Billy. Barry. Mission Reds vs Padres. Bagwell. Roberto & Willie.
June 5th, 1977. New York Manager Billy Martin gets fancy while taking some infield practice with his team in Comiskey Park in Chicago. While reading Billy’s autobiography “Number 1” I got the sense that he felt that he left the game as player too early as he was only 33 years old during his last season. The guy had a fire in his belly and a competitive streak that very few ball players possess. I have always thought if you had a team full of Billy Martins that you simply could not lose regardless of physical talent due to Martin’s heart and hatred of losing. Besides not losing this hypothetical team would also lead the league in fight related suspensions too.
So yeah, this photo of the 49 year old Martin is awesome and if you have the slightest interest in Martin, The Yankees, Bay Area Baseball, PCL Baseball, Baseball Fights, etc. then you should read the above mentioned book. I have suggested it here on the blog before I am sure I will again as I love it so much.
Think again. You will never be the player or man that Hank, Babe or Willie was.
1937. A great action photo of the San Francisco Mission Reds vs the San Diego Padres at a game in Seals Stadium in San Francisco. As a total sucker for the classic PCL especially anything related to the Mission Reds & Padres, I gotta admit that finding this photo made me smile. I just wish I knew who the players were in it.
(UPDATE: Bill Swank verified that the Padres base runner is Outfielder Rupert “Tommy” Thompson as he wore #4 for the 1937 Padres. Thanks Bill!)
From 1991 to 2005 Jeff Bagwell was one of my favorite players in Baseball and for those 15 seasons it boggled my mind every single time I watched him enter the batter’s box. I have NO idea how Bagwell generated his power from such a whacky stance.
On an unrelated note, in 2005 I felt so bad for him when his shoulder gave out on him and essentially made him a pinch hitter when the Astros finally made it to the World Series. 14 seasons of killin’ it in the big leagues and then finally making to the Fall Classic but as a mere shell of what he used to be. That had to be the definition of a bitter sweet experience, especially considering that they lost the series. At least he has Cooperstown to look forward to.
September 30th, 1972. Willie Mays congratulates Roberto Clemente after hitting his 3000th and final career regular season hit in a game against the Mets. Everyone knows that Roberto tragically died that offseason and finished his career with exactly 3000 hits, but what many may not realize is that September 30th was not the last regular season game he ever played in. The last regular season game he played in was on October 3rd as he entered the game as a defensive substitution in the 9th inning. While that was Roberto’s last regular season game, it wasn’t the last Baseball game he ever played…
Roberto also played in the 1972 NLCS playoff series against the Cincinnati Reds which started a week later. He played in all 5 games of the series, going 4 for 17 with a home run. The last professional Baseball game Clemente ever played was on October 11th (game 5 of the series). He went 1 for 3 and was intentionally walked by Tom Hall in his last at-bat during the top of the 8th inning. He died a little over 2 and half months later.