Something must be wrong with me. After attending three Major League games in the first two weeks of the season I have not been to one since. Almost two months without attending a game! I have had some circled to attend, but something always came up. Last night I was able to finally get back to the Cell to see the Sox play. I found a good seat on the third base side for a great price on StubHub. The high temperature during the day meant that it would be a great night for baseball.
King Felix enjoying a laugh
I got to the park early enough to see batting practice. I walked out near my normal spot in right field to watch some of the lefties hit. I basically stood behind last year’s Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez. Early in the session a line drive was hit near one of the Mariners relievers. He dropped the ball, and as he was bending over to pick it up another ball was hit right at him. One of his teammates tried to catch the ball, but missed it. The ball hit him hard right in the back. Felix in front of me was on the ground immediately laughing. The picture at the beginning of this paragraph is of Felix just cracking up. For some reason I have seen quite a bit of fun just watching batting practice. I decided to take a walk around the park in the middle of batting practice. I came across one of the Chevy girls who told me that if I punched 25 all star ballots I could get two free tickets. I jumped at the chance, and sat in the left field bleachers to punch my tickets. One player for the Mariners was still hitting the ball out of the park. I would put my glove up whenever he came up, and punch my ballots while the others were batting. The player was Carlos Peguero, and he ended up hitting one right in front of me. It was a couple of rows down, and a ballhawk had settled under it. I realized he was too far forward and put my mitt right above his. The ball settled right in my mitt, and I had my first MLB ball of the season. I gave one away on Opening Day so this is technically my first. After I caught the ball I sat back down and finished punching my way to two more games. Continue reading →
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 →
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 →
Andy Hawkins threw a no-hitter in 1990, but lost twice
The first White Sox game for this feature is one that I remember very well from childhood. I remember watching this game on TV as I did many games back then. 1990 was a great year for the no-hitter. In June Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan, Dave Stewart, and Fernando Valenzuela all threw no-hitters. Now it makes sense why everyone started hitting the juice in the early 90’s.
Andy Hawkins and Greg Hibbard pitched a great game that day in July. Hibbard pitched seven innings giving up only four hits and no runs. White Sox reliever Barry Jones came in to pitch a hitless 8th leading up to the bottom of the 8th inning. Continue reading →
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 iam42.com 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
Here are some of the pictures I took yesterday at the game that did not make the cut of the post. Being at one of the lowest attended games I have ever been to had some advantages. I could have moved around wherever I wanted to, but I liked my seat enough that I stayed in it until the 8th inning. With the lefties on the mound I had a good view of them. Here are some of the pictures that I liked from yesterday.
The statue of Minnie Minoso in right field looks great in the sun