Results tagged ‘ HOFers ’

RSBS Takes Another Seat with Hall of Famer Dave Winfield

dave winfield 2.jpg“By about 12 years old, I thought, ‘I wanna play professional baseball.'”

And for Dave Winfield, a man who was drafted by three different professional teams in three different sports, such an aspiration never seemed too lofty.

“People would say ‘yeah, yeah, yeah.’  But the thing was: I found something I loved.  And I was pretty good at it.  Next thing you know I was drafted.  Four years later, my dream came true.”

In the minds of today’s youth, such dreams continue to be commonplace, which is why Dave speaks with us from the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA, where his partnership with Ask.com and Susan G. Komen for the Cure continues its tireless campaign of awareness, action and prevention.

“I just think back to when my brother and I were playing baseball at this age, if we would’ve had the opportunity to play on these beautifully manicured fields against kids from around the world, this would’ve been the highlight of our lives.”

Luckily for Dave, his highlights came later in life, in the way of 7 Gold Gloves, 12 All-Star selections, a World Series ring and a spot in baseball’s coveted Hall of Fame.  But the kids in Williamsport still have plenty to look forward to:

“I know how much they love it.  And they’re excited about it and how they’ll remember this experience the rest of their lives.”

There’s no doubt about that.  And one needn’t look only to the Little League World Series to find such enthusiasm.  Just head out to your local youth ball field and watch how regimented, how jovial, how respectfully the game is played, even on a small level.  It is with that in mind that Dave recalls one of his more cherished little league memories:

“We used to take infield practice that was flawless.  That was our goal, to take these flawless infield practices before the game and it would set the tone and intimidate the opposition.  We were good.”

In fact, back then, growing up in Minnesota following the Twins, Dave’s focus was on defense.

“There were many players on that team but the one I really liked was Zoilo Versalles.  He was a shortstop.  And his glove was what I’ll never forget.  I followed those guys.  Harmon Killebrew.  Tony Oliva.  Guys like that.  We used to imitate all of them.”

llws2006.jpgKids will always imitate their heroes.  They will always dream big; always envision themselves in the spotlight.  But with only 30 teams and set 25-man rosters, the reality is that only 750 Major Leaguers can exist at any one time.  So Dave’s advice to kids with Big League aspirations is “to get their education.  Do well in school.  Be versatile.”

“Enjoy the sport.  Go hard.  We’ll give you every tool and every opportunity to succeed.  Just know that there are other things in life too.”

Of course, not every kid can grow up to be Dave Winfield.  But every kid can grow up to be like Dave Winfield — to do things the right way, to respect that which demands respect and work hard to make a difference.

If every little leaguer can live up to those ideals, then the future is as bright as their dreams are big.

Written by Jeffery Lung

Special thanks to Zack Nobinger for arranging the interview.

For more information on Dave Winfield’s thoughts on the progression of little league baseball, check out his book Dropping the Ball.

Click *HERE* to read Jeff’s interview with Ozzie Smith.

Click *HERE* to read Jeff’s first interview with Dave Winfield.

Click *HERE*
to read Jeff’s interview with Ken Griffey, Sr.

(Top image courtesy of Essence.com)

(Bottom image courtesy of Tim Shaffer/Reuters)

The RSBS Podcast, Episode 6: MLB’s Chimeras… and Other Stuff

rsbs podcast photo 7.jpg

Click ME to Listen!!!

And so in this Podcast…

Jeff and his Cub-lovin’ pal Johanna Mahmud put their heads together to find out what’s wrong with Joe Buck’s face… they also talk about a slew of other important stuff, including (but not limited to) Andre Dawson being a bad@ss, why everyone hates Cleveland, Pete Hill of the Negro Leagues, Matt Capps’ ginormous noggin, the Lou
Piniella Mailbag and much,
much more… all to make you laughy time!

Holla!

P.S. Language definitely rated R on this one. We let ourselves go a bit… but it’s a lot of fun (trust us).

-
– -

Subscribe
to the RSBS Podcast by clicking *HERE*

Subscribe

via iTunes by clicking *HERE*

*Special

thanks to Keith Carmack — our engineer, director, editor and
all-around sound guru.  His Undercast
podcast is a must-listen (listen to it!).  It’s available on iTunes and
is posted regularly at Undercard

Films.

Recorded Saturday, July 24, 2010

Baseball Meets Art: “The Hawk’s Nighthawks”

Besides baseball, one could say that I get pretty ravenous about the arts. Especially in the winter, when all is dead on the diamond. I pay rent at the Art Institute of Chicago. That’s how often you’ll find me there.

So I got to thinking… what would happen if I combine baseball with the arts?

Awesomeness.

That’s what would happen.

night hawk andre dawson.JPG
Sorry.  Y’all can’t out-hawk the Hawk.

Congrats on the Hall, Andre.

Congrats on being one of the best.

And thanks for not hating me ‘cuz I’m right.

Happy Friday!

Jeff

RSBS Sits Down with Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith

ozzie smith 85 nlcs.jpgGrowing up a kid in America is synonymous with being a dreamer.  We’re taught that anything is possible if we’re dedicated, if we work hard.  And we often model ourselves after those we look up to, our heroes.

I always had two: my dad, whom I got to see everyday, and St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame shortstop, Ozzie Smith.  Many a summer afternoon was spent in the backyard… swinging like Ozzie, diving like Ozzie, smiling like Ozzie.

“I want to be Ozzie Smith,” family members recall me saying, “I want to be Number One.”

So what does one say when he finally gets to have a conversation with his boyhood hero?

“My grandpa had Musial.  My dad had Gibson and Brock.  I had you, Ozzie.”

And Ozzie’s response?

“Cool.”

Of course, I expected nothing but the coolest things from the man who gave us reason to Go crazy, folks, go crazy!  Heck, it’s been nearly 25 years since that homerun prompted Jack Buck to give us his iconic call, but I promise you this: to a Cardinals fan, it never gets old.

“It never went away,” chuckled a candid Ozzie Smith, “and as a matter of fact, it’s still reverberating today.  I have little kids coming up to me, reciting that.  So yeah, it’s pretty cool.”

Indeed it is pretty cool and so is Ozzie Smith, the man: 15 time All-Star, 13 time Gold Glove Award Winner, Hall of Famer and all around good guy.

He may be retired from baseball, but work never stops; and this summer Ozzie has teamed up with Ken Griffey, Sr., Len Dawson, Mike Bossy and Jim Kelly in the Depend Campaign to End Prostate Cancer.

The seriousness of prostate cancer cannot be overstated.  In fact, 1 out of every 6 men will experience the disease, as it is the second-leading cause of male cancer-related deaths in the United States.

I’m just here to encourage all men 50 or older (40 or older for African-American men and those with a family history of the disease) to get involved, talking with their doctors about prostate health.  Because with early detection, prostate cancer isn’t only treatable, it’s beatable.”

As was Ozzie’s signature game plan on the field, the best way to beat this disease is with strong defense.  And if anyone knows anything about defense, one need look no further than The Wizard.

After a decade plus of abnormal offensive numbers in baseball, Ozzie sees the current renaissance of pitching and defense themed ball-clubs as a natural, cyclical part of the game.

“It’s the way the game is supposed to be played.  You can get a lot more out of playing the game the proper way than just building your team from an offensive standpoint.”

If you’re looking for an example of such managerial strategy, Ozzie suggests we look at those teams at the top.

“The Atlanta Braves in the East, I think they’re one of those teams.  Not a whole lot of power, but they certainly do the little things that it takes to win.  The Cardinals have always been one of those teams that have done that and I think it’s part of what’s allowed the Cincinnati Reds to lead their division this year.”

Such game theory often begins with the manager and Ozzie Smith was lucky enough to serve under one of the best, one of this summer’s Hall of Fame inductees: Whitey Herzog.

