I’ll Never Stop Sharing Baseball Quotes.

•January 27, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Bill Lee Montreal Expos
“Father time takes us all. It took Satchel Paige and it’ll take me.”Bill ‘Spaceman’ Lee
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Dallas Braden Perfect Game
“There is nothing left in there, it’s just a shredded mess. I left my arm on the mound at the Coliseum, and I’m okay with that.”
Dallas Braden
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Dennis Boyd
“I pitched in a ballgame once in Montreal, and for five straight innings I threw a straight change-up every pitch.”
Dennis ‘Oil Can’ Boyd
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adrian cardenas cubs
“Baseball is visceral, tragic, and absurd, with only fleeting moments of happiness; it may be the best representation of life.”
Adrian Cardenas (from Why I Quit Major League Baseball)
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Craig Breslow Oakland
“I can no longer denounce the relevance of Twitter. It broke the story of my trade…to me.”
Craig Breslow

Satchel Paige. The Pacific Coast League. Willie Davis. Homestead Grays.

•January 22, 2014 • 2 Comments

Satchel Paige

Satchel Paige Coco Cola
Satchel Paige liked to make money, so him endorsing Coca-Cola in the early 1950’s as a member of the St. Louis Browns is no surprise to me.

Speaking of Ole’ Satch, I recently came across THIS article on USA Today Sports calling for a biopic on Paige’s life. I’ve been saying this for years. If 42 was a successful movie, I’d have to think that this would be as well. Make this happen, Hollywood!

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Dom Dallessandro

PCL Padres 1939 Dom Dellessandro
I came across this old Pacific Coast League photo recently and was quite delighted. I don’t know all the details of this photo, but do know that it’s from 1939 and that’s Dom Dallessandro from the San Diego Padres making his way down the first base line. I believe it was taken at Lane Field and the Padres were playing the Oakland Oaks?

Dallessandro had one hell of a season in 1939 by knocking in 199 hits with a .368 batting average. This undoubtedly helped him return to the big leagues, where he played for parts of the next 7 seasons with the Cubs before returning to the PCL in 1948 to play for the Angels.

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Willie Davis

Willie Davis Slide (Neil Leifer)
April 25th, 1965. Los Angeles Dodger’s center fielder Willie Davis prepares to slide into second base. According to the description, photographer Neil Leifer grabbed this gem by remotely taking a photo with a camera that was placed underneath the base. This easily has to be one of my favorite action shots of all time.

If you are interested in purchasing a print of this, or checking out any other amazing photos taken by Leifer, visit the official site HERE.

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Homestead Grays

1913 Homestead Grays
The 1913 Homestead Grays in their second year in existence. Third from the left, on the second row is Cumberland Posey. If you’re not aware of Posey’s significance to the Homestead Grays and the Negro Leagues, I suggest reading up on him as he was one of the most important people in black baseball due to the fact that he played with, managed, and owned the Grays during his career.

In 2006, Posey was recognized for these contributions and voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Too bad it was 60 years after his untimely death in 1946 of cancer.

Click on the photo for a high-def scan version. It’s definitely worth checking out.

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Artie Wilson

Artie Wilson Seattle Rainers
Another great Pacific Coast League photo, this time we have Artie Wilson of the Seattle Rainiers running through first base in a game against the Hollywood Stars. Wilson is one of my favorite players of yesteryear due to his Baseball resume, which consists of time played in the Major Leagues, Pacific Coast League, and Negro Leagues. I recently discovered that he also spent time playing in the Puerto Rican Baseball League. I think it’s safe to say that he had one hell of a career in Baseball that spanned from the early 1940s to the 1960s.

Besides Wilson’s longevity and various leagues he played in, he’s also known for batting .402 in 1948 with the Birmingham Black Barons, playing in 4 Negro League All-Star games and winning 4 PCL batting titles. I wish more people knew about the guy, he definitely deserves the recognition.

Goodbye, Jerry Coleman.

