Sunday, March 7, 2021

42 Today - Jackie Robinson and His Legacy by Michael G. Long - NEW BOOK! GREAT READ!

 

As We Approach Baseball Season,
A Great New Baseball Book is Out!



42 Today - Jackie Robinson and His Legacy
by Michael G. Long

This is a great chronicle of and collection of stories about
one of the most impactable players to ever play the game.
"42 Today" is a book of essays by Long and 13 other writers
who each write about the impact Robinson had on
baseball, politics, civil rights, business, activism, and
so much more.  This is much more than a baseball book!

All of the contributors added their own perspective of Robinson and his impact on baseball and life.  For me, the essay from Peter Dreier stood out the most.  I enjoyed his insight on Robinson's contributions and insight on politics and business.  I was fascinated to learn more about Robinson's support for candidates based on those who made real change, not just political party.  I did not know he went back and forth on support for Nixon and Kennedy and even had to end his support of Nixon just 3 weeks prior to the election.  His statements on leaving the GOP were staunch, and was followed by his support of Humphrey over Nixon in 1968.   And his refusal to participate in the 1969 Old Timer's Game really hit home as he knew baseball still had a long way to go to break the color barrier. The confrontation between Bob Feller and Jackie summed it all up.

This is a highly recommended read for any baseball fan,
but also anyone who wants to learn more about REAL change and how Jackie went about it.

Grab your copy today at Amazon and other great retailers!


Thursday, February 4, 2021

Babe Ruth's 126th Birthday Celebration! February 6, 2021!

Greetings, All Fans of Babe Ruth!





This Saturday, February 6, is Babe Ruth's 126th Birthday, in celebration of which a toast will be held, in tribute to both his birthday, and to his immortal season of 1921 - the greatest individual slugging season of all time.

The toast is scheduled for 19:21aka 7:21 pm, 
at whatever location works best for each individual fan, whether it be at home, or out and about with friends and fellow fans.  The toast can be made with any drink desired - a Big League drink, or one of Babe's favorite soft drinks, or whatever else you may wish!

As a gift to Babe and his fans for both his Birthday and this Centennial Celebration of his immortal season of 1921, baseball historians from around the country have created the new website linked below, devoted exclusively to Babe's 1921 season:

"Introduction" 

"By the Numbers" (Sabermetrics analyses)
 
"Diagrams"

"Images" 

Thursday, December 31, 2020

How they came to be called the Yankees by Bryan Hoch

 If not for the ingenuity of a turn-of-the-century newspaperman searching to save letters, the subway station at the corner of 161st Street and River Avenue might be better known as the stop for Highlanders Stadium.

Many believe that the Yankees shed their original Highlanders nickname in 1913, when they abandoned rickety Hilltop Park in favor of the Polo Grounds. They shared that ballpark with the Giants until 1923, when the team moved to a state-of-the-art facility that showcased the game’s greatest attraction in Babe Ruth.

Yet the first published reference to the upstart American League franchise as the “Yankees” occurred on April 7, 1904, when the New York Evening Journal reported on a successful Spring Training camp under the headline: “YANKEES WILL START HOME FROM SOUTH TODAY.”

One week later, the same newspaper’s coverage of the season opener was headlined: “YANKEES BEAT BOSTON,” with the term also appearing in the lead sentence of an article chronicling New York’s 8-2 victory over a team that was not yet known as the Red Sox. There were numerous references to the ballclub as the Yankees before 1913, including advertising and tobacco cards.

Historians believe that the name “Yankees” owes its success to the newspapermen, who were grateful to find a more succinct option than “Highlanders” or “Hilltoppers.” Marty Appel’s excellent franchise history, “Pinstripe Empire,” unearthed a 1922 issue of Baseball Magazine in which writer Fred Lieb reported:

“[Highlanders] was awkward to put in newspaper headlines. Finally, the sporting editor at one of the New York evening papers exclaimed, ‘The hell with this Highlanders. I am going to call this team the Yanks. That will fit into heads better.’”

A 1943 history of the franchise credits sports editor Jim Price of the New York Press for being the first to refer to the team as the Yankees.

The name Highlanders had never grown popular with fans, who found the Yankees moniker's patriotic symbolism more appealing, calling upon the Yankee Doodle days of the American Revolution. It should be noted that this was less than 40 years removed from the end of the Civil War.

Other nicknames of the time included the “Greater New Yorks,” “Invaders” and “Griffiths,” the latter of which was a reference to Clark Griffith, the club’s manager from 1903-08.

