We Rob Best Picture Nominees!

February 27, 2017
"As kids, we robbed banls1\! As elders, we rob Best Picture nominees!

“As kids, we robbed banks!
As elders, we rob Best Picture nominees!”

 

 

We Rob Best Picture Nominees

After watching Hollywood “mis-give” their Best Picture Oscar last night to LaLa Land, via presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunnaway, with a little help from the Price, Waterhouse, Cooper folks who set the whole thing in motion by handing the wrong envelope to the almost 80-year-old, Beatty before the couple made their presentational entry. The once-so-physically-competent-looking half-century-ago portrayals of Bonnie and Clyde were little more than a memory as the two aging actors stepped carefully across the stage last night, preparing to accidentally commit their biggest robbery of all time before the eyes of the digital television world at the Academy Awards 2017 presentation ceremony.

You know the gist of it by now. Beatty mistakenly had been handed – either the copy of the envelope used to announce Emma Stone as Best Actress for La La Land – or one like it – (she says she still had that card in her possession at the time the shocking error was belatedly and awkwardly corrected) – and things simply went from there to fizzle and close with a big stink-moment inserted as the close of another mind-numbing four-hour exposure to more “thank you” smiles and statements than any two eyes or ears would ever want to see or hear.

Moonlight was the actual winner of the Best Picture Oscar, although that wasn’t made totally clear to the world while the people from both films still occupied the stage at sign-off in a mixture base of anxious smiles and shaking heads.

 

The Breath of Present Politics Took Over Social Media in Response.

Both sides of the current spiritual trench war in Washington went to town on this one, and neither were we rendered from the infection of innocuous comment ourselves. Here are some of the favorites that abounded in repetitious variant form, both in social media and the darkly humorous chambers of our own minds on this one. No geniuses appeared. The Oscar Boo Boo was a fat pitch down the middle for anyone who cared to pick up a bat. And here are a few examples:

  1. The announcement of La La Land as Best Picture of the Year simply was the Sunday late edition of “fake news” from Hollywood.
  2. Putin and Trump Strike Again! – Will we ever see the end of their attempts to interfere with the sacred American electoral process?
  3. How did this happen? La La Land won the popular vote, but Moonlight played even bigger in the Electoral College.
  4. How deep is Putin’s intelligence on American culture? It’s deep enough to have taught him that sad songs about lost loves are strong enough to produce a major impact on American individual spending of their discretionary money – and, sometimes, far beyond their variably approved lines of credit. Want proof? Take a look at this brief YouTube number. That’s actually Vladimir Putin singing “Blueberry Hill.”

Putin Singer Note

Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell seem to be really into the Ruski-Crooner’s rendition of the Old Fats Domino hit. Does that mean that Congress should bring back their House Un-American Activities Committee and have them investigated and possibly placed upon a new Hollywood blacklist? – Geez.

 

How Could Baseball Top The Oscar Boo Boo?

The case could be made that the Boo Boo Question is already answered. It’s been set to hatch this summer from the recent moment in which former MLB Commissioner Bud Selig was selected for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Here’s a clear way to avoid the Selig Boo Boo at the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony this coming July 30, 2017, but this move too would be perceived by some as an even greater Boo Boo – and a move base upon “fake news.”

Here’s the pitch. – Even if does slightly ooze from the scent of “fake news”.

Let’s have Commissioner Rob Manfred take the podium microphone immediately prior to the induction processing of former Commissioner Bud Selig and make this announcement:

“Administrators and Members of the Hall if Fame, Worthy Candidates, People of Cooperstown, Fans of Baseball Here and Everywhere, and Mr. Selig:

“With apologies to Mr. Bud Selig for this late notice, it is still incumbent upon me to make this announcement. The Gods of Baseball visited me in my dreams last night and they have directed me to make the following changes in today’s induction program:

“(1) Mr. Bud Selig shall be withdrawn from today’s induction list, with all other selected candidates going forward into The Hall today, as planned. Mr. Selig will remain eligible for consideration at a later time, but only in relation to his perceived greater worth than others on the list of possibility.

“(2) In Mr. Selig’s place, the Hall of Fame shall today induct Pete Rose, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens as living inductees, along with Shoeless Joe Jackson as our long overdue posthumous choice for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

“When I awoke this morning, I briefly flirted with the idea that it had been only a dream, but that illusion passed quickly when I went the hotel cafe for breakfast and was immediately escorted to a private table.

