Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Fenway Park Begins By Harvey Frommer

Fenway Park Begins
By Harvey Frommer



Owner General Charles Henry Taylor, a Civil War veteran and owner of the "Boston Globe," had decided back in 1910 to build a new ballpark in the Fenway section of Boston bordering Brookline Avenue, Jersey Street, Van Ness Street and Lansdowne Street. It would cost $650,000 (approximately $14 million today), and seat 35,000

Ground was broken September 25, 1911.



An attractive red brick fa├žade, the first electric baseball scoreboard, and 18 turnstiles, the most in the Majors, were all features being talked about. Concrete stands went from behind first base around to third while wooden bleachers were located in parts of left, right, and centerfield. Seats lined the field allowing for excellent views of the game but limiting the size of foul territory.

Elevation was 20 feet above sea level. Barriers and walls broke off at different angles. Centerfield was 488 feet from home plate; right field was 314 feet away. The 10-foot wooden fence in left field ran straight along Lansdowne Street and was but 320 ½ feet down the line from home plate with a high wall behind it. There was a ten foot embankment making viewing of games easier for overflow gatherings. A ten foot high slope in left field posed challenges for outfielders who had to play the entire territory running uphill.



This was the Opening Day Lineup for the 1912 Boston Red Sox.

Harry Hooper RF
Steve Yerkes 2B
Tris Speaker CF
Jake Stahl 1B
Larry Gardner 3B
Duffy Lewis LF
Heinie Wagner SS
Les Nunamaker C
Smoky Joe Wood P

The Sox, with player-manager first baseman Jake Stahl calling the shots, nipped the Yankees, 7-6, in 11 innings. Tris Speaker -- who would bat .383, steal 52 bases and stroke eight inside-the-park home runs at Fenway -- drove in the winning run. Spitball pitcher Bucky O’Brien got the win in relief of Charles “Sea Lion” Hall. The first hit in the park belonged to New York's Harry Wolter.

Umpire Tommy Connolly kept the ball used in that historic game, writing “Opening of Fenway Park” and brief details of the game on it. In 2005, descendants of Connolly offered the ball at auction at New York Sothebys.



Hugh Bradley hit the first home run in Red Sox history over the wall on April 26th in the sixth game played at Fenway Park. “Few of the fans who have been out to Fenway Park believed it was possible,'' the Boston Herald noted. That would be Bradley’s only dinger in 1912.

And that is how it all began.

Dr. Harvey Frommer, is in his 20th year as professor at Dartmouth College in the MALS program, in his 40th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, he is the author of 42 sports books including the classics: best-selling “New York City Baseball, 1947-1957″ and best-selling Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball, as well as his acclaimed Remembering Yankee Stadium and best-selling Remembering Fenway Park. His highly praised When It Was Just a Game: Remembering the First Super Bowl. A link to purchase autographed copies of Frommer Sports Books is at: http://frommerbooks.com/ The prolific author ULTIMATE YANKEE BOOK is slated for publication in 2017.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

SHOELESS JOE AND RAGTIME BASEBALL by Harvey Frommer

SHOELESS JOE AND RAGTIME BASEBALL

http://www.lyonspress.com/book/9781630760083

Introduction to 2016 Edition

By Harvey Frommer

It is just very satisfying to see one of my favorite baseball books back in print this year of 2016. Originally published in 1992, it has now gone thru several lives.

As the author of Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball, I keep getting letters and e-mails from all over the world from people on both sides of a baseball story that will not go away.

The 1919 Chicago White Sox were one of the great teams of their era. They won the American League pennant and faced off against the Cincinnati Reds, favored 3-1, to win the World Series.

But as the series was about to get underway – the betting odds started to shift to even money. The word on the street was that New York gambler Arnold Rothstein was behind the swing and that the series was fixed.
Hearing the rumor, White Sox outfielder “Shoeless Joe” Jackson asked Chicago manager Kid Gleason and owner Charles Comiskey to bench him. But they insisted he play. They would have been crazy to put down their best player.

During the series Jackson hit the only home run, had the highest batting average, committed no errors and established a new World Series record with 12 hits. Nevertheless, the Reds won.
Edd Rousch, who played for the Reds, dismissed the charges that the series was fixed. “We were just the better team,” he said. And umpire Billy Evans who worked the series said: “Maybe I’m a dope but everything seemed okay to me.”

But the rumor of a fix persisted. The 1920 season got underway and the White Sox were driving hard to their second straight pennant when a petty gambler in Philadelphia broke the news that a Cubs-Phillies game had been fixed in 1919.

That led to a gambling investigation, with its focus being the 1919 World Series. With only a couple of days left in the 1920 season, a Grand Jury was called to determine whether eight White Sox players should stand trial for allegedly throwing the 1919 World Series. Jackson was one of them.

He was asked under oath: “Did you do anything to throw those games?”
“No sir,” was his response.
“ Any game in the series?”
“Not a one,” Jackson answered. “I didn’t have an error or make no misplay.”

It took the jury a single ballot to acquit all eight accused players. But the very next day, baseball’s first commissioner – Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who came to power in the fall of 1920 with a lifetime contract and a mandate to clean up the game using whatever methods he saw fit – banned all eight players from baseball for life.

That was basically the end of the story of the greatest sports scandal of the century. But it is a story that will not go away.

Questions remain:
Was there a plan to throw the World Series?
Was it carried out?
If so, which games were thrown?
What was the role of each banned player?
Why was there a blanket banning of the players?

Buck Weaver was banned not for dumping but for allegedly having guilty knowledge that there was a plot. Fred McMullen was banned though he came to bat twice and got one hit. Jackson was banned although his performance exceeded his own records.
If the eight players were found not guilty in a court of law, how could they have been found guilty by a baseball commissioner?

Public pressure keeps increasing year-by-year to undo what many believe was a terrible wrong. But the ban still remains. Every baseball commissioner since Landis has refused to act.
Commissioner Faye Vincent said: “I can’t uncipher or decipher what took place back then. I have no intention of taking formal action.”

