Casey’s No-Hitter


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Casey Mize at Auburn University in 2018. Photo by Brandon Rush via Wikipedia.

Casey Mize turns 22 tomorrow, but he’s already thrown a no-hitter. Or rather, make that two. Last night Mize made his double-A debut with the Erie SeaWolves, pitching a no-hitter. He pitched his first no-hitter last year as a junior at Auburn University.

It was the second no-hitter in a week for the SeaWolves.

On April 24, Alex Faedo pitched seven no-hit innings and Drew Carlton pitched two no-hit innings against the Bowie Baysox. (Check out the final out below.) Then, yesterday, Mize pitched all nine innings against the Altoona Curve, striking out seven and walking one batter.

What’s even more amazing is that Mize only signed with the Tigers last June and started this year with the Lakeland Flying Tigers. He made four starts with Lakeland before being promoted to Erie, making his debut with Erie last night.

Congratulations, SeaWolves, and happy birthday, Casey!

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

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Babe Ruth, Baltimore Oriole


1914 Babe Ruth baseball card (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

On this date in 1914, a 19-year old Babe Ruth played in his first professional game. Not for the New York Yankees or the Boston Red Sox, but for the Baltimore Orioles. Ruth, a native of Baltimore, had signed with the minor league team earlier that year.  On April 22, 1914, made his debut with the Orioles, pitching a 6-0 shutout against Buffalo. Unfortunately, the Orioles were not doing well financially and were forced to sell Ruth’s contract to the Boston Red Sox a few months later.

In 2012, Ruth’s 1914 baseball card, pictured to the left, was valued at $575,000. Only 10 of them are known to still be in existence.

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

 

 

Stan Musial and the Civil Rights Movement


img_2902.jpgDuring a recent visit to the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, Mississippi, I found two baseball references. The first was to Jackie Robinson, as one might expect. An exhibit outlining the timeline of civil rights events noted that against the backdrop of segregation and the Cold War, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, “enduring racial tension in the clubhouse and jeers from fans.”

The other reference was on a display about speakers and performers refusing to go to segregated events in Mississippi. One such speaker: Stan Musial. Naturally, I needed to learn more.

img_2909.jpgOn February 26, 1963, after his retirement from baseball, Musial was appointed the director of President’s Committee on Physical Fitness by President Lyndon B. Johnson. A year later, as part of his new duties, Musial was scheduled to speak at the Touchdown Club of Jackson, MS, on February 24, 1964. However, around the same time civil rights groups, including the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) had been writing to artists asking them to cancel Mississippi performances scheduled for segregated audiences. In 1964, SNCC’s Chairman at the time (and current U.S. Congressman), John Lewis, asked Musial not to make his scheduled appearance at the all-white Touchdown Club’s Hall of Fame dinner. Musial subsequently canceled the appearance, though made no mention of SNCC or Lewis’ request when he contacted the club.

~ baseballrebecca

SNCC Musial

The Baseball Career of Charley Pride


 

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Charley Pride performing in 1981 (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

“When I saw Jackie Robinson go to the big leagues, I knew that was my way of getting out of the cotton fields.” ~ Charley Pride

 

Charley Pride’s dream was to play Major League Baseball. Instead, he ended up a Grammy-winning musician. He’s never been too far away from baseball, though.

Pride was born on March 18, 1938, in Sledge, Mississippi. After he was discovered pitching for a sandlot team against the Memphis Red Sox, Pride signed with Memphis and played for them in 1952. He then signed a minor league contract with the New York Yankees and was assigned to the Boise Yankees of the Class C Pioneer League in 1953. An injury that year sent to the Class D Fond du Lac Panthers of the Wisconsin State League. He also played for the Negro Leagues’ Louisville Clippers, who reportedly traded him and another player to the Birmingham Black Barons for money for a team bus.

Pride played for Birmingham again in 1954, and, according to Baseball-Reference.com, played for the Class C Nogales Yaquis in Nogales, Mexico, in 1955. He returned to the Memphis Red Sox in 1956, where he won 14 games as a pitcher and earned a spot on the Negro American League All-Star Team.

Pride spent the next two years in the Army. He completed basic training at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, and he was stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado. In Colorado he was assigned to quartermaster duty and also played on the fort’s baseball team.

When his Army service ended, Pride wanted to find a way to be released from his contract with the Memphis Red Sox and remain in Colorado; but as he notes in his autobiography, “Curt Flood had not yet challenged [the system of being “owned” by a team for life] with his free-agency lawsuit and therefore the players had little leverage in dealing with the owners.” Thus, Pride returned to Memphis for the 1958 season. Despite being selected for the East-West All-Star Game that season, he was not able to negotiate a raise for the next season. So, he chose to sit out the 1959 season.

