Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Good Pitching and Club Spirit Won for Buffs

May 6, 2018

(This article was produced by Associated Press nearly 70 years ago. Here’s how it appeared in the Corpus Christi Times, on Page 19, on September 25, 1947, the day following the last Texas League Playoff game for the Houston Buffs on their way to the Texas League pennant and in readiness for yet another victory over Mobile for the Dixie Series Championship.)

____________________

EPSON MFP image

Johnny Keane ~ Field Manager ~ 1947 Houston Buffs

Good Pitching and Club Spirit Won for Buffs

Houston, Sept. 25 (AP) — In the words of Johnny Keane: “I’ve never seen anything like this ball club.”

He was speaking of his Houston Buffaloes who last night defeated the defending champion Dallas Rebels, 1-0, to take the 1947 Texas League pennant and the right to represent the circuit in the Dixie Series, opening here Friday night, with Mobile’s Bears, the champions of the Southern Association.

The Buffs have had Keane, fans, and sports writers guessing all season. for, despite a noticeable absence of heavy hitters, a siege of injuries and only three “frontline” hurlers, they monopolized first place throughout most of the league’s regular schedule, defeated Tulsa four straight in the first round of of the playoff, and overcame terrific odds in the Dallas round.

But repeated analysis had indicated two things: The Buffs hit when hits count and they are firm believers in the old adage that the game is not over until the last out is recorded.

The first point is illustrated with Houston’s ranking fifth during most of the season in club batting but first in runs batted in.

And Tuesday night’s game at Dallas is proof of the second point, for it was then the Buffs, trailing by six runs and held hitless for six innings, broke loose for eight runs and 11 hits in the last three innings to take an 8-6 decision that placed them in the driver’s seat in the Rebel Series.

Only two of Keane’s crew (Hal Epps and Johnny Hernandez) finished above .300 in batting but every man in the lineup has been at one time or another a hero by knocking in winning runs.

Clarence Beers, who began his baseball career as a catcher, is the mainstay of the pitching staff, having recorded his 28th victory as against eight defeats. The only other steady winner is knuckleballer Al Papai, who finished with a 23-11 record.

The third hurler is Jack Creel (15-11), who, nursing an arm ailment, has his on and off nights.

As relief men, Keane has two right handers, Roman Brunswick (12-8) and Charlie Sproull (6-5) and two southpaws, Pete Mazar (5-6) and veteran Herb Moore (5-2).

Houston’s starting lineup, with final batting averages for the regular season, normally includes:

Solly Hemus (.277) at second, Billy Costa (.232) at short, Eddie Knoblauch (.275) at left, Johnny Hernandez (.301) at first base, Hal Epps (.302) at center, Vaughn Hazen (.280) or Stan Benjamin (.280) at right, Tommy Glaviano (.245) at third, and Gerald Burmeister (.210) catching.

The all-around utility man who has done everything except catch and pitch is Jack Angle (.251), while the reserve catchers are Doc Greene (.217) and Joe Niedson (.212).

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TPPE Note: Note some of the stats, especially for pitchers, are slightly at variance from the data that Baseball Reference.Com now carries for the t947 Houston Buffs.. This appears to be because the data reported in this article included playoff game data with regular season data. That may explain why Buffs pitcher Clarence Beers is credited here with 28 season wins against 8 defeats – and BBREF.com records Beers with three less wins and a 25-8 record at Houston in 1947. Further study of the discrepancy is needed.

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

 

 

 

 

Bill Gilbert: Pitching Carries Astros in April

May 3, 2018

SABR Analyst and Pecan Park Eagle Contributor Bill Gilbert sums up the 2017 AL Champion Astros Repeat Run through the early part of  2018.

