Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Yanks Struggling, Cole’s Streak Ends

Yanks Struggling, Cole’s Streak Ends

Bombers Reeling

The Yankees had just gotten beat up in a three-game sweep by their divisional rivals from Tampa Bay when they turned their lonely eyes to their $324 million ace, Gerrit Cole, to stop the bleeding. Unfortunately, their prized free-agent acquisition was not up to the task and had an uncharacteristically poor outing. When the dust settled, Cole had worked five full innings and surrendered five earned runs on five hits, three of which were home run shots, and the Yankees dropped a 5-1 decision to the Braves, their   fourth consecutive loss.

“I just sort of liked to have pitched better,” said Cole, whose 20-game winning streak, dating to last May, came to a close. “It seemed to be a little bit feast-or-famine in terms of good command for a period of time and some bad command in some bad spots.”

“Times when I thought that they were going to be aggressive, they were patient. And times when I thought maybe I could grab some more of the zone in some situations, I made a poor pitch and they were being aggressive. It just didn't match up and they stayed about one step ahead of me too many times.”

New York is now 1 ½ games behind the Rays in the AL East standings and is a sub .500 road team as of this writing. While their performances at Yankee Stadium have reaped stellar results, they are not a serious championship contender unless they can win on the highway. Despite a somewhat disappointing first half to this truncated season,   they are certainly not considered MLB underdogs by any stretch of the imagination as their roster is loaded with talent and many believe it’s only a matter of time before this 2020 Yankees edition puts it all together. 

Happ Not Happy

J.A. Happ has 17 million reasons to be unhappy about the way he has been used by manager Aaron Boone this season. You see, the 37-year-old hurler has a $17 million vesting option for next season if he makes either 27 starts or pitches 165 innings, which is prorated to 10 starts or 61 ¹/₃ innings in this abbreviated season. MLB rules prohibit purposefully manipulating a player’s usage to keep said player from his vesting option.

Happ is coming off of his best outing of the season when he held the Red Sox to one run over five-plus innings in a   4-2 Yankees victory on August 16th. But he has yet to get a start over the last 10 days and believes there might be a conspiracy afloat.

“I know I’m healthy and have been healthy and ready to pitch since what would have been [the beginning of] the regular season and since summer camp and the start of the abbreviated season,’’ Happ said. “I’ve been ready to go in all those cases with no issues.”

While ace Gerrit Cole, leads the team in starts with seven on the young season, Happ has only three starts on his 2020 resume and he’s not shy about showing his dismay. When asked about the brewing controversy, Happ stated, “You guys [in the media] are pretty smart. It doesn’t take too much to figure out, sort of, what could be going on.”

But Boone rebutted that contention when he explained, “After a four-day break, we reshuffled to prioritize getting Gerrit going and [Tanaka] after him, then the off day and then [Montgomery] and J.A. There’s a chance we even pitch Gerrit and [Tanaka] on the sixth day out of this. … With only four starters right now, you’re gonna need to make up those slots.”

In fairness to Boone, Happ has not been setting the world on fire and could be pitching himself right out of the rotation. After three starts he has logged only 12.2 innings of work and has 10 walks to six strikeouts with a bloated 6.39 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP. Probably not the best time to start complaining as a member of a championship-caliber team. 

Happ was posed with the question about the situation becoming a distraction for him on and off the field, “It’s hard to quantify an answer for that. It weighs on me to some extent, but when I come in here, I try to continue to be a good teammate and prepare to be ready and be professional and that stuff. But when I’m away [from the park], it certainly can creep in and has taken a lot of thought. … At this point, I need to leave that on the back burner and let that play out how it might.”

Sunday, June 28, 2020


PLAY IN 2020

* 60-Game Season
* Spring Training Camp to be held at Yankee Stadium
* Players Report July 1
* Opening Day is July 23
* Yankees Open Season at Nationals Park
* 10 Games Each Againts Division Foes Blue Jays,
Orioles, Rays, and Red Sox
* 20 Games -vs- Braves, Phillies, Nationals,
Mets, and the Marlins
* Opening Rosters will be 30 players, which
will be reduced over time to 26.
* Many obstacles still to overcome and
questions to be answered about safety!!!

