Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Kansas City Here We Come

(Thanks to an article by John Shea) I just have to borrow from Mr. Shea because there were tasty morsels of information that melded nicely with how the 2012 Giants responded as they picked up where Willie Mays and Bobby Bonds left off.

Willie Mays played in the 1960 All-Star game in Kansas City and had 3 hits, including a game-opening triple that ignited a 5-3 National League win.  Unfortunately for Willie, no Most Valuable Player was given until 1962. 

In 1973, Bobby Bonds, who was not voted in (Cub outfielder, Billy Williams was) came into the game during the 4th inning. Facing Angel righty Bill Singer (a former Dodger) Bonds crushed Singer's pitch over the wall for a two-run homer. In his next at-bat, he stretched a routine single to center into a stand-up double.

"He's got to be the best ballplayer in the National League," Reggie Jackson said.  Sal Bando further complimented Bonds, "the most dynamic hitter I've seen. He scares me when he's up there at the plate. He's such a free swinger, and the way he runs, well, I guess there's no real way to tie him down."

NL All-Star coach Gene Mauch said, "Bonds may be the best player in baseball today," and NL manager Sparky Anderson called him "the best player in America."   (Note: 1973 was the year Bonds would have been the first 40-HR, 40-stolen base player in the history of major league baseball if not for the unfortunate fact that one of his homers was "rained out.")

A year later, Bonds was traded to the New York Yankees for Bobby Murcer. (Back to Bonds later.)

Last night, July 10, 2012, Melky Cabrera got two hits, one of them the only home run of the game and was voted the MVP of the game.  Pablo Sandoval got the only bases loaded triple in All-Star history. (Once again, where Atlee Hammaker gives up the first ever grand slam in All-Star history these Giants have a much more memorable historic event.)  Matt Cain goes two scoreless innings for the win and Buster Posey walked, scored a run and caught Cain.

Something about Kansas City brings the best out of the Giants and yesterday the 2012 Giants continued the trend.

About Bonds, Shea seemed to revisit just how good Barry's dad was on the ballfield.  And to further echo what Shea was saying, while it was true after he got traded on October 22, 1974 to the New York Yankees for Bobby Murcer, he was traded 7 times in 7 years.  But look who the Yankees traded him for on December 11, 1975 (Ed Figueroa and Mickey Rivers).  These two players were key factors in the Yankees' winning ways beginning in 1976.  For three consecutive seasons the Yankees would reach the World Series. (Although they lost the World Series in 4 games to the Big Red Machine in 1976, they went on to beat the Dodgers in 1977 and 1978, both 4 games to 2.) 

You know that to get someone good you have to give up someone good and Bobby Bonds was the perfect guy to deal because you only had to deal him and you most likely would get 2 players of quality in return.

(thanks to John Shea for his excellent article on Giants history in the All-Star game at Kansas City.)

Kevin J. Marquez