Showing posts with label Ted Williams. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ted Williams. Show all posts

Friday, July 9, 2021

Charlie Gorin, University Of Texas Star And Milwaukee Braves Pitcher, Dies At 93

Charlie Gorin, former Milwaukee Braves pitcher from 1954-55, died February 21, 2021 at 93.

Coming out of the University of Texas, Charlie Gorin had a winner’s pedigree. Pitching under the legendary Bibb Falk's guiding eye, the left-hander propelled the Longhorns to consecutive College World Series titles in 1949 and 1950. Gorin continued that streak early in his minor league career; however, he could not translate that success to the major league level.

Gorin, who pitched seven games for the Milwaukee Braves from 1954-55, died February 21, 2021. He was 93.

The Waco, Texas, native enlisted in the Navy during World War II out of high school, delaying the start of his baseball career. After his discharge he enrolled at Texas, using the GI Bill at the urging of one of his Naval mates. He made good with Falk at a spring tryout, and a local legend was born.

The Boston Braves took notice of Gorin after his second CWS championship in 1950 and signed him to a minor league contract at Omaha on the spot. After a short stint at Triple-A Milwaukee, Gorin settled in with their Double-A club in Atlanta and led them to the playoffs with a 7-1 record.

Gorin entered the 1951 season with a fresh start at Milwaukee that eventually led to two championships in the span of a year. The 1951 Milwaukee club ran away with the pennant, showing how Major League Baseball organizations could benefit from having an integrated team. Former Negro Leaguers Bus Clarkson and George Crowe led the offensive charge with respective .343 and .339 batting averages, while starters Ernie Johnson, Bert Thiel, Virgil Jester, Murray Wall and Gorin all posted double-digit victory totals. They then toppled the International League’s Montreal Royals to win the 1951 Junior World Series.

Most pitchers would be exhausted after a long playoff season, but the lure of a paid winter to pitch in Puerto Rico was too much for Gorin to pass up. At the recommendation of teammate Luis Olmo, Gorin headed to winter ball.

“That was the only way to make money,” Gorin said during a 2008 phone interview. “There wasn't big money like now. I was married with two kids; that's how I saved money. They paid our way down with the wife and kids, and they paid room and board. Puerto Rico was a good place to play.”

After faltering early with Mayag├╝ez, Gorin latched on with San Juan after the team owner came to the airport to stop him from going back home. He was determined to make Mayag├╝ez realize its mistake.

Gorin reeled off 12 wins, leading San Juan to the league championship. He pitched two complete-game victories in the playoffs, punching their ticket to the 1952 Caribbean Series. Unfortunately, for Gorin, he couldn’t enjoy the fruit of his labors. A full year of pitching finally caught up with him, his body giving out after epic playoff run. Instead of representing Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Series, he was sent home to recover.

“I had a chance to play in the Caribbean Series in 1952, but I had a muscle spasm in my back, and I just couldn't make the pitch,” he said. “They sent me home. I went to the doctor here. I had a chance to rest, and finally I worked out of it.”

 

Fresh off his incredible 1951 campaign, Gorin looked forward to competing for a spot on the Boston Braves. With the Korean War raging on, Uncle Sam had other plans for him that did not include the major leagues.

“I was called back to active duty in the Navy for Korea,” he said. “I went to Pensacola, because I had a degree in physical education. I was an instructor in the Naval school for gymnastics, physical education, swimming, and water survival. I had to stay two years.”

Gorin, like many of his contemporaries including Willie Mays, Don Newcombe and Ted Williams, lost prime years of his major league career to the Korean War. Unlike the aforementioned trio, Gorin could not regain the momentum he had going into his service upon his return to the pros.

The Braves honored his contract, keeping him on the roster for the 1954 and 1955 seasons. He pitched sparingly over the two years, making seven relief appearances for a 0-1 record with a 3.60 ERA.

Gorin continued to play in the minor leagues through 1962, settling into Austin towards the end of his career so he could make the move into teaching and coaching. Luckily, he found an opportunity with his former high school coach who was flexible enough to let him off to play professional baseball.

“In 1959, I was in Austin, and they wanted to send me to Atlanta,” he said. “I said, ‘Keep me in Austin, that's my hometown, they have a AA team and I could make the transition between baseball and teaching school.’ My high school coach was the athletic director here, so when I got here, he got me on as a coach and teacher. Then he let me off to go play ball. One year I went to Mobile, then back to Austin. I was married with two kids, and I needed the extra money. We made more than teachers, that's for sure.”

He wrapped up his baseball career in 1962 and went full-time into education. He coached football and baseball for over 20 years and became an assistant principal at John Reagan High School in Austin. He retired in 1990 and enjoyed playing golf with his family and friends.

Speaking with Gorin in 2008, he was proud of his baseball career; however, he was quick to note the changes he observed over the 60 years since he started.

“Things have changed,” he said. “The young players don't know how nice they have it. … It's a different game, if the ball hits the ground, it gets put out of the game. You wanted that ball that was hit on the ground, so it was rough, and you could do something with it.”


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Baseball Happenings Podcast | Ted Lepcio Interview

On the latest Baseball Happenings Podcast, we present an interview with the recently deceased Ted Lepcio, an infielder who played primarily with the Boston Red Sox in the 1950s.


During our conversation from 2017, we discuss Lepcio's relationship with his teammate, Jimmy Piersall, as well as his memories of facing Satchel Paige. Lepcio died December 11th, 2019, in Dedham, Massachusettes. He was 90.





Saturday, November 18, 2017

Bobby Doerr remembered as a calming influence on the Blue Jays franchise

Bobby Doerr built a Hall of Fame career as the “Silent Captain” of the Boston Red Sox from 1937-1951. The humble nine-time All-Star second baseman, died November 13, 2017 in Junction City, Oregon. He was 99.

Bobby Doerr / Blue Jays

An icon with the Red Sox organization as both a player and a coach, Doerr also helped to build the foundation of the Toronto Blue Jays organization. Starting with the Toronto franchise during their inaugural 1977 campaign, Doerr served as their batting coach for five seasons. His profound impact went well beyond their hitters, as former Blue Jays All-Star pitcher Dave Lemanczyk recalled just how vital Doerr was to their operation.

