Royals Manager Dick Howser’s Brain Tumor and Death in 1987

Howser managed his last game as the A.L. skipper for the 1986 All-Star game on July 15. Two months later, in mid-September, an AP story said:

Kansas City Royals manager Dick Howser, who is battling a malignant brain tumor, has faith that he’ll be in Florida for spring training and will be managing the team April 6, 1987 when the Royals’ face the Chicago White Sox in a season opener.

”I know it’s a day-to-day situation, but I’m optimistic. I have a lot of faith in The Lord,” Howser said in an interview published in Monday’s Kansas City Times. “The medical team here is fantastic. I’m starting to gain weight.”

Howser managed the American League to a victory in the All-Star game July 15, and two days later, doctors diagnosed his brain tumor. One week after the All-Star win, surgeons removed part of a cancerous tumor from the left frontal lobe of his brain.

HOWSER, WHO has received thousands of cards and well wishes from fans across the United States, plus Japan and Europe, took radiation treatments twice a day for five weeks. Now, he awaits doctor’s orders for the next step in treatment. ”I’m not going to say it’s been easy,” said Howser, who except for hair and weight loss, appears much as he did before the operation. “I’ve had days when I’ve been depressed. But right now, I feel great. My plans are to manage the Royals in 1987.”

Of course, it didn’t happen. Howser made an effort in spring training, but on February 24, the Wichita Eagle headlined this story “ILL HEALTH COMPELS HOWSER TO RESIGN”:

Dick Howser decided his life was more important than baseball and resigned Monday as manager of the Kansas City Royals.

“I can’t fight cancer and do my job at the same time,” said Howser, who has undergone two operations since a malignant tumor was discovered in his brain in July. I thought I could, but I can’t.”

Howser announced his decision at a noon news conference at Terry Park in Fort Myers, Fla., site of the Royals’ spring training camp.

Billy Gardner, hired this winter as the Royals’ third-base coach, will become the manager, Royals general manager John Schuerholz said. Howser will continue to work for the Royals on a part-time basis, although those duties won’t be determined until later this week.

“It’s regretful to see a man of Dick’s stature after all his contributions to our organization and to the game have to step aside,” said Schuerholz. It’s sorrowful, really.

“But we know full well it’s best for him to get healed and on his terms. He needs to be under less stress and pressure to get it done.”

After severe headaches and a stiff neck developed while he was managing at the All-Star game in July, it was discovered that Howser had a tumor in his brain.

Howser’s decision came just three days after pitchers and catchers reported to the Royals’ spring training camp.

On the first day of practice Saturday with the temperatures in the low 80s, Howser was on the field almost three hours and at the ballpark six hours.

Then Sunday, he didn’t come onto the field until 10:30 a.m., a half hour after the team began practicing. He returned to his office in the clubhouse about noon, and left the park at 1:30 p.m.

“I think what got to me was the heat,” Howser said in the news conference. It’s not really devastating. It’s just that I need more time to rest.

“I can’t do it like this.”

Monday morning, Howser was on the Royals’ bench at the ballpark for about an hour before leaving.

“My mind had been made up,” said Howser. I wouldn’t have walked off the field that way if my mind hadn’t been made up. I knew when I went back to the training room it was over.

“I’ve been pushing and pushing since the first operation in Kansas City and the second operation in Los Angeles. I’m going to be putting on the uniform part time. I’ll do whatever they want me to do part time.”

Howser never, to my knowledge, appeared on a major league field again. In mid-June 1987, the Wichita Eagle reported his death:

To Dick Howser, the only thing more important than winning was giving the other guy a good fight.

“At least,” the former manager of the Kansas City Royals once said, “I can scratch him up a little.”

The scratching and fighting are over for Howser. His nearly yearlong battle with brain cancer has ended. The man who brought the Royals a World Series title died Wednesday at a Kansas City hospital. He was 51.

“This is a sad day for baseball. Dick Howser was one of the great men of our game,” said baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth.

“It’s merciful,” said Royals general manager John Schuerholz. “His suffering has finally ended. It tears you up inside to see a man with so much fight, so much love for life fade like he has these last two weeks.”

