10 Things to Know about Yankees-Red Sox

The Yankee-Red rivalry began in 1903 when the soon-to-be World Champion Boston Americans faced the New York Highlanders.

1. The Yankees and the Red Sox weren’t always the Yankees and the Red Sox. When the teams first met in 1903, the New York Highlanders squared off against the Boston Americans. And predictably, in one of their very first meetings at Boston’s Huntingon Avenue Grounds, a base-running incident led to a full-scale brawl. The two teams have been fighting ever since.

2. New York’s 20-11 victory at Fenway Park in August marked the highest scoring game in the history of the rivalry. In the previous highest scoring game, the Yankees (er Highlanders) beat the Red Sox (er Americans) 15-14 on July 29, 1903. Hall of Famers Cy Young and Jack Chesbro were the starting pitchers in that slugfest.

3. In that same 15-14 game, Boston outfielder Patsy Dougherty hit for the cycle. Yankee second baseman Joe Gordon recorded the only other cycle in the rivalry, on September 8, 1940.

4. On June 30, 1908, Boston immortal Cy Young beat the Yankees, 8-0. It was the first of just five no-hitters in the storied rivalry. Rube Foster no-hit the Yankees in 1916, while George Mogridge (1917), Allie Reynolds (1951) (shown right getting the final out against Ted Williams) and Dave Righetti (1983) pitched Yankee no-hitters against the Sox.

5. Five days after the Titanic went down in the North Atlantic, the Red Sox christened Fenway Park with an 11-inning, 7-6 win over the New York Highlanders, soon to be named the Yankees.

6. Babe Ruth was a one heckuva pitcher. His career record against the Yankees was 17-5 with a 2.21 ERA. And he won both games he pitched for the Yankees against Boston, in 1930 and 1933.

7. Ted Williams batted .345 against the Yankees in his career, with 62 home runs and 229 RBIs in 327 games. In 312 games against the Red Sox, Lou Gehrig had 70 homers and 316 RBIs with a .352 average.

8. The longest game in Yankee-Red Sox history occurred August 29, 1967, when New  York beat Boston, 4-3, in 20 innings on a base hit by Horace Clarke in the second game of a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium. The two rivals have played 15 or more innings 13 times in their history.

9. When Alex Rodriguez  hit a walk-off home run against the Red Sox in the 15th inning last month to win a 2-0 classic, it was just the fifth game-ending homer to break up a scoreless tie in the 15th inning or later in baseball history. Adrian Garrett and Hall of Famers Willie Mays, Earl Averill and Old Hoss Radbourn hit the other walk-off winners.

10. Yankee designated hitter Hideki Matsui had seven RBIs in that 20-11 win, the most by a Yankee against Boston since Gehrig had eight ribbies in a 14-13 Yankee win on July 31, 1930, including one of his major league record 23 grand slams.

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Remembering The Boys of Summer

I see the boys of summer in their ruin
Lay the gold tithings barren,
Setting no store by harvest, freeze the soils.

Dylan Thomas, I See The Boys Of Summer

During the 10-year period from 1947 to 1956, the Brooklyn Dodgers won six National League; two other times they were denied on the final day of the season. They won Brooklyn’s lone World Series against the Yankees in 1955, after seven previous failures in the Fall Classic.

They were a legendary team, those Dodgers, with players like Jackie Robinson, the captain Pee Reese, Roy Campanella, Duke Snider and many others. The first MLB team to integrate, it’s no coincidence they began their run when Robinson joined the team in 1947.

They played in one of the great old ballparks, Ebbets Field, located in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn on the block bound by Bedford Avenue, Sullivan Place, McKeever Place, and Montgomery Street.

And then, suddenly, in the middle of the winter of 1958, the Dodgers fled Brooklyn for Los Angeles.

They were The Boys of Summer as chronicled by Roger Kahn in his book about 13 of those Dodgers and how their lives evolved and changed once they left the game. Kahn covered the Dodgers for the New York Herald Tribune as a young sportswriter in the early 1950s, and caught up with many of those Dodgers two decades later.

As Gay Talese, the American author, wrote: “Kathn’s book is marvelous….a splendid historical work. It is about youthful dreams in small American towns and big cities decades ago, and how some of these dreams were fulfilled, and about what happened to those dreamers after reality and old age arrived. It is also a book about ourselves, those of us who shared and identified with the dreams and glories of our heroes.”

