Astros Mojo Showing Signs of a Crank Up

September 16, 2017

Charlie Morton
Houston Astros

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ASTRO*NOTES.

Charlie Morton

Ten-Year MLB veteran pitcher Charlie Morton is having his best season in 2017 as a member of the much beleaguered starting rotation of the Houston Astros. Morton’s six innings of 1-run on 5-hits to the Seattle Mariners came Friday night with a side order of 7-strikeouts and only 1-walk. Charlie’s big night pushed his 2017 season record further into the best-ever column as his W-L mark jumped to 12–7 and his ERA descended to 3.75. If the 6’5″ Morton is peaking, it is happening at just the right time. Friday’s win at MMP reduced the Astros’ AL West # to “2” and opened the door for a possible Saturday division crown clinch with a win over Seattle here in Houston and an Anaheim loss by the Angels to the Rangers later in the day.

Other Good News. The Cleveland Indians’ 4-3 loss at home to the Kansas City Royals on Friday night sealed the end of their new AL record game winning streak at 22, also dropping their lead over the Astros in the race for home field advantage in all rounds of the 2017 AL Playoffs to 1.5 games.

C’mon, Jose Altuve! Jose Altuve got a partial rest Friday, going 1 for 4 as a DH in a two-week pattern that has dropped his league-leading batting average from .368 to .347. In the meanwhile, the heated up bat of Avisail Garcia of the diminished Chicago White Sox has been doing a happy dance on pitched baseballs of late, moving his BA up to .334 – a mere .013 points back of our guy.

C’mon, Jose! Time to get your mojo working in high gear!

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AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST STANDINGS

THRU GAMES OF FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2017 

RANK AL WEST W L PCT. GB
1 ASTROS 89 58 .605  
2 ANGELS 75 72 .510 14.0
3 MARINERS 74 74 .500 15.5
4 RANGERS 72 75 .490 17.0
5 ATHLETICS 65 82 .442 24.0

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AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST GAME SCORES

THRU GAMES OF FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2017

ASTROS 5 – MARINERS 2

ANGELS 7 – RANGERS 6                 

ATHLETICS 4 – PHILLIES 0

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AMERICAN LEAGUE BATTING AVERAGE LEADERS

THRU GAMES OF FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2017

RANK PLAYER TEAM AB H 2B 3B HR BA
1 JOSE ALTUVE HOU 550 191 38 4 23 .347
2 AVISAIL GARCIA CWS 470 157 23 4 17 .334
3 ERIC HOSMER KC 552 179 29 1 24 .324
4 JOSH REDDICK HOU 452 142 31 3 13 .314
5 JOSE RAMERIZ CLE 545 171 50 6 27 .314
6 JOSE ABREU CWS 572 176 38 6 31 .308
7 JOE MAUER MIN 474 144 32 1 6 .304
NR * CARLOS CORREA HOU 373 113 20 1 20 .303
8 LORENZO CAIN KC 539 163 26 5 14 .302
9 ELVIS ANDRUS TEX 585 176 42 4 20 .301
10 JONATHAN SCHOOP BAL 567 170 33 0 32 .300
RANK OTHER TOP 40 ASTROS TEAM AB H 2B 3B HR BA
12 YULI GURRIEL HOU 481 141 36 1 17 .293
16 MARWIN GONZALEZ HOU 416 121 29 0 21 .291
17 GEORGE SPRINGER HOU 496 143 26 0 31 .288
27 ALEX BREGMAN HOU 506 142 35 5 16 .281

NR * LOST TIME ON THE DL HAS TEMPORARILY REMOVED CORREA FROM AN OFFICIAL QUALIFYING PLACE IN THE RANKING OF TOP 40 HITTERS.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

George “Showboat” Fisher: By Bill McCurdy

September 16, 2017

George “Showboat” Fisher

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George “Showboat” Fisher

Positions: Outfielder and Pinch Hitter

Bats: Left  • Throws: Right

5-10, 170 lb (178 cm, 77 kg) 

Born: January 16, 1899 in Wesley, IA us

Died: May 15, 1994 (Aged 95-119d) in St. Cloud, MN

Buried: St. Benedict Parish Cemetery, Avon, MN

George “Showboat” Fisher played professional baseball for 14 consecutive seasons from 1919 through 1933. In a 138-game, 4 year spin (1923-1932) as a major league player, he batted a hot .335 for the Washington Senators (1923-24), the St. Louis Cardinals (1930), and the St. Louis Browns (1932). Most of the upside, however, was attributable to a .374 batting average he posted in 92 games for the Cardinals in 1932. His other three more limited MLB stints sum up as: Poor 2- Mediocre 1.

Fisher was 1 for 2 with a double and a strike out in two plate appearances for the Cardinals in their losing World Series run against the Philadelphia Athletics in 1930.

Like other reasonably good players in the deep reserve clause era, Fisher played as well as he could for as long as he could, and he did manage to establish himself as a steady high .300 BA hitter in the minor leagues for most of his career.

Without people like George Fisher keeping the 1920s roar of baseball going through the heart of the country during the Great Depression Era of the1930s, some of the guys who now retire early from baseball on unfulfilled promise money would instead be still living in the real world of scrambling for rent money.

Here’s a link to the career record of George “Showboat” Fisher.

https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/f/fishesh01.shtml

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Thank you, Patrick Callahan (STHS Class of 1956), for your request, old friend. Hope this helps with your family search for more information about the late relative, George “Showboat” Fisher.

Regards,

Bill McCurdy (STHS Class of 1956)

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

 

 

Rangers Honor Beltre 3,000 Plus Hit Career

September 15, 2017

The Texas Rangers duly honored third baseman Adrian Beltre last weekend for his 3,000 hot passage season. In the process, one of our wonderful Pecan Park Eagle contributors, artist Michael Hogue, also was reflectively honored for that magnificent graphic he did of Beltre in the new company of all the other 3,000 hit club members to date.

Congratulations to Adrian Beltre, the Texas Rangers organization, and Michael Hogue – one and all – for a job well done!

That’s Mike Hogue embracing honoree Adrian Beltre in the center bottom photo of our lead graphic entry above. To be reminded of how dynamic the original Hogue work really was, check out this link to the original display of the graphic we featured in a pre-release column we did recently in The Pecan Park Eagle on Mike Hogue’s original work. If you guide your cursors over the image of each player in the larger version of our original Hogue column piece, shown here at this link, it will identify each of the members included in this rare group:

https://bill37mccurdy.com/2017/08/01/dallas-morning-news-beltre-reaches-3000-hits/

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(An Associated Press Report, September 9, 2017)

ARLINGTON, Texas — A congratulatory letter from Willie Mays and a video tribute including a request from George Brett were part of a pregame ceremony in which the Texas Rangers recognized Adrian Beltre for joining the 3,000-hit club.

The ceremony Friday night before the series opener against the New York Yankees included the reading of a letter from Mays that started, “This is Willie here. Welcome to the club.” Mays wrote that he knows it’s not an easy accomplishment and told Beltre to “keep at it” because everybody loves to watch him hit.

