Thursday, December 30, 2010

Steve Boros, Ex-Detroit Tiger dies at 74

Former Detroit Tigers third baseman Steve Boros died Wednesday night in Deland, Florida according to the Detroit Free Press.. He was 74.

Boros was signed in 1957 as a "bonus baby" out of Northern High School in Flint, Michigan. Under the rules at the time, any rookie signed to a bonus exceeding $4,000 had to stay on the major league roster. Boros played sparingly during his rookie season appearing in only 24 games. He was sent to the minors in 1958, reappearing in six games for a late season call-up. He wouldn't return to the Tigers until 1961, when he became their full-time third baseman.

He played in the majors until 1965, spending time with the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds. He continued to play at the Triple-A level for another four seasons. In 1970, he immediately went into managing at the Single-A level for the Kansas City Royals.

Boros returned to the "big show" as a manger in 1983, replacing Billy Martin as the manager in Oakland. He was replaced in May of 1984 by Jackie Moore. He took the reigns of the San Diego Padres from Dick Williams for one season in 1986. He would go on to coach for the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles in the mid 1990's.

His career ended with the same team he started with, working for the Tigers as a special assistant to the general manager in 2004 before retiring.

Angel Torres, Cuban baseball historian dies at 82

Famed Cuban baseball historian Angel Torres passed away Wednesday morning in Pico Rivera, California from a long standing illness. He was 82.

Known as the "Bible of Baseball" for his extensive knowledge of the game, Torres came to the United States through Mexico in 1964, landing in New York for three years before moving to California where he would develop his journalism career.

As an author, he has penned five books, including, "La Historia del Béisbol Cubano, La Leyenda del Béisbol Cubano, Tres Siglos del Béisbol Cubano, La Biblia del Béisbol y El Legado Deportivo de Angel Torres."

In 2009, he was honored by the city of Hialeah, Florida with a day in his name on November 14th.

He most recently maintained columns on La Estufa Caliente (The Hot Corner), Terreno de Pelota (The Baseball Field) and worked for Fox Sports doing their Spanish language regular season and World Series broadcasts with Ulpiano Cos Villa.

More Info -

Fallece el destacado historiador cubano Angel Torres -  El Nuevo Herald

El Mundo de Béisbol, Angel Torres - La Estufa Caliente (Torres' Online Articles)

Angel Torres Column @ Terreno de Pelota - Terreno de Pelota

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What does Chin-lung Hu's acquisition mean for the rest of the Mets infielders?

Chin-lung Hu - shgmom56 / Flickr
With the New York Mets recently acquiring Chin-lung Hu from the Los Angeles Dodgers, what implications does it have for the rest of the Mets utility infielders? Click here to read some thoughts and analysis of the rest of the Mets players in competition with the former Dodgers top prospect.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Former Brooklyn Dodger Ken Lehman passes away at 82

Former Brooklyn Dodger left-hander Ken Lehman passed away earlier this month in Seattle, WA. He was 82. Lehman made his debut for the Dodgers in 1952 and also pitched for the Orioles and Phillies between 1956-1961. Click here to read more detailed on Lehman's career and passing.

Recent MLB Passings, Tony Roig, Bill Werle

The baseball family lost two more of its alumni, former Washington Senator infielder Tony Roig and pitcher Bill Werle who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox.

Roig played parts of 21 seasons in professional baseball between 1948 and 1968, spending 1948-1962 primarily in the minor leagues, playing 76 games for the Senators between 1953-1956. After the 1962 season, Roig headed to Japan, hitting 126 home runs (1963-68) with the Pacific League’s Nishitetsu Lions and the Kintetsu Buffaloes. He then went on to become a scout and minor league manager for 30 years. He died October 20, 2010 in Liberty Lake, WA. He was 82.

