We Got to Play Baseball: 60 Stories from Men Who Played the Game

Diamonds in the Dust
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Should Tebow sign with an East Coast team, the majority of his minor league stops would take him right through the heart of SEC country, where the former Florida Gator would surely draw overflow crowds of supporters, haters and curious onlookers. Not really. Ultimately, a team that signs Tebow would determine how much attention it hopes to derive from him.

His upcoming open tryout will surely draw at least an area scout from many — perhaps all - major league clubs. Tim Tebow had a brief NFL career. For his part, Merkle was doomed to endless criticism and vilification throughout his career for this lapse, which went down in history as " Merkle's Boner ". In his defense, some baseball historians have suggested that it was not customary for game-ending hits to be fully "run out", it was only Evers's insistence on following the rules strictly that resulted in this unusual play.

While the winning run was allowed to stand on that occasion, the dispute raised O'Day's awareness of the rule, and directly set up the Merkle controversy. Turn of the century baseball attendances were modest by later standards. The average for the 1, games in the season was 3, Likewise from the Eastern League to the small developing leagues in the West, and the rising Negro Leagues professional baseball was being played all across the country.

Average major league attendances reached a pre World War I peak of 5, in Where there weren't professional teams, there were semi-pro teams, traveling teams barnstorming , company clubs and amateur men's leagues. The fix of baseball games by gamblers and players working together had been suspected as early as the s.

Walter Johnson: The Big Train

Even baseball stars such as Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker have been credibly alleged to have fixed game outcomes. After an excellent regular season 88—52,. Arguably the best team in baseball, the White Sox had a deep lineup, a strong pitching staff, and a good defense. Even though the National League champion Cincinnati Reds had a superior regular season record 96—44,. When the Reds triumphed 5—3, many pundits cried foul. At the time of the scandal, the White Sox were arguably the most successful franchise in baseball, with excellent gate receipts and record attendance.

At the time, most baseball players were not paid especially well and had to work other jobs during the winter to survive. Some elite players on the big-city clubs made very good salaries, but Chicago was a notable exception. For many years, the White Sox were owned and operated by Charles Comiskey , who paid the lowest player salaries, on average, in the American League.

The White Sox players all intensely disliked Comiskey and his penurious ways, but were powerless to do anything, thanks to baseball's so-called "reserve clause" that prevented players from switching teams without their team owner's consent. By late , Comiskey's tyrannical reign over the Sox had sown deep bitterness among the players, and White Sox first baseman Arnold "Chick" Gandil decided to conspire to throw the World Series.

After the series, and through the beginning of the baseball season , rumors swirled that some of the players had conspired to purposefully lose. The players were ultimately acquitted. However, the damage to the reputation of the sport of baseball led the team owners to appoint Federal judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis to be the first Commissioner of Baseball. His first act as commissioner was to ban the "Black Sox" from professional baseball for life.

The White Sox, meanwhile would not return to the World Series until and it was not until their next appearance in they won the World Series. Until July 5, , baseball had two histories. One fills libraries, while baseball historians are only just beginning to chronicle the other fully.

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It might be next week. On the second pitch, he uncoils, smacking a line drive over second base. July 13, Although originally played indoors, softball moved outside and evolved into a huge amateur sport played by American servicemen during World War II. I am 47 years old and being scouted by numerous coed softball teams. Baseball has had a broad impact on popular culture, both in the United States and elsewhere. Meyerhoff continued to project the image he and Wrigley had envisioned for these women.

African Americans have played baseball as long as white Americans. Players of color, both African-American and Hispanic , played for white baseball clubs throughout the early days of the organizing amateur sport. Moses Fleetwood Walker is considered the first African-American to play at the major league level, in The Negro Leagues were American professional baseball leagues comprising predominantly African-American teams.

The term may be used broadly to include professional black teams outside the leagues and it may be used narrowly for the seven relatively successful leagues beginning that are sometimes termed "Negro Major Leagues". The first professional team, established in , achieved great and lasting success as the Cuban Giants , while the first league, the National Colored Base Ball League , failed in after only two weeks due to low attendance. The Negro American League of is considered the last major league season and the last professional club, the Indianapolis Clowns , operated amusingly rather than competitively from the mids to s.

