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I have had the same experience of explaining baseball to international colleagues. After one of my long explanations, the first batter hit a lazy fly ball to right-center, which the CF drifted over and caught. It was a play than any high school outfielder could have made. My colleague was shocked, "How did he know exactly where that ball was going to land?" I decided to shut up and let the game be beautiful.
Great piece, and I would love to see more analysis on pitchers from the past like this. Or a column on the most beautiful pitching motions that you (and others) have seen.
I was a Pirates fan and remember this game very well. But the story continued. The next day was rain-shortened to five innings and Shamsky did not play. But in the third game of the series, Shamsky pinch-hit another two-run homer. (My memory was that it is was the day after his three HR game, but Retrosheet told me about the rain-shortened game in between.) Quite a series. By the way, Elroy Face was a great relief pitcher coming to the end of a long and distinguished career. Not as good as Rollie Fingers, perhaps, but better than Bill Hands. Or than "Cool" Billy McCool.
I was also born in 1953, and I was a Pirates fan, so the 1960 World Series was my first one. I assumed after this that my team would always win on a HR in the bottom on the 9th in Game 7. Baseball had much to teach me.
I have often thought that one of the most interesting aspects of Moneyball is that Billy Beane the player was exactly the opposite of who Billy Beane the GM was looking for. I wish Michael Lewis had explored that a bit more.
I love the Top 11, as well as the Four More that were added last year. How about, "Will never be as good as they hoped" for a player that is favored by the organization or its fans but not really that good?
I always thought it was "Tyrus Cobb". But then, this is the same John Fogerty whose lyric "There's a bad moon on the rise" has been widely misunderstood as "There's a bathroom on the right." He even sometimes sings it that way because it is such as well-known Mondegreen.
This is a great article. I thought I knew baseball history but the Hollocher story was completely new to me. Thanks, Steve.
I think that a significant part of the drought perception comes from a lack of innovative thinking. For 20+ years, shortstops were small quick guys who hit singles and maybe stole a few bases, and played defense. The prototypes were Luis Aparacio and Maury Wills. The epitome was Ozzie Smith. Then Earl Weaver sees Cal Ripken and, instead of automatically leaving him at 3B (his original position), makes him a SS. So everyone re-thinks what they want in a SS, and we get A-Rod and company. Everyone decides you must have LH relievers, so we have roster positions spent on LH pitchers who aren't particularly good at getting out either LH or RH hitters. It is not an actual drought in available players. There are more players coming into major league baseball from many more origins than ever before. It is a drought in innovative use of the available resources.
Not to be too snarky but if Minaya said that Bernazard was "a big part of our organization, our success", I have to wonder if he has seen the same Mets organization the rest of us have. All of those post-season appearances, all of those seasons above expectations, all of that success?
Most Unexpected: In the Kingdome in the middle 1980s, Devon White led off for the Angels and smoked an apparent HR to RF that hit a wire and went foul. He then hit the next one even harder, it hit a different wire in right-center and the Mariner RF (possibly Al Cowens) threw him out at 2B.
Today\'s Philadelphia Inquirer has a lengthy article presenting Romero\'s side of the discussion, with some of these same points.
Sorry to pick nits but Dal Maxvil was a SS. Julian Javier played 2B.
You are not the first to make the comparison to the 69 Mets, but I wonder if that works. The 69 Mets were not a particularly young team. They had some young HoF starting pitchers, but a lot of the team consisted of cast-offs and veterans having career years. The Rays seem a little more like the 87 Twins-- a team with a young core that came together at the right time. Joe Madden even remnids me a bit of Tom Kelly.