This day in baseball: Formalizing the expansion of 1962

On October 17, 1960, the National League formally awarded franchises to the New York Metropolitan Baseball Club, Inc., led by Joan Payson, and a Houston group led by Judge Roy Hofheinz. An expansion draft was held for the two new expansion clubs in 1961, and the New York Mets and the Houston Colt .45s would begin play in 1962.

Roy Hofheinz (University of Houston / public domain)

A Face in the Crowd, by Stephen King and Stewart O’Nan

A Face in the Crowd

A Face in the Crowd has been available as an ebook since 2012 and became available in a hardcover physical format just this year. The protagonist of this story/novella is Dean Evers, an elderly widower living in Florida, having moved there with his wife before her passing. Originally a Red Sox fan, Evers has “adopted” the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as his second team and now whiles away his evenings in front of the television watching Rays games.

One evening, Evers notices someone in the seats behind home plate — Young Dr. Young, as Evers’s mother used to call him — Evers’s dentist when he was a boy. But Evers is aware that Dr. Young had passed many years ago, so how could he now be attending a Rays game?

After convincing himself that he’s not going crazy, Evers flips on the television the next night for more baseball, only to see another face in the seats behind home plate. Once again, it is someone from Evers’s past whom he knows to be dead. And it is the same the next game he watches. And the next game.

These appearances understandably affect Evers’s sleep, and he resorts to a cocktail of ambien and scotch to fall asleep each night. Through the story and his reminiscences, we learn a bit about each of the individuals who Evers sees in the stands and, of course, a bit about Evers himself. Finally, a face appears in the stands that leads Evers to finally understand what is going on.

I won’t spoil the ending here, though anyone with a twisted enough imagination can easily deduce the conclusion of this tale. I enjoy Stephen King and, of course, I enjoy baseball, so it’s always a lot of fun when I get the opportunity to read a baseball story written by King. The story is short, only 58 pages in printed format, and it reads quickly. I knocked it out easily in one evening. It’s a worthwhile piece of brief entertainment if have an hour to fill sometime.

This day in baseball: 1925 Chicago Cubs finish last

The 1925 season ended on October 4th of that year, and for the first time in franchise history, the Chicago Cubs finished in eighth and last place in the National League. Managed by Bill Killefer, Rabbit Maranville, and George Gibson, the team compiled a 68-86 record to finish 27.5 games behind the first-place Pirates.

1927-1936 Chicago Cubs logo (public domain)

Quote of the day

No matter how many victories you win or how many records you break, the season will eventually come to an end. Take pride in what you achieved and strive for success in your future.

~Babe Ruth


RIP Brooks Robinson

Brooks Calbert Robinson, Jr. was born May 18, 1937 in Little Rock, Arkansas. His father, Brooks Robinson, Sr., was a semi-pro second baseman who played with his son in his younger years. Brooks, Jr. went on to play third base for the Baltimore Orioles from 1955 to 1977. Nicknamed “the Human Vacuum Cleaner,” he is considered by many to have been the greatest defensive third baseman in major league history.

Robinson was an 18-time All-Star and also won sixteen Gold Glove Awards. He won two World Series with the Orioles, being named World Series MVP in 1970. Robinson also earned American League MVP honors in 1964 when he led the AL in RBIs for the season. In 1972, he was presented with the Roberto Clemente Award, and he was inducted into the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame in 1977, with his number 5 being retired a year later.

Brooks Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983 with 91.98% of the vote in his first appearance on the ballot.

He passed away yesterday, September 26, 2023 at the age of 86. Rest in peace.

Brooks Robinson in 1963 (public domain)

George Brett documentary upcoming

MLB Network has announce that this coming December, they will be featuring a documentary on the king of pine tar himself, George Brett. The feature is titled “MLB Network Presents: Brett,” and as 2023 marks 50 years since Brett made his MLB debut, MLB Network decided it was the perfect time to come out with this documentary. I look forward to it.

More information can be found here.

This day in baseball: Cunningham’s wild pitch record

In a Players’ League game between the Buffalo Bison and the Chicago Pirates on September 15, 1890, Bison pitcher Bert Cunningham threw five wild pitches in the first inning at South Side Park. This performance established a dubious regular-season record, which would later be matched by Cardinals pitcher Rick Ankiel during a 2000 playoff game against the Mets.

Cunningham was nevertheless inducted into the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame in 1996.

Bert Cunningham with the Louisville Colonels, 1897 (public domain)