Johnny Pesky, Bobby Doerr at Fenway's 100th

Boston Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky passed away today at 92. We shared a brief moment at Fenway’s 100th celebration. Thanks again to my Dad for incredible seats right behind the “X” on the Red Sox dugout. I noticed Bobby Doerr and Johnny Pesky sitting by the dugout an pulled out my camera. After a few clicks, he turned, looked at me and pointed. Then he gave me the thumbs up! I never saw him play, but I know what he meant to my dad, the team and the legion of Red Sox Nation. Godspeed, Mr. Pesky.

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By far and away the most exciting baseball player I have ever seen play is Ichiro Suzuki. Traded from my Mariners yesterday. As a fan, thank you for 12 exciting seasons.

Fenway Park 100th Anniversary Game, April 20, 2012

I have been fortunate to attend some amazing baseball games. Fenway’s 100th anniversary game last Friday will join that list — not for the Red Sox play, but for the amazing pre-game celebration. Nearly all living, former Red Sox players took the field.

The best seats I have ever been in put the game over the top. Right on top of the “X” on the Red Sox dugout. The game and the players were so close you caught every word. Plus it allowed me to capture this great shot of legends Johnny Pesky and Bobby Doerr. Thanks for the thumbs up, Mr. Pesky!

Johnny Pesky, Bobby Doerr at Fenway's 100th

I clipped this article from Forbes in 2001 thinking that someday, I would get a new glove or have to break in a glove for my future kids. The future came to be the other day. I tried this one second hot water dunk on my son’s glove in preparation for the upcoming t-ball season. It worked amazingly. The glove broke-in nicely and he even stands a chance of catching a ball.

Forbes: Breaking in a New Glove

As thoughts turn to the rites of Spring, two excellent baseball reads from the early 20th century.
1) The Unforgettable Season by GH Fleming
The National League Championship Season of 1908 was one of the greatest ever. The Cubs, Giants and Pirates battled down to the wire. This is one of Sports Illustrated’s top 100 sports books of all-time which brought it back into print. Copies are much easier to find today than they were when I first learned of the book about 15 years ago.

2) You Know Me Al by Ring Lardner
My brother gave me a copy of this book about 20 years ago. It is a great and fun read as a hayseed pitcher tires to make it with the White Sox in 1916. Copies on Amazon or on the Internet at the link above.

Ron Santo 1967

Ron Santo was finally elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame today. It should have happened a long time ago. Growing up in Chicago, Santo’s legacy loomed large over the very unremarkable Chicago Cubs teams of the late ’70’s. Now with Ernie Banks and Billy Williams, he will be a part of Cooperstown. He was a workhorse playing the hot corner and hitting with power. He was an All Star nine times.

Santo also has the distinction of being the best player ever from Seattle.

I never got to see him play and I never met him. When he passed away around this time last year, this article was the best read on the man.

Also worth reading is Larry Stone’s fine article.

Bob Feller Autograph

Bob Feller passed last week and so did a little of baseball history. Richard Goldstein’s NY Times article is the best write up on the pitching legend.

In my youth, my father and I bonded over baseball like so many Americans. We had a different twist in that we also collected autographed baseballs from Hall of Famers. From the ages of 10-12, I was able to collect every living member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Bob Feller was one of the first and the first autograph I paid for. It was at a baseball card show at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare. Mr. Feller was sitting at a folding table with several different 8×10 photos purchase and he would autograph for an extra dollar. Yes, $1. I am pretty sure the photo and the signature totaled $5. I remember my dad explaining on the way home that players from his era did not make what they did today (this was in 1983 or 84). They did not have a pension or any of those other benefits. What I really remember was how personal he made each signature. He talked to me and wanted to know my name and what position I played. He spent a good 4-5 minutes with everyone who wanted his signature. I remember it so well because I would come to learn that experience was the exception, like Bob Feller was most of his life, rather than the rule.

With the latest of the steroid revelations, I was glad to see Fisk blast McGwire, Clemens and other PED users. Fisk was a household name in my house even before he joined the White Sox (the parents are from Boston). PEDs are a real problem with the sport and will continue to dog the MLB until there is real transparency. As I stated in a previous post, the PED issue has impacted the best in the game. I hope that more Hall of Famers like Fisk come forward and denounce the frauds and cheaters.

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Chicago Tribune Carlton Fisk blasts Mark McGwire

Like many baseball fans, I was disappointed to learn about this article: Ortiz and Ramirez Said to Be on ’03 Doping List. The intent was never to make this list public; however, it was never destroyed. This list needs to be made public for the good of the game.

I had been fortunate to attend the All Star Game in ’83, ’90, ’01, ’03, ’04, and ’05. My camera was able to catch most of the action in ’04 and ’05. How many All Stars have been tainted in some form by PEDs? Take a look…

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Clemens pre-game, 2004 ASG

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Manny being Manny, 2004 ASG

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Sammy and Bonds, 2004 ASG

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Big Papi, 2004 ASG

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Eric Gagne, 2004 ASG

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Rumors haunt Piazza, 2004 ASG

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Migel Tejada, 2005 ASG MVP

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Rumors haunt Andruw Jones, 2005 ASG

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Alex Rodriguez, 2005 ASG

These are not players on the fringe. These are the best in the game. All Stars. The sad part is that there is likely more. Baseball has reinvented itself time and again. Gambling scandals in the late 19th century were way to common. The American League was started in response to a gambling scandal in the National League. PEDs are a black eye and have tainted the game today. Baseball will endure and survive. Will the MLB?

One of the great baseball traditions happens today at the National Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cooperstown, New York. I have been fortunate to attend several. Some great road trips and memories with my father. One year we were able to buy tickets to the Hall of Fame game from Carl Hubbell’s son and then later got an autograph from Ted Williams. Even met Fay Vincent and Mel Allen that afternoon. Pretty amazing stuff. If you are any type of baseball fan, plan a trip to the Induction Ceremony at least once.

Congratulations to Jim Rice and Rickey Henderson. Two fantastic players on my prized 1983 All Star Game AL autographed ball.

Link: National Baseball Hall of Fame

Check TechFlash Guest post: Bootstrapping and the infinite runway by Hillel Cooperman. Solid read. Since the “at bats” phase is used, I like to think of Babe Ruth. He led the American League in strikeouts 5 times in 1918, 1923, 1924, 1927 and 1928. In 1927 hit 60 home runs, breaking his own record as the all-time single-season HR leader. The 1927 Yankees are regarded as one of the greatest teams ever. So you can have failure and success, but you have to take a bat in hand and get to the plate.

Babe Ruth from Baseball-reference.com
Batter Up!