Want to read about a time a modern player kind of helped “throw” a game? It wasn’t a “fix” like the 1919 World Series Black Sox scandal, but this player supposedly made an error on purpose. See below for more on this.
QUIZ: Name the two brothers who combined for more HR than any other brother duo. Then name the two teammates who combined for more HR while teammates, than any other twosome.
Which major league players earned the most admiration from their peers? Among others, Stan Musial stood out in that regard. Vernon Law stated, “Everybody really respected Stan. He wasn’t a griper, he didn’t give umpires a bad time, he was even tempered. If you did hit hit, he’d just drop the bat and go down to first base. He was kind of a man’s man, and just an outstanding personality.”
Remember the Old Time Pirates? Some of the Pirates from the 1959 team were unlucky in that they were not also on the 1960 squad. One such player was pitcher Ron Kline. He was traded from the Pirates to the St. Louis Cardinals on December 21, 1959, for the fun loving Gino Cimoli and Tom Cheney. Kline would return to the Pirates for one full season in 1968 (and a portion of the following season). In 1968, he enjoyed a great season going 12-5 for a sky high winning percentage of .706 to go along with his ERA of 1.68, but despite playing from 1952-1970, he never made it to a World Series. In fact, during his early years with the Pirates he also experienced the anguish of twice leading the National League in losses with 18 in 1956 and 16 in 1958.
Remembering the ’71 Pirates: Merv Rettenmund was with the pennant winning Orioles in 1971. He said of the Pirates, “They had a good team. A dangerous team, you know. We just didn’t play well. I liked a lot of their players because they did a fantastic job of drafting excellent athletes. They had some great athletes and they also had some people that could really handle them. I think Danny Murtaugh did a fantastic job.” Murtaugh, of course, was a Pirate staple with several stints as their manager. Plus, he pulled off that miraculous World Series win in ’60.
Sometimes Spring Training Is Vital ONLY to non-established players: Ken Barbao, a native of Stan Musial’s hometown (Donora, Pa.), spoke about a time when the difference between the attitude of a veteran and a player with much less pro experience became, he thought, evident. “We went to play the Phillies in, I think, Clearwater. The score was tied, 2-2, in the ninth inning and our manager told me to warm up. I said, ‘Well, we don’t have a catcher who can catch the knuckleball.’ So he said I should just throw my other stuff.
“Without the knuckleball, I pitched the tenth, the eleventh, and the twelfth innings. In the twelfth inning a veteran who knew we play 154 games that count, and this one didn’t count for anything, and we’re playing extra innings. There were two outs and a guy hit a ground ball to him and he threw it over Dale Long’s head at first and the guy went to second.
We had taken Clemente out of right field and put Roman Mejias out there and the next guy up hit a routine fly ball to right field and Mejias misjudged it, so they won, 3-2. The next day I got a plane ticket to New Orleans. I never thought about it until a couple years ago when I thought, ‘Yeah, that’s what the veteran did. He did that [made an error] on purpose.’”
Quiz Answers: the brothers were Hank and Tommie Aaron. The teammates were Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews who shattered the record once held by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.