This day in baseball: Ruth’s NL debut

Babe Ruth made his National League debut on April 16, 1935 at Braves Field in Boston.  A band played “Jingle Bells” (I wonder whose idea that was?) as snow fell with near-freezing temperatures enveloping the field.  Ruth hit a homer and a single off Giants’ legend Carl Hubbell as the Braves beat New York, 4-2.

babe-ruth-boston-braves

nydailynews.com


Jackie Robinson, football player

Before Jackie Robinson made his mark by breaking Major League Baseball’s color barrier, he was a four-sport star at UCLA, playing baseball, football, basketball, and running track.  He remains the only four-letter athlete in the school’s history.  In his final year playing football for the school, Robinson led the Bruins in rushing (383 yards), passing (444 yards), total offense (827 yards), scoring (36 points), and punt return average (21 yards).  You can see a bit of footage from Robinson’s football days at UCLA here:

Robinson even went on to play a bit of semi-pro football.  In September 1941, he moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, where he played football for the semi-professional Honolulu Bears for $100 a game. His career with the Bears was cut short, however, when Robinson was drafted into the Army during World War II.

After World War II, Robinson briefly returned to football with the Los Angeles Bulldogs.  He then was offered a job as athletic director at Samuel Houston College in Austin, and as part of that role, he coached the basketball team for the 1944-1945 season.

It was in early 1945 that the Kansas City Monarchs offered Jackie a place on their team in the Negro Leagues.  Robinson then signed with the minor league Montreal Royals following the 1945 season.

The rest, as we know, is history.

 

jackie-robinson

biography.com

 

Happy Jackie Robinson Day!


This day in baseball: First Fenway game

The first game ever played at Fenway Park took place on April 9, 1912. In an exhibition contest played in the cold and the snow, Crimson third baseman and captain Dana Wingate became the first batter in the Boston ballpark, being struck out on a fastball by Casey Hageman. 3,000 fans braved the wintery weather to watch the shortened contest.

fenway

supermetal.com


Infographic: Big Data & Baseball Statistics

Someone (unknown) once commented, “Baseball is an island of activity amidst a sea of statistics.”  There’s no doubt statistics drive the game.  Here’s a good general timeline on how that has played out over the years.

baseball data


This day in baseball: Souki

On April 4, 1978, the Montreal Expos unveiled their new mascot.  The mascot, named Souki, wore an Expos uniform below a giant baseball head with antennae.  However, after just one season, the Souki’s rights would be sold for a mere $50.00, after proving unpopular with the fans due to his strange looks and quirky behavior.

souki

sportsmascots.wikia.com


Quote of the day

Now, you tell me, if I have a day off during the baseball season, where do you think I’ll spend it? The ballpark. I still love it. Always have, always will.

~Harry Caray

harry caray

abcnews.go.com


“The Spirit of Opening Day,” by Greg Shea

Technically a couple days late, but I would argue it’s still early enough for this to count.  I stumbled across this piece last night.  It’s full of baseball metaphors being applied to business.  Apparently in 2014, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle shared this poem with Pirates staff on Opening Day that year.  That day, the Pirates won 1-0 in ten innings over the Cubs.

*

Today you’ll dig in the closet for your glove and snap a ball into it while sipping your morning coffee.

Today you’ll drive to work and admonish yourself to “keep your head down” and your eye on the road.

Today your team will be in first and planning to stay there. Today you’ll wonder about developing and selling tobacco-flavored toothpaste, as you spit into the sink.

Today you’ll still be able to turn the double play.

Today you’ll end your contract holdout.

Today you won’t lose a business deal in the sun. Today you’ll find yourself rotating your arm around your head to stretch the shoulder and keep it loose.

Today sunflower seeds strangely find their way into your back pocket.

Today you’ll think of wearing a black suit to match the eye black.

Today you’ll have the steal sign.

Today you slip up in a meeting and mention “our sales team vs. lefties.”

Today as the toast comes out of the toaster, you’ll still remember how to execute a perfect “pop-up” slide.

Today a hot dog and peanuts for lunch will sound about right.

Today you tell a co-worker to “get loose.”

Today the only strike you’ll know about is above the knees and below the armpits.

Today you’ll wear your jacket only on your pitching arm.

Today you’ll buy two packs of gum and stuff them in the side of your mouth to look like a player.

Today, during lunch, you’ll wonder why Coke doesn’t come in a wood can.

Today you’ll scratch yourself and spit for no apparent reason.

Today you’ll wonder why stirrup socks never caught on as a fashion rage.

Today you’ll be the rookie looking to make it big.

Today you’ll be the wily vet with just a little something left.

Today you’ll look for the AM dial on your radio.

Today mom’s watching.

Today dad’s in the backyard with his glove.

Today will be hopeful.

Today it’ll still be a kids’ game.

Today you’ll be a kid.

Today is Opening Day!