Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sports Book Reviews by Harvey Frommer

Sports Book Reviews
by Harvey Frommer

This is the time of year that all kinds of sports books with all kinds of slants
appear. For some they are “hot stove reading.” For others, they are part of
the annual cycle – spring books. For your information and reading pleasure,
herewith some to sample. The New York Yankees Home Run Almanac by 
Douglas B. Lyons is a slim paperback (Sports Publishing, $14.99, 177 pages) 
featuring as its sub-title notes “The Bronx Bombers’ Most Historic, Unusual 
and Titanic Dingers.”
Also from a Yankee perspective is The Baby Boomers by Bryan Hoch (Diversion Books, $24.99, 272 pages). It contains most of what any reader would want to know about the new generation of the next Yankee dynasty.
Getting to Us by Seth Davis (Penguin Press, $28.00, 284 pages) focuses on how great coaches makes for great teams. Nine coaches are given the up close and personal and analytical look by Davis. The book is “inside sports” and makes for interesting reading.
The Away Game by Sebastian Abbot (Norton, $26.95, 336 pages) is an in depth look at the quest to find the next great star in the world of soccer. The scout who triggered icon Lionel Messi’s career in Barcelona headed out in 2007 across the continent of Africa on his arduous quest. What Josep Colomer and his team did and how they did it is all part of this fascinating tome.
Court Justice by Ed O’Bannon (Diversion Books, $25.99 304 pages) is focused on the spell-binding story of the author’s battle against the NCAA. For those interested in one man’s search for justice and right, this is the right book for you as the former collegiate star and pro hoopster goes inside his battle with no holds barred.   
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 is an expert on the New York Yankees and has arguably written more books, articles and reviews on the New York Yankees than anyone. 
 A professor for more than two decades in the MALS program at Dartmouth
College, Frommer was dubbed “Dartmouth’s Mr. Baseball” by their alumni
magazine. He’s also the founder of www.HarveyFrommerSports.com.
   His ULTIMATE YANKEE BOOK can be instantly purchased from:
AMAZON: http://www.frommerbooks.com/ultimate-yankees.html.
Article is Copyright © 2018 by Harvey Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide 

Monday, February 12, 2018

How Professional Baseball Began by Harvey Frommer


                            How Professional Baseball Began
Harvey Frommer

      

        With baseball paying out bigger and bigger salaries and the sport continuing to expand its global reach, it is mind-boggling and consciousness-raising to flash back to its simpler times and simple origins as a professional sport, a time of the  Cincinnati Red Stockings - baseball's first professional team.
        Attorney Aaron B. Chapman organized the team and looked upon it as a way to promote the city of Cincinnati, its products and services. And Chapman looked upon Harry Wright as scout, recruiter, player and manger - as a man to get a job done.           
        An English-born former jeweler and cricket player and a veteran of a decade of top-drawer baseball competition, Harry Wright was a strict disciplinarian and a shrewd promoter. He decreed that his team was to wear bright red stockings to set off their white flannel shirts and pants and dark Oxford shoes. The garb was a bit outlandish for the time, but the outfit attracted attention and that was what Wright and Chapman were after.
      The Red Stockings were referred to as a "picked nine". That might have been an exaggeration, but it was a nine picked by Harry Wright.
      The only native of Cincinnati on the team was first baseman Charlie Gould, nicknamed the "bushel basket" because of his ability to snare baseballs. Other members of the team included Wright’s brother George (a star shortstop), who batted .518, drive in 339 runs and hit 54 home runs in 1869; third baseman Fred Waterman; second baseman Cal Sweasy; outfielders Asa Brainard, Dave Birdsall and Andy Leonard; catcher Doug Allison and pitcher Cal McVey. Harry Wright doubled as a relief pitcher and Dick Hurley functioned as a utility player.
        The Red Stockings were the first team to travel across the United States with its players signed and bound to the club for an entire season. Salaries for the team covered the period from March to November and ranged from $800 to a high of $1,400 for George Wright. The lone sub picked up $600. The total payroll for that historic 1869 season was $9,300.
       Playing baseball throughout the Northeast and West, traveling 11,000 miles thanks to the new transcontinental railroad, the Red Stockings won all 69 of their games. They were rewarded with a private audience in Washington as President Ulysses S. Grant complimented what he called "the western Cinderella club" for its skills and winning ways.
    Although the Red Stockings helped boost business wherever they played and their fame increased each day, the team's net profit for 1869 was a miniscule $1.39 after all salaries and expenses were laid out.
     In 1870, the Red Stockings extended their winning streak to 130 games until the Brooklyn Atlantics broke it.
     The team's impact was not for one season, or for two campaigns, but rather for all time. Baseball as a professional sport was now underway. The success of the Red Stockings made it sunset time for the amateur in baseball and dawn for professionalism.