A video shown during the ceremony included Brett, Pedro Martinez, Paul Molitor, David Ortiz, Robinson Cano, Felix Hernandez and Nelson Cruz congratulating Beltre on becoming the 31st player, and first from the Dominican Republic, to get 3,000 hits.

“When you get 3,153 (hits), retire, and five years after you retire, I will see you in Cooperstown,” said Brett, a Hall of Famer whose 3,154 hits are the most by a third baseman.

Beltre got his 3,000th hit with a double July 30 at home against Baltimore. The third baseman has 3,035 career hits, though he hasn’t played since straining his left hamstring Aug. 31 and could miss the rest of the regular season for wild card-hopeful Texas.

“This is a little bittersweet,” Beltre said. “I’m humbled and grateful for the honor, but it would be nicer if I could go back out and play. I know it’s supposed to be at least four weeks. It’s going a little slow for my liking. I want to be optimistic, but I don’t know that I can say when I will play again.”

The Rangers presented Beltre with an ATV that was driven on the field by teammate Elvis Andrus, as well as one of the bases from the July 30 game that was signed by the entire team. There also was a proclamation from Arlington’s mayor declaring “Adrian Beltre Day” and a plaque presented on behalf of the Dominican Republic recognizing him for his achievements.

“When you have 3,000 hits every day is Adrian Beltre day,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said when addressing the crowd.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

There’s Still Time to Rise Above Mediocrity

September 15, 2017

Rogelio Armenteros
RHP, Fresno Grizzlies
8-1, 2.16 ERA

ASTRO*NOTES

Magic #. The 5-1 Astros series rubber game win over the Angels in Anaheim on Thursday has reduce the long-held Houston magic claim check on the AL West title to a measly 3. Any combination of Astro wins or Angel losses totally 3 now finally gives the long-awaited keys to the division crown to Houston.

Home Field Advantage. Houston still holds a 5-game lead over Boston in any meeting they may have in the AL Playoffs, but Cleveland continues to hold a 2.5 game lead over the Astros for home field advantage is any playoff series with the space rockers – or anyone else, for that matter. How could they not? The Tribe never loses. Last night they rallied late to beat KC, 3-2, in 10 as they expanded their AL winning streak record to 22 games. – An Upcoming Cleveland Foe Warning: Say goodbye to your scalps as you enter the ballpark where your next game with the Indians is scheduled to be played. There will not be time for goodbyes once the next massacre gets off to its inevitably whooping and hollering start.

Random Thoughts. … Brad Peacock (11-2, 2.98) was again brilliant, but like the little Dutch boy in the fairy tale, he cannot plug all the leaking holes in the Astros’ starter and relief pitching dike. …. Hope the Astro fates do not now hinge on a sensational catch in center field that only Jake Marisnick could have made. …. Wonder how A.J. Hinch feels now about all the second-guessing that’s inspired by a great team that falls into a September slump? …. I still don’t know why we lost Jeb Lowrie again after getting him back in 2015 for a second time. …. Does Dallas Keuchel ever stop to think that the growing length of his beard may be slowing his speed pitches down to more hittable acceleration levels? …. Are bench coaches sometimes capable of topical conversations that go beyond baseball? …. Jose Altuve, George Springer, and Carlos Correa all seem to be hitting walls together at just the wrong time. What’s the remedy? Rest? Or keep cranking til their engines start – or their arms and legs fall off? …. Gotta get these guys pumped again and soon. We have to build a powerful momentum, asap, and it’s not going to happen around the Astros Holy Three – without their loose as a goose participation. …. Don’t envy Hinch his job in the least. Anything he decides to do can either work for the better – or for the worse. …. Either way, the offense for now is still sucking air. …. The club has been playing mediocre baseball since the All Star Game.  From the start of the 2017 2nd half on July 14, the Astros have a record of 28 wins and 29 losses. Do that long enough and it’s easy to become the thing your club record says you are. …. And the word is mediocre. …. If possible, this is the time for the club to prove they are not …. just another flash in the pan burned out nobody special mediocre club.

How About Trying The Cuban Pitcher Down in Fresno? Take a look at the year that young Rogelio Armenteros has been having at Corpus Christi, but especially at Fresno? Wouldn’t this be a good time to see if his stuff is superior to the short-term adjustment leaning curve of major league batters as the Astros head into the playoffs with a starting rotation that contains more holes than a block of Swiss cheese? Our good friend/talent scout/ baseball minded Dr. Don Matlosz of Fresno State University may be able to bring us up to speed on this question or even point us to others among the Fresno Grizzlies who might be able to help the Astros in their hour of greatest need.

Here’s the statistical link to the page on Rogelio Armenteros:

http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?sid=t259&player_id=660494#/career/R/pitching/2017/ALL

Note to Dr. Matlosz of Fresno State University: If you have a comment on Rogelio Armenteros or any other pitcher at Fresno that you may have recommended who might be capable of stepping into this critical late season role, please drop me an e-mail and I will publish it here as an addendum scouting report by you to The Pecan Park Eagle on this pitching needs question:

A Possible Addendum: A Donald “Doc” Matlosz Fresno Pitcher Scouting Report (awaiting sender’s decision to participate): ????

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AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST STANDINGS

THRU GAMES OF THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2017

RANK AL WEST W L PCT. GB
1 ASTROS 88 58 .603  
2 ANGELS 74 72 .507 14.0
3 MARINERS 74 73 .503 14.5
4 RANGERS 72 74 .493 16.0
5 ATHLETICS 64 82 .438 24.0

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AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST GAME SCORES

THRU GAMES OF THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2017

ASTROS 5 – ANGELS 1

MARINERS 10 – RANGERS 4                 

RED SOX 6ATHLETICS 2

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AMERICAN LEAGUE BATTING AVERAGE LEADERS

THRU GAMES OF THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2017

RANK PLAYER TEAM AB H 2B 3B HR BA
1 JOSE ALTUVE HOU 546 190 38 4 23 .348
2 AVISAIL GARCIA CWS 466 155 23 4 17 .333
3 ERIC HOSMER KC 547 178 29 1 24 .325
4 JOSE RAMERIZ CLE 541 170 50 6 26 .314
5 JOSH REDDICK HOU 450 141 31 3 13 .313
6 JOSE ABREU CWS 569 175 38 6 31 .308
7 JOE MAUER MIN 471 144 32 1 6 .306
NR * CARLOS CORREA HOU 369 112 19 1 20 .304
8 ELVIS ANDRUS TEX 582 176 42 4 20 .302
9 JONATHAN SCHOOP BAL 563 170 33 0 32 .302
10 LORENZO CAIN KC 535 160 25 5 14 .299
RANK OTHER TOP 40 ASTROS TEAM AB H 2B 3B HR BA
13 MARWIN GONZALEZ HOU 412 121 29 0 21 .294
 

14

YULI GURRIEL HOU  

481

141 26 1 17 .293
18 GEORGE SPRINGER HOU 494 142 25 0 31 .287
23 ALEX BREGMAN HOU 501 142 35 5 16 .283

NR * LOST TIME ON THE DL HAS TEMPORARILY REMOVED CORREA FROM AN OFFICIAL QUALIFYING PLACE IN THE RANKING OF TOP 40 HITTERS.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

 

 

Suggestion – Don’t Start Fiers – Even in Pinch

September 14, 2017

On August 21, 2015, Mike Fiers pitched the 11th no-hitter in Astros history against the LA Dodgers. Now is not the time for him to be searching for his lost control on the mound as a starter, even in a pinch. We really do like Mike Fiers, but we don’t think this is the time or place for him to rehab his lost pitching mechanics. The cost of failure is simply too high.

