Today we are covering August 19 – 25, we are going to be talking about – Jimmie Foxx pitching career, Gooden early excellence, Bill Veek grand stand moment, Yogi Berra and the harmonica, Juan Marichal and John Roseboro fight and the professional pinch hitter Matt Stairs.

If you love the history of the game, and relate all your stories in life to baseball, and you tend to get goose bumps, grim and even water your eyes a bit when Ray Kinsela asks his Dad to play catch. You are truly at the right place.

This podcast is part of thisdayinbaseball.com, if you love baseball history, no matter who you search for you are going to find great nuggets of information.



TRIVIA:

What owner once bought a jackass as a team mascot and named it after himself? He also had a nickname :The Wizard of ODD.

On August 19, 1945 – In game two of a doubleheader against the Cincinnati Reds, 37-year-old slugger Jimmie Foxx makes his first major league start, pitching the first seven innings for the Philadelphia Phillies at Shide Park. He leaves with a 4 – 1 lead, and Andy Karl saves Foxx’s only decision, a 6 – 2 final.  Here is his stat line his ERA in 10 appearances is 1.52, ERA+ was 243, batters only hit .171 with a .479 OPS and of the 76 batters that faced Foxx not one of them was able to get an extra base hit. The only black mark was 14 Base on Balls vs 10 K’s.

Foxx also known as “The Beast” had always wanted to pitch, he was a star hurler in High School. However it was the WAR and the end of his career that really gave him a chance. After the 1944 seasons he appeared in only 15 games, but the War gave him another chance as he signed with the Phillies for a final go round. The 3 Time MVP was not fairing any better so they last place Phillies gave him a shot on the mound, and Foxx the future Hall of Famer. Foxx made the most of it to finish his spectacular career.

On August 20, 1964 — During a bus ride after a Chicago White Sox sweep the Yankee’s 4 straight, Mickey Mantle misinformed his teammate Phil Linz who had been playing Mary Had a Little Lamb on his harmonica that their manager Yogi Berra had asked for the harmonica to be played louder, when in fact he asked him to stop, a confrontation occurs on the back of the team bus between the skipper, and the utility player.

As told Mel Stottlemyre a rookie at the time – “Yogi told Phil he was going to shove the harmonica up his ass if he kept playing — plus a few other things. I don’t know if it scared Phil but he tossed the harmonica toward Yogi, who slapped it out of the air and whacked it off Joe Pepitone’s knee.

Linz apologized the next day and he was fined $200,

With a bus full of reports the event was well well-publicized Linz apologized the next day and he was fined $200. Some say that seeing that side of Berra fired up the third-place team, , to a successful pennant run, but may have reinforced the perception Berra had lost control of the team with so much dissension on the club, leading to his dismissal after Game 7 of the World Series.

Yogi had many Yogisms, here is one I will think about allot, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll wind up somewhere else”

On August 21, 2010 — Matt Stairs sets the career record for pinch-hit home runs when he goes deep off Ernesto Frieri in the eighth inning of a 6-5 loss in Milwaukee. The two-run shot over the Miller Park right field fence, his twenty-first round-tripper coming off the bench, moves the premier pinch-hitter ahead of Cliff Johnson.

Matt stairs is 1 of only 5 Canadian born players to hit 200 homeruns, and he has the record for a position player playing for 12 different teams and 13 franchises. He played for the Expos and Nationals.

His pinch-hit home run in the eighth inning of Game 4 in the 2008 National League Championship Series off the Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Jonathan Broxton was called “one of the most memorable home runs in Phillies history”

On April 12, 2009, Stairs’ game-winning home run against the Colorado Rockies was the last home run called by legendary broadcaster Harry Kalas, who died unexpectedly less than 24 hours later.

Matt Stairs is a great what if – he didn’t get regular at bats until age 29, if he had been in the right situation at age 22-23 both  Bill James and Joe Posnanski feel he could have been Hall of Fame material.

On August 22, 1965, After Juan Marichal had knocked down Maury Wills and Ron Fairly in the top of the third, John Roseboro signaled for Sandy Koufax to retaliate in the bottom of the inning. It didn’t work. “Koufax was constitutionally incapable of throwing at anyone’s head,” Roseboro wrote in his 1978 autobiography, “so I decided to take matters into my own hands.” Roseboro was throwing the ball too close to his head while returning throws to Koufax.

Marichal complains to the umpire about the throws and then the two square off, that is when MArichal hits Roseboro over the head with a bat.

Marichal was suspended for eight games and fined $1,750. Roseboro filed a lawsuit, asking for $110,000 in damages, but settled for about $7,000. He reportedly needed 14 stitches to close the wound on his head. It truly was one of the ugliest events in baseball history.