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 is an expert on the New York Yankees and has arguably written more books, articles and reviews on the New York Yankees than anyone.
A professor for more than two decades in the MALS program at Dartmouth College, Frommer was dubbed “Dartmouth’s Mr. Baseball” by their alumni magazine. He’s also the founder of www.HarveyFrommerSports.com where books he has written can be purchased.






Tuesday, February 6, 2018

BoSox Sidebars: Spring Training - by Harvey Frommer

BoSox Sidebars: Spring Training, “The Kid,” Tom Yawkey & more

With the Super Bowl behind us thoughts turn in New England to perhaps the area’s most beloved sports team –the Boston Red Sox. Herewith for your reading pleasure, snippets about the Old Towne Team.
Enjoy.    
Harvey Frommer



Ted Williams and Yogi Berra

MEL PARNELL:  I was 25-years old in 1947 when I went to spring training at Sarasota, Florida, with the Red Sox. There were two spots open on the pitching staff, six of us vyingHarry Dorish got one; I got the other.  
I came into Fenway Park for the first time and saw that leftfield fence, and I thought maybe I had signed with the wrong organization. But it helped me work on making a change in my pitching style. I came up as a fastball pitcher but soon realized I would have to use a lot more breaking stuff. Pitching at Fenway Park makes you a better pitcher as you move along.
I pitched  my first major league game on April 20 against  Washington. Frankie Hayes, an old veteran player, was my catcher. I lost that game, 3–2, on a passed ball. I guess that's why I remember Frankie. 
It truly impressed me as a rookie kid to see Mr. Yawkey on the field taking batting practice with us.  I didn’t see him hit any balls out, but he got some close to the wall. The kids who worked around the ballpark would shag flies for him. When he was done, he would give each one a twenty-dollar bill. 
SAM MELE: I started my major league career on April 15, 1947.  It was against the Philadelphia Athletics at Fenway Park. I walked my first time at bat. Then I doubled off the left field wall. Next I singled. Then I walked again.
I was just thrilled to be there in the outfield with Dom DiMaggio and Ted Williams.    “Any ball you can get, you chase me the hell off," second baseman Bobby Doerr would tell me. "But don't yell ' I got it, I got it' just once. Two or three times and I'll get the hell out of the way." We would never run together and never did a ball drop in. 
DOM DIMAGGIO:  Sam Mele wasn’t a bad outfielder.  Ted Williams wasn’t a bad outfielder either especially at Fenway  - - he played that wall nicely.   I enjoyed a challenge, and Fenway Park did offer a challenge because of its structure. I mastered the ballpark and got along beautifully with the fences; they didn’t hurt me and I didn’t hurt them.
I did not shoot for the Green Monster.  No.  I was an all-around hitter, a line-drive hitter, a damn good one too.  I loved to hit in Fenway.
SAM MELE:  I was moved around by the hand signals. Ted and Dom were veterans and I was just beginning my career. Well, every team was different naturally.  Guys hit to right field no power, give me the palm, go in.  Go back against the good hitters, like Mo Skowron, go back.  He had good power to right field.  
Right field, oh how fucking tough that was to play. The sun came right over the stands.  And the  carom along the right field fence… you cannot go directly towards the wall for the ball.  You gotta surround it because it curves.  And if it ever goes by you it would end up, oh, half way to centerfield.  
At that time, they did not have the walls padded. I went into the right field wall and banged into it.  Right after that they padded the right field  wall. I went into the bullpen fence. Later on they padded the bullpen fence.
  After every game, everybody--Dom, Pesky, me, Doerr--would all gather around Williams' locker and we would talk about what happened that day. We would talk about what was going to happen tomorrow, and if Ted didn't know about the pitcher for the next day, he would ask everyone of us, maybe we saw him and he didn't, maybe we saw him in the minors, maybe we knew something about the guy....  
I always sat next to Williams in the dugout.  Matter of fact he would call me over if I didn't. "You sit here." He used to tell me about the pitcher: “Look for this, look for that, he's fast, but his ball doesn't move as much as somebody else’s.“   
If he didn't know that pitcher he would go up and down the whole dugout wanting to know: "Has anybody seen this guy?  How's his curveball?   Slow?  Does it go down and in?  Has he got a sinker?”  Things like that.
On May 13, 1947, Ted Williams more than made good on a promise to a boy in the Malden hospital that he would hit a homer for him. “The Kid” hit two home runs for the kid. Both were pounded to left field, the first pair he'd hit there in his career. The roundtrippers paced  a 19-6 walloping of the White Sox. 
The Red Sox's longtime owner was never enthusiastic about night baseball. As The Boston Globe's Hy Hurwitz reported, "Yawkey is strictly in the baseball business" and added that Yawkey didn't "believe in fashion shows, nylon hosiery, door prizes and other nonsense." 
Finally, bowing to League pressure, Yawkey yielded, agreeing  to 14 night games, two with each American League team. The Red Sox became the last club in their league to play under the lights at home.
ABOUT 
HARVEY
FROMMER 
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, DrHarvey Frommer is an expert on the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox  and has arguably written more books, articles and reviews on the Yankees than anyone. In 2010, he was honored by the City of New York to serve as historical consultant for the re-imagined old Yankee Stadium site, Heritage Field
A professor now for more than two decades in the MALS program at Dartmouth College, Frommer was dubbed “Dartmouth’s Mr. Baseball” by their alumni magazine. He’s also the founder of www.HarveyFrommerSports.com. Autographed copies of his books are available from the author. 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

