Category Archives: beisbol

Calling Nate Silver


Quinnipiac University has two polls about baseball fandom out this week. One from Pennsylvania and the other from Connecticut.

Overall, most Keystone staters prefer the Phillies, but that might be because they are in the most populous part of the state. Isn’t it sometimes referred to as Pennsyltucky? The New York teams have made some inroads. Some might be commuters who moved to PA for more affordable housing.

I’ve called Connecticut the Alsace=Lorraine of the Boston-New York rivalry. I shouldn’t look to deep into these results. I’m not 538/ But it appears that men are from New York and women are from Boston ;).

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Week 2 Thoughts


Not a good week so far. The Red Sox did take two against the Yankees. The rest of the news wasn’t as good.

When he was on the team, I thought that Manny Ramirez made the Red Sox more interesting. Who else would hide in the Green Monster? Or inexplicably cutoff a throw from center? Or high-five a fan in Baltimore while doubling up a runner? Winning’s great, but it is even better if it is done in an entertaining manner.

I once called Satchel Paige Free Darko. Manny’s had some of the same characteristics, but I’m not sure if Free Darko is the correct term. I may be misinterpreting their philosophy. The Germans probably have a word for the quality in players I’m talking about; great, or very good at the least, and someone you’d make the extra effort to go see.

He scuffled with Kevin Youkilis and the traveling secretary in ’08 and was traded to the Dodgers. He was suspended 50 games in ’09 because he tested positive for hCG; a fertility drug. If the internets aren’t lying, steroid users take this after a steroid cycle to start testosterone production back up. Late last year, he was exiled to the White Sox.

This winter he signed with Tampa, as did Johnny Damon. He was supposed to return to Boston this week along with Damon, but abruptly retired. I heard about it from Joe Castiglione while listening to the home opener on WVEI. He didn’t say it at first, but later on he read a report that Manny had failed another drug test. I’m scratching my head over this. This is like driving through an announced DWI checkpoint after stopping at a bar for a few cold ones.

The Ray’s didn’t need Manny’s presence when they came to Boston. They swept the rain-shortened series. My seat of the pants prediction system had them second to the Red Sox in the division and a strong contender for the wild card over the Yanks, Orioles and Jays.

I haven’t written about the concept of Maranvillains or the beauty of baseball lately. I’m no longer sure that this is why I watch baseball or if that was ever the case. But this Patrick Sullivan article from last year brought to mind the antithesis of Rabbit Maranville and his heirs: Dice-K.

Also, just like so many other Red Sox fans, Daisuke drives me nuts. He works slowly and walks way too many batters. In his final four seasons for the Seibu Lions, Matsuzaka averaged 2.3 walks issued per nine innings. For the Red Sox, his 162-game average BB/9 has jumped to 4.3. Combine the walks, his inefficiency and his unreliability from a health standpoint and it’s all just very maddening.

I like to think that I have a healthy attitude towards sports as part of a balanced life. I’m not one who lives and dies with my favorite sports teams, but even I find him maddening. Some day I’ll have to come up with a list of these guys. As frustrating as Matsuzaker (/Remdawg) might be, Steve Trachsel was probably worse.

But Monday night’s game ended early. I’m not sure what was going on in Dice-K’s head, but he was grooving the ball in the first inning. The wheels fell off in the second and I ran some errands. There was no tension in the game. You knew early on what the likely decision would be.

Tim Wakefield is sort of the anti-Manny. He’s not flashy; doesn’t stir up any controversy. Bill Plaschke and Mikey Adams probably like him. And he might secretly be paying the Red Sox to pitch. But his starts were appointment television over the years for me. Why? He throws the knuckleball.

The knuckler is going the way of the polar bear, but it is one of my favorite pitches to watch. Wakefield and R. A. Dickey used it as their bread and butter pitch. Dickey gets the ball moving in the 70s, but the average Wakefield pitch goes about the Interstate speed limit. But he is a long reliever now; Terry Francona’s loss cigar. (Come to think of it, those guys may be going the way of the polar bear, too.) Wake couldn’t top the bleeding either. The only question remaining in the late innings was whether or not Rays leftfielder Sam Fuld would hit for the cycle. He didn’t, but he did better by a base. He hit two doubles, a triple, and a homer. The end result was a 16-5 loss. Tuesday’s game was a return to baseball normalcy, but Boston was still on the losing end of a 3-2 game.

