Classic Scorecards: Pete Rose Passes Ty Cobb

Pete celebrating his record breaking hit while standing on first base

September 11th, 1985

Sixteen years before this date became a rallying cry it was fixed in my brain as the day that Pete Rose passed Ty Cobb for the most hits all time. On September 8th he tied Cobb at Wrigley field by going 2 for 5 on a day that he wasn’t even supposed to play. Late in his career Pete only batted left handed, and never faced left handed pitchers. On September 8th Cubs starter Steve Trout was supposed to take the hill. The night before his start he fell off his bicycle, and had to miss the start. That meant that Pete was in the lineup just two hits short of tying the record. I remember seeing this game on TV at my old house in town. Reggie Patterson started the game in place of Trout. Pete wasted no time by getting a hit in the first inning. He also picked up a hit in the 5th that tied Cobb for the most hits all time. Pete batted twice more in the game, and came up empty. The game was delayed for over two hours in the 8th, and finally suspended in after the ninth inning. It was declared an official game despite ending as a 5-5 tie. Pete did not play the next night in Cincinnati, and went 0-4 against Lamarr Hoyt on the 10th to set up the big night. Continue reading

The Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory

The signage covered in ivy outside the factory

I stopped blogging for a short time in the winter of 2009-2010. I came back probably stronger than ever, but I left out a few of the features that I enjoyed writing. One of them was the Interesting Sports Destinations feature that I used to write. I just found a few places that were not covered in other segments, but that I felt deserved to be talked about a bit. I would like to re-launch the feature with a look at the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory that is located of course in Louisville, Kentucky. Continue reading

Roy Halladay Loves the Postseason

With his no-hitter today against the Reds Roy Halladay now has pitched a no-hitter in every post season appearance he has made. Of course this is his first appearance after the initial 162 games. How do you top that? I kept reading going into the day that he might have jitters going into the game. I think that I like how he looks when he has the jitters. Continue reading

Ken Griffey Jr. Retires

I just saw on the MLB Network that Ken Griffey Jr. has hung up his cleats for good. He does it 75 years to the date since Babe Ruth announced his retirement, and on the same date that he was drafted #1 overall in 1987. I was lucky enough to see him play a couple of times, but he will always be one of the best players that I saw while growing up. Griffey has been off his usual pace so far this season, but he is still a future Hall of Famer and deserves better than this. He has not been playing lately so this is probably a good decision for him. He finishes his career with 630 home runs. I was looking forward to seeing him in July when the Mariners come to the Cell, but that will not be now. I hope he does well in whatever he does, and look forward to his speech in Cooperstown in 5 1/2 years. Continue reading

Knights Slay the Bats

Yesterday I spent the day in Louisville, Kentucky with the express purpose of soaking up some baseball. The first part of the day was spent at the Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum. I may go into that a little more in depth later in the week. It was a great time though. The second part of my trip was to see the Charlotte Knights visit the Louisville Bats at Louisville Slugger Field. First off let me say that the field really is great. I have been to some great stadiums this year, and this one ranks right up there. I have gone to three Triple A stadiums this year, and the Bats have been a part of every one. At this pace I will be a closet Reds fan in no time. Before the game started I was able to meet a few of the Knights. Most of them were really nice. Josh Fields was also on the field signing so I went up to him. He was very cool talking with everyone, but as the fans walked away they were greeted with a surprise. He really was not trying in the autograph department. I gave him a perfectly good ball to sign, and he signed it on the stitching so small you could not see anything. Sometimes a player can do more harm by signing than by not signing. Jack Egbert on the other hand gave me a great auto right on the sweet spot. I wish much success to Jack, and I also hope that Josh gets his wish to be traded. After Fields ruining the ball I was done trying to get autographs. I watched former Sox player Rich Dotson sign card after card for three grown men, and then snub a kid. These guys had the setup, and obviously were just getting them to get rid of. The kid just wanted Dot’s signature. Well the card shop men won. Way to go Rich. It was a beautiful night for a ball game so I sat down with my Parmesan Garlic Fries (a local specialty), and settled in for some baseball. This would be my second matchup between the Reds and the White Sox this season. The first was at the Great American Ballpark for the Civil Rights Game in June, and this one involved their top farm clubs.

