Showing posts from June, 2024

If Your Birthday is June 28th...

Image share it with  Al Downing .  The Yankees first Black pitcher was a mainstay of their starting staff from 1963-'67; in '64, he became the first Yank since Allie Reynolds to lead the AL in strikeouts as the club won its history-tying fifth straight pennant.  But it was also the end of a dynasty.  Al authored three more quality seasons before being sidetracked by injuries.  After being traded to the A's (for Danny Cater), he quickly moved on to the Brewers before finding a second home with the Dodgers.  He enjoyed his most productive season in L.A. in 1971, winning 20.  Three years later, he was again part of history when Hank Aaron crushed one of his pitches for the record breaking 715th home run. Following his playing days, Downing remained in Southern California and did well in broadcasting.  He announced Dodgers games on cable and also did radio work for the club's then-flagship station KABC.  But the Trenton, New Jersey native still found time to come back east

Wayback Wednesday: A Polo Grounds Classic

  June 26th, 1963: One of the  Mets' most thrilling Polo Grounds-era wins . After the Cubs take a two-run lead in the top of the 14th inning,  Tim Harknes s  wins the game with a walk off grand slam for an 8-6 New York victory. I was there : It was the first week after schools closed. A cousin of mine old enough to drive got us tickets -- and promised his mother and mine we'd be home for dinner. (We lived about a half hour away from the Polo Grounds in Westchester County.) The game was exciting... and still tied after 9 innings and 10... and, well, you know the rest. At about 5:45, my cousin said we had to go -- we had to keep our word.  No debate, no discussion. We had to get back by 6:30. So, sadly, we left the old ballyard. (I honestly don't recall whether or not we stayed long enough to see Billy Williams' inside-the-parker put the Cubs ahead.) So, of course, as soon as we got back to the car, and turned on the radio, there was the "happy recap."  Harkness

Random Images

Edwin Diaz will likely miss this week's Subway Series against the Yankees after too much "sticky stuff" was found on his hand and glove as he entered Sunday's game in Chicago.  Ejected before he ever threw a pitch, his penalty: a 10-game suspension. (Below:) JD Davis will soon become the 162nd player to see action with both the Mets and Yankees .  Recent injuries to Anthony Rizzo, Giancarlo Stanton and Jasson Dominguez have given the righty hitter a chance to show that something's left in the tank after being DFA'd by Oakland. While Edmundo Sosa has become a Phillies favorite -- especially when he capably filled in while Trea Turner was injured -- he came up as a Cardinal.  While looking for the above photos of Diaz and Davis, I found this cool image of him in the St. Louis dugout during a 2021 game at Citi Field. (Below:) Bobbleheads rule!  I sat behind a couple of British fans (and fellow photographers) at the recent Phillies/Mets London series.  And they

If Your Birthday is June 21st...

Image share it with Garrett Jones , an outfielder/1st baseman who spent eight seasons in MLB (2007-'15), bookended by the Twins and Yankees (seen above on May 24th, 2015, as he flips a bat following a walk).  His biggest Yankee moment was a game-winning three-run homer in the top of the 11th at Seattle on June 3rd. The two best players born on this date (by WAR) both worked from the mound: Rick Sutcliffe , who won 171 games over 18 big league seasons and then joined ESPN's baseball crew. Eddie Lopat , one of the best native New Yorkers ever to play for the Yankees.  He spent eight seasons pitching in the Bronx, highlighted by a 21-win season in 1951, the year he made his only All Star Game appearance.

Wayback Wednesday: A-Rod Reaches 3000

  June 19th, 2015 :  Alex Rodriguez   becomes the 29th major leaguer to reach 3000 hits, when he homers to right field off Justin Verlander in the Yankees 7-2 win over the Tigers in the Bronx. I have used so many photos of A-Rod hitting that, for a change, this one of a 2011 pre-game stretch captured a different side of the player.


Soak in the vibe of this moment.  The sky and the setting, the dark and the light, the spacial and the physical come together seamlessly. Above:  Mirabito Stadium, home of the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, from April 16th. Below:  Taken August 4th, 2016 at Coca Cola Park in Allentown, PA, home of the Iron Pics.    

If Your Birthday is June 14th...