Howser most recently had been hospitalized since June 3, and Kansas City third baseman George Brett said, “You figured it was a matter of time. But when it hits you, it’s still a bomb. He was a terrific manager. He was an even better person.”

WHILE MANAGING the Yankees, he didn’t even back off from George Steinbrenner. The New York owner ordered Howser to fire third-base coach Mike Ferraro following the team’s American League playoff loss to the Royals in 1980.

But Howser said if Ferraro had to go, so would he. Steinbrenner accommodated him.

“If you don’t stand up for what you believe in,” Howser said later, “then you’re not living. You’re just existing.”

Ferraro, who later joined Howser as his third-base coach in Kansas City, broke down and cried when he learned of Howser’s cancer.

Howser refused to indulge in self-pity. “We are all going to die,” he said last winter, “and we don’t like it. People are always talking about tomorrow, but there’s no guarantee tomorrow will get here. You fight today and hope tomorrow gets better.”

HOWSER SEEMED to instill that fight in his players. Taking over the Royals after the players’ strike in 1981, he took Kansas City to two division titles and the World Series championship in 1985.

Seldom has a team so imitated the spirit of its leader as did the Royals in ’85. Down three games to one in both the American League playoffs and the World Series, Kansas City came back on Toronto and St. Louis to win both.

“He was a man of pride and integrity and he battled cancer with the same fervor he battled the opposition, with an aggressive spirit he exemplified both as a player and as a manager,” said Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Our best word to describe Dick is class.’ He will be sorely missed by baseball and the country. . . . .”

Actor Burt Reynolds, Howser’s classmate at Florida State University and a longtime personal friend, called him “a gentleman with a tremendous heart. Dick Howser has been my friend since seventh grade. . . . I’ll remember him as not only one of the best athletes I ever knew, but also as one of the best friends.”

Lou Piniella said of Howser: “In addition to being a close personal friend, he taught me a great deal about the game of baseball. Some of the things I have learned from him have helped me develop my managerial skills and I am grateful for all that he did for me, first as teammates with the Yankees and then when we were in opposite dugouts.

“More important, though, Dick showed me what it meant to be a professional. He was a man of dignity and character who was respected by all who came to know him. . . . I know I will miss him for all he has done for me professionally, but even more for all he has done for me as a friend.”

Published in: on December 22, 2010 at 7:20 am  Leave a Comment  
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Some Measures of the Phillies’ Long Futility, and Brief Success

The Philadelphia Phillies appeared in the postseason once from 1916 through 1975, which I suppose is an unequaled streak of futility in MLB history. The Phillies’ record in those 60 seasons was 3973-5286, not counting being swept by the Yankees in the 1950 World Series. Their average season record from 1916 through 1975 was 66-88. The Phillies have lost 100 games 13 times, all 13 times coming before the 162-game schedule began in 1962. From 1916 through 1961 they finished 8th out of 8 teams 20 times, then escaped the cellar in the 7 years of a single-division, 10-team National League. When division play began, they finished 5th or 6th in the 6-team N.L. East each year from 1969 through 1973.

I don’t know how people rank the performance of the MLB franchises, but the Phillies, with the exception of two stretches in which they could have assembled dynasties if things had gone a little bit better, have been remarkably bad. In the first would-be dynasty, they went to the playoffs 6 times in 8 years, 1976 through 1983, with an average record of 88-67 in that time, and got to two World Series. In the second, they made it to the playoffs 5 years in a row, but now appear to be in another extended losing stretch.

The Phillies have won 100 games three times: in none of the three seasons did they make it to the Series. On the other side, as noted, they haven’t lost 100 games in a season in the 50+ years since they were first given 8 more games in which to get to 100 losses, which strikes me as one of the more surprising facts about the 30 MLB franchises.

