Sunday, February 27, 2011

Former New York Mets catcher Greg Goossen passes away at 65

Greg Goossen
Greg Goosen, who was one of the earlier catching prospects in the New York Mets organization died Saturday at his home in Sherman Oaks, CA. He was 65 years old. Goossen played for the Mets from 1965-68 and then with the Pilots and Senators before ending his major league career in 1970.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bill Deck, Negro League pitcher dies at 95

Bill Deck - 1939
Bill Deck, former pitcher for the Philadelphia Stars of the Negro Leagues died Tuesday February 22, 2011 at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia according to Dr. Steven McIlwain. He was 95.

Born Sept 28, 1915, Deck had an early start in Negro League baseball as he was a ball chaser for the Hilldale Daises, where he had the chance to watch Hall of Famer Judy Johnson operate up close and personal.

Deck would go on to play for local semi-pro teams in the early 1930's before signing on with the Philadelphia Stars in 1939. 

In 1943, Deck was drafted into the Marines for World War II. Deck was in one of the first all-black Marine units in the war. He served until 1946, and upon his return, played for the Bacharach Giants until 1951. 

Deck returned to Philadelphia where he lived in North Philadelphia until his death.

- Note - Excerpts from a 2007 interview I conducted with Deck will be posted in a few days.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Clyde Parris - Private Autograph Signing March 5, 2011

BaseballHappenings.net is proud to present a private signing with former Negro Leaguer Clyde Parris. He is the last living alum of the legendary Baltimore Elite Giants, having played with them in 1946. All items are due by March 5, 2011.

Affectionately known as "The Dude", the Panamania-born Parris entered pro ball in the United States with the Baltimore Elite Giants of the Negro Leagues in 1946. Later that season he signed with the New York Black Yankees and played with them until 1948. He spent part of the 1949 season with the Cleveland / Louisville Buckeyes. He is currently one of less than 20 living Negro Leaguers to have entered the Negro Leagues before Jackie Robinson made his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

He would eventually be signed to the Brooklyn Dodgers farm system, reaching the Triple-A level for six seasons, earning MVP honors at Class-A Elmira and winning the Triple-A batting title in 1956.

Click here to read a recent article about Parris' career, "Batting Average? You were thinking about surviving!"

Parris has never done a public or private signing. He appears in the 2009 Topps Allen and Ginter set.

The prices for the signing are as follows:
Cards / Photos / Flats / Index Cards - $10
Your Baseball - $12
Our 8x10 Photos - $15 (includes autograph)
Inscriptions - $5

Shipping costs are as follows:
You can send a SASE with your items, however, you assume all risk for the SASE.

$2 Baseball Cards / Index Cards / Photos Smaller Than 5x7
$4 Photos 5x7 or Larger
$5 Baseballs

If you are located outside of the United States, please email for a shipping quotation.

Payment Forms Accepted:
Paypal / Credit Card
Money Order

Please send your items with a post-it note and member name to ensure the correct return.

For details on paying by either Paypal / Credit Card, please send an email to baseballhappenings@yahoo.com

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Clyde Parris continues to carry the legacy of the Negro Leagues

2009 Allen and Ginter Clyde Parris
Jonathan "Clyde" Parris is one of the last living links to the Negro Leagues. Debuting in 1946 with the Baltimore Elite Giants, he is the last living player from the organization that produced Hall of Famers Roy Campanella and Leon Day, as well as Joe Black and Junior Gilliam. I recently caught up with Parris for a piece with the Queens Times / Ledger newspapers.

Click here to read more about the career of Clyde Parris, and how he was extremely close to being called up to the Brooklyn Dodgers after leading the minor leagues in hitting.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Recent Brooklyn Dodger passings - Tony Malinosky, Gino Cimoli, Cliff Dapper

As we push farther into 2011, the list of living players that appeared in uniform for the Brooklyn Dodgers are dwindling. In the past week, we lost three Dodger alumni: Tony Malinosky, who was the oldest living major league player; Cliff Dapper, the first player to be traded for a broadcaster; and Gino Cimoli, the first batter to appear in a major league game on the West Coast. Click on each of their photos to learn more about each player.

Tony Malinosky

Cliff Dapper
Gino Cimoli


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Tony Malinosky,101, former Brooklyn Dodger passes away

Tony Malinosky, former Brooklyn Dodger passed away last week in Oxnard, CA. He was 101. Malinosky held the distinction of being the oldest living major league player. He played in 35 games for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1937.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Gonzalo "Cholly" Naranjo Private Signing February 21, 2011

BaseballHappenings.net is proud to present a private signing with legendary Cuban Hall of Fame pitcher and former Pittsburgh Pirate, Gonzalo "Cholly" Naranjo. He currently has a 0% success rate on SCN. All items are due by February 17, 2011.