“He just gave us the opportunity to compete,” Lemanczyk said Thursday night at the Firefighters Charitable Foundation Dinner in Long Island. “That was the big thing. He never got excited, [he was] very low key. … Sometimes as a baseball player, you let your emotions get a hold of you, and you try to compete at a level you shouldn’t be at and you end up screwing the pooch a little bit. He probably had a calming, almost like a grandfatherly influence on most of the guys he came in contact with.”

In addition to his easy demeanor as Lemanczyk observed, he said that Doerr’s reserved nature kept him from boasting about his legendary career. Even though Doerr wouldn’t be elected to the Hall of Fame until 1986, few of the players knew of his standing among the greats of the game.

“He was just a class, soft spoken guy,” he said. “I don’t think any of us realized that he was a Hall of Famer. He was just a kind gentleman who absolutely knew the ins and out, especially hitting, of baseball. Somebody who could put up with Ted Williams his whole career had to be pretty in tune with everything.”

Upon reading the news of Doerr’s passing, Lemanczyk’s memory was triggered by visions of a photo shoot they shared for a local department store. He dug up the photo and was immediately filled with emotion confronting the permanence of his former coach’s death.

“As soon as I read it in the paper, [I remembered] Alan Ashby, Jesse Jefferson, Bobby Doerr, and myself did a photo layout for Eaton’s department stores for a father’s day catalogue,” he recalled. “I happen to have that catalogue in the house and just looking at that brought an eerie chill.”

Saturday, October 7, 2017

2017 Topps Triple Threads Review - An exciting albeit expensive ride through baseball card collecting

Looking at their artistic relics, colorful design, and limited edition autographs, collectors are sure to be tempted to pull a box of 2017 Topps Triple Threads off of the shelves and get busy diving into its array of memorabilia driven baseball cards.

2017 Topps Triple Threads / Topps
Each master box contains two autograph cards and two relic cards, providing for multiple opportunities to walk away with a classic collectible. Exciting inserts for this product include autographed relics, as well as the coveted autographed relic combos, which feature multiple signatures from prominent franchise favorites with embedded game used memorabilia pieces. These combos are rather scarce, ranging from the singular white whale printing plate, to the base issues which are only made in quantities of 36.

2017 Topps Triple Threads Chris Sale Relic / Topps
Digging further into the depths of 2017 Topps Triple Threads uncovers cut autographs of Jackie Robinson, Ty Cobb, and Ted Williams, or even rarer dual cuts of the pairings of Williams and Stan Musial, or Willie Stargell and Roberto Clemente. The idea of having even the slightest chance of scoring signatures for those who rank among the pinnacle of the sport is enough to tantalize hobbyists into taking a peek behind the Derek Jeter themed boxes.

2017 Topps Triple Threads Base Cards & Parallels / Topps
As for the 100-card base set, the colors pop right off the front, enhanced by the golden tinges in the background. Multiple parallels of the base set will send collectors chasing further for limited versions of their favorite player. Those who are searching for breadth in the base set might wind up dissatisfied, as half of the set honors retired legends, and the lists of current players leans towards the upper echelon of MLB, excluding this year’s hottest rookies, Aaron Judge, Andrew Benintendi, and Cody Bellinger.

The box provided for this review yielded the Chris Sale relic card, as well this Tyler Austin autographed rookie patch card.

2017 Topps Triple Threads Tyler Austin Autographed Relic Card / Topps
With Topps’ Triple Threads brand legacy firmly established, collectors know the risk they’re taking with this product. At a price point near $200 per master box, a strong leap of faith is needed, as a box could easily yield common rookie autographs and relics; however, one could find their fortunes quickly turned around if they can hit one of the aforementioned coveted inserts.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Tom Wright, 93, Major League pinch hitter extraordinaire and World War II veteran

During the years following World War II, an outfielder who posted batting averages of .380 and .368 in the minor leagues should have found little trouble getting a starting role in the Major Leagues. That is of course unless you played for the Red Sox and two of those outfielders were Ted Williams and Dom DiMaggio. This was the tough reality for Tom Wright, one of North Carolina’s finest, who filled the role of pinch hitter extraordinaire for the Boston Red Sox right at the start of the 1950s.

Wright, who went on to play parts of nine big league seasons, passed away on September 5, 2017 at his home in Shelby, North Carolina. He was 93.

Tom Wright Autographed Red Sox Photo / Author's Collection
Growing up on the sandlots of Shelby, Wright caught the attention of Boston Red Sox scout Eddie Montague, who signed him to his first pro contract in 1941 while he was still in high school. Wright left behind the opportunity to get his diploma in order to start his career.

“Eddie [Montague] was in this area and signing all of the prospects in this area,” Wright told me in an interview on New Year’s Day in 2009. “I signed with him during high school. In 1941, I went down into the Palmetto State League and I took Virgil Stallcup's place playing shortstop. I stayed there half of the season. They had a split season. Lawrence, the team I was with, hired the manager of another team, and he was an infielder and I got released. I was hitting about .340, they moved me to third base and I made room for him.”

Fortunately for Wright, his release didn’t put a premature end to his career, as he signed on with Boston’s team in the Class D Bi-State League in 1942. While he wavered at the plate, his manager noted his good arm and gave him a few chances on the mound, albeit with mixed results.

“I came on back home and in 1942, I went up to Danville,” he said. “I relieved 2-3 games and pitched a whole game. When I wasn't hitting well; I was chasing the high ball. I hit good and I had a good arm, so they were trying to make something out of me. They put me in relief a few times, and they let me start against one of the top teams. I pitched a real good game. George Ferrell, one of the Ferrell boys hit a homerun over a short fence over left field. I slipped on a curve and let it get where he could reach it and he beat me to win the ballgame.”

Just as Wright was trying to figure out if his baseball career would continue in as a position player or a pitcher, he was drafted for military service after the season ended. For the near future his career would be navigated by the Army Air Corps.

“I flew well, but if I knew I was going to fly three days from now, my nerves would get up,” he said. “I'd be thinking about that more than playing the ball game.”

His time in the Air Corps was short lived. He sustained an injury during training that dissuaded him from continuing to fly.