Carlos Torres was on the mound for the Knights against Matt Maloney for the Bats. Both of these guys have had a cup of coffee in the bigs this season. Right away I knew that I was in for a great matchup. Torres went six innings giving up two runs on five hits, and striking out six. At times he looked overwhelming. Then he would miss badly, and the ball would get crushed. In the first innings he gave up a hard double to Louis Bolivar, but pitched out of the trouble. In the fourth he made Kevin Barker look terrible on one pitch, then left the next one over the plate. Barker sent the ball the other way 446 feet. It was a monster shot. Maloney was not too shabby himself. He went 6 2/3 giving up three runs on seven hits. He also struck out five while only walking one. He gave up a couple of home runs, but for the most part was very solid. This was not the pitching exhibition that you normally get at a minor league game. I have only been to two Charlotte games in my life, but Carlos Torres has pitched them both. On the flipside I have been to three Louisville games, and Maloney has pitched in two of those. If I remember right he was pitching with the big club in Cincinatti the other time I saw the bats. They both appear to have good stuff. I guess you don’t make it this far without it. The small improvements from here will determine where they go from here. Derek Rodriguez and Ehren Wasserman also pitched well for the Knights. Rodriguez pitched two scoreless innings, and Wasserman pitched a scoreless ninth to get the save.

Last week the Sox picked up Mark Kotsay for Brian Anderson. The team needed to make a roster move to make room for Kotsay. The odd man out in the situation was Josh Fields. With Beckham playing well at third, and Kotsay being able to play first the club really didn’t need Fields at the time. He was sent down to Triple A Charlotte for the time being. In all reality this may be the best thing for him. He can play everyday and work on his swing. He does not see it this way, and requested a trade much like Brian Anderson did when he was sent down the week before. Before the game Fields was talking to some of the fans on the railing about how his wife is very pregnant. Maybe the child on the way is part of the reason Fields wants some kind of job security. He was an exciting player to watch a couple of years ago, and has the tools to be a good player in the league. Last night he went 1-3 at the plate, and also got plunked once. His only hit was a solo home run in the second that put the Knights up 1-0. In the fourth he hit a blast to center that was caught on the wall by Drew Stubbs. Off the bat I thought that he had hit two dingers. Especially since Michael Restovich had just taken Maloney deep. He also made some nice picks in the field. And thanks to my Louisville Slugger factory tour earlier in the day I can tell you that he is using the Slugger maple bat.

On a club that has a few players who may have seen their best days already it was refreshing to see a young face. When I went to see the Knights in Toledo I was able to see Gordan Beckham. This time I was looking forward to seeing Tyler Flowers. Flowers was aquired along with Brent Lillibridge in the Javier Vasquez deal. Last winter he apparently really opened Kenny Williams eyes. I have only seen him hit four times after yesterday. What I can say about hiim is that he does not get cheated. He struck out swinging hard in his first at bat, but after the first base coach prodded him on he took first on a wild pitch. He hit a solo home run in his second at bat leading off the fifth, but a great play by center fielder Drew Stubbs brought the ball back into play. He ended up settling for a double, and scoring the deciding run when Norris Hopper hit into a double play. In his other two at bats he hit into a double play and singled. This kid takes a cut. Did I already mention that? He has the classic sluggers swing. Behind the plate is where the concern is on Tyler. Everything that I have read says that he will not be a big league catcher. He did not look too bad. He had one opportunity to gun down a runner, and the throw was on line, but late. The runner got a great jump though so I don’t think that you can pin that on Flowers. He did look a little awkward setting up behind the plate during the game. At least twice he almost went over backwards. He has nothing but time to improve though. I look forward to seeing that bat at the Cell.

