Bill Lee

Bill Lee, best known as a Red Sox pitcher, is nicknamed “Spaceman” for his unique personality. His autobiography was titled The Wrong Stuff, (not The Right Stuff). Lee called his manager, Don Zimmer, the gerbil.

Warren Zevon wrote and recorded a song about him in 1980.

The effect of climate change on baseball

I think Baltimore, where I live, will have this problem eventually.  It was sure hot this summer. Rain could be a problem too. You also have to wonder how it affects the players and the game. Doesn’t the ball travel further in hot weather?

I think you will see more domed stadiums in the future to counteract the heat and rain.

Could Climate Change Affect the Future of Baseball?

How Will Rising Temperatures Change Baseball?

76ers attendance

I attended several 76ers games a few years ago when they stunk. At the 2015 game in the photo, announced attendance was about 10,000 but I bet it was less than half of that. This year, now that they’re good, they led the league in average attendance.

Mr. Celery

Mr. Celery is a mascot for the Wilmington Blue Rocks (minor league baseball Class A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals). He comes out and dances whenever the Blue Rocks score. There are lots of fan videos on YouTube.

The first time I saw him, I wondered if Delaware produced a lot of celery and I just didn’t know. The official story is that the team wanted another mascot and had an extra costume from an eating healthy promotion. The guy who plays him told Deadspin he found the costume dumpster diving. That’s a better story but I doubt it’s true. The Blue Rocks store has a page of Mr. Celery merchandise.

part of my Mr. Celery collection

Baltimore Colts moved 35 years ago today

Bob Irsay moved the team in the middle of the night. When I moved to Baltimore in 1976, the Colts games sold out. By the early 1980s, the team stunk and attendance was low. I saw a few games then. In one game, the only Colts touchdown was on a broken play when the running back (Joe Washington) threw a TD to a receiver (Mike Siani).

The Blu-ray of ESPN’s 30 for 30 on the Colts marching band has a supplement featuring Irsay’s apparently drunken press conference at the airport. He said he wasn’t going to move the team.

You never know what Bill Walton will say

Walton was one of the best college basketball players ever but he’s not as good as a commentator. He is entertaining though because he says such weird things. My guess is too many Grateful Dead concerts and too much LSD.

Last night, the other announcer, Dave Pasch noted that Arizona State coach Hurley had coached at Buffalo which was now doing well under coach Oates. Walton asked him if it was spelled with an “e”. Pasch wanted to know why. Walton said he had never heard of him and was going to look him up. Pasch said something like “I’ll pretend you didn’t say that”.

Here are some Walton lines:

Frank Robinson

The great Frank Robinson passed away yesterday. He did so much that these are just some of the highlights:

Two time MVP – only player to win in both leagues

First African-American manager

Triple Crown in 1966

Statues outside stadiums in three cities – Baltimore, Cleveland, Cincinnati

Manager of the year

He was the only player to hit a home run out of Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium. There was a flag that said “HERE” marking where it went out.

The only time I am sure I saw him play was in 1962 when I saw the Reds play the Mets at the Polo Grounds.

Rare baseball feats

A friend pointed out that CC Sabathia is only 14 strikeouts short of 3,000. That started me thinking about other rare baseball feats. Because baseball has gone to a five man starting pitching rotation, there will be fewer exceptional pitching feats in the future.

3,000 strikeouts – 16 players,000_strikeout_club

For us older folks, this doesn’t seem so rare because 15 of the 16 players accomplished it during the period we have followed baseball. I would not have guessed it was the rarest of the four feats on my list. There was almost a 51 year gap between the first one (Johnson in 1923) and second one (Gibson in 1974). Except for Schilling, these players are all in the Hall of Fame.

Four home runs in a game – 18 players

Only five of the 18 players are in the Hall of Fame.

Perfect game – 23 players

Seven of the pitchers are in the Hall of Fame. Don Larsen’s World Series perfect game has to be the best pitching performance ever.

Harvey Haddix pitched 12 perfect innings in a 1959 game and lost in the 13th. This no longer makes the list but it was legendary in my childhood.

300 wins – 24 players

This will become rarer in the future because of the five-man rotation. Because some of the players hung on for many after their prime, they won #300 for teams they are not usually associated with. For example:

Randy Johnson – Giants

Gaylord Perry – Mariners

Phil Niekro – Yankees

Tom Glavine – Mets

The active leaders are Bartolo Colon (247) and CC Sabathia (246). I doubt either will get to 300.

500 home runs – 27 players

I went to a baseball autograph show in 1989 with all of the living 500 home run hitters. There were only 11 at the time. There were three who were deceased (Ruth, Foxx, Ott). 24 of the 27 have accomplished the feat in my lifetime.

This stat has been devalued because of steroids. There are people on this list that we know have cheated. In the future, people could look at the list and conclude that Sammy Sosa is better than Frank Robinson which is certainly not true.