Showing posts with label Whitey Ford. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Whitey Ford. Show all posts

Monday, September 24, 2018

Vance Carlson recounts life as a Yankees farmhand before his legendary NCAA football refereeing career

Vance Carlson came up with the same aspirations of making the major leagues and achieving Hall of Fame stardom that fuels every minor leaguer. He realized one of those dreams; however, it was not for his pitching prowess on the diamond, rather it was for his officiating skills on the football field. The 2003 Kansas Sports Hall of Fame inductee, who was one of the top football officials in Big Eight Conference history, died September 17, 2018 at the age of 92 in Ellis, Kansas.

Vance Carlson 1954 Lincoln Chiefs / Mile High Card Co.
Born November 14, 1925 in McPherson, Kansas, Carlson built his legend locally as a multi-sport star at McPherson High School. He had his first opportunity to sign professionally after high school with the St. Louis Cardinals, but his father held out for pinstriped pastures.

“I signed when I was out of high school when I was 17,” Carlson said from his home in 2008. “I signed a Kansas City contract and then of course I didn't get to play any. … I graduated high school at 17 and did not turn 18 until November. I played that summer and then I went to a camp in Kansas City. I got a letter and had a chance to go to the St. Louis Cardinals, but my dad would not sign the contract because I was not 18. He did sign the Yankees [contract]. They were a big name.”

Carlson had little time to savor his contract, as he entered the Air Force in 1944 during World War II. As a newbie in baseball, Carlson could not earn placement on one of the prominent bases to keep his skills sharp.

“I got to play a little in San Antonio, but not a long time,” he said. “You never got in shape. You could be an infielder or an outfielder, but you could not really get in shape if you were a pitcher. The major league stars, not that they got preferential treatment, but they were stationed where they got to play quite a bit.”

He returned from his military service to the Yankees organization in 1946. While his World War II duties kept him from staying in baseball shape, his ledger said otherwise. He posted a 17-8 record with a 2.93 ERA for their Class C team at Twin Falls in the Pioneer League. It was the start of a nine-year journey through the minor leagues.

“At that time you were just a piece of property, you got moved around any way they wanted you,” he said. “You couldn't get out of an organization. I was in the Yankee organization. It was so big; it was just a pyramid of getting to the major leagues. I am not saying I should have been in the major leagues, but it was very hard to move up because they had so many teams. … When I got out of the service in World War II, there were like 47-48 leagues. Now the minor leagues are in college really.”

Carlson crossed paths with future Yankees stars Billy Martin, Tom Sturdivant, and Whitey Ford while in their system, but ultimately he could not follow them on their major league path. He reached as high as the Pacific Coast League, which at the time had an Open classification, but that was as close as he got to the majors.

“You never really knew how close you were,” he said. “I pitched against [the major leaguers] in spring training, but I never was called up. I never even got a cup of coffee.”

Beating the bushes for almost a decade, Carlson had his share of his minor league woes. He shared his favorite tale, which occurred in 1952 while playing in AAA for Toledo. Just as he arrived to the club, he found himself trying to protect his valuables, not from teammates or thieves, but from creditors.

“When I got there, an unusual thing happened,” Carlson recalled. “The club went bankrupt in Toledo. We had to get our uniforms out of there because they were going to confiscate them. That's how I remember it. That it was our personal things, not our uniforms, but our shoes and things like that. Then they moved the franchise to Charleston, West Virginia.”

Not all was lost that year with Charleston, as he made good with another ballplayer that later followed Carlson’s path to a Hall of Fame in another sport. This time he bonded with a a future basketball Hall of Famer.

“Fred Taylor played first base, and he went on to coach Ohio State,” he said. “I roomed with him. He played basketball for Ohio State and then went back there to coach.”

Looking back at his time in between the lines, Carlson thought that he dragged out his career with the hopes of getting to the major leagues. He felt that he was often on his own due to the lack of available coaching down on the farm.

“I honestly played too long really, but that was my dream to get to go to the majors,” he said. “I don't regret it, but the thing that I see now is that there is so much better coaching in the colleges than there was in the minor leagues. You really had to teach yourself the game.”



Carlson spent 27 years as an NCAA football official, which included being at the helm of four national championships. He shared his perspective about the multitude of changes he observed in athletics since he started in professional baseball in the 1940s.