Pitching Carries Astros in April

By Bill Gilbert

The Houston Astros compiled a won-loss record of 20-10 in April to lead the American League West Division by 2 1/2 games over the Seattle Mariners and 3 games over the Los Angeles Angels.  The starting pitching was superb. The five pitchers in the rotation each started 6 games and they collectively recorded an ERA of 2.44, by far the best in the major leagues. Three pitchers with ERA’s under 2.00 led the way, Justin Verlander (1.36), Charlie Morton (1.72) and Gerrit Cole (1.73). Cole set a team strikeout record for April with 61. The bullpen also performed well with an ERA of 2.76. Most encouraging was the rebound of closer, Brian Giles, after a poor World Series. In April, Giles converted all three save opportunities and allowed a total of only two runs in his eleven games.

The Houston offense started slowly but by the end of the month the team ranked well above the major league average in most offensive categories.   In 2017, the Astros averaged scoring 5.53 runs per game. In April 2018, they averaged 4.97 compared to the MLB average o 4.46. Six teams averaged over 5 runs per game in April led by the New York Yankees at 5.86.

Jose Altuve batted .347 and Carlos Correa hit .330 in April but the rest of the team hit in the low to mid .200’s. George Springer and Josh Reddick each hit 6 home runs.

April was the first month in the history of major league baseball when strikeouts (6,656 ) outnumbered hits (6,360). This is a continuation of a trend that may not be good for baseball in the long run. Astros pitchers were a major factor in this imbalance by striking out 316 opposing batters while allowing only 196 hits.

The New York Yankees bring their 9-game winning streak to Houston to open the month of May for a four game series with the Astros. matching the best hitting team in baseball with the best pitching team. It could happen again in the post-season.

As expected, teams in the AL West have improved, especially the Seattle Mariners and the Los Angeles Angels, but the Astros should prevail barring major injuries.

Bill Gilbert

5/2/2018

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

Ty Cobb and Power: Upon Further Review

April 27, 2018
tycobb swings

“That ought to do it!” ~ Ty Cobb Ty Cobb of the Tigers Belts walk-off HR in 9th as Detroit beats Chicago, 16-15. ********** June 2, 1925

 

Ty Cobb and Power: Upon Further Review

In our previous article, “Ty Cobb’s 1925 Power Show”, we covered the Games of May 5th and 6th at St. Louis in which Ty Cobb and the Tigers routed the Browns twice on the heels of a supposedly expressed Georgia Peach promise to show the world what he also was capable of doing with power, if he chose to play the game in Babe Ruth’s preferred style.

We made the comment that “His two-day game totals from May 5th and 6th of 1925 were 9 hits in 12 tries at bat (.750), 6 runs scored, 11 runs batted in on 5 HR, 1 double, and 3 singles. The experience must have sated his need to prove anything further, because Ty Cobb never repeated the dramatic two-game showing elsewhere from there.”

A fairly quick post-publication comment from good SABR colleague and distinguished baseball researcher and writer Gregory Wolf notably urged me to re-examine what Cobb did almost exactly a month later for the Tigers in a 16-15 punch out of the White Sox on a 9th inning walk-off homer by Cobb at home.

On June 2, 1925, the Tigers and Pale Hose were involved in a slap-happy slugfest, but the Tigers seemed to have secured a prospective win when they mounted a 15-5 lead by the end of the 6th.

Then. What do you know? The Sox battled back to tie the game at 15-15 going into the bottom of the 9th. Setting the table.

With one out, Ty Cobb blasted a walk-off HR to deep right center that gave the game to the Tigers, 16-15. Veteran viewers of the ballpark said it was the longest homer they ever saw Cobb hit at home. (Uh, forgiveness here. We were too late to get direct quotes and we haven’t had a chance to check the news files on what people actually said about the Cobb walk off blast. We do know from Gregory Wolf’s article. Here’s the quote: “Cobb’s blast was ‘undoubtedly the longest hit he has ever made on the Detroit lot,’ opined Detroit sportswriter Salsinger.”

