Happy Birthday, #5!


Brooks_Robinson_1955Whether you want to or not, you do serve as a role model. People will always put more faith in baseball players than anyone else. ~ Brooks Robinson

One of my all-time favorite players, Brooks Robinson, “the Human Vacuum Cleaner,” turns 80 today! Robinson has always been loved by the community, as a 1964 Sports Illustrated article attests:

“Robinson’s warm personality wins him as much respect as his competitiveness and courage. He does nothing for effect. Bill Tanton, columnist for the Evening Sun, recalls the time he was on hand when Brooks went on a bowling party with some multiple sclerosis patients. ‘I’ve seen athletes in such situations before,’ Tanton says, ‘and the atmosphere is usually strained or even maudlin. But this time, everyone was at ease. You could tell Brooks was genuinely enjoying himself and, of course, they all adored him. He kidded them, and they kidded him right back—especially about his getting bald.'”

Robinson was an All-Star 18 times, won 16 gold gloves, won numerous other awards, and was even memorialized in a Norman Rockwell painting and highlighted in the Catholic Review. Not bad for a kid from Little Rock, AR.

A few years ago, I went on a pilgrimage to Little Rock to walk in the steps of the great Brooks Robinson. There were no big plaques or signs to let us know he’d grown up there. But what else would you expect from our quiet, unassuming here.

Happy Birthday, Brooks!

~ baseballrebecca

PS Check out the footage of Brooks at work:

And there’s this great comparison between Brooks and Manny:

Stat-urday, 4/13/17


This is a great infographic from the Orioles providing stats on the first 2,000 games played at Camden Yards:

Toothpick Sam Jones


JonesSam
Image courtesy of SABR.
On May 12, 1955, Sam Jones became the first African American player to pitch a no-hitter, striking out Roberto Clemente and Frank Thomas to end the game. He also happened to be one-half of the first all-black battery (pitcher and catcher) along with Quincy Trouppe in 1952. (By the way, May 10 marked the anniversary of the first – and only – no hitter thrown by a French-born player: on May 10, 1981, Charlie Lea threw a no hitter for the Montreal Expos.)

Jones was born on December 14, 1925, in Stewartsville, OH. After three years in the Negro Leagues (Oakland Larks and Cleveland Buckeyes) and two in the minor leagues, he made his MLB debut with the Cleveland Indians in September 1952. He returned to the minors for the 1953 and 1954 seasons and then was traded to the Chicago Cubs. He was with the Cubs when he pitched his famous no-hitter in 1955. 

Known as “Toothpick Sam” because he nearly always had a toothpick in his mouth, Jones would go on to play for St. Louis, San Francisco, Detroit, and Baltimore. He was an all-star in 1955 and 1959, as well as the NL wins leader and ERA leader in 1959 and the NL strikeout leader in 1955, 1956, and 1958. Jones retired after the 1964 season with a career win-loss record of 102-101, an ERA of 3.59, and 1,376 strikeouts. Sadly, Toothpick Sam passed away at the age of 45 on November 5, 1971.

Thanks for making history, Sam!

~ baseballrebecca

Two Cuban Baseball Oral Histories


Yesterday I stumbled upon a great resource for baseball fans and researchers: the Luis J. Botifoll Oral History Project digital collection at the University of Miami. The collection includes several videos of oral history interviews that were conducted with “members of the first generations of Cubans to leave the island after the Cuban Revolution.”

The online collection contains two baseball-related interviews. The first is an oral history interview with Andres Fleitas, former player for the Almendares Blues of the Cuban baseball leagues. The University of Miami libraries blog includes a summary of the interview, and the online collection has a video of the interview. The other interview is with Rafael “Felo” Ramírez, the Spanish-language broadcaster for the Miami Marlins. The online collection contains a video of his interview, as well.

I’m sensing a future blog post on these two!

Enjoy!

~ baseballrebecca