With the conclusion of the recent All-Star Game festivities, the major league baseball season has officially reached the other side. It will now be an all-out sprint to the finish line to see who makes it to the playoffs, and of those teams, who has what it takes to advance to the World Series. In the meantime, refresh yourself with another helping of the Baseball Historian’s Notes.
-Former right-handed pitcherhas at the age of 80. A solid hurler, who won 21 games for the 1963 New York Yankees, and had a total of 62 victories in a 10-year career, he gained his greatest fame with his pen. His seminal work was titled Ball Four, which was a tell-all of his experiences as a player. It was the first work to fully draw back the curtain and allow fans to see the often ribald and wild/inappropriate behavior that went on behind the scenes. This insider view was a first of its kind and was a complete departure from the saccharine takes newspaper baseball writers offered (since their livelihood quite literally depended on not embarrassing their subjects). Widely ostracized by his peers after being published, he launched a brief playing comeback in 1978 after eight years away from the mound and honed his career as an accomplished author and speaker.
-retired following the 2016 season as undeniably one of the most talented and most polarizing players to ever step on a baseball diamond. A first-ballot Hall of Fame career was complicated by PED positive tests and a suspension, along with a personality that often seemed to run people, including fellow players, the wrong way. Now that he is on to the next chapter of his life, the former slugger has become a savvy entrepreneur, who is engaged to mega star Jennifer Lopez. Sports Illustrated has the improbable turn he has taken from heel to likeable in the past few years.
-enjoyed a 10-year playing career as an infielder before going on to become a beloved television announcer for the Boston Red Sox for more than the past 25 years, has released a book titled If These Walls Could Talk. The Rem Dawg tackles difficult topics, such as his bouts with cancer and his son, who is serving a life-sentence in prison for murdering his girlfriend and mother of his child. Co-written with the late great Boston Globe writer, Nick Cafardo, the book has garnered much buzz and promises to be a captivating read.
-All-time hit kingwho is currently under permanent banishment from baseball, has gained an unlikely supporter advocating for his inclusion in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Country singer Billy Ray Cyrus recently publicly threw his behind the push to put Rose in Cooperstown. That would definitely help mend his achy, breaky heart…
-Former playerdoesn’t it’s fair that baseball turns its back on those associated with PEDs, but in his opinion embraces those who test positive for other illicit substances. An outfielder, the switch hitter spent the bulk of his 15-year big league career with the Baltimore Orioles and Montreal Expos, hitting a combined .291 with 139 home runs. He has previously admitted his own PED use as a player but believes he has been held to a different standard since that admission.
-African American former playerhit 291 home runs in a 15-year major league career that spanned 1963-1977 with five teams. Unfortunately, it was less than easy along the way, having to work and succeed in an unfair and often biased climate during the Civil Rights era. The “Toy Cannon” spoke about some of his experiences in the new documentary film, “A Long Way from Home: The Untold Story of Baseball’s Desegregation,” which is detailed in this in the Dayton Daily News.
-Organists and batter walk-up songs have long been part of big-league baseball. But, where did it all start? Michael Clair from MLB.com did some checking and has published a very interesting article that outlines the evolution of this musical aspect of the game.
-Former right-handed pitcher Dwight Gooden saw what should have been a generational Hall-of-Fame career hijacked by lingering drug problems. He still managed 194 wins and a 3.51 ERA over 16 seasons, but never achieved all that he was capable of (His 1985 season saw him go 24-4 with a 1.53 ERA) because of ongoing issues with cocaine, which continued after he retired following the 2000 season. Sadly, it was just reported that, now 54, he was just arrested for possession of cocaine during a traffic stop. Here’s hoping he can get his life together.
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