Another interesting part of the game was watching the exchanges between former White Sox player Corky Miller and some of Knights as they came to bat. He was on the bench with Josh Fields so you know that they would have something to say to each other. In the second just before Fields hit the home run they had quite an exchange. Fields gave him a bad look right off the bat. Miller must have commented on him being in the minors or something. From then on it was all smiles though. It was also cool to see Miller and Norris Hopper talking to each other. They were both traded for each other a month or so ago. The Reds got a backup catcher, and we got a center fielder. I don’t know who won this trade yet. So far neither team has really gotten much out of it.

Many Reds fans were at the game last night. It is not too far of a drive from Cincy to get to the park, and it is a great chance to see the young talent coming up. The Reds have positioned their minor league clubs close to them here in the Midwest. The Dayton Dragons are just a stones throw from the big league park. I wish the White Sox would grab on to this mentallity. We had the South Bend Sox for a few years, but they moved away to become the Winston Salem Warthogs. I think the attendance would be up when you know that some of the guys on the field will someday be playing for your club. It seems like the Reds have everything figured out. Maybe the Sox do too. We trade away so many of our prospects that we would need to go to other clubs farm teams to watch the players that will be on our club someday. This was my first sporting event in Kentucky. As you can see at the bottom of the page the state is now shaded in. I don’t care if it was barely over the Indiana border, it still counts. In some of my pictures the Indiana shoreline can be seen.
As a side note Myron Noodleman was at the game tonight. When I planned this trip I looked to see the promotion for it. I was dissapointed in no giveaway, but intrigued by this Myron Noodleman. When I do my weekly promotions posts (coming tomorrow by the way) I always come across his name. I was very curious to see what exactly he did. Well to me he seemed like a Jerry Lewis impersonator at a ball game. He was very good though, and made the nights of many of the fans. If he is coming to your local park go out to the game. His schtick is a little hokey, but so is the game after all. He is the kind of humor that we need a little more of.

Meet the Newest Member of the White Sox

The White Sox gave Corky Miller back to the Reds today for center fielder Norris Hopper. I saw Norris play twice this season when he was a member of the Louisville Bats. In the two games I saw him he was 3-10 with four runs batted in and one run scored. This season in 52 games for AAA Louisville he is hitting .280 with 22 runs scored and 13 stolen bases. It looks as if the Sox are still searching for the answer in center field.
Corky Miller despite the humorous name really will not be missed. He never really made a mark on the team in his short stay this year.

Where Have You Gone Pete Rose?

Visiting Cincinnati this weekend brought back a lot of great memories from my childhood. To the right is the scorecard and the bat from the night that Pete passed Ty Cobb for the most hits in baseball. That moment will always be etched in my memory. The picture to the left of Pete at the peak of his career really shows how much he loved this game. As a kid my father pointed out Pete Rose as a player who I should emulate. Heck he even bought me the book ‘Pete Rose on Hitting’ which I still have on my bookshelf today. His nickname said it all. “Charlie Hustle” played the game hard. Who can forget his headfirst slides into various bases? Or bowling over Ray Fosse to win an All Star game? Pete Rose has more hits than any other player in Major League baseball history (4256). He also made more outs than any other player (10,328). Pete had a profound effect on the game, and was a sure fire lock to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame if their every was one. Pete Rose was a man that played the game the right way. This man knew how to do only one thing. That was to win. He was part of perhaps one of the greatest teams ever. He had the world on a string. What went wrong?