•January 12, 2014 • 1 Comment

Jerry Coleman Tribute Image

Last Sunday afternoon, I received a text message from a friend in San Diego that simply said “The Colonel died.” Nothing more, nothing less. Immediately, I had to google it to see if this was indeed true and when I saw the reports slowly start to pour in, my heart sank. Someone I’ve admired, looked up to and who has captured my imagination on many levels for the majority of my life had passed away. It may seem silly saying this, but in a way, it felt like I’d lost a family member. This feeling of loss has only grown since I’ve had time to reflect on my memories of Jerry Coleman.

I often take issue with the word “hero” but I look at Jerry Coleman and that’s the only word I can use to describe him. Looking at just his life in Baseball, which lasted over 70 years, I think it’s safe to say that he had one of the most impressive resumes imaginable. I certainly don’t want this post to be a stat and accomplishment driven tribute, but these are the facts and they paint a picture of how relevant Jerry Coleman was to the world of Baseball. If you were to add his military accomplishments, which lead to him being the only Major League player to see combat in 2 wars and resulted in his playing career getting put on hold both times, this list would be much longer:

-In 1939, he was a bat-boy for the San Francisco Seals of the old Pacific Coast League.
-From 1942 to 1957, he spent his entire playing career in the Yankees organization, where he played on 6 World Series teams.
-Placed 3rd in the 1949 Rookie of the Year voting.
-In 1950, he was voted to the All-Star Game and won the World Series MVP award.
-From 1958 to 1960, he worked in the Yankees front office.
-In 1960, he began his broadcasting career, where he did the CBS MLB game of the week.
-In 1963, he began his 7 year tenure as part of the Yankees broadcast team.
-In 1970, became part of the California Angels broadcast team.
-In 1972, became the voice of the San Diego Padres, which lasted over 40 years.
-In 1980, left the broadcast booth to manage the Padres for 1 season.
-In 2005, was honored with the Ford C. Frick Award inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
-In 2007, was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.
-In 2007, was inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame.
-In 2012, in honor of “Jerry Coleman Day” in San Diego, a statue was built and unveiled in his honor at Petco Park.

Jerry Coleman passed away at the age of 89, yet as anyone familiar with the Colonel knew, he had to be the youngest 89 year old around as he was still quite active in both the booth and Padres organization. He had the youthful exuberance of a man much younger than him. He was still physically able, sharp, funny, and it was apparent to anyone who listened that he was still very much in love with the game of Baseball. An irrational side of myself honestly thought that Jerry would be around forever due to these reasons. He did not seem like a man approaching 90 years old and that’s a hard pill to swallow due to the fact that Jerry Coleman’s death was a result of a fall he had in December. Not due to age, disease, or whatever mother nature has in store for most people in their golden years. Due to this, I’ll always wonder how long we could have had Jerry Coleman? I’m convinced that some great years were stolen from us.

I associate Jerry Coleman with my love of the game. I’ve watched and listened to Padres games since I was a kid and Jerry Coleman has always been the one constant in that organization through my entire life. Along with Tony Gwynn, there’s not a person involved in the game of Baseball that’s meant as much to my family and myself and that’s the honest truth. I’ll always associate family with Jerry Coleman and to this day, my dad still quotes Jerry’s trademark “Oh Doctor, You can hang a star on that baby!” If I ever have children, I know that I’ll continue this tradition and while telling them of great (and not so great) Padres of the past, much like my parents and Grandmother did with me. Rest assured, Jerry Coleman will be at the top of that list.

To some, Baseball may be just another corporate sport filled with millionaire athletes and this may be true on a level. However, there’s more to Baseball below this surface and that’s why the game is special. Jerry represented this as he reminded me of the raw and genuine love of the game that many of us discover as children. He played in the Golden Age of Baseball and was one of the last remaining people left from that era who was still involved and relevant. I don’t like to generalize and disregard other generations, but the players from the Golden Age brought something to the table not found in generations since.

While watching and reading tributes to Jerry this last week, I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t shed a tear a couple times. When spring training games start up again late next month, I won’t be surprised if this happens again. Baseball lost someone very special last Sunday and I feel as if I lost someone special as well. Jerry Coleman, you were a good one and will be missed by many.

In typical 90 Feet of Perfection fashion, I pay tribute to Jerry Coleman with some photos I both enjoy and find interesting. I hope you do as well.