No formal announcement was made to confirm the full-time adoption of the nickname, but by 1913, it was generally accepted that the team would forever be known as the Yankees. Joe DiMaggio’s proclamation that he wanted to “thank the Good Lord for making me a Highlander” just wouldn’t have had the same ring to it.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

FACT TRANSCENDS MYTH: Babe Ruth In 1921

FACT TRANSCENDS MYTH: 
Babe Ruth In 1921

By Bill Jenkinson, Baseball Historian

https://baberuth1921.jimdosite.com

Throughout our nation’s history, sports have served as a welcome diversion in our darkest hours. That’s the way it was during our two World Wars, and so it is now. 2020 has been hard for almost all of us, so it’s natural to hope for better days in 2021. If we follow custom and look to the sporting world for much-needed comfort, happily, we see a dear, old friend waiting for us.

There is the smiling face of the beloved and legendary Babe Ruth. Why Babe? First, he has been there for us before. In 1918, as he evolved into baseball’s pre-eminent player, Ruth entertained the country in unprecedented fashion as the USA battled foreign enemies in Europe and a deadly pandemic here at home. Babe personally overcame the “Spanish Flu” twice during that tempestuous year. By the early-1930s, Ruth was an even bigger force in our lives as he infused America with optimism and hope during the Great Depression.

In between, he was also there during happier times in the 1920s. Babe was the perfect symbol for the unbridled joy and raucous spontaneity of those Roaring Twenties. Twice during that tumultuous decade, Ruth was credited with saving the game of baseball. First, in 1920, the Chicago White Sox were discovered to have deliberately lost the 1919 World Series while taking payoffs from a gambling syndicate. The resulting “Black Sox” scandal threatened to destroy the integrity of the sport, but Babe Ruth’s incomparable charisma and peerless ability provided the ideal alternatives to the American public. They embraced Ruth and his unbridled positivity over the gloom of the Black Sox, and baseball survived.

Then in 1926, when iconic superstars TY Cobb and Tris Speaker were implicated in yet another gambling controversy, Babe Ruth calmly inserted himself into the national dialogue. While defending his two long-time rivals, he promised to lead baseball to its greatest-season-ever in 1927. That’s exactly what happened, and the entire episode faded into the background. Only The Babe possessed the commanding leadership and benign gravitas to achieve such a stunning turnaround.


Now, as we stagger into 2021, here he is again, inviting us to celebrate the 100th anniversary of what is likely the greatest achievement in the annals of sports. It’s true that Babe Ruth’s most celebrated season occurred in 1927 when he recorded a then-record sixty home runs while leading his New York Yankees to an historic World Series championship. However, when we look closely at what Babe did in 1921, it truly boggles the mind. He performed athletic deeds that can only be described as “super human.”

That is saying a lot. So much so, that no right-thinking person should accept that implausible assertion without solid proof. This website is intended to provide that proof. As you process through the site, Babe will be with you, asking you to suspend your disbelief for a little while. He wants to share his extraordinary God-given gifts, thereby helping us to see the light at the end of the current darkness. Of all those physical gifts, his unparalleled batting power was the most transcendent. Accordingly, this narrative will primarily view Ruth’s 1921 season through the lens of that unique power.

It all started during a blizzard at New York’s Pennsylvania Station on the night of February 20, 1921. That was where and when Babe Ruth boarded a train with his wife, Helen, and headed for pre-spring training in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Babe had been there before, formally training with the Boston Red Sox at the Spa City from 1915 through 1918. In fact, it was in Hot Springs in March, 1918 when Ruth had stunned the baseball world by hitting the first-ever 500-foot home run. Until then, such a stupendous drive had been considered not humanly possible.

For context, it should be understood that even today, after a century of vast advancements in strength and conditioning science, 500-foot homers are extremely rare. Extremely. During the first twenty-one seasons of the 21st Century, there have been fewer than five such drives recorded by the combined rosters of every Major League team. For any man to reach that performance level a hundred years in the past, it represents a compelling tale for the ages. Even 450-foot homers are unusual in MLB since the majority of Big Leaguers never hit a single drive that far in their entire careers. 

Babe remained in Hot Springs for twelve days where he never touched a baseball. Instead, Ruth wisely focused on his conditioning, playing golf and hiking fifteen miles a day over in the Ouachita Mountains. However, upon arriving to a hero’s welcome in Shreveport, Louisiana on March 6, Babe was more than ready to play ball. Shreveport’s Gasser Park had been chosen by the Yankees as their official spring training center, and Ruth showed up there the next morning with obvious determination. In his very first batting practice, The Bambino walloped nine drives out of the stadium, including an eye-popping shot high over the 424-foot sign in center field. It was instantly hailed as the longest poke in city history.

Yet, despite that impressive beginning, as well as the following six months of exceptional success, 1921 was not easy for Babe Ruth. It may be necessary, therefore, to briefly digress in the chronological telling of the 1921 Ruthian saga. Typical of his entire life, Babe had to work hard for everything positive that he accomplished that year. For starters, Ruth was badly overweight for the first time, taking the scales at somewhere over 230 pounds. As most know, Babe battled such weight problems for the remainder of his life. He had also sprained his right ankle in Arkansas, and was noticeably limping.