“I'm disappointed about all kinds of sports, it's all about money,” he said. “That's what got these colleges in trouble; it's you either win or else. The coach has to win or else he is gone. That is the influence of professional football.

“I'm prejudiced to college because I worked in it. It is all about offense. Umpires do not call anything above the belt. You pitch home run hitters up and in if you can, because they can't get their arms lengthened out. They say the rules are the same, letters or armpits; that's to give the hitters more. Physically they have also progressed. The only person I saw that lifted weights was Bob Feller. The Yankee organization did not wanted you to lift weights at all. They wanted you to swim. They wanted long muscle. That theory has gone out the window now. With the advance in athletic training, you can add weight in a football player and gain speed. The athlete is much better. You can't compare athletics now with in the old days because of technology.”



Sunday, January 17, 2016

How Luis Arroyo gave one baseball fan an experience of a lifetime

Luis Arroyo, the great Puerto Rican left-handed reliever for the 1961 New York Yankees World Series championship team, passed away at the age of 88 on Wednesday January 13, 2016 in Puerto Rico after a bout with cancer. As the closer for their team, Arroyo preserved many of their victories, but one of his greatest assists came to a complete stranger well after his playing days ended.

In 2011, while milling around the hotel where the Yankees Old Timers were stationed for the weekend, I encountered Arroyo sitting regally in a chair in the lobby corner. There he was, free from the crowds swarming the other alumni making their way through the hotel's corridor. While the droves of fans and collectors flocked to the younger retired Yankees, I sensed an opportunity to talk with Arroyo about his vast treasure of experiences as a ballplayer in Puerto Rico in the late 1940s with the legendary Negro League and Puerto Rican stars who passed through the famed winter league.

Luis Arroyo (r.) with the author in 2011 / N. Diunte
As I approached Arroyo to gauge his desire to discuss his early baseball career, he seemed a bit surprised and guarded. As we started to talk, I told him I was a friend of his former teammate Cholly Naranjo. After putting them in touch on the phone as we sat there in the lobby, Arroyo relaxed and opened up his tremendous knowledge of baseball’s unheralded superstars. For thirty minutes, he brought up the names of such greats as Willard Brown, Bus Clarkson, Perucho Cepeda, Ruben Gomez, and Satchel Paige. The more he spoke, the more pride he showed sharing his recollections of being amongst these superstars before he hit the major leagues.

Photo of Arroyo with Ponce in Puerto Rico / N. Diunte
One fellow Puerto Rican he made sure to emphasize was Francisco “Pancho” Coimbre. An early standout with Ponce’s team in Liga de BĂ©isbol Profesional de Puerto Rico, as well as in the Negro Leagues with the New York Cubans, Arroyo insisted Coimbre was the finest hitter on the island.

“I could name you the best hitter ever to come out of winter ball — Frank Coimbre,” Arroyo said in 2011. “He didn’t get a chance to play because he was colored. He was the best hitter in Puerto Rico and I could bet you anything that he could hit in the big leagues. He could run, throw, and hit. He was a hell of a ballplayer.”

As our conversation progressed, the then 84-year-old Arroyo said he was tired from the travel and wouldn’t be attending the team’s evening festivities at a local restaurant. He then proceeded to show me his tickets and to my surprise, he offered me the tickets as he didn’t want them to go to waste. I surely couldn’t turn down an opportunity to have a good meal and meet more Yankees alumni.

Old Timers Day Reception Pass / N. Diunte
Before retiring to his room, Arroyo asked me to meet him in the lobby at 9AM the next morning, as he said he would have something good for me. I thanked him for his generosity and assured him I would be there.
David Wells (l.) and the author at Yankees alumni party / N. Diunte
After waking up from an enjoyable evening mingling with the players at a Times Square restaurant, I sat on the train to the hotel with a child-like excitement for my morning encounter with Mr. Arroyo. When I arrived in the hotel lobby, Arroyo was sitting alone reading the newspaper while the slight bustle of the early risers passed him by. After a friendly greeting, we picked up where we left off yesterday’s conversation, as he started running off stories about his time in the National League with St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati. Whether it was colorful anecdotes of seeing Hank Aaron, Orlando Cepeda, Roberto Clemente, and Sandy Koufax toil in Puerto Rico before hitting superstardom in the majors, or playing with Stan Musial and a young Frank Robinson, Arroyo had seen it all — even the time in Havana when he was playing with the Sugar Kings and shortstop Leo Cardenas was shot by wayward gunfire.

