Tag Archive | "Rollie Fingers"

Fox Sports Takes Spring Training To The Troops

Fox Sports has traditionally been a strong supporter of the United States Military.  Their annual presentation of “This One’s For You”, a special broadcast that is sent around the world to military bases both in and out of combat zones, has become a staple of the Major League Baseball season.  They continued that support during the first week of February this year when they sent a group of Fox Sports Girls, current and former Major League Baseball players and Hall Of Famers Rollie Fingers and Wade Boggs to U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr in Germany.

The following photos were provided by Fox Sports.  Use the navigation arrows below the photos to thumb through the 31 images.

<b>Rollie Fingers Meets The Troops</b>

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Rollie Fingers discusses the Wiffle Ball game with the troops on the sidelines.

photo copyright Fox Sports


The event was called “Spring Training To The Troops” and the group converged on the Army base to help brighten the day and lives of military members and their families that are stationed overseas.  During their visit, the contingent of baseball representatives spent time at the Wounded Warrior Center and schools that were on base, in morning work out sessions and meals with the troops and conducting a youth baseball clinic for children of the troops.  The highlight of the trip was the participation in a Wiffle Ball game between the 172nd infantry brigade and the Military Police.  The Fox Sports Girls, who each represented a different territory of Fox Sports coverage, and the current and former major league players each played as well, joining the different teams at various times during the game.

My grandfather was a World War II vet, he was stationed in Korea at the end of World War II.  I used to play with his army equipment when I was little, he still had his army canteens and helmets and everything in the basement.  To go over there, I mean obviously things have changed since World War II but troops are still making the same sacrifices as they were way back then.  But family is important to me and to go over there and see the sacrifices that these men and women are making every day, it really touches you. – Fox Sports Girl Kayla in an interview with i70baseball

Kayla, the Fox Sports Girl representing Fox Sports Midwest, was given some hats and jerseys by the Cardinals to take over to St. Louis military members.  She was able to connect with multiple soldiers from the St. Louis area, providing them with the new alternate jerseys the team will wear on Saturday day games at home.  She was even able to find a soldier that shared her alma mater with her and took a photo with him in his Mizzou hooded sweatshirt.

When asked about training with the troops, Kayla told i70baseball, “We were amazed.  We did this for two days while we were over there and I was like ‘I can’t believe you guys get up and do this every morning’.  We were in the hotel lobby at 5:30 in the morning to get on the bus to go outside in the snow.  By 6 a.m. they are on the ground doing situps, pushups, they just kind of do this circuit training.  We asked them if they were taking it easy on us and they said ‘yea, we are doing kind of a condensed version of our training’.  The second day we were out there running with logs on our shoulders, pushing 800 pound tires, running with gallons of water and after that we went and ran two miles with them in cadence.  That was probably my favorite part.  I’m not a big runner, but to be in those lines with them and doing the chanting, it  didn’t even feel like we ran two miles.  They go through so much and I have the utmost respect with them for that.”

Fox Sports put together an amazing 90 second video about the trip, which you can see here:

Make sure to follow Kayla and the rest of the Fox Sports Midwest Girls on Twitter - @FSMidwest_Girls

Bill Ivie is the editor here at i70baseball.
You can follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

Posted in Cardinals, Classic, FeaturedComments (0)

All Star Celebrity Softball Game Rosters

All Star Celebrity Softball Game Rosters Announced
Game Will Be Televised Immediately Following the State Farm Home Run Derby on ESPN on July 9th

The 2012 Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game on ESPN will feature star-studded talent from music, television and sports alongside former Kansas City Royals greats and Baseball Hall of Famers on July 8th at Kauffman Stadium.

“Modern Family” Emmy Award winner and Kansas City native Eric Stonestreet; Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel; and University of Kansas Men’s Basketball Head Coach Bill Self are scheduled to participate alongside Golden Globe winner and “Mad Men” star Jon HammChord Overstreet from “Glee”; American Idol contestant Haley Reinhart; “Desperate Housewives” actor James Denton; captain of the US National Soccer team Carlos Bocanegra; actor and comedian Horatio Sanz; country music artist David Nail; American Idol winner, David Cook, who used to work at the Stadium Club in Kauffman Stadium; reigning UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon “Bones” JonesPaul Dimeo from “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”; and USA Softball’s Gold Medalist hurler Jennie Finch.