Monday, January 6, 2020

Babe Ruth’s best performances from 1920

Babe Ruth’s best performances from 1920
It’s been 100 years since Ruth’s first season as a Yankee, so let’s look back at what he did in his first go around in New York.
by: Matt Ferenchick - January 2, 2020 - 
The 2020 season will mark exactly 100 years since Babe Ruth first doned the pinstripes to play for the Yankees. It was January 6, 1920 when the sale that brought Ruth from the Red Sox was officially announced.
You probably don’t need much of a refresher on what happened next, but here goes: Ruth went on to set countless records, establishing himself as the greatest player of all time. He helped lead the Yankees to seven World Series titles. That set the tone for the franchise going forward, as they’ve won a further 20 championships and become the most famous brand in the sport.
Before all that, Ruth was still in the midst of making his transition from pitcher to full-time outfielder when the Yankees acquired him. However once he made the move, it became clear pretty quickly just how good he was.
Ruth’s 1920 season was among his best in a career that isn’t short of options for that honor. He put up his career highs in slugging percentage and OBP. His home runs and fWAR are the third highest totals for any season. It would take one more year for him to lead the Yankees to a World Series appearance, but his 1920 was truly incredible.
One hundred years on from Babe Ruth’s first season as a Yankee, let’s look back at some of his best performances from that year as he began his transformation into baseball legend.
Despite how incredibly good his 1920 was, Ruth actually really struggled in his first month with the Yankees. His .508 OPS in April 1920 was the worst he put up in any month in his Yankee career. It was likely due to injury more than anything else, and it didn’t take long for him to get past it.
Everything started to change with his performance on May 1st. In a fairly straight-forward 6-0 win over the Red Sox, Ruth recorded his eighth and ninth hits of the season. One of which was a home run, his first as a Yankee, and the other was a double. They were just his second and third extra-base hits of the season.
He went into this game hitting just .226/.250/.258. By the end of May, he had already shot those numbers up to .299/.409/.729.
The Yankees beat the White Sox 6-5, and Ruth was not solely responsible, but he was pretty close. He went 3-for-3 with a walk in the win. Two of his hits were home runs, and the other was a triple. He finished with four RBI and three runs scored. Considering that the Yankees won by just one run, if he did something just slightly less good in any of his bats, it’s entirely possible the Yankees lose that day.
Considering some of this other statlines on this list, the St. Louis Browns holding Ruth to just one hit in nine innings isn’t terrible. However, this game did not end after nine innings. St. Louis rallied in the top of the ninth, scoring a run to make the score 10-10 and eventually send it to extra innings. After a scoreless tenth, Ruth came up with two on in the bottom of the 11th. He proceeded to hit a walk-off three-run home run. It was his 29th of the season, tying the single-season record that he had just set the season before. Again, it was July 15th.
Towards the end of a season where he had crushed them up to the tune of a .318/.545/.879 triple slash line and 26 RBI in 22 games, the Tigers probably decided to be a little bit more careful with Ruth on September 12th. So, they ended up walking him. Four times. It worked in the sense that he didn’t pick up a hit in either of his non-walk PAs, but the Yankees still won 13-6.

Ruth’s season high in hits came in this game against the Senators. He recorded four hits with one RBI in the Yankees’ 2-1 win. The RBI came on a home run, while he picked up one other extra-base hit on a double. The Yankees got their win on a walk-off hit by Del Pratt. Who did it score? Babe Ruth, of course. In total, Ruth was responsible for four of the seven hits, one of the two RBI, and both of the runs scored put up by the Yankees that day. He could’ve ended up doing even more, but was caught stealing twice.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Announcing the 2019 Fielding Bible Awards

Baseball Info Solutions Announces the 2019 Fielding Bible Awards
Contact:Mark Simon
 Baseball Info Solutions
 Phone: (610) 261-2370
 E-Mail: Mark@baseballinfosolutions.com