Arroyo (l.) with Fidel Castro (r.) in 1959 as a member of the Havana team / N. Diunte
As the early sunlight penetrated the glass doors of the lobby, Arroyo perked up even more, speaking with wonderful candor about his time with the Yankees. Like an assembly line, the vaunted names of the Yankees championship team rolled off his tongue: Berra, Ford, Howard, Mantle, and Maris. For each of them he had his own colorful bit, each told with a laugh and a smile. We finally got down to his stellar 1961 season, when he appeared in 65 games for the Yankees, saving 29 of them en route to a 15-5 record, an All-Star appearance, and a sixth place finish in the American League MVP voting.

“When I had that good year, [finishing] 15-5, and we won the World Series, I used to pitch all year around,” he said. “When I finished the World Series in 1961, the GM Roy Hamey said to stop pitching all year around. I told him that I pitch winter ball because I wasn’t making any money. He took care of me. He gave me $10,000.”
Photo of Arroyo pitching that is outside of the Yankees suites / N. Diunte
Arroyo’s decision to take the money from the Yankees was one that he regretted later in life. Instead of keeping in shape during the time he would have normally been playing winter baseball, he strayed from his training routine; a decision he felt ultimately shortened his career.

“I made a mistake,” he lamented. “When I wasn’t pitching, instead of going to the ballpark and keep running and doing some throwing, I went out with all the friends, drank, and ate, and when I came to spring training, I was 20 pounds overweight; it was the biggest mistake of my life. I don’t blame him, he did me a favor. When I gained all those pounds, I couldn’t throw at all. In 1963, I hurt my arm. … I went to bed and I felt something to my elbow and that was the end of my career. I had an operation. I tried to play winter ball and I couldn’t do it.”

While his arm injury spelled the end of Arroyo’s playing career with the Yankees, he remained with them as a scout for 20 years. He was instrumental in getting them to sign Ricky Ledee, Jorge Posada, and Bernie Williams, the latter for which he told me how he had to work hard on George Steinbrenner to convince him to go after a skinny 16-year-old outfielder from Puerto Rico.

As he prepared to move on with the rest of his day, he called down his grandson Gustavo from his hotel room. As he emerged from the elevator, he was holding an envelope. Arroyo introduced me to his grandson and proceeded to take a ticket and special pass from the envelope. He wanted me to be their guest at Old Timers Day. He said he thought it was something I would enjoy as a baseball fan. He instructed me to meet them at the hotel at 9AM for breakfast the next morning.

2011 Old Timers Day Suite Ticket / N. Diunte
I went home elated with my ticket and called a few friends with the news. I wasn’t sure what was in store for the next day, but I was excited about the opportunity. I met Gustavo for breakfast at the hotel in the morning and watched at the Old Timers left on the first bus to the stadium. We went on the next bus for the players’ guests, which took us directly into the private entrance to the stadium. We were escorted through the inside of the stadium up to a series of specially connected luxury suites.

A small sampling of the decor in the suites / N. Diunte
What an experience watching the ceremonies and the games from the suites. The food was top notch and as you start to mingle with the players families, you realize that the event is not only an annual highlight for the retired players, but also their families who can experience the cheers of their loved ones once again from the sold out crowd.
Arroyo's entrance on the big screen at Yankee Stadium / N. Diunte
In the sweltering heat, the elder alumni, including Arroyo made their way back up to the suites before those who played in the game. He was accompanied by the likes of Don Larsen, Hector Lopez, and Moose Skowron, as well as Hall of Famers Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford. As the aforementioned battery entered the room, they were closely guarded by security and escorted to a private area of the suites. Arroyo managed to get over to the private area to say a few words to both Berra and Ford and emerged with a photo in his hands. He handed it to me and it was signed by both Ford and himself. It was another act of generosity by the former Yankee that deepened my appreciation for his time and effort.

Autographed photo of Ford and Arroyo / N. Diunte
After watching the game and returning to the hotel on the bus sitting next to Skowron, (who was telling jokes all along the way) I met with Arroyo and his grandson and once again thanked them for bringing me behind the curtain for Old Timers Day. They extended the baseball opportunity of a lifetime to a total stranger and for their generosity, I am eternally grateful.

Moose Skowron (r.) with the author in 2011 / N. Diunte
I met with both of them in subsequent years during their return trips to Old Timers Day, last seeing Arroyo in 2013. Despite being limited by weakened knees, he made it his priority to attend.