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ASTRO*NOTES

The Streak. The Cleveland Indians did it again. – Their Wednesday night, 5-3, home win over the Detroit Tigers now pushes the Tribe into the AL record books all alone, establishing 21 consecutive wins, at least, for today, as the AL all time record for most consecutive wins in an uninterrupted (by losses or ties) streak sequence. The 1916 New York Giants still hold the NL mark with 26 straight wins, but that tie with Pittsburgh that paused their streak between Wins 12 and 13 still remains as the uglification of their senior league claim.

Home Field Advantage.  The Wednesday win by the Indians (90-56) and the loss by the Astros (87-58) also extended Cleveland’s lead in the race for home field advantage in the AL Playoffs to 2.5 games. …. Does anybody know all the words to Paul Simon’s “Slip-Sliding Away”?

AL West Magic #: As a result of Wednesday night’s games, the magic # for the Astros clinching the AL West title over the Angels remains at 5. Any combination of Astro wins or Angel losses that total 5 will give the AL West 1st place title to Houston.

Peaks and Valleys. As SABR friend Mike McCroskey wisely advised us all yesterday, the long baseball season is a relentless foray through peaks and valleys of high and low performance, even for the best of clubs. We may only hope that Cleveland exhausts their run through their current “Rocky Mountain High” in the next couple of weeks. – As for valley trudging, we Astro fans also need to hope that someone other than a lone Justin Verlander steps forward pretty soon to show all of his Astros teammates the way to higher terrain. We don’t need the current post-All Star Game club depression to end up being our all-too-familiar “Death Valley” parking lot of so many other previously disappointing seasons.

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AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST STANDINGS

THRU GAMES OF WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2017

RANK AL WEST W L PCT. GB
1 ASTROS 87 58 .600  
2 ANGELS 74 71 .510 13.0
3 MARINERS 73 73 .500 14.5
4 RANGERS 72 73 .497 15.0
5 ATHLETICS 64 81 .441 23.0

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AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST GAME SCORES

THRU GAMES OF WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2017

ANGELS 9 – ASTROS 1

MARINERS 8 – RANGERS 1                 

ATHLETICS 7 – RED SOX 3

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AMERICAN LEAGUE BATTING AVERAGE LEADERS

THRU GAMES OF WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2017

RANK PLAYER TEAM AB H 2B 3B HR BA
1 JOSE ALTUVE HOU 544 190 38 4 23 .349
2 AVISAIL GARCIA CWS 461 150 23 4 16 .325
3 ERIC HOSMER KC 544 177 28 1 24 .325
4 JOSH REDDICK HOU 445 139 30 3 13 .312
5 JOSE RAMERIZ CLE 537 166 48 6 26 .309
NR * CARLOS CORREA HOU 362 111 19 1 20 .307
6 JOE MAUER MIN 467 143 32 1 6 .306
7 ELVIS ANDRUS TEX 579 176 42 4 20 .304
8 JOSE ABREU CWS 564 171 38 6 31 .303
9 JONATHAN SCHOOP BAL 560 169 33 0 31 .302
10 LORENZO CAIN KC 531 160 25 5 14 .301
RANK OTHER TOP 40 ASTROS TEAM AB H 2B 3B HR BA
12 MARWIN GONZALEZ HOU 408 119 28 0 21 .292
15 GEORGE SPRINGER HOU 489 142 25 0 31 .290
17 YULI GURRIEL HOU 477 138 36 1 17 .289
21 t ALEX BREGMAN HOU 497 141 34 5 16 .284

NR * LOST TIME ON THE DL HAS TEMPORARILY REMOVED CORREA FROM AN OFFICIAL QUALIFYING PLACE IN THE RANKING OF TOP 40 HITTERS.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

 

 

 

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John Orsino: A Profile by David E. Skelton

September 13, 2017

Prepare for an historical treat, Pecan Park Eagle Readers. David E. Skelton is one of the most skilled and thorough researchers of baseball history we’ve ever had the good fortune to encounter as a reader. We genuinely think that your second serving of his work here likely will be most welcomed too as a fine follow up to the great article we also published here recently that David so beautifully wrote about the Astros’ great defensive shortstop, Roger Metzger.

Relax and enjoy, folks. You are about to learn more about the athletic history of former MLB player John Orsino than 80% of his blood family line even knows.

And thank you, David E. Skelton, for taking The Pecan Park Eagle on an even higher ride through the skies of baseball history. We are most pleased to having you with us as an independent contributing writer – and we look forward to reading more of your work in the future.

~ Bill McCurdy, Owner, Publisher, and Editor, The Pecan Park Eagle

 

JOHN ORSINO

By David E. Skelton

 

In 1964, Baltimore Orioles GM Larry MacPhail, enthralled with his club’s 26-year-old catcher, claimed, “[A]ll the ‘Orioles need to be a big winner is nine John Orsinos. That boy has the winning spirit.”[i] Two years later, following Orsino’s trade to the Washington Senators, coach George Susce echoed MacPhail by saying, “Orsino is in the ballgame at all times. He’s like the old-fashioned catcher. He runs the game and that’s the way it should be.”[ii]

These quotes came after the 1963 season, Orsino’s best in the major leagues. The sentiments expressed anticipated a rapid rebound after knee and wrist ailments, followed by a debilitating elbow injury that eventually brought an end to Orsino’s career. After retiring in 1969, the talented athlete eventually launched a second career as a professional golfer.

John Joseph Orsino was born on April 22, 1938, the only child of John and Helen (Higgins) Orsino, in Teaneck, a crowded township 20 miles north of Newark in Bergen County, New Jersey. His mother was a native of Scotland while his paternal grandfather, Joseph Orsino, was an Italian immigrant who arrived in the United States around the turn of the twentieth century. In 1940, John’s father supported the family as a baker’s assistant. They lived a quarter-mile west of the Hackensack River in a rented house next to a park.

Orsino attended Fort Lee (New Jersey) High School. Nicknamed Horse for his considerable physique (he was listed at 6-feet-3, 215 pounds during his professional career), Orsino occupied a large presence on the prep-school athletic fields.[iii] He was a standout in baseball and football – he would be inducted into the Fort Lee High School Athletic Hall of Fame for his gridiron accomplishments – but Orsino’s first passion was on the diamond. He drew some interest from major-league scouts and college recruiters but was never offered a professional contract or scholarship. In 1956, shortly after his high-school graduation, Orsino attended a Brooklyn Dodgers tryout at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City (the Dodgers’ part-time home that season). He was selected along with future major-league third baseman Bob Aspromonte and 17 other recent high-school graduates to participate in a 22-game charity baseball tour in the New York City area. When the tour ended with no contract tendered, Orsino enrolled at the University of Bridgeport (Connecticut).

