This day in baseball: Clarke’s debut

Future Hall of Famer Fred Clarke made his major league debut on June 30, 1894.  Clarke went five-for-five for the Louisville Colonels, collecting four singles and a triple.

Fred_Clarke 1903

Fred Clarke in 1903 (Library of Congress)


Nokona baseball gloves

This little documentary is less than seven minutes long, and it is a fun watch.  Not only do you learn some things about Nokona baseball gloves, you get to watch the process of a ball glove getting made.  And I love the fact that the work shirts worn by Nokona employees are baseball jerseys.


Quote of the day

You can have money piled to the ceiling but the size of your funeral is still going to depend on the weather.

~Chuck Tanner

Chuck Tanner

ESPN.com


Switching sports

Today we rejoin our hero Calvin as he realizes that perhaps his struggles with baseball lie in that he might be trying his hand at the wrong sport.

calvin and hobbes baseball golf

Bill Watterson


This day in baseball: Yde’s offensive show

On June 25, 1924, left-handed relief pitcher Emil Yde hit a double in the ninth inning to tie the score, 6-6, against the Cubs and send the game into extra innings.  Then, in the fourteenth inning, Yde hit a triple to lead the Pirates to an 8-7 victory.

Emil Yde

Emil Yde (Baseball Reference)


Quote of the day

Somebody once asked me if I ever went up to the plate trying to hit a home run. I said, ‘Sure, every time.’

~Mickey Mantle

200px-Mickey_Mantle_1953

Wikimedia Commons


“Glory,” by Yusef Komunyakaa

This piece by Yusef Komunyakaa was published originally in Magic City in 1992.  It serves as a nod to black baseball as well as a depiction of baseball as play in juxtaposition to the working lives of black Americans.  Life is hard for these young men, but the game provides them with an outlet to help them get through it all.

*

Most were married teenagers
Working knockout shifts daybreak
To sunset six days a week–
Already old men playing ball
In a field between a row of shotgun houses
& the Magazine Lumber Company.
They were all Jackie Robinson
& Willie Mays, a touch of
Josh Gibson & Satchell Paige
In each stance and swing, a promise
Like a hesitation pitch always
At the edge of their lives,
Arms sharp as rifles.
The Sunday afternoon heat
Flared like thin flowered skirts
As children and wives cheered.
The men were like cats
Running backwards to snag
Pop-ups & high-flies off
Fences, stealing each others’s glory.
The old deacons & raconteurs
Who umpired made an Out or Safe
Into a song & dance routine.
Runners hit the dirt
& slid into homeplate,
Cleats catching light,
As they conjured escapes, outfoxing
Double plays. In the few seconds
It took a man to eye a woman
Upon the makeshift bleachers,
A stolen base or homerun
Would help another man
Survive the new week.


Curse of the Colonel

The Red Sox and the Cubs aren’t the only teams in the baseball world to have suffered the effects of a curse. A Japanese team, the Hanshin Tigers, found itself the victim of the “Curse of the Colonel,” with the “colonel” being none other than KFC’s Colonel Sanders.

The Hanshin Tigers are located in Kansai, the second largest metropolitan area in Japan. In 1985, the Tigers faced the Seibu Lions and took their first and only victory in the Japan Championship Series. The team’s success came in large part due to the efforts of an American playing on the team, slugger Randy Bass (who would later serve as a Senator for Oklahoma).

As one might expect following a major championship victory, the Tiger fan base launched into celebration. A particularly raucous crowd gathered at Ebisu Bridge in Dōtonbori, Osaka.  Fans here would yell the players’ names, and with every name, a fan resembling that member of the Tigers leaped from the bridge and into the canal. However, lacking a Caucasian person to represent MVP Randy Bass, the crowd seized a plastic statue of Colonel Sanders (who apparently resembled Bass, in their minds) from a nearby KFC and tossed it off the bridge as an effigy.

According to the legend, thus began the Curse of the Colonel. The Hanshin Tigers began an 18-year losing streak, placing last or next-to-last in the league each year. The Tigers had a surprisingly good season in 2003, winning the Central League and earning a spot in the Japan Championship Series. However, the Tigers lost the series to the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks, so the curse was presumed to still be in place. The curse, fans believed, would continue until the Colonel statue had been recovered from the river.

The Colonel was finally discovered in the Dōtonbori River on March 10, 2009. The statue was, not surprisingly, in pieces, and it lacked the glasses the Colonel held in his left hand. It was believed that the curse could only be lifted by returning the Colonel’s glasses, so a replacement set of glasses were given to him in order to ensure the breaking of the curse.

The KFC restaurant to which the statue originally belonged no longer exists, so the now-restored Colonel Sanders makes his home at the branch near Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan.

Curse of Colonel Sanders Japan recovered statue

Colonel Sanders statue, shortly after being recovered from the river in 2009 (Ogiyoshisan)


This day in baseball: The last doubleheader complete-gamer

The last pitcher to pitch a complete game in both games of a doubleheader was Jack Scott of the Philadelphia Phillies.  Scott accomplished this feat on June 19, 1927 against Cincinnati at Redlands Field.  Scott won the opener of the twin bill, 3-1, however, he lost the second game, 3-0.

Jack Scott 1922

Jack Scott in 1922 (Wikipedia)


Quote of the day

You lose, you smile, and you come back the next day. You win, you smile, you come back the next day.

~Ken Griffey, Jr.

ken griffey jr

Wikipedia