Commissioner Bart Giammatti said: “I do not wish to play God with history. The Jackson case is best left to historical debate and analysis. I am not for re-instatement.”

Commissioner Rob Manfred offered this opinion: “It would not be appropriate for me to reopen this matter.”
There have been other sports scandals in the 20th century – boxing matches that were fixed or allegedly fixed, the great college basketball scandal of the 1950s in New York City, rumors of other malfeasance in sports – but nothing compares to the 1919 Black Sox scandal.
And it just will not go away.

With the banning from baseball of “Shoeless Joe” Jackson and the other seven Chicago White Sox players, it was as if the sport was saying: now we are clean and have purged ourselves of the dishonest ways of the past. And if Jackson in the prime of his baseball career and the others were sacrificed, that was the way it had to be.

One of the greatest stars of that time, Jackson continued to exert a strong public fascination even after his banning. All kinds of folklore attached to him. One story had a little boy greet the ballplayer on the courtyard steps with the tearful line: “Say it ain’t so, Joe.”

The true story, according to Jackson, was that a big guy came up to him and shouted: “I told you the son of a bitch wears shoes.”

For nearly 20 years, Jackson tried to continue to play with outlaw barnstormers, mill teams and in the semi-pros. He played under aliases and with disguises, but his unmistakable swing always gave him away. Judge Landis, the bigoted, anti-union, anti-black, vindictive and relentless first Commissioner of
baseball, threatened team owners and league officials to keep Jackson from playing.
Even when Jackson in 1932 applied for permission to manage a minor league team in his home town of Greenville, South Carolina, Landis was intransigent. He denied the application.

In 1951, Joseph Jefferson Jasckson died of a massive heart attack just one week before he was scheduled to appear on the highly popular Ed Sullivan television show to receive a trophy in honor of his being inducted into the Cleveland Indians Baseball Hall of Fame.

That much was accomplished. But all attempts during and after Jackson’s lifetime to get him into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York have failed.

Prominent attorneys like Alan Dershowitz and F. Lee Bailey have argued that Jackson should go into the Hall. Baseball legends like like Ted Williams have taken up Jackson’s cause. There have been petitions, Congressional motions, letters sent to baseball Commissioners through the years – all to no avail.

This was a player who posted the third-highest lifetime batting average. This was a player who four times batted over .370. This was a player who was such a remarkable fielder that his glove was dubbed “the place where triples go to die.”

Babe Ruth copied Jackson’s swing and claimed “Shoeless Joe” was the greatest hitter he ever saw. Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Casey Stengel all placed him on their all-time, All-Star team.
Joe Jackson’s shoes are in the Hall of Fame. His life-size photograph is there. But he is not enshrined even though others with far less credentials and far more soiled reputations are.

So we are left with a baseball story that will not go away – the Greatest Sports Scandal of the 20th Century, perhaps of any century.

It is still with us because of the lingering sense that justice miscarried, that the ignorant were duped by the clever, that the powerless suffered and the strong prevailed, that Jackson and the others were scapegoats, victims who were caught at a crossroads time in baseball and American history.

Dr. Harvey Frommer, is in his 20th year as professor at Dartmouth College in the MALS program, in his 40th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, he is the author of 42 sports books including the classics: best-selling “New York City Baseball, 1947-1957″ and best-selling Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball, as well as his acclaimed Remembering Yankee Stadium and best-selling Remembering Fenway Park. His highly praised When It Was Just a Game: Remembering the First Super Bowl. A link to purchase autographed copies of Frommer Sports Books is at: http://frommerbooks.com/ The prolific author ULTIMATE YANKEE BOOK is slated for publication in 2017

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Old Time Baseball: Umpires By Harvey Frommer

Old Time Baseball: Umpires By Harvey Frommer 


http://www.lyonspress.com/book/9781630760069

Just being released is my Old Time Baseball, billed as another “Harvey Frommer Baseball Classic.” Publishers sometimes are too kind. It is, surprisingly one of my favorite tomes, one I especially learned a lot by doing. . What follows is just a “taste” of the content. The book and others I have written are available – discounted, signed, mint condition. Just be in touch.

“Mother, may I slug the umpire, May I slug him right away? So he cannot be here, Mother, When the clubs begin to play? Let me clasp his throat, dear Mother, In a dear, delightful grip, With one hand and with the other Bat him several in the lip. Let me climb his frame, dear Mother, While the happy people shout: I'll not kill him, dearest Mother, I will only knock him out. Let me mop the ground up, Mother, With his person, dearest, do; If the ground can stand it, Mother, I don't see why you can't too.”

Early umpires were selected from the assembled crowd or even from the ranks of players. They personified the amateur spirit of the game of baseball. And since it was an "honor" to be called to that task, the early umpires received no financial compensation for their duties. They wore whatever clothing they wished. Some of the more stylish early fellows showed up bedecked in Prince Albert coat, cane, top hat. They sat at a table or took up a stance or kneeled on a stool a brave distance from home plate along the first-base line.

The National League in 1878 revolutionized things by ruling that umpires would be paid five dollars a game and gave the arbiters the right to fine players up to twenty dollars for the use of foul language. Umps were also given the power to eject rowdy fans.

In 1879 the N.L. named twenty men whom it deemed fit to be a cadre of umpires. For the sake of logistical convenience, the umpires chosen all lived in or close to cities where National League franchises were located. Prior to 1879, rival captains of teams had mutually agreed on whom they preferred to umpire a game. Now the league ruled that umpires could be chosen only from the select list of twenty men.

The gradually increased duties and independence of umpires were reflected in an 1882 ruling that abolished the practice of arbiters appealing to fans and players for guidance on a disputed play. Now umps were on their own to "call them as they saw them." And from 1882 on, all players except for the team captains were theoretically banned from engaging in any kind of menacing or meaningless banter with the umpire.

