Top 100 Baseball Blog

Sunday, February 4, 2018

How Chick Fewster of the New York Yankees Cheated Death: The Baseball Historian's Notes

Cooperstown, New York will be crowded later this summer thanks in part to the bumper crop of new inductees that will be on hand to have their plaques hung. Four players, including Chipper Jones, Trevor Hoffman, Jim Thome and Vlad Guererro will be joining fellow 2018 Hall of Famers Alan Trammell and Jack Morris for the festivities. Although there should be an inordinate length of thank you speeches, the candidates are all well-deserved and it’s great to see the hallowed hall grow with the addition of such deserving fresh blood. Now, on to the Baseball Historian’s notes for the week.

-Legendary Puerto Rican right-handed pitcher Julio Navarro has passed away at the age of 82. Although he posted a modest record of 7-9 and a 3.65 ERA with three major league teams spanning six seasons, he pitched at various professional levels for 22 years. His best big league season was in 1963 with the Los Angeles Angels, where he contributed a 2.89 ERA and 12 saves in 57 relief appearances. His son Jaime enjoyed a productive 12-year career in the majors between 1989 and 2000.

-The Los Angeles Angels (AKA California Angels) have been a major league team since 1961. However, the Angels name has been connected to baseball in California for much longer—stretching back the 19th century. Jessica Deline uncovers the interesting history in this piece for Halos Heaven.

-Another member of the baseball community passed away in 32-year-old Marcos Carvajal. The right-hander died in his native Venezuela from pneumonia complications that were worsened by medical supply shortages. He had stints with the Colorado Rockies in 2005 and the Florida Marlins in 2007, going a combined 0-2 with a 5.21 ERA in 42 relief appearances. His first big league strikeout was Arizona Diamondbacks slugger Luiz Gonzalez, and he last pitched professionally in 2011 with the Montepaschi Orioles Gorsseto of the Italian Baseball League.

-The Cleveland Indians will stop using their controversial Chief Wahoo team logo in 2019. This will include its use on uniforms, banners and other displays on the field. Major League Baseball was quoted as saying Chief Wahoo was “no longer appropriate" to be used on the field. The cessation of its use coincides with the team hosting the 2019 All Star game. Since the Indians will retain the copyright to the logo and continue to sell items bearing its likeness even after this change, it remains a mystery as to why this continues to be deemed as appropriate off the field by failing to see this change through fully.

-Despite an excellent career on the field, Ray Chapman is best-known for being the only player in major league history to die as the result of an injury suffered on the field during a game, as he was hit in the head by a Carl Mays pitch in 1920.There have been other close calls , bother before and since. Another, which also occurred during spring training in 1920 when utility man Chick Fewster of the New York Yankees was beaned by Big Jeff Pfeffer of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Despite a fractured skull and bleeding brain hemorrhage, he not only returned to play later that season, but played professionally until 1929. Matt Ferenchick tells his story here.

-For decades, the 1918 Boston Red Sox were held in the highest esteem by fans of the team, as it took nearly a century (86 years to be exact) for another championship trophy to grace the boys of the Hub. Now that the Red Sox have won three World Series in the past 14 years, the Boston Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont says the squad from one-hundred years ago deserves to be looked at differently.

-Although voting for the Hall of Fame is over for another year, some are already looking forward to the future. Jay Jaffe of Sports Illustrated has taken a deep look into the next five elections and who he believes are the mostly likely to get the next nods from the writers. He is not only forecasting a number of players to be inducted, but who he believes will fall short may surprise many.

-Vince Pesky, the younger brother of Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky recounted seeing legendary pitcher Satchel Paige on the mound with the Portland Beaver. Pesky, who was 94 when he recorded the interview in 2015, still had strong memories of witnessing the Hall-of-Fame right-hander do his thing.

-Here is some raw footage of the ballyhoo surrounding the 1939 All Star Game. There may not be sound in the clip, but fans are sure to recognize some of the biggest names to ever grace the denizens of professional baseball.

-Finally, another baseball passing to report in Oscar Gamble, who succumbed to the effects of a tumor at the age of 68. He was a talented outfielder, who hit .265 with 200 over 17 major league seasons (1969-195) with seven teams—most notably the New York Yankees. Although his career splits (.266 batting /.828 OPS versus righties and .263 batting average/.705 OPS, the left-handed hitter played sparingly against Southpaws during his career. He was perhaps best known for sometimes sporting an impressive Afro that made him the subject of some of the most popular baseball cards ever made.

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