For many of those Dodgers, life after Brooklyn was difficult.

Tough Times

Campanella was injured in a car accident on an icy road on Long Island shortly before the Dodgers moved West. He was confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life, never to play baseball again.

Brooklyn pitcher Carl Erskine fathered a son with Down syndrome. Carl Furillo worked construction at the World Trade Center when the Twin Towers were built.

Hodges and Robinson would both die young; Robinson also lost a son to drug addiction and a fatal car crash.

The Dodgers were such a part of Brooklyn that even now, more than 50 years later, some fans haven’t fully recovered from the team’s move to Los Angeles. When owner Walter O’Malley was inducted posthumously into the Hall of Fame in 2008, there were a smattering of boos from the crowd in Cooperstown.

Five of the “Boys of Summer” actually played for the Dodgers in Los Angeles. PeeWee Reese retired after the 1958 season, but Snider, Hodges, Carl Furillo and Clem Labine were members of the 1959 team that beat the White Sox in the World Series.

Furillo retired shortly after the 1960 season began, and Labine was traded to the Tigers that same year for Ray Semproch and cash. Hodges went back to New York to join the Mets in the 1962 expansion draft; seven years later he would manage the “Miracle Mets” to a World Championship.  Snider, the Duke of Flatbush, was purchased by the Mets a year later.

And so goes the story of The Boys of Summer.

Nobody on the road
Nobody on the beach
I feel it in the air
The summer’s out of reach….
……And I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
After the boys of summer have gone

Don Henley, Eagles, The Boys of Summer


10 Essential Baseball Web Sites

Just like the old Yankee Stadium scoreboard, these essential Web sites help     baseball fans keep on top of the game.

Wanna know who made the last out in Don Larsen’s perfect game? How many doubles Ted Williams hit in 1941? Who’s pitching ‘s pitching for the Cardinals tonight? Where was Hall of Famer Eddie Collins born?

And there’s so much more. Information on old ballparks and new, the latest news from newspapers around the country, box scores galore, statistical analyses.

It’s all just a click away with these 10 essential baseball links.

Top 10 Sites

Baseball reference.com: Stats on every player who ever lived, award winners, leaders through the years, and so much more.

Retrosheet.com: Box scores for every major league game since 1953 and every post-season game ever played. Nuff said.

MLB.com: The official site of major league baseball, links to every team site.

Hall of Fame.com: Information on baseball’s elite, Cooperstown and more.

US sports pages.com: Want local coverage, this is your link. Every major sports section in the country. Search be region, columnist and more.

Baseball almanac.com: The official baseball history site. “Where what happened yesterday is preserved today.” Year-by-year history, NL since 1876.

Ballparks of baseball.com: Old fields, new fields, even future fields. Everything the baseball road warrior needs, complete with travel guides.

Baseball library.com: Cool stuff such as this day in baseball, historical matchups, team year-by-year histories.

Fangraphs.com: Daily reports, stat analysis, graphs. A terrific fantasy baseball tool.

John Skilton’s baseball-links.com: Welcome to the Web’s most comprehensive collection of links to baseball resources. There are currently 12788 unique links indexed in the categories below. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, it probably doesn’t exist.

Best of The Rest

And a few other links to satisfy your baseball appetite.

Owner’s Edge.com: Accurate, up-to-date listing of probable pitchers.

SABR.com: The Society for American Baseball Research.

Ballparks.com: Ballpark reviews, rankings, essays all on current stadiums.

Baseball tips.com: The instructional site, teaching coaches, players and fans about winning baseball.


The Hit Men: Jeter Joins A Select Club

Derek Jeter lines single to equal Lou Gehrig’s all-time Yankee hit record.

After 72 years, Lou Gehrig has company. Gehrig played his last game in 1939, and finished his career with a Yankee record 2721 hits.

Now he shares that mark with Derek Jeter, ahead of two pretty fair ballplayers, Babe Ruth (2518) and Mickey Mantle (2415).

Jeter and Gehrig, below, Yankees captains both, are now tied for 53rd on the all-time hit list, just behind Roberto Alomar and ahead of Rusty Staub..

Pinstripes aside, who are the other team hit leaders in major league baseball?

