August Heritage Celebrations


Not that we ever need an excuse to go to the ballpark, but listed below are the Heritage Nights happening in August – and it might not count as a “heritage celebration,” but don’t forget Walter Johnson Day on Friday!

Date Team Event
1-Aug Dodgers Korea Night
2-Aug Dodgers Hawaiian Night
3-Aug A’s Italian Heritage Night
6-Aug Mariners Korean Heritage Night
6-Aug Tigers Arab American Night
9-Aug Padres Italian Heritage Night
10-Aug Padres Filipino Heritage Night
10-Aug Tigers 100th Anniversary Detroit Stars Replica Jersey
10-Aug Tigers Armenian Tigers Fan Night
15-Aug Rangers Hawaiian Heritage Night
15-Aug Reds Irish Community Night
15-Aug A’s Indian Heritage Night
16-Aug A’s Korean Heritage Night
20-Aug A’s Chinese Heritage Night
21-Aug A’s Jewish Heritage Night
23-Aug Mariners Filipino Heritage Night
24-Aug Marlins Dominican Heritage Celebration
26-Aug Phillies Jewish Heritage Celebration
27-Aug Padres Portuguese Heritage Night
27-Aug Tigers Italian Heritage Night
27-Aug Giants Jewish Heritage Night
30-Aug Rangers Korean Heritage Night
30-Aug Giants Italian Heritage Night

 

 

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Celebrate Walter Johnson Day on August 2


Walter Johnson, ca. 1910

There’s a lot going on in August. But on Friday, August 2, we should be celebrating “Walter Johnson Day.” There was such a day in 1913, 1927, and several other years. I think there should be more.

As a Washington Nationals fan and Baseball Sociologist, I should know more about Walter Johnson than I do. But it’s hard to get excited about a player who was born in the 19th Century and finished his playing career before even my parents were born. Nonetheless, when I stumbled upon a few references to “Walter Johnson Day,” I have to admit my interest was piqued.

Walter Johnson, known as the Big Train, is arguably the most famous Washington Senator. Born in Humboldt, Kansas, on November 6, 1887, Johnson made his debut with the Senators on August 2, 1907. After two decades, he retired from Major League Baseball as a Washington Senator on September 30, 1927. He would then manage the Newark Bears of the International League in 1928, the Washington Senators from 1929 to 1933, and the  Cleveland Indians from 1933 to 1935.

On August 2, 1913, the Washington Senators celebrated “Walter Johnson Day.” I’m not sure if this was because he was so beloved, or if they just celebrated everyone. I couldn’t even verify if this was the first time the Senators celebrated Walter Johnson Day. We know about this one, however, because President Woodrow Wilson was in attendance that day. According Baseball Reference and the New York Times, the president attended the game to celebrate Johnson’s 6th anniversary. At the game, Johnson was presented with a silver cup filled with 10-dollar bills totaling $500.

Image result for walter johnson calvin coolidge site:.gov

President Calvin Coolidge and Walter Johnson, ca. 1920s (photo courtesy of the Library of Congress)

It wasn’t clear if Walter Johnson Day was celebrated every year in the years that followed, but it was celebrated again by the Senators on August 2, 1927, Johnson’s 20th anniversary with the team and last season as a player. At that event, Johnson was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross (with 20 diamonds), a silver tea set, and $14,764.05. According to Ted Leavengood’s biography of Clark Griffith (owner of the Senators from 1920 to 1955), a “Walter Johnson Day Committee” was put together for the event, chaired by then-Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover. Leavengood notes, “Clark Griffith brought out every dignitary that he could find to mark the career of the Big Train.” The emcee for the event was Secretary of State Frank Kellogg.

Curiously, the Boston Red Sox had celebrated “Walter Johnson Day” a year earlier at Fenway Park when the Senators were in town on September 4, 1926. Were they predicting his retirement in 1927? Perhaps other teams honored the pitcher as well, like teams celebrate the careers of retiring superstars today? I have so many questions about Walter Johnson Days, for which I was unable to find sufficient answers.

In fact, it seems that “Walter Johnson Day” actually dates back to 1909 when Johnson was playing in the California Winter League with Connie Mack’s barnstorming team, the “All-Nationals.” According to Johnson’s grandson Henry Thomas, in his biography of Johnson, Johnson joined the team in late October after taking some time off after the regular season. Two weeks after his 22nd birthday, on November 15th, “Johnson Day” was held at Chutes Park in Los Angeles. Later, on December 26, when Johnson was with the Santa Ana Yellow Sox, his team held “Johnson Day” and handed out photographs of Johnson to 2,000 fans attending the game. A few years later, during the 1912 off season, Johnson began an annual tradition of hosting charity games in Coffeyville and Humboldt, Kansas. These events also became known as “Walter Johnson Day.”

In 1928, Johnson became the manager of the Newark Bears of the International League. On May 16, when the Bears were in Rochester to play the Red Wings, the city held Walter Johnson day “to repay his act of kindness there in the 1924 World Series,” after which he pitched in a charity game in Rochester, helping raise money for an elderly couple. A month later, Walter Johnson Day was held in Newark, New Jersey, on June 23, 1928, “to honor the great pitcher and to welcome him as new manager of the local International League club,” according to Robert Peyton Wiggins of the Society of American Baseball Research. The final Walter Johnson Day held during his career occurred in Washington on July 22, 1935. According to Thomas, thousands of fans and “old friends” showed their support for Johnson when he was “’under fire’” as the Cleveland Indians’ manager. (Johnson’s “voluntary” resignation from the Indians came a few weeks later.)

On August 2, 2007, 100 years after Walter Johnson’s Major League debut, the Washington Nationals held another “Walter Johnson Day” to honor Johnson’s contributions to the city and its first Major League Baseball team. I don’t recall them celebrating it since. They did, however, add him to their “Ring of Honor” when it was established in 2010. (Of course, Jayson Werth is there, too, soooo…)

Why don’t we have Walter Johnson Days any more, or days honoring current players, for that matter? Sure, there are bobblehead nights, but is that really the same thing? Of course, now that I know more about him, I think the Nats should do a Walter Johnson bobblehead!

So, this Friday, let’s celebrate Walter Johnson Day, or Thurman Munson Day, or whoever you want to celebrate! And next year, let’s make it official!

~ baseballrebecca

Baseball at the Pan Am Games


https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/f2/Baseball_2019_Pan_American_Games.pngBaseball at the Pan Am Games begins today! As I noted last week, the eight countries are participating in the tournament have been split into two groups:

 Group A

Group B

The top two teams in each group will advance to the “super round,” which will be held August 2-3. In the super round, the two Group A teams will play the two teams Group B teams. The top two in this round play for 1st and 2nd place, with the other two teams playing for 3rd and 4th place. Meanwhile, the 3rd team in each group will play each other for 5th and 6th place, and the last place team in each group will play against each other for 7th and 8th place in the tournament.

There will be three games each day. The schedule is as follows (all times are in Peru Standard Time, which is the same as U.S. Central Time during daylight savings time):

Preliminary Round – all games on ESPN3:

Monday, July 29:

  • Cuba v. Colombia, 10:05 am
  • Argentina v. Canada, 3:05 pm
  • DR v. Peru, 7:05 pm

Tuesday, July 30:

  • Puerto Rico v. Nicaragua, 10:05 am
  • Colombia v. Argentina, 3:05 pm
  • Canada v. Cuba, 7:05 pm

Wednesday, July 31:

  • Nicaragua v. DR, 10:05 am
  • Cuba v. Argentina, 3:05 pm
  • Puerto Rico v. Peru, 7:05 pm

Thursday, August 1:

  • Colombia v. Canada, 10:05 am
  • DR v. Puerto Rico, 3:05 pm
  • Peru v. Nicaragua, 7:05 pm

Placement Matches and Super Round:

Friday, August 2:

  • 7th Place Match: Fourth Place Team in Group A v. Fourth Place Team in Group B, 10:05 am
  • First Place in Group A v. First Place in Group B, 3:05 pm
  • Second Place in Group A v. Second Place in Group B, 7:05 pm

Saturday, August 3:

  • 5th Place Match: Third Place in Group A v. Third Place in Group B, 10:05 am
  • Second Place in Group A v. First Place in Group B, 3:05 pm
  • First Place in Group A v. Second Place in Group B, 7:05 pm

 

Enjoy the games!

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best of the Week: 7/21/2019 – 7/27/2019


When the little girl who was told she shouldn’t play baseball gets to meet her favorite MLB player:

When Ashlynn’s story went viral earlier this month, social media went crazy in support of her:

View this post on Instagram

Legend status 😱 • Last year, Ashlynn, a 7-year old from Toronto, was awarded the MVP award from the opposing team during Regional Finals. “After the game,” said her dad, Dan, “[a parent on our team] told me that girls shouldn’t be playing baseball and that they should stick to softball. Then, at tryouts, the coach cut her from the team.” • Our response? Their loss. • In just 10 days, this 8-year old is headed to #BFANationals to join hundreds of girls from North America and abroad to do what they do best: play baseball. • “I don’t think it has ever occurred to Ashlynn that some people think that girls can’t do things that boys can do,” says Dan. • We’re right there with you, Ashlynn—and we’ve got your back 💪 • #baseballforall #borntoplay #unstoppable #girlscandoanything #girlsplaybaseballtoo #baseballplayers #girlsinbaseball #naturalathelete #divingcatch #baseballseason #travebaseball #empoweredgirls #strongfemale #supporther #sheplayswewin #girlsinthegame #letherplay #baseballtournament #thefutureisfemale #futureofbaseball 📹 @danbaseballdadof6 @jbclac

A post shared by Baseball For All (@baseballforall) on

MLB’s Cut4, the Today Show, and I’m sure countless others picked up her story. Congrats, Ashlynn, I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ll hear of you!

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

Stat-urday, 7/27/2019


Baseball at the Pan Am Games begins on Monday, so here are a few stats about this year’s games to get us ready:

  • Total budget: $1.2 million (in U.S. dollars)
  • Athletes: 9,500
  • Nations: 41
  • Events: 419
  • Sports: 39
  • Events for qualifying for the 2020 Olympics: 22
  • Baseball teams: 8
  • Baseball players: 192 (24 per team)
  • Baseball games: 18

And how have teams fared during the baseball tournament at the Pan Am games? Cuba holds the record for the longest winning streak, having won 10 straight gold medals in baseball: from 1971 to 2007. The medal winners from each year are listed below:

Year Host Country Gold Silver Bronze
1951 Argentina Cuba U.S. Mexico
1955 Mexico DR U.S. Venezuela
1959 United States Venezuela Puerto Rico U.S.
1963 Brazil Cuba U.S. Mexico
1967 Canada U.S. Cuba Puerto Rico
1971 Colombia Cuba U.S. Colombia
1975 Mexico Cuba U.S. Venezuela
1979 Puerto Rico Cuba DR Puerto Rico
1983 Venezuela Cuba Nicaragua U.S.
1987 United States Cuba U.S. Puerto Rico
1991 Cuba Cuba Puerto Rico U.S.
1995 Argentina Cuba Nicaragua Puerto Rico
1999 Canada Cuba U.S. Canada
2003 Dominican Rep. Cuba U.S. Mexico
2007 Brazil Cuba U.S. Tie: Mexico and Nicaragua
2011 Mexico Canada U.S. Cuba
2015 Canada Canada U.S. Cuba

Happy Stat-urday!

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Films on Friday: Sesame Street and MLB


Sesame Street has come to Major League Baseball recently. Last month, Cookie Monster was at a Cubs game and sang the National Anthem. Just a few days before that, he’d been at the Phillies game throwing out the first pitch with Elmo and Abby Cadabby. And, just in time for the Yankees and Red Sox London Series, Sesame Street released the video “Respect is a Home Run!” – part of its 50th anniversary celebration #Respect campaign:

And in case you missed it, here’s Cookie Monster singing the National Anthem:

Happy Friday!

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

 

The 2019 Pan Am Games: Argentina and Peru


Today I present the last two teams who will be playing baseball in the 2019 Pan Am Games: Argentina, and host country, Peru:

Image result for Argentina flagThe Argentina National Baseball Team:

This year marks the first time the Argentina National Baseball Team, nicknamed “Los Gauchos,” will appear in the Pan Am games. The team, ranked #21 in the world by the World Baseball Softball Federation, earned their place at the Pan Am games by winning the South American Baseball Championship in April 2018. Their roster is as follows:

  • Pitchers: Agustín Borrino, Rodrigo Bruera, Ezequiel Cufré, Diego Echeverría, Miguel García, Guido Monis, Lucas Ramón, Federico Robles, Agustín Tanco, and Federico Tanco
  • Catchers: Juan Angrisano, José Gerez, and Lucas Nakandakare
  • Infielders: Jacinto Cipriota, Mauricio Costa, Federico Gómez, Nicolás Solari, Exequiel Talevi, amd Agustín Tissera
  • Outfielders: Nicolás Arrube, Sebastián García, Lucas Montalbetti, Mauro Schiavoni, and Eduardo Zurbriggen

 

Image result for Peru flagThe Peru National Baseball Team:

The host country’s team is currently ranked #39 in the world. Unfortunately, I could not find a current roster for the team, though they have some great pics on their Facebook page.

Be sure to check out the games next week!

~ baseballrebecca