“As a manager, the goal is always to make players better than they are.  Whitey was certainly one of those people.  The relationship we had was of admiration and respect.  A good manager, like Whitey, only has two rules: be on time and give a hundred percent.  As a professional athlete, that’s all you can ask, to be given the opportunity to do what it is you do.  If you can’t abide by those rules, then you shouldn’t be playing.”

And as we gear up for the 2010 All-Star Game in Anaheim, it’s a pretty safe bet that the players involved abide by those rules.  One cannot be the best without giving his best.  As a 15 time All-Star himself, Ozzie was quite comfortable being at the top of his game.  When asked to describe his fondest All-Star memories, he was quick to answer.

“The first one I had a chance to go to in 1981 and then my final one in 1996, those two really stand out.  The first one simply because of the excitement of going to your first All-Star Game and the festivities, the lockering, visiting with guys you admired from afar and played against, having a chance to play with them was very special.  Then the reception I received in Philadelphia for my final one was very, very special.”

Yep.  It sure was.  In fact, I fondly remember… crying.  I was 17 years old, my hero was retiring and I was morbidly afraid of baseball without Ozzie.

But I quickly learned: no one can take away memories, no one can take away dreams.  The game continued on and Ozzie never really went away.  The moments he created are remembered today.  His work ethic is passed down.  His desire to help those in need, to educate, to make life better wherever possible through public service, as he’s doing with the Depend Campaign, all these things make him forever an All-Star.

Forever a hero.

Forever a reason to go crazy, folks.

Go crazy.

Written by Jeffery Lung

Special thanks to
Kristin Adams of Taylor PR for arranging the interview.

Click *HERE* to read Jeff’s interview with Dave Winfield.

Click *HERE*
to read Jeff’s interview with Ken Griffey, Sr.

RSBS Sits Down with Hall of Famer Dave Winfield

dave winfield.jpg“I come from a family that always believed: If you have a little, give a little. If you have a lot, give a lot.”

And there is no doubt.  Hall of Famer Dave Winfield gives. A lot.

From being the first active professional athlete to establish an official 501(c)(3) charitable organization (The Winfield Foundation) to funding the Dave Winfield Nutrition Center at Hackensack University Medical Center to providing entire blocks of game tickets for underprivileged youth in San Diego, giving back to the community has always been a high priority for the 12 time Major League All-Star.

“I think part of it comes from the area of the country I’m from in St. Paul and Minneapolis, major corporations used to always give a part of their pre-tax dollars to charity.  For some reason, that’s just always sunk in.”

“And with my Winfield Foundation, we try to give to things that deal with health and education; I’ve used sports as a kind of carrot to lead people into these areas.”

But as Winfield admits, the strongest inspiration for his remarkable spirit of philanthropy comes from his mother, Arline, a selfless woman who tragically passed away from breast cancer after seeing her son play in the 1988 All-Star Game.  In an effort to further educate the public, Winfield has teamed up with Ask.com and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation to form “Answers for the Cure”, allowing baseball fans and people everywhere to get involved in the fight against breast cancer.

For every person who goes to Ask.com/ForTheCure and uses the search engine, Ask.com will donate ten cents to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.  Contributions will help fund life-saving research, education, screening services and community outreach projects.

“Early detection is the most important thing,” Winfield remarks.  “There is no cure, but if you detect it early on, you can combat it.  If you’re late, there may not be a second chance.”

In his mother’s case, there was no second chance; but by giving back to the community, Winfield keeps her spirit alive.  And he is not alone.

In fact, many current Major Leaguers have adopted Winfieldian philanthropic lifestyles, donating their time, money and efforts to educating the public on important health and educational issues.  Nick Swisher, Mariano Rivera, Mark Teixeira… these are just a few of those giving back.

“Derek Jeter,” says Winfield, “he stands out as a person who has been totally committed, using his career and his life to be a role model and a good example for others to follow.  He has a great foundation.  He’s raised millions of dollars.  He has helped so many kids.  One day, when he retires, he will have affected tens of thousands of people for sure.”