Published in: Uncategorized on September 27, 2014 at 6:12 pm  Comments (1)  

John P. Carmichael on Gabby Hartnett’s Homer in the Gloaming

This is a column by John P. Carmichael of the Chicago Daily News, writing for the September 29, 1938 edition about Gabby Hartnett’s Homer in the Gloaming to put the Cubs on the verge of winning the pennant:

We surrender to inadequacy. This Cub-Pirate pennant fight has gone far beyond our poor power to picture in words. When you squirm to fashion the proper pinnacle for a “Dizzy” Dean only to find that you need at least its twin, that a Gabby Hartnett may also brush the stars, word-painting becomes a magic art not given to the mine run of mortals to diffuse.

So let this be, today, a confession of helplessness to treat an afternoon which beggars description; an afternoon in the life of a stout-hearted Irishman who, as darkness almost wrapped him from the sight of 35,000 quaking fans, changed the map of a baseball world with one devastating blow. And that he is alive and in one piece at the moment, ready to carry on from that smash, is no fault of a Cub team and a Cub populace gone mad.

For a second successive night we stood in a clubhouse of crazy men in play suits. Only this time they weren’t even articulate. We can still see ‘em fighting for words, staring at one another with glazed eyes. We can still see ‘em pushing Hartnett from wall to wall with the irresistible force of robots gone wild. We can still see Gabby trying vainly to free himself from idolatrous teammates.

We can still see Billy Herman, standing in the middle of the floor, arms akimbo. When he could talk it was first just a whisper of awe: “Lord God Almighty.” Dawning consciousness of the moment brought it out again, louder, hoarser: “Lord God Almighty.” Then the full realization of the terrific sight he had just watched in the twilight smote him. “Lord God ALMIGHTY;” he suddenly screamed and hurled his glove he knew not where.

He wasn’t even swearing. It was as though he was asking the heavens above to witness that this thing he’d just seen with his own eyes could really happen to him and those caught up in the maelstrom around him.

Dean’s day was great. This one was greater. This was everybody’s day until Hartnett wrested it from them all with that miraculous, breath-taking blow in the ninth with two down, two strikes against him and a tie game about to be put over for a double-header today because it was no longer possible to see in the gloom.

Far out in the stands a mailman caught the ball and even while Gabby struggled in the arms of his men, it appeared in the clubhouse with a plea for the Hartnett name. “Give him a new one and I’ll sign it,” ordered Gabby. “I want to keep this one forever. I’ve had the greatest thrill of this old life now.”

Over in a corner “Rip” Collins, himself one of the day’s heroes at that plate, tried to break the hysteria with his inevitable gag. “I get some credit,” he yelled. “Gabby used the Collins stance at the plate.” Elbowing his way to Gabby’s side strode Trainer Andy Lotshaw, a comic figure with his cap awry and wiping away at streaming eyes with a huge towel.

“You big lug,” he wept, “you hit it just like I used to do.” He was shoved aside, sniffling, and “Dizzy” Dean leaped upon the managerial desk behind which Gabby had sought refuge. “Diz” teetered there back and forth on the balls of his feet, matted gray hair hanging over his forehead like an old crone’s disheveled locks.

“Oh,” he moaned. “You… you Gabby.” He tried to talk with his hands, but lost his balance and fell back into unsympathetic arms. Sheer exhaustion at relief from the tension of what they’d gone through finally drove some to their chairs, where they slumped like marionettes whose guiding strings had let them down. Through the half-open door came the frenzied roar of the crowd from which, only minutes before, Andy Frain’s ushers had barely saved Hartnett in his entity.

Now up, now down, now up again, the Cubs and Pirates went all the heart-straining day. The tide of battle surged bitterly through breaks, good and bad. It was almost too much for human flesh and blood to watch. And that hat we do not own is off once more to HIM and THEM.

Published in: on September 9, 2014 at 12:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Billy Martin on Earl Weaver

This is from one of Martin’s books, either Number 1 or Billy Ball, I don’t remember which. It is Martin’s comments on Weaver, perhaps his greatest A.L. adversary in the ’70s and ’80s:

I saved the best for last. I’m not being facetious when I say that. I know we’re supposed to have a hot rivalry going between us. The way that started is that I didn’t like him when he first came into the league. Frankly, he pissed me off the way he strutted around like a little bantam rooster and the way he talked. Thought he knew it all. Then he beat me three straight playoff games in 1969 when I was with Minnesota and that got me fired.