Werle pitched six seasons in the majors between 1949-1954. He compiled a career record of 29-39 in 185 games, with his best season coming in 1949 with the Pittsburgh Pirates where he posted a 12-13 record with 10 complete games. He began his professional career with the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League in 1943, pitching with them through 1948 with a brief interruption in 1945 for service in World War II. He would go on to play AAA ball until 1961, serving as a player manager for Hawaii during his final season. This was Werle's introduction to his managerial career, as he mananged eight additional seasons from 1963-1970 at the A and AAA levels. After finishing his career as a manager, he became a scout for the Orioles and Indians for over 20 years. He died November, 27, 2010 in San Mateo, CA due to complications from Alzheimer's disease. He was 89.

Jackie Robinson discusses morality from 1958 TV program

Via PingNews
Excellent footage was discovered recently of Jackie Robinson from a 1958 TV program discussing the morality of firing workers. This is of special interest due to Robinson's position at the time as vice president of personnel at Chock Full o’ Nuts, where he often had to make employment decisions.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Yogi Berra pays tribute to Phil Cavarretta

With the report of Phil Cavarretta's passing, a few New York Mets shared their thoughts on their former hitting instructor including Mets manager and Hall of Famer Yogi Berra. In a statement released through Dave Kaplan of the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center, Berra recalled Cavarretta's talents as a player and a coach.

"Phil was a heck of a hitter, just look it up," Berra said. "Bob Scheffing (the Mets GM) knew him well, they played on the Cubs together and brought him in as an instructor. Phil was good, he knew hitting and was a good help to us. I remember him as a good baseball man and a nice fellow."
Phil Cavarretta /
Outfielder Jim Gosger was fond of Cavarretta's coaching approach as it was a direct contrast from another Hall of Famer he played for, Ted Williams.

"Phil was a great guy working with us hitting wise," Gosger said. "He just had a knack that made you enjoyed listening to him. I had a few other great instructors [Ted] Williams and them, but Phil was a pretty quiet person. Williams was pretty wild, screaming and hollering. Phil was very quiet as opposed to Williams who was very verbal.

"If you had any questions or if you wanted to talk baseball, he was great. He would never approach you and say, 'Hey this is what I did a long time ago.' He would never say that. You would have to go and inquire from him and ask, 'Phil is this a good idea? When you played was this the right thing to do?' That's the way he was. He was quiet but if you needed something answered he was very direct with you. Phil had no enemies. He was an easy going fun loving guy to be around."

Jack Heidemann was an infielder with the Mets during the 1975 season trying to find his place back in the majors after suffering a major knee injury a few years prior. As a fellow infielder, Cavaretta took a liking to him right away.

"I came over from St. Louis and he helped me in Spring Training that year," Heidemann said. "I was still a young guy then, I was coming off a pretty good year with St. Louis and I had a knee operation in St. Louis that sent me back to the minors for two years after Bobby Murcer took me out in Cleveland. I was coming in and he took me under his wing. He liked me because I was an infielder too.

"He was like Alvin Dark, very low key, but not a manager or coach that would just go ballistic like a Earl Weaver. 'Cavvy' could give you the look now, but he didn't show you up. He was to the point but he wasn't a rah-rah guy. He expected you to do your job and that was it. He wasn't somebody who would pull you by the side and say, 'Hey you've gotta do this and you've gotta do that.' He never downgraded, it was always, 'You can do better or try this, try that, etc..'"

Cavarretta, who spent almost 50 years in baseball as a player, coach, manager, and scout, will be missed by the baseball community. He continued to interact with his fans through the years, remaining responsive to autograph requests until the time of his death.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dwight Gooden serves customers at Sofrito

Last week legendary New York Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden appeared at the famous Puerto Rican restaurant Sofrito as a guest server. Gooden assisted in the kitchen and greeted patrons at the Midtown establishment owned in part by current New York Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran. Click here to see more photos and read a complete review of the event.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Walt Dropo, 87, 1950 American League Rookie of the Year, 1923-2010

One of the University of Connecticut's greatest stars, Walt Dropo passed away Friday night at his Boston area home. He was 87.

