Tag Archives: New York Yankees

R.I.P., Mr. Perfect Game

Don Larsen pitched one whale of a Major League Baseball game back on Oct. 8, 1956.

He was throwing for the New York Yankees in that year’s World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers. He threw a perfect game. Twenty-seven batters came to the plate; they made 27 outs.

It was picture perfect.

Larsen died on New Year’s Day at the age of 90. Media have reported that Larsen pitched the “only perfect game in World Series history.”

I want to put that feat into its proper perspective. Not only did he throw the only perfect game, he threw the only World Series no-hitter ā€¦ period! Do you get where I’m going with this? No-hitters themselves are worth noting, even if runners reach base on a walk, or a fielding error.

The very notion that Larsen’s feat was even more expansive than a “perfect game” is worthy of saluting as the New York Yankees legend is laid to rest.

For Yogi … it’s over


Yogi Berra once reportedly said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

Indeed, the New York Yankees legend said a lot of interesting things during his long and colorful life. Well, for the great Yankees catcher, it’s over.

Yogi died today at age 90.

50 greatest quotes

Whether he said all those goofy thing, muttered those mangled malaprops, it doesn’t really matter. He once said he didn’t say “most of the things I said.”

But let’s put this man’s life and ability into a bit of perspective, shall we?

Berra served in the Navy during World War II. One of his tours was at a place called Normandy Beach, France, where he served as a gunner’s mate on an attack transport during the invasion.

One does not draw that kind of assignment by being a numbskull.

A dozen years later, Berra was the catcher while his teammate — pitcher Don Larsen — threw a perfect game in the 1956 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Berra’s task in that historic game was to call the pitches that Larsen would throw.

Catchers generally serve asĀ a sort of surrogateĀ manager on the field of play. They are the only position players who can see the entire field on every play.

One doesn’t draw that assignment, either, by being a dummy.

Yogi Berra made a name for himself first and foremost by being a great baseball player. The other stuff, the goofy statements? He might have said some of those things.

It was part of his shtick.

If LeBron is MVP of finals even if Cavs lose … ?

Talk is now swirling a bit about whether LeBron James should be the most valuable player of the NBA Finals if his team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, loses to the Golden State Warriors.

What’s the big deal?


There’s precedent for such a thing.

Here’s two examples that come to mind off the top:

* The 1960 World Series ended with the Pittsburgh Pirates beating the New York YankeesĀ on a seventh-game, ninth-inning home run by Bill Mazeroski. The Series MVP? Yankees second baseman Bobby Richardson.

* Super Bowl V was won by the Baltimore Colts on a field goal by Jim O’Brien. The MVP of that game? Dallas Cowboys linebacker Chuck Howley.

There might be other examples.

LeBron James has played his guts out. He’s scored a ton of points. If it goes to the Warriors, he would have earned the MVP — no matter what.


A-Rod will get no love for passing 'Say Hey'

Alex Rodriguez is just a handful of home runs away from passing a true baseball legend’s career homer mark.

That would be Willie Mays, who finished his storied career with 660 home runs. A-Rod is just a few dingers away from that mark. The Say Hey Kid’s godson, Barry Bonds, cannot figure out why so little attention will be paid to A-Rod when he passes Mays’s mark.


I think I know why, Barry.

It’s because Rodriguez cheated to get as many home runs as he has hit, just like Bonds did.

A-RodĀ has admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs. He served a season-long suspension in 2014. He’s come back to the New York Yankees to resume his climb up the career home run leader board.

Bonds, of course, hit more home runs than anyone else. You’ll have to excuse this bit of petulance, but I still consider Henry Aaron to be the home run king, even though he hit 755 home runs compared to Bonds’s 762. Aaron didn’t cheat the way Bonds did. Thus, he’s still the Home Run King in my book.

As for A-Rod, it’s always been about him. He’s not a good teammate and his fellow Yankees know that about him.

The Yankees are planning no celebration when A-Rod passes Mays.

Why no love for A-Rod, Barry? It’s because he hasn’t earned it.

A-Rod set to return; good luck with the circus

Baseball fan that I continue to be — despite the game’s many steroid-induced blemishes andĀ embarrassments — I await the return of a guy I once hoped would become the next all-time home run leader.

Not any longer do I wish that for Alex Rodriguez.


The New York Yankees slugger is coming back from a season-long suspension for using performance enhancing drugs. Today he issued a hand-written apology of sorts to baseball fans. As USA Today reported, the lack of a press conference and all the hoopla surrounding it might have been the smartest thing A-Rod has done in years.

One of the things I’m waiting to see is how the Yankees receive A-Rod in the clubhouse.

The Captain, Derek Jeter, has retired. The Yankees were Jeter’s team, even as A-Rod arrived years ago amid considerable fanfare and hype. He was thought to be the next great Yankee slugger — following in the steps of The Babe, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle.

Yes, he put up some big numbers. Then came the suspicion about his use of PEDs. After that came the results of a probe, then the suspension and then the confession. Today the apology arrived.

Spring training is about to begin and my sense is that the Yankees aren’t going to welcome A-Rod back with any inflated enthusiasm.

You see, unlike some of the great Yankees of the past — and I have Mantle and Jeter in mind when I say this — A-Rod never has been a great teammate. He’s not the kind of superstar who takes younger players under his wing, mentors them, or befriends the utility infielder just called up from the minor leagues —Ā as TheĀ Mick used to do when he was hittingĀ jaw-dropping home run blastsĀ more than 50 years ago.

I, for one, once rooted for A-Rod to break the home run record set by another PED-tainted ballplayer, Barry Bonds. For that matter, I still consider Henry Aaron to be the all-time HR king.

Rodriguez enters this season with 654 home runs. He needs 109 more to pass Bonds. He’s also 39 years of age. Do the math. He isn’t likely to get to 763 home runs.

Too bad for that.

Still, his return will be worth watching. If only I couldĀ cheerĀ A-Rod back to the game many of us still love to watch.


Jeter gets monumental sendoff

Derek Jeter’s sendoff as he ends his 20-year career playing baseball for the New York Yankees has been something to behold.

Yes, he’s had a stellar career and yes, he’s been a model of decorum off the field.

The first element is worthy of praise. The second element is what has triggered the media love affair with the Yankees’ captain.


Think about this for a moment.

The public has been bombarded with an incessant downpour of bad news about high-profile athletes. Wife-beating. Child abuse. Drug abuse. Drunken driving. Carousing. Fights in bars. It’s been going on for years.

Then we have this story about Derek Jeter, a young man from Kalamazoo, Mich., who at one time thought about enrolling in the University of Michigan. Then fate came calling. The Yankees drafted him and he went to The Big Apple to play shortstop for the most storied franchise in all of sports — not just baseball.

Now as his career is drawing to a close, the media are looking back on his career with a fondness that seems as much an appreciation for the man he has become as for the skill he brought to the game.

Jeter is now being mentioned in the same breath as Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle — the Four Horsemen of Yankee greatness. I suppose Jeter’s career stats would put him in that category no matter what.

The backdrop of all this pro athlete misbehavior, though, has helped stimulate the affection of a nation that is now saying “so long” to The Captain.

Jeter has joined ranks of all-time Yankee greats

Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle.

Those four men, in order, became the respective faces of the New York Yankees, without question the most storied franchise in Major League Baseball and arguably the most storied, revered and hated franchise in all of professional sports.

Let’s add another name that list of all-timers: Derek Jeter.

Jeter, the Yankees’ shortstop for the past two decades, has announced he will retire at the end of the upcoming season.


He’s going out on top, on his terms, with his head held high and proud and with his standing intact as one of the game’s greatest players.

Think about the four men whose ranks he’s already joined. Ruth didn’t play his entire career in New York; he started out as a pitcher with the Boston Red Sox, had his greatest years as a Yankee, then was traded to the Boston Braves. Still, does anyone doubt he belongs as the charter member of the Yankee pantheon? Hardly. Gehrig played his entire career with the Yankees, alongside both Ruth and DiMaggio, who came along near the end of the Iron Horse’s stellar career. DiMaggio fashioned his own standing among the Yankee greats over 15 seasons. Then came the Mick — the guy I grew up watching. He was star-crossed, injury-riddled, but still managed a career that would be the envy of virtually every player who’s ever suited up.

Derek Jeter’s career numbers already reflect stratospheric status in hits, games played, at-bats, runs scored.

And he did it all with class and grace, becoming the Yankees’ captain and the go-to guy in the clubhouse.

Pretenders would come along to become the next great Yankee hitter, only to fall short. Alex Rodriguez, the disgraced third baseman who’s going to sit out the 2014 season as punishment for his use of performance enhancing drugs, has more home runs over his career. He’s now been sent to the sidelines, possibly never to return to the game. Let’s not forget that relief pitching ace Mariano Rivera retired at the end of the 2013 season and he, just like Jeter, is headed for the Hall of Fame.

All that said, Jeter will get to take the bows on his own, without the shadow of his cheating teammate — A-Rod — looming in the background.

That, too, is as it should be.

MLB right to suspend Dempster

I am no fan of Alex Rodriguez, the New York Yankees slugger facing a huge suspension for taking illegal drugs.

However, Major League Baseball at least acted symbolically by suspending Boston Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster for throwing at A-Rod during a recent game. Rodriguez is quite unpopular among his fellow athletes, given the evidence that suggests he took performance-enhancing drugs after saying he had quit taking them. He didn’t deserve to be thrown at by Dempster.


A major rhubarb erupted when Dempster plunked A-Rod. The ump tossed Yankee manager Joe Girardi out of the game. He should have tossed Dempster too, but didn’t.

This A-Rod saga is starting to take some nasty turns. A-Rod’s lawyer is showing up on news talk shows to plead his client’s case. Word has leaked out that Rodriguez’s posse leaked information about other players cheating to MLB’s commissioner, which might be why Dempster threw at Rodriguez.

A-Rod has appealed the suspension and can play ball while the appeal runs its course. I’m only hoping now that this case can get resolved soon. No one — not even Rodriguez — deserves to put himself in harm’s way while he plays the Grand Old Game.