At home at fenway

Keeping on eye on Dustin, Papi, Youk & a few good books

Posts Tagged ‘RED SOX’

Birdie Tebbetts & Ted, Rudy York & Lou

Posted by athomeatfenway on April 10, 2011

Birdie Tebbetts was from 1936 to 1952 a platoon catcher for the Tigers, Red Sox and Indians.  In his time, he played with Hank Greenberg, Mickey Cochrane & Ted Williams. Though he batted over .300 just once (BOS 1950), Birdie was a 4x All Star — 1941, ‘42, ‘48 & ‘49.

 

After his playing days ended he managed in the minors and later at the highest level with the Redlegs, Indians and Braves.  He never reached the post season but he was named 1956 Manager of The Year in the National League.

 

It wasn’t his batting that made him an All Star.  The Vermont native was an excellent defensive catcher.  He twice led the AL in throwing out base stealers.

 

It wasn’t his playing skills that earned him a coaching and scouting career that lasted until he was 79 years old.

 

Birdie Tebbetts was a hale fellow well met.  He had a lively and charismatic charm about him. He was direct, decent and funny.  Birdie was someone that everyone liked to be around.  His personal charisma helped his career.  His joie de vivre comes across plainly in “BIRDIE, Confessions of a Baseball Nomad.”  (Triumph, 2002.)

 

This 196 page hardcover book was published 3 years after his death at age 87.  It is written entirely in his voice, as if co-author James Morrison worked straight from a series of tape recordings.

 

Let Ted do it.

 

He tells a great one about how Ted Williams was second guessing his ability to call a game when they were Boston teammates.  Cleveland’s Lou Boudreau had hit Boston pitching pretty hard with Birdie behind the plate so Ted  suggested incompetence relentlessly.  To his credit, Tebbetts didn’t argue.  He told Ted, “OK, let’s see how you do.”.  And he told Ted how to signal the pitches to him from his position in left field the next time Boudreau batted.  Sure enough, the next time the Indian player-manager stepped into the box, Ted signaled the pitches to Birdie, Birdie signaled them to the pitcher, and Ted was calling the game.  Whack !  A Double !  Next time Boudreau was up Ted called them again.  Whack !  Another Double.  That shut up Mr. Williams.

 

 

A gritty era.

 

Tebbetts arrived in the majors a bit ahead of schedule due to a horrific beaning of Mickey Cochrane.  On May 25, 1937, Irving Darius Hadley threw to Gordon M. Cochrane an inside fastball that came out of the white shirts in the Yankee Stadium bleachers, striking Cochrane on the skull and fracturing his cranium.  The incident was the beginning of the end for Cochrane’s playing days.  It gave rise to Hadley’s nickname: Bump.  It caused the gradual establishment of dark batting backgrounds in the major leagues.  And it propelled Birdie Tebbetts from minor leagues into the Tigers catching platoon, a role he shared with Rudy York, a slow footed, ham-handed Indian that could not catch a lick but could surely bang 35 home runs a year.

 

 

The Big Indian liked to hit & he liked to drink.  He wasn’t the only character around.  The authors paint a picture of the radio era, when the Depression was on and America needed heroes like DiMaggio, Feller, Gehrig, Williams, Boudreau, plus a few square pegs like York.

 

It was a simpler and more straight-forward time populated with poverty-hardened characters.  When Ben Chapman left the Yankees for the Senators in 1936, Gehrig told Tebbetts to punch the Nats new outfielder if he got the chance.  If Tebbets would punch Chapman twice, Lou would buy Birdie two suits.

 

Birdie lost three years to military service during World War II.  He was approached during the 1942 season to volunteer, and put together a morale team consisting entirely of major league players.  Tex Hughson, Joe Gordon, Sid Hudson, Max West, Enos Slaughter, Ferris Fain and Howie Pollet were all on Lieutenant Tebbets’ team.  At first, they played all around Texas but were later deployed to the South Pacific.  They flew secretly to Iwo Jima the day after the Marines raised the flag.  Before 12,000 dirty, bloody, hardened Marines, they played a game of baseball to create normalcy within the context of insanity.  Birdie Tebbets called it the most important game he ever played.

 

 

He’s on to something.

 

The authors make one claim about a relief pitching tandem that should spark a SABR research presentation if it already has not.  Tebbets refers to Don Mossi and Ray Narleski as “the two best relief pitchers of all time in a tandem.”

 

I chuckled when I read that, realizing that the baseball cards of these two guys (for the most part) fill the common boxes and bargain bins at sports collectible shows.  Further, not only are they largely unknown and unrecalled, but Mossi’s baseball cards revealed that his ears were bigger than any other mammal known to humanity.

 

“The two best relief pitchers in tandem of all time ?”

 

Is he kidding ?

 

So, I looked it up.

 

Mossi & Narleski pitched for the Indians from 1954 to 1958.  Ears was named an All Star in 1957.  Mossi was an All Star in 1956 & 1958.  Interestingly BOTH received MVP votes in 1955.

 

Could their MVP ballot worthy year indicate their best combined contribution ?

 

In 1955, Mossi appeared in 57 games and Narleski in 60, their respective ERA’s being 2.42 and 3.71.  Narleski led the major leagues with 19 saves in ’55, and Mossi had the 5th most in the A.L. that year with 9.  No other two bullpen team mates had as many combined saves in either league.  Their combined won-lost record was 13 – 4.

 

Pretty damn good.  And, it was pretty damn good team they played for.

 

Their team mates were Hegan, Wertz, Rosen, Kiner, Doby.  A rookie named Rocky Colavito would make a late debut, too.  Plus Wynn, Score, Lemon, Garcia & Feller.  The 1955 Indians finished 93 – 61 in 2nd place, 3 games behind the Yankees, winning 13 of 22 vs. New York.

 

 

Old Birdie was onto something.

 

 

 

Breaking the code.

 

If you love Ted, or if you love head games, you’ll love this one.  No longer teammates, Ted & Birdie squared off in regular play beginning in 1951.  Now an Indian, Birdie had just as much trouble getting Ted out as anyone.  He decided to “break the code”.  Birdie would break Ted’s focus on the cat-and-mouse guessing game of what pitch was coming by simply telling Ted what was on the way.  “It’s a curveball Ted.”  And, “It’s a fastball, Ted.”   When Ted took those pitches and they were exactly what Tebbets said they would be, Ted became enraged and stayed mentally out-of-whack for the next 2 days. The distraction worked.  He couldn’t buy a hit.

