Maris. Clemente. Rudi. Rickey. The Senators.

•October 15, 2014 • 1 Comment

Roger Maris

Roger Maris Indiapolis Indians

In 1956, Roger Maris played for the Cleveland Indians AAA affiliate, the Indianapolis Indians. He hit .293/.356/.494 in 131 games, while slugging 17 home runs. I was excited to come across this photo of the future single season home run king. Also, is it me or does the young Maris physically resemble Mike Trout, if Trout he a left-handed batter?

Something that often crosses my mind in regards to Maris is that he retired at 33 years old after only 12 years in the big leagues. This leaves me wondering what else he could have accomplished during his career? I’m aware that he was often injured during his career and it’s well documented that the stress of playing in New York often took a toll on him, so I assume these factors come into play when looking at his shortened career?

Roberto Clemente

Roberto Clemente vs Astros

This photo features a birds-eye view of a Roberto Clemente at-bat against the Houston Astros and I’m in love with it. I love that it’s in color, I love that it features Clemente in all his glory and for some reason, I love how the batters box is pretty much non-existent. You still see the chalked lines of the box become quite messy in a game, but nothing close to this. It’s interesting to me how little things change over the years in baseball, especially those that don’t make a big difference in the big picture of the game.

Joe Rudi

Joe Rudi 1972 WS

Joe Rudi‘s game saving catch in Game 2 of the 1972 World Series is still as amazing as it was all those years ago and remains one of my favorite catches in baseball history. I can watch the catch over and over again as I enjoy and admire it so much.

Rickey Henderson

Rickey Henderson Stealing against Orioles

A great action shot of Rickey Henderson taking off for second base against the Baltimore Orioles while Eddie Murray unsuccessfully attempts to hold him on. I dig this photo like crazy as it captures great uniforms from the late 70s/early 80s, two future Hall of Fame members and the Oakland Coliseum during it’s glory years.

Washington Senators

1925 Washington Nationals

May 1, 1925, The Washington Nationals, fresh off their World Series victory the season before, raise the 1924 American League Pennant at old Griffith Stadium. Such amazing uniforms; Walter Johnson basically looks like a god amongst men.

Indians. Jackie. Big Train. Yankee Clipper. Monarchs.

•October 7, 2014 • 5 Comments

Cleveland Indians

Paige, Doby and Indians

Satchel Paige, Lou Boudreau, Steve Gromek and Larry Doby sit in the dugout during an Indians road game in the late 40’s. This photo grabbed me when I came across it due to the a wide range of personalities and diverse back stories of the players captured in it. In my opinion, the Bill Veeck owned Indians teams of the 1940’s are some of the more interesting teams in MLB history.

Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson Ebbets Field

A great action shot of Jackie Robinson attempting to get back to third base during a game at Ebbets Field. This is an amazing photo with a much different perspective than I’m used to seeing. The fact that color photos from this era in Jackie’s career exist make me incredibly happy.

Walter Johnson

Walter Johnson Batting

Walter Johnson was known as being one of the most dominating pitchers during his 21 year career with the Washington Senators. After finding the above photo of Johnson at-bat, I was curious as to how he handled himself with the bat. As it turns out, he wasn’t so bad and had a career batting average of .235, with 547 hits, in which 24 were home runs. For a pitcher who spent a large chunk of his career in the dead-ball era, that’s quite impressive.

While researching the Big Train, it came to my attention that he won the AL MVP not once, but twice (1913 & 1924). Looking at his batting stats from his MVP seasons, he also had great years at the plate. Johnson was the total package.

Joe DiMaggio

Joe DiMaggio 1936

1936. Joe DiMaggio connects for a hit during his rookie season as a member of the Yankees. While I knew that DiMaggio didn’t wear #5 during his rookie season, it didn’t occur to me that he wore #9 until I came across this photo.

Maybe it’s the nerdy baseball side of me speaking, but if DiMaggio stuck with #9, imagine how that would have played into the Ted Williams and DiMaggio rivalry and overall story line. What if the infamous DiMaggio for Williams trade would have actually happened? Would #9 have been retired by the Yankees in honor of both men? These are the kinds of hypothetical baseball questions that I love, regardless of how absurd they may be.

Kansas City Monarchs

Kansas City Monarchs 1950s

Members of the Kansas City Monarchs pose for a team photo in the early 1950’s.  This photo sparked my interest as it features a young Ernie Banks (5th from right) and Buck O’Neil (furthest to right) during his time as player-manager for the Monarchs. Who would have guessed back in the 1950’s that these two men would end up making such an unbelievable impact on the game of baseball during their lives, both on and off the field?