THE First Super Bowl - Excerpted from When It was Just a Game

THE First Super Bowl
                                    Excerpted from When It was Just a Game

    Harvey Frommer




With the next Super Bowl almost upon the globe and ready to take center stage, we flash back to the first one whose name officially was the AFL-NFL Championship Game. My book has many oral history memories.  Herewith, just a few of those who were there at the game remember the time:
ANN BUSSEL: At that time I was living with my husband in New Jersey, and he was in the scrap iron and metal business. We were attending in Los Angeles a convention, a meeting between dealers in that industry.  A gentleman had extra tickets that he could not sell to the Super Bowl.  That was hard to believe. So he offered them for free to men attending the convention. My husband was a big football fan, a fan of the New York Giants.  He was thrilled to go.
This gentleman rented a bus and offered free transportation to and from the game. That is how I was had the privilege to attend the first Super Bowl. We got on the bus that he chartered. It was loaded up with about 30 or 40 people, all in a happy and party mood.
Lo and behold, we arrived at the Coliseum and wow, the tickets were on the 50 yard line. I really did not know anything about the Kansas City Chiefs and not much about Green Bay aside from Bart Starr. Out of gratitude for the man who gave us the tickets, we rooted for Kansas City.  Their fans there were pretty happy the first half of the game.
It was a pleasant day. It was a plus plus day. And when I tell my children and especially my grandchildren that their grandmother attended the first Super Bowl, they say “What?”
I did not think to save my program or my ticket.
FRED WALLIN: We were among a minority that watched the game on television in the Los Angeles area. We had a directional antenna on the roof to get reception from San Diego.  We had thirty friends over to the house. Everyone had a good time. In the second half, the picture became fuzzy. Dad asked me to go up onto the roof to move the antenna. It was quite a day. The next week we attached a rotor so that could adjust the antenna electronically. 
DOUG KELLY: I was a senior in high school. We were living in Menlo Park, California. The television set was in the living room, and it was in color which had recently come into vogue. We had to get up from time to time and adjust the color. We watched on CBS. My Dad loved Ray Scott. Looking at that first game and all the stuff that surrounded it, you would never guess in a million years that it would become what it is today. 
 Little did I realize that I would join the Kansas City Chiefs organization in 1974, working in public relations. There was still a pretty good core of players who had played in that first Super Bowl, but the problem was they were all 7 years older.
LU VAUGHN: I’d never been on a junket before but through the Meadowbrook Country Club in Kansas City, a group of guys got together, and we chartered a jet to go out to Los Angeles for the Super Bowl. The trip cost me about $200. I think the ticket was around $10 for the game.  I was about 34-35 years old at that time.
We went to Las Vegas first where we were comped food, beverages, and lodging.   We were at the Sands Hotel, one of the earliest of the great places out there. We even were comped to see a show at the Flamingo. Bill Cosby was the celebrity.
               Our flight from Vegas to LA did not happen – Los Angeles was souped in. So they woke us up at 5 o’clock in the morning at the hotel to bus us from Las Vegas to the LA Coliseum. We had 3 buses for about 100 of us, all Kansas City Chief fans. 
After about a 5 hour journey, we arrived. We missed the first quarter.  Our seats were not really good, more to the end zone than anyplace else. We wore jackets and shirts and other things that let people know that we were Kansas City Chiefs fans. And we were harassed. People teased us and said Kansas City was going to be badly beaten. But of course we thought otherwise. We felt that we stood a good chance of being competitive in the ball game, and maybe winning.
STEVE FOLVEN: I was about 19 years old and living at home in Lowell, Mass and in my first year of college. The biggest game of the year at the Boston Garden was at twelve o’clock – the Celtics versus Philadelphia. Bill Russell versus Wilt Chamberlain.
        My two buddies Billy Brooks and Charlie Gallagher and I were going to the game. In those days you could go the day of the game and actually get a ticket. Billy Brooks had the car. He said we would all have to leave the Celtic game a bit early to get home in time to see the big football game between Kansas City and Green bay. That was at 4 o’clock.
            We got to the Garden about eleven o’clock or so. I had attended early Mass. We tried to sneak in and pay the ushers some money, but there weren’t any ushers around. We got in for six bucks or something like that. We had pretty good seats, and it was a great game. It was too bad we had to leave early in the fourth quarter.
            I was a Boston Patriots fan in the AFL. But to me the AFL was a minor league compared to the NFL. I thought it was nice that finally the two leagues were meeting in a championship game. I felt the Chiefs were going to get creamed.
The first half I was surprised. The Chiefs looked okay. But I wanted the Packers to win. They had Lombardi and Starr and Hornung and Taylor and all that great talent. They were always winning, always on television.
Our only TV set was black and white, a small one, in the living room. I watched the entire game on NBC –Gowdy and Christman. The next day I read about the game in the newspapers – it didn’t get that much play.

