Blog Archives

Goodbye, Don Baylor

(June 28, 1949 – August 7, 2017)

Baylor

Slugging outfielder and 1979 American League MVP, Don Baylor passed away today from multiple myeloma, a form of cancer of plasma cells. Baylor his 338 home runs in his career, was an All-Star in 1979, and won the World Series with the Minnesota Twins in 1987. He presided over the Boston Red Sox’s kangaroo court, and fined Roger Clemens $5 for giving up a single to Spike Owen on an 0-2 count during his 20-strikeout game in 1986. He was also the Colorado Rockies’ first manager.

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Goodbye, Lee May

(March 23, 1943 – July 29, 2017)

May

Known as “The Big Bopper,” Lee May was a fan favorite in Cincinnati. He played for the Reds from 1965 through 1971, when he was traded to the Astros. Of his 354 home runs, 147 came as a member of the Reds. He was a three-time All-Star and played in two World Series. In 1976, he led the American League with 109 RBI as a member of the Baltimore Orioles. His career closed in 1982 with Kansas City. He is a member of both the Cincinnati Reds and the Baltimore Orioles Halls of Fame. May passed away Saturday at the age of 74.

Condolences abounded on Twitter from his former teams, teammates, fans, and more…

Fun Cards: 1988 Topps All-Star Cal Ripken

Cal Ripken started thirteen straight All-Star games at shortstop…and then three more at third base. In 2000, Travis Fryman was the starter at third base, and Derek Jeter at shortstop. In his final MLB season, Ripken was again the starting shortstop for the American League. Nineteen All-Star appearances; 17 as a starter. What an amazing career this guy had.

Ripken

But Topps didn’t put him in the All-Star subset in 1988. Alan Trammell got the nod. Trammell was a fine shortstop, and in my opinion should be in the Hall of Fame. His 1987 season was phenomenal, and the Tiger should have been selected as the AL MVP over George Bell. That is likely the reason Topps included him here, breaking Ripken’s short streak of Topps All-Star cards. In fact, Trammell was again given the All-Star card in the 1989 set. It was back to Cal in 1990, then Tram in 1991, then Cal in 1992, Travis Fryman (?!?) in 1993, Cal in ’94…and I had stopped collecting baseball cards by this point, so I’m done.

Ripken

I don’t know when Ripken received the “future Hall of Famer” tag, but it seems pretty clear that Topps dropped the ball on numerous occasions when it came to deciding who would be the American League shortstop in the All-Star subset.

Goodbye, Milt Pappas

(May 11, 1939 – April 19, 2016)

Pappas

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.

Who is the greatest shortstop of all-time?

Cal Ripken

With the retirement of Derek Jeter, I thought it would be appropriate to ask the BBBWARAOAAE, “Who is the greatest shortstop of all-time?” In an extremely close race, Cal Ripken edged out Honus Wagner 48-47, with Jeter finishing third. As of this writing, all eligible shortstops named in the poll have been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

NAME 1ST PL POINTS
1. Cal Ripken 6 48
2. Honus Wagner 4 47
3. Derek Jeter 18
4t. Ernie Banks 14
4t. Ozzie Smith 14
4t. Barry Larkin 14
7t. Alex Rodriguez 1 5
7t. Luis Aparicio 5
9. Luke Appling 4

R.I.P. Jeff Robinson

(December 14, 1961 – October 26, 2014)

Jeff Robinson Detroit Tigers

Former major league pitcher Jeff Robinson passed away Sunday from an undisclosed illness. Robinson pitched 1987-1992 for the Detroit Tigers, Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers, and Pittsburgh Pirates, compiling a 47-40 record and 4.79 ERA.

Baltimore Baseball & Barbecue with Boog Powell by Rob Kasper and Boog Powell (2014)

Baltimore Baseball and Barbecue Boog Powell book

Baltimore Baseball & Barbecue with Boog Powell
by Rob Kasper and Boog Powell
American Palate/The History Press, 2014
160 pages

Short by baseball biography standards, the story of Boog Powell is still packed with entertaining stories and anecdotes of the slugger’s time with the Orioles. Baltimore Baseball & Barbecue with Boog Powell briefly visits the subject as a youngster, and only one chapter is devoted to the minors before digging into Powell’s major league career in Baltimore. Seventeen years are covered in a little over fifty pages, including his final tours with Cleveland and Los Angeles.

Then there is the second half of the book, and the second half of Boog’s passion: barbecue. The relationship that Powell still enjoys with Baltimore fans is made possible by his barbecue stand located at Camden Yards. Fans can feast on the food, and most nights can speak to the mastermind behind the menu. In addition to information about Boog’s Barbecue at the park, Kasper and Powell include ten pages worth of recipes in this book.

The final chapter is a collection of interviews with Powell’s former teammates, from Brooks Robinson and Frank Robinson to Jim Palmer and Merv Rettenmund. Black and white photos are scattered throughout the book’s 160 pages.

Baltimore fans will love this book, while barbecue connoisseurs will devour the recipes. Baltimore Baseball & Barbecue with Boog Powell is a home run.

Learn more about American Palate/The History Press.

Purchase Baltimore Baseball and Barbecue with Boog Powell by Rob Kasper and Boog Powell.

Brooks: The Biography of Brooks Robinson by Doug Wilson (2014)

Brooks biography by Doug Wilson

Brooks: The Biography of Brooks Robinson
by Doug Wilson
Thomas Dunne Books, 2014
352 pages

One of the greatest all-around third baseman, and arguably the greatest defensive player at the hot corner, Brooks Robinson played his entire major league career with the Baltimore Orioles. He was raised well, got along with both teammates and management, and steered clear of controversy during and after his career. Sounds like there is not much to write about, but biographer Doug Wilson does an outstanding job of bringing the Hall of Famer’s story to life; it is quite refreshing to read a positive account of a ballplayer’s life.

The chronicle of Robinson’s life includes his upbringing and the very minor shenanigans he got into—nothing that would garner major headlines anywhere. His early struggles at the plate are discussed, though his glovework was never doubted. The author also talks about Robinson’s relationship with his teammates, both white and black, when racial tensions were still out in the open; Brooks never fell prey to racism. When the Reds traded Frank Robinson, and the Baltimore media tried to make a controversy about the leadership roles the two Robinsons would have on the team; Brooks made it clear that there was never any controversy.

Brooks Robinson was a man who understood that he was a role model, and lived his life in such a way that his reputation would not be damaged by immoral or unethical actions. Wilson’s book captures that attitude wonderfully and would be an excellent addition to any baseball library.

Learn more about Thomas Dunne Books.

Purchase Brooks by Doug Wilson.

R.I.P. Bob Turley

(September 19, 1930 – March 30, 2013)

Pitcher Bob Turley, a three-time All-Star who won the Cy Young Award in 1958 while playing with the New York Yankees, passed away today from liver cancer. He also played for the St. Louis Browns, Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Angels, and Boston Red Sox.

R.I.P. Earl Weaver

(August 14, 1930 – January 19, 2013)

1969 Topps

Former Baltimore Orioles manager and Hall of Famer Earl Weaver passed away this morning while on an Orioles fantasy cruise of an apparent heart attack.

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