Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pauly Deserved A Hof Induction, Pauly Got A HoF Induction 1/30/13

Hey baseball fans!

I have no idea why I haven't blogged about this guy in the past. Why do I say that? Only because he is my favorite American League player in the history of baseball! I'll give you a hint: he hit for average, was named 1993 World Series MVP, and "ignited" his team every time they were in trouble. If you haven't guessed yet, his name is Paul Molitor.

Paul "The Ignitor" Molitor's career with the Brew Crew, Jays, and Twins from '78-'98 can be summarized in one word: hitting. The seven-time All-Star batted .300 or better in 12 seasons, giving him a career BA of .306. He was also speedy on the base paths, stealing 504 career bases. Actually, speaking of speed, Paul is the only player in history to have his 3,000th hit be a triple.

Molitor got a record five base hits for the city of Milwaukee in Game 1 of the 1982 World Series against the Cards, a series they would sadly lose 4-3. Jubilantly, Molitor earned World Series MVP honors for Toronto in 1993. Joe Carter may have "touched 'em all", but it was Paul with a .500 batting average and 12 base hits that helped the Blue Jays win their second consecutive Fall Classic. Molitor totaled 3,319 hits in his career, good for eighth on the all-time list. That's why he's my favorite player in AL history.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Kid Blogger Interviews Brewers Owner Mark Attanasio 1/27/13

Hey baseball fans!

I have yet another interview for you! This time, it is with Milwaukee Brewers owner, Mark Attanasio! He was a really interesting guy and a fun person to interview. We spoke for over an hour!! And the Brewers happen to be my favorite National League team!! Anyway, in case you didn't know much about him, here's a little bio on Mark:

Attanasio, a Bronx, New York native from the '50s, is a Los Angles-based investment manager. In September 2004, he reached a deal to buy the Milwaukee Brewers from the Selig family. The deal was approved by MLB at the winter meetings on January 13, 2005. He graduated from Brown University in 1979. In 1982, he graduated from Columbia Law School. He founded Crescent Capital Partners in 1991 which is now part of TCW. In 2001, Attanasio became part of the board of directors at the company, Global Crossing. He also has his own bobblehead! Well, that's basically all you need to know about him before the interview, so let's get right to the interview.

Matt: What sports did you play as a kid?
Mark: As a kid growing up in the sixties, you played all sports. Me personally, I played the four major American sports, and then the school lot sports like stickball, punchball and ringolevio (see picture below and here's a link to the actual rules).

Matt: What sports did you watch as a kid?
Mark: I watched baseball, football, basketball, and hockey. The Olympics wasn't on really when I was a kid, but in the '70s, I remember watching them.

Matt: Considering you are from the Bronx, were you a Yankees fan growing up? What’s your favorite MLB memory from when you were a kid?
Mark: I was a pretty big Yankees fan as a kid. My favorite MLB moment as a kid was when I went to the Yankees' 1966 Opening Day game. I sat right next to the bullpen, where I could see Al Downing (the pitcher who gave up number 715 to Hank Aaron about a decade later). The Yankees lost that game to the Tigers, 2-1.

Matt: What is your favorite Brewers moment in the team’s history?
Mark: I think it would have to be when Nyjer Morgan won the 2011 NLDS for us against the D-backs. I was sitting in the from row of that game and as soon as Carlos Gomez scored, I went ballistic. I actually ran onto the field and jumped on Gomez's back. It was pretty funny.

Matt: Who are your favorite non-Brewers players in baseball history?
Mark: Mickey Mantle, Roberto Clemente, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Harmon Killebrew.

Matt: How did you feel when the Brew Crew moved to the NL in 1998? Since Milwaukee fans have the experience of once having had a team with a DH and now they don’t, do you think the fans have a preference?
Mark: It was very important in team history, but I don't remember because I was so in love with the Yankees at the time and the Brewers weren't doing so well. When I became the owner of the Brewers, I got a lot of requests, like to bring back the old uniforms (see below picture), but I don't recall anyone wanting to bring back the DH to Milwaukee.

Matt: What inspired you to buy the Brewers?
Mark: It was always a dream of mine to own an MLB team. I remember back in school when I would always say that. When the team was up for sale, they wanted additional investors, so that's how I got involved. Eventually, I paid the most money and got the team.

