A GREAT view of the field at AT&T Park in Chattanooga during their pre-season open house!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Dave Campbell 1967-1974 MLB

Dave sent a short note about his playing days, and specifically mentioned his time in some of the legendary old parks.

He says, "I played the last year of Crosley Field 1970, last year at old Connie Mack 1970, & last year of Forbes Field in 1970 and I enjoyed playing in the old parks."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cisco Carlos 1967-1973 MLB

Carlos sent a short note to let me know he played for the 1961 Harlan Kentucky Rookie League team. He says that there were 50 players, and only three made it to the Big Leagues.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Frank Carpin 1965 Pirates

Frank sent a great note to me. He mentioned that his home town of Richmond Virginia is getting a new team that he will follow (The Flying Squirrels). He also mentions that the Pirates are his team. He also played with Houston, but he said that he does not follow them, as he had a bad experience there.

He grew up in Brooklyn and says that the Dodgers were his idols, especially Jackie Robinson.

He played for three weeks with the Columbus Jets before getting the call up to the Pirates.

Frank played in Richmond Post 1 as an American Legion player from 1954-1956. He always played North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky in the regionals. He says North Carolina always won.

"I lost 1-0 to Roman Gabriel's team in 1956. He was a 1st baseman."

He says that Kentucky never seemed to be as good as North Carolina, Tennessee of Virginia. North Carolina was the best.

He mentions that he played Hal Stone and Jimmy Hall then, and he would later become friends with them in pro ball.

Friday, February 19, 2010

BOOK: Niagara Falls Confidential by Mike and Rebecca Hudson

I found another strange story relating to baseball in another strange book. "Niagara Falls Confidential" is the type of weird little book that I personally cannot resist.

Authors Mike and Rebecca Hudson have put together a nice short book of short stories relating to strange and dark events that have occurred in the Niagara Falls area, or that have some relationship to Niagara Falls. True crimes, ghost ships and even UFOs are covered. All of the stuff not found in a normal travel guide.

The story of baseball's Big Ed Delehanty is here. Ed had an amazing baseball career, making it into the Hall of Fame. He has a long list of accomplishments (including hitting 4 home runs in one game!).
Ed also drank. He drank a lot. He was on a train hoping to catch up with his teammates (the Senators). On the train, he got very drunk and had some altercations with the passengers. Ed was removed from the train near the Falls. A security person actually saw him go over.
He probably jumped, but there is debate about how he actually ended up dead. Check out the Hudson's book for this strange baseball story, and for the other dark tales in it!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

BOOK: Willie Horton- The People's Champion

I picked this book up several years ago at the Toledo Mud Hens gift shop, and I am glad I did. It is hard to find a good copy now! Its a nice book, and I believe all copies are signed. For any Willie Horton or 68 Tigers fan, this is a nice item, even without the good content.
Luckily, its also a nice book to read. As most Detroit baseball fans know, Willie is a good guy. In this book, he talks about growing up in a BIG family. So big, he has trouble keeping up with his siblings. A brother once offers him a ride and a young Willie declines, as he did not recognize him at the moment! Willie gives some other interesting real stories involving the death of his parents from an auto accident. He talks about driving right in to the Detroit riots in 1967 wearing his Tigers uniform asking people to stop it. Baseball fan or not, I think any person will appreciate these very human stories.

Willie gives some great details about his 68 Tigers teammates, and talks about how having these characters around was like having a second family. He also talks about his feeling when the Tigers traded him away, and how he felt when he was able to again work with the Tigers years later.

Willie is obviously a fun guy, who expresses feeling grateful for what he has in life, his talent, and his family. He also seems happy and humble even about taking basic jobs after his playing days were over.

Being a classy guy, Willie really doesn't trash talk anyone. He does seem let down by a couple of managers who he felt pushed to trade him. Horton does mention that he felt these things were not right, but he doesn't run the managers down.

The book also talks about some of the race issues that were still going on in baseball- and in society while his career gets going. It is strange for me now to think that only a few decades ago there might be segregated water fountains at a minor league park. Willie mentions that he could not get a cab ride to a stadium once, because the cab he flagged down was for whites. He was told that he needed to call another cab company. I like to think that this kind of behavior occurred in our society MANY generations ago but Willie points out that it was more recent.

Willie does talk openly about the fact that he had to deal with racism. He received hate mail and even death threats. He tried to not bring it up much because he didn't want to encourage those making the threats, or to give them satisfaction about it.