After an 11-year major-league career, former New York Giants All-Star outfielder Willard Marshall retired to Bergen County, New Jersey (one report suggests he lived in Fort Lee). He began scouting for the Giants and quickly took an interest in Orsino. In 1957, with one year of collegiate ball under his belt, the youngster inked a $40,000 bonus to sign with the Giants. Possessing a large network of Class-D affiliates, the organization assigned Orsino to the Michigan City (Indiana) White Caps in the Midwest League. With an impressive roster sprinkled with future All-Stars Matty Alou and Manny Mota, Orsino made an immediate impact. On June 6, his grand slam helped lead the White Caps to a 15-4 win over the Clinton Pirates. Three weeks later Orsino was the first player in the short-lived history of the White Caps to blast a homer over the club’s left-field wall in Ames Field, a towering blow that cleared the 20-foot-high scoreboard atop the wall. In a poll of the league fans, Orsino was selected to the circuit’s all-star team. He placed among the league leaders with 20 homers and 79 RBIs but finished the season with a meager .223 average and a disturbingly high 91 strikeouts in 408 at-bats. Equally disturbing were his 40 passed balls and 29 errors.

In 1958, Orsino continued his offensive blitz with the Class-C Northern League’s St. Cloud (Minnesota) Rox. On May 1 he collected five RBIs in a 22-2 win over the Aberdeen Pheasants. Two weeks later Orsino clubbed four homers over two days – including a grand slam on May 17 – in the Rox’s two successive 14-run wins against the Duluth-Superior White Sox. Orsino and four of his teammates escaped serious injury on June 7 when the station wagon they were in flipped over after blowing a rear tire. All five walked away from the harrowing incident unscathed. With a near-league-leading .354 average in July, Orsino was selected to the Northern League’s all-star team in a poll of the circuit’s managers, umpires, and sportswriters. Though he slowed in the final weeks of the season, Orsino’s .292/.368/.499 slash line helped the Rox to their first pennant in eight years. He also cut down on strikeouts. (There was no discernible improvement on defense.)

John Orsino
San Francisco Giants
1961-62

The Giants, seemingly focused solely on Orsino’s offensive strides, jumped the youngster to the Triple-A Pacific Coast League’s Phoenix Giants to start the 1959 season. On April 26 Orsino delivered a grand slam in an 8-4 win over the Seattle Rainiers. A week later he was carrying a hefty .386 average. But an ensuing slump, combined with Orsino’s continued challenges behind the plate (10 passed balls in 22 appearances), resulted in an assignment to the Class-B Eugene Emeralds in the Northwest League. On July 18 Orsino, who thrived in bases-loaded situations, hit a grand slam in a 22-0 rout of the Tri-City Braves. He placed among the team leaders in nearly every offensive category while spending nearly one-third of the season at first base. Orsino also collected four triples and his first career stolen base, a surprising yield for the slow-footed slugger. In October Orsino was selected as the aggregate Class-B-C-D catcher in a poll by the National Association of Baseball Writers. He continued his offensive assault over the winter in the Florida Instructional League.

Orsino was initially targeted to return to Triple A in 1960 before Tom Haller, another promising catching prospect, made the leap from Class A to the PCL. Orsino was assigned to the Double-A Texas League’s Rio Grande Valley Giants in Harlingen, Texas, where he shared the catching duties with left-handed-hitting prospect Albert Stieglitz. The pair accounted for a combined 31 homers and 96 RBIs to help lead the club to a pennant in its only full season of existence. Orsino’s all-star campaign included near-league-leading marks in home runs (21) and slugging percentage (.586). Moreover, with his improved defense – five errors and six passed balls in 88 games – Orsino was projected as a late-season call-up by the Giants. But his anticipated promotion was scrapped when Orsino was called up to the US Army Reserve for a six-month stint. The unfortunate timing was assuaged by the National Association of Baseball Writers which, for the second straight year, selected Orsino as a national all-star catcher, this time at the Double-A level.

With his military service extending through March 24, 1961, Orsino was a late report to the Giants spring training. Working hard in the limited time available, he made an immediate and strong impression upon manager Al Dark. On April 2, when Orsino was assigned to the Tacoma Giants in the PCL during the last round of cuts, the rookie skipper mourned the youngster’s departure: “It’s hard to cut any man off a squad who has given 100 percent effort.”[iv]

Orsino wasted no time making his presence known in Tacoma. On May 5 he came off the bench to deliver a two-out, game-tying homer in the ninth inning and, three innings later, ignited a three-run rally in an 8-5 win over the Spokane Indians. Six weeks later, after being sidelined by injury for a period, Orsino delivered two two-run homers in a 6-4 win against the Vancouver Mounties. On July 13 the Giants assigned rookie catcher Tom Haller, struggling with a .145 average in 62 at-bats, to Tacoma and recalled Orsino. The club having relocated to San Francisco three years earlier, on July 14, 1961, Orsino made his major-league debut in the Golden Gate City’s Candlestick Park as the Giants starting catcher against the Pittsburgh Pirates. In his second at-bat, in the fourth inning, Orsino reached base on a run-scoring error by Pirates third baseman Don Hoak. He also committed a fourth-inning throwing error and a fifth-inning passed ball, neither of which proved crucial in the Giants’ 6-4 loss. The next day Orsino collected his first major-league hit, a fifth-inning RBI single against Pirates left-hander Harvey Haddix that tied the score. He moved to third on a double by shortstop Jose Pagan and scored on a bases-loaded single by second baseman Joey Amalfitano. This time Orsino was flawless behind the plate in the Giants’ 8-3 win.

On July 23 Orsino hit his first major-league home run, a towering blast to deep left field in Cincinnati’s Crosley Field during an 11-2 loss to the Reds. The homer was one of two hits he collected against left-hander Jim O’Toole that ignited a 10-game hitting streak and lifted Orsino to a .279 average. On August 23 he came to bat twice in a record-setting 12-run ninth inning against the Reds and contributed the last of the team’s five home runs to tie a major-league record; his was a three-run blast against reliever Bill Henry. Splitting the catching duties with veteran backstops Ed Bailey and Hobie Landrith, Orsino made his contributions felt behind the plate. On July 27 he was on the receiving end of a five-hit shutout by Giants right-hander Juan Marichal. Pleased by the results of the pairing, manager Al Dark put Orsino at catcher in Marichal’s next start, a one-hit shutout against Los Angeles Dodgers. The battery remained intact through Marichal’s next seven starts, during which the future Hall of Famer collected five wins, including a three-hit shutout against the Reds.

The 1961 NL pennant race consisted largely of the Giants’ and Dodgers’ failed pursuit of the first-place Reds. Over the last weeks of the season, Dark attempted to close the gap by inserting All-Star receiver Ed Bailey behind the plate almost exclusively. On September 25, two days after the club had been officially eliminated, Orsino got his only starting assignment of the month. He collected three RBIs on two home runs and a single in leading the Giants to a 10-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. Both homers were to left field, one of them a mammoth two-run drive in the fifth inning that struck the top of the roof in Philadelphia’s Connie Mack Stadium. When the team departed Philadelphia to finish their few remaining games on the road, Orsino bade his teammates goodbye and returned to New Jersey to prepare for his second stint in the Army Reserve. Stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Orsino was expected to be lost to the Giants for a year.

