December 13, 2013
Get It Now!Hardball Times Annual is now available. It's got 300 pages of articles, commentary and even a crossword puzzle. You can buy the Annual at Amazon, for your Kindle or on our own page (which helps us the most financially). However you buy it, enjoy!
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Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Major league baseball has decided to hold off on expanding replay for 2012.
I think it is important to look a few quotes from the article:
Umpires were concerned the television feeds they received to review calls were not equal at every ballpark. The umps get fewer looks in Oakland, for example, than at Yankee Stadium.
This was one of the areas that I stressed in my earlier article about instant replay.
Also at issue is how calls would be made under expanded replay and who would ask for a challenge. Would umpires still make the final decision, as they do now? Or would there be an NHL-style conference room with an MLB executive making the ruling?
This is an important point and MLB needs to tread a bit carefully here. While I think it is important for baseball to create a better way for umpires to confer about a getting a call right, I still am not sure about having somebody off the field making the decision. Given the separation of the umpires, the players, and baseball itself, I don't think giving an MLB executive or official scorer the ability to question an umpire's on-field call is compatible with the current separation.
It should be interesting to see the reaction when questionable calls do come up that may have been affected by the new instant replay changes*.
* Okay, it would be fun to see it happen to Ryan Braun. "Well, if the new instant replay was in effect, he could have won on appeal. Again."
It was 25,000 days ago today that one of the Boys of Summer made his major-league debut on a fall afternoon.
On Oct. 4, 1943, Gil Hodges made his big-league debut, entering the game midway through. He was 0-for-2 but drew a walk and stole a base while playing third base.
Yes, that’s right, third base. Though he gained fame as a first baseman, Hodges had enough defensive ability to play third. It’s just that the club also had a fantastic defensive third baseman in Billy Cox, and so Hodges moved to first. If it wasn’t for that, Hodges might now be in Cooperstown.
As it is, he received considerable support. As it happens, in a fact I love to repeat (and have on at least a half-dozen occasions here at THT), in the entire history of BBWAA balloting, only one man not currently on the ballot ever has received a majority of the BBWAA vote even once and is not in Cooperstown right now: Gil Hodges. Many weren’t put in by the BBWAA but were instead by the Veteran's Committee.
Hodges achieved this ignominy despite comparing his bat to that of others first base. If he were against third baseman, whose bats aren’t typically as strong, Hodges would’ve gone in. Well, that’s assuming that Hodges would’ve spent considerable time at third. Who knows if that would’ve happened?
As it happens, Hodges only played 32 big league games at third. After debuting at the conclusion of the 1943 season, Hodges went off to war. He didn’t return to Brooklyn in 1947, during which time he hit .156 in 28 games. In the 1947-48 offseason, Brooklyn acquired Cox from Pittsburgh, and third base was closed off to Hodges.
Fortunately for him, the Dodgers also traded away second baseman Eddie Stanky. That allowed 1947 Rookie of the Year Jackie Robinson to shift from first base to second and allowed Hodges to move into the hole at first. Thus, though the Dodgers won a pennant in 1947, their 1948 infield had three guys who either weren’t there the year before or who played another position. At the same time behind the plate, 1948 saw Roy Campanella settle in for Brooklyn. Only shortstop Pee Wee Reese provided any continuity.
The outfield already had right fielder Carl Furillo, who first joined the everyday lineup in 1946. In 1949, Duke Snider joined him in center. Brooklyn also had a variety of guys ranging from Gene Hermanski to Andy Pafko to Sandy Amoros work for them in left.
Thus, of all the famous “Boys of Summer” everyday players, Hodges was the first to break in with the Dodgers. While there were stars with him on the field that day in 1943, they were guys whose suns were setting: Arky Vaughan, Paul Waner, Billy Herman, and Dixie Walker.
Thus 25,000 days ago wasn’t just a big day for Gil Hodges, it also marked the first day of a new generation in Dodger-dom.
Aside from that, many other baseball events celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” today. Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d rather just skim.
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