Number One

Number One
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A clutch hitter and a clutch fielder, click on image for Bobby Doerr's Stats on the Baseball Almanac.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

still my role model at 99

Attending my first baseball game, the opening game of the season, time was about to enter into my memory when Bobby Doerr hit a triple high off the famous wall in left field.

The crowd booed the pitcher, Joe Page, who was brought in to pitch to Doerr. I wanted to know why and the adult who brought me said he hit Doerr with a pitch last season. Known as a outstanding relief pitcher, I later doubted this explanation, but at the time bought it sympathetically hook line and sinker. I was already on Bobby's side even before he bounced the reliever's pitch off the green monster and tagged up at third. I learned he was a veteran, likely approaching thirty at the time. I respected and was very sympathetic to veterans.

What a great focus for my admiration he was! When he was inducted into the baseball hall of fame I was so ecstatic I thought I was in the hall myself right along with him. Enos Slaughter said that he was a person who played the game hard, but left with no enemies. Bobby turned out to be a clutch hitter who was a class act, and a fantastic fielder. His moves were so smooth and beautiful to watch, even handling a routine double play. His double plays got many a Sox pitcher, like old Rubber Arm Kinder, out of trouble.

Bobby never contested umpire's calls. He was a class act all around. I followed his batting average every single day in the papers. I loved my hero Bobby Doerr. When he retired because of a bad back my interest in the game drastically changed. At the time Bobby had more runs batted in than Ted Williams and I was going to graduate from high school.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Spahn and Sain and pray for rain

There are several instances which struck me as to the accuracy of technically exact language as against the spiritually abstract view of any event. This is highlighted in the Spahn and Sain saying often attributed to Billy Southworth of the Boston Braves when he named his starting pitchers for the next day's doubleheader.

It, if I recall inside my version, was not said by Billy at all but rather by a sports writer in his column. And, it was not worded exactly like that at all. Bottom line however, is that the final wording no matter how it arrived was better than the actual technically correct version.

This happens over and over, one could recount examples all day. So which is the best? The abstract one often seen in the distant past that creates the spiritually correct wording that far exceeds the actual recorded words? The ancient historical writers could capture the most memorable incidents several years after an event, more so than a concretely correct recording. The latter version was often cluttered with minutiae that clouded rather than providing any clear explanation of an event.

Numbers, when quoted by the ancients were not exact either. Forty meant a lot of days, not exactly forty. The spirit is always the more accurate and cutting science off from the spiritual limited the gaining of new knowledge from the previously unknown. In these later day however, there is some evidence that science and religion is coming closer. It was a blow when they separated that may be healed in future days, if there are any.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

pentulant pants crybabys

Never was comfortable with a ball player kicking sand on an umpire's shoes. You cannot play the game and be an umpire too. I never heard of Bobby contesting a call, whining and throwing a tantrum over a bad call. He was class in every department.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

running is a basic function of any sport

If you ever notice Charles Barkley running back up the court away from your vantage point, you have to notice how artfully he runs. He is moving like everyone else but with more grace. Bobby Doerr's moves were so well coordinated it was an exhilarating experience just watching him move over to scoop up a routine ground ball. Like Barkley he sort of flowed with events to connect them all together.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

five trips to the bat?

I enjoy reading about the games after they are over. To this day cannot see the rationale of attending a game. I followed the Red Sox daily, checking Bobby's averages. One of my good memories is betting a quarter Bobby would get five hits in that day's game. Next day could not contain myself. Out came the quarter! Bobby got four hits in four trips to the bat! Never tire of that story.

Monday, 1 October 2012

the sound of a Ted Williams home run

It was 1960 at the time, I even had to look it up. After all Bobby had long retired, and Ted was playing forever. It never occured to me at the time that he was 42 years old and he was batting .318 with 310 AB in 113 games. Time has a way of fooling you. I didn't even see him swing, the ball park was not packed. This is another advantage to Fenway Park experienced when it is not packed, which was somewhat common years ago. Suddenly there was a CRACK! It rung through my head, I can hear it right now, and sitting in the right field pavillion saw the ball go by me, easily seen against the green background as it travelled horizontally into the outfield and up into the lower right field stands. Well it was just another home run, he hit plenty of those. It never occured to me it would be his last year and I would ever think of it again. When Bobby Doerr went to Oregon my intense daily interest in baseball was over. Ted hit under .300 only once his entire career. His slugging percentage lifetime puts him behind Ruth and in front of Gehrig. One, two, three. 

Monday, 28 May 2012

Boston Americans 1901

Early baseball shows us, when you think about it, how impossible it is to compare different eras. Players dominate their era and then that era is gone. Cy Young, second row third from the left,  is in this photo and he dominated his era but his pitching trophy lives on. The Boston Americans changed their name to Red Sox,