“Even though I have arthritis in my knees, I can’t miss it.”

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Fritz Peterson revisits the Horace Clarke Era in his new book

Fritz Peterson spent almost nine seasons with the New York Yankees playing alongside the likes of Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Whitey Ford. Surely playing with those legends would have guaranteed the lefty pitcher a shot of making the playoffs at least once in his career, right? Think again.

Playing with the Yankees from 1966-1974, Peterson endured one of the roughest stretches in Yankees history, as the bulk of his time included pairings with offensive juggernauts such Jerry Kenney, Gene Michael, and Horace Clarke. The latter served as the inspiration for the title of Peterson’s newest book, “When the Yankees Were on the Fritz: Revisiting the Horace Clarke Era.


Peterson tells the good, the bad, and often the ugly about the myriad of teammates that went through the Yankees revolving doors of the late 60s and early 70s. The book is dotted with often hilarious nuggets about his Yankee brethren ranging from the aforementioned Hall of Famers to obscurities including Alan Closter, Bill Burbach, and Cecil Perkins. These inside baseball stories that he shares gives a glimpse into the hi-jinks that ballplayers often engage in without revealing the personal clubhouse matters that his former mound mate Jim Bouton exposed in “Ball Four.

Fritz Peterson signing a copy of his new book / N. Diunte

Each chapter is set up neatly for each of the nine “innings,” that he played with the Yankees. His offseason tales of his job as an adjunct professor at his alma mater Northern Illinois University, his contract negotiations with the Yankees front office, and his foray into hockey broadcasting serve as digestible buffers in between his narratives about the hodgepodge collection of teammates that comprised the “Horace Clarke Era.”

Listen below to hear Peterson discussing his new book and the likes of teammates Thurman Munson and Mel Stottlemyre.


Monday, July 28, 2014

Art Schult, 86, Korean War vet played for four major league teams

Art Schult, an outfielder and first baseman who played parts of five seasons in the major leagues with the New York Yankees, Cincinnati Reds, Washington Senators, and Chicago Cubs, passed away July 25, 2014 in Ocala, Fla. He was 86.

Schult was born June 20, 1928 in Brooklyn, N.Y., but moved just north of the city to White Plains when he was nine years old. He was a star at White Plains High School, earning his chops on the semi-pro circuit while he was still in school.

“[While] playing in high school, there was a team, the Bronx Bombers,” Schult said to me in a 2008 interview. “They played in Van Cortland Park. They would give me $25 to play on a Saturday and Sunday, and I was still in high school.”

Art Schult Signed Photo - Courtesy of Art Schult
He decided to go to Georgetown University, where he had an opportunity to play against top level competition in the prestigious Northern Summer League.

“I went to Georgetown before I signed,” he said. “I played in the college Northern League which was in Vermont and New Hampshire. I played up there against Robin Roberts and Johnny Antonelli.”

Schult drew the attention of Yankees scout Paul Krichell, who signed him to their Class B minor league affiliate in Norfolk, Va., in 1948.

He led the team in hitting and performed well enough in spring training the next season to make the jump all the way to Triple-A, one step away from the major leagues.

“I was supposed to go to Binghamton in the Eastern League,” he said. “I ended up in spring training because I led the club in hitting, so Buddy [Hassett] took me down as an extra.”

Schult was in over his head, batting only .185 in 16 games before being sent back to Binghamton where he was originally slated to go. He finished the 1949 season with Binghamton and played there again in 1950, batting .303. Just as things were starting to turn around, the United States Army called him into military service for the Korean War.

“I got stuck in a tank,” he said. “Being 6’4” I didn’t fit in the damn thing very well, so I couldn’t get out of the escape hatch in the bottom, so I would sit there slumped over all the time. It took me about a year to get any kind of agility back.”

While stationed at Fort Devens, Schult roomed with Whitey Ford, who was also his roommate in both Norfolk and Binghamton. They both returned to the Yankees in 1953, looking to pick up where their careers left off. Their return was featured in the April 20, 1953 issue of Life Magazine.

“I reported to the Yankees in spring training in 1953,” he said. “They had won three straight World Series at that point. Since I was with the Yankees before I went overseas, I was a returning serviceman.”

Being classified as a returning serviceman, the Yankees had to keep Schult on the roster when he returned. The decision to keep Schult on the roster had heavy financial implications.

