Classic Scorecards: 1965 World Series Game 7

Last summer I read a great book about Dodgers Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax by Jane Leavy. In the book she detailed just how bad Koufax was hurting near the end of his career. She really went into detail about the 1965 season, and how much pain he must have been in every time he took the hill. The Dodgers tried to protect him by going to a five man rotation. Of course today this seems normal. After throwing a complete game in Spring Training his arm turned black and swelled up. He was told that he would be lucky to pitch once a week, and that he would eventually loose the use of his arm. Newspapers were predicting the demise of Sandy. Of course he went on to throw 335 innings and strike out a record 382 men. He also led the league in wins and ERA. He also threw a perfect game in September. I guess pain is what you make it. When asked about throwing in pain Koufax just said “my heroism is greatly overstated.” With this in mind it makes it even more improbable that Koufax was pitching in game seven against the Twins. He sat out game one because it fell on Yom Kippur. He the pitched game two, and lost to Jim Kaat. With the series tied at two he pitched a complete game shutout in game 5. With his arm troubles many would have predicted that this was the last time Koufax would pitch in 1965. The Dodgers had another great arm on full rest in Don Drysdale so he would probably get the ball. Manager Walter Alston rolled the dice though and put Koufax on the mound on only two days rest. Continue reading

A Small Tribute to Jackie Robinson

For someone born in my time it is just hard to fathom how segregated the country was just a few years ago. In fact 64 years ago today Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball. I just have a lot of trouble believing how he was even treated. A couple of years ago I read a great book called Opening Day about how Jackie broke into the majors. It is unbelievable some of the things that he put was forced to contend with just to play baseball. We still aren’t where we need to be 64 years later, but the gap is closing. Every year Major League Baseball does a great job remembering Jackie. This year they started a site called to have anyone who wants honor Jackie. This is just my little way of honoring what Jackie did for the country and baseball.

In 1997 Major League Baseball retired Jackie’s number 42 across the board. Nobody will every where that number again for the season after Mariano Rivera retires. I really wanted to go to the Sox game tonight to see the players honor Jackie, but the weather forced me to reconsider. Maybe next season. For now I put together some photos showing how I have seen Jackie honored across baseball.

Jackies uniform on display at the Civil Rights game in 2009

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Classic Scorecards: April 8, 1974 Hank Aaron’s 715th Home Run


Hank Aaron running the bases after passing Babe Ruth for most home runs all time

Thirty seven years ago today Hammerin’ Hank hit #715 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Hank spent the entire off season just one home run shy of the Babe. The buildup of pressure during those months had to be something else. Hank came out on Opening Day and tied the Babe. That set up this game, and the moment that we all know so well. Barry Bonds has since passed Hank, but for some reason the record by Hank means more to me. Growing up the numbers 714 and 715 meant something. They still do today. Continue reading

Another Baseball Legend is Lost

Today while watching the Dodgers game on the MLB Network they announced that Duke Snider had died. “The Duke of Flatbush” was 84. He was the last big name player from the famous ‘Boys of Summer’ teams of the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was also immoritlized in the now famous song “Willie, Mickey, and the Duke.” All three of those centerfielders played in New York in the 50’s. Could you imagine one city having three Hall of Fame outfielders now? It was something truly special that brings you back to the glory days of baseball. I am not old enough to remember them firsthand so all I can do is go by what I have read and heard. It had to be a great time to be a fan of the sport, and one more hero from that era is now gone. Willie Mays is now the lone surviving member of that great New York outfield.

Who To Root For in the Playoffs (2009 Edition)

Last season I tried to find a team to root for in the playoffs once the White Sox were eliminated. This year I can try this from the start. Here are the eight teams that have made the postseason this season.

American League
New York Yankees
Minnesota Twins
Boston Red Sox
Los Angeles Angels

National League
St. Louis Cardinals
Philadelphia Phillies
Colorado Rockies
Los Angeles Dodgers

I will start my process by picking the teams that I have seen play this season in person. This eliminates the Bronx Bombers, the Phillies (who were my 2009 pick), and the Rockies. The other five teams I was able to watch live this season. It is a lot easier to root for a team that you have seen play. Now comes the hard part. How do I get these five teams down to one that I can root for? Well, I root for the White Sox so I can just check the 40 man rosters of each of these teams to find players that once played for the palehose. The team with the most former Sox players wins.

Minnesota Twins (3)
Jon Rauch
Joe Crede
Orlando Cabrera

Los Angeles Angels (0)
None. But I feel as though Chone Figgins is a former player the way his name is batted around each offseason.

St. Louis Cardinals (0)
I still may root for them a little.

Los Angeles Dodgers (3)
Jon Garland
Charlie Haeger
Jim Thome

Boston Red Sox (1)
Brian Anderson

So here is where we stand right now. The Cardinals and Angels have zero former Sox players on their team. What are they thinking? The Red Sox have one, and it is even a member of the White Sox this season in Brian Anderson. The Dodgers have three which ties them for first, and they have a player that was a member of the Sox this season in Jim Thome. They also have one of my favorites in Jon Garland. That just leaves the Twins. They have three former Sox players as well. Orlando Cabrera did not make many friends in Chicago last season, but he is a winner. Joe Crede will always be one of my favorite Sox players of all-time. He was clutch. How do I break this tie for my loyalty? They are in separate leagues so I guess I am rooting for a Twins/Dodgers series. If that does happen I have one way to break the tie. I have seen the Twins three times this season including once in their stadium. I saw the Dodgers a couple of days after that trip in Milwaukee. That is a 3-1 vote for the Twins. Also the Twins have a former Irish pitcher (Jeff Manship), and one of the coolest MLB bloggers out there (Pat Neshek). I think we have a winner. The team that I will root to win it all is the Twins? Can a White Sox fan do this? I guess we will see. It is easy to root for them now as they are facing the Yankees. Nobody wants them to win. Well maybe a few. When it comes down to it though can I be a Twins fan for a couple weeks? Stay tuned.