Results tagged ‘ Babe Ruth ’
By Cary Osborne
I wanted to be a baseball player when I grew up.
In high school I realized I couldn’t hit a curve ball — or a fastball for that matter — and I was fearful of making mistakes.
The dream died and another was born.
By Cary Osborne
What is the most valuable piece of Dodger memorabilia?
By Cary Osborne
Maybe this is part of my own healing writing this.
I grew up during the time of Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken. One man has a statue outside of Petco Park that reads “Mr. Padre.” The other is arguably more significant to the city of Baltimore than Edgar Allen Poe.
They were the ideal Major Leaguers to me — players who were stars, who you never feared would be traded or leave as a free agent. Players who started and ended their baseball careers in the same place.
Before them, Ted Williams was only a Red Sock, Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio were only Yankees, and Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale were only Dodgers. And the thought of them in any other uniform is sacrilegious.
But I learned that they are the exception and not the rule. More often than not, our favorite players eventually end up leaving our favorite teams. And it’s not easy to stomach.
I hurt when Mike Piazza was traded. I was sad to see some recent players go. And I mentioned earlier that I grew up during the Gwynn-Ripken era. That was also the same period when I saw Orel Hershiser wear a Giants uniform and Fernando Valenzuela was an Angel and a Padre.
Now we’re in a more urgent era, where there is more equity in baseball, and competition off the field makes the game ever-evolving. Hence, the following:
There are only four players in the big leagues who have been on the same team since 2004 — Joe Mauer, David Wright, Ryan Howard and Yadier Molina. And there are no players from the 2011 Padres, Diamondbacks or Cubs who are on their current rosters.
From that 2011 season, only Andre Ethier, Clayton Kershaw, A.J. Ellis and Kenley Jansen remain on the Dodgers. Since 2006, Ethier’s first season, he has played the most games of any Major League outfielder for the same team. Every outfielder in the top 10 games played since 2006 has played on at least two teams. Only four National League starters have been with their team longer than Kershaw — Adam Wainwright (St. Louis, 2005), Matt Cain (San Francisco, 2005), Homer Bailey (Cincinnati, 2007) and free agent Tim Lincecum (San Francisco, 2007).
With that urgency brings a thinner line between risk and reward. Maybe the following shows that a free agent’s team knows him best — and therefore has a more difficult decision on what it wants to do when a player comes up for free agency.
Top-level free agents over the age of 30 typically don’t re-sign with their teams. In the 2013 and 2014 offseasons, 56 free agents who were age 30 or older and had been All-Stars at some point in their career signed Major League contracts. Of those 56, just 10 re-signed with the team they played with the year before. That’s less than 20 percent. The only player who signed a contract of more than three years was Victor Martinez, who inked a four-year deal with Detroit in 2014. Brian Wilson, who signed a two-year pact with the Dodgers, is one of the 10.
I’m not trying to destroy the idea of a player being with the same team his whole career or a major portion of it, as would have been the case if Zack Greinke had re-signed with the Dodgers. I’m just mindful that Mr. Padre and Cal Ripken longevity is uncommon.
Players who remain with the same team their whole career — like with Robinson, Campanella, Koufax, Drysdale and hopefully Kershaw — are special cases. As are players who re-sign with their team when they become a free agent.
I’ve grown to accept things about the game I love. And I’ve grown to expect things from the game I love. Change is part of the game. In fact, it always has been.
The most famous player in baseball history is known as a Yankee, but Babe Ruth was a Red Sock first, and we know how that transaction affected people.
Will we ever get over our favorite players leaving? Some will. Others might take 86 years.
By Jon Weisman
“I just hope for a memorable World Series, something we’ll remember for generations,” Mark Langill wrote Tuesday. Then that night, Game 1 between the Mets and the Royals delivered, offering so much that even Dodger fans still nursing their playoff wounds had to marvel.
Moreover, it wasn’t hard to find several Dodger connections to Kansas City’s marathon 14-inning, 5-4 victory over New York.