Matt: Have you ever tried to grow a Rollie Fingers mustache?
Mark: That's a pretty funny question, but I have never been good with facial hair. Growing out mustaches has always been troublesome for me. [Note from Matt: Here's my post about the best facial hair in the Hall of Fame.]

Matt: Do you have any suggestions on how to increase baseball history awareness among the younger generation of fans today?
Mark: There's no better way to promote baseball history than the way you are doing it. That's the way it should be done.

Matt: Can you tell us a little about the Heal the Bay charity that you are involved with?
Mark: It's a charity that helps clean up the pollution out of the California water bodies. It's good for health awareness and I think it's an important thing to do. [Note from Matt: Here's the link to the charity. Check it out.  It's really great!]

Matt: Do you ever play with the bobblehead doll they made of you?
Mark: I have one, but I don't know where it is. The funny thing about it is for my 50th birthday, the Brewers made me a bobblehead of myself. They had extras so they were sold on Ebay. They sold for like $400 each! I couldn't believe it.

Well, that's the interview. I really hope you had as much fun reading it as I had conducting it. Thanks so much to Mark for letting me interview him!! He's a great guy! And a special shout-out to my dad's superstar friend, Nathan Romano, for introducing me to Mark.  Thanks for reading!

P. S. I'm thinking of a cool catchphrase that I should say after every post, What do you think it should be? Leave a comment for your idea.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Sophomore of the Year Award 1/23/13

Hey baseball fans!

Today's blog is about a very interesting award that was only around in the 1950s. It isn't really that well-known, but if you read my Frank Malzone interview, you should know that he won the Sophomore of the Year Award.

The Sophomore of the Year Award was created in 1953. It was awarded to the best sophomore in each league. In the ten years of its existence, six Hall of Famers were given the award: Eddie Mathews,  Al Kaline, Ernie Banks, Frank Robinson, Orlando Cepeda and Ron Santo. Another player famous for winning the Sophomore of the Year Award was (as I implied before) Frank Malzone. Among others to win the award that you might be familiar with are Herb Score and Willie Davis. There are four players who won the Rookie of the Year as well as the Sophomore of the Year: Harvey Kuenn, Score, Robinson and Cepeda. Sadly, the award was discontinued starting with the 1963 season.

So, what can we learn from this? Some things should be remembered even though they aren't here anymore. Do you know who Old Hoss Radbourn is? You probably don't (unless you checked out my post about the greatest pitchers you've never heard of). So, remember, just because you don't know something, doesn't mean it wasn't great.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed this post. Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 21, 2013

An Interview with the "Quad"-caster, Kenny Albert 1/21/13

Hey baseball fans!

Today, I have another interview for you! Guess who it's with: Kenny Albert!!!! You may have heard of his dad, Marv, but in case you haven't heard of the super-busy, multi-talented Voice of the New York Knicks Jr., let me tell you a little bit about him.

Kenny is the broadcaster for the New York Rangers, as well as a play-by-play announcer and field-level reporter for Fox in baseball and the NFL. He has done work for NBC's Olympics coverage, as a play-by-play announcer for men's and women's ice hockey at the last three Winter Olympics. He used to be the announcer for the Washington Capitals and Wizards and was a part-time announcer for the Washington Nationals in 2005, their first year of existence. Also, Albert is a substitute play-by-play announcer for New York Knicks games. In other words, Albert is the only current announcer to broadcast all four major sports in the U. S.!!! I say that is pretty impressive. In fact, in four days, he called the play-by-play of a Vikings game against the Steelers on Fox and then hosted the New York Yankees' locker room celebration after clinching the American League Championship Series that night. The next night he broadcasted a Rangers game on radio and the next day he called the play-by-play of the New York Knicks season opener. That's even more impressive!!! Anyway, before I give away Kenny's entire life story, let's get to the interview:

Matt: It seems that hockey was the first sport you were into as a kid. When did you get into baseball?
Kenny: I loved all sports as a youngster. I played hockey, basketball, baseball and tennis. I followed all of the major sports. I watched (and listened to on the radio) as many games as I could, and also kept scrapbooks, and box score books for all my favorite teams.

Matt: Who was your favorite baseball player growing up and all time?
Kenny: I was a Yankee fan while growing up during the 1970s. Among my favorites were Thurman Munson and Reggie Jackson. As a professional broadcaster, there are many players I have admired. It has been an honor and privilege to call games involving some of the greatest players of all-time over the last two decades. Among my greatest baseball memories are attending Ron Guidry's 18-strikeout game, as well as Cal Ripken's record breaking game in 1995, when he broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive games played streak at 2,131 games; and working as the sideline reporter for FOX during the 2003 and 2004 ALCS' between the Yankees and Red Sox.

