Monday, March 21, 2016

Baseball's Perfect Game Pitchers

A Perfect Game Defined

 

A Perfect Game in Baseball is defined in "The Dickson Baseball Dictionary" as a 'no-hitter' in which no opposing player reaches base. In other words, a game in which a team's pitcher retires all 27 opposing batters in order. Or, simply put, "27 up, 27 down".

Other games in which the final score of the opposing team remains at zero (0) include a no hit, no run game (sometimes called a "No-No" by baseball broadcasters and sportswriters) in which the pitcher allows no hits, and no runs score. Also known as a 'no-hitter', a game in which a single pitcher does not throw a single hit to the opposition. These are not to be confused with a "Shutout", which is a game in which the losing team does not score, but hits may occur. Shutouts are often described by the number of hits made by the losers, such as a 'two-hit shutout'. *Fun Fact: In his 21-year career, Washington Senator Pitcher Walter Johnson pitched 110 shutouts.


A Perfect Game is essentially a no-hitter, but it goes one step further. In a no-hitter, an opposing player may reach base through a walk or an error and still not score. In a Perfect Game, not only are there 'no hits' and no runs, but an opposing player never even reaches first base!


Pitching a Perfect Game in Baseball

 

There have been 23 Perfect Games pitched in the 147 year history of Major League Baseball. It has been nearly 4 years since the last Perfect Game on August 15, 2012, accomplished by #34 Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners.

The First Two Perfect Games Pitched were in 1880 Just 5 Days Apart!



#1 - Lee Richmond

The first two major league perfect games, and the only two of the premodern era, were thrown in 1880, five days apart.

Lee Richmond  (Wikimedia)
The first to accomplish the feat was Lee Richmond, a 23-year-old left-handed pitcher for the Worcester Ruby Legs. His 'Perfect Game' against the Cleveland Blues occurred on June 12, 1880. The final score was 1-0. Richmond played professional baseball for six years, finishing with a losing record.

Team Notes:
The Worchester Ruby Legs Richmond pitched his Perfect Game for were a 19th century Major League Baseball team from 1880 to 1882 in the National League.
The Cleveland Blues, who were defeated by Richmond's Perfect Game, were the forerunners of today's Cleveland Indians.



John Montgomery Ward (Wikimedia)

#2 John Montgomery Ward

The second perfect game was thrown on June 17, 1880 by 20-year-old John Montgomery "Monte" Ward for the Providence Grays against the Buffalo Bisons with a final score of 5-0. Ward, who made the transition from excellent pitcher to excellent position player, went on to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Team Notes:
The Providence Grays was a team name used by several major and minor league baseball teams based in Providence, Rhode Island. John Ward pitched his perfect game for the Grays.
The Buffalo Bisons team Ward pitched against were a former baseball team in the National League from 1879-85

 

*There was not to be another Perfect Game for 24 Years.

 

Cy Young (Wikimedia)

#3 - Cy Young
Pitched the First Perfect Game in American League history!


One of the most well known Pitchers in Baseball, Cy Young, pitched a Perfect Game for Boston Americans against the Philidelphia A's on May 5, 1904. The final score was 3-0. This was the 3rd Perfect Game in baseball history, and the first in the modern era.
Young retired with 511 career wins. His win total set the record for most career wins by a pitcher. The Cy Young Award is an honor given annually in baseball to the best pitchers in Major League Baseball, one each for the American League and National League. The award was first introduced in 1956 by Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick in honor of Hall of Fame pitcher Cy Young.



Addie Joss (public domain)
#4 - Addie Joss

His Perfect Game was on October 8, 1908


Adrian "Addie" Joss was a Major League baseball pitcher in the early 20th Century. His "Perfect Game" occurred on October 8, 1908 while pitching for the Cleveland Naps, accomplishing the feat in just 74 pitches, He later pitched a No-Hitter in 1910. Both no-hitters were against the Chicago White Sox; to date, Joss is the only pitcher in Major League history to no-hit the same team twice!

Joss' playing career was cut short when he was diagnosed with tubercular meningitis. He died on April 14, 1911 at the age of 31. The first 'all-star' game was played as a benefit for Joss' family. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1978. Joss is the only player in the Hall of Fame whose career lasted less than ten years.

He was also included in the book "The 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time". Authors Lawrence Ritter and Donald Honig explained what they called "the Smoky Joe Wood Syndrome," where a player of truly exceptional talent but a career curtailed by injury or illness should still, in spite of not having had career statistics that would quantitatively rank him with the all-time greats, be included on their list of the 100 greatest players. They believed that Joss' career ERA of 1.89 was proof enough of his greatness to be included.


Charlie Robertson, Pitcher (Source)

#5 - Charlie Robertson

The First "Perfect Game" to be Pitched "On-The-Road"

Charlie Robertson, on April 30, 1922, in just his fifth career start for the Chicago White Sox, threw the fifth perfect game in baseball history against the Detroit Tigers. He also became the first pitcher in major league history to throw a perfect game on the road. No pitcher would equal the feat after Robertson for another 34 years, until Don Larsen in 1956.
...............
Photo Credit: Photo of Charlie Robertson is in the Public Domain. It is currently featured on the Find a Grave website and permission to use the image was given to me by Ron Moody, contributor to and member of this website.

Don Larsen - Last Pitch in Perfect Game
#6 - Don Larsen

First Pitcher to Pitch a Perfect Game in a World Series

Don Larsen's most notable accomplishment was pitching the only perfect game (as well as the only no hitter) in the history of the World Series, out of the 23 perfect games ever pitched overall. Larsen was pitching for the New York Yankees in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers, on October 8, 1956.

*Larsen's perfect game was the only no-hitter of any type ever pitched in postseason play until 10/6/2010 when Roy Halladay joined in with a 'No-Hitter' in Game 1 of the NL division Series (See Roy Halladay's story below).


Available on AllPosters
*Note: An iconic photo of the final moment of Larsen's Perfect Game shows New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra leaping into the arms of pitcher Don Larsen after the completion of his Perfect Game. One of the most famous baseball photos of all time!




Jim Bunning

#7 - Jim Bunning

Pitched the first Perfect Game for the National League in 84 Years!


James "Jim" Bunning pitched his Perfect Game for the Philadelphia Phillies on Father's Day, June 21, 1964, against the New York Mets Bunning's perfect game was the first in the National League in 84 years.

Jim Bunning pitched in the Major Leagues for 17 seasons, from 1955 to 1971, and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996. In addition to his 1964 Perfect Game, he pitched a No-Hitter for Detroit in 1958.

After retiring from baseball, he returned to his native home state of Kentucky and entered politics. He served two terms as United States Senator for Kentucky.


Sandy Koufax - AllPosters

#8 - Sandy Koufax

First major leaguer to pitch four no-hitters (including a perfect game).


Sanford "Sandy" Koufax played his entire career for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers, from 1955 to 1966. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972, the youngest former player to receive that honor.
Sandy was the first 3-time Cy Young winner in baseball history, winning the pitcher's triple crown each time by leading the NL in wins, strikeouts, and earned run average. His Perfect Game occurred on September 9, 1965 when his (by then) Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 1-0.

*Personal Note: As a teenage baseball fan in the 1950s living in New York State, I was a big fan of Sandy Koufax and the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Available on AllPosters

#9 - Catfish Hunter

His Number 27 was 'retired' by the Oakland Athletics in 1990
James Augustus "Catfish" Hunter was given his nickname "Catfish" by Charles Finley, owner of the The Kansas City A's, in 1965 for no reason other than that he thought his new pitcher needed a flashy nickname! Hunter was an effective pitcher, not because he overpowered batters with his speed, but because of the precision of his pitching. He played for the Kansas City/Oakland Athletics between 1965-1974, then finished his pitching career with the New York Yankees from 1975-1979.

Catfish Hunter's Perfect Game occurred while he was pitching for the Oakland A's, on May 8, 1968, against the Minnesota Twins.

Len Barker (Sticker - Amazon)

#10 - Len Barker

Pitched the tenth official perfect game
Leonard Harold Barker III, better known as Len or Lenny, was a right-handed pitcher in the Major Leagues for 11 years. Barker was a hard thrower, who earlier in his career struggled with his control. On April 16, 1978, in Fenway Park, Barker (then with the Texas Rangers) threw a pitch that sailed upward onto the screen above and behind the backstop!

Len Barker pitched a Perfect Game on May 15, 1981 for the Cleveland Indians against the Toronto Blue Jays (3-0). The final out of the game was a flyout caught by Rick Manning in short center field. Barker's pitching was so consistent that he never once reached ball three against any Blue Jay hitter!


Mike Witt - Baseball Card (Amazon)

#11 - Mike Witt

First Perfect Game ever pitched on the final day of a Major League Baseball regular season - September 30, 1984

Michael Atwater "Mike" Witt pitched for The California Angels and the New York Yankees in his 14 year major league pitching career, beginning at the age of just 20. From 1984 to 1987, Witt led the Angels every year in wins, strikeouts, innings pitched, and complete games. His best season was 1986, when he was named team Most Valuable Player after compiling 18 wins and a 2.84 earned run average.

Pitching for the California Angels on the last day of the regular season, September 20, 1984, Witt defeated the Texas Rangers in a 1-0 game that became Baseball's #11 Perfect Game. A few years later, after transitioning to the bullpen, Witt combined with starting pitcher Mark Langston to throw a no-hitter for the California Angels on April 11, 1990.


Tom Browning, LHP (Source)

#12 - Tom Browning

Only Pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds to ever pitch a Perfect Game.

Thomas Leo Browning made baseball history by becoming the first Cincinnati Red (and just the 12th pitcher ever) to throw a perfect game. In that 1-0 victory On September 16, 1988, over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Riverfront Stadium, Browning threw 72 of his 102 pitches for strikes and didn't run the count to three balls on a single batter. Browning remains the only Red to throw a perfect game.

Many ballplayers have superstitious habits that they are convinced 'help' them during a baseball game. Browning was superstitious and did not shave in between starts. As a result, he was often photographed with a four-day stubble. He also wore red underwear on the days he pitched.

Browning's perfect game came against the team that eventually won that year's World Series, the only time that has happened. Right fielder Paul O'Neill, who played for the winning side in this game, also played for the winning side in the perfect games of Wells and Cone.


Dennis Martinez (Source)
 #13 - Dennis Martinez

'El Presidente' Pitches a Perfect Game on July 28, 1991
Jose Dennis Martinez Ortiz was the first Nicaraguan baseball player to play in Major League Baseball. During his career, he was known by the nickname El Presidente (The President).

Martinez is the only major league pitcher born outside of the United States to throw a perfect game. On July 28, 1991, pitching for the Montreal Expos, he defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in a 2-0 Perfect Game. Martinez's catcher, Ron Hassey, also caught Len Barker's perfect game 10 years earlier!

In his post-playing career, Martinez has worked as a spring training instructor for the Baltimore Orioles in 2005 and 2006, and pitching coach for the Springfield Cardinals minor league team.


Kenny Rogers while playing for the Tigers (Source)

#14 - Kenny Rogers

Pitched a Perfect Game for the Texas Rangers (the last no-hitter in Rangers history to date, and the only perfect game in franchise history)

Kenneth Scott Rogers pitched a Perfect Game on July 28, 1994, exactly 3 years to the day of baseball's last perfect game (pitched by Dennis Martinez of the Montreal Expos on July 28, 1991). Pitching for the Texas Rangers, Rogers defeated the California Angels 4-0.
Rogers' performance against the Angels came 10 seasons after Witt's perfect game against the Rangers. The Angels and Rangers are the only major league teams to record perfect games against each other.

Known as "The Gambler" because of same-name singer Kenny Rogers' well-known hit song, Kenny Rogers, the baseball pitcher, was inducted into the Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame on August 6, 2011. Of the six major league teams he placed for over 19 baseball seasons, Rogers spent 12 of those years pitching for the Rangers - the longest tenure of any pitcher in the team's history.

Rogers retired on September 30, 2008 after 19 seasons, following a 3 year tenure with the Detroit Tigers. At that time, he was the oldest baseball player in the American League.

David Wells (Source)

#15 - David Wells

Attended the same San Diego high school, Point Loma High School, as Don Larsen, who's Perfect Game in 1956 was also for the NY Yankees.

David Lee Wells was known by the nickname "Boomer". His well known Perfect Game occurred on May 17, 1998 when, as a pitcher for the New York Yankees, he defeated the Minnesota Twins 4-0. Wells' perfect game comprised the core of a streak of 38 consecutive retired batters (May 12-23, 1998) an American League record he held until 2007.

Wells was considered to be one of the game's better left-handed pitchers, especially during his years with the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays. He was a 3x All-Star, 2x World Series champion (1992, 1998), and was named ALCS MVP in 1998.

His autobiography "Perfect I'm Not: Boomer on Beer, Brawls, Backaches and Baseball" became very controversial and he was fined $100,000 by the NY Yankees for disparaging comments which appeared in it. One of them included himself having a hangover when he pitched his perfect game.


David Cone (Amazon)

#16 - David Cone

A Perfect Game that became the last No-Hitter by a Yankee to date!

David Brian Cone was another pitcher whose Perfect Game was for the New York Yankees. He defeated the Montreal Expos 6-0 on July 18, 1999, which became the last no-hitter to date by a Yankee. It was also only the second interleague perfect game in Major League history (the first being Don Larsen's World Series Perfect Game), and the only regular season interleague perfect game.

Cone's perfect game occurred on Yogi Berra Day. Don Larsen threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Berra, who had been his catcher during the 1956 World Series perfect game.

Cone had a 20-win season in 1998, setting a Major League record for the longest span between 20-win seasons. He won the American League Cy Young Award in the strike-shortened 1994 season, going 16-5 with a 2.94 ERA.


Randy Johnson, LHP (Source)

#17 - Randy Johnson

Was the oldest pitcher, at age 40+, to pitch a Perfect Game

Randall "Randy" David Johnson, was nicknamed "The Big Unit" during batting practice in 1988, when the 6'10" Johnson collided head-first with outfielder Tim Raines, prompting his teammate to exclaim, "You're a big unit!". The nickname stuck.

Johnson was celebrated for having one of the most dominant fastballs in the game. He regularly approached, and occasionally exceeded, 100 miles per hour during his prime. Johnson won the Cy Young Award five times, second only to Roger Clemens' seven.

On May 18, 2004, Randy Johnson, pitching for the Arizona Diamondbacks, had 13 strikeouts on his way to a 2-0 defeat of the Atlanta Braves in major league baseball's 17th Perfect Game.


Mark Buehrle (Source)

#18 - Mark Buehrle

First major league perfect game in which the pitcher and catcher were battery-mates for the first time.

Mark Alan Buehrle is a left-handed starting pitcher in Major League Baseball who has played for the Chicago White Sox since 2000. Buehrle threw a no-hitter against the Texas Rangers on April 18, 2007, and a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays on July 23, 2009. Buehrle was assisted by a dramatic ninth-inning wall-climbing catch by center fielder DeWayne Wise to rob Gabe Kapler of a home run. This was also the first perfect game to feature a grand slam, by Josh Fields in the bottom of the second inning.


Dallas Braden (Source)

#19 - Dallas Braden

A Perfect Game in MLB's 2010 Season --- and Second Straight Against the Tampa Bay Rays!

Dallas Braden, pitcher for the Oakland Athetics, became the 19th Major League Baseball Pitcher to pitch a Perfect Game, and the second pitcher in a row to shut out the Tampa Bay Rays in a 4-0 Perfect Game on May 9, 2010.

Braden's perfect game, pitched on Mother's Day, was the first complete game of his career, which began with the Oakland A's in the Spring of 2007. This game came 20 days after Mark Buehrle's (#18), the shortest period between modern-day perfect games.

*Photo of Dallas Braden taken by a 'fan' attending Braden's Perfect Game and posted on their Flickr site. Check out this and all the Dallas Braden photos at raccoon-00
(*Note: Photo used with written permission from raccoon-00.)


Roy Halladay (SD Dirk on Flickr)

#20 - Roy Halladay 

Perfect Game pitched only 20 days after the last one by Dallas Braden
Harry Leroy Halladay III is known as Roy, or by his nickname "Doc", which was coined by former Toronto Blue Jays announcer Tom Cheek; a reference to Wild West gunslinger "Doc" Holliday.

Halladay was originally drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1995, and played for the team from 1998 through 2009, after which he was traded to Philadelphia.

On May 29, 2010, Halladay pitched the 20th perfect game in MLB history, beating the Florida Marlins by a score of 1-0, retiring all 27 batters, including 11 strikeouts. This is the first time in the modern era that two pitchers (Dallas Braden and Halladay) have thrown perfect games in the same month and that multiple perfect games have been achieved in the same season.

UPDATE on Roy Halladay's 2010 'Perfect Pitching' accomplishments! On October 6, 2010, 'Doc' Halladay joined Don Larsen (he of the 1956 Perfect Game in the World Series) with the second only postseason feat of pitching a "No-Hitter", defeating The Cincinnati Reds 4-0 in Game 1 of the 2010 NL Division Series!

*Roy Halladay won his 200th career game on Sunday, April 14, 2013. His final game in uniform before retiring was on September 23, 2013 for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Philip Humber (Source)

#21 - Philip Humber

Pitched the 21st MLB Perfect Game on the 21st. of April - 2012!

Philip Gregory Humber (B: 12/21/1982) of the Chicago White Sox became the 21st. pitcher in Major League Baseball to pitch a perfect game. His accomplishment occurred on April 21, 2012 against the Seattle Mariners. Humber used just 96 pitches to retire all 27 Mariners. It was the first perfect game or no-hitter in the Major Leagues this season.

This was the 18th time a White Sox pitcher has thrown a no-hitter, and it was the third perfect game for the Sox. The other two were Charlie Robertson, #5 on 4-30-1922, and Mark Buehrle, #18 on 7-23-2009. It is also the first time someone has thrown a perfect game against the Mariners.

Humber pitched for the New York Mets, the Minnesota Twins, and the Kansas City Royals, before joining the Chicago White Sox in 2011.