In January 1962, with the nation months removed from the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion, President John F. Kennedy activated two new Regular Army divisions. The move spelled a potential early release for all servicemen in the National Guard and reserve units. In May Orsino reported to Tacoma after securing a 30-day leave (eventually extended to six weeks). In what amounted to his spring training, Orsino collected three doubles and two singles in his first six at-bats of the season. On June 9 he had a perfect 4-for-4 day at the plate, including a homer and a double, to lead Tacoma to a 7-3 win over the San Diego Padres. When he returned to Fort Campbell, Orsino left the PCL with seven hits in his final 14 at-bats while tied for the league lead with 10 home runs.

Orsino was discharged on July 13. That same day the Giants sold reserve catcher Joe Pignatano to the New York Mets to clear roster space. But the re-emergence of Haller, who platooned behind the plate with Bailey throughout the year (the pair accounted for 35 home runs on the power-laden club) spelled little play for Orsino. In a season in which every win proved crucial in a very tight pennant race, Orsino contributed a pinch-hit RBI bunt single to tie an August 4 game against the Pirates and came around to score the winning run after one out. Three weeks later his 10th-inning single ignited a two-out rally in a 2-1 win over the Mets. On October 4, after the Giants had eliminated the Dodgers in a three-game playoff, Orsino entered the top of the ninth inning in Game One of the World Series as a defensive replacement. He came to bat against New York Yankees ace left-hander Whitey Ford in the bottom half and grounded into a double play. It proved to be Orsino’s only postseason appearance. He moved on to winter ball in the Puerto Rican League where he competed for the circuit’s Triple Crown before being called home due to his mother’s illness.

On several occasions after Orsino’s military discharge the Yankees had inquired about the catcher’s availability. Instead on December 15, shortly before his return from Puerto Rico, the Giants traded Orsino to the Baltimore Orioles with pitchers Mike McCormick and Stu Miller for catcher Jimmie Coker and hurlers Jack Fisher and Billy Hoeft. Dubbed the Orioles’ “hottest prize of [the] transaction” by The Sporting News contributor Doug Brown, Orsino garnered instant praise from GM Lee MacPhail: “[T]he Oriole catching, headed by [recently acquired backstop Dick] Brown and Orsino, ‘has been strengthened for some time to come.’”[v]

John Orsino
Baltimore Orioles
1963-65

Orsino lived up to his offensive billing with a team-leading 12 RBIs in the first 16 spring training games. His work behind the plate was another matter. “[He’s] a bit crude defensively,” MacPhail admitted.[vi] On April 8, when the regular season opened, strong-armed backstop Dick Brown was behind the plate. Orsino made his first appearance nine days later in an impressive manner with a fifth-inning two-run homer to help lead the team to a 5-4 win over the Boston Red Sox. After the Orioles won eight of their next 11 games started by Orsino, he was acknowledged as the number-one catcher. Platooned briefly in June when he went 7-for-53, Orsino came charging back in July with a .367-4-11 line in his next 60 at-bats to reclaim the starting job. Beginning July 20, he replaced Jim Gentile as the club’s cleanup hitter when the first baseman’s hitting collapsed. Except for two games in September when outfielder Boog Powell was tried in the number-four hole, Orsino remained in the cleanup spot the rest of the season. He finished with a team-leading .475 slugging percentage while also accumulating career-best marks in runs (53), hits (103), doubles (18), homers (19), and RBIs (56). The slow-footed runner – “You run like you have someone on your back,” coach Hank Bauer told him[vii] — Orsino even snuck in two stolen bases during the season. Crowding the plate, he also placed among the league leaders with nine HBP. Though he continued to struggle defensively, Orsino managed to place among the league leaders in baserunners caught stealing (16), including a successful peg of Chicago White Sox infielder Al Weis on September 25 that ended the speedster’s consecutive stolen-base string dating to the 1962 season.

In February 1964, Orsino was one of several key players unsigned by the Orioles as MacPhail appears to have sent out miser-like contracts during the offseason. (The club was haggling with Orsino over an approximate $4,000, a mere pittance in comparison to ballplayers’ salaries just one decade later.) Shortly after the sides came together, Orsino was sidelined by a dislocated finger suffered from a foul tip in an intra-squad game. On March 30, on his first swing in Grapefruit League competition, Orsino connected with a home run. Nine days later he collected a triple and two doubles to lead the Orioles to an 8-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds. This success carried into the regular season as Orsino had nine hits, including two homers, and six RBIs in his first 22 at-bats.

Far less success ensued as Orsino began struggling with a rash of injuries. He played through a wrist injury to his right hand that saw his batting average tumble more than 100 points. On May 24 Orsino suffered a hairline fracture in his left hand while sliding into third base. Moved onto the disabled list, he insisted on forgoing surgery and returned to the lineup on June 16. “Now all I have to do is learn how to slide,” he cracked upon his return.[viii] But the injury was no laughing matter. Orsino managed a meager 14 hits in 77 at-bats through July and was relegated to pinch-hitting duties. He recovered sufficiently to return to the lineup in mid-August and platooned with Dick Brown through the rest of the season. On September 12, in a duel of one-hitters with the Kansas City Athletics, Orsino collected an eighth-inning leadoff double against left-hander Bob Meyer and came around to score the only run in a 1-0 win. Six days later he connected for a homer – only his second in three months – in a 10-8 win over the Los Angeles Angels. The late surge was not enough to make up for his earlier malaise as Orsino finished the season with a disappointing .222/.290/.359 slash line in 248 at-bats. On November 4, after putting it off for six months, Orsino had surgery to repair his damaged left hand.

The surgery proved a success when Orsino placed among the team leaders with a .333 average in the 1965 Grapefruit League season. His torrid pace continued into the regular season with four home runs – including an 11th-inning game-winning drive against the Washington Senators on April 21 – eight RBIs and 15 hits in his first 50 at-bats. (He was robbed of a fifth homer on April 17 on a leaping catch against the right-field fence by Red Sox outfielder Tony Conigliaro.) On May 2 Orsino delivered a decisive 10th-inning RBI single to lead the Orioles to a 4-2 win over the Yankees. Two weeks later he collected three RBIs on a homer and two singles in a 9-2 win over the Yankees. Significantly, Orsino began this game at first base due to a sore right elbow. He did not disclose until July that the injury had been plaguing him since spring training. Much as he tried to do in 1964, Orsino attempted to play through the injury with the same disappointing results. Over an eight-game span through June 8 he started just one game, and two months later he was relegated largely to pinch-hitting duties. “When someone told Orsino he was ‘looking good,’ the [sharp-witted] catcher replied, ‘Except when I play.’”[ix] On August 28, in what proved to be his last game of the season, Orsino pinch-hit against the Senators in the seventh inning and moved behind the plate through the remainder. Sidelined for the rest of the year, he had a pedestrian .233/.313/.409 line in 232 at-bats.