While you are at it, check out the link to Gregory H. Wolf’s much more eloquently detailed report of that June 2, 1925 game. I think you will be glad you did:

https://sabr.org/gamesproj/game/june-2-1925-tigers-win-16-15-game-wild-bedlam

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

Rookie Larry Miggins Given Dizzy Ride

April 14, 2018

Larry Miggins

Seventy years ago this month, our 92-year old SABR member of the Larry Dierker Chapter and national baseball history treasure, Larry Miggins, was a kid struggling to catch on with a major league club during the reserve clause era days. Given the experience he had with the old waiver rules of that time, Larry more than likely had to check the newspapers daily to know where he would be playing in the afternoon. Here’s how writer Jerry Liska reported the meanderings of Mr. Miggins over that short period. — Glad you made, Larry! — The Pecan Park Eagle.

Rookie Given Dizzy Ride

By Jerry Liska

Chicago -(AP)- The complexities of baseball’s waiver rule have rookie outfielder Larry Miggins of the St. Louis Cardinals (for the moment) on a wild merry-go-round.

Within a week, 22-year old Miggins — a fine Irish husky from New York’s Bronx — was waived by the Cardinals, claimed by the Chicago Cubs, waived by the Cubs and claimed by the Cardinals.

All of this maneuvering was an attempt by both the Cards and the Cubs to shake Miggins loose for further minor league seasoning.

He was drafted by St. Louis last fall from Minneapolis of the American Association. As a drafted player, he must be waived out of the majors for minor league assignment.

The Cards still want to farm him out and the Cubs are ineligible for future claim.

H was claimed by the Cubs for the $10,000 waiver price last Saturday, and joined them at Pittsburgh. Friday he was summoned to the Cub office and informed the team had waived him and the Cards had reclaimed him.

So Friday afternoon, Larry was back on the Cardinals bench, recalling a more peaceful 1947 season when he batted .289 for Sioux City of the Western League and .233 for the Minneapolis Millers.

Manager Eddie Dyer of the Cards, who gave Miggins a whirl in spring training, says he has fine speed and a splendid throwing arm. If he can learn to hit better, he’s a good major league prospect.

— Dubuque (IA) Telegraph Herald, Page 20, April 25, 1948.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

Mover & Shaker: Walter O’Malley

March 29, 2018

Do you remember why the Dodgers and Giants left Brooklyn and Manhattan after the 1957 NL season and moved to Los Angeles and San Francisco?

It didn’t have to do with fans so much, except for one thing, it did have everything to do with where the fans were now living by this time. Like so many other American families in this era, baseball fans were moving to the boondocks for a shot at more home space at cheaper prices at the expense of a big bump in the cost of daily travel to work in the cities that still served as homes to their favorite baseball teams.

The work-home commute was no big deal for Dodger and Giant fans. The East was built around a great commuter rail system that could take mostly working fathers to and from their new homes in New Jersey and Connecticut to work and back without a problem.

The problem was – how did the bulk of these diehard Dodger and Giant fans remain active patrons of their clubs, especially of the Dodgers in Brooklyn, when there was no great commuter service to Ebbets Field by rail – and only limited, expensive car space for parking, if a fan planned to drive in for a game he may have earlier in life been able to reach on foot?

I prefer to believe the following: Dodger owner Walter O’Malley worked his tail off trying to get the City of New York to help him build a new ball park in Brooklyn near a major commuter train depot – and he also sought help from the city in building this park – with plans for upgrades that even included a domed stadium design. It would have been tailor-made as a plan for retaining all the Dodgers fans that now lived in New Jersey.

It didn’t happen. For whatever political and economic factors that called the hand, the legendary NYC planning genius, Robert Moses, effectively always found a way to block all of the Dodger requests. The next thing we all knew was that the Dodgers and Giants were departing the New York area to begin the 1958 season as the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants.

Owners Walter O’Malley of the Dodgers and Horace Stoneham of the Giants were breaking from the pack to become the first MLB colonizers of the long-regarded and richly coveted West Coast territory. With the growth of television baseball coverage and the newly available presence of commercial jet plane travel, it would now be possible to schedule and play a regular season of baseball without expanding the time gates on the regular season to any big extent.