Matt: What baseball team did you root for as a kid?
Kenny: The Yankees. I also attended a lot of Mets games during the mid-1980's, including their 1986 Championship season.

Matt: If you were able to call any one World Series game in baseball history, which one would it be and why?
Kenny: Don Larsen's perfect game in 1956 or Reggie Jackson's 3 HR game against the Dodgers. (A note from Matt: The game in which Reggie cracked out 3 homers was Game Six of the 1977 World Series at Yankee Stadium against LA. New York clinched the Series that night and Jackson won MVP.)

Matt: What sports did you play as a kid and which do you play now?
Kenny: I played all sports as a kid. I played on my "club" hockey teams in high school (Schreiber HS in Port Washington, NY) and college (NYU). I still play hockey these days (although I haven't played often over the past year) and enjoy playing tennis.

Matt: Since you do so much broadcasting, how do you keep your voice strong?
Kenny: I really have no "tricks". I have been very fortunate; I have only missed one assignment during my career due to a voice issue - a hockey game in 1996. I feel getting enough sleep during busy times is a major factor. I worked 8 NHL playoff games in a 10 day span during the 2012 playoffs, and fortunately did not have any voice problems. One of those games went into triple overtime! (Another note from Matt: In case you didn't know it, the NHL playoffs are called the Stanley Cup playoffs.)

Matt: What do you think should be done to increase baseball history awareness among kids today?
Kenny: There are so many resources out there: books, magazines, newspapers, and the Internet. If kids are interested in the history of baseball, they can find the information somehow.

Matt: Do you have any suggestions for kids who want to be broadcasters in the future?
Kenny: Get as much experience as possible, whether at high school or college radio and TV stations, internships or writing for a school newspaper. Preparation is another key. You can never be over-prepared for a broadcast. Take a tape recorder to a high school, college or minor league game and do an actual broadcast. Getting reps is the best experience you could ask for.

Well, that's the interview. I really want to thank Kenny for agreeing to let me interview him. Also, I wish him an early happy birthday, which is coming up on February 2nd. So, if you see him around, wish him a happy birthday (and feel free to tell him that Baseball with Matt reminded you). Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this interview. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

ML"what would"B: What if the 1994 MLB Strike Had Never Happened? 1/19/13

Hey baseball fans!

I just put up another ML"what would"B post on More Than a Fan. In every ML"what would"B alternative history post, I discuss what would have happened if a famous event in baseball history had gone differently than it did in reality. For my latest post, I wondered what would have happened if the 1994 baseball strike had never taken place. If you want to know the answer, just click here

Thanks, as always, for reading!!

Friday, January 18, 2013

My 100th Post and My First On Air Interview 1/18/13

Hey baseball fans!

Today happens to be my 100th blog post, since I first started my blog back in April 2012.  I would like to thank all of my readers who have continued to encourage me to write my blog.  Well, in honor of the big 100, I have a fun treat for you: the first time I've ever given a live interview!!  I was interviewed on Thursday night by Jinx Grand of JG Sports Talk (a sports web site pod cast) about my 2013 MLB predictions.

While the interview wasn't my usual baseball history stuff, it was a ton of fun and I did have to know some baseball history (from last season) in order to make my predictions.  So, I think that's okay.

Anyway, if you want to hear my interview with Jinx, just click here and fast forward to hour 1:26 on the audio.  Hope you like it. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Whitey is Mighty 1/15/13

Hey baseball fans!

Today's post is about one of my favorite players of all time. He is one of the only Yankee pitchers in the Hall of Fame, and he is considered one of the greatest clutch pitchers of all time. Ladies and gentleman, Whitey Ford!

Edward "Whitey" Ford was the best pitcher on the great Yankees teams from 1950 to 1967, earning him the nickname "The Chairman of the Board". He was really good buddies with Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle.  Whitey was AL Rookie of the Year in 1950.  The southpaw's record of 236-106 gives him the best winning percentage (.690) of any 20th-century pitcher! And his ERA was only 2.75.  He would've had a bunch more wins, except that he was in the military for the 1951 and 1952 seasons in the Korean War. He led the AL in wins in three seasons and in ERA and shutouts twice. He was an eight time All Star.

