After 51 seasons in the National League, the Houston Astros moved to the American League in 2013. The good news: they improved from 6th place in 2012 to 5th place in 2013. The bad news: that’s because the AL West only has 5 teams. The Astros were in last place both seasons, and actually regressed (51-111 this year, 55-107 last year).
Candlestick Park in San Francisco and the Hubert H Humphrey Metrodome in Minnesota were retired this year. The Giants played in Candlestick from 1960-1999, and the 49ers from 1971-2013. (The Beatles last concert was at Candlestick Park in August 1966.) The Twins played in the Metrodome from 1982-2009, and the Vikings from 1982-2013.
Bud Selig finally gave a definite date for his long-awaited retirement. He will step down after the 2014 season. All I can say is “It’s about time!”
Hall of Famer Stan Musial passed away on January 19th, at age 92. Musial played from 1941 to 1963 (except missing 1945 while in military service), and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1969.
It's been said that bad news comes in threes. Let's hope that's it for awhile...
Former Baltimore Orioles' centerfielder Paul Blair passed away on December 26, 2013 in Baltimore at age 69. He collapsed after playing a round of golf earlier in the day.
Blair played from 1964-1980, and was the Orioles' centerfielder from 1965 to 1976, including the glory years of 1966, 1969-71, and 1973-74. He also played for the Yankees and Reds from 1977-80. Blair won 8 Gold Glove awards, and was an all-star in 1969 and 1973.
After his playing career, he was an outfield instructor for the Yankees and Astros, and a college baseball coach.
Last week, I thought we'd get through the year without any more of these, but now two in one day...
Mike Hegan, a 1B/OF for the Yankees, Pilots, Brewers, and Athletics passed away on December 25, 2013, from heart failure at age 71.
Mike's career spanned 1964-1977. He broke in with the Yankees, but didn't get significant playing time until 1969, with the Seattle Pilots. After several seasons with Seattle/Milwaukee and Oakland, he returned to the Yankees for parts of 1973 and 1974. Hegan finished up his career with the Brewers from 1974-77.
After his playing career, he was a broadcaster for the Brewers (12 seasons) and Indians (23 seasons).
Former White Sox catcher Ed Herrmann passed away on Sunday December 22, 2013 at age 67. He had been battling prostate cancer.
Herrmann played 11 seasons from 1967 to 1978, and was the White Sox' starting catcher from 1971 to 1974. He also played for the Yankees, Angels, Astros, and Expos. After his playing career, he scouted for the Kansas City Royals.
Here's another installment in an occasional series called "1967 Scrapbook". In 2011 I found a baseball scrapbook I had made in 1967, containing photos that I clipped from the Philadelphia sports pages that summer.
June 4th vs. Astros:
June 8th vs. Cubs:
Unknown date vs. Braves:
July 8th (against the Cardinals) was the only game Allen did not start in 1967 (prior to missing all games after 8/23 due to injury).
A few days ago, I happened across a comment that I left on Night Owl’s 1971 Topps Mets Rookies post last year, where I wondered about how many players had one-syllable first and last names.
I checked through all the 1966-1970 baseball cards, and found just over 100 players, way more than I had expected. I started out with an idea to tile-post all their cards. As the list grew, that changed into just posting a list of the players.
Since it was over 100 names, I'm taking a different approach: Who has the shortest name? (I think 1980s' Pirates' catcher Ed Ott has that claim, but I’m just focusing on players from 1966-1970.)
I found eight people that could get the job done with SIX letters:
Actually, I’m going to disqualify Joey Jay, because nobody other than Topps ever referred to him as "Joe".
Extra credit to Gus Gil for the alliteration!
But wait! With only ONE additional letter, Eli Grba (GUR-ba) managed to squeeze in 2 more syllables.
1960s Detroit Tigers' pinch-hitter extraordinaire Gates Brown passed away on 9/27/2013 at age 74 from a heart attack. He had been suffering from diabetes and heart trouble.