“In the service I was supposed to an aerial gunner,” he said. “I had to bail out of one, and on an emergency jump, I tore my leg and my foot up. I stayed out in Wyoming for a year before they ever put me back on flying status. By that time, I made up my mind I wasn't going to fly anymore, just be on the ground crew.

“I told them that in 1943-44. I spent 1944 on the disabled list because I had a bad foot. When they started to put me back on, I told them, ‘I don't want to fly them things no more. They took my stripes and told me I'll be on the next boat overseas. I said, ‘I think that boat will be slower than that airplane.’”

His switch to the grounds crew proved to be a life altering decision. While Wright was lucky enough to return from service with some injuries that plagued him throughout his baseball career, many from his original Air Corps crew didn’t come back at all.

“Our crowd went to Italy and flew up over Germany,” he recalled. “The best I could find out, they lost about all of them. My radio man came back and was down in Florida after he got his mission. He wrote me a letter and told me to get out because it was hell over there. I did catch that next boat. I spent all of 1945 overseas. I went to the Philippines and I went to South Seas. We were ready to go closer to Japan when the big bombs dropped. You just sat still and waited. When they said the war was over, we quit flying missions.”

Wright returned to professional baseball in 1946 and after three years of only playing recreationally during his World War II service, he jumped right back into the game. The time away from the field took a toll on his throwing arm.

“I got out in spring of 1946 and went right to spring training,” he said. “I messed my arm up down there. It was rainy and cold in South Carolina. I flung the ball rather than throw it. It didn't have enough snap; it hurt me too bad. I carried it on through with me. I'm sure they knew I couldn't throw real good. Nobody tried to talk to me about it or tried to work on it or do anything else.”

If Boston’s brass was aware of Wright’s arm injury, it sure didn’t show at the plate. Wright’s 1946 season was nothing short of amazing. He amassed 200 hits en route to a .380 average for Class C Durham Bulls in the Carolina League. It was the start of his rapid ascent to the major leagues. After batting over .300 for the next two seasons in the minor leagues, the Red Sox called up Wright for a cup of coffee at the end of 1948, a move he thought came too late.

“They called me up in 1948 at the end of the year too, but they had an agreement with Louisville that they wouldn't take ballplayers until they were mathematically out of the playoffs,” he said. “I thought I could have helped them as they didn't have a left-handed pinch hitter.”

With veterans Williams, DiMaggio, and Al Zarilla firmly entrenched in Boston’s outfield, Wright remained at Louisville, where won the 1949 American Association batting title, edging out future Hall of Famer Ray Dandridge, .368 to .362.

“Nineteen-forty-nine was an easy, easy year,” he said. Sometimes you have those. I was one of those hitters who hit all over the ball field. I hit from the left field line to the right field line. That way you get some hits you couldn't get if you were a pull hitter. I went with the ball the best I could.”

For Wright’s efforts, he was awarded another September call up, and in 1950, he finally got a full-time shot with the club, spending the entire season with the Red Sox. He proved valuable as a pinch-hitter, filling that role until Williams injured his elbow. Pressed into more regular duty, Wright hit .318 in 107 at-bats. He explained just how difficult it was to stay sharp with the platoon situation that the Red Sox employed.

“It didn't bother me because it was my job,” he said. “It was the only time I'd get to play most times. I'd go 2-3 weeks and not even get to hit. They ran a funny schedule. You would go on the road and the regulars got all the batting time. I was a left-handed hitter. If there was a right-handed pitcher starting against us, I'd get three swings in batting practice. If there was a left-hander which they pitched on the account of Williams and a few other left-handed hitters, we didn't get to swing.

“It was sort of a one sided deal with them. I always criticized them for it. They didn't keep their players up to date. You see [Casey] Stengel in New York, he put in their extra players and let them play and kept them ready. That's the way they ran it. Normally, when you are on the road, you don't get much time because the home team is taking much of the practice.”

Despite Wright’s dependability as a pinch-hitter, the Red Sox had plenty of young outfield talent in their minor league system and wanted to shuttle Wright between the minor and the major leagues. After proving himself with multiple .300 seasons at both levels, he finally put his foot down.

“I started with Boston until the last spring training day,” he said. “They sent me out and they had a boy Karl Olson they wanted to see, because I think he had to go into the service and I was the one that had to go and make room for him on the roster.

“I was sitting on the bench too much, so I wasn't going to start complaining about nothing. I was going to do the best I can. In 1951, they wanted to send me to Louisville again. I told them they were pushing me back and forth and not to bring me back up here no more. And they didn't. That's the way it went over there.”

The Red Sox traded Wright to the St. Louis Browns, giving him a fresh start with the second division club. The Browns were helmed by Rogers Hornsby in 1952 and Wright quickly found out why the legendary second baseman was disliked by the entire team.

“I opened the season hitting cleanup for Hornsby,” he recalled. “He liked me as far as hitting. If you missed a ball [in the field], you were out of the lineup. We were playing up in Chicago and I wasn't used to those double decker stands and that sun setting. They hit a fly ball behind third base that he might have been able to catch. I called him off, pulled my glasses down and ran into the shade. When I did, everything went black. He pulled me out of the lineup.

“He was not a good people person for the ballplayers. You would get to arguing with an umpire and he would tell you to get back to your position. He did that to me once in New York. There was a pop fly down the line that was interference on it. The boys were arguing like everything and he said, ‘Go on out to your position.’ He'd do that all the time and wouldn't stick up for the players. They called Bill Veeck and told him what he was doing. He came to New York and fired him. I left them about that time. They boys got him [Veeck] a plaque made up saying, ‘The greatest thing since the Emancipation Proclamation.’”

Wright went from the Browns to the Chicago White Sox where he spent part of 1952 and the entire 1953 season in a reserve role. The White Sox shipped him to the Washington Senators in 1954, which was his last full season in the majors. He played nine games in the majors between 1955 and 1956, with the last two coming as a favor from Clark Griffith that didn’t sit well with his manager Chuck Dressen.

“In 1956, I went back to get my few days I needed to get my retirement,” he said. “Calvin Griffith gave me my last 28 days. He told the manager that I was going to get it. He got mad at me and didn't even let me play in spring training or exhibition games. My first at-bat was opening day against the Yankees. I was the first pinch hitter he used. He was sorta dirty with me.”

