Around the Diamond

Happy Birthday to Brad Penny and Bartolo Colon!
The Philadelphia Phillies won their sixth straight game and according to Molly Burkhardt are 29-6 over the team's last 35 games, the best 35-game stretch in the franchise's history. The Phillies, who date back to 1892, have also swept the opposition seven times already this season.
In his three career starts, 21-year-old Paul Skenes has a 2.25 ERA and a WHIP of 1.00 in 16 innings. Skenes was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates first overall in the 2023 draft.
Before the Oakland A's move to Las Vegas for the 2027 season they will play in Sacramento's Sutter Health Park, home of the Triple-A River Cats. The A's are making substantial renovations to the 14,000 capacity stadium they will call home for two seasons. So far, they have taken 13,000 deposits for season tickets!
The 2026 World Baseball classic has selected Japan, Puerto Rico, Houston and Miami to host the sixth WBC Classic.
The Royals, winners of 6-straight, are now 13 games over .500 (32-19) for the first time since 2015.
St. Louis has quietly won 8 of 10 and now sit just 5-games out of the NL Central division lead.
Sox slugger Rafael Devers homered in 6-straight games, a Red Sox record. The streak ended Tuesday two shy of the MLB record 8.
DID YOU KNOW? ~ NASA used John Fogerty's song "Centerfield," on multiple occasions, to wake up Space Shuttle crews.
The Reds are 6-18 in their last 24 games after starting the year 14-10.
Pittsburgh's rookie ace fans seven straight to start the game en route to a 9-3 win over the Cubs at Wrigley.
According to the wonderful Sarah Langs, the Cubs 6-runs scored via bases-loaded walks in one inning Saturday (5/10), was the most since the cross-town White Sox scored 8 the same way in 1959!
The Cleveland Guardians are the latest team to unveil their City Connect unis. With an art deco font "CLE" on the front and player numbers on back, the famous Guardian statues from where the team was renamed three-years ago, and the city's nickname "The Land" written on the waistband.
"I watch a lot of baseball on radio." ~ President Ford
Cardinals catcher Willson Contreras was the victim of a JD Martinez backswing during Tuesday's (5/7) game against the Mets. Contreras broke the arm and, adding salt to the wound, was called for catcher's interference on the play. He is expected to miss two months.
"If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant's life, she will choose to save the infant's life without even considering if there is a man on-base." ~ Dave Barry
Miami has already waived the white flag on the 2024 season by sending 2-time batting champion Luis Arraez to San Diego.
Cleveland's Jose Ramirez hits his 87th go-ahead homer breaking Larry Doby's franchise record.
With the Mets visiting his hometown St. Louis Cardinals, Darryl Strawberry came out to BP to visit his old team. Straw is doing well after a heart attack this past winter. A legend in NY, the 62-year-old plans to be in Queens when the Mets retire his number June 1st.
TRIVIA TIME! ~ Can you name the three members of the Baseball Hall of Fame who played for the Harlem Globetrotters? (Answer below).
Congratulations to Matt Hilton who will be honored with his very own Topps trading card. Matt was the beekeeper who was called into Arizona's Chase field to deal with a swarm of bees that delayed the game against the Dodgers by two hours. After he cleared the stadium of the bees, the team honored his efforts and let him throw out the first pitch. This weekend, the D'backs are having a buy one, get one ticket deal the team is calling "Free-Bees" in honor of Hilton. While Matt was in his full beekeeper suit working hard the crowd gave him the "MVP" chant. What a buzz!
Three-time MVP Mike Trout is expected to miss three months with a torn meniscus. The Angels 11-time All-Star only played 82 games last year (wrist) and 36 games in 2021 (calf) as injuries mount for the 32-year-old. Trout was tied for the league lead with 10 home runs at the time of last Monday's injury.
DID YOU KNOW? ~ No one born in Cooperstown, NY. has ever played Major League baseball.
"I only had a high school education and believe me, I had to cheat to get that." ~ Sparky Anderson
RIP Whitey Herzog, 92. Whitey was best known as the Cardinal GM that rebuilt the franchise and then managed them to three NL Pennants including the 1982 World Series. He also managed the KC Royals to three straight division titles in the teams first 10-seasons.
Congrats to the Royals Salvador Perez for hitting his 250th home run, the 11th most by a full-time catcher!
Pirates' OF'er Andrew McCutchen hit the 300th home run of his career on Sunday (4/21).
Longtime voice of the NY Yankees, John Sterling has announced his retirement immediately due to health concerns. John has been in the Yankee broadcast booth for 36 years.
With his 176th home run, Shohei Ohtani now has the most home runs by a Japanese born player.
Braves ace Spencer Strider underwent UCL surgery and will miss the entire season.
Federal investigators officially file a bank fraud complaint against Ippei Mizuhara. Ohtani's ex-interpreter is accused of stealing $16M of the Dodgers superstar's funds.
Washington pitcher Stephen Strasburg has announced his retirement after a bright, but oft-injured career. The 3X All-Star and World Series MVP ('2019) has not pitched since 2022. The 35-year-old has a career record of 113-62 and a 3.24 ERA. The former number one pick is the fastest pitcher to reach 1,500 K's and the first pitcher to go 5-0 in the playoffs.
"No one ever drowned in sweat." ~ Lou Holtz
It was with heavy hearts the WooSox took the field for their home opener as the team's first chairman and baseball executive Larry Lucchino passed at the age of 78. Larry's vision is what brought Boston's AAA affiliate from Pawtucket, R.I. to Worcester, MA. in 2021 with a brand new ballpark. Lucchino spent time as an executive with the Orioles, Padres and Red Sox. His love of old style ball parks helped create Camden Yards, Petco Park, a rejuvenated Fenway Park, as well as Jet Blue Park in Ft. Meyers and Polar Park in Worcester. Larry left a mark wherever he went and has three World Series with Boston and an NL Pennant with San Diego to his legacy. Larry had a remarkable career and was heavily involved in charity work including the Special Olympics and the Jimmy Fund to name but a few. RIP Larry. We will miss your kindness, vision and knowledge at the ballparks you made possible.
"For those of us who have been diagnosed with cancer, time is a precious commodity. The time and distance from the scientist's lab bench to the patient's bedside must be shortened." ~ Larry Lucchino (Sept.6, 1945 - April 2, 2024)
Pittsburgh began the season 5-0 for the first time since 1983.
On Opening Day, April 1, 1996 in Cincinnati, 26-year umpire John McSherry collapsed and died behind home plate. He was 51.
Arizona scored 14 runs in the second inning, a record for an Opening Day frame.
The Dodgers and catcher Will Smith have agreed to a 10-year, $140 million extension, the longest contract ever for a backstop. Smith, 28, was an All-Star last season and has averaged 23 homers the last three seasons.
World Series Champion Jordan Montgomery will pitch for the NL Champion Arizona Diamondbacks in 2024. He agreed to a $25m/1yr deal with an option on the last day of spring training.
"There are only two seasons. Winter and baseball." ~ Bill Veeck
At 18, Robin Yount (Brewers) is the youngest HOF'er to start on opening day.
When Red Sox Hall of Famer Ted Williams made his MLB debut in 1939, Babe Ruth was in the stands.
President William Howard Taft threw out the first ceremonial first pitch in 1910. Every president except Jimmy Carter and Donald Trump has continued the tradition since.
DID YOU KNOW? ~ HOF pitcher and 3x Cy Young winner Jim Palmer pitched in 558 games over 19 seasons for the Orioles and never surrendered a grand slam.
The last rain out at the Dodgers Chavez Ravine was April 17, 2000. WOW!
DID YOU KNOW? ~ Xander Bogaerts is the only player to hit an MLB regular season home run in four countries (U.S., Canada, Mexico and England).
"The first books I was ever interested in were all about baseball." ~ Charles Kuralt
San Diego's Petco Park and Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Ballpark both turn 20 this season!
The Red Sox will honor P Tim Wakefield who died from cancer last October by wearing a number 49 patch for the season. Tim's wife Stacy also died of cancer just five months later, in February. Wakefield is in the Red Sox Hall of Fame and was a key member in Boston's 2004 and 2007 World Series victories.
Rays pitching has ranked in baseball's top 5 for 5 years now.
DID YOU KNOW? ~ On March 17, 1871 the National Association of Professional Players was formed? This created the first professional league, the National Association.
"You wouldn't have won if we'd beaten you." ~ Yogi Berra
DID YOU KNOW? ~ A recording of Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First" baseball comedy sketch is in the Library of Congress and the gold record is in Cooperstown. Time Magazine named the classic the best comedy routine of the 20th century. The duo claimed to have performed it 15,000 times.
"Every day's a holiday, every meal's a feast." ~ Lou Costello
For those who believe baseball is in decline, according to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, baseball participation has reached 16.7 million, the highest level ever recorded.
"Baseball is dull only to dull minds." ~ Red Barber
Sadly, we must report that "Dollar Hot Dog Nights" are no more in Philadelphia. After 27 years, and some unruly Phanatics throwing the weiners on the field, the tradition is ending. This is why we can't have nice things.
"A hot dog at the ballpark is better than steak at the Ritz." ~ Humphrey Bogart
"No one can ever master the game of baseball, or conquer it. You can only challenge it." ~ Lou Brock
"It's the fans that need spring training. You gotta get 'em interested. Wake 'em up and let 'em know that their season is coming, the good times are gonna roll." ~ Harry Caray
MLB recognises seven professional Negro Leagues that operated from 1920-1948 as "Major League status." With the urging of Ted Williams and others, 37 players from those leagues are represented in Cooperstown today.
The College World Series begins June 14th from Omaha.
This April, after 67 years as a Las Vegas Strip landmark, The Tropicana Casino will be demolished to make way for baseball's newest stadium and future home of the Athletics.
Congratulations to Joe Mauer, Adrian Beltre, Todd Helton and manager Jim Leyland, the 2024 Class of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
DID YOU KNOW ~ Bob Uecker appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson 100 times.
So far 20 of MLB's 30 teams have revealed their City Connect uniforms with six teams joining that list last season. The 10 teams that remain are St. Louis and the Mets, who will both have their debut this spring, along with Oakland, Toronto, Tampa, Detroit, Cleveland, Philly, the Twins and Yankees.
While renovating a home on Cape Cod Massachusetts, Jason West found an unopened pack of baseball cards from 1952. According to the article by Eli Rosenberg, the 72-year old pack of cards is estimated to be worth $15,000 as is. That number could skyrocket to millions if say a 1952 Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle rookie card happens to be inside. West is still undecided if he will open the pack, proving once again how difficult "managerial" decisions can be.
"Anytime you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don't, then you are wasting your time on this Earth." ~ Roberto Clemente
DID YOU KNOW? ~ The Braves are the only team to win a World Series calling three cities home. Also, Eddie Mathews is the only Brave to have played in Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta in his 15 seasons with the franchise.
MLB announced some new rules that include widening the running lane between home and first by six inches, one less mound visit per team and reducing the pitch clock from 20 to 18 seconds between pitches.
"Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist." ~ Pablo Picaso
Going into the 2024 season, three teams boast 6 top 100 MLB Pipeline prospects, The Cubs, Padres and Orioles. Baltimore's farm system is also ranked number one and their AAA team, the Norfolk Tide, won the MILB Championship. The franchise won the AL East with 101 victories and made the playoffs for the first time in 8 seasons. Their GM Mike Elias was named executive of the year, Brandon Hyde won Manager of the Year, Felix Bautista won Reliever of the Year and Gunner Henderson won ROY. No wonder they call it "Charm City."
The NY Mets will pay $100 million CBT blowing away the previous record of $43.6 million paid by the 2015 LA Dodgers. The Padres $39.7 million and Yankees $32.4 million round out the top three tax payers. All three teams missed the 2023 playoffs.
"If all men were rich, all men would be poor." ~ Mark Twain
DID YOU KNOW? ~ In the early days of Houston's Astrodome the grounds crew and ushers wore "space suits."
"A good groundskeeper can be as valuable as a .300 hitter." ~ Bill Veeck
The Dodgers, who won 100 games last year, have added $1.2 billion in new contracts.
On what would have been his 100th Birthday, Larry Doby was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously on December 13, 2023. His son Larry Doby Jr. accepted the award for his dad at a ceremony in the Capital (there were no Shaman sightings reported). Doby Sr. was the first black man to play in the American League, winning the 1948 World Series with the Cleveland Indians. The Baseball Hall of Famer won the highest military award for valor for his service in the Navy during WW2.
"Success is not about material possessions, but about the fulfillment and joy that comes from pursuing your passions." ~ Larry Doby
If you put 8 Yogi Berra Drive, Little Falls, New Jersey in your GPS you will arrive at the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center.
DID YOU KNOW? ~ The first known photograph of a person "giving the finger" was of baseball player Charles "Old Hoss" Radbourn in 1886 while he was a member of the Boston Red Stockings (Braves).
"I went through baseball as a player to be named later." ~ Joe Garagiola
On June 19, 1846 Elysion Field in Hoboken NJ hosted what is considered the first official game of baseball. Elysion Field lasted until the time of the Civil War and was the first field with agreed upon dimensions and other, now standard, amenities.
DID YOU KNOW? ~ The New York Cubans of the Negro Leagues played their home games underneath the 59th St. Bridge in Manhattan making it the first covered ballfield in professional baseball.
DID YOU KNOW? ~ Before Fenway Park, The Boston Red Sox played at The Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds. At 635 feet from home it had the deepest center field of any ballpark in MLB history.
Canadian rocker fetched more than $6.5 million for rare baseball items. Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Geddy Lee, from the band Rush, is an avid baseball enthusiast and collector. On December 6th, Christie's auctioned off 300 items from his immense collection. In 2008, Lee donated 200 baseballs signed by Negro Leagues legends to the Negro Leagues Museum in Kansas City. For a sampling of the items and what they sold for go to www.christies.com.
Beloved Red Sox radio announcer of 41 years, Joe Castiglione is this year's Ford C. Frick Award winner for "Excellence in Broadcasting." New Englanders know him for his humility, accurate play calls, deft ability to recall players and moments long past and, of course, Italian food knowledge. A friend to everyone who passes through Fenway Park. You're going to Cooperstown Joe, "Can you believe it?"
Ohio wins the day! The Cleveland Guardians get the #1 pick in the Draft Lottery. The Cincinnati Reds will pick second.
Congratulations to the late Gerry Fraley who was honored by the BBWAA with the Career Excellence Award. A veteran reporter of 35 years, Fraley covered the Rangers for 25 years, the last couple while battling a very aggressive cancer. He passed in 2019 at the age of 64. It's fitting he win his award the same year the Rangers win their first World Serie title.
DID YOU KNOW? ~ The first "Winter Meetings" took place in 1857.
Congratulations to Jim Leyland on his selection to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Leyland was elected on 15 of 16 ballots from the Hall's contemporary baseball era committee. The 3X Manager of the Year took three teams to the post season, just one of eleven managers to do so, winning the World Series in 1997 with the expansion FLorida Marlins.
DID YOU KNOW? ~ Mark Twain attended a game between the Boston Red Stockings and Hartford Dark Blues in 1875. Boston won 10-5. Albert "Al" Spalding of Spalding Sports Equipment fame pitched for Boston that day. Also that day, Twain's umbrella was stolen by a boy in the crowd. The writer then published a $205 reward in the newspaper. $5 for the umbrella if returned in good condition and $200 for the boy's "remains."
DID YOU KNOW? ~ Of the 152 players to be elected Rookie of the Year, 18 are in the Hall of Fame.
"Once you give out T-shirts, man, you can't be going back." ~ Terry Francona (after his retirement day).
DID YOU KNOW? ~ The Dodgers (including Brooklyn) have the most ROY recipients with 18. The Yankees have half as many, but their nine are the most in the AL.
Marlin 2B Luis Arraez won his second Silver Slugger batting .354 and became the first player in the modern era (1900) to win a batting title in each league in consecutive seasons (2022 Min Twins).
With last year's title, Rangers manager Bruce Bochy becomes the 6th skipper to win four championships and just the third to guide three teams to the World Series (Padres 1998, Giants 2010, '12, '14 and Rangers 2023).
DID YOU KNOW? ~ Frank Howard hit the last home run for the Washington Senators in 1971 and the first home run of the Texas Rangers (the same franchise) in 1972.
Congratulations to Dusty Baker for an amazing career. As a player he won a World Series with the 1981 Dodgers. He then managed for 26 seasons, winning last year's World Series with the Astros. He won three Manager of the Year Awards and retires seventh on the all-time wins list with 2,183.
"Some of my strength came from being raised in the church and some of my strength came from being a Marine." ~ Dusty Baker
The combined 2023 winning percentage of the Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks was .537, the lowest of any World Series.
DID YOU KNOW? ~ Six of the last seven World Series have been played in Texas? (four involved Houston, Texas Rangers 2023 Champions and the pandemic neutral site in 2020).
The road team won every ALCS game last year.
Last year's regular season titans fizzled in the playoffs....The Braves, 104 wins, out in 4-games. The 101 win Orioles, swept. The 99 win Rays, swept. The 100 win Dodgers, swept.
DID YOU KNOW? ~ All five games of the 1905 World Series were shutouts with Giants great Christy Mathewson pitching three of them against the A's of Philadelphia. All three of Mathewson's shutouts were complete games in the span of just six days!
The Twins first win in last year's ALCS broke a 19-year playoff winless streak that included 18 consecutive games. It was the longest streak MLB history.
To the surprise of no one, Umpire Angel Hernandez was officially ranked the worst umpire in baseball by Umpire Auditor.
"It actually giggles as it goes bye you." ~ Rick Monday (talking about hitting a knuckleball).
DID YOU KNOW? ~ Carl Yastrzemski batted .3005 in 1968 to win his second consecutive batting crown. Yaz was the only player in the entire American League to hit .300 that year. It's the lowest championship average ever. No wonder it was called "The Year of the Pitcher!"
"They were Cadillacs and I was a Chevrolet." ~ Carl Yastrzemski
"He's not at his locker yet, but four guys are over there interviewing his glove." ~ Rex Barney (reporting on Brooks Robinson's locker after the 1970 World Series).
Seattle's CF Julio Rodrigues became just the third player 22 years old or younger to hit 30 home runs, 100 RBI and 30 steals in 2023(Acuna, A-Rod).
Arizona's 2023 rookie Corbin Carroll (OF) was the first rookie to ever hit 25 home runs and steal 50 bags.
The Rangers had 26 double-digit wins on their way to the 2023 World Series, the most in franchise history.
"A half truth is a whole lie." ~ Yiddish Proverb
DID YOU KNOW? ~ The water feature at KC's Kauffman Stadium is the largest privately funded water fountain in the world.
"Baseball is like church. Many attend, but few understand." ~ Leo Durocher
DID YOU KNOW? ~ HOF slugger Jimmy Foxx pitched in 10 games over his career with a 1.52 ERA.
The 1943 Red Sox played in 31 extra-inning games, an MLB record.
While broadcasting games Phil Rizzuto would, of course, keep a scorecard. Occasionally a "WW" would be marked next to a play. When asked what the "WW" meant, Scooter replied, "Wasn't watching."
DID YOU KNOW? ~ Mark Fidrych is the only baseball player to make the cover of Rolling Stone. Famed photographer Annie Leibovitz snapped the iconic shot. Someone play some Dr. Hook!
"There have been only two geniuses in the world. Willie Mays and Willie Shakespeare." ~ Tallulah Bankhead
DID YOU KNOW? ~ Dave Parker beat out Hall of Famers Carlton Fisk, Jim Rice, Eddie Murray, Ryne Sandberg and Cal Ripken Jr. to win the first Home Run Derby in 1985.
LSU becomes the first school to have two of their players selected 1 and 2 in the MLB draft. P Paul Skenes was taken #1 by Pittsburg and OF Dylan Crew was selected #2 by Washington.
DID YOU KNOW? ~ In 1919, the year of the Black Sox scandal, the Cincinnati Reds were 10.5 games back in the pennant chase on July 4th and would go on to "win" the World Series.
"Never make predictions, especially about the future." ~ Casey Stengel
DID YOU KNOW? ~ The College World Series has been played every year since 1947 with the Covid exception of 2020. The first two years saw Kalamazoo Michigan host the eight team tournament, then it went to Wichita Kansas in 1949 for a year before moving to Omaha Nebraska were it has been played since 1950.
Birmingham Alabama's Rickwood Field will host the Giants and Cardinals in 2024, baseball announced. To learn more about the oldest professional park in baseball visit our "Archives" page and look for the "Rickwood Field" artice.
DID YOU KNOW? ~ There have been over 250 father-and-son combos in baseball history. 16 Hall of famers are on that list including, Connie Mack, Yogi Berra, Tony Gwynn and Ken Griffey Jr.
"The average age of our bench is deceased." ~ Tommy Lasorda
DID YOU KNOW? ~ NFL Hall of Famer Reggie White's father pitched in the Negro Leagues. Charles White III pitched for the Chattanooga Stars against the barnstorming Indianapolis Clowns. The great Satchel Paige pitched for the Clowns when Charles White, who was just 15 years old, toed the rubber against him!
The pitch clock has shortened baseball games by an average of 26 minutes.
DID YOU KNOW? ~ In the 20 years Tommy Lasorda managed the Dodgers, 210 managers were fired across baseball.
DID YOU KNOW? ~ "Old Hoss" Radburn pitched 11 seasons and in the five he pitched for the Providence Grays he won an astounding 194 games? He won 60 games in 1884 for the Grays, still a record for major league wins in a season!
HOF'er and Twin Tony Oliva would bat .323 in 1964, making him the first rookie to win a batting title.
"Pair-up in threes." ~ Yogi Berra
The United States Navy has commissioned the USS Cooperstown, named after the village that is home to the Baseball Hall of Fame and in honor of the 70 baseball Hall of Famers who served during war-time. Hall of Famers Joe Torre and Johnny Bench spoke at the ceremony. The littoral combat ship's motto is "America's Away Team." Artifacts from the HOF bespeckle the Navy ship from stem to stern.
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum announces a major expansion. Keep smiling Buck!
DID YOU KNOW: The Houston Astros were first called the Colt 45's and played in Colt Stadium for three seasons before the World Famous Houston Astro Dome was built? Colt Stadium is the only stadium to be "sent down to the minors" as it was disassembled and used by two Mexican League teams. Colt Stadium is also the only stadium to be used in two countries by three professional teams.
The 5-23 A's set a new MLB record in April last year, 28 games to start the season without a starter earning a win.
"All I remember about my wedding day is the Cubs lost a double-header." ~ George Will
TRIVIA ANSWER ~ Ferguson Jenkins, Lou Brock and Bob Gibson.
Want more to read? Visit our "Archives" page for some fascinating baseball history.
"A.G. Spalding" ~ There are few people in baseball history whose fingerprints (and gloves) have had as much of an impact as Albert Goodwill Spalding. From 1871-1875, Albert Spalding would pitch for the Boston Red Stockings (Braves) who would win four pennants in the five seasons the National Association (NA), baseball's first professional league, was in existence. Spalding would lead the league in wins all five years. He would then move to the Chicago White Stockings (Cubs) of the new National League, a league he would help create that today is the oldest baseball league in the world, and win the NL's first pennant as player/manager, again leading the league in wins. He pitched a 4-0 shutout against Louisville in what would be the Chicago franchise's very first win. His professional record now stood at 252-65 with an ERA of 2.14 and a batting average of .313. After only six full seasons, he was at the height of his career, the winningest pitcher in baseball and he decided to retire from pitching. In each of his six full seasons pitching he led the league in wins. He was just 27. If Albert Spalding did nothing else, he would be in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, but first he would have to invent it. Born in 1850 in Byron, Illinois Spalding would lose his father at the age of eight forcing his family to move to Rockford, Illinois. Albert was the oldest of three and was the first to relocate to their new city, living with his aunt. It was here his love of baseball began. He became good enough to be asked to join the local amateur team, the"Forest Cities." He would pitch for them for five years and as a young teen he would earn wins against the Washington Nationals, considered the best team at the time and the Cincinnati Red Stockings, baseball's first professional team. It would be Harry Wright, the player/manager of the Red Stockings who would move his team to Boston and take the young Spalding with him, beginning his professional career. Spalding played in baseball's naissant period where throwing underhand was the style and the pitcher's mound was only 45 feet from home. Spalding would dominate. His career .794 win percentage is still the record for a pitcher. In his five years with Boston Spalding accounted for 91 percent of the dynasties wins. Considered one of the game's first stars he is also credited with making the wearing of a fielding glove the norm (barehand was most common). Ironically, it would be gloves that would inspire him and his brother Walter to start the A.G. Spalding Sporting Goods Company while playing in Chicago. They would create a catalog that merchants across the country could order from and be the first to standardize the shape of bats and the size and consistent quality of baseballs. Albert would utilize his name and connections to make his company's ball the only ball used until 1976. For almost 100 years Spalding provided all of MLB's baseballs. In 10 short years Spalding stores spread across the country making Albert a millionaire in his 30's. Spalding equipment became a supplier to every major sport, even selling fencing masks, boats and fishing equipment. Spalding grew rapidly and had a number of factories. The company even sold car wheels and produced rifles for the military during World War II from their Chicopee, Ma. factory. At one point Spalding sold two-thirds of all bicycles in the U.S. As good as he and his brother's sporting goods business was, Albert created a dynasty in Chicago as the White Stockings (Cubs) executive. Under his guidance the team would win pennants in 1880, '81, '82, '85 and '86. He would take over the franchise fully in 1882 when then owner William Hulbert, the man Spaulding would help create the National League with, died. Hulbert was the one who drew Spalding to the new NL. Hulbert and Spalding both shared a vision for organised baseball and both despised the drinking and gambling element that was rampant in the National Association. In fact, it was these feelings that led Spalding to sell off what he considered the rabble of his Chicago team. He sold King Kelly, the biggest star on the team, decades before Babe Ruth ever cursed the Red Sox. This would effectively end Chicago's first dynasty. Albert Spalding was a trailblazer on the mound for both pitching and the wearing of a glove. An innovator off the field, he would standardize the rules of the game, the bat and the ball used. He created professional umpiring crews and baseball season schedules. He even wrote the NL's charter. A brilliant businessman, and author of many books including "The Spalding Guide to Baseball," that was the primary Bible for fans of the game, complete with illustrations (including Spalding equipment) and all the stats from the previous season. In 1886 he and his manager Cap Anson, seeing the health benefits of Hot Springs Arkansas, brought the entire team to work out creating what we now call "Spring Training." Perhaps inspired by his Boston team's 1874 exhibition trip to England and Ireland, Spalding was the organizer of baseball's first trip around the world where exhibition games were played before the King of Italy, the Prince of Wales and beneath the Pyramids of Egypt in 1888-89. The trip took six months and everyone celebrated a triumphant return at a dinner at New York's Delmonico's restaurant. Some of the biggest dignitaries and celebrities of the day were there including Mark Twain and Teddy Roosevelt. Another President, President McKinley would appoint Spalding Commissioner to lead the US Olympic team to France in 1900. As the country grew into a world power, baseball grew alongside. And at the turn of the century, the century that would eventually be known as the "American Century," patriotism was fervent. This fervency would lead Spalding to dismiss any notion that baseball was not wholly an American game. It wasn't. It evolved from many English stick games, rounders being perhaps the best known. There were many variations and regional differences. In fact, Spalding himself would help create the first standard rules that put an end to these regional rules. Before the Yankees and Red Sox rivalry the New York and Massachusetts rules were two of the most common ways the early game was played and fought over. These were some of the arguments Henry Chadick used in his writings on the subject of baseball's "evolution.". Spalding would have none of it and to settle the debate with Chadwick he formed the Mills Commission in 1905. It was rigged from the get-go. Spalding appointed all the men of the committee and anyone with a belief other than baseball being an American game in origin was not considered. The commission sent out notifications in the days publications asking people with any knowledge of the game's origins to write in. After three years, the commission had little evidence to back its claim. They decided a letter from Colorado written by a 71-year-old engineer was close enough to proof. In the letter, the engineer recalled learning the game of "Town Ball" that a Civil War hero named Abner Doubleday had renamed "Base ball" and taught he and other kids in Cooperstown, NY. There were a number of inconsistencies in the story. Even Abraham Mills, the man whom the commission was named, had doubts. But, after three years of searching, the story was considered "reasonable enough" by the committee. Spalding loved the patriotic symbolism of a Civil War hero creating the nation's game in such a bucolic setting. This story would be believed by generations of baseball fans before historians would finally reveal that Chadwick was on the correct side of history and that baseball was not the invention of one man. A lie is always quicker than the truth. Despite the story of Abner Doubleday being a myth, it created Cooperstown as we know it and the Baseball Hall of Fame where you can see the plaque of Albert Spalding in the place he "invented." You can also run the bases of "Doubleday Field." In the final years of his life, Spalding would move to California with his second wife and would involve himself with society and civic minded businessmen. He built an estate near Point Loma and even ran for the senate. If you have ever driven California route 209, know that Spalding proposed the project to connect Point Loma and San Diego, even overseeing and partially paying for the roads construction. In 1911 he wrote "America's National Game" widely considered the first scholarly tome of baseball. Just before Albert Spalding's death in 1915 he helped organize the Panama-California Exposition to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal and promote San Diego as a primary port of call. After he promoted baseball around the world he promoted trade around it as well. He would die of a stroke that year. He was 65. Abraham G. Mills, the head of the Mills Commission, participated in the famous Christmas Day baseball game of 1862 at Hilton Head, SC as a member of the Union Army. The photograph of the event is one of the earliest known pictures of a game in progress. 40,000 people are said to have attended. Abner Doubleday, the Civil War hero credited with inventing baseball, was an avid writer. He kept 67 diaries in his life, none of them mention baseball. Abner Graves, the engineer from Denver who wrote the letter to the Mills Commission citing Abner Doubleday as baseball's father, shot and killed his second wife. He would die in an insane asylum in 1926 at the age of 92.

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Baseball Calendar 2024

6/8-9

London Series between the Mets and Phillies.

6/14

2024 College World Series begins.

6/20

Rickwood Field Classic in Alabama between the Cardinals and Giants.

7/16

The 94th All-Star Game at Globe Life Field in Arlington Texas.
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