Also, I was not aware that the Monarchs of this era wore their numbers on their pants? I absolutely love this and wish it would it make a comeback.

Feller. Robinson. Paige. The Seals. Doerr. Dickey.

•September 5, 2014 • 3 Comments

Bob Feller

Bob Feller Luke Easter

July 1st, 1951. Bob Feller is carried off the field by Luke Easter and an unidentified teammate after throwing a no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers. It was Feller’s third and final no-hitter of his career and his catcher that day was Jim Hegan (shaking his hand).

I’ve been on a big kick Feller kick lately, partly due to finding THIS video from the 2009 Baseball Hall of Fame Classic at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown. Feller was 90 years old at the time and took the mound during the first inning of the game against Paul Molitor, Bobby Grich and Steve Finley. It very well could have been the last time he played baseball as he passed away in December of 2010 and I can’t find out if he played in the Hall of Fame Classic that year. In any case, I honestly don’t think it gets much cooler than this video. It makes me love baseball even more.

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Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson 1950

1950. Jackie Robinson steals home in a game against the New York Giants. I was delighted to come across this photo as I had never seen it before. Recently, while looking up some info on Jackie’s career, I came across the fact that he stole home nineteen times during his MLB career (twenty of you count the one in the 1955 World Series). Consider the fact that he didnt even make his debut until the age of 28 and it makes you wonder what the number could have been. In addition to this, I stumbled across the fact that he was caught stealing home at least twelve times during his career and it may even be higher due to the stat of being caught stealing was not consistently kept track of prior to 1950.

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Satchel Paige

Satchel Paige Monarchs

A great photo of Satchel Paige during his time with the Kansas City Monarchs. Much like the photo of Jackie Robinson above, I had never seen this photo before until recently and was very happy to come across it. I’ll never tire of seeing photos of the old Monarch uniforms.

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San Francisco Seals

1942 Sean Francisco Seals
I recently found this photo of the 1942 San Francisco Seals and it had five last names attached to it. I was able to  figure out who 4 of them were: Kermit Lewis, Ralph Hodgin, Ray Perry, Don Trower, but the fifth name listed (“Andrews”) was nowhere to be found while looking at members of the 1942 Seals team.

Fun facts: Ray Perry (furthest to the right) is baseball writer Bill James’ favorite minor league star of all time. In addition to this, Perry played four seasons for a minor league team called the Redding Browns. I lived in Redding (California) for many years growing up and I actually read about the Redding Browns and Ray Perry when I was young.

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Bobby Doerr & Bill Dickey

Bobby Doerr & Bill Dickey

Bobby Doerr of the Red Sox gets caught in a rundown with Bill Dickey of the Yankees. This photo is great as it captures two future Hall of Famers from two rival teams in action during baseball’s golden age.

10 Quotes – Tony Gwynn.

•July 26, 2014 • Leave a Comment

File Photo of Tony Gwynn

“When you can laugh and you can laugh at yourself and laugh at others, that makes the game a whole lot easier to play.” – Tony Gwynn

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Tony Gwynn Statue

“I would always leave him feeling a lot better than before I had met him.” Vin Scully on Tony Gwynn.

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Gwynn Slide

“One of the things I’m proudest about is that I played for one team.” – Tony Gwynn

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Tony Gwynn & Ted Williams SD

“I’m so glad that you’re such a nice guy (and you are) but I’m also so glad that the people in San Diego just love you.” – Ted Williams to Tony Gwynn

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Gwynn Signing Autographs

“Tony Gwynn was a gift to anyone who loved baseball.” – Buster Olney

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Tony Gwynn Swing Follow Through

“You just cant do it, except for that fucking Tony Gwynn.” – Greg Maddux, on being convinced that no one could tell the speed of a pitch accurately

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Tony Gwynn Last Game

“Remember these two things: play hard and have fun.” – Tony Gwynn

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Tony Gwynn 1998 World Series

“I’m not going anywhere. This is where I belong and San Diego is home.” – Tony Gwynn

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Tony Gwynn #19 Back

“If I could have a choice, I’d be number #19.” – Adrian Gonzalez

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Duane Harris 90 Feet of Perfection Padres Fan

“Tony Gwynn may be the single most important sports figure in history to a single community.” – Barry Bloom

Remembering Tony Gwynn.

