this day. This should keep you busy all day. And the Red Sox seem to do lots of weird stuff on July 4.

  • 1894 - Jouett Meekin of the New York Giants becomes the only pitcher to hit three triples in a game. The Giants beat the Cleveland Spiders 12-11 in the second game of a doubleheader.
  • 1896 - Washington and Philadelphia combine for 73 hits in a doubleheader. Washington wins the first game 13-8 and Cleveland takes the second 15-14.
  • 1905 - The Philadelphia A's play 20 innings against Boston in the second game of a doubleheader and don't draw a walk, an AL record. The A's win the game anyway, 4-2. Cy Young takes the loss for Boston, pitching all 20 innings.
  • 1907 - The Tigers and Browns combine to hit 12 triples in a doubleheader. Without looking it up, I'm guessing there was a big crowd and weird ground rules. The Tigers win both games. The Tigers are in fourth place, 6 1/2 games out, at the end of the day. This would be the largest margin overcome on the 4th of July by any AL pennant winner.
  • 1908 - Hooks Wiltse of the Giants throws the first extra-inning no-hitter in NL history, beating the Phillies 1-0. Wiltse retired the first 26 batters before hitting the opposing pitcher George McQuillan with a pitch.
  • 1913 - Smoky Joe Wood of Boston becomes the second pitcher to hit two doubles in an inning in the morning game of a doubleheader against Philadelphia.
  • 1918 - The NL features a record-tying three 1-0 games. The Cubs sweep a doubleheader in St. Louis by a pair of 1-0 scores. The Pirates beat the Reds for the third one.
  • 1939 - Boston and Philadelphia (AL variety) combine for an AL record 172 ABs in a doubleheader (with no extra innings involved). Jim Tabor of the Red Sox hits four home runs (an AL record for a doubleheader) and drives in 10 (also an AL record). Boston won 17-7 and 18-12. The 54 total runs are tied for the most in MLB history. The 65 total hits are an AL record as are the 49 RBI.
  • 1940 - George Case of Washington becomes one of four AL players to have 9 hits in a doubleheader. The Senators swept a pair from Philadelphia.
  • 1945 - The Cleveland Indians become the first team in major league history to play nine innings in the field and not record an assist. It happens in the first game of a doubleheader that Cleveland wins over the Yankees 4-2. Cleveland pitcher Steve Gromek gets 21 Yankees to make outs in the air, strikes out four, and two other unassisted outs (which presumably were ground outs to first.)
  • 1948 - Ted Williams becomes the first of eight AL players to have three plate appearances in an inning. Williams does it in a 14-run 7th inning against the A's. Boston wins 19-5. Of the eight ALers to have three plate appearances, all but one of them played for the Red Sox. (Darryl Hamilton is the other guy.)
  • 1951 - Ralph Kiner of Pittsburgh ties an NL record by driving in seven runs over two consecutive innings. It's in the second game of a doubleheader against the Reds. The Pirates win 16-7 in a game shortened to 5 1/2 innings.
  • 1955 - In the first game of a doubleheader, the Yankees and Red Sox combine to send up five different pinch hitters who struck out. The Red Sox win 4-2 in 2:54, an eternity for that era and preparing fans for the horrors that would await them in the 21st Century.
  • 1977 - The Red Sox hit a major league record 7 solo home runs against the Blue Jays. The Red Sox win 9-6.
  • 1985 - Although this event didn't transpire until July 5, the Mets and Braves combine to have the highest scoring 19th inning in major league history. 7 runs. 5 for the Mets and 2 for the Braves.

And now for your musical enjoyment:






I apologize to anyone offended by the inclusion of the "Commie verse." I just liked hearing a jazz/soul rendition of the song.

And now to switch genres to one of my all time favorite songs

So happy together?
2008-07-03 13:06
by Bob Timmermann

Not baseball related, but a survey sponsored by the United States National Science Foundation, rates Denmark as the happiest country in the world.

Zimbabwe, plagued by political turmoil, hyperinflation, and the indiginity of being last in alphabetical order at the United Nations, is the least happy country.

I've been to Denmark. They seemed happy enough.

Coming this August to a pitching staff near you?
2008-07-03 10:51
by Bob Timmermann
Freddy Garcia!

The right-handed starter is recovering from shoulder surgery and hopes to join a contender in August. The linked story though mentions the Tigers and Astros.

For old time's sake, the Astros should sign Garcia and trade him to Arizona to get Randy Johnson.

Blogging in the clutch
2008-07-03 09:48
by Bob Timmermann

Phil Birnbaum on his blog brings up to date, more or less, on the search for baseball's Loch Ness monster, the clutch hitter.

If you want to read the more indepth math parts, there are links to it, but you can probably learn enough from Phil's summaries.

More memories of a great baseball historian
2008-07-03 09:02
by Bob Timmermann

The San Francisco Chronicle's Jill Tucker published a very interesting obituary for historian (of a lot of topics) Jules Tygiel, who passed away Tuesday.

Interestingly, Joe Morgan and I are in agreement on one thing:

His 1983 book was less of a biography than a historical account of Robinson and his role as the first African American player in modern major-league baseball.

That's what Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan loved about it.

"I though it was fabulous because it wasn't someone's opinions and stuff," Morgan said Wednesday after learning of Professor Tygiel's death. "His book showed us exactly how we got to where we were."

Robinson's widow, Rachel, considers it the best book on her husband, Morgan said.

The book pieced together what happened in those post-World War II days of integration in America's favorite pastime. Morgan said once he got his hands on the book, he couldn't put it down.

"There have been lots of books written about Jackie Robinson," he said. "This is my favorite one."