John Orsino
Washington Senators
1966-67

Senators GM George Selkirk had inquired of Orsino over several seasons in hopes of filling the turnstile that was the club’s catching. On October 12, nine days after the season ended, the Orioles traded him to Washington for outfielder Woodie Held. The move was welcome relief to Orsino. “I asked to go and I’m happy – very happy – about the deal,” he said. “I think [the Orioles] lost confidence in me and there was nothing I could do about it.”[x] Days after the trade, Orsino reported to the Senators’ Florida Instructional League squad to get a jump on rehabilitating his elbow.

In February 1966, shortly after returning to New Jersey, Orsino married Terese Joyce Gentile (no relation to Jim Gentile), a fellow Garden State native three years his junior. The union would produce a daughter, Jeryl, and a son, John, before dissolving in divorce in 1974.

The extra work in Florida yielded promising results when Orsino rebounded with a strong performance during the Senators’ 1966 spring training. But a week before the start of the season, his elbow gave out again. Relegated to pinch-hitting duties and an occasional fill-in at first base, Orsino got just 21 at-bats through the first four weeks of the season. In May, while the club was in Cleveland, he had surgery in Washington to remove a large cyst in the nerve region of the elbow. Returning to the club two months later, on July 24 Orsino made only his second appearance behind the plate. The outing proved short-lived when his elbow swelled after a second inning at-bat. Following a second trip to the disabled list, Orsino was optioned to the Double-A York (Pennsylvania) White Roses. On August 17 he made his first and last career appearance in the Eastern League. Three weeks later, after getting just 23 at-bats from their hoped-for starting catcher, the Senators reached a cash settlement with the Orioles for the “damaged goods” they’d received.

The 1967 script played out nearly the same when, after another strong spring training, Orsino suffered another injury – this time a broken finger – within days of the start of the season. Assigned to the Hawaii Islanders in the PCL, Orsino was content to abandon catching altogether in favor of first base. On April 15, in his first game with the Islanders, he delivered a two-run homer in a 15-2 win over the Indianapolis Indians. But injury soon followed. On May 10 Orsino underwent surgery to remove calcium deposits and scar tissue from his right elbow. He returned to the lineup on July 17 only to reinjure the elbow the next day. Despite his meager .217/.288/.348 line in 46 at-bats, the Senators selected Orsino among the late-season call-ups. On September 10, in what proved to be his last major-league appearance Orsino, pinch-hitting for first baseman Dick Nen, struck out against Angels left-hander George Brunet.

In the spring of 1968, Orsino was assigned to the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons (International League). The cold weather affected his arm and, after playing only one game for the Bisons, he requested a move to a warmer clime. Assigned to the Class-AA Savannah Senators in the Southern League, Orsino dreamt of a return to the majors when, after 144 at-bats, he led the circuit with a.354 batting average. “For the first time in three years I can throw without pain … [and] I’ve been hitting well,” he said. “I feel I deserve a chance to come back. … Now that I no longer have pain in my arm, no one seems to know where I am.”[xi] When the calls did not come, Orsino anxiously awaited the postseason expansion draft to no avail.

In January 1969, the International League’s Syracuse Chiefs, anticipating the loss of catching prospect Thurman Munson to a six-month Army Reserve stint, acquired Orsino from the Senators for minor-league infielder Joseph Mackey. When Munson returned to the club in June, Orsino was traded to the Portland Beavers, the Cleveland Indians’ affiliate in the PCL. He retired after the season and returned to his Fort Lee, New Jersey, home.

In a poll of nationwide sportswriters taken in April 1964, Orsino was tabbed as the Orioles player possessing the “Best Managerial Material.”[xii] The poll proved prescient when Orsino launched a 10-year career as a manager at the collegiate and professional levels. From 1970 to 1976, and returning for one season in 1980, he guided the Fairleigh Dickinson University baseball team (from Teaneck) to 119 wins (the second highest total in the school’s history). Nine of his Knights players would go on to play professionally.[xiii] During his tenure at the university, Orsino resumed his college education and received a bachelor’s degree in business management. In 1977 his career came full circle when he managed Cleveland’s Jersey City Indians in the Eastern League; the team’s home field, Roosevelt Stadium, was the same location where he attended a Dodgers tryout two decades earlier. In 1978 Orsino followed the Double-A team to Chattanooga, where he managed until he was fired on July 22. Though he had little success as a professional manager (a .368 winning percentage in 280 games), Orsino helped usher the careers of future major leaguers Jim Clancy and Chris Bando among others.

While managing, Orsino began pursuing a second lifelong passion: golf. After moving to Florida in the 1970s, he became the assistant golf pro at the Foxcroft Country Club in Miramar. Over the following two decades Orsino moved back-and-forth between New Jersey and Florida where he worked as the head pro for the Emerson (New Jersey) Country Club and the Indian Springs Country Club in Boynton Beach, Florida. In 2004, Orsino became the men’s golf coach at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.[xiv] A decade later, his son John qualified as a PGA apprentice after following his father into the professional ranks.

John Orsino
Washington Senators
1966-67

On November 2, 2016, five months before his 79th birthday, Orsino died in Sunny Isles Beach, a barrier island in northeast Miami-Dade County. In the preceding two years, he had been struggling with varied health issues. Orsino was survived by his second wife, Honey Scriffignano, two children, and three grandchildren.

In 1964, after he suffered the first of a series of injuries that would plague him throughout his playing career, Orsino admitted, “It was my mental attitude, not [the injury], that messed me up. I lost confidence in my ability to hit.”[xv] It took four years before Orsino regained that confidence while playing in Triple-A ball, by which time he was largely overlooked. Over a seven-year major-league career Orsino had 40 homers, 123 RBIs and 252 hits in 1,014 at-bats. Much more had appeared in store when he arrived on the big-league stage.

Sources

In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author consulted Ancestry.com and Baseball-Reference.com. The author wishes to thank the Orsino family and SABR members Bill Mortell and Rod Nelson, chair of the SABR Scouts Committee for their valuable assistance. Further thanks are extended to Len Levin for review and edit of the narrative.

Notes

[i] “Fiery MacPhail Hurls Barbs at Gotham Banquet,” The Sporting News, February 15, 1964: 18.

[ii] “Senators May Be ‘Poor Folks,’ but Orsino Thinks They’re Tops,” The Sporting News, March 26, 1966: 20.

[iii] “Johnny Orsino,” NJSports.com. Accessed December 31, 2016 (bit.ly/2iPxPlp ).

[iv] “Dark Cuts Giants’ Roster to 28, Drops Five Players,” The Sporting News, April 12, 1961: 18.

[v] “Orioles, Giants Gamble on Six-Player Trade,” The Sporting News, December 29, 1962: 7.

[vi] Ibid.

[vii] “Hats Off: John Orsino,” The Sporting News, September 28, 1963: 17.

[viii] “Medical Miracle – Orsino’s Sore Hand as Good as New,” The Sporting News, July 4, 1964: 9.

[ix] “Generous Orioles Giving Away Runs,” The Sporting News, August 14, 1965: 16.

[x] “Deal for Held Climaxes Three-Year Bird Quest,” The Sporting News, October 23, 1965: 8.