Later, when I came back with Detroit, he was always making comments about me in the papers, and I would return them with comments of my own. During the game, I’d be in my dugout and he’d be in his and I’d hear his raspy voice yelling at the umpires or at one of my players. I’d jump up to the top step of the dugout to say something to him, but he’d run away and hide.

Even when he didn’t run, I wouldn’t be able to look him in the eye, anyway, because he’s so short. Sometimes, he wouldn’t even be there; he’d be down in the runway, yelling at somebody and lighting up one of the cigarettes that he carries inside his uniform shirt.

Published in: Uncategorized on August 9, 2014 at 12:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Toney-Vaughan Double No-Hitter of May 2, 1917

Here is how the Chicago Tribune of May 3, 1917, described the previous day’s game at Weeghman Park (aka Wrigley Field), which the Reds won, 1-0, in the 10th inning by getting the game’s only two hits:

CUBS HITLESS AS TONEY WINS IN 10TH, 1 TO 0
Two Singles Off Vaughan with Error Score Tally for the Reds
RECORD!
Three thousand or more fans who saw the Cubs-Reds game yesterday
witnessed a contest that will stand as one of the most remarkable in history.
So far as can be learned, there never was a time in the major leagues when
two pitchers went nine innings without a hit being made on either side, as
did Jim Vaughan of the Cubs and Fred Toney of the Reds.

By James Crusinberry

Fred Toney and Jim Vaughan both attempted to enter the baseball hall of
fame yesterday when the Cubs and Reds fought at Weeghman park, and the result was a pitching duel such as never before has been staged. When nine rounds had been played neither one of the stalwart hurlers had allowed a base hit, but in the tenth the break came, and it went against Vaughn. Two hits were registered with one error, and Cincinnati got a run. Toney went back in the last half and set three Cubs down in a row, thus winning the day and the honor of a no hit no run game.

Many times it has happened that a pitcher on one side has gained the honor of allowing no hits, but none of the old time fans can remember of seeing two
pitchers fight for nine innings and neither one allow a hit. There wasn’t even a
fluke which might have been called a hit in the first nine rounds. Vaughn passed two batsmen and one Cincinnati man got to first when Rollie Zeider fumbled an easy grounder.

TONEY GIVES TWO WALKS

Toney walked two batsmen, but those two were the only men to reach first base. He was given perfect support by his mates, not a bobble being made behind him. The duel was so desperate that when the ninth inning was over and the honors were even the crowd cheered both men.

Vaughn really was the more brilliant of the two pitchers for nine innings. Only
twenty-seven men faced him in that time, because each time he walked a man double plays occurred, clearing off the bases, and the one fellow who reached first on Zeider’s fumble was pegged out trying to steal. Vaughn also fanned ten men in the nine innings, while Toney fanned only three all told, and two of the three strikeouts occurred in the last of the tenth, when the big Tennessee man called upon all the reserve power in his right arm to make sure of the honor of a no hit game.

VAUGHAN’S SUPPORT FAILS HIM

It was a wonderful game for Toney to win and a tough one for Vaughn to lose.
Had Vaughn been given the keen support that Toney had the Cubs might have prolonged the battle, and possibly connected with Toney’s curves later on. But when the first hit was made in the tenth there was a general breakdown.

The first fellow to drive the ball to safe ground was Larry Kopf, the young
shortstop of the Reds. One was out in the tenth when he came up, and he hit a liner to right field. Fred Merkle made a desperate lunge to his right with one hand stretched out, and perhaps came within a foot of the ball, but it was out of reach, and the terrible suspense was broken.

WILLIAMS DROPS BALL

That blow shouldn’t have lost the ball game. Neale followed with a fly ball to
Williams, and then Chase hit a line fly right at Williams. Cy scarcely had to move, but if he had advanced two steps he could have taken it in front of his belt buckle. Instead, he had to catch it at his ankles, and he muffed the ball. Kopf was on third and Chase safe at first.