Friday, November 01, 2019

Announcing the 2019 Fielding Bible Awards

The 14th Season That BIS Has Honored the Best Defensive Players in MLB

2019 Fielding Bible Awards 

October 31, 2019
For Immediate Release
Contact: Mark Simon  (610) 261-2370
Baseball Info Solutions (BIS) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2019 Fielding Bible Awards. This marks the 14th season that BIS has honored the best defensive players in MLB. The awards are voted on by a panel of experts. 
This year’s winners are:
Matt Olson
Kolten Wong
Nick Ahmed
Matt Chapman
David Peralta
Lorenzo Cain
Cody Bellinger
Roberto Pérez
Zack Greinke
Cody Bellinger
Matt Olson was a unanimous pick at first base. He won for the second straight year. He led all first basemen in Defensive Runs Saved. Over the last two seasons, Olson has 67 Good Fielding Plays for throw handling. No other first baseman has more than 60.
Kolten Wong was also a unanimous winner at second base, winning the award for the second straight year. He led all second basemen in Defensive Runs Saved. Wong made 38 plays in which he sprinted to field a ground ball or pop up, the most of any second baseman.
Nick Ahmed ended Andrelton Simmons’ six-year reign as a Fielding Bible Award winner at shortstop. He led all shortstops in Defensive Runs Saved after tying with Simmons in that stat a season ago.
Matt Chapman won the award for the second straight year at third base. Chapman led all third basemen in Defensive Runs Saved and had the fewest Misplays & Errors on a per-inning basis of any third baseman. Chapman has 66 Defensive Runs Saved the last three seasons, twice as many as Nolan Arenado, who ranks second with 33.
David Peralta won the award in left field for the first time. Peralta tied Michael Brantley of the Astros in voting but won via our tiebreaker (first place votes). He finished tied with Brantley and Mike Tauchman of the Yankees for the MLB lead in Defensive Runs Saved in left field.
Lorenzo Cain became the first center fielder to win the award in consecutive seasons since the award was introduced in 2006. Cain finished second among center fielders in Defensive Runs Saved. His five home run robberies tied for the most since BIS began tracking them in 2004 (Carlos Gomez had five in 2013, Josh Reddick matched Cain this season). He’s won three Fielding Bible Awards in his career, including one for Multi-Position excellence in 2014.
Cody Bellinger became the first player to win two Fielding Bible Awards in the same season. His 19 Defensive Runs Saved matched Aaron Judge for most by a right fielder. He’s the first Dodgers outfielder to win a Fielding Bible Award. Bellinger’s strong play at both center field and first base helped him win the voting for top Multi-Position player as well.
Roberto Pérez won his first Fielding Bible Award. He led all catchers with 29 Defensive Runs Saved, one shy of the most in a season by a catcher since BIS began tracking the stat in 2003. Pérez ranked second in pitch framing (Strike Zone Runs Saved), second in Catcher Block Rate (blocking potential wild pitches) and was above average in base-stealing deterrence.
Zack Greinke won his second straight Fielding Bible Award by keeping busy. His 68 chances were the most in the majors by a pitcher. He led the majors in putouts, tied for the lead in assists, and was the runaway leader in double plays converted with 12 (no one else had more than five).
“Once again, our panel has done an outstanding job utilizing all available resources to pick the best defensive players in baseball,” said Baseball Info Solutions owner John Dewan. “The performance of these players represents a combination of preparation, skill, and athleticism that is highly admirable for its excellence.”
The awards are determined by a panel of 12 baseball experts, who rank the top 10 players at each defensive position (including the multi-position players left out of Gold Glove voting) on a scale from 1 to 10. A first-place vote gets 10 points, second place gets nine points, third place gets eight points, etc. Total up the points for each player, and the player with the most points wins the award. A perfect score is 120 points.
A complete list of ballots and the history of the Fielding Bible Awards (which began in 2006) can be found online at FieldingBible.com and in the 2020 Bill James Handbook, which is available at ActaSports.com and wherever you buy your books. 
About Baseball Info Solutions
Baseball Info Solutions (also known as Sports Info Solutions) is committed to providing the most accurate, in-depth, and timely professional baseball and football data, including cutting-edge research and analysis, striving to educate professional teams and the public about sports analytics.