Bill Dickey, Frank Verdi, Art schult (l-r) / LoneCadaver.com
“Returning serviceman had to be retained by who they were with before. They called me into the office and they said, ‘Well you should play every day. We understand what you went through.’ I said, ‘Yeah, but you sent me a contract for $5,000 dollars a year.’”

The Yankees wanted to send him back to the minor leagues where he would be guaranteed to play full-time; however, they were unwilling to match the salary of his major league contract.

“If I get sent to the minor leagues, I get $600 per month and I have a wife and a child to support. I’d play in East Overshoe, Idaho, but I wanted to get paid. They said, ‘Well you signed a contract, that’s what you’ll have to do.’”

During Schult’s era, players were bound by the reserve clause to their clubs and had little rights to challenge the decisions of management; however, he had one ace left up his sleeve.

“I said, ‘I refuse to report on the GI Bill of Rights.’ They thought I was a clubhouse lawyer, but I wanted to make my family happy too.”

The Yankees, taking revenge for Schult’s bold stance, kept him on the roster, but limited him to seven pinch-running appearances, never sending him to the plate.

“I had a few problems and run-ins with Mr. Weiss and Mr. Stengel,” he said. “I hung around until they sent me to Syracuse in June at the trade deadline.”

Two of the veterans on the club sought out the young rookie to give him advice.

“[Allie] Reynolds and [Vic] Raschi came up to me just before the trade deadline and said, ‘Look, you’re beating your head against the wall. You’re not going to get to play. We’ll remember you’ve been here a half a year. We’ll remember you come World Series time. We’re 11 games in front of the league now.’”

Despite the assurance from the elder statesmen, Schult had to wrestle with the front office to get his due.

“I went to the office; they [asked] if they gave me the $5,000, would I report. I said, ‘Well I want a raise to go now. We’re 11 games in front; I want a World Series share.’ Boy they screamed. But, I finally did go, and I did get one-third of a World Series share that year.”

Schult never returned to the major leagues with the Yankees, as they sold him to the Seattle Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League in 1955. It was a welcome move for the 27-year-old at the time.

“It was better than traveling in the big leagues,” he said. “When we traveled in the big leagues back then, we went by train. Being 6’4”, those roomettes, I didn’t fit in them. In the Pacific Coast League, you would get on a plane, you would fly to the next town, and you would stay there a whole week. You would then fly to the next town. You could unpack your bag. It wasn’t like you played three nights in a town and went on. It made it easier on the body.”

The Rainiers won the pennant in 1955 under the guidance of Fred Hutchinson. The club, which was filled with players who had major league experience, thrived in the conditions of the league.

“I made more money out there than with the Yankees. We won the PCL and Fred Hutchinson managed us. He called us in and said, ‘There isn’t one guy in here that doesn’t know how to play the game; you’ve all been to the big leagues and back. The only rule I have is that you give me nine good innings and we’ll get along fine.’ We won the league.”

Schult flourished in Seattle, and after batting .306 in 1956, the Reds gave him a look in September.

“Cincinnati took me up at the end of the year,” he said. “I pinch hit over .400 for them even though I wasn’t up that many times.”

He remained with the Reds to start the 1957, but found it difficult to break through their All-Star outfield.

“In Cincinnati they had Frank Robinson, Gus Bell and Wally Post in the outfield,” he said. “I’d spell Post when he’d go in a slump. Most of us were pinch-hitters; they led the league in homeruns.” (Cincinnati finished second in the National League with 187 home runs.)

Halfway through the season, the Reds sold Schult to the Washington Senators. In Washington, he played the longest stretch of his major league career, appearing in 77 games, while batting .263 in 247 at-bats.

He played the 1958 season in the minor leagues and spent parts of 1959 and 1960 with the Chicago Cubs. His time with Chicago allowed him to be up close and personal with a Hall of Famer in the making, Ernie Banks.

“With the bat he was superior as a shortstop,” he said. “He had a little trouble traveling to his right. He used to cheat to his right side. He could go to the left really well. At that time, I was splitting time at first-base with Dale Long, so I got to take a pretty long look at him.”

He retired from baseball at the end of the 1960 season, finishing his major league career with a .264 batting average, six home runs and 56 RBIs in 164 games.

After baseball he took over his father’s fabric business while he had cancer. After his father passed away, he left the family trade to open a uniform rental business in Connecticut, which he operated until his wife passed away in 1984. He moved to South Florida before settling in Ocala in the mid 2000s.