Those final two games in 1956 proved to be a tremendous help for Wright later on in life. Those 28 days of service qualified him for a major league pension which gave him added security during his post-playing days.

“The pension is helping me in my retirement,” he said. “They sent me to Chattanooga. That was their top team. I went out there and they told me, Griffith said if you play and help this ball club, they'll bring you up at the end of the year. At the end of the year he didn't bring me up. I kept my mouth shut and about Christmas time or so I got a contract to come to spring training in 1956 and it all worked out.”

Wright played one more season with the Birmingham Barons in 1957, and that was only after some serious negotiation with his parent club. His old flying miseries from World War II caught up with him and the air travel became too much to bear.

“The minor leagues even started flying. And I asked them out there, ‘Put me somewhere they don't fly.’ They put me in Charleston, West Virginia and the only way you could make schedule up there was to fly. They had a little Purdue line, a C-47. They would cram the ballplayers on there and they'd have to shuffle them around to have to get the plane balanced. They'd fly nine hours. I wouldn't go with them, but I got to hitting and helping the ball club. They offered me everything to stay, but I needed to get away from those airplanes. If you didn't fly, you had to pay your own way, but I never did. The few times I flew, they took care of that. They sent a pitcher or someone who wasn't going to play to ride with you and keep you company. It is two days to get to Omaha from Charleston on the train. They were trying to be good to me. I was hoping to play a little longer, but those planes got me so nervous and shook up, I didn't want to do it.”

After baseball, Wright went into the clothing business, making polyester until he retired in 1982. He stepped away from the game, but still enjoyed the interaction with baseball fans through the letters he received in the mail.

“I never had a desire to coach,” he said. “They wanted me to coach kids, but I didn't want to put up with families. I still watch some games. Normally Atlanta, Boston if I can get to see them. I'm not a great big fan, I wasn't a fan when I played. You lose a little bit of your drive [after you stop playing].

“I get autographs all the time. Topps maybe gave you a watch or something like that. They have given us more since. They want us to sign the 1954 cards. They sat and watched me sign every one of them. It was about 250 of them. I got paid good for them. I was glad to sign them. I would have signed them for nothing, I was never one to ask for anything to sign an autograph.”

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Dave 'Boo' Ferriss, 94, twenty-game winner for Boston Red Sox

"Boo Ferriss was a great hitting pitcher. He was ambidextrous; he could throw left handed and right handed. Of course, he was a right handed pitcher. He had two great years, [and] then he hurt his arm. He would have been a great, great pitcher if he hadn’t hurt his arm. And a real class guy, real fine."- Billy Hitchcock to Gene Fehler in, "When Baseball Was Still King: Major League Players Remember the 1950s."

Dave "Boo" Ferris, who started his major league career with two consecutive 20-win seasons that led the Boston Red Sox to the World Series in 1946, passed away on Thanksgiving in Cleveland, Mississippi. He was 94.
Dave "Boo" Ferriss - SportsNola.com

Ferriss won the third game of the 1946 World Series and was left with a no-decision in the deciding seventh game against the St. Louis Cardinals. Ferriss watched helplessly as Enos Slaughter made his famous "mad dash," to score the deciding run from first base on Harry Walker's double in the ninth inning. Ferriss indicated that it wasn't the World Series that was his most memorable baseball moment, but his victory in 1948 to force a one-game playoff with the Indians for the American League pennant.

"It was disappointing to lose both the 1948 and 1949 pennants, after coming so close," he said to Fehler. "In 1948 I was pitching against the Yankees on the last day of the season. If we beat the Yankees and Detroit beat the Indians, Cleveland and us would tie for the pennant. I got in trouble in the sixth inning, I believe. The Yankees loaded the bases with Hank Bauer and DiMaggio coming up. I got Bauer on a sacrifice fly to Ted [Williams] in left field and got DiMaggio out and we went on to win the game. I think it was 10-5, and of course Fenway was going wild because the scoreboard showed Detroit was beating Cleveland. We did end in a tie and that brought about the first playoff game in American League history the next day, and sad to say we lost that. Gene Bearden beat us 8-3 there in Fenway. But it was a memorable moment for me, going into that game that had so much riding on it at the time."

Perhaps much greater than his 65-30 career record with the Red Sox, was his impact on the baseball program at Delta State University. With his pitching career cut short due to arm troubles, Ferriss moved on to the collegiate ranks, literally building up Delta State's program from the field level. Six-hundred-thirty-nine victories and three Division II World Series appearances later, Delta Stats acknowledged Ferriss' indelible impact on the program by naming the baseball field after him when he retired in 1988.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Wayne Terwilliger details the hazards of The Battle of Saipan

Wayne Terwilliger spent over 60 years in professional baseball as a player, coach, and manager. He was teammates with Jackie Robinson, a close friend of Ted Williams, and won two World Series championships as a coach with the Minnesota Twins; however, the crowning moment of the 91-year-old’s career on this Veterans Day remains his time as a Marine in World War II.

“I’m more proud of my Marine service than of anything else I’ve done before or since,” Terwilliger said in his 2006 autobiography, Terwilliger Bunts One.

Wayne Terwilliger (circled) of Company D of the 2nd Armored Amphibian Battalion at the Battle of Saipan in World War II. / US Coast Guard

One of a rapidly declining number of living World War II veterans, Terwilliger has fortunately left behind vivid details of the harsh realities of war in his memoirs. One of the first to enter the Battle of Saipan, he recounted his feelings some 70 years ago from the morning of June 15, 1944, as he anxiously sat in his amphibious tank awaiting entry into the water.

“The nose of our tank dipped down into the ocean, and for just as second my heart skipped a beat,” he said, “but the pontooned sides of the tank did the trick and we bobbed up like a huge cork.”

The tone quickly changed as soon as they approached the reef; this was no game of friendly fire, the Japanese wanted their death. Their landing would signify the beginning of one of the most hazardous days of Terwilliger’s young life.

“As soon as we got over the reef,” he said, “we were in range of the Japanese, and they started shooting. I started seeing these puffs of water all around us, and it took a second to realize what was causing them. Then we heard small arms fire hitting our tank, and the reality sank in: There were people on that island who wanted us dead.”

