Monday Baseball Motivation


File:Ernie Banks 1969.jpg“I didn’t understand anything about playing baseball. I started playing, and it was enjoyable. Most of my life, I played with older people on my team, in my league. I learned a lot about life. Every day in my life, I learned something new from somebody.”

~ Ernie Banks

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Best of the Week: 11/10/2019 – 11/16/2019


With two tweets this week, the Washington Nationals “congratulated” the NL Cy Young and MVP award winners:

~ baseballrebecca

Stat-urday, 11/16/2019


Dodgers_bellinger_2017

Cody Bellinger in 2017. Photo by Johnmaxmena2, via Wikipedia.

Earlier this week, the MVP and Cy Young awards were announced. Turns out, both Jacob deGrom and Justin Verlander won the Cy Young award for the second time in their careers. Mike Trout won his third MVP award, while Cody Bellinger won for the first time. How many other players have won these awards multiple times? Turns out, there’s been quite a few. Check out the table below.

 

MVP

Cy Young
Barry Bonds (7) Roger Clemens (7)
Yogi Berra (3) Randy Johnson (5)
Roy Campanella (3) Steve Carlton (4)
Joe DiMaggio (3) Greg Maddux (4)
Jimmie Foxx (3) Clayton Kershaw (3)
Mickey Mantle (3) Sandy Koufax (3)
Stan Musial (3) Pedro Martinez (3)
Albert Pujols (3) Jim Palmer (3)
Alex Rodriguez (3) Max Scherzer (3)
Mike Schmidt (3) Tom Seaver (3)
Mike Trout (3) Jacob deGrom (2)
Ernie Banks (2) Bob Gibson (2)
Johnny Bench (2) Tom Glavine (2)
Miguel Cabrera (2) Roy Halladay (2)
Mickey Cochrane (2) Corey Kluber (2)
Lou Gehrig (2) Tim Lincecum (2)
Juan Gonzalez (2) Denny McLain (2)
Hank Greenberg (2) Gaylord Perry (2)
Rogers Hornsby (2) Bret Saberhagen (2)
Carl Hubbell (2) Johan Santana (2)
Walter Johnson (2) Justin Verlander (2)
Roger Maris (2)
Willie Mays (2)
Joe Morgan (2)
Dale Murphy (2)
Hal Newhouser (2)
Cal Ripken Jr. (2)
Frank Robinson (2)
Frank Thomas (2)
Ted Williams (2)
Robin Yount (2)

Happy Stat-urday!

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

 

Films on Friday: MacGyver and Baseball


As I was doing my research for yesterday’s post about Hank Aaron’s cameo on MacGyver, I stumbled upon other baseball-related MacGyver and Richard Dean Anderson clips.

First, apparently during the the 1987 World Series, ABC took the opportunity to run some ads for their own shows, such as this one:

Second, although Richard Dean Anderson was one of my favorite actors in the 1980s, I had no idea he ever appeared in a baseball TV movie. The 1995 movie, “Past the Bleachers,” starred Anderson as the new coach of a Little League baseball team. The IMDB plot summary is as follows:

“Bill and his wife have recently had to live through a tragedy. When Bill decides to coach a little league baseball team, he meets a young mute boy named Lucky, who may be just what the team needs in order to win. A very mysterious child, Lucky helps heal the wounds from Bill’s past.”

Check out the promo video below:

I’ll definitely have to find this one and have a post-baseball season film fest one of these days!

Happy Friday!

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

That Time Hank Aaron Was On “MacGyver”


IMG_4085The other day I was watching “MacGyver” on H&I and was surprised to see Hank Aaron make a guest appearance. I had no idea my favorite player had been on my favorite show!

The episode, “Back from the Dead,” originally aired on October 5, 1987. The episode featured Joe Santos as Jimmy Kendal, a former mob informant now in the witness protection program with a new identity as a minor league baseball manager. With the team getting ready for the playoffs, Santos’ character brings in a professional ballplayer to help the team prepare for the competition. Hank Aaron trots out to the field to face the young pitcher, who, after a pep talk from Santos, strikes him out.