Brown had a 13-year playing career (1963-75, all with the Tigers), and was Detroit's hitting coach following his playing career.
Gates batted .370 during the Tigers' 1968 championship season (.450 as a pinch-hitter), and appeared in the World Series. He was also a coach for the team during their 1984 World Series season.
From the Detroit News story linked below:
Brown contributed one of the Tigers’ great
all-time moments in 1968. Usually manager Mayo Smith called on him to
pinch hit in the seventh inning or later. But on this occasion Smith
needed a pinch hitter in the fifth inning and called upon Brown, who had
received his nightly stash of hot dogs from the clubhouse boy. He
quickly got up and stuffed the hot dogs in his jersey. Brown hit a double and after sliding into second base he had hot dog and
mustard all over his uniform as teammates howled. Smith fined Brown $100. “What the hell are you doing eating on the bench?” Smith howled. “I was hungry,” Brown replied. Story from The Detroit News
Recently, while composing my 1967 Lew Krausse post, I got sidetracked on other baseball players who were from my area. Here are those from the 1960s era:
The most famous is probably Reggie Jackson. Jax (his nickname before "Mr. October") was born in nearby Abington, and went to Cheltenham High School, just north of the border. (Also born in Abington, and attending Council Rock HS was Phillies' early-70s' SS Craig Robinson.) While I'm still north of the city, Pete Cimino (although born in Philly) attended Bristol High School, where he once scored 114 points in a basketball game (still a Pennsylvania state record).
Venturing into the city we come to Eddie Stanky and Pat Kelly. Stanky was from the Kensington area, and went to Edison HS. His nickname "The Brat from Kensington" was eventually shortened to "The Brat". Kelly (brother of Cleveland Browns' HOF running back Leroy Kelly) went to Simon Gratz HS, whose alumni included Roy Campanella.
Still in Philly, we have Al Spangler and Lee Elia. Besides both playing for the Cubs, they both went to Olney High School in Philadelphia. Neither one is the most accomplished baseball player from Olney High. (That would be ex-Phillies' outfielder Del Ennis.)
Moving southward into Delaware County, we have fellow Chester High School alumni Danny Murtaugh and Lew Krausse. Danny was born in Chester, while Lew was born in Media (which I assume means Riddle Hospital, across the street from Granite Run Mall - for you card-show buffs). Krausse was a high school phenom, which I described in his 1967 card post.
Northwest of the city is Pottstown, PA, the hometown of both Bobby Shantz and Dave Ricketts. They both went to Pottstown High School, and both had brothers who also played in the majors.
Over into New Jersey, Al Downing and Bill Dillman both hail from Trenton, the state capital.
I picked up these 1964 Topps coins while out on a recent antiques expedition with Mrs. Jim from Downingtown.
My only prior coin in this set is Phillies' 2nd baseman Tony Taylor.
The 1964 coin set includes two types of coins - "regular", and all-stars, with some of the same players appearing on both. These are actually before my (childhood collecting) time, although I do have a few 1971 coins from back in the day.
I've now doubled my "Warren Spahn collection", having recently acquired his 1964 Topps giant card.
It occurs to me that the only sports "cards" I have bought since 2010 are oddballs like these coins, about a dozen 1964 Topps giant cards, and some early-1960s Philadelphia Eagles.
I've sworn off buying/collecting current-issue cards (for a variety of reasons), and only collect vintage stuff. My 1966 and 1970 baseball sets are about 85% complete, and someday I will resume finishing those sets.
Long-time Red Sox' and Brewers' slugger George "Boomer" Scott passed away on 7/28/2013 at age 69, in Greenville, MS (also his birthplace).
Scott played for the Red Sox from 1966-71, supplying power as a slugging 1st baseman (although he was the team's regular 3rd baseman for parts of '69 and '70).
After the 1971 season, George and FIVE other players were dealt to the Brewers for 3 major-league players and a minor-leaguer. After 5 seasons as Milwaukee's 1st-sacker, he returned to Boston for 2 1/2 years, then wrapped up 1979 (and his career) with the Royals and Yankees.