The 1961 Cy Young Award and World Series MVP Award winner still holds many World Series records, including 10 wins and 94 strikeouts, once pitching 33 consecutive scoreless innings in the Fall Classic, breaking Babe Ruth's record for most consecutive scoreless innings pitched.

Whitey was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1974. That's why I say Whitey is mighty!!

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

An Interview with Red Sox Legend Frank Malzone 1/12/13

Hey baseball fans!

I have another fun interview for you today. This one is with Red Sox third base legend... Frank Malzone! I know that he's not the most talked about person in baseball history, but he was really good in the 1950s and '60s. Because he's not that well known, let me tell you a little bit about him.

The Bronx-born Malzone (yes, he was born in the Bronx, but played for the Sox) played for the Red Sox and Angels from 1955-1966. The third baseman hit .274 lifetime with 133 homers and 728 RBIs. The eight-time All Star is famous for winning the first Gold Glove for a third baseman in history in 1957. He won the next two Gold Gloves for third base as well (and then Brooks Robinson came along). He is also famous for winning the Sophomore of the Year Award in 1957 (the award was started in 1952 and was discontinued in 1962). That's basically all you need to know about Frank before reading the interview, so let's get right to it.

Matt: Which pitcher was the hardest to hit against for you?
Frank: Jim Bunning was always a very consistently good pitcher. You had to work a little bit harder against him at the plate than against anyone else.

Matt: You played with two players who won the Triple Crown during their careers, Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski. Did their style of play influence how you approached the game?
Frank: I just played the game as hard as I could and, hopefully, I made everyone happy with my accomplishments.

Matt: Was Ted Williams as exciting to watch back then as people describe him today?
Frank: He was a great ballplayer. Very electrifying. It was also very fun to watch him. He was pretty smart, too. He could talk baseball forever.

Matt: Did winning the first Gold Glove for a third baseman in history mean a lot to you?
Frank: I didn't really appreciate it at the time. You don't really realize what you've accomplished until it really sinks in.

Matt: What do you consider your greatest MLB accomplishment?
Frank: During one of the All Star Games I played in, I faced Hall of Famer Don Drysdale of the Dodgers. I had never faced him before, but I knew he pitched fast and hard. So, what's the first pitch he throws at me? A hanging curveball. I hit it right out of the park. So, hitting a homer against Don Drysdale would have to be my greatest achievement in the my MLB career.

Matt: Was it a pain to face the Yankees back in the day or was it fun and exciting?
Frank: I think it was exciting because I got to visit my hometown sometimes. We didn't always beat them, but it was pretty fun.

Matt: What did you think about the Curse of the Bambino?
Frank: I think it made the fans go nuts, seeing us not win a championship for 86 years. I'm just happy we eventually won one, or else the fans would hate us.

Matt: You grew up in the Bronx at the beginning of the Yankees dynasty. Were you a Yankees fan?
Frank: I wasn't a big baseball fan growing up, but if I was rooting for someone, it would've been the Yankees.

Matt: Did your Sox teammates make fun of your Bronx background?
Frank: They didn't do that kind of stuff to me.

Matt: Did you ever provide advice to Sox third baseman Wade Boggs?
Frank: He was a pretty faulty third baseman when I met him at spring training in the beginning of his career. I worked with him on some stuff and he learned it pretty quick and he became a great ballplayer.

Well, that's the interview. Frank was a very interesting and super nice guy and I really thank him for agreeing to be interviewed by me. I also want to give a special shout-out to Joe Pickering Jr., the great baseball songwriter who introduced me to Frank.  If you like baseball songs, click here to check out Joe's website.  Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the interview. And don't worry, I will be posting more frequently. I've just had a lot of schoolwork. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

My Visit to the Sports Immortals Museum 1/6/13

Hey baseball fans!

During the recent break, I went to Florida to visit my grandparents, Aron and Salome, and I visited the Sports Immortals Museum in Boca Raton, Florida. There, I got to look at 1% of the biggest collection of sports memorabilia in the world (the rest is in special storage vaults). Let me tell you, the place was super-impressive! The museum had everything from all areas of sports, from a life-size picture of the 1992 Basketball Dream Team (see the picture of me below with the Dream Team), to Muhammad Ali's boxing gloves, to Jim Thorpe's uniform. However, what I marveled at the most was, obviously, the baseball stuff. The museum is home to one of only four $2.8 million dollar Honus Wagner baseball cards in the world. It is also home to a giant baseball bat which was signed by over 50 Hall of Famers! Anyway, at the front desk, I got to meet the man who founded the museum, Joel Platt (see picture below)! He was a very nice guy. Let me tell you a little about what he did to get all the sports memorabilia.

