Jan 19 & 20, 2013 - Politics

Politics and baseball

WASHINGTON, D.C., As the nation gets ready to inaugurate President Barack Obama a second time, let's reminisce about politics and baseball.

Many of you know that former Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was a dominant pitcher for most of his 17 years in the majors, mostly for the Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies. Finshed his career 224-184 with a 3.27 ERA. He is one of the few to throw no-hitters in both leagues.

Former New York Governor and presidential candidate Mario Cuomo had a promising baseball career cut short by a fastball. He was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in 1951 and assigned to their Brunswick minor league team. Later that first season he was hit in the head by a fastball. It was so serious doctors advised he give up baseball, which he did, and went on to finish law school.

The Chicago Cubs' dominance of baseball attention in the Windy City continues despite the White House being inhabited by a Sox fan. A fan, President Barack Obama, who did not worry about alienating fans of the city's north side team during the 2008 campaign. This is what he told ESPN when asked who he'd root for in a Sox-Cubs World Series, "Oh, that's easy. White Sox. I'm not one of these fair-weather fans. You go to Wrigley Field, you have a beer; beautiful people up there. People aren't watching the game. It's not serious. White Sox, that's baseball. South Side."

Former President George W. Bush was principal owner of the Texas Rangers. His father, former President George H. W. Bush played baseball for Yale.

What other baseball-politics connections can you think of?

Contributing sources: 
ESPN 
Mario Cuomo in the Minors  


Sept 20, 1998: Ripken not in the lineup

Cal Ripken’s streak ends

BALTIMORE, MARYLANDCal Ripken didn’t play for the Baltimore Orioles on this date in 1998, the first time he was not in the lineup in over 16 years. It marked the end of his 2,632 consecutive game streak, a record Ripken held since breaking Lou Gehrig’s 2,130 game streak on September 5, 1995.

So, Cal Ripken is best known for the streak, but how good a ballplayer was he?


Pretty good.

  • 431 career home runs (the most by a shortstop - 345)
  • 3,184 hits (14th all-time)
  • 1,695 runs batted in (averaged 81 per year over 21 years)
  • 1,647 runs scored
  • .276 lifetime batting average
  • Started 17 all-star games at short
  • Two-time Most Valuable Player

Cal Ripken was exceptional and durable, while playing one of the most demanding positions on the field for most of his career. It’s unlikely his streak will ever be broken. The closest any recent player came was Miguel Tajada who played in 1,152 straight games, but that streak ended in June 2007.

Then again, they said Gehrig’s streak would never be broken.

Contributing sources:
Career stats leaders (Baseball Reference)
Ripken's last game (Baseball-Almanac)


This dose of baseball history is brought to you by TODAY in BASEBALL. Spread the word. Hyperlink www.todayinbaseball.com to your website.


June 21, 2004: Griffey's 500th HR

CORRECTION: Below is a terrific story except there's an error. Ken Griffley Jr. hit his 500th HR June 20, 2004, not June 21. Thanks to my voluntary proofer reader Steve Basford for catching that.

500 Career Home Runs

ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI - Ken Griffey, Jr. hit his 500th home run on this date in 2004 becoming the 20th major leaguer to reach that mark. At 34-years old he was the 6th youngest to hit 500. It was also Father's Day, which was fitting since Ken Griffey, Sr., a former player himself was in the stands.

Hitting 500 home runs in a career has always been a right of passage into the Baseball Fall of Fame. Will it continue to be? It's not as remarkable an achievement as it once was.

Up to 1950, the first 74 years of major league baseball, 3 players had reached 500 home runs. In the 69 years since 20 players have reached the 500 home run mark.

Players who reached 500 home runs from 1876 to 1950
1. Babe Ruth
2. Jimmie Foxx
3. Mel Ott

Players who reached 500 home runs from 1950 to 2011
1. Barry Bonds
2.
Hank Aaron
3. Willie Mays
4. Ken Griffey, JR.
5.
Alex Rodriguez
6.
Sammy Sosa
7.
Jim Thome
8.
Frank Robinson
9.
Mark McGwire
10.
Harmon Killebrew
11.
Rafael Palmiero
12.
Reggie Jackson
13. Manny Ramirez
14.
Mike Schmidt
15. Mickey Mantle
16. Ted Williams
17.
Willie McCovey
18. Frank Thomas
19.
Ernie Banks
20. Eddie Matthews
21. Gary Sheffield
22. Eddie Murray

CONTRIBUTING SOURCES:
BASEBALL-ALMANAC milestones
BASEBALL-REFERENCE milestones
Retrosheet milestones

This story is brought to you by TODAY in BASEBALL.



Jan 20: Politics

Politics & Baseball

On January 20th every fourth year a United States President is inaugaurated. It will happen again next January 20th. In that vein, let's look at some of the ways politics and baseball have become intertwined:

 

Former Philedelphia A's owner and manager Connie Mack's grandson, Connie Mack III, was a Republican congressman from Florida from 1983 to 1989 and U-S Senator from Florida from 1989 to 2001.

Former Arizona Congressman John Conlan is the son of former major league umpire Jocko Conlan who had a brief stint as a player for the Chicago White Sox.

Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was a dominant pitcher for most of his 17 years in the majors, mostly for the Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies. He finshed his career with a 224-184 record, 3.27 ERA, and is one of the few to throw no-hitters in both leagues.

Former New York Governor and presidential candidate Mario Cuomo had a promising baseball career cut short by a fastball. He was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in 1951 and assigned to their Brunswick minor league team. Later that first season he was hit in the head by a fastball. It was so serious doctors advised he give up baseball, which he did, and went on to finish law school.

The Chicago Cubs' dominance of baseball attention in the Windy City may be on the wane. Not only is recently retired Mayor Richard Daley a life long White Sox fan, as was his father, the White House is inhabited by a Sox fan. President Barack Obama did not give the politically correct response to which team he favors when asked about it during the campaign 2008. This is what he told ESPN last August when asked who he'd root for in a Sox-Cubs World Series, "Oh, that's easy. White Sox. I'm not one of these fair-weather fans. You go to Wrigley Field, you have a beer; beautiful people up there. People aren't watching the game. It's not serious. White Sox, that's baseball. South Side."

Outgoing President George W. Bush was principal owner of the Texas Rangers. His father, former President George H. W. Bush played baseball for Yale.

CONTRIBUTING SOURCES:
ESPN
Mario Cuomo in the Minors


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