Films on Friday: Ron Cey Sings


We all need a good song to start the weekend:

Happy Friday!

~ baseballrebecca

Best of the Week: 9/25/2022 – 10/1/2022


It was a pretty good week for baseball, but this may have been the best:

Films on Friday: The Braves’ Organist


Having never been to a Braves game, I knew nothing about their organ player, Matthew Kaminski, until I heard the Mets’ announcers talking about him a month or so ago. He apparently studies the opposing team rosters and plans what to play (see his Tweet I copied below). Check out this news story from a few years ago (it starts around the 30 second mark):

Happy Friday!

~ baseballrebecca

A Cup of Coffee


Happy National Coffee Day!

If you’re wondering what coffee has to do with baseball, the answer is “a lot.” For starters, “a cup of coffee” in the Majors is an idiom we hear all the time, meaning to spend just a short time in the Major Leagues. Vince Gonzales, who I wrote about yesterday, is a great example of a guy who had a cup of coffee in the bigs.

In addition to the obvious baseball connotations, coffee doesn’t seem to be as off limits for professional athletes as it once was – and still is for certain amateur athletes. A couple years ago Chelsea Janes wrote about Chris Heisey’s French press in the Nats’ clubhouse. Later, Michael Clair of mlb.com told us about the coffee blog Jameson Taillon wrote when he was with the Pirates.

Lately, coffee shops themselves have begun partnering with Major Leaguers. There’s Kahwa Coffee Roasters in Tampa, Florida, that sells limited edition coffees in collaboration with David Ortiz and Evan Longoria. A portion of sales benefit the David Ortiz Children’s Fund and the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation. Last year, Ceremony Coffee Roasters in Annapolis, Maryland, collaborated with John Means of the Baltimore Orioles for a limited run of coffee with an “orange profile” (notes of orange blossom and peach), with 10% of proceeds going to the Boys and Girls Club of Metropolitan Baltimore. Of these three coffees, I liked Kahwa’s “Big Papi Blend” the best.  

Then there’s the Major Leaguers who have invested in coffee shops. Ian Happ invested in Connect Roasters, which features a “Home Run Club” subscription service, Ian Happ merchandise, and a limited edition All-Star Blend created to celebrate Happ’s first all-star election.  There’s also Pineapple Labs, which is owned by Hunter Pence and his wife, which sells fair trade coffees designed by the couple. And don’t forget the coffee shop owned by Joe Musgrove’s family in Alpine, California. (I still need to try these!)

So go out and enjoy a cup of coffee and some baseball today! And in case you don’t get around to celebrating today, International Coffee Day is Saturday.

~ baseballrebecca

Vince Gonzales


Vince Gonzales. Photo courtesy of Baseball Reference.

Vince Gonzales was born on this date in 1925. Although Gonzales pitched in only one game in the Major Leagues, he spent 13 seasons in professional baseball.

Wenceslao Gonzales O’Reilly was born on September 28, 1925, in Quivican, Cuba. As a teenager, Gonzales pitched for the Cuban national team in the 1939 Amateur World Series, helping Cuba earn the gold medal. After serving in the Cuban Navy in World War II, he began his professional baseball career in the Mexican League, playing for the Azules de Veracruz in 1948-49, then moving to the Mexico City Red Devils for the 1950 season. In 1951, he won 32 games for the Cuidad Juarez Indios of the class C Southwest International League (which included teams in Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, and Texas). He remained in Juarez through the 1954 season.

In January 1955, Gonzales was signed as a free agent by the Washington Senators and made his Major League debut that year on April 13th.  He entered the game in the 7th inning when the Senators were already losing to the Yankees 13-1.  He pitched the final two innings of the game, allowing 6 hits, 3 walks, and 6 earned runs, resulting in an ERA of 27.00. He made no further appearances and the Senators released him six days later.  Returning to the minors, Gonzales played for Mexico City, Nogales, and Poza Rica in the Arizona-Mexico and Mexican Leagues between 1955 and 1958. He later played for Pericos de Puebla (1960-61), Mexico City (1963), Sultanes de Monterrey (1964), and the Cuidad del Carmen Camaroneros (1969).

Gonzales retired from professional baseball at the age of 43, with an overall record of 136-84. He passed away at the age of 55 on March 11, 1981, in Cuidad del Carmen.

~ baseballrebecca

Travis Jackson’s MLB Debut


Travis Jackson’s 1933 baseball card.

One hundred years ago on this data, Travis Jackson made his Major League debut with the New York Giants. Jackson was a shortstop for the Giants between 1922 and 1936, was an All-Star in 1934, and was part of the 1933 World Series champion team. He was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1982.

Travis Calvin Jackson was born in Waldo, Arkansas, on November 2, 1903. His parents named Jackson after Lt. Col. William B. Travis, who died during the Battle of the Alamo.  As a child his father played baseball with him, and when he was a teenager, his uncle took him to a Little Rock Travelers game and introduced him to Kid Elberfield. Elberfield invited Jackson to an impromptu workout and told Jackson to contact him when he was ready to play professional baseball.

Jackson later enrolled in Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. There he injured his knee, an injury which would recur during his career.

Jackson in 1923.

After college, as promised, Elberfield signed Jackson to a contract. Jackson played for Little Rock in 1921 and 1922.  He made his Major League debut later that year, though it was less than memorable. As stated in his SABR bio, “Inserted into the Giants’ lineup in the seventh inning of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies on September 27, 1922, Jackson was called out on strikes in his first major-league at bat. He appeared in two more games, finishing the season with a 0-for-8 performance.”

By 1924 Jackson was the Giants’ starting shortstop. In 1931, he led NL shortstops with a .970 fielding percentage. Unfortunately, he was plagued with injuries throughout his career, battling knee injuries and other illnesses. He played his final game on September 24, 1936.

After his playing career, Jackson turned to coaching and managing. He was a player-manager for the double-A Jersey City Giants in 1937 and 1938, then returned to the New York Giants as coach. After missing the next five seasons with tuberculosis, Jackson returned as a manager for the Jackson Senators in 1946. He returned to the Giants as a coach for the 1947 and 1948 seasons. For the next 12 seasons, Jackson continued to manage teams such as the Tampa Smokers, the Owensboro Oilers, the Bluefield Blue-Grays, and the Appleton Papermakers.

Travis Jackson was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 1960 and the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. He passed away in his hometown of Waldo, Arkansas, at the age of 83 on July 27, 1987.

~ baseballrebecca