Monday, August 5, 2019

When Apollo 11 landed on the moon, major league baseball stood still

When Apollo 11 landed on the moon, major league baseball stood still

Players and fans observe a moment of silent prayer July 20, 1969, at Yankee Stadium after the scoreboard flashed the news that astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong had safely landed on the moon. (Harry Harris/AP)

At 4:17 p.m. Eastern time on July 20, 1969, Mike Epstein stood 90 feet from home plate and some 238,000 miles from the moon.
With the Washington Senators and New York Yankees tied at 2 in the eighth inning of their series finale at Yankee Stadium, Epstein, a Bronx native, had one thing on his mind. It wasn’t Apollo 11′s lunar descent.
“I wasn’t concerned with it,” Epstein, now 76, said from his home outside Denver last month. “I was concerned about scoring a run.”

An estimated 650 million watched Neil Armstrong take man’s first step on the moon more than six hours later, but during the lunar landing, 32,933 were in the stands at Yankee Stadium on the Sunday before the all-star break. Ken McMullen dug in against Jack Aker with Epstein on third, a man on first and no outs. Most scheduled sports programs were preempted by coverage of Apollo 11′s progress, but Washington’s WWDC Radio carried the Senators-Yankees game with short reports on the moon mission.
“The 1-1 pitch to McMullen, swung on, hit foul down the third base side,” intoned WWDC play-by-play man Rex Barney, the former Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher. “One ball, two strikes now.”
As the umpires, according to prior arrangements, waved their arms and stopped play, an urgent voice came over the radio: “Here is a bulletin from WWDC News, Apollo 11 is 100 feet from the surface of the moon. We now switch live to the manned spacecraft center.”
Similar interruptions took place on radio stations and at stadiums across major league baseball as the sport paused to direct everyone’s attention toward the moon. At Montreal’s Jarry Park, the Mets and Expos took an extended break between games of their doubleheader so the 27,356 in attendance could listen to coverage of the landing over the stadium’s public address system. In Chicago, Comiskey Park’s exploding scoreboard shot sparks when the lunar module touched down, which happened to coincide with Walt Williams’s infield single to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning. And the Yankees-Senators game was stopped for four minutes to celebrate the accomplishment.
Barney was reading out-of-town scores when WWDC returned to coverage from Yankee Stadium, where public address announcer Bob Sheppard was sharing the historic news with the crowd.
“Ladies and gentleman, your attention please,” Sheppard said. “You will be happy to know that the Apollo 11 has landed safely on the moon."
The cheers from the crowd drowned out the final two words of Sheppard’s announcement, but the message displayed on the scoreboard in right-center field was loud and clear: “THEYRE ON THE MOON.”
“I’m sure you heard it in the background,” Barney said. “The announcement and the game being paused, Apollo 11 has landed safely on the moon. That’s what the cheering and applause was for. They’re on the moon right now. And it’s a standing ovation, very inspiring, and I’ll tell you one thing, sitting here and broadcasting this game, and watching the players, I think there’s only one thing going through everyone’s mind. . . . As I sit here and I have been all weekend long, really, and I think my thoughts along with everyone else has just been of those people that are on the moon. They’re there, right now."
The cheering at Yankee Stadium continued for about 45 seconds, according to the New York Times, as thousands of children waved the Hillerich & Bradsby Co. Louisville Sluggers they received on bat day.
“On the field, the players seemed confused, or impatient,” Leonard Koppett wrote in the Times. “Most did not turn toward the scoreboard. Finally, the announcer could be understood, and he asked the crowd for a moment of silent prayer for the safe return of the astronauts.”
After a few seconds of silence, a recording of “America the Beautiful” played over the Yankee Stadium loudspeaker. The crowd sang and then cheered some more.
“I guess it’s tough, I know it is for everyone — ballplayers and fans alike — to keep their mind on what’s going on,” Barney said.
“To be honest, it wasn’t a big deal for me,” Epstein said in a phone interview. “ . . . I remember I did look up toward right field and I said, ‘Wow, that’s really neat.' Outside of that, I was a baseball player, and my intent was to score that run from third base.”
Aker, then a 29-year-old reliever for the Yankees, was more focused on the goings-on on Earth, too.
“It was something strange,” Aker, 79, recalled in a phone interview. “We’d never done something like that before. I just walked off the mound and stood around. I didn’t go to the dugout or anything. I stayed on the field. I wasn’t that interested in it. When you’re pitching and you’re concentrating on that inning, you don’t want anything that cuts into your concentration.”
If the ballplayers weren’t concerned, the reaction to the historic moment was far different in the stands.