Image share it with veteran reliever Hector Neris .  Best recognized for his eight seasons with the Phillies (this image is from a 2019 win over the Mets), the Dominican native got off to a strong start this year with the Cubs, winning his first five decisions coming out of the bullpen. Let's also remember: Don Newcombe , the Brooklyn Dodgers ace and a mainstay on three pennant winning clubs -- including 1956 when he won 27 games and became the first-ever recipient of the Cy Young Award. George Myatt , who played two seasons for the New York Giants and five for the Washington Senators, before coaching for over 20 years in the majors.  Phillies fans will recall "Foghorn" for his nine-year run coaching 3rd base (between 1964 and '72).  Twice the team's interim manager, he replaced Gene Mauch for a game in 1968 and Bob Skinner for the last third of the 1969 season, posting a record of 20-35.  

Wayback Wednesday: Dual Leadoff Homers

June 12th, 2010 :  The leadoff batters for both the Yankees and Mets -- Derek Jeter and Jose Reyes -- homered leading off the game for their respective teams.    Jeter had two other hits, and drove in four runs as the Yankees clobbered the Astros 9-3  in the Bronx. At Camden Yards, Reyes later added a 3rd inning single in Mets 3-1 victory over the Orioles . That feat, leadoff homers for both New York teams the same day, had only happened twice before: 1986:  Rickey Henderson (Yankees) and Lenny Dykstra (Mets) 2009: Derek Jeter (Yankees), Angel Pagan (Mets)

MLB’s London Series

  A few select images and views from a weekend baseball invaded the home of The Beatles and the land of Cricket. They give you a sense of the fun I had; unfortunately, the better photos shot with my Canon SX720HS are still on my camera (I haven’t been able to use the Wi-fi feature that could export them to my phone.) Built for  the London Olympics, the Stadium proved to be a good venue as the Phillies and Mets drew almost 109,000 for two games! The game fit the ballpark, which was converted to a baseball surface and seating in just 18 days — and is now being changed again to accommodate rock and rollers The Foo Fighters, who’ll perform there later this month.   There was even a Washington DC-style mascots race — though instead of famous American presidents, there were Henry the Eighth, the Lock Ness Monster, Winston Churchill and Freddie Mercury.   And, yes, that was the Phillie Phanatic waiting at the finish line. 

If Your Birthday is June 7th...

Image share it with the late, beloved Captain of the Yankees 1977-'78 World Series champions, Thurman Munson .  The 1970 AL Rookie of the Year went on to make seven All Star teams and was a .292 career batter --as well as the emotional heart of the combative "Bronx Zoo" Yankees.  Squaring off with Reggie Jackson and Billy Martin, they produced tension and titles -- and ruled the back pages of the New York tabloids. That era ended with sudden, shocking heartbreak.   Munson had a hit and a walk while playing 1st base (a sort of "rest day") on August 1st, 1979 against the White Sox at Comiskey Park.  The next day, as the rest of the team headed back to New York, he was gone in a flash, while practicing in his recently purchased private plane. His number-15 was immediately retired; his locker in the original Yankee Stadium remained unoccupied -- Derek Jeter, when he became the team Captain, used the one next to Munson's.  In the current Stadium, it is displayed

Wayback Wednesday: Double Duty

June 5th, 1965:    Mel Stottlemyre hits a home run -- and pitches all 10 innings, as the Yankees edge the White Sox 4-3 Yankees edge the White Sox 4-3 .  Mickey Mantle also homers, while Elton Howard wins it with a walk-off single, driving in Phil Linz.      

Random Images

Let's start with a pair from our "Before They Were Famous" file:  above, it's Aaron Judge in 2015, when he was working his way up the Yankees' farm system.  14 months away from graduating to the Bronx, he's wearing the pinstripes (and the interlocking NYY) for the Yanks' double-A club in Trenton, NJ.  Hats off to Judge for a superb month of May, where  he crushed 14 home runs to take over the major league lead -- and, according to ESPN state, also became the first MLB player ever t o reach 35 career multi-homer games in fewer than 1,000 career games. Below:  A year later -- and also photographed at Trenton's Arm & Hammer Stadium, say hello to Rhys Hoskins , then playing 1st base for the Reading Fightin' Phils.  After returning to the active list last Friday, he's now ready to face his former club for the first time, as his Brewers open a series at Citizens Bank Park. Francisco Alvarez got his rehab off to a great start Thursday night... c