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A Press Democrat Blog

Old School

Robert Rubino connects current sports news with the past

Before La Russa, there was Johnny Keane

It was reported, correctly, that Tony La Russa became the first manager to retire immediately after winning a World Series. But in 1964, Cardinals manager Johnny Keane quit immediately following St. Louis’ seven-game World Series victory over the Yankees. The Cardinals had been 6½ games behind the first-place Phillies (there were no divisions; only the first-place teams in each league advanced to the World Series) with 13 games left. Cardinals management began openly discussing firing Keane after the season. Then… Read More »

Why Jeter?

When Derek Jeter becomes the first Yankee with 3,000 hits (he’s on the DL now, but he’ll surely reach 3,000 this season), you might wonder about other Yankee greats and the reasons they didn’t reach the milestone. Babe Ruth, 2,873 hits, drew 2,062 walks. Lou Gehrig, 2,721 hits, died some two weeks before he would have turned 38. Joe DiMaggio, 2,214 hits, missed three years in his prime while serving with the Navy in World War II. He retired at… Read More »

Vin Scully

I can’t decide whether Vin Scully makes me feel old or young. I feel young knowing that Scully, the legendary broadcaster who has just begun his 62nd year in the Dodgers’ radio/TV booth, is some 20 years older than I am and still going strong. But I also vividly remember listening to Scully doing Brooklyn Dodgers games on WOR-TV Channel 9 in New York, when I was a little kid who also enjoyed the play-by-play of Russ Hodges (Giants) and… Read More »

Yankee haters mourn Boss’ passing, Part III

For Yankee haters, team owner George Steinbrenner, who died Tuesday at age 80, was a gift that rarely stopped giving. Here are two more Boss highlights for Yankee haters: 1. Suspended by MLB in 1974 for illegal campaign contributions to Richard Nixon and obstruction of justice. 2. Suspended by MLB in 1990 for hiring someone to find reputation-damaging information on former Yankees star and future Hall of Famer Dave Winfield. It was a fun ride, but Yankee haters won’t have… Read More »

Yankee haters mourn Boss’ passing, Part II

For Yankee haters, team owner George Steinbrenner, who died Tuesday at age 80, was a gift that rarely stopped giving. Here are three more Boss highlights for Yankee haters: 1. Firing Yankee icon and beloved Hall of Famer Yogi Berra as manager after just 16 games (6-10) in the 1985 season. 2. Firing of Hall of Famer Bob Lemon as manager after just 14 games (6-8) of the 1982 season. 3. Enforcing an anti-free speech policy of not allowing fans… Read More »

Yankee haters mourn Boss’ passing, Part I

For Yankee haters, team owner George Steinbrenner, who died Tuesday at age 80, was a gift that rarely stopped giving. Here are five Boss highlights for Yankee haters: 1. Apparently clueless that he had one of the all-time great play-by-play broadcasters in Hank Greenwald for the 1987 and ’88 seasons, Steinbrenner let Greenwald return to the Giants, whose radio listeners rejoiced. 2. Sticking New York City taxpayers with partially subsidizing the $1.5 billion new Yankee Stadium. 3. The old Yankee… Read More »

Cain passes Sanford

Matt Cain passed Jack Sanford for ninth place on the Giants’ San Francisco-era strikeouts list with 785. For Giants fans of a certain age, the name Jack Sanford brings back fond, and heartbreaking, memories. Sanford won 16 games in a row on his way to a 24-7 record in the Giants’ pennant-winning season of 1962. In the World Series against the Yankees, he started Games 2, 5 and 7. His opponent all three times was Ralph Terry, who had a… Read More »

The Freak and The Barber

Tim Lincecum has the second-best winning percentage of any Giant ever after 101 starts (.703). The only Giants pitcher to have a better winning percentage than The Freak after 101 starts is The Barber, Sal Maglie. Maglie loved to throw inside, so close to batters’ whiskers that he got the nickname, “the Barber.” But Maglie is also one of the great baseball stories of yesteryear. He was 28 when broke into the big leagues with the New York Giants in… Read More »

Muhammad Ali and baseball

Former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali is visiting the Padres, Giants and Reds spring-training camps this week. Here is a look at selected baseball highlights in the years that are most significant in Ali’s boxing career. 1964. Ali stops Sonny Liston after six rounds, wins heavyweight championship. St. Louis Cardinals defeat New York Yankees in seven-game World Series. Richie Allen of the Phillies is NL rookie of the year. Tony Oliva of the Twins is AL rookie of the year. Dean… Read More »