Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Friday, Oct. 21.
For the second night in a row, Addison Russell led the charge as the Cubs beat the Dodgers. This time it was an 8-4 win putting the Cubs ahead 3 games to 2, a win away from the World Series.
Dodgers’ starter Kenta Maeda pitched his best in some time but was on a short leash. He was removed in the 4th, having given 3 hits and struck out 6. Joe Blanton gave up a 2-run blast to Addison Russell in the 6th inning. He had given up two home runs previously in the series including the Miguel Montero grand slam that won Saturday night’s game 1 in Chicago. The Cubs put up 5 in the 8th for the second time in the series. Instead of a grand slam, the big hit was a 3-run double by Javier Baez. Those runs proved necessary insurance as the Dodgers put up a couple in the 9th to make it 8-4.
The series returns to Wrigley on Saturday where Clayton Kershaw hopes to gum up the Cubs’ celebration plans. He put the Cubs in a sticky situation in game 2, shutting them out in their house. Kyle Hendricks, the league’s ERA champ challenges Kershaw in game 6 Saturday night at 8 PM Eastern. If the Dodgers win, game 7 rests in the pitching hand of Rich Hill against the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta.
While the Indians await the winner of the NLCS, Eddie Robinson waits for a call that hasn’t come. Who who are you, Mr. Robinson? Eddie Robinson is the last living member of the 1948 Indians, who defeated the Boston Braves 4 games to 2 and won the World Series. No Indians team has won a World Series in all the years that have passed. But Robinson, who is 95 says the present Indians haven’t contacted him about making an appearance at this World Series. He was born in Paris, Texas and played as early as 1942 in the bigs. He put up a .268 average. in a game that only had 16 teams, he played for 7 of them as well as spending 3 years playing for Uncle Sam’s team as it performed in a doubleheader against Germany and Japan. He was an All-Star 4 times between 1949 and 1953. The man born William Edward Robinson, now living in Fort Worth was the first baseman on the 1948 Indians. They were best known for their pitchers-Bob Feller, Bob Lemon, Gene Bearden and from the bull pen Satchel Paige. Joe Gordon played second and manager Lou Boudreau was the shortstop. Ken Keltner, whose glove in large part stopped Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak back in 1941 was still at third for the Tribe 7 years later. Joe Gordon, Robinson’s roommate told him the Indians would win it all just 4 games in. Robinson would have done well to go buy a lottery ticket that day because Gordon called it right. In midseason, the Indians were at Yankee Stadium when Babe Ruth made his final appearance at the house that he built. Dying of throat cancer, Ruth needed a walking stick to get to home plate. Eddie Robinson loaned him a bat to serve as an improvised cane. This supported the Bambino as he approached the mike, and with what little voice he had thanked everybody for the love he had received. Robinson had 2 hits in game 6 as the Indians finished off the Braves behind Bob Lemon.
Eddie Robinson would later become a Yankee from 1954-56, and as such is the oldest living Yankee. All 7 teams he played for were in the American League. He only missed Boston, but his final job was as a scout for the Red Sox. Robinson played with Tito Francona, father of present Indians’ manager Terry Francona on the 1957 Orioles, which was Eddie’s last stand as a player in the bigs. If Terry remembers this, you would think he would approach the team’s PR department about contacting the last living 1948 Indian.
If there were a God in baseball, Zack Greinke who is celebrating a birthday would be heading for Chicago to pitch game 7. The Orlando native is 33 today. He jumped ship from the Dodgers hoping for greener pastures in Phoenix, not realizing the place is a baseball desert as well as a physical desert. The Royals drafted Greinke in round 1 in 2002. They were so awful he was in the bigs in 2 years though he had been drafted out of high school. Even after a year with the woeful D-Backs he’s still 155-100 all told. He battled depression and anxiety in 2005 and lost most of the season to this problem in 2006. Then again, who wouldn’t be depressed pitching for the Royals of those years. He has played for the Brewers, Angels and Dodgers since then.
Whitey Ford is 88 today. Ed Ford, who was nicknamed the Chairman of the Board had an amazing 236-106 record between 1950 and 1967 with the Yankees. He lost 2 full years serving in Korea. He was an All-Star 10 times. His Yankees won 6 World Series. He took one Cy Young award in 1961 when he was also World Series MVP. He had shoulder surgery in late 1966 and had little left in 1967 when he called it a career after a one-inning start in Detroit. The Yankees’ number 16 took 2 ballots to reach the Hall of Fame which makes no sense at all to me. He’s been in ill health with cancer for many years as of this writing.
Bill Bevens was born this day in 1916 and died in 1991. Sometimes called the Heartbreak Kid, he came closest to pitching a World Series no-hitter before Don Larsen’s perfecto in 1956. In game 4 of the 1947 World Series Bevins had given up no hits with two outs in the 9th. He had walked 10 men and that would be his undoing. He walked two men in the 9th before giving up a pinch-hit double to Cookie Lavagetto that scored two runs and won the game for Brooklyn. In the earliest iconic baseball radio call I know of, an ailing Red Barber used what voice he had to say “Here comes the tying run, and here comes the winning run.” Neither Bevens nor Lavagetto would play major league baseball after the end of the 1947 World Series. Broadcaster Barber would cover the 1948 World Series on TV, then do radio in 1949 and then back to TV until 1953 when he refused to do the World Series at the salary of $200 a game the Gillette safety razor company was paying.