On the day we honor Veterans who served in the American Armed Forces, I thought it would be time well spent and interesting to do some research on Major and Minor League players who have served their country. The sheer number is startling – 336 during the Korean War (view list here) for example according to Baseball Reference, my go-to source for anything about baseball.
Some of the names we are familiar with and a few such as Ted Williams (above) deservedly gained renown for their efforts. Williams (view MLB’s tribute here), a distinguished fighter pilot for the Marines forfeited three prime baseball years to serve. Hall of Famers Whitey Ford (above right) and Willie Mays ( right with another Veteran, Don Newcombe) also served in the Korea struggle in the early 1950′ s. Other names are not as much of note, but count players like Jerry Coleman, who appeared in six World Series for the New York Yankees, Roger Craig, a 20 game loser for the first New York Mets team in 196 , Don Larsen (no introduction needed), Billy Martin, a journeyman player but a dynamic manager, and Frank Torre, the brother of Joe hit .273 in seven big league seasons, among those who served too. Continue reading
Posted in Baseball, Baseball Blogs, baseball history, baseball photos, Baseball Reference, Billy Martin, Don Larsen, Jerry Koosman, MLB, MLB Armed Forces Veterans, Reflections On Baseball, Roger Craig, Ted Williams, Whitey Ford, Willie Mays
Tagged baseball, Baseball Blogs, baseball history, Baseball Reference, Billy Martin, Garry Maddox, Jerry Koosman, Korean War, MLB, MLB Armed Forces Veterans, Reflections On Baseball, Roger Craig, Ted Williams, Veterans Day, Vietnam War, Whitey Ford, Willie Mays
First, a disclaimer. I am a fan of the New York Yankees and therefore have been a part of the long standing rivalry with the Boston Red Sox. It’s been a fun and good natured exchange for the most part. My brother resides in Red Sox Nation and as a Yankee fan himself he continues to enjoy the teasing that goes on with his neighbors and friends. This is not about that.
What it is about is David Ortiz the man and not the ballplayer. We all know he has the stats to back up his bravado – at least in the power department. And he probably will be given serious consideration for the HOF. But having said that, he falls far short in every other “immeasurable” category.
I judge umpires to be a fair representative of a man’s character on the field. They make (remarkably few) mistakes. But for most players, they accept a bad call in the same way they accept a line drive hit right at someone. Not David Ortiz. His whining about everything put him on the downside of every umpire. And mind you, we’re not talking about Ted Williams here with 20/10 vision. We’re talking about a giant of a man who would be challenged to see his toes in the batter’s box if he were standing up straight.
I have another question though. When….if ever have you ever seen a quote from one of his teammates that praised him for being a good “clubhouse guy”. Go on all you Red Sox Nation fans……..do the research. Tell me that he was the “go to guy” in the clubhouse when something or someone needed to be addressed. Tell me when it was not only all about David Ortiz and tell me that you can’t wait until he retires……and that the team as a whole won’t be better for it. Tell me.
Posted in 500 home runs, Baseball, Baseball Blog, Baseball Blogs, Baseball Hall of Fame, Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz, New York Yankees, Ortiz umpire whining, Red Sox Nation, Red Sox Yankees rivalry, Ted Williams
Tagged 500 home runs, baseball, Baseball Blogs, baseball stats, Boston Red Sox, character, David Ortiz, hall of fame, New York Yankees, Ortiz whining umpire, Red Sox Nation
Putting Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame where he belongs is simply a recognition of what he did on the playing field, the numbers he put up, and the relentless zeal with which he played the game. The man has the most hits ever over a career for God’s sake! And besides, some of the greatest players in the game could also be a jerk at times by demonstrating questionable character.
Ted Williams who is often credited with being the the best pure hitter to ever play the game once was fined $5000 (a princely sum in 1956) for – get this – for spitting on fans during a game in his own ballpark. He was also known as a loner and egomaniac who was certainly not the go-to guy in the clubhouse. Ted Williams is in the Baseball Hail of Fame.
Joe DiMaggio is also in the Hall of Fame. He’s also one of the surliest men to ever don a Yankees uniform. His own teammates viewed him as “unapproachable”. But he did hit in 56 straight games so he is forgiven and everyone moves on. You can read more on his character in Richard Ben Cramer’s definitive biography Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life.
And then of course there’s Ty Cobb who is said to be one of the meanest – most vindictive – players to ever have put on a pair of spikes. Those spikes high sliding into second – be damned if you’re in my way. He too is in the Hall of Fame.
For every Cal Ripken with no visible character flaws in the Hall, there’s a Joe DiMaggio with a tainted image. And for every Derek Jeter (a sure first ballot inductee), there’s a Ted Williams who never really apologized for his spitting episode. The Hall of Fame was built to house and honor the best who ever played the game. No one would ever suggest Pete Rose as a candidate for Sainthood. He doesn’t have to be a Saint……….all he has to be is one of the greatest to have ever played the game. At least, give him that.
Posted in Baseball, Baseball Blogs, baseball history, baseball photos, Hall of Fame, Joe DiMaggio, Pete Rose, Ted Williams, Ty Cobb, Uncategorized, URL https://scontursi.wordpress.com
Tagged Baseball Blogs, baseball commissioner, Baseball Hail of Fame, Baseball life, major league baseball, Pete Rose, Reflections On Baseball, Ted Williams, Ty Cobb