Best of the Week: 7/28/2019 – 8/3/2019

The Washington Nationals and their fans are used to Gerardo Parra’s walk-up music by now, but apparently the Atlanta Braves’ Freddie Freeman is not. During Monday’s game, Freeman’s response was priceless:

I’m sure he also appreciates the fact that the tune is probably now stuck in his head, too. You’re welcome, Freddie.

~ baseballrebecca 





Stat-urday, 8/3/2019: World Baseball Rankings

File:2020 Summer Olympics logo new.svgLast week I noted the world rankings for the teams participating in this year’s Pan Am Games. Below are the top 30 men’s baseball teams and the top 14 women’s teams. (Follow the links in the top row of the table for information on all teams – and if you need information on what the Olympic codes are for each country, Wikipedia has that covered!) The top 12 men’s teams will compete this November in the WBSC Premier12® 2020 Olympic Qualifier.

How does your country rank?

Rank Men’s Baseball Women’s Baseball
1 Japan Japan
2 USA Canada
3 Korea Chinese Taipei
4 Chinese Taipei USA
5 Cuba Venezuela
6 Mexico Australia
7 Australia Cuba
8 Netherlands Korea
9 Venezuela Dominican Republic
10 Canada Hong Kong
11 Puerto Rico Netherlands
12 Dominican Republic Puerto Rico
13 Panama India
14 Colombia Pakistan
15 Nicaragua Tied for 15th: Basically everyone else
16 Italy  
17 Brazil  
18 Czech Republic  
19 Israel  
20 China  
21 Argentina  
22 Germany  
23 Republic of South Africa  
24 Pakistan  
25 France  
26 Spain  
27 Austria  
28 Hong Kong  
29 Russia  
30 Belgium  


Happy Stat-urday!

~ baseballrebecca

Films on Friday: Baseball In Memoriam, 2019

Today is the 40th anniversary of Thurman Munson’s death. Lately, it feels like we’ve lost too many players and former players way too soon. For the past few years, Paul Sullivan of Sully Baseball has been producing an “In Memoriam” video to honor those the baseball world has lost. It is released in time for the All Star Game each year. Grab some tissues and watch this year’s video:

 On a brighter note, today is also Walter Johnson Day. Do something to celebrate the Big Train, Munson, and all those we’ve lost.

~ baseballrebecca





August Bobbleheads

Now that it’s August, your monthly Bobblehead Giveaway Update is posted below. And don’t forget to celebrate Walter Johnson Day tomorrow!

Date Team Bobblehead/Statue/Etc. 
2-Aug Norfolk Black Panther
2-Aug Erie Eugenio Suarez
3-Aug Akron Clay Matthews (Cleveland Football)
3-Aug Harrisburg Jamey Carroll
3-Aug Hagerstown Juan Soto
3-Aug Scranton/WB Ryan Howard
3-Aug Twins Joe Nathan HOF Bobblehead
3-Aug Rangers “The Rusty Dive” Rusty Greer Bobblehead (Perfect Game 1 of 2)
4-Aug Astros Replic HOF Jacket Statue
4-Aug Cubs Clark Bobblehead (1st 5,000 kids)
4-Aug Rockies Kyle Freeland Bobblehead
5-Aug Dodgers Bobblehead TBA
6-Aug Reading Jimmy Rollins Sliding Bobblehead
6-Aug Red Sox Brock Holt ALDS Hitting for the Cycle Bobblehead
7-Aug Reading R-Phils “Your Face Here” Custom Bobblehead of YOU!
8-Aug Giants Giants themed Hulkbuster Bobblehead (special ticket required)
8-Aug Giants Marvel Infinity Gauntlet desktop collectible (special ticket required)
9-Aug Trenton Bernie Williams
9-Aug Mariners Edgar Martinez HOF Bobblehead
10-Aug Frederick Dylan Bundy Dundie
10-Aug Altoona Smokin’ Adam Frazier bobblehead
10-Aug Potomac Field of Dreams 30th Anniversary Night John Kinsella Bobblehead
10-Aug Scranton/WB Aaron Judge
10-Aug Orioles Dashboard Hula Bird
10-Aug Marlins José Ureña
11-Aug Richmond Miniature Horse Bobblehead
11-Aug Brewers Josh Hader
15-Aug Rangers Isiah Kiner-Falefa hula statue (special ticket required)
16-Aug Richmond Copa de la Diversión Lucha Nutzy Bobblehead
16-Aug Reds Grateful Dead Dancing Bear Bobblehead (special ticket required)
17-Aug Royals Vintage Bobblehead
17-Aug Rays Willy Adames
17-Aug Rangers The Perfect Game” Kenny Rogers Bobblehead (Perfect Game 2 of 2)
17-Aug Reds Johnny Bench 150 Series Bobblehead
17-Aug Nationals Patrick Corbin
18-Aug Reading Charlie Manuel World Series Trophy Bobblehead
18-Aug Phillies Aaron Nola
19-Aug Portland Andrew Benintendi
20-Aug Cardinals Will Clark (special ticket required)
22-Aug Dodgers Bobblehead TBA
23-Aug Potomac Mini Northwest Federal Field at Pfitzner Replica Stadium
24-Aug Akron Kevin Malone (“The Office”) bobble chili
24-Aug Potomac Victor Robles #1 Nats Prospect Bobblehead
24-Aug Syracuse Ms. Salt Potato Bobblehead
24-Aug Indians Sandy Alomar
24-Aug Twins Joe Mauer bobblehead #3
24-Aug Marlins Billy The Marlin
25-Aug Brewers Yasmani Grandal
26-Aug Giants Jean-Lou Picard Bobblehead (Star Trek Night special ticket required)
29-Aug Giants Oversized Hello Kitty Bobblehead (special ticket required)
30-Aug Yankees Gleyber Torres
30-Aug Braves Freddie Freeman Funko POP! Figure
31-Aug Akron Fan Vote Bobblehead
31-Aug Richmond Lifesize Nutzy Gnome Giveaway
31-Aug Hagerstown Mystery Bobblehead Night
31-Aug Scranton/WB Gary Sanchez
31-Aug Rangers “First Odor Stormtrooper” Bobblehead (Star Wars night special ticket required)
31-Aug Giants Peanuts Snoopy & Woodstock Desktop Collectible (special ticket required)
31-Aug Giants Peanuts Woodstock Bobblehead

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



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

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 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