It’s not surprising to see Ty Cobb atop the team leader list. Cobb wound down his career with the Philadelphia A’s in 1928, but 3900 of his American League record 4189 hits were achieved while he was a member of the Detroit Tigers.

Pete Rose, the all-time hit leader with 4256, is first on the Cincinnati Reds list with 3358. Rose, of course, also played for the Phillies and Expos.

In all, a dozen of the 30 team leaders reached the 3000 hit plateau, led by Hall of Famers like Stan Musial (Cardinals), Hank Aaron (Braves), Carl Yastrzemski (Red Sox), Willie May (Giants) and Cal Ripken (Orioles). Another HOFer, Roberto Clemente, who played his entire career with the Pirates, had exactly 3000 hits when he died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve, 1972.

The first seven names on the list represent the original 16 teams which have been in existence since 1903. The next four — George Brett (Royals), Robin Yount (Brewers), Tony Gwynn (Padres) and Craig Biggio (Astros) — played for 1960s expansion teams.

Cap Anson is still the Cubs’ all-time leader with 2995 hits. He played with Chicago National League teams known as the Colts and White Stockings, among others, before retiring in 1897 with 3418 career hits. Ernie Banks, Mr. Cub himself, is second on the team’s all-time hit list with 2583, 73 more than Billy Williams.

More Hits

Sam Rice, the all-time Twins/Senators hit leader with 2889, played nearly his entire year with Washington Senators before finishing up with the Indians in 1934. He had 98 hits that season and finished with 2987, just 13 ahead of 3000.

The current overall active hit leader is Ken Griffey, Jr., who stands 47th with 2751 hits. Griffey, of course, split his career between the Reds and the Mariners.

No Philadelphia/Kansas City/Oakland Athletic has ever had 2000 hits with the A’s. The all-time leader is Bert Campaneris with 1882 hits, 55 more than Al Simmons and 114 more than Rickey Henderson.

Clemente’s, right, 3000 hits with Pittsburgh barely edged out two other Hall of Famers, Honus Wagner at 2967 and Paul Waner at 2868. Wagner played his first three seasons with the Louisville Colonels before the turn of the 20th Century and wound up with 3415 hits, eighth all-time. Waner also played with the Braves, Dodgers and Giants and finished with 3152 hits.

In addition to Jeter, active club hit leaders are Garret Anderson (Angels, now with Braves), Todd Helton (Rockies), Pudge Rodriguez (Rangers), Luis Castillo (Marlins, now with Mets) and Carl Crawford (Rays).

Ichiro Suzuki, with more than 2,000 hits in less than 10 years, is on pace to break Edgar Martinez’s record (2247) with the Mariners.

Mike Schmidt leads the Phillies with 2234 hits, 17 more than Richie Ashburn.

Amazingly, Ed Kranepool remains the Met’s all-time hit leader with 1418. Cleon Jones (1188) is second and Edgardo Alfonzo (1136) is third. The highest-ranking current Met is 10th, with 963 hits.

ALL-TIME HIT LEADERS BY TEAM

1. Tigers — Ty Cobb 3900

2. Cardinals — Stan Musial 3630

3. Braves — Hank Aaron 3600

4. Red Sox — Carl Yastrzemski 3419

5. Reds — Pete Rose 3358

6 Giants — Willie Mays 3187

7. Orioles — Cal Ripken, 3184

8. Royals — George Brett 3154

9. Brewers — Robin Yount 3142

10. Padres — Tony Gwynn 3141

11. Astros — Craig Biggio 3060

12, Pirates — Roberto Clemente 3000

13. Cubs — Cap Anson 2995

14. Twins — Sam Rice 2889

15. Dodgers — Zack Wheat 2804

16. White Sox — Luke Appling 2749

17. Yankees — Lou Gehrig 2721, Derek Jeter 2721*

18. Angels — Garret Anderson 2368*

19. Mariners — Edgar Martinez 2247

20. Phillies — Mike Schmidt 2234

21. Rockies — Todd Helton 2113*

22. Indians — Nap Lajoie 2046

23. A’s — Bert Campaneris 1882

24. Rangers — Ivan Rodriguez 1738*

25. Nationals — Tim Wallach 1694

26. Blue Jays — Tony Fernandez 1583

27. Mets — Ed Kranepool 1418

28. Diamondbacks — Luis Gonzalez 1337

29. Rays — Carl Crawford 1274*

30. Marlins — Luis Castillo 1273*

*active player


Jeter for MVP, Rivera for Cy Young

 

First, let’s get this straight. This ain’t no stinking lobby for some sort of lifetime achievement awards.