Due to his immense popularity, Babe Ruth’s schedule was brutally demanding. He seldom enjoyed a day of rest since the Yankees arranged unofficial exhibition games almost every time there was a so-called open date. In 1921 alone, there were ten such strength-sapping appearances during the regular season. Additionally, as early as April of 1921 and recurring again in September, there were reports of flare-ups to Ruth’s chronically injured right knee. Then in the World Series in October, Babe so badly damaged his left elbow that the resulting infection was actually regarded as a potential amputation scenario.

Upon missing the final three games of that Series, the Yanks suffered a gut-wrenching defeat to their hometown rival New York Giants. Lastly, Babe was victimized by an odious power play on the part of dictatorial commissioner Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis who forbad him to participate in his annual post-season Barnstorming Tour. When Ruth stood up to him, Landis suspended Babe for the first five weeks of the 1922 season. The Judge was soon forced to roll back the restrictions that he had so frivolously invoked to create the confrontation. But the suspension stood. It was truly galling for Ruth, but it never diminished his astounding achievements over the course of the earlier 1921 campaign.

Returning the discussion to Shreveport (specifically on March 8, 1921), Babe essentially duplicated his record drive from the preceding day during an intra-squad game. The ball rocketed past the flagpole in center field, and left everyone dumbfounded. Eight days later versus the Cardinals in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Ruth went 6 for 6, including three more home runs. The homer in the 4th inning cleared a two story house across the street in right centerfield. Babe added two more long circuit shots against the Brooklyn Dodgers back in Shreveport on March 27, barely missing a third as his colossal right field blow drifted just foul.

Ruth recorded additional powerful blasts all through the South after concluding camp in Shreveport. The Yanks worked their way north for the season opener at New York’s Polo Grounds on April 13 with games scheduled at every stop. In the process, Babe bashed terrific drives in New Orleans, Birmingham, and Winston-Salem. When he went 5 for 5 in that opening game versus Philadelphia (three singles & two doubles), it was easy to see that Ruth was poised for an historic season. By October, he had performed feats of batting power that no one has approached in the intervening one-hundred years.

When Babe and his New York Yankee buddies visited Washington, D.C.’s Griffith Stadium on May 6, he had already belted six home runs. Then, in the 3rd inning, Ruth smashed number seven high over the right centerfield scoreboard for a 480-foot drive that was quantified as the longest-ever in the Nation’s Capital. That standard lasted precisely one day when Babe confronted the legendary Walter Johnson the next afternoon. Connecting with one of the Big Train’s world-renowned fastballs, Ruth launched an astonishing drive just to the right of center field that sailed far over the 48-foot-high ramparts before landing about 520 feet from home plate. The gracious Johnson never forgot the moment, and spoke of this event with awed admiration until the day he died.

Babe continued on his remarkable power curve within the week by smashing respective drives of 490 feet and 475 feet in Cleveland and St. Louis on May 14 and May 25. By the end of the month, Ruth’s home run tally stood at fifteen.

When Babe faced Ty Cobb’s Detroit Tigers at the Polo Grounds on June 13, there was an interesting sub-plot. Cobb resented Ruth for displacing him as the sport’s greatest player, and they often feuded both on and off the field. This was some years before their eventual rapprochement, so their mutual bitterness was still evident to all. Due to a pitching shortage, Babe Ruth actually started on the mound that day, and hurled five innings to record the win. Along the way, Babe clobbered the ball over Cobb’s head to the third row of the distant center field bleachers. No other batted ball had ever reached those seats, and Ty’s envy and embarrassment were palpable.

In a seemingly endless series of Ruth’s “truth is stranger than fiction” episodes, Babe bombed another Herculean drive straight over Ty Cobb’s position in center field the very next afternoon. This 480-foot home run topped the first one by about ten feet, landing in the seventh row of those same bleachers. Sadly for the Georgia Peach, Cobb’s emotional state degraded to total humiliation.

Six days later at Boston’s Fenway Park, the Sultan of Swat somehow elevated his power output, and re-visited the rarified 500-foot plateau for the first of many more times during the remainder of that improbable season. Smashing the ball to the top of a garage across Lansdowne Avenue in deepest left centerfield, Ruth enhanced his resume with a drive measured at exactly 500 feet. That ballpark is still there, as is the garage, thereby making this calculation relatively easy. Please also consider that this confirmed 500-footer was directed slightly to the opposite field. For the record, Babe drove another homer of about equal distance high into Fenway’s right centerfield bleachers just seventy-two hours later on June 23. At the end of this month, Ruth’s home run log included twenty-eight entries.