Baseball remained in the family bloodlines as his son Jim followed in his footsteps after he was selected in the 33rd round of the 1981 draft by the Detroit Tigers. He hit .326 in his first season with their Rookie League team, but after suffering a broken hand, he moved on from professional baseball. He was later part of the inaugural class of Mercy College’s (NY) Hall of Fame, earning induction in 2006 after batting .470 for his collegiate career. His grandson Jim was the 2011 Division III Co-Player of the Year at Eastern Connecticut State. He went on to play three years for various minor league independent teams.

Speaking almost 50 years after his final major league game, Schult reflected on how difficult it was for the players of his era not only break in, but to stay in the major leagues.

“There were only eight teams in each league," he said. "There were so many [minor league] teams back then; it was like a chain gang. I made the majors counting everything in five years.

“When you had a club like the Yankees that we were trying to make that was set [it was tough]. I played in Newark, Kansas City and Seattle. If I had one more good year, I would have played in Japan! They kept on moving you sideways.”


Monday, July 11, 2011

Seven decades of World Series highlights signed by 12 baseball immortals

To celebrate the 2011 All-Star weekend, A&E Home Entertainment is providing a sale on a truly impressive 21 DVD collection of seven decades of World Series highlights presented in a stunning 58-page commemorative book. There will be a 30% sale on everything baseball when you enter the code PLAYBALL from July 11-13, 2011 from shop.history.com

Only 100 of these editions have been hand signed by 12 Hall of Famers, which is described below. Those ordering the autographed edition will also receive a custom case to display their wares. You can order the autographed edition by clicking here.

For those that cannot afford the price tag on the limited edition set, the sale also applies to the standard 21 disc version which still comes in the beautiful commemorative book. We at Baseball Happenings have been given a screening copy of the set and it is truly a treasure for any baseball fan. This edition of the World Series Film Collection can be ordered by clicking here.


A&E HOME ENTERTAINMENT AND MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PRODUCTIONS UNVEIL A SPECTACULAR, LIMITED-EDITION, AUTOGRAPH-ENHANCED VERSION OF THE OFFICIAL WORLD SERIES FILM COLLECTION



The quintessential blend of baseball history and history-makers comes together in an unprecedented intersection of a luxurious Major League Baseball DVD collectible with authentic Hall of Fame signatures with SIGNATURE LINE: THE OFFICIAL WORLD SERIES FILM COLLECTION.  Available exclusively on Shop.History.com and Shop.MLB.com, the DVD set, which elegantly displays the iconic moments and legendary heroes across seven decades of World Series Films, will only be offered to sports fans around the globe in a limited-edition run of 100 for $2299.




The Signature Line edition will be embellished with the signatures of 12 World Series legends and Hall of Famers -- who helped pen World Series history and created many of the defining moments of Major League Baseball.  Authenticated by Mounted Memories, an MLB licensee and leader in the sports collectibles field, the set will also be officially licensed and authenticated by Major League Baseball, with each unit individually numbered and marked with a sequentially coded hologram to ensure authenticity.

SIGNATURE LINE: THE OFFICIAL WORLD SERIES FILM COLLECTION will be gilded by the golden signatures of:

  • Yogi Berra: Most World Series Championships, most hits, most doubles, singles, putouts, and guided Don Larsen to the only Perfect Game in World Series history.
  • Bob Gibson: Two-time World Series MVP, most strikeouts in a World Series game (17) and totaled 92 Ks in 81 innings pitched.
  • Reggie Jackson: “Mr. October” blasted 10 Fall Classic Home runs including three in a row on three pitches in 1977.
  • Johnny Bench: Driver of the Big Red Machine and defensive titan, he won the 1976 World Series MVP after batting .533 with two home runs.
  • Whitey Ford: The “Chairman of the Board” holds numerous World Series pitching records including: most strikeouts (94), most wins (10), innings (146), WS games (22).

Rounding out the star-studded roster of Fall Classic icons are:

  • Gary Carter
  • Bob Feller
  • Rollie Fingers
  • Carlton Fisk
  • Brooks Robinson
  • Mike Schmidt
  • Bruce Sutter

About THE OFFICIAL WORLD SERIES FILM COLLECTION

The drama and unforgettable images of baseball are the World Series moments celebrated from generation to generation.  Now, for the very first time, these dynamic events have been preserved and commemorated in a timeless treasure certain to become the centerpiece of any baseball fan’s home entertainment library.  Elegantly displaying the complete set of official filmed World Series highlights across six decades of World Series Films (1943-2008), this encyclopedic set is divided into 14 eras and features 50 hours of unforgettable baseball action across 20 remastered DVDs.