Like many kids fascinated by the Space Age, 13-year-old Mark Polansky had followed Apollo 11′s mission with great interest since it launched from Kennedy Space Center four days earlier. Polansky, who grew up in New Jersey, spent parts of most summers living in Manhattan and going to Yankees and Mets games with his grandmother and two aunts, all of them rabid sports fans.
“I don’t remember a darn thing about the game,” Polansky said in a phone interview. “I would’ve had to have looked to see who the Yankees played that day, let alone who was on the team, but I do remember where we sat. We sat on the mezzanine, behind home plate, somewhere in that area.”
Polansky also remembers Sheppard’s distinctive voice interrupting play in the eighth, and the crowd singing “America the Beautiful.” It was an inspiring moment for a man who, 32 years later in February 2001, piloted space shuttle Atlantis for mission STS-98.
“I couldn’t tell you if there were 5,000 or 50,000 people there, but whoever was there, they went wild,” Polansky said. “It was the proverbial everyone being united for a moment and sharing a common thing. And then the game went back to being played.”
After the roughly four-minute stoppage, McMullen hit a grounder to third baseman Bobby Cox, who threw home to nail Epstein for the first out. Aker hit Hank Allen with a pitch to load the bases before getting Ed Brinkman to ground into an inning-ending double play. The Yankees walked off the Senators an hour later on Gene Michael’s RBI single to score Roy White in the 11th inning. Aker, who pitched four scoreless innings in relief, earned the win in the Yankees’ 3-2 victory.
Epstein has fond memories of childhood trips to Yankee Stadium with his uncle Irving, of being mesmerized by the green grass amid a concrete jungle. He hit his first major league home run there June 5, 1967, in his first game with Washington after being traded from the Orioles. That, he said, was a bigger moment in his career than standing on third base when Apollo 11 landed on the moon.
“It was in the newspapers every day, but it wasn’t something to me that was going to impact my life,” said Epstein, who hit a career-high 30 home runs for the Senators in 1969 and played five more seasons in the big leagues with the A’s, Rangers and Angels. After receiving a letter of endorsement from his former manager in Washington — Hall of Famer Ted Williams — while working as a roving instructor in the Milwaukee Brewers’ minor league system, Epstein founded a hitting school that his son, Jake, still operates.
“The more time that went by, the bigger deal it became for the players,” Aker said. “We probably talked more about it a week later than we did on the day it happened. It’s something that I certainly remember now, especially when I see replays of TV and books and such."
Polansky went back to his grandmother’s house after the game.
“Like everybody else in the entire world, we watched them actually come down the ladder and step on the moon that night,” he said. “I do remember after we walked on the moon saying, ‘Gosh, I really want to do this and I want to be the first guy that lands on Mars,’ because I loved exploration, and this just cemented the deal."
Aker watched Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the moon that night, too, but his memories of another historic moment during his playing career are much more vivid. On April 8, 1974, Aker was standing in the home bullpen at Atlanta’s Fulton-County Stadium when Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s career home run record.
“Before that game, we had decided instead of fighting over the ball, we would each spread out and take a portion of the bullpen,” Aker recalled. “We spread out before he hit, but when the ball was on the way to the bullpen, Tommy House broke our little rule. He left his area and came over to where the ball was coming down, and he grabbed the ball.”
Polansky was finishing his senior year of high school when Aaron hit his 715th career home run. That fall, he enrolled at Purdue University and met Gene Cernan, who, two years earlier, became the last person to set foot on the moon. Polansky said his encounter with Cernan — as part of a small, informal gathering — convinced him that he wanted to become an astronaut.
After his maiden space flight aboard Atlantis, Polansky made two more trips out of Earth’s atmosphere as commander of STS-116 Discovery in December 2006 and of STS-127 Endeavour in July 2009.
“My running joke is this month we’re celebrating the 10th anniversary of my last flight,” he said.
The Yankees will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing Saturday. Polansky, who lives in Houston, said the team invited him to participate in a pregame ceremony, but he will be on a previously planned European vacation with his wife and children.
Fellow former astronaut Mike Massimino will throw the ceremonial first pitch to Aker, who didn’t fully appreciate the magnitude of the event when he stood on the mound exactly 50 years ago.
“It wasn’t until the next day when the papers came out that I realized, ‘Holy cow, this is a real moment in history,’ ” Aker said. “I didn’t enjoy it the way I should have.”