 

 

This book is a great & fast read.  Birdie passed 12 years ago but this little book conveys his good will and energy.  I think you’ll like it.

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Posted in BASEBALL, BASEBALL BOOKS, Ted Williams | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Red Sox are Dead Sox at the moment

Posted by athomeatfenway on April 10, 2011

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Fenway Park looks better every year.  More of the old wooden seats have been replaced.  The paint is fresh.  The foundation has been capped.  It is cleaner and wider under the grandstand than it has ever been.  Even the new water efficient men’s rooms add a flush of class.

As I and daughter #1 settled into our roof box seats in sec. 25, the high tech glamour of two new high-definition video boards stared us in the face.  These new screens are about 2.5 times wider than a jumbo billboard on the highway.  They flank the Centerfield jumbotron.  The one on the right is part video screen, part stationary advertising board.

It is almost overkill.  The batter/pitcher data on the new CF video board is a little redundant of what is on the others. Together it all looms as an enormous IT miracle dominating the background of a 99 year old ballpark.

Still, with all the flashy videos and R & B tunes, the media mix includes The Whaler’s Brass Bonanza and real old time organ music.

It is not Yankee Stadium, thank God, where morons push the sound system volume up to 12, and the Steinbrenners have long affected an ambience so constantly loud that it offends the senses.

…………….

Just occurred to me:  Chances are small that the team will ever be nicknamed the Fred Sox as there are no Freds that are top prospects in the Boston farm system.  But we do have future stars named Jose, Anthony, Felix, Josh, Drake, Will, Yamaico, Kolbrin, Stolmy and Lars. Work with it !

………………

Daughter #1 and I rolled the dice by parking on a street in Brookline and walking to Fenway.  If the Brookline cops were kind, they wouldn’t leave a present on our windshield.

#1 rolls with the punches no matter what.  She is serene and laid back.  Being our only offspring that actually played baseball, she appreciates the game in person, although she can be caught watching a game on TV about as often as she can be found reading a newspaper.

Our ride to the park was at times conversant, at other times quiet.  I did learn two important things from her.  When a rapper says “ish” this is code for “sh*t”.  And when a rapper says “HAM” it means “Hard As A Mother*****r!”.

So, the next time a rapper asks you to “get your ish out of here” you should gather your things and move at once.  And the next time a rapper exclaims, “I’m coming at you HAM !” it would be best to lock the car doors and drive away quickly.

……………………

Jim Calhoun, program builder and Head Coach of the 2011 National Champion UConn Huskies wore a home white jersey, standing with wife, Pat, near the on-deck circle 30 minutes before game time.  The ever-loquacious Calhoun chatted up everyone who strode up.  Some may call him difficult and hard nosed, but he seems to never shut out the public.

When it came time to throw out the ceremonial first pitch Calhoun didn’t cower.  He elected to climb the mound.  So many chicken out and throw from in front of the bump.  Calhoun employed an old-school wind-up, evoking Robin Roberts or Frank Lary.  His missile reached Terry Francona, though a lunge to the left was needed.  The old bird, who turns 69 in May, acquitted himself nicely.  A lifelong Red Sox fan who turned down a first pitch offer in 1999 from the Yankees, Calhoun smiled and hugged Francona, then strode off and faded away.

……………

#1 and I settled in to watch Clay Buchholz fulfill his potential as a man with 5 pitches, a man who won 17 games with a 2.33 ERA last year, a young horse in the race for the 2011 Cy Young Award.

Brett Gardner led off and was humbled.  The man with 5 pitches threw nothing but fastballs that varied between 91 and 95 mph.  Gardener grounded to Pedroia, 4-3.  Then Clay failed to finish off Jeter with 2-strikes, walking him.  But Jeter soon erased himself, arriving at second on a steal attempt a split second after Saltalamacchia’s throw.  Next, Teixeira whiffed on a 2-2 fastball.

It was a great start.  But it was the only inning in which Buch would face the minimum 3 batters.  In fact, he would face 22 batters and get just 11 of them out.

Buchholz would yield 5 runs in 3.2 IP’s.  Cano & Chavez owned him.  Catcher Russell Martin, a guy who would have looked mighty good in Salty’s roster spot, took Clay yard.

Martin would also later homer off Alfredo Aceves, who also served a tater to Cano.  In between Buchholz and Aceves, Doubront allowed a 4-bagger by Granderson.

Buch, Doubront & Aceves allowed 9 runs in 7 innings.  It wasn’t until 44-year-old Tim Wakefield shut the Yankees out the last 2 innings that order was restored.

The 9 – 4 Yankee win spoiled 3-for-4 days at the plate by both Pedroia and Lowrie.

The day was a reflection of the startling status of the heralded 2011 Red Sox starting rotation.  After 8 games, Lester-Lackie-Buchholz-Beckett-Matsuzaka have contributed exactly ONE quality start.

It takes a multitude of quality players that can be effective in small and large roles to win 95 games or more.

It won’t begin to happen for this team until priority #1, starting pitching, gathers itself and delivers.

……………..

Posted in BASEBALL, Boston Red Sox, Clay Buchholz, RED SOX | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Smoky Joe Wood to Josh Beckett : Speed aint enuf

Posted by athomeatfenway on January 24, 2010

Somethings never change in Baseball.

As Joe Wood wrote in the 1914 instructional, Pitching Course, “Speed, terrific speed, in my opinion, is the greatest essential that any pitcher can possess.”

Joe Wood had terrific speed.

Walter Johnson said, “Nobody throws a ball as hard as Joe Wood.”

Joe also had a change up which he threw 10% of the time.  He could hold, load and release the change in exactly the same way he did the fastball.  Still, 90% of his pitches were heaters.

From the time he debuted in a loss to Doc White and the White Sox on Aug. 24, 1908, to his last adventurous start in 1920 for Cleveland, Joe was a power pitcher.

But it takes more than speed.

Wood elaborated:  “The man who possesses ordinary speed in a limited degree and nothing else is likely to have his troubles in the major leagues.  If a pitcher has only ordinary speed than he must have ‘something on it’ as we say in baseball.”

“There must be a break to it.  Or better still a ‘hop’.  Straight dead speed is not enough to carry a pitcher.”

Wood’s thoughts conjure how Josh Beckett, a modern power guy, from time to time gets knocked all over the yard even while throwing mid-90’s.

Beckett is said to be someone who could benefit from a 6 man rotation.  He is nasty on an extra day’s rest.  But when Josh is worn down, his fast ball come in hard and flat.