Even though Willie was obviously affected by this, he does not dwell on it. He does a great job of giving the facts about what was going on at the time, but he did not allow the narrow mindedness of others get him down.

Horton comes off as a very optimistic and humble guy. He talks at length about his children, grand kids, and how proud he is of all of the members of his very large family. He talks about how fun the fantasy camps have been.

I hope you can find a copy of this book. It might be a good time for this book to get the new edition treatment.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My 1 year anniversary

Hey! I just realized that I have had this blog going for 1 year! I would like to thank all 3 of my followers and my mom. I would like to thank all of the players who have commented to me about their careers, in and out of Kentucky.

It is funny, when I started this hugely successful blog (I would again like to thank my 3 followers, and sometimes reader, mom) I really didn't know where I was going with it. I love baseball, travelling and Kentucky, and I wanted to start a blog dealing with those topics. I guess I have, and I have also used my other blog (kentuckytravels.blogspot.com) to very loosely cover these topics.

At first I thought I would cover my own baseball road trips from Kentucky. Then, I was able to get some responses form retired players, and minor leaguers about their playing days. I would ask about any stories they might have about playing in Kentucky or even near the state. Now, I am writing about pretty much anything involving baseball. I am still trying to keep the focus of pro baseball in Kentucky.

I thought now might be a nice time to mention some of my favorites in baseball. Here are some of my favorites. I cannot explain much of my reasoning, in general, but here they are:

Favorite baseball books:

Man, this is a hard one. I love reading any baseball book. I think most autobiographies, especially of big stars, are fairly inaccurate (I love Pete Rose as a player, but read his two autobiographies back to back. He changes his stories some in each).

Also, there are a couple of "classic" baseball books that I won't mention that I had trouble finishing.

I have really enjoyed reading books by umpires. The umpire life is interesting, and their interaction with the players, fans, unions, etc. is fun to read. Possibly my all time favorite baseball book is "Everything Happens in Chillicothe" about former Frontier League umpire, Max McLeary. Max McLeary is a one eyed umpire. Read that last sentence again. Anyway, Max pretty much loved being an umpire, and he loved working with one of my favorite leagues, the Frontier. Mike Shannon travels around with Max for a season writing about the adventures of Max. I need to get a real review of this future classic up. Max sounds like a great guy, respected by the players, but he deals with family issues and those sort of things too.

I am really excited about the fact that it is easy for players to self publish these days. With that, there are a lot of players putting there stories out there in books.

I just read Nellie Kings book, reviewed on this blog, and that was a fun read. I really appreciate a good, clean book with fun baseball stories.

Favorite ballparks:

I love every ballpark. Some have more interesting features, some are simply in fun baseball towns, and some just have great fans at every game.

The Bridgeport Bluefish in Connecticut had a really unique park that features a real rail line right behind the outfield wall. A train came by every 20 minutes or so. There is a big smoke stack visible too, giving the park a bit of an industrial look. Very unique.

Also in the Atlantic League, the York Revolution (Pennsylvania) have a cool park. They have the tallest outfield fence in pro baseball, and a cannon that is fired after a player on the home team hits one out!

The Mahoning Valley Scrappers (Niles, OH), the Washington Wildthings (Washington, PA.) and the Florence Freedom (Florence, KY.) all have very green skylines past the outfield wall. You feel very relaxed, and you feel like you are way out in the country watching a game, though all are very close to local towns and malls.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cuno Barragan 1961-1963 Cubs

"My first spring training in the Majors with the Cubs I broke my ankle sliding. After rehabbing all season my first at bat was September 1961. My one and only HR was against Giants pitcher Dick LeMay- was then and still is my greatest thrill of my baseball career."

Friday, February 12, 2010

Pete Cimino 1965-1968 Major Leaguer

Pete sent me a great letter recently.

He says that his favorite current player is Chipper Jones, and his favorite team is the Atlanta Braves.

"My favorite former player is Ted Williams, with Harmon Killebrew, who was a teammate, one of the best guys around."

I asked him about his playing days with the Atlanta Crackers and he said that he really doesn't remember a lot about his time with them. He does say, "we had one of the worst teams in the history of minor league baseball!"

"One of the good memories was Skip Caray, who was our radio broadcaster then." Skip was the voice of the Atlanta Braves for years and just recently passed away.

He does have a couple of Kentucky connections. When he was playing for a Senators farm team in Virginia at 17, he met a 17 year old girl from Kingsport, Tennessee. Pete Notes that that is not far from Lexington!

"We really liked each other but got separated for 30 years. Then, we found each other again, got married, and have lived happily for 18 years."