The YouTube Video clip from Yankee Stadium can be found here:

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Thurman's Army Show Up in Force at Old Timer's Day

Thurman's Army Show Up in Force at Old Timer's Day

Larry Schnapf
United States
JUN 26, 2019 — 
The Munson HOF Committee attended Old Timer's Day to mobilize support for the Munson HOF Campaign. Attendees received free Munson HOF T-shirts. Yankee Broadcaster Michael Kay encouraged those watching the game on TV to sign the petition.
The Munson HOF Committee is planning two more outings at Yankee Stadium on August 2nd and August 3rd. If you are interested in showing your support for Thurman, please let us know if you want to attend. we have reserved a block of seats for both games. tickets are $145. 
There will also be a Thurman Munson memorial rally between games on August 3rd at Macombs Dam Park. Look for further details here and at the Facebook Thurman Munson fan club page.

Friday, July 5, 2019

On 10th Anniversary IBWAA Names LA Times' Chris Erskine Honorary Chair

Los Angeles – In celebration of its 10th anniversary Thursday, the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) is proud to announce the naming of Chris Erskine, columnist for the Los Angeles Times, as Honorary Chair of the organization.

Erskine has been writing about sports since 1978 and a baseball fan since long before that. A native of Chicago, he currently splits his time between the Chicago Cubs and the Dodgers of Los Angeles, where he currently resides. As Times columnist, he writes on Southern California, sports, travel and entertainment. He is the author of Daditude: The Joys & Absurdities of Modern Fatherhood.

Erskine, who succeeds Stacey Gotsulias, baseball writer for Baseball Prospectuas, as the organization’s sixth honorary chair, will announce the results of each IBWAA election via social media and generally champion the group’s efforts during a one-year term. His successor will be named on July 4, 2020. Previous honorary chairs include The Athletic's Jim Caple; ESPN.com’s David Schoenfield; Dayn Perry, of CBSSports.com and Tom Hoffarth, of the Los Angeles Times.

The IBWAA was established July 4, 2009 to organize and promote the growing online baseball media, and to serve as a digital alternative to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA). Voting for full season awards takes place in September of each year, with selections being announced in November. The IBWAA also holds a Hall of Fame election in December of each year, with results being announced the following January.

Among others, IBWAA members include Jim Bowden, Caple, Pedro Moura, Ken Rosenthal and Eno Sarris, The Athletic; Tim Brown, Yahoo! Sports; Bill Chuck, Billy-Ball.com; Chris De Luca, Chicago Sun-Times; Jon Heyman, FRSSports.com; Tyler Kepner, New York Times; Danny Knobler, Bleacher Report; Kevin Kennedy; Kostya Kennedy, Sports Illustrated; Brian Kenny, MLBN; Will Leitch, New York Magazine; Bruce Markusen, Hardball Times; Ross Newhan; Dayn Perry and Matt Snyder, CBSSports.com; J.P. Hoornstra Los Angeles Daily News; Tom Hoffarth, Los Angeles Times; Tracy Ringolsby, MLB.com; David Schoenfield, ESPN.com; and Bill Arnold.

