Posts Tagged ‘Joe Nathan’

Taking Note

October 1, 2009

September 29, 2009

To all my baseball-speaking friends, I write from Chicago, the center of the baseball universe, the only city where teams from both leagues have played since 1900 (that makes 220 seasons, exactly half of which I’ve been privileged to see unfold), home of the White Sox (formerly the White Stockings), the Cubs (formerly the White Stockings!), and Don Sevcik’s Barry Code.

At the Don’s gracious invitation (see Michael Coreolone, Godfather III” “They keep pulling me back” scene), I will share a note-taking of what I take note, beginning here with herewith an ample example from today’s games, which I call “A Tale of Two Homers” . . . .

As Chris Iannetta’s thrilling pinch-hit 11th-inning home run cleared the right field fence to ensure Colorado’s 7-5 win over the Brewers (an hour after Huston Street nearly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory for the Rockies, and two hours following the season’s most unnerving “Go Cubs Go” denial rendition by the usual capacity Wrigley Field crowd), I realized that a formerly unimaginable feat of futility touching two centuries had come to pass:  those wriggly cubbies were ensured of finishing a tenth straight full decade without a World Series triumph, today being clinched away from playoff play!  (Conjure the 1909 Cub fan, disappointed his team could not repeat their title run!  Who could know the non-title streak could and would grow to over 100 years?)

Another case of a non-Chicago game being drawn back to the equator of Chicago baseball history was the Twins-Tiger division showdown this afternoon in Detroit.  Chicagoan Curtis Granderson unwittingly made sure Hall of Fame Soxer Hoyt Wilhelm’s unnoticed relief record streak of 5 straight under 2.00 ERA seasons was safe when his seemingly futile homer settled in the seats against the great Joe Nathan, consigning the Minnesota right-hander to no more than 3 such consecutive years, despite saving the 3-2 win.

How all baseball roads lead to Chicago!  How about this bit of essentia (opposite of trivia!)?  Two All Star sluggers, homer and RBI leaders during AL careers, playing their penultimate seasons in Chicago, both with a 1.000 W/L pct. and ERA under 2.00, pitching in their final big league seasons.  Hint:  Each had a previous season pitching with ERA of 0.00!  Answer:  Jimmie Foxx and Rocky Colavito (Foxx played for Cubs, Colavito for Sox).

Speaking of the Sox, this current and last week of baseball’s latest season and decade has, of course, both 20th and 21st century Chicago written all over it.  Hearing the season-ending fascination with Yankee and Angel offensive juggernauts reminds me to remind you that the top scoring team of this decade–and the only one to score more than 6 runs per game (unless the Yanks average 20 runs per game their last 4)–was indeed the Frank Thomas-led 2000 Chicago White Sox.  And (too strangely) coincidentally, the highest scoring team of the first 10 years of the 1900s was a White Sox club also playing in their first year of that decade, averaging nearly 6 runs per game!  (A good springboard to peruse the Don’s “Team Stats” comparisons, with similar BOPs and BAMs, despite a nearly 200-homer difference between the 100-year-apart Sox sockers!)

Another high comedy highlight from the West Coast night:  ex-Sox and Cub David Aardsma (first in baseball history’s alphabet–move over, Henry!) closing out Seattle’s 6-4 victory over Oakland, assuring both a losing season and last place finish for the movie-minded Moneyball A’s of guru Billy Beane!

Thanks all, for all!