With a foreward by 19-time Emmy winner Bob Costas of MLB Network and framed with 58-pages of editorial, remarkable archival images, and rare Hall of Fame artifacts, the dramatic package creates a timeline of World Series lore since 1903. The 65 official World Series Films feature more than 50 hours of restored, digitized, and glorious history as it happened.

The list of baseball’s greatest moments is dominated by the iconic events of the World Series and they live in this significant DVD trophy. These instantly recalled plays and players are showcased within this one-of-a-kind compendium including “The Catch” by Willie Mays, Don Larsen’s Perfect Game, Bill Mazeroski’s series-winning walk-off home run, Bob Gibson’s record setting 17-strikeouts, Carlton Fisk’s dramatic home run, Reggie Jackson’s three consecutive home runs, Kurt Gibson’s improbably Hollywood game winner and Jack Morris’ dominating 1-0 Game 7 masterpiece.

This collection celebrates the images, plays, and heroes that make the World Series a cherished and significant event. As history unfolds technology evolves changing the annual documentary’s style. From the black and white editions, produced and narrated by Lew Fonseca (AL batting champ 1929, Cleveland Indians) thru the narration by legendary broadcasters including Mel Allen, Bob Prince, Harry Caray, Vin Scully, to the current Official World Series Film versions featuring multiple camera angles, players and coaches wired for sound, and play-by-play from TV and radio broadcasters, each annual film is a time capsule of its era.  Records and seasons change with time, but the legends and lore of the World Series on DVD will last forever.

THE OFFICIAL MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL® WORLD SERIES FILM COLLECTION includes these 20 DVDs:

  • Disc 1 -- 1943 Yankees, 1944 Cardinals, 1945 Tigers, 1946 Cardinals, 1947 Yankees, 1948 Indians (approx 182 min)
  • Disc 2 -- 1949-53 Yankees (approx 167 min)
  • Disc 3 -- 1954 Giants, 1955 Dodgers, 1956 Yankees (approx 115 min)
  • Disc 4 -- 1957 Braves, 1958 Yankees, 1959 Dodgers, 1960 Pirates, 1961 Yankees (approx 182 min)
  • Disc 5 -- 1962 Yankees, 1963 Dodgers, 1964 Cardinals (approx 100 min)
  • Disc 6 -- 1965 Dodgers, 1966 Orioles, 1967 Cardinals, 1968 Tigers (approx 152 min)
  • Disc 7 -- 1969 Mets, 1970 Orioles, 1971 Pirates (approx 116 min)
  • Disc 8 -- 1972-74 A’s, 1975-76 Reds (approx 170 min)
  • Disc 9 -- 1977-78 Yankees, 1979 Pirates, 1980 Phillies, 1981 Dodgers (approx 166 min)
  • Disc 10 -- 1982 Cardinals, 1983 Orioles, 1984 Tigers (approx 107 min)
  • Disc 11 -- 1985 Royals, 1986 Mets, 1987 Twins (approx 119 min)
  • Disc 12 -- 1988 Dodgers, 1989 A’s, 1990 Reds (approx 177 min)
  • Disc 13 -- 1991 Twins, 1992 Blue Jays (approx 139 min)
  • Disc 14 -- 1993 Blue Jays, 1995 Braves (approx 132 min)
  • Disc 15 -- 1996 Yankees, 1997 Marlins (approx 143 min)
  • Disc 16 -- 1998-2000 Yankees (approx 186 min)
  • Disc 17 -- 2001 Diamondbacks, 2002 Angels (approx 145 min)
  • Disc 18 -- 2003 Marlins, 2004 Red Sox (approx 142 min)
  • Disc 19 -- 2005 White Sox, 2006 Cardinals (approx 152 min)
  • Disc 20 -- 2007 Red Sox, 2008 Phillies (approx 163 min)

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


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Darryl Strawberry's Sports Grill grand opening a star studded affair

Wednesday night marked the opening of Darryl Strawberry's Sports Grill in Douglaston, a short cry from the stadium where he built his legend. Situated next to the LIRR stop in Douglaston, the establishment is easily accessible via public transportation and both the Long Island Expressway and Grand Central Parkway.