Yes, you could make a strong argument for Derek Jeter as the best shortstop ever, at least in the same conversation as Honus Wagner, a guy none of us ever saw, and the ultimate iron man, Cal Ripken. Jeter, of course, is now chasing down another iron man, another legendary Yankee captain, for most hits in team history.

And for Mariano Rivera there is no debate. He’s simply the best closer in baseball history, second on the all-time saves list with more than 500, and with an unbelievable post-season pedigree to boot.

But this isn’t a discussion about the best ever. No, we’re talking about Jeter for American League MVP and Rivera for the Cy Young Award, key performers on a Yankee team that is running away with the American League East and has the best record in baseball.

Great Year for Jeter
Jeter is having one of his finest years in a career full of stellar seasons. Sure, he’s hitting in the clutch as he always does, and is among the league leaders in batting, runs, and hits. And he’s also playing some of the best shortstop he’s shown in years.

Perhaps Jeter’s biggest competition will come from his own teammate, Mark Teixeira. The first baseman has fit in nicely in the Bronx, and leads the AL in RBIs and the Yankees in home runs.

The other major candidate, standout catcher Joe Mauer of the Twins, could stand to gain if scribes split their votes between Jeter and Teixeira. Mauer is leading the AL in batting, but Minnesota has fallen out of the pennant race.

On the Mariano case, conventional wisdom says that starters, not closers, win the Cy Young. Since A’s closer and Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley won the Cy Young in 1992, the Dodgers Eric Gagne in 2003 is the only other reliever to win.

Other candidates for the AL Cy Young, all starters, include CC Sabathia of the Yankees, Justin Verlander of the Tigers and Zack Greinke of the Royals. Two others, Roy Halladay of the Blue Jays and Josh Beckett of the Red So,x have fallen behind in the race.

Relief Isn’t Spelled Cy Young
Relievers have won only 11 of 97 times the Cy Young has been awarded. A strong case can be made for Rivera winning the award in 2005, when he had 43 saves and a career low 1.38 ERA.

However Mo finished a distant second to Bartolo Colon, who won 21 games but benefitted by good run support by the Angels. Rivera has finished third in the Cy Young balloting on three other occasions.

Jeter twice has come close to winning an MVP. In 2006 he finished second to Justin Morneau of Minnesota and in 1998 he was third when Juan Gonzalez of Texas won the MVP. Both times Jeter’s teams finished with a better record than the eventual winners.

It goes without mentioning that Jeter and Rivera each own four World Series rings.

Now is time. Jeter for MVP. Rivera for Cy Young.


Football: Is It Real, Or Is It Fantasy?

QB in pain: A sight feared by fantasy football owners and NFL fans alike.

With the possible exception of dwindling 401ks, expanding waistlines and gray hair, there’s nothing fantasy football owners fear more than injuries to key players. Especially in the pre-season.

Just last week, the Dutchess Dawgs took Patriots quarterback Tom Brady with the fifth overall pick in the Nightcap Fantasy League draft.

The very next night, Brady was clobbered by Albert Haynesworth late in the first half of New England’s pre-season game against Washington. Brady left the game with what is initially diagnosed as a bruised shoulder

Right now, the Patriots are saying the injury isn’t serious. But the Patriots are known for not being exactly forthright about injuries.

So the Dawgs, gleeful that Brady was kept out of action against the Giants in the exhibition finale for both teams, must wonder if Tom Terrific, coming off serious knee injury after missing virtually the entire 2008 season, was a wise selection.

Wait, there’s more. The Dawgs selected Green Bay wide receiver Greg Jennings with the 25th overall pick. Jennings got banged after making a reception last week against Arizona and suffered a concussion.

Concussions are not exactly good news for your leading wide receiver.

So far, the Dawgs second pick, St. Louis running back Steven Jackson, has managed to stay healthy. But Jackson has only carried the ball 10 times in three pre-season games.

What happens when he starts seeing serious action? Only time will tell.