That 1882 season the American Association put in place a salaried staff of three umpires to be paid $140 a month. It was also the American Association that innovated clothing umps in blue caps and coats-a uniform that was aimed at giving the arbiters an air of respectability. Those uniforms were to become part of the folklore of the game the dress code for the "men in blue."

In 1883 the National League copied the practice of the American Association, appointing four umpires for the season who drew salaries of $1,000 each. To ensure neutrality, to quell complaints that the new umps would not be political appointees, all the umpires were unknowns who came from cities that did not have National League franchises. The four men operated under trying conditions-serving without tenure, serving at the suffrage of the owners. Complaints by any four teams were grounds for the firing of any of the umpires, and not surprisingly just one of the four umpires made it through the entire season.

Changing rules, polemics in sports sections of newspapers criticizing umpires, the rugged nature of play-all of these made the work of the men in blue a tough task. Such terms as "daylight crime," "robbery," and "home umpire" were part of the lexicon of the times applied to the alleged foibles and flaws of arbiters.

In 1884 barbed wire was fastened around the field in Baltimore to contain the fans. That same season an umpire was beaten by an angry mob when he called a game a tie because of darkness. Police escorts were commonplace to move umpires out of ball parks and away from the menace of irate fans.

Dumping on the umpire was a practice encouraged by owners, who realized that fans howled in delight at the sight of authority being humiliated. "Fans who despise umpires," Albert Spalding noted, "are simply showing their democratic right to protest against tyranny." The protests pushed profits at the box office, and owners willingly paid fines meted out to players by umpires.

The system of two umpires working a game came into being in 1887 in postseason competition between the National League and the American Association. The first set of double officials was John Gaffney and John Kelley. As a class those early arbiters were a colorful and tenacious group of men-they had to be, considering the not so genteel band of athletes they had to deal with. Umpire Billy McLean, who plied his trade in Boston and Providence, was a quick-triggered type. An ex-boxer, McLean kept himself in top physical condition; it was reported that he once arose at 4 A.M. and walked from his home in Boston to his umpiring job in Providence.

John Gaffney was called the king of umpires because of his longevity and resiliency. At one point, Gaffney was the highest-paid umpire, earning a salary of $2,500 plus expenses.

Bob Ferguson was another standout man in blue. "Umpiring always came as easy to me," he said, "as sleeping on a featherbed. Never change a decision, never stop to talk to a man. Make 'em play ball and keep their mouths shut, and never fear but the people will be on your side and you'll be called the king of umpires."

Tim Hurst, who coined the now-famous phrase about umpires, "The pay is good, and you can't beat the hours-three to five," was another of the fabled arbiters of nineteenth-century baseball. A rather smallish man who came out of the coal mining region of Pennsylvania, Hurst was quick-witted and quick-fisted.

In 1897 during the course of a game in Cincinnati, Hurst was struck in the face by a stein of beer that was hurled out of the stands. Hurst flung the stein back; it hit a spectator and knocked him out. A frenzied mob surged out onto the field heading for Hurst. Policemen made contact with the umpire first. They charged him with assault and battery and arrested the irate Hurst, who was fined $100 and court costs by a judge.

Then there was the fracas in Washington in which Hurst mixed it up verbally with Pittsburgh's Pink Hawley, Jake Stenzel, and Denny Lyons. The quartet agreed to meet after the game to settle things once and for all.

Hurst went to work quickly. He punched Hawley in the face, smashed his foot into the shins of Lyons, and roughed up Stenzel.

"Timothy, what is all the excitement?" asked National League President Nick Young, who as it turned out just happened to be passing by.

"Somebody dropped a dollar bill, Uncle Nick," replied Hurst, "and I said it was mine."

"Oh, you're sure that's all?" asked Young. "It looked to me like there was some kind of a riot going on. Did the dollar bill really belong to you?"

"Not really. It belonged to Hawley, but these other two tried their best to take it away from him, and I wouldn't let them. It was just pink tea."

"Timothy, you did the right thing." Young smiled. "Now let's leave these follows alone. Come and take a walk with me."

Two umpires from that epoch went on to become National League presidents-John Heyder and Tom Lynch. Both men confessed to recurring nightmares of their time as umpires.

With all the pain and the abuse of the job of umpiring, there were some redeeming aspects. The early umpires loved the game of baseball. They earned an average salary of $1,500 for seven months of employment, and as umpire Tim Hurst noted, it was a job where "you can't beat the hours.

" In 1898 the Brush Resolution was passed, slightly improving the umpire's lot. John T. Brush, National League mogul, pushed owners into endorsing a twenty-one-point program to do away with the bullying of umpires. Expulsion for "villainously foul language" and umpire baiting were at the heart of the resolution.

The "purification plan" never worked and was ultimately given up as hopeless-no case ever reached the appointed discipline board, but it did raise the consciousness of the public, players, and writers about the plight of umpires forced to contend with the riotous behavior of scrappy and excitable players.
"Kill the Umpire" would be a phrase of symbolic import in the future and that was a large step forward, for in the not so genteel days of the gilded age, that phrase had a darker and more sinister meaning.