“Rose, Bonds, and Clemens were all there – waiting for me, and dressed for induction to the nines, smiling, and apparently quite glad to see me. Rose even had a bat signed “Black Betsy” that he handed me. “Joe couldn’t be here in person, you know,” said Pete Rose, “but he wanted you to have this bat as a souvenir of his appreciation, Mr. Commissioner. – Look! He even signed it for you!

“(3) Now let’s get on with the adjusted new business at hand! And,

“(4) Praise the Lord for Our Guiding Gods of Baseball!”

~ Rob Manfred, Commissioner of Baseball

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Wishful Thinking

Now, doesn’t that last story make almost everybody wish that – sometimes – “fake news” were really true? The Cooperstown 2017 Adjustment story sure works for those us here at The Pecan Park Eagle – even if it is seared as a Boo Boo move by those who preferably enjoy the plan to install Selig into the HOF in real time this summer.

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eagle-0range
 Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas

George Wills Trivia Facts from 2016

February 26, 2017
"Hey, Buddy! I'm willing to spot you 10 correct answers on 41 item baseball trivia quiz and will even sweeten the spot with offer: Five will get you ten that still don't pass the thing with a grade of 70% or better!" ~ The SPirit of George WIll

“Hey, Buddy! I’m willing to spot you 10 correct answers on a 41 item baseball trivia quiz and will even sweeten the spot with this additional offer: Five will get you Ten that you still don’t pass the thing with a grade of 70% or better!”
~ The Fictional Spirit of George Will

 

For several years, ardent baseball fan and political columnist George Will has been drafting trivia quizzes annually prior to the baseball season openers, just to help get the juices running. The new one for 2017 has yet to be released, but here are the answers to the 2016 quiz, Some of you may use a few of these in some of your own quiz constructions down the baseball trail. Don’t bother to ask how many people scored 100% on these answers in 2016. After all, the guy who thought them up was George “Plucking” Will.

1.) The 1916 New York Giants are the record holders of the longest consecutive game winning streak (26), but still finished only 4th in the 8-club 1916 National League season.

2.) Among those players with 3,000 or more career MLB hits, the 47 HR total for Eddie Collins is the lowest number in that category for any man in this group.

3.) Sam Crawford is the only player to have led both the American and National leagues in both triples and home runes, but not in the same season. Sam led both leagues as a 1901 Cincinnati Red with a grand total of 16 homers. Starting in 1902, also as a Red, Crawford took his first crown as the MLB triples leader with 22. He proceeded to win the triples title an additional 5 times as a member of the Detroit Tigers in 1903, 1910, 1913, 1914, and 1915.

4.) In 1960, Bill Mazeroski of the Pittsburgh Pirates, hit the only walk off home run in history to end a seven-game World Series.

5.) To date, Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, Eddie Murray, and Matt Williams are the only four players to have hit World Series home runs in three different decades of their own playing experiences.

6.) Bill McKechnie was the first manager to lead three different clubs to a pennant. He managed the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 1925 World Series title and the St. Louis Cardinals to a 1928 NL pennant. A decade later, he led the Cincinnati Reds to a 1939 pennant and a 1940 World Series championship.

7.) After Connie Mack (50 years, 1901-1950, Philadelphia Athletics) and John McGraw (34 years, 1902-1934, New York Giants), Walter Alston (23 years, 1954-1976, Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers) owns 3rd place on the list of longest continuous annual service to the same MLB franchise as field manager.

8) In 2012, Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels became the first player in MLB history to hit 30 home runs, score 125 runs, and also steal 45 bases in the same season. Trout’s exacts totals were 30 HR, 129 Runs, and 49 Stolen Bases.

9) Since World War II, four MLB batters have posted five seasons in which they each batted .350 or more. Those four batters are Wade Boggs, Rod Carew, Tony Gwynn, and Ted Williams.

10) Five players in history rank among the Top 25 in triples, doubles, and singles. Those five players are: Ty Cobb, Stan Musial, Tris Speaker, Paul Waner, and Honus Wagner.

Now comes the fun part. Spot yourself 10 correct points on the first 10 correct answers in George Wills’ 2016 Opening Day Quiz and let’s see how you do on your own with his final 31 queries. And just try to bear in mind two factors all the way: (a)  None of us have to be perfect to be OK and lovable as members of the baseball family we all have selected as our tribal community life on earth; and (b.) Never forget who designed this trivia fun, baby. As we noted earlier: It was concocted by George “Plucking” Will, for Chris-sake! – Do you really think that George Will wants us to come out of this test experience feeling greater affinity with him at his level of baseball wisdom?