•July 17, 2014 • 6 Comments

Tony Gwynn Header

Southern Oregon was a long way from San Diego, but my family always maintained our roots; particularly when it came to sports. It was my Dad who officially introduced me to baseball and I still remember the conversation quite well. I must have been in second grade at the time and he explained a little about the game and told me about the San Diego Padres. To be honest, I didn’t think too much of the conversation, but I knew that my parents, grandmother and older brothers all liked baseball, so I wasn’t turned off by the idea. Around the same time, I remember kids starting to play little league and being slightly jealous. Not that they were actually playing, but more so that I could not take part in the conversations about their games. Related to this, a lot of kids I knew went to the local Medford A’s games and in turn were fans of the Oakland A’s. I almost feel like it was the “cool” thing to do. The same went for collecting and trading baseball cards. After a short period of time, I wanted in on all of these things as well and before that year was over, I was consumed by it all.

I come from a family of long-time San Diego Padres fans and that for some members of my family, this goes back to the days of the old Pacific Coast League Padres. Once I personally became interested in the team, this meant getting my hands on every single Padres baseball card possible. I remember being absolutely fascinated with the brown and orange that Padres players donned on my 1987 & 1988 Topps cards. However, what captivated me the most was the guy who wore #19 for the Padres, Tony Gwynn.

Gwynn Brown

I have so many fond childhood memories that involve Tony Gwynn on some level or another: I remember the Gwynn-related magazine and newspaper clippings on my bedroom walls. I remember countless conversations with family about him. I remember my Grandma meeting him on different occasions and her telling him about me and even attempting to organize a phone call between us (unfortunately this never happened). I remember saving paper route money to buy an autographed photo of him. I remember my Mom getting me his 1983 Fleer rookie card for Christmas one year and just staring at it in amazement. I remember seeing his 2000th career hit in person and being so happy that tears came to my eyes. I remember attempting to negotiate a trade for a Gwynn Donruss card that my brother got in a pack while playing left field during a little league game (he was behind a fence watching and had just opened a pack). I remember writing #19 on bills of my caps.

I honestly can go on and on. In a way, I think it’s safe to say that Tony Gwynn was and is a big part of who I am. I’ve always thought this was odd, since in many ways, I’ve always disliked the idea of idolizing people. I guess Tony Gwynn is one of the few exceptions I’ve made in regards to this.

Tony Gywnn 1994 All-Star Game

Like many people, I knew he was sick. I knew the cancer had returned and that he was being treated again. However, this time was different as there was an uneasiness about it all. All you had to do was read between the lines to know that something was very wrong. He was not able to attend the 1984 San Diego Padres celebration back in May and speculation began that this was quite serious. Still, when I got the news the morning Tony passed away, I was in complete shock. At first I didn’t think it was possible and I felt numb. This quickly changed and I have no problem admitting that I shed tears that day and on different occasions since. This is something I experienced when Jerry Coleman passed away in January, but with Tony, it went much deeper. The Padres, the city of San Diego, the world of baseball and many people I care about all lost someone that meant a lot to them. It shook me to my core.

I never met the guy, but he was my hero due to what he accomplished on the field and the person he was off the field. How I felt about the guy never changed. Even during the time in my life when interest in baseball often took a backseat to things like music and skateboarding, I always managed to check box scores and read articles to stay updated on how he was playing. There’s a reason I kept everything from my childhood Tony Gwynn collection and have continued to add to it in adulthood. Simple enough, the guy was special and had an impact on me.

San Diego Padres v Chicago Cubs

My grandmother passed away this last November and my whole life, up until she got sick, I would call her and talk about baseball. Specifically the Padres, and for many years this meant Tony Gwynn. She would have been heartbroken if she knew that Tony had passed at such an early age. She absolutely adored the man. I spent a lot of my childhood talking to my own late mother about this him as well. She also thought he was great, although her favorite all-time Padre was Goose Gossage. In the last month since Tony passed away, I’ve had multiple conversations with my Dad about Tony. What I’m getting at is that Tony Gwynn was special and impacted so many people in a positive way and in my case, he impacted 3 generations of my family. I’d have a hard time believing that this is unique to just my family.

Sportswriter Barry Bloom recently said that “Tony Gwynn may be the single most important sports figure in history to a single community.” To some, this may be a bold statement, but not me, I believe in it whole heartily. Like many people, I’m still having a hard time grasping the fact that this person, who was a big part of my childhood and represents so much about the game I love has died.

With that said, it brings me joy knowing that there was a Tony Gwynn in this world and that I had such a great guy to look up to as a kid. Mr. Padre may be gone, but I think it’s safe to say that he will never, ever be forgotten.

Tony Gwynn Brown Yellow

 

 
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