Platt really started his collection around the time he was in high school in the '50s. From there, it evolved into him and his son going all over the United States, trying to collect as much as possible. Joel eventually started the Sports Immortals Museum which, as I said before, is located in Boca Raton, Florida. The Museum has four goals: to keep the legacy of the greats in all sports history alive, to make enshrinement as a Sports Immortal one of the great achievements in sports, to make a foundation that would help advancements in sports medicine research and related organizations, and to inspire every visitor to strive to do their best and put in as much effort in his or her life as possible.

Anyway, Joel is currently trying to get funding for a planned gargantuan super-awesome new Sports Immortals Museum. From looking at the plans, it kind of looks like a giant rocket ship. I also saw a video, and it looks like it will be really great!! Right now, Joel is negotiating with a bunch of major cities about the project. Well, I was able to get Joel to answer some questions for me and here's what he had to say:

Matt: What is the favorite baseball memento in your collection?
Joel: There are so many great items in the Sports Immortals Collection it is difficult to choose. However, I will mention two of my favorites:
- An autographed baseball dated October 1, 1932, the day Babe Ruth called his shot against the Chicago Cubs in the 1932 World Series. The baseball is signed by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, who both hit home runs that day. The ball is also signed by Arthur Fletcher, who was a coach for the New York Yankees in 1932. The ball is definitely from that game and possibly could be the ball that Ruth hit, though it would be difficult to prove. The fact that the ball was signed by Ruth and Gehrig and dated October 1, 1932 is significant. The ball came from the estate of Arthur Fletcher.
- The “Double No Hit Ball.” This was the last ball used in the double no hit game in 1917 between the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds. Both pitchers threw no hitters for nine innings (John “Hippo” Vaughan for the Cubs and Fred Toney for the Cincinnati Reds). In the 10th inning the Reds finally scored a run, winning 1-0. Jim Thorpe played right field for the Reds and drove in the winning run. Fred Toney was the winning pitcher. The ball was signed by Fred Toney with the details of the game. Years after Fred Toney died the ball was obtained for the Sports Immortals Museum from his widow.

Matt: What was the toughest baseball mementos to get and how did you get it?
Joel: The toughest mementos to get took eight years to obtain. An old time sports writer by the name of Bob Curley had written a story about Ray Chapman, the famous Cleveland Indians shortstop who died after being hit by a Carl Mays submarine pitch in 1920. Chapman is the only major league baseball player to die during a game. The Museum has the actual "death ball" and Chapman's bat.

Matt: What baseball memento do you wish you had?
Joel: In my million miles of travels to curate over one million mementos, one of the only mementos to get away was the complete uniform Lou Gehrig wore on Lou Gehrig Day. In the late 1970’s, I received a call from a college student who needed money to pay his college tuition. He told me his father had left him Gehrig’s uniform and if I was interested, he would sell it to me for $25,000.00. This was a large amount to pay in the 1970’s due to the fact that sports collectibles had not begun to be seen as having great monetary value. However, being sympathetic to his needs, I offered him $23,000.00. He hung up saying he would consider the offer. Ten minutes later I called him back to say I would send him a check for $25,000.00 when he informed me he was so sorry, but that he made a call immediately after hanging up with me and sold the uniform for $25,000.00. He said he was sorry because he really wanted me to have the uniform for the Sports Immortals Museum Collection.

Matt: Since you're such a big sports fan, who do you consider the best hitter and pitcher ever?
Joel: In response to your question about who was the greatest hitter and baseball pitcher ever, my answer would be as follows. My answers are based on my million mile journey to meet the greatest players, my interviews with former greats and personally seeing many of the greats from 1947 to the present.
-In my interviews with Satchel Paige, he stated Ted Williams and Stan Musial were two of the greatest, but the greatest hitter he ever faced or personally saw was Josh Gibson, the great Negro League catcher for the Homestead Grays. Josh was referred to as the black Babe Ruth.
-In my personal opinion, the greatest hitters of all time would include Ted Williams, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb. Roberto Clemente would get my vote as the greatest all around player for hitting and fielding. His arm was unquestionably the best and he could run like a deer. My vote for the greatest pitcher of all time would include both Satchel Paige from the Negro Leagues and Walter Johnson in the Major Leagues.  In an interview with one of Johnson’s old catchers, Eddie Ainsmith, Eddie told me that hitters used to be scared to death to face Johnson, because he could throw so hard. Once the sun went down and cast a shadow on the pitching mound area, Johnson became unhittable. Bob Feller, Warren Spahn, Sandy Koufax and Nolan Ryan are other greats that deserve mention.