[xi] “Addie’s Atoms by Bob Addie,” The Sporting News, July 13, 1968: 16.

[xii] “Scribes’ Slants on A.L. Players,” The Sporting News, April 25, 1964: 12.

[xiii] “Remembering John Orsino, FDU Knights Head Coach 1970-’76, 1980,” The Fairleigh Dickinson University Baseball Alumni Newsletter, November 11, 2016. Accessed December 31, 2016 (//bit.ly/2hEy1I1 ).

[xiv] “Men’s Golf: Johnny Orsino,” Florida Atlantic Owls. Accessed December 31, 2016 (bit.ly/2hErnRU ).

[xv] “Confidence Jolted – Orsino Pinning ’65 Hopes on Surgery,” The Sporting News, November 7, 1964: 6.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Beat Goes On; Tribe Racks Record-Tying #20

September 13, 2017

First fell Custer,
Bums and Braves.
Next up Astros?
Dodgers? Knaves?

 

We’ll find out sooner than we may wish to know, but for now, the Cleveland Indians are making a mark that may stand for quite a while in the MLB team record books. By putting another hurt on the Detroit Tigers by 2-0 on Tuesday night, the Tribe stretched their current winning streak to an AL record-tying 20 games, matching the 2002 Oakland Athletics, and standing together, at least, for today, as a tie for the 2nd best winning streak in the MLB since the 1916 New York Giants of he NL recorded 26 consecutive September wins without a defeat.

What most sources don’t tell you, however, is that the Giant record “streak” of 1916 was interrupted by a 1-1 tie game with Pittsburgh on 9/18/16. I don’t know the reason. Round up the usual suspects from that era and pick one: darkness or rain. – The sequence, completely stated, was that the Giants won 12, tied a game, and then continued to win 14 more before losing for the first time since they started compiling 26 wins on all of the previous 27 times they took the field and played a game that never included a loss.

So, if that 1916 Giant tie-blight sort of contaminates your idea of a pure streak, as it does my own, the true record might be listed more clearly as 21. And that one is owned by two NL representative clubs, the 1880 White Sox and the 1935 Cubs. Also tied for the 20-win mark on the MLB level are the St. Louis Maroons of the American Association and the Providence Grays of the National League, who both pulled their long win runs in the same 1884 season.

The Cleveland win kept their home field advantage lead over the Astro at 1.5 games in spite of the brilliant 8-inning, 1-hit shutout job that Justin Verlander did on the Angels with some 9th inning help from closer Giles, some great fielding, and a whole heaping helping of baseball gods luck.

The ALW division-clinching number for the Astros over the 2nd place Angels now drops to 5.

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AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST STANDINGS

THRU GAMES OF TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2017 

RANK AL WEST W L PCT. GB
1 ASTROS 87 57 .604  
2 ANGELS 73 71 .507 14.0
3 RANGERS 72 72 .500 15.0
4 MARINERS 72 73 .497 15.5
5 ATHLETICS 63 81 .438 24

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AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST GAME SCORES

THRU GAMES OF TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2017

ASTROS 1 – ANGELS 0

MARINERS 10 – RANGERS 3                 

RED SOX 11 – ATHLETICS 1

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AMERICAN LEAGUE BATTING AVERAGE LEADERS

THRU GAMES OF TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2017

RANK PLAYER TEAM AB H 2B 3B HR BA
1 JOSE ALTUVE HOU 542 189 38 4 23 .349
2 ERIC HOSMER KC 540 177 28 1 24 .328
3 AVISAIL GARCIA CWS 456 147 22 4 16 .322
4 JOSH REDDICK HOU 445 139 30 3 13 .312
5 JOSE RAMERIZ CLE 534 165 47 6 26 .309
NR * CARLOS CORREA HOU 362 111 19 1 20 .307
6 JOSE ABREU CWS 560 171 38 6 31 .305
7 ELVIS ANDRUS TEX 575 175 41 4 20 .304
8 JOE MAUER MIN 462 140 32 1 6 .303
9 JONATHAN SCHOOP BAL 556 167 33 0 31 .300
10 LORENZO CAIN KC 527 158 25 5 14 .300
RANK OTHER TOP 40 ASTROS TEAM AB H 2B 3B HR BA
13 GEORGE SPRINGER HOU 486 142 25 0 31 .292
14 MARWIN GONZALEZ HOU 408 119 28 0 21 .292
16 t YULI GURRIEL HOU 476 138 36 1 17 .290
22 ALEX BREGMAN HOU 493 140 34 5 16 .284

NR * LOST TIME ON THE DL HAS TEMPORARILY REMOVED CORREA FROM AN OFFICIAL QUALIFYING PLACE IN THE RANKING OF TOP 40 HITTERS.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

Indians Drum Extends to 19 Beats

September 12, 2017

Watch Out! ~ Here Comes The Spirit of the 1948 Indians!

 

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Hope still floats – in spite of the “Nightmare Weekend on Oakland Street!”

While the Astros took their much needed day off Monday prior to tonight’s series opener against the Angels in Anaheim, the Cleveland Indians stayed voraciously busy, knocking off the Detroit Tigers, 11-0, at home. It was the Tribe’s 19th straight win and it increased their lead over the Astros for AL home field advantage thru the playoffs to 1.5 games.

If there’s a u-turn lane on this going-south-fast parkway, the Houston Astros better find it soon. Otherwise, it’s back to our usual Houston MLB fate of making our routine peace with the fact that, if it’s a World Series victory we Houston fans want, it isn’t going to happen again this year.

Come on, Mr. Verlander, even if we do know that you can’t do it all, please pump our hopes in your start against the Angels tonight.

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AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST STANDINGS

THRU GAMES OF MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2017 

RANK AL WEST W L PCT. GB
1 ASTROS 86 57 .601  
2 ANGELS 73 70 .510 13.0
3 RANGERS 72 71 .503 14.0
4 MARINERS 71 73 .493 15.5
5 ATHLETICS 63 80 .441 23

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AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST GAME SCORES

THRU GAMES OF MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2017

RANGERS 5 – MARINERS 3                 

ASTROS (day off for general wound-licking of arms and egos)

ANGELS (day off for pre-Astros series pitcher-bash-planning)

ATHLETICS (day off for championship imagery workshop)

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AMERICAN LEAGUE BATTING AVERAGE LEADERS

THRU GAMES OF MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2017

RANK PLAYER TEAM AB H 2B 3B HR BA
1 JOSE ALTUVE HOU 538 189 38 4 23 .351
2 ERIC HOSMER KC 534 175 27 1 24 .328
3 AVISAIL GARCIA CWS 447 144 22 4 16 .322
4 JOSH REDDICK HOU 441 139 30 3 13 .315
NR* CARLOS CORREA HOU 358 110 19 1 20 .307
5 JOSE RAMERIZ CLE 529 162 47 6 25 .306
6 JOSE ABREU CWS 555 170 38 6 31 .306
7 ELVIS ANDRUS TEX 572 175 41 4 20 .306
8 JOE MAUER MIN 458 139 32 1 6 .303
9 JONATHAN SCHOOP BAL 552 167 33 0 31 .303
10 LORENZO CAIN KC 527 158 25 5 14 .300
RANK OTHER TOP 40 ASTROS TEAM AB H 2B 3B HR BA
12 MARWIN GONZALEZ HOU 404 119 28 0 21 .295
14 GEORGE SPRINGER HOU 482 141 25 0 31 .293
19 YULI GURRIEL HOU 473 136 36 1 17 .288
21 T ALEX BREGMAN HOU 490 139 34 5 16 .284