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Jerry Coleman Billy Martin
Jerry and Billy Martin relax at second base during a 1950’s spring training. Coleman and Martin are two of my favorite players in Baseball history for various reasons and the fact that they both came from the Bay area certainly contributes to this. Although Coleman was almost 4 years older than Martin and they came from different sides of the Bay, I’ve often wondered if they knew of each other or crossed paths prior to playing with the Yankees?

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Jerry Coleman Padres Manager'
In 1980, Coleman left the confines of the broadcasting booth to manage the team. Legend has it that Coleman took the job after the Padres promised that he could return to his job in the booth after his tenure was over. The Friars only went 73-89 that season, but up to that point it was the best record the club had accomplished in it’s 11 year existence.

In my opinion, the Padres should retire his #2 that he wore that season solely based on his significance to the team. Everth Cabrera currently wears the number for the team.

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Jerry Coleman HOF
July 31st, 2005. Jerry Coleman during what he described as one of the greatest days of his life. He ended his acceptance speech with the line “On this golden day here in Cooperstown, a journey that started 63 years ago, I feel that finally, finally, I’ve come home. Thank you.” I will always remember this fondly due to the fact that I felt like one of “my” guys made it to Cooperstown.

Dave Winfield may have went into Cooperstown as a Padre but not without some controversy and Tony Gwynn was still a couple years away. Coleman may have played for the Yankees, but he was Padre through and through and it was quite special to see him honored with the Ford C. Frick Award . To watch video of his induction speech, click HERE.

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Jerry Coleman double play

“The best second baseman I ever saw on the double play.”Casey Stengel on Jerry Coleman

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Jerry Coleman in Booth
I’ll never hear Jerry call a Padres game again and this is saddening. Yes, he didn’t do as many games as he used to, but the fact that I always knew he was there and still calling games, regardless of how often, was comforting.

I came across THIS video of Coleman’s last game in the booth and it made me both happy and sad. Andy Masur shared the booth with Jerry for what was the final home game of this last season, which resulted in the Padres beating the Diamondbacks on a walk-off single in the 11th inning by Alexi Amarista. Jerry finished the game by piping in with an ecstatic “What a finish!” This captured his childlike enthusiasm for the game of Baseball in a very heartwarming way.

Starting 2014 With Some Baseball Quotes.

•January 4, 2014 • 2 Comments


Yogi Berra, Bill Veeck, Josh Gibson

Josh Gibson was, at the minimum, two Yogi Berras.”
– Bill Veeck.
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Brett Anderson Oakland
“I am looking forward to this. It sounds corny, but I love baseball too much to be hurt.”Brett Anderson (on learning of his trade to the Rockies)

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Jake Peavy
“I didn’t appreciate that. Just play the game. They pay him $136 million to hit home runs. They don’t pay him to be a circus act on the field. If I think a player shows me up like that, I like the next guy to take one in the stinkin’ ribs. That way, his teammate will let him know about it, he will tell him, ‘Hey, you’d better run the bases.'”
Jake Peavy (on Alfonso Soriano showing up teammate, David Wells after a home run)
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dick allen chisox

“I don’t use the strike zone much,” he says. “I’m looking for something to hammer. I don’t have time to argue whether the pitch was two inches either way. Besides, that sumbuck in blue back there has more problems than I do.”Dick Allen

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stan musial curt flood

“Well, you wait for a strike. Then you knock the shit out of it.” – Stan Musial’s hitting advice to a young Curt Flood

The Negro Leagues.

•December 30, 2013 • 2 Comments

I’m currently reading Dennis ‘Oil Can’ Boyd‘s autobiography. In the book, more than once he discusses the Negro Leagues (his father played in them) and his feelings towards that era of Baseball. In addition, I recently discovered Louis Santop; the legendary superstar catcher of the early Negro Leagues. Surprisingly, somehow I never knew anything about Santop and his career. I mention these things because they both recently sparked a big Negro League kick for me. This means putting dents in some related books I own, re-watching some documentaries, and doing some exploratory research online. I feel that every time I get in this mode, I venture further down the rabbit hole that is the history of the Negro Leagues. With all this said, it inspired me to whip up an all Negro Leagues photo post. Enjoy!