Association membership is open to any and all Internet baseball writers, with a $75 lifetime fee. Discounts for groups and scholarships are available.For more information please visit www.ibwaa.com.

Howard Cole
Founding Director, IBWAA

Sunday, May 26, 2019


HOW THEY GOT THAT WAY  (Part II)          

Reactions to Part I were so effusive, that Part II is here for your enjoyment. Reactions always welcomed. 
THE WALKING MAN    Eddie Yost played nearly two decades in the major leagues. His lifetime batting average was only .254, but that didn't keep him off the bases. Yost coaxed pitchers into yielding I,614 walks to him—almost a walk a game through his long career.
WEE WILLIE   He was born March 3, 1872, in Brooklyn, New York. He died on January 1, 1923, in Brooklyn, New York. William Henry Keeler made his debut at the Polo Grounds as a member of the New York Giants on September 30, 1892. He singled off the Phillies' Tim Keefe for the first of his 2,926 career hits.  The son of a Brooklyn trolley switchman, Keeler Two years later became a member of the famed Baltimore Orioles.                                                                          
     A lefty all the way, he weighed only 140 pounds and was a shade over 5'4". His tiny physical stature earned him his nickname, but pound for pound he was one of the greatest hitters baseball ever produced. Keeler played for 19 years and recorded a lifetime batting average of .345, fifth on the all-time list. He collected 2,962 hits in 2,124 games, spraying the ball to all fields. Wee Willie's greatest year was 1897, a season in which he batted .432, recorded 243 hits and 64 stolen bases, and scored 145 runs. He swung a bat that weighed only 30  ounces, but as he said, he "hit 'em where they aint’. 
     In 1897, Keeler batted an incredible .432. A reporter asked the diminutive batter, "Mr. Keeler, how can a man your size hit .432?"
   The reply to that question has become a rallying cry for all kinds of baseball players in all kinds of leagues: "Simple," Keeler smiled. "I keep my eyes clear and I hit 'em where they ain't."
    The Sporting News offered this mangled prose about Keeler as a fielder. "He swears by the teeth of his mask-carved horse chestnut, that he always carries with him as a talisman that he inevitably dreams of it in the night before when he is going to boot one - muff an easy fly ball, that is to say, in the meadow on the morrow. 'All of us fellows in the outworks have got just so many of them in a season to drop and there's no use trying to buck against fate'."
   William Henry Keeler played 19 years in the major leagues and finished his career with a .345 lifetime batting average. Quite justifiably the little man was one of the first to be enshrined in the National Baseball Hal of Fame in 1939.                                                  
THE WHIP A 6'6" right-hander, Ewell Blackwell had a sidearm motion and a crackling fastball that terrorized National League batters in the 1940's and 1950's. The former Cincinnati star's right arm seemed to "whip" the ball in at the batter, and that's how his nickname came to be. Winner of sixteen straight games in 1947, he struck out almost a batter an inning during his ten year career.                                                                     
WHIZ KIDS   There is no clear explanation as to how the 1950 Philadelphia Phillies baseball team earned its nickname. Some ascribe the name's derivation to the club's youth and newness: only one regular on that team that won the National League pennant was over 30 years of age. Some claim the nickname was a spinoff from the phrase "gee whiz," since the Phillies of that year seemingly came from nowhere to challenge and defeat the great Brooklyn Dodgers for the pennant. It was a team that because of its youth, its underdog role, and its past history of failure, attracted national attention and fused its personality to its nickname.
WILD HORSE OF THE OSAGE  Johnny Leonard Roosevelt Martin, better known as Pepper Martin, starred for 13 seasons with the National League's St. Louis Cardinals. He could hit, he could run, he could field, he could throw, he could win—and he did all of these things with wild abandon, with an elan and a verve that earned him his nickname. If he couldn't stop a hard smash down to his third-base position with his glove, he would stop the ball with his chest. If he could  not get into a base feet-first, he would leap into the air and belly-flop his way there. Martin took the extra base, risked the daring chance, played with fire and fury. Three times in the mid-1930's he led the league in stolen bases, and throughout that decade he functioned as the horse that led the Cardinal "Gashouse Gang" (see GASHOUSE GANG).