Here’s the quiz link:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2016/04/01/george-wills-2016-opening-day-quiz/?utm_term=.64d3e77b1aed

If you pass the “Mulliganed-Quiz” please leave a comment below. If you managed to pass, congratulations, but forget about collecting on that “passing bet” offer from our fictional spirit version of George Will. He left with the column muses once this business went to publications and does not speak either fot The Pecan Park Eagle or the real George Will, wherever he may be. 🙂

We’re simply glad that people like George Will are attracted to the idea of expending this much effort to the game of baseball. Keep those, quizzes coming, “Pluckin’ George!”

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eagle-0range
 Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas

 

Mad Dogs and After Midnight Field Goals

February 25, 2017
Today's column is simply an excerpt from the epilogue chapter of our new SABR book, "Dome Sweet Dome" - a book made possible by the Captain Ahab presence of Editor Gregory H. Wolf and his obsession with the same goal we, his crew, also shared. Our only shared goal was to harpoon and harvest the truth about all of the major and some of the minor moments in Astrodome history. It is also our hope that you shall find some things to enjoy and appreciate what we have tried to accomplish here, especially at this latest teeter-totter pipoint int he political life of this should-be-free-of-local- wharf-rat-politics upon a structure of world importance.

Today’s column is simply an excerpt from the epilogue chapter of our new SABR book, “Dome Sweet Dome” – a book made possible by the Captain Ahab presence of Editor Gregory H. Wolf and his obsession with the same goal we, his crew, also valued, above all others. Our only shared crew intention was to harpoon and harvest the truth about all of the major and some of the minor moments in Astrodome history. It is also our strong hope that you shall find some things to enjoy and appreciate in what we have tried to accomplish here, especially at this latest teeter-totter point in the life of this should-be-free-of-local-wharf-rat-politics upon a giant 0f world class architectural history status by more banal factions that see the Astrodome as an interference to their own plans.

 

The Larry Dierker Chapter of SABR contributed heavily to the full development of “Dome Sweet Dome”. In fact, Larry Dierker and former Astros President Tal Smith both contributed to the book’s introduction – and local SABR member Frederick C. “Rick” Bush served in a dual role – as one of our chapter authors and, along with James Forr, Len Levin, and Bill Nowin, he also served as one of the project’s Associate Editors. Joseph Thompson, one of our SABR contributors to “Houston Baseball: The Early Years, 1861-1961” also served as a writer, as did Paul Geisler, from nearby Lake Jackson, Texas. Other writing contributors include Mark Armour, John Bauer, Alan Cohen, Rory Costello, Richard Cuicchi, Greg Erion. Dan Fields, T.S. Flynn, James Forr, Gordon J. Gattie, Chip Greene, Matt Henshon, Brent Heutmaker, Michael Huber, Chuck Johnson, Norman King, Bob Lemoine, Len Levin, Bill McCurdy, Bill Nowlin, Chad Osborne, Thomas Rathkamp. Alan Reifman, Richard Riis, Rick Schabowski, Mark S. Sternman, Jim Sweetman Robert C. Trumpnour, Steve West, Mike Whiteman, Gregory H. Wolf, and Kenneth Womack.

Under the able leadership of Captain Gregory H. Wolf, the crew of the S.A.B.R. Pequod now sails for port in late February 2017. We hope you shall all hope that you find something of value from our dedicated group effort. Today’s column is an excerpt from the epilogue chapter what we have written, but reading it first will not spoil the excitement to be found in all the individual Astrodome stories this work contains. As a matter of fact, this part of the epilogue chapter itself easily could have functioned as well as a prologue tought on my the Astrodome is so important to those of us who came of age in the days of its earliest shadows of significant change upon the histories of both architecture and sports.

maddog-284-p1

 

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maddog-5a

 

maddog-sep-287-01

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maddog-ppe-part-01

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pecan-park-eagle-z

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eagle-0range
 Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas

Synthetic vs. Organic Change in Baseball

February 24, 2017
Baseball organically changes beautifully on its own, if outsiders in power don't try to make it into something it's not.

Baseball organically changes beautifully on its own, if powerful outsiders don’t try to make it into something it’s not.

