Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Thursday, July 28.
All good things have to come to an end. Jeurys Familia, the Mets’ closer hadn’t blown a regular season save in 52 chances, even a longer streak than Rocky Marciano’s undefeated boxing record of 49-0. But last night’s 5-4 Mets’ loss to the Cardinals at Citi Field was the end of the road for Familia’s streak. After Yoenis Cespedes had given the Mets a 4-3 lead with a 2-run home run off the facing of the second deck, Yadier Molina and Colton Wong hit rbi-doubles in the 9th for the win.
Because today’s column is later than usual, some of today’s games may be underway as we go to press, particularly if there are a lot of birthdays. The Mets and Rockies have today’s earliest start at 1:10 Eastern. Jacob DeGrom will try to erase the memory of last night’s loss. The Brewers host the D-Backs at 2:10 Eastern. The rest of the action is under the lights. The Cardinals will have a job carrying their momentum forward, as they face Jose Fernandez in Miami. He has a dozen wins, tying his career high. The best in the league is Stephen Strasburg with 14. The Marlins finally activated their second baseman Dee Gordon after an 80-game suspension. However, should they make the playoffs he will be ineligible. Chris Sale will go for his 15th at Wrigley Field, in his first game back following his suspension. The latest start tonight is one of the best matchups. The Nationals send Tanner Roark to the hill against the Giants’ Johnny Cueto.
This is a historic day in baseball. July 28 is the only day two perfect games were thrown. On July 28, 1991 Dennis Martinez of the Expos twirled a perfecto in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. I had never heard a perfecto up to that point, and I lived in a town where I could get Expos’ broadcasts. But I curled up for an afternoon nap and didn’t wake up until the perfecto was history. 3 years later on this date in 1994 the Rangers’ Kenny Rogers made a name in history with a perfecto against the Angels. Martinez had won 2-0, Rogers won 4-0.
Vida Blue is 67 today. The draft was still relatively new when the Kansas City Athletics took the Louisiana native in round 2 of the 1967 draft. He made his MLB debut the day Neal Armstrong landed on the moon, July 20, 1969. He stayed in the game until 1986. He was one player who avoided Charles O. Finley’s habit of giving his players 1930’s style nicknames. see Jim Catfish Hunter and John Blue moon Odom. Vida remained just plain Vida and especially in 1971 he was nothing but trouble for the foe. All told he was 209-161. He stayed with Oakland until 1977, then pitched for the Giants, Royals and Giants again. He was an All-Star 6 times between 1971 and 1981. He was MVP of his league in 1971 and owns 3 World Series rings from 1972–74. He pitched a no-hitter near the end of 1970 against the playoff-bound Twins. he became the first of 4 men to start the All-Star game for each league. Since then Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson and Roy Halladay would manage this. As of now he’s an analyst for the station that does A’s TV games.
An exceptional pitcher who isn’t remembered now was born this day in 1901. His name was Freddie Fiztsimmons and he died in 1979. In a career that ran from 1925-1943 he amassed a 217-146 record. He mastered the knuckle curve that brought Burt Hooton notable success 30 years later. Fitzsimmons pitched in the 1933, 1936 and 1941 World Series. His team won the 1933 Series, lost in 1936 and 1941. He was a star with the Giants from 1925–37, then pitched for the Dodgers and Phillies who made him their manager during the war years. On the radio broadcasts of the World Series, broadcaster Tom Manning called the Giants’ pitcher “Fat Freddie” Fitzsimmons. I looked up his stats and found he was six-one and 195, which didn’t seem fat to me. So I asked a source who explained that Manning was referring to a comic book character Fat Freddie, not ranking on the Giants’ hurler.