Friday, May 31, 2024

15 Day DL? And I am a Camel.

Clarke Schmidt has been having the best season of his MLB baseball career. 

He does have a history, as many do, of injuries and time spent on R&R.  So this " ding" is not unexpected. 

The diagnosis the Yankees have given us  ( " lat strain") is pablum for the dumb.   He will be on the 60 day DL as soon as the paper work can be filed.  

Truth be told;  if he does not require surgery ( still in doubt ) , we won't see him game-ready until September. 

This is a huge blow to our starting rotation.  Clark has been terrific. 

Cole won't be fully fit  until late June.  And if you think I have no concerns about the long term efficacy of his " rest " cure, you think me naive. 

The guy.we are bringing up ( 29 year old Cody Poteet ), as our fill-in, emergency starter,  has been fighting a " blister."  If he plays his way through that in his next start with the yankees, he'll be soaking his hand in pickle brine for a month. I would like to assume he is already fine with the blister ( it put him on IR ).  But do I trust the Yankees not to abuse an asset?  No comment. 

The worry may legitimately begin, folks. 

So much for sweating an overcrowded rotation after Cole returns, and other takeaways from the Heck's Angels series

Addled revelations from a series win and dark setback - the loss of Clarke Schmidt for two months due to a howling right Latissimus Dorsi, which is the first time I have ever typed those words. Normally, I'd just say "back muscle." No more. His Dorsi is debauched. We likely won't see him again until August. 

Honestly, though, we knew something was coming. The juju gods never spare us from doodoos, and this doodoo was overdue. Normally, I'd want some midlevel pitching coach's liver served with fava beans and a nice chianti - the Yankee deep state is supposed to limit the load on young starters. But I can't see a mess-up. Two years ago, Schmidt threw 57 innings. Last year, 159. If anything was gonna blow, it should have happened this spring. Schmidt was into his 60th inning when the Lat locked. It wasn't even an elbow. Nobody to tar and feather. Weird, huh?

Other takeaways from last night...

1. Anthony Volpe's hit streak is over. Damn. It was starting to be a thing. But he drew a key late-innings walk - putting team above personal numbers - and it ends the inevitably painful comparisons to Joe DiMaggio (which I still believe contributed to the collapse of Miguel Andjuar. You simply cannot start touting a young player in the same breath of a Ruth, a DiMaggio, a Mantle. This is a yoke that Volpe no longer has to carry.)

2. Over the last 7 days, Gleyber Torres is 6 for 21 (.314), maybe emerging to see his shadow? Right now, entire Yankiverse expects him gone next winter - part of Food Stamps Hal's self-inflicted austerity plan, which he will blame on keeping Juan Soto. I'm not saying Gleyber will be a lifelong Yankee, but maybe we shouldn't count him out. Worth noting: the current status of his would-be replacements. Caleb Durbin, the 5'6" Altuve fantasy, is injured. And Oswald Peraza is hitting .162 in his minor league rehab assignment. 

3. Cody Poteet pitches Saturday, a tiny band-aid for a massive wound. The Yankees keep chanting that Gerrit Cole looks great and will soon return. I dunno. I believe nothing that comes out of that gaslight factory. I'll believe Cole is back when he's into his fourth start.

4. Over his last 7 games, Giancarlo is 2-24 (.083) with 8 strikeouts. The mere sight of him stepping to the plate kills an erection. I get it that he's a streak hitter - when hot, he wins games. But the Yanks need to find an exit ramp for this guy. He'll never make it to 2029. Of course, it's too soon to make a move. We lead Baltimore by 2 games. But Stanton is floundering, and talk of a big comeback season is starting to grind.

5. The NHL Rangers lost last night, looking doomed to the atrocity of Florida teams winning in hockey. The team might get its final back pages of this season this weekend. Considering the Mets' collapse, the Yankees should start ruling the tabloids again. But they'll have a hard time catching the Knicks. This could be the year the Yankees lose New York, a potential earthquake in Gotham's sporting culture. (For more on that, buy Hoss's book.)

6. Tommy Kahnle looks good. If Clay Holmes continues to struggle - always with the tying run on third - he might have our replacement.

7. I'd argue that we should sign that Mets reliever who flung his glove into the stands, but without a glove, he can't play, right?

8. The highly touted Spencer Jones - the Judge clone - has gone into a massive, maybe existential slump at Double A. Last night, he went 0-for-4 with 2 Ks. This spring, the Yankees supposedly revamped his swing. He's now hitting .205. 

9. I watched a Hudson Valley Renegades (Single A) game last weekend, and, I must say, it was fun. Listening to the local announcers, every Renegade is a future star. The YES team has nothing on them. 

10. DJ last night at first? Why not? I'm sensing a platoon situation that Anthony Rizzo won't like. But something has to happen.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Game Thread: Rodan vs. Sandoval


Bring the heat!

Luis Gil rhymes with "Real Deal."

Hey, hoakie smokes, we won! Let's celebrate by playing the parlor game, where we imagine an alternative universe: 

In this case, it's the world where Luis Gil grew up in the Dominican Republic, that traditional hotbed of hockey. Yes, hawgee. Who can forget Robinson Cano, the great Ranger forward, sipping el Presidente Beer from the Stanley Cup, celebrating with goalie Manny Machado. 

In that universe, the Yankees don't have Gil. He's fighting those bullish Florida Panthers, with their hateful enforcer, Vladimir Guerrero Jr, who has vowed never to skate for the Rangers. While the Gammonites of Gotham watch the NHL, the Yankees sit in 2nd place, four games behind Baltimore. We're chasing the wild card, getting walloped every 5th game. Our fifth starters have been a shambles: Luke Weaver outlasted his sell-by date, Clayton Beeter tweaked a gonad, and Will Warren is throwing batting practice. For weeks, Cooperstown Cashman has scoured the MLB waiver wire to seine off what old Rumsfeld would call "Known Knowns," though not in a good way. We've gone through a conga line of Chris Bootchecks and Sidney Ponsons. 

In this universe, we die every 5th day, and worse, have no hope for the future because - did I mention this? - in this world, Gerrit Cole has a vagina. 

As joyous as it would be to see the Rangers win, I gotta think the D.R. would make a cruel hockey hotbed - (the key word being "hot.") Too many heat domes, even if they are hoaxes. And it is terrifying to imagine the Yankees without Gil.

