This day in baseball: Player of the sixties

On January 17, 1970, Willie Mays was named Player of the Decade for the 1960s by the Sporting News. During the ten-year span, Mays batted .300 and averaged 100 RBIs and 35 home runs per season with the Giants.

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1966 Topps


Infographic: 2016 World Series Cubs

This infographic from CSN Chicago provides a timeline of when and how some of the more notable names on the Cubs roster were acquired, starting in 2009, en route to the 2016 World Series.

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Quote of the day

Life will always throw you curves, just keep fouling them off. The right pitch will come, and when it does, be prepared to run the bases.

~Rick Maksian

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Baseball on ice

Icepocalypse 2017 is underway in the Midwest, and what better time to talk about the game of baseball being played on ice skates?  Believe it or not, for a brief period of time, baseball on ice was actually a thing.

The first known instance of baseball being played on ice took place on January 1, 1861 in Rochester, New York, when two local teams took up a game on skates before a crowd of about two thousand spectators.  Later that year, the Brooklyn Atlantics defeated the Charter Oaks, 36-27, in their own slippery competition.  I have to tip my hat to these guys — I can barely handle ice skating sans bat and ball.  Can you imagine trying to pitch effectively without falling down?

ice-baseball

Sadly, the ice baseball fad didn’t last long.  Four years later, in 1865, the Brooklyn Eagle wrote, “We shall have no more ball games on ice. … If any of the ball clubs want to make fools of themselves, let them go down to Coney Island and play a game on stilts.”  (By the way, if anyone is aware of an actual instance of a baseball game on stilts, please let me know!)  There doesn’t seem to be any definitive explanation as to why the game on ice lost popularity.  There is speculation that it was due to a poor quality of play, or perhaps the owners of the various skating rinks didn’t appreciate their ice getting so torn up.

There was an attempt at a comeback about twenty years later.  Baseball, still being a new game with a lot of eager fans and players, was practically a year-round form of recreation.  In January 1884, when the winter weather prevented a conventional game from being played, the diamond at Washington Park was converted into an ice rink so that games could continue and fans’ demand for some baseball entertainment could be met.

On January 12th of that year, Henry Chadwick assembled a team of amateurs to take on Brooklyn, managing to out-skate the pro team on their way to a 41-12 victory.  A few days later, the two teams faced off again, and this time Brooklyn managed to save face with a 16-8 win.  Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be record (that I can find) of an ice baseball game being played after this time.

The concept of baseball on ice isn’t completely forgotten today, as an NHL ice crew demonstrated a couple years ago.  In December 2014, in order to test the ice prior to the NHL Winter Classic, tossed around a baseball while skating on the rink.  If I was any good on skates, I would love to try this myself.


Hit and run

This one is pretty corny, but it definitely gave me a chuckle.

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This day in baseball

Ewing Kauffman became the owner of the new American League franchise in Kansas City on January 11, 1968.  The franchise was eventually known as the Royals.  With the departure of the A’s for Oakland, the pharmaceutical entrepreneur became a key force in bringing a lasting MLB club to KC.

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Missouri State Archives


Quote of the day

My whole philosophy is to broadcast the way a fan would broadcast.

~Harry Caray

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Wikipedia