Justin Timberlake (center) with Darryl Strawberry (r.) / Nick Diunte

Partnered with Eytan Sugarman who owns Southern Hospitality BBQ and Justin Timberlake, the two have created an enclave in Queens where families and baseball fans can enjoy great food and New York baseball memorabilia. Omnipresent when you enter are Strawberry's locker from Shea Stadium and two adjacent stadium seats from his former Mets home.

The menu sampling was impressive which included zesty pork sliders, crawfish and cheddar hushpuppies, buffalo shrimp, BBQ chicken and ribs, as well as what they call their "championship chili," which had the right blend of sweet and spicy.

Equally impressive was the mix of sports stars and celebrities for the celebration. Hall of Famer Whitey Ford, Doc Gooden, Tino Martinez, Bernie Williams, Mickey Rivers, Bobby Valentine and current Yankees Nick Swisher and David Robertson were there to lend support to Strawberry's endeavor, as well as former New York Knick John Starks, Miss USA Rima Fakih, the aforementioned Timberlake, Ali Fedotowsky of the Bachlorette, and Karina Smirnoff from Dancing with the Stars.

Tino Martinez, Darryl Strawberry, and Bernie Williams (N. Diunte)
The event began rather innocently with Strawberry making the rounds while the guests sampled the generous food and drink for the evening. Things started to get a little hairy as the celebrities and debutantes entered the building. A free flowing event took the aura of a crowded Manhattan nightclub, with the clientele to match. The crowd of press, family, and friends was forced into the bar area to accommodate the VIP section, blocking off the narrow conduit between the bar and the main bathrooms. A bit of chaos ensued as people tried to jockey for position to take photographs of Timberlake and attempt to travel to the other side of the restaurant.

Aside of the glitz and glamour of the opening night crowd, Strawberry's Grill served up a robust menu of American fare and memorabilia that will please a wide variety of palates and the most sentimental of baseball enthusiasts.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Yankee Legends Honored At Newark Bears Game Sunday May 24th

Whitey Ford and Tony Ferrara
On Sunday May 24th, 2009, the Newark Bears welcomed three Yankee legends, World Series MVP's Bobby Richardson and Ralph Terry, as well as Hall of Famer Whitey Ford. In addition to throwing out the first pitch, Richardson and Terry signed autographs for the fans as part of the promotion.

The game pitted the Newark Bears against the York Revolution. The Bears lineup read like that of a Major League almuni team, with the likes of Armando Benitez, Carl Everett, Jay Gibbons, Keith Foulke, Aaron Fultz, Bobby Hill and Tike Redman all making appearances during the game. Both Everett and Castillo hit towering homeruns and the bullpen was led by Benitez and Foulke, with Benitez pitching a scoreless 8th and Foulke sealing the deal in the 9th for the 8-5 win. After the game, Benitez said, "I want to show the Major League teams that I am healthy to play and that I can help." He felt content about his role, alternating with Foulke between set-up man and closer. "The coaches have helped me out, and made me feel good about being here. We both know we can help the club, and at the same time we can show we can be useful on that level again."

The trio was in town along with David Mantle to honor Bears Bench Coach Tony Ferrara. The Bears hung a permanent flag in right field to honor Ferrara's countless years of service in professional baseball. Ferrara played in the 1950's as a farmhand in the St. Louis Cardinals organization, and was a long time batting practice pitcher and scout for the New York Yankees. During the on-field ceremony, Ferrara remarked that, "it is a proud moment in my life to be honored here." Ferrara is pictured on the left alongside Ford during the pre-game ceremonies.
Bobby Richardson, Ralph Terry and David Mantle


Alberto Castillo Connects For a Homerun

Carl Everett Takes One Deep

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Whitey Ford, Bobby Richardson and Ralph Terry to Appear at Newark Bears and Eagles Stadium May 24, 2009

New York Yankee legend and Hall of Famer Whitey Ford will be joined by 1961 World Series Champion teammates Bobby Richardson and Ralph Terry at Newark Bears and Eagles Stadium on Sunday May 24, 2009 to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at 4:05pm. The Newark Bears will be playing the York Revolution of the Atlantic League. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit the Newark Bears Official Website.

Mickey Mantle, Bobby Richardson and Whitey Ford