Showing posts from April, 2023

If Your Birthday is April 28th...

The spotlight's on shortstops : share it with Anthony Volpe .  The Yankees rookie won the starting shortstop position after outplaying Oswald Peraza in spring training.  While the suburban New Jersey product struggled as hitter for his first dozen games, he's hit his stride since moving into the lead off spot.  After all, who wouldn't want to hit with superstar Aaron Judge right behind you?  While it's a long season and nothing is written in stone, Volpe appears to have the talent and demeanor to be a middle inning mainstay in the Bronx for years to come. Barry Larkin also got to play for the team he grew up rooting for.  In his case, his heroics carried Cincinnati native all the way to Cooperstown.  A 12-time all star and 1995 NL MVP, Larkin batted a career . 295 with 198 homers and stands as the Reds best shortstop ever. Coming up tomorrow , the 29th, the first Venezuelan elected to the Hall of Fame.   Luis Aparicio  played 10 of his 18 major league seasons at

On This Date in 1988...

Keith Hernandez enjoys one of his most productive days in a Mets uniform while reaching a career milestone.  At Fulton County Stadium, the 1st baseman homers twice -- including an 8th inning grand slam -- and drives in seven, as the Amazins rout the Atlanta Braves 13-4  -- and Hernandez reaches 1000 career RBI. ( My image is from the 2012 BAT Dinner in New York .)    

Sunday in Syracuse

Youth was served on Sunday as I was on hand to watch the Syracuse Mets finish their series against the Rays AAA  affiliate, the Durham Bulls.  While Crash Davis wasn't on hand, and Mark Vientos had the day off, I saw plenty of other young talent, such as the Mets Ronny Mauricio .  Now playing 2nd base, this tall power-hitter had a 1-for-5 afternoon including an RBI single, and is hitting around .350 in the early going.   (Below) Danny Mendick , whose White Sox career was derailed by a serious knee injury, is trying to work his way back to the majors as a Met.  He followed Mauricio's run-producing single in the 8th with one of his own. What the Rays lack in payroll size or stadium charm, they more than make up in young talent.  Say hello to shortstop Osleivis Basabe .  While his path (like the Mets' Mauricio) seems blocked by an established star, in his case Wander Franco, he's likely to reach the majors before long.  He came into Sunday's game at .351 with an .882

If Your Birthday is April 21st...

Image share it with the pitcher who appeared in more major league games than anyone in history.  Jesse Orosco  took the mound 1252 times over 24 seasons in four decades.   Best known as a Met, where he nailed down the last out in game seven of the 1986 World Series, Jesse is also in that select circle who've played for both New York teams -- although his 15-game Yankee stint in 2003 produced forgettable results (including an ERA over 10).  Jesse shares his birthday with one of today's most effective closers: Jordan Romano  has emerged as the best of the Blue Jays' late-inning arms.  He saved 36 games last season when he was named to his first All Star team. Zack Godley  won 15 games for the 2018 Diamondbacks -- while leading the NL in hit batters and wild pitches. After struggling for Arizona, and having brief runs with Toronto, Boston, and Milwaukee, his career appears to have ended.  Joc Pederson , the northern California native who provided power to the Dodgers for six

Milestone Night for Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw was not intimidated by history as he took the mound Tuesday night.  Instead, as we've seen many times over his Cooperstown-bound career, he rose to the occasion.  Facing the Mets at Dodger Stadium, the LA ace was in command from the git-go: striking out Starling Marte, Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso to end the 1st inning after Brandon Nimmo reached on an error.  And he didn't let up from there, striking out nine and allowing just three hits over seven dominating innings in the Dodgers' 5-0 victory -- for his 200th career victory. That not only makes him the third Dodger hurler -- after Don Sutton and Don Drysdale -- to join the 200 club, but places him in another select circle: he's the 13th pitcher in the history of MLB to do it with just one club (think Drysdale, as well as a heroes gallery ranging from Walter Johnson to Bob Gibson and Whitey Ford).   ( My images of Kershaw are from a July 2015 game against the Mets in New York .)

Random Images

Gerrit Cole   threw his most dominating game since joining the Yankees.  Working with just a small cushion on Sunday, he struck out 10, while shutting out the Twins 2-0.  The righthander became MLB's first four-game winner of 2023 and also claimed a little history.  When he struck out Carlos Correa in the 4th inning, he moved him past Yankee legend Whitey Ford (1,956) for 97th place on the all-time list. (Below) Mets fans, you're getting your wish: prized rookie Brett Baty  will join the big club tonight in L.A., after getting off to a sizzling start with Triple-A Syracuse.  How hot?  In ninr games, he batted .400 with 15 RBI.   Another highly touted New York prospect got "the call" over the weekend.  With Giancarlo Stanton's hamstring injury forcing an I-L stint, infielder Oswald Peraza is being promoted from Scranton for at least a few games.  Having lost the spring training shortstop battle to Anthony Rizzo, it will be interesting to see if the 22 year old Ven

If Your Birthday is April 14th...