Cholly was an integral part of the legendary Almendares team from 1952-1961. He was signed by legendary scout "Papa" Joe Cambria to the Washington Senators, and had a catch with President Eisenhower before the home opener in 1954. He was then signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates by Branch Rickey and was a member of the Hollywood Stars of the Pacific Coast League (PCL) before making his debut with the Pirates in 1956 alongside his roommates and future Hall of Famers Bill Mazeroski and Roberto Clemente. He spent most of his life in Cuba, and his autograph has evaded many autograph seekers.

His only standard issued card is the 1957 Topps Pittsburgh Pirates Team Card.

The prices for the signing are as follows:
Cards / Photos / Flats / Index Cards - $10
Your Baseball - $12
Our 8x10 Photos - $15 (includes autograph)
Inscriptions - $5

Shipping costs are as follows:
You can send a SASE with your items, however, you assume all risk for the SASE.

$2 Baseball Cards / Index Cards / Photos Smaller Than 5x7
$4 Photos 5x7 or Larger
$5 Baseballs

If you are located outside of the United States, please email for a shipping quotation.

Payment Forms Accepted:
Paypal / Credit Card
Money Order

Please send your items with a post-it note and name to ensure the correct return.

For details on paying by either Paypal / Credit Card, please send an email to baseballhappenings@yahoo.com

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Andy Pettitte and Whitey Ford: A Comparison

Keith Allison / Flickr / Wikimedia Commons
The big news on the New York baseball airwaves last week was Andy Pettitte's announcement of his retirement after a 16-year career in the major leagues with the New York Yankees and Houston Astros. As soon as the official word was given, a multitude of talking heads discussed Pettitte's candidacy for the Hall of Fame. The soutpaw's career totals parallel that of another Yankee left-handed great, Hall of Famer Whitey Ford.

Below are Pettitte's final totals juxtaposed with Ford's. Playing in the era of specialization, it is no surprise that Pettitte falls short when comparing complete games. The rest of their statistics are eerily similar. How does Pettitte's career stack up against Ford's, and is Andy Pettitte a Hall of Famer? Discuss below.

In case you are wondering, Ford needs a second hand just to display his World Series rings, owning six, while Pettitte garnered five during his career.


Career Statistics
Player Name Stat Type
W
L
ERA
G
GS
CG
SHO
GF
SV
IP
H
R
ER
HR
BB
SO
WP


WHIP
Andy Pettitte MLB
240
138
3.88
489
479
25
4
3
0
3,055
3185
1461
1317
263
962
2251
62




1.36
Whitey Ford MLB
236
106
2.75
498
438
156
45
35
10
3,170
2766
1107
967
228
1086
1956
75




1.22


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Butch McCord leaves behind a baseball legacy of a lifetime

Baseball lost another great ambassador last week with the passing of Clinton “Butch” McCord. His baseball career spanned from 1948-1961, starting in the Negro Leagues with the Baltimore Elite Giants. reaching as high as Triple-A for four seasons. Let Butch McCord narrate the story of his baseball career, however, he’d reply with a more modest answer.

“I call myself a backup singer,” McCord stated in a 2009 interview. “You know what that is? [You] sing good, but nobody watches you. That's the way I was in baseball. When I was playing, there were only eight teams in each league. It was hard to even get a break.”

For McCord, he almost didn’t even have a chance to play the game that he loved so much. In addition to growing up in the segregated south prior to Jackie Robinson’s signing, neither his high school nor his college, Tennessee State University had a baseball team. It was only through the intervention of one of his football coaches that McCord moved to baseball.

“I was a football player at TSU. I learned baseball from playing in the sandlots. We won the Negro National Championship in 1946. In 1947, Jackie signed and one of our football coaches said, ‘If I were you, I wouldn't play anymore football.’ So I signed with Tom Wilson, who had one of the few black owned ballparks here in Nashville, Wilson Park,” McCord revealed.

Butch McCord - Louisville 1957
Wilson’s untimely death in 1947 put a damper on McCord’s plans to join the Elite Giants. “He asked me to play in 1947, but he died in 1947. His secretary that took over told me to stay and play with the Nashville Cubs. I stayed and played first base for them.”

True to their word, the Elite Giants signed McCord for the 1948 season, but there was a twist. He was going to be playing the outfield, a position he had never played before. McCord described his entry to the legendary ball club. “When I played for Baltimore, they had a first baseman by Johnny Washington, so Henry Kimbro “learned” me how to play the outfield. With them, I played right field.”