BILL GUTMAN: I followed the birth of the American Football League. In the New York City area and its surroundings there was interest in the game not only among fans but also the media. I was living in Stamford, Connecticut and was two years away from beginning my writing career.
The talk in the media and popular conversation was about the need of the NFL to win that game. A defeat in that game would have been crushing to the old league. There was also talk: "Thank God, it's Lombardi" and the Packers who are there representing the National Football League.”
 My feeling was it was an unknown thing - two teams, two leagues that have never met before. You just did not know what to expect. At the first snap, however, when the two lines collided then you realized it was just another football game and all the talk meant nothing.
I watched the game on both CBS Channel 2 and NBC 4 in my room alone at home. The set had a 13 inch black and white screen. The antenna was rabbit ears, but the reception was pretty good.  I was a sports fan, not a fan of either league.  I enjoyed the game.
SUSAN LOMBARDI:  I was in Marymount College in Boca Raton. It was a finishing school and there were a lot of politicians’ daughters there.  It was warm but I wanted to go to the game in California but I knew my father being the teacher that he was would never pull me out. He wanted me to be in school.            
 I watched the game on a 19 inch nothing TV in the middle of the community area in our dorm with my college girlfriends. The nuns, our teachers, wandered in and out. They let us have snacks.  I was just another student. This was the first time I ever watched my father on TV. I had a difficult time watching it because I had always been at the game watching him live. At Lambeau, in Green Bay we had A1 seats on the 50 yard line. When we went to away games, the seats were good but nothing like Lambeau. For me being in Boca in a community room watching my father and the Packers on TV - -it was a strange experience.
(Autographed, mint, discounted copies of WHEN IT WAS JUST A GAME are available direct from the author)

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 is an expert on the New York Yankees and has arguably written more books, articles and reviews on the New York Yankees than anyone. In 2010, he was honored by the City of New York to serve as historical consultant for the re-imagined old Yankee Stadium site, Heritage Field. A professor for more than two decades in the MALS program at Dartmouth College, Frommer was dubbed “Dartmouth’s Mr. Baseball” by their alumni magazine. He’s also the founder of       www.HarveyFrommerSports.com.
Just in time for 2018 is Frommer’s The Ultimate Yankee Book:   http://www.frommerbooks.com/ultimate-yankees.html