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We Got to Play Baseball is a remarkable collection of favorite memories from 60 Hall of Famers, All Stars, veteran ballplayers, managers, coaches, umpires and. Compre We Got to Play Baseball: 60 Stories from Men Who Played the Game ( English Edition) de Ocean Palmer, Gregg Olson na dynipalo.tk Confira.

While many of the players that made up the black baseball teams were African-Americans, many more were Latin Americans from nations that deliver some of the greatest talents that make up the major league rosters of today. Black players moved freely through the rest of baseball, playing in Canadian Baseball, Mexican Baseball , Caribbean Baseball, and Central America and South America where more than a few found that level of fame that they were unable to attain in the country of their birth. It was not the Black Sox scandal which put an end to the dead-ball era, but a rule change and a single player.

Some of the increased offensive output can be explained by the rule change outlawing tampering with the ball, which pitchers had often done to produce "spitballs", "shine balls" and other trick pitches which had "unnatural" flight through the air. Umpires were also required to put new balls into play whenever the current ball became scuffed or discolored. This rule change was enforced all the more stringently following the death of Ray Chapman , who was struck in the temple by a pitched ball from Carl Mays in a game on August 16, he died the next day. Discolored balls, harder for batters to see and therefore harder for batters to dodge, have been rigorously removed from play ever since.

There are two side effects. One, of course, is that if the batter can see the ball more easily, the batter can hit the ball more easily. The second is that without scuffs and other damage to the balls, pitchers are limited in their ability to control spin and so to cause altered trajectories. Amongst them was George Herman Ruth , known affectionately as "Babe". The story that Frazee did so in order to fund theatrical shows on Broadway for his actress lady friend is unfounded.

No, No, Nanette was indeed first produced in by Harry Frazee, though the sale of baseball superstar Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees had occurred five years earlier. In the lore of the Curse of the Bambino , Frazee supposedly needed to sell Ruth among other reasons to make up for his lack of financial success up to that point in making Broadway shows, and it was hitting it big with No, No, Nanette in that paid off the loan.

Ruth's career mirrors the shift in dominance from pitching to hitting at this time. He started his career as a pitcher in , and by was considered one of the dominant left-handed pitchers in the game. When Edward Barrow, managing the Red Sox, converted him to an outfielder, ballplayers and sportswriters were shocked. It was apparent, however, that Ruth's bat in the lineup every day was far more valuable than Ruth's arm on the mound every fourth day. Ruth swatted 29 home runs in his last season in Boston.

The next year, as a Yankee, he would hit 54 and in he hit His mark of 60 home runs would last until Ruth's power hitting ability demonstrated a new way to play the game, and one that was extremely popular with the crowds. Accordingly, the ballparks were expanded, sometimes by building outfield seating which shrunk the size of the outfield and made home run hitting more practical.

In addition to Ruth, hitters such as Rogers Hornsby also took advantage, with Hornsby compiling extraordinary figures for both power and average in the early s. While the American League championship, and to a lesser extent the World Series , would be dominated by the Yankees, there were many other excellent teams in the inter-war years. Also, the National League's St.

Louis Cardinals would win three titles themselves in nine years, the last with a group of players known as the " Gashouse Gang ". Harold Arlin announced the Pirates-Phillies game. Attendances in the s were consistently better than they had been before the war. The interwar peak average attendance was 8, in , but baseball was hit hard by the Great Depression and in the average fell below five thousand for the only time between the wars.

The Hall formally opened in In , a year which saw the premature death of Lou Gehrig , Boston's great left fielder Ted Williams had a batting average over. During the same season Joe DiMaggio hit successfully in 56 consecutive games, an accomplishment both unprecedented and unequaled. Roosevelt whether professional baseball should continue during the war. In the "Green Light Letter", the US president replied that baseball was important to national morale, and asked for more night games so day workers could attend.

Thirty-five Hall of Fame members and more than Major League Baseball players served in the war, but with the exception of D-Day , games continued. During this period Stan Musial led the St. Louis Cardinals to the , and World Series titles. Baseball boomed after World War II.

