Here’s a fun documentary short about Dusty Baker. I had never stopped to think about the origins of the high five before. It’s one of those things that I always took for granted, but I guess that, like all things, it had to start somewhere.
James Timothy “Mudcat” Grant was born on August 13, 1935 in Lacoochee, Florida. He was one of seven children of James Sr. and Viola Grant.
Grant was signed as an amateur free agent by the Cleveland Indians prior to the 1954 season. After four seasons in the minor leagues, from 1954 to 1957, he made his MLB debut on April 17, 1958, at the age of 22, winning a complete game against the Kansas City Athletics. In June 1964, he was traded to the Minnesota Twins, then in 1965, he went 21–7 for the Twins, helping to lead the team to the 1965 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Unfortunately, the Twins lost the series in seven games.
During the 1965 season, Grant became the first black pitcher in the American League to win 20 games, leading the American League in victories with a 21-7 record, also posting a 3.30 ERA in 270 1/3 innings, and starting 39 games. He started three World Series games, winning two. In Game 6 at Metropolitan Stadium, he gave up only one run in a complete game, and even hit a three-run homer en route to a 5-1 victory.
Grant pitched for seven teams during his 14-year big league career and was with the Twins for four of those seasons. Over the course of that career, he had a 145–119 record in 571 games, while starting in 293 of them and throwing 89 complete games. His resumé also includes 18 shutouts, 53 saves, with 2,442 innings pitched on a 3.63 ERA.
Grant was named to the All-Star team in 1963 and 1965. He received his catfish-inspired nickname when a minor league teammate thought he was from Mississippi.
Mudcat Grant died on June 12, 2021 at the age of 85.
Rest in peace.
The move of the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles was before my time, and I sheepishly have to confess that I was not aware of this bit of history before I came across this short documentary by Vox. While these sorts of events are certainly not unique to Los Angeles, I do think it is important to ensure that episodes like this stay at the forefront of the public consciousness (or get introduced to folks who, like me, are not aware of these kinds of details).
Show me a guy who can’t pitch inside and I’ll show you a loser.
Donald Howard Sutton was born on April 2, 1945 in Clio, Alabama. In a career that spanned 23 years, Sutton had a career record of 324-256 and an ERA of 3.26 while pitching for the Dodgers, Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics, and California Angels. 58 of his wins were shutouts, five of them one-hitters, and 10 were two-hitters. He is seventh on baseball’s all-time strikeout list with 3,574, and he was named to the All-Star team four times.
Sutton entered broadcasting after his retirement as a player. He worked in this capacity for a number of teams, the majority of which were with the Atlanta Braves. Sutton was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998 with 81.61% of the vote. Sutton was also inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame in July 2015 for his work as a broadcaster.
According to the Baseball Hall of Fame, Sutton died at his home in Rancho Mirage, California, after a long struggle with cancer. He was 75 years old.
Rest in peace.
Tommy Lasorda was born September 22, 1927. He was a hardcore baseball lifer, playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954 and 1955 and for the Kansas City Athletics in 1956. After retiring from playing, Lasorda worked as a scout for the Dodgers and eventually worked his way into coaching. He coached for the Dodgers from 1973 through 1976 before taking over as manager of the club. Lasorda led the Dodgers to four NL pennants and two World Series championships during his tenure. Upon retiring from the managerial position in 1996, he continued to work for the Dodgers in a variety of roles for the rest of his life.
Lasorda was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997 as a manager in his first year of eligibility. He died January 7, 2021 from a cardiopulmonary arrest in Fullerton, California at the age of 93.
Rest in peace.
On November 24, 1953, Dodger owner Walter O’Malley announced that Walter Alston would be the new manager of the Brooklyn team, replacing Chuck Dressen. The announcement came as a shock to reporters, as the leading candidate for the job had been the fan-favorite Pee Wee Reese. Alston would go on to win seven pennants and four World Series during his 23 years with the team.
Congratulations to the Los Angeles Dodgers on their World Series victory! It is a very well deserved championship, to say the least. It’s a been a strange season, and I’m genuinely impressed it made it all the way to the end.
Welp, the 2020 World Series matchup is set: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Tampa Bay Rays. I honestly don’t have a dog in this fight, but the way the ALCS and the NLCS both played out, this should be a very entertaining World Series. Here is the tentative schedule for this year’s matchup:
Tuesday, Oct. 20
• World Series Game 1, TB vs. LAD, 8 p.m., FOX
Wednesday, Oct. 21
• World Series Game 2, TB vs. LAD, 8 p.m., FOX
Thursday, Oct. 22
Friday, Oct. 23
• World Series Game 3, LAD vs. TB, 8 p.m., FOX
Saturday, Oct. 24
• World Series Game 4, LAD vs. TB, 8 p.m., FOX
Sunday, Oct. 25
• World Series Game 5, LAD vs. TB, 8 p.m., FOX
Monday, Oct. 26
Tuesday, Oct. 27
• World Series Game 6, TB vs. LAD, 8 p.m., FOX
Wednesday, Oct. 28
• World Series, Game 7, TB vs. LAD, 8 p.m., FOX
Dodger shortstop Maury Wills was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player on November 23, 1962. Wills stole a record 104 bases during the season, leading Los Angeles to 102 victories. Unfortunately, the Dodgers fell short of the pennant in a three-game tie-breaker series against San Francisco, losing two games to one.