His crew was one of the few fortunate ones not to have their tank destroyed by enemy fire. They endured attacks all the way until they reached land. It didn’t get any better once their tank bogged down in the sand and they had to disembark.

“Japanese mortars kept whistling over our heads,” he said. “Most of them were headed toward the beach area, but we never knew when one would come our way. We also had no idea how long we’d be stuck there. We were there at least a couple of hours, though it seemed like forever.”

Stuck in a foxhole, they heard the sound of an unfamiliar tank, one they quickly realized was of the Japanese forces. Spending only a short time in action, he wondered if he was going to meet his demise.

“The tank kept moving closer to us until we could see the 37-mm turret gun and the big red “Rising Sun” on the side of the tank. … The tank stopped just short of our hole and I wondered, ‘What do we do now?’”

From their position in the fox hole, his infantry each took out their grenades and aimed them at the tank. A cloud of smoke ensued and they ran out onto the beach looking for cover.

“I ran until I came to an old Japanese artillery piece, and I thought, ‘S—t, this is the wrong way,’ so I turned and found a little path, and somehow this time I was going the right way, toward the beach. Then I looked back and there was the Jap tank coming after me. … I started zigzagging back and forth in case the tank tried to shoot at me, still running as fast I could. Guys on the beach were waving me in, yelling, ‘Come on, come on!’ I made it to the beach and dove over a small sand dune for cover, and I looked back just in time to see one of our tanks made a direct hit, which knocked the Japanese tank on its side. … That was my first six or seven hours of combat.”

Terwilliger’s story about his first day of combat is a riveting tale of World War II military action that has often been kept a secret by those who have experienced it, a memory too painful to relive. His book remains as an example of our baseball heroes having their careers preempted or interrupted to face death directly in the eyes, and then return home to compete for their jobs once again – a reality our current major leaguers will never again have to experience.


Saturday, August 20, 2016

2016 Topps Bunt making a bridge between traditional and digital collecting

Topps has been searching for ways to connect their digital card platform with traditional physical baseball cards. Their quest for a solution has arrived in the form of 2016 Topps Bunt.

The 200-card set is the perfect format to get multiple generations excited about baseball card collecting, no matter the platform. Imagine a young child and their parents sharing the joy of opening a pack of baseball cards and both teaching each other about the nuances of preserving baseball cards while building a collection that lives at your fingertips on your phone.

Even the players included in the set warrant a bonding experience, as the likes of Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and Andrew McCutchen, are right alongside Cal Ripken Jr., Ted Williams, and Willie Mays. While the younger collectors will gush about the accomplishments of their current heroes, the inclusion of the sport’s legends allows for the conversation about the history of the game to continue.

The box provided for this review yielded 36 packs, allowing for a complete 200-card set to be collated with the purchase of one box. A variety of inserts in 2016 Topps Bunt trump the designs of those included with the Opening Day series earlier this year and rival those in the Topps flagship set.

Sampling of 2016 Topps Bunt Insert Card / Topps

The digital component comes in the form of Bunt Loot Packs, which are ten-card redemptions via the Topps Bunt App. Collectors have the opportunity to unlock a bevy of inserts that run in a similar limited fashion as to what one would find in a physical box.

Topps has been integral for the past 65 years in preserving the game through iconic cardboard images, and continues to do so with 2016 Topps Bunt. With a price point of under $30 a box, 2016 Topps Bunt is a fun and inexpensive way to share the joys of collecting and the narrative of the National Pastime no matter whether it is analog or digital.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Russ Kemmerer, 84, former Major League pitcher was a master storyteller

Russ Kemmerer was one of the first retired major league players that I interviewed in my quest to put together a book about playing through baseball’s integration of the 1950s. What started out as a discussion of his early years in the Red Sox minor league system, turned into a two-day, hour-and-a-half phone conversation that ended with him sending me a copy of his book, “Ted Williams: Hey Kid, Just Get It Over the Plate,” just because he knew I would enjoy it from our talk.

I was saddened to receive the news that Kemmerer passed away on December 8, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was 84. (Ed. Note - His funeral announcement lists his birthday as November 1, 1930, not November 1, 1931 as previously listed.)

Kemmerer was a standout high school athlete in the Pittsburgh area at Peabody High School, earning All-City honors in baseball, basketball, and football. His talents earned him a scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh, where he played freshman baseball and basketball.

Russ Kemmerer / Baseball-Almanac.com
After one year at Pittsburgh, he signed with the Boston Red Sox in 1950 after an offer of $3,000 by scout Socko McCarey. He spent the summer playing semi-pro ball in his hometown before officially entering the Red Sox organization in 1951. It was there he encountered a minor league system overflowing with talent.

“They had so many of us that they didn’t know which ones to keep,” he said to me during a 2008 phone interview. “Ironically, most of us, like myself, they traded to someone [else], and they stayed in the majors longer than the guys they kept. It was a hit and miss thing. You didn’t know which guys were going to be [productive].”

He made his debut with the Red Sox in 1954 and narrowly missed a no-hitter in his first start. In the seventh inning on July 18, 1954, Sam Mele hit a shot to left-field that barely evaded the outstretched arm of Ted Williams.

“My first game as a starter with Boston was against Baltimore and I just missed pitching a no-hitter,” he said. “I threw a one-hitter. Williams played left-field that game. That was one of the first games he played after breaking his collarbone. That was one of the highlights of my career. They got one hit that game. If he would have jumped a little higher, he would have probably caught the damn thing off of Sam Mele.”

Kemmerer played until 1957 with the Red Sox until he suffered an arm injury while playing winter ball in Puerto Rico right before the start of the 1957 season. The Red Sox instead of waiting for his arm to heal, traded him to the Washington Senators. 

“One morning, I got up and couldn’t raise my arm,” he said. “You didn’t want to tell anybody you were hurt because they had so many guys waiting. They didn’t fool with you, send you to the doctor or do anything; they would just call somebody else. They thought I had lost my fastball. So I was available to be traded to the Senators at that time. They called me in and told me I was traded.”

Kemmerer ended up playing nine seasons in the majors, also spending time with the Chicago White Sox and the expansion Houston Colt 45’s. He recalled the follies of playing for the formative years of what is now the Astros franchise.

