Showing posts from January, 2022

Hunter Pence's Next Chapter

The hard-hitting outfielder , whose eight Giants seasons included World Series championships in 2012 and '14, could be the next ex-player headed for broadcast stardom. He did some work in 2021 on Giants telecasts and a studio analyst for MLB Network.  

Friday Flashback: Phillies Chat Before a Game

Before a July 2012 game at Citi Field, pitchers Brian Sanchez (left) and Vance Worley trade thoughts on how to keep the Mets batters in check.  

If Your Birthday is January 26th...

Image share it with Hector Noesi . After making his debut with the 2011 Yankees, he want to the Mariners the following winter along with Jesus Montero for Michael Pineda. Ryan Rowland-Smith  was o ne of the first Australian pitchers to make the majors. With a hyphenated surname that pretty much filled the back of his Mariners uniform, he posted a 12-17 record over four Seattle seasons. ...Also on our cake and candles crew: Rick Schu was handed a nearly impossible job -- replacing Mike Schmidt as the Phillies everyday 3rd baseman. After hitting just .252 in 1985 while the future Hall of Famer shifted to 1st, Schmidt reclaimed his old position. Schu lasted in Philadelphia through 1987, before being traded to the Orioles. Bob Uecker is likely the most famous .200 hitter in baseball history, and the only one to be enshrined in Cooperstown. The self-depreciating ex-catcher found his niche as a Brewers broadcaster and standup comic, who ranks among Johnny Carson's favorite Tonight Sho

Hit Well... Caught Better

From June 18th, 2021, Miguel Andujar of the Yankees gives a James Kaprelian fastball a good ride.    But not quite good enough. Watch A's rightfielder Mark Canha leap, and pull it down for the out.

Friday Flashback: Andy Pettitte in Trenton 2012

Here's something a little different: Andy Pettitte on a minor league rehab assignment with Double-A Trenton, on April  25th, 2012. Of course, he's wearing his familiar number 46 along with the minor league version of his Yankee pinstripes.    

The Closest You Can Be...

  ...without being in uniform. From the second row at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, we're watching Daniel Murphy in the on-deck circle as the Cardinals host the Mets on March 7th, 2012.

Double Decker Bullpen

One of the cool features of Citizens Bank Park is its double-decker bullpen. Sit behind 3rd base in close games you can get a glimpse of both teams warming up their next pitchers.  

If Your Birthday is January 18th...

Image share it with  Michael Pineda . Tall and talented, erratic and enigmatic, he gave strong hints of being a future ace to first the Mariners, then the Yankees. But something always stood in the way. First there was a shoulder injury that cost him two full seasons. There was a maddening inconsistency. And then Tommy John surgery that ended his 2017 early -- and closed the books on his time with the Yankees.  Signing with the Twins, he won 11 games in 2019 before being suspended for using a banned substance. Over his three Minnesota seasons, he went 22-13. He spend 2022 in Texas after landing a pre-lockout free agent deal with the Rangers. Also getting their cake and candles today: Brett Lawrie , the Canadian-born infielder who spent six years in the majors with the Blue Jays and A's. Mike Lieberthal , who caught for parts of 14 seasons, all but one with the Phillies. Brady Anderson , a solid outfielder during the 1990s, who, in 1996 suddenly and briefly blossomed into a slugger

Smart Move by the Mets

Along with last week's announcement that the Mets were retiring Keith Hernandez's #17, came word from both Keith and Sandy Alderson that the Mets were restoring a long-lapsed tradition next summer: Old Timers Day. While growing up, I went to many of these at both Yankee and Shea Stadiums. It was a great way to learn more about baseball history -- seeing the legends whose careers took place long before my time. Here's my cover of the paper program handed out at Shea Stadium on July 24th, 1965. Of course that day went down as an infamous one for the Mets -- Casey Stengel, at an "after party" following the celebration at Shea, fell (off a barstool, according to legend) and broke a hip which forced him to retire as manager.  

Friday Flashback: Mets and Nats - 2012

R.A. Dickey of the Mets -- on his way to winning the Cy Young Award -- faces the Nationals in Washington on July 19th. 2012. That's Bryce Harper waiting in the on-deck circle. And after reaching base, Harper takes a leap, not just a lead off 1st... putting some space between himself and Mets 1st baseman Ike Davis.  

17 Forever

Keith Hernandez was already a Mets franchise icon. The 1st baseman, whose 1983 arrival from the Cardinals goes alongside the drafting of Dwight Gooden and Daryl Strawberry and trade for Gary Carter as cornerstones of the club's second championship, will have his number-17 retired by the team on July 9th. A brilliant fielder, timely hitter and passionate on-field leader for seven seasons renewed his Mets connections as a standout TV analyst for the past 23 years, Hernandez embraced New York -- as the area embraced him back. Whether it was appearing on Seinfeld , dating Carly Simon or making his home on the far end of Long Island, Keith almost makes you forget that he grew up near San Francisco and led St. Louis to its 1982 title. After wearing 37 with the Cardinals, Hernandez had to switch numbers in New York, as 37 had already been retired for Casey Stengel. Sharing a birthday with Mickey Mantle, Keith had to find another number ending in 7 to honor his boyhood idol. He selected 1

If Your Birthday is January 12th...

