In light of the assassination of the man who would likely become the next President of the United States, the man in the Oval Office declared a national day of mourning on the ninth of June. Because of the sadness, and to share their respect for the slain senator, a group of players decided to boycott their games scheduled for that day. Although such a situation sounds like something that could be happening in the current world of sports, when protests are frequently in the headlines, this case happened exactly fifty years ago today.
July inevitably leads to memories of All-Star games, whether they be of heroics on the field or the injustice of players who were snubbed by not getting selected. Since nearly the beginning of this century, all baseball fans look back on the 2002 contest with a sense of regret. Because both managers ( Joe Torre of the New York Yankees and Bob Brenley of the Arizona Diamondbacks) ran out of players to use, the game was called off in the eleventh inning with the score tied at seven.
Few people would have predicted that the Philadelphia Phillies would be eight games over .500, and only a half game behind the Washington Nationals, heading into June. Those optimists were probably relying on the fact the last place Phils did make a couple of key acquisitions over the winter, and therefore were bound to be better.
Two of the best baseball players in the past two decades to grow up in Cincinnati have gone on to enjoy success for the team with red hats and hose, which should have thrilled their home town fans. Unfortunately for those in the Queen City, these favorite sons became stars not for the Reds, but for the Red Sox. Current Boston sensation Andrew Benintendi was drafted in the first round out of suburban Madeira High School, and just a few seasons later finished among the top selections for the American League Rookie of the Year...
Stars known by three names accounted for all of the answers in a category of a popular game show last week, and I correctly identified three of them. David Lee Roth of Van Halen was the musical answer, while Billy Bob Thornton and Joe Don Baker were the two actors I recognized. For some reason I had anticipated that the category would include a sports figure who fit the description, but the other two answers were not athletes.
Because six new players were enshrined in Cooperstown over the weekend, many baseball broadcasts have included discussions about the current inductees as well as possible future inductees. During one particular game, an analyst praised the fact that two of the new Hall of Famers spent their entire careers with just one team. He was referring of course to Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones and Detroit Tigers shortstop Alan Trammell.
One group features the last team to win back to back pennants, as well as another two teams who made the playoffs last year. It should translate into quite a competitive group, perhaps among the best in all of baseball. The other group, however, has had only one of its clubs reach the postseason in the last four years, including three who have not won a pennant in a combined eighty six years.
No such award officially exists in the sport of baseball, but if it did the plaque should be given in honor of Pat Meares. He spent his nine year career as the regular shortstop for the Minnesota Twins and later the Pittsburgh Pirates, an unremarkable but quite adequate infielder who was exactly average. At no point was this more true than in 1997, when the primary offensive stats of Meares matched exactly the statistics of the average player in baseball.
On May 21, 2013, a player went hitless in eight bats, making for a terrible night at the plate. For the Minor league outfielder, it was the most futile offensive performance in the history of organized baseball. You see, not only did he go without a hit in those eight trips, but he struck out seven times.