96 years after he wrote it, Joe Wood is still right.  You’ve got to have a hop.

++++++++++++

Smoky Joe Wood won 37 games in 1912, 3 of those in the World Series.  He posted a 1.91 ERA, 35 CG, 10 Shut Outs, 344 IP’s and 258 K’s.  He won 16 consecutive decisions that year.

Although he would finish 117-57 with a sublime 2.03 career E.R.A., he really only pitched 3 more years after 1912.  He averaged only 16 starts and 12 wins from 1913 to 1915.

Joe started his first game at age 19, and his last at age 26.   Bam.  Pitching career over.  He took a year off after leaving Boston in 1915, moved on to Cleveland, and spent 5 years patrolling right field in League Park.  He batted .366 and .297 in his last two years. (’25 and ’26).

Soon he was off to coach at Yale, where he prospered from 1923 to 1942.   His players included Bruce Caldwell, Johnny Broaca, Eddie Collins, Jr., and Joe Wood, Jr., Ducky Pond, Faye Vincent Sr., Albie Booth and Larry Kelly

++++++++++++

It was a major injury that preempted Smoky Joe’s HOF pitching career.

Many a Red Sox history book generically cites arm trouble as what ended his hurling days.

In an interview with The Diamond Angle, Joe’s son, Bob, explains what happened.

“The 1913 injury incident happened in Detroit in early July. He slipped on the wet grass while fielding a bunt and broke his right thumb. Perhaps he tried to come back too soon because the Red Sox were in a pennant race with Philadelphia, Washington and Cleveland. Manager Jake Stahl checked his condition daily. In any event, he never pitched again without severe pain in his right shoulder, although he was able to win 25 games in the next two years, even though in 1914 he had his appendix taken out in February and didn’t start the season until May 27.”

++++++++++++

In the two years that immediately followed the breaking of Smoky Joe’s thumb, the Sox dropped to 4th, and then to second.

The dynasty had been derailed.  The team lost two potential pennants along with a dominating arm on the wet grass at Navin Field.

The Bean Eaters would rebound in 1915 when a 20 year old lefty from the Charm City would start 32 games and go 18 – 8, adding youthful depth to a rotation of Ernie Shore, Dutch Leonard, Rube Foster, and Wood.

They went on to win it all in 1915, 1916 and 1918.

Joe Wood missed the ride for the last two Championships.

To hear his son tell it, he never complained.  He just moved on.  He enjoyed his time in Cleveland, in New Haven, and in the Pocono’s.  He was a family man.  He understood how important he was to his four kids and wife.

“Dad retired after the 1922 season, even though he was a regular and had a very good year. When asked why he retired, his only comments were that he had nothing further to prove to himself or the fans, plus he would come home and his four young children (Joe, Jr, age 7; Steve, 5; Virginia, 4; and Bobby, 4) would hardly recognize him. He was quite a family man……Yes, our parents were always there when we needed them. They were super people.”

++++++++++++

So put Joe Wood in the same box of chocolates with Thurman Munson and Tony Conigliaro, baseball eternals that fate did not allow enough time to earn a HOF plaque.

But don’t feel sorry for Joe.  He didn’t waste his time on sorrow.  He knew what was really important, and kept his focus on the day.

++++++++++++

The 1914 Pitching Course instructional booklet is a marvelous 48 page guide with lessons written by Christy Mathewson, Big Ed Walsh, Walter Johnson, Nap Rucker, Joe Wood, Doc White, and author Irwin M. Howe.   Packed with truisms, some things never change.  It’s a little treasure.

++++++++++++

The Diamond Angle ceased to publish in 2008, but its rich and varied Baseball content remains available at www.thediamondangle.com.   It’s worth your time, so take a look.

Posted in BASEBALL, BASEBALL BOOKS, Boston Red Sox, Josh Beckett, RED SOX | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Not one of the Guys: Mike Lowell , Jason Bay , Craig Breslow

Posted by athomeatfenway on January 5, 2010

It was G-R-E-A-T while it lasted.

Jason Bay.  Craig Breslow.  Mike Lowell

What do these 3 have in common besides the fact that they have worn a Boston uniform ?

Not much, it might seem at first.

The 36-year-old Lowell is a .280/23/98 guy with 1 GG, 4 ASG’s, 1 WS MVP and two Championships.  He beat cancer.  He is loved & respected in the clubhouse.  He attended Florida International.

Jason Bay, 31 years old, is a .280/33/107 guy with 1 ROY, 3 ASG’s, and no championships.    He lends credence to the idea that Canadians are just plain nice people, especially to the fans and media.  Jason went to Gonzaga.

Craig Breslow, 29,  is a lefty reliever who projects to 68 relief appearances with a 2.79 ERA.   He has had 4 good years playing for 5 different teams.  He pitches with guile.  He is loquacious.  He graduated from Yale.

One thing that all 3 have in common is that they are not what you would call “one of the Red Sox boys”.  They are not organization players.

Lowell was the millstone around Josh Beckett’s neck when he arrived in Boston in the Hanley Ramirez trade.

Jason Bay was the hard hitting stop-gap measure that filled leftfield when Manny Ramirez was sent packing to Los Angeles.

Craig Breslow was picked up as a spare part for a befuddled bullpen in 2006, a year in which the Sox missed the playoffs.

When the Sox let Breslow get away, they said goodbye to one smart  kid. Mr. Breslow graduated from Yale with a degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry before turning pro.

Being a Connecticut native like Breslow, I rooted for him to catch on with Boston.  He was good for a while, and less of a mystery the more he pitched.  Still, he soon persevered and progressed in Cleveland, Minnesota & Oakland.

When I spoke with Breslow last month at the World Series Club of Hartford County hot stove dinner, I expressed my dashed hopes that he would catch on with the Sox.  Breslow replied, “Well, I just wasn’t one of their guys.  That makes it harder.”

He said a mouthful.

Clearly, Jason Bay isn’t one of their guys, either.  The Sox didn’t give Bay and his agent a clear indication that it was time to accept their $60 Million or move on.  They made that decision, kept it to themselves and moved onto to Mike Cameron, leaving Bay alone with the Mets on the dance floor.

There have been more than a few whispers around Boston this winter that Mike Lowell will surely be productive next season, wherever he is, but something is missing from Lowell’s relationship with the Sox, some favorable predisposition between front office and player, like the one Manny DelCarmen enjoys.  It is the absence of good feelings that persuades the Sox that it is OK to eat $9 Million of Mike’s $12 Million salary just to be rid of him, as when they tried and failed to arrange in a deal with Texas for Max Ramirez.