Right now, he is a firm candidate to start the All-Star game and a contender for the Cy Young, the MVP, maybe the Lady Bing, When the Yankees blow a game, or get unjustly screwed - such as last night, with the umps' ridiculous call on Juan Soto, killing a bases loaded opportunity - the only thing that lassos my blood pressure is the notion that Gil has arrived out of nowhere, ready to save the Yankee bacon. 

So, who the eff is Seth Lugo of the KC Royals? He's a 34-year-old journeyman ex-Met, who has never won more than 10 games in a season, and whose career ERA is 3.30. God knows what deal he made with Mephistopheles, but his stagecoach will soon turn back into a pumpkin. (Or more likely, he's gone at the trade deadline.) As for Gil? His future is wide open. Maybe, just maybe, he's for real, we have an emerging star, and the entire universe is blinking his name. 

Meanwhile, how about that Big 3 in the batting order! Anthony Volpe could soon be hitting .290. Dare we dream of a universe where the Yankees once again have a great SS? To supplement the Real Deal... Gil!

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Game Thread: Yankees vs Angels

Luis Gil "The Monster" takes the mound.

Foodstamps Hal will never let the Yankees get over the top.

All right, I'm sober now. Nothing like two grisly losses on the West Coast to serve as an intervention.

Thanks to the time difference, though, I got to see yet another indication of what the Yankees COULD be—and never will, as long as Foodstamps Hal Steinbrenner and his favorite monkey butler keep running this team.

Even as the Yanks were losing to a dreadful Anaheim Angels club, complete with a starter who had an ERA over 5 and a bullpen full of junk, the Queens Team was dropping a doubleheader to a Dodgers team that was essentially playing with one hand tied behind its collective backs (Which, I know, is painful to imagine, but bear with me.)

The Dodgers, it was reported, currently have 9—count 'em, NINE!—pitchers on the DL, including future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw. Shohei Ohtani DH'd all of one game out in Flushing, and went 0-5.                               
Still didn't matter. Mostly because Freddie Freeman spent the whole evening tattooing line drives all around the ballpark. Fast Freddie ended up with five hits on the doubleheader, including a homer, two doubles, and three ribbies. 

That wasn't a surprise. Freeman has been a paragon of consistency his entire career, the leading active player when it comes to career runs, hits, doubles, and RBI; a lifetime .301 hitter. He is 34 but shows no sign of slowing down, barely missing a game.

The guy we chose to sign over Freeman for first base is, of course, Anthony Rizzo, who is the same age—and who looks like he's done. This is no knock on Rizzo, a thoroughly likable individual. It's not his fault that he suffered a debilitating concussion in a freak accident (or that the Yankees unconscionably decided to keep playing him for months afterwards). He was a very good player for years, a good power hitter and an excellent fielder, a leader on a world champion team (not ours, of course).
Yet while Rizzo was a very good player, Freeman is on another plane, a no-brainer Hall-of-Famer, maybe even an all-time great. What's more, while they are the same age, both left-handed hitters  custom-made for the New New Yankee Stadium, it was clear even before Cashie re-signed him that Rizzo was a player in decline—while Freeman was not.

After Ant'ny hit .222 in the shortened Covid season of 2020—while Freeman batted .341 and won the NL MVP—Rizzo was hitting .248 in 2021, when the Yanks brought him in as an emergency acquisition down the stretch. He hit .249 with 8 homers in 49 games with the Bombers. Not a bad performance by today's standards, but hardly jaw-dropping.

Still Cashie picked up his option for 2022—never seriously looking at Freeman, who had just compiled another .300 season and led the NL in runs scored. Freeman signed with the Dodgers.

Rizzo managed to hit 32 homers in 2022—but missed 32 games and batted only .224. Nonetheless, Cashman signed him on again. Then came last year. Then came last night, when, as our Peerless Leader noted, he again looked ice cold, taking us out of what could have been a big first inning. 

Fabulous Freddie, meanwhile, turned into a doubles machine in LA, leading the NL with 47 (and a .407 slugging percentage), while batting .325 in 2022; hitting .331 last year with another 59 doubles—the seventh highest total anyone, ever has run up for two-baggers in baseball history. How many of those doubles might have flown over that short porch in our right field? We'll never know.

So why did our fabulous baseball braintrust go with Rizzo over Freeman? 

Money, of course.

Anthony was a "bargain," costing the Yanks $16 million in 2022, and $17 million in 2023 and 2024, with a $17-million team option in 2025. The Yanks can buy him out for just $6 mill before 2025—meaning that, at most, for four years of decline and injury, Rizzo will have cost them "only" $67 million, and quite possibly "just" $56 mill. 

Freeman? His Dodgers contract is for $27 mill, for 6 years, or a total of $162 million. 

For Hal, this looks like a savings of $95-$106 million. He just doesn't get it—unlike the owners of the Dodgers, who have taken big, bold risks over the past few years, and basically reinvented the financing of the sport. No matter how their risks work out—and mind you, I wish the Dodgers nothing but ill!—they will dominate for many years to come.

For Hal, a big risk is ordering the sushi. He will never do what it takes to make the Yanks anything more than a perpetual, wild-card contender. This is what is truly "unsustainable."

Liza with a Z, The Fountainhead, and the Yankee magnetic poles: Ten reasons behind last night's misery

It's difficult to lose a one-run game to Anaheim, or California, or whatever LA's perennial tomato can calls itself. 

To properly blow a close one, you must fuck up on a million levels, like in a Spider-Man multiverse where Aunt May has a penis. 

Last night, mission accomplished. 

The Yanks conducted a master class in fuck-ups. Anything less, and the Angels - bottom dwellers in the sickly AL West - would surely have blown it. 

How did we lose? For the sake of the internet, I'll halt the list at 10. Life is too short.

1. 3B coach waves Gleyber to score from first on double; he's out by 10 feet. Can't even slide. Embarrassing moment, reminiscent of wheelchair-bound Liza Minelli being rolled out by Lady Gaga at the 2020 Oscars. Did we have to experience this? Why do all these things happen to Gleyber?

2. Austin Wells crushes one, everybody in park thinks it's gone, in orbit. You can imagine a certain call:  It is high. It is far. It is... caught. Ball dies at the wall. Wasn't this guy's superpower being a slugger? For the season: 1 HR, 5 RBI, .202. Higgy could outhit him. Maybe Liza!

3. Clay Holmes gets hit. Hard. Again. Third blown save. He is starting to scare me. Getting the feeling that no lead is safe.

