“Vida Blue,” Albert Jones

Vida Blue was a left-handed pitcher who is primarily known as a vital member of the Oakland Athletics dynasty that won three consecutive World Series championships from 1972 to 1974. Blue won the American League Cy Young Award and Most Valuable Player Award in 1971, and he was the first pitcher ever to  start the All-Star Game for both the American League (1971) and the National League (1978).

This tribute by Albert Jones was released in 1971.


This day in baseball: Philadelphia A’s debut in the AL

On April 26, 1901 at Philadelphia’s Columbia Park, 10,547 fans witnessed Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics making their American League debut, losing to the Senators, 5-1. The Western League had been renamed the American League in 1900 by league president Ban Johnson and declared itself the second major league in 1901. Philadelphia’s new franchise, led by Mack, had been created to compete with the National League’s Philadelphia Phillies.

connie mack

National Baseball Hall of Fame Library/Major League Baseball/Getty Images


RIP Dick Allen

I am well behind on this one. Dick Allen passed away this past Monday, December 7, 2020 at the age of 78.

Richard Anthony Allen was born March 8, 1942 in Wampum, Pennsylvania. During his fifteen-season Major League Baseball career, he appeared primarily as a first baseman, third baseman, and outfielder, most notably for the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox. Allen was named to the All-Star team seven times. He won the 1964 NL Rookie of the Year Award and the 1972 AL Most Valuable Player Award. He also led the AL in home runs for two seasons, led the NL in slugging percentage one season and the AL in two seasons, and led each major league in on-base percentage, one season each. He finished his career with a .292 batting average and a .534 slugging percentage.

The Philadelphia Phillies retired Dick Allen’s number 15 on September 3, 2020. He was also inducted into the Baseball Reliquary’s Shrine of the Eternals in 2004.

Rest in peace.

Dick_Allen - Wikipedia

Dick Allen, c. 1965 (Wikipedia)


This day in baseball: World Series rotation set

On December 10, 1924, the American League and National League agreed to a rotation system for the World Series. According to the agreement, Games 1 and 2 would take place at one league’s park, the next three at the other team’s home field, with the final two games (if needed) back at the first venue. The NL was granted the inaugural advantage in following season’s Fall Classic.

1925 World Series booklet - milehighcardco

1925 World Series booklet (milehighcardco.com)


2020 Postseason schedule

In case you missed it, Major League Baseball announced the tentative 2020 postseason schedule yesterday. I confess, I never expected that baseball would make it this far in the midst of the pandemic, and yet, here we are. This unusual year just keeps getting more interesting.

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RIP Gene Budig

Dr. Gene Budig held a lot of titles over the course of his lifetime. He was a university president at Illinois State University, West Virginia University, and the University of Kansas (one building at KU, Budig Hall, is named in his honor). He was a newspaper executive, an author, a major general in the Air National Guard, and a senior presidential adviser for the College Board.

Gene Budig was also the last President of the American League in the MLB. He served in that role for six seasons, before the position was officially eliminated. In addition, for the last fourteen years, Budig was part-owner of Minor League Baseball’s Charleston RiverDogs, an affiliate of the New York Yankees.

Dr. Budig passed away earlier today, September 8, 2020.

Rest in peace.

Gene Budig - Post and Courier

Gene Budig (Post and Courier)


This day in baseball: AL marathon

The longest game in American League history (up to that point) took place on September 1, 1906. The Philadelphia Athletics defeated the Boston Red Sox in 24 innings, 4-1. The starter for both teams went the distance, as A’s hurler Jack Coombs beat Boston’s Joe Harris at Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds.

Huntington_Avenue_Grounds

Huntington Avenue Grounds (Wikipedia)


This day in baseball: Thompson’s MLB debut

Less than two weeks after Larry Doby’s debut with the Indians, Hank Thompson became the second black player to debut in the American League on July 17, 1947.  In the game, Thompson went 0-for-4 as the Browns suffered a 16-2 loss to Philadelphia at Sportsman’s Park.  Thompson would play in only 27 games for St. Louis because his presence did not significantly raise attendance.

Hank Thompson

Hank Thompson (nlbm.mlbblogs.com)


This day in baseball: 1939 All-Star Game

The 1939 All-Star Game was held on July 11th at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, where the American League defeated the National League, 3-1.  Two of the three AL runs were driven in by Yankees players (the third was an unearned run scored on an error), including a DiMaggio home run.  Indians pitcher Bob Feller, only twenty years old at the time, threw 3.2 scoreless innings to earn the save.

The box score for the game can be found here.

bob feller

Bob Feller (Wikimedia Commons)


This day in baseball: Rhoden starts as DH

On June 11, 1988, New York Yankees manager Billy Martin decided to use starting pitcher Rick Rhoden as the Yankees’ starting designated hitter. Rhoden went 0–1 with an RBI on a sacrifice fly in his lone plate appearance, batting seventh in the lineup. He was the first pitcher to start a game at DH since the American League’s adoption of the DH rule in 1973. José Cruz would later pinch hit for Rhoden as the Yankees went on to an 8–6 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

Rick_Rhoden_New_York_Yankees

Public domain