Pete seems to be a fan of Kentucky too. "My wife and I occasionally make trips to Lexington Kentucky to hunt for Kentucky Derby glasses." He says that he used to go to Claiborne Farms to see Secretariat and they have been to the Red Mile!

Pete says that, "one of my biggest thrills was my first Major League victory in 1966 against Kansas City when the Twins had 5 home runs in one inning to tie an American League record.

BOOK: Eric Gregg "Working the Plate"

I must admit, I picked this book up recently at a used book store for a couple of bucks. I am glad that I did. I haven't seen any other copies, and it is a very nice read. I have never been disappointed with a book written by an ump. The umpire stories are often better than the basic ball player perspective books.

One thing that is sad though- Eric resigned as an umpire in 1999 as part of a labor action. He was not rehired. He passed away in 2006.

So, when this book was published in 1990, 20 years ago, the later parts of his life that we know now are obviously not included. You read the book about a good guy, a happy baseball professional who works his way up. You assume, and hope, that he stays with baseball forever and lives happily ever after.

Still, Eric leaves behind his legacy, and a great book about his progress through baseball until the 89 World Series.

Eric starts out talking about a blown call he made in 1979. He watched a ball going up and towards a foul pole during a game between the Phillies and the Pirates. He briefly watches as the ball goes toward a light source, and he is briefly blinded. He isn't really sure about if the ball was foul, or a home run. He notices the attractive ball girl at the Phillies park jumping up and down, so he assumes she was excited about a home team home run. He signals for a homer.

Of course, the Pirates players get upset. He consults with his umpire colleagues, and the call is changed. This was not a popular ruling against the Phillies in Philadelphia- not to mention in Gregg's home town.

Eric talks about growing up in a rough family (his dad beats his mom and his siblings drop out of school). He does the best he can, at one point even lying about his address to change to a better school.

Eventually, after hearing a mention of umpiring school on the game of the week, he makes plans to go to Florida to attend.

Eric starts out in the New York Penn League. I really enjoyed reading Gregg's descriptions of the towns in this league.

He moves on through the Leagues. His career seems to follow that of Jim Rice at one point, as they keep bumping in to each other at different levels.

Eric talks about being the victim of racism in Florida a couple of times in the 70s. He accompanies a white umpire to a barber shop, and the barber refuses service to his friend, simply because Eric, a black man, is with him.

Mr. Gregg talks about how exciting umping his first game is. He talks about the good guys in baseball, and how he admires certain players for their attitude or ability, but he tries not to show any favoritism.

Eric covers the stress in his personal life that occurs while he is establishing himself as a reputable ump. He deals with his sadness relating to drug use and legal trouble among his siblings. Another big part of the book involves Eric dealing with weight issues.

The book is a very easy read with good stories. You could read it on a weekend. Eric Gregg comes off as a a nice guy that was probably easy to get along with. When you see old photos of him, he just looks like a fun, happy guy. I am glad he wrote this book.

Baseball season coming up

Pitchers and catchers will start making trips to Arizona and Florida soon. Spring training is right on us! I haven't made a trip to Florida for the preseason games, but I did spend some time in Arizona.

I am getting excited about the upcoming season in the minors. The Lexington Legends play in my back yard almost. The Florence Freedom and the Louisville Bats are very short drives.

Teams in Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee make for nice weekend trips.

There are many things I love about the minor leagues. There are a few things I don't like. There are a few things I would like to see more of.

I guess I should start with the things I don't like. In general I am not big on on field announcers. They are usually too loud. They are always too obnoxious.

There are a couple I have come to appreciate. Steve of the non-baseball Lexington teams (The Horsemen and the Stallions) is funny as heck. The female on field announcer for the Florence Freedom is not as obnoxious as most, and is funny too.

I hate "who can scream the loudest" contests. That's one I can do without.

Other than baseball at a baseball game, here are some of the things I love.

Mascots. The furrier and the more muppet like, the better. I know that MANY people hate mascots, especially purists, but I think they are great. In fact, I would like to see more of them. Belle of the Florence Freedom is amazing. I am also a fan of Skipper of the Lake County Captains.

Travelling entertainment. The Zooperstars are just pure fun. They get around too. I have seen them at a lot of games. I love BirdZerk and Myron Noodleman too. Oh, and dogs that catch frisbies. That's just good fun!

Giveaways. I love a t-shirt or a bobble-head. Even if the bobble-head is of a local politician or someone I don't care about. The shirt might be thin and it might dissolve after a few washes, but that's OK. Something free is always cool. Some of my other favorite giveaways have been: tickets to another game, statues, lunch boxes, ice cream cookies, and burritos.