Jim Thorpe, the athletic red skin, then bounced one into the earth in front of
the plate. The ball rolled slowly toward third base, with Vaughn after it. It looked as if Vaughn figured he had lost a chance to get Thorpe at first base, and there seemed little hope of such a play, so in desperation he scooped the ball to Wilson standing on the plate, with Kopf tearing in. The ball hit Wilson on the shoulder about the same time that Kopf crashed into him, and the run was in.

Chase also tried to dash in when he saw the ball roll away, but Wilson recovered it in time to get Hal. There wasn’t any need of Hal’s run anyway, for one run was all that could be used.

Published in: Uncategorized on July 15, 2014 at 11:00 am  Comments (1)  

The Boise Daily Statesman on Walter Johnson in Mid-1907

This is a story from the Boise Daily Statesman of June 30, 1907, that I think I found in a book on Boise’s baseball history a few years ago, and scanned and put aside for quite a while. It said:

KID JOHNSON SMASHES WORLD’S RECORD FOR PITCHING
Weiser Twirler Chucks 75 Innings Without Score Made Against Him
HIS RECORD FOR THE SEASON TO DATE
Accepts Offer to Join Washington, D.C., American League Team But Remains with Weiser to End of State League Season

WEISER, June 29. The wonderful record of Walter Johnson, the Kids’ twirler, started last year when he was with Weiser in the state league and which Johnson continued with such remarkable success this year, has attracted the attention of ball players and managers all over the country and the offer of Joe Cantillion, manager of the Washington, D.C., American league team, is only one of many the phenomenal youth has received of late.

With his record of shut out games this season, Johnson has smashed to smithereens the world’s record for pitching. He has pitched 75 innings without a run having been made against him. The former record was 54 innings. Some may not consider this remarkable because of the fact that Johnson has not pitched against the big leaguers. This fact does not in any way make Johnson’s record less remarkable. No matter who is batting him the record would stand the same.

In the 75 innings 230 men faced Johnson. The complete record of Johnson for the entire season is as follows: He has struck out 166 batters; is credited with 18 base hits out of 37 times at bat, assisted 26 times and has 8 putouts to his credit. He has not made an error and only five runs have been made by his opponents. Twenty-five base hits have been made off his pitching during the season to date.

Walter Johnson was born at lola, Kan., and is 19 years of age. He is six feet and two-fifths of an inch in height in his stocking feet and weighs 180 pounds. His home is at Fullerton, Cal., where he attends school. His first ball playing away from home was with the Weiser team last season.

Johnson has frowned on a number of good offers received lately and unlike many young pitchers who, through their eagerness to get into the big leagues have spoiled bright prospects for a successful career, turned them all down, concluding that it would be better for him to get more of such experience as he is now getting before meeting the big hitters. But Joe Cantillion sent a man from Washington [D.C.] to persuade Johnson to go to the national capital and Johnson has decided to go and take a chance with the big fellows. He will probably not be pitched in a regular game this season, but will be carefully coached, it is likely, during the remainder of the season and put in the game next year.

Johnson will be with Weiser through the remainder of the Idaho State league’s
season, which closes July 14.

Published in: Uncategorized on June 30, 2014 at 5:44 am  Comments (1)  

How Do Players in Their 40s Do?

This post is a followup on the earlier look at the best MLB players in their teens. It looks at the best players from age 40 onward. Here, via Baseball-reference.com, is a list of the top 10 position players (except for pitcher Wilhelm) in career games played after turning 40.

1. Pete Rose 732
2. Cap Anson 677
3. Julio Franco 637
4. Sam Rice 543
5. Carlton Fisk 537
6. Omar Vizquel 525
7. Honus Wagner 503
8. Hoyt Wilhelm 494
9. Luke Appling 470
10. Rickey Henderson 469

The same list, for leaders in times on base after turning 40:
1. Cap Anson 1181
2. Pete Rose 1042
3. Luke Appling 780
4. Sam Rice 711
5. Rickey Henderson 691
6. Carlton Fisk 688
7. Honus Wagner 642
8. Carl Yastrzemski 620
9. Dave Winfield 587
10. Jim O’Rourke 582

The first list has seven Hall of Famers, the second list has nine.

