The 2019 baseball season is in full swing. Along with a full slate of exciting games, comes regular remembrances of players, teams and occurrences from the past. This is the next edition of the Baseball Historian’s Notes.
-There is an exciting new baseball museum exhibit at the Detroit Historical Museum. “Detroit Stars & The Negro Leagues” opened June 22nd to much fanfare, including hosting remarks by Joyce Stearnes Thompson, the daughter of former Stars’ outfielder Turkey Stearnes. The exhibit has a variety of displays, including relics, from the days of the famed Negro League team.
-Billy Martin Jr., the son of the late pugnacious New York Yankees infielder and well-known manager, recently sat down for an interview with the Post Bulletin. A sports agent and president of an independent baseball league, he is steeped in the game much like his father. The younger Martin, who has represented the likes of pitcher Tom Koehler, believes his father should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame, citing his impact on the game in multiple roles. His induction could eventually become a reality, depending upon the whims of the Veterans Committee.
-Nearly 85 years after he last made an appearance in a major league game, slugger Babe Ruth remains an American baseball legend of mythical proportions. His memorabilia is among the most coveted, and that was proven yet again by the sale of one of his game-worn jerseys from his time with the New York Yankees from the late 1920s, fetching a record price of $5.64 million. The jersey was part of an auction of other Ruth items made available by members of his family, including his granddaughter, Linda Ruth Tosetti. Naturally, the previous record was another Ruth jersey, which sold for $4.4 million back in 2012.
-Larry Stone of The Seattle Times celebrated the 50th anniversary of the lone season of the Seattle Pilots. Although the team was a miserable 64-98, they brought the fun and exciting experience of major league baseball to the northwest. Their sudden departure in the spring of 1970 to move to the Midwest and become the Milwaukee Brewers left a surprising void that was eventually filled by the emergence of the Seattle Mariners.
-Yankees’ left-handed starting pitcher C.C. Sabathia recently notched his 250th career victory, throwing six solid innings against the Tampa Bay Rays. The 38-year-old is now in his 19th season. He became the 48th pitcher to reach the 250-win level, and just seven weeks earlier had become the 17th pitcher to surpass 3,000 career strikeouts. Although not a slam dunk, he is continuing to build a strong case for the Hall of Fame. No longer the dominant force he once was, each accomplishment he continues to accrue is only going to give voters more to think about when his time comes to be on the ballot.
-His connection to PEDs has helped keep Roger Clemens out of the Hall of Fame thus far in his first seven tries on the ballot. Otherwise, the owner of 354 career wins and seven Cy Young Awards could have been a no-brainer first-ballot selection. While he waits to see how his candidacy plays out, he has added another Hall-of-Fame induction to his resume. The Pawtucket Red Sox, the Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, recently added the right-hander to their Hall of Fame. Although he pitched in a total of just nine games for the franchise, his 2-3 record and 1.63 ERA, along with his legendary status made him a natural fit. In the meantime, he will continue to wait and see if Cooperstown eventually comes calling.
-Mariano Rivera, the best reliever in the history of baseball, just played in his first Old-Timer’s game for the New York Yankees. Naturally, he played center field and hit an inside-the-park home run, only adding to the legend of the hurler who spent his entire 19-year big league career in pinstripes. He also pitched the final inning of the game, saving the win for his team—something he did a record 652 times while a member of New York’s active roster.
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