4. Luke Weaver cuffed around, ERA flies to 2.91. Not long ago, he was 0.00. His career is 5.02. He was great in April. Where is this going?

5. In clever re-enactment of 2023, nobody hit after the fifth inning.

6. In clever re-enactment of 2023, 2022 and 2021, nobody hit after Aaron Judge.

7. Yankee magnetic poles seem to have shifted to first three in lineup: Volpe, Soto, Judge. Once Stanton steps in, you can feel air draining.

8. Speaking of Stanton, the poor man simply cannot run. He's our Liza. Yanks blew potential game-securing rally when Angels SS booted grounder, bobbled the transfer, scratched his belly, looked around, read a chapter of The Fountainhead - and still forced Stanton at second.

9. Rizzo muffed key grounder. Four gold gloves? They've turned to stone. Also, he's gone ice cold. Last 7 games: .125. Last 15 games, .207. WTF?  

10. Climate change. It's there somewhere, if you look. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Know Your Pre-Ruthian Sluggers! Pt. III


All right, what are we to make of Ned (actually Ed) Williamson, of the 1884 Cubs (actually called the White Stockings still)?

Well, he had a Ruthian figure, at least.

It was Ned who set the all-time, single-season record of 27 homers in just 107 games, before The Babe broke it with 29, during the shortened, 1919 campaign.

This might be surprising, seeing as how Ned never hit more than 9 dingers in any other of the 13 seasons he played. 

In fact, the whole White Stockings team surprised in the 1884 season, compiling a stunning 142 home runs as a team. Right on Ned's thick heels were second baseman Fred Pfeffer (25), outfielder Abner Dalrymple (22), and Cap "Worse Person Ever" Anson (21).

Aside from Anson, who got extra points for being a surly racist bastard, none of these individuals were exactly household names, and none made the Hall.

So what gives?

A good rule of thumb is, whenever you see some extraordinary burst of power back in the deadball era, cherchez the rules. Or the ballpark.

So it was with the White Stockings.

The White Stockings—who would also be called the Black Stockings, Colts, Ex-Colts, Rainmakers, Cowboys, Rough Riders, Zephyrs, Nationals, Recruits, Panamas, Spuds, Remnants, and Orphans before settling on "Cubs" no I'm not making this up—lost their very first ballpark in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. 

Searching for a place to play, they eventually settled on a new park on the site of the original, one that would be known variously as Lake-Shore Park, Lake-Front Park, or simply Lake Park. (Of course.) 

As you can from this map of Chicago, it was squeezed into a corner of the waterfront, right behind the narrow beach and a railroad:

No, not there! There, on the left side of what looks like part of a peninsula. No, behind the sailboat, and just to the right of the big domed thing-y. That's right. It was that little.

Lake Whatever Park was just 186 feet to left, 196 to right, and 300 to dead center. The White Stockings first sought to work around these absurd dimensions by making anything that went over the wall a ground-rule double.

In 1883, the future Cubbies hit just 13 homers in 98 games—and 277 doubles. A record 49 of them by our Ned.

Figuring they could only make a good thing better, for 1884 the White Stockings changed that ground rule to make over-the-fence a home run, and records tumbled.

Interestingly, neither all the doubles nor all the home runs could put Chicago on top again. The Pale Hose came in second in 1883, and tied for fourth in 1884.

After that...someone discovered that The Team of Many Names had been playing all along on public land. Off went the White Stockings, to the West Side Grounds, then eventually to Wrigley. The rest is...futility.

But what of Corpulent Ned? 

He would go on playing the infield—becoming, despite his girth, one of the few players to move from third base to shortstop as he aged. He also played second, first, and even caught and pitched a little, appearing on the mound in 12 games over the years, and going 1-1. 

Ned's  decided to go on A.G. Spalding's famous "World Tour," a months-long circuit of the globe during which a team of all-stars ended up playing games in the shadow of the Sphinx, and in front of the partly built Eiffel Tower. The tour was supposedly about winning over all the foreigners to America's pastime, but in fact it seems to have been an attempt by Spalding to distract the stars and get them out of the way, while his fellow owners prepared for war with the players' union.

It seems that poor Ned got hurt playing ball in Paris, and didn't have the money for a doctor. Spalding refused to pay, and Williamson got into only 47 games in 1889, before closing out with the Chicago Players' League entry in 1890.

He did not fare well in retirement. Ned, charitably listed as 5'11", 210 pounds while a player, took over running a saloon,and soon ballooned up to 250 pounds. Or maybe it was his diseases. 

Williamson was soon suffering from both dropsy (edema) and consumption (tuberculosis), and died at just 36. 

Want to know more? Believe it or not, there was a movie made about Ned—at least, his fateful trip to Paris on the world tour. It's billed as a 48-minute comedy, made in 2015 and available on YouTube. I've never seen it, but it sounds sort of intriguing. 

In case you're interested, it's called Deadball, and listed here on IMDB. Good for a rainout? You tell me.


DJ LeMahieu rejoins the Yankees tonight: Is anticipating him better than his actual return?

Ten fun mundane facts about DJ LeMahieu, who the Yanks plan to reactivate tonight against the Anaheim California Los Angeles Your Name Here Human Scum Angels...

1. In about six weeks, he'll turn 36.

2. Last year, plagued by a broken right foot, he hit .243 - worst in his 13 seasons.

3. It was his fourth straight yearly decline, and 4 points below what Oswaldo Cabrera - whom he'll most likely replace at 3B - is hitting.

4. Originally a second baseman, he played almost all his games last year at 3B and 1B.

5. If he doesn't hit, strap in. The Yankees have him through 2026, at $15 million per season, with Hal Steinbrenner already poor-mouthing about Juan Soto.

6. Concerns remain about his foot, which caused him to quit an earlier minor league rehab assignment after one inning. 

7. As a teammate, clubhouse presence and human being, he is considered a rock of stability. He has been called "Big Fundy" for his adherence to fundamentals. 

8. There are questions about his ability to turn on fastballs. In 2022, he saw the highest percentage of fastballs (60.1 percent) thrown to any MLB batter. His average fell to .261.

9. There are no questions about his ability to grind. In 2022, he swung at the lowest percentage (54.7) of strikes in the majors. He also had the highest percentage of batted balls to the opposite field (35.8.)