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Further records followed in and , when the average reached 16, While average attendances slipped to somewhat lower levels through the s, s and the first half of the s, they remained well above pre-war levels, and total seasonal attendance regularly hit new highs from onwards as the number of major league games increased. The post-War years in baseball also witnessed the racial integration of the sport. Participation by African Americans in organized baseball had been precluded since the s by formal and informal agreements, with only a few players surreptitiously being included in lineups on a sporadic basis.

American society as a whole moved toward integration in the post-War years, partially as a result of the distinguished service by African American military units such as the Tuskegee Airmen , th Infantry Regiment , and others. During the baseball winter meetings in , noted African American athlete and actor Paul Robeson campaigned for integration of the sport.

In the early s, New York Giants ' manager John McGraw slipped a black player, Charlie Grant , into his lineup reportedly by passing him off to the front office as an Indian , and McGraw's wife reported finding names of dozens of Negro players that McGraw fantasized about signing, after his death. Pittsburgh Pirates owner Bill Bensawanger reportedly signed Josh Gibson to a contract in , and the Washington Senators were also said to be interested in his services.

But those efforts and others were opposed by Kenesaw Mountain Landis , baseball's powerful commissioner and a staunch segregationist [ citation needed ]. Bill Veeck made the now often disputed claimed [20] that Landis blocked his purchase of the Philadelphia Phillies because he planned to integrate the team.

While this is disputed, Landis was opposed to integration, and his death in and subsequent replacement as Commissioner by Happy Chandler removed a major obstacle for black players in the major leagues. The general manager who would be eventually successful in breaking the color barrier was Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Rickey himself had experienced the issue of segregation. While playing and coaching for his college team at Ohio Wesleyan University, Rickey had a black teammate named Charles Thomas. On one particular road trip through southern Ohio his fellow player was refused a room in a hotel. Although Rickey was able to get the player into his room for that night, he was taken aback when he reached his room to find Thomas upset and crying about this injustice. Rickey related this incident as an example of why he wanted a full de-segregation of the nation, not only in baseball. In the mids, Rickey had compiled a list of Negro League ballplayers for a potential major league contract.

Realizing that the first African American signee would be a magnet for prejudicial sentiment, however, Rickey was intent on finding a player with a distinguished personality and character that would allow him to tolerate the inevitable abuse. Although probably not the best player in the Negro Leagues at the time, Robinson was an exceptional talent, was college-educated, and had the marketable distinction of serving as an officer during World War II.

More importantly, Robinson possessed the inner strength to handle the inevitable abuse to come. To prepare him for the task, Robinson first played in for the Dodgers' minor league team, the Montreal Royals , which proved an arduous emotional challenge, but he also enjoyed fervently enthusiastic support from the Montreal fans. On April 15, , Robinson broke the color barrier , which had been tacitly recognized for over 50 years, with his appearance for the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field. Over the next few years a handful of black baseball players made appearances in the majors, including Roy Campanella teammate to Robinson in Brooklyn and Satchel Paige teammate to Doby in Cleveland.

However, the initial pace of integration was slow. By , only six of the sixteen major league teams had a black player on the roster. In the fourteen years from —, black players won one or more of the Rookie of the Year awards nine times. While never prohibited in the same fashion as African Americans, Latin American players also benefitted greatly from the integration era. According to some baseball historians, Robinson and the other African American players helped reestablish the importance of baserunning and similar elements of play that were previously de-emphasized by the predominance of power hitting.

From to the s, African American participation in baseball rose steadily. In , Frank Robinson who had been the Rookie of the Year with the Cincinnati Reds was named player-manager of the Cleveland Indians , making him the first African American manager in the major leagues. Although these front-office gains continued, Major League Baseball saw a lengthy slow decline in the percentage of black players after the mids. Hall of Fame player Dave Winfield , for instance, has cited the fact that urban America places less emphasis and provides less resources for youth baseball than in the past.

In , a Racial and Gender Report Card on Major League Baseball was issued, which generally found positive results on the inclusion of African Americans and Latinos in baseball, and gave Major League Baseball a grade of "A" or better for opportunities for players, managers and coaches as well as for MLB's central office.