Indeed, Derek Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation and Jeter’s Leaders Program have both done incalculable work inspiring young people to live active, healthy, substance free lives, rewarding academic achievement and promoting social activism.  And Jeter’s inspiration for establishing such charitable work?

dave winfield hall of fame.JPGDave Winfield.

One might even say Winfield inspires us all to give back to our respective communities.  Who else could turn an unfortunate (and inadvertent) 1983 Toronto seagull killing into a charitable endeavor that raised over $60,000 by donating two paintings to an Easter Seals auction?

Whether it’s hitting a World Series winning double off Charlie Leibrandt in extra innings or educating the public through selfless charity work, one thing is certain:

Dave Winfield is clutch.

And now you can be too.  Join Dave and RSBS in the fight against breast cancer.  Make a difference today.

Written by Jeffery Lung

Special thanks to Zack Nobinger of Taylor PR for arranging the interview with Dave Winfield.

Click *HERE* to read Jeff’s interview with Ken Griffey, Sr.

(Top image courtesy of Exposay.com, Albert L. Ortega Photos)

(Below image courtesy of Padres Nation)

Obligatory Idol Worship: The Greatest I Ever Saw

Griffey's catch.jpg
I knew this was coming.

We all knew it was coming.

And yeah, it probably came later than most of us had hoped.

But all of that is over now… wee memories that will promptly dissolve into suggestions of things we’ll soon forget.  Forever.

A true American hero is hanging it up. 

Ken Griffey, Jr., you will be missed.

All told, he’s the greatest ballplayer I’ve ever seen.  Maybe someday Albert Pujols will take his place in the hallowed halls of my fond baseball-lovin’ regards.  But today is isn’t someday; today is the day I stand and applaud the career of an absolute legendary icon — the man I wanted to be, the man every little boy with a glove and a bat wanted to be, the man whose smile could infect an entire stadium.

And did.

Ken Griffey, Jr… saying goodbye to you is like saying goodbye to summer: I know everything will be okay… just a little less fun.

I tip my cap… and can’t wait to see you in Cooperstown.

Peace,

Jeff


Don’t forget to check out the LATEST RSBS Podcast!

The Filibuster

Is baseball becoming a small man’s game?  Frank Thomas is retired,
Jermaine Dye can’t find a new home.  Even Ryan Howard didn’t seem to be
quite the same dynamo last season as he was the year before.  Joe
Mauer and Albert Pujols, while not necessarily small, definitely
aren’t monsters like McGwire and Bonds.  And let’s not forget Dustin
Pedroia’s MVP win from a year ago.  With all the focus on multi-tooled
players, is there still a place for a big man with a big stick?

-Levi J.
Peru, IN
____________________________________

ryan howard pimpin.jpgBelieve me, dear readers, when I put an entire year’s salary on the table and bet on the fact that from now until the end of time, in this grand game of ours there will always be a place for a big man with a big stick.

(That’s what she said.)

That and I will obviously continue to have the self-restraint of a 14 year old.

But that doesn’t matter.

Sure, the game changes.  It morphs to suit the times, needs.  In the nineteen-aughts the emphasis was on the fundamentals — moving the runner over, taking the ball the other way, sliding cleats up.  The Ruthian era saw the longball gain importance.  The 60s saw pitching dominate.  The game of the 80s stressed the need for speed.  The steroid era killed all of that, making it easy for old, overweight has-beens to resuscitate their careers while inflating the record books at the same time, thus exaggerating the homerun to cult status.

And now, after all of that, indeed we are seeing another theme take form and that theme is: athleticism.  Five tooled players are the hottest commodity.  Weight consciousness abounds.  The current goal is to be well-rounded and excel at every part of the job.  The more a player can do, the more valuable he becomes and we are experiencing a real shift in the athletic zeitgeist of Major League Baseball. 

What a wonderful thing! 

