In which Domonic Brown's hand injury leads to Ben Francisco becoming Clark Gable's love interest.
In 1936, MGM released a movie called San Francisco, in which the entire male population of the titular town, including Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy, gets the hots for Jeanette MacDonald, a thoroughly annoying priss of a saloon singer who suffers from a Tourette’s-like affliction that forces her to burst out in the title song every two minutes or so, blubbering, “San Francisco, open your golden gates…” in faux-operatic tones capable of inducing sudden bouts of incontinence in any animal smaller than a camel. For reasons that are still not clear 75 years later, Gable spends almost the entire picture trying to pry open her golden gates when, let's face it, even the most Darwinistically-compelled, reproductively-driven hetero would probably choose a beer with Spencer over bedding Jeanette. Fortunately, the devastating 1906 earthquake comes along to shock everyone back to their senses, and in a gesture of appeasement to the angry gods, the chastened denizens of the Barbary Coast sacrifice MacDonald to an active volcano.
At least, that’s how I prefer to remember it. I bring this up only because with the injury to Domonic Brown’s hamate bone, the Phillies have been restaging their own version of the flick, except this time, it’s Charlie Manuel, not frigid Jeanette, belting out “Ben Francisco, open your golden gates, or at least go out to right field and try to take over for our top prospect, the guy who was supposed to take some of the sting out of losing our best hitter, Jayson Werth.” No, the lyric doesn’t parse, but then, neither did Jeanette, and Charlie looks better in a dress.
Werth presented one of the most difficult GM problems of the offseason just past. He was by far the Philllies’ best hitter in 2010, and not just because some key players were hurt and others disappointed. He excelled in his own right, and was also an excellent fielder and baserunner besides. Further, he was the sole slugging righty in a lineup so dominated by lefties that if they won the World Series, Fox news wouldn’t cover them. The Phillies needed him like Fred Wilpon needs a loan shark.
"The Capital Punisher" talks about his 16-year career as one of baseball's premier sluggers.
Can you image Frank Howard in the steroid era? A mountain of a man at 6-feet-7, 275 pounds, Howard produced jaw-dropping home runs and some of the most vicious line drives ever seen from 1958-73, a period of time dominated by pitchers. Known as "Hondo" and "The Capital Punisher," the right-handed-hitting slugger began his career with the Dodgers and finished it with the Tigers, but it was in Washington where he made his mark. In a four-year stretch from 1967-1970, the gentle giant averaged 43 long balls while putting up an EqA run of .315, .340, .339, and .334. Howard, who hit .273/.352/.499 with 382 home runs over his career, sat down with Baseball Prospectus during last summer's national SABR convention in Washington D.C.
The Orioles Hall of Famer discusses his contemporaries, solo home runs, commanding the strike zone, and... solo home runs,
A lot of great pitchers have worn an Orioles uniform over the years, but none have been better than Jim Palmer. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990, Palmer won 268 games over 19 seasons, winning 20 games or more eight times and twice leading the American League in ERA. Signed by Baltimore as an amateur free agent in 1963, Palmer made his big-league debut in 1965 and went on to play his entire career with the Orioles, pitching 3,948 innings and earning three World Series rings. In Game Two of the 1966 Fall Classic, Palmer became the youngest pitcher to throw a World Series shutout when he defeated Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers 2-0 at the age of 20. The winningest pitcher in team history, Palmer is currently an analyst for Orioles TV.
(Introduced by Bill James in 1987, the Ken Phelps All-Star Team is a way
of acknowledging players who, based on their performance in the minor
leagues, deserve a chance to play in the majors, but who have not received
the opportunity. In Part Two of his three-part series, Jeff Bower looks at
the outfielders for his Phelps All-Stars, and picks a DH as well.)