World Series Fever…

This being late October, everybody has naturally got World Series Fever. Say what you will about all those other sports, Foot-Ball, Basket-Ball, Croquet, Hurling, Rugby, Chess, what-have-you… Baseball IS the National Past Time, and when October rolls around, the nation’s eyes are on the diamond, and we wait with bated breath the crowning of the next champion.

The Library of Congress yesterday (Prints and Photos division) posted a news article about the bygone days of World Series fever, in the golden days before television, when the boys would gather around the newspaper scoreboard or the local radio to follow the play-by-play.

Watching World Series scoreboard, Montrose, Colorado, 1939

Watching World Series scoreboard, Montrose, Colorado, 1939

I’ll bet that was fun, standing on the street, watching the action. No commercial interruptions. No instant replays. No expert analysis explaining everything in detail. Well, on second thought, there was probably plenty of that, but on a more local level.

If the boys look pretty sedate in that picture, it might be because the Yankees swept the Series that year, 4 games to 0 over the Cincinnati Reds. A lot of pitching in that series, as the Reds batted .203, while the Yankees did about the same, at .206. The Yankees did hit 7 HR in that series, though, while the Reds could muster nary a one. King Kong Keller hit .438 for the Yankees, with 3 HR and 6 rbi.

Tonight is game 3 or the 2015 series, in NY, with KC leading the Mets, two games to nothing. (As if you didn’t know.)

Kansas City had the top record in the AL, so I like to see them in the series. In the Senior Circuit, the hated St. Louis Cards won 100 games in the regular season, while the Metropolitans only garnered 90. Some might therefore wonder if the best team in the NL has actually made it to the World Series.

But them’s the rules. A KC/St. Louis series would have been fun, though.

Kansas City’s got a good club. With two games gone, I’m not going to make any predictions, but I always like to see the AL take the series, no matter who I think is going to win.

Incidentally, who knows why the KC club is named the Royals? Perhaps you think it is a tip of the cap to the old KC Monarch’s of the old Negro Leagues? Well, then, you are wrong. The Royals are named for the American Royal livestock show, rodeo, horse show, and, I guess, a barbecue competition, held annually in KC since 1899. Turns out that no one knows why the KC Monarchs were named the Monarchs – but it is possibly a tip of the cap to the same Royal livestock show. It’s possible, but nobody knows for sure. Is that all they can think of down there?

Finally, I’d just like to point out for posterity, I did just happen to nail the Twins final record this season, in my prediction post of April 9th.

First time that’s ever happened. We all look for better things next season.

the old ball yard. Redwing Minnesota.

ballpark d fr - mtpmcg615 sm - 7852

It’s been a good long while between posts. Life…

And it seems that the Twins are in the pennant race! Okay, well, not exactly. Trying to nail that last wild-card spot for the playoffs does not quite equate to a pennant race. Still, it’s perhaps as close as we get now a days, since the loser of the Wild Card race is eliminated, done, see ya’ next year. And it is the best of all possible worlds, to have meaningful baseball games to play in September. So we are enjoying it, come what may. It’s been an interesting season for the Twins; new manager, losing their star pitcher for half the season, Torii Hunter, the arrival of All the Young Talent, Buxton, Sano, Rosario, Hicks, Duffy, and all the rest. And there’s a lot of ball yet to be played!

I also noted that Big Papi, David Ortiz, has hit #500 for his career. What if the Twins had not cut him loose at the end of 2002?  Surely a low point in Terry Ryan’s career…

Anyway. Congrats to Big Papi. Stay tuned…

Colabello…

Because I have been living under a rock for the last few months, and for December in particular, I totally absolutely missed the news about:

a. Chris Colabello, being claimed by Toronto off waivers (December 8th! Where was I?)

and

b. Colabello being outrighted to the Triple A Buffalo Bisons.(February11th! Where was I?)

And so, here I am, suddenly thinking to myself, “Hey, wha… where… where’s Colabello? What happened to Colabello?”

Crap.chris colabello - Worcester Tornados

Yes, this kind of brings me down, even though I probably should have been preparing for it, lo these many months. For the Twins have a first baseman name of Mauer, and once Joe picked up the first baseman’s glove, that probably indicated that all the other first baseman better start to pack their bags. (Goodbye, Justin Morneau. So long, Chris Colabello.)

Justin went to Pittsburgh, of course. (Who did we get for him? Oh, yes, Alex Presley, and, momentarily, Duke Welker. The Twins then waived Presley, and Houston picked him up, and it looks like he’s still with the Astros. The Twins quickly traded Welker back to Pittsburgh for Kris Johnson. Pittsburgh then released Welker, and then, later, the Twins released Johnson. Such are the wily machinations of the executive suite.) Meanwhile, of course,Pittsburgh let Morneau walk at the end of the season, and Colorado signed him, and I guess he had a pretty fine season up there in the mountains of Colorado.(.319, (leading the NL), 17hr, 82 rbi, and a .860 OPS.

(Trivia question: Who had the highest OPS on the Twins in 2014? Answer: young center fielder / shortstop Danny Santana: .824, followed by young DH Kennys Vargas (.772) and then young second baseman Bull Dozier (.762). Perhaps this bodes well for the future?)

So Mr. Colabello is gone, and I’m sorry to see him go. I liked the way he came up from the independent leagues to make the majors, and I like the fact that he turned down big money to play in Korea, because “Going to Korea would mean giving up the dream of being a big-leaguer.” How can you not root for a guy like that? Plus he broke Kirby Puckett’s record for most RBIs in the month of April (26), and he hit a home run for his mother on her birthday. With her sitting up in the stands. I really wanted Colabello to hit so well that they had to play him. But he didn’t, and they didn’t, and now he’s in Toronto. (Starting first baseman last year, Edward Encarnacion. 34 home runs there.)

Good luck, Chris Colabello. You’re a hero.

colabello c gs red  fr - mtpmcg714 sm - 5599

 

The Big Show; more of Charles M Conlon

Tonight I finished reading my other bargain baseball book find – The Big Show, a beautiful collection of early twentieth century baseball photographs taken by Charles M. Conlon.The Big Show

I’ve already reviewed the first volume of Conlon photographs assembled by Neal and Constance McCabe, so I won’t go into a lot of details here about the Conlon story. I noted tonight, though, that McCabe, in the afterword, says that he thinks this volume is better than the first, as this time “I actually had some idea of what I was doing.”

Well, he might be right. Overall, of course, the main thing is the pictures, and I couldn’t pick based on that. Both books are great collections. The text accompanying the pictures, though, did seem a bit stronger in this edition. I may need to review the previous edition to be sure about that. But the text is really secondary. The pictures stand on their own. At some point in this edition, McCabe draws a comparion to the great German photographer, August Sander. I would have to agree. Conlon never got the attention from the photography community, and he wasn’t aspiring to high art.

None the less, it is. I highly recommend both these books.