Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hardball on the Home Front: Major League Replacement Players of World War II

Hardball on the Home Front: Major League Replacement Players of World War II
Craig Allen Cleve
McFarland, 2004
213 pp.

At the onset of World War II, with many resources diverted, President Roosevelt courageously declared, "I want Major League Baseball to keep playing." Recognizing the morale boost and inexpensive entertainment that it provided to citizens around the United States, professional baseball continued to march along during one of the most trying times in our country's history.

Craig Allen Cleve's "Hardball on the Home Front: Major League Replacement Players of World War II" tells the glorious stories of nine players breaking into the Major Leagues during World War II. Click here to read a complete review of Cleve's book about baseball during World War II.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Edwin Jackson's no hitter evokes memories of Toothpick Sam Jones

Edwin Jackson of the Arizona Diamondbacks threw the 11th no-hitter by an African American pitcher in the major leagues last night, blanking the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0. Click here to read about the similarities between Jackson's and Jones' no hitters 55 years apart.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Get ready for a trip "Around The League" with George Case of the Washington Senators

On the field, George Case was known for his speed. The fleet-footed outfielder led the American League in stolen bases six times, including a five-year stretch from 1939-1943. During his career that spanned 11 seasons, Case had the foresight to capture action from all of the American League ballparks onto color 8mm film. Previously silent footage, Case wisely recorded the narration before his death in 1989 that guides you through the 37 minute expedition entitled "Around the League".

While Case identifies his old teammates and opponents, he makes you feel like you are sitting next to your father calmly recounting proud memories of an era long gone. There are over 15 Hall of Fame baseball players featured in this collection, and for many fans it is their only chance to see action of baseball's immortals in living color. Vivid footage of such greats as Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Jimmie Foxx, Charlie Gehringer and Hank Greenberg bring the descriptions that one may have read about these legends come to life on your screen. Add in Case's first hand accounts of the foregone players and ballparks, you will feel like you were there live in the flesh while Case was capturing it on his personal camera.

The DVD sells for $35.95 (shipping included) and can be purchased directly from his son George Case III by emailing him at case67@verizon.net.

Around The League DVD Trailer

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pedro Alvarez to join the Pittsburgh Pirates Wednesday in Chicago

Top prospect third baseman Pedro Alvarez will join the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night when they play in Chicago. The Pirates made the decision to recall Alvarez from Triple-A Indianapolis after suffering their ninth straight loss. The 23-year old Alvarez is a graduate of the prestigious Horace Mann School in the Bronx. He was the second overall pick in the 2008 draft out of Vanderbilt University.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Book Review: Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend

Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend
James S. Hirsch
Scribner, 2010
640 pp.

Epic. The word describes both the career of Willie Mays and the new book penned by James Hirsch chronicling his life, "Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend". Clocking in at over 600 pages, it would be trite to call it in-depth. Hirsch reveals how the legend of Mays developed from his humble beginnings in Alabama playing in the segregated Negro Leagues to becoming the grand regality of Baseball's Hall of Fame.

While Mays' career has been well chronicled and documented, a few things are evident from Hirsch's work. A yeoman's job was done in researching this book. Countless interviews with teammates, friends and family as well as citations from newspapers both national and regional propel the story farther than Mays' lofty accomplishments on the baseball field.

What also becomes apparent as you get familiar with Mays, that while having no biological children of his own, he held a lifelong appreciation for the innocence of childhood. Mays was never too busy to make an appearance to speak and visit with the legions of kids that idolized his play. From playing stick ball with the Harlem locals and taking them for ice cream to making countless appearances at children's hospitals, Willie would literally give the shirt off of his back for a child in need.

While Mays has been distant and guarded in public during recent times, Hirsch allows baseball fans to get to know Mays through this insightful look into his life and career. While it might take you the entire summer to finish reading “The Life, The Legend”, it will give you enough time to digest the totality of the enigma that is Willie Mays just in time for the pennant races.

An Interview with Baseball Legend Willie Mays 

Willie Mays discusses playing in the Negro Leagues, his early days in the Majors, The Shot Heard ‘Round the World,’ his father’s influence, his fanship of Joe DiMaggio and more. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

George Washington's Mike Antonio is their highest draft pick since Manny Ramirez

With the 86th selection in the 2010 MLB draft, the Kansas City Royals selected George Washington High School shortstop Mike Antonio, making him the highest pick since Manny Ramirez was drafted 13th overall in 1991. To read more about Antonio and see video of him playing, click here.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Boxing returns to Yankee Stadium with Foreman and Cotto bout

Yuri Foreman v Miguel Cotto
Last night marked the first boxing match at the new Yankee Stadium, and the last time since the 1976 fight between Muhammad Ali and Ken Norton that Yankee Stadium hosted a boxing event. Click here to read the recap and see photos of the light middleweight title match between Yuri Foreman and Miguel Cotto.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ken Griffey Jr. announces his retirement

ESPN.com reports that Ken Griffey Jr. announced his retirement Wednesday night. The 40-year-old Griffey Jr. was batting .184 with zero homeruns and seven RBI's in 33 games for the Mariners this season. He played 22 seasons with the Mariners, White Sox and Reds, retiring with 630 homeruns, which puts him fifth all-time. Griffey is also only a handful of players to play in three different decades, debuting in 1989 and retiring this year.