Carl Crawford is only batting .152 with one double and two walks. People say that he’s pressing. I’m not sure what that means. I have a mental image of two hoopsters trying to trap a point guard in the backcourt when I hear that term. I’m not Walt Hriniak, but I do wonder if his extreme open stance is killing him. I’m not the only one who thinks this. Some folks are talking about the same issue in this Rotoworld thread.

The Jays are in town now. I caught a few of their games with Boston last year and they have an exciting approach to baseball. They may not take pitches much, but Jose Bautista and company rake. ‘Til next time, happy baseball.

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Week 1 Thoughts


In my first account, Theophilus, I wrote about things the Red Sox did on Opening Day and back in 1986. I’ll touch on 1986 a bit and discuss some things about Week 1.

We’re all in.” – Kevin Youkilis in a NESN promo

Poker lingo in baseball goes back to the early days. When Alexander Cartwright and the rest of the Knickerbockers played, outs were hands lost and runs were aces. The Red Sox might not have drawn a 2-7 unsuited, but the start of the season was inauspicious. The Texas Whipsaw Massacre led to Boston pitchers craning their necks far too often to watch balls fly into the stands. And the bats were dead in Cleveland. Through Friday the 8th, the team is batting .205, reaching (On base average) .286, and slugging .306. That’s a 592 OPS. Glenn Hoffman’s career OPS was 623 in a lower scoring era.

Lou Gorman passed away on Opening Day. A poster at BTF wrote a good summary of his Boston tenure. He was the architect of both teams in the 1986 World Series. (I thought about writing a book bout that season, but never did. Mark Simon over at ESPN is running a retrospective of that year as this season unfolds. Check it out.) Gorman came from the fertile Baltimore front office. I took a continuing ed class in March over at Manchester Community College on baseball in the Sixties and was reminded of the awesomeness of the Oriole Way. Earl Weaver was a great manager (and lent his name to my favorite baseball video game. I’d spend hours playing EWB with my brother Martin.) His coaching staff spawned a number of other managers including Billy Hunter, Cal Ripken Sr., and George Bamberger. There was leadership on the field as well. Frank Robinson would don a mop as a wig and preside over a Kangaroo Court. This tradition was passed on and Don Baylor brought it to Boston in 1986. But Harry Dalton was perhaps a more vital cog. His general manager tree includes Lou Gorman, John Schuerholz, Sal Bando, Frank Cashen, and Dan Duquette. Pat Gillick was elected to Cooperstown over the winter. I think Dalton might be a better candidate. He got the Brewers to the World Series. That’s an accomplishment.

Speaking of Baylor, he ended his career with Oakland and played with Jose Canseco. Early in his career he played with Pete Hall who was a teammate of Hank Bauer. Bauer was a Yankee with Phil Rizzutto. Rizzutto provided play by play on Meatloaf’s “Paradise By The Dashboard Light.” Meatloaf and Canseco are both on this season’s “Celebrity Apprentice.”

Elsewhere on Opening Day, Robert Redford threw out the first pitch for the Chicago Cubs. Who’s older, Redford or Wilford Brimley? Brimley is, but only by a couple of years. Despite this, Brimley was Pops, the manager while Redford played Roy Hobbs in The Natural. I saw this movie in senior English class. We had a teacher named Miss Sisk and Will and I called her Doug.

There was some college basketball this week. It is a sleazy sport, but that’s not why I didn’t watch it. I’ve had to prune my sports tree over the years and that’s one branch that was lopped off College hoops is a bachelor’s sport anyways. Basketball (and football, for that matter) should be watched in bars; bars where there are bunch of instant refs (just add alcohol.) You know, the guys who think that they can interpret the rulebook better than the officials even though they are viewing the game through a haze of Marlboro Light smoke and light beer belch. Also some folks who nervously step outside to get reception for their cellphones so they can communicate with their bookies add to the ambience. I used to hang out at a place called Elmo’s before mobile communications became ubiquitous. There’d be a line at the payphone full of decrepit types waiting to call their guy looking to parlay their winnings of go double or nothing on the late game. They didn’t know Joey behind the bar. He’d book action on the frickin’ Hula Bowl.

The Red Sox can take some solace in the fact that the UConn Huskies prevailed. They won it all despite a rough patch. Theirs happened to be in the middle of the season instead of the beginning. And the ’98 Yankees faltered out of the blocks. Some think that they may be the best team ever.