In early 1960, Pride responded to an ad in the Sporting News inviting players to try out for the Missoula Timberjacks of the Class C Pioneer League in Missoula, Montana. Unfortunately, he was released after 3 starts. It was then that he found out about the Montana State League, which was comprised of semi-pro and amateur teams sponsored by smelting companies. He got a job with the American Smelting & Refining Company in Helena, Montana. The company paid him $100 a week and put him on the company baseball team, the East Helena Smelterites. The Smelterites won the league championship that year.

Pride clipped newspaper stories of his work in the Montana State League and sent them to baseball teams hoping to get a spring tryout in 1961. Though teams like the Cubs turned him down, the California Angels told him if he could get to the spring training location in Palm Springs, California, by March 1, he could try out. After two weeks, they cut him, telling him he just didn’t have “a major league pitching arm.” So, Pride returned to his job in Montana and his position on the baseball team. The Smelterites won the league championship that year, too.

Pride planned on trying to get a tryout with the Mets the next season, but that winter he broke his ankle in an accident at work, making it impossible for him to try out during spring training. He was healed in time for the Smelterites season. The team won the league championship that year, as well.

It was during his time in the minors and in Montana that Pride also began to experience success in music. Whether it was playing on the team bus, or at local bars and music venues in Montana, he was beginning to get noticed. However, although his music career quickly took off, Pride continued his relationship with baseball.

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Jim Palmer in 1974 (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

In 1970, Pride was named an honorary member of the Milwaukee Brewers. He attended the Brewers’ spring training camp for three seasons after being invited by the team’s manager who was a country music fan. In 1974, he signed a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers so that he could play in some of their spring exhibition games – he even got a hit off of Jim Palmer of Baltimore Orioles fame.  In fact, Pride would become a fixture at Rangers’ games, having settled with his family in Dallas, Texas. In 2010, became a part-owner of the Rangers with Nolan Ryan and other partners.

In 2008, Pride and other living former Negro League players, including his brother Mack Pride, were “drafted” by each of the 30 Major League Baseball teams in a recognition of the achievements of the Negro Leagues; Pride was selected by the Texas Rangers. In 2013, Pride was presented the Jackie Robinson Lifetime Achievement Award by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City.

If you haven’t checked out the documentary, Charley Pride: I’m Just Me, on PBS, you can watch it now on their American Masters website!

~ baseballrebecca

 

Baseball Exhibits in 2019


1547480147808It seems like there is always an interesting baseball exhibit at some non-baseball museum or library. Unfortunately, I often miss them. This year, however, I vow to at least get to the ones in Washington, DC. Here are the ones I’ve found so far:

Also on display this year are a few baseball-related exhibits. Through March 10 you can see the exhibit “A Whole Different Ball Game: Playing Through 60 Years of Sports Video Games,” at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, NY.  Currently, the Hershey Story Museum in Hershey, PA, has an exhibit on Hershey operations in Cuba, which includes photos and artifacts from the Hershey Sport Club baseball team and the baseball diamond built for company employees in Cuba.

In addition, two baseball-related museums are set to open this year: the Jackie Robinson Museum is scheduled to open in December in New York, and the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum also expects to open in Milwaukee, WI, this year.

And you may as well mark your calendars now for “Latinos and Baseball: In the Barrios and the Big Leagues,” which will open at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC, in 2020.

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

Martin Luther King, Jr., on Jackie Robinson and Others


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Jackie Robinson and his son at the March on Washington in 1963 (photo courtesy of the National Archives)

For Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, I thought I’d post one of the many King quotes that used Jackie Robinson as an example. On September 23, 1959, in Jackson, Mississippi, King spoke to the Southern Christian Ministers Conference of Mississippi about the accomplishments of African Americans and the important contributions people can make to society, even when faced with oppression:

“… we too can make creative contributions, even though the door of freedom is not fully opened. We need not wait until oppression ceases before we seek to make creative contribution to our nation’s life. We must seek to rise above the crippling restrictions of circumstance. Already we have a host of Negroes whose inspiring achievements have proven that human nature cannot be catalogued, and that we need not postpone the moment of our creativity until the day of full emancipation. … There was a star in the athletic sky; then came Joe Louis with his educated fist, Jessie Owens with his fleet and dashing feet, and Jackie Robinson with his calm spirit and powerful bat. There are many others.”

~ baseballrebecca