(to be continued)

Dr. Harvey Frommer, is in his 20th year as professor at Dartmouth College in the MALS program, in his 40th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, he is the author of 42 sports books including the classics: best-selling “New York City Baseball, 1947-1957″ and best-selling Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball, as well as his acclaimed Remembering Yankee Stadium and best-selling Remembering Fenway Park. His highly praised When It Was Just a Game: Remembering the First Super Bowl. A link to purchase autographed copies of Frommer Sports Books is at: http://frommerbooks.com/ The prolific author ULTIMATE YANKEE BOOK is slated for publication in 2017

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

COMING IN OCTOBER - Old -Time Baseball 2016 Edition - By Harvey Frommer

COMING IN OCTOBER
Old -Time Baseball 2016 Edition
By Harvey Frommer

http://www.lyonspress.com/book/9781630760069

The first edition of this book sub-titled America’s Pastime in the Golden Age was published in 2006. It remains one of my favorite works, delving deep into baseball’s storied past, filled with all kinds of insights and oddities to the way things were when the world of sports was a far different place.
The early environment of baseball games was that of a gentlemen's affair marked by the absence of spectators except for those invited by the teams. What spectators there were lolled about on the grass or sat on chairs or benches. The umpire was generally attired in tails and a tall black top hat, and in those early years he seated himself at a table along a baseline. Circa 1860, the general public became more and more involved as spectators, and winning replaced gentlemanly ways as baseball's operative factor. The Cincinnati Red Stockings began play in 1876 in the National League in a ball park located in an area known as Chester Park. In order to get to the ball game, fans had to ride on special trains or in carriages. Crowds of 3,000 were common and considered a good payday for the team. When the National League came into being, the White Stockings played their home games in a rickety wooden park on Dearborn between 23rd and 24th streets on Chicago's West Side. During the 1880s and 1890s most parks were surrounded by wooden stands and a wooden fence. Some of the stands were partially protected by a roof, while others were simple wooden seats of sun-bleached boards. That is how the word bleachers came to be. When those parks were filled to capacity, fans were allowed to stand around the infield or take up viewing perches in the far reaches of the outfield.

John B. Day transferred the Troy National League franchise to New York in 1883; arrangements were made for games to be played on the polo field of James Gordon Bennett, publisher of the New York Herald. For most of the 1880s, the team played its games on a field at 110th Street and Fifth Avenue, across from Central Park's northeast corner. In 1897,a game between Boston and Baltimore drew more than 25,000 fans, the overflow crowd was permitted to stand just a few feet behind the infielders, creating a situation where any ball hit into the throng was ruled an automatic ground-rule double . In 1899, the Giants moved to New York City plot 2106, lot 100, located between 155th and 157th streets at Eighth Avenue in upper Manhattan. The location was called "the new Polo Grounds," a horseshoe-shaped stadium with Coogan's Bluff on one side and the Harlem River on the other. The Polo Grounds seated 55,897, the most of any facility in the National League. A four-story, misshapen structure with seats close to the playing field and overhanging stands, it was an odd ball park that afforded fans the opportunity to be close to the action. There were 4,600 bleacher seats, 2,730 field boxes, 1,084 upper boxes, 5,138 upper reserved boxes, and 2,318 general admission seats. The majority of those who came to the Polo Grounds sat in the remaining lower general admission seats. The visitors' bullpen was just a bench located in the boondocks of left center field. There was no shade from the sun for the visitors or protection from Giant fans who pelted opposing pitchers with pungent projectiles. The upper left field deck hung over the lower deck; and it was virtually impossible for a fly ball to get into the lower deck because of the projection of the upper deck. The overhang triggered many arguments, for if a ball happened to graze the front of the overhang it was a home run. The double decks in right field were even. The short distances and the asymmetrical shape of the convoluted ball park resulted in drives rebounding off the right field and left field walls like billiard shots. And over the years hitters and fielders on the New York Giants familiar with the pool table walls of the ball park had a huge advantage over opposing teams. Fires and progress would make steel and concrete replace the wood and timber of the nineteenth century ball parks. The idiosyncratic dimensions of stadiums, the marching bands, even the real grass in many instances-all of these would ultimately become footnotes to baseball history. As late as 1900 some clubs even allowed fans to park their automobiles or carriages in the outfield. The environment at those games made it difficult for fans to follow the action clearly. Even though scorecards and programs were sold, no public address system existed, and there were no names or numbers on the players' uniforms. Players were sometimes pressed into service to double as ticket takers. And during breaks in the action on the field, the dull moments were enlivened by the festive performances of brass bands. The St. Louis National League entry was known as the Browns and then the Perfectos-an odd name for a club with a not so perfect track record. The team left the National League twice, then returned and finished twelfth twice, eleventh three times, tenth once, ninth once, and once in fifth place in the years 1892-99. To attract customers to Robinson Field, St. Louis owner Chris Von der Ahe transformed his ball park into what he called "the Coney Island of the West." He installed chute-the-chutes (tubs that plunged with their riders into a pool), night horseracing, a Wild West show. The popular tunes of the day were played by the Silver Cornet Band-an all-female aggregation bedecked in long striped skirts and elegant blouses with leg-of-mutton sleeves and broad white sailor hats. In 1899 Chris Von der Ahe changed the uniforms around in his zest for more color-the new garments featured red trim and red-striped stockings. The new uniforms brought new nicknames for the St. Louis team- Cardinals or Redbirds, they were called, and so they would remain. All of the above illustrates the curious and dramatic difference between the “then” and the “now” in the world of baseball. Just a taste of the fascinating content I collected to be a part of Old-Time Baseball: America’s Pastime in the Gilded Age

Enjoy
Harvey Frommer
Lyme, New Hampshire

****************************************************************
Dr. Harvey Frommer, a professor at Dartmouth College in the MALS program, is in his 40th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, he is the author of 42 sports books including the classics: best-selling “New York City Baseball, 1947-1957″ and best-selling Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball,as well as his acclaimed Remembering Yankee Stadium and best-selling Remembering Fenway Park. His highly praised When It Was Just a Game: Remembering the First Super Bowl was published last fall.
His Frommer Baseball Classic – Remembering Yankee Stadium (Second Edition) is his newest sports effort. A link to purchase autographed copies of Frommer Sports Books is at: http://frommerbooks.com/
The prolific author is at work on THE ULTIMATE YANKEE BOOK (2017)

Friday, August 5, 2016

“All American Out” and other Yankee Nicknames By Harvey Frommer

“All American Out” and other Yankee Nicknames - By Harvey Frommer


Nicknames for the greatest baseball franchise ever have run the gamut. . Some of them are asinine. Some others are insulting. There are even a few that have gone down in history and are remembered for their relevance and insights. You be the judge.



“All American Out” – What Babe Ruth called Leo Durocher because of his limited hitting ability.
“Almighty Tired Man” - Mickey Rivers, for his slouching demeanor
"American Idle" - Carl Pavano was known as this because he could never stay on the field and stay healthy.
“An A-bomb from A-Rod” – home run call, John Sterling
"Battle of the Biltmore" - 1947 World Series celebration in Manhattan's Biltmore Hotel was a time and place where Larry MacPhail drunkenly fought with everyone ending his Yankee ownership time.
"Babe Ruth's Legs" - Sammy Byrd, employed as pinch runner for Ruth and "Bam-Bam" for Hensley Meulens, able to speak about five languages, but had a challenging name for some to pronounce.
"Banty rooster" - Casey Stengel’s nickname for Whitey Ford because of his style and attitude.
“Barrows” – Jacob Ruppert’s corruption of Ed Barrow’s name
"Billyball" - the aggressive style of play favored by Billy Martin.
"Biscuit Pants" - Lou Gehrig, reference to the way he filled out his trousers.

"Blind Ryne" - Ryne Duren’s vision, uncorrected -20/70 and 20/200.
"Bloody Angel" - During 1923 season the space between the bleachers and right-field foul line at Yankee Stadium was very asymmetrical causing crazy bounces. It was eliminated in 1924.
"Bob the Gob" - Bob Shawkey in 1918 served in the Navy as a yeoman petty officer.
"Boomer" - David Wells, for his in your face personality.
The “Boss” –George Steinbrenner and that he was. Reggie had labeled the owner "the big guy with the boats" long before he became the "The Boss"
"The Boston Massacre" - Red Sox collapse in 1978 and the Yankee sweep of a four game series in September.
"Broadway" - Shortstop Lyn Lary was married to Broadway star Mary Lawler.
"Bronx Bombers" - For the borough and home run power of Yankees.
"Bronx Zoo" - A derogatory reference to off color Yankee behavior on and off the playing field through the years and especially in the 1970s.
"Brooklyn Schoolboy" - Waite Hoyt had starred at Brooklyn’s Erasmus High School.
“Bruiser” – Hank Bauer, for his burly ways
"Bulldog" - Jim Bouton was dogged.
"Bullet Bob" - Bob Turley, for the pop on his fastball.
“Bullet Joe” – Joe Bush, for the pop he also could put on his fastball
“Bye-Bye"- Steve Balboni, the primary DH of the 1990 Yankees, 17 homers but .192 BA.
"The Captain" - Derek Jeter - was such an icon that the Yankees have yet to name a new Captain one since his retirement.

“Captain Clutch” - Derek Jeter that he was
"Chairman of the Board" - Elston Howard coined it for Whitey Ford and his commanding and take charge manner on the mound.
''Carnesville Plowboy'' - Spud Chandler, for his hometown of Carnesville,
“The CAT-a-lyst" - Mickey Rivers given this name by Howard Cosell.
"Georgia Catfish" - James Augustus Hunter was his real name but the world knew him as “Catfish,” primarily because of Oakland A's owner Charles O. Finley. Finley. Hunter ran away from home when he was a child, returning with two catfish. His parents called him Catfish for a while. Finley decided that Jim Hunter was too bland a name a star pitcher and revived Hunter's childhood nickname.
"Columbia Lou" - Lou Gehrig, for his collegiate roots.
. "Commerce Comet" - Mickey Mantle, out of Commerce, Oklahoma.
"The Count" - Sparky Lyle, handlebar mustache and lordly ways
"The Count" – John Montefusco, because his name reminded people of the Count of Monte Crisco. “Core Four” Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada were all drafted or signed as amateurs by the Yankees in the early 1990s. After playing in the minors together they made their debuts in 1995. With the four as a nucleus, the Yanks in next 17 seasons missed the playoffs only twice, played in the World Series seven times, won five world championships.
"The Crow" - Frank Crosetti loud voice and chirpy ways.
"Curse of the Bambino" - Since 1920 and the selling of Babe Ruth to the Yankees by Boston owner Harry Frazee in 1920, the Yankees have won all those championships. The Red Sox have won a few.
"Daddy Longlegs" - Dave Winfield, for his size and long legs.
"Danish Viking" - George Pipgras, for his size and roots
"Deacon" - Everett Scott, for his not too friendly look.
"Death Valley" - the old deep centerfield in Yankee Stadium.
"Dial-a-Deal - Gabe Paul, for his telephone trading habits.
"Donnie Baseball" - Don Mattingly’s nickname. Some say it was coined by Yankee broadcaster Michael Kay; others say it came from Kirby Puckett. Kay takes the credit; Mattingly gives the credit to Puckett.
"Ellie" - affectionate abbreviation of Elston Howard's first name
"El Duquecito" – Adrian Hernandez because of a pitching style similar to Orlando "El Duque."
"Father of the Emory Ball" - Rookie right-hander Russ Ford posted a 26-6 record with 8 shutouts, 1910, using that pitch.
“Figgy” – Ed Figueroa, short for his surname which was tough, for some, to pronounce
"Five O'clock Lightning" - At five o'clock the blowing of a whistle at a factory near Yankee Stadium signaled the end of the work day in the 1930s and also the power the Yankees were displaying to the opposition on the field.
“Fireman" - Johnny Murphy, the first to have this nick-name was the first great relief pitcher. Joe Page picked up this nick-name for his top relief work later on.
“Flash" - Joe Gordon was fast, slick fielding and hit line drives.
“Flop Ears” - Julie Wera. Was dubbed that by Babe Ruth. A backup infielder, Wera earned $2400, least on the ‘27 Yankees
Yankees,"Fordham Johnny" - for the college Johnny Murphy attended.
“Four hour manager" - Bucky Harris, who put his time in at the game and was finished.
"Friday Night Massacre" - April 26, 1974, Yankees Fritz Patterson, Steve Kline, Fred Beene, Tom Buskey, and half the pitching staff were traded to Cleveland for Chris Chambliss, Dick Tidrow, and Ceil Upshaw.
"Gator" - Ron Guidry, for his hailing from Louisiana alligator country.

