Sunday, November 3, 2019

Announcing the 2019 Fielding Bible Awards

Baseball Info Solutions Announces the 2019 Fielding Bible Awards
Contact:Mark Simon
 Baseball Info Solutions
 Phone: (610) 261-2370

Friday, November 01, 2019

Announcing the 2019 Fielding Bible Awards

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

2019 Fielding Bible Awards 

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

Monday, August 5, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, July 28, 2019

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

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

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

Friday, July 5, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Howard Cole
Founding Director, IBWAA

Sunday, May 26, 2019


HOW THEY GOT THAT WAY  (Part II)          

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

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

Monday, May 13, 2019



ALL-STAR GAME  The idea was conceived in 1933 by Arch Ward, Chicago Tribune sports editor. To give the fans a real rooting interest, Ward suggested that they be allowed to vote for their favorite players via popular ballot. In perhaps no other game do fans have such a rooting interest, although there have been a few periods when voting by fans has been abandoned. Today it appears that Ward's original principle will remain permanently in effect. The American League won 12 of the first 16 All-Star games, but went on to lose 20 of the next 23 to the National League through 1978. Some memorable moments have taken place in the contest often referred to as the Midsummer  Dream Game. In the first game ever played, Babe Ruth slugged a towering home run. The next year, New York Giants immortal Carl Hubbell struck out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmy Foxx, Al Simmons, and Joe Cronin in succession to make for some more baseball history.
AMAZIN' METS The first run they ever scored came in on a balk. They lost the first nine games they ever played. They finished last their first four seasons. Once they were losing a game, 12-1, and there were two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. A fan held up a sign that said "PRAY!" There was a walk, and ever hopeful, thousands of voices chanted, "Let's go Mets." They were 100-l underdogs to win the pennant in 1969 and incredibly came on to finish the year as World Champions. They picked the name of the best pitcher in their history (Tom Seaver) out of a hat on April Fools' Day. They were supposed to be the replacement for the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants. They could have been the New York Continentals or Burros or Skyliners or Skyscrapers or Bees or Rebels or NYB's or Avengers or even Jets (all  runner-up names in a contest to tab the National League New York team that began playing ball in 1962). They've never been anything to their fans but amazing—the Amazin' New York Mets.
    EIGHTH WONDER OF THE WORLD On what was once
 Texas swampland and a wind-swept prairie, the Houston Astros once played baseball in the Astrodome, which many nicknamed the Eighth Wonder of the World. Built at a cost of $38 million, the colossal complex sprawled over 260 acres six miles from downtown Houston. The facility had the biggest electric scoreboard and the largest dome ever constructed. It was the largest clear-span building ever built and the largest air-conditioned stadium ever. The Astrodome had 45,000 plush opera-type seats, from which fans viewed athletic events in the additional comfort supplied by a 6,000-ton air-conditioning system that maintained the temperature in the stadium at 72 degrees. The inspiration for the Astrodome was the Roman Coliseum, built circa 80 A.D., which prodded Judge Roy Hofheinz, president of the Houston Sports Association, the owners of the team, to press for the creation of a domed stadium.
"I knew with our heat, humidity and rain, the best chance for success was in the direction of a weatherproof, all-purpose stadium," said Hofheinz. Buckminster Fuller, media-famed ecologist and inventor of the geodesic dome, served as consultant to the project. Hofheinz said, "Buckminster Fuller convinced me that it was possible to cover any size space so long as you didn't run out of money." They didn't run out of money and even had $2 million to spare for the 300-ton scoreboard, with 1,200 feet of wiring, that stretches 474 feet across the brown pavilion seats in center field.

"I LOST IT IN THE SUN" Billy Loes was a Brooklyn Dodger pitcher in the 1950's. Possessed with a great deal of natural athletic ability, Loes never achieved the success experts predicted should have come to him as a matter of course. At times he was quicker with a quip than with his glove. During the 1952 World Series, Loes ingloriously misplayed a ground ball hit back to the pitcher's mound. Later he was questioned by a reporter who wished to learn what had been the problem. Loes responded, "I lost it in the sun."
"I NEVER MISSED ONE IN MY HEART" Long-time major league umpire Bill Klem's phrase was his attempt to explain how difficult the job of umpiring was and how objective he always attempted to be. Klem retired in 1941—according to him, after the first time he pondered whether he had correctly called a play.
“IDIOTS ”  Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona explained the name his players gave to themselves in 2004: "They may not wear their hair normal, they many not dress normal, but they play the game as good as you can."
"IF IT'S UNDER W FOR 'WON,' NOBODY ASKS YOU HOW”  As a player and a manager, Leo Durocher could invent more ways to tease and taunt and beat the opposition than virtually any other figure in the history of baseball. His was an aggressive, no-holds-barred approach to the National Pastime. The quote attributed to him reflects his attitude toward the game.
"IN THE CATBIRD SEAT" Red Barber beguiled Brooklyn Dodger fans for years with his Southern voice, narrative skills, honest manner, and down-home expressions. His pet phrase to describe when someone was pitching, hitting, fielding or just functioning well was a reference to that individual as being in the "catbird seat." Barber also used the phrase to characterize a team ahead by a comfortable margin and virtually assured of victory.
"IRON MAN" Cal Ripken Jr., for breaking the consecutive games played in mark set by Lou Gehrig.  Teammates called him "Junior," as a tip of the cap to Cal Sr., in Orioles' organization more than three decades.
       IRON HORSE Lou Gehrig, a.k.a. Larrupin' Lou and Pride of the Yankees, earned his main nickname for playing in 2,130 consecutive games—a major league baseball record that stood until Cal Ripken, Jr. came along. Day in and day out for 14 years, like a thing made of iron, Gehrig was a fixture in the New York Yankee lineup. He led the league in RBI's, 5 times and 13 years he drove in more than 100 runs a season. The man they also called Columbia Lou—a reference to his Columbia University student days—was admitted to the Hall of Fame in 1939.
       “IRON MAN” Joe McGinnity pitched in the majors from 1899 to 1908. He started 381 games and completed 351 of them. He had a lifetime earned-run average of 2.64. McGinnity could pitch day in and day out like a man made of iron. In 1903 he pitched and won three doubleheaders. Winner of 247 games—an average of almost 25 a year—McGinnity was admitted to baseball's Hall of Fame in 1946.
"IT'S NOT OVER 'TIL IT'S OVER" This phrase, attributed to Yogi Berra, underscores the former Yankee great's long experience in the wars of baseball. Berra, as player, manager, and coach, has seen the game of baseball from many levels. A victim and victor of late-inning rallies, of curious changes in the destinies of players and teams, his stoical attitude to the National Pastime is the view of a pro, even though it is expressed in perhaps not the most appropriate syntax.


KD by Marcus Thompson II (Atria Books, 27.00) is timely, insightful, never boring as Thompson gets up close and personal with superstar Kevin Durant to spin the narrative that reveals so much about the star’s humanity and ferocity on the baseball court. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
The World’s Fastest Man by Michael Kranish (Scribner, $30.00) is an important and even ground breaking effort, carefully crafted effort that brings back a time and world far different from today. Its focus - -as its sub-title proclaims - -Major Taylor, America’s first Black Sports Hero. Set in the 1890s when most of America  was still beset by unbridled racism, Major Taylor competed in the white world of cycling and prevailed. He busted racial barriers and changed the way many thought about black athletes.  BELONGS ON YOUR BOOKSHELF    




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 has been a professor for more than two decades in the MALS program at Dartmouth College. Dubbed “Dartmouth’s Mr. Baseball” by their alumni magazine,  he’s also the founder of