(Max happens to project to .217, 19, 86 in a full season he would likely not get to play behind V-Mart & Tek, by the way.).

Mike Lowell just isn’t one of the Red Sox “guys”.

David Ortiz is, of course.

Mike Lowell would be more productive bat in the DH slot than Big Papi.

But that’s not the way you make out the lineup card if you have made Ortiz the face of the franchise and publicly given him a trophy anointing him as The Greatest Clutch Hitter in Red Sox History.

I project David at .249, 19, 75 next year if he stays healthy.  He’ll strike out more than he ever has — on 27% or 28% of his official at bats — as he continues to slow down.   If he does better than that, I’ll wonder what he’s been putting in his nutrition shakes.

Bay, Lowell and Breslow have not gotten the benefit of being one of the guys, like Mr. DelCarmen.

Manny D. has his supporters in Red Sox Nation.  He’s big, he throws hard, and when he has a good inning he’ll get a ground ball and strike out two with a mid-90’s fastball.

But Manny has stretches when he allows 40% of inherited runners to score.  His ERA for September was an ungodly16.20. He is 54% more likely to yield a hit or a walk than to K a batter.  He’s had some very bad Sundays, which makes one wonder how he is spending his Saturday nights.

A lot of teams have been interested in the hard throwing DelCarmen, but he’s one of the guys, and as such is sticking w the Red Sox.

I only wish the front office valued Lowell & Bay as much as they esteem this kid.

It’s good to be one of the guys.

This Lefty is just getting started.

Posted in BASEBALL, Boston Red Sox, Jason Bay, Mike Lowell | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Dick Drago: on pitching, Ted Williams & the 1975 Red Sox

Posted by athomeatfenway on January 3, 2010

I had the pleasure of a Q & A with Dick Drago, a control pitcher who won 117 games mostly for the Royals and the Red Sox.

Dick Drago looks good these days, with salt and pepper hair and short, neatly cropped mustache like the one he wore in 1975, with accents of white.  His voice is deep & low, appropriate for someone who intimidated batters by living in the space between the batter and the plate.

Drago went 17 – 11 w a 2.98 ERA for K.C. in 1971, and earned a share of Cy Young votes.  He was the closer on the 1975 Red Sox and saved two critical games against Oakland without allowing a run to clinch the 1975 pennant.

He played for Joe Gordon, Charlie Metro, Bob Lemon, Jack McKeon in K.C., for Darrell Johnson, Don Zimmer and Johnny Pesky in Boston, for Dick Williams, Dave Garcia and Norm Sherry in Anaheim, for Maury Wills and Rene Lacheman in Seattle, and for Earl Weaver in Baltimore.

Since Dick worked for 13 managers over 13 seasons, I started out asking him about some of those skippers.

Your thoughts on Darrell Johnson ?

When things got a little tougher he seemed to tense up and he seemed to be intimidated by certain players, like when taking a pitcher out.  I would say that with Tiant and Bill Lee there were times when he would let them go a little further sometimes when maybe they should have come out of the game… all in all he did a decent job…

What he did in ’74 kind of cost us the pennant.   In the opposite way of today, he played guys a lot  when we were leading by a lot of games and he needed to get some of the guys on the bench in the game…but he did not.   Later in the season when a couple of guys got hurt none of these (bench) guys had played at all, and it really cost us.  You have to play them, you can’t let them rust, you got to play 162 games.  Somebody is going to get hurt.   That’s what happened.  Rick Burleson got hurt and we had to play Frank Duffy, who hadn’t played in 60 games.

Don Zimmer as a manager ?

I liked him.  He was a hard nosed guy, he played the game, he knew what was going on, I respect people who play the game.  He knows how we all felt.  He was one of the better managers I played for.  Boston was a tough place to manage.  They (the press) didn’t think he was sophisticated enough, but he was just a hard nosed guy.

Earl Weaver ?

I spent a half a season with Earl in 1977.  Playing against him (earlier), I always thought he was a positive guy who got the best out of every player…and when I went over there to play he seemed to be the complete opposite, sitting on the bench and listening to him make negative comments, it may have just been his way to get things done.  I remember watching him on the bench and when he’d get in a tight situation, you’d see him get down in the corner of that dugout with a cigarette, always smoking cigarettes, and he’d have Bamberger, the pitching coach, watching the game, telling him what happened.  He was afraid to watch in tight situations.  He was a lot different from what I thought he’d be like.

Does Weaver deserve the credit for making Palmer into an HOF’er ?

He may have pushed him a little bit further.  Jim had a lot of little aches and pains for whatever reasons.  He was a great pitcher, one of the best ones I have ever seen.  I faced him before there was a DH.  His fastball movement made him hard to hit.  He had a high fastball that had a little rise on it, and he had a straight overhand curveball and good control.

He had a great defense behind him.  Think about the team that he played for.  He was a great pitcher, but, there were a lot of great pitchers that played with bad teams.  He had Blair, Belanger, Powell, he had Brooks Robinson, Davey Johnson, he had a great defensive ballclub, and they knew how to play the game.   Defensively, Belanger was one of the very best.

You were with Kansas City in 1969 when the MLB came back to that town.  Thoughts on that ?

We had a lot of young kids.  It isn’t like it is now where you can stack an expansion team up with experienced guys.    Back then, most of the guys who were not protected for the expansion draft were from AA and AAA.   They were prospects who hadn’t played in the Big Leagues at all.   We had to jell as a team.  It was fun because we weren’t expected to do very much and we kind of all came together.  It was tough as a pitcher because we didn’t have the best defensive team and we didn’t have a lot of offense.   I was a starter there for 5 years and that effects your career numbers.  If I had started for the Red Sox those 5 years, with the offense that they had – and no pitching (it would have been a good fit.).  Don’t forget, Boston had very few good pitchers, like Lonborg.

In 1971 you were the 5th highest Cy Young vote getter.

Yeah, I’m proud of that, ya know, third year in the big leagues and I won 17 games.  You know I probably could have won 22 or 23 games with a better team, we still didn’t have a lot of offense by ‘71.  I guess it did make me a better pitcher because there were a lot of 4-3 and 3-2 games.  Every night, when we went out there you knew we weren’t going to get a lot of runs.  We had just finally gotten Amos Otis to come over, Freddie Patek, Cookie Rojas, so we solidified our team defensively up the middle, which is good, but we didn’t have a lot of power until we got John Mayberry.