Check out the promo below:

 

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

Players Born in Russia


Image result for victor coleYesterday, I told the story of Victor Starrfin, who was born in Russia, moved to Japan as a child, and became the first 300-game winner in Japanese professional baseball. While I was unable to determine how many Russian-born players have played in Japan, the list of Russian-born players in Major League Baseball is rather short. So far, there have been eight players who were born in Russia or the former Soviet Union. (Check out the list below.)

The most recent to play was Victor Cole, who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1992. Cole’s mother is from Russia; his father is from Sierra Leone. The family moved to the U.S. when Cole was four. He played baseball at Santa Clara University, and was drafted by the Royals in 1988. After one season with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Cole played in the Brewers, Padres, Cubs, and Cardinals’ organizations. He also played in the Taiwan Major League and the Korea Baseball Organization. In 2003 and 2007, he played for the Russia national baseball team. His son, Victor Cole, Jr., currently plays baseball for Liberty University.

If Phillies’ minor leaguer Anton Kuznetsov gets the call up, he’ll be the ninth player born in Russia to make it to the Major Leagues, and the first to also have grown up in Russia. Kuznetsov was born in 1998 in Moscow. He spent the 2018 and 2019 seasons in short-season A with the Williamsport Crosscutters.

~ baseballrebecca

 

MLB Players Born in Russia

Player Birthplace Years Played Team(s)
Jake Gettman Frank, Russian Federation 1897-99 Washington Senators
Jake Livingstone St. Petersburg, Russian Fed. 1901 New York Giants
Bill Cristall Odessa, Russian Federation 1901 Cleveland Blues
Eddie Ainsmith Russian Federation 1910-24 Washington Senators, Detroit Tigers, St. Louis Cardinals, Brooklyn Robins, New York Giants
Rube Schauer Kamenka, Russian Federation 1913-17 New York Giants, Philadelphia A’s
Reuben Ewing Odessa, Russian Federation 1921 St. Louis Cardinals
Izzy Goldstein Odessa, Russian Federation 1932 Detroit Tigers
Victor Cole Leningrad, Russian Federation 1992 Pittsburgh Pirates

 

 

 

White Russians, Siberia, and Japanese Baseball


File:791px-Victor Starffin.jpg

Victor Starrfin, ca. 1955 (photo courtesy of Baseball Reference)

Eighty years ago today, a Japanese Professional Baseball League pitcher won his 42nd game of the season – a season of 96 games! Victor Starrfin played for the Yomiuri Giants, leading them to the pennant that year. Starrfin was also Japanese baseball’s first 300-game winner.

Starrfin was born as Viktor Konstantinovich Starukhin in Russia in 1916. The tale of his family’s flight from Russia to Japan is full of intrigue and, quite likely, exaggeration. Basically, however, Starrfin’s father, Konstantine Fedrovich Starukhin, was part of the pre-World War I aristocracy in Russia. Konstantine had attended a prestigious Russian military academy earning him a post in the army. During the Russian revolution, Konstantine sided with the White Russians supporting the czar. After Czar Nicholas II’s defeat and abdication, Konstantine sent his wife and son to stay with friends in Siberia where he eventually joined them. The family later fled to northeastern China and after several years finally received the appropriate documentation to immigrate to Japan.

It was in Japan that Victor went to school where he excelled in baseball. According to Peter Bjarkman, despite the backdrop of racism in Japan at the time, “Starffin’s status as an ethnic ‘outsider’ seemed to take a back seat to his unrivaled achievements as one of the game’s most popular pioneering heroes. His blond hair, blue eyes, and towering frame seemed more charming and engaging than frightening or culturally insulting, and his bulky size and resulting overpowering fastballs were seen primarily as exotic assets for a Tokyo Giants team that already claimed the nation’s widest fandom.” (Read more of the story by Peter C. Bjarkman on the SABR website.)

Starrfin began his professional career in 1936 with Tokyo Kyojin (who would later become the Yomiuri Giants); his final season for the Tombo Unions of the Japan Pacific League in 1955. His career ERA was 2.09 and his lifetime record was 303-177. Sadly, he passed away in 1957 as the result of a drunk driving accident.

~ baseballrebecca