A Press Democrat Blog

Old School

Robert Rubino connects current sports news with the past

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 »

Dubious ‘proof’ of steroid use

Bashers of Barry Bonds often point out his statistics past the age of 35 didn’t coincide with the normal decline of athletic prowess. Well, at age 35, when he should have been slowing down, Hank Aaron hit 44 homers. At 37, he hit 47 homers — his single-season high. At 39, he hit 40 homers. During the 1957 season, during which Ted Williams turned 39, he hit 38 homers and batted .388. During the 1960 season, in which he turned… Read More »

Should Cy Young Award be renamed?

Cy Young played half his career in the 19th century. He is the all-time winningest pitcher. He is the all-time losingest pitcher. He completed 90 percent of his starts. In other words, for both good and bad, he was unlike any modern pitcher. The Cy Young Award should be changed to the Warren Spahn Award. Spahn is the winningest pitcher of the modern era. Also, the Warren Spahn Award should only apply to starting pitchers. The art of relief pitching,… Read More »

Giants should go beyond Wall of Fame

The Giants have a Wall of Fame. The thing, though, about halls and walls of fame and retired numbers and such, they’re all so preciously somber and deadly serious, with a ridiculous air of exaltation permeating, as if we’re canonizing saints instead of enjoying baseball history. We need some goofiness to baseball’s business of honoring its past. I’m thinking the Giants need a Boulevard of Broken Dreams. It would honor Candy Maldonado’s misplay of a flyball against the Cardinals in… 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 »