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Baseball had been in the West for almost as long as the National League and the American League had been around. The PCL was huge in the West. The PCL was far more independent than the other "minor" leagues, and rebelled continuously against their Eastern masters. Clarence Pants Rowland , the President of the PCL, took on baseball commissioners Kenesaw Mountain Landis and Happy Chandler at first to get better equity from the major leagues, then to form a third major league.

His efforts were rebuffed by both commissioners. Chandler and several of the owners, who saw the value of the markets in the West, started to plot the extermination of the PCL.

History of baseball in the United States

They had one thing that Rowland did not: The financial power of the Eastern major league baseball establishment. No one was going to back a PCL club building a major-league size stadium if the National or the American League was going to build one too, and potentially put the investment in the PCL ballpark into jeopardy. Until the s, major league baseball franchises had been largely confined to the northeastern United States, with the teams and their locations having remained unchanged from to The first team to relocate in fifty years was the Boston Braves , who moved in to Milwaukee, where the club set attendance records.

In , the St. Louis Browns moved to Baltimore and were renamed the Baltimore Orioles. In , the Philadelphia Athletics moved to Kansas City. In the New York market ripped apart. The Yankees were becoming the dominant draw, and the cities of the West offered generations of new fans in much more sheltered markets for the other venerable New York clubs, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants. Placing these storied, powerhouse clubs in the two biggest cities in the West had the specific design of crushing any attempt by the PCL to form a third major league.

Eager to bring these big names to the West, Los Angeles gave Walter O'Malley , owner of the Dodgers, a helicopter tour of the city and asked him to pick his spot. The logical first candidates for major league "expansion" were the same metropolitan areas that had just attracted the Dodgers and Giants. It is said [ by whom? Northern California, however, would later gain its own American League team, in , when the Athletics would move again, settling in Oakland, across San Francisco Bay from the Giants.

Along with the Angels, the other expansion team was the Washington Senators , who joined the American League and took over the nation's capital when the previous Senators moved to Minnesota and became the Twins. To keep pace with the American League—which now had ten teams—the National League likewise expanded to ten teams, in , with the addition of the Houston Colt.

The Pilots stayed just one season in Seattle before moving to Milwaukee and becoming today's Milwaukee Brewers. The Padres were the last of the core PCL teams to be absorbed. The Coast League did not die, though. After reforming and moving into new markets, it successfully transformed into a Class AAA league.

Sixteen years later, in , the National League likewise expanded to fourteen teams, with the newly formed Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins now Miami Marlins. Beginning with the season, both the AL and the NL were divided into three divisions East, West, and Central , with the addition of a wild card team the team with the best record among those finishing in second place to enable four teams in each league to advance to the preliminary division series. However, due to the —95 Major League Baseball strike which canceled the World Series , the new rules did not go into effect until the World Series.

In order to keep the number of teams in each league at an even number 14 — AL, 16 — NL , Milwaukee changed leagues and became a member of the National League. In , in keeping with Commissioner Bud Selig 's desire for expanded interleague play, the Houston Astros were shifted from the National to the American League; with an odd number 15 in each league, an interleague contest was played somewhere almost every day during the season. At this time the divisions within each league were shuffled to create six equal divisions of five teams.

By the late s, the balance between pitching and hitting had swung in favor of the pitchers. In Carl Yastrzemski won the American League batting title with an average of just. That same year, Detroit Tigers pitcher Denny McLain won 31 games — making him the last pitcher to win 30 games in a season. In response to these events, major league baseball implemented certain rules changes in to benefit the batters. The pitcher's mound was lowered, and the strike zone was reduced. In the American League, which had been suffering from much lower attendance than the National League, made a move to increase scoring even further by initiating the designated hitter rule.

From the time of the formation of the Major Leagues to the s, the team owners controlled the game. After the so-called "Brotherhood Strike" of and the failure of the Brotherhood of Professional Base Ball Players and its Players National League, the owners control of the game seemed absolute. It lasted over 70 years despite a number of short-lived players organizations. The same year, Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale — both Cy Young Award winners for the Los Angeles Dodgers — refused to re-sign their contracts, and the era of the reserve clause, which held players to one team, was coming toward an end.