“It was a funny experience,” he said. “They did so many things. One of the things we learned to hate, they bought traveling outfits for us. They were royal blue suits and Texan boots that were blue with an orange design in them. You wore a white shirt that had blue stripes with an orange tie and a ten gallon hat. You wore it on the road. When we went to New York, they said, ‘Hey, the rodeo is in town!' The first thing we’d do, to the man, we’d throw them things down and put on regular clothes when were in public. We only had to wear them when we traveled.”

He took his experiences from the big leagues and used them to help shape the lives of the next generation, working for over 20 years as a high school English teacher, as well as a baseball and football coach at Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis. In retirement, Kemmerer married both of his careers with his 2002 memoir with the title containing a tribute to his most famous teammate.

“The title came from an incident when I was senior in high school in Pittsburgh and the Red Sox came to Forbes Field to play in the Green Pennant Game to raise funds for something,” he said. “The Red Sox had been scouting me since I was a sophomore in high school, so they wanted me to come in and throw batting practice. … I learned later that major league players didn’t like to hit wild high school kids. I pitched through the reserve batting order. I turned around and [Ted] Williams looked up in the batter’s box and oh damn, he pointed the bat out to me and said, ‘Hey kid, just get it over the plate, you’re doing a good job.’ … I remembered that when I was looking for the title of the book.”

Kemmerer forged a relationship with Williams that lasted until his 2002 death, appearing at annual gatherings at Williams’ museum in Tampa. He appreciated the humility of Williams and the other stars of his era.

“One thing I realized about all of these guys that I played with and against,” he said, “they respected you for the fact that you stayed up there ten years or so. There was none of this, ‘I’m a Hall of Famer and you’re not’. I was always pleased that guys admired you because you were one of them.”

Speaking with him in 2008, I was most impressed with how willing he was to talk about the game and the many travels of his career. He relished the opportunity to interact with his fans whether it was by talking on the phone or responding to autograph requests in the mail.

“I never refuse anybody,” he said. “I think it’s a great honor that they even remember you. … I’ll talk all day about baseball if someone wants to talk.”

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Pat McGlothin, Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher who once pitched a 19 inning game, dies at 94

Ezra Malachi “Pat” McGlothin, who pitched for the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1949-50, passed away on Friday October 24, 2014 in Knoxville, Tennessee, just a few days after his 94th birthday. McGlothin, a lifelong resident of Tennessee, was also a World War II veteran and a University of Tennessee alumnus.


During his two brief stints with Brooklyn, he made eight relief appearances over the course of two seasons, a position that was unfamiliar to him before he hit the big leagues.

"The Dodgers wanted to use me as a relief pitcher,” McGlothin said during a 2008 phone interview, “but that wasn't my forte. I didn't have that kind of arm to make the adjustment. I had a pretty good arm and I could throw every fifth day, but I couldn't relieve."

While much acclaim has gone to Tim Hudson of the San Francisco Giants for his involvement in two separate 18-inning playoff games, McGlothin had a herculean feat of his own that will be difficult for any modern era pitcher to match. On September 24, 1944, he pitched for the Corpus Christi NATB team, taking on the Pensacola NATB All-Stars led by Ted Williams. In a back and forth contest, Williams’ club knotted the score at four in the ninth inning, and the score stayed that way until the 17th inning when both clubs scored a run. Despite throwing over 200 pitches, McGlothin refused to come out. He forged his way through 19 innings, knocking in three runs, including the game winner in the bottom of the 19th. As for the legendary Williams, he had no answer for McGlothin, going hitless in seven trips to the plate. McGlothin took the legendary accomplishment in stride.

“I just stayed in there that's all and won the game,” he said.

After wrapping up his baseball playing days in 1954 as a player-manager for the Knoxville Smokies, he made a career change to selling insurance that would last him the next 60 years. McGlothin worked for the Mutual Insurance Agency, eventually buying the company. He remained their CEO until the time of his death, spending a few hours each day at the office with the help of a ride from an employee when he could no longer drive.

McGlothin played alongside all of the famed "Boys of Summer," including Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campanella, and Duke Snider. While he isn't as revered as some of his Hall of Fame teammates, he humbly acknowledged his position in the game.

"I didn't necessarily think I was part of history, I just played hoping I would stay," he said in a 2011 interview with television station WBIR.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Bill Renna, 89, played with Yankees, Athletics and Red Sox 1924-2014

Bill Renna, outfielder for the New York Yankees, Philadelphia / Kansas City Athletics, and Boston Red Sox from 1953-1959, passed away June 19, 2014 in San Jose, California. He was 89.

Renna returned from military service in World War II to become a two-sport star at the University of Santa Clara, playing outfield for the baseball team, and both fullback and center on the football team. His play on the gridiron earned him a spot in the East-West game in 1949, drawing the attention of the Los Angeles Rams; however, he chose to stick with baseball, learning under the guidance of Santa Clara’s legendary coach, Paddy Cottrell.

Bill Renna, 1955 A's

“Paddy Cottrell my coach at Santa Clara was a bird dog [scout] for the Yankees,” Renna said to me in a 2008 interview. “He used to teach us everything that was taught in spring training by the Yankees.”

Cottrell tipped Yankees scout Joe Devine to his prized outfielder who signed Renna in 1949 to a contract for $5,000. His signing paid immediate dividends, as he hit an eye-opening .385 with 21 home runs for Twin Falls in the Pioneer League. His play impressed his Twin Falls manager Charlie Metro, who was a former major leaguer himself.

“He hit like heck up there, and they called him “Bull,” because he was a big guy,” Metro said in his autobiography “Safe by a Mile.” “He was a delight to have on the team.”

The Yankees were so impressed with Renna’s 1949 season that they sent him to their AAA team in Kansas City. Renna was hit with the injury bug injuries in 1950 and could not duplicate his torrid start from the year prior. The Yankees sent him down to Class B Norfolk, where he hit .291 with 26 home runs.

“Bull” worked his way back to AAA in 1952 and played well enough to earn a promotion to the big leagues with the Yankees in 1953.