How would you start a guy off like Frank Robinson ?

It all depends on the situation.  If you face him with 2 outs and nobody on in the first inning, you are going to pitch him a lot differently than if you faced him in the 6th inning with men on first and second.  I always tried to challenge and get ahead of the good hitters.  There were few that were notoriously first pitch hitters.  A lot of your good hitters wanted to take the first pitch to see what you had, and that was your opportunity to get ahead of them in the count.  The better the hitter the harder I would try to go after them early.  If I am facing somebody with 2 outs and nobody on, I’d give him something (over the plate).  If I face him in the 6 or 7th inning with men on base, I am going to try to make a better pitch, and you gotta know where to get the guy out.

More than anything, you needed to know where the batter’s weakness was.  If there was one.  And you didn’t go there early.  If you needed to get a guy out inside, my thinking was, why go there early in the count, if he take the pitches, they are  balls.  But if you are ahead of him, and you come inside, he may swing at a pitch off the plate inside, you had to have a way to get them out.

You pitched 9 innings back then so you faced a guy 4 times a game.  There were fewer teams, so you played each other more often.  We faced Minnesota all the time with Tony Oliva and Harmon Killebrew, we went to Oakland and they had Reggie Jackson and Joe Rudi, Sal Bando.  You’re facing them every four starts so you knew them and they knew you.  It became a matter of trying to throw them what they were not looking for.

You had 53 complete games.  Thoughts on pitch counts ?

I don’t think too highly of them.   The game has changed.   Money has changed it.  We didn’t make a lot of money back then.   There wasn’t a whole lot of money invested in us.  They didn’t want you to hurt your arm, of course.  But today if they overuse a guy and they have given him $5 million, the ball club stands to lose a lot of money, whereas back then they were only paying you $25,000, they can just bring up another guy to replace you.

We learned to pitch and build our arm strength up.  I remember early in the season they would let you go a little longer once you got through April, to let you try to get yourself out of jams.  They let you pitch through it, which built up your strength and confidence, so that if you got into trouble you would be able to get out of it.  Today, when guys get in trouble the first time, they have never been in it before, and they get pulled out of the game.  The next time they get in trouble, they are looking for help.  It was just a different game.  You had to get out of your own messes.

I think they had pitch counts of a sort back then, but it didn’t necessarily get you taken out of the game, and it may have effected whether you made your next start.

Pitch counts effect how your ball moves, too.  Sometimes your stuff wouldn’t be as good later in the game but your ball was moving differently.  Bob Stanley’s ball, for example, didn’t really move a lot, but when he was tired, his ball moved more, and he was more effective.

You lived in the age of pitching inside.

I made my living going inside.  That’s how I got guys out.  I had a ball that naturally moved in on right handed batters, so that’s where I was going to try to get a lot of guys out.  Unless they were a dead pull hitter, they would just bail.

There were certain guys you go could inside on all day.  Paul Blair, for instance, was hit in the head in 1970 (by Ken Tatum), and he bailed after that.  Anything inside, and he’s looking to get out.

I think you have to pitch inside to be effective.

Your career followed the arc of increasing salaries ushered in by Marvin Miller; does he belong in the HOF ?

From a player’s perspective I think he should be in.  He brought a union together in a way that we stayed together as a group.  He warned us in Spring Training when we were talking about lock outs and strikes.  He said that if not all of us were prepared to stay together and sit out the strike, than forget it, don’t do it.  As opposed to what happened with the NFL where they broke the union because guys started to cross the line.  We hung together.  It wasn’t all about fighting for salaries, it was fighting to have the right to sell our wares as a free agent, just like any other business.

Can you rate yourself as a hitter ?

(Laughing) I was not a good hitter.  I swung.  I never got cheated.  I was a good hitter until I got to the pro’s, where I only hit once a week…

Your personal highlight of 1975 ?

Saving game 2 and 3 in the playoffs.  Down the stretch, there were important games on the way to the pennant, but it would be the two games to get to the World Series.  That’s harder than the World Series because at the time the ALCS was a best of 5 series.  You have played 162 games, now lose 3 of 5 and you are going home.  Very tough.

Tiant really stood out in the 1975 ALCS.

That’s what I was saying about being over used.  Tiant should have never gone that long.  Giving up 12 or 13 hits and 5 runs, 165 pitches.

In ’74, did you anticipate what ’75 would be ?

1974 was a disaster at the end.  We had a big lead and we had guys who just could not play.  We were scoring so many runs, we had guys on the bases, so much so that they got tired.

I remember ’74 being a difficult year for me because I was starting and relieving.  I would come to the ballpark not knowing I was starting.  One day, Juan Marichaul’s arm was hurt so I had to start.  Another day, I came to the park and Rick Wise was hurt so the ball was in my locker.  I didn’t know I was starting until I came to the park, so I pitched 176 innings that year and it felt like 300.  By the end of that year I was as worn out as I had ever been.

When I went to Spring Training in ’75 and they talked to me about being the closer I said that I was either going to relieve or start.  They said they thought I could help the team by being the closer, though that’s not what they called it back then.  That worked for me.

Did you spend time with Ted Williams in Spring Training ?

Oh yeah, we had fun.  We used to sit and talk.  He was fun to talk to because he thought pitchers were all stupid.  But if you could sit and talk with him about pitching, like I could, it was good.  I mean, I threw good, I relied on what’s up here (pointing to head), and good control, and how to pitch, and we could talk about stuff, and Ted would say, “YOU KNOW, DICK, YOU’RE RIGHT !  YOU’RE RIGHT ! DAMN RIGHT, YOU ARE !.  You know how he was, he was loud.

Posted in BASEBALL, Boston Red Sox | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Hall of Fame greets Rickey Henderson, Jim Rice, Joe Gordon…and Dorkus White

Posted by athomeatfenway on July 28, 2009

It was a paradise for Fans

It was a paradise for Fans

Long after we sat down in our folding chairs facing the induction stage and jumbotron, Dorkus White of Bennington, Vermont bared his spooky grin.  “Mind if we pull up next to you ?”

I nodded affirmatively.  A light aroma of body odor wafted in the air.  He plunked into his seat.  “You don’t mind since I’m not wearing any of that YANKEE SHIT !”, he snarled.

Then…he spat.

Wow.

I am no Yankee fan for sure, but my hackles were up.

