The Dodgers did it again. They passed on Adrian Beltre because of dollars, but they signed J. D. Drew. They saved a difference of $9 million over five years; thatís chump-change today. Now for a tale-of-the-tape. (I donít get it; I must have missed something in Logic 101.)
Age 25 29
2004 BA .334 .305
2004 HRís 48 31
2004 RBIís 121 93
2004 Hits 200 158
2004 SP .629 .569
MLB Years 7 7
MLB Games 966 742
Injury Prone No Yes
Frank McCourt owns one of the most lucrative money-making attendance-attending franchises in all of sports. If heís over-leveraged, then almost-Commissioner, BS, should not have approved him as the franchise buyer. And if he is over-leveraged, he ought to sell one of those Boston parking garages of his and put some working capital in the account marked Chavez Ravine. And if letting Beltre get away was a pure and simple management decision based on player evaluation and not money, then the Dodgers have an even greater problem in their front office, and itís called DePodesta.
Whatever the problem, it's a sorry impersonation of a serious MLB team. MLB certainly doesn't need to impose a salary cap to stop McCourt's spending any more than it had to for Fox or, as I think back on it, O'Malley for that matter. Say whatever you want about Steinbrenner, but the guy wants to win, and spends money to prove it.
Well, at least the Dodgers signed Carlos. Not Carlos Beltran; Carlos Cohen is the guy's name. He's a cotton candy vendor, and a damn good one.
Story of the Week
DON LARSENíS PERFECT GAME
A perfect game pitched in MLB is quite a feat. That means 27 batters in a row retired; no hits, no walks, no errors, no hit batsmen, no base runners period. Itís only happened once in a World Series. On October 8, 1956, Don Larsen did it for the Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Larsen was an unlikely candidate for accomplishing the trick, and the circumstances were even more unlikely. The 27-year-old right-hander had a respectable 11-5 record for the regular season, but respectable is all he was. And he was facing a great Dodgers line-up that had won the World Series the year before; that group included Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Roy Campanella, Gil Hodges, Carl Furillo, Pee Wee Reese and Jim Gilliam.
In Game Two of the Series, Larsen started and was promptly removed by manager Casey Stengel in the second inning after he walked four men and gave up a hit. The Dodgers won, 13-8, and took a two-game lead in the Series. The Yankees won the next two games, thus tying the Series, 2-2. It was on to game five, and Larsenís historic pitching performance.
No pitcher ever throws a no-hitter, let alone a perfect game, without stellar support from his fielders. Third baseman, Andy Carey, made two sparkling plays, robbing Jackie Robinson and Gil Hodges of hits, and center fielder, Mickey Mantle, ran down another drive hit by Hodges.
In the fourth inning, Mantle homered off Dodgers starter, Sal Maglie, giving the Yankees the only run theyíd need. The fans were standing as Brooklyn came to bat in the ninth inning. Bob Wolff was calling the plays for Mutual Radio, and advised all listeners that absolutely no one had left the ballpark; I would imagine that to be a statement of fact.
Dodgers pinch-hitter, Dale Mitchell, was the 27th. batter to face Don Larsen. A total of 26 had come and gone before Mitchell. That day belonged to Larsen as he struck Mitchell out on four pitches, and Yankee Stadium turned to bedlam. A photo that lives forever shows catcher "Yogi" Berra rushing to the mound to congratulate Larsen by jumping on him and wrapping his arms and legs around the man who had just tossed the pitching gem.
The Yankees went on to win the Series in seven games. As noted, Don Larsen remains the only pitcher ever to throw a perfect game in World Series history. On July 18, 1999, almost 43 years later, Larsen returned to Yankee Stadium to celebrate Yogi Berra Day. He threw out the ceremonial first pitch to his former catcher prior to the game. The two of them stayed on to watch the game from the stands as a major piece of irony set in. Yankees pitcher, David Cone, proceeded to throw a perfect game that afternoon. You bet thatís ironic!
Last Weekís Trivia
Chris Evert excelled at two sports in 1974. Tennis was one of them. The other was horse racing. What did he say? Yes, the horse, Chris Evert, was the top money-winning horse of that year. (No one answered the question correctly. Boys and girls, I never promised you a rose garden.)
Trivia Question of the Week
There have been 38 Super Bowls to date. How many intra-state Super Bowls have there been? See next weekís Sports Junkie for the answer.