The only giveaways I don't like are the ones for kids only. Hey, I paid just as much for my ticket as that kid!

Racing people in costumes. I have seen fish, eyeballs, and various food items racing around the ballpark. Don't act like you are too good to enjoy this! I have never seen hot dogs race each other on TV!

Military night. I think most teams are doing a form of this during the season. I think it is great. I would like to see more of it too. Some teams ask that veterans and those currently serving in the military to stand. All teams should be doing this one.

I love a good version of our national anthem. I will take an OK version. I saw a girl who was about 6 or 7 maybe nail it before a Horsmen's game a year ago and the whole place was holding back the tears. I heard an opera singer give a haunting version of it to a crowd in Washington PA several years ago as a storm was coming through. That is a moment I won't forget either. Amazing.

Here are a few things I hope to see more of:

Tribute days. Especially Negro League tribute games. I don't see enough of them these days. It seemed like, for a time, they happened frequently. Every team needs to have at least one of these a season. Many of the old All American Girls Pro Baseball League are still around too. Every team should have a tribute night to them each season too.

Better season ticket plans. I think it is VERY important to get out and support the local team in every way possible. I know that the minor league teams (especially the independent ones) really appreciate every ticket you buy. Buying tickets is a great way to support the team. However, if I am going to buy a season ticket, I expect a bit of a hookup. Check out the Mahoning Valley Scrappers site (mvscrappers.com). They have a good season ticket deal. You get a jersey with your season ticket! Plus, they give you some coupons, early entry to the game, stat sheets, guaranteed giveaways and a ticket trade in for unused tickets. I think it is a bit offensive that some teams offer to trade your unused season tickets in for Monday-Thursday games only, and for lesser valued seats.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

BOOK: Nelson King "Happiness Is Like A Cur Dog"

Nellie King has really put a lot into this book about his days in and not in baseball. There are the fun stories of baseball players you expect out of a book by a former player, but there is a lot more to it too.

When I started to read the book, it had a familiarity to me. I couldn't quit place it, but the style seemed to remind me of another book I had read.

Then it hit me. Mark Twain. I know, that might seem odd at first but think about it. With Mark Twain, you get fun honest stories with a bit of wisdom. You get common sense pieces of advice that sound brilliant when phrased by Clemens. King has that touch too. There are a few quotes that really got me in the book. Here is a good one:

"Those who berate government assistance programs never experienced those terribly difficult years of want, fear, and humiliation. The benefits we now enjoy are taken for granted, as if they were always part of our lives. To use a baseball metaphor, too many people in this country have been born on third base, yet think they've hit a triple! As a nation and people, we have become increasingly more arrogant and less tolerant of the less fortunate."

Nellie talks about being a young child, and dealing with the death of his father, and really not being able to take in the whole experience. As a little kid, he was terrified at his dad's funeral when his mom put him in the uncomfortable situation of telling him to kiss his father goodbye. This was a very frightening experience for him.

He also had to deal with his mom sending him to an orphanage. He talks about being tested and finally being left at a boys home in Hershey. King does a great job of describing this traumatic experience including how he felt knowing his family left him without saying bye.

Things do look up for Nellie. He does get a baseball contract. He hangs out in several minor league towns learning how to improve his game from the veterans. He even develops a comedy routine acting like an inexperienced rookie pitcher. I would love to see video (that obviously doesn't exist) of the tall, skinny King jumping around, pretending to be scared of the ball!

Nellie takes time out of his baseball career to serve his country in the military. Luckily, it is discovered that he can type, so he gets a good gig as a typist. He plays baseball for the service too.

I guess I didn't realize this, but some of the minor league teams in the 50s passed down their uniforms. When Nellie originally signed to play in the minors for the Cardinals, he noticed "Slaughter" written on the shirttail. He was assigned Enos Slaughters old jersey!
Nellie finally makes it to the majors, but spends some time going back and forth with the minor league team too. He gets married, plays baseball, and seems to have a generally good time.

He finally gets cut form the Pirates, and decides to retire from baseball. It is so interesting to hear about the careers Nellie tries, and his struggles, before getting back in baseball through radio.

Nellie gives a great recount of game seven of the 1960 World Series. He also talks about the games in 1971 and 1979.

Oddly, reading about Nellie's involvement and eventual release from radio is very fascinating. It is just as interesting as reading about his actual playing career. I love reading about how the old away games were recreated for the local audience.

