Happy Birthday!

(Am I the only person that thinks for Frosty the Snowman when they say Happy Birthday)

[The Blogs at MLB dot Dom make it to year one.  Where are the boom-booms, you knif? (Old Cleveland reference there! — I am such a homer!)  Okay maybe the sheer impact of mlblogging is lost on the rest of the US (unlike my birthday where every city has boom-booms, people get the day off, heck the whole country celebrates it!).]

From Henry Chadwick working on box scores to describe the game better, Jim Bouton “blogging” about a year in baseball, or George Plimpton telling us about some french horn player, baseball and the written word have held a rather unique bond.  The significance of mlblogs.com was not lost on me (just gave away my answer to question one there) and it has been interesting to take in what was been written in the past year, even when I have been less than active in contributing.

(Putting on my Indians top hat) . . .
Happy Birthday, mlblogs.com

When Second Place isn’t First Loser

As a Cleveland Indians fan, finishing second is all toocommon. You never get use to it but
there is a sense of accomplishment.

Then I read Tommy Lasorda’s post about Jackie Robinson, which
made me think of Larry Doby. If anybody
could understand that Jackie Robinson went through, he could.

Since I am an Indians fan, I thought I share a bit about
Larry Doby.

Larry Doby hit the game winning home run in game four of the
1948 World Series, winning the game for pitcher Steve Gromek. In the celebration after the game they were
photographed embracing in the club house. Two teammates sharing a victory they were instrumental in achieving. The photograph was on the front page of many
newspapers across the country. Even in Cleveland,
the picture was a bit scandalous for both players.

Doby and Gromek never saw problem.

Gromek actually said, “… I didn’t kiss Larry,
thought I probably would have if the photographer had asked. What would be wrong about that? We had just won a big game and we both were
as happy as could be.”

Doby, on the picture, “Winning the World Series was the highlight of my career, and I’ll
always cherish the memory of Steve Gromek hugging me … I would always relate
back to that whenever I was insulted or rejected by hotels. I’d always think back to that picture of
Gromek and me. It would take away all
the negatives”

I can’t bear to post a week two review

Call me homer!After the promise of week one, week two has left me wanting …

Instead of speaking with my heart, I thought I would share a post I wrote for another blog.

Being a born and raised Cleveland sports homer, I am sure early heart trouble will result.  Nearly all of my favorite players have played with Cleveland teams. Many are players that live in relative obscurity outside the Forest City.

Local sports teams always gain a bit more favor with hometown fans.  Even with the coming of the Internet and ESPN, the largest coverage for many players comes from their hometown media.  In the 70s and 80s that was even more pronounced.

The local coverage has always been a great source of interesting history and trivia, otherwise how would I know that Duane Kuiper and Steve Stone are the ideals announcers for the Home Run Derby.

Captain KipeDuane Kuiper was Captain Kipe for the Cleveland Indians in the late 70s.  Rated as one of the Top 100 Indians of all-time in 2000, he is was a good player, not great.  His time in Cleveland was short, coming up to the big leagues in 1974 and leaving after the 1981 in a trade involving Ed Whitson with the San Francisco Giants.

During his time with the Tribe Duane Kuiper was a known for his defense as a second baseman, averaging around 10 errors a season, and making a respectable double play team with Frank Duffy and Tom Veryzer.

He was great to the fans and all around nice levelheaded guy.

Batting left-handed, he hit .274 in his stay with the Tribe.  Known mainly for the singles he slapped to left field.

On July 27, 1978 in New York to play the Yankees, Captain Kipe went hitless in the first game of a doubleheader (remember when they played those?).  In the second game, against Bob Kammeyer, he hit two bases load triples.  Two bases load triples in one game, an accomplishment only Emer Valo (in 1949) and Bill Bruton (in 1959) had pulled off before.

Adding to his batting legend was his home run.  Just one.  In 3,374 Major League plate appearances he was only able to hit one single 360 foot home run, on August 29, 1977.  For major leaguers with at least 3,000 plate appearances, this is the lowest total.

Steve StoneIn front of 6,236 fans Steve Stone fired a fastball to Kuiper and he knocked the ball into the second row of seats in right field of Municipal Stadium.  That was his 1,382nd plate appearance.

The Indians fought off all the fans, which most likely were still in shock, to get the ball for him.  When they traded him to the Giants, the Indians took the seat where the ball landed and presented it to him as a plague and parting gift.

Kuiper played a few more years with the Giants and has become a well respected announcer for them.  Steve Stone was able to shake off the shame of giving up Kuipers only home run, turning in a 25-7 season for the Orioles in 1980 before retiring with arm troubles after the 1981 season.  Steve Stone, born in the Cleveland area and had Thurman Munson as his catcher at Kent State University, also became an announcer.  Stone served as Harry Caray’s color man, for the Cubs,  for many years.

Bob Kammeyer, on the other hand, only appeared in seven games for the Yankees the year he gave up two bases loaded triples to Captain Kipe.  The next year he appeared in one game, and disappeared from baseball.

Come on Major League Baseball, for the Home Run Derby I cannot see a better set of announcers than Steve Stone and Duane Kuiper, perhaps with Bob Kammeyer as the on-field announcer?

Week 1: A quick review

</p> <p><p>Week 1:  A quick review</p></p> <p>Well the first six games of the 2006 season are a matter of record.  Despite a history of slow starts, Eric Wedge piloted the team to a 5-1 mark.  More importantly those five wins came against AL Central foes the White Sox and Twins.

Quite a few surprises from the first six games.

  • Two question marks Boone and Blake have been surprising at the start, equally Hafner for the team lead with six RBIs.

  • Jhonny Peralta is second behind Hafner in runs scored.  While only sporting a .250 OBP he has been on base 7 times, he has scored six of those times. 

  • Perez has been a nice pickup so far.  Two home runs off two of the best pitchers in the division.

  • If this is Pronk’s response to having a candy bar named after him, we need to starting naming more food products for him.  Hafner Pilsner any one?

  • I was impressed by the first round through the starting rotation.  Johnson’s game was pretty impressive.   Paul Byrd didn’t look impressive in his start but still left the team in a position to get the win.

    Still undecided

  • Broussard is hitting well, but I’m still not sold on him this season.  The platoon with Perez has been good so far, but will Broussard show some consistency this year?

  • Jason Micheals hasn’t made an impression on me yet.  He is getting on base and hitting for average, but as the number two hitter he has only scored once.

  • The bullpen has looked good, but still has me a bit worried.  It will probably take about a month to see how things settle out.

    New View Point

  • Is it just me or does a Bob Wickman ninth inning tightrope walk not seem as upsetting as it did in previous years.  Watching Sunday’s game, it didn’t even phase me that Wickie has a man on second and the winning run at the plate.