Soon after, Babe played at Detroit’s Navin Field on July 18, and did something that no one had ever done before, or since, and possibly never again. Facing left-hander Bert Cole in the 8th inning, Ruth powered a baseball which carried a confirmed minimum distance of over 550 feet. To be sure, the conditions were perfect, but that linear flight measurement is hard to fathom.

Ruth had walked in all four prior at-bats, so he must have been pumping adrenaline like a wild man when he faced Cole in the eighth. Even more importantly, a strong wind was blowing from the southwest at about 21 MPH straight toward the center field corner. That’s where Babe directed his thunderous blast. As the ball soared on and on, according to multiple first-hand newspaper accounts, the fans gasped in utter astonishment. How could they not? Ultimately, the horsehide sphere flew high over the junction of the right and left field walls which perpendicularly met at the remote corner of Trumbull Avenue and Cherry Street. Incredulous club officials produced stadium blueprints proving that the subject exit point was situated 560 feet from home plate.

Not surprisingly, there was a nearly hysterical reaction to the event, and Navin Field soon became a kind of sacred pilgrimage destination. For months afterward, folks showed up to see for themselves. That included future Hall of Fame slugger Sam Thompson who had been one of the 19th Century’s mightiest batsmen himself. Sam had actually seen the drive in person, but had been so overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude that he kept coming back with invited friends.

Estimates and alleged measurements abounded, ranging from 575 feet to a ridiculous 666 feet. Respected Detroit Free Press writer Harry Bullion eventually produced an affidavit swearing that the exact flight distance had been 585 feet. Let’s be conservative, and acknowledge that Babe’s historic masterpiece flew about 575 feet. As of 2021, it remains the best credentialed entry for the claim of the longest drive in the history of official Major League games.

By the end of July, Ruth had reached forty homers, featuring twin monstrous drives at the Polo Grounds on the last two days of that month. The first crashed into a bleacher seat just under the stadium clock in deep right centerfield, and was estimated at 520 feet. The following day, Babe substantially surmounted the right field grandstand roof near the center field end of that towering structure. The battered ball returned to earth far out in Manhattan field, about 525 feet from where it started.

Nothing changed as of August 17 at Chicago’s Comiskey Park. When Babe’s monumental drive sailed high over the bleachers in deep right center, White Sox employees determined that it had left the park some 475 feet from home plate. Writers working in the press box misunderstood the data, and reported that Ruth’s homer had flown the TOTAL of 475 feet. They were way wrong, but the historical damage had been done. This blow may have rivaled the July 18 Detroit homer for the status of MLB’s longest-ever home run, but it has mostly been ignored by historians for the just-mentioned reason. It had to have flown a minimum distance of 530 feet.

Another Ruth nemesis of that time was fiery Giants’ manager John “Mugsy” McGraw. As discussed, McGraw eventually got his way in the 1921 World Series, but, for most of that year, he had been living a nightmare. Like Ty Cobb, Mugsy bitterly resented Ruth for proving that his old “one base at a time” brand of baseball was obsolete. Until Ruth had arrived in New York, McGraw and the Giants had been the unrivaled kingpins of both the city and the Polo Grounds (the stadium used by both squads). Then, suddenly with Babe in the line-up, the Yankees had taken over as the most popular team in the Big Apple. With Ruth playing half his games at those Polo Grounds, Babe regularly blasted epic home runs there. The fans loved it, but it made McGraw rabidly jealous. So it was on September 2.

Taking the field against the Washington Nationals, Ruth swung from his heels in the 7th inning, and sent a sizzling line drive toward right centerfield. A batted ball on that low trajectory should have yielded to the common laws of gravity and human limitations, and returned to field level long before reaching home run distance. However, this ball had been struck by Babe Ruth, and normalcy did not apply. It kept going and going, ultimately passing beyond the far corner of the grandstand and attached pedestrian ramp. It landed out on Manhattan Field after flying somewhere close to 515 feet. It is not unreasonable to rank this drive as the hardest-hit-ball in baseball history. Of course, nobody knows for sure, but this Ruthian monstrosity deserves to be in that conversation.

Babe’s performance never waned. He just kept slugging the baseball harder and farther than any other human being who ever picked up a bat. Competing against Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics at Philly’s Shibe Park on September 9, Ruth was anxious to complete his unique mastery of every American League stadium. Up to that time, he had recorded 500-foot homers in five of the eight ballparks. There were also a couple of others nearly that far in Cleveland and St. Louis. He needed only a tape measure blow in the City of Brotherly Love to complete his long distance tour. Predictably, he got it.

His resounding drive just to the left of dead center field in the 4th inning, sailed completely over the ground level tier of bleachers and through a tree on the far side of Somerset Street. Mack’s groundskeeper visited the landing area after the game, and concluded that Babe’s homer had traveled 510 feet in the air. And ponder this, if you will: Babe Ruth may have established long-distance hitting records in all American League towns in that single year!