I was going to watch Wednesday’s game. I was willing to sacrifice my eyes and watch Dice-K pitch. But NESN had a meaningless Bruins game on. I tried to go to the NESN Plus channel, but accidentally selected an HD channel. I don’t have an HD TV and that fried the cable box,

Thursday was Getaway Day in Cleveland and the game started early. I tried to catch it on radio, but it is difficult to do at work when the phone rings and your mind is at least partially focused on work. It was a pitcher’s duel through most of the game. Lester struck out nine and Fausto Carmona bounced back from his dreadful Opening Day start. But I had a webinar that started before the game ended. I caught the rest of the game on Sox in 2.

It was foggy in Cleveland Thursday, It reminded me of a time in, that’s right, 1986. It was so foggy one nite at old Municipal Stadium that the Indians Red Sox game was called. Bobby Bonds was a coach in Cleveland at the time and he hit fungoes that disappeared into the mist. The umpires had seen, or couldn’t see enough and the game was called. Despite the weather, some players like Marco Scutaro were wearing shades. Choo on the Indians was even wearing lampblack.

In years previous, NESN would introduce the teams defenses by putting names in the nine positions over a backdrop of a baseball diamond. This year, they show head shots of the infield, outfield, and battery that look like baseball cards. NESN treats the games in a fashion that is too lightweight for me. I don’t mind Jerry Remy bantering about his life with Don Orsillo during a blowout, but I don’t care all that much that, for instance, he’s having computer problems or that the flight to Cleveland was bumpy. And they cut away to Heidi Watney in mid-inning. They have plenty of time during the pregame show to talk about chicken and waffles at Progressive Field. Do they really need to do that feature over an at bat? I went to Progressive Field three years ago and wasn’t all that impressed. Out of the new mallparks, I prefer Great American in Cincy and Oriole Park at Camden Yards. But I did like the Stadium mustard they have there.

The game isn’t as interesting if you know the result in advance. I had heard that the Red Sox lost their sixth straight. I didn’t know how, but I knew that the damage was done later in the game, so I read while the first part of the game played on my TV. It turned out that the Indians beat the Red Sox with small ball in the eighth. Adam Everett walked. Why would Josh Bard nibble with Everett? He stole second and two bunts scored him. Who said that industry in the Rust Belt is a thing of the past? That was a manufactured run. The Sox had a chance in the ninth with the big bats coming up, but Youkilis and Gonzalez couldn’t get the ball past the infield. David Ortiz walked and was replaced by Darnell McDonald. JD Drew made weak contact. The Red Sox caught a break when it bounced of the pitcher Perez’s leg, but Darnell McDonald needs to learn how to brake. He overran second base and Adam Everett alertly threw the ball to Cabrera. McDonald slipped and didn’t retreat to the bag in time.

The Sox have been making mental errors like this in the early going. Varitek didn’t tag a runner the previous nite when the force was no longer in effect. It was no sure thing that the Red Sox would have tied the game or gone ahead. Jarrod Saltalamacchia was up next, after all. But McDonald’s gaffe guaranteed a loss.

Finally, Boston won a game once they returned home. I’ll have more thoughts later on the Yankees. It was another day game that I listened to and watched the replay. One thin I will mention is this: I believe that Saltalamacchia is the first player in Boston history to sport a Cool-Flo helmet. He doesn’t wear it at bat, but he does wear it under his amsk while catching. Can anyone confirm or deny this?

‘Til next time, Happy Baseball.

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Opening Day Thoughts


25 years ago was the pinnacle of my baseball fandom. Don’t get me wrong. I still really love the game. But I was head over heels about it as a teen. I think it really started in 1984. I still remember Jack Morris’s no-hitter on NBC early that year. I believe that was the first no-hitter that I ever saw. I absorbed that season like a sponge. I watched every minute of the LCSs and World Series. That Tiger team was dominant, yet none of its players made the Hall of Fame yet. Maybe Morris will, although he would be an unfashionable pick in certain circles. Personally, I think Trammell or even Whitaker or Kirk Gibson would be a better choice. I even have a dark horse candidate I’ll get to in a bit.

For a long time, the 1985 World Series was my favorite ever. My brother was friends with a transplant from Overland Park, Kansas. So we were really pulling for the Royals. When they were at death’s door in Game Six and came back, we emptied our lungs with loud screams. By now, I was working and would spend my cash on sports books and magazines. SI, Sport, and Inside Sports were must purchases. I bought Dynasty, Peter Golenbock’s book on the 1949-1964 Yankees. I believe that was the first adult baseball book that I bought. I still own it. Caldor’s actually had a decent collection of sports books. I bought Whitey Herzog’s the White Rat. And, last but not least, I started buying Bill James’s Baseball Abstracts.