 WIZARD OF OZ   An abbreviation of his first name and tip of the cap to Ozzie Smith for his peerless fielding skills. No other shortstop could get to the ball as fast as, and utilize the fielders around him like Ozzie.
WORLD SERIES  In 1903 the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League won their third consecutive pennant. Owner Barney Dreyfuss was instrumental in arranging for a set of postseason games with the American League champion Boston Somersets (later Red Sox). The teams played a nine-game series, with Boston winning five of the games (one of their pitchers was Cy Young) and the World Championship. There was a one-year interruption in the competition, because the 1904 National League pennant-winner was the New York Giants, whose owner, John T. Bush, refused to allow his team to oppose an American League entry. Part of the reason behind Bush's refusal was the existence of a rival American League team in New York City. By 1905 Bush had changed his mind and even helped shape the new format for the World Series—a best-of-seven competition—and behind Christy Mathewson, who pitched three shutouts, the Giants defeated the Philadelphia Athletics in five games. Dubbed the Fall Classic, the World Series year in and year out has become an integral, appealing part of the American sports scene.
YA GOTTA BELIEVE In 1973 the New York Mets bolted from last place on August 30 to win the National League Eastern Division title on the final day of the season. Pitcher Tug McGraw had coined a slogan, "Ya  gotta believe," which acted as the team's battle cry and motivation. Lacking a .300 hitter, a 20-game winner, a 100-RBI man, the "believing" Mets swept by Cincinnati in the play-offs and battled Oakland to the seventh game of the World Series before finally losing (see AMAZIN' METS).
YANKEE CLIPPER Joseph Paul DiMaggio was one of nine children of a fisherman father who had emigrated from Sicily. It was all planned for Joe to become a fisherman like his father, but Joe could not abide the smell of fish.
In 1934, he was playing baseball about as well as it could be played when his contract with the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League was purchased by the Yankees. The deal contained the clause that the graceful outfielder be allowed to play one more season for the seals. His 1935 season gave the people of San Francisco something to remember - he batted .398, recorded 270 hits, and drove in 154 runs.                                                   
Permission was granted for DiMag in 1936 to drive cross-country with fellow San Franciscans Tony Lazzeri and Frank Crosetti to the Yankee spring training camp in St. Petersburg, Florida. Lazzeri turned to DiMaggio after the trio had concluded one day of driving and said, "You take over, Joe."                                                                  
"I don't drive," DiMaggio answered                                               
It was reported that these were the only words he uttered during the entire three-day automobile trek.
In DiMaggio's time, 13 seasons,  the Yankees won 10 pennants. In 1951, the man they called the Yankee Clipper, retired at age 36. Management attempted to get him to perform in pinstripes for one more season. But he had too much pride, and too much pain. He knew it was over.
   Like the famed Yankee clipper ships that sailed the oceans riding the winds and the tides, DiMaggio moved across the reaches of the center-field pastureland of Yankee Stadium flawlessly playing his kind of game—steady, stoical, dependable. His nickname accentuated his role and style.

One of the most prolific and respected sports journalists and oral historians in the United States, author of the autobiographies of legends Nolan Ryan, Tony Dorsett, and Red Holzman, Dr. Harvey Frommer has been a professor for more than two decades in the MALS program at Dartmouth College. Dubbed “Dartmouth’s Mr. Baseball” by their alumni magazine,  he’s also the founder of www.HarveyFrommerSports.com.   Books for Father’s Day (and special days, discounted, mint, signed and deeply discounted are available from his books page http://frommerbooks.com/