"Gay Caballero" - Lefty Gomez, for his Mexican roots and fun loving ways.
"Gay Reliever" - Joe Page, for his night owl activity.
“Gehrigville" – The old Bleachers in right-center at Yankee Stadium.
"The Godfather" - Joe Torre, for his Italian roots and his leadership skills on the baseball field.
“Godzilla” - Hideki Matsui, his power earned him the moniker after the power- packed film creature.
"Goofy" or "El Goofo" - Lefty Gomez, for his wild antics
"Gooneybird" - Don Larsen, for his late-night behavior.
"Goose" – Richard Michael Gossage, for his loose and lively style.
"Grandma" - Johnny Murphy, for his pitching motion, rocking chair style. Another explanation is that fellow Yankee Pat Malone gave him the name because of his complaining nature especially as regards food and lodgings.
"The Great Agitator" - Billy Martin, self-explanatory.
"The Great Debater" – Tommy Henrich, for his sometimes loquacious and argumentative ways.
"Happy Jack" - Jack Chesbro, for his time as an attendant at the state mental hospital in Middletown, New York where he pitched for the hospital team and showed off a very pleasant disposition.
"Holy Cow" - One of Phil Rizzuto's ways of expressing awe "Home Run Twins" (also “M & M Boys”) - Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, phrase coined in 1961.
"Horse Nose" - Pat Collins via Babe Ruth, a reference to a facial feature.
"Iron Horse" - Lou Gehrig, for his power and steadiness.
"Joltin' Joe" - Joe DiMaggio, for the jolting shots he hit.
"Jumping Joe" - Joe Dugan, for being AWOL from his first big league club as a youngster.
"Junk Man" - Eddie Lopat, for frustrating hitters and keeping them off stride with an assortment of slow breaking pitches thrown with cunning and accuracy.
"Kentucky Colonel" - Earl Combs, for his Kentucky roots.
"The King and the Crown Prince" - Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, self-evident.

"King Kong" - Charlie Keller, for his muscular body type and black, bushy brows. Keller hated the nick-name. When Phil Rizzuto used it, Keller would pick him up in one hand and kiddingly stuff “the Scooter” into locker.
"Knight of Kennett Square" - Herb Pennock, for his raising of thoroughbreds and hosting of fox hunts in his hometown of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.
"Knucksie" - Phil Niekro, for his knuckleball.
"Larrupin' Lou" - Lou Gehrig - Named by the press for his hitting, he also used the name for his barnstorming team he ran during the off-season.
"The Lip" - Leo Durocher, for his mouth.
"Lonesome George" - George Weiss, for his aloof ways.
"Mail Carrier "- Earle Combs, for his speed and base stealing skills.
"Major" - Ralph Houk, for rank held in the Armed Forces and demeanor.
"Man nobody knows" - Bill Dickey, for his blandness.
"Man of a Thousand Curves" – for Johnny Sain and his assortment of curve balls.
"Man in the Iron Hat" - Captain Tillinghast L'Hommedieu Huston, for the same squashed derby hat he wore over and over again.
"Marse Joe" - Joe McCarthy, for his commanding style.
"Master Builder in Baseball" - Jacob Ruppert, and that he was.
"The Merry Mortician" -Waite Hoyt, for his cheery soul and off-season mortician work.
"The Mick" - short for Mickey (Mantle).

"Mick the Quick" - Mickey Rivers, for his speed.
"Mickey Mouth" - for Mickey Rivers and his motor mouth.
"Mighty Mite" - Miller Huggins, for his size and power.
"Milkman" - Jim Turner, for an off-season job delivering milk.
"Mr. Automatic" - Mariano Rivera, for his virtually unflappable behavior and special skills as a Yankee stopper.
"Mr. May" - George Steinbrenner's sarcastic jibe at Dave Winfield because of his postseason struggles as compared to Reggie Jackson's successes and Mr. October nick-name.
“Mister Consistent” – Roy White, and that he was "Mr. November" - Derek Jeter, for his World Series home run, the first of November, 2001.
"Mr. October" - In Game Five of the 1977 ALCS Billy Martin benched Reggie Jackson. In a comeback win against Kansas City Jackson returned to slap a single. Thurman Munson sarcastically called Jackson "Mr. October."
“Mo” - Mariano Rivera, a shortening
"Moose" - Bill Skowron’ s, grandfather called him Mussolini because of a resemblance to Mussolini. As the story goes, the family shortened the nickname to "Moose."
"Murderer's Row" - Yankee lineup boasting powerful batters: standard version was the meat of the 1927 lineup of Tony Lazzeri, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Earl Combs and Bob Meusel. Backup version was the 1919 entry of Ping Bodie, Roger Peckinpaugh, Duffy Lewis and Home Run Baker.
"Muscles" - Many in the press referred to the Mick as "muscles" because of his huge arms.
"My writers" - Casey Stengel's phrase for journalists he was close to.

****************************************************************
Dr. Harvey Frommer, a professor at Dartmouth College in the MALS program, is in his 40th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, he is the author of 42 sports books including the classics: best-selling “New York City Baseball, 1947-1957″ and best-selling Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball,as well as his acclaimed Remembering Yankee Stadium and best-selling Remembering Fenway Park. His highly praised When It Was Just a Game: Remembering the First Super Bowl was published last fall.
His Frommer Baseball Classic – Remembering Yankee Stadium (Second Edition) is his newest sports effort. A link to purchase autographed copies of Frommer Sports Books is at: http://frommerbooks.com/
The prolific author is at work on THE ULTIMATE YANKEE BOOK (2017)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Babe Ruth’s Great-Grandson Visits St. Petersburg Museum of History Friday Before Throwing 1st Pitch at Rays-Yankees

July 25, 2016

Contact: Will Darnall
PR & Marketing Manager
St. Petersburg Museum of History
Cell: 813.400.8743




Babe Ruth’s Great-Grandson Visits St. Petersburg Museum of History Friday Before Throwing 1st Pitch at Rays-Yankees



Brent Stevens to donate autographed baseball from the surviving family of the legendary slugger whose longest home run smash was recorded in St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – A very special addition gets donated to the world’s largest collection of autographed baseballs at the St. Petersburg Museum of History at 2 PM Friday, July 29, when Babe Ruth’s great-grandson Brent Stevens donates a signed baseball from his family to the “Schrader’s Little Cooperstown” exhibition.