San Francisco attorney and law professor, Richard Zitrin, a close friend of Tygiel's, also liked to point out that Tygiel started what was believed to be the first fantasy baseball league on the West Coast, the Pacific Ghost League, around the same time Daniel Okrent and company were starting Rotisserie Baseball. Zitrin also related to me a tale of going to an A's game with Tygiel in which Ozzie Canseco was playing. Tygiel's comment about Ozzie Canseco, "He looks like a big league player."

Umpires establish 'Venditte rule'
2008-07-02 18:42
by Bob Timmermann

Actually, it's not a rule as much as it's a set of guidelines ....

But spurred on by the comedic battle between switch pitcher Pat Venditte of Staten Island and switch hitter Ralph Henriquez of Brooklyn, the Professional Baseball Umpires Corporation, the association representing minor league umpires, came out with this today to handle future ambidextrous matchups.

    • The pitcher must visually indicate to the umpire, batter and runner(s) which way he will begin pitching to the batter. Engaging the rubber with the glove on a particular hand is considered a definitive commitment to which arm he will throw with. The batter will then choose which side of the plate he will bat from.
    • The pitcher must throw one pitch to the batter before any "switch" by either player is allowed.
    • After one pitch is thrown, the pitcher and batter may each change positions one time per at-bat. For example, if the pitcher changes from right-handed to left-handed and the batter then changes batter's boxes, each player must remain that way for the duration of that at-bat (unless the offensive team substitutes a pinch hitter, and then each player may again "switch" one time).
    • Any switch (by either the pitcher or the batter) must be clearly indicated to the umpire.
    • There will be no warm-up pitches during the change of arms.
    • If an injury occurs the pitcher may change arms but not use that arm again during the remainder of the game.

Let the record reflect that I blogged about Pat Venditte back in April.

April of 2007.

In Memoriam: Jules Tygiel
2008-07-01 21:12
by Bob Timmermann

Jules Tygiel, a history professor at San Francisco State University, passed away July 1 at age 59 from cancer.

Tygiel wrote two of the best baseball books I've ever read, along with numerous other works. He had a career that I only can dream I would have.

His greatest work was Baseball's Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy. The book came out in 1983 and has been republished numerous times. It was one of the first academic works examining the career of Robinson as well as the integration of baseball overall. Tygiel was able to interview numerous Negro League players and get invaluable first hand information.

I recall reading this book on airplane sometime in the mid 1990s. And it was one of those books that once I started reading it, I just kept going. A 25th anniversary edition came out this year.

Because Tygiel had a Ph.D. after his name, he became a popular source for media interviews about Jackie Robinson. But he was able to discuss Jackie Robinson and baseball and make it all seem so accessible.

Tygiel also wrote Past Time: Baseball as History, which came out in 2000. That was a collection of essays about baseball history. The best one was about mercurial executive Larry McPhail. Tygiel seemed to expose McPhail's overt racism for all to see. However, he also recognized McPhail's positive contributions, such as bringing night baseball to the majors, as well rejuvenating the moribund Dodgers franchise.

After reading this, I wondered if McPhail deserved his plaque in Cooperstown. So I boldly looked up, Tygiel's email address and asked him. I got an answer right back. Tygiel thought McPhail did belong in Cooperstown. He acknowledged his failings in the area of integration, but he knew that his efforts to promote baseball were more than enough to merit enshrinement. I wish I still had the email around.

A couple years ago, I was giving a talk at the library about baseball literature and I was going to speak about his Robinson book. But I didn't know how to pronounce "Tygiel." So I sent him another email. And he graciously replied that it was "TIE-gehl." As he wrote "it's like the G in Gehrig."

Tygiel's best known book that is not about baseball was The Great Los Angeles Oil Swindle. It was about the Julian Petroleum Corporation, run by C.C. Julian, a man who may have been the opposite of Daniel Plainview. Julian was crooked, charmed people, and then took their money. (But they probably got to keep their milkshakes.) Tygiel told me that he optioned the film rights to the book for a few thousand bucks. It's a great story, but Hollywood's taste for films on oil men may have peaked after P.T. Anderson's film.

But do yourself a favor and read Past Time or Baseball's Great Experiment. You will learn a lot and you will still be entertained. Even with footnotes.

Update with some additional thoughts: As a native of the West Coast, I am often told that I live in a part of the country with no history. People think that somehow Southern California just sprung up fully grown. It likely doesn't help that California's state seal has Minerva on it. But Jules Tygiel, in addition to his work on baseball, showed with his work that California, both Northern and Southern, has a rich and fascinating history.

Here is a link to a lecture he gave to a high school class in Oakland. (Link via Baseball Earlybird)

A Singular Accomplishment
2008-07-01 06:00
by Bob Timmermann

For people in my line of work, today is a big day. It's the start of the new fiscal year! Woo hoo! And I don't even get the day off. It's a day that needs to be celebrated. Perhaps I will celebrate by ordering meat loaf for dinner.

And on this Fiscal New Year Day, the Oakland A's and Texas Rangers rolled around Arlington Stadium for 15 innings and over 5 hours and cracked the most singles in any Major League game ever. In a 13-12 Oakland win, the two teams combined to hit 42 singles. The A's had 25 of them and the Rangers had 17.

Continue reading...

A place where a man can slow down to a walk and live his life full measure, but he has to keep his watch on Pacific Time.
Frozen Toast
Google Search
The Griddle

02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  10  07 
06  05  04  03 
Suggestions, comments, ring the catcher's interference alarm?

Email me at

The stuff I keep track of
Random Game Callbacks

Select a date:

Personal favorites that I wrote