Showing posts from February, 2011

Farewell to the Duke

After learning today of Duke Snider's death, I realized another picture of mine from Vero Beach would serve as a fitting tribute. The Duke of Flatbush prepared for 16 of his baseball years at Dodgertown.

Spring Training 2005

One oasis again missing from the Spring Training map this year is Vero Beach, Florida. The longtime home of Dodgertown remains quiet two years after the Dodgers moved their facility to the outskirts of Phoenix. While a camp that was state of the art in the late 1940s, competitive in the '60s and quaint by the 1990s seems out of place today, it's a loss that fans can't experience Holman Stadium's close-in seating, understated design -- and echoes of the legends that played on this field.

Around the Batting Cage

A look back at March 2007, as the Orioles get ready for a Grapefruit League game against the Mets in Port Saint Lucie.

It's That Time Again

This is the week the sports calendar flips -- less than 10 days after the Super Bowl, baseball players begin reporting to training camps in Florida and Arizona. Can you believe that 25 years ago, reporters didn't watch Grapefruit League games from the press box, but from foul territory in right field just past the grandstand of the small and simple ballparks (in this case, Clearwater's old Jack Russell Stadium)? As an industry, spring training has mushroomed in size, the close-up intimacy reporters enjoyed in the 1980s replaced by massive campuses with less direct access to the players and more distance from the games.

Adios, Andy

Andy Pettitte called it a career yesterday after 240 big league victories (203 as a Yankee, second-most among lefties), plus a record 19 in post-season play. Steady as opposed to spectacular, he was the consistent, hard-working hurler, who got batters out with his wits as much as his arm. Above: thanks to my pal Bryan Nazario, here he is in the final game, September 2008, at the old Yankee Stadium. Below: chatting with reporters at the workout and preview of the new Stadium the following April. As much as #49 became intertwined with Ron Guidry, 46 in the Bronx IS Andy Pettitte. In time, I'd expect a ceremony officially retiring the number and adding it those displayed in Monument Park.

Pinstripe Passion

What better way to celebrate the first football-free weekend than by connecting with baseball heroes? I covered PINSTRIPE PASSIONS, a New Jersey fanfest/collectibles show chock full of Yankee legends, such as Whitey Ford. Above, the most unusual item a player was given to autograph: Luis Arroyo, the closer on the Yankees '61 champions, with a giant canvas replica of a World Series ticket. Below, wonder what might have happened had you not clothes-pinned your baseball cards to your bicycle wheels? It was such a kick to share a moment with an historic figure like Don Laresen (above) and '61 Yankee star Moose Skowron -- that was the first season I went to a game at "the Big Ballpark in the Bronx." Above: no surprise that Don Mattingly's fans enjoyed meeting him. Below: Marvin Miller, who never threw a ball or swung a bat on a big league field, got plenty of opportunities to sign them. Some comic interaction between Hall of Famers Bert Blyleven and Dave W