Instead of waiting for the juiced-up meat-head to play the 3-run homer waiting game, now we get to see hitters expand the strike zone and hit to all fields.  The running game is in renaissance and we get to experience the art of the steal, which in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful facets of any baseball game.  And now managers manage more: hit and runs, double steals, sacrifice bunts.  They’re all results from this new found shift towards athleticism.

Baseball is rewarding itself with pure, stealth athletes.

Yet fear not, homer lovers, for the game will always need its big men.  The premier archetype, George Herman Ruth, made baseball what it is today; and without that powerful mystique and consistent threat from the “slugger”, baseball would not remain as our US American pastime. 

So while the bones of the league may shift more towards athleticism and overall skill, I assure you that there will always be room for Dave Kingman and Frank Thomas and Ryan Howard. 

Like they say all over the internets, chicks certainly do dig the long ball.

And contrary to everything you know, chicks run the universe.

Don’t hate me.  ‘Cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

***SEND US YOUR FILIBUSTERS****

Something on your mind?  Want to see Jeff and Al sweat (separately, not together, eww)?  Think you got a real stumper?  Send us your Filibuster question(s) by commenting or emailing them to us at kraulung@gmail.com. 

***Photo collages of Tiffani Amber Thiessen circa 1992-1996 also welcome.

Ninemen’s Morris: No Sweeter Sibilance

Silas red quigley Prattling ninny!
 

Eastman Thune proved a Little Lord Fauntleroy!

I can’t think of a greater malfeasance than the continuation
of your poppycock and piddley-poo!  While
casting a vote for the windy-city murderers to appear in the La Belle Serie
Mondiale is a safe (some would say namby-pamby?) bet, the notion that
Detroiters would be denied another time is tantamount to an Irishman demurring
at an unwatched distillery.  A foppish
fantasy!  Nonsense on stilts!

Ty Cobb dominated, ripped up the basepaths and the shins of
his opponents throughout the last saison, and this correspondent sees no reason
why this status should not remain quo. 
And while a Killer Cubs World Series is plausible, there is no reason to
suggest they would easily win.  They do
indeed feature a murderous pitching rotation, led by Three-Finger Mordecai
Brown (27 wins to 9 losses) and his bewitching colleague Orvall Overall
(20-11), and lead all the leagues in Chadwick’s newly devised Earned Run
Average (a tetchy 1.74).

Tinkers evers and chance But curse you Thune, calling for their dominance for the
duration of the cententary and beyond is nothing short of swinging a dead cat
in a Chinese opium den and feigning surprise when striking a harlot.  It’s a virtual certainty, man!  They have the most devilish fireballers, the
dandiest batsmen, and a crackerjack defensive infield of Tinker, Evers, Chance,
and Steinfeldt.  Sweeter sibilance
couldn’t be dreamed up for any newsman’s reel.

Be that as it may, your tone of conciliation leaves me no
choice but to lob up a softball prognostication for you to masticate upon,
Alabaster, and I will not equivocate. 
Look you to this come springtide: this season will show an unlooked-for
boost from the man of your last column. 
I predict a mighty effort by those Cuyahoga Clippers, the Cleveland
Naps.  Arrogant namesake though he may
be, I predict Napolean Lajoie will lead his upstart brigade nearly into the
pennant, only to have his efforts dashed by Cobb’s wizardry. 

Confound you Old Man Winter, when will you forsake your
slumber for the gilded lilly of Lady Spring? 
Men and boys alike trudge through the mush and brave the howling gales
for your respite.  Come soon.  Please? 
We need your sweet breath, and the following crack of the bat.

- – -

Written by

Silas ‘Red’ Quigley
Editorial correspondent for the Boston Wax-Intelligencer.  Editor/Publisher of various workers rights
publications, sporting weeklies, and Ladies Garment Journals.  As a youth he was attache to Henry Chadwick (claims to be the
uncredited co-creator of the box score).

For more on the nature of Ninemen’s Morris, please click *HERE*


Ninemen’s Morris: A Reign of Dominance Will Commence!

Alabaster eastman thune Quigley!

You are a dung-encumbered
wretch!