Stevens’ visit coincides with Friday’s 2 PM book signing by local historian and author Will Michaels, whose new book Hidden History of St. Petersburg chronicles multiple chapters about Babe Ruth’s adventures in St. Petersburg during spring training in the 1920s and 1930s. It’s documented that Ruth crushed a home run more than 600 feet at the site of the current Al Lang Stadium -- baseball’s longest hit ever.
Stevens, a resident of Atlanta, is also scheduled to throw out the first pitch at Friday night’s Rays-Yankees game at Tropicana Field. His autographed ball will add to the
museum’s “Schrader’s Little Cooperstown” collection, featuring nearly 5,000 autographed baseballs, the most of any baseball collection in the world.



“Babe’s daughter visited a couple years ago, and now to have his great-grandson explore the exhibit only adds to the historic value of this amazing exhibit,” said Rui Farias, Executive Director. “Coupled with the book debut of Will Michael’s Hidden History of St. Petersburg, it should be another historic day in St. Pete.”



WHAT: Babe Ruth’s great-grandson Brent Stevens donates ball from his family to St. Petersburg Museum of History & book signing by Will Michaels for Hidden History of St. Petersburg
WHEN: 2 PM Friday, July 29
WHERE: St. Petersburg Museum of History, 335 2nd Avenue NE


ABOUT:
Sharing the Sunshine City’s stories for nearly a Century, the St. Petersburg Museum of History is Pinellas County’s oldest museum and home to more than 30,000 artifacts and archives in its collection. Located along the scenic and historic downtown waterfront, the St. Petersburg Museum of History hosts year-round temporary exhibitions such as Experience Cuba, and is also home to permanent exhibitions such as the world’s largest collection of autographed baseballs, “Schrader’s Little Cooperstown,” and Flight One Gallery, where guests can explore the world’s first airliner and the birth of commercial aviation. The St. Petersburg Museum of History is open 362 days a year.



St Petersburg Museum of History - Saint Petersburg, FL, United States. Great history.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

26 to 35 – New York Yankees By the Numbers - by Harvey Frommer

26 to 35 – New York Yankees By the Numbers
By Harvey Frommer

Numerology – amounts, stats quantities, numerals, whatever you call them – they keep on coming. Reaction has been so positive, that herewith the latest installment for numerals for the team from the Bronx. Please send along your own numbers. Will credit your selection if used.


26
No Yankee pitcher has won 26 games in a regular season since Lefty Gomez in 1934.
Only Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle recorded more hits by age 26 than Derek Jeter.
27
       
Number of General Managers that worked during George Steinbrenner’s tenure. 

28
Of the 60 record-setting home runs hit by Babe Ruth in 1927, 28 were at Yankee Stadium.

29
Joe DiMaggio, most homers by a Yankee rookie, 1939.
Mel Allen was a Yankee broadcaster for 29 seasons, television and radio.   
Whitey Ford over a 16 year career had 29 bases stolen off him.  
Paul O’Neill was awarded the 29th plaque in Monument Park. 
30
Wee Willie Keeler’s bat length, measured in inches, shortest ever. 
Yogi Berra, most home runs in a season by a Yankee catcher, 1952, and 1956 
    Eddie Lopat, Mel Stottlemyre, Willie Randolph all wore #30.                                                     
Roger Maris, of his 61 home runs in 1961, 30 were hit at Yankee Stadium.  

31  
Bobby Richardson retired from the Yankees at the age of 31 and became baseball coach at the University of South Carolina. 
32 
Most passed balls as a team in a season, 1913        
         Earle Combs was given uniform #1 and as a leadoff man could have become the first Yankee player to bat identified by a uniform number. However, Yankees had a rain delay that day. Cleveland played before the Yankees and it’s likely one of their players wore the #1 first in 1929. So Combs would have been the first Yankees but not major leaguer to wear a number. 
When Combs became a Yankee coach in 1936, he chose uniform #32.  
Uniform number of Elston Howard, retired July 21, 1984
Number of Yankee managers all time through Joe Girardi  
 33
Second longest hitting streak in franchise history, Hal Chase, 1907
Number worn by Bill Dickey as Yankee coach.         

                                 
33 1/3 
Mariano Rivera’s longest post-season scoreless innings pitched.

34
Pitcher Foster Edwards in 1930 was the first Yankee to wear this number. 
35
Outfielder Dixie Walker in 1931 was the first Yankee to wear this number.

****************************************************************
Dr. Harvey Frommer, a professor at Dartmouth College in the MALS program, is in his 40th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, he is the author of 42 sports books including the classics: best-selling “New York City Baseball, 1947-1957″ and best-selling Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball,as well as his acclaimed Remembering Yankee Stadium and best-selling Remembering Fenway Park. His highly praised When It Was Just a Game: Remembering the First Super Bowl was published last fall.
His Frommer Baseball Classic – Remembering Yankee Stadium (Second Edition) is his newest sports effort. A link to purchase autographed copies of Frommer Sports Books is at: http://frommerbooks.com/
The prolific author is at work on THE ULTIMATE YANKEE BOOK (2017)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Daring, Definitive New York Yankees Quiz 9 - By Dr. Harvey Frommer

Daring, Definitive New York Yankees Quiz 9
By Dr. Harvey Frommer



Lots of terrific questions and answers were sent along but only a few made my editorializing. Keep them coming. You do not have to be a Yankee fan to take the quiz – it’s sort of a brain teaser. Go to it

94. Who said: "I won't be active in the day to day operations of the ball club at all."
A. Jake Ruppert B. Casey Stengel C. George Steinbrenner D. Yogi Berra.

