Stat-urday, 5/19/2018


Brooks_Robinson_1955In honor of Brooks Robinson‘s birthday yesterday, here are a few stats and facts about Baltimore’s “Human Vacuum Cleaner:”

  • Robinson spent 23 years in the Major Leagues – all with the Baltimore Orioles!
  • Games played: 2,896
  • Hits: 2,848
  • Home runs: 268
  • Batting average: .267

Robinson was an 18-time All-Star, 16-time Gold Glove winner, AL MVP in 1964, World Series MVP in 1970, and Robert Clemente Award winner in 1972. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1983.

For more stats, check out his Baseball Reference page.

Happy Stat-urday!

~ baseballrebecca

 

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Cool Papa Bell


Today marks Cool Papa Bell’s 115th birthday. James Thomas Bell was born on May 18, 1903, in Starkville, Mississippi. He spent most of his 24 year baseball career in the Negro Leagues, although he spent some time playing in the Dominican Republic and Mexico.

Satchel Paige, a teammate of Bell’s, once famously said, “Cool was so fast, he could turn out the light and jump in bed before it got dark.” (This is sometimes attributed to Josh Gibson.)

~ baseballrebecca

The 1936 Negro Leagues East-West Game featured Cool Papa Bell, Josh Gibson, and Satchel Paige,  among other Negro League greats

 

Dr. Felix Mantilla


Last May, former MLB player Felix Mantilla received an honorary doctorate degree from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Mantilla played for the Milwaukee Braves (1956-61), New York Mets (1962), Boston Red Sox (1963-65), and Houston Astros (1966). Originally from Puerto Rico, Mantilla resides in Wisconsin. Check out his story below:

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

Jackie Robinson’s Honorary Degrees


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Jackie Robinson and Martin Luther King, Jr., 1957 (photo courtesy of Flickr)

It’s that time of year when students get ready to graduate and move on to the next phase of their lives. At colleges and universities, it has become customary to award honorary degrees to individuals who have made great contributions to a particular field or to society as a whole.

In 1957, both Jackie Robinson and Martin Luther King, Jr., were awarded honorary degrees from Howard University. Robinson also earned honorary degrees from the University of Maryland, Bethune-Cookman University, Franklin Pierce College, Sacred Heart University, and Pace University.

~ baseballrebecca

Sachio Kinugasa, Iron Man


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Sachio Kinugasa and Cal Ripken, Jr., in Japan in 2011.

Last week the world lost Sachio Kinugasa, who passed away on April 23 at the age of 71. Kinugasa was the Japanese Iron Man who broke Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games played record in 1987. Ultimately, he would play 2,215 consecutive games.

Kinugasa was born in 1947 in the Higashiyama Ward in Japan. He made his Japanese baseball debut on May 16, 1965, at the age of 18. He played for the Hiroshima Carp for his entire 23-year career and set the Japanese record for consecutive games played on August 2, 1980, after playing his 1,247th consecutive game. This earned him the nickname Tetsujin, (Japanese for Iron Man) after the robot Tetsujin 28 of Japanese Manga (known as “Gigantor” in the United States).

In 1996, Kinugasa’s consecutive games record was broken by Cal Ripken, Jr., who had broken Lou Gehrig’s record of 2,130 consecutive MLB games the previous year. Cal would go on to play in 2,632 consecutive games – 417 more than Kinugasa. (Cal ended his streak voluntarily in 1998.) Kinugasa retired in 1987 and went on to become a baseball commentator. He was inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996. After meeting Cal Ripken during Ripken’s streak, Kinugasa and Ripken maintained their friendship, even co-hosting youth clinics in Kyoto as part of Ripken’s work as a U.S. Public Diplomacy Envoy.

Last week, upon hearing of Kingasa’s death, Cal stated: “I am very saddened by the news of Sachio Kinugasa’s passing. He and I shared an approach to the game we love, but for me, the friendship we shared was so much more valuable. Mr. Kinugasa was a great man and I was honored to call him my friend and the respect I have for him is immense. My condolences and thoughts are with his family, friends, and the wonderful baseball fans throughout Japan.”

Rest in peace, Sachio.

~ baseballrebecca

Where Have You Gone, Joe DiMaggio?


Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?
A nation turns its lonely eyes to you
Woo, woo, woo
What’s that you say, Mrs. Robinson?
Joltin’ Joe has left and gone away

Fifty years ago today, Simon & Garfunkel’s song, “Mrs. Robinson,” debuted on the Billboard charts. The iconic lyrics referencing Joe DiMaggio have been much discussed. In fact, after DiMaggio’s death in 1999, Paul Simon wrote about the meaning of the lyrics and the impact of DiMaggio on the nation. Simon’s words still ring true today: “In these days of Presidential transgressions and apologies and prime-time interviews about private sexual matters, we grieve for Joe DiMaggio and mourn the loss of his grace and dignity, his fierce sense of privacy, his fidelity to the memory of his wife and the power of his silence.”

~ baseballrebecca