By the time Ruth had finished the regular season on October 2, he had amassed the new record of fifty-nine four-baggers. That was truly wondrous, but there have been a few others who have done as well in that regard (or even better). The real wonder is how far those homers soared through the skies in those eight cities. Nobody, absolutely nobody, has ever come close to the pure animal power exhibited by George Herman Ruth in 1921. Amazingly, he personally approached his own Olympian 1921 standard in other years, but no one has ever challenged him.

Who were the next strongest? That is an appropriate question. Jimmie Foxx was awesome in 1932 as was Mickey Mantle in 1956. In fact, the Mighty Mick is probably the strongest all-around power-athlete (batting, running & throwing) in baseball annals. Moving forward, Dick Allen was similarly spectacular in 1966, and contemporary Frank Howard was his equal two years later. As most of us can recall, Mark McGwire launched dozens of tape measure missiles in 1998. He has been honorably succeeded by Giancarlo Stanton who is the unquestioned prince of long distance slugging so far in the 21st Century. They have all been masterful, as have many others since Babe Ruth left the scene.

Yet, there can only be one “Greatest of All Time,” and that is the magnificent Bambino. Don’t bother trying to explain the bizarre phenomenon of his incredibly mysterious ability. Babe almost certainly possessed unusually high levels of so-called fast-twitch muscle fibers. But, he’s long gone and physical examinations are not possible. Call him a “biological aberration.” Refer to him as a “freak of nature.” Think of him as an “anthropological  abnormality.” Babe Ruth was all of those things… and more.

He also remains the greatest showman in the history of American sports. In real time, he was adored by the masses. Rich or poor. Young or old. Black or white. It didn’t seem to matter. Even the emotionally challenged Ty Cobb eventually came to care deeply about Babe Ruth. He couldn’t help himself. Over time, The Babe wore him down with basic human kindness along with the largess of his benevolent soul.

The guy had a way about him that no one else could copy. Not then, not ever. Ruth was astonishingly successful in his chosen field, but, somehow, seemed vulnerable and relatable. Babe always got back up after being knocked down, and folks loved him for it. When they saw those home runs climbing into the heavens (or simply read about them), it was like experiencing a miracle. Perhaps, they were. No mortal man should have been able to strike a baseball with such unnatural force. So, let’s celebrate this anniversary and thank The Babe for the dreamlike memories.      


Copyright, 2020

Saturday, November 7, 2020

IBWAA SELECTS HENDRIKS, WILLIAMS IN 2020 RELIEVER OF THE YEAR VOTE

 

IBWAA SELECTS HENDRIKS, WILLIAMS IN 2020 RELIEVER OF THE YEAR VOTE

 

The Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) announced the winners of the IBWAA Reliever of the Year awards Friday: Liam Hendriks of the Oakland Athletics and Devin Williams of the Milwaukee Brewers. This is the IBWAA’s 11th annual election for these awards. All IBWAA members were eligible to vote.

Election results are as follows:

AL Rollie Fingers Award:

1st Place: Liam Hendriks, Oakland Athletics- 529 points
2nd Place: Brad Hand, Cleveland Indians- 248 points
3rd Place: Alex Colomé, Chicago White Sox- 135 points

NL Hoyt Wilhelm Award:

1st Place: Devin Williams, Milwaukee Brewers- 358 points
2nd Place: Josh Hader, Milwaukee Brewers- 144 points
3rd Place: Edwin Díaz, New York Mets- 119 points

The IBWAA endeavors to serve the baseball writing community, representing more than 600 baseball content creators. We strive to increase visibility, networking, and opportunities for all of our members. Voting for full season awards takes place in September of each year, with selections announced in November. The IBWAA also holds a Hall of Fame election in December of each year, with results announced the following January.

Association membership is open to any and all Internet baseball writers and content creators. For more information please visit www.ibwaa.com.

Contact:

Daniel R. Epstein and Jonathan Becker
Co-Directors, IBWAA
ibwaa2020@gmail.com

IBWAA SELECTS ABREU, FREEMAN IN 2020 MVP VOTE

 

IBWAA SELECTS ABREU, FREEMAN IN 2020 MVP VOTE

 

The Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) announced the winners of the IBWAA Most Valuable Player awards Thursday: José Abreu of the Chicago White Sox and Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves. This is the IBWAA’s 12th annual election for these awards. All IBWAA members were eligible to vote.

Election results are as follows:

AL:

1st Place: José Abreu, Chicago White Sox- 1,421 points
2nd Place: José Ramírez, Cleveland Indians- 970 points
3rd Place: Shane Bieber, Cleveland Indians- 857 points

NL:

1st Place: Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves- 1,587 points
2nd Place: Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodger- 1,173 points
3rd Place: Fernando Tatís Jr., San Diego Padres- 947 points

The IBWAA endeavors to serve the baseball writing community, representing more than 600 baseball content creators. We strive to increase visibility, networking, and opportunities for all of our members. Voting for full season awards takes place in September of each year, with selections announced in November. The IBWAA also holds a Hall of Fame election in December of each year, with results announced the following January.