Well, that's the interview. Thanks a lot to Joel Platt for being such a great host and interview. And if you're ever near Boca Raton, Florida, you should pay him a visit. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

My First Interview with a Current Player 1/3/13

Hey baseball fans!

I have yet another interview for you today! This one is pretty special, because it was the first interview I have ever have done with a current ballplayer (but I made sure that all of my questions were baseball history questions). I have just interviewed new Cubs pitcher... Edwin Jackson! You are probably wondering: who is this Edwin Jackson that I speak of? Well, let me tell you.

The German-born Jackson has been playing in the MLB since 2003 and has played with the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Rays, Nationals, Tigers, White Sox and Cardinals. He was recently signed by the Cubs because of free agency. He has a current record of 70-71. He has made one All Star Game (2009 with the Tigers) and has won one World Series (2011 with the Cardinals). He also pitched a no-hitter against the Rays when he was on the D-backs on June 25, 2010. Well, that's basically all you need to know about Edwin. So, here's the interview:

Matt: Who has been the toughest hitter you've had to face in your career?
Edwin: Probably Barry Bonds.

Matt: Do you let anyone wear your 2011 World Series ring?
Edwin: No. I don't even wear it much myself.

Matt: Who's your favorite player of all time?
Edwin: I grew up in Georgia, so it would be Andruw Jones and Chipper Jones (no relation).

Matt: If you were able to travel back in time to any point in baseball history, which player would you like to face?
Edwin: Jackie Robinson. It would be an honor to pitch against the hitter that integrated baseball. He would also be a challenge at the plate.

Matt: When did you start following MLB, considering you are from Germany?
Edwin: I moved to Georgia when I was eight and the Braves had just gotten to a couple of World Series, so I guess it would have been as soon as I came to the U. S.

Matt: Can you tell me a little bit about your charity?
Edwin: Me and my fiancee are giving back to military families who lost someone in the army. We thought it was a great way to give back to the military community, considering there are a numerous amount of military bases in the state that I live in, Georgia. [Note from Matt: Here's a link to some recent great charity work that Edwin has done.]

Matt: What do you think should be done to increase baseball history knowledge among the younger generation of fans?
Edwin: The former players should enlighten their communities about the game. It's a little confusing to follow baseball and its history, but I think if someone would explain it, the sport would be much easier to follow.

Matt: What was the clubhouse like after you pitched a no-hitter for the D-backs against your former team, the Rays?
Edwin: The clubhouse was like a party. Everyone was congratulating me. There were reporters filling the clubhouse to talk to me. It was a lot of fun.

Matt: What was the fastest pitch you've ever thrown in your career, according to a radar gun?
Edwin: I pitched a 100mph fastball in the early part of my career. I don't think I'll be able to reach that speed again.

Well, there you have it: an interview with Edwin Jackson. Thanks to Edwin Jackson for agreeing to do it and a special shout-out to Christal Jordan, the President of Enchanted PR, for reaching out to me to offer to set it up in the first place. Hope you enjoyed reading this interview as much as I enjoyed conducting it. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

An Interview with Curt Schilling (the "Schilling-shot") 1/2/13

Hey baseball fans!

I have another great interview for you today! This interview is with the should-be Hall of Famer......Curt Schilling! You probably already know who Curt is, but in case you don't, let me tell you a little bit about him.

The Alaska-born Schilling played from 1988-2007 with the Phillies, Astros, Diamondbacks and Red Sox. His career record is 216-146 with an ERA of 3.46. He never won a Cy Young Award, but was in the top five in the voting for four years. A six-time All Star, Schilling pitched in four World Series: 1993 with Philly, 2001 with Arizona, and 2004 and 2007 with Boston. He won the two with Boston and the one with Arizona. He had an amazing 11-2 playoff record! Schilling is famous for winning Game Six of the 2004 ALCS against New York with an injured ankle. During the game, his sock got all bloody (see picture below), which is why we know the pitching performance as "the bloody sock game". I even wrote a blog on if I had a Hall of Fame ballot and I included Curt on my ballot (click here).  That's basically all you need to know about the great pitcher. So, without further ado, here is the interview:

Matt: I saw that when you were young, you and your family moved all over the country before finally settling in Phoenix, Arizona. Was it tough moving around so many times?
Curt: It really wasn't, because I didn't know any different. I was used to it and, to be honest, it did help me get ready for the baseball life, since all you do is move year to year.

