I guess I had two strikes against me when I came into the world….my father back in Nebraska was a hard drinker before me, and so was my grandfather….sure I tried to stop. I just couldn’t.
~Grover Cleveland Alexander
On January 15, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt penned the famous “green light” letter to Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis. In the letter, President Roosevelt addressed Commissioner Landis’s query about playing baseball in the wake of the Second World War. FDR believed that playing the sport would be good for Americans, and he encouraged baseball owners to hold more night games in order to allow workers to attend games.
This infographic baffles me in its sparseness. According to the Environics Analytics website, the graphic was created in light of the Toronto Blue Jays’ first playoff appearance in 22 years (going on to lose the 2015 ALCS to the Kansas City Royals). Compared to what appears to be less than 20% Canadian interest in the sport, a 2006 Gallup poll found that 47% of the U.S. public considers themselves to be baseball fans.
I haven’t been able to find a statistic revealing how many Canadians took the time to watch any of the 2015 playoffs, though attendance at the Rogers Centre was just under 50,000 for each of Games 3-5. Of course, Canadian attendance at Blue Jay games in 2020 was pretty much zero thanks to the pandemic and the Blue Jays getting kicked out of their own country for the season.
A boy cannot begin playing ball too early. I might almost say that while he is still creeping on all fours, he should have a bouncing rubber ball.
On January 8th, results for 1996 Hall of Fame voting revealed that for the first time since 1971, no one was elected by the BBWAA to enter the Hall of Fame. Phil Niekro came the closest to election with 68 percent of the writers’ votes, falling short of the 75 percent needed to be selected. Niekro was selected for the Hall of Fame the following year.
The members of Soundgarden readily admit that this song isn’t really about Ty Cobb at all, but rather, the song was written with myriad difficult individuals in mind. The lyrics still fit what we know about Cobb’s delightful personality, however, especially the repetition of the line, “Hard headed f— you all,” throughout the song. I don’t imagine Cobb would have cared for this genre of music, though I can easily imagine him jumping into the stands to go after a fan with this tune playing in the background.
One of the beautiful things about baseball is the history.
Enjoy your sweat because hard work doesn’t guarantee success, but without it you don’t have a chance.
Phil Niekro pitched for 24 seasons in Major League Baseball, spending 20 of those seasons with the Braves, both in Milwaukee and Atlanta. Niekro’s 318 career victories are the most by a knuckleball pitcher and rank 16th on MLB’s all-time wins list. He won the NL Gold Glove Award five times, was selected for five All-Star teams, and led the league in victories twice and in ERA once.
Niekro also earned the Lou Gehrig Award, the Roberto Clemente Award, and the Brian Piccolo Award for his humanitarian service off the field. He also served on the Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors since 2009. Niekro was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997.
Phil Niekro died December 26, 2020 after a battle with cancer. He was 81 years old.
I didn’t understand anything about playing baseball. I started playing, and it was enjoyable. Most of my life, I played with older people on my team, in my league. I learned a lot about life. Every day in my life, I learned something new from somebody.