10. He will fill some need, somewhere. He might platoon with Cabrera at 3B or Anthony Rizzo at 1B. If Gleyber Torres doesn't get his shit together... 2B. 

Monday, May 27, 2024

When the Yankees pull a Meat Loaf - as they did yesterday - it's hard not to imagine wheels falling off the wagon. But a fix is coming.


To quote Meat Loat, "We were barely 17 and we were barely dressed...""Like a bat out of Hell, I'll be gone when the morning comes..." "Two out of three ain't bad..." And - frankly, nosirree  - it ain't... bad, that is. Then again, considering yesterday's loss, it ain't no good, neither, ain't it? 

I mean, we should be celebrating. Sorta. We just won a West Coast road series against a team of revenge-minded ex-Yanks, which - if the season ended today - would qualify for that prestigious final NL Wild Card October booty call. Trouble is, we gifted the Padres a win over Juan Soto, who earned San Diego's ire by being traded, so its billionaire owner wouldn't have to pay him a worthwhile wage.

In case you missed it, here's what happened: Gleyber Torres botched another crucial play, his team-leading 7th error, opening the bullpen floodgate to a 5-2 loss. Giancarlo Stanton went 0-for-4 with 4 Ks - one of those cringy games that make Yankee fans yearn for Jasson Dominguez, who is 11-for-35 (.314) in his minor league rehab assignment. In his defense (or lack of it), Gleyber went 2-4, raising his BA to .228 - meager, but much improved in recent weeks. Gleyber's fuckups seem to stem from a lack of focus - bad timing from a guy who, knee deep into his contract walk year, looks more and more like a future ex-Yank.

The Yankee infield is about to change.

Yesterday, in Scranton, DJ LeMahieu played 1B and went 0-2. In his minor league rehab, he is 4-for-21 with 5 walks and 3 Ks. He is a natural 2B. It's his happy place. And by this time next week, he will be replacing someone - maybe Anthony Rizzo against lefties? Or Oswaldo Cabrera at 3B? And unless Gleyber gets his act together, one of these days, it might be him - not Meat Loaf - who is gone, gone, gone 'till the morning comes. Like a bat out of Scranton.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

All right, I'll admit it!


I'm drunk on winning! 

What can I tell ya? I never expected a first third of the season like this.

The Yankees have the best record in the American League, and the second best in all of baseball, at 37-17.  That's a .685 pace, and projects to 111 wins on the season.

It's not just that. The Yanks are currently leading the AL in runs, homers, walks, OBP, slugging, OPS plus OPS+, total bases, and even sacrifice flies. They are second in hits and batting average—and only sixth in strikeouts.

More importantly, they are also dominating when it comes to pitching—first in ERA, shutouts, saves, fewest runs and earned runs, and strikeouts (and only 11th in walks).  

Remember how this team was shutout a disturbing 5 times in April? They haven't been blanked since—but have 7 combined shutouts to boast of now. Last night, I actually found myself disappointed that they finally gave up a run to San Diego. I need to snap out of it!! 

But they've been doing all this with last year's Cy Young winner and last year's great prospect, both on the DL. Both look like they will be retuning soon—which could be trouble. (I'm sorry, after so many years of Cashman, I can't help but think like this!!!)  And we're not even talking about Beeter, Spencer, the Second Oswald Theory, etc.

I can't help it, but to me this looks like...DEPTH!

I know, I know. I need an intervention. I need to regain perspective.

This can't possibly last. As Duque reminded us, we are, as always, just a tweak or two from disaster. 

On the other hand...Rizzo hasn't even really started to hit yet. Will he? And if he does??? Verdugo has exceeded (my) expectations. Even—gasp—The Gleyber has been hitting of late!

I don't know what to say.

Yes, everything can go wrong in a minute—probably today. And we've seen this before—just two years ago. As someone wrote, Brian Cashman took that team out back and shot it in the head, like Kristi Noem with a bad puppy. He's fully capable of doing the same in 2024.

The pen still looks suspicious. Are all of these young, over-performing starters really the sorts of invincible veterans a team usually needs in the playoffs? 

Who KNOWS what could go wrong? And the answer to that is usually...everything.

But I'm not alone. The Yankees are also back leading the AL in attendance, with over 1 million fans chowing down on the Rat Feces Dogs already. 

"Could it be? Yes, it could—something's comin', somethin' good...Around the corner—"

Probably a Mack truck. Or another bleeping Dodgers fence. But still—

I'm drunk, drunk I tells ya...but I don't wanna sober up!


Anthony Volpe won't be the All-Star shortstop, but he might just be a generational Yankee star


One shortstop currently rules the AL, and - sorry, folks - it's not Anthony Volpe. 

Gunnar Hendrickson should serve to remind us that Baltimore's resurgence is 10 crapola years in the making. The Yanks have won 8 of their last 10, but they're still only 3 games up on the O's, who ate our lunches last time we saw them. Hendrickson is posting A-Rod numbers, Nomar numbers, Troy Tulowitsky numbers - and he's followed by Bobby Witt Jr., the former No. 1 pick, who has finally arrived. Volpe might be No. 3 in the league - and for a long time to come. 

But amid the wild HR streaks of Judge, Soto and Giancarlo, and starting pitching that would have defied the imagination of Larry Rothschild, Volpe might just be the Yankees' secret sauce. Last night, he hit in his 18th straight game, lifting his average to a respectable .282 and justifying his placement in the leadoff perch. When DJ LeMahihieu finally returns, sometime this coming week, it's hard to see him hitting first. 

Volpe might win the Human Resources Dept.'s "Most Improved Yankee" award, (though Luis Gil might have something to say about that.) He won't beat Joe DiMaggio's hitting spree, but he's now halfway to the longest streak in this millennium. If it ends today, it's still pretty damn good. And so is Volpe. 

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Game Thread: Forget the Yankees, check this play out.

 Great Play!!!

OK, now it's a regular game thread. 

The Yankee Triad is scary. It's also a set of injuries waiting to happen.


Today, let us give heartfelt praise and giddy gratitude to the 2024 Yankee Three-Way: Aaron Judge, Juan Soto and Giancarlo Stanton. 

Until some ambitious Gammonite nicknames them, they are the Perfect Storm, the Holy Trinity, Third Eye Blind, The Kingston Trio, Peter Paul & Mary, Three Dog Night, Three Doors Down, the Three Tenors - Jose Carreras, Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo! They are the Yankee Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

And if they keep hitting, the 2024 Yankees will win the AL East. 

Right now, Judge and Soto are legit MVP candidates. Judge can be projected to hit 48 HRs, Soto 42 and Stanton 39 - a total of 129 blasts. That falls short of the 1961 Yankees Big Three - (Mantle, Maris & Moose) - who hit 143. But holy crap, here we are, comparing this team to the '61 Yankees! WTF?

There is, however, another stat, a troubling number, and everybody knows it. Last year, Judge played in 106 games, out with a bum toe after place-kicking a RF wall. Giancarlo played in 101, a typical Stanton season, full of various tweaks and boo-boos. Soto is a Godsend: 162 games last year with San Diego, the type of workhorse the Yankees desperately need. 

But how much faith can we put in the Big Three lasting a season? 

Not much. Last night, in the 9th, IF Jon Berti was helped off the field after collapsing in a heap, running to first. Calf muscle. He'll be gone for weeks. It's a reminder of how fast things change in the game of baseball. Let us praise the Yankee Cereal. But remember: Snap, Crackle and Pop are always a bowl away. 

Friday, May 24, 2024



My fellow Sterlings, you guys have been so incredibly supportive of my book that I am embarrassed to even mention this. But in case you have nothing better to do on this, the first night of the summer (so to speak), and are in the Greater New York Area, and have might want to turn into Ch. 75, CUNY-TV's New York Times Close-Up show, at 7:30 this evening.

There, you will have the thrill of watching yours truly being interviewed by Sam Roberts, an old friend and great guy. At some point, he asked me about Poor Hal Steinbrenner's assertion that the current Yankees payroll was "unsustainable."

I believe I said, "Exactly how many free stadiums do the Steinbrenners want?" or words to that effect.

That was flippant of me. When we are, of course, faced with a very real dilemma. 

How, oh how, will Hal Steinbrenner ever be able to keep the Yankees going??? Much less, re-sign the greatest young free agent in history?

Let's go back to the original statement from Poor Hal:

I’m gonna be honest, payrolls at the levels we’re at right now are simply not sustainable for us financially. It wouldn’t be sustainable for the vast majority of ownership [groups], given the luxury tax we have to pay.’’

Whatever will he—or we—do?

Well, Yahoo Sports reports that—according to Forbes—the Yankees have a payroll of $303 million, and annual revenues of $679 million, along with a total net worth of $7.55 billion.

Currently, Juan Soto makes $31 million a year, and he'll be wanting much more than that. 

At the end of this year, a total of $40 million worth of non-Soto contracts will also be up for renewal, by far the largest of which is Gleyber Torres' $14.2 million.

Oh, whatever, whatever will we do?!

Wait, wait! A plan—a bold plan, an audacious plan—has just occurred to me! It's nuts, I know...BUT HEAR ME OUT!

What if...we traded Gleyber immediately, and gave Soto as much as the $14.2 mill as necessary to keep him here???

There. Fixed it. 

As Luis Gil dominates, the Yankees wonder: How high, how far, how long?

 If John Sterling were still calling history - (saddest aspect of 2024: The Master might be missing a genuine Yankee resurgence) - he would have rejoiced over the phenomenon of Luis Gil, referred to as "Luis the Magnificent" in a postgame YES graphic yesterday. 

John never conceived a pitching equivalent to his Homer Howls, but he sure could swoon over "another great job by Joba!" or "Mariano the Great!" or any Yank - from Betances to Shreve - who might coax a DP grounder with the bases full. 

Gil - currently 3rd in the AL in ERA - would have given John cause to celebrate an infrequent solar event: 

A breakout Yankee pitcher, up from the farms, shocking the world. 

In fact, our rotation now boasts three: Gil, Clarke Schmidt and Nestor Cortes - each developed through a lengthy seasoning process that included pizza steaks in Wilkes Barre. Each could end up pitching in the 2024 All-Star game. And, considering the reality of the modern game, each could be gone by then.

At any time, a pitcher can feel a tweak and disappear. Chad Green felt one. Frankie Montas felt one. Scott Effross felt one. On the modern staff, there is only one certainty: There is no such thing as certainty.  

Which begs the question:  

How far can Gil go? 

Short answer: Dunno. Nobody does. My guess is that the Yankees will do what they always do: Ride this horse while it can run. 

You can't blame them. On June 3, Gil will turn 26. This is his prime, and it's been a long time coming. In 2018, the Yankees traded Jake Cave to get him, and until now, it looked as though Minnesota got the better of the deal. But Gil always looked, well,  interesting. In 2021, he became the first pitcher in MLB history to record scoreless starts in his first three outings. (Overall, 15.2 innings.) Two years ago - May 2022 - he tweaked his elbow and went bye-bye. Tommy John. Last week, he broke Orlando Hernandez' record of 14 strikeouts in one game, the highest for a Yankee rookie. Ironically, El Duque threw out the ceremonial first pitch in that game. The juju gods have a thing for this guy.

So, what do we have, and can we keep it? 

Of course, everything revolves around Gerrit Cole, who might return in June. That would be a huge boost for a pitching staff that - at least in the bullpen - seems to be fraying. (Will Clay Holmes ever pitch another 1-2-3 inning?) It's pointless to ponder a six-man rotation. Surely, by mid-June, one of the Yankee starters will be struggling or hurt. 

I'm not sure he qualifies as "Luis the Magnificent," but right now, with or without Cole, Gil is the pitcher I'd want starting Game One. And the Yankees better not abuse him.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Sometimes, there is simply nothing to be said about a Yankee news story


On an otherwise grand night, Hal Steinbrenner sounds the alarm on excessive Yankee spending

By now, you surely know the Yankees won last night behind four HRs - two from Juan Soto - a solid start from Nasty Nestor Cortes and the successful return of Tommy Kahnle. Hooray. This morning, you might wonder how anyone, anywhere, could fling a bucket of ice-water onto this glorious jubilee.

Well, people, it's simple: 

The Yankee budget is out of control.

We cannot afford the runaway entitlements that bloat the Yankee payroll.

It's time to change our frivolous ways.

We must cut spending. Now!

Fortunately, Hal Steinbrenner realizes the problem. Yesterday, he called the Yankee $300 million payroll "unsustainable," giving us hope for a stripped-down austerity plan, where the franchise lives within its means. We cannot continue to lavish money on players who intend to hold the Yankees for ransom, by winning games.  

It doesn't grow on trees, people. 

We cannot continue to spend, spend, spend. That means Soto - and his fixer, Scott Boras - will need to find another money-bagging chump next winter, because the Yanks will not comply with their unscrupulous dictates. The fans know Hal. The fans trust Hal. The fans love Hal. And more than anything, they want a cap on payroll.

Free agency is not free, people. 

Yesterday, Hal threw down a refreshing gauntlet to Soto & Boras, the grinders of greed. In doing so, the owner reminds us that baseball is not a cold, calculating, ruthless business, run by deep state front offices. It's a whimsical, wonderful child's game, played for fun by grown-ups who should be lucky to make $15-per-hour. As Yank fans, we should consider ourselves blessed to root for a team that regularly notches a wild card, reaching the post-season. 

Let the Dodgers, Mets, Cubs and Phillies go hog-wild on spending. They'll only ruin the fun. But Hal - secure in his membership among the owners' secret club- will never betray the cause of frugality. He will not spend good money on needless players, who might not even speak English, merely because they can hit. 

Of course, Hal would be first to recognize the work of Soto. He's a fine young man. If the season ended today, Soto could be the MVP. A few more games like last night, and he might even win a Triple Crown. 

Let's just hope that he doesn't expect to ruin the season by demanding too much money. We're on to him. He's not going to wreck this season by holding us for ransom.  

Let's hope Hal has the courage to tell Soto-Boras that the Yankees will not budge in their drive towards austerity. Today, Yank fans everywhere are united in saying, Hold the line, Hal! We demand fiscal integrity! 

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Glug, glug.


The Yankees are...let us say...a ship.

We like to think of them as a great ship—a Yankee Clipper, even. One of the original "skyscrapers." All sails up in the worst of gales, skysails and moon rakers on the masts, and studdingsails on the booms. Doing 24 knots around the Horn, making our 50-50 in seven days—the fastest, finest ship afloat.

But in fact, the ship we're used to is more of a creaky old wreck, trimmed and lacquered up nice to fool the paying customers. 

Oh, it usually makes it out of the port all right: bands playing, pennants from years past flying in the breeze. A grand sight.

But then, out there on the high seas, something always goes wrong. 

Often, the crew is just too small for a ship this size—but the owner likes his economies. Increasingly, the crew is too old—but they've signed long contracts with the owner, indentured themselves for life, and he's determined to get every drop of sweat and blood he can out of 'em. 

It's always something. The captain and the pilot were removed years ago, and replaced by an automatic navigational system, operable from the owner's Florida home. It doesn't work too well, despite the incredibly life-like robot the owner's shipping agent has installed at the helm.

Sooner or later, our ship veers off course, gets stuck in the doldrums, comes to grief on reefs clearly marked on all charts but which the shipping agent told everybody to ignore. There was a gaping hole in the hull we forgot about, or a mainmast that looked rotten from the day we sailed.

But the order came from Tampa: sail on!

Usually, the problem lies in those areas of the ship we old sea dogs know as "the bullpen" and "the bench."  The shipping agent believes that these don't matter much, and can be manned by any landlubber press-ganged or shanghaied off the streets. But somehow, the ship never makes it back to port.

There are those who think the owner has some other scheme going—that he's primarily interested in raking in the insurance money. That's hard to say. No one's seen him down at the docks for years. At most, we get a glimpse of him on the widow's walk of the family mansion, scouring the seas with his telescope—a weird little look of satisfaction on his face, and glittery red boots on his feet.

Not that it much matters. We all knew where this voyage ends, before it commenced.


In two dazzlingly depressing nights, the Yankees recreate the woes of the last 10 years - and Bud Abbott

Okay, show of hands: Who here does NOT feel that lingering, deja vu sense of 2013? 

Be honest. Last night, down by only 2, you saw an infield cornered by Jason Nix and Lyle Overbay, backed by the cast of Glee. There was Pronk and Vernon Wells. Abbott & Costello couldn't have conjured a more laughable lineup against a pitcher named Woo. 

Woo is shutting us out? 

That's right. 

Woo is he? WOO?


Woo-woo-woo. Down by 2 and desperate for hope, the YES team launched regular injury rehab updates. The more they assured us that reinforcements are coming - ladies and gentleman, Tommy Kahnle! - the more hopelessness they inspired. 

Down by 2, we were once again an older, more financially secure version of the  Scranton Railriders, barreling toward second place. 

That win streak? Well, it came against the Twinkies, a team we somehow still own, and the White Sox, baseball's rustiest can of stewed tomatoes.  

Down by 2, the Yankees had once again fallen, unable to stand. It's why management traded the farm for Juan Soto. It's a sense of streaky sluggers, passed their primes, who cannot adjust their swings. 

Down by 2, it's why Aaron Boone's bad decisions didn't matter. This team cannot be managed. You cannot call for a bunt, when nobody knows how. You cannot tell your best base-stealer to run; it lets the opposition pitch around your best hitters. Nope. You just write out a daily lineup, dictated by numbers ninnies, and if nobody hits, you simply go on TV later and gaslight the fan base, describing how well everybody's swinging the bat - and how about those injury rehabs! 

I'm sorry. I should be happy. The Yanks remain 1.5 games ahead of Baltimore, (though the O's have fewer losses.) But last night brought a system-wide debacle. Scranton lost 12-1. At Double A Somerset, which lost 10-2, the super-hyped Spencer Jones, is hitting .222, and his predecessor - the Martian, Jasson Dominguez, who moved up last night - went 0-3. Down at dirt league Tampa, first-round pick George Lombardi Jr. is hitting .202, and Roderick Arias - the millionaire known as "Rod-A" - is batting .214. 

At each level across the minor leagues, break-out prospects are redefining the future. They aren't Yankees.

Damn. I get it that we can't win them all. I realize the Yankees still have two games left with Seattle, and I accept that the Mariners - leading the AL West - are a good team. But these two losses - there's something about them - they've conjured the Babadook. I look at this team. I see Kevin Youkilis and the Grandy Man. It's been more than 10 years. I still can't get them out of my head. Collapses have become the Yankee norm. And it's getting close to that certain time of year...

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Know Your Pre-Ruthian Sluggers! Pt. II


My friends:

I thought we could all use a little cheering up after last night's Royal Pineapple Fest, so I have decided to treat you to another of the Pre-Ruthian Slugger stories that Dick Allen was so good as to bring to our attention.