Past MLB stars also are schedule to participate, including former Royals greats George BrettBo Jackson and Mike Sweeney plus Hall of Famers Ernie BanksAndre DawsonRollie Fingers, Rickey HendersonOzzie Smith and Dave Winfield as well as perennial All-Stars Joe Carter and Mike Piazza.

The Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game features Major League Baseball legends with celebrities from TV, movies and music, and is the second game of a fun doubleheader of activity at Kauffman Stadium during Taco Bell All-Star Sunday.  Preceding the softball game will be the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at 5:00 p.m. Eastern, featuring some of MLB’s best young prospects from the U.S. and around the world.  Current Royals players Eric Hosmer, Billy Butler and Alex Gordon are among the many young stars in baseball who have played in this game, including Justin Verlander, Prince Fielder and Joey Votto.

Following the softball game, the skies above Kauffman Stadium will be lit by a spectacular fireworks show to cap off Taco Bell All-Star Sunday.

The Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game will be televised by ESPN at approximately 10:30 p.m. Eastern immediately following the State Farm Home Run Derby which begins at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on Monday, July 9th. The Game will also be available on ESPN3.com, ESPN Mobile TV and via the WatchESPN app.

For more information, go to www.allstargame.com.

Posted in Featured, RoyalsComments (0)

P1ay1ng Wi7h Numb3r5

I like playing with numbers sometimes, so let me run these past you to chew on:

  • 3rd all-time in the most measurable category for his position (saves), sandwiched between future & current Hall of Famers.
  • 4 times, he finished in the top 25 in MVP voting, including a top ten finish
  • 7-time All-Star
  • Set a then NL record with 47 saves in 1991
  • Finished 2nd in the 1991 Cy Young award voting, behind Tom Glavine
  • 3-time Rolaids Releif Man of the Year (NL twice, AL once)
Since 1964, only 5 men have held the career saves record for longer than one year. Two are in the HOF (Hoyt Wilhelm & Rollie Fingers). You’ve probably heard of the three that aren’t: Trevor Hoffman, Mariano Rivera, and Lee Smith. If you’re like me, as soon as you read that you thought, “Wait a minute, Mo & The (other) Hoff are sure-fire Hall of Famers.”

Lee Smith pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1990 to 1993

So, why isn’t Lee Smith as “sure fire” as the others?

Scouted by one of the top 100 (by nearly everyone’s count) baseball men of all time, Buck O’Neil, Smith’s career as a top closer is strewn with accolades that are sure to impress anyone. Anyone, apparently, except for at least 331 members of the BBWAA who have HOF voting privileges. Lee received just 45.3% of the votes last year, falling short of the 75% required for HOF induction. 2012 will mark his 10th year of eligibility on the ballot.Facts surrounding the career Lee Arthur Smith:

  • He held the career saves record from 1993 to 2006, when HOFfman passed him (see what I did there?)
  • From 1983 to 1995 (13 seasons), he saved fewer than 29 games exactly once (1989)
  • From 1985 to 1990 (6 straight seasons), he averaged >1K/IP (HOF Gossage’s max, 4)
  • He recorded his first save in 1981, at the time the MLB record for career saves was 272
  • He recorded his last save in 1997, at which time the record was his, at 478
  • Since his departure from the game, Goose Gossage, Rollie Fingers, and Bruce Sutter have all been elected to the Hall of Fame

Current Hall of Famer closers include: Gossage, Fingers, Sutter, Wilhelm, and Eckersley. For the sake of argument, I’ll toss Hoffman and Rivera into the mix of guys with whom I’ll compare Lee’s numbers.

Career Saves:

  1. Rivera (603, and counting),
  2. Hoffman (601)
  3. Smith (478)
  4. Eckersley (390)
  5. Fingers (341)
  6. Gossage (310)
  7. Sutter (300)
  8. Wilhelm (227, ten behind Ugueth Urbina)

Career Games Finished:

  1. Rivera (883)
  2. Hoffman (856)
  3. Smith (802)
  4. Fingers (709)
  5. Gossage (681)
  6. Wilhelm (651)
  7. Eckersley (577)
  8. Sutter (512)

Obviously, the numbers I’ve put before you today don’t tell the whole story. We all know that you can usually present numbers in such a way to make them tell the story you want them to tell. You have to dig a little deeper to get the entire story. Consider that the very role of closer is something that’s relatively new, in terms of comparing to other “positions” like shortstop or left fielder. That’s a factor in comparing these men to each other.