Nellie gives a good bit of his book to discussing Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell. I love hearing about both. I especially love reading about how Clemente handled the press talking about other players behind their backs.

King talks very openly about his own health concerns later in life, giving a very honest account of some of his struggles over the last few years.

With that honesty about his health, Nellie Kings gives a very full picture of his unique and accomplished life. From his days at the orphanage in Hersey during the 30s, through his playing career in the 50s, up through his radio career that lasted up until recently, this is a fun read for any Pirates or baseball fan. With his connections to the great Pirates teams and players, he really makes this a great book.

Nellie wasn't a huge star on the field himself. He gives the reader a vivid image of kid growing up during hard economic times and making it to the Big Leagues. His times were different from the times we know now. He grew up in very desperate decades (he was born in 1928) and he played ball at a time when playing didn't mean you could buy a nice house and retire after your playing career ended. Nellie King's story is a happy yet humble one. Nellie makes the most of all of his situations, and seems happy with every situation he finds himself in. Even as he is dealing with his health concerns, he expresses hope about his future, and he seems appreciative of his family.

This isn't a book about a superstar and his excessive lifestyle. No million dollar contract will be discussed. Nellie doesn't talk about sports cars and mansions.

He does talk about meeting his wife, and their long marriage. He talks about his family. He writes about his baseball and radio career. Whatever happens, he seems happy with it.

I personally admire the city of Pittsburgh, as an outsider, but I have an appreciation of how the city always seems optimistic, and supportive of their teams. It is great reading about Nellie King and his relationship to the city, and the sports fans in Pittsburgh.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bob Botz 1962 Los Angeles Angels

Bob Botz was kind enough to let me give him a call to discuss his baseball career. What a great guy! Bob and I had a nice chat about his playing days, teammates, and the towns where he played. Bob seemed to enjoy talking about baseball.

Bob had one of those fun careers, spending time in some of the very historically significant baseball cities like Atlanta, and two of my favorites, Louisville and Indianapolis.

I tried to take notes during my conversation with Bob, but I always have trouble writing and holding a phone.

Bob mentioned that he signed his first contract for $3,000. He said that he was happy to be getting a contract, and he said that he signed because he wanted to play baseball.

I asked Bob about the differences in playing then compared to now. He said that in earlier decades, one thing he noticed was that baseballs were used in the game longer. They had more wear on them as the game went on. They were more conservative with the balls. So, when guys like Babe Ruth were hitting home runs, they were doing it with a softer, and harder to hit for distance ball. This really would have added to the challenge of hitting a home run.

Mr. Botz said that he remembered talking to the late Joe Hauser about Ty Cobb, and how tough of a player he was back then.

I did ask Bob about his being around the game when it was segregated. Bob talked about those days, and he even said that he asked some of his black teammates how they felt. He mentioned a conversation with one teammate about the fact that the white players were able to stay in the nicer hotels. The teammate did say that this bothered him.

Bob did bring up a recent trip he took to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City. He spent a great deal of time talking about how great the place is. This was funny, because I am planning a trip there myself this summer! Bob also likes Jazz, and added that a trip through the Vine Street area was a must.

Bob talked about his playing days in Louisville. Fairgrounds Stadium (later Cardinal Stadium) was their venue. Bob said he had a lot of big league teammates there. Also, they had a good team. He did say that the crowds were small.

Future Hall of Famer Phil Niekro was a teammate at Louisville. Bob said that he and Phil are still friends, and that Phil is a great guy. Bob said that he was very impressed with the all girl Silver Bullets traveling team that Niekro had the too brief opportunity to manage.

Bob was traded to the Cardinals organization for Bob Duliba, and was sent to the Atlanta Crackers team. Bob said he stopped playing at that time.

Bob was proud to spend much of his career in the Braves system, being from Milwaukee. Still, at that time, players had to have another job in the off season or whenever.

I asked Mr. Botz about some of the many characters and talents he played with during his career. He gave me these great stories:

My favorite involved his 1957 Boise Braves manager, George McQuinn. George loved fishing, and would actually have his fishing equipment with him as they travelled. If the team bus stopped, or there was a break, George would get off the bus and look for a place to go fishing.

Ben Geraghty is another manager that Bob mentions. Ben was managing the Louisville team, and was great at evaluating talent and making recommendations to the big league club. Bob actually got the recommendation, but the club decided to call up Claude Raymond. Though Bob did not get the call up, he was happy for his friend Claude.

