Sunday, November 27, 2011

Lenny Dykstra settles in at Strawberry's restaurant

Lenny Dykstra, the much maligned center fielder for the 1986 New York Mets World Series championship team, appeared Saturday evening at Darryl Strawberry's Sports Grill in Queens. Click here to read about Dykstra's appearance and see photos from the event.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Did MLB short its retirees with the new collective barganing agreement?

A provision of the new collective bargaining agreement between Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association included an extension through 2016 of what was deemed "charitable payments” delivered to non-vested retired MLB players who played prior to 1980.

These players, who played less than four or five seasons in the majors depending upon their debuts, are eligible for up to $10,000 in annual payments, as agreed upon earlier this season. For some players who just barely missed the cutoff for vesting, they receive checks of close to $10,000 per year; others who played the minimum required 43 days, are receiving as little as $625 per year. This payment is in stark contrast to the $30,000 annual pension payment to a player who debuted after 1980 that was on an active major league roster for the 43-day minimum.

The question remains; however, did MLB do the right thing by its retirees with the new CBA? Click here to read a compelling argument by Douglas Gladstone, the author of, "A Bitter Cup of Coffee."

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gil Hodges' disciples speak up on his Hall of Fame chances

Mrs. Joan Hodges at the 2011 Gil Hodges Legacy Dinner
The topic of inductions was a hot item during Thursday night’s Winning Beyond Winning’s 14th annual Gil Hodges Legacy Dinner at the Chateau Briand in Carle Place.

Completing the ceremonial first pitch in front of a crowd of 250-plus supporters, former New York Yankees Frank Tepedino and Rusty Torres accepted their inductions into the Winning Beyond Winning “Winners Circle.”

Torres along with attorney Tom Sabellico founded the organization which helps to educate kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, while promoting participation in athletics. Tepedino was one of their first recruits. “At a time in my life, when I gave up alcohol, Rusty and Tom came into it. Winning Beyond Winning was a blessing,” said Tepedino.

New York Yankees relief pitcher David Robertson and his wife Erin were presented with the Great Americans Award for their community work with their charity High Socks for Hope in their home state of Alabama.

The dinner, which bears the name of the legendary Dodgers’ first baseman and New York Mets manager, served this year as an impromptu booster party for Hodges’ Hall of Fame candidacy. When Hodges’ wife Joan took the podium for the celebration of her 85th birthday, the buzz circulated about her late husband’s Hall of Fame credentials. Hodges is one of the ten candidates on the newly formed Golden Era ballot to be voted on December 4th in Dallas.

Long time New York Mets shortstop and Long Island Ducks owner Bud Harrelson spoke with Examiner about Hodges’ paternal influence as his manager. “When I was with him, I felt like I was a son and I think he made a lot of players feel like that,” said Harrelson. “I fell in love with this guy. He was not negative, always positive. … He was just a good man, a family man [with] really solid principles.”

Washington Senators outfielder Fred Valentine, who played under Hodges from 1964-67, also praised the character of his fallen manager. “Throughout my whole playing career I think I gave him 100, 110 percent while I was on the field. … I knew what type of person he was. He was a devoted person, a devoted manager and he treated all of the players equally well. All of the ballplayers seemed to like the way that he managed,” said Valentine. He hopes that the upcoming vote will land Hodges in Cooperstown. “I can’t say enough about Gil Hodges about a manager. I’m just praying as I told Mrs. Hodges [today], that he will make it to the Hall of Fame where he deserves to be.”

Another disciple of the beloved Mets manager, Art Shamsky, felt that Hodges’ honor is long overdue. “It’s certainly something that should have been done a number of years ago, especially if you look at his stats against guys like Tony Perez and Orlando Cepeda; it’s very comparable. I’m just not sure why it hasn’t happened before, and hopefully at this point while Mrs. Hodges is around to enjoy some good news, it will happen sooner than later.”

Mrs. Hodges took a rare public moment to reflect on this renewed opportunity for her late husband’s to gain entry to the Hall of Fame. “I’m going to be truthfully, very very honest with you. I have never really discussed this … how I feel about him, how over deserving [he is]. If it happens, we’ll be eternally grateful; if not, he’ll be in my heart forever.”

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Strincevich, 3rd oldest major league player, dies at 96

Nick Strincevich
While our country was celebrating the merits of our military veterans this Friday, the baseball family was mourning the loss of World War II era pitcher Nick Strincevich. He passed away November 11th in Valparaiso, Ind. At 96, he was the third oldest living major leaguer at the time of his death.

Click here to read about how he pitched to Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, as well as became a favorite of Casey Stengel.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Tom Seaver steps up for veterans at Citi Pond in Bryant Park

Tom Seaver poses with Fordham's Color Guard at Bryant Park / N. Diunte
Hall of Fame pitcher and former United States Marine Tom Seaver stood proudly on the podium Friday morning as he saluted the veterans at Citi Pond in Bryant Park. The legendary New York Met pitcher served in the Marine Corps from 1962-63, and remained on reserve duty until 1970.

Seaver, who throughout the morning, repeatedly expressed his respect for the members on active duty, explained how his time in the military helped better prepare him for his baseball career.

Click here to read Seaver's recollections of his military service, as well as view video and photos from the event.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Russell Rac, 81, hit four home runs in one game while with the St. Louis Cardinals organization

Rac (c.) in between Don Blasingame (l.) and Rip Repluski (r.)
Mark Whiten gained notoriety when, as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1993, he hit four home runs in a game against the Cincinnati Reds. While Whiten was the first Cardinal to achieve this feat, he wasn’t the first in the Cardinal family to do so. Long-time St. Louis farmhand Russell Rac set the single-game Venezuelan record when he hit four on January 8, 1956 while playing for Pastora. At the time, he was only the eighth player in professional baseball history to reach that mark.

Rac passed away October 11th in his hometown of Galveston, TX, with little fanfare at the age of 81. Some 55 years ago; however, he sat among the top of the prospects in the Cardinals organization.

Click here to read more about Rac's record setting day in South America.