Does the fact that Sutter needed only 512 games finished to collect 300 saves (.586) speak to how lights-out he must’ve been when taking the mound? It certainly tells part of that story. Isn’t it interesting that Hoyt Wilhelm finished 651 games, but complied only 237 career saves (.364)? If that doesn’t make you think a little bit, I’m not sure what would–he’s in Cooperstown, for crying out loud! Check out some of the rankings and compare career numbers of closers, and I assure you you’ll find some very interesting things!

My point is that if you don’t think Lee Smith belongs in the Hall of Fame, maybe you’re looking at a different set of numbers than I am. And just so it doesn’t go unsaid, Lee Smith was absolutely among the most dominant men at his position for a sustained period of time during his era. (I know some folks out there, that’s a big factor for HOF consideration.)

The question should not be, “Does Lee Smith belong in the Baseball Hall of Fame?”. After spending time with the cubs, Red Sox, Cardinals, Yankees, Orioles, Angels, Reds, and Expos, the only question should be, “Which hat will he be wearing in his plaque?”.

Posted in Cardinals, Classic, FeaturedComments (1)

A Look Back: 1982 – Game Four

The year 1982 marked the first of three 1980′s appearances in the World Series for the St. Louis Cardinals. It also marks the one and only time that the Milwaukee Brewers reached the World Series.

With the two teams, now in the same league, prepared to face off for the National League Pennant, i70baseball brings you a look back to that series in 1982. A monumental series that took all seven games to decide a winner. A series that would see would see both teams win a game by a double digit margin as well as each team winning a game by two or fewer runs.

You can read more about Game One by clicking here.
You can read more about Game Two by clicking here.
You can read more about Game Three by clicking here.

While the Cardinals were the favorites to win the series, they made a strong statement by taking the first game in Milwaukee for a victory. Young Willie McGee was showing why the Cardinals had such faith in him, the team was playing “Whiteyball” and generating runs, and the upstart “Harvey’s Wallbangers” Brewers were on the ropes having lost two of the first three. Getting back into this series in game four was going to be very important and the Brewers would need to focus on the task at hand.

Game Four: October 16, 1982
The visiting Cardinals would turn to rookie hurler Dave LaPoint to try to gain more of an upper hand against the Brewers. LaPoint pitched in 42 games in 1982 and started 21 of those. He finished the regular season with nine wins, three losses, a 3.42 earned run average, 81 strikeouts, 52 walks, and a 1.454 WHIP while ranking eighth in the Rookie Of The Year voting. LaPoint had started his career in Milwaukee and now had the opportunity to show them what they lost when they traded him away. Of course, they knew what they got: Rollie Fingers, Ted Simmons, and Pete Vuckovich.

The Brewers would rely on a pitcher that had struggled his way through the 1982 season, Moose Haas, to try and get them back into things. Haas was a contact pitcher that seldom walked hitters during that season, only 38 walks over 193 1/3 innings pitched, but tended to give up a few runs, as apparent by his 4.47 earned run average. It would be an uphill climb for Haas and the Brewers but anything can happen in baseball.

Anything started happening quickly in this game for the National League Champions. Between strikeouts of leadoff man Tom Herr and third place hitter Keith Hernandez, Kent Oberkfell would stroke a double down the first base line. A single from clean up hitter George Hendrick, and the Cardinals were out to an early lead.

The second inning would not help the Brewers out any at all. The Cardinals once again showed they small ball approach as, with one out, Willie McGee would stroke a base hit. He would then steal second on a play that the Brewers had anticipated but catcher Ted Simmons bobbled the pitch out. Ozzie Smith would walk and a wild pitch would allow both runners to move into scoring position. Tom Herr would lift a fly ball deep to the warning track in centerfield that Gorman Thomas would track down. Thomas, however, would fall after making the catch and a hustling Ozzie would score all the way from second base. Kent Oberkfell would then walk and steal second, finally scoring on a ground ball by Keith Hernandez that was booted by secondbaseman Jim Gantner. After two innings, the heavily favored Cardinals were already up by a score of four to nothing.

Things would calm down until the Brewers would finally get on the board in the bottom of the fifth inning. A lead off double from Don Money would be followed by a single from Charlie Moore, placing runners at the corners with no one out. Gantner would follow with a ball up the middle that would see Ozzie turn a defensive gem of a snag into a double play, yielding the run. It would be all the Brewers could muster that inning and the score would stand at four to one in favor of the Cardinals.

Brewers fans would feel the pressure of the uphill battle shortly thereafter as the Cardinals would get the run right back in the top of the sixth. Back-to-back doubles for Lonnie Smith and Dane Iorg would plate the Cardinals fifth run and chase Haas from the game.

The bottom of the seventh rolled around and Ben Oglivie would reach base for the Brewers with one out on a botched play by Dave LaPoint covering first base. Money would follow with a single and Moore would pop out to shortstop. With two outs and two on, Gantner would plug the gap in rightfield, scoring both runners and chasing LaPoint from the game. Doug Bair would walk Paul Molitor to load the bases before giving up a two run single to Robin Yount, placing Yount at first and Molitor now at third. With the Brewers suddenly within a run, Herzog would go to his bullpen again and call on Jim Kaat to face Cecil Cooper, who promptly singled in Molitor, tying the game. Kaat’s wild pitch to Simmons would move the runners to second and third and cause Herzog to bring in Jeff Lahti in the middle of the at-bat. Lahti would walk Simmons intentionally to once again load the bases before surrendering a two run single to Gordon Thomas in his second at bat of the inning. The Cardinals would finally get out of the inning after another intentional walk to Oglivie and a fly out by Money. The Brewers had taken the lead seven to five after seven innings of play.

The Cardinals would not threaten again on this day and a disastrous seventh inning would lead to a tie series. With one game left in Milwaukee, the series was knotted up at two games a piece and the excitement was building.

Stay tuned as i70baseball brings you game recaps for all seven games of the 1982 World Series on game days of the 2011 National League Championship Series.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
Follow him on Twitter here.

Posted in Cardinals, ClassicComments (1)

McGwire Is Better Off Without The Hall

When people ask for my opinion about Mark McGwire, his record-breaking season, and his steroid use, I simply put it this way:

“Watching Mark McGwire was like believing in Santa Claus as a kid. That moment I found out that everything I thought was real actually wasn’t was tough and changed my perspective on things. But it doesn’t change how I felt on Christmas morning.”

It took me almost a decade to come to settle on that analysis. To be honest, I was not one of the many who “knew” he was on something and turned a blind-eye to the issue. I was aware he was taking “Andro,” and accepted the explanation from McGwire and the media that it did nothing other than help him get a more efficient workout — the effect of a Gatorade, if you will. I honestly did not know any better.

When the steroid allegations came out, and McGwire made his infamous “I’m not here to talk about the past” statement, I felt sick. For years, I was a major McGwire hater, just sick to my stomach that I stood up for this guy who cheated the game and lied to fans everywhere, both young and old. But I’ve found my peace with the issue now and hopefully you have, too.

I don’t want to talk about whether or not McGwire “deserves” to get into the Hall of Fame. By now, you’ve probably made up your own mind. The numbers haven’t changed over the past 5 years. The supporters will cite his 583 homeruns, 70 HR season, gold glove award and his contributions to saving baseball. Detractors will cite his .263 career average, his failure to win an MVP award, and his steroid use.

The bottom line is: McGwire is better off without the Hall of Fame.

Think about it. How many casual fans across the country have heard of the likes of Josh Gibson, Joe Kelley, Rollie Fingers, Leon Day, and even Bruce Sutter? Those are all Hall of Famers. I’d say far more have heard of, say, Pete Rose, Shoeless Joe Jackson, and Mark McGwire. They might as well be the chairmen of the “We don’t need no stinkin’ Hall of Fame” club.

As someone who didn’t watch the playing careers of Pete Rose or Shoeless Joe, I can tell you this much: I know more about those 2 players than 99% of the players in the Hall of Fame. It works in other areas of the game, too. For instance, there have been 20 pitchers to throw a perfect game in baseball history, including 2 just this year. I remembered Roy Halladay threw one, but had to look up that Dallas Braden threw the other.

But I did NOT have to look up Armando Gallaraga’s name. He was the pitcher who will go down in history as the one we all know had a perfect game, got robbed by a bad call, and handled the situation marvelously.

And let’s face it; the 1985 Cardinals still get tons of love from sports fans around the countries who know the team got robbed of a championship by a blown call. Had they won, they’d probably be a forgotten team on a long list of past champions. Instead, it’s “oh my gosh, those ’85 Cardinals, they got ROBBED!” The same will be said for Gallaraga, Rose, and perhaps McGwire for decades, if not centuries, to come.

Obviously it’s not a bad thing to be on a list of champions, Hall of Famers, or perfect pitchers. But in the long run, it’s not so bad to be on the short list of “should’ve been.”

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