Image share it with Alex Wood . Seen here with the 2014 Braves, the lefthander has also pitched for the Dodgers, Reds and Giants -- where he went 10-4 for the 2021 club that posted the best regular season record in the majors. He'll be back in San Francisco, having signed a two-year, $25 million extension before the lockout. Also on today's list: Ivan Nova , the Yankees and Pirates veteran who recently signed with the Korean Baseball Organization. Dontrelle Willis , the 2003 Rookie of the Year with the World Champion Marlins, and a 22-game winner two years later. While he couldn't sustain that on-field success, he has successfully built a second career as a TV analyst with the A's and FOX Sports. Andy Fox broke in with the World Champion 1996 Yankees and went on to a nine-season career as a bench player. He's currently a minor league coach with the Red Sox. Randy Jones won 100 games over a decade with the Padres and the Mets, and is the  only starting pitcher to

Hello Tokyo!

  Gregory Polanco has become the latest MLB veteran heading to Asian baseball. A few days ago, we learned that the outfielder, after being cut mid-season by the Pirates, has signed with the Tokyo Giants. Now 30, Polanco put in three solid seasons for Pittsburgh. But since 2019, his career went south from that dreaded combination of declining numbers and uncertain health.  The lefty outfielder, who twice hit more than 20 homers in a season, is still young enough to turn things around in Japan. A good season in NPB could put him back on MLB's radar a year from now. (My image of Polanco is from a 2018 Pirates exhibition game in Bradenton.)

Off to Korea

Over the weekend, we learned that another pair of recent major leaguers had signed with Korea's KBO: Mike Tauchman (above), best known for his productive 2019 season with the Yankees; and Rio Ruiz , once a top Braves prospect, who became the Orioles regular 3rd baseman in 2019 and '20. They join a parade of talent that also includes outfielder Nick Martini (most recently of the Cubs) and pitchers Wilmer Font, David Buchanan and Ivan Nova.  

Friday Flashback: 10 Years Ago

Through the winter, I'll be featuring glimpses of the 2012 season... Today, it's Mariners ace Felix Hernandez facing the Yankees in the Bronx on May 11th .  While we didn't see a vintage "King Felix" performance on this night -- when the Yankees tagged him for four runs in 6-2/3 innings -- Hernandez went on to win 13 games that season, including an AL-best five shutouts.  


Cameron Maybin called it a career this week. After 15 big league seasons, the well-liked outfielder broke the news via Twitter .  The post recalled his big league debut, as a 2007 Tiger at the original Yankee Stadium -- whose successor would be his home for his most productive season a dozen years later -- and a home run in his second game off the imposing Roger Clemens. Maybin dialed up the movers at the end of that season, when he and Andrew Miller were the key players heading to the Marlins for Miguel Cabrera. There'd be many more moves ahead in a career that touched 10 franchises, concluding this past May with nine games for the Mets, which made him one of the 135 (so far) to don the uniforms of both New York clubs. The photo below is from 2015, which he spent with the Braves.  

If Your Birthday is January 5th...

Image share it with Jose Iglesias . The Cuban-born shortstop, best known for his five seasons with the Tigers, finished out 2021 as backup with the Red Sox. And while he's no threat to overtake incumbent Xander  Bogaerts, could he be the kind of stopgap that might intrigue the Yankees? With prospects Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza said to be a year or a year and a half away from the majors, a solid proven pro without the big price tag might be just what Brian Cashman ordered. A career .275 hitter, Iglesias is no Ozzie Smith, but would provide steadier defense than Gleyber Torres demonstrated during his unfortunate year and a half trial in the spot once manned by Hall of Famers Derek Jeter and Phil Rizzuto.  Also getting their cake and candles today: Eduardo Escobar , the free agent infielder signed by the Mets just before the lockout. Danny Jackson , the well-traveled lefty pitcher who made the World Series on three different teams: the champion '85 Royals and '90 Reds, a

Pitcher for Hire

Danny Duffy isn't a star, but he's a quality arm that could fit into the middle or back end of the rotation for a contending team. Based on ERA and strikeout rate, ranks him next after Clayton Kershaw and Carlos Rodon among free agent starting pitchers. Once the lockout ends, is this 33 year old a potential difference-maker for the Phillies, Yankees or another club with rotation holes to fill?

On This Date in 1973

Baseball fans were introduced to George Steinbrenner on January 3rd, 1973, when the investment group he led purchased the Yankees from CBS. The "shipbuilder from Cleveland" would soon become the most famous off-field figure in New York sports. Over the next 37 years, he would revive and restore the Yankee brand, return it to championship status, maximize is media footprint and even move its place of business.  His ease as a public figure, blended with his impulsiveness and tenacity, left him with the enduring nickname "The Boss." Like any enduring celebrity, from Sinatra to Elvis, Liz Taylor and the Yankees ultimate icon Babe Ruth, Steinbrenner was not just larger than life, but left an unfillable void when they departed the public arena. Just like those others, George was not everyone's cup of tea. He rubbed many the wrong way, and like his contemporary Marvin Miller, was not fully appreciated until he was gone. And now that Marvin has been inducted into Baseba

Suiting Up for New Year's Day

Jorge Posada and Greg Allen team up to wish you a fresh set of 365 days filled with health, wealth, wisdom and wonder.