What we may never know for sure.

O’Malley’s West Coast Plan B may always have been his actual Plan A. Had Moses of NYC continued to work with O’Malley in a more giving way on the “new ballpark for the Dodgers” proposal, we’ll never know if O’Malley would have found ways to reject each try for the sake of justifying his refusal of each offer in favor of the West Coast baseball version of Sutter’s Mill.

Can’t wait to read “Movers & Shakers” by Andy McCue.

Hopefully, this new work will clarify the end game intentions of what really happened in one of the most significant structural alignment changes in baseball history.

God Willing, this subject will be revisited soon.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Bill Gilbert: 2017 Offensive Productivity

March 24, 2018

Who Were the Most Productive Offensive Players in 2017?

By Bill Gilbert

With the 2018 baseball season starting next week this is a good time to take a look back at who were the most productive players in 2017.

Numerous methods have been devised to measure offensive performance. The most common are batting average, on-base percentage and slugging average. Since none of these averages provides a complete picture by itself, a more comprehensive measure of offensive performance is useful. Such a measure would include the following elements:

  1. The ability to get on base.
  2. The ability to hit with power.
  3. The ability to add value through baserunning.

The first two elements are measured by on-base percentage and slugging average. A measure of offensive performance, which encompasses both as well as baserunning achievements, is Bases per Plate Appearance (BPA). This measure accounts for the net bases accumulated by a player per plate appearance. It is calculated as follows:

BPA = (TB + BB + HB + SB – CS – GIDP) / (AB + BB + HB + SF)

Where: BPA = Bases per Plate Appearance

TB   = Total Bases

BB   = Bases on Balls

HB   = Hit by Pitch

SB   = Stolen Bases

CS   = Caught Stealing

GIDP = Grounded into Double Plays

AB   = At Bats

SF   = Sacrifice Flies

The numerator accounts for all of the bases accumulated by a player, reduced by the number of times he is caught stealing or erases another runner by grounding into a double play. The denominator accounts for the plate appearances when the player is trying to generate bases for himself. Sacrifice hits are not included as plate appearances, since they represent the successful execution of the batter’s attempts to advance another runner.

BPA Table, 2013-2017

YEAR BPA .550 .600
2003 .461 42 15
2004 .468 33 18
2005 .456 34 13
2006 .470 46 14
2007 .463 34 15
2008 .458 41 11
2009 .461 42 16
2010 .446 19 7
2011 .442 25 7
2012 .447 12 5
2013 .440 14 3
2014 .426 9 4
2015 .440 20 6
2016 .456 23 7
2017 .466 36 12

Offensive production peaked in 2000 before declining in the early years of this century. BPA declined significantly from .481 in 2000 to .426 in 2014 before significant upticks in the last three years.

In the 1990s, there were 14 individual .700 BPA seasons. In the eight year period from 2000 to 2007, there were 18. The highest BPA in the 1990s was recorded by Mark McGwire in 1998 (.799). Barry Bonds shattered that with .907 in 2001, the highest figure ever recorded, topping Babe Ruth’s best two years (1920 and 1921). Bonds followed that with .869 in 2002, .818 in 2003 and .882 in 2004. There had not been any hitters with a BPA of .700 since 2007 until Mike Trout did it in 2017.

 The .700 BPA seasons in 2000-2017 are listed below:

Player   (Team & Year)     BPA

Barry Bonds (San Francisco 2001) .907

Barry Bonds (San Francisco 2004) .882

Barry Bonds (San Francisco 2002) .869

Barry Bonds (San Francisco 2003) .818

Sammy Sosa (Chicago Cubs 2001) .758

Barry Bonds (San Francisco 2000) .745

Jim Thome (Cleveland 2002) .728

Manny Ramiriz (Cleveland 2000) .726

Todd Helton (Colorado 2000) .720

Mike Trout (LA Angels 2017) .718

Luis Gonzalez (Arizona 2001) .713

Todd Helton (Colorado 2001) .709

Carlos Delgado (Toronto 2000) .707

Larry Walker (Colorado 2001) .707

Jason Giambi (Oakland 2000) .706

Travis Hafner (Cleveland 2006) .703

Alex Rodriguez (NY Yankees 2007) .702

Jason Giambi (Oakland 2001) .700

Ryan Howard (Philadelphia 2006) .700

The yearly leaders since 1992 are as follows:

1992 Bonds     .734

1993 Bonds     .740

1994 Bagwell  .768

1995 Belle        .692

1996 McGwire .765

1997 Walker  .770

1998 McGwire .799

1999 McGwire   .735

2000 Bonds  .745

2001 Bonds  .907

2002 Bonds .869

2003 Bonds .818

2004 Bonds .882

2005 D. Lee .699

2006 Hafner   .703

2007 A. Rodriguez .702

2008 Pujols   .685

2009 Pujols   .696

2010 Bautista .671

2011 Bautista .681

2012 Trout .665

2013 C. Davis .670

2014 Trout .623

2015 Harper .694

2016 Trout .681

2017 Trout .718

The benchmark for an outstanding individual season is .600. Following is a list of the twelve players with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title and with a BPA of .600 in 2017. The list is topped by Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels with a BPA of .718, the fourth time he has finished in front. He has had a BPA over .600 in all five years that he has played a full season.

Bases per Plate Appearance (BPA) of .600+ in 2017

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No. of 2017-2016 .600+ Player

BPA   BPA LG Seasons Comments            _________

# Player 2017 BPA 2016 BPA LG .600+ Years Comments
1 Mike Trout .718 .656 AL 6 On Top Again.
2 Aaron Judge .681 .274 AL 1 Do it again?
3 G. Stanton .659 .533 AL 4 Should thrive as NYY.
4 Joey Votto .641 .606 NL 6 Also 6th OBP Lead.
5 C. Blackmon .640 .597 NL 1 Breakout season.
6 Cody Bellinger .631 —- NL 1 Set NL rookie HR mark.
7 F. Freeman .630 .616 NL 2 Best season yet in 2017.
8 P. Goldschmidt .625 .587 NL 2 The D-Backs Do-it-all.
9. Joey Gallo .613 .333 AL 1 Home Run or Bust!
10. Jose Rameriz .612 .509 AL 1 Fast Lane Superstar!
11. Jose Altuve .601 .576 AL 1 First time over .600.
12. Kris Bryant .600 .611 NL 2 Already a ROY & MVP.

The increase in the number of players with a .600 BPA from 7 to 12 reflects the increase in overall offense in 2017. Near misses were Zack Cosart (598), Justin Upton (595) and Anthony Rendon (595).

Three players had a BPA over .600 in 2016 but failed to reach it in 2017.

No. of

2016   2017     .600+

   Player           BPA  BPA LG Seasons Comments            

1 David Ortiz     .631 —-  A   6   Retired on top.

  1. Daniel Murphy   .612   .560   N   1  Fell short of 2016 career year.
  2. Josh Donaldson .609 .617 A  2   Not enough plate appearances to qualify.

Two active players have a BPA of .600 for their careers:

2017         Career

Player            Age            BPA           BPA   Comments

————-      —     —-       —- —————————

Mike Trout           25      .718       .648   Leader by far.

Joey Votto           33    .641       .603   No sign of decline yet.

Another list of interest is of players with a BPA of over .600 in 2017 who did not have enough plate appearances (502) to qualify for the batting title.

Player           Age BPA   PA   Comments

————— —  —- —   ————————–

Rhys Hoskins     24 .684 212   Mid-season rookie sensation

J.D. Martinez   29 .679 489 Spectacular in Arizona.

Matt Olson     23 .667 216   Hit 47 homers between majors and minors in 2017.

Bryce Harper     24 .622 492   Has never reached 100 RBIs.

Josh Donaldson   31 .617 496   Consistently productive.

Martinez, Harper and Donaldson fell just short of the 502 plate appearances needed to qualify.

Looking at the other end of the spectrum, five players who earned enough playing time to qualify for the batting title had a BPA less than .400 in 2017. This list has shrunk each year from 25 players in 2014 to only five in 2017 reflecting the increase in offense.

Player         Age   BPA Team    Comments                                                                                                     ————–   —  — —-     ———————

Albert Pujols   35 .385 Angels   On .600 BPA list eight times.

Dansby Swanson 23 .381 Braves  Sophomore slump

Alex Gordon     33 .380 Royals   Where did the offense go?

Jose Peraza     23 .375 Reds     Has trouble getting on base.

Alcides Escobar 30 .347 Royals  No stranger to this list.

Four players had a batting average over .300, an on-base average over .400, a slugging percentage over .500 and bases per plate appearance over .600 in 2017.

Player             BAVG       OBA       SLG       BPA      OPS

Mike Trout         .306     .442     .629     .718    1.071

Joey Votto          .320      .454     .578     .641     1.032

Freddie Freeman      .307     .403     .586     .630     .989

Jose Altuve      .346     .410     .547      .601       .948

Trout and Votto have these numbers for their careers.

Mike Trout–Career   .306     .410     .566     .648       .976

Joey Votto-Career   .313     .428     .541     .603       .967

Trout did not lead counting categories like home runs and RBIs because he missed 48 games with an injury. However, he led the American League in important rate stats like OBA, SLG, OPS and BPA, He was clearly the best offensive and all-around player in the Major Leagues in 2017.

Bill Gilbert

3/23/18

Source of statistics used in this report is the “Lee Sinins 2018 Complete Baseball Encyclopedia”.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Relativity Patterns in MLB Game Attendance

March 1, 2018

9:00 AM, Friday the 13th
April 1962
**********
“I am by heritage a Jew, by citizenship a Swiss, and by makeup a human being, and only a human being, without any special attachment to any state or national entity whatsoever. That being said, ‘Go Colts! – Win the rest of your games!’ “
~ Albert Einstein

Relativity Patterns in MLB Game Attendance: A Singular Example

A brand new Colts fan named Bea Bright
Who traveled much faster than light.
She saw a game one day,
In a relative way,
And came back the previous night.
—Anonymous 2*

A Self-Explanatory Table:

Bea Bright’s Long Ago Timeline

On Attendance at Her 1st Two Games

Cal. Date Trip # Foe Results
04/11/62 # 2 Cubs Colts W, 2-0
04/12/62 # 1 Cubs Colts W, 2-0

* An excerpt developed by Anonymous 1 in this Einsteinian theoretical form;

Anonymous 1, whoever that may be, deserves all the credit for our application:

There was a young lady named Bright
Who traveled much faster than light.
She set out one day,
In a relative way,
And came back the previous night.
—Anonymous 1

Availability: The entire book, Relativity Patterns in MLB Game Attendance, will be available through Amazon Prime, but only when that wonderful service can guarantee delivery 24 hours prior to the date of each relative purchase order.

Goodnight, All! Have a great week, everybody, no matter what day, before or after the fact, you say goodnight to when you  turnout the bedside light.

 

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

The Pecan Park Eagle Baseball Movie All Stars

February 5, 2018

Back: Honus Wagner, Pete Alexander, Tris Speaker, Nap Lajoie, George Sisler, Walter Johnson.
Front: Eddie Collins, Babe Ruth, Connie Mack, Cy Young.
Missing: Ty Cobb.