 

This little MLB rule change almost slipped by until we read it on page C4 of today’s Thursday, February 23, 2017 sports section of the Houston Chronicle. Starting this season, the MLB rules makers have decided that an intentional walk will no longer require the pitcher to actually make four lame outside pitches to put the batter on first base as a runner. From now on, the decision to put a guy on will be made by hand signal from the batting team’s dugout – and the player will simply head to first base as a runner as designated. There will be no future chance that a lazy pitch might remotely end up as a reachable batted ball – and no risk of wild pitch/passed ball that could advance existing base-runners – and possibly allow one of them to actually score.

The rule change is being presented as one of those MLB actions designed to accelerate the “pace of play”. Commissioner Rob Manfred said something in general about this sort of thing the other day, when he said that his office wasn’t so much interested in shortening the actual clock time on games as they are trying to initiate ways of actually speeding up the “pace of play” in baseball. Manfred’s comments were in relation to a story that placing a runner on second base to start every extra inning time at bat was being examined as a way to possibly speed up the ending for extra innings games for the added convenience and safety of fans. – What Manfred did not add to the goals in that instance is the fact that extra inning games are simply expensive for clubs due to the absence of further food and beer sales – and the ongoing expense of stadium and security staff who are still on the payroll clock until game’s end.

What’s scary about today’s change in the intentional walk rule – and the possible change down the line that would allow each extra inning time at bat to begin with a rule-placed runner at second base is that they are each synthetic propositions – and not organic actions, arising out of what happens between the game of culture players on the field. The appearance of the IW rule now favors the possibility that the placed 2nd base runner to start each extra inning is now also more dangerously probable. If it is approved, all it will take is for the home umpire to point to the base paths at start of the tenth inning and that action alone is enough to send the first batter up to 2nd as a base runner by synthetic rule – and not by any action of contest between the players on the field.

And the day that happens – is the day that baseball is now open to the worst of our purist fears. As reader Stan Opdyke (StanFromTacoma) so eloquently noted by comment on this subject last week:

“The bogus runner rule for extra innings is an awful suggestion. A guy could pitch a perfect game and lose. After nine perfect innings the tenth begins with the bogus runner on second. Ground ball to second advances him to third and a fly ball scores him. The following hitter makes an out so the pitcher could lose even though no one has reached base on an error, or hit. To top it off it would i guess be an earned run so the perfect pitcher’s ERA would be affected too.”

Synthetic vs. Organic Change in Baseball

For easy distinction here, synthetic changes in the way the game is played arise from commercial, external, and political forces outside the fair poles in the field of play. The problem is – baseball is not football or basketball – nor is it improved as a game by feeding the “enhance the pace of play” needs of commercial sponsors, MLB club ownerships, and other external political forces who may hope to use that phrase as the most expedient way to set baseball on a pace to compete with football for the fan dollars of those with deep pockets and short attention spans.

Organic changes are all of those redirections that have occurred between the lines of play from the sum of all that has happened as an evolutionary growth process. Baseball has gone from all of those 19th century tinkerings with changes in the pitching distances and other things, all effected by player experience, to the early 20th century and all the improvement in defense made possible by better fields and equipment, especially gloves, through the so-called dead ball era into the lively ball and Ruthian home run power age and all else the game has encountered along the way of it’s evolution as a game born free of the clock. If we could love and protect and respect the game for what it is, it could continue to shine forever for what it is – a game that is more like everyday life than any other.

Summary

We would love to see people rebel against that new signal-intentional-walk change before it becomes the set up path for the much more damaging second-base freebie runner to start the 10th proposition begins to look plausible to more of these vested external interest groups – and that includes Commissioner Manfred, if he really doesn’t understand or care about the organic nature of our grand old game and the threat that these kinds off changes pose to healthy organic growth.

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eagle-0range
 Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas

 

 

The Roots of Entitlement Don’t Need Much Water

February 23, 2017
If a ball rolled this far on Japonica Street. it was well on its way to the the Japonica'Kernel concrete street marker that still remains standing at the corner. - Looking west from here, Eagle Field, now called Jponica Park, is located to the far right, just beyond that dark bushy tree that stands by the curb.

If a ball rolled this far on Japonica Street. it was well on its way to the the Japonica-Kernel concrete street marker that still remains standing at the corner. – Looking west from here, Eagle Field, now called Japonica Park, is located to the far right, just to the right of that dark bushy tree that now stands by the curb.