I am too old to fight.  I am too smart to fight.  But I cannot tolerate those who begin a conversation by disrespecting the traditions of other fans.  I was pissed.

My anxiety level was up from spending 4 hours in a car with nothing but prunes, coffee and peanuts in my belly.

I was ornery.

I clenched my left hand into a fist and drew it back, positioned to thwock this boob and lead with my wedding ring.

Then  I thought about the resultant civil suit and relaxed, so as to preserve my home, my 401K and all other small assets so that they may be picked over by my children, and their future generations to come.

XXXXXXXX

We met all kinds this day, Sun., Sept. 26, 2009 in Cooperstown.  Without even trying, we spoke with 30-odd fans who flew in from the Oakland area, others from St. Louis, Kansas, Virginia, Staten Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maryland.  As expected, Baltimoreans made their presence felt during the national anthem by Shouting “O !”  instead of “Oh, say can you see?”

These were baseball loving people from all over the States.  They treated each other well, and showed their loyalty is expected and curious ways.

The streets of Cooperstown were populated with young and old, trim and fat, Black, White, Hispanic and Asian.

They were decked out in mustard green, baby blue, Redbird red, road greys, home whites and the multi-colored Houston horizon.

We were at The United Nations of Baseball.  20,000 of us sat comfortably in our lawn chairs on a great field.

A delegate from Alexandria testified on the greatness of Stan Musial, he with 3,630 hits – exactly half of them on the road.  A delegate from St. Louis railed against the unbearably high cost of All Star Game tickets.  A delegate from Mississippi invoked State birth rights and claimed ownership of one Jonathan Papelbon, who currently resides in Boston.

Secret languages were being spoken.  Everyone understood every word of it.  Those who confessed to ignorance became learned.

On this field and in the village, 20,000 hard-wired Baseball fans, age 2 to 92 walked, sprinted, sat and leisurely strolled through Cooperstown, engaged in conversation.

The talk was unrelenting.

20,000 pilgrims expressed a baseball thought every 15 seconds for 10 hours, resulting in 480,000,000 baseball opinions.

Not one positive thing was said about Bud Selig.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Dorkus was a sinner.  This runt of a man was given to excess.  Excess eating, and by his smell, excessive sweating.  5 ft., 5 inches tall and 260 lbs., he wore non-matching green cargo shorts and a yellow-and-white checkered shirt from the mark down table at Ocean State Job Lot.  His gnarly toe nails stared up at me from a pair of open toed flip flops.

As he skootched his chair so close to me that our armrests interlocked, I swear I heard him fart.

He pushed back his oily hair with one hand, then followed it with the other, snugging a Red Sox cap, a 1946 Cooperstown Collectible repro, above his greasy brow.

This pig of a man……like me…..was a Red Sox fan.

Dorkus White, on a one-day parole from his trailer park, scanned the crowd of 20,000, observing the stage and Baseball circus before us.

He smiled broadly.

XXXXXXXXXX.

Judy Gordon is a lean, lion-maned, energetic woman who conjures the intellect and grace of a PBS historian.  She stood up for her family and accepted the HOF plaque for her Father, Joe Gordon.

Gordon, a second bagger, clouted 253 HR’s, a remarkable total for a keystoner.  He batted .278, beat Ted Williams for the 1942 MVP, played the field acrobatically.  He won FIVE World Championships with the Yankees and Indians in an 11-year war-interrupted career.

Judy was the first speaker to draw emotions.  Although the day was marked by lusty cheering and standing ovations from fans of Rickey & Jim, it was Joe Gordon’s girl who compelled thousands to choke up.

As Judy Gordon closed her summary of Joe Gordon’s life and career, she explained how personal humility stopped him from allowing a funeral to be conducted.

There had been no service for Joe Gordon upon his death in 1978, Judy said.

Her voice shut down with emotion.  She breathed silently, trying to gather herself.

In that instant, all realized that Gordon had passed from this Earth without a celebration of  his life.  No gathering.  No chit chat about his exploits and loves.  No public recognition of the impact he had on others.

Until today.

Judy explained that on this day, July 26, 2009, the family considered this induction ceremony to be Joe Gordon’s funeral celebration, and his eternal resting place to be the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Tears flowed.

XXXXXX.

Jim Ed Rice is many things.  Put your arm around the “Boston Strong Man” and feel the shoulder muscles that writhe like a barrel of snakes.  Stick a microphone in front of him and hear him elaborate like an Emerson graduate.  Take him off camera and hear him talk about the importance of family, love, and teamwork.

Rice’s speech dragged a finger across the arc of human life.  Youthful days enjoyed.  Finding the love of your life.  Earning what you own.  Bringing children into the world.  Experiencing many, many pleasures, and then knowing the confounding joy of grandchildren.

The man who once allegedly deposited a reporter upside down in a locker room garbage can made his induction speech about family, love, marriage, teammates.

He honored Johnny Pesky, his personal batting coach and BP pitcher in Jim’s rookie season.  He honored Celcil Cooper, his roommate.

He did not back away from his denial that war with the media had hurt him.  Instead, he pointed out the irony that he had become one of them.

Jim Rice.  Ed Rice.  Poppa.  Uncle Jim.  Jim the Friend Who Never Calls You Back.

Jim Ed said that he is all of the above.

He said he is also Jim the Grateful.

Though massive talents and achievements prevented Jim’s words from resonating with humility this day, the cocky confidence that marbled his words was not unbecoming.

He knows what is important.  And he knows he belongs in Cooperstown.

XXXXXXXXXX.

The High School Baseball Coach brought ice cream to Rickey’s home to recruit him.

His Mom told him to stop with the Football, and concentrate on the diamond.

A teacher offered him 25 cents for every hit, run and stolen base he made.  He made cash money.

Rickey’s life has turned on small things.

As the entire baseball world waited for Rickey to float into a eubonic-plagued “Rickey-says-this and Rickey-says-that” soliloquy, Rickey Henderson instead carefully enunciated a well constructed speech of gratitude.

He recognized Billy Martin as a great manager.  He pointed to his best friend, Dave Stewart.  He allowed that his wife of 30 years, Pamela, has supported him in all that he has done.

Rickey hit every consonant.  (And a few that do not normally get hit.)

He spoke carefully, making every syllable heard.

He had prepared his ass off.

What else would you expect from the man who scored more runs than anyone (2,295), stole more bases than anyone (1,406), and led off more games with a HR than anyone (81)?

As Bill James once said, he’s so good you could split him in half and get two HOF’ers.