In 1989 the luster started coming off of this man. Rumors started swirling that Pete had bet on baseball. He refuted these rumors to any and all who would ask. When Bart Giamatti became the Commissioner of baseball he kept the pressure on Rose. Sports Illustrated ran the now famous story about Pete later in 1989 that shocked the baseball world. Did Pete bet on baseball? If he did bet on baseball was his own team involved? I was still a young kid, but I did not want to believe any of this. For years I denied it despite the evidence. Pete could not have done such a thing. In August of 1989 Pete accepted a ban from baseball in return for baseball not making a formal finding of his actions. In 1990 he was placed in jail for income tax evasion. In 2004 fifteen years after initially denying betting on baseball he released a book in which he admitted betting for his team every night. By then it was like the recent finding that Sammy Sosa tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. We all knew he did it, we just wanted him to come clean. He did come clean, but so far has not been reinstated. Last year at the Hall of Fame I couldn’t help but look at the class of 1992 and wonder what could have been? He was a first ballot Hall of Famer that has now missed his window entirely. His only chance would be to someday be voted in by the Veteran’s Committee. Before that happens though he would need to be reinstated by Major League Baseball. The Reds cannot retire his number 14 because of that ban either. Well they won’t formally retire it. The only Red to wear that number since Pete left the team was his own son Pete Jr. If Pete wanted to enter the Reds Hall of Fame or Great American Ballpark he would have to pay his way in. It makes me sad to see such a great player fall so hard. The Reds clearly still love Pete by the way he is shown in their Hall of Fame. They would love to honor this man I am sure before he leaves us. His own arrogance though may make that impossible. I would like to think that sometime in my lifetime he will get his just due. He has made some enemies in high places in baseball right now though. It would take something short of a miracle to get him reinstated. Maybe someday down the road Pete will have the public behind him much like ‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson does today. Even support like that has not helped Joe get into the Hall. It seems as if this was only the begining of players that I looked up to in baseball that would not gain entry into the Hall despite having the numbers to do so. As the full extent of the steroid issue becomes public knowledge I have a feeling I will lose a lot of faith in many players I loved to watch growing up.

More Pictures From the Civil Rights Game

While doing the stadium guide for the park I came across some pictures that I thought were cool that didn’t make it on the original post. I thought that I would post some of them here.

Some great Jackie memoribilia on display for the weekend.

A close up of some of the Big Red Machine. Two of my favorites, and one bad announcer.

A view from behind the plate

A pulled back view from behind the plate

Dotel just after release

Scotty Pods and Harold talking things over.

Can’t they find a uniform that fits this kid?

Dye pre swing

Dye post swing
Brandon Phillips swing
Pauly at the plate

Pauly big swing

Jerry (post hug I am guessing) with a big swing

Johnny Cueto walking in after warming up with Ryan Hanigan. Cueto has a bad look on his face. Either that or he is doing a great Gary Coleman impression.

Never mind. I know what the weird look was about now. By the way The Writers Journey has a great post about writing Ryan in for the all star game. Visit it here.

Brandon Phillips doing a great thing and signing for kids for a long time pre game. He really seems to have turned things around.

Jerry Hairston Jr. just needs a hug.

The pre game flyover. Now you know you are at a big game.
Brian Anderson warming up in case the bullpen needs some help.

Some of the Reds sporting the Frank Robinson mesh jersey that was given away.

Pete congratulating George Foster. Pete must have had some big money on that game.

Joe Nuxhall with the Civil Rights banner in the background.

Big Klu with the same banner in the background.

Stadium Guide: Great American Ballpark

When I was going to Cincinnati I kept wondering how cocky the team was to name their park the Great American Ballpark. They are saying that the park is great? I later found out that the park is named such because the naming rights were bought out by the Great American Insurance Company which is located in Cincinnati. They have the naming rights for 30 years. Once I left the park at the end of the night I would have agreed with my original thought. This is a Great American Ballpark. It has many things that make it so. I will highlight a few of those in the next few paragraphs.

The first part of the park that I will highlight is the Crosley Terrace. This is located just in front of the main entrance. The have placed statues of Frank Robinson, Ted Kluszewski, Joe Nuxhall, and Ernie Lombardi in a game type situation. They are on a mock diamond playing a pick up game of baseball. Nuxhall is pitching to Robinson with Lombardi catching and Big Klu on deck. In the picture on the left you can see Frank and Ernie with the city of Cincinnati in the background. Joe Nuxhall is positioned right in front of the main entrance. The picture of this can be found to the right. This is a great first view of the park, and it gives a nod to the stars of Crosley Field. Right away you get the feeling of some of the history of this ball club. You can enter the park at a few places, but if this is your first trip here, you want to enter here. You will probably want to check out the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum anyway. The Hall of Fame is located next to this, and is another great feature of the park. I have already done a write up on that here. It is worth a visit so plan some time before the game to walk through the museum.