Sometimes the seeds of entitlement are sewn from even small acts of intended kindness, even in baseball.

Sometimes the seeds of entitlement are sewn from small acts of intended kindness, even in baseball.

As you know, or should know, the organized game of baseball that we’ve all grown to love today once began in the mid-19th century, or probably earlier, as an entitlement relationship between the batter on offense and the pitcher on defense.

The Original Entitlement Rule. The batter had a right to tell the pitcher where he wanted the pitcher to throw the ball, inside down the middle or outside – low, medium, or high.The pitcher may have variably maintained the right to select the speed of his pitch, but he had no choice about the location. If the one governing “Blind Tom” official ruled that a pitch came in amiss of the batter’s location request, the game would either stand there as a potential “base on balls” (depending upon how many ball counts constituted a “walk” at a given time or locale, – or worse. The batter got to stand there until the crack of doom – if need be – to get the pitch of his rightfully requested location delivered.

Nobody liked the idea of standing motionless in a cow pasture or vacant city base ball ground until the crack of doom. Even in the 19th century. People had other things to do, even then, And other fish to fry, if you please.

Besides, the original entitlement request was there to jump start the action. The pitcher’s job was to intentionally help the batter see a baseball that he could swing and hit – and put in play – with the swinging of a wooden bat.

Once the striking of the ball deed was done, each time, the entitlement game ignition duties of the pitcher were done. – The pitcher and catcher were now only two of the nine men on defense now whose job it was to get three outs on the offensive team as quickly as possible, each inning, without allowing any runs to score, if possible.

The Late 19th Century Game Through Today. As pitchers developed pitches that moved differently by the aid of mechanical handling and the addition of scratches, saliva, and other substances to the ball – and as protective gear for the catcher’s hands, body, and face evolved, pitching moved totally away from its original “help the batter put the ball in play” role. It came to be the most dominant weapon a defense could literally or figuratively throw at the other team. Pitching became the counter-business to batting that the great Warren Spahn once described in this way: “The business of hitting is timing. The business of pitching is to upset the hitter’s successful timing in every way possible.” And so it is today in 2017.

japonica-flowers The Sandlot Ball Variant on the Original Entitlement Rule. In the years that followed World War II, most of us who played pure sandlot baseball were still using the pitcher in a a quasi to almost complete modeling role of the original batter entitlement rule. (Although none of us in Pecan Park ever had even heard of Alexander Cartwright back in the 1946-52 era.) We often lacked a catcher’s mitt, seldom saw a catcher’s face mask, and never saw a a catcher’s chest protector at Eagle Field in Pecan Park. Allowing the batter to call for a pitch location was unheard of (we would never have approved that rule, but we did throw out the balls and strikes count in favor of a game that invited balls that would get put into play by contact with the bat. Older better hitters got to see harder pitching; younger, not-so-good hitters got to see pitches they could put in play, even if most of these were 1-3 soft ground outs. We also had to “waste” a second older kid to catch – but to make it worse – with frequent wild pitches and no back stop – we also had to add a speedy young kid to play hind catcher. It was that kid’s job to chase all the run-a-way pitches that raced east on Japonica on their way to the Flowers Street intersection where Mrs. Mancuso, the mother of Gus and Frank Mancuso once lived.

The Mid-20th Century Sandlot Ballers Creed

We sometimes lacked the talent – We sometimes lacked the speed

Our equipment was the scarcest – But that was all we’d need

To find our field where dreams could grow – In passion’s need to bleed

In Heart – And Hope – Neath Eagle Skies – Our Game

– The Indelible Deed

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eagle-0range
 Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas

Honesty Comes Easier When the Truth is Obvious

February 22, 2017
Lefty Gomez was one of the brightest, funniest characters to ever help invent the game of baseball. We could use more people like him today.

Lefty Gomez was one of the brightest, funniest characters to ever help invent the game of baseball. We could use more people like him today.

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Unlike the mass coming together moments in football and basketball, where it is often not possible, especially for the untrained observer fans, to see what is going on individually in the crowd, baseball probably makes it easier for all to see “who done it” on both sides of the great plays and errors in the field.

Although, even in baseball – what we see often is not the whole story – even in the painful case of Bill Buckner‘s croquet-wicket moment in the 1986 World Series. It soon came out after the historic misplay that the fall guy Buckner was playing with a leg injury that could limit his mobility on the playing of ground balls – and that this information was arguably known by his Boston Red Sox manager, John McNamara. If that were the case, who was to blame for Buckner even being in the game at that critical moment in the World Series?