And the top 10 in innings pitched for years 40 and after:
1. Phil Niekro 1977.0
2. Jamie Moyer 1551.3
3. Jack Quinn 1427.7
4. Charlie Hough 1346.3
5. Nolan Ryan 1271.7
6. Cy Young 1226.3
7. Warren Spahn 1163.0
8. Randy Johnson 1013.0
9. Tommy John 1000.7
10. Gaylord Perry 992.0

The top 10 in strikeouts after leaving the 30s behind:
1. Nolan Ryan 1437
2. Phil Niekro 1148
3. Randy Johnson 1004
4. Jamie Moyer 913
5. Roger Clemens 763
6. Charlie Hough 756
7. Hoyt Wilhelm 681
8. Gaylord Perry 533
9. Cy Young 519
10. Warren Spahn 503

The first list of pitchers has five Hall of Famers, the second has six. These lists have much better players than the lists of leaders in pre-20 stats: of course, if you want to play full time in your 40s, it’s a good idea to have established yourself as a markedly superior player. I think the only relatively late bloomers on the batting lists are Sam Rice and perhaps Julio Franco, while the late bloomers on the pitching lists are Moyer and Wilhelm.

Published in: Uncategorized on June 21, 2014 at 12:47 pm  Comments (2)  

A Couple Quotes on Hitting From Tony Gwynn

These are taken from George Will’s book, Men at Work. Among other things Tony said, here are two:

“I remember when they asked Pete Rose what do you think about Gwynn taking batting practice every day. He said, ‘he’ll learn, the more he plays the more he’ll realize he doesn’t need batting practice every day.’ Pete’s got more hits than anybody but I just don’t feel I’m prepared unless I’m doing what I can to be a little bit smarter, a little bit better, a little bit more prepared. I have been brought up in the game to do every little extra thing, get every bit of extra knowledge that can help you get a base hit in a key situation. I think my parents gave it to me.”

“Last year [1987], when I was going through bankruptcy and the team was in last place, people used to say, ‘How did you do it, hit .370?’ I said, playing was easy. That is how I got my relief, where I came to have fun.”

Published in: Uncategorized on June 17, 2014 at 8:54 am  Leave a Comment  

How Well Do Phenoms Turn Out?

I’ve heard it said that the best MLB players often make their mark at a very early age, in some cases before they turn 20. I thought I’d test that by looking at how the before-20 statistical leaders did in their careers. Here, via Baseball-reference.com, is a list of the top 10 position players in career games played before turning 20.

1. Phil Cavarretta 277
2. Robin Yount 254
3. Mel Ott 241
4. Ed Kranepool 208
5. Sibby Sisti 186
6. Al Kaline 168
7. Cass Michaels 158
8. Bob Kennedy 157
9. Freddie Lindstrom 156
10. Buddy Lewis 151

And a list of the top 10 for most times on base before turning 20:

1. Phil Cavarretta 360
2. Robin Yount 282
3. Mel Ott 277
4. Buddy Lewis 229
5. Ed Kranepool 218
6. Sibby Sisti 216
7. Bryce Harper 202
8. Bob Kennedy 197
9. George Davis 196
10. Ty Cobb 181

The first list has four Hall of Famers, the second list has three; we do not know what Bryce Harper will do.

