Submitted by BTGrimes on Sun, 04/01/2012 - 9:00am
A Death in the Family
CINCINNATI, OHIO - It was opening day, the unofficial beginning of spring, a sign of rebirth, a starting over. Everybody's in first place. The Cincinnati Reds are hosting the Montreal Expos. Reds pitcher Pete Schrouek fires the first pitch to John Grudzielanek right down the middle. Home plate umpire John McSherry shouts, "Ball." Schrouek is stunned. Grudzielanek eventually flies out. Mike Lansing strikes out. The count on Rondell White is 1 and 1. "Hold on," McSherry says. It's only the seventh pitch of the game, but the 380 pound man in blue is in trouble. He walks haltingly toward the dugout then staggers and falls face forward. A gasp rises from the crowd. The opening day air is the source of John McSherry's last breath. He is pronounced dead an hour later. McSherry was 51. The game is postponed. Players, coaches, managers are in no mood to continue.
John McSherry was truly one of the game's most beloved umpires. Reds shortstop Barry Larkin stood helplessly on the field the day McSherry died, "It's often thought that baseball players and umpires have an antagonistic relationship. If any one person could prove that theory wrong, it was John McSherry." McSherry had one of the lowest ejection rates of any umpire.
McSherry battled weight issues in his adult life, in fact had a physical scheduled for the day after he died. His death spurred a movement to require fitness of umpires.
The New York Times, Cincinnati, Ohio, April 2, 1996
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Submitted by BTGrimes on Sun, 01/29/2012 - 12:44am
Submitted by BTGrimes on Fri, 01/20/2012 - 7:00am
Politics & Baseball
On January 20th every fourth year a United States President is inaugaurated. It will happen again next January 20th. In that vein, let's look at some of the ways politics and baseball have become intertwined:
Former Philedelphia A's owner and manager Connie Mack's grandson, Connie Mack III, was a Republican congressman from Florida from 1983 to 1989 and U-S Senator from Florida from 1989 to 2001.
Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was a dominant pitcher for most of his 17 years in the majors, mostly for the Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies. He finshed his career with a 224-184 record, 3.27 ERA, and is one of the few to throw no-hitters in both leagues.
Former New York Governor and presidential candidate Mario Cuomo had a promising baseball career cut short by a fastball. He was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in 1951 and assigned to their Brunswick minor league team. Later that first season he was hit in the head by a fastball. It was so serious doctors advised he give up baseball, which he did, and went on to finish law school.
The Chicago Cubs' dominance of baseball attention in the Windy City may be on the wane. Not only is recently retired Mayor Richard Daley a life long White Sox fan, as was his father, the White House is inhabited by a Sox fan. President Barack Obama did not give the politically correct response to which team he favors when asked about it during the campaign 2008. This is what he told ESPN last August when asked who he'd root for in a Sox-Cubs World Series, "Oh, that's easy. White Sox. I'm not one of these fair-weather fans. You go to Wrigley Field, you have a beer; beautiful people up there. People aren't watching the game. It's not serious. White Sox, that's baseball. South Side."
Outgoing President George W. Bush was principal owner of the Texas Rangers. His father, former President George H. W. Bush played baseball for Yale.
What does it mean?
Check back tomorrow - May 30th.
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Submitted by BTGrimes on Sat, 04/24/2010 - 5:00am
Take a number
READING, PENNSYLVANIA - On this date in 1907 the manager of the Reading, Pennsylvania Red Roses of the Atlantic League decided he wanted numbers on his team's uniforms so fans would have some idea of who the players were.
No one recalls that ever having been done before. The numbers went from 1 to 15. Thirteen was skipped thinking no one would want it on the back of their jersey. The above information originates with an article in old The Sporting Life newspaper of April 27, 1907.
According to the Baseball Hall of Fame, numbered uniforms were experimented with off and on for decades. The Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees were the first teams to permanently use numbers starting with the 1929 season, though Cleveland had them only on home uniforms. Some players weren't crazy about the idea because they thought the numbers made them look like convicts, but the fans liked being able to tell the players with a scorecard. By 1934, all major league teams had numbers on their uniforms.
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