We find the story of Lefty Gomez’s answer to that job interview question (“Why did you leave that employment [of ‘pitching baseball’] to be extremely honest and refreshing. He quit, Gomez says, because he “couldn’t get the other side out.”

Now Gomez was ready to try something else.

That’s the baseball life for pitchers. If you can’t get anybody out, you gotta quit and do something else. Don’t go to some other club and try to smoke-and-mirrors the truth into a lie for the same kind of job elsewhere. Don’t do it, unless you’re one of those guys who just needs the door slammed hard in your ace before you ever try it again. Don’t do it, especially, if you do already know what they are going to find out after you pitch only a few innings to a few batters. It’s not worth the insanity and waste of everyone’s time.

Can you imagine a down-and-out car salesman answering those same questions that were first put to Lefty Gomez in another car sales job interview at the local Ford dealer in the following way – about why he quit his job at the Volvo dealer?

“I couldn’t sell Volvos to Swedish-American customers if my life depended upon it!”

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FOOTNOTE: Another “Hail and Thank You” again to Aunt Minnie’s Scrapbook” by A.K. (“Rosey”) Rowswell. Today’s excerpt features a big reason we love sports, and for many of us, baseball in particular.

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eagle-0range
 Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Discount the Fans With This Math

February 22, 2017
"If the Astros give you a 1/10% discount for being a 10-year buyer, they ought to give me a 1/20% discount for being a 20-year buyer. And, to be totally fair, they ought to give all of us season-ticket holders a flat-rate 1/54% break for each of the 54 years we've been in the big leagues!" - One Astros Season Ticket Holder to another.

“If the Astros give you a 1/10% discount for being a 10-year buyer, they ought to give me a 1/20% discount for being a 20-year buyer. And, to be totally fair, they ought to just give all of us season-ticket holders a flat-rate 1/54% break for each of the 54 years that Houston has had a club in the big leagues!”
– One Astros Season Ticket Holder to another.

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FOOTNOTE: Another “Hail and Thank You” to Aunt Minnie’s Scrapbook” by A.K. (“Rosey”) Rowswell for this slippery math delivery. One probably could find the same kind of price-structuring deal available over the Internet in 2017 on car insurance, if they had about five minutes to look for it.

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eagle-0range
 Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas

Shock and Awe: Browns Pull Triple Play

February 21, 2017
Zach Taylor, 1948 Manager, St. Louis Browns

Zach Taylor, Manager
1948 St. Louis Browns

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An Ode to Zach Taylor

The Brownies looked suspicious – ‘gainst Washington that day

With all the bases full of Sens – and three 1st outs to play

Perhaps their pitcher – Kennedy – had early eggs to lay

 

And in the first base dugout – Zack Taylor’s mind did sway

Would this be one more time he failed – to keep the beasts at bay

As head man of the lowly Browns – he could not rightly say

 

Instead he made a private pact – if one more hit did hasten

All those nightmare next-pitch thoughts – of no more time to chasten

Bill Kennedy was coming out – there’d be no conversation

 

Then whack it came – the ball struck hard – McBride was off and running

Time to act – and Zack arose – to saunter through Sens funning

To get Bill out – and try anew – another pitcher’s cunning

 

In trance-like pace – Zack’s eyes stayed down – he didn’t want to see it

If this hit meant – two quick Sens runs – that’s how it was – so be it

Brownie pain was season long – no manager could flee it

 

But when he reached the first base line – Zack raised his eyes in wonder

The Browns were all hand-slapping glad – their voices roared with thunder

What they had done – and Zach had missed – shred sadness to asunder

 

The Browns had forged a triple play – to string the three-out weenie

A carom drive – off Bill’s big glove – was caught by Pellagrini

A toss to third – a flip to first – had served up sweet linguini

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Footnote: Here’s another great story from “Aunt Minnie’s Scrapbook” by A.K. (“Rosey”) Rowswell, made available to The Pecan Park Eagle by Houston Astros Baseball Icon Larry Dierker. Our local fun is turning the poetic muses loose upon the heart of such stories whenever the gods of baseball will punch their green cards for entry into the creative publication process. – For the sake of future brevity here, we may stop thanking you for each specific use of materials you’ve brought to us here, but rest assured – we shall never cease to be grateful for them. Stuff like this just makes the business of baseball joy sort of like the fun some of us used to derive from shagging fly balls. ~ The Pecan Park Eagle