It concerns one Ralph Orlando "Socks" Seybold, and features perhaps the very strangest, and certainly the most hilarious single baseball story I have ever heard.

Despite his rather unprepossessing demeanor, Socks was a pretty fair country hitter. It took him a long time to get to the majors, despite battering one minor league after another. That's just how it was back in the days of the old, 16-team cartel. Somebody saw you botch a ball in the outfield and decided you couldn't field, or you fell down rounding first and were blackballed for life.

Poor Socks didn't stick in the big until he was 30, but then put in eight, generally outstanding seasons for Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics. 

A right fielder and first baseman, he batted .294 lifetime (and as high as .334 in a season), led the AL with 45 doubles in 1903—and hit 16 home runs in 1902.

That was the American League record, and it stayed that way until The Babe broke it in 1919. In July. En route to 29 homers in a war-shortened season.

But I digress.

For the deadball era, Socks Seybold was an outstanding slugger, on some outstanding A's teams.

Other than that, there is almost nothing to distinguish him. He was born and raised in a small Ohio town, and died in a small Pennsylvania town, when his car skidded off a road one night in December. He was married but had no children, retired from baseball after tearing the ligaments in his leg and, despite several comeback attempts, ended up working as a steward at a social club.

Nope, nothing to see here, folks. 


Sock Seybold will also live in history as...the Man Who Could Not Get Out of the Doghouse.

I don't mean a baseball doghouse, some manager's mental dungeon. (See Martin, Alfred Emanuel, for largest doghouse in major-league history.) I mean a literal doghouse.

According to the Player Info section on baseballreference entry, Socks—and I'm quoting here:

" also remembered for an unusual incident, when he became stuck while trying to recover a ball that had rolled into a doghouse, used as a storage shed, that was actually in play at the outfield at Boundary Field, the early home of the Washington Senators. It took some time to pull him out, by which time the batter had had plenty of time to circle the bases with an inside-the-park homer."

Uh, what now?

Talk about underselling a story. " also remembered for"? How was he ever remembered for anything else?  

Yes, of course it took some time to pull him out—his teammates no doubt kept falling over themselves laughing. One wonders: did they pull him out by his socks? Hence his nickname?

I was initially suspicious that this was wholly a fable, much as I was when someone wrote on wikipedia that Wally Pipp's immigrant family had changed their name from Pippik. And I'm still suspicious about every word of Socks' misadventure with the doghouse, right down to the name of the field where it happened.

But turns out, a pre-Griffith Stadium, "Boundary Field" really was the home of the Senators for seven seasons. Baseballreference even confirms that:

One of the unusual features of the ballpark was that there was a doghouse in right field that was used as a storage shed where the flag was kept between games. The doghouse was considered to be in play. Famously, outfielder Socks Seybold of the Philadelphia Athletics once got himself stuck in the shed's entrance while trying to recover a baseball that had rolled into it.

Well, you know how it is. You're a lucky dog, a good dog, you got your home with a nice view of the ballpark. But you got your lawn mower, your hedge clippers, your work bench...and your enormous American flag. Pretty soon there's no room left for you...

Here is a picture of Boundary Field (so called because DC's Florida Street used to be called "Boundary Street)—and a desolate piece of real estate in looks like, too, seeming to slant downhill from home plate:

Somehow, though, no evidence of a doghouse/storage shed. How big was this dog, anyhow? How did Socks Seybold ever live it down? 

We may never know. And in the end, I can't help asking...Who let Socks out? Woof, woof-woof...

The Albatross Strikes Again

 When Giancarlo Stanton came up with the bases loaded, and the Yankees holding a three run lead, I said the following to myself:

" If he hits into a double play we are going to lose this game."

The Yankees , behind the great pitching of Stroman, had dominated the game to that point.  But you could tell, from the Seattle at bats, that they could easily score some runs.  The Yankees needed to build on the lead.  They needed to knock the confidence out of Seattle. 

Stanton, the Yankee Albatross, has already killed one potential rally by hitting into a DP.  We could not afford to come up empty again.  I prayed for a strikeout ( one out is better than two ).  

When Stanton isn't hitting solo homers in 8-1 routes, he usually strikes out.  "One more time, I pleaded." At least if he only made one out, some real Yankee might come through.  We needed runs. 

But the Albatross is the " weight" ( some say the "curse") that prevents teams from accomplishing what they want to do.  Stanton cost us the game.  

Sure, Boone can be accused of mis-managing ( leave Weaver in the game?), and our closer crapped the bed.  

But Stanton lost the game.  Rally killers are game killers. 

I am beginning to think the trade that brought us Stanton is worse....all things considered....than the trade that cost us Jay Buhner. 

We may go into a slide as a result of this mind F*** of a loss by Stanton. 


Soul-crushing Yankee defeat conjures memories of Aroldis, Donaldson and Hicks.

Isaac Newton's beloved Third Law of Motion states that, for every great Yankee victory, there will be an equal and opposite crapping of the bed. 

This fits in with Flo's Third Law of Progressive Insurance, which states that a Yankee team can bundle its hitting, fielding and base-running lapses into one incredible loss, which feels like 10.

Which then can be summed up by Bruce's Third Law of fans, which says the Mets fan wanna be first, Phills fan wanna be king, but the Yank fan ain't satisfied 'til he wears a series ring. 

All of which leads to last night, when the Death Barge unleashed demons from recent dark seasons, memories we thought had been wiped clean over the last two weeks. 

Soon, like, maybe this week, we will learn the truth about the '24 Yankees: Are they really AL East contenders? Or did they simply just blow through a winning streak, and the stagecoach will now revert back into the pumpkin. By mid-June, will we be chasing a wild card? Last night, the Babaduks escaped. Let's roll call the demons...

The Aroldis Ninth. God help us. The mere phrase rattles me. It feeds the notion that no lead is safe, and that a one-run margin is basically hopeless. It's hard to believe that we had El Chapo for seven years - seven painful years - when his ERA flew from 2.01 to 4.46. He could lose on a HR to a 20-year-old Rafael Devers, or to a cheating Jose Altuve, or he could fill the bases with walks. Coupled with Gary Sanchez's defensive skills, to watch Aroldis Chapman implode was like adding Mentos to Pepsi and waiting for the sugar orgasm. He could fan the first two batters on six pitches, go 0-and- 2 on the third - and never throw another pitch within the area code of the strike zone. And the rivers of sweat! They cascaded off the brim of his cap. The guy left puddles. Seven years of blown leads, each one a torture chamber, followed by flood waters - and here's the rub: We might be eerily entering a similar state with Clay Holmes, who is known to hit slumps. We've seen him hit the wall. He did last night. 

