How Little-Known Bill Mueller Became a Beloved Player for the Boston Red Sox

Mueller

The impact of becoming a beloved player for the Boston Red Sox can’t be personified any better than Bill Mueller.

Mueller, a switch-hitting third baseman, is a native of Missouri. He attended Southwest Missouri State and graduated as perhaps their best player of all time, leaving as the school leader in hits, runs and stolen bases among a number of categories. He played both third and shortstop during his tenure and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2004. Continue reading

Dennis Bennett: The Quintessential Left-handed Pitcher

Bennett

Over time, left-handed pitchers have acquired the stereotype of being an eccentric bunch. From quirky exploits on the field to adventures off the field, southpaws are a breed unto themselves. One of the best was Dennis Bennett, who sadly passed away last year.

Bennett signed with the Philadelphia Phillies out of Shasta Junior College (California) in 1958. He pitched well in the minors, but saw his 1961 season cut short because of an ill-conceived somersault race. Fortunately, he was able to recover and made his MLB debut with the Phillies the following year, winning nine games for the seventh place team.

A tragic car accident in the winter of 1963 in Puerto Rico nearly ended Bennett’s career and his life. Remarkably, he recovered in time to assume his place in the Phillies’ rotation by late June of that year, and finished 9-5 with a 2.64 ERA. Continue reading

How Stan Musial Gave Dickey Kerr of the Chicago Black Sox His White Picket Fence

The Chicago “Black Sox” (White Sox) are the most infamous team in the annals of baseball. In 1919, led by the likes of Shoeless Joe Jackson and Eddie Cicotte, the team roared into the World Series and shocked the country by losing to the underdog Cincinnati Reds. It subsequently came out that eight players on the team had conspired with gamblers to lose on purpose, thus changing the color of their eponymous socks forever. One of the honest players, pitcher Dickey Kerr, never found the ultimate success he was deserving of as a player, but he did go on to play a major role in the life and career of Stan Musial, which was rewarded in a unique way in 1958, as Stan the Man was collecting his 3,000th career hit. Continue reading

Retired But Not Forgotten

I remember when I was a young boy being glued to the TV when he came to bat.  I remember begging my parents to buy tickets to the game just so I could see him hit in person.  His homeruns were a thing of beauty!  I wanted to see him hit as much as Ralphie wanted that official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle. Continue reading

Lou Gehrig Talks Baseball

Baseball icon Lou Gehrig became truly legendary because of his production, durability, and finally his untimely death at the age of 37 in 1941. His name still resonates with fans today, and despite playing many years with Babe Ruth, he was able to stay out of his shadow and create his own enduring legacy.

Much of what we know today about Gehrig comes from his statistics and anecdotal references from many baseball books and stories. Fortunately every now and then good first-person transcripts emerge on the internet like a long-lost treasure. I recently came across a radio interview given by Gehrig on August 22, 1939 in Rochester, Minnesota, where he was undergoing treatment for his ALS at the Mayo Clinic. The interview was conducted by correspondent Dwight Merriam, who got the “Iron Horse” on the record on a number of interesting issues.

The entire interview was posted online- http://moregehrig.tripod.com/id16.html with the permission of KROC-AM Radio. It’s a great opportunity to get some insight on one of the most memorable and tragic players in baseball history. I have pulled out some of Gehrig’s answers that I found most interesting, and included a few of my own thoughts (in italics). Continue reading

Former Brooklyn Dodgers Pitcher Glenn Mickens Recalls a Wonderful Career

For every star player with a lengthy major league baseball career, there are dozens who only have a “cup of coffee.” The experiences of those short-time players run the gamut of having a moment or two of glory to playing for hapless second division teams. Glenn Mickens was one of those “cup of coffee” players, but has incredibly rich memories of his brief time in the majors.

Mickens, a right-handed pitcher, was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1950. He made quick work of the low minors, earning a call-up to Brooklyn in July, 1953. He appeared in a total of 4 games for the eventual National League champs, who ran away with the pennant with 105 wins. During his time with Brooklyn Mickens made 2 starts and 2 relief appearances. In 6.1 innings, he had a 0-1 record and 11.37 ERA. Unfortunately, after he was sent back down, he never made it back to majors. Continue reading

Honus Wagner Once Had to Really Prove Himself

For most fans of baseball history, Honus Wagner represents one of the most respected and mythic figures the game has ever known. The “Flying Dutchman” spent all but three seasons of his 21 year major league career playing shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates before being an inaugural inductee to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936. Because of his accomplishments and notoriety it’s hard to believe that he was once ordered by a court to provide evidence of the existence of his baseball career. Continue reading