Louis Santop

Louis Santop
As I mentioned in the intro of this post, up until recently I had no idea who Louis Santop was. Somehow I had overlooked his career in the Negro Leagues which resulted in his 2006 Hall of Fame induction. Santop spent most of his career with the Hilldale Club and is widely recognized as one of the best catchers in Negro League history and the top catcher from the Negro League deadball era.

With everything that Santop accomplished during his long career in Baseball, his legacy is often associated with an error that in turn cost his team a loss during the 9th inning of Game 8 of the 1924 Colored World Series. Legend has it that Santop was never the same after the error due to a public verbal assault from Hilldale’s player-manager, Frank Warfield which left Santop in tears. The following season, he lost his job as Hilldale’s starting catcher and the the season after that was released; never to play again. Sad stuff, if you ask me.

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Josh Gibson

Josh Gibson 1942
A great photo of the of the man who was known as “The Black Babe Ruth.” I had never seen this photo of Josh Gibson before and was delighted to discover it due it’s quality. I can almost imagine a Satchel Paige fastball thrown high and inside zip by his head and the photographer snapping this gem of Gibson leaning out of harm’s ways.

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Buck O’Neil

Buck O'Neil 1950s
Buck O’Neil is without a doubt, one of my favorite people in Baseball history. Like everyone else, I know more about his post-playing career as a Manager of the Kansas City Monarchs, a scout for both the Cubs and Royals, coach for the Cubs, and his many years late in his life as an ambassador of the game. With all that said, I’m very aware that he was a pretty darn good player as well. Some even say he was a Hall of Fame caliber first basemen. Whether that is true or not is up for debate but what can’t be debated are these facts (taken from his wiki page):

“O’Neil had a career batting average of .288 between 1937 and 1950, including five .300-plus seasons at the plate, as well as five seasons in which he did not top .260. In 1946, the first baseman led the NAL with a .350 batting average and followed that in 1947 with a .305 mark in 16 games. He also posted averages of .344 in 1940 and .330 in 1949. He played in four East-West All-Star Games in three different seasons and two Negro World Series.”

Now if you ask me, that’s a playing career worth celebrating and this is what I’m doing by posting this photo of O’Neil preparing to round 3rd base. Not many photos exist of of Buck from his playing days, but you can bet that anytime I find one, I will always share it here on 90 Feet of Perfection.

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1944 Homestead Grays

1944 Homestead Grays

This very well may be one of, if not my favorite Negro League team photos. What we have here is what I assume is a starting lineup for the 1944 Homestead Grays, featuring (L to R): Jelly Jackson, Ray Battle, Edward Robinson, Sam Bankhead, Josh Gibson, Buck Leonard, Dave Hoskins, Jerry Benjamin, and Cool Papa Bell.

While researching the players in this photo that I’m not already familiar with, it caught my eye that Dave Hoskins is the only member of the ’44 Grays that ever made it to the big leagues. It’s quite heartbreaking to know that the majority of these players were one generation or so behind the desegregation of Major League Baseball. As far as Hoskins goes, he played parts of 2 seasons with the Cleveland Indians, however he also spent time in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization and played one season with the PCL San Diego Padres.

Something else caught my eye regarding Hoskins are his stats batting stats for the ’44 season. See, Hoskins was a pitcher and his batting line for the ’44 season were quite impressive (.324/.328/.493) in 136 at-bats in 138 games. It seems as if Hoskins put in some time in the field as well, or at least as a pinch hitter. I’m aware that many of the Negro League stats at Baseball-Reference are incomplete and always will be, but I think it’s apparent that Hoskins could handle himself behind the plate.
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Elston Howard

Elston Howard Monarchs

Elston Howard is well known in the Baseball world for many reasons: He was the first African-American to play for the Yankees, he eventually took over catching duties from Yogi Berra, and he invented the batting donut. Something I recently learned about Howard is that he was supposedly the first player to use both his pinky and pointer finger to signal to teammates that there are 2 outs in an inning (opposed to using the pointer and middle finger). For some reason this blew my mind.

However prior to all this, Howard made his mark in the Negro Leagues as a member of the Kansas City Monarchs, where he played under Manger Buck O’Neil and at one point was the roommate of teammate, Ernie Banks. Howard carved out quite an interesting and impressive career for himself. It’s a shame that in this day and age, more people are not aware of him.

 
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