Around the Diamond
"There are only two seasons - winter and baseball." ~ Bill Veeck
The Dodgers and some guy named Shohei Ohtani have agreed on a 10-year/$700 million deal, the largest in professional sports history. Ohtani won ROY, 2 MVP's and was an All-Star 3 times in his six seasons with the Angels.
The lease "agreement" that was announced this past fall to keep the Baltimore Orioles in The Ballpark at Camden Yards has been "paused." At issue is the rights to public land being granted to the current or new ownership group.
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.
The Yankees acquired Juan Soto from the Padres in a seven player blockbuster trade.
Eduardo Rodrigues is leaving MoTown to pitch for Arizona. The Orioles sign closer Craig Kimbrel to a 1yr/$13M deal while Felix Bautista recovers from Tommy John surgery. And the Red Sox trade OF Alex Verdugo to the rival Yankees for 3 pitching prospects and add OF Tyler O'Neil from St. Louis.
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 during Tuesday's (12/5) 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.
Award Season rolls on.....
The Relievers of the Year are Baltimore's Felix Bautista (1.48 ERA, 33 saves and a league leading 110K's). And the Brewers Devon Williams (1.53 ERA and 36 saves) won it for the second time in four years.
Congratulations to this year's "Comeback Player of the Year" winners Liam Hendriks of the White Sox who returned after battling cancer and Cody Bellanger who had a resurgent season with the Cubs hitting .307 with 26 dingers in just 130 games.
Trivia Question: 19 pitchers are in the 3000 strikeout club. 2 earned all their K's with one team. Can you name them? Answer at bottom of page.
The Mets sign utility man Joey Wendle and also added Yankee starter Luis Severino on a 1-year/$13M deal.
Former Padre Nick Martinez will be pitching for the Reds in 2024. Cincinnati signed him for 2yr/$26M. The 33 year old had 9 starts and 54 appearances in relief for the Friars with a 3.43 ERA combined.
The Cardinals have signed veteran pitcher Sonny Gray to a 3 year/$75M deal.
The Tigers have signed P Kenta Maeda away from their division rival the Twins on a 2-year deal.
RIP Willie Hernandez, 69. Hernandez pitched in 13 seasons, was a 3X All-Star and in 1984 he led the Tigers to a World Championship winning the Cy Young and MVP along the way.
"I came into the world poor and naked, but I don't want to die with no clothes on." ~ Willie Hernandez
Uncle Schildty takes over the reigns in San Diego. Mike Schildt was the last manager to lead the Cardinals to a postseason berth in 2021 after winning 17 straight, a St. Louis franchise record.
The Phillies and Aaron Nola agreed to a 7-year and estimated $172 million deal.
Shohei Otani (Angels) and Ronald Acuna Jr. (Braves) are this year's MVP's. Congratulations!
Padres ace Blake Snell wins his second Cy Young Award, this time in the NL (2018 Tampa Bay Rays). This year's AL winner is Gerrit Cole who went 15- 4 (league best win percentage of .789) for the NY Yankees while also leading the league in ERA (2.63), K's (222), WHIP (0.98), and innings pitched (209).
The Brewers promote bench coach Pat Murphy to manager replacing Craig Counsell after 9 years.
Congratulations to this year's Manager of the Year Award Winners Skip Schumaker of the Miami Marlins who had their first winning (full season) since 2009 and Brandon Hyde of the Baltimore Orioles who led his team to 101 wins and a division title in the tough AL East.
The Angels introduce Ron Washington as team skipper.
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."
Congratulations to this year's ROY winners Corbin Carroll of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL and Baltimore Orioles Gunner Henderson. Both winners unanimous selections by the BBWAA.
DID YOU KNOW? ~ Of the 152 players to be elected Rookie of the Year, 18 are in the Hall of Fame.
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.
The Astros name bench coach Joe Espada the team's new manager to replace the retiring Dusty Baker..
Congratulations to Oriole's GM Mike Elias for being named MLB 2023 Executive of the Year. Baltimore won the AL East and 101 games with a young homegrown corps.
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).
Cleveland hires Stephen Vogt to fill the managers shoes after Terry Francona's retirement.
"Once you give out T-shirts, man, you can't be going back." ~ Terry Francona (after his retirement day).
The Mets hire former Yankee bench coach Carlos Mendoza to manage an underperforming squad. The Mets finished 2023 75-87 despite having the largest payroll in MLB history.
The Cubs fire manager David Ross and hire former Brewers and division rival skipper Craig Counsell. The Cubs started September with a 92% chance of making the playoffs, but went 6-14 in their last 20 to miss the post season.
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).
Yankees slugger Aaron Judge is this year's Roberto Clemente Award winner. Congrats!
Ketel Marte's set a new postseason hitting streak of 20 games passing Hank Bauer, Manny Ramirez and Derek Jeter who all had 17 game streaks.
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 winning percentage of the Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks was .537, the lowest of any World Series.
Nine of the last 10 years have seen a first time ever World Series matchup.
DID YOU KNOW? ~ Six of the last seven World Series have been played in Texas? (four involved Houston, Texas this year and the pandemic neutral site in 2020).
The Boston Red Sox hired Craig Breslow as head of baseball operations.
This year's NLCS was the first Game 7 the Philadelphia Phillies played in their 141 year history.
The Diamondbacks become just the second playoff team ('07 Red Sox) to have back-to-back home runs in three games.
The road team won every ALCS game.
Bob Melvin was hired to manage the Giants next season, leaving SD after the second year of his three year deal.
"They were Cadillacs and I was a Chevrolet." ~ Carl Yastrzemski
Regular season Titans fizzle in the playoffs....Braves 104 wins, out in 4-games. 101 win Orioles, swept. 99 win Rays, swept. 100 win Dodgers, swept.
DID YOU KNOW? ~ 25 times teams from the same state have faced off in the playoffs, but this is the first time ever two Texas teams have gone to battle. The Houston Astros hosted the Texas Rangers in the ALCS.
It took 92 series, but the Orioles are swept by Texas in the ALDS. It's the third longest streak a team has ever gone without being swept in a series.
10 teams have come back from 0-2 deficits in five game series. Boston has done so twice.
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!
In a 5-game series the game 1 winner advances 71% of the time.
Clayton Kershaw recorded just one out while giving up 6-runs before being pulled in the first inning of game one in this year's division series opening game. The 11-2 win by the Diamondbacks was the largest margin of defeat ever at Chavez Ravine. Kershaw is now just 13-13 in his postseason career with a 4.93 ERA.
The Twins first win in the 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).
So much for a subway series. Neither of the NY or Chicago teams made the playoffs.
The San Francisco Giants fire manager Gabe Kapler after 4 seasons at the helm. He was NL Manager of the Year in 2021.
The Cardinals lose 90 games for the first time since 1990.
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!"
"Never make predictions, especially about the future." ~ Casey Stengel
"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.
DID YOU KNOW? ~ With 780 wins Charlie Manuel is tops on the Phillies all-time manager list.
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 (Acuna, A-Rod).
Arizona rookie Corbin Carroll (OF) is the first rookie to ever hit 25 home runs and steal 50 bags.
The Rangers had 26 double-digit wins, the most in franchise history.
"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
The Mets hire current Brewer executive David Stearns to take the reigns in NY as president of baseball operations.
"A half truth is a whole lie." ~ Yiddish Proverb
The Red Sox and Yankees finish in the bottom two for just the third time in A.L. history with 1966 being the last time.
Angel Shohei Ohtani now has 40 homers and 20 steals for the second time in his career and becomes just the eighth player to have multiple 40/20 seasons.
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
California walks-off Curacao to win the 2023 Little League World Series 6-5 Sunday in Williamsport, PA. Louis Lappe hit the bomb that secured the title. It was his fifth home run of the tournament. This is the fifth consecutive tournament a US teams has won the title and 39th overall.
Congratulations to Texas ace Max Scherzer for moving up to 11th on the all-time strikeout list with 3,343.
Congratulations to Jose Altuve on getting his 2,000 hit! The Houston second bagger is just the third Astro to reach the mark (Bagwell and Biggio).
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.
"To the amazing Seattle fans and the King's Court, you are the greatest fans in the world. Thank you for all your support. I love you guys." ~ Felix Hernandez during his Seattle HOF speech Saturday. King Felix played his entire 15-year career with Seattle and is the franchise's all-time leader in wins (169), strikeouts (2,524), Inninings (2,729) and starts (418). Hernandez was a 6 time All-Star who won a Cy Young (2010) and lead the league in ERA twice. He pitched the Mariners only perfect game (2012). King Felix is the 11th Mariner to have his number retired and has the most wins of any Venezuelan born pitcher.
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.
Fernandomania is back! The Dodgers retire the pitching great's number 34. Felicidades El Toro!
"Bat Flip " Bautista officially announces his retirement with Toronto after signing a one-day contract with the team.
"In 1962 I was named Minor League Player of the Year. It was my second season in the bigs." ~ Bob Uecker
With 44 home runs, Shohei Ohtani is the first pitcher to lead a league in homers since Babe Ruth did it over 100 years ago in 1921!
DID YOU KNOW? ~ According to Cubs historian Ed Hartig, the Cubs are the first team in either AL/NL to record 10 extra-base hits and five home runs in back-to-back games.
"There have been only two geniuses in the world. Willie Mays and Willie Shakespeare." ~ Tallulah Bankhead
Commissioner Rob Manfred gets a 4-year extension.
DID YOU KNOW? ~ In 1977 Sparky Lyle became the first reliever to win the Cy Young Award.
Congratulations to the Reds Joey Votto who became just the 16th player to reach 2000 hits, 350 home runs and have a .400 on-base percentage. Only Johnny Bench, with 389 dingers, has more in Cincinnati franchise history.
On May 1, 1991, Rickey Henderson broke Lou Brock's record of 938 stolen bases. He would go on to steal another 468 bases, a full 50% more than Brock, before retiring in 2003.
When asked how he went from number 28 to number 29 by David Letterman, Philadelphia first baseman John Kruk answered, "We made a trade for Mitch Williams. I saw where Rickey Henderson gave a guy $25,000 for a number...well I got two cases of beer. So, Mitch got number 28."
Congratulations to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for winning the 2023 Home Run Derby! His father, Vladimir Guerrero Sr., won the tournament in 2007 making the Guerrero's the first father-son tandem to win the Derby.
"That's a grand show and it should be continued." ~ Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis (after the first All-Star Game in 1933).
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.
Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. became the first player in either league to hit 20HR, steal 40 bases and have 50 RBI before the All-Star break.
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.
Yankee great Lou Gehrig's number 4 is the first number ever retired and it happened on July 4th, 1939. If interested in helping baseball fight ALS donate at www.iamals.org.
A tip of the cap to the Yankees who, on the 84th anniversary of Lou Gehrig's speech, honored baseball writer and researcher Sarah Langs and all the women battling ALS. Visit StarsforSarah.org to donate.
The Braves had eight All-Stars this year, a franchise record.
Congratulations to LSU, this year's College World Series Champions. They defeated Florida in game 3 on Monday (6/26).
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.
A tip of the cap to the White Sox who gave 14-year-old Brady Nelson an honorary one day contract. Brady, who is battling brain cancer, spent the day with his favorite team doing baseball activities, including running the bases and throwing out the first pitch before Monday's (6/19) game. Strike out cancer Brady!
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.
Nevada approves $380 million in public funding for the A's potential move to Las Vegas.
"The average age of our bench is deceased." ~ Tommy Lasorda
Time flies in Philadelphia. Citizens Bank Ballpark has more pitch clock violations than any other park in baseball so far this season according to STATS Perform.
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
Cub Christopher Morel hit 9 home runs in his first 12 games this season. Only 3 other players have done so with Mike Schmidt the only one to hit 11 in his first dozen games of a season.
Congratulations to former pitcher Al Leiter on being elected to the Mets Hall of Fame.
The Rays started 21-4 at home this season. Only the 1978 Red Sox, at 22-3, were better through the first 25.
"All of his saves have come in relief appearances." ~ Ralph Kiner
Can you name the 3 players with 10 Gold Gloves and 500 home runs? Answer at the bottom...
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!
"Baseball is dull only to dull minds." ~ Red Barber
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.
"I don't want my name to be presented to the public as an Indian, but as a pitcher." ~ Chief Bender
The 5-23 A's set a new MLB record in April, 28 games to start the season without a starter earning a win.
Babe Ruth used a 50-ounce bat, the heaviest ever turned at Louisville Slugger.
Twins great and HOF'er Rod Carew stole home 17 times, the most in the expansion era (1961). Ty Cobb's 50 are the most all-time.
"When I started to throw the ball back to the pitcher harder than he was throwing it to me, we switched positions." ~ Bert Blyleven
In 1907 NY Giants fans forced their team to forfeit to the Phillies on Opening Day due to a snowball fight spilling onto the field.
"All I remember about my wedding day is the Cubs lost a double-header." ~ George Will
Trivia answer from the top: Walter Johnson (Washington Senators) and Bob Gibson (St. Louis Cardinals)..
Trivia answer: Willie Mays, Mike Schmidt and Ken Griffey Jr..
Want more to read? Visit our "Archives" page for some fascinating baseball history.
"Veteran Bert 'Termite' Shepard" ~ As we commemorate Veterans Day let us reflect on the words of Michel de Montaigne, "Valor is stability not of legs and arms, but of courage and the soul." Bert Shepard, a baseball pitcher, coach and veteran, exemplified these words. A common expression in Washington D.C. at the time was, "First in war, first in peace and last in the American League." In 1945, however, the Washington Senators had a pretty good team. Still above .500 in August, fans were feeling good about WWII nearing its end and the Senators chances for a pennant. Negativity about the team's chances began to creep in when they came upon a brutal stretch of schedule. The Sens had to play 10 games in five days. That's right, five consecutive doubleheaders. Winning a doubleheader is difficult. Winning five? Impossible. They almost did it. They would go 9-1 over those five days, pass the Yankees in the standings and remain on the Tigers heels in the pennant race 'til the end of the season...miraculous. Ironically, it's the one loss that remains in our baseball consciousness not the nine wins. In that lone loss of those 10 games, a 15-4 drubbing to the Boston Red Sox, three things would happen that would make the record books. First, Boston outfielder Tom McBride would tie a record and hit 6 RBI in one inning. Second, Washington relief pitcher Joe Cleary would surrender seven runs on five hits with three walks in only a third of an inning. His ERA of 189.00 remains the highest of any pitcher in history to record at least one out. And finally third, Bert Shepard would take the mound as the only pitcher with one leg to ever make an MLB start. He would shut down Boston in his 5.1 innings of relief allowing one run on three hits. Despite his brilliance that day and the cheers from the home crowd, it would be his only major league appearance ever. Those three things happening in one game are improbable, but not as improbable as Bert Shepard's one legged journey to the mound that day. Bert Shepard was born on June 28, 1920 in rural Indiana, corn country. His town of Dana was made famous by native son Ernie Pyle the great WWII correspondent who was born there. Bert was one of six brothers who all said that things just came natural to Bert. He excelled at everything he did. He signed his first minor league baseball contract of $60 while still in high school. He would bounce around the country for various teams playing first and pitching. He was released by teams often due to control issues and a high number of walks. In 1942, the war called and Bert joined the Army Air Corps. He trained in California and earned the rank of Lieutenant and became a P-38 fighter pilot. Stationed in England, his 55th Fighter Group was the first to fly combat missions over Berlin Germany during the day. In May 1944 his 55th Fighter Group baseball team was scheduled to have their "Opening Day." Bert was the team ace (both on the mound and in the air) and was team manager. Thinking he'd be back in time, he volunteered for his 34th combat mission of the war. It would be his last. With D-Day looming, his squadron was charged with strafing any railroad, fuel depot, bridge or military target they could find. It was on this mission, for which he volunteered, that he would be shot down. An anti-aircraft shell ripped through the bottom of his plane tearing his right leg apart causing him to hit his head so hard it fractured and he blacked out. It is estimated his plane was traveling close to 400 miles per hour when it hit the ground. A group of German farmers wanted to kill him but, of all people, a German Luftwaffe doctor from a nearby hospital drew his side piece to fend off the locals and then pulled Bert from his wrecked P-38. The hospital did not want to work on the fallen American pilot, but the Luftwaffe doctor, a lieutenant named Ladislaus Loidl, insisted they let him in and tended to Bert's leg himself, amputating it below the knee, saving Bert Shepard's life. Bert was sent to a German POW camp where he met a Canadian POW who helped fashion an artificial leg for him. Within a month Shepard was playing softball in the camp. The German doctor who performed the surgery was so delighted about Bert's progress that he ordered the hospital staff to pay the camp a visit to observe the American pilot they refused treatment. Shepard was returned home as part of a prisoner exchange in February 1945. The boat he was transported on had 37 other men with prosthesis fashioned by the Canadian Bert met in camp. His name was Don Errey and it is believed he helped 300 soldiers with artificial limbs while he was a POW. Bert's next stop was Walter Reed Hospital Bethesda, MD. It was here that Bert would meet Robert Patterson, Undersecretary of War. Patterson, upon learning of Bert's desire to get back into baseball, pulled some strings and asked Washington Senators owner Clark Griffin to give the war hero a chance. He did, signing Shepard to a coaching contract with a chance to pitch if he improved. Once healthy, Shepard would throw batting practice and exhibition games. Though he only pitched in that one MLB game, he would often pitch in charity games for the war effort. The Army used his story to inspire the many wounded vets returning back home. He also pitched for a group of amputees to raise money for soldiers who could no longer work. Bert would have six more amputation surgeries while he played baseball. His leg was often sore and raw, but he always stayed determined and kept his sense of humor. He laughed at his wooden leg inspired nickname "Termite." When he had trouble keeping his sock up a teammate suggested a rubber band. Bert quipped, "It will cut off my circulation." His team of leg amputees were called the "Flat Tires" and they would play a group of arm amputees called the "Broken Wings." Humor was key to healing. Bert used his notoriety to help the cause of amputees who had it far worse than he. He visited with and advocated for those who couldn't find work and adjust to their new life. He spent countless hours talking with wounded veterans about things only they could fully understand. Bert stayed positive, thankful that the injury happened to his right leg and not his left because he was a lefty pitcher and wouldn't be able to push off on his opposite leg. Shepard was named the starting pitcher in an exhibition game for the War Relief Effort against the Brooklyn Dodgers in July 1945. Before the game General Omar Bradley pinned the Airman's Medal on Shepard's baseball uniform. Later that summer on August 31, Shepard was presented the Distinguished Flying Cross between games of a doubleheader. When the season ended, the Senators finished second in the AL 1.5 games behind Detroit. Bert Shepard was cut the next day. Though his MLB career was over, he would stay in professional baseball until 1955. He would persevere, never losing focus of his dream, despite his setbacks. He spent those 10 years bouncing around the country from league to league living his dream. His reputation was so sterling among his teammates and players that when the Waterbury Timers, a Connecticut team of the Colonial League, said they could no longer pay his manager's salary of $4000 the players threatened to quit. Local merchants, upon hearing of the squabble, ponied up his salary for the season. Now married and having enough of traveling the country and rehabbing from multiple surgeries and re-amputations, Bert Shepard retired from baseball in 1955. He was 34 years old and the jersey he hung up also had a 34 on it. When asked why he chose that number, he said it represented the 34 missions he flew in the war. He and his wife Betty had four kids and settled in Modesto California, the last team Bert managed. He became an aircraft safety engineer for Hughes Aircraft. Future leg amputees would benefit from an ankle joint he invented to improve mobility. He would play in many charity golf events and often partnered with friend and fellow major leaguer Billy Martin. Shepard won the U.S. Amputee Golf Championship in 1968 and 1971. Bert had a full life only Hollywood could invent. He died in 2008 at the age of 88. Shepard never knew how he got out of his plane that day in 1944. He always wondered, "who saved my life." In 1992, Bert received a phone call from a man in England named Jamie Brundell. Brundell had been on a hunting trip with an Austrian doctor named Ladislaus Loidl, the man who saved Bert's life a half century before. Bert was stunned. A meeting was arranged and six months later Shepard and Loidl met in Austria. They embraced and didn't let go. Loidl told Bert how his wife made a beautiful dress out of his parachute. Bert told Loidl about his family and baseball career. "I wanted him to know that it was appreciated, that I was successful," Shepard said. "When he hugged me," Shepard went on to say, "These are the arms that pulled me out of that plane."
Baseball Calendar 2023
Gold Glove Awards
Silver Slugger Awards
Manager of the Year announced.
Cy Yound Award announced.
Contemporary Baseball Committee votes
Winter Meetings from Nashville
Draft Selection announced.
Rule 5 Draft
BBWAA HOF announcement
First Spring Training Game! (Dodgers v. Padres).
The Seoul Series. The Dodgers and Padres will play the first regular season games in Korea.
OPENING DAY! All 30 teams play on Thursday, March 28th.
Mexico City Series between the Astros and Rockies.
London Series between the Mets and Phillies.
Rickwood Field in Alabama game between the Cardinals and Giants.
The 94th All-Star Game at Globe Life Field in Arlington Texas.
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