Image share it with Pete Rose, baseball's alltime leader in hits -- as well as denials or compromise for the gambling problem that led to his banishment from MLB more than a third of a century ago.  Much of what made him so appealing as a player, especially his tenacity, led "Charlie Hustle" to the dark side -- violating the game's most sacred rule by betting on games, but also to being a less than ideal husband, parent and having intimate relations with those far from his own age.  Being tenacious and hyper-focused can make one a better athlete; lacking humility helps undermine the accomplishment. We're a forgiving society; when someone admits having a problem or disease, as compulsive gambling is, forgiveness and second chances are often forgiving.  But in never seeking middle ground with then-Commissioner Bart Giamatti (and his successor Fay Vincent), Pete became his own worst enemy -- leading to his lifetime suspension and ineligibility for Cooperstown. Ba

Junior Subway Series

My first minor league game of the season matched New York's Eastern League rivals -- as the Binghamton Rumble Ponies hosted the Somerset Patriots.  The home opener for the AA Mets at Mirabito Stadium. The opposing teams lined up in the pre-game ceremony. The rival managers, Raul Dominguez for Somerset greets his Binghamton counterpart, the former big league player Reid Brignac. Much like their parent club the Mets, the Rumble Ponies now have both male and female mascots. (Below) The center of attention from a crowd with a big percentage of nearby Yankee fans, uber-prospect Jasson Dominguez, greets his teammates. The Rumble Ponies sport three of the Mets best pitching prospects.  Starter Mike Vasil didn't allow a hit through the first three innings and struck out eight before running out of steam in the 4th. (Below) Hard-hitting outfielder Matt Rudick looks a bit like a lefty-swinging Jose Altuve.  In the early going, the 5'6, 13th round draft pick (2021) from San Diego Stat

Back to the Bronx

Having moved upstate last March, 2022 wound up being my first season in 25 (outside the Covid year) that I hadn't been to a Yankee home game.  I made up for it during the first homestand.  How could I pass up a chance to see the two teams I follow most, as the Yankees hosted the Phillies. My first time seeing Anthony Volpe wearing #11 in Yankee pinstripes. Kyle Schwarber, with a swing tailor-made for the Stadium, watches his 1st inning homer land in those cozy right field seats. (Below): Domingo German, now sporting baseball's silliest number. (Above) The Phillies showcased their off-season free agent prize, shortstop Trea Turner. (Below) Alhough it's only the first week of April, 1st base has turned into the 2023 Phils' Bermuda Triangle.  Veteran Rhys Hoskins was lost to a season-ending knee injury near the end of spring training.  Powerhitting Darick Hall held onto the job for a just a week -- he tore up his thumb sliding into 2nd base in Wednesday's game and will

If Your Birthday is April 7th...

Image share it with  Adrian Beltre , whose 21 years in the majors rank him among the best all-around 3rd basemen ever. The five-time Gold Glove winner smacked 477 homers while hitting .286, mostly with the Doegers, Mariners and Rangers. He'll debut on the Hall of Fame ballot in 2024. Josh Hader  has been one of game's best closers since debuting with the 2017 Milwaukee Brewers. The long-haired lefty led the National League in saves during the 60-game season and has averaged 1.7 strikeouts an inning!  After a mid-season trade to the Padres, he enters his walk year in 2023. Brett Tomko  was the embodiment of the journeyman pitcher -- appearing for 10 different teams during his 15-season career. He spent roughly half of the 2009 season with the Yankees, and the operative term was "rough." After posting an ERA on the wrong side of 5, he was released in August, missing out on the club's post-season run to a title. Bill Stoneman  threw two no-hitters for the Montreal

The First DH

The Designated Hitter will officially turn 50 tomorrow.  The groundbreaking change of having an extra hitter bat instead of the pitcher took effect for American League games in the 1973. Opening Day was April 6th at Fenway Park with the Yankees visiting the Red Sox in the afternoon's first action.  With   Luis Tiant on the mound for Boston, Matty Alou doubled with two outs in the top of the 1st inning.  After walks to Bobby Murcer and Graig Nettles, Ron Blomberg made his historic at-bat.  It proved productive, as he worked a walk and forced in Alou with the game's first run.  Felipe Alou added a two-run double to boost the Yankees lead.   Boston's inaugural DH was Orlando Cepeda in the bottom of the same inning.   But Blomberg's walk minutes earlier opened the new era, and made him baseball's first DH -- and as the proud Jewish-American player loves to point out alternatively, "Designated Hebrew" -- earning him a forever place in history.   For the record

A Famous First: Five Years Ago Today

According to the history mavens at , "Something unprecedented happened in the Brewers' 5 - 4 win over the Cardinals [on April 3rd, 2018].  The Cards open the game with back-to-back homers, as Dexter Fowler and Tommy Pham connect off Chase Anderson within the first three pitches of the game, and the contest ends in similar fashion, but now it's Milwaukee's Christian Yelich and Ryan Braun who go deep back-to-back off Dominic Leone with two outs in the bottom of the 9th to end the game."   My images are from 2019 games when St. Louis and Milwaukee visited the Mets in New York.