Quote of the day

Baseball is a man maker.

~Al Spalding

200px-AGSpalding

Wikimedia Commons


“A Change of Heart,” by Barbara Feeney

This poem, published by the New York Daily News in 1958, was written from the perspective of a Dodgers fan.  Understandably, she’s feeling a bit conflicted about the team’s move to the west coast.

*

The Bums are gone; good, I’m
glad!
O’Malley used to make me
mad.
Those old short fences, ciggie
ads
And bright beer signs were
passing fads.
That winning spirit couldn’t
last
When Robby’s playing days
were past.
The ecstacy of
’55
When Podres kept our hopes
alive
Are locked with scorecards,
photographs
Forgotten — with the million
laughs
Of bleacher days. But who
cares now?
I’ll never miss them,
anyhow.

But, then — a bulletin comes
through
A flash from
WNEW
It’s Campanella! And they
say
That Roy was nearly
killed today.
Paralysis! The tragic
end
Of Campy’s ever-winning
bend.
Who can forget the impish
grin
Accompanying every Dodger
win?
The ever-crouching
“39”
Assuring fans that all is
fine
Thrice MVP, the catching
ace
Who figured in each pennant
race
Was loved by each and every
fan
Who rooted for that Brooklyn
clan.
And now, the world has tumbled
down,
The prayers of a united
town
Today are flooding heaven’s
gate
For Brooklyn’s favorite
battery mate.

We never thought we’d feel this
way
When first they took out for
LA
But Campy’s crash has taught
us all
We’re Dodger fans still,
Spring to Fall.
No matter where they choose to
roam,
The hearts of Brooklyn are
their home.


This day in baseball: Introduction of the spitball

According to legend, the spitball made its debut on May 29, 1905, introduced by Dodger hurler Elmer Stricklett in a game against the New York Giants. Stricklett managed to defeat the Giants, 4-3.

While it is widely accepted that Stricklett was one of the early pioneers of the spitball, Stricklett himself denied that he actually invented the pitch. Stricklett did, however, claim to be the first pitcher to master the pitch and to feature it as the key pitch in his arsenal.

ElmerStricklettLOC

Elmer Stricklett (Wikipedia)


Memorial Day 2018

I hope everyone has a good, relaxing, and reflective Memorial Day!


Quote of the day

Catching a fly ball is a pleasure, but knowing what to do with it after you catch it is a business.

~Tommy Henrich

Tommy_Henrich

Wikipedia


“Home Run,” Chance Halladay

When this song started playing, I had a vague impression that I’ve heard it before.  As the song played on, however, I grew less sure.  Regardless of whether I actually have heard it before or not, it’s a catchy tune with some fun baseball allusions.  Enjoy!


Charlie Brown’s post-home run glow

After hitting his first home run ever (and winning the game with it, to boot), one certainly can’t blame Charlie Brown for wanting to revel in the feeling of baseball glory.

charlie brown


This day in baseball: Coveleski’s long start

On May 24, 1918, right-hander Stan Coveleski pitched 19 innings in the Indians’ 3-2 victory over the Yankees at the Polo Grounds.  Smoky Joe Wood hit a home run in the top of the 19th for the Tribe that proved to be the difference.  Coveleski gave up 12 hits and 6 walks with 4 strikeouts over the course of the game.

Stan_Coveleski_npcc_13989

Coveleski (Wikipedia)


Quote of the day

Now obviously, in peacetime a one-legged catcher, like a one-armed outfielder (such as the Mundys had roaming right), would have been at the most a curiosity somewhere down in the dingiest town in the minors – precisely where Hot had played during the many years that the nations of the world lived in harmony. But it is one of life’s grisly ironies that what is catastrophe for most of mankind, invariably works to the advantage of a few who live on the fringes of the human community. On the other hand, it is a grisly irony to live on the fringes of the human community.

~Philip Roth, The Great American Novel

R.I.P. Mr. Roth…

roth

rulenumberoneblog.com


A brief history of cleats

I remember my first pair of cleats.  I was nine years old, embarking on my first-ever season of organized ball.  My mom took my little brother and me shopping at a local Payless — the only place my folks, understandably, would buy any kind of shoes for our growing feet.  I was excited to finally be able to wear a pair of cleats.  I had seen the older kids wearing them, and they just seemed so cool.  After trying on multiple pairs, I wound up with a pair of black, low-top cleats with royal blue shoelaces and royal blue lettering that announced “Rawlings.”

It turns out, the concept of cleats has been around since the 1500s — and possibly even

1800s cleats

What Henry VIII’s football boots might have looked like

earlier than that.  King Henry VIII is documented to have owned a pair of “football boots,” created for him by the royal shoemaker, Cornelius Johnson.  These special “boots” were created from a strong material (most likely leather) for the purposes for playing “football” (by which Henry likely means some early version of soccer).  The earliest cleats typically featured leather, metal, or wooden studs.  For those who couldn’t afford to have a special pair made, they would create their own shoe enhancements with the use of metal plates or (cringe) nails.

The process of vulcanization, a chemical process for converting rubber into a more durable material, was developed in England and the United States in the 1840s.  Vulcanized rubber proved especially useful in producing shoes intended to protect the wearer’s feet, and, as a bonus, it was a much lighter material.  Furthermore, vulcanized rubber proved handy when the concept of studded or spiked shoes emerged.  The first known spiked leather running shoes were developed by a British company in the 1890s, and the first soccer-specific shoes were also developed at the end of the 19th century.

19th century football boots

c. 1905 advertisement for football boots

In the United States, meanwhile, metal spikes began to appear on baseball shoes in the 1860s, typically in a detachable form, and the first official baseball shoe appeared in 1882 when Waldo Claflin started selling leather shoes with built-in cleats marketed specifically to baseball players.  The emergence of American football in the early 20th century led to widespread recognition and popularity of cleats, the first football shoes actually being baseball shoes adapted to the new sport.  Over time, as sports in general continued to grow and with the advent of artificial turf, cleats evolved, and different types of cleats developed according to various sports and playing surfaces.  With safety in mind, Major League Baseball banned sharp, metal spikes in 1976, leading to further developments in the plastic studs we see on cleats today.