Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Greatest Pitchers You've Never Heard Of - Part Two 9/30/12

Hey baseball fans!

As promised, here is The Greatest Pitchers You've Never Heard Of - Part Two!!!! Unlike the pitchers in the original Greatest Pitchers You've Never Heard Of, these pitchers are more current and are not in the Hall of Fame, mainly because they didn't play long enough or were plagued by injuries, but nonetheless were pretty great while they pitched. Hope you enjoy:

Dave Stieb:
In a 14-year career from 1979-1993, with the Blue Jays and White Sox, Stieb was known as one of the very good pitchers of his time, not the best, but very good. A seven-time All-Star, his career record is 175-135 with a 3.44 ERA. Known for a dazzling slider, the California native won one World Series, 1992, but he only went 4-6 in that year. Sadly, the six-foot, 189-pound right-hander is not in the Hall of Fame, but at least he gave excitement to Toronto for over a decade.

Andy Messersmith:
From 1968-1979, Messersmith was a pretty good pitcher. A not too shabby career record of 130-99 helped him get on this list. Also, he has an ERA of 2.86. That's better than Nolan Ryan!!!! With the Angels, Dodgers, Braves, and Yanks, he went to four All-Star Games, pretty good for someone who only played 12 years in the Bigs. Like Stieb, Andy is not on a plaque in Cooperstown, but if he played for another seven or eight years, it might have been possible.

Herb Score:
In an eight-year career with the White Sox and Indians, from '55-'62, Score was a two-time All-Star and won the ROY in 1955.  His career record was 55-46 with an ERA of 3.70. He won 20 games only once in '56, when he went 20-9 with a 2.53 ERA, after going 16-10 with a 2.85 ERA in his rookie year. He was really dominant!! But on May 7, 1957, Score was struck in the face by a line drive hit by Yankee Gil McDougald that left him with many injured bones in his face, forcing him to not play the rest of the season. He returned later in the 1958 season with so-so vision, but was never like his 1955/1956 self for the rest of his career. Bob Feller said that had he not been injured, he could've been the greatest left-handed pitcher ever!! Of course, he isn't in the Hall, but he was a great pitcher that a lot of people haven't heard of. Unfortunately, a serious baseball injury, like what I recently blogged about, ended his career way too soon.

Dan Quisenberry:
A lot of people probably grew up knowing this guy, but he is one of the most not-talked about and best relievers of the eighties. From 1979-1990 with the Royals, Cardinals, and Giants, Dan dominated the closer position, compiling 244 saves in his 12-year career. Known for his submarine delivery, Q (as he was nicknamed), pitched in three All-Star Games. In 1985, he helped the Royals beat the Cardinals in the World Series. Oh, did I mention that his career ERA in 2.76? Yeah, he was just that good. Like everyone else I've blogged about in this post, Dan is not in Cooperstown. If he played another five years with similar performance, I think he's in the Hall easily.

Well, there you have it: more great pitchers you've never heard of. Now I know some of you older folks probably have heard of these guys, but remember that I'm just a kid. Anyway, I hope you all liked this post a lot.

Also, vote on my mustache survey on the top right column of my blog. It's about who has the best mustache now: Luis Tiant or Rollie Fingers. Well, I will be putting up more stuff very soon so check back here every day for new posts. Thanks again for reading!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Talking Baseball Trades 9/27/12

Hey baseball fans!

Recently, I had the chance to interview Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLB Trade Rumors.  MLB Trade Rumors is a site that focuses on baseball trades and free agent signings which was named as one of the 25 best blogs of the year in 2011 according to TIME Magazine. It is read by many people including baseball writers and baseball players. Ben has written a ton of articles for the site, attended many baseball-related events and meetings, and he has been involved with baseball for TV and radio... so he's a real expert when it comes to baseball trades. Anyway, because he is such an expert on baseball trades, I wanted to ask him a bunch of questions about trades throughout baseball history. So keep on reading below to see my questions and his answers:

Matt: What was the best trade ever in your opinion?
Ben: For me, the best trades are the ones that work out for both teams. When the Marlins sent Trevor Hoffman to San Diego in 1993, they were parting with a future Hall of Famer, but they got Gary Sheffield in a deal that worked out well for both sides. Jeff Bagwell, Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek, Lou Brock, John Smoltz, Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore and Brandon Phillips, Ryne Sandberg, Nolan Ryan, Curt Schilling, and Fred McGriff were acquired in famously one-sided trades. These deals worked out tremendously for one team and horribly for the other. It’s the kind of deal general managers lose sleep over, but not my personal favorite. Perhaps the fairest trades ever consisted of players -- Harry Chiti or John McDonald, for example -- who were actually dealt for themselves.

Matt: What was the worst trade ever?
Ben: Some of the trades I mentioned above could be considered among the worst ever. The Phillies could have used Ryne Sandberg, for example! More recently, the trade that sent Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland for Drew Pomeranz and Alex White hasn’t worked out for either side. It had the makings of a win-win deal, but hasn’t worked out at all to this point.

Matt: Are there any trades that you think should happen today?
Ben: Today? No. At this point in the season, rosters are basically set. They have to be, since it’s difficult to complete a trade in August or September, when players must first be placed on waivers. Once the offseason begins and a new waiver period opens, there are lots of potential trade scenarios that could work out. How does David Price to the Rangers for Jurickson Profar sound to you?

Matt: Are there any trades you wish had happened?
Ben: In general, I want teams to make trades -- after all, my job is to anticipate, report on and analyze deals. But I don’t wish for specific deals to be made.

Matt: How does your site get its information?
Ben: We have lots of ways of getting information. These days a lot of news breaks on Twitter, so we’re always online checking out the latest developments. Lots of smaller news gets announced via press releases, so we often get information in our email inbox. Other than that, it’s a question of looking online for the latest reports and talking to our own connections around the league.

Matt: Have you ever suggested trades to baseball execs?
Ben: I haven’t and I don’t expect to. I’ve discovered that it’s surprisingly hard to come up with a trade scenario that would work for both sides. Plus, baseball execs have surrounded themselves with people they trust to make these assessments. Why hire scouts and baseball operations assistants, if you’re going to rely on the judgment of a writer?

Matt: Who is the best general manager today and of all time?
Ben: All-time I’ll say Branch Rickey, since he was incredibly innovative. John Schuerholz belongs in any conversation about the game’s best GMs. So do Pat Gillick and Frank Cashen. Tal Smith had a pretty remarkable career as well. As for who’s the best GM right now, I think we’ve got to be a little more specific. Each MLB owner has a different set of requirements for the GM role. Some say “win with a $150 million payroll.” Others say “win with a payroll that will fluctuate between $50-80 million.” Those two job descriptions are very different. Brian Cashman wins with lots of resources in New York and Andrew Friedman wins with less money in Tampa Bay. I’m prepared to say both are excellent GMs, but I’m not prepared to say one is better than the other.

Matt: What does it take to be a great general manager?
Ben: That’s probably a question for a team president or GM, but I’ll do my best to answer it based on what I’ve observed. General managers clearly need to be able to develop, express and implement a vision for their organization. They need to be capable of surrounding themselves with strong baseball people. The best general managers seem to be able to complement their own skillsets with people who have different backgrounds and strengths. This also means knowing when to rely on lieutenants and when to trust their own judgment. Communication skills are also a must; general managers must be capable of dealing with team owners and presidents, scouts and others in baseball operations, the media, agents and players. I don’t think GMs need to revolutionize the position to be successful. There are only so many Branch Rickeys out there, only so many Billy Beanes. But I do believe GMs need to be capable of bold, unexpected moves.

There you have it folks.  Hope you enjoyed this!! Special thanks to my trade expert buddy, Ben Nicholson-Smith, for his great answers!!!

Keep on reading, because there's lots of good stuff in the works!!!!!!!

P.S. I just put up a survey on the top right column of my blog.  You will need to pick who today has a better mustache between Rollie Fingers and Luis Tiant. You will need to do some research on Google Images (type in their name + today in the search), but it's worth a look. Thanks.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

An Interview with Babe Ruth (Sort of) 9/25/12

Hey baseball fans!

I'm back with another blog. The Greatest Pitchers You've Never Heard of Part 2 can wait, because I have just received  answers to the questions I sent via email to baseball great Babe Ruth! I know what you're thinking: How in the world could you get in touch with the Sultan of Swat? He died in '48. Well, my answer to you all is this. A couple of weeks ago, I sent a bunch of questions to the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum, asking them if they could answer the questions the way the Babe would've answered, if he were alive today using all his expressions and language. The Executive Director of the Museum who is a Babe Ruth expert, Mike Gibbons, agreed to my request and sent me all the questions answered in the voice of Babe Ruth. Now, unlike most interviews, I'm not going to write a big paragraph on the Bambino because, first he's a legend and everyone knows about him, and second I already have done so when he won the Best Nickname in MLB History Contest. Anyway, I am proud to present the answers of the great, the powerful, the awesome Babe Ruth!!!!!

Matt: What do you think about the new Yankee Stadium?
Babe: As long as they kept that short porch in right field I feel pretty good about it.

Matt: If you were playing today, do you think a ten year $500 million contract would be enough for you?
Babe: How much does the President make these days? Somebody said if I played today, with the shorter power alleys, that I could belt 100 homers a year. That ought to be worth something like that number you mentioned.

Matt: Lots of players eat different food before and even during games. What did you like to eat?
Babe: During every ball game, my personal mascot, Little Ray Kelly, would make sure I had my baseball six-pack; a half-dozen hot dogs with mustard and onions!

Matt: Any thoughts on the whole steroids era?
Babe: Well, the only performance enhancer I ever took was bicarbonate of soda, which got me to the ballpark ready to play after many a late night. As for these fellas today, well, we were told that extra muscle was bad for a ballplayer. I think that's right.

Matt: Did you really call the home run in Game 3 of the 1932 World Series?
Babe: I sure did. I let pitcher Charlie Root know that I was going to hit his next pitch right out of the park. I was pointing at him and his teammates when I said it. They'd been riding me hard the whole series.

Matt: What were your feelings when your contract was sold by the Red Sox to the Yankees?
Babe: Boston was good to me and I felt let down some when Harry Frazee sold me to New York. But I was glad that Colonel Ruppert would put up with all that just to get me.

Matt: Were you happy switching from pitcher to hitter? Had you stayed a pitcher, how many games do you think you could have won?
Babe: Oh, I don't know. Plenty more, that's for sure. I loved to pitch more than anything, all the way back to my time at St. Marys. But swinging big is what I did best, and I don't blame them for the switch. 

Matt: Who was the toughest pitcher you hit against in your career and which pitcher would you like to hit against if you were playing today?
Babe: In 1922, a young lefty named Hub Pruett came up with the St. Louis Browns and I had a heck of a time. He struck me out 10 of the first 14 times I faced him. I wound up getting a couple of long ones off the kid, but he was tough. As for today, I'm not particular. I figure I could hit them all.

Matt: I read that you liked Lou Gehrig's mom's cooking. What in particular?
Babe: Anything Lou's mom put on the table was okay by me, but bratwurst and potatoes were good. My wife Claire and I didn't cook much, so Ma Gehrig's hospitality was always a treat.

Matt: Are there any players who played after you retired who you think would have been a good fit for the 27 Yankees?
Babe: Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Billy Martin, George Brett; they came at it every day, both on and off the field.

Matt: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Babe: Pitching 29 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings in the World Series was pretty special. I'm glad it was another Yankee, Whitey Ford, who broke the mark.

Matt: You've had many nicknames. Which one is your favorite?
Babe: Nicknames used to be a big part of the game, and I liked all the ones coming my way: Sultan of Swat, the Bambino, King of Swing. But Babe is the one I liked the most.

Matt: Can you tell me something most people don't know about you please?
Babe: I really enjoyed Sunday nights at home, listening to my favorite 
radio shows with my daughter, Julia. I also liked decorating our Christmas tree every year, by myself. The family would watch me go to it, one tinsel strand at a time.

Matt: What do you consider your best year?
Babe: Oh, 1927, the year I hit 60 homers. They didn't think I could break my own record, but I showed them.

Matt: What should MLB be doing about getting young fans more interested in baseball history?
Babe: They should bring the game back to the youth living in the big cities. Boys learn the game best from the ground up. You can't teach a teenager like you can a boy. It's too complicated, like learning a language. The older you get, the harder it becomes.

Matt: Were you buddies with any players on other teams like Jimmie FoxxRogers Hornsby, Grover Cleveland Alexander and Walter Johnson?
Babe: All of the above, but not Ty Cobb. He was a tough one. But we did enjoy a few rounds of golf together. That son of a gun loved to compete. Beat me a couple of times, too.

Isn't that so cool? It's like Babe was actually answering the questions! Anyway, I want to thank Mike Gibbons and the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum for doing this for me. I appreciate it so much!! It's a cool museum, so be sure to visit it the next time you're in the Baltimore area. Anyway, for one of my next blog posts, I do promise to post The Greatest Pitchers You've Never Heard of Part 2. But, I have a similar interview just like this one with the answers pending; an interview that people from Brooklyn will like very much, so that may have to come first.  So keep on reading!!!!!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Serious Baseball Injuries 9/23/12

Hey baseball fans!

I'm here with another blog post! Like I promised in previous posts, today I will be blogging about some of the most life-threatening (and death-causing) injuries to ballplayers of all time:

Injuries are typical in baseball. Some are not so serious, like a broken finger, and some are so serious that they require Tommy John surgery (a procedure usually performed on pitchers that keeps them out for a full season). However, some injuries have been so severe, that they almost (or do) kill someone. Let me tell you about some.

In 1976, with the LA Dodgers, catcher Steve Yeager was in the on deck circle when teammate Bill Russell (not the Celtics star) shattered his bat. A huge chunk of the bat hit Yeager in the neck, piercing his esophagus. He had nine pieces of wood taken out of his neck in a 98-minute surgery. After the incident, Dodger trainer Bill Buhler invented a throat protector that hangs from a catcher's mask, because he thought that such an injury could happen to a catcher while catching. It has since been used by all baseball-playing catchers.

Vince Coleman stole 110 bases in 1985, his rookie season for the Cardinals. That was a rookie record for steals in a season. In Game Four of the 1985 NLCS against LA, it was raining at Busch Stadium. So naturally, the automatic tarp was put out on the infield. The Cardinals were coming off the field casually, including Coleman. However, while giving his glove to his coach, he was swallowed up by the "killer tarp", as it came to be called. He ended up having to miss the rest of the playoffs due to injury, as his team would lose the second All-Missourian World Series to the Royals.

Tony Conigliaro was supposed to be the next Mickey Mantle when he was playing for the Red Sox in 1967. He hit 100 home runs by the age of 22 (the second youngest player ever behind Mel Ott).  But, he was hit in the cheekbone by the Angels' Jack Hamilton's pitch that sent him on a stretcher and out of the Bigs for two seasons. He was not wearing the ear flap on his helmet that all hitters must use today. The injury caused him a broken cheekbone and damage to his left retina (see pic). He made a remarkable return in '69 and hit 20 homers to be awarded Comeback Payer of the Year. A few years later  though, he had to retire because his eyesight was horrible. He hit 162 homers in his career, which is ok, but not so good for someone who was going to be the next Mickey Mantle.

In 1920, Ray Chapman was at bat for the Cleveland Naps (named for Cleveland great Nap Lajoie) against Yankee pitcher Carl Mays at the Polo Grounds. He was hit by a pitch in the head. At that time, players didn't wear helmets. Chapman died 12 hours later. This is the only injury to actually kill someone in MLB history.

So, as you can see, while baseball is fun, it is also dangerous. You should be careful in anything that you do, especially sports. But, if you want to be a baseball player, be sure to wear all the proper protection and stay alert!! Injuries are just typical.

Thanks for reading my blog. Hope you all enjoyed it. A very special thank you to my Freakies-loving, flexible-faced fan and friend Andy Abrams for the idea of this post! Anyway, in an upcoming blog, I will be blogging about some more recent pitchers you've never heard of. Get ready for the Greatest Pitchers You've Never Heard Of Part II ! So check back soon for that and other cool posts. Thanks again for reading!

Finally, Baseball with Matt is now on Twitter.  So if you want to follow my blog and do some tweeting, just go to @BaseballwMatt.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

An Interview with Hank Aaron!!!!!! 9/20/12

Hey baseball fans!

I'm here with another interview everyone! I recently sent in some questions to the awesome, the best, the absolutely amazing.............Hammerin' Hank Aaron! That's right baseball fans, here are the answers that I got via email from probably the best baseball player alive today! (He only answered three of my seven questions, because he gets so many requests, so it's a short interview.) But first, let me tell you all a little about the Braves and Brewers great:

In a career from 1954-1976 with the Bravos and the Brew Crew, Hank Aaron was in one word: GREATSPECTACULARAWESOMECOOLESTBBALLPLAYEREVER! He is second career-wise in homers (755), third in hits (3,771) and first in RBIs (2,297).  He also made it to 25 All-Star Games, a record. (The leader before that was Stan Musial.) Although he was so good, he only won one World Series (it was against the Yankees)! Good thing the Bronx Bombers beat them the year after. Anyway, he got into the Hall of Fame easily in his first opportunity after retirement. Here's Hank's Hall of Fame page, if you're interested. Ok, I think I've said enough about Hammerin' Hank, so here's the interview:

Matt: You were so consistent during your entire career despite some major distractions. How did you always manage to stay so focused?
Hank: That is a large part of playing the game. You must remain focused at all times when on the field. You learn to block out crowd noise and other events that could distract you during a game, and it just came naturally.

Matt: Most people know that you were a great hitter, but a lot less know that you won three Gold Gloves. Did you work a lot at your fielding?
Hank: All players work hard on whatever is required of them at their particular position, particularly in spring training.

Matt: Are you buddies with Willie Mays and other Hall of Famers? If so, what do you guys talk about when you get together?
Hank: Oh yes, I am still friends with a number of players who played when I did and not all are in the Hall of Fame. We discuss current day baseball and our daily lives.

Well, there you have it folks, an interview with Hank Aaron. Even though it was kind of short, I hope you all liked it.  Thanks so much to Hank Aaron for agreeing to answer the questions (he is the first member of my dream team that I've ever interviewed). Also thanks to Susan Bailey for coordinating the interview with Hank.

Anyway, there is more good stuff coming your way. As I said in my blog about Juan Gonzalez, the next scheduled blog post will be about players dying or almost dying because of an on-the-field injury! Crazy, I know, but true. I also have some big surprises I am working on, so stay tuned!!  Well, thanks for reading, baseball fans!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Texas Tough, Juan is Rough 9/18/12

Hey baseball fans!

If you've been following me on Twitter, then you know that this post is going to be about Juan Gonzalez. (If you aren't, that's ok, but if you want to, my Twitter address is @BaseballwMatt.) Anyway, here is my blog post about the great "Juan Gone":

From 1989-2005, Igor (as he was nicknamed) dominated the Bigs. A well-known power hitter around the MLB, he hit 434 homers and slugged .561 in his career with the Rangers, Indians, Royals, and Tigers. He also won two MVP Awards, one in 1996 and the other two years later in 1998. He is also a six-time silver slugger winner. The only problem about this great '90s slugger was that he took performance-enhancing drugs. That means that most of his power was artificial. It also means that he will probably never make it into the Hall of Fame. Sorry Juan Gone. The only good thing in the long run about Gonzalez was that he brought hope to Arlington, Texas, helping the Rangers win the AL West Division three times in '96, '98, and '99. Sadly (for Texas fans, but not me), they lost each one to the Yankees. Pretty funny, right? Anyway, although Igor will probably never get into Cooperstown, at least he brought some excitement to baseball fans across the nation during his career.

Thanks for reading my post. Hope you all liked it. Anyway, for my next post, I will be blogging about how a person could actually die on the field! But you'll just have to wait until then. So long, baseball fans!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Who should be in the Hall of Fame, but isn't (1970-1979) 9/16/12

Hey baseball fans!

Last week, I started a new guest blogging series for More Than a Fan on players who should be in the Hall of Fame, but aren't.  The blog from last week focused on players who started their careers before 1970. Today, I'm blogging about guys who started their careers between 1970 and 1979.  If you want to read more about the second part of the series, click on this link to the full article in More Than a Fan.

Hope you like my picks!!

Finally, Baseball with Matt is now on Twitter.  So if you want to follow my blog and do some tweeting, just go to @BaseballwMatt.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Nadel Elected to the Hall of Fame!!! 9/11/12

Hey baseball fans!
Since my last name is Nadel, I'm always looking out for famous Nadels on the web, especially if they have any sort of baseball history connection, and I just came across a very interesting one.
Up until recently, the only Nadel in baseball history that I knew of was Norbert Nadel, the judge who put Pete Rose in jail. Well, I just read about a man named Eric Nadel, who happens to be the radio broadcaster for the Texas Rangers. Eric was recently inducted into the Rangers' Hall of Fame, in the same year which coincidentally is the 40th year of the Rangers' existence. After graduating from Brown University, he has been the Rangers' broadcaster for the last 34 years. Another one of his achievements is that he won the Texas Sportscaster of the Year Award seven times.
After I found out about Eric, I reached out to the Rangers organization to congratulate Eric on his achievement. I also mentioned that I have blogged about Nolan Ryan, the President of the Rangers, a bunch of times on my blog, and also included Nolan on my all time dream team as the starting right-handed pitcher, which means I think he's one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history. In return, the Rangers sent me a bunch of really great Rangers souvenirs.
Although I don't know of any relation between us, Eric Nadel and I might be cousins or something like that because all of the Nadels that I know of have ancestors tracing back to Europe. Even though I'm a die-hard Yankees fan (which I told the Rangers), and the two teams will probably meet in the playoffs this year, I still felt the need to reach out and congratulate Eric Nadel (my possible relative).  
So, the moral of the story here is that blood is thicker than water, or I guess in the case of baseball, Gatorade.

Finally, Baseball with Matt is now on Twitter.  So if you want to follow my blog and do some tweeting, just go to @BaseballwMatt.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

An Interview with the One and Only Yogi Berra 9/9/12

Hey baseball fans!

I've been wanting to interview Yogi Berra, so I recently reached out to the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center and the really nice director there, Dave Kaplan (who is also the author of some Yogi Berra books), agreed to coordinate an interview between Yogi and I via email.  The Museum is in Montclair, New Jersey on the Montclair State University campus, pretty close to my house. It was started on December 4, 1998 and has a mission focused on educating young people (just like my blog).  

Before I get to the interview, let me tell you a little bit about the great Hall of Fame catcher:
Born Lawrence Peter Berra in St. Louis in 1925, Yogi played for the New York Yankees from 1947-1963 (he didn't play in 1964) and then played for the Mets in 1965. In his time behind and at the plate, he hit .285 lifetime,  with 358 homers, and 1,430 RBIs. Aside from being a great hitter, he was a great catcher too. One of his many amazing accomplishments during his career was that he has the most World Series rings of any player in baseball history with ten!! Another great accomplishment was that he won three MVP awards in his career, tied for the most in American League history. Yogi was also famous for his Yogi-isms. Some of his famous ones are, "It ain't over till it's over" and "If there's a fork in the road, take it." My personal favorite is, "If you don't go to your friends' funerals, they won't go to yours." Yogi managed the 1973 Mets, the worst team to make it to the World Series with an 82-79 record. (They lost to Oakland in seven games.) He also managed the Yanks.  Fun fact about Yogi: Remember when Bill Mazeroski hit that walk-off, World Series-winning homer in 1960 for the Pirates? He had the best view of it going out because he was playing left field when Bill hit it. Anyway, before I give away too much about the Hall of Fame catcher, here's the interview: 

Matt: Of the ten World Series rings you own (see picture), what's the most you've ever worn at the same time?
Yogi: For a magazine photo, once I put on all 10. But I only wear one.

Matt: You are famous for your Yogi-isms. Of the ones you actually said, what's your favorite?
Yogi: I don’t know. Maybe "it ain’t over til it’s over".

Matt: You and Phil Rizzuto worked as suit salesmen in the off season. Who was the better salesman?
Yogi: Phil was a better talker.

Matt: Do you drink the Yoo-hoo chocolate drink? 
Yogi: Not any more. They changed the formula.  [Note from Matt: Yogi made commercials for Yoo-hoo and was an owner of the company.  According to Yogi's autobiography, "One time I was in the [Yoo-hoo] office and the phone rang. I always answer a ringing phone. The woman on the other end asked if Yoo-hoo was hyphenated. I said, 'No ma'am, it's not even carbonated.' "]

Matt: What player of all time would you have liked to have seen on the Yankees?
Yogi: I don’t know, we had some pretty good players ourselves.

Matt: How did it feel to manage the Mets in the 1973 World Series?
Yogi: It felt good – nobody gave us a chance that year.

Matt: If you were playing today, which pitcher would you like to catch? And which pitcher would like to hit against?
Yogi: Maybe Mariano Rivera. Who would I like to hit against? It doesn’t matter, I just liked to hit.

Matt: What do you think major league baseball should be doing to increase awareness of baseball history in the younger fan base?
Yogi: That I don’t know - you can’t make anybody do anything, if they don’t want to.

Matt: What are the biggest changes to the game today versus when you played?
Yogi: Oh boy. Well, mostly the money. Also, the number of teams, the length of the games and the stadiums are smaller. And the specialization of pitchers today – we had guys who could both start and relieve.

Matt: Do you think anyone today could break Joe DiMaggio's streak?
Yogi: Probably not.       

Matt: Given what a fun-loving guy Nick Swisher is, do you think he would have fit in well with you, Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle and Billy Martin when you guys went out after games?
Yogi: Sure, as long as he produced when he played.   

Matt: When Derek Jeter goes into the Hall of Fame, do you think he will be the first unanimous election?
Yogi: I don’t really know, you have to ask the writers.

Matt: Did you get to keep any mementos from the old Yankee Stadium?
Yogi: The Yankees gave us the last home plate. It’s in our Museum.   

Matt: Which Series win is the most memorable to you?
Yogi: They were all memorable. Maybe the ’56 one – that was (Don) Larsen’s perfect game. I hit two home runs in Game 7 in that one, too. 

And if you still want more Q&A, check out this link to the Ask Yogi part of the Museum's web site.

Thanks again so much to the great Hall of Famer Yogi Berra for doing the interview!!!

And if there any other baseball players out there who are reading or hearing about my blog and want to be interviewed (by phone or email), please contact me at

Finally, Baseball with Matt is now on Twitter.  So if you want to follow my blog and do some tweeting, just go to @BaseballwMatt.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Who should be in the Hall of Fame, but isn't (pre-1970) 9/7/12

Hey baseball fans!

Anyway, I just started a new guest blogging series on the really cool web site, More Than A Fan, about baseball players who I think should be in the Hall of Fame. For the first part of the series, I will be blogging about Hall of Fame-worthy baseball players who began their careers before 1970.  The other parts of the series will be about ballplayers who should be in Cooperstown, but who began their careers after 1970. If you want to read more about the first part of the series, click on this link to the full article on More Than a Fan.

Hope you like my picks!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

An Interview with Hall of Famer Jim Palmer 9/4/12

Hey baseball fans!

Today is my 50th blog post and I will be blogging about a pitcher named Jim Palmer. He is actually in the Hall of Fame (here's the actual Hall of Fame list and his Hall of Fame page), and I got to interview him! But before I get to the actual interview, let me tell you all a little bit about Jim Palmer's career first:

Jim had a career from 1965-1984 with only the Baltimore Orioles (he missed 1968). In his career, he won 268 games, had eight seasons with 20+ wins, and had a career earned run average of 2.86. Some of his other achievements were six All-Star Game appearances, three Cy Young Awards (plus two second places), and six trips to the World Series. (The O's won the pennant in '66, '69, '70, '71, '79, and '83, but lost the Series in '69 to the Mets and '71 and '79 to Pittsburgh.) He is the only pitcher in baseball history to win a World Series game in three different decades!!

Not only was Jim an awesome player, but he has been a great baseball broadcaster for many years.  And he also supports many important charities, including charities that provide funds for services, resources and education to improve the lives of individuals with autism spectrum disorders and their families like the Autism Project of Palm Beach County (just click on this link for more information or if you want to make a donation).

Is there really even any wonder why the Orioles recently put up a statue for him (see picture)? Anyway, you'll find out more about this pancake-eating pitcher in the interview below, so before I give you too much more information, here is the interview straight from the Oriole's mouth:

Matt: You pitched for 19 seasons, but you never ever gave up a grand slam in 213 bases loaded situations (and by the way only 8.9% of the home runs you gave up were with two men on base).  What was your secret?
Jim: I would always throw fastballs in those situations because you have better command over a fastball than a breaking pitch. So I would try to get the hitters looking by pitching in the corners of the strike zone. I did walk 13 batters though.

Matt:  I understand that one of your big hobbies is gardening. How did you get into it? Have you ever given any tips to the Camden Yards groundskeepers?  
Jim: Well, when I was in the Baltimore farm system, one of my managers was Cal Ripken Sr. He told me to have a good work ethic and to have order in life. So I thought, 'What better way to exercise that idea than to start a garden?' And no, I have not given advice to the groundskeepers at Camden Yards. They're my buddies.

Matt: Since this is a baseball history blog, if you could've pitched for any other team in baseball history, who would it have been and why? And what batters in history would you have like to have faced?
Jim: I would have played for the Yankees in the 1950s because one, I grew up in New York, and two, I would've gotten to play with Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, and the rest of those pennant winning squads. As a pitcher, I think it would have been fun to have faced Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Stan Musial, and Ted Williams. Fyi,  I actually beat the Yankees 30 times during my career.

Matt: During the 1971 season when four pitchers on the Orioles had 20 wins (including you), did you guys compete to see who would get to 20 wins first? 
Jim: No, we didn't. The four of us just wanted to get to 20 wins. We didn't care who got there first.

Matt: What should MLB be doing about getting young fans more interested in baseball history?
Jim: They should get kids to read more baseball history books. Roger Kahn was a really good writer. He wrote that book about the Dodgers in the '40s and '50s called "The Boys of Summer". What MLB could also do is teach kids baseball in school subjects. Like in math, how to calculate slugging percentage, or batting average. And in geography, where did teams used to play, and where do they play now. 

Matt: Did you have any regrets as a player?
Jim: None, because when I played with the O's, we were the best team in baseball. I went to the right team, we had six All-Stars, a number of Hall of Fame players and manager. Plus, Baltimore loved us, especially when the Colts moved to Indianapolis.

Matt: Which year did you feel you were most unbeatable when you were on the mound and why?
Jim: 1975, because I pitched ten shutouts, had 23 wins, my earned run average was 2.09, and I won the Cy Young Award.

Matt: Do you hang out with any other Hall of Famers and, if so, who? When Hall of Famers get together, do they talk about anything besides baseball?
Jim: Dennis Eckersley and I are good buddies. Yes, we do talk about baseball, but also our families, golf, and even sometimes the Real Housewives of Orange County. [Note from Matt: By the way, Dennis Eckersely and another famous Oriole, Cal Ripken Jr., are both on Baseball with Matt's Dream Team, in case you didn't know. Hopefully, one day I will be able to interview them too.]

Matt:  Who was the toughest hitters you ever pitched against?
Jim: Probably Rod Carew. He would always hang in there, and right when I was about to get him, he would hit a single. Also, Roberto Clemente was very hard to pitch to. I only pitched to him a couple of times in the World Series, but he had the same characteristic as Carew. Right when I had him down 0-2, he would get a hit into the outfield gap.

Matt: You were known for eating pancakes before games.  Why? How do you like them prepared?
Jim: When we won the World Series in 1966, every time I ate pancakes before a game, we won. That's how I got my nickname "Cakes". I like buckwheat pancakes or just regular. Once I had blueberry pancakes in Boston and we scored 17 runs.

Thanks again to the great Hall of Famer Jim Palmer, for being such a great sport.  I had so many questions for him, that we actually had to do the interview over two days.  I wish his O's the best in the playoffs, even though I know the Yanks will beat them in the end.

And if there any other baseball players out there who are reading or hearing about my blog and want to be interviewed (by phone or email), please contact me at

Finally, Baseball with Matt is now on Twitter. So if you want to follow my blog and do some tweeting, just go to @BaseballwMatt.