“I went to spring training with the Yankees in 1953 and there was an outfielder spot available, so I grabbed it and held onto it,” Renna said to Ed Attanasio of This Great Game. “Stengel platooned me with Gene Woodling in left field, alongside (Mickey) Mantle in center and with (Hank) Bauer and (Irv) Noren in right field.”
Bill Renna - 1953 Yankees

Renna hit .314 in 61 games, filling in at all three outfield spots to spell Mantle and Woodling while they recovered from various ailments. While he was on the roster for their World Series championship, he did not see any action during the series.

“I did not get to play, but I was on deck to pinch hit a couple times,” Renna said. “It was a little frustrating to get that close and not even get an at-bat.”

Despite being shut out during the World Series, one of Renna’s fondest memories from his rookie season with the Yankees was witnessing Mantle’s monstrous shot off of Chuck Stobbs in Griffith’s Stadium.

“I saw him hit the 565-foot homer out of Griffith’s Stadium in 1953 against Chuck Stobbs,” Renna said to John McCarthy of the Old Timers Baseball Association in 2008. “Mickey was batting right-handed against the lefty Stobbs who threw him an off-speed pitch that almost fooled him, but he stayed back and waited on the pitch. When it left the bat we all stood up in the dugout and watched the flight of the ball as it kept on going, and when it cleared the clock at the top of the stadium in left-center field, we were all in total amazement.”

Renna’s glory days with the Yankees would be unfortunately short-lived. In the 1953 off-season, he was part of an 11-player deal that sent Vic Power to the Philadelphia Athletics in exchange for first-baseman Eddie Robinson and pitcher Harry Byrd. Going from the perennial champs to the perennial cellar dwellers would have fazed most players, but not Renna.

“I have no complaint about that deal,” Renna said in 1958 to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. “In fact, the trade was a benefit for me because I got the chance to be the regular right fielder with the A’s.”

Now with the opportunity to play full-time, Renna had his best major league season in 1954. In 123 games, he hit 13 home runs while gunning out 13 runners from the outfield. He played two more seasons with the Athletics, staying with them through their move to familiar territory, Kansas City.

“Moving back to Kansas City was kind of neat being I played there for awhile,” he said to me in his 2008 interview. “Kansas City received the A’s very well. They were excited about it. … They had a great fan base that liked the game of baseball.”

During the 1956 season, Renna was essentially traded for himself, returning to the Yankees in exchange for Eddie Robinson.

“The Yanks had a plan in mind for me, which probably boiled down to giving me another crack at making the grade,” Renna said in 1958. “I admit that I didn’t do the job at Richmond that either the Yankees or I expected that I would do. That’s why they traded me when I told them that I either stay in the majors or be traded.”

Renna got his wish, as the Yankees traded him to the Boston Red Sox for Eli Grba and Gordie Windhorn. After a monster 1957 season with the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League where he slugged 29 home runs and drove in 105 runs, the Red Sox gave him another chance at the major league life.

He made the Red Sox in 1958 and spent the entire season as a backup to Ted Williams.

“I was Ted Williams’ caddy in Boston,” he said in our 2008 interview. “[Gene] Stephens and myself; he was a lefty and I was a righty. We’d play left field whenever Ted didn’t play.”

Williams tried to impart sage hitting advice to Renna one day during batting practice, but as many that Williams attempted to council would find out, what came naturally for Williams was a struggle for most.

“One day we were in the outfield during batting practice and Ted said to crowd the plate a little more. I said, ‘I can’t handle that, just like you do, you have a quick bat and you hit that inside pitch really well’. He said, ‘You want them to pitch you tight.’ I said, ‘I don’t want that, I can’t hit on that part, that hard fastball gives me trouble. I have plate coverage; I go over the plate and tap the outside. I’m not going to crowd the plate; I can’t flip the bat like you do.’”

The Red Sox sent Renna back to the minor leagues during the 1959 season and he retired after finishing out the year with San Diego. While he felt he could physically play a few more years, family responsibilities trumped his desires to continue.

“I retired in 1959 from San Diego, came here to San Jose, and got a job with Central Concrete Supplies selling ready mix concrete,” he said. “I had three children to worry about; I didn’t want to follow a minor league club around as a coach with three kids that were getting ready to start school. I didn’t think it was fair to them.”

Renna worked with Central Concrete for over 26 years retiring in 1990, retiring to spend more time with his wife and grandchildren. Very much a student of the game, Renna looked at the current state of play in Major League Baseball with a critical eye.

“When I was playing,” he said, “there were only 16 teams, as opposed to 30 now. Half of the league wouldn’t have had a shot. There are a lot of more opportunities to play in the majors now. It’s a different situation completely. It was more difficult then to make it to the majors then it is now. There were a lot more kids playing professional baseball, as there were so many leagues.

“If you watch the game the way it is played in the majors now there are a lot of things that are done that shouldn’t be done because if they have been taught to play the game, they would know to do these things the proper way. For example, people running into each other, infielders and outfielders. Its communication, I learned it in college. When we went into the pros, we were taught it again in the minors. Evidently, these poor kids aren’t taught a lot of this stuff. It’s unfortunate.”

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My Cuban Florida baseball experience - Part One - Paul Casanova's baseball academy

Last week marked my semi-annual pilgrimage to South Florida to spend one last week in the sun and soak up the rich baseball culture in the area.

A favorite destination of mine is the baseball academy of ten-year major league veteran Paul Casanova, who delivers his instruction in the backyard of his house.
T-Shirt from Paul Casanova's Baseball Academy

I previously wrote about my 2010 visit, and every time I return, I pick up something new, whether it is an adjustment on my swing, an anecdote from his playing day, or meeting the next up-and-coming prospect out of the Hialeah area.
One of the many Walls of Fame

His students praise his ability to instruct and build their confidence, using his watchful eye from his over fifty years of professional baseball experience to keep their swings on-track.

Hank Aaron wall
His home also serves as a mini Hall of Fame of Cuban baseball history, the walls lined with photos of his Cuban contemporaries in the major leagues, as well as the legendary winter league teams prior to Fidel Castro closing off the league to professionals in 1961.

One one wall facing the batting cage, he pays tribute two of the biggest baseball legends he was associated with during his career, Hank Aaron and Ted Williams.

Casanova spent three seasons with Aaron on the Atlanta Braves from 1972-74, and was one of the first teammates to greet Aaron as he crossed the plate for his 715th home run. He refers to Aaron as, "the best," and often references Aaron's strong wrists when instructing the young hitters. Displayed on the wall are photos and articles on the wall about his Hall of Fame teammate.