Rickey was not going to be embarrassed at his celebration.

And, oh the numerous A’s fans did rejoice.  They played banjo, danced, shouted and screamed.  They let out their Rickey Love, their A’s Ardor.  They represented the Bay Area impressively.

They may have outshined Red Sox Nation, which interrupted Rice with a loud “Let’s Go Red Sox” chant just as he started, and earlier gave Yaz a long and loving ovation.

You just had to tip your hat to the many from Oakland who traveled 3,000 miles.  Decked in splendor, elephants on their sleeves, mustard on their jerseys, they soared on the achievements of a player the likes of which we will never see again.

XXXXXXX

Dorkus White of Bennington, Vt. had impressed me.

There were his loathsome characteristics, sure.  But his heart seemed to be in the right place.

Dorkus had jumped to his feet and cheered 92-year-old patriot, Bob Feller.  He had hollered for Yaz, Yogi, Koufax and Reggie.  He had applauded Rickey when the speedy one paid respect to Roberto Clemente.

I had observed that a small, yet warm, heart was radiating from his unwashed and ill-clad breast.

Still, I didn’t want to get too close to Dorkus as the wife and I pulled up stakes.  I moved silently and avoided eye contact.

Then the filfthy, decent little Dorkus reached out to me with a friendly shake and a warm goodbye.

I realized that Dorkus White, Red Sox fan of Bennington, Vt., had had a pretty good day.

He is overall, it seems, a pretty damn good baseball fan.

Like Rickey, A's fans were untoppable this day.

Like Rickey, A's fans were untoppable this day.

Posted in Boston Red Sox, Hall of Fame, Jim Rice, Oakland A's, RED SOX, Rickey Henderson | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: DEEP DRIVE Mike Lowell

Posted by athomeatfenway on December 26, 2008

deep-drive

DEEP DRIVE, A long journey to finding the champion within.  By Mike Lowell with Rob Bradford.  Foreword by Josh Beckett.    256 pages.  2008.  Celebra books.

 

This book is a great baseball story and an even better human one.

 

In Short – Lowell’s family are refugees from Castro, and he grows up a scrawny kid near Miami.  He works his ass off, turns the skinny build into a productive one.  599 guys are drafted in front of him, but he grows into the Yankee Organization Player of the Year before being traded to the Marlins.   Cancer interrupts his life TWICE.  Steroid rumors swirl but do not prevail.  He loses his swing.  He is betrayed by money grubbers.  He overcomes it all.

 

Lowell wins the World Series twice.  Lowell becomes a World Series MVP. 

 

Great Player.  Great Teammate.

 

It’s a great read and you should pick it up.

 

*******************

 

 

Lowell’s Dad, Carlos, at age 11, escaped from Cuba to Puerto Rico.  Carlos played baseball on the San Ignacio H.S. team.  He played his college ball at St. Joseph’s in Philly, where he tossed a no-hitter and won the MVP Award.  Carlos competed for the Puerto Rico National team.

 

Mike Lowell was raised in Florida where he changed High Schools when it became apparent he wouldn’t get adequate playing time while studying with the good Brothers at Christopher Columbus High School.  The last two spots in the batting order of the Christopher Columbus freshman team were historic.  Batting 8th and playing SS was Alex Rodriguez.  Batting 9th and playing second base was Lowell.

 

A-Rod transferred to Westminster H.S. due to a lack of playing time and Lowell left for Coral Gables H.S. for the same reason.  Imagine what Brother Herb Baker might say today about not having foreseen the potential of these future MLB All Stars.  According to this book, Baker was pretty stoic about it.

 

Before going to Florida International with close to a full ride, Lowell was recruited by Notre Dame assistant Coach Pat Murphy, who would later coach Dustin Pedroia at Arizona State.

 

After developing as a second baseman throughout High school and College, Mike was selected by the New York Yankees in the 20th round of the 1995 draft.  He was shocked when the Yankees informed him they intended to convert him to a catcher.

 

They didn’t stick with that decision after seeing what great hands he had at third.

 

Mike had little power at first.  He was underweight at Oneonta (NY Penn League) and Greensboro (A).  But in 1996 and 1997 he gained 25 pounds of muscle, batting .344 for half a season in Norwich (AA) and hitting 15 Homers in half a season in Columbus (AAA).  In 1998, he played 126 games for Columbus, batting .311 with 25 HR’s.  Mike made his MLB debut on 9-13-98 at Yankee Stadium in front of 47,471 fans.  He singled in his first at bat.  Although he was the starting 3rd baseman that day, he was behind Scott Brosius on the depth chart.  Still, he was the Yankees 1997 Organization Player of the Year and had a terrific 1998.  Thus, before the post-season, Lowell was told he would be the 1999 starting third baseman on the Yankees, unless Brosius won the World Series MVP, an unlikely possibility…..

 

……and that is exactly what occurred. 

 

Lowell was traded to his hometown Marlins on Feb. 1, 1999. 

 

He had no objection to playing in hometown Miami.

 

But within a month of the trade he was diagnosed with cancer.

 

1999 was a rollercoaster.  Traded, then diagnosed, he underwent surgery and chemo, was sent down to AAA to rehab, and was required to prove he was still major league capable in May. 

 

By Oct. 1, 1999, Mike had batted .253 with 12 home runs in 97 games and was informed he would be a starter for the 2000 squad.

 

“Surviving cancer was, and always will be, my toughest battle. I laugh when people talk about how tough it is to deal with the boos of fans….when cancer comes calling, baseball takes a backseat…having 40,000 people at Yankee Stadium tell me I suck is a nice diversion.”

 

 

NUGGETS

 

 

THE STORY OF “PAM”:  Lowell clarifies why MLB players might be wary about people pretending to be friends.  The story of “Pam”, a BFF of Bertica, his wife, makes the point.  Friends since they were age 15, “Pam” was injured in a car accident with Bertica at the wheel during Lowell’s rookie year.  At first unconscious, “Pam” recovered pretty quickly and all was well.  Some months passed, and then “Pam” stopped speaking with Bertica.  Suddenly, the Lowells were hit with a $1.2 Million law suit alleging pain and vision issues for “Pam”.  At that point, Lowell had made $60,000 total playing 4 years of pro ball and had $7,000 in the bank.  “Pam” and her attorney were stunned when Mike showed them his IRS returns.  The money grubbers slunk away.  They were not heard from again under after Mike signed a major contract the following year.  Ultimately, they sued for $600,000 and Lowell settled for half of that to put it behind them.  Unfortunately for Bertica, the emotional injury cast a shadow for two years.

