Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Saturday, July 30.
As I prepare for a temporary transfer, today’s column is late and tomorrow and Monday’s editions will be late if they get written at all.
The early game will be underway by the time we go to press. It’s the Jays hosting the Orioles in a game I know is for the birds. J. A. Happ, who the Pirates cavalierly let go last winter has 13 wins for the Jays, just behind Chris Sale and Chris Tillman who have 14. Jake Arrieta of the Cubs faces the Mariners. His last 5 outings he hasn’t looked jake,(fifties slang for good) with a 1-2 record and a 6.14 ERA. The Mets hope Bartolo Colon can stop their present losing streak at 3 games after they took a 6-1 pounding last night. He’s on short rest, and hasn’t started a game without his usual 4 days since 2005 when Barak Obama might have been the name of a cartoon villain. Jaime Garcia goes for the Cardinals tonight against Colin Rea of the Marlins, making his first start in their uniform. The Cardinals have made him sing the St. Louis blues over his career. He’s faced them 3 times and come off 0-2 with a 6.0 ERA.
This will be a short segment. The guns of August haven’t fired yet. With the trading deadline just two days away it’s all quiet on the moving front. We had yesterday’s two trades of note in this space, but as I prepare to do the birthdays there are no moves to tell you about.
Former catcher Tom Pagnozzi is 54 today. He was with the Cardinals for his entire career which ran from 1987 to 1998. He took home 3 gold gloves and was an All-Star in 1992. His Cardinals team lost the 1987 World Series in 7 to the Twins. He now lives in Arkansas, where he played his college ball for the Razorbacks before going pro.
Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle is 59 today. Considering their broadcaster Joe Block and I go back to Charleston in 2000, I’d be remiss in not mentioning his manager’s birthday. He played the game for 10 years, 1977-87. The Royals had drafted him first in 1975. He had managed the Rockies from 2002-2009 and has managed the Pirates since 2011. In 2013 he collected Manager of the Yar honors for guiding his Pirates to the playoffs for the first time since 1992. His Rockies made the 2007 World Series, losing to the Red Sox. His pirates have been in the playoffs in 2014 and 2015, and it wouldn’t be unthinkable for them to be there some 9 weeks from now.
Former pitcher and broadcaster Joe Nuxhall was born this day in 1928 and died in 2007. So desperate was the need for warm bodies to play baseball during World War II that Nuxhall was allowed to play in June of 1944, at age 15. He only lasted 2/3 of an inning. he returned to the minors, but when he came back in 1952 he lasted until 1966. He had a 135-117 record. He was an All-Star in 1955 and 1956. Of all the bad luck, he was sent to Kansas City and missed the Reds’ World Series appearance in 1961. After brief hitches in KC and LA, he returned to the Reds in mid-1962. He broadcast full time from 1967-2004 and part time until his passing 3 years later.
Casey Stengel was born this day in 1890 and died in 1975. Frank Messer, emcee of Yankees’ Old Timers’ Day would use his full name, Charles Dillon “Casey” Stengel and the crowd would roar as lustily as the Mets’ fans would when Stengel would be introduced at Shea. While his managing led him to Cooperstown, he was a .284 career hitter between 1912 and 1925. In spring training 1913 he happened upon a stranded Ty Cobb, whose car wouldn’t go. With no recourse but to wait for another person to happen along who could help them, the two baseball men sat and talked baseball-for two hours. Cobb had almost no friends at the end of his life in 1961 but Stengel was one of the last. One of Cobb’s last wishes was for Stengel not_ to manage the 1962 Mets. Stengel was on the 1922 Giants team that won the World Series over the Yankees. He later managed the Yankees to 7 World Series titles and 3 losses in 7 games each. The name Stengel is a German name, and players of a German background were commonly nicknamed Dutch when Stengel played. So he was Dutch Stengel to his teammates. He had wished to be a dentist, but in 1910 when he tried to learn the trade, there were no dental tools for a lefthander like Stengel.