Matt:  Who was your favorite baseball player growing up as a kid? What baseball team did you root for?
Curt: I grew up a Pittsburgh Pirates Fan. My dad raised me on the Steelers and Pirates. Roberto Clemente was the first player I remember cheering for at a young age. Nolan Ryan was my favorite pitcher. Willie Stargell was one of my favorites as well.

Matt:  What sports did you play as a kid? What sports did you follow as a kid?
Curt: I played baseball, football, and basketball. I followed baseball and football pretty seriously.

Matt:  Which team in all the playoff games that you played in did you think was the toughest to face?
Curt: The 2001 Yankees were the best team I faced in the post-season, and the 2001 Cardinals were very good as well.

Matt:  Which former players are your best buddies today and what do you guys talk about when you get together?
Curt: Gabe Kapler and Doug Mirabelli. We talk about the same things everyone else does: life and family.

Matt:  Were you and Randy Johnson close friends before you formed that 1-2 punch with him on the D-backs?
Curt: We had met only once before, the 1999 All Star Game. We didn't know each other very well until we became teammates.

Matt: Why did you create a charity for ALS ("Lou Gehrig's Disease)?
Curt: I met a person affected by ALS and thought that being in baseball, I could help.

Matt: Brad Cook, who introduced us, told me that you started a new league in the really cool Out of the Park (OOTP) baseball simulation game and are running one of the teams which you call the Iron Pigs. Are you interested in getting involved at the MLB level in ownership or management one day?
Curt: Not at all.

Matt: The only nicknames I found for you were Curt or Schill, which aren't that original. Given that you were an underdog when you pitched so well in the playoffs for the D-backs and the Sox and you sort of slayed the giants, I was thinking of a nickname like "Schilling-shot" (just like David used a slingshot back in the day to slay Goliath). What do you think?
Curt: It's definitely a unique nickname!

Matt: What do you consider your greatest MLB accomplishment?
Curt: Winning the Roberto Clemente Award in 2001. [Note from Matt: The award, given out annually since 1971, honors a player who best represents the sport through positive contributions on and off the field. The criteria includes their sportsmanship and community involvement.]

Matt: If you could have pitched for any team in history, who would it be and why?
Curt: The late 70's Pirates. I would have loved to have been a teammate of Willie Stargell.

Matt: Do you have any suggestions on getting the younger generation of fans more interested in baseball history?
Curt: It's a tough sport for younger fans to get into. It's hard to watch it on TV because of the length of the games, but once you understand the game, it's a blast to watch.

Well, there you have it: an interview with the great Curt Schilling. Thanks to Curt for agreeing to do it and a shout-out to Brad Cook for setting it up.

I have another interview that I will be posting soon, so check back in a couple of days for that. Hope you enjoyed reading this post and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Uh Oh, It's Oh! 1/1/13

Hey baseball fans!

Happy New Year!! Sorry I haven't posted in about a week. I was vacationing in Florida. Anyway, for today's post, I will be blogging about a baseball player who never played in the states, but is one of the most popular international baseball players of all time.

Sadaharu Oh played for the Yomiuri Giants from 1959-1980 in the professional Japanese baseball league. He originally was a pitcher, but was converted to a power-hitting first baseman after his rookie season. Kind of reminds me of Babe Ruth! From there, his career took off. Besides leading all of Japan in batting average five times, he was a major power hitter. He currently owns the record for most international home runs in a career with 868 and led Japan in homers for 15 seasons. He batted a lifetime .301, hit 868 homers (as I said before), with 2,170 RBIs, and 2,786 hits. He won the MVP award nine times!! After his playing career ended, he managed his Giants from 1984-1988, which delayed his Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame induction to 1994.

So, what have we learned from this international star? We have learned that even if you aren't playing ball in the states, it doesn't mean that you're not going to make an impact on our national pastime. Don't give up if you're traded to Japan. Take it as an opportunity to make an impact in some place new and don't lose hope. Hope you enjoyed reading this post! Thanks for reading!