This day in baseball: Vertical catch record

In a publicity stunt arranged by the Come to Cleveland Committee on August 20, 1938, five members of the Indians (catchers Hank Helf, Frank Pytlak, and Rollie Hemsley and coaches Wally Schang and Johnny Bassler) attempted to set a record by catching a baseball dropped from the top of the 708-foot tall Terminal Tower. In front of a crowd of approximately 10,000 people, rookie reserve catcher Hank Helf managed to catch a ball dropped from the 52-story structure, which was estimated to be traveling at 138 mph. The catch broke Gabby Street’s 1908 mark for a vertical catch, established when Street snagged a ball dropped 555 feet from the top of the Washington Monument.

Hank Helf vertical catch - Cleveland State University Library

Cleveland State University Library


“Tiant’s Apprentice,” by Denise Newbolt

I enjoy the imagery presented in this piece. The metaphor comparing a pitcher to a dancer can be a good one, especially with some pitchers, like Luis Tiant, who have some rather elaborate windups.

*

Clear August sunlight spotlighted the dancer
he twirled in the style of Tiant           
technical in spin, placed practiced choreography. 

A white ball, laced red with a season’s skill and hope,
hurled to the stanched batter,
who would nick it to the dirt

In his 7th inning finale
a foul, a strike released in a summer’s era,
the spiraling pitcher spun to a season’s final ovation,
in late afternoon shadows.


Cleveland Guardians

Yesterday, the Cleveland Indians announced their new, much-anticipated team name, which will become effective at the conclusion of the 2021 season. Starting next season, the Cleveland baseball team will be known as the Cleveland Guardians.

While I wholeheartedly agree that a name change is necessary, I confess, I was initially torn about the new name. My initial reaction to the announcement was along the lines of, “Ew… what?” I thought, surely, they could have found something better than that.

But the more I think about it, the more the name grows on me. I cannot think of any other team in any sport, baseball or otherwise, who call themselves the Guardians. Plus, Guardians of the Galaxy is a kickass movie, and I would love to see Cleveland do a Star-Lord theme night (or a Groot theme night!).

I am curious what the new mascot is going to look like. That is just one of many details that the team will have to figure out in the months ahead, for sure. In the meantime, the new logo does look pretty slick.

Cleveland Guardians logo

Cleveland Guardians


“Indians Baseball Song,” Sammy Watkins and his Orchestra

According to the description for this video, this song was transferred from a 45 RPM record from the 1960s. Listening to it certainly makes me feel like I’ve stepped back in time. I get this mental image of men in colorful jackets and women in knee-length skirts walking excitedly towards Cleveland Stadium.


Quote of the day

The strongest thing I put into my body is steak and eggs. I just eat. I’m not a supplement guy. Steroids are not even a thought.

~Jim Thome

jim thome - legion.org

legion.org


This day in baseball: Dinneen’s no-hitters

On May 12, 1910, Athletics right-hander Chief Bender threw a 4-0 no-hitter at Shibe Park against the Cleveland Naps (Indians). Bender issued just one walk, spoiling his shot at a perfect game.

The home plate umpire for the game was Bill Dinneen, who tossed a no-hit game of his own against the White Sox while playing with the Pilgrims (Red Sox) on September 27, 1905. This performance by Chief Bender made Dinneen the only person in big league history to both throw a no-hitter and call one as an umpire. Dinneen served as home plate umpire for five total no-hitters in his career as an umpire.

1900_Bill_Dinneen.jpeg

Bill Dinneen (The Sporting News)


This day in baseball: First Cactus League game

The first-ever spring training game played in Arizona took place on March 8, 1946 at Tucson’s Hi Corbett Field. Bob Lemon led the Indians to victory over the Giants, 3-1, in the inaugural Cactus League contest.

See the source image

This day in baseball: Burns’s triple play

Red Sox first baseman George Burns completed an unassisted triple play against the Indians on September 14, 1923.  To accomplish the feat, Burns snared Frank Brower’s line drive, he then tagged Rube Lutzke coming from first, and and finally beat Riggs Stephenson in a sprint back to second.

George Burns - Cleveland - Wikipedia

George Burns in 1921 (Wikipedia)


This day in baseball: Horton’s walk-off blast

In the bottom of the 12th inning on July 28, 1967, Tony Horton hit a walk-off homer to break up a scoreless pitching duel between Indians pitcher Steve Hargan and Orioles’ right-hander Moe Drabowsky.  Drabowsky had allowed only six hits in the extra-inning contest at Cleveland Stadium.  Horton’s dinger helped the Indians to break a five-game losing streak.

Tony_Horton_1966.jpg

Horton with the Red Sox in 1966 (Public Domain)


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)