(Just thought that I would
remind you.)

Ok.  Throw your bananalla peels at me, for I
readily accept them.  While I am
typically a soothsayer unparalleled in my ability to prognosticate outcomes in
all matters, sporting and otherwise, I must nonetheless admit an insipid
failure.  In the ante-annum, I was quoted
as follows:


…while the Detroiters seem
to be a lock to waggle the pennant American (hopefully they will be able to
hoist it a few times before Cobb uses it to rid his posterior of residual
defecate), they will nonetheless fall hard in the World Series, at the hands of
Chicago’s dear Orphans, the mighty child bears, the blessed Cubs themselves.


Honus_Wagner_1911 While the Bengals of
Windsor’s cross-water tongue-thumber did, indeed fall in Global Series
showdown, it was not at the hands of the mighty Cubs, but rather the
scurvy-lipped Buccaneers local to that intersection of Three Rivers known for
its defecation of steel.  Local-boy Honus
Wagner, though on the down-slope of his career, was somehow able to rise up and
help the Alleghany Arses take the match-up in seven.  He out-hit the cur Cobb .333 to .231, and
stole six bases, establishing the new Series record. 

I was so angered, that I took
all of my Honus Wagner baseball cards (I had roughly 30 of the brand new T206
series) and relieved myself on them before setting them on fire.  I guess I must find something else to leave
my unborn (and unconcealed) son.

If I have been silent for
some time, it is out of shame.

But let it be stated
now!  In 1910, the Chicago Cubs will once
again win the World Series, once again placing this, the greatest of the
nine-men’s quorums National or American, once again at the pantheon of the
game!  A reign of dominance will then
commence that will surely last the duration of the Millennium, and far into the
next!

What say you, Quigley?

You ding-bat!

- – –

Written by

‘Alabaster’ Eastman Thune
Former editor of the “Follies and Whatnots” section of the Chicago Inter-Ocean. 



Currently unemployed.

“Alabaster” is known for coining the popular quip:  “An Irishman and
his whiskey are like the Father Sky and his Sun – you are guaranteed
that the latter will show up in the former each day of God’s blessed
week.”

For more on the nature of Ninemen’s Morris, please click *HERE*

Having Fun with Pete LaCock

pete lacock.jpgA few days ago I was at a Christmas party thrown by a client of my employer, and just like at any other social event, I tried to curb my baseball talk as much as I could because, well, not everyone is as enthusiastic about baseball as I.  Some people even think I’m a weirdo.

Whatever.

But then I got to talking to a high school kid — a kid who has drawn attention in the Chicago area for perhaps having what it takes to someday get to the big leagues — and before long we were discussing the finer points of pitching.  Like the Cardinalphile that I am, I had no choice but to reference the gutsiness of one Bob Gibson.

“Who?” the kid asked.

It took a lot out of me to not deck this kid in the face for not knowing who Bob Gibson was, but I took a deep breath and decided to educate him on the Hall of Famer the best I could: by telling a story.

“By 1975, Gibson had already lost much of what made him the baddest, scariest, most dominating pitcher in the National League, but he still had guts.  Still had pride. 

“The last batter he ever faced in the big leagues was a pinch hitter by the name of Pete LaCock.  The Cardinals were playing the Cubs and LaCock came in with the bases loaded.

“LaCock hit a grand slam.

“Years later, in an old timer game, Gibson is on the mound and guess who comes to the plate to face him.  Yep.  Good ‘ol Pete LaCock.

“Gibson drilled him in the back.”

I finished my story and looked at the kid, waiting to see what kind of reaction I’d get, knowing that I had just hit a homerun in conveying what kind of bad^ss Gibson really was.

But the kid was laughing — a snicker at first, then a chuckle, then an all out cackle.

“What?” I asked.  “What’s so funny?”

“Dude,” said the kid, “That guy’s name was LaCock?!  LaCock!  Hahaha!  LaCOCK!”

Gotta admit: I snorted a little when I joined in the laughter. 

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

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