Matt Cain (Source: Steve Paluch on Flickr)

#22 - Matt Cain

Perfect Game #22 - First for Cain --- First Ever for the San Francisco Giants

On June 13, 2012 Matt Cain pitched the 22nd Perfect Game in the history of Major League Baseball, and the second Perfect Game for the 2012 Baseball Season.

It was the first Perfect Game ever pitched in the history of the San Francisco Giants' franchise, as well as being a 'first' for Cain. Cain had a career high 14 strikeouts in the 10-0 win over the Houston Astros at AT&T Park on Wednesday, June 13, along with some excellent fielding plays by his teammates.

At 31 years of age, Matt Cain has spent his entire first decade in baseball with just one team - the San Francisco Giants. Cain's pitching debut in the major league came on 8/29/2005.

Felix Hernandez (Source)

#23 - Felix Hernandez

First 'Perfect Game' in Franchise History for the Seattle Mariners

Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners pitched the 23rd perfect game in baseball history on Wednesday afternoon, August 15, 2012, beating the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0. It was also the first time the Mariners have ever had a Perfect Game. Hernandez, 26, becomes the third pitcher to toss a perfect game in 2012.

The 2010 American League Cy Young winner struck out 12 in the best outing of his career.

Felix Hernandez, a Venezuela native who is 11-5 with a 2.60 ERA, has been one of the hottest pitchers in the Majors. Up to the time of his Perfect Game, he was 7-0 with a 1.56 ERA with 90 strikeouts in 92 /13 innings over his last 12 starts. His seven-game win streak was tied for the second-longest of his career.


Armando Galarrago (Kevin Ward-Flickr)
 Armando Galarraga
 
The "Perfect Game" that Wasn't!

Armando Galarraga , a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers in 2010, will go down in history as having the 21st Perfect Game that never happened, due to a blown call by the 1st base umpire on the 27th batter!

Now known as the "28-out perfect game".

Even though Galarraga doesn't get credit for having what should have been a Perfect Game, his accomplishment on June 2, 2010 pitching a complete game for Detroit against the Cleveland Indians needs to be recognized! Therefore, I am including this tribute to him in this story about baseball's Perfect Game Pitchers. Galarraga was 'Perfect' that day in the eyes of the Detroit Tigers!

*Note: I don't know for sure, but I wouldn't be surprised if this incident wasn't the reason we now have 'reviews' by baseball umpires.

Looking Forward to Perfect Game #24

 

There have been no Perfect Games since August 15, 2012 (Felix Hernandez - #23). With the 2016 Major League Baseball season coming up, we will look forward to #24.

Hope you have enjoyed your tour through the ages of the 23 most "Perfect" pitchers in Major League Baseball.

Available at Amazon


(c) Written and compiled by Wednesday Elf in 2010 on another site that no longer exists.

















Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Minor League Baseball

Minor League Teams and Stadiums I've Visited


Frontier Field - Rochester Redwings

As much as I love Major League Baseball, minor league ballgames can be just as much fun.  

The minor leagues provide opportunities for player development and a way to prepare for the major leagues.  Most of the teams in the minor leagues are directly affiliated with a major league club.  There are eight different classifications in the minor league system, the most familiar to baseball fans being Triple-A, Double-A and (Single) Class-A ball clubs. 




Rochester Redwings

Minor League Baseball Team in the Eastern League
  
The Rochester Redwings are a Triple-A team for the Minnesota Twins. The "Redwings" play in Frontier Field located in downtown Rochester, New York.

Frontier Field was built in 1997, but the old Silver Stadium was home for the Rochester Redwings for as long as I can remember. Having grown up in the Rochester area, I've attended 'Redwing' games since I was a child.

Attending a Redwings Game with Family & Friends
Last May I visited my brother in Rochester and, of course, we had to take in a baseball game. We are both crazy about baseball! We belong to a group of like-minded friends, so 10 of us ended up at the game on a very cold night, typical of Upstate New York in the Spring. But 'nothing in the world' is more fun to me than to watch and talk about baseball, especially with other fans and particularly while at the ballpark!

 

The "Quad Cities River Bandits"


Woodmen Park - Quad Cities River Bandits (Wikimedia Commons)


A Minor League Baseball Team in the Midwest League

Modern Woodmen Park located on the Davenport, Iowa Riverfront has been the home of the "Quad Cities River Bandits" since 1931. The park offers a stunning view of the Mississippi River while you watch a baseball game in this Midwest league. The "River Bandits" are a Class-A affiliate of the Houston Astros.


