Spring training is just around the corner, with pitchers and catchers reporting in a matter of weeks. The lull in major league action did not stop it from being busy in the world of baseball history. Keep reading for this week’s notes.
-January 19th marked the fifth year anniversary of the death of legendary St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Stan Musial. One of the best hitters of all time (career .331 batting average), he left many people with a lot of great memories. Some of them are shared in this piece recently published by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
-Bill James has tackled the problem of comparing players from different eras. It’s extremely tempting to put two players side by side and analyze how similar or dissimilar they are, no matter if they were playing at the same time. There are so many variables that must be considered when making such comparisons that it literally boggles the mind. With the Baseball Hall of Fame creating annual debate about the worthiness (or not) of a multitude of candidates, this conversation of James is a prudent one to consider.
-Right-handed pitcher Brad Radke forged an impressive 12-year career with the Minnesota Twins, going 148-139 with a 4.22 ERA between 1995 and 2006. Now retired, one of his primary jobs is that of a father. While his son Ryan may be a chip off the old block in many ways, his enthusiasm for baseball is not one of them—as outlined by this Tampa Bay Times article that details the high schooler’s contrary love for basketball.
-Joe Amalfitano has seen many things during a lengthy career in baseball that included 13 years as a player. While he put up modest stats is not well known outside of insider baseball circles, he has been around some of the most remarkable happenings the sport has experienced. This 2015 article by Chris Haft details some of his most memorable recollections.
-The past couple of years the World Series have concluded in dramatic fashion in the seventh and final game of the season-ending playoff. Fewer things dredge up excitement in a baseball fan than the mere mention of a “Game 7.” MLB.com has compiled a comprehensive list of all the Game 7s that the World Series has seen since the Fall Classic began in 1903.
-Infielder Buck Weaver was into nearly a decade-long Major League career before being banished for life for his role as one of the eight Chicago Black Sox, accused of throwing the 1919 World Series. Although he was not convicted in a court of law and maintained his innocence until the day her died, he has never been granted a reprieve. This site spotlights his life with some amazing photos and informational tidbits that will be sure to fascinate.
-Is former Boston Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka going to make a comeback? It sure seems like he is going to do his best to try. Last appearing in the major leagues in 2014 for the New York Mets, the right-hander, now 37, is hoping to revive his career with the Chunichi Dragons of the Japanese Pacific League after batting shoulder injuries for the past several years. He has a tryout scheduled with them for later this month, and it will be interesting to see if he has anything left in the tank.
-January 18th marked the 45th anniversary of the Red Sox signing Orlando Cepeda as a free agent—the first player to be signed as exclusively to play designated hitter. The pact, which called for a salary of $85,000, proved to be a good one for Boston, as the 35-year-old appeared in 142 games, hitting .289 with 20 home runs and 86 RBIs, and helped the team to a second-place finish in the American League East.
-There aren’t a lot of people who don’t enjoy a good helping of nachos. This article details the history of the delicious dish, including how it first made an appearance in baseball stadiums with the 1976 Texas Rangers.
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