The first legal challenge came in Louis Cardinals outfielder Curt Flood took the leagues to court to negate a player trade, citing the 13th Amendment and antitrust legislation. In he finally lost his case in the United States Supreme Court by a vote of 5 to 3, but gained large-scale public sympathy, and the damage had been done.

The reserve clause survived, but it had been irrevocably weakened. In Andy Messersmith of the Dodgers and Dave McNally of the Montreal Expos played without contracts, and then declared themselves free agents in response to an arbitrator's ruling. Handcuffed by concessions made in the Flood case, the owners had no choice but to accept the collective bargaining package offered by the MLBPA, and the reserve clause was effectively ended, to be replaced by the current system of free-agency and arbitration.

While the legal challenges were going on, the game continued. In the "Miracle Mets" , just 7 years after their formation, recorded their first winning season, won the National League East and finally the World Series. On the field, the s saw some of the longest standing records fall and the rise of two powerhouse dynasties. In Oakland, the Swinging A's were overpowering, winning the Series in '72, '73 and '74, and five straight division titles.

The strained relationships between teammates, who included Catfish Hunter , Vida Blue and Reggie Jackson , gave the lie to the need for "chemistry" between players. The decade also contained great individual achievements as well. He would retire in with and that was just one of numerous records he achieved, many of which, including Total bases scored, still stand today. There was great pitching too: between and , Nolan Ryan threw 4 "no-hit" games. He would add a record-breaking fifth in and two more before his retirement in , by which time he had also accumulated 5, strikeouts, another record, in a year career.

From the s onward, the major league game has changed dramatically from a combination of effects brought about by free agency, improvements in the science of sports conditioning, changes in the marketing and television broadcasting of sporting events, and the push by brand-name products for greater visibility. These events lead to greater labor difficulties, fan disaffection, skyrocketing prices, changes in the way that the game is played, and problems with the use of performance-enhancing substances like steroids tainting the race for records.

Through this period crowds generally rose.

Why Fans Love The Game Of Baseball

Average attendances first broke 20, in and 30, in That year total attendance hit 70 million, but baseball was hit hard by a strike in , and as of it has only marginally improved on those records. During the s, the science of conditioning and workouts greatly improved. Weight rooms and training equipment were improved. Trainers and doctors developed better diets and regimens to make athletes bigger, healthier, and stronger than they had ever been. Another major change that had been occurring during this time was the adoption of the pitch count. Starting pitchers playing complete games had not been an unusual thing in baseball's history.

Now pitching coaches watched to see how many pitches a player had thrown over the game. At anywhere from to , pitchers increasingly would be pulled out to preserve their arms. Bullpens began to specialize more, with more pitchers being trained as middle relievers, and a few hurlers, usually possessing high velocity but not much durability, as closers.

Along with the expansion of teams, the addition of more pitchers needed to play a complete game stressed the total number of quality players available in a system that restricted its talent searches at that time to America, Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean. With the bases paths only measuring 60 feet as compared to 90 feet in baseball, softball players must react more quickly to make routine plays.

She, too, said that she is a fan of both sports, but ultimately, softball is her favorite. You know that instead of sitting there for four or five hours watching a baseball game, in that amount of time, you could see two softball games. Angus said if you get technical with the sports, the swings are not so different. She said that teams like South Carolina brought in a baseball hitting guru as their hitting coach.

True, the mechanics of a sweet swing are the same. However, what is so different is the amount of time you have to decide whether to take that swing. But major league baseball pitchers throw harder than Division I and professional softball players, right? On a regulation softball field, the distance from the rubber to home plate is 43 feet. So, it has been found that a 70 mph fastball on a softball field gives you about 55 percent less time to decide than a mph fastball on a baseball field.

Even though the game of softball outdoes baseball, it so often lacks the recognition it deserves. Sure, ASU baseball has a rich history of being a tough competitor. It has had 22 appearances and five championships in the College World Series since its birth in , but in recent years, the program has fallen flat.