My grandson, Ryan attended a game at Woodmen Park with his dad the summer he was seven. Ryan had won a reading contest in 2nd grade in his school located near Davenport, Iowa, and the reward was a trip to the ballpark and the opportunity to parade around the outside of the baseball field before the game. At 7, Ryan may not have been much of a baseball fan, but he really enjoyed the experience.



Savannah Sand Gnats Stadium

Grayson Stadium - Savannah Sand Gnats

Class A Affiliate of the New York Mets

Now that I live in Savannah, Georgia, I've indulged my baseball passion for several years by attending minor league games at Grayson Stadium, which was home to the Savannah Sand Gnats from 2007 until the end of last season (2015). The Sand Gnats were a Class-A affiliate of the New York Mets. At one time they were known as the Savannah Cardinals, an affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. Prior to that, they were affiliated with the Cleveland Indians and the Atlanta Braves.

The 'Gnats' (named for that pesky little insect all us locals know well) played in the South Atlantic League in 'Historic Grayson Stadium' built in 1926. Sadly, to us local baseball fans, the Savannah Class-A affiliate left Savannah for Columbia, South Carolina where they will play this 2016 season. Still an affiliate of the New York Mets, they will now be known as the Columbia 

Fireflies. 


Grayson Stadium

 

Grayson Stadium - Savannah, Georgia

Historic Grayson Stadium won't be empty, though. With the departure of the Savannah Sand Gnats comes a new member of the Coastal Plains League consisting of a team of top collegiate players eager to show off their talents to scouts and fans.

A naming contest was conducted for the new team and will be called the "Savannah Bananas".  Their season will run from early June until the end of August.



Minor League Baseball Parks

 

Minor League Baseball Parks Guide

Since there are only 30 Major League Baseball parks, few of us live near enough to enjoy attending a game.  But there are 119 minor league baseball stadiums throughout the country, giving us a chance to enjoy attending a baseball game in person.  And, as us fans all know, most of today's baseball 'stars' in the majors began their careers playing first in the minors. 

Attending a minor league game gives us a chance to see the next up-and-coming crop of baseball superstars.  This guide to minor league baseball parks on Kindle is perfect to download and have at our fingertips locations and information on a park anywhere we live or travel on vacation.


© 2014 Wednesday Elf (originally written for another site)

© Images: all images on this page are mine, except where otherwise noted. 


Friday, March 4, 2016

The Wit and Wisdom of Baseball - Book Review

Getting Paid as a Man to Play a Boy's Game!

 

Available on Amazon
For this baseball fan, there's nothing more enjoyable than reading about the “Boys of Summer”. When I'm not watching baseball, I'm reading about baseball. This book “The Wit & Wisdom of Baseball” meets my reading requirements for a fun 'read' about my favorite subject. At only 168 pages, it's a quick read and a funny one. It's filled with amusing anecdotes and quotes from some of our most well known baseball players (Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Yogi Berra, to name a few), plus managers, and even Presidents, all accompanied by original illustrations in a book shaped like a baseball.

We learn some interesting facts, such as why “The Star-Spangled Banner” is played prior to each baseball game and how 'America's Game' became associated with hot dogs and apple pie.


I thoroughly enjoyed this baseball book!



About the Author

 

Saul Wisnia, Bio & Books on Amazon

Saul Wisnia is a former sports and news correspondent at The Washington Post and feature writer at The Boston Herald who has written or contributed to numerous books on Boston and general baseball history.

A huge Boston Red Sox fan, Wisnia likes to point out that he lives 5.94 miles from Fenway Park and has a cat named Wally (after Fenway's 'Green Monster'). He also shares Fenway Park Reflections on his blog.




The "Boys of Summer" Have Their Say...

 

Some of my favorite “quotes” in this book include:



  • Babe Ruth's response to a reporter when questioned about his 1930 salary demand of $80,000, which topped that of the President's $75,000 salary. “I know, but I had a better year than Hoover.”
  • “There is always some kid who may be seeing me for the first or last time. I owe him my best.” --Joe DeMaggio
  • “Can't anybody here play this game?” – Manager Casey Stengel on his 1962 Mets Team, which went 40-120.
  • Plus, who can ever forget the incomparable Yogi Berra and his many "Yogisms", such as "In Baseball, you don't know nothing."
  • Then we have that famous final line from Ernest Lawrence Thayer's epic poem "Casey at the Bat: "But there is no joy in Mudville---mighty Casey has struck out."
  • And my very favorite from a truly great baseball player on and off the field: “My greatest thrill in baseball was just putting on the uniform of a big-league ballplayer, especially for every season's opening game. I believe the joy of getting paid as a man to play a boy's game kept me going longer than many other players.” – Stan Musial

Baseball Books Galore!


