Posted on February 25, 2013 by Andrew Martin
The impact of becoming a beloved player for the Boston Red Sox can’t be personified any better than Bill Mueller.
Mueller, a switch-hitting third baseman, is a native of Missouri. He attended Southwest Missouri State and graduated as perhaps their best player of all time, leaving as the school leader in hits, runs and stolen bases among a number of categories. He played both third and shortstop during his tenure and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2004. (more…)
Filed under: Baseball History, Down and Dirty - Interviews | Tagged: Bill Mueller, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Interview, San Francisco Giants | 2 Comments »
Posted on January 16, 2013 by Andrew Martin
Over time, left-handed pitchers have acquired the stereotype of being an eccentric bunch. From quirky exploits on the field to adventures off the field, southpaws are a breed unto themselves. One of the best was Dennis Bennett, who sadly passed away last year.
Bennett signed with the Philadelphia Phillies out of Shasta Junior College (California) in 1958. He pitched well in the minors, but saw his 1961 season cut short because of an ill-conceived somersault race. Fortunately, he was able to recover and made his MLB debut with the Phillies the following year, winning nine games for the seventh place team.
A tragic car accident in the winter of 1963 in Puerto Rico nearly ended Bennett’s career and his life. Remarkably, he recovered in time to assume his place in the Phillies’ rotation by late June of that year, and finished 9-5 with a 2.64 ERA. (more…)
Filed under: Baseball History, Down and Dirty - Interviews | Tagged: Boston Red Sox, Dennis Bennett, Earl Wilson, Philadelphia Phillies, Tom Yawkey | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 7, 2012 by Andrew Martin
The Chicago “Black Sox” (White Sox) are the most infamous team in the annals of baseball. In 1919, led by the likes of Shoeless Joe Jackson and Eddie Cicotte, the team roared into the World Series and shocked the country by losing to the underdog Cincinnati Reds. It subsequently came out that eight players on the team had conspired with gamblers to lose on purpose, thus changing the color of their eponymous socks forever. One of the honest players, pitcher Dickey Kerr, never found the ultimate success he was deserving of as a player, but he did go on to play a major role in the life and career of Stan Musial, which was rewarded in a unique way in 1958, as Stan the Man was collecting his 3,000th career hit. (more…)
Filed under: Baseball History | Tagged: Baseball History, Black Sox, Charles Comiskey, Dickey Kerr, Dickie Kerr, Eddie Cicotte, Joe Jackson, Kenesaw Landis, Lefty Williams, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Stan Musial | 2 Comments »
Posted on October 17, 2012 by Daniel Marino
I remember when I was a young boy being glued to the TV when he came to bat. I remember begging my parents to buy tickets to the game just so I could see him hit in person. His homeruns were a thing of beauty! I wanted to see him hit as much as Ralphie wanted that official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle. (more…)
Filed under: Baseball History | Tagged: Baseball History, Dave Kingman, Joe Dimaggio, Mark McGwire, Ray Knight | 1 Comment »
Posted on August 24, 2012 by Andrew Martin
Baseball icon Lou Gehrig became truly legendary because of his production, durability, and finally his untimely death at the age of 37 in 1941. His name still resonates with fans today, and despite playing many years with Babe Ruth, he was able to stay out of his shadow and create his own enduring legacy.
Much of what we know today about Gehrig comes from his statistics and anecdotal references from many baseball books and stories. Fortunately every now and then good first-person transcripts emerge on the internet like a long-lost treasure. I recently came across a radio interview given by Gehrig on August 22, 1939 in Rochester, Minnesota, where he was undergoing treatment for his ALS at the Mayo Clinic. The interview was conducted by correspondent Dwight Merriam, who got the “Iron Horse” on the record on a number of interesting issues.
The entire interview was posted online- http://moregehrig.tripod.com/id16.html with the permission of KROC-AM Radio. It’s a great opportunity to get some insight on one of the most memorable and tragic players in baseball history. I have pulled out some of Gehrig’s answers that I found most interesting, and included a few of my own thoughts (in italics). (more…)
Filed under: Baseball History, Down and Dirty - Interviews | Tagged: ALS, Atley Donald, Babe Ruth, Baseball History, Bob Harris, Charlie Keller, Dwight Merriam, Honus Wagner, Interview, Iron Horse, Jack Kramer, Joe Gordon, Lou Gehrig, New York Yankees, Ted Williams, Ty Cobb, Woody Rich | Leave a Comment »
Posted on August 10, 2012 by Andrew Martin
For every star player with a lengthy major league baseball career, there are dozens who only have a “cup of coffee.” The experiences of those short-time players run the gamut of having a moment or two of glory to playing for hapless second division teams. Glenn Mickens was one of those “cup of coffee” players, but has incredibly rich memories of his brief time in the majors.