Ted Williams wall
From my 2010 visit
The other side of the wall is dedicated to his manager Ted Williams, whom he played three seasons for as a member of the Washington Senators. His face lights up when speaking about the Splendid Splinter and how enamored he was with him. He felt very fortunate to visit Williams at his home shortly before he passed away. He proudly displays the photo of him with Williams on the wall of his facility.

Everything about the facility screams baseball, from the bats outside of the house, the games playing on the television, the constant crack of balls being battered, the endless baseball chatter and the photos that line the walls everywhere you walk.

As for what keeps the 71-year-old Casanova going, he says the game is a part of him.

"Baseball is in my blood. It's what I do."




 

Casanova's career in pictures
Batting Cages




Soft Toss Stations
Another Wall of Fame
Historical Cuban Baseball Photos
Historical Cuban Baseball Photos
Historical Cuban Baseball Photos

Baseball Bobble Heads








 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Al Van Alstyne, 84, followed in the family baseball tradition

Al Van Alstyne found himself in spring training with the Red Sox in 1952 surrounded by their 15 best prospects, all trying to fill the void of Ted Williams pending leave for active duty in the Korean War. The Red Sox paraded 14 different players to the outfield after Williams departed for service at the end of April; unfortunately, Van Alstyne wasn’t one of them.

Al Van Alsytne

Van Alstyne passed away January 5th at the age of 84 after suffering from a long bout with cancer. He grew up in a baseball household, as his father Clayton Sr. pitched for the Washington Senators and his brother Clayton Jr. was an infielder in the Pirates organization. [Note: His father hit his only home run in his last major league at-bat, one of only 43 major leaguers to accomplish this feat.]

His father's baseball connections opened the door for his signing with the Boston Red Sox in 1950 from St. Lawrence University.

“My dad played in Washington with Joe Cronin, and he was with me the day I signed in Boston, as Joe was the general manager there,” said Van Alstyne in a 2009 phone interview I conducted with him.

He reported to Scranton of the Eastern League a month late after breaking his thumb playing ball right after he signed with Boston. His brother Clayton was playing for the Albany Senators which gave him the opportunity to fulfill a childhood dream, to face his sibling in pro ball.

“I played against him my first year in Scranton, that was his last year. It was very enjoyable,” he said.

Van Alstyne earned his first of three invites to spring training in 1952 after having an All-Star season with Class C San Jose in 1951. Surrounded by a combination of established veterans and a volume of upstarts such as Jimmy Piersall, Gene Stephens, Tom Umphlett, and Bob DiPietro, there just wasn’t room for Van Alstyne to crack the big league roster.

“One of the reasons I signed with the Red Sox was that I saw guys were getting old, but they stayed on," he said. "I was just a rookie and I was competing with Williams, [Dom] DiMaggio and [Jackie] Jensen, not to mention Piersall, and Clyde Vollmer.” 

The opportunity to spend time with Williams during spring training allowed Van Alstyne to have a first hand view of what made him so special.

“Williams was the greatest hitter I ever saw," he said. "He was dedicated to his hitting. I don’t care where he was; he was always talking about it and demonstrating to the point where I thought sawdust was coming out of the bat.” 

He recalled a spring training game where Williams displayed his great attention to detail in what was an otherwise meaningless game.

“We were playing the Yankees in St. Petersburg one day," he recalled. "He was on the bench and I was playing center field. When he was called up to pinch hit, he asked all of the guys what the new pitcher threw, what his best pitch was, etc. He was a real student of the game … he was the ultimate.”

Van Alstyne played in the Red Sox organization through 1955 and then was purchased by the Yankees. He spent one year with their AAA team and retired after facing the task of supplanting another legend, Mickey Mantle.

“I was behind Mantle in center field and we didn’t have free agency, so that was it,” he stated.

After baseball, Van Alstyne went into financial planning for Connecticut Sigma and was inducted in to the St. Lawrence Hall of Fame in 2003 for baseball and basketball.

Even thought he came up short with his attempts to get even a cup of coffee in the majors, Van Alstyne was without regrets.

“It was a great seven years I had with great people.”

More Info -

Al Van Alstyne pictured with Guy Morton in 1954 Red Sox spring training - Tuscaloosa News

Van Alstyne figures prominently in Red Sox win - Daytona Beach Morning News

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Recent MLB passings (Bob Shaw, Ray Coleman, Al Pilarcik)

This past week was a sad week for old-time baseball fans as a few more legends have passed on. It is said that celebrity deaths happen in triplicate and three baseball greats passed on this week, each with their link to baseball's history.

Ray Coleman
Former outfielder for the St. Louis Browns, Philadelphia Athletics and Chicago White Sox, Ray Coleman passed away September 19th at the age of 88. Coleman served valiantly in World War II from 1943-45 traveling all over the Pacific in the Navy. He would make his debut with the Browns in 1947 and would be witness to both Willard Brown and Hank Thompson joining the team that year, making them only the second and third African-Americans to play in the majors. I had the opportunity to speak with Coleman a few years ago and he spoke proudly of his World War II service.

Al Pilarcik

  Al Pilarcik was an outfielder for the Kansas City Athletic, Baltimore Orioles and Chicago White Sox from 1956-1961. He passed away Monday September 20th at the age of 80. 50 years prior to his passing, on September 28, 1960, he caught the last out Ted Williams made in his career. Pilarcik later gladly handed it over to the Hall of Fame. After his playing career was finished, he had tremendous success as a high school teacher and baseball coach at Lake Central High School, earning an induction into the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987.

Bob Shaw

Bob Shaw, a famed member of the 1959 "Go-Go" White Sox, who led the league that year with an astounding .750 win percentage passed away Thursday September 23, 2010 at the age of 77. Shaw pitched a legendary battle in Game 5 of the 1959 World Series where he triumphed over Sandy Koufax in front of 92,000 fans. He would go on to pitch for seven teams during his 11-year major league career, including being traded for the aforementioned Al Pilarcik to the Kansas City Athletics in 1961. He would find success after his baseball career as a real estate investor and an American Legion baseball coach.

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