Saturday, August 13, 2005


August 13th, 1935

Jim "Mudcat" Grant Born

Jim Grant, a lefty who had a fourteen year, seven team career, is one of his self-proclaimed "Black Aces." By Grant's rather self-serving definition, the Black Aces are the twelve--to this point--African-American Major League pitchers who have won twenty games in a season. This is more trivia than anything else; the list is fairly disparate between some pretty good pitchers and some mediocre ones having good seasons. The good pitchers include the list's two Hall of Famers Bob Gibson and Ferguson Jenkins (who was actually African-Canadian, but never mind), Grant himself, Vida Blue, and Doc Gooden. The more mediocre players include Mike Norris, Earl Wilson and Al Downing.

As I said, this is all largely trivia, but judging from Mudcat's site, he's quite proud of it. So if you ever meet the man, the whole list is below in case he quizzes you, and be sure to watch and see if Dontrelle Willis can add his name to the list this year.

The "Black Aces"

Vida Blue, Al Downing, Bob Gibson, Doc Gooden, Mudcat Grant, Fergie Jenkins, "Sad" Sam Jones, Don Newcombe, Mike Norris, J.R. Richard, Dave Stewart and Earl Wilson.

Friday, August 12, 2005


August 12th, 1994

Major League Baseball Goes on Strike

I attended the last game at Yankee Stadium before the strike. I didn't know it was going to be; I went with my day camp actually, but at least I can claim some trivia. I have written about the strike before, so I won't rehash it here, but I will offer some advice. Chances are if you're reading this, you're a pretty big baseball fan--I assume casual fans don't stop by to hear about the Elmer Valo's and Jim Kern's of the baseball world every day--the next chance you get to watch a game live, or on TV or the radio or even on one of those goofy on-line things, do it. Major League, Minor League, whatever. While we have baseball now, you never know when stupid people will come along and take it away again, so enjoy it.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


August 11th, 1986

Pirates and Cubs Finish Game

You probably don't remember this, but waaaaay back at the end of April I wrote about a Pirates-Cubs game that had to be suspended at Wrigley Field on account of darkness. That game was picked up today, with the Pirates coming to bat in the top of the fourteenth. Steve Trout entered the game for the Cubs and retired the Pirates in order in both the fourteenth and fifteenth and while his Pittsburgh counterpart Barry Jones wasn't quite as effective--he allowed a walk in one inning and a double in the other--he also made it through to the sixteenth untouched.

In the sixteenth the Cubs brought in Frank DiPino who continued the good work out of the Cubs' pen by allowing just a two-out R.J. Reynolds single. In their half of the inning the Cubs loaded the bases with just one out against Jones but failed to produce the sac fly that would have won the game as Jody Davis struck out and Bob Dernier made out to third. In the seventeenth, the Pirates scored a pair of runs on a single by a pinch hitting rookie of whom you've probably heard, Barry Bonds. Jones held the lead with a flourish in the bottom half of the inning, retiring the Cubs in order on strikeouts.

The official game time was listed as six hours and nine minutes, an impressive feat in its own right. It is even more so however, when one considered the real game time was six hours, nine minutes and more than three months.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


August 10th, 1964

Andy Stankiewicz Born

Andy Stankiewicz was a mediocre middle infielder for the early 90's Yankees' teams that I have just written about to death. He hung on the big leagues through 1998, his last gig coming with the Diamondbacks in their first season. The year in Arizona--he was the Diamondback's starting second baseman--probably came about because D-Backs' manager Buck Showalter remembered 'Stanky' from his Yankee days and brought him along as a good clubhouse guy or something like that.

After his retirement, Stankiewicz went into managing himself--maybe someday he'll have a mediocre middle infielder to keep around as a good luck charm at the big league level--and is currently the manager of the Staten Island Yankees. However, he doesn't seem that thrilled about it.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


August 9th, 1939

Claude Osteen Born

You sometimes hear people--I suppose the stereotype is the elderly--speaking of how a neighborhood grew up and changed around them. "Well," they say. "I don't know about the new folks, it was so different when I moved in." Such was the case of Claude Osteen and the National League. Osteen, a pitcher who had some good years, debuted in 1957 as a seventeen year-old. That year, the National League had eight franchises, they played in one large division and were located--in order of their finish, in Milwaukee, St. Louis, Brooklyn, Cincinnati, Philly, New York, Chicago and Pittsburgh.

Fast forward to 1974, Osteen is a thirty-four year-old, sixteen year veteran starting his final year in the National League. (He would pitch in the AL in 1975, the last year of his career.) The 1974 National League had twelve franchises, now divided into two divisions. Three franchises had moved, from
Milwaukee to Atlanta, Brooklyn to Los Angeles and New York to San Francisco; while there had been four expansion teams, one of which filled the departed New York spot. The others were in Montreal, Houston and San Diego. This meant Osteen was now visiting six cities he hadn't visited in 1957, while he had lost a visit to one (Milwaukee, assuming we count a visit to the Giants and Dodgers as visiting one city). While previously he had not traveled farther west than St. Louis or north than northern Manhattan he would now go to California and so far north as to leave the United States entirely.

There isn't--unfortunately--a record of what Osteen thought of the National League growing up around him, but it is interesting that his career stretches through a time of extreme change for the league.

Monday, August 08, 2005


August 8th, 1999

Harry Walker Dies

"I hadn't been on the bus two minutes when the players started warning me about Harry Walker, Harry the Hat. Before the day was over, half the club had whispered into my ear.
'Don't let Harry bother you.'
'Harry is really a beauty.'
'Harry's going to scream, He screams all the time. He's going to scream at you. Try to keep from laughing if you can.'
'Half a dozen guys have wanted to punch him'
'When he starts shouting at you, restrain yourself and be patient. After a while you'll learn to understand him and live with him'
'We've all adjusted to him, and you can too'"

~Jim Bouton, Ball Four

Sunday, August 07, 2005


August 7th, 2000

Jose Canseco Claimed by Yankees

Canseco was a waiver claim by the Yankees, hoping to block him from going to...Boston, I guess. God only knows what they were thinking, although it did enable Jose to fall ass-backwards into a World Series ring that fall. Anyway, I bring this up because I remember hearing about his acquisition quite clearly. It was a day game and I was sitting in the upper deck at Yankee Stadium--by myself, meaning this must've been one of the first Yankee games I went to solo--getting just baked in the sun and it came up on the matrix board. The Yankees were, if memory serves, playing Seattle that day. And, I believe, they got absolutely crushed, with the big blow coming on a Carlos Guillen home run. On second thought, the Yankees might've made it somewhat close, because I remember Jorge Posada hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth off Kaz Sasaki, the M's closer. I also remember at some point in the game Scott Brosius (my long-time favorite Yankee) hit a double.

So that's what I remember. (This is the pre-scorebook days, so my memory is all I got.) I'm sure of that first part, baking in the sun and seeing the Canseco signing announced. Let's see what Retrosheet has to say about the rest of my memory. Alright, playing Seattle, that's a good sign. And a day game, so I got that part right. Let's check the details...Yankees did indeed lose (8-5), and the big blow was indeed a Carlos Guillen home run, a grand slam as a matter of fact, in the sixth off Denny Neagle. Doc Gooden pitched in the game, which is something I'm surprised I don't remember, but I was right on about Scott Brosius, who doubled in the fourth. And I was right, despite having a fairly large lead, 8-4, Lou Pinella did bring in "Kaz the Closer" who surrendered a two-out home run to Jorge Posada.

In the past I've discussed the faulty nature of my memory, it's nice to know I can get one right every now and then.

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