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Baseball Almanac Box ScoresSt. Louis Browns 13, Washington Senators 2
St. Louis Browns ab   r   h rbi
Dillinger 3b 4 1 0 0
Zarilla lf 5 0 2 0
Priddy 2b 4 2 2 3
Lehner cf 5 0 2 2
Moss c 5 0 2 1
  Fannin pr 0 0 0 0
  Partee c 0 1 0 0
Kokos rf 5 4 4 1
Stevens 1b 3 1 1 1
Pellagrini ss 5 2 3 1
Kennedy p 2 1 1 1
  Garver p 4 1 3 2
Totals 42 13 20 12
Washington Senators ab   r   h rbi
Yost 3b 4 0 2 0
Kozar 2b 2 0 1 1
Coan lf 4 1 2 0
McBride rf 2 0 0 0
  Stewart ph,rf 2 0 1 0
Christman ss 3 0 1 0
  Fleitas ss 1 0 0 1
Vernon 1b 4 0 0 0
Wooten cf 4 1 3 0
Okrie c 4 0 1 0
Wynn p 0 0 0 0
  Ferrick p 1 0 0 0
  Hudson p 1 0 1 0
  Robertson ph 1 0 0 0
Totals 33 2 12 2
St. Louis 0 1 1 3 0 2 1 2 3 13 20 1
Washington 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 2 12 1
  St. Louis Browns IP H R ER BB SO
Kennedy  W(2-4) 4.2 7 1 1 3 1
  Garver  SV(4) 4.1 5 1 1 0 0
Totals
9.0
12
2
2
3
1
  Washington Senators IP H R ER BB SO
Wynn  L(7-11) 3.1 6 5 5 3 0
  Ferrick 3.0 7 3 3 5 1
  Hudson 2.2 7 5 5 2 0
Totals
9.0
20
13
13
10
1

E–Pellagrini (8), Okrie (1).  DP–St. Louis 3. Pellagrini-Priddy-Stevens, Dillinger-Priddy-Stevens, Pellagrini-Priddy-Stevens, Washington 2. Kozar-Fleitas-Vernon, Okrie-Vernon.  TP–St. Louis 1. Kennedy-Pellagrini-Dillinger-Stevens.  3B–St. Louis Kokos (1).  SH–Dillinger (6); Stevens (18).  Team LOB–14.  Team–7.  SB–Priddy (5); Yost (1).  CS–Pellagrini (1); Vernon (9).  U–Eddie Hurley, Bill Grieve, Charlie Berry.  T–2:42.  A–7,059.

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eagle-0range
 Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas

Oh Danny Boy!

February 20, 2017
DANNY MURTAUGH MANAGER 1960 WORLDS SERIES CHAMPIONS THE PITTSBURGH PIRATES Is this really the face of a man who would get into a dispute of judgement by a game umpire?

DANNY MURTAUGH
MANAGER
1960 WORLDS SERIES CHAMPIONS
THE PITTSBURGH PIRATES
Is this really the face of a man who might ever get into a dispute of judgment with a baseball game umpire?

danny-murtaugh2_edited-1

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Ode to That Ancient Account Back in Houston

Dan was nimble

Dan was quick

He beat the fine

But the toss did stick

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FOOTNOTE. Another jewel from the ancient “Aunt Minnie’s Scrapbook” by A.K. (“Rosey”) Roswell. Thanks again to our not-so-anonymous-now contributor and friend Larry Dierker for this item and several other story-source tales to come in future columns. Our contributions through each other – to each other – in the name of the game we all have loved so well – and for so long – is one of the best known “secrets” we all protect in the interest of making sure that both the history -and the game’s arcane mystery – have both been preserved.

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eagle-0range
 Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas

Who’s NOT on Third?

February 20, 2017
(L>R) HERMAN, FEWSTER, VANCE EBBETS FIELD, BROOKLYN AUGUST 15, 1926

(L>R) HERMAN, FEWSTER, VANCE
EBBETS FIELD, BROOKLYN
AUGUST 15, 1926

 

It happened at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn back on August 15, 1926.

