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A Press Democrat Blog

Old School

Robert Rubino connects current sports news with the past

Bud and Fidel at the ballpark, part 1

In March of 1999, Venezuelan shortstop Ozzie Guillen was at spring training in Florida with the Atlanta Braves. He was about to begin the 15th season of a proud and productive big-league career, mostly with the Chicago White Sox, that had included a Rookie of the Year award, three All-Star Game selections and a Gold Glove award. If Guillen, who spent some time on the Baltimore Orioles just a year earlier, had been with the Orioles instead of the Braves… Read More »

50 years ago, Mays’ 4-HR game

Fifty years ago, on April 30, 1961, before 13,114 at Milwaukee’s County Stadium, Willie Mays hit four homers and drove in eight runs in the Giants’ 14-4 win over the Braves. Other players had pretty good performances that day but were overshadowed by Mays’ feat. Jose Pagan had four hits, including two homers. Chuck Hiller had three hits. Hank Aaron hit two homers for the Braves. And here’s a bit of trivia about the game. Billy Martin, in his final… Read More »

Marichal and Spahn

Just finished reading “The Greatest Game Ever Pitched” by Jim Kaplan. The title refers to the 16-inning duel between two Hall of Famers — 25-year-old Juan Marichal and 42-year-old Warren Spahn on July 2, 1963 at Candlestick Park. The game ended when another future Hall of Famer, Willie Mays, homered in the bottom of the 16th. It’s a good read, recommended for any fan intrigued by baseball history. The book uses that classic game (the likes of which we’ll never… Read More »

Giants pennant fever: 2002

The San Francisco Giants have been giving their fans pennant fever over seven decades, including this season. Previous blogs looked at 1959, ’62, ’65, ’66, ’71, ’82, ’93, ’97 and ’98. Here is the final entry of a top 10 list of pennant-fever seasons. 2002. The Giants and Dodgers are battling for the NL wild card in late September. The Giants then close out the season by winning eight games in a row, clinching a playoff spot. Pennant fever continues… Read More »

Pennant fever: Giants in 1993

The San Francisco Giants have been giving their fans pennant fever over seven decades, including this season. Previous blogs looked at 1959, ’62, ’65, ’66, ’71 and ’82. Upcoming blogs will take a look at the rest of a top 10 list of pennant-fever seasons, in chronological order. 7. 1993. After beating the Dodgers on Sept. 19, the second-place Giants trailed the first-place Braves by three games. With 15 games remaining, the Giants launch a 12-3 finish behind the hitting… Read More »

Duel of the decade: Marichal vs. Spahn

One of the most deft descriptions of the 16-inning pitching duel of July 2, 1963, between Juan Marichal and Warren Spahn appears in the recently published “Willie Mays, the Life, the Legend,” by James S. Hirsch. “By the time Mays came to bat in the bottom of the sixteenth with one out, he had gone 0-for-5 with a walk,” Hirsch writes. “But Spahn, after 276 pitches, finally made a mistake — a screwball that ‘didn’t break worth a damn’ —… Read More »

Sanchez no Haddix

Sure, Jonathan Sanchez had a bit of bad luck Tuesday night. The Giants’ starter gave up just one hit, a single, and he struck out 10, but lost 1-0 to the Padres. But Harvey Haddix remains the all-time hard-luck pitcher. Nearly 51 years ago, on May 26, 1959, Haddix, pitching for the Pirates, threw 12 perfect innings against the Braves at Milwaukee. Thirty-six batters in a row. He lost, 1-0, in 13 innings.