He has been and always will be my hero…
It has been that long since the great Lou Gehrig departed this universe. Yet, his legacy still burns brightly and strongly throughout the world. He made a difference on and off the field and his model has continued to set the example for others to live their lives.
June 2, 1941. I will always remember it as well as August 2, 1979 even if I was only alive for one of those tragic days. 1941 was not a good year for the country nor was it a particularly good year for my family. My dad’s brother, then 21, died while moving out of his mother’s house after she had “evicted” him when she learned that he had secretly married. My uncle didn’t carve a life or legacy that others outside of the immediate family will remember, but he strived to be the man that Lou Gehrig. But like so many, we fail miserably.
Gehrig continues to be my all-time favorite Yankee. Mariano Rivera has long been my favorite current Yankee, but even he will have to take the bench when compared to Gehrig. Sorry Mo, I know you are the man that Gehrig was but there is only room for one at the top.
I’ve been a baseball fan since I was about 5 or 6 and read a book about Lou Gehrig. It was his story that propelled my interest in baseball. I didn’t become a Yankees fan because of him (I owe that to Catfish Hunter) but I would have never been a Catfish Hunter fan if not for Gehrig. So, I fully understand that the core root of my love of baseball and the Yankees lies solely with the Iron Horse.
Lou, I miss you even if I didn’t have the opportunity to meet you. My world is better because you were in it, and I thank you for simply being you.
The Ice Man Cometh…
I have to admit that I was/am a bit concerned about Mark Teixeira’s late start to the season. Granted, he hit a grand slam in tonight’s win over the Cleveland Indians, but he is a notoriously slow starter. To start slow at the beginning of June is not good. Tex needs to hit the ground running. I can only hope that the grand slam will propel him forward and bypass the usual ice freeze that starts any Teixeira season. I feel bad for Lyle Overbay. He’s done everything asked of him, and he has won a few games with his bat. Now, he takes the back seat to Teixeira which, given the aforementioned history of slow starts, might not be a move for the better…at least in the short run.
As much as I want the return of the other injured players, I still do not want the return of Alex Rodriguez. I have never dreaded seeing a player put on pinstripes as much as I do him. Well, maybe Ed Whitson or Carl Pavano, but as for as $30 million a year players go, I’d rather see A-Rod elsewhere.
If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all…
I am still making bets with Julia of the former MLBlog’s Julia Rants. The latest bet, thanks to the Yankees series failure, has me sporting a picture of Carl Yastrzemski as my profile pic on FaceBook for a week. Sometimes, I just wish the Yankees would come through for me on these bets! I am getting tired of getting the short straw…
Oh well, it’s June and we’ve moved past the start of the season. The Yanks need to shake off the doldrums of getting swept by the New York Mets and the series loss to the Red Sox to propel themselves to a 10-game win streak to regain some momentum…
Let’s go, Guys, we can do this!
It was all looking good until Yankees first baseman Juan Miranda botched a potential double-play throw in the second inning, which subsequently allowed six unearned runs to score.
At the time, the Yankees-Red Sox game was tied at 1-1 due to a home run by Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell earlier in the inning.
Ask me how much I wish Mark Teixeira had been in the line-up last night.
Nevertheless, a bet is a bet and Julia of Julia’s Rants was the victor! So, here is the first part of a four-part series about Boston Red Sox players (past and present).
THE GREAT TED WILLIAMS
Ted Williams was a great baseball player.
Whew! That was easy. Just three more of these and I’ll be finished! Life is good…
You mean that’s not quite good enough? Bummer. Well, here goes…
Before I get started, I need to check on my lunch…
Crow and Mushroom Stew
1 Tbsp lard/shortening
1 pint stock or gravy
2 Tbsp cream
1/2 cup mushrooms
salt and pepper
Clean and cut crows into small portions and let them cook a short time in the lard/shortening in a saucepan, being careful not to brown them. Next, add to the contents of the pan, the stock or gravy, and salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. Simmer 1 hour, or until tender, add mushrooms, simmer 10 minutes more and then stir in cream. Arrange the mushrooms around the crows on a hot platter.
Yum, I can’t wait…
Okay, before I get started, who should I write about? Let me see. I could write about George Herman Ruth. He was a Red Sox once, right? He contributed significantly to the Red Sox World Championships of 1916 and 1918.
Oh, there was something about Harry Frazee financing the play ‘No, No Nanette’ in 1923 and he needed some cash, so I guess that won’t work.
I could write about David Wells or perhaps David Cone…
I know a thing or two about those guys…
Somehow, I don’t think Julia is going to let me get away that easy.
In the spirit of fair play, since this blog is temporarily on loan to the Red Sox Nation, I think I will go with Carl Yastrzemski for the first blog…
THE PERFECT PLAYER
In 1967, Carl Yastrzemski won the American League MVP in a near unanimous vote (missing by a single vote). He won the Triple Crown (.326, 44, 121). He also led the AL in runs, 112; hits, 189; total bases, 360; runs produced, 189; OBP, .421; and SA, .622.
1967 was a remarkable year for Yaz but where did he come from?
Carl Michael Yastrzemski was born in Southhamption, Long Island on August 22, 1939. He grew up in Bridgehampton, Long Island, as the son of a potato farmer. After high school, Yaz went to Notre Dame on a baseball and basketball scholarship, but was signed by the Boston Red Sox in 1958 during his first year of college.
At age 21, he joined the Red Sox in 1961. He inherited left field, a spot that had been occupied by the legendary Ted Williams for the previous two decades.
Yaz hit for average almost from the start, winning the 1963 batting title with .321 average. He also led the AL with doubles and walks that year. The power was slower to develop. For his first six years, his season high for home runs was 20 in 1965. Surely, the shadow of Williams and the surrounding cast of losing players had an impact on Yaz, but the tide was about to turn.
After a losing season in 1966, Dick Williams was hired as the Red Sox manager. The experts expected another losing season in Boston. In fact, the Las Vegas oddsmakers had the Red Sox at 100-1.
With Yaz leading the way, the Red Sox were entrenched in perhaps the wildest pennant race in AL history. Four teams (including Minnesota, Detroit, and Chicago) battled it out throughout the summer, separated by only a few games.
Game after game, Yaz consistently came up with the key hit or catch, or baserunning play, to help Boston win. He was on fire during the stretch run, and batted .523 over the final 12 games of the season. In the season’s final two games against Minnesota, with the Red Sox trailing the Twins by one game, Yaz went 7-for-8 with 5 runs batted in as the Red Sox won both games to win the pennant in the season known as the “Impossible Dream”.
The Red Sox subsequently lost the World Series in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals. But 1967 will always be known as “The Year of the Yaz”.
During his 23-year career, Yaz finished with:
· 7 Gold Gloves
· 3,419 hits
· 1,844 RBI
· 452 Home Runs
· 3,308 Games Played
Yaz was the first Boston player I was aware of growing up. He wore a Red Sox uniform for his entire major league career, and his number, 8, was retired upon his selection for the Hall of Fame. I didn’t see the early years, but from my perspective, Yaz played the game the right way and he set a standard that is difficult for many to achieve (not just the game of baseball, but the game of life as well).
“And if I have my choice between a pennant and a triple crown, I’ll take the pennant every time.”
— Carl Yastrzemski
I received this notice regarding my Yankees Fan Membership from the She-Fan, Jane Heller, this morning…
Maybe she’ll renew my membership next month if I can defeat Julia in the April 24th to 26th series between the Yankees and Red Sox…
I wonder if lunch is ready…