By Jon Weisman
Today, the Dodgers acquired a Rule 4 competitive balance round B draft pick (No. 74 overall this June), right-handed reliever Ryan Webb and minor league catcher Brian Ward from the Orioles in exchange for catcher Chris O’Brien and pitcher Ben Rowen.
Ken Gurnick of MLB.com has more on the deal. The 29-year-old Webb had a 2.95 FIP with Baltimore last year and 37 strikeouts in 49 1/3 innings against 63 baserunners. Ward had a .641 OPS in a season spent mostly at Triple-A Norfolk.
And now, to fill the rest of your off day, more notes …
By Jon Weisman
I didn’t know Juan Pierre, but he always seemed like a wonderful guy, regardless of the debate that surrounded him. He was a symbol of the divide between Old School and New School thoughts about value in baseball: lots of hits but low OBP, lots of steals but a mediocre success rate, lots of joy in the clubhouse but questions about how much that translated into wins.
His third year as a Dodger, in 2009, was his most interesting one. Beginning the season on the bench behind the burgeoning talents of Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier and the massive presence of Manny Ramirez, he surged back into relevance once Ramirez was suspended, with a .365 OBP, and by the time the summer dust had settled, numerous people argued he was the team’s most valuable player, keeping them alive for what ended up being a run to the National League Championship Series.
A look back at that year through Fangraphs shows that even playing 41 more games than Ramirez, Pierre trailed him and five other Dodger position players in Wins Above Replacement for the season, retroactive evidence for those of us who felt thankful for the way Pierre had stepped up but didn’t quite see him as the MVP. But saying that he was overvalued doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t have been valued at all. Those are two different concepts, that I like to think we have a better understanding of today.
Pierre had four seasons in his career of more than 200 hits, and at one point was a legitimate candidate to get 3,000, at a not-so-long-ago time when 3,000 hits was a Hall of Fame guarantee. As it is, he retires today with 2,217 hits — no small feat — and 614 career steals, which is 18th in MLB history. He also leaves with a reputation as one of the nicest guys in the game … and with his sense of humor intact.
Not too shabby. Best wishes to him.
Elsewhere in Dodgeropolis., here’s what’s happening …
By Mark Langill
In honor of tonight’s Babe Ruth bobblehead promotion at Dodger Stadium, here are some notes about the life and career of the Hall of Famer who was a coach with the 1938 Brooklyn Dodgers.
- While best known for hitting 714 career home runs, Ruth began his MLB career 100 years ago as a pitcher for the 1914 Boston Red Sox. During the 1916 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers, Ruth pitched a 14-inning complete game, allowing only six hits in a 2-1 victory at Braves Field in Boston. In 163 career games, Ruth compiled a 94-46 record and 2.28 ERA.
- Without interleague play, Ruth didn’t face the Brooklyn Dodgers during the regular season as a member of the Red Sox (1914-19) or New York Yankees (1920-34). He played 28 games with the 1935 Boston Braves and batted .181 with six home runs and 12 RBI before retiring in late May.
- Ruth hit his only career home run against the Dodgers on April 21, 1935 at Braves Field. It was his 710th career home run, a solo shot off Ray Benge in the first inning. It was the only run Benge allowed over seven innings. Reliever Tom Zachary pitched the final two innings to save the 8-1 victory. Eight years earlier, Zachary was pitching for Washington and allowed Ruth’s 60th home run on the final day of the 1927 season, a single-season record that stood until the Yankees’ Roger Maris hit 61 home runs in 1961.
Today is the 100th anniversary of Babe Ruth’s debut in the Major Leagues. On July 11, 1914, the 19-year-old Ruth pitched seven innings for the Boston Red Sox in a 4-3 victory, allowing two earned runs on eight hits and no walks, while going 0 for 2 at the plate. Anthony Castrovince has more on Ruth’s big-league inauguration at MLB.com.
It’s a great day to unveil the September 9 Babe Ruth Bobblehead promotion, commemorating Ruth’s time as a Dodger coach in 1938. Tickets are available now. The giveaway is for the first 50,000 ticketed fans in attendance, and no, we don’t expect any delivery trucks to break down this time around.
— Jon Weisman