All around the outside of the stadium are banners showing great moments in Reds history. The one pictured to the left is showing the night Pete Rose passed Ty Cobb to become the all time leader in hits. These banners guide you around the stadium, and show you how rich in history this club really is. It makes for good reading, but don’t read to much and run into the next one. The stadium also has two murals located just to the left once you walk through the main entrance. The first of the murals shows the original Reds team with the Wright brothers front and center. The other mural pictures the Big Red Machine in all of thier glory. That mural is shown to the right. Another point of interest when you visit the stadium is the Machine Room. This is a small bar located in left field. They have tons of memoribilia from the Big Red Machine days. If you are into this kind of thing you will enjoy it.

The stadium has three decks from foul pole to foul pole with two decks in left field. A small gap exists in the upper decks between home plate and third base. This gap was left on purpose so that the people working in the high rises in downtown Cincinnati can see into the park. The view that you get from the third deck is tremendous. You can see the Ohio River beyond the outfield. It is this view that is shown in the panorama at the top of the post. This stadium was really designed wonderfully. At the end of the upper deck near the left field foul pole they have the banners showing all of the World Championships on the base of the second deck. In the picture on the left you can barely see the retired numbers that are located on the press box. They have also retired the microphones of three past Reds broadcasters. Those are located in the center.

As per usual I will give way too much info about the scoreboard. This one is massive. It towers over all of the left field bleachers. This scoreboard is massive. It is 138 feet wide and 38 feet high. The clock at the top of the scoreboard is a replica of the old clock at Crosley field. As you can see by the picture the pregame scoreboard gives you the video board in the middle with both lineups on each sides of that. The high def LED screen is used to show replays and other video in game. One thing that they do not do though is to show replays of questionable calls. I guess they don’t want the fans to get too excited. As you can see by the picture during the inning you get the batting order of the team up, and the defensive positions of the team in the field along with the next three up the next half inning. You also can see the mug shot of the player at bat with his season and current game stats. I talk about how some teams make it hard to keep score sometimes on this blog. Here in Cincy they make it easy. They will actually show you the current batters scorecard later in the game. Check it with yours to see if their is a discrepancy. On the back of the main scoreboard is a mural named “4192.” It shows Pete Roses’ bat and a ball on the field of old Riverfront Stadium. A picture of this mural is shown on the right. On the left field wall below the scoreboard is an out of town scoreboard. This board gives more than just scores of the games. You basically get the MLB.com gameday for each one. You can see the score, current pitcher, current batter, outs, inning, and a diamond with any baserunners shown on the appropriate base. In the picture you can also see the light towers that have been dubbed the toothbrushes. I have never been to Jacob’s Field in Cleveland, but I have been told that they have the same light towers. It must be an Ohio thing. They are different, and give the stadium a unique look.

Two other great features of the outfield are the smokestacks and the riverboat deck. The smokestacks. The stacks are 64 feet high and 34 feet wide, and stand inbetween the riverboat deck and the right field stands. When a Reds player hits a home run fireworks erupt out of the stacks, and they light up. As a person who is still a ten year old inside I always want to see these things in person. This is not as famous as the apple was in New York, but is still really cool. The stacks look even better at night when they are illuminated. Two small paddle wheels are located at the base of each stack. They have small video boards that display Reds logos throughout the game. The riverboat deck is a fairly new feature to the stadium. It is a party area in straight away center field that can accomidate around 150 fans. This two story feature is for private parties, but gives a great view of the park from its upper deck. These two features along with the scoreboard really give the outfield a great look.
Great American Ballpark By the Numbers:
Groundbreaking: August 1, 2000
First Game: March 31, 2003
Ballpark Design: HOK Sport
Cost of Construction: $280 million
Tons of steel used: 10,000
Seating Capacity: 42,271
Restrooms: 35
Home Dugout: 1st Base
Left Field Dimension: 328 feet
Right Field Dimension: 325 feet
Center Field Dimension: 404 feet
Date(s) of visit: 9/25/2003; 6/20/2009

The Civil Rights Game Pre Game Ceremony

Last Saturday I was lucky enough to end up at the Civil Rights Game in Cincinnati. I had three reasons to go. One was to see the Sox on another road trip. The second was to get a better look at the Great American Ballpark. The final reason was to do some star watching. Dignitaries from all walks of life were on hand to celebrate the occasion. Three of them won awards. The four that were featured in a pre game ceremony were Bill Cosby, Muhammad Ali, Hank Aaron, and Frank Robinson. Each of them received a special honor during the night. It was a thrill to see each of these men in person. Each of them has touched the lives of Americans in their own ways.

Muhammad Ali received the Beacon of change award for impacting society through words and actions. When he was at the top of his game Ali gave it all up to support his stance on the Vietnam war. He had to give up his title, and face jail time to do so. Ali has never been one to hold back, and this was no exception. Today Ali is a shell of his former self because of Parkinson’s disease. He really looked bad out on the field in his golf cart. From what I have read though he still has enough energy to wow you when you meet him. It was still a tremendous thrill to be able to see Ali in person. Even if it was from twenty some rows away with him in a golf cart.

Bill Cosby was the recipient of the Beacon of Hope award that is given to the person who influences our future through the support of children. Since his early days in television Bill has promoted family values. He has even gotten into rifts with today’s popular comics because they are too blue. I have been lucky enough to see Bill Cosby in a stand up setting. His encore act was the ‘Dentist’ routine from his HBO special ‘Bill Cosby Himself’ from the 1980′s. This was always one of my favorite comedy bits, and seeing it live was like seeing a classic rock band play their big hit. It turned a good show into a great show. Part of the reason that Ali looked so rigid may have been from the fact that Bill showed so much life. He was mugging from the second his cart left the center field tunnel. He made his way around the field in a Homestead Grays uniform giving the fans a show. The Reds players were huddled around his cart at the end getting some laughs in before the game. He is still an entertainer. The picture at the top of the post shows him standing in his cart giving the crowd a great view of him as he went around the stadium.

Hank Aaron was the final award winner. He received the Beacon of Life award which is given to the person whose life has been emblematic of the spirit of the Civil Rights movement. This is the man who overcame all to become the all time career leader in home runs. As he was introduced to the crowd they played a montage of his career highlights. When he was shown eclipsing the Babe’s record the crowd stood on their feet and cheered him on. I couldn’t help but wonder if that cheering session was for that accomplishment, or to show Selig that here was the REAL home run king. The juiced up fat head that broke it a few years ago should have his own record. Does that show how I feel about the record that Bonds currently holds? It was great to see the home run king sitting next to Ali. Here were two of the greatest in their sports on the same platform. Bud Selig gave him his award, and then disappeared into the crowd. Maybe he was going to rewrite the record books.
Frank Robinson was the final honoree. Each fan that entered the stands (the first 20,000 at least) received a replica 1964 Robinson jersey. He was relegated to the crowd during the Beacon award ceremony, but took center stage after that. He stepped to the mound with several former Negro League players to throw out the first pitch. As you can see by the picture he was letting another former Red Tony Perez know that the heat was coming. Frank still looks great for his age. I was amazed at how well he looked. His throw was a little off, but I am convinced that he was just going easy on Perez. Can’t hurt his hand for a first pitch can you? Frank is still giving back to baseball today. The Cincinnati crowd showed him a lot of love prior to the game. He rounded out the great pre game festivities. A lot of star power made the game seem kind of unimportant. At least until the first pitch.