Only three days remain until Opening Day! In spite of folks jumping the gun on returning to “business as usual,” given vaccine distribution progress, I’m still feeling pretty optimistic about the upcoming season.
Babe Ruth made his first career start on the mound on March 25, 1914 for the Boston Red Sox. The 19-year-old pitcher defeated the world champion Philadelphia Athletics, 6-2, in an exhibition game played in Wilmington, North Carolina. Prior to this game, Ruth had faced 29 batters in relief, allowing just six hits, thus earning his spot in the starting rotation.
Dad played with me a great deal, as dads should do, and our chief sport was baseball. He bought me a hardball when I was three years old, and he used to sit in a rocker on the front porch while I sat on the grass in the yard, and we’d play catch by the hour.
This one is obviously a bit outdated, but it did still make me chuckle a bit.
Also, twelve days until Opening Day.
On March 19, 1984, former MLB pitcher Denny McLain was indicted on various charges of racketeering, loan-sharking, extortion, and cocaine possession. In 1985, McLain was sentenced to 23 years in prison after refusing to admit his crimes and accept his conviction. McLain had participated in a scheme that imposed exorbitant interest rates on those who bet on sports and coerced them to pay the illegal debts. After 29 months of the sentence, McLain appealed on the grounds of an unfair judgment, and he was released. He then agreed to a five-year probation deal.
Denny McLain was the last Major League pitcher to win 30 or more games in a season, having finished the 1968 season with a record of 31-6.
I didn’t just show up for work, as has sometimes been said. I also showed up to work.
~Cal Ripken, Jr.
On March 16, 1932, Babe Ruth signed a deal for $75,000, a five-thousand dollar pay cut from the previous season and 25 percent of the Yankees net receipts from exhibition games. The pay cut came in large part as a result of the Great Depression. Legend has it the Bambino signed a blank contract, with the amount filled in later by Yankee owner Jacob Ruppert.
While I have more of a never say never attitude towards records, all these numbers are impressive, and it is going to take some truly exceptional ballplayers to break these.
We all know that spring training is no indication of how the regular season is going to go. But there are years when I certainly wish it was.