On November 19, 2001, the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) determined in a landslide vote to award the NL Most Valuable Player Award to Giants slugger Barry Bonds. Bonds won 30 of 32 first place votes, winning his fourth career MVP award — the most by any single player to that point. Bonds went on to accumulate a total of seven MVP awards in his career, which remains the most for any given player.
‘God what an outfield,’ he says. ‘What a left field.’ He looks up at me, and I look down at him. ‘This must be heaven,’ he says.
‘No. It’s Iowa,’ I reply automatically. But then I feel the night rubbing softly against my face like cherry blossoms; look at the sleeping girl-child in my arms, her small hand curled around one of my fingers; think of the fierce warmth of the woman waiting for me in the house; inhale the fresh-cut grass small that seems locked in the air like permanent incense; and listen to the drone of the crowd, as below me Shoelss Joe Jackson tenses, watching the angle of the distant bat for a clue as to where the ball will be hit.
‘I think you’re right, Joe,’ I say, but softly enough not to disturb his concentration.
~W.P. Kinsella, Shoeless Joe
Unfortunately, I haven’t had much luck finding what’s left of the “Talkin’ Baseball” series via YouTube videos. But for anyone who’s interested, you can find the songs on iTunes:
The first recorded trade in major league history took place on November 15, 1886 when the Cincinnati Red Stockings of the American Association dealt rookie catcher Jack Boyle and $400 to the St. Louis Browns in exchange for outfielder Hugh Nicol.
On May 26, 1959, Pirates pitcher Harvey Haddix was taking a perfect game into the 13th inning against the Milwaukee Braves. Unfortunately for Haddix, however, Braves pitcher Lew Burdette was also pitching a shutout that day. Haddix’s perfect game ended in the bottom of the 13th when Milwaukee’s lead-off batter, Félix Mantilla, reached on a fielding error. Eddie Mathews’s sacrifice bunt advanced Mantilla to second, and Hank Aaron was given first on an intentional walk. Joe Adcock then ended the no-hitter with what first appeared to be a home run, but was later ruled to be a double by National League president Warren Giles.
In spite of the heart-breaking conclusion, Haddix’s 13-inning show continues to be recognized as one of the greatest pitching performances of all time. He even managed to get a song written about him. The Baseball Project laments Haddix’s poor luck through this tune, in which they also manage to list off every other pitcher who has gone down in history with a perfect game (up to March 2011, at least).
Here’s an infographic that includes an eclectic collection of numbers from 2011 surrounding the game of baseball. I particularly dig the 2 million kids playing ball in the bottom left. Gotta start ’em off right!
The only thing bad about winning the pennant is that you have to manage the All-Star Game the next year. I’d rather go fishing for three days.
Baseball’s Iron Man was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007. While I feel like he spent a lot of his induction speech discussing his new endeavors with Ripken Baseball, I also feel like he made a lot of good points about the relationship between life and baseball too.
On November 9, 1953, the United States Supreme Court ruled, 7-2, baseball is a sport and not a business, and therefore, that it may continue to be exempt from antitrust laws. The decision upheld the precedent that baseball, unlike other professional sports, was not to be treated as a commercial enterprise nor to be subject to federal regulation.
On November 8, 1951, Yankees catcher Yogi Berra was awarded the American League Most Valuable Player award. It would be the first of three MVP awards for the famous personality, making him one of four players in history to win it three times.