I read a lot of baseball books during the winter months when I am deeply missing my daily dose of baseball. In fact, MY favorite baseball quote of all time -- the one I use as my 'mantra' -- is from Bill Veeck: "There are only two seasons - winter and Baseball"!

My Winter Baseball Reading...

 

Source: Pixabay

A couple books I read this winter were Tony La Russa's review of his St. Louis Cardinals fabulous 2011 year, One Last Strike and, of course, this one The Wit & Wisdom of Baseball.
 

More books to enjoy about that 'summer game' called Baseball


Here are a couple more interesting baseball books that represent what we call a 'summer' sport. There are literally hundreds of baseball books available on the market, written by players, former players & managers, and sports announcers. Us baseball fans will never run out of books to read about our favorite sport!


 

The Boys of Summer 


Author Roger Kahn, a sportswriter, writes about young men playing baseball in the 1930s and 1940s (Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese and more) and what happened to them when their 'playing days' were past.


The Summer Game

A baseball sports writer (Roger Angell) tells us "there's ALWAYS something more to be discovered about this game.” 



 

Baseball and Baseball Books

 

© Wednesday Elf (Personal Photo)
"The Wit & Wisdom of Baseball" is a great read for any baseball fan. Because it is filled with a collection of quotes and bits of trivia, it can easily be read just a page or two at a time. 

A perfect 'bathroom book' (according to my brother). Or read a little during those commercials between innings while watching a baseball game on TV.  For an entertaining read about your favorite sport, this is delightful book!

© 2014 Wednesday-Elf

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Biggest Baseball Thrill

Attending a World Series Game!

 

1985 World Series Commemorative Pin


1985 World Series Game 1 - at Kansas City - Saturday, October 19


What was to become known as the I-70 World Series - a series between two Missouri Teams, the AL Kansas City Royals and the NL St. Louis Cardinals, was special to us because we were living in Central Missouri at the time and were Cardinals baseball fans. It became even more special when we had the opportunity to attend Game 1 in Kansas City on Saturday, October 19, 1985.

At the time, Bob was the Band Announcer for Marching MIzzou, the University of Missouri-Columbia Marching Band, and the band was invited to perform "The National Anthem" for the Opening Game of the Series. We traveled by buses from Columbia, MO to Kansas City, got to stand on the sidelines while Bob announced from the broadcasting booth and the band performed, then got to stay and watch the game. To this died-in-the-wool baseball fan, there is no greater thrill than to be at a World Series Game in person!

A World Series Memory


My Program from the World Series Game

While waiting on the sidelines along first base prior to the marching band getting ready to perform the National Anthem, we saw the players go out on the field to warm up tossing balls around. My two sons were standing with me when George Brett walked right past us close enough to reach out and touch.  I was so 'awestruck' that I just stared as Brett walked past.  My oldest son was a big fan of George Brett and it never even occurred to me to call out to Brett or even try and take his picture with the camera I was holding in my hand!  A never-to-be-repeated opportunity missed!


The 1985 World Series was very exciting and we had a great time cheering for the St. Louis Cardinals. But...Kansas City rallied from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits to capture their first world championship by defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in the "I-70 Series"...the Royals became the first club in the 82-year history of the Fall Classic to lose their first two games at home and come back to win the title...KC was only the fifth team on record to come back from a 3-1 deficit and win the Series...the Royals became the first AL expansion club to win a world championship and the 2nd expansion team overall, joining the New York Mets...KC's talented and youthful pitching staff held the Major League's best hitting club to 13 runs and a batting average of .185 -- the lowest ever in a seven-game World Series...George Brett, Willie Wilson, Lonnie Smith and Steve Balboni all hit over .300 during the Series...Bret Saberhagen earned Most Valuable Player honors with two wins and a 0.50 ERA.

Official Film from the 1985 World Series

 

Official 1985 World Series Film
St. Louis led 1-0 in the bottom of the ninth in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series and victory seemed certain. But Umpire Don Denkinger incorrectly called Kansas City's Jorge Orta safe at first and St. Louis responded with a collapse.

The Royals won Games six and seven, and World Series MVP Bret Saberhagen pitched a complete game in the clincher.

Being able to attend Game 1 of the 1985 World Series will always hold a special place in my baseball memories.




Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Crazy about Baseball

My Baseball Thoughts & Memories

Available on Amazon
I LOVE Baseball. I'm no expert.....I can't quote 'stats' or tell you what year who played where, but I'm a dyed-in-the-wool fan who believes in the MLB quote "I Live For This". From April through the World Series every year, I watch, read about, and follow my favorite teams with a passion. Between the end of the World Series and the beginning of Spring Training I miss baseball so much it's like a void in my life. I often fill that void throughout the winter months with reading baseball books and re-watching some of my favorite baseball movies like "Field of Dreams" and "For Love of the Game". My son gets tickled with me because no matter what subject he's discussing with me, something he says will remind me of a favorite baseball story to tell. He can't believe how I relate 'everything' to baseball. This page is a collection of my favorite baseball memories.!

My Favorite Baseball Teams - Cards, Cubs and NYY

MLB Team Logos

My two top favorite teams are the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs. I watch every one of their games I can. I lived in Missouri for 11 years, which is where I became a Cardinals fan, having access to many televised games locally, plus listening to my favorite radio broadcaster, Jack Buck, on radio. I also had opportunities to occasionally see Cardinals games in person at Busch Stadium, since St. Louis was only a two hour drive away.

Cubs Fan Cup

TV also provided a lot of Chicago Cubs coverage in the Missouri area, particularly on WGN-TV in Chicago, so it was easy to also become a Cubbies fan. My favorite games are when the Cubs are playing the Cards, though it's hard to know who to root for then!

I prefer the National League over the American League, because I don't like the 'designated hitter' rule. I think pitchers should also bat, and many of them are really good batters.
Since I grew up in upstate New York, that made the NY Yankees a natural part of my world, so I have to add them to my list of favorites. Besides, they have had some of my all-time favorite players on their roster over the years. Anyone else a Derek Jeter fan?

Baseball Loyalties

Fans can be Fickle...

Being a New Yorker, I also followed the Brooklyn Dodgers during my teens back in the 1950's1950s. I seldom hold grudges, but I have to admit that to this day I refuse to be a Dodger fan because I never quite forgave them for leaving Brooklyn in 1957. That's a long time to 'hold a grudge'. 
(Fans can be fickle sometimes!).

In fact, in 1981 I was living in California when the Los Angeles Dodgers played the New York Yankees in the World Series. We were invited over to our neighbor's house to watch Game 3. Our neighbors were Dodger Fans and I was cheering so emphatically for the Yankees that at one point I was invited to either 'quiet down' or go home to watch the game! (Fans can be rabidly loyal).

*Side note: those darn Dodgers ended up winning that World Series after losing the first two games in New York at Yankee Stadium!


Going to the Stadium!

Personal photo Cardinals-Mets game at Busch Stadium - June 2014

There's nothing more thrilling than being there in person!

I've been fortunate to have been able to attend several games in person in two ballparks - Busch Stadium (St. Louis Cardinals) and the KC Royals Kauffman Stadium, and go to one World Series Game - the opening game of the1985 I-70 World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals - the thrill of a lifetime to this baseball fan!

My Baseball Fan Dream...

My dream would be to visit every one of the 30 baseball stadiums to watch a game, starting with Wrigley Field in Chicago!

A Fan's Guide to MLB Stadiums


This  revised addition of The Ultimate Baseball Road Trip includes every new ballpark since the 2004 edition.  It's the perfect guide for my baseball fan dream trip. It's part travel manual, part ballpark atlas, and part baseball history book.

 It even includes stories and statistics on each park, each park’s trademark foods, and profiles of nearby sports bars and baseball attractions.  There is also a guide to restaurants and the city of each stadium.

St. Louis Cardinals Affiliate Meeting  

Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri


TV and radio stations become sports affiliates, broadcasting local college and professional sports. Between 1982 and 1993 we lived in Columbia, MO where the TV station Bob worked for was an affiliate for Cardinals Baseball. Each year the St. Louis Cardinals sponsored an "Affiliates Meeting" to thank the stations for their broadcasts and we got to attend approximately every other one.
The meeting was usually held in May or June and consisted of several festivities over a two-day period. This included a reception, then a dinner, which was followed by an evening game at the stadium on Saturday night, then a Sunday morning breakfast with the Cardinals' Front Office people, and often the manager and a few of the players, ending with an afternoon game. It was always a great deal of fun, a chance to meet people from other broadcasting stations in the network, and the opportunity to meet some of the people behind the scenes for St. Louis Cardinals Baseball. The picture above shows Bob & I at one such meeting, along with Jack Buck, Mike Shannon and others, and, of course, the Redbirds' mascot "Fredbird".

My Personal Signed Baseball

At our last Affiliates Meeting before retirement in 1993, the Sunday breakfast gave me another delightful experience in my baseball fan life. I got to meet Joe Torre, who was the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals at that time, and he graciously signed a baseball for me.  It's one of my prized possessions!


What Is Baseball?

Baseball: "It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone."
~~ A. Bartlett Giamatti