Bud. Zim. Stairs. The Bird & The Junkman. The Mick & Roger.
Congratulations to Buddy Black of the San Diego Padres for winning National League Manager of the Year award. I don’t think there was someone more deserving, although Dusty Baker also did a great job this last season.
With more proof that Don Zimmer has literally been around Baseball forever, I came across this photo of Zim from when he played in Cuba’s winter league from 1951-1953 for the Cienfuegos and Marianao teams. He later made his Major League debut in 1954 for the Brooklyn Dodgers and is currently the last living member of the Brooklyn Dodgers who is still affiliated with a Major League team’s operations on or off the field.
The 2008 NLCS had the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers in a battle for National League supremacy until game 4 when Matt Stairs crushed a pinch hit homerun against Jonathon Broxton and pretty much single handedly put a nail in the Dodgers World Series hopes by giving the Phillies a 3-1 lead in the series. It was one of the more incredible post-season moments in recent years and arguably in overall Baseball history. Matt Stairs is the all-time career leader in pinch-hit home runs as of the end of the 2010 season in addition to holding the record for most teams played for in a career by a non-pitcher (12 teams)…..Also, he has one of the sweetest quotes that he uses to approach his role as a pinch hitter: “Swing like you live — hard” and he certainly does. I hope to see him in a uniform again in 2011, preferably the Padres again.
1976 All-Star game. Mark “The Bird” Fidrych of the Detroit Tigers and Randy “The Junkman” Johnson of the San Diego Padres were the starters for the mid-season festivities in Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium . There probably has never been a weirder combination of individuals to face-off against each other in a All-Star game before or since then.
Roger Maris (left) and Mickey Mantle (right) jog off the field during a game in 1961; a season which showcased both New York sluggers pursuing Babe Ruth’s single season home run record.