Tag: Sports

7 Inspiring Baseball Players Who Overcame Adversity

 

Mordecai Brown, Chicago Cubs
It’s tough to make it to the major leagues and it’s even tougher to stay there. It takes a not-insignificant amount of natural physical ability, a lot of hard work, and plenty of self-confidence to get there and stay there. It’s a battle that plays out every day through competition from the amateur level through the minor leagues and at the major league level. It’s even tougher for some who have an additional opponent they have to conquer along the way. That’s the purpose of this post – to briefly tell the stories of a few of those who had an additional obstacle on their way to the majors. I think I’ll proceed in chronological order.

Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown

Tom Brady: Already Back to Work

 

You do not get to be a professional athlete in your 40s if you are not both blessed with great genes and possessed of a ferocious work ethic. That work ethic might also be characterized as a sense of self-preservation. Tom Brady has all this in spades. He led his second National Football League franchise to Super Bowl victory this past Sunday. Today, Saturday, February 13, 43 year old Tom Brady was back in training, one-on-one, with his personal trainer of many years, Alex Guerrero.

Tom Brady TrainingI have no special fondness for Brady, have ignored the NFL entirely for the past season, and last really cheered the Jim Zorn era Seahawks. Yet, I have to cheer for the old guys to win. You bet I have a George Foreman grill.

Life Lessons from Tom Brady? Well…. Maybe

 

Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just beat the mighty Green Bay Packers and are on their way to Super Bowl 55; coincidentally being played this year in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers have won one Super Bowl. Tom Brady has taken his teams to the Super Bowl nine times and won six. We were New England Patriots fans for over twenty years while living in Boston. We’ve been in Florida since 2003 and never thought Tom Brady (or Gronkowski) would relocate their careers and homes to Florida. I asked my husband this evening: Is it because Tom Brady is such a good football player? He said he’s more than that, he’s an exceptional athlete, one of those rare people that is not only a team player but excels in leadership.

I thought about that comment because I had just gotten off the phone with my older cousin in Las Vegas, who asked me if I had watched the Biden Inauguration and the program after. I said no, and let her talk. She gushed about how she taped it and wept through the whole thing, “the young poet and her words and hand gestures reduced me to tears”, she said, “how Lady Gaga sang the National Anthem while gazing with so much love at our flag, then there was Jennifer Lopez and Tom Hanks.” She said they were cathartic tears after four years of hell. I knew my cousin and her husband were very liberal, and I thought she knew I was conservative, but I let her have her moment and stayed silent.

‘A Gift to Humanity’

 

If we are to be unified, then we must be able and willing to share life. Bill Whittle and company offer a timely reminder of the tremendous good that social media can achieve when people are free to associate across boundaries and to enjoy life together as fellows.

RIP, Hank Aaron

 

Hank Aaron in the batting cage spring training 1960
Baseball great Hank Aaron passed away today, January 22, 2021, at age 86. No cause of death has been provided.

Henry Louis Aaron was born on February 5, 1934, in Mobile, Alabama to Herbert and Estella Aaron. He was one of eight children which included a younger brother, Tommie, who would also play in the major leagues. The family was quite poor and so the young Henry had to work at odd jobs including picking cotton to help ends meet. He loved sports and learned baseball in sandlot games in which bottle caps or rocks usually substituted for balls and sticks or broom handles substituted for bats. He hit cross-handed from the start and he would keep hitting cross-handed until he began his professional career. Perhaps this is how he developed such quick and strong wrists which was much remarked upon from the beginning of his career. He did play baseball and football in high school, but like the young Willie Mays, he also began playing semi-pro baseball around the age of 14 thus adding another small sum to the family income.

Member Post

 

I enter some dangerous ground writing a sports themed post, made worse by it centering on soccer, and not even American soccer. But forgive me this one time. An incident occurred at a Champion’s League match yesterday between Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir. From The Daily Mail: “The Champions League clash between Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir was […]

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Thanks for Excellence

 

November 2020 offered two shining public examples of humans “being best:” one on a racecourse in Turkey, the other racing up from Cape Canaveral to meet the International Space Station. Formula 1 went racing in Turkey on Sunday, November 15, in the rain. The unworldly talent, Lewis Hamilton, started in sixth position and stayed there for much of the race. Then the unexpected happened, as might have been expected.

Closer to home, in all the ground clutter of Democrats trying to steal our republic, you might not have noticed that Space X Crew Dragon roared off the launch pad with four astronauts aboard on November 16. We can be thankful for the individuals and entire systems that produce such amazing achievements while noting that they are gravely endangered by the global leftist movement, to which they at least pay lip service.

Space history:

RIP, Joe Morgan

 

This year has been a terrible year in many ways for just about everybody. It’s been no exception for baseball fans. This year had so far seen the loss of five Hall of Famers; Al Kaline, Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver, and Whitey Ford. This Sunday, a sixth has been added to that list, Joe Morgan. Morgan passed away at his California home on Sunday at the age of 77 due to non-specified polyneuropathy.

Joe Leonard Morgan was born on September 19, 1943, in Bonham, TX, the youngest of six children. He moved to Oakland, CA with his family at five when his father found work with the Pacific Tire & Rubber Company. As a boy, Joe played baseball, basketball and ran track. His best sport was baseball, but he was not considered a major league prospect in high school because of his lack of size (he is listed at 5′-7″, 160 lbs during his playing career) and he was, at best, the second-best player on his team behind Rudy May who was highly sought after in high school and would have a fine major league career as a pitcher. He played baseball at a local junior college where he did attract the attention of the scouts and he signed a contract with the Houston Astros for all of $500 per month plus a $3,000 signing bonus. He worked his way through the expansion Astros minor league system rapidly, getting cups of coffee in the bigs in 1963 and 64 becoming the Astros starting second baseman in 1965 at age 21.

With the Astros, “Little Joe” quickly blossomed into a fine player. He finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting in 1965 and made two All-Star teams while in Houston. However, the combination of the dismal performance of the team (they were always in the second division) and playing his home games in an awful hitter’s park (The Astrodome) helped to hide his light behind a bushel. A blockbuster trade between the Cincinnati Reds and the Astros in the winter of 1971 would change that. The Astros sent Morgan, Cesar Geronimo, Denis Menke, Jack Billingham, and Ed Armbrister to the Reds in exchange for slugging 1B Lee May, fellow 2B Tommy Helms, and Jimmy Stewart. Morgan was initially upset with the trade. He’d made a home in Houston, and he and his wife were expecting their second child. However, the trade would kick his career into overdrive. Over the next six seasons, he was probably the best player in baseball. And, playing for manager Sparky Anderson and teaming with all-time greats Johnny Bench and Pete Rose in one of the best eight-man lineups in history, the Reds would average 98 wins per season and win back-to-back World Championships in 1975-76.

Winning Ugly

 

Let’s get superficial here at Ricochet and talk about looks. This is a tw0-part essay.

Coming into the 2020 season, 19,960 people had played at least one game in the major leagues. Among those 19,960 were all sorts, tall guys and short guys, guys as fast as greased lightning and guys slower than molasses, smart cookies and dummies, honest men and crooks, handsome devils, and those who were a little less fortunate in the looks department. Among that latter group was Don Mossi.

Mossi was a pitcher and pretty good one. He pitched 12 years in the majors as both a reliever and a starter and he was good in each role. He pitched in the majors from 1954 to 1965 and posted a career 101-80 won-loss record, a 3.43 ERA and 50 saves in 460 games and 1548 innings pitched. In his best individual season (1959) the left-handed Mossi went 17-9 and he was also a part of the best pitching staff of the 1950s as a rookie– the 1954 Cleveland Indians – the Indians that year won the AL pennant with a 111-43 won-lost record, one of the best regular-season records of all time, powered by a pitching staff which included Hall of Famers Bob Feller, Bob Lemon, Early Wynn, and Hal Newhouser. Mossi held his own with a 6-1, 1.94 ERA, 7 save performance.

Patriotic Americans Need to Boycott Professional Sports

 

Several days ago I posted “Professional Sports: Purveyors of Cultural Marxism.” It was about the need for patriotic Americans to boycott professional sports since they’re all on board with the lie of “systemic racism” and trying to shove it down our throats. Well, you can scratch soccer and golf off your list too.

Here’s an article about soccer players taking a knee, getting booed by the few fans who were there and the cluelessness of one of the players who was absolutely baffled by why the fans would do that. The player, Reggie Cannon, put it this way: “We had someone chanting U.S.A., but they don’t understand what kneeling means . . . . They can’t see the reason. They think we’re the ignorant ones. It’s incredibly frustrating. I’m sorry to have this tone, but you have to call it for what it is.”

Member Post

 

You know things are bad when you look back fondly on the Obama years as the good old days. Sure, it was on his watch that race relations did a one-eighty, the White House glowed in the rainbow colors and most of us were depicted as bitter clingers. But still, nobody back then would have […]

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We’re talking sports on this episode — from the Lake Placid Olympics to the famous Joe Montana-Dwight Clark pass to Fingers’ long, painful journey with the Detroit Lions. Also, Teri has many crushes (spoiler alert: Bucky Dent is mentioned), not to mention her odd collection of memorabilia, and Fingers has a hate/hate relationship with soccer.

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Willie Mays: An Appreciation

 

Wednesday was baseball great Willie Mays’ 89th birthday and I thought I’d post a brief appreciation of his career. I’ve been a baseball fan almost all my life, and since I grew up in northern California and started following baseball circa 1960, the Giants were my favorite team and I gravitated quickly to their best player Willie Mays.

Willie Howard Mays was born on May 6, 1931, in Westfield, Alabama. Willie was a precocious athlete. His father was a semi-pro ballplayer, playing for a company team in the local league made up from coal and steel companies in the area. By the time he was a teenager, young Mays was on his father’s team playing against grown men twice his age. And, although he played on his high school football, basketball and baseball teams, he began his professional baseball career in 1947 at age 16 joining the Chattanooga Choo Choos, who were essentially a farm team for the Negro League Birmingham Black Barons, a team he would join within a year. The Black Barons manager, Piper Davis would become a mentor to Willie. He worked with the young ballplayer on his weaknesses as a player and required that he finish high school. Since the Dodgers had broken the color line with Jackie Robinson in 1947, major league scouts from those teams willing to add black ballplayers to their roster began scouring the Negro Leagues for major league talent and it didn’t take them long to stumble across Mays who had helped the Black Barons to the Negro League World Series in 1948 mainly with his great defensive play.

RIP: Al Kaline

 

Al KalineBaseball great Al Kaline passed away today April 6, 2020 at his Bloomfield Hills home at age 85. No cause of death has been given although it is known that he suffered a heart attack several months ago. Kaline, who was born and raised in Baltimore, MD, was an early “bonus baby” signing with the Detroit Tigers at age 18 for enough money ($35,000) that the rules of the time required that he stay with the major league club. He would stay with the Tigers from that first day forward in 1953 for the next twenty-two years until his retirement following the 1974 season thus being one of the few major league players never to spend even a day in the minors.

Kaline came into his own as a player in 1955 as the 20-year old led the league in hits (200), total bases (321) and in the process became the youngest batting champion (.340) in history. The following season he would drive in a personal best 128 runs and he would continue to play at an all-star level for the better part of the next two decades. Kaline took as much pride in his defense as he did with his hitting and the right fielder would garner 10 gold gloves to go along with 15 All-Star Game selections. He would not win an MVP but he would finish second in the voting twice and be considered one of the ten most valuable players in the league nine times. For his career, he would join the 3,000 hit club with 3,007 hits but would just miss several other round numbers with 399 home runs, 498 doubles, and a career .297 batting average. The newer advanced metrics also attest Kaline’s greatness – his 92.8 WAR ranks 29th all-time among position players, while his 443 Win Shares is 28th all-time among position players. The highlight of his playing career probably came in 1968 as his Tigers beat the St Louis Cardinals for the World Series Championship as he did his part hitting .379 with 8 RBI. Kaline played his entire career with a deformed left foot due to a childhood bout with osteomyelitis which caused him problems off and on during his playing career. Here is a link to his statistics.

Kaline’s playing career was capped with his selection to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1980. After his playing career, “Mr. Tiger” joined the Tigers as an executive and he would remain employed by them until his death. Kaline, who had been a clubhouse leader during his playing career was universally liked and respected throughout the baseball world. He is survived by Madge, his wife of 66 years, and their two grown children.

In a strange time, Jack does something new: Discuss sports! ChatSports Analyst Tom Downey joins Young Americans to discuss how he got into sports journalism, and how coronavirus is affecting both college and professional sports.

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday. Book Review ‘The Reunion’ proves to be a delight for all readers By […]

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Member Post

 

This year’s World Series features two franchises who have been relatively unsuccessful until recently. The Houston Astros are making their second World Series appearance in the last three seasons, and their third overall World Series and are seeking their second World Championship (having won the 2017 affair), while their opponent will be the Washington Nationals […]

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I think there is a rule among sporting organizations that using drugs to enhance performance is forbidden. Is this generally true? If it is why aren’t men, who must be taking drugs to enhance their feminine characteristics, ruled out of participation because of their drug use. This seems like a sensible and enforceable standard. Preview […]

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