95. Who said and why: "They told me my services were no longer desired because they wanted to put in a youth program as an advance way of keeping the club going. I'll never make the mistake of being seventy again."
A. Casey Stengel B. Bucky Harris C. Miller Huggins D. none of these

96. Who struck out more times during their respective careers, Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantle?

97. Who loved the expression - "That huckleberry?"
A. Red Barber B. Phil Rizzuto C. Mel Allen D. Suzyn Waldman

98. Who was known as the 'oh, say can you see' guy?
A. Robert Merrill B. Whitey Ford C. Phil Linz D. None of these

99. Name two Yankees who were called “Moose.”

100. Which of the following Yankee books was not written by Harvey Frommer?
A. Five O’clock Lightning B. A Yankee Century C. The Bronx Zoo
D. Remembering Yankee Stadium

101. Name the first season the Yankees drew over 3 million fans at Yankee Stadium?
A. 1999 B.1969 C. 2009 D. 1989

102. Which Yankee Hall of Famer did Branch Rickey once predict would "never make anything more than a Triple-A ballplayer at best?" A. Mickey Mantle B. Ron Guidry C. Yogi Berra D. none of these

103 How many total Gold Glove Awards did "Donnie Baseball" win?
A. 6 B 7 C. 8 D. 9

104. In 1933, Babe Ruth hit the first home run in All-Star Game history. In what
park did he hit the historic home run?





===================================================================





ANSWERS



94. C. George Steinbrenner after he purchased the Yankees from CBS.
95. A. Casey Stengel, when he was fired by the Yankees
96. (Mantle 1,710 vs. Ruth 1,330)
97. B. Phil Rizzuto
98. A. Robert Merrill, the famed opera singer who graced Yankee Stadium by singing the national anthem.
99. Bill Skowron, Mike Mussina
100. C. The Bronx Zoo
101. A.
102 C. Yogi Berra
103 D. 9
104. Comiskey Park, Chicago

----------------------------------------

Dr. Harvey Frommer, a professor at Dartmouth College in the MALS program, is in his 40th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, he is the author of 42 sports books including the classics: best-selling “New York City Baseball, 1947-1957″ and best-selling Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball,as well as his acclaimed Remembering Yankee Stadium and best-selling Remembering Fenway Park. His highly praised When It Was Just a Game: Remembering the First Super Bowl was published last fall.


His Frommer Baseball Classic – Remembering Yankee Stadium (Second Edition) is his newest sports effort.A link to purchase autographed copies of Frommer Sports Books is at: http://frommerbooks.com/

Saturday, July 9, 2016

REMEMBERING THE 1939 ALL-STAR GAME AT YANKEE STADIUM ​​​By Harvey Frommer

 REMEMBERING THE 1939 ALL-STAR GAME AT YANKEE STADIUM
By Harvey Frommer

The buzz for the 2016 All-Star Game is all about a National League starting infield of the Chicago Cubs and a half dozen Boston Red Sox on the American League roster. Flashback to 1939 and Yankee Stadium and there is plenty of buzz about that time.  
It was only the seventh All-Star Game ever played. Yankee Stadium was selected as the site in order for it to link in with the 1939 New York City World’s Fair. A box seat ticket for the All-Star Game cost $2.20. Bleacher seats were 55 cents. One could buy a scorecard for a nickel.
Just the week before “Lou Gehrig Day” had been staged at the Stadium. Now the “Iron Horse” was on hand as an honorary member of the American League team.
“It was a beautiful day,” Bob Feller remembered. “Not too hot, but warm enough. It was just a beautiful day at Yankee Stadium.”
There were 62,892 jammed into the big ballpark in the Bronx. When the American League lineup was announced, a fan sceamed out: "Make Joe McCarthy play an All-Star American League team. We can beat them, but we can't beat the Yankees.” 
Six starters were Yankees – Red Rolfe, Bill Dickey, George Selkirk, Joe Gordon, Red Ruffing and Joe DiMaggioWith manager Joe McCarthy, and non-starters Frank Crosetti, Lefty Gomez and Johnny Murphy, there were ten Yankees on the All-Star team.Eleven, if Lou Gehrig was counted.
        The SRO crowd was especially charged up seeing Yankee favorite hurler Red Ruffing start the game and all position starters play the entire contest. Joe DiMaggio’s homer run highlighted the 3-1 American League triumph in a game that took just one hour and 55 minutes to play. Times sure have changed. 
After the All-Star break, the Yanks went on a tear winning 35 of 49 games. The "Yankee Clipper" finished first in batting average, second in RBIs and third in home runs. Bill Dickey, George Selkirk, Joe Gordon and Joe DiMaggio drove in more than 100 runs each. The Yankees led the American League in home runs, RBIs, slugging percentage, walks, runs, and fielding percentage.  
Allowing nearly 150 runs fewer than any other team in the league, the  Yankees outscored their opponents by 411, a greater run differential than any other team in history. They took the pennant finishing 17 games ahead of second place BostonNo wonder they had so many players on that 1939 All Star team.

Dr. Harvey Frommer, a professor at Dartmouth College in the MALS program, is in his 40th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, he is the author of 42 sports books including the classics: best-selling “New York City Baseball, 1947-1957″ and best-selling Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball,as well as his acclaimed Remembering Yankee Stadium and best-selling Remembering Fenway Park. His highly praised When It Was Just a Game: Remembering the First Super Bowl was published last fall.


His Frommer Baseball Classic – Remembering Yankee Stadium (Second Edition) is his newest sports effort.A link to purchase autographed copies of Frommer Sports Books is at: http://frommerbooks.com/