NR * LOST TIME ON THE DL HAS TEMPORARILY REMOVED CORREA FROM AN OFFICIAL QUALIFYING PLACE IN THE RANKING OF TOP 40 HITTERS.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

 

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A “Times Have Changed” Pictorial

September 12, 2017

 

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Back in the Day. It seems like everybody either smoked or chewed – or smoked and chewed.  You could even catch a few players stealing a few puffs in the dugouts at times, at least, in a few of the minor league games I grew up watching at Buff Stadium in Houston. And, coming out of the 12 noon Sunday Mass at St. Christopher’s in Park Place, we kids had to stay out-of-the-way of the dad smokers stampede for the great outdoors and that first post-services smoking hit of the Lord’s Day afternoon.

People smoked everywhere, even lighting up on a closed full elevator. Insensitivity to the impact of smoking on others was the norm, as was throwing a used up cigarette butt on the floor of a retail store or restaurant and then, just maybe, stepping on it to be sure the flame was out.

Add drunkenness and drunk driving to the mixture of behaviors that were acceptable on weekends, holidays, and times of celebration or commiseration, and, well, you pretty much have a nut-shell picture of how the high tide of good-times floated in our culture through the 1950s and 1960s on our bungling way through the civil rights movement era, Viet Nam, and the so-called war on drugs period of the late 20th century.

Times have changed. We are all still far away from unattainable perfection, but so what? We are still a whole lot better – and worse – than we used to be. We’ve just altered the ways in which we look at better and worse.

At least, we’re not out there at Minute Maid Park in 2017, creating the same kind of smoky blue haze that we used to generate for every game played at the Astrodome during its early years.

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

Oakland Romp is Tribute to Parity in 2017

September 11, 2017

Could the 1927 Browns have done to the 1927 Yankees what the 2017 A’s just did to the 2017 Astros? Nor likely. – Talent parity is far better today.

 

Astros*Notes

The A’s did it, finishing the 4-game, first-time ever, series sweep of the Astros by 10-2, producing some tabs worthy of a baseball house of horrors

For the A’s: 4 wins in 4 tries; 41 runs on 51 hits – and 11 homers!

A’s 11 HR in 4-Game Series vs. Astros, Sep. 8-10, 2017

HR#/G# INN BATTER B L/R RUNS 0UTS PITCHER T L/R
1/1 2nd Matt Chapman BR 2 1 Collin McHugh TR
2/1 3rd Matt Joyce BL 1 0 Collin McHugh TR
3/1 7TH Marcus Semien BR 4 0 Luke Gregerson TR
4/1 9th Boog Powell BL 1 0 Ben Giles TR
5/3 6TH Matt Olson BL 2 0 Brad Peacock TR
6/3 7TH Chad Pinder BR 1 2 Chris Devenski TR
7/3 8TH Chad Pinder BR 3 2 Michael Feliz TR
8/4 5TH Matt Chapman BR 1 0 Dallas Keuchel TL
9/4 7TH Ryan Healy BR 2 1 Francis Martes TR
10/4 8th Boog Powell BL 2 2 Luke Gregerson TR
11/4 8TH Matt Olson BL 2 2 Tony Sipp TL

Two Basic Observations from the Chart’s Data:

(There are many others there, simply awaiting your own excavations.)

1.) 7 of of the 11 HR were yielded by relievers;

2.) 21 of the 41 total runs scored by the A’s came on these charted long balls;

One Overlayed Subjective Observation:

This series screams at the overall parity of talent that spreads today from MLB’s alleged best to worst teams. The 1927 St. Louis Browns never could have done this kind of job in a series with the 1927 New York Yankees if you had spotted them four strikes and four outs per inning. The talent simply was not there within the Browns to get the job done. Assuming that to be true, it does make it easier for a new ownership of a failed performance franchise today to sell the idea to fans that a quick return to serious competition is both possible and probable – with good management and money thrown at the identified solutions. Back in the 1920s, clubs like the A’s did what the old Browns and Senators also actually did. They survived by selling their best players, simply to pay the rent and light bills.

The Damage Tab to the Juice that Squeezed from Houston Strong/Verlander:

Plans for purchasing the Buffalo Bayou Bridge at the foot of Main and painting it orange and deep blue in honor of the 2017 World Series Champions, the Houston Astros, have been put on serious hold.

Three Positive Getaway Thoughts:

  1. The Astros will not lose today. Monday is a day off;
  2. No matter what, as always, the sun will come up tomorrow, just as it did today, as long as our personal time is not up; and,
  3. The hope for something beautiful is the future’s gift to the present.

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AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST STANDINGS

THRU GAMES OF SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2017 

RANK AL WEST W L PCT. GB
1 ASTROS 86 57 .601  
2 ANGELS 73 70 .510 13.0
3 RANGERS 71 71 .500 14.5
4 MARINERS 71 72 .497 15.0
5 ATHLETICS 63 80 .441 23

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AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST GAME SCORES

THRU GAMES OF SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2017

 ATHLETICS 10 – ASTROS 2

 YANKEES 16 – RANGERS 7                 

 ANGELS 5 – MARINERS 3

AMERICAN LEAGUE BATTING AVERAGE LEADERS

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BATTING AVERAGE LEADERS

THRU GAMES OF SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2017

RANK PLAYER TEAM AB H 2B 3B HR BA
1 JOSE ALTUVE HOU 538 189 38 4 23 .351
2 ERIC HOSMER KC 534 175 27 1 24 .328
3 AVISAIL GARCIA CWS 447 144 22 4 16 .322
4 JOSH REDDICK HOU 441 139 30 3 13 .315
NR* CARLOS CORREA HOU 532 164 48 6 25 .307
5 JOSE RAMERIZ CLE 529 162 47 6 25 .306
6 ELVIS ANDRUS TEX 569 174 41 4 20 .306
7 JONATHAN SCHOOP BAL 548 167 33 0 31 .305
8 JJOE MAUER MIN 458 139 32 1 6 .303
9 JOSE ABREU CWS 550 166 37 5 31 .302
10 JEAN SEGURA SEA 470 141 28 2 9 .300
RANK OTHER TOP 40 ASTROS TEAM AB H 2B 3B HR BA
13 MARWIN GONZALEZ HOU 404 119 28 0 21 .295
15 GEORGE SPRINGER HOU 482 141 25 0 31 .293
20 YULI GURRIEL HOU 473 136 36 1 17 .288
22 ALEX BREGMAN HOU 490 139 34 5 16 .284

NR * LOST TIME ON THE DL HAS TEMPORARILY REMOVED CORREA FROM AN OFFICIAL QUALIFYING PLACE IN THE RANKING OF TOP 40 HITTERS.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle