Friday, February 29, 2008

Hank (Back in the) O'Day

Henry Francis O'Day. (Born: 7/8/1862. Died: 7/2/1935)

He was a right-handed pitcher, a manager and a pitcher. In fact, he was the only person in National League history to be a pitcher, manager and umpire.

As an umpire he worked from 1895 thru 1927, inclusive. His 3,986 games as an official ranked third in major league history when he retired. Of those games, 2,710 were done behind the plate and that still ranks as 2nd in major league history behind Bill Klem's 3,543.

O'Day umpired 10 World Series contests, second only to the Klemmer's 18 (Bill Klem).

O'Day is largely known for his controversial decision in a pivotal 1908 contest between the Chicago Cubs and New York Giants, a ruling which still causes debate today.

O'Day was one of 6 children by deaf parents. He made his debut in the majors with the Toledo Blue Stockings in 1884. In his 7-year career he compiled a 73-W 110-L record. After stops with the Pittsburgh Alleghenys (1885), Washington Nationals (1886-89)and New York Giants (1889) he blossomed with two strong wins in the 1889 World Series, then enjoyed his best season at 22-13 with the New York Giants in 1890, the only year of the Player's League. However, he developed arm trouble. Probably as a result of pitching over 300 innings in the Players League. His career officially ended in the minors in 1893.

On September 23, 1908, O'Day was involved in the most controversial field decision in major league history. He was the home plate umpire. In a game between the Cubs and Giants, shortstop Al Bridwell hit a single which drove in the apparent winning run. However, Fred Merkle (of Merkle's Boner fame) never advanced from first to second base. (In order for the Bridwell single to count, he had to get credit for touching first base and therefore advancing Bonehead Merkle to second base, thus allowing the runner on third base to score.) Manager John McGraw was furious at the league for robbing him of a victory and a pennant but never blamed Merkle, per Wikipedia's account passed on from New York Times.

When the Cubs produced a ball -not necessarily the game ball, which had been thrown in the stands supposedly by Joe McGinnity who saw what transpired and decided it best that the ball be tossed-and claimed a force play at second base, which would negate the run, the debate erupted. Base umpire Bob Emslie watched- from his position near first base- to verify that the batter-runner had reached first base but did not see the play at second base.

O'Day ruled the force at second base was valid so the run did not count. The league president upheld his decision so the Cubs overtook the Giants to win the pennant by one game. The Cubs would go on to defeat the Detroit Tigers 4-1 in the 1908 World Series. (the star of that World Series was Orval Overall, who was 2-0. Overall's World Series record was 3-1, with an ERA of 1.58. Orval graduated from the University of Cal-Berkeley.)

Also of note... (Ole Bonehead's nephew, Theodore Charles Merkle, directed Project Pluto - the development of nuclear powered ramjet engines for use in cruise missiles in 1961 and 1964. His grandniece, Judith Merkle Riley is a historical writer and his grandnephew, Ralph C. Merkle is a Distinguished Professor in Computer science at the Georgia Institute of Technology.)

Hank O'Day began his career in an era during which only one (1) umpire worked in most games and he spent the remainder of his time as an umpire when only 2 umps were used. In addition, this period witnessed constant violence against umpires, from both spectators and players. To deal with the resulting solitary life of his profession O'Day chose to live an intensely private life, avoiding the hangers-on who habituated the major league hotels and travel routes, and assiduously maintained a taciturn aloofness from those who demonstrated an eagerness to get to know him. He was good friends with people in positions of authority such as John Heydler (who was O'Day's supervisor as National League president) and Connie Mack, O'Day's backstop with the Nationals for 3 years and the Philadelphia Athletics' manager for 50 seasons.

From all accounts of these times, based on what I have surmised, O'Day was around during a time where it was thought you had a better chance for survival if you had a thick skin. Perhaps that was the norm for folks back then, I don't know. I can only imagine and how close I am to actuality may be no different from those times when I picture what someone looks like knowing them only by their actions on the telephone. Then when I meet this "voice-on-the-phone" I see that my mind's eye may have been better served if the photo was sketched in an easy to erase style of pencil.

(thanks again to Wikipedia)

Kevin Marquez

Thursday, February 28, 2008

George Pipgras

A right-handed starting pitcher and umpire in the major leagues was born on December 20, 1899. He died on: October 19, 1986.

George Pipgras spent most of his playing career as a member of the celebrated New York Yankees. After having a couple cups of coffee (getting called up to the big club and then returning to their minor league affiliate) he broke into the American League on the legendary 1927 Yankee team.

In 1928, Pigpras posted a 24-wins 13-losses season, while leading the league in games started (38) and innings pitched (300 2/3).

He started and won Game 3 of the 1932 World Series vs. the Chicago Cubs. In that game both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig belted two homers, including Babe's renowned "Called Shot."

He became an umpire from 1938-1946. In researching the history of umpires I am beginning to see a pattern of former players having no trouble being assigned to the big leagues as umpires. Not much in the way of paying dues the way today's ump has to. Although, if Rich Aurilia wants to ump after his playing days are over I suppose he won't have to spend too much time in the minors learning his craft. He might get to sidestep all that was considered necessary for the umpire who has no background of playing baseball, especially at the major league level.

He served in World War 1 with the 25th Army Engineers.

On Opening Day with the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium, April 20, 1939, Pipgras worked as the third base umpire. The historic box score included the names of future Hall of Famers: Joe Cronin, Bill Dickey, Joe DiMaggio, Bobby Doerr, Jimmy Foxx, Lefty Grove, Red Ruffing and prized rookie Ted Williams. Pipgras was the starting pitcher for the Yanks' 1929 Opening Day game in which the opposing pitcher for Boston that day was Red Ruffing. According to historians, the unusual feat set by Pipgras is a case unique in major league history.

(thanks again to Wikipedia for the factoids)

Kevin Marquez

Beans was 'the Last of the Cussin' Umpires'

John Edward "Beans" Reardon ...... (Born November 23, 1897...... Died July 31, 1984 in Long Beach, CA.)

An umpire in major league baseball who worked in the National League from 1926-1949. One of the best liked and most respected umpires in the league, he was known for his colorful arguments with players and managers.

Born in Taunton, MA, Reardon's family moved to Los Angeles, CA when he was 14 years of age, where he acquired his nickname due to his Boston-area origins. Having no chance at a career playing baseball due to a throwing arm ruined by overexertion in sandlot ball, he began umpiring amateur games as a teenager.

He looked to get his professional start with a copper miners' league in Arizona in 1919, but after arriving for duty and learning his contract required him to work in the mines, he resigned after one (1) day's work, followed by a doubleheader he umpired singlehandedly.

In 1920-21 he umpired in the Western Canada League where he made his reputation in Edmonton by refusing a police escort out of a park after a particularly contentious game before a hostile crowd. He said, "I didn't sneak in and I won't sneak out."

He then worked in the Pacific Coast League for 4 seasons before reaching the major leagues. He was known for his many arguments on the field and for the fact that he relished the opportunity to match the players in his use of off-color language; he came to refer to himself as "the last of the cussin' umpires," and rarely ejected players from games, reportedly because he loved trading insults. At one point National League president, Ford Frick, issued a memo to all field personnel requiring them to reduce their use of profanity, a thinly veiled move directed primarily at Beans Reardon.

Beans had a difficult relationship with longtime National League ump, Bill Klem, the dean of the league staff; the younger Reardon insisted upon wearing the outside chest protector used by American League umpires, rather than the inside protector favored by Klem. Reardon also regularly conversed during games with spectators in the stands, another annoyance to Klem.

Reardon noted that perhaps he stayed on as long as he did only because Klem was promoted to a non-field position in 1941. Ever outspoken, upon accepting an award, ironically named for Klem,
from Houston sportswriters in the 1960s, Reardon offhandedly remarked that he and Klem hated one another.

Reardon was the home plate umpire when Babe Ruth went out with a bang-bang-bang. Hitting three homers in 1935 at the cavernous Forbes Field while a member of the Boston Braves.

He was notably the basis for the central figure, the home plate umpire, in Norman Rockwell's famous painting Bottom of the Sixth flanked by umpires Larry Goetz and Lou Jorda. Reardon is largely identifiable because, despite the depicted games being in the National League, the umpire in the photo is using the outside chest protector.

Reardon retired following the 1949 World Series. (A series won by the Yankees 4-1 over the Brooklyn Dodgers. The first two games were 1-0 shutouts. Game 1 was a 2-hitter by Yankee hurler Allie Reynolds while Game 2 was a 6-hitter by Dodger old-timer, Preacher Roe.)

Although by the late 1940s Reardon was the highest paid umpire, he was earning three times as much from his off-season business as an Anheuser-Busch beer distributor. He would eventually sell the distributorship to none other than Frank Sinatra for over half a million dollars in 1967.

Beans is my kind of umpire. In fact, when I put on the tools of ignorance and squatted behind the catcher to call balls and strikes, my attitude mirrored his. I'd trade barbs with players and managers and never looked to toss anyone from the ballgame. If someone was heckling throughout the entire game I wouldn't take it out on his team. The strike zone wouldn't shrink, but you can bet if the pitch was borderline it wasn't going in that person's favor.

Where nowadays you see the umpires enticing the players I don't get that from Beans Reardon.
He just was giving the players and or coaches back what they were dishing out to him and it was all in the spirit of competition. Once the game was over they probably got together for a couple of cold brews.

I tossed just one player out in my time as an umpire which was somewhere between 12-15 years. And that was only because the league had issued a statement that if the players used the f-bomb frequently you were to issue a warning and then follow that up by dismissing said player from the game. In this one particular incident I recall the opposing coach getting together with the coach of the player and it was agreed that if the player said the magic word (that rhymes with duck) again, and he'd said it a few times up to that point, I had to toss him.

I didn't like it because I knew the player to be very competitive and it wasn't much longer after that when I decided it was no longer invigorating for me to continue umpiring.

The powers that be had inserted this and that rule and claimed it was all to encourage sportsmanship when really it was introducing this new age of players who no longer got cut from the squad if they weren't good enough. All anyone had to do was tryout and they would make the team. And the word these people in positions of authority keep using was sportsmanship.
It had nothing to do with that because if some kid was cursing and throwing his bat he still played. Or there would be grown-ups advising their kids to lie-on the team's behalf- to the umpire when the game was played under the honor system because there was a shortage of umps.

So I say, Atta Boy Beans Reardon. You're my kind of ump. I'd hoist a brew with you!

Kevin Marquez

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ernest Cosmos Quigley of Quigley Field at UK

Ernest Cosmos Quigley (born March 22, 1880. Died December 10, 1960.)

Was a Canadian-American sports official who became notable as a basketball referee and as an umpire in the major leagues.

Born in Newcastle, New Brunswick and raised in Concordia, Kansas.

A student of basketball inventor James Naismith at the University of Kansas, after graduating he served as coach, teacher and athletic director at St. Mary's College, KS from 1903-1912.

Quigley officiated more than 1,500 collegiate and Amateur Athletic Union games during his 40 year career and supervised NCAA tournament officials from 1940-1942.

He refereed the basketball finals between the United States and Canada at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.

He was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1961.

Quigley was a National League umpire from 1913 - 1937, overseeing six World Serieses (1916, 1919, 1921, 1924, 1927 and 1935) most notably the 1919 Black Sox series.

On June 1, 1923 he was the home plate umpire for the game in which the New York Giants, visiting the Philadelphia Phillies, became the first 20th century team to score in every inning of a 9-inning game, winning 22-8.

Quigley Field, the University of Kansas' first baseball stadium, was named in his honor.

He was a member of the NCAA's Rules Committee from 1946-1954.

Of his 3,351 games umpired, his 1511 games done behind home plate still ranks him as 10th most in history.

Ernie Cosmos Quigley, just another in the history of umpires in major league baseball.

Kevin Marquez

Monday, February 25, 2008

Foghorn's last stop Goosetown

George H. "Foghorn" Bradley (Born on July 1, 1855 in Milford, MA.
Died: March 31, 1900. Buried in Huntingdon, PA, a place originally referred to as Goosetown.)

Was a pitcher and umpire in major league baseball. In 1876, for the Boston Red Caps (also known as Red Stockings. This Boston team was one of the two charter members and still remains, only now they are the Atlanta Braves after leaving Boston for Milwaukee before landing in Georgia. To alleviate the confusion the Red Caps became the Beaneaters as the other charter member Cincinnati Red Stockings kept their name in tact). His won/loss record was 9-10 as he participated in 22 games, starting 21 of them. Of the 21 games he started, he completed 16, one being a shutout.

Foghorn didn't play in 1877. (No explanation for the colorful nickname was given by Wikipedia.)

Became a full time umpire in 1879 and officiated games in the National League until 1883.

Although his career as an umpire was short, he was involved in a couple of historic games.

On June 12, 1880, he was the umpire when John Lee Richmond pitched the first perfect game, which was the second no-hitter, in major league history. (Back in these times there was only one umpire, so it's naturally assumed he umpired from behind home plate.)

Later in that season on August 20, 1880, he was the umpire for another no-hitter, this time by future Hall of Famer Pud Galvin, this would be the fifth no-hitter in major league history.

Kevin Marquez

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Honest John

John Gaffney (Born: June 29, 1855. Died: 8-8-1913)

Baseball's first great umpire who played a pioneering role in the use of multiple umpires in baseball games.

Born in Roxbury, MA, Gaffney's family moved to Worcester when he was 11 years of age. His promising baseball career ended when he injured his arm throwing a snowball in 1880, reportedly just before being promoted to the National League.

Gaffney started umpiring college games involving nearby Ivy League teams in 1883.

Joined the National League staff in August of 1884. He quickly gained wide respect as a top officiator, and as the league's best judge of balls and strikes. In the middle of his third season, his knowledge of the game was so highly regarded that he was offered the managing position of the Washington Nationals and he took over the team on August 21, 1886. He would finish that season and manage the 1887 season, compiling a record of 61-wins and 101-losses.

Into the 1880s, baseball had always been played with the use of a single umpire, but by late in the decade it was becoming apparent that this was an unsatisfactory arrangement for the most important games. The 1886 World's Championship Series had witnessed a two-game experiment in which each team selected an umpire- both positioned behind the catcher- with a third official, called a referee, positioned behind the pitcher and able to move about the bases. However, the referee was only permitted to make calls when the 2 umps (behind the catcher)either disagreed or requested his decision. This system was deemed a failure by all observers.

The following year Gaffney and John"Kick"Kelly were selected to umpire the 1887 Series. The two worked out a system whereby one umpire would work behind the plate to call balls and strikes while the other was positioned in the field to make calls on the bases.
This format was a decided success and although it was not until almost 1910 that 2 umpires per game became the standard, it formed the basis for the multiple umpire system which followed.

Connie Mack, who was a rookie catcher for Gaffney's 1887 Nationals' team and later caught for 5 years in which Gaffney umpired, described him as the perfect umpire. ("He was perfect. He would follow a ball all the way from the pitcher, and when he made his decision, he would say, 'That was one-eighth of an inch outside'- or 'That was one-eighth of an inch too low,'and he was right. There has never been another umpire like him."-Connie Mack, the Sporting News, April 8, 1943.)

Gaffney moved to the Players League for its sole season in 1890 before returning to the National League in September of 1891.

The stress of 19th century umpiring, when players and fans demonstrated tremendous abusiveness and hostility toward the lone umpires, began to take its toll, however, and Gaffney was released by the National League after the 1893 season due to his increasing drinking.

After beginning 1894 in the Eastern League, he returned to the National League mid-season, but his alcohol abuse continued and he was again let go.

He umpired in the Eastern League again from 1895-97 before coming back to the National League and lasted from 1899 thru the 1900 season.

He would umpire college games near Worcester after 1900 and later moved to New York city, where he worked as a night watchman.
John Gaffney died at age 58.

"I have studied the rules thoroughly. I keep my eyes wide open, and I follow the ball with all possible dispatch. With the players I try to keep as even tempered as I can, always speaking to them gentlemanly yet firmly. I dislike to fine, and in all my experience have not inflicted more than $300 in fines, and I never found it necessary to order a player from the field. Pleasant words to players in passion will work far better than fines." Honest John Gaffney as quoted in the Sporting News, April 25, 1891.

How many of today's umpires take this approach? I am speaking of today's punk (a.k.a. attitude in need of adjustment) whose ground work was laid down by men like John Gaffney. I think before anyone makes the decision to become an umpire they should dedicate their profession based on this quote by Honest John. Rather than going into the profession with a huge chip on their shoulder because they won't be paid nearly the amount as some backup on a poor team will.

The league today MOST DEFINITELY needs umpires like Honest John Gaffney because it is men like he who make you want to be an umpire.

Kevin Marquez

Friday, February 22, 2008

This guy just may have been the First BUM ump

Clarence Bernard "Brick" Owens (Born: March 31, 1885. Died:11/11/1949)

An American League umpire who worked in the National League in 1908 and again in 1912-1913. In the AL he worked from 1916 thru 1937 inclusive. He did the World Series in: 1918, 1922, 1925,1928 and 1934. In 1928 and 1934 he served as the crew chief, which usually goes to the most experienced ump in the crew. Being chief gave him a supervisory role over the other members of that crew.

You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension. A dimension of sound. A dimension of sight. A dimension of mind. You are moving into a land of both shadow and substance. Of things and ideas. And as Rod Sterling said before each episode...You will now be crossing over into the twilight zone...

Born in Milwaukee, WI, Owens hoped to pursue a baseball career, but accidentally shot himself in the left hand while celebrating a 4th of July in 1901. His family moved to Chicago, IL the following year (1902). With his baseball playing days behind him he took up umpiring. He would umpire for fifty cents a game. He soon raised his fee to $1 per game. (So you can see early he was doing it for the dead presidents.)

Upon being noticed by minor league executive, Al Tearney, he became an umpire for the major local contests at $5 per game.

By the age of 17 he was offered a position on the Northern League staff at a monthly salary of $75, but minor league games proved more contentious than sandlot events, and he accumulated so many scars from his various altercations that when it came time for him to be hired by National League president, Harry Pulliam, Pulliam asked if Owens had been involved in a train wreck.

In one instance, he called 3 straight strikes on a batter for Crookston (a city in Polk county of Minnesota) to end a game when the team was mounting a comeback vs. Winnepeg; the batter dropped his bat and got into a fight with Owens, whereupon a fan leaped onto the field, picked up the loose lumber and thumped Owens on the noggin. After local authorities began the process of bringing charges, the batter's father offered Owens $750 to drop the matter, and he agreed seeing as how the amount was double his annual salary.

On another occasion, Owens was attacked at his hotel by a player who Owens ejected in that day's game, after which the team had refused to replace him therefore forfeiting the game to the local Fargo team; the player was arrested and suspended.

By mid-1903 Owens moved to the Western League, joining the Missouri Valley League, when the Western League reorganized in 1904. He acquired the nickname of Brick after a game in Pittsburg, Kansas in which an unpopular call instigated fans to begin throwing bricks from the stands, with one brick connecting Owens' melon; when he returned days later with no serious injury, a player named Charley Lyons gave him the nickname of Brick. Owens found this more acceptable than some of the other things he'd been called.

He moved to the American Association in 1905-06, then the Eastern League in 1907 before returning to the American Association from 1908-1912.

After a game in 1906, local Minneapolis officials tried to get an injunction to overturn a call he made to end the contest, which brought on the ejections of seven (7) Minneapolis Millers players. The next day, Owens was the target of fans throwing eggs and cabbages from the stands, and a mob followed him to the hotel where he was staying, which they threatened to attack if he was not turned over; police had to evacuate him over the rooftops and to the railway station.

In 1908, a game in Milwaukee, he fought off fifty fans after a game-ending decision before being rescued by police. Another Milwaukee incident saw a rescuing policeman get his finger bitten off.

After briefly working in the National League in 1908, he had an offer from Harry Pulliam to join the NL staff in 1909, but the offer fell through due to Pulliam's subsequent illness. After Pittsburgh Pirates owner- the recently elected into Cooperstown good ole boy- Barney Dreyfuss took exception to one of Owens' decisions, Dreyfuss had the umpire followed by a private detective and accused Owens of visiting gambling houses. The league released Owens to satisfy the Pirates' good ole boy owner, and Owens worked in the International League during 1913 before returning to the American Association for the 1914 and 1915 seasons.

American League president Ban Johnson hired Brick for the 1916, a year following the passing of umpire Jack Sheridan.

Owens is perhaps best known for a game he was the home plate umpire. On June 23, 1917, Babe Ruth was the starting pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. Ruth walked the first batter for the Washington Senators and was promptly ejected by the Brick because the Babe was disputing Brick's calls. (One batter was enough for Brick to eject the Babe? The Brick truly was a BUM!) Ruth was so incensed by the quick hook from the game that he punched Brick.
Ernie Shore replaced Ruth as the Red Sox hurler and not only picked off the baserunner at first base but went on to retire all 26 Senator batters he faced without permitting any of them to reach first base. Long regarded as a perfect game the game is now officially regarded as a combined no-hitter by Ruth and Shore.

As if that wasn't enough, OWENS was also home plate umpire on June 15, 1925 when the Philadelphia A's scored 13 runs in the bottom of the 8th inning, coming back from a 15-4 deficit to defeat the Cleveland Indians 17-15. Thus tying the major league record for the greatest deficit overcome to win a game.

Now if that isn't the material right out of a Twilight Zone episode, what is? Never hurts to have a baseball story includes Babe Ruth, that's for sure.

(thanks to the Twilight Zone and Wikipedia)

Kevin Marquez

Thursday, February 21, 2008

History of Umpires

In the earliest days of baseball many senior umpires always worked home plate. (Hall of Fame umpire, Bill Klem, who umpired the most games of any major league ump with 5,368, was the last umpire to only umpire the plate. He umpired from the years 1905 thru 1941 inclusive.)

Can you imagine the frequency in badly called games where balls and strikes were concerned?
How many jobs like you to take a break or do something different for fear of complacency or lack of focus? It's good the big leagues has instituted the rotation system (home plate to third base to second base to first base). So every ump gets a chance to do all of the bases AND home plate.

In Wikipedia is a listing of all those who umpired major league baseball.

Francis H. "Silk" O'Loughlin (born 1870 and died at age 48 on December 20, 1918)

He acquired his nickname as a young lad when his neighbors considered his hair to be of a fine quality. (Not to be confused with former NBA baller, "Slick" Watts, of head-shaven notoriety.)

O'Loughlin was known particularly for his booming calls of "ball tuh" and his drawn out strike calls. His foul ball calls were quite snappy, as well. Ole Silk used gestures to indicate the calls visually and many observers recommended that the major leagues adopt them. But the rules committee ultimately opted against such adoption.

Previously the umpires had simply informed the catcher or nearest defensive player of their call. So you can see that Silk O'Loughlin's manner of executing the call was eventually picked up as the prototype for all umpires.

Atta boy Silky. You weren't a bum!

Kevin Marquez

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Umpire

Before I blast the bum(s), let me go into the history of baseball's bee-yotch!

Red Smith is acredited with a quote, 'Ninety feet between home plate and first base may be the closest man has ever come to perfection.' This hints at the dimensions of this great game of baseball. But it doesn't say anything about those whose job it is on the baseball diamond to see that fair play is executed at all times.

The origin of the word umpire came from the Old French, nonper (from non+per, "equal), meaning "one who is requested to act as arbiter of dispute between two people," or that the arbiter is not paired with anyone in the dispute.

In Middle English, the earliest form of this shows up as noumper around the year 1350 and the earliest version without the n shows up as ownpere, a variant spelling in Middle English, circa 1440.

The n was lost after it was written (in 1426-1427) as a noounpier with the a being the indefinite article. The leading n became attached to the article, changing it to an Oumper around 1475; this sort of linguistic shift is called a juncture loss. Thus today we say "an umpire" versus "a numpire."

(This little tidbit was discovered on Wikipedia.)

I want to research the umpire's evolution into the game of baseball to further understand their importance in the game today, especially since the men in blue come off mostly as attitudes-in-need-of-adjustment.

Somewhere between first installing umpires and today's brand of baseball much has been lost as to their purpose on the field. In doing this research I am constantly seeing examples of why rules were put into place and how the umpire is there to see to it that they are properly instituted. But today's arbiter seems to play favorites or agitate the players by possessing a bad attitude that it takes away from the game.

Example: in 1895 the Infield fly rule was designed to promote fair play. What sort of thing was happening beforehand and what kinds of things happened after.

I'm not sure I can discover all the changes and why they were implemented but I'll sure try.
It's really so I can better understand the nonsense I see from all officials in all sports. How if you say the slightest thing against them you get fined but they don't have the same punishment, even if they instigated the actions of the players and or coaches.

This will be an on-going thing for me during the 2008 major league baseball season.

If anyone has memories of any happenings involving the umpire please do not hesitate to share your experience with us at the ChaChaBowl.


Kevin Marquez

Monday, February 4, 2008

Does Baseball Need it's Good Ole Boys?

Baseball has a way of shuffling players out the door and escorting players in the door who have a way of producing similar numbers while having the same or similar effects on the powers that be in the game of baseball.

David Arthur Kingman played for the Oakland Athletics in 1984, 1985 and 1986.

Jose (Capas) Canseco started his major league career for the Oakland Athletics in 1985.

Kingman: AB-6677 R-901 H-1575 @B-240 3B-25 HR-442 RBI-1210 AVG.-.236 BB-608
K's: 1816 SB-85

Canseco: AB-7057 R-1186 H-1877 2B-340 3B-14 HR-462 RBI- 1407 AVG. .266 BB-906
K's: 1942 SB- 200

Both of these players was known for hitting home runs while striking out often. Both were kind of showed the door prematurely in their careers, because they didn't really belong to the good ole boy fraternity.

Compare the lifetime statistics of David Arthur King-Kong-man and Jose Canseco. Jose has better numbers but then again he was the first ballplayer to hit 40-homers and steal 40-bases during the same season (1988).

Kong led the league in home runs in 1979 (48) and 1982 (37). He also had a league leading slugging percentage in 1979 of .613.

The tie between these two players comes in 1986, Kingman's last season in major league baseball and Jose's breakthrough season. During that year these were Kingman's numbers:
G-144 AB-561 R-70 H-118 2B-19 HR-35 RBI-94 and Batting Avg.- .210.

Jose Canseco's power numbers during this breakout season were 33-HR 117-RBI .240-BA.

Jose and Kong were both accused of missing games when they weren't determined to be injured by those within the media. But what the public may not know is that in Jose's case it was done knowingly by the Oakland Athletics organization so he would not reach the productivity numbers that would pay him bonus money. I had heard such things happened so it is very possible the same thing happened to Kingman.

If you look at Kingman's final season in the majors you have to wonder why nobody was interested in his ability to hit the long ball. After the 1986 season it's likely the same organization that chose to list Jose Canseco as injured (later in his career) so it wouldn't have to pay him incentive-achieved-dollars decided to pay Jose the lesser amount rather than bring back Kong who was probably, at that point in their careers, the more expensive player.

It's all a part of the good ole boy network that runs major league baseball.

Chris Ballard contributed an article to Sports Illustrated in the Point After column, entitled, "A Changeup for Bud's Boys."

(The article begins) Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has this crazy idea: he wants to buy the Chicago Cubs along with Wrigley Field and a piece of a sports channel, possibly by Opening Day. Baseball's old-boy network isn't jazzed about the notion, but I am. Here's why...

Because Cuban would make Wrigley even fan-friendlier. He hinted he would consider selling sponsorship for parts of the upper deck, then give away tickets to the seats. Can free beer for the bleachers be far behind?

Because I'm serious about the free beer (ME TOO!). Really. Please make it Old Style (asks Mr. Ballard).

Because Cuban is neither Bud's boy nor a baseball establishment man no one at this table ordered More of the Same.

Because Bill O'Reilly hates Cuban, and I consider that an endorsement.

Because at American Airlines Center you can score a foot-tall Cuban doll that blurts out ref-berating catch phrases such as "C'mon Dick, that's a horse-BLEEP call!" perhaps he can do the same to the attitudes in need of adjustment, a.k.a. umpires. (My suggestion not Mr. Ballard's.)

Thank you, Chris Ballard.

Kevin Marquez