For many the story ends there – In a SF Chronicle article Barbra Roseboro his widow said, In restaurants, over the phone with clients, at the hospital where he lay dying, John Roseboro couldn’t escape the questions. “People would come up to us at dinner and say, ‘Please tell us about the fight with Marichal,’” the catcher’s widow said recently from her office in Beverly Hills. “He would always accept his responsibility for that incident. He’d say: ‘I provoked it. I threw that ball too close to Juan’s ear.’”

It was however Roseboro who helped Marichal transition into Dodger blue in 1975, they made peace at an old timers game in the 1970’s and Roseboro wife’s PR firm helped Marichal cross the line to get into Cooperstown when they felt the legacy of the fight was hurting him after missing for a second time.

Roseboro’s widow speaks almost as fondly of Marichal. “After my husband passed away, Juan would call to check up on me and my daughter every six months or so,” she said.

It is a great story how two people with differences and an ugly incident can come together to make peace.

On August 23, 1982, Gaylord Perry of the Seattle Mariners is caught putting a foreign substance on the ball. Long suspected of throwing a “spitball,” Perry is ejected from a game for the first and only time in his career.

From Peter Gammons: Against the Red Sox. In the seventh inning, down 1-0 with the bases loaded and two out and facing Rick Miller, who was his nemesis, he threw a pitch that dropped measurably. Umpire Dave Phillips, one of the most respected umpires of the era, jumped out from behind home plate and ejected Gaylord. There was some argument from Perry and M’s manager Rene Lachemann, but it sure seemed obvious to all of us in the building that there was a very mysterious flight pattern to the pitch.

But the reason Perry was ejected was a warning he got in the top of the fourth inning.

And that was, well, divine intervention.

Red Sox outfielder Reid Nichols asked Phillips to check the ball. Phillips did, found some substance, and issued the warning. Nichols said, “in the bottom of the third inning I was standing at my position in left field and a voice came to me reminding of the scripture that ‘no weapon formed against thee shall prosper.’ So when I got up to the plate in the next inning, I asked the umpire to check the ball.”

On August 24, 1951 — In another of Bill Veeck’s legendary public relations stunts, “Fans Managers’ Night,” the Browns defeat the Athletics, 5 – 3. The Browns’ coaches hold up placards for 1115 fans, who vote “yes” or “no” on the options given them. Manager Zack Taylor sits in a box behind the dugout with two fans who monitor the voting. Adding to the festivities is Max Patkin, the clown prince of baseball, who coaches at first base for several innings. Sherm Lollar voted in to start behind the plate instead of Matt Batts, has three hits including a homer, and Hank Arft, also voted in, knocks home two. Gus Zernial’s 28th home run accounts for all the A’s runs. When the stunt was announced on August 15, A’s GM Art Ehlers bitterly denounced it as “farcical.”

So, just how did the managers do? In his autobiography, Veeck — As in Wreck, the Browns owner wrote of the Grandstand Managers’ performance, “Never has a game been called better.” And, though Veeck was certainly prone to hyperbole, he had a point: The managers correctly decided to leave Garver in the game, and they even voted to play back for a double play with runners on first and third with one out in the first inning — while Athletics second baseman Pete Suter obliged by grounding into a double play.

The Grandstand Managers only made one glaring mistake in the game. After tying the game with a single in the first inning, the group instructed Arft to steal second base with two outs. Unfortunately, the Athletics apparently saw the move coming, and Arft was thrown out easily to end the inning.

How many fans wish they had Veeck as the owner? In 2003 during the playoff game when the A’s were playing the Red Sox, I sat in front of a guy who yelled for Grady Little to put in Trot Nixon for 6 innings. When he finally did, Nixon hit a game winning 2 run homerun in the 11th.

My Dad used to say the sadest words ever spoken are oh what could have been stories –

On August 25, 1985 — At the age of 20 years, 9 months, 9 days, Dwight Gooden becomes the youngest 20-game winner ever when the Mets beat San Diego at Shea Stadium, 9-3. Doc is 27 days younger than former Indian hurler Bob Feller, who accomplished the feat with Cleveland in 1939.

He will win the NL Cy Young Award and the pitching Triple Crown, compiling a 24–4 record and a league-leading 1.53 ERA, 268 strikeouts, and 16 complete games in 1985. In 86 he will the Mets win the 1986 World Series.

Sadly, Gooden remained an effective pitcher in subsequent years, but he will only once have an era under 3, and never win more than 13 games in a season after age 26. His career was ultimately derailed by cocaine and alcohol addiction.

I hope you enjoyed the daily rewind and before we give you the trivia answer here is a word from our sponsor . . .

Trivia Answer – TRIVIA:

What owner once bought a jackass as a team mascot and named it after himself? He also had a nickname :The Wizard of ODD.

He also had a mechanical Rabbit to bring baseballs to umpires, and once tried to get Vida Blue to change his name to “True.”

Charlie O. Finley, his 3 time World Champion Oakland A’s team bonding was against Finley himself with his legendary tight fisted ways.