We’ve done “starting nines” more times than I care to remember, but today’s offering is our first shot at presenting a full 25-player full roster, including manager and coaches. With a couple of serious exceptions, we’ve tried to stay away from actor/player types whose roles were either blunted by an obvious lack of athletic talent – or an abundance of obvious supernatural help. Neither of the pitchers portrayed by actors Ray Milland or Ronald Reagan were made more convincing by the skills of either man, but their movie plot-line support and general acting skills were enough to get them through the day. Based upon his performance from the 7th inning forward in Game Seven of the 1926 World Series as future HOF pitcher Grover Alexander, Ronald Reagan was able to easily secure an all-star spot as a late reliever for our Eagle All Stars. Pitcher Ray Milland’s “King Kelly” also was an easy pick for our No. 1 ace starter – with the help of that wood-repellent substance that he has been allowed to use in any game he pitches. Milland is so good with the help of his “stuff”, in fact, that we might be able simply pitch him any time he shows up with that wet sponge filling out the leather-cut circle in his left gloved hand.

We are also quite pleased with our prospects for some fun travel on the road with this team in 2018, given the characters who are making the trip. Look over the roster and let us know what you think too. We do not break away for spring training until February 15th and there’s still time to send some extra free agents as non-roster competitors for a more interesting final settlement of our 25-man Opening Day roster, and all  ready to spark and star-bangle shine against all the other very best clubs.

So, hmm, …. let us hear from you.

Here’s what we’ve got for now:

The Pecan Park Eagle Baseball Movie All Stars

NO. ACTOR POSITION CHARACTER MOVIE YEAR
01 Kevin Costner Catcher 1 Crash Davis Bull Durham 1988
02 Paul Douglas Catcher 2 Monk Lanigan It Happens Every Spring 1949
03 Robert De Niro Catcher 3 Bruce Pearson Bang The Drum Slowly 1973
04 Ray Milland SP1 King Kelly It Happens Every Spring 1949
05 Bill D Williams SP2 Bingo Long Bingo Long, et al 1976
06 Joe E. Brown SP3 Elmer Brown Elmer The Great 1933
07 Jace Alexander SP4 Dickie Kerr Eight Men Out 1988
08 Dennis Quaid SP5 Jimmy Morris The Rookie 2002
09 Bruce Bennett Long R Saul Hellman Angels in the Outfield 1951
10 Gene Bearden Long R Gene Bearden The Winning Team 1949
11 Tim Robbins Late R Nick LaLoosh Bull Durham 1988
12 Mike Moriarty Late R Henry Wiggen Bang The Drum Slowly 1973
13 Ronald Reagan Set Up R G.C. Alexander The Winning Team 1952
14 Charlie Sheen Closer Ricky Vaughn Major League 1989
15 James E. Jones 1B/C Leon Carter Bingo Long, et al 1976
16 Bill Irwin 2B Eddie Collins Eight Men Out 1988
17 John Cusack 3B/OF Buck Weaver Eight Men Out 1988
18 Louis Keystone SS Sam Brison Bingo Long, et al 1976
19 Corbin Bernsen IF/OF Roger Dorn Major League 1989
20 Tom Berenger IF/OF/C Jake Taylor Major League 1989
21 Richard Pryor LF Charlie Snow Bingo Long, et al 1976
22 Wesley Snipes CF Willie M. Hays Major League 1989
23 Robert Redford RF Roy Hobbs The Natural 1984
24 D.B. Sweeney OF Joe Jackson Eight Men Out 1988
25 Burt Lancaster PR/MD Doc Graham Field of Dreams 1989
STAFF POSITION CHARACTER MOVIE YEAR
Danny Glover Manager George Knox Angels in the Outfield 1994
Wilf’d Brimley Bench C Pop Fisher The Natural 1984
Frank Morgan Pitch C Barney Wile The Stratton Story 1949
Frank Lovejoy 1B/Hit C Rog Hornsby The Winning Team 1952
Ted de Corsia 3B/Basics Jimmy Dolan It Happens Every Spring 1949

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

The Ballad of The Minnesota Miracle

January 23, 2018

Case Keenum
Never Give Up on This Guy!

 

 

The Ballad of The Minnesota Miracle

By Bill McCurdy

 

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Vikings team that day;

the score found them down by two, with ten seconds left to play;

and then Case Keenum took the ball, and heaved it down the field;

and Stefon Diggs ran after it, as sanity surrealled.

 

Struggling fans were done and gone, departed in despair;

the rest clung hard to a last slim hope – for joy to fill the air;

as Diggs veered toward the right sideline, two Saints upon his tail,

the ball came down from heaven – by Case Keenum Special Mail.

 

What started at the Vikes’ 39 – was caught at the Saints’ 33;

No Saints made the tackle, and Diggs just waltzed home free.

The game was won by the miracle spun, and the joy went on for a week;

Then a Green Grinch next in Philly – slapped the brief joy flat-out silly,

And now we’re flashed back fast to why – losing’s the reason fans do cry.

 

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;

the band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,

and somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;

but there is no joy in Minneville — mighty Case K has struck out.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Fifty Years Ago Today: UH 71-UCLA 69

January 21, 2018

Elvin “The Big E” Hayes and UH Alum Bill McCurdy
At a social function in 2008.
Both were in the Astrodome 50 years ago tonight as participants in the UH 71-69 basketball win over UCLA. The Big E was there as the star of the game. Bill was there as only one of the 52,693 fans that helped put College Basketball on the big league sports map.

 

Big E, Cougars Whip UCLA

52,693 See UH Prevail, 71-69

By Bob Green

Associated Press Sports Writer

(As reported in the Brownwood (TX) Bulletin, Page 8a, Sunday, Jan. 21,1968)

Houston (AP) – Houston’s inspired Cougars, led by All-American Elvin Hayes, stunned UCLA Saturday night 71-69 and ended forever the Bruins’ myth of invincibility in college basketball.

A howling happy crowd of 52,693 in the Astrodome – an all-time record – saw Hayes, Houston’s Big E, toss in 39 points and help put the defensive clamp on UCLA’s Lew Alcindor.

Appropriately enough, it was Hayes’ two free throws with 28 seconds left that broke a 69-69 tie and snapped UCLA’s 47-game winning streak, second longest of all time.

The Cougars, ranked No. 2 in the nation going into their climactic showdown with the top-ranked Bruins, turned UCLA’s own weapons on them – a super performance by a super-star and a tenacious defense.

Houston, sparked by Hayes’ 29 first half points, established a 46-43 margin at intermission and spent the second half fighting off challenge after challenge by the cold-shooting Bruins.

When it was over, the delirious Houston fans and cheerleaders stormed onto the court, hoisted their heroes to their shoulders and began a rhythmic chant,”We’re No. 1. We’re No.1.”

If they are, they can thank their poise, which never broke in the face of the famous UCLA press defense.

Houston established a 13-12 lead with 13:45 to in the first half on a basket by George Reynolds. The Cougars didn’t trail again, although (they were) tied three times.

The last came when Lucious Allen, high scorer for the Bruins with 25 points, dropped in two free throws with 44 seconds to go. The Cougars brough the ball down court and when Hayes was fouled by Jim Nielson they went ahead for good.

UCLA had one more chance, but blew it on an uncharacteristic mix up in signals in which the Bruins Mike Warren tipped the ball out of bounds. Houston took over with 12 seconds left and ran out the clock.

“Isn’t that Hayes great?” exulted Houston Coach Guy Lewis. “Almost every game he plays is great.”

“Houston played a tremendous game,” said John Wooden, coach of UCLA. “Well just have to start over again.”

 

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Thank you, Bob Green, for that beautiful job of sports writing coverage of an Astrodome event that was destined to grow in importance to the histories of both Houston Sports and College Basketball in general. Fifty years after the fact, your work speaks as eloquently today to younger people as it did in 1968 to those of us who were there then – younger people.

We are Houston. And we are strong for our history too. And to those writers, like you, who have reported our history honestly and well, we are both indebted and grateful.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle