Best of the Week: 7/7/2019 – 7/13/2019


The Angels honored Tyler Skaggs on Friday night – a night that included everything: from the team all wearing #45, to Skaggs’ mom throwing out the first pitch, to Mike Trout hitting a home run in the first inning, to Taylor Cole and Felix Peña combing to throw a no hitter:

As MLB tweeted, it was unbelievable.

~ baseballrebecca

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Stat-urday, 7/13/2019


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Vida Blue pitching for the Oakland A’s, July 1973 (photo courtesy of the National Archives via Wikipedia)

Next Saturday marks a big anniversary. Well, make that two – because July 20th is the 50th anniversary of Vida Blue’s Major League debut, when he pitched 5 1/3 innings for the Oakland A’s giving up 6 hits and 5 runs (3 earned). The following day, the New York Times barely mentioned Blue’s inauspicious first outing in its summary of the Angels and A’s doubleheader: “In the first game Aurelio Rodriguez and Jim Spencer greeted the major league debut of southpaw picture, Vida Blue, with Homers.” [“A’s Top Angels, 9-6 after 7-3 Defeat: Jackson Clouts 37th Homer – Bando Also Connects,” The New York Times, July 21, 1969, p. 44]

Of course, the less than memorable event may have been overshadowed by news of the Apollo 11 moon landing on the same day, which got more space in the sport section than did Blue:

Baseball paid tribute to America’s astronauts yesterday by halting play at three ball parks when the lunar module, Eagle, touched down on the moon. In Philadelphia, the second game of a double-header between the Phillies and the Chicago Cubs was stopped for five minutes in the third inning and players from both teams lined up along the foul lines. There was a moment of silent prayer for continued success of the mission and a recording was played of Kate Smith singing “God Bless America.” The lunar landing was also observed at Montreal’s Jarry Park, where the Expos played the New York Mets, and at Atlanta Stadium, where the Braves played the San Diego Padres.” [“Three Baseball Parks Salute the Touchdown,” New York Times, July 21, 1960, p. 43.]

According to the Society of American Baseball Research, Blue started three more games for the A’s in 1969 and then spent the rest of the season in the bullpen. The following season he started for the triple-Iowa Oaks before being called up to the A’s in September. Blue would go on to pitch in the majors for an additional 15 years until his retirement in 1986. Over his MLB career, he pitched in 502 games, starting 473 times. He won 209 games, lost 161, and saved 2. His career ERA was 3.27.

Happy Stat-urday!

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

Little League and NASA


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Wernher Von Braun, 1960s (photo courtesy of the National Archives)

In nine days the nation will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. As part of our baseball celebration of the anniversary, here’s a picture from the 1960s of Wernher Von Braun, who at the time was Director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL. The National Archives caption on the photo reads, “Dr. Wernher Von Braun … does not appear at ease as he holds a baseball bat before a team of youngsters in this NASA publicity photo.”

According to NASA, von Braun, a former rocket engineer in Nazi Germany, was “the chief architect of the Saturn V launch vehicle, the superbooster that would propel Americans to the Moon.” But apparently even he needed to learn about baseball.

~ baseballrebecca

 

Countdown to the Moon Landing


9A05850_640We are just 10 days away from the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo moon landing, and the baseball world is ready to celebrate. To begin the countdown, I thought I’d post a few space-related baseball photos over the next few days. First up, photos from the 1950s when spacesuits designed by B.F. Goodrich were tested on the baseball field the Naval Air Material Center in Philadelphia, PA. In these photos, players wearing the spacesuits played baseball to demonstrate and test out the flexibility of the suits. These were the prototype for what would be worn for Project Mercury.

~ baseballrebecca

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Photos courtesy of the National Air and Space Museum.

 

 

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing – Baseball Style


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Future twin astronauts Mark (left) and Scott Kelly play baseball in 1971 (photo courtesy of NASA and Share.America.gov)

On July 20, the nation will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Several teams have already had “NASA Day“or “Apollo Day” this year, but there are more to come (see list below). And stay tuned here tomorrow when I’ll start the countdown!

~ baseballrebecca

  • June 1 – NASA Night – Fresno Grizzlies
  • July 5 – Apollo Night – Washington Nationals
  • July 6 – Space Night – Hickory Crawdads
  • July 12 –
    • Space Night –  Texas Rangers, a Joey GALiLeO Moon Shot bobblehead is included with special ticket purchase for the game
    • Space Night – Round Rock Express
  • July 16 – Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Night – St. Louis Cardinals, special ticket includes a bobblehead commemorating the first moonwalk
  • July 18 – Apollo-themed game – Cincinnati Reds
  • July 20 –
    • Apollo Day – New York Yankees
    • Apollo Night – Seattle Mariners
    • Apollo 11 features – San Francisco Giants
    • Space Day – Arizona Diamondbacks
    • Moon Landing Celebration – Minnesota Twins
    • Trey “Moon” Mancini Bobblehead giveaway – Bowie Baysox
    • Steven Dugger “Duggernaut” Bobblehead giveaway – Richmond Flying Squirrels
    • Rascal “Space” Bobblehead giveaway – Harrisburg Senators
    • Anniversary of Man on the Moon (Or is it?) – Madison Mallards – includes a bobblehead of either Moon Maynard or Conspiracy Moon Maynard “with it being a mystery as to which one of the two fans will receive in their box.”
    • Moon Landing Night – Charleston RiverDogs –  includes a moon t-shirt for the first 1,000 fans, moon trivia, moonwalking, and moon pies. In addition, during the 7th inning stretch “all fans in the ballpark will simultaneously ‘land on their moon,’ creating the world’s largest moon landing.”
    • Apollo 11 Night – San Jose Giants: “Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing with the Giants in what is sure to be an out-of-this-world experience. A special bobblehead giveaway, jerseys and more should lead to a night that eclipses all expectations.”
  • July 22 – Apollo 11 Night – Houston Astros – ceremonial first pitch will be thrown out by Neil Armstrong’s son, Rick, and the NASA Mobile Exhibit and Space Exploration Vehicle will be on the Plaza – Orbit “Moon Landing” Bobblehead is included in a spacial ticket package
  • July 23 – Summer of ’69: Anniversary of Woodstock and Moon Landing – Southern Maryland Blue Crabs
  • July 26 – 50th Anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s Landing on the Moon – Lincoln Saltdogs – the first 1,500 fans will receive a moon baseball giveaway
  • July 27 – Mr. Met on the Moon Bobblehead – New York Mets
  • July 28 – Moon Landing Tribute Night – Lehigh Valley IronPigs
  • September 5 – Throwback Thursday: 50th Anniversary of Landing on the Moon – Lancaster Barnstormers

And for those looking for something a little more irreverent, on July 16, the St. Paul Saints will honor the moon landing with a special promotion that . . . :

“… is 50 years in the making and will be One Small Step for Man, One Giant Mooning for Mankind. On Tuesday, July 16, nearly 50 years to the day of Neil Armstrong becoming the first man on the moon, the first 5,000 fans in attendance will receive a pair of Saints moon boxers. While the far side of the moon is the one that always faces away from Earth, the Saints will give you the backside of the moon with a photo of the moon on the rear end of the boxers. Fans will be asked to slip on their boxers and in a designated inning everyone in attendance will “drop trou” for our version of a ballpark-wide mooning.”

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

July Heritage Celebrations


Don’t forget to check out the Heritage Celebrations coming soon to a ballpark near you! There were none scheduled the first week of July, but here’s what’s coming up the rest of this month:

Date Team Event
12-Jul Marlins Colombian Heritage Celebration
16-Jul Phillies Italian Heritage Night
19-Jul Giants Polynesian Heritage Night
22-Jul Mariners Jewish Community Night
23-Jul Giants African American Heritage Night
Jul-19 Dodgers Japan Night
25-Jul Mariners Irish Heritage Night
26-Jul A’s Pacific Islander Heritage Night
26-Jul Padres Catholic Night
27-Jul A’s Portuguese Heritage Night
29-Jul Padres Japanese Community Night
30-Jul A’s Native American Heritage Night