Baseball player Dave Winfield is 70

dead bird

dave winfield.hall_of_fame_plaqueI always liked the outfielder Dave Winfield. He played for the San Diego Padres as the right fielder from 1973 to 1980, becoming an All-Star in the middle years there.

In 1981, he became a free agent. The sometimes volatile owner of the New York Yankees, George Steinbrenner signed Winfield to the most lucrative baseball contract at the time. But The Boss didn’t understand a cost-of-living provision and ended up agreeing to a ten-year, $23 million deal, rather than ONLY $16 million. This led to Steinbrenner’s feuding.

In 1985, Steinbrenner, in criticizing Winfield, said to The New York Times writer Murray Chass, “Where is Reggie Jackson? We need a Mr. October or a Mr. September. Winfield is Mr. May.” A few years later, the owner was banned from baseball for two years, in part for hiring a guy with Mafia ties to dig up dirt on Winfield.

This was weird: “On August 4, 1983, Winfield killed a seagull by throwing a ball while warming up before the fifth inning of a game at Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium. Fans responded by hurling obscenities and improvised missiles. After the game, he was brought to a nearby Toronto Police Service station and charged with cruelty to animals. He was released after posting a $500 bond… Charges were dropped the following day.”

Away from the Bronx Zoo

Dave Winfield was traded in 1990, and he was wearing a California Angels uniform the one time I saw him play in person, June 14, 1991. He went 3 for 4. Ten days later, he became the oldest player to hit for the cycle (single, double, triple, home run).

Finally, in 1992, with the Toronto Blue Jays, he got his first World Series ring. He retired in 1995, having accumulated 3110 hits, including 465 home runs, in his 22-year career. He was selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001, his first year of eligibility. Here’s his induction speech

He could do it all. Here’s why he wants kids to play multiple sports, as he did growing up. Dave Winfield – Field dedication ceremony, 2021.

Book review: Steinbrenner – The Last Lion of Baseball

In 1990, baseball commissioner Fay Vincent booted Steinbrenner out of baseball for two years.

There was a recent Daily Double on the game show JEOPARDY, in the category PARDONER: Ronald Reagan pardoned this owner for illegal campaign contributions in 1989–the Gipper a Yankees fan?

The contestant guessed George Steinbrenner and was, of course, correct. What other owner of that American League franchise could many people name? And which other owner would be in need of Presidential absolution?

Steinbrenner – The Last Lion of Baseball was written by Bill Madden, a well-regarded writer who had a “mostly pleasant working relationship with George in his “capacity as a baseball writer” for UPI and then the New York Daily News. But Madden was furious when he had been fed some bogus story by Steinbrenner about how Lou Pinella, a manager George fired, was trying to steal the furniture.

Steinbrenner was always firing managers, publicity directors, and general managers, who presumably run the day-to-day operations of a team. But it was difficult for all of them because he was a hands-on owner, luring or aggravating the players.

George grew up in Ohio and made his wealth first by reviving the family-owned Kinsman Marine Transit Company, then purchasing it from his family. He later was a co-owner of the American Shipbuilding Company, and, in 1967, he became its chairman and chief executive officer. By 1972, the company’s gross sales were more than $100 million annually.

CBS bought the New York Yankees in 1965, but it was not a good fit. Early in 1973, Steinbrenner, who had tried and failed to buy the Cleveland Indians in 1971, led a group of investors in purchasing the Yankees for $10 million. However, part of the price was two parking garages that CBS bought back the garages for $1.2 million, so the net cost was $8.8 million.

One of my friends recently told me that, though he grew up as a Yankees fan, he changed allegiances, and it was entirely because of the massive amounts Steinbrenner spent in trying to buy championships. I get that. During his 37-year ownership from 1973 to his death in July 2010, the Yankees did earn seven World Series titles and 11 American League pennants.

Madden’s book was exceedingly thorough and obviously well researched. I was feeling a bit exhausted, though, about three-quarters of the way through the 430-page book. Oh, yeah, ANOTHER manager fired – he hired and fired former Yankee infielder Billy Martin FIVE times as manager!

Or dissing one of his players; in 1990, baseball commissioner Fay Vincent booted Steinbrenner out of baseball “for having paid a two-bit gambler to dig up dirt on the Dave Winfield Foundation.” George once dubbed Winfield Mr. May for a poor post-season.

In many ways, George Steinbrenner was a loud, pompous, opinionated, stubborn rich fellow who reminded me of a current part-time DC resident. At least George could play the stadium organ. Oh, yeah, Reagan pardoned Steinbrenner for his really minor financial role in the Watergate scandal.

Enjoying Aussie interaction: sports edition

The Blue Jays lead grew to 8-1 in the top of the 7th when Tommy Kahnle from Albany County, NY, the fourth of seven Yankee pitchers, gave up three runs in only 2/3 of an inning.

Making only my second trip to the new Yankee Stadium, Marconi and I took Metro North from Poughkeepsie (halfway between Albany and NYC) to see the New York Yankees take on the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday, September 15, 2018. I’ve only known him since September 12, 1971, so not very long.

In the bottom of the 2nd, the two empty seats on the aisle nearest us were filled by this young couple from Australia, in the City for a couple weeks. She was wearing a borrowed Blue Jays top, while he was nominally a Yankees fan.

Soon after they arrived, the Yankees starting pitcher, the usually reliable CC Sabathia, had given up five runs in only 2 1/3 innings, including two solo home runs by right fielder Randal Grichuk. CC was taken out of the game.

Meanwhile, the Yankees had opportunities to score, twice with the bases loaded, and once with runs on second and third base, but failed to do so. This really deflated the home team crowd.

We, mostly I, since I was closer, answered some of the idiosyncrasies of the game, such as the foul ball rule and how the defensive positions are numbered.

Yankee shortstop Didi Gregorius hit a solo homer in the bottom of the 6th, and the female Aussie frowned. “You still have a big lead.” I also coaxed her into acknowledging that he had made a great basket catch over second base.

The Blue Jays lead grew to 8-1 in the top of the 7th when Tommy Kahnle from Albany County, NY, the fourth of seven Yankee pitchers, gave up three runs in only 2/3 of an inning. Toronto had the bases loaded and no outs, and the Aussie guy was savvy enough to know that the situation was still perilous for the Yankees even when the lead runner was thrown out at the plate.

In in the bottom of the 7th, designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton (I explained the DH) and Gregorious hit solo homers, and pinch hitter Miguel Andújar hit a grand slam. Suddenly Toronto was up by only 8-7, and the Aussie woman fretted. But that’s the way the game turned out.

The scoreboard displayed narratives of what the batters had done earlier in the game. But in the latter stages, it showed scorecard shorthand. F7 meant flying out to the left fielder. The Aussie guy was bemused to know that a forward K meant struck out swinging while a backward K meant struck out looking.

“How do you KNOW these things?” he asked. “I’ve been only going to games since I was eight.” “So 20 years.” HA! A splendid time was had by Aussies and at least these two Americans.

Oh, I was in Washington, DC at the beginning of September. I was starving one muggy evening, and I ended up at a tavern/restaurant. I sat at the bar, got a burger and a drink, and had a nice conversation with an Aussie woman currently working in the US. She mostly bemoaned the leadership of her home country and her current one as we watched the US Open tennis on TV.

January rambling #2: JEOPARDY!, and recess

‘I feel like a dime among nickels.’

Abe Vigoda.Spidey

I received one of those recorded scam IRS phone calls this month, threatening to put me in jail. Mine came from the Syracuse, NY area from a known scam phone number.

2015 Was Hottest Year in Recorded History.

No boots on the ground… What does it mean?

Abortion Is as Old as Pregnancy: 4,000 Years of Reproductive Rights History.

No relation: The Green brothers explain January 1 and Oregon “militia”, the latter before the recent arrests.

Fiscal Woes Drowning Clearwater: Iconic Festival May be Scrapped.

I saw this moving piece (90 seconds) on CBS Sunday Morning: The Man and the Dog.

The decline of play in preschoolers — and the rise in sensory issues. Conversely, Recess four times a day is good for learning.

Now I Know: Behold the Power of Cheese and One of These Things Just Isn’t the Same (about twins).

WHATEVER happened to the laptop computer? (1985).

Rejection: A Wilderness Guide for Writers (Evanier) and Jaquandor.

Sharp Little Pencil: Bright Brit (For Alan Rickman).

Frank S. Robinson: Joe Krausman, Monkeyshines, and heightism. Joe writes on Facebook: “Carlos Rommulo, once president of the General Assembly of the UN, was very short. He went to Texas, and when asked how do you feel being short among so many tall men, he said, ‘I feel like a dime among nickels.'”

Watch Bill Nye Weigh In on ‘Star Wars’ vs. ‘Star Trek’ Debate.

Yankees without number (1.9999…).

Dustbury’s Six Degrees of Separation.

Tweets from Gettysburg.

The strange life of Q-tips, the most bizarre thing people buy.

Don’t believe that splashy finding that 10 percent of college graduates think Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court.

A Venezuelan beetle named for SUNY chancellor.

Celebrity anagram illustrations from illustrator Steve Rampton and Decluttr.com.

RIP, Abe Vigoda

Mark Evanier, and Abe Vigoda’s Dead (Premortem Mix).

The Godfather – Tessio is taken away to be killed.

The graphic above is from here.

JEOPARDY!

3-day winning streak on ‘Jeopardy’. Not only is Amelia Hershberger from Albany, NY, reason enough to root for her, she attended Greenville Central School (as did my wife), she graduated from SUNY Albany (as did both my wife and I, albeit us in grad school), and she was a political science major (as was I).

Final ‘Jeopardy!’ clue stumps all 3 contestants, who all bet everything. The two people tied for first bet rationally; the woman in a distant 3rd could have bet nothing, or $5,999, or anything in between, and won. (Some really uninformed comments here.) BTW, would you have gotten the Final? I did, but I am of a certain age.

This has passed, but ‘Jeopardy!’ hopefuls can try out online features quotes yours truly.

Loo

I was looking through my draft posts. From 2008, and the original source is lost to me:


And to that end: IllumiBowl is a night light for your toilet.

Music

Coverville 1109: A Tribute to David Bowie. Plus David Bowie on Extras, and SamuraiFrog has some Bowie links; he’s right re: Kayne.

Renaissance Geek: Music for MLK Day.

Chuck Miller: Shane Howard and Lawrence Welk.

Of course, you can do mashups of classical music.

Muppets: She Loves You.

I linked to this before, as part of the Kennedy Center Honors, but it’s Aretha, FCOL.

HuffPo: A Shade of Jade: Interview With Rebecca Jade. That would be niece #1.

In Defense of the Eagles, and Not Being a Jerk About Recently Deceased Musicians.

Old music is outselling new music for the first time in history.

Google alerts (me)

Shooting Parrots: Sunday round-up and The Art of a Scammer.

Chuck Miller: Where rejection is growth.

Google alerts (not me)

Top teams win as Hucknall Wednesday Pool League heads for a tight finish. “Station B’s winners in their 8-0 romp at home to Chequers were George Roy, David Butler, Jason Smith, Danny Butler, Roger Green and PJ Singh on singles and the pairings of Andrea and Roger Green and Danny Butler and Jason Smith.”

Regional journalist turned TV wrestler dies aged 76. “Tributes have been paid to Roger Green…, who started out at the Portsmouth Evening News before working simultaneously Fleet Street and as a grappler in the ring.”

O is for Old-Timers’ Day

This was the first time I had been in the new Yankee Stadium, opened in 2009 to replace “the house that Ruth built.

willie randolphThe day before Father’s Day, my father-in-law and I took a bus, along with a bunch of other folks, from Oneonta in upstate New York to the Bronx in New York City, NY to see the New York Yankees play a night game versus the Detroit Tigers.

So why did we leave a little after 10 a.m. for a 7 p.m. game? It was Old-Timers’ Day. Former Yankees come back and get recognized; think of it as a family reunion. There is a certain relational connection, too; six widows of former Yankees were noted as well.

Before that ceremony, fans got a chance to visit Monument Park, beyond the center-field fences, where former Yankee greats, such as Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and Joe DiMaggio, are honored with plaques.

It had been long announced that Willie Randolph (pictured left), long-time second baseman and then coach, was going to be honored, with his #30 being retired. His picture appeared on the cover of the special commemorative program. Willie spoke about growing up in Brooklyn, rooting for the Yanks.

A large number of returning Yankees are announced individually. The always entertaining and hugely popular Yogi Berra, who had turned 90 back in May, and who’d subsequently die in September, was not present but was mentioned. Some of the former players, coaches, and staff who had died in the past 12 months were mentioned, including former Oneonta Tigers pitching coach Bill Monbouquette.

mel s
Then a surprise. Mel Stottlemyre (pictured right), a fine pitcher for the Yankees when I was growing up, before becoming the long-time pitching coach, was also celebrated. His family obviously knew, but he was clearly gobsmacked. He had multiple myeloma in 2000, was in remission for several years, but the cancer reappeared in 2011 and he apparently was still battling it. Before Willie was #30, Mel was #30, and so his plaque in Monument Park will also bear that number.

Some of the younger retirees played a couple of innings of an intrasquad game. A few of the players, such as Paul O’Neill, and even 60-year-old Randolph, looked as though they could still play at Major League level.

As for the real game, the Yankees routed the Detroit Tigers, 14-3. Some young Yankee pitcher was put in the game late, gave up the three runs in the 7th, but shut out the team in the last two innings.

This was the first time I had been in the new Yankee Stadium, which opened in 2009 to replace “the house that Ruth built (1923-2008). I don’t think I’d been to the old stadium since 1977, so this was a rare treat.

Our bus didn’t get home until about 3:30 a.m., and it was 4 a.m. by the time I got to bed. (I got up at 7 a.m., and we went to Albany to go to church, but that’s another tale.)

abc 17 (1)
ABC Wednesday – Round 17