In Baltimore, he found himself surrounded by a bevy of talented players, better than any assembly he would play with, including at the Triple-A level in the Dodger organization. “We had such a good team in Baltimore. We had Joe Black, Leon Day, Pee Wee Butts, Henry Kimbro, Junior Gilliam, and Lennie Pearson with us. That was the best team of all the teams I played for,” explained McCord. He probably was right. Day went on to the Hall of Fame, Black and Gilliam were both Rookie of the Year award winners for the Brooklyn Dodgers, and Butts, Kimbro and Pearson were repeat All-Stars in the Negro Leagues.

Like many others who entered the Negro Leagues, McCord experienced baptism by fire during his debut. "My first game in 1948 with Baltimore was against the Homestead Grays. Buck Leonard was at first base, Sam Bankhead was at shortstop, Luke Easter was in the outfield and Luis Marquez was in center field," McCord recalled. "I hit a ball to the left side, a slow ball down the left side. I was a left handed hitter, so I thought, 'I got this one made.' I thought I could run. He [Bankhead] threw me out by about two steps! I said to myself, 'Welcome to the Negro Leagues!'"

If facing the legendary talents of the Negro Leagues wasn't difficult enough, McCord and his teammates endured the Jim Crow laws to persist in playing baseball. McCord told a story when his white teammates with the Chicago American Giants weren't allowed to take the field. "When I was with the Chicago American Giants, we integrated in reverse. One of the white players was Louis Chirban, he was my roommate," remarked McCord. "We go to Birmingham; Willie Mays was still playing with them. Before we got off the bus, the police chief said, 'I hear you have some white players on the team. If you put them in uniform, I will close the concessions and close the ballpark; they'll be no game here tonight.' The white players asked, 'Well can we sit on the bench?' The chief said, 'You have to sit in the stands with the white folks.'" That was the way of life in South. We dodged it a lot of times."

In 1951, McCord signed with the Paris Lakers of the Class-D Mississippi-Ohio Valley League. He feasted on the pitching in the league, batting .363 in 1951 and an astounding .392 in 1952. So beloved was McCord in Paris, that he was honored with a "Clinton McCord Night" that featured Harry Caray who was a young broadcaster for the St. Louis Cardinals at the time.

His fine play saw him promoted to Denver of the Class-A Western League, where he played stellar defense at first base and batted .358 in 1954. One of his teammates in Denver would go on to make the Hall of Fame as a manager, Earl Weaver, who McCord described as a "pepper-pot" and one of the main contributors to their pennant winning season. It was McCord's steady play that would send him off to Triple-A the following season, one step away from the "big show."

McCord would spend the next three seasons (1955-57) at the Triple-A level playing for Richmond, Columbus and Louisville. He posted batting averages above .258 all three seasons and earned a reputation for being one of the top glove men in all of minor league baseball. It was during this time that McCord would reconnect with one of the biggest stars of the Negro Leagues, Satchel Paige.

"The biggest crowd in the minors was the game we played in Miami. There were 55,000 people. It was a benefit game. I got two hits off of him. I got a triple off of him when I was 16. The ones in Miami didn't count; he was an older man then. His main thing was his control by that time."

By 1958, McCord was already 33 years old and fading away from prospect status. That didn't prevent McCord from holding on to his passion. He signed with the Class-A Macon Dodgers, who at the time was managed by Danny Ozark. Ozark would go on to manage many years in the major leagues with the Philadelphia Phillies. When asked about McCord in a 2008 interview I conducted, the late Ozark responded, "I had Butch McCord in Macon. He was a super guy. Good contact hitter, didn't strike out much. He hit over .300. He became the most popular player on the team and the MVP."

McCord would spend a few more seasons in the Dodgers organization, bouncing between Double-A and Triple-A until retiring after the 1961 season with Victoria of the Texas League. He earned two Silver Glove awards for his wizardry around the first base bag. Even until they had to take the uniform off of his back, McCord still thought he had a chance to break through. “I always thought I’d do my best and somebody would give me a chance. Even when I decided to retire, I always thought I was going somewhere.”

McCord returned to Nashville and worked for the United States Postal Service until his retirement in 1988. He remained a fixture in Nashville area baseball, working tirelessly with the Nashville R.B.I. program to promote baseball to the youth in the urban area. He had the baseball field at Tennessee State University named after him following his efforts to revive the program.

McCord wanted to leave me with some advice regarding his longevity. The following words serve as an example of his humor and spirit. "I've been married 58 years to the same woman. I always ask the youngsters, 'Do you know how to be 83 like me? Do you have an idea how you can get there?' Here's the punchline. 'Just don't die.' Going to church, not drinking and all of that is fine, but you can have an accident and die. If you don't die, you might make it!" Don't worry Butch, you made it and in a way much louder than any backup singer could.

More Information -

Clinton "Butch" McCord - The Marsh Collection

McCord recalls his time with the Paris Lakers - Tribune Star