Sunday, February 15, 2015

Wendell Kim, long time major league coach, dies at 64 from Alzheimer's complications

Wendell Kim, the long time coach with the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Montreal Expos, and San Francisco Giants, has passed away due to complications from Alzheimer's disease. He was 64.
Kim was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease in 2006, a particularly aggressive form that affects less than 10% of all Alzheimer's patients. The condition robbed him of his ability to perform the most mundane of tasks, requiring 24-hour care in an assisted living facility.

His website "WK's Coach's Box," asks for donations to the following foundations to help fund research to cure Alzheimer's disease.



Monday, February 2, 2015

Harold Reynolds shares hilarious Rickey Henderson stories at Concordia College baseball dinner

Harold Reynolds, current MLB Network analyst and 12-year major league veteran was the guest of honor January 30, 2015 at the Concordia College baseball dinner. The two-time All-Star made himself very accessible to the members of the Concordia team, holding an impromptu private Q+A where he answered a multitude of questions ranging from his famous play involving Bo Jackson, to advice on how they can improve individual areas of their game.

Harold Reynolds at the 2015 Concordia Baseball Dinner
When it was time to address the crowd, Reynolds warmed them up with some sidesplitting stories about one of baseball's most colorful characters, Rickey Henderson. In 1987, Reynolds won the American League stolen base title as Henderson was sidelined with an injury most of the season. Listen as Reynolds recounts the congratulatory phone call from Henderson at the end of the season.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Doug Clark, ex-major leaguer receives 50 game suspension in Mexican League

Doug Clark, a former major league outfielder with the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics, was named as one of three Mexican Leaguers players that tested positive for using performance enhancing drugs. The results of Clark’s drug test indicated the use of norandrosterone, a form of anabolic steroids. He will receive a 50-game suspension during the 2015 season for his violation of their drug abuse policies.

Doug Clark playing in 2014 for the Mexico City Red Devils

Clark's suspension is an abrupt turn from his feelings on steroid use in Marty Dobrow's 2010, "Knocking on Heaven's Door: Six Minor Leaguers in Search of the Baseball Dream."


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Documents reveal the accounting behind Negro League baseball

Negro League teams barnstormed the country not only in search of the next game to play, but the next paycheck as well. Clubs would routinely play multiple games per day to maximize their earning potential while the sun was still shining. Recently, due to the finds of collector and memorabilia dealer Jim Stinson, individual game ledgers have surfaced showing how each club split the gate at games.
Joe Black - Baltimore Elite Giants

In one document dated July 18, 1950, the carefully calculated accounting for a game between the Birmingham Black Barons and the Baltimore Elite Giants showed not only the attendance, but the divisions for taxes, the league's percentage, as well as what was paid to both the home club and visitors. The visiting Elite Giants split $164.29, which amounted to approximately $10 per man, furthering their impetus to play as often as possible. Baseball fans might recognize the signature of the Elite Giants representative Joe Black, who won the 1952 Rookie of the Year Award with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

1950 Ledger with Joe Black

1950 Ledger with Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe
1942 Black Barons vs Memphis Red Sox Ledger

1942 Black Barons vs Memphis Red Sox Ledger




1950 Black Barons vs Houston Eagles Ledger signed by Bob Harvey

1950 Black Barons vs Buckeyes Ledger signed by George Jefferson



Sunday, January 18, 2015

Video: Satchel Paige pitching in 1957 with Miami Marlins

The whirling wonder Satchel Paige was still knocking them down as he entered his 50s as a member of the Miami Marlins. The Marlins were a AAA club in the International League operated by Paige's long time supporter, Bill Veeck. Recently video has surfaced of Paige pitching with the Marlins from Labor Day in 1957, when he spun a shutout against the Havana Cubans.
Satchel Paige - Miami Marlins

Below is the video from the Wolfson Archive, showing Paige not only pitching, but making his way to the plate as well. Rare footage indeed of the legendary hurler. You will also find the September 11, 1957 issue of The Sporting News mentioning Paige's shutout of Havana.





Ed Charles honors the memory of Gil Hodges at the 2015 Queens Baseball Convention

Ed Charles was honored with the Gil Hodges Unforgettable Fire Award at the 2015 Queens Baseball Convention.

Ed Charles at the 2015 QBC / N. Diunte
The ceremony was led by Greg Prince of Faith and Fear in Flushing, who presented Charles with the award in honor of his former manager. Once Prince finished introducing "The Glider," Charles needed little help capturing the attention of the crowd. The 81-year-old Charles thrilled the listeners with stories of how Hodges' arrival in Flushing turned the tide for the New York Mets, running the club with a firm grasp that quickly shaped up a struggling franchise.

At approximately 35 minutes into the interview, I posed a question to Charles about playing with Satchel Paige on the 1965 Kansas City Athletics. He told not one, but two different stories about playing both with Satchel in his last game in the majors, but also against him in 1961 in Portland (which he told to me during this 2013 interview).

It is always a treat not only to hear stories about the ageless Satchel Paige, but to hear Charles speak, as he holds a key to a lot of baseball's history as the elder statesman from the 1969 team.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Negro Leaguer Jim Zapp no longer able to accept fan mail

Jim Zapp 2010 Topps Allen and Ginter
Jim Zapp, an outfielder in the Negro Leagues from 1945-1954 with the Baltimore Elite Giants, Atlanta Black Crackers and Birmingham Black Barons is unfortunately no longer able to respond to his fan mail. Zapp is 90 years old and facing end stage Alzheimer's disease.

In a letter from his son Jim Zapp Jr., dated January 8, 2015, the younger Zapp states that due to his declining health, the family is politely asking for fans to no longer send autograph requests.

They are however, asking for any unsigned copies of his 2010 Topps Allen and Ginter baseball card (as pictured above). If you have any copies that you would like to send, please send me an e-mail and I help to facilitate the process.