Association membership is open to any and all Internet baseball writers and content creators. For more information please visit www.ibwaa.com.

Contact:

Daniel R. Epstein and Jonathan Becker
Co-Directors, IBWAA
ibwaa2020@gmail.com

IBWAA SELECTS BAUER, BIEBER IN 2020 CY YOUNG VOTE

IBWAA SELECTS BAUER, BIEBER IN 2020 CY YOUNG VOTE

The Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) announced the winners of the IBWAA Cy Young awards Wednesday: Trevor Bauer of the Cincinnati Reds and Shane Bieber of the Cleveland Indians. This is the IBWAA’s 12th annual election for these awards. All IBWAA members were eligible to vote.

Election results are as follows:

AL:

1st Place: Shane Bieber, Cleveland Indians- 937 points
2nd Place: Kenta Maeda, Minnesota Twins- 328 points
3rd Place: Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees- 216 points

NL:

1st Place: Trevor Bauer, Cincinnati Reds- 628 points
2nd Place: Yu Darvish, Chicago Cubs- 517 points
3rd Place: Jacob deGrom, New York Mets- 465 points

The IBWAA endeavors to serve the baseball writing community, representing more than 600 baseball content creators. We strive to increase visibility, networking, and opportunities for all of our members. Voting for full season awards takes place in September of each year, with selections announced in November. The IBWAA also holds a Hall of Fame election in December of each year, with results announced the following January.

Association membership is open to any and all Internet baseball writers and content creators. For more information please visit www.ibwaa.com.

Contact:

Daniel R. Epstein and Jonathan Becker
Co-Directors, IBWAA
ibwaa2020@gmail.com

IBWAA SELECTS CASH, MATTINGLY IN 2020 MANAGER OF THE YEAR VOTE

 

IBWAA SELECTS CASH, MATTINGLY IN 2020 MANAGER OF THE YEAR VOTE

The Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) announced the winners of the IBWAA Manager of the Year awards Tuesday: Kevin Cash of the Tampa Bay Rays and Don Mattingly of the Miami Marlins. This is the IBWAA’s 12th annual election for these awards. All IBWAA members were eligible to vote.

Election results are as follows:

AL:

1st Place: Kevin Cash, Tampa Bay Rays- 479 points
2nd Place: Rick Renteria, Chicago White Sox- 282 points
3rd Place: Bob Melvin, Oakland Athletics- 161 points

NL:

1st Place: Don Mattingly, Miami Marlins- 341 points
2nd Place: Jayce Tingler, San Diego Padres- 305 points
3rd Place: Dave Roberts, Los Angeles Dodgers- 135 points

The IBWAA endeavors to serve the baseball writing community, representing more than 600 baseball content creators. We strive to increase visibility, networking, and opportunities for all of our members. Voting for full season awards takes place in September of each year, with selections announced in November. The IBWAA also holds a Hall of Fame election in December of each year, with results announced the following January.

Association membership is open to any and all Internet baseball writers and content creators. For more information please visit www.ibwaa.com.

Contact:

Daniel R. Epstein and Jonathan Becker
Co-Directors, IBWAA
ibwaa2020@gmail.com

IBWAA SELECTS CRONENWORTH, LEWIS IN 2020 ROOKIE OF THE YEAR VOTE


IBWAA SELECTS CRONENWORTH, LEWIS IN 2020 ROOKIE OF THE YEAR VOTE

 

The Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) announced the winners of the IBWAA Rookie of the Year awards Monday: Jake Cronenworth of the San Diego Padres and Kyle Lewis of the Seattle Mariners. This is the IBWAA’s 12th annual election for these awards. All IBWAA members were eligible to vote.

Election results are as follows:

AL

1st Place: Kyle Lewis, Seattle Mariners- 557 points
2nd Place: Luis Robert, Chicago White Sox- 384 points
3rd Place: Christian Javier, Houston Astros- 33 points

NL

1st Place: Jake Cronenworth, San Diego Padres- 468 points
2nd Place: Devin Williams, Milwaukee Brewers- 212 points
3rd Place: Alec Bohm, Philadelphia Phillies- 162 points

The IBWAA endeavors to serve the baseball writing community, representing more than 600 baseball content creators. We strive to increase visibility, networking, and opportunities for all of our members. Voting for full season awards takes place in September of each year, with selections announced in November. The IBWAA also holds a Hall of Fame election in December of each year, with results announced the following January.

Association membership is open to any and all Internet baseball writers and content creators. For more information please visit www.ibwaa.com.