Besides leading the AL in home runs and RBI in 1975, Scott also won 8 Gold Glove awards during his career.
16 ballots were cast, with Dick Allen being the lone inductee this time.
Allen never dipped below 70% during the entire election, and was the only candidate who spent any time at or above 75% after the first 5 ballots were cast. (The closest anyone else came was Billy Williams, at 71% after the 7th ballot.)
Allen joins the 20 players and 1 manager already in the Hall:
Besides Allen, the only candidate whose stock rose this time was 500-homer club member Eddie Mathews, slightly increasing his share from 59% to 63%.
Everyone else on the ballot slipped, but kept their "same order of finish" from the previous election. Warren Spahn, Billy Williams, Whitey Ford, Rod Carew, and Orlando Cepeda all saw their share decrease by 9% (actually 14% for Ford), while Jim Bunning, Roger Maris, and Ron Santo each dropped by 4%.
This was the first time write-in slots were on the ballot, and I was kind of surprised that only one voter used them. With only 6% of the vote, write-in candidates Gary Peters and Joel Horlen will not get slots on the next ballot.
Maury Wills and Joe Torre will also be dropped from the next ballot, as they did not get the minimum 15% of the vote. (Although Wills was listed in the poll as receiving 18%, one voter selected seven candidates (instead of the maximum of six), so their 7th player selected (Wills) was disallowed.)
Here's another installment in an occasional series called "1967 Scrapbook". In 2011 I found a baseball scrapbook I had made in 1967, containing photos that I clipped from the Philadelphia sports pages that summer. Most of the photos are from the previous night's Phillies' game.
Here is what I found worthy of saving back in 1967 regarding the All-Star game, a 15-inning affair in Anaheim.
After 14 straight starting assignments (dating back to 1957), Willie Mays is an all-star reserve.
Tony Conigliaro played the entire game in right field. A month later he was beaned, changing the course of his once-promising career.
Orlando Cepeda (who played the entire game at 1st base) runs out of room.
Tony Oliva sends the NL bench scattering with an airborne bat. Reds' 2nd baseman Tommy Helms is 2nd from the right.
FIFTY-ONE at-bats for the NL!
Tony Perez and Richie Allen celebrate the NL victory. Allen started at 3rd base, and was replaced by Perez. They each hit one of the two NL home runs. Perez' dinger won the game in the 15th inning.
Has it only been 6 months since the last election? This season seems like an eternity, thanks to the "efforts" of the Philadelphia CircusNational League Baseball Club.
Last time, outfielders Carl Yastrzemski and Al Kaline joined the other 19 members of the Hall. Candidates receiving less than 15% of the vote were dropped from the ballot. The following 12 players are the holdovers from the last ballot:
The "selection committee" could not decide on who to add to the ballot this time. Instead, there is going to be a new twist. This ballot will include two "write-in" slots, so that voters can have direct input on additional players.
Remember, this is a 1960s' Hall of Fame. Ted Williams? He played in 1960, but his career started in 1939, so I would say no. Tom Seaver? Johnny Bench? Did they make a significant impact in the 1960s? Stan Musial? Frank Howard? Bruce Brubaker? You tell me.
From among the 12 players and two write-in spots, vote for no more than 6. For each write-in selected (if any), follow it up with a comment that includes the name of the write-in candidate(s). Only comments from registered users will be accepted (no anonymous commenting). [This will prevent me (or others) from stuffing the comment box with Johnny Callison write-ins! :D ] If the number of write-in boxes checked does not equal the number of players in the comments, the HOF Director will make a ruling.
The ballot remains open through July 26th (the MLB Hall of Fame weekend), then candidates receiving 75% of the vote will be inducted.
I know the likelihood of a write-in candidate being elected is small, but those receiving a certain percentage will be added to the next ballot. Plus, feel free to use the comments to campaign for your write-in choices (or for the listed players). Hey, it worked for Rico Carty in the all-star game!