As for pitchers, here is the top 10 list for most innings pitched in a career before age 20:

1. Monte Ward 921.0
2. Tommy Bond 849.0
3. Jim Britt 816.7
4. Larry McKeon 802.0
5. Willie McGill 801.3
6. Amos Rusie 773.7
7. Kid Carsey 732.7
8. Nat Hudson 634.3
9. Mike Smith 520.0
10. Bob Feller 488.3

And the same list, for most strikeouts before 20:

1. Bob Feller 466
2. Amos Rusie 450
3. Larry McKeon 425
4. Monte Ward 355
5. Willie McGill 345
6. Dwight Gooden 276
7. Kid Carsey 250
8. Egyptian Healy 245
Nat Hudson 245
10. Adonis Terry 230

Both lists are filled with pitchers from the 1800s whom few have heard of. In those years, it was pretty common for teams to have very young players, and it seems a lot of pitchers before 1900 had at most a few good years before blowing out an arm, switching positions, leaving baseball–or something else happened to make them stop being superb pitchers. I’m pretty sure both lists have three Hall of Famers. Although I don’t recognize all the players on the two batting lists, it’s clear that the batting phenoms have had better careers than the pitching phenoms.

Published in: Uncategorized on June 15, 2014 at 12:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

The 1964 Yankees Come to Richmond for an Exhibition Game

Ike Futch, who played in the Yankees’ minor league system as, primarily, a second baseman, from 1959 through 1964 (check his stats), recently left a comment on a post on this blog about Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle. When I wrote an email back to him, he told me about an exhibition game he had played for the Richmond Virginians (they were the Yankees’ AAA affiliate) at the end of 1964 spring training. Ike sent along files of the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s coverage of the game, played on Sunday, April 12, 1964, at Richmond’s Parker Field.

Here is some of the coverage; to begin, Ike sliding into second under Phil Linz’s tag to steal the base; he would score the winning run a couple minutes later on a Horace Clarke single.

linzfutch
The box score:
richmondbox
Part of the game account:
richmondlead
And a few game notes, featuring an item on Mickey Mantle and his health:
richmondmantle

I believe that of all the Richmond Virginians, Mel Stottlemyre, who pitched in this game, went on to have the best MLB career. Also, I have interviewed Ike Futch about his minor league career, especially his years in the Yankees organization.

Published in: on June 5, 2014 at 8:53 am  Comments (1)  
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Who Have Been the Best MLB Players in Their 20s?

Here is a look at some lists of the top 10 players before age 30 (not by advanced stats). Here, via Baseball-reference.com, is a list of the top 10 position players in career games played before turning 30.
1. Mel Ott 1739
2. Robin Yount 1671
3. Andruw Jones 1607
4. Edgar Renteria 1598
5. Al Kaline 1595
6. Alex Rodriguez 1592
7. Bill Mazeroski 1574
8. Adrian Beltre 1570
9. Vada Pinson 1565
10. Jimmie Foxx 1561

And the leaders in times on base before 30:
1. Mel Ott 3011
2. Jimmie Foxx 2846
3. Mickey Mantle 2839
4. Ty Cobb 2792
5. Alex Rodriguez 2729
6. Albert Pujols 2597
7. Miguel Cabrera 2553
8. Rogers Hornsby 2539
9. Ken Griffey Jr. 2536
10. Arky Vaughan 2527

The first list has five Hall of Famers, the second list has six.

The leaders in career innings pitched before 30:
1. Mickey Welch 4344.7
2. Pud Galvin 4132.7
3. Kid Nichols 3996.7
4. Jim McCormick 3953.3
5. Amos Rusie 3756.7
6. John Clarkson 3701.7
7. Tommy Bond 3628.7
8. Gus Weyhing 3526.3
9. Walter Johnson 3474.3
10. Christy Mathewson 3293.0

The leaders in strikeouts before 30:
1. Walter Johnson 2305
2. Sam McDowell 2281
3. Bert Blyleven 2250
4. Don Drysdale 2111
5. Nolan Ryan 2085
6. Sandy Koufax 2079
7. Bob Feller 2000
8. Christy Mathewson 1983
9. Pedro Martinez 1981
10. Amos Rusie 1944

The first list has seven Hall of Famers, the second list has eight. It’s no surprise to see all four lists filled with great players, but they also have some surprising names. I don’t think Renteria or Andruw Jones will be easily recognized by fans a few decades from now. And seeing so many 1800s pitchers on the innings pitched list is a reminder of how young and how hard-worked pitchers were in those decades.

Published in: Uncategorized on May 26, 2014 at 12:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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