December 8, 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!
And here's the full roster.
THT's latest e-bookThird Base: The Crossroads is THT's new e-book, available for $3.99 from the Kindle store. The good news is that anyone can read a Kindle book, even on a PC. So enjoy the best from THT in a new format.
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Thursday, February 28, 2013
The Cleveland Indians have a job opening for an Executive Development Fellow (EDF), Baseball Analytics. Not sure if you're one of those? Here is the job description, direct from Cleveland's front office:
The Executive Development Fellow (EDF) for Baseball Analytics will be exposed to all facets of the Indians baseball operations during this intensive, structured 12-month immersion into the organization. The EDF will participate in a comprehensive orientation program, regular feedback meetings and a cross-functional mentorship program to facilitate enhanced organizational and career development.
You can apply for the position on this page.
Felix Millan will always be remembered for choking up higher on the bat than anybody of his era, or for the last 50 years for that matter. I was always amazed that Millan never poked himself in the stomach while trying to complete a swing. Yet, he never did. By choking up a good seven to eight inches and perfecting the art of situational hitting, he made himself one of the game’s better contact hitters; he never struck out more than 35 times in a season. For his career, he batted a solid .279.
In addition to being a nice complementary hitter, Millan was also a solid defensive second baseman. With soft hands and above-average range, “Felix the Cat” (a nickname that paid tribute to his quickness) did good work for the Braves and Mets during his 12-year career. He made three All-Star teams and won a pair of Gold Gloves.
As it turned out, Millan never played a game in 1978, despite being featured on a Topps card that season. He actually played his final game on Aug. 12, 1977. That day, Pirates catcher Ed Ott slid hard into Millan at second base, upending him. Unhappy with what he considered an excessive takeout slide, Millan took a swipe at Ott, with the ball still in his hand. Ott responded by body slamming Millan into the infield dirt, severely damaging his shoulder in the process.
Millan did not play again that season. When his contract ran out at season’s end, he decided to take his wares to the Japanese Leagues. He signed a contract with the Taiyo Whales, where he would win a batting title during the final three seasons of his career.
While Ed Ott’s takedown of Millan altered his career, it is Ott’s teammate, Dave Parker, whom we see on Millan’s 1978 Topps card. Millan is attempting to finish off a double play as Parker, who was not exactly a timid base runner, makes his slide into second base. Parker was one of the game’s most physically intimidating players; at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, he made mince meat out of a few middle infielders in the mid-1970s.
Unlike Ott, Parker does not appear to be close enough to Millan to knock him to the ground, but he does appear to make contact with Millan’s right knee. So while this experience won’t be as unpleasant as the play with Ott, it’s not exactly a simple play for Millan.
Here’s what we know. The game took place at Shea Stadium, an afternoon affair, and must have taken place prior to mid-August. It is likely a 1977 game, though we know that Topps did occasionally dip into previous seasons.
So when exactly did this game take place? In what inning did the play occur? And was Millan able to complete the double play, or did he have to settle for just the one out?
10,000 days ago, one of the most bizarre injuries in baseball history happened. It was Oct. 13, 1985, when a tarp machine ran over Cardinals star basestealer Vince Coleman.
Weird, huh? Making it even more memorable, it happened in the postseason, just when the team could least afford to lose its leadoff hitter.
Coleman was a rookie in 1985. In most aspects of the game, he wasn’t anything special. He had speed but was put in left field anyway, not a sign of the best fielding acumen. He could hit a little, but not much more than a little, with a .267 batting average. His 50 walks were nice but nothing special. He surely had no power, with just one homer on the year.
But in one aspect of the game Coleman was great; he could run. Lord, could he ever run. In 1985, he stole 110 bases, easily topping the league. It would be the first of three straight 100-steal seasons. Whitey Herzog’s 1980s Running Redbirds loved to gamble on the bases, and no one was better at it than Coleman.
So you’d think if anyone could outrun a tarp, it would be him, right? I guess not.
It was before the game, and Coleman was doing some pre-game drills. There was also a light rain, and the grounds crew decided to bring out the tarp. However speedy he was, Coleman lacked eyes in the back of his head and failed to notice the tarp roller coming at him. Uh-oh.
The tarp rolled over Coleman’s left leg, badly bruising it and chipping a bone in his knee. Coleman was done.
At the time, it looked pretty bad for the Cardinals. Though Coleman wasn’t their best hitter—that was MVP Willie McGee—he was a key part of their offense, and they couldn’t afford to be without him at a time like this. The Cards had dropped the first two games of the NLCS to the Dodgers and entered today trailing two games to one.
St. Louis needn’t have worried. The Redbirds exploded for nine runs in the second inning and evened the series at two games apiece. They also won each of the next two games to claim the pennant. However, St. Louis also lost Coleman for the World Series, which they lost in seven games to the Royals.
But the part most people remember about the 1985 NLCS isn’t the games, though, it’s the bizarre injury to Vince Coleman. And that injury occurred 10,000 days ago.
Aside from that, many other baseball events today celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary.” Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d prefer to skim.
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