(May 11, 1939 – April 19, 2016)
Milt Pappas pitched for the Orioles, Reds, Braves, and Cubs, winning 209 games in 17 seasons. He was involved in the worst trade in Reds history when Cincinnati received him in a lopsided trade for Frank Robinson. Pappas was a three-time All-Star and pitched a no-hitter for the Cubs in 1972. His first wife disappeared in 1982; her body and the car she was driving was discovered five years later in a nearby pond. Pappas was found dead in his home today.
Henry Aaron’s Dream
by Matt Tavares
Candlewick Press, 2010
When Hank Aaron was young, there were no black men playing baseball in the major leagues. Jackie Robinson‘s debut in 1947 paved the way for players like Aaron to show the world their talents. Author Matt Tavares writes about a time in Aaron’s life many ignore: his early years in Mobile, Alabama, and his brief time in the Negro Leagues with the Mobile Black Bears and Indianapolis Clowns. There are also several pages devoted to Aaron’s life in the minor leagues, both on and off the field, and finally his ascent to the majors in 1954. Though he was not the first black baseball player, Aaron still faced a great deal of racism as he played the game he loved.
Much like There Goes Ted Williams, the best part of Henry Aaron’s Dream is the artwork. Written for third through seventh graders, Tavares’ artwork makes the story come alive for youngsters who are being taught about the legends of baseball as well as important social issues. There is nothing new here for long-time fans of the great home run hitter, but the beautiful illustrations easily make it worth the purchase price.
(October 7, 1944 – August 2, 2014)
A Braves broadcaster for over thirty years, known nationwide thanks to TBS television coverage, Pete Van Wieren has passed away from complications of lymphoma.
Welcome to the Big Leagues:
Every Man’s Journey to Significance, The Darrel Chaney Story
by Dan Hettinger
Morgan James, 2013
The Big Red Machine was loaded with All-Stars and future Hall of Famers, but for every player there was a backup. Darrel Chaney played the backup role to several of Cincinnati’s stars until his trade to the Atlanta Braves after the 1975 season. Though he was never on the track to Cooperstown, Dan Hettinger wanted to tell Chaney’s story and relate it to motivational principles in the spiritual world in Welcome to the Big Leagues.
Hettinger goes back and forth talking about Chaney in one chapter (the “top” of an inning), and then his own experiences as a religious leader in the next (the “bottom” of an inning). Welcome to the Big Leagues is not so much a biography, but aims to be more of a book of inspiration to those who may not believe they make much of an impact on the lives of those around them.
Theologically, I do not agree with Hettinger’s positions, but there are general principles that can be gleaned from these pages. I would not recommend the book as authoritative in religion. However, there are some interesting anecdotes about Chaney’s time in the majors, as well as Hettinger’s work in the religious world, and there are lessons one can learn about how to handle situations with maturity and patience.
Tyson Murphy is a character artist at Blizzard Entertainment. He is also the son of 1980s superstar Dale Murphy, winner of back-to-back MVP Awards in 1982 and 1983, slugger of 398 home runs, driver-in of 1266 runs, hero of many youngsters that collected baseball cards in the 1980s.
Tyson Murphy recently used his art talents in tribute to his father, who is in his last year of eligibility on the BBWAA ballot for the Hall of Fame. Click here to see the full cartoon.
There are several other interesting articles, letters, petitions, and videos regarding Murphy’s candidacy:
- Why I Now Think Dale Murphy Should Be in the Hall of Fame [Yahoo! Sports]
- Dale Murphy and the Hall of Fame: BBWAA Needs to Observe and Honor Their Own Voting Guidelines [Change.org petition]
- Dale Murphy’s son pleads for father’s Hall of Fame inclusion [Ultimate Astros]
- Pushing for Dale Murphy to enter Hall of Fame [11 Alive]
I’ve never been shy in proclaiming my admiration of Murphy and my opinion that he belongs in Cooperstown along with other 80s greats, some already in (Mike Schmidt, Ryne Sandberg, Ozzie Smith), and others not yet (Don Mattingly, Alan Trammell).
He won’t make it this year, I know. But I hope the Veteran’s Committee will take a fresh look at his career, at the impact he had on the game, and the positive off-the-field contributions he made to society at large.
I was a little disappointed in 2010 when Buster Posey beat Jason Heyward in Rookie of the Year voting. Their stats were very similar, but Posey did deserve the honor playing a more difficult position and posting those statistics in fewer games than J-Hey. After injuries limited his play last year, I am glad to see him back on track in 2012 having another fine season.
Large photo credit: The Palm Beach Post
Inset photo credit: Rich Addicks/AP
Baseball’s Greatest Games
Collector’s Edition DVD boxed set
New Video, 2011
11 discs; 29 hrs., 56 mins. total + extras
What are the greatest baseball games ever televised? While every baseball fan may give a different answer, there are a few games that will certainly appear on the majority of lists. In this 11-disc collection, New Video makes available ten of the greatest games ever played, dating back to the 1960 World Series and coming into the 21st century with playoff games between the Yankees and Red Sox.
Let’s make one thing clear: these videos are not “highlight reels” of the featured games interspersed with interviews. No, these are the actual games as they were originally televised (minus commercials), complete with the original television announcers and graphics associated with the broadcasts. The number of Hall of Famers that played in these games is astounding, from Roberto Clemente and Mickey Mantle to Roberto Alomar and Paul Molitor. Couldn’t get any better, could it?
Actually, yes it could…and it does. Perhaps there is a television announcer that you do not like. What do you do? Mute the TV and watch in silence? You could do that, or you could go to the “audio set-up” of the DVD and choose “radio call” to hear the game as hometown fans heard it, such as the legendary Jack Buck on the 1985 NLCS game (Cardinals vs. Dodgers, featuring Ozzie Smith‘s bottom of the 9th homer), synced up to the action on the screen.
The ten games featured in this collector’s edition include nine playoff games (five of those from the World Series) and one regular season game.
- 1960 World Series Game 7 (Pirates vs. Yankees, Bill Mazeroski‘s walk-off homer to win the Championship)
- 1975 World Series Game 6 (Red Sox vs. Reds, Carlton Fisk waving it fair in the bottom of the 12th)
- 1979 Wrigley Field Slugest (Cubs vs. Phillies, a regular season game with a final score of 23-22, multiple home runs from both Mike Schmidt and Dave Kingman)
- 1985 NLCS Game 5 (Cardinals vs. Dodgers, Ozzie’s walk-off)
- 1986 World Series Game 6 (Mets vs. Red Sox, Mookie Wilson‘s dribbler that went in between Bill Buckner‘s legs to send the Series to a seventh game)
- 1991 World Series Game 7 (Twins vs. Braves, proof that Jack Morris belongs in the Hall of Fame)
- 1992 NLCS Game 7 (Braves vs. Pirates, amazing come-from-behind win sending Atlanta to the World Series)
- 1993 World Series Game 6 (Blue Jays vs. Phillies, Joe Carter‘s dramatic bottom of the 9th blast)
- 2003 ALCS Game 7 (Yankees vs. Red Sox, the 11-inning nail-biter featuring Aaron Boone‘s heroic blast)
- 2004 ALCS Game 4 (Red Sox vs. Yankees, the beginning of Boston’s historic comeback after losing the first three games of the ALCS)
In addition to these complete broadcasts is an eleventh disc featuring interviews from players and coaches, many of them involved in the contests. Hall of Famers Whitey Ford, Mazeroski, Fisk, Gary Carter, Kirby Puckett and Rickey Henderson, as well as legends Pete Rose, Fred Lynn, Tug McGraw, and Dave Stewart are included in these interviews.
This boxed set is a fantastic addition to any baseball lover’s video collection, highly recommended to those who love to relive the classic moments from baseball’s history.
The All-Star Game is the perfect backdrop for this kind of card. Featuring Yadier Molina of the villainous Cardinals and Brian McCann of the not-quite-as-villainous Braves (they’re actually kinda boring nowadays to me…I used to hate them a lot more), here’s a “fun card” based on the 1988 Fleer “Super Star Special” subset.