Contact:

Daniel R. Epstein and Jonathan Becker
Co-Directors, IBWAA
ibwaa2020@gmail.com

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Whitey Ford, 'Chairman of the Board,' dies - By Mark Feinsand

 



Whitey Ford, the Yankees’ all-time wins leader, Hall of Famer and six-time World Series champion, has died at the age of 91.

The Yankees announced Ford's passing on Friday, 12 days shy of what would have been Ford's birthday. They said he died on Thursday night, surrounded by family while watching the Yankees' Division Series game against the Rays.

“Today all of Major League Baseball mourns the loss of Whitey Ford, a New York City native who became a legend for his hometown team," Commissioner Rob Manfred said. "Whitey earned his status as the ace of some of the most memorable teams in our sport’s rich history. Beyond the Chairman of the Board’s excellence on the mound, he was a distinguished ambassador for our National Pastime throughout his life. I extend my deepest condolences to Whitey’s family, his friends and admirers throughout our game, and all fans of the Yankees.”

• When it came to winning, Ford led the way

“Whitey’s name and accomplishments are forever stitched into the fabric of baseball’s rich history," Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said. "He was a treasure, and one of the greatest of Yankees to ever wear the pinstripes. Beyond the accolades that earned him his rightful spot within the walls of the Hall of Fame, in so many ways he encapsulated the spirit of the Yankees teams he played for and represented for nearly two decades.

“Whitey was New York tough. When you couple that with his dedicated service to our country, a deep love for the only team he ever played for, six World Championships, and a genuine personality and charisma that showed throughout his life, it’s no wonder he endeared himself as a legend to generations of Yankees fans everywhere.

“While there is comfort knowing Whitey was surrounded by his family at the time of his passing while watching his favorite team compete, this is a tremendous loss to the Yankees and the baseball community. We have lost our ‘Chairman of the Board,’ and we extend our deepest condolences to the entire Ford family.”

The left-hander -- nicknamed “The Chairman of the Board” by batterymate Elston Howard -- went 236-106 with a 2.75 ERA during his 16 years with New York, winning his only Cy Young Award in 1961. Ford, whose .690 winning percentage is the highest of any pitcher with at least 150 victories in the Modern Era, was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.

“I grew up on Long Island, not too far from Yankee Stadium,” Ford said during his Hall of Fame induction. “I was a Yankee fan since I was five or six years old. To think when I was 21 years old I’d be playing with [Joe] DiMaggio and [Yogi] Berra against guys like Stan Musial and Roy Campanella, it’s just something I can’t fathom. It’s just been great.”

Born on Oct. 21, 1928, in New York City, Edward Charles Ford attended a tryout camp with the Yankees as a first baseman in 1946. A Yankees scout noticed his arm, suggested he try pitching and taught him how to throw a curveball. That led to Ford signing with the Yankees as an amateur for $7,000 before the 1947 season.

The blond-haired Ford was given the nickname “Whitey” by Lefty Gomez, the legendary Yankees southpaw who managed him in Binghamton in the Class A Eastern League.

Ford spent three seasons in the Minor Leagues before debuting as a reliever for New York on July 1, 1950. Ford would go 9-1 with a 2.81 ERA in 20 games (12 starts) during his rookie season, winning The Sporting News' Rookie of the Year honors while finishing second to Red Sox first baseman Walt Dropo in the American League Rookie of the Year vote by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Pitching behind fellow starters Vic Raschi, Allie Reynolds and Eddie Lopat, Ford went on to win the clinching game in the World Series that October, allowing two unearned runs in 8 2/3 innings against the Phillies in Game 4.

“That was my first big thrill in baseball,” Ford told YES Network during an interview for its “Yankeeography” series.



• Whitey could laugh even at his own passing

Ford missed the next two seasons while serving in the Army during the Korean War, though he was never sent overseas. He returned to the Yankees in 1953, winning 18 games in the regular season before helping the team to another World Series championship, the club’s fifth straight title.

“He wasn’t a power pitcher; he was just maybe the smartest pitcher that ever lived,” long-time teammate Jerry Coleman told YES. “With about 17 different pitches, he really had an array of pitches that was remarkable.”

In 1954, Ford was selected to the first of his 10 All-Star Games and won 16 games. Despite 103 victories that season, the Yankees’ championship streak came to an end at the hands of the 111-win Indians, who won the pennant. Ford would help his team play in each of the next four World Series, averaging 16 wins and a 2.41 ERA from 1955-58, with the Yankees winning championships in ’56 and ’58.

In Game 1 of the 1955 World Series, Ford was on the mound when Jackie Robinson stole home in the eighth inning. Robinson was called safe by home-plate umpire Bill Summers, though catcher Yogi Berra argued loudly that he had tagged him out.

“I’ve seen the films of that play maybe 50 times, and Robinson is out every time,” Ford wrote in this autobiography.

Ford won that game, as well as Game 6, but the Dodgers beat the Yankees for the title in Game 7.

Ford pitched in 11 World Series during his 16 seasons, winning six rings. His 10 World Series victories remain the most of any pitcher in history.

“I don’t care what the situation was, how high the stakes were,” Mickey Mantle once said of his close friend. “The bases could be loaded and the pennant riding on every pitch, it never bothered Whitey. He pitched his game. Cool. Crafty. Nerves of steel.”

Although Ford never pitched a no-hitter during his career, he tossed one-hit shutouts in consecutive starts in 1955, only the fifth time in Major League history a pitcher had accomplished that feat, according to the Society for American Baseball Research.

“He was outsmarting most of the hitters,” Hall of Famer Bob Feller once said of Ford. “He was a very tough competitor.”

The 1961 season proved to be notable for several reasons, beginning with a change in the manager’s office. While Casey Stengel had routinely started Ford no more than once every five days (sometimes even six or seven), new skipper Ralph Houk decided to hand the lefty the ball every fourth day. After starting 29 games in each of the three previous seasons, Ford started 39 times in 1961, throwing a league-high (and career-high) 283 innings.

Ford went 25-4 with a 3.21 ERA that season, beating out Milwaukee’s Warren Spahn for the Cy Young Award, which was given to only one big league pitcher per year until 1967. Overshadowed all season by the Mickey Mantle-Roger Maris home-run race, the 5-foor-10 lefty capped his memorable year by leading the Yankees to another championship. Ford went 2-0 in two starts against the Reds, throwing 14 scoreless innings to take home World Series MVP honors.

“I really enjoyed that season because the writers were so busy with Maris and Mantle with their home-run derby that they didn’t bother me,” Ford told YES. “It was the best year I ever had.”

The Yankees won again in 1962, Ford’s sixth and final World Series title. They would return to the Fall Classic in 1963 and ’64, though Ford went 0-3 in those two series as the Yankees fell to the Dodgers and Cardinals. He left Game 1 in 1964 with an arm injury and never pitched in another World Series.

Ford finished 10-8 with a 2.71 ERA in 22 career World Series starts. In addition to holding the World Series records for career wins and starts, he also has the mark for strikeouts (94) and innings pitched (146).



Between 1960-62, Ford threw a record 33 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings in the World Series, breaking Babe Ruth’s record of 29 2/3. The mark still stands.

“If the World Series was on the line and I could pick one pitcher to pitch the game,” Mantle said. “I’d choose Whitey Ford every time.”

Ford passed Red Ruffing as the Yankees’ all-time wins leader in 1965 with his 232nd victory, and he won only four more games over the next two seasons as he battled circulatory issues. Ford retired in May 1967, having been limited to only seven starts due to bone spurs in his elbow.

“Sooner or later the arm goes bad. It has to,” Ford said late in his career. “The arm wasn’t meant to stand the strain pitching imposes on it. It’s unnatural. Sooner or later you have to start pitching in pain.”

Ford made his retirement official on May 30, 1967, in a ceremony at Yankee Stadium.

Following his playing career, Ford served as Houk’s first-base coach in 1968, then returned to the Yankees in 1974 as the club’s pitching coach. He came back as pitching coach in 1975 before health issues prompted him to end his coaching career. Ford continued to serve as a Spring Training instructor, but never worked as a coach again. He did give broadcasting a try, serving as a color analyst for the Blue Jays in 1977.

Ford became the first Yankees pitcher to have his number retired when his No. 16 was hung up in Monument Park in August 1974, the same summer in which he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame alongside Mantle, his good friend.

During his induction into Cooperstown, which came in his second year of eligibility, Ford thanked his teammates, including “fellas like Mickey and Maris and Berra for scoring all those runs.”

In August 1987, Ford was honored with a plaque in Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park.

During the 1999 World Series, Ford was named as a member of MLB’s All-Century Team.

In 2000, the Yankees honored the legendary hurler with “Whitey Ford Day,” 50 years after he debuted for the club. Ford fought back tears as some of his former teammates, including Yogi Berra and Phil Rizzuto, talked about his career during the ceremonies at Yankee Stadium, showing an emotion he rarely displayed during his playing career.

“It’s different when you’re pitching,” Ford told reporters that day, according to the New York Post. “You’re moving your whole body, but when you’re just sitting there watching all these ex-teammates, it was tough. It was a great day.”

Ford also threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the 2008 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium.

Ford had been the second-oldest living Hall of Famer since Red Schoendienst died in June 2018. Tommy Lasorda, 93, is the oldest among living Hall of Famers.

He is survived by Joan, his wife of 69 years, and two of their three children, Sally Ann and Eddie, as well as eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Their third child, Tommy, died in 1999.

Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter, originally joined MLB.com as a reporter in 2001.