Mickens, a right-handed pitcher, was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1950. He made quick work of the low minors, earning a call-up to Brooklyn in July, 1953. He appeared in a total of 4 games for the eventual National League champs, who ran away with the pennant with 105 wins. During his time with Brooklyn Mickens made 2 starts and 2 relief appearances. In 6.1 innings, he had a 0-1 record and 11.37 ERA. Unfortunately, after he was sent back down, he never made it back to majors. (more…)
Filed under: Baseball History, Down and Dirty - Interviews | Tagged: Andy Messersmith, Arnold Statz, Art Reichle, Baseball History, Bill Bonham, Bill Nishita, Billy Cox, Billy Schuster, Bob Turley, Bobby Bragan, Bobby Brown, Branch Rickey, Brooklyn Dodgers, Carl Erskine, Carl Furillo, Charlie English, Charlie Neal, Chico Fernandez, Dick Kokos, Dick Williams, Don Drysdale, Don Newcombe, Don Slaught, Don Zimmer, Duke Snider, Eddie Malone, Eddie Waitkus, Eric Karros, Gil Hodges, Glenn Mickens, Gus Triandos, Howie Haak, Interview, Jack Myers, Jackie Robinson, Japanese Baseball, Jim Gilliam, Joe Berry, Joe Black, Kintetsu Buffaloes, Los Angeles Dodgers, Lou Novikoff, Max Macon, Owen Friend, Pee Wee Reese, Roberto Clemente, Rocky Nelson, Ron Bottler, Ross Gilhousen, Roy Campanella, Sadaharu Oh, Sandy Koufax, Sparky Anderson, Todd Zeile, Tommy Davis, Tommy Lasorda, UCLA, Wilber Johns | 3 Comments »
Posted on July 13, 2012 by Andrew Martin
For most fans of baseball history, Honus Wagner represents one of the most respected and mythic figures the game has ever known. The “Flying Dutchman” spent all but three seasons of his 21 year major league career playing shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates before being an inaugural inductee to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936. Because of his accomplishments and notoriety it’s hard to believe that he was once ordered by a court to provide evidence of the existence of his baseball career. (more…)
Filed under: Baseball History | Tagged: Baseball History, E.L. Braunstein, Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 30, 2012 by Andrew Martin
Particularly in the earlier days of the game, baseball had a well-earned reputation for hard drinking and living players. Because the players often socially mingled with the press, and because the writers depended on access to teams to sell their papers, the vast majority of the more salacious happenings failed to make it to the public. Even so, catcher Rollie Hemsley, whose drunken exploits while a major leaguer in the 1930’s were so ridiculous and legendary, that everyone knew about his reputation. His story has a happy ending however, as Hemsley was able to persevere and beating his drinking problem, and along the way became a major reason for the international explosion of Alcoholics Anonymous. (more…)
Filed under: Baseball History | Tagged: AA, Alchoholics Anonymous, Bob Feller, Bob Gil, Bob Wilson, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Cy Slapnicka, Dr. Bob Smith, Ossie Vitt, Pittsburgh Pirates, Rogers Hornsby, Rollie Hemsley, St. Louis Browns | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 18, 2012 by William J. Tasker
If you are a fan of MLB Dirt–and of course you are, or you wouldn’t be here–then perhaps you have been digging Andrew Martin’s historical pieces as much as I have. Frankly, they are brilliant and totally deserving his @HistorianAndrew Twitter handle. As such, it is with some trepidation that I tread into his lofty wake to consider a historical moment myself. But the story seemed to write itself Monday night as I was watching the ESPN telecast of the Yankees – Twins game. I don’t remember how his name came up but for some reason, the broadcast team mentioned Tom Paciorek, a player who played for eighteen seasons but it most known as Hawk Harrelson’s broadcast partner, “Wimpy.” And that mention led Aaron Boone (I think) to mention Paciorek’s brother, John Paciorek, who only played one game in the major leagues. But what a game it was. (more…)
Filed under: Baseball History | Tagged: Baseball History, Bob Aspromonte, Casey Stengel, Ed Bauta, Eddie Kranepool, Grover Powell, Harry Craft, Houston Colt 45's, John Bateman, John Paciorek, Larry Bearnarth, New York Mets, Pete Runnels, Rusty Staub, Tom Paciorek | 3 Comments »
Posted on April 13, 2012 by Andrew Martin
Lewis “Hack” Wilson enjoyed one of the most inspired seasons in baseball history in 1930. Playing outfield for the Chicago Cubs, he hit .356 with 56 home runs and a major league record 191 RBI. He had set the National League RBI record the year before with 159, but shattered that with his inspired play in 1930. It is still remembered as one of the single greatest statistical seasons by any player, but few know that because of a controversial off-season the previous winter, it came close to playing out much differently. (more…)
Filed under: Baseball History | Tagged: Art Shires, Baseball History, Bill Veeck, Chicago Cubs, George Trafton, Hack Wilson, James Mullen, Kenesaw Landis, Lena Blackburne | Leave a Comment »