My friend Will was also a big baseball nut. He and some other classmates turned me on to the Mets as well. For the first time that I am aware of, their games were regularly shown in Hartford on channel 20. More baseball on TV. Will and I would sometimes sit in the cafeteria and play GM. We’d make trades between teams that we think would help them both. We were probably ahead of our time.

25 years ago on Opening day (it was April 7th that year. Opening Day is a movable feast.), Dwight Evans, normally a model of patience, hit Jack Morris’s first pitch into the stands for a home run. It was the first pitch of the entire major league season. Imagine that! Waiting all winter, coiled, ready to unleash the lumber at that first pitch. There was another Evans in that game, and I think that both Dwight and Darrell Evans would make good Hall of Fame picks. I’m cool with Jim Rice being in, but Evans was more like fine wine. He got better as he aged. Rice and Fred Lynn started their careers like gangbusters, but it took Dewey a while to get going. Under the tutelage of Walt Hriniak, he really blossomed as a hitter. He also had skills that were under the radar. He was a great defensive player and a lot of folks don’t really know what to make of that. How do we credit defensive greatness Vis a Vis hitting? He also walked a ton, which was underappreciated by the masses those days. Dewey also had the misfortune of having one of his best years shortened by a player strike. In 1981, he tied for the AL lead in home runs. He, Bobby Grich, Eddie Murray, and Tony Armas all had 22 talljacks. As for Darrell Evans, he played most of his career in parks that obscured his greatness. And the Braves and Giants weren’t exactly powerhouses when he played for them.

Since ’86 the Red Sox have gone on to other great seasons, but this was the first good Red Sox team during the era I was starting to really understand the game. But let’s focus on the current team, shall we. I’m not new school. I’m not old school. I’m middle school. I went and picked up the Maple Street Press preview for the Sox this year. It is glossy instead of silicone based, but the writers come from a different perspective than the traditional beat guys and columnists. The player pages in the preview synthesize rationalist Jamesian analysis and the empiricism of the old Scouting Report books. Bill James and later sabermetricians or saberists broil raw stats into something more tasty and meaningful. And smart folks have access to more observational data. Greg Rybarczyk, who tracks every home run at his site hittrackeronline, is an engineer. There are also essays. One, by the controversial Dave Cameron, suggests that Carl Crawford is similar to Dwight Evans. He didn’t say this, but I inferred it. While their skills aren’t entirely similar, both have undertheradar skills that make them more valuable than they appear. With Dewey it was the arm and the eye. With Crawford it is the legs.

Crawford could have been a point guard at UCLA or an option quarterback at Nebraska. How many Carl Crawfords are out there? Could Pat White have been a lesser Crawford? Maybe, maybe not. But if these athletes didn’t have the NFL as an option, more might try to stay with baseball. Some might pan out. Look at Willie Mays. If he were growing up today, would he be a baseball player or might he have stuck with football or hoops?

Iverson was supposed to be good at baseball. And while Michael Jordan barely cracked the Mendoza Line in Birmingham (where he was managed by Terry Francona), how well would he have hit if he played baseball regularly throughout his twenties? Baseball would be better off with these guys. Allen Iverson would be a modern day Dick Allen.; at least off the field with his gambling and drinking. The NFL and NBA will eventually resolve their labor problems, but I sometimes daydream about what would happen if they didn’t.

The Red Sox faced str8edgeracer C.J. Wilson on Opening Day. Texas is the reigning champ. This game would provide on opportunity for Saltalamacchia to show his old team something. On the other side is David Murphy. He was with the Red Sox until the infamous Eric Gagne trade. Adrian Beltre is with Texas this year. I don’t believe there is bad blood between him and the Sox front office. His pillow contract last year worked out pretty well for him. He might not have liked the head rubbing he got last year, but 2010 led to big paydays this year and beyond.

Jon Lester was Boston’s Opening Day starter. Last year, I woke up in the middle of the nite as Boston was playing in Seattle. He was perfect through five. I sat up, only to watch things fall apart in the sixth. The aforementioned Will was at Fenway to see his no-no versus Kansas City. I was working Friday, so I caught the first part of the game on the radio. I cheated and listened to New York versus Detroit on Thursday, despite my distaste for the team of John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. Hey, it was baseball. I think that Michael Kay was able to keep Sterling’s excesses in check, but Waldman brings out the show tunes in Sterling. Most folks expect the Red Sox to win the AL East, but the Yankees will always be a force to reckon with. Predictions, even scientific ones, usually fail to account for in season trades.