The Mossup native beat out Whitey Ford for the 1950 American League Rookie of the Year Award after swatting 34 home runs and amassing 144 runs batted in. A giant of a man, standing 6'5", Dropo starred in three sports at Connecticut. He was drafted by the Chicago Bears of the NFL and the Providence Steam Rollers of the BAA. Over 60 years later, Dropo still ranks second in career scoring average with 20.7 ppg.

While Dropo never could match his rookie season, he spent 13 seasons in the big leagues with Boston, Detroit, Chicago (White Sox), Cincinnati and Baltimore. He finished with a lifetime .270 average and 152 home runs.

More Info - 
Walt Dropo, UConn Star and A.L. Rookie of the Year in 1950, dies - NY Times

Walt Dropo, UConn legend, Red Sox rookie for the ages - Hartford Courant

Mossup icon Walt Dropo dies at 87 - Norwich Bulletin

Former Red Sox first baseman Walt Dropo dies at 87 - Associated Press

Former New York Mets coach and 1945 NL MVP Phil Cavarretta dies at 94

1945 National League MVP Phil Cavarretta passed away Saturday night due to complications from a stroke he suffered a week earlier. Cavarretta was a fixture in Chicago baseball, beginning his career in 1934 at the age of 18 with the Cubs, playing there through 1953 until his firing as player-manager, where he then moved across town to play for the White Sox. Cavarretta stayed involved in professional baseball until the late 1970's serving as a minor league manager and a major league coach for the Detroit Tigers and New York Mets.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Remembering Bob Feller

Bob Feller regales the crowd during the 2009 MLBPAA Legends for Youth dinner
With the news of the passing of baseball's longest tenured living Hall of Famer, Bob Feller,  his appearance at the 2009 MLBPAA Legends for Youth Dinner in New York City once again was lucid in my mind.

When Feller grabbed the microphone that evening, everyone was on the edge of their seats, including the other Hall of Famers. Receiving a standing ovation after he addressed the crowd, a then 91-year-old Feller vowed to return to New York City the following year to be a part of the celebration for the alumni association that he was so deeply involved with.

Feller understood the fraternity of the rare few who shared the title of major league ballplayer, and took every chance to represent the history and integrity of the game. Driven by the industrious values of growing up on a farm in Iowa through the depression, Feller insisted that succeeding in baseball was a result of the spirit he developed as a young kid laboring in the fields.

Always eager to speak, the vigorous Feller answered questions all night from seemingly every fan in attendance, all of whom were trying to get a glimpse into the vaults of the legend. Stopping his interactions only to take small bites from his plate, Feller simultaneously signed countless autographs and fielded questions from the eager crowd. He thanked just about everyone who asked him for an autograph. For a player who accomplished so much in his career, Feller displayed a great deal of humility and sincerity, something that seems to be lacking from the current generation of players.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bob Feller eneters hospice care

The longest living tenured member of baseball's Hall of Fame has entered hospice care. Bob Feller, a 1962 inductee of baseball's greatest shrine was placed into hospice care Wednesday after suffering a bout with pneumonia. It unfortunately looks like baseball is going to shortly lose one of their greatest pitchers and World War II heroes.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ron Santo, 70, Chicago Cubs legendary third baseman 1940-2010

Legendary Chicago Cubs third baseman Ron Santo died Thursday night in Arizona due to complications from bladder cancer. He was 70.

The third baseman played 14 of his 15 major league seasons for the Cubs is regarded as one of the best third basemen in major league history. Santo win five consecutive Gold Gloves from 1964-1968 and was selected to the All-Star team nine times.

Santo was the first player to openly admit to playing with diabetes. Santo later in life had both of his legs amputated due to complications from the disease. He became a champion for juvenile diabetes donating countless time and money to spreading the word to youngsters afflicted by the disease.

A beloved figure in Cubs history, Santo became a radio broadcaster for the Cubs in 1990, opening up a new generation of fans to Cubs baseball and its history.

A public visitation will be held at 4 p.m. on Dec. 9 at Holy Name Cathedral with the funeral Friday at 10 am.

More Info -
Cubs legend Ron Santo dead at 70 - Chicago Breaking Sports