Mr. Botz mentioned that some of the catchers that most impressed him were Joe Torre and Bob Uecker (another Louisville teammate).

He says Ryne Duren was a good pitcher.

Gene Conley was a great pitcher, who went on to have an impressive NBA career.

Bob notes that he was always impressed with Satchel Paige. Bob says that he would do a little bit of talking to the hitter to intimidate them!
Thanks for taking the time to chat Bob!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tom Yewcic 1957 Detroit Tigers

Tom Yewcic has a rare distinction of playing Major League baseball AND pro football in the American Football League. He played for the Tigers catching one game in 1957. He played for the Boston Patriots from 1961-1966.

Tom sent a note about his great string of luck in sports.

His 1st time at bat with Wilkes-Barre (A) he hit a home run.

His 1st time at bat with Buffalo (AAA) he hit a home run with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th.

His 1st pass in college football at Michigan State resulted in a touchdown with less than 40 seconds to play- beating Ohio state (it was a 50 yard pass).

He also won his 1st game as a starting QB for the Patriots!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Carl Bouldin 1961-1964 Washington Senators

Carl Bouldin played for the Senators in the early 60s and he has some strong connections to Kentucky! He also played college basketball for the University of Cincinnati. He played for the 60-61 Bearcats, who won the NCAA Championship! His family moved to the Cincinnati area when he was 2.

Carl says that he had an interview with Rupp in 1957! "He said he needed 7 footers and I always wondered if he recognized my name when we won the NCAA in basketball in 1961. Probably not." He says that he loved the early UK teams.

"I used to practice by myself imagining I was on that team when I was 8-12 years old."

"I was glad to have about 2 years total in the big leagues with Washington even though they lost 100 games every year. My biggest thrills in baseball were facing the guys I had pictures of on my wall growing up. Mathews, Aaron, Clemente (in spring training) and Maris."

"I struck out Mantle (once)." Mr. Bouldin also mentions playing against other heroes such as Killebrew, Colavito, Cash, Ward, etc.

"I had a lot of memories in the major leagues and minor leagues, but a big thrill for me happened in 1963 in Caracas, Venezuela in Winter ball. I was on the same team with Pete Rose, Tommy Helms, Cesar Tovar, etc. We beat a rival team who had all three Alou Brothers on it."

Carl gives me another great story involving the Toronto Maple Leafs. "The Maple Leafs had a lot of former big leaguers on it. Sparky Anderson was the manager (his 1st year managing)".

Carl says that Sparky commented, "if we don't win by 10 games with this group of players, I am a bad manager." Carl tells me that the team went on to finish 4th place.

Thanks for the fun stories Carl!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dave Baldwin- Snake Jazz

I must say that I am envious of the career path Dave Baldwin has taken. He was born in gorgeous Tucson Arizona, and went on to play baseball for the Senators (66-69), the Brewers (70) and the White Sox (73). He played in the minors here and there, spending time with Hawaii!

Since Dave had not had enough excitement hanging out in beautiful areas, playing for legendary baseball teams, he went on to get a PhD in genetics and a MS in engineering! Mr. Baldwin has also done some painting and writing!

Dave says that these days, he doesn't have any favorites among current teams or players.

"When I was growing up in Tucson, AZ. in the 1940s, I was a Cleveland Indians fan since they took spring training in Tucson. They had a great pitching staff in those days."

"With the Senators I had the opportunity of playing for a great manager in Gil Hodges and a great player in Ted Williams. I have plenty of good memories about those seasons."

Dave never really played baseball in Kentucky, but according to baseballreference.com, he did play for Chattanooga, which is pretty close. Dave does say that a friend of his, "Steve Hamilton, was a basketball star at Morehead State Univ. in Kentucky. He played pro basketball and pitched (for the Yankees and other teams) for 12 years in the majors. He was famous for his pitch called the Folly Floater."

Concerning his art, Dave says he isn't painting much these days, but he is writing a lot. His memoir, Snake Jazz, has been published, and he is currently working on a novel.

Check out Dave's web site:


Monday, February 1, 2010

Rich Beck 1965 Yankees

Rich Beck played in 3 games for the 1965 Yankees. He has a very impressive but short Major League record of 2-1 with a 2.14 ERA.

"Fortunately I was able to pitch in the 'original' House that Ruth Built- not the remodel" concerning his time with New York.

I asked Rich about his days with the Chattanooga Lookouts in Tennessee (1963-1964). Rich says that he, "loved pitching in Engel Stadium. Batters had to hit it a long way to get it out of the park, especially to left- giant scoreboard to get the ball over."