The Donaldson Effect. There haven't been many Yankees to reach the state of utter revulsion achieved last June by Josh "Jackie" Donaldson. By mid-May, he was being roundly booed at home, and each pop fly or ground out conjured postgame YES assurances that his swing was finally coming around, and that he'd soon start hitting. Well, he didn't. He never even cracked .150, finishing his Yankee trial at .142. 

It's worth noting that, with decent Yankee finales, both Aroldis and Donaldson could have punched their tickets to to Cooperstown. Instead, I doubt it will happen. They reached the greatest stage in American sports, and they puked. They'll always fall a few votes short, because every writer in NYC only remembers one part of their career.

No current Yank qualifies for a Donaldson comparison. But Gleyber Torres could be the next Aaron Hicks. He just keeps messing up. Last night, he botched a key infield single, throwing wide to first - Knoblauch-like into the home dugout - advancing the runners, and adding to the pressure on Holmes. 

I believe the team has little choice but to go with Gleyber, at least into July. If he gets traded, we'll get next to nothing in return, and he could do what Hicks did last year: Make the Yankees look like a lost organization (which they might just be.) 

Add a Giancarlo GIDP with the bases loaded - killing the chance to break open the game - and last night raised memories of Journey's Third Law of Threesomes: 

Some will win, some will lose, some - like Greg Bird, Clint Frazier and Miguel Andujar - are born to sing the blues. 

Last night, we sang.


Monday, May 20, 2024

Another Top 10 set of gooshy takeaways on yesterday's Yankee victory, (because you don't change juju on a 7-game win streak.) Ranked.

1. We won. 

2. We got basic doodily squat from our stars - (Judge with only one measly HR, a 337 feet pop fly, a mere 98.9 mph exit velo, not exactly a moonshot, should it have counted?) - and yet we won.  

3. Despite occasional bunt bloopers that somehow clear the fence, Judge now tied for 3rd in HRs in all of baseball. Has 7 in merry month of May. If (rigged by Democrats) all-star vote were held today, Judge should be starting CF. (Maybe  Juan Soto in RF?) 

4. Yanks' pitching staff has best ERA (2.81) in MLB. Without Tommy Kahnle, Jonathan Loaisiga, Gerrit Cole, Larry Rothschild... Wait, is Matt Blake - age 39 with no MLB or even MILB experience - a supergenius? Best pitching coach in baseball? I mean, how is this happening: Michael "Golf of" Tonkin now at 9 IP, still not one earned run as a Yankee. WTF?  

5. Bumbling Redsocks now one game under .500, 9.5 behind in AL East. Hateful Blue Jays now 5 below .500, 11.5 games out. (Fortunately, their star will never lower himself to join Yankees.)

6. Only Phillies - who, historically, have never harmed us - have better record. Still, Yank ghosts of 2022 linger. On this day of that horrible year, Yanks were 28-10, in 1st, preparing to lose four out of five. It can happen here...

7. For those who cannot remember the past... In 2022 postseason, Yanks lost 4-0 to cheater Astros. This year, Houston facing plagues of flooding, electrical outages, mosquitos, lack of pitching... (Here's hoping the first three go away, but no. 4 lasts into October.) 

8. Daddy issues? Alex Verdugo is stone cold since becoming a father. Still, Yanks are 12-2 with him at cleanup, and recent revivals of Judge, Rizzo, Stanton, et al, argue for patience. You don't change underwear in a winning streak. Nor should you change cleanup hitter.

9. The Martian, rehabbing in dirt league Tampa: 0-2 yesterday with 2 walks and 1 K. Microscopic sample size: He's hitting .380. Also, at Triple A, mighty mite Caleb Durbin still standing tall, playing everywhere, hitting .285, leading Railriders in RBIs (32), while leading off. 

10. Amid wave of great catchers across AL - Salvador Perez, Adley Rutschman, Jonah Heim, Shea Langeliers, Cal Raleigh - Jose Trevino having quiet career year (.284.) Won't be an all-star again, but won't be replaced by struggling Austin Wells, either.  

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Know Your Pre-Ruthian Sluggers! Pt. I


Responding to Dick Allen's request regarding those home-run hitters who held the single-season record for dingers before the advent of The Ruth, well, we have a lot of rollicking stories of Weird Old-Time Baseball to go around here.

First up was Lip Pike, who bashed 4 home runs in 28 games for the Troy Haymakers of the National Association in 1871, the very first season of (openly) professional ball.  

Even before that, Pike may have been the first admittedly professional ballplayer, making $20 a week for the Philadelphia Athletic. Born in Manhattan and raised in Brooklyn, Lipman Emanuel Pike was also the first known Jewish ballplayer in the majors, the son of Emanuel Pike, a haberdasher, brother to Boaz, Jacob, and Israel Pike (the last of whom also played briefly in the majors), and father of Harry Pike, who became a comedian. 


Pike—seen dead center in the second row with the St. Louis Brown Stockings of 1875 or 1876, in all their sartorial splendor—surely belongs in the Hall of Fame. He would go on to better his home-run record the next year, in 1872, hitting 7, and would lead the three major leagues he played in a total of 4 times in roundtrippers.

He also led his league once in doubles, once in RBI (60 in 56 games, in 1872), and once in slugging. He stole at least 50 bases in his career, and as many as 25 in a season. Pike played the outfield mostly, but also every infield position but catcher and pitcher, and finished with a line of .322/.339/.468/.808. 

An opponent who later became a prominent sportswriter, Tim Murnane, later claimed he was "perhaps the hardest hitter the game ever produced." Sure, that was in 1904, but still.

If nothing else, Lip Pike deserves to make the Hall for the teams he played with. They didn't win any pennants, but the names alone were priceless. Besides the Haymakers and the Brown Stockings, Pike played for the Providence Grays, the Hartford Dark Blue, Baltimore Canaries, and the Worcester Ruby Red Legs. He even put in one game with the original Met(s) of the 19th century.

Pike would go on to become the very first of (incredibly) only 7 major-league Jewish managers, and would umpire a little. But he was soon back in Brooklyn, hard at work in the family haberdashery. There he died suddenly of a heart attack, in 1893, aged just 48.

This has been a pre-Ruthian moment! More to come.