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

IBWAA SELECTS BARRY BONDS, ROGER CLEMENS, FOUR OTHERS IN 2018 HALL OF FAME VOTE

IBWAA SELECTS BARRY BONDS, ROGER CLEMENS, FOUR OTHERS IN 2018 HALL OF FAME VOTE
 
Los Angeles – In its ninth annual Hall of Fame election announced Wednesday, the IBWAA added six players to its digital Hall of Fame.
 
Chipper Jones was the top vote-getter, with 168 out of 170 ballots cast (98.82%). Jim Thome was the runner-up, with 154 votes (90.59%), followed by Mike Mussina (146 votes, 85.88%), Roger Clemens (133, 78.24%), Barry Bonds (130, 76.47%) and Trevor Hoffman (128, 75.29%). A 75% threshold is required for election.
 
Edgar Martinez (2016) and Vladimir Guerrero (2017) did not appear on the 2018 IBWAA Hall of Fame ballot because they have already been elected in previous years.
 
With those exceptions, the IBWAA ballot was identical to the one used by the BBWAA. All voting is done electronically.
 
Per a group decision in January, 2014, the IBWAA allows members to vote for up to 15 players, instead of the previous 10, beginning with the 2015 election. In the 2018 election, 95 members voted for 10 or more candidates. Twenty-seven members voted for 15 candidates. The average vote per member was 10.10.
 
Complete voting results are as follows:
 
Player Name
Votes
Percentage
Chipper Jones
168
98.82%
Jim Thome
154
90.59%
Mike Mussina
146
85.88%
Roger Clemens
133
78.24%
Barry Bonds
130
76.47%
Trevor Hoffman
128
75.29%
Curt Schilling
116
68.24%
Larry Walker
111
65.29%
Fred McGriff
81
47.65%
Manny Ramirez
76
44.71%
Scott Rolen
76
44.71%
Gary Sheffield
67
39.41%
Jeff Kent
61
35.88%
Andruw Jones
57
33.53%
Billy Wagner
55
32.35%
Omar Vizquel
48
28.24%
Sammy Sosa
47
27.65%
Johan Santana
36
21.18%
Hideki Matsui
8
4.71%
Jamie Moyer
6
3.53%
Chris Carpenter
4
2.35%
Carlos Lee
2
1.18%
Johnny Damon
2
1.18%
Kerry Wood
2
1.18%
Aubrey Huff
1
0.59%
Brad Lidge
1
0.59%
Jason Isringhausen
1
0.59%
Carlos Zambrano
0
0.00%
Kevin Millwood
0
0.00%
Livan Hernandez
0
0.00%
Orlando Hudson
0
0.00%
 
Ballot tabulations by Brian Wittig & Associates.
 
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.
 
In 2010, the IBWAA began voting in its own relief pitcher category, establishing the Rollie Fingers American League Relief Pitcher of the Year and the Hoyt Wilhelm National League Relief Pitcher of the Year Awards.
 
Among others, IBWAA members include Tim Brown, Yahoo! Sports; Craig Calcaterra, NBC Sports Hardball Talk; Bill Chuck, Billy-Ball.com; Chris De Luca, Chicago Sun-Times; Jon Heyman and Jesse Spector, Today’s Knuckleball; Danny Knobler, Bleacher Report; Kevin Kennedy; Kostya Kennedy, Sports Illustrated; Brian Kenny, MLBN; Will Leitch, Sports on Earth; Bruce Markusen, Hardball Times; Ross Newhan; Dayn Perry and Matt Snyder, CBSSports.com; Tom Hoffarth and J.P. Hoornstra Los Angeles Daily News; Pedro Moura, Los Angeles Times; Tracy Ringolsby, MLB.com; Ken Rosenthal, The Athletic; Eno Sarris, FanGraphs; David Schoenfield, ESPN.com; Jim Bowden 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. Members must be 18 years of age to apply.

For more information please visit 
www.ibwaa.com.

Contact:
 
Howard Cole
Founding Director, IBWAA
baseballsavvy@aol.com