Sunday, October 31, 2010

Selig supports more teams in the playoffs

Does baseball really need another round of playoffs? Check out the following statement from Commissioner Bud Selig regarding his feelings on expanding baseball's playoff format. How do you feel about baseball wanting to add another round? Where is the support coming from?

Book Review: Stan the Man: The Life and Times of Stan Musial

Stan the Man: The Life and Times of Stan Musial
Wayne Stewart
Triumph Books, 2010
256 pp.

Somehow Stan Musial's name seems to be omitted when discussing the upper echelon of baseball's royalty. He ranks fourth all time in hits (3,630), sixth in RBI's (1,951), appeared in 24 All-Star games and won the National League MVP award three times. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969 with over 93% of the votes.

Donora, PA native Wayne Stewart does his best to elevate Musial's standing in the public eye with his biography, "Stan the Man: The Life and Times of Stan Musial." Stewart treads down a similar path that others have traveled chronicling Musial's upbringing in the small town of Donora. We watch Musial develop into a multi-sport athlete at Donora High School where he would play with Buddy Griffey, the patriarch to the Griffey baseball legacy. He was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals at the age of 18 out of high school and the rest shall we say has been well documented.

While Stewart attempts to follow Musial through his Hall of Fame career, he leaves bits and pieces of different stories hanging, leaving you wondering why certain anecdotes weren't further developed or why they were mentioned in the first place. He attempts to fill the gaps by quoting some of Musial's living teammates and opponents, most notably Carl Erskine, who is frequently quoted during the book. Conspicuously absent are testimonials from Musial's long time teammates Red Schoendienst, Marty Marion and Musial himself.

For the younger fans who aren't familiar with the achievements of Musial, "Stan The Man" will serve as a primer about the Cardinal great to whom Albert Pujols respectfully deferred the title of "El Hombre". For the baseball fan or historian that is searching for greater depth into the annals of Musial's career, they may not be satisfied by Stewart's work.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Rudy Rufer, former New York Giants infielder dies at 83

Rudy Rufer, who played 22 games for the New York Giants from 1949-1950 died October 25, 2010. He was just three days shy of his 84th birthday. Rufer grew up in Ridgewood, Queens and attended Aviation High School. He attended Dartmouth College, the University of Oklahoma and served in the Navy.

Rudy Rufer

Rufer was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1948 and was quickly drafted by the Giants the next season. After hitting .266 at Jersey City in AAA, Rufer made his major league debut on September 22, 1949 in only his second year in professional ball. He would receive another cup of coffee in 1950, compiling two hits in 26 at-bats. He would play minor league ball until 1957, serving as a minor league manager from 1956-58 with the Class D Thomasville Dodgers.

Rufer transitioned into the role of a scout for the Dodgers organization, working in that capacity for 25 years. Unfortunately, in his waning years while recovering from cancer surgery, Rufer was robbed by one of his nurse's aides, stealing most of his baseball memorabilia including his World Series ring. Luckily the material was quickly recovered by police.

Rufer's passing leaves only 38 living players who played for the New York Giants before they moved to San Francisco in 1958.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Valmy Thomas dies at 84; First MLB player from the Virgin Islands

Former New York Giants catcher and legend from the U.S. Virgin Islands Valmy Thomas passed away October 16 at his home in St. Croix at the age of 84. Thomas' mother went to Puerto Rico for his birth because she believe the medical care was better there. They immediately moved back to the Virgin Islands where Thomas became a national hero. He played five seasons in the majors and was the starting catcher on the legendary 1954-55 Santurce Crabbers whose outfield contained both Roberto Clemente and Willie Mays.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A tour of the new Yankee Stadium

  A view from center field
As the New York Yankees return to their home Monday evening to host the Texas Rangers for Game 3 of the ALCS, I wanted to give the readers an inside look at the new Yankee Stadium. Click here to see photos from a recent tour of their Bronx residence.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Baseball greats come out to support the Harrison Apar Field of Dreams Foundation

Columbus Day Weekend brought together a wonderful assembly of retired major leaguers at the Mohansic Golf Club in support of the Harrison Apar Field of Dreams Foundation. Check out the following link see photos and read more about the benefit for the foundation which included appearances by Chris Chambliss and Jerry Koosman.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Ike Davis aims at Mets rookie records

New York Mets first baseman Ike Davis is close to reaching the Mets rookie records for home runs and RBI's. Click here to see who he has surpassed and the player he is chasing.