Led (but often arguably so) by the beloved future Hall of Fame Manager Wilbert Robinson,  the local NL club was dubbed the “Robins” as a tip-of-the-hat reference to their revered leader, much in the same light that the Cleveland Indians much earlier called themselves the “Naps” in honor of their future Hall of Fame leader, Napoleon Lajoie. Fortunately for Brooklyn’s Robinson, most of the ineptness tales that take root in the “Robins Nest” later found more familiar identity as “Dodger Daffiness” from back in the 1920s and 1930s era of losing big-time in insane ways. The club even had a dazzy pitcher named Dazzy Vance who also redeemed himself over his career for one memorably bad-egg Robin’s Nest day by posting a pitching record that also took him all the way to the Hall of Fame.

August 15, 1926 at Ebbets Field was not Hall of Fame Redemption Day as a base-runner for Dazzy Vance or a couple of other Brooklyn players either. Today, if they aren’t all yet dead by 2017, there are some old Brooklyn “Dodger” fans who know both parts of this ancient jab at the club’s baseball IQ on that probably now forgotten actual date from 1926:

Baseball Radio Announcer: “Brooklyn now has three runners on base.”

Radio Game Fans at Home: “Which Base? Hey! You forgot to tell us which base they’re on!”

How it all happened isn’t hard to explain. What’s harder for those of us who weren’t around to see the great job he must have done as a teaching manager in general, is to figure out how many of these kinds of mustard-stain plays are allowed on a managerial candidate’s resume’ for the Hall of Fame before they become something that keeps the entry door closed.

On that already posted game date, in the bottom of the 7th of a DH Game One, and now tied 1-1, Brooklyn had the bases loaded against the Boston Braves at Ebbets Field, with one out. Brooklyn Catcher Hank DeBerry was the runner at 3rd; Pitcher Dazzy Vance was the runner ar at 2nd; and 2nd Baseman Chick Fewster was the runner at 1st.

Lefty 1st Baseman Babe Herman was the batter, facing lefty Braves reliever George Mogridge, with a run already scored in the same stanza already tallied and charged to Braves righty starter Johnny Wertz.

On the pitch, Herman crushed a ball that took off on a liner path to deep right center field. DeBerry figured it as a sure hit and scored easily from 3rd. Vance, on the other hand, hesitated briefly at 2nd to see if the ball was in there. Once assured, Vance went screaming around 3rd before another 2nd thought caused him t0 hit the brakes and head back to 3rd.

By this time, Fewster also was arriving from 2nd on the heads down break-neck pace that had lighted his race from the crack of the bat.

Both Vance and Fewster looked surprised to see each other – but not as surprised a they were quickly to be – as they both turned to see batter Herman joining them in his own search for safety. Babe had not halted a second in his pursuit of this apparently sure-fire-triple and 3-RBI time at bat.

Only Vance has found his refuge. As the returning runner at 3rd, he was entitled to it. As for Fewster and Herman, their attempts to retreat in an orderly fashion to 2nd and 1st were absolutely doomed. The Braves tagged them both out on their retreat to 2nd base and the innings was done. Brooklyn had taken a 2-1 lead and would add two more off Mogridge in the 8th for the winning 4-1 final margin, but this was not to be a day long remembered for winning – or excellence in achievement.

It would be recalled, even into the far distant future, as “that time the Dodgers ended up with three runners on third base” – an err0r-framed description on two major levels: (1) Vance was the only safe runner at 3rd base on that play; Fewster and Herman were there in jeopardy and soon called out. (2) Brooklyn wasn’t the Dodgers in 1926; the club’s nickname was the “Robins”.

The cruel, but funny barbs aimed at Babe Herman were both inevitable and never really malevolent by intention from their Brooklyn fans, or so it seems. Locals just loved the quirky memory that they were once home to “the first major league batter to ever doubled into a double play.”

As for how such a sloppy base-running play could actually ever unfold without their being plenty of blame to pass around. Who knows if we shall ever know for sure how badly a bad team shall find a way to destroy its opportunities. The only certainty here is that we don’t have either the time or the digital ink determination to find those answers tonight.

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Footnote: Thanks for the featured cartoon that we borrowed from Page 9 0f  “Aunt Minnie’s Scrapbook” by A.K. (“Rosey”) Rosewell. The source was an anonymous gift from a friend of a long-out-of-print 79-page paperback collection of baseball stories. Based upon the title, some of you will figure out quickly that it must have come out during the period of time that Bob Prince worked as broadcaster for the Pittsburgh Pirates. There also is a heavy western Pennsylvania influence upon this entire little jewel. – And, thanks again, “Anonymous Friend.”

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eagle-0range
 Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas