Tag Archive | "Hank Aaron"

Umpire Leaves Behind Instant Replay, No Hitters, and Labor Strikes

Frank Pulli, a veteran umpire for the National League before the leagues converged their umpires into one group, passed away August 28th in Florida due to complications with Parkinson’s Disease at the age of 78.

Cardinals Marlins Baseball

Pulli was on the field as an arbiter for 3,774 games.  He was there for some memorable moments, some game-changing decisions and some game-defining circumstances.  He was a mentor, according to the president of the baseball umpire’s union, Joe West, to 18 umpires over his 28-year career.  Amazingly, what he never witnessed in all of those games was a no-hitter.

Let that sink in.  I have been a fan of baseball all my life.  I’ve never witnessed a no-hitter.  Not on television.  Not in person.  I’ve barely come close.  But I have never watched a game from the very beginning and had it turn out to be a no-hitter.  At the same time, I’m not sure I’ve witnessed 3,774 games from beginning to end.

28-years of being at the ballpark every day is a long time to go without seeing a no-hitter.  But Pulli was there for history.

Pulli was the first base umpire in Atlanta on April 8, 1974.  He had a bird’s eye view of the action in the fourth inning when, with a runner on first base, Hank Aaron launched home run 715 over the left field wall and officially passed Babe Ruth to become the all time home run leader.

Very seldom is an umpire becoming part of a story a good thing, but Pulli found a way to be a trailblazer in his own right in 1999.  An early season matchup between the St. Louis Cardinals and Florida Marlins saw an play overturned in a way never seen before.

The Cardinals were leading the Marlins by a score of 4-1 when Cliff Floyd came to the plate with a runner on and Kent Bottenfield on the mound.  Floyd drove the 0-1 delivery over the wall for an apparent home run that was ruled a double by Pulli.  After the Marlins argued the call, Pulli overturned the call and ruled it a home run, drawing Cardinals’ manager Tony LaRussa from the dugout.  It was then that Pulli did the unthinkable.

Pulli walked over to the camera bay and watched the instant replay via one of the camera’s monitors.  He then ruled the play a double as the replay showed clearly that the ball did not clear the wall.  The Marlins immediately filed a protest on the game, which the Cardinals went on to win.

The league office heard the protest but denied it on the grounds of the call being a judgement call.  Judgement calls cannot be overturned by a protest.  That being said, the league did state that they did not condone the use of instant replay and that Pulli was incorrect in doing so.

It went down in history as the first time a major league umpire utilized instant replay to overturn a call.

Later that same season, Pulli learned a new definition for the word “strike”.  Pulli was one of 22 umpires that staged a resignation following a labor dispute in an attempt to force the hands of Major League Baseball.  The tactic did not work and Pulli left the game of baseball.

He led a historic career that spanned decades.  He was witness to, and on one occasion the author of, history in the game.  He was not above controversy.

He was a big part of the game he loved.

Bill Ivie is the founder of i70baseball.
You can find his work on Yahoo!InsideSTL, and here on i70.
Talk baseball with him on Twitter @poisonwilliam

Posted in Cardinals, Featured, MLBComments (0)

The Royals And Latin America

As we all know, Kansas City has carried a dismal baseball franchise since 1985. But as spring training rolls around, we have to again acknowledge how well the Royals have done in the Latin American talent market.


Everyone who pays very much attention to the Royals will directly turn there heads up to the sky and wink at their mental image of Salvador Perez, the Royals’ up and coming catcher. The Royals, though, have made some fantastic signings from Latin America. There are also some tremendous advantages to scouting in Latin America. Some of those will follow.

When you are hunting the streets of some small town in the midwest looking for the high school stadium to try to find the next Hank Aaron, you have to wait until he is 18. When you go to Latin America to try to find the future face of your franchise, the face can be younger. You can sign a 16 year old to a major league contract. So your Latin Mike Trout is more likely to begin his career just as Mike Trout did, under the age of 20.

If there is a tremendous amount of talent in some random high school in America, you probably wouldn’t be the only one to see it. Chances are, if he really is the next Ted Williams, there will be you and 29 other major league scouts sitting in the stands. The more scouts, the more money. No matter how humble a high school kid is, he will go to the highest bidder, which is generally a lot of money. In Latin America, roughly 28% of the people are in poverty. More will go for smaller amounts of money. This allows small market teams, like the Royals, to upgrade their minor league talent.

It isn’t just the Royals that do this though. On Opening Day 2012, 27.3 percent of players on Major League rosters were Latino. Teams are rightly buying into this gigantic talent base, and the Royals are very good at identifying talent in Latin America. This is why we get to have that mental image of Salvador Perez winking at us. The Major Leagues, and the Royals, have been, and will be, greatly enhanced by this pool of talent staring at us in the face. We would be idiots to ignore it.

Posted in Minors, RoyalsComments (0)

MLB Network Remembers: Stan Musial


Secaucus, NJ, January 23, 2013 – MLB Network will air a special MLB Network Remembers: Stan Musial show tomorrow, January 24 at 9:00 p.m. ET. Hosted by MLB Network’s Bob Costas and Tom Verducci, the one-hour special will look back at the life and professional career of the great Musial, who passed away this past weekend at age 92. The special will feature new interviews with Hall of Famers Hank Aaron and Bob Gibson, plus an in-studio interview with MLB Network analyst and three-time All-Star pitcher Jim Kaat. Game footage and interviews from Musial’s playing career will be featured throughout the show. The special will re-air on Friday, January 25 at 1:00 p.m. ET and again on Saturday, January 26 at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Posted in Cardinals, ClassicComments (0)

Goals For Baseball Players

It doesn’t take a genius to understand that simply just by setting goals, we come that much closer to achieving them. As a baseball player, establishing goals is the easy part. The hard part is staying on the same course towards that goal until it is reached, and are able to reap the benefits. There are a lot of distractions, and just as well, there are a lot of reasons to feel discouraged about your chances of achieving your goals that you have in baseball. But ultimately, the fact that the difficulty is high, and so few succeed, may serve you for the best in the end.

Baseball Goals as a Process

Through the process of facing challenges, goal setting is an essential part of taking initiative to achieve your goals. You have to have goals setting otherwise you wouldn’t know what your true goals are, what your deepest desires are, or specifically what you want out of this game. It’s not enough to simply say, “I want to play professional baseball”, or “division one baseball”, or “run a 6.5 sixty”. You have to be willing to write down your specific goals and how you will go about accomplishing them. Notice how I said write, not simply acknowledge them and try to remember them. It needs to be written down and put in a place where you can see or look at it every day.

Why is it important to look at these everyday?

When Hank Aaron was asked, “what was the most important catalyst to his success,” he’s simply said, “visualizing”. We attract into our lives what we think of, the mental pictures that we hold in our heads. So having your written goals put in a place where you can see every day will allow you to see these goals as already happening, as you presently accomplishing them. Imagine what you could accomplish if you wrote down what you desired the most out of this game, looked at it everyday, and imagined what it would feel like for it to have happened, The possibilities are truly endless, your success is truly and solely in your hands.

So you want to run a 6.5 sixty? Then list 10 things that you can do to make them happen. You don’t have to list them at once, but at least a few things. Maybe make a commitment to do plyometrics on your own three times a week for a whole month, or a commitment to stretch twice a day to increase flexibility.

If you have a goal of increasing your bat speed and smoothing out your swing, take the time to participate in simple tee ball drills. If you a player up north and it’s snowing, get indoors and work on your skills with indoor baseball drills.

Now that you know you are taking control of your life, you will be more convinced that what you desire, you can manifest into your life. So with action and the daily reminder of what your intentions are for baseball, improvement is inevitable.

Posted in I-70 Baseball ClinicComments (0)

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