It was a good thing that the season opened on the road. Wet snow fell on New England in the morning. Jeff Burroughs threw out the first pitch. He was the first MVP the Rangers ever had and may be the least memorable MVP since Bobby Shantz. The Rangers wore red. I don’t mind when other teams wear alternate unis, but it doesn’t seem right for the Red Sox. The Bushes were there, as was new Texas owner Nolan Ryan. Ryan is this century’s answer to Clark Griffith.

I didn’t get home until the fifth inning. I pulled up to my spot and sat in the car as Lester gave up a three run homer to Mike Napoli. Lester didn’t have it yesterday. He gave up three home runs and hit three Rangers. Francona pulled him after only 88 pitches. Yet, the Sox were only down by a run. Matt Albers got out of a bases drunk jam in the sixth. That’s tension! The run potential is high, yet isn’t realized. Albers came back out to start the seventh and got Elvis Andrus to ground out. The Yahoo play-by-play says that it went to Albers, but Albers really set the ball like in volleyball and Pedroia got it and tossed to Adrian Gonzalez. Dennys Reyes came in to face Hamilton. He looks a little like a mirror image of Rich Garces.

The Rangers have some lefties in their pen, too; old ones. Arthur Rhodes and Darren Oliver both appeared in the game. It was still 5-4 in the 8th. Were the Red Sox to come back, this was their last best chance with the meat of the order up. After Youkilis and Gonzalez went down, David Ortiz went deep to center with a home run. It looks like Ortiz shaved off his beard this year. He looked svelter than normal. My wife thinks that he is Notasbig Papi this year.

The game was tied, but it wouldn’t be for long. It wasn’t Daniel Bard’s day. David Murphy came off the bench to hit for Julio Borbon and he exacted revenge on his old team by slicing a down and away pitch for a barely fair double to left. After two more doubles, it was Tim Wakefield time. The final score was 9-5, but it was a closer game than that until the eighth. No big deal, there are plenty of games left.

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Dominican Cricket Part II


When I wrote about cricket in the Dominican Republic last week, I received an interesting reply from a bloke named Steve:

An English perspective here!

An interesting idea, but I’m not yet entirely convinced. While a batsman in cricket needs to protect the wicket from getting hit (or he will be out), beyond that patience is generally key. If a batsman goes for every ball he risks getting out, particularly if multiple fielders are placed behind him, readying themselves for him to ‘edge’ it behind.

A good batsman will defend balls aimed at the wicket, hit bad balls he is confident will get runs, and leave everything else.

Theoretically a batsman can leave every ball, providing it doesn’t hit the wicket, or doesn’t hit his legs if they are in the way of the wicket. So, I would expect a cricketer to generally be more patient playing baseball, than a ball player playing cricket, as there is no concept of ‘striking out’.

However…just to confuse matters further, shorter forms of cricket (such as Twenty20) are becoming more and more popular, and these forms rely on the scoring of runs within a shorter time period. In this case, the batsman does need to try and hit virtually everything bowled at him, as there is a very limited time period for accumulating runs. So, future cricketers brought up in this style might swing more when playing baseball.

Ed Smith’s book Playing Hard Ball is a great introduction to the similarities and differences between the two sports, if you can find it. Smith was an English cricketer, who happened to be a Mets fan, and be describes his experiences playing cricket, and joining in Spring Training with the Mets.

Just my thoughts. Apologies if this comment is stating the obvious, or missing the point, and thank you for an interesting post!

Steve, thanks for the reply. I enjoy hearing back from readers. I have more info on the game in the DR from Eastern Stars. From pp 105-6:

The boys of Santa Fe played a game they called cricket with a sock ball and four players in two-man teams: one to bowl and one to bat. The bowl was underhanded or sidearm, and there was an old license plate on the ground that served as a wicket. If the bowl hit the plate, you were out. There were three outs to a side. If you hit from one side to another, it was a run. They played twelve run games.

Santa Fe was George Bell’s neighborhood. I’m not sure if this type of game encourages aggressiveness or patience.

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Emaus Metropoli


Aaron Gleeman:

 

By releasing Luis Castillo last week and optioning Justin Turner to Triple-A this morning the Mets have cleared the way for Rule 5 pick Brad Emaus to be their Opening Day starter at second base.

Luis Hernandez and Daniel Murphy now stand as his only competition, but Hernandez is no one’s idea of an everyday player and Murphy is expected to be used off the bench…

 

 

It would be cool if he were Latin, but he is from Kalamazoo. Eamus, Emaus.

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Bruin Station


It is now less than a week until Opening Day.  Some folks think that pitchers and catchers reporting should be a national holiday, but that day pales in comparison to Opening Day.  I’m excited and not just because the Red Sox are stacked.  Although, I’ve been blogging on and off since November of 2009, I haven’t written much about the games in and of themselves.  I thought about taking an approach similar to Free Darko where they comment on the stylishness of players.  I blathered on and on about Rabbit Maranville and his sons last year.  (Just look at the tab Maranvillains for numerous examples.)  But baseball, the most individualistic of team sports, doesn’t need a Mark Fidrych or a great Jim Edmonds catch to be exciting.

 

I came across a book at the Homer Babbidge Library at Uconn this winter.  It was called The Quality of Home Runs.  An anthropologist from an English university who is an ex-pat former college pitcher wrote it.  I skimmed it.  To get a library card from there as a non-student would cost $50.  But I did read a section where he talks about what makes a particular baseball game exciting.  There are three elements: tension, controversy and rivalry.  These, and the potential for them, can make a game exciting.

 

Max Marchi has a series at The Hardball Times about  exciting games.  He calls tension equilibrium.  Controversy could be a close umpires call or a questionable decision.  Usually that would be the manager who opens himself up for second guessing, but it can be a player.  Rivalry is self-explanatory.  It could be the Dodgers versus the Giants or the Red Sox versus the Yankees.  But it could be more subtle than that.  I plan to write more about this as the season goes on.

 

Bruin Station

 

Billy Beane and Ruben Amaro are two general managers who are former players.  Can you name another one?

 

Bill Walton was a sixth man for the Boston Celtics.  He also filled in for the Grateful Dead when they played in Egypt in 1978.   I don’t know the state of basketball in Egypt, but they’re pretty good at field hockey.  Professor Peter Piccione of the College of Charleston says that they also played an ancient precursor to baseball called sekar hemat.  And, of course, the immortal Sammy Khalifa played shortstop for the Pirates back during the 1980’s.

 

Dead bassist Phil Lesh went to El Cerrito High in suburban Oakland at the same time that Cornell Green was there.  Green played hoops at Utah State and was drafted by the Chicago Zephyrs, but he never played in the NBA.  He tried out as a defensive back for the Dallas Cowboys and had a lengthy NFL career.  Dallas had a thing for athletes of all stripes.  Witness the conversion of Bullet Bob Hayes from sprinter to wide receiver.

 

Was Dallas being innovative in their signing of non-football players because expansion and the AFL were draining the talent pool of football players?  Probably not.  There were plenty more college football players than there were pro jobs to go around.

 

Green was an early hoops to pigskin conversion.  He preceded Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez, and Marcus Pollard; to name three.  There seems to be a fungibility of skills between tight ends, power forwards, and pitchers.

 

Green had an older brother named Elijah.  He was better known as Pumpsie and was the first black to play on the Red Sox.  Made his debut in 1959; a dozen years after Jackie Robinson was a rookie in Brooklyn.  Green played on some subpar Red Sox teams.  Those were dark days for the team.  Ted Williams would soon retire and 1967 was a ways off.  Gene Conley pitched for the team from 1961 to 1963.  One time, Pumpsie and Gene got drunk in New York and tried to catch a plane to Israel.

 

Conley was also a Boston Celtic as well as a Milwaukee Brave.  He is the only fellow to have a World Series ring and an NBA title to his name.  Red Auerbach was another guy who liked multi-sport athletes.  Bill Sharman was on the Brooklyn Dodgers; although he never played in a regular season game.  Hondo Havilcek tried out for the Cleveland Browns.

 

Another Red Sox pitcher of the era was Don Schwall.  He, too, was a basketball player in college.  But he never went pro.  He went on to pitch for the Atlanta Braves where he played with Rico “Beeg Boy” Carty.  Later in his career, Carty became a peripatetic designated hitter.  One of his stops was Toronto.

 

Danny Ainge was an infielder in Toronto before joining the Celtics and playing with Bird, McHale, Parish, Dennis Johnson, and, yes, Bill Walton.  He’s now the GM of the team.

 

This is awesome. Before he was a Celtic, Walton played for Helix High, UCLA, Portland, and the Clippers.  He won a ring in Portland.  One of his teammates was Herm Gilliam.  Gilliam played for the Cincinnati Royals before that.  Bob Cousy was the player-coach on that team.  Cousy and Conley were Celtics together.

 

What?  You thought that this was going to be about hockey?

 

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