 

 

THE IRON MAN  SONG:   Have you sat in Fenway wondering how the music dude selected Black Sabbath’s IRON MAN for Lowell’s at bats ?  Turn to page 161.  The story involves getting beaned in the noggin by Adam Loewen and then diving into the field boxes to make a catch in the top of the next inning.

 

BEING GROUNDED:  Mike Lowell is a grounded individual.  “I’ve always said that I play baseball but that is not who I am.  That’s part of who I am.  But I’d much rather be a good father, husband, friend and brother…the game is just what everyone sees, but there is so much more to me.”

 

As Jackie Kennedy said, “If you screw up raising your children, it really doesn’t much matter what else you achieve with the rest of your life.”

 

 

BE POSITIVE:   “You can choose to harp on negativity  — I certainly could have when cancer came calling, or when the hits were hard to find in 2005 – but if you choose the positive you’re going to get the most out of life.  It has worked for me, and I’m not about to stop now.”

 

 

 

AMERICA IS A PLACE TO START AGAIN:  Lowell’s family believed, achieved and overcame Communism & Cancer. 

 

The Seattle Mariners’ Don Wakamatsu today became the first person of Asian ethnicity to be a MLB Manager, rising above a different and regrettable form of oppression.

 

Lowell’s Dad and Father-in-Law were victimized by Castro. 

 

Wakamatsu’s grandparents were victims of the U.S. Government. 

 

They lost their home and were imprisoned in a World War II internment camp.

 

Baseball reflects America.  The good and the bad.

 

 

DEEP DRIVE is a story of family strength.   It’s a good read.  Tackle it and be rewarded.  Red My fellow Sox fans will be rewarded to know that though we lost Teixeira to the Yankees we have retained a man of singular character and skill.

MVP gets 2 cars & a Disney Parade !

MVP gets 2 cars & a Disney Parade !

Posted in BASEBALL, BASEBALL BOOKS, Boston Red Sox, Mike Lowell | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Youkilis Makes Dreams come True for Kids

Posted by athomeatfenway on August 19, 2008

  

Enza and Tom in FB 29

Enza and Tom in FB 29

Aug. 17, 2008

Fenway 

 

 

Youk’s fiancé, Enza Sambataro, leaned over the dugout wall and spoke with Kevin before the game started, chatting  in a certain way that couples do, and I soon said hello and congrats to her on their upcoming nuptials.
Enza was seated with a family including what appeared to be a Dad and two under-12 boys, one of whom wore the burden of a serious illness.
Later, a veteran usher told me that the infirmed child had brain cancer, though he couldn’t swear to it.
What I can swear to is that Youk gave that kid an autographed game used bat. 
More dramatically, Youk bashed a 3-1 fastball for a 4th inning HR.
He then flew around the bases and stopped at Field Box 29, reaching into the second row to high five that kid.
Youk homers, heads for Christian
“Buddy, that one was for you.”, he told the boy, Christian Meyer, who is being treated for brain cancer at Mass General.

This was a pretty touching scene, friends.  The wizened baseball bugs to my right side were stunned to see the beefy Youk stop dead in his trot to the dugout and reach out and touch that kid.
What middle-aged cynical fan hasn’t said, Gee, if it was me, I’d be thankful for every penney, and I’d give back to kids and community in spades.
Youk and Enza are giving back.  And Youk is pretty much doing what others say they’d do in his position.
Here is a telling quote from their web-site:
“I am living out my childhood dream, and it is due in no small part to the tremendous support of my family, friends and community.  Now I am in the position to foster safe, nurturing, healthy environments for today’s children, and I can’t imagine backing away from that opportunity.”
-Kevin Youkilis
If you have daughters or are just generally fashion inclined, you might invest $50 charitable dollars to attend their Fashion Show in Natick this Thursday, August 21.
Details for that event are on the above web-site.  There is also a charity Comedy event at Mohegan Sun and a charity Golf Tournament in Sterling, Mass. — coming up quickly.

All proceeds go to support Enza and Kevin’s chosen charities, Christopher’s Haven, The Italian Home For Children and Joslin Pediatric Health Services.

Payday is Friday for many of us.  Join me if you can in making a contribution on the web-site to help kids and show your Sox colors.  

"That one's for you, buddy !"

Youk: Buddy, that one was for you !

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in BASEBALL, Boston Red Sox, Kevin Youkilis, Youkilis | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Buchholz or Ellsbury for Santana ?

Posted by athomeatfenway on November 24, 2007

The Sox are in the hunt for Johan Santana.  The Twins want two young, cheap, excellent-upside players plus two minor league prospects.  And now, Jon Lester, Clay Bucholz, and Jacoby Ellsbury, and possibly Coco Crisp are in the discussion.  I’d really like to see Theo pull the trigger on this one.  Give Jon Lester a plane ticket.  Lester doesn’t get better with every start, he seems to get worse.  He puts men on and struggles to have a clean inning.   And, give Clay Buchholz a plane ticket, too, because a no-hitter doesn’t make Buchholz a solid major leaguer.  Plenty of kids have had a big day in the spotlight.  Remember Anibal Sanchez, who pitched a no-hitter in his 5th MLB start, then whoops, tore his labrum.  Remember Bud Smith, who pitched a no-no for the Cards in 2000 at the age of 21, and pitched his final MLB game at the age of 22 ?  AJ Burnett was 24 when he no-hit the Padres, but he’s 58W-54L since, with 8 trips to the D.L. in 7 years.  Eric Milton, Jose Jimenez, the list goes on.   Meanwhile, Santana brings a career winning pct. of .679, a 3.33 career ERA, and four sub-3.00 ERA seasons.  He strikes out many and walks few.   He has had just one stint on the D.L .- 6 years ago.  At age 28, he could give his next team a great 5 year run as a #1 starter.  I like a rotation of Beckett, Santana, Schilling, Wakefield and Matsuzaka.   Holy Smokes !  Don’t you ?  Schill, sadly, is not expected to be here in 2009.  Send Lester, Buchholz plus two prospects for Santana.  Just lock up Johan for 5 years before the trade gets done.  And if they insist on Ellsbury in a package w Lester and prospects, do it !  Red Sox fans deserve a long, long extension of this heady era of Soxcess, and Santana will help extend it.

Posted in BASEBALL, Clay Buchholz, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, RED SOX | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »