Category Archives: Ex-Players

Roger Craig, ex-Dodger P, Original Met, Cardinal, and later SD and SF manager, dies at age 93.

Roger Craig, who was the ace of the horrible 1962 and 1963 Mets who later became a successful pitching coach and manager teaching pitchers the split-fingered fastball, died at the age of 93.

Craig pitched for the Dodgers (1955-1961), Mets (1962-1963), Cardinals (1964), Reds (1965) and Phillies (1966). He was on three WS Champs (1955 and 1959 Dodgers, 1964 Cardinals). He also was on the 1956 NL pennant winning Dodger team.

He went 5-3, 2.78 for the 1955 WS Champ Dodgers in his rookie season.
In 1956 he was 12-11, 3.71 for the pennant winning Dodgers.
In 1959, 11-5, 2.06 for the WS Champ Dodgers, and he led the NL that year with 4 shutouts. He also finished 13th in MVP voting that year.

With the 1962 Mets, Craig was 10-24, 4.51 for a team that went 40-120. He led the majors in losses. The following year, Craig went 5-22, 3.78 and once again led the majors in losses.

In 1964, Craig was 7-9, 3.25 for the WS Champ Cardinals.

For his career, he was 74-98, 3.83, ERA+ 104. Take away those two years with the Mets, and he was 59-52.

His 162-game average was 9-12, 3.83.

In seven WS games, four of them starts, he went 2-2 with a 6.49 ERA.

Craig managed the Padres in 1978 and 1979. In 1978 San Diego went 84-78 and finished 4th, but they slipped to 68-93 in 1979 and Craig was let go.

He took over as manager of the Giants from 1985 to 1992 and led them to a division title in 1987, losing the NLCS to the Cardinals. Two years later, he led the Giants to the NL pennant, but they were swept by the A’s in the World Series, one interrupted by an earthquake.

Craig’s managerial record was 738-737.

Former Orioles OF Mike Young dies, age 63.

Mike Young, a switch-hitting OF who played for the Orioles (1982-1987), Phillies (1988), Brewers (1988), and Indians (1989) died last week at the age of 63.

Young was part of the 1983 WS Champion Orioles, playing in 25 games and going 6 for 36 with 2 RBI. He wasn’t on the postseason roster.

In 1984, Young finished 5th in ROY voting, hitting .252-17-52 with an OPS+ of 120.

His best year was in 1985, when he hit .273-28-81, with an OPS+ of 136.

Primarily a corner OF, his 162-game average for his career was .247-18-60 with an OPS+ of 107.

Game #35. Ouch. Yanks lose 8-7 in 10 after having 6-0 lead with Cole on mound.

This hurts. It is the difference between being 8 back as opposed to 10 back.

The Yankees (18-17) had a 6-0 lead with Gerrit Cole on the mound. They wound up losing 8-7 in ten innings.

Cole hadn’t given up a HR this season after giving up a MLB leading 33 last year, but he gave up two yesterday.

The Yanks got three runs in the third inning on an Anthony Rizzo solo HR (6) followed by a two-run HR by Harrison Bader (2).

In the top of the fourth, Aaron Hicks got an RBI double to make it 4-0. It was Hicks’ first extra base hit of the season. Gleyber Torres later doubled in Hicks to make it 5-0.

In the top of the fifth, Bader tripled and scored on a SF by Oswaldo Cabrera. 6-0. With your ace, Cole, on the mound, you thought you were good. It didn’t turn out that way.

With one out in the bottom of the fifth, Cole gave up his first HR of the season. The Rays added another run with help from an error by Torres. 6-2.

Then in the sixth, Cole lost it completely. Back-to-back doubles made it 6-3. A walk. Then a 3-run HR that tied the game. Jimmy Cordero came in. A walk, then a WP. Then a bouncer back to Cordero while the runner was moving. Cordero didn’t do a good job checking the runner and the runner scored all the way from second on a 1-3 groundout. Inexcusable.

The Yanks tied the game in the top of the seventh. Bader sparked things again with a leadoff single. One out later, Cabrera hit a ground-rule double, then a groundout by Jose Trevino tied the game.

With one out and Hicks on third in the top of the tenth, Hicks, going on contact, got trapped in a rundown on a grounder by Torres. The Yanks failed to score.

While the Yanks failed with their ghost runner (I hate that rule) in the top of the tenth, Tampa Bay didn’t, getting a walk off single to win the game 8-7.

The Yanks were 1 for 15 with RISP.

Anthony Volpe 0 for 5, 3 strikeouts. He had a tough weekend in Tampa.
Torres 2 hits, RBI.
Rizzo solo HR (6).
LeMahieu 2 hits.
Bader 3 hits, 2 RBI. 2-run HR (2).
Cabrera 2 hits, RBI.

Cole 5 IP, 6 R, 5 ER, 8 H, 2 W, 6 K. Gave up 2 HR. 2.09
J. Cordero 1 IP, 1 R, 0 H, 1 W, 1 K. 1 WP 3.55
Holmes 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K. 3.75
Peralta 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K 2.08
King 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 3 K 1.35
Abreu (L, 1-1) 1/3 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. 4.50

Side Note: Vida Blue, who almost became a Yankee in June 1976 (the sale was voided by Bowie Kuhn) died yesterday at the age of 73. Blue won 209 games, mostly for the A’s and Giants. He was a 6x All-Star and 3X WS Champ.

1971 MVP and CYA winner Blue dies, age 73. Won 3 WS titles with A’s.

Vida Blue, who won both the CYA and the MVP in 1971 for the A’s, was a 6x All-Star and 3x WS Champ, has passed away at the age of 73.

Blue, a lefty pitcher, pitched for the A’s (1969-1977), Giants (1978-1981), Royals (1982-1983) and back with the Giants (1985-1986).

In 1970, in just his sixth MLB start, he threw a complete-game one-hitter. Just two starts later, he topped that by no-hitting the Twins.

In 1971, he won both the Cy Young Award and the AL MVP award by going 24-8, 1.82 with 301 strikeouts. He led the AL in ERA, and the majors with 8 shutouts. The A’s won the AL West and lost in the ALCS to the Orioles. It was the A’s first postseason appearance since the 1931 WS.

He teamed up with Catfish Hunter and Ken Holtzman to give the A’s three straight WS titles from 1972-1974. Those A’s are the only team other than the Yankees to win 3 WS in a row.

Blue had an off-year in 1972, going 6-10, 2.80. In 1973, he was 20-9, 3.28 and in 1974 17-15, 3.25.

The A’s won their fifth straight AL West title in 1975, and Blue won 20 or more games for the third and final time, going 22-11, 3.01. But Hunter had been declared a free agent, and with Hunter now on the Yankees, the A’s lost the ALCS to Boston.

With Charlie Finley facing the mass exodus of his players via free agency, he tried to get something for them instead of nothing. In June 1976 he sold Blue to the Yankees (as well as Joe Rudi and Rollie Fingers to Boston). But Commissioner Bowie Kuhn voided both deals, sending all three players back to Oakland.

After an 18-13 season in 1976, Blue went 14-19 in 1977, leading the AL in losses. Gone were Bando, Campaneris, Reggie, Rudi, Hunter, Holtzman, Fingers, Tenace … in two years, they went from leading the AL West for the fifth straight time, to going 63-98.

In the spring of 1978, Finley dumped Blue off on the Giants for seven players and $300,000.

Blue had a couple of good years with the Giants before heading to the Royals.

Besides being an All-Star in 1971, Blue also was named to the All-Star team in 1975, 1977, 1978, 1980 and 1981.

Besides winning the CYA award in 1971, he finished 7th in 1973, 6th in 1975, 6th in 1976, and 3rd in 1978.

Besides winning the MVP award in 1971, he finished 29th in 1973, 20th in 1976 and 12th in 1978.

Once he got to KC, he was involved in a cocaine scandal that marred the last few years of his career. It also hurt his HOF chances. He only lasted four years on the ballot, getting no more than 8.7%.

In his peak years, 1971-1982, his average season was 16-11, 3.10, ERA+ 114.

For his career, his 162-game average was 15-11, 3.27, ERA+ 108. He won 209 games, and lost 161.

In his final year, 1986, he turned 37 in the middle of the season, but still had a good year of 10-10, 3.27.

In 17 postseason games, 10 of them starts, he went 1-5 with a 4.31 ERA.

A switch-hitter, he hit .104 with 4 HR.

Baseball-reference lists him as the 147th best starting pitcher of all-time.

Game 34. Bader comes off bench to spark Yanks to 3-2 win.

Harrison Bader didn’t start yesterday’s game, but he decided it.

His 2-run eighth inning single was the game winner in a 3-2 Yankees (18-16) win.

Yankees’ starter Domingo German gave up two first inning runs (more on that in a moment), then settled in. But the way the Yankees’ offense has been, you wondered if those two runs were going to be two runs too many.

Getting back to the bottom of the first. With two on and two out, German threw a nasty 2-1 pitch that was strike two. Catcher Kyle Higashioka started to go toward the dugout as if it were strike three. On the next pitch, German gave up a two-run double that ate up Yankees’ 3B D.J. LeMahieu. After the inning, Anthony Rizzo had a good talking-to with the embarrassed Higashioka. The wipeout pitch that was used to hopefully get out of the inning was already used and now the batter was ready for it if it was thrown again. Higgy’s mistake may have been the cause for the next pitch being the one that gave up two runs. You don’t know, but Higgy heard about it in the dugout after the inning.

Higgy made up for it later in the game with a key caught stealing at a crucial moment in the game. It turned out to save a run.

Jake Bauers later made a fine defensive play, throwing out a runner at third. These plays enabled the Yanks to stay in the game and proved crucial in their comeback win. Tampa Bay threatened a few times after the first inning but couldn’t add on.

Meanwhile, the Yanks offense wasn’t doing anything. But in the top of the eighth, Rizzo singled with one out. Gleyber Torres followed with a single, moving Rizzo to second. A double by LeMahieu cut the Rays’ lead to 2-1. After another out, Bader, who didn’t start the game, flared a 2-run single to give the Yanks the lead, 3-2, and they hung on for the win.

After Bader’s single, Isiah Kiner-Falefa doubled, but for the second time in the game, Aaron Hicks left men on second and third. Even though the game was in Tampa, Hicks heard a lot of boos from the Yankees fans who were at the game. The Yanks are going to have to something about Hicks. It’s like the Gallo situation they had last year.

Getting the save wasn’t the struggling Clay Holmes, but instead Ian Hamilton.

The win was huge. It meant being 9 back instead of 11 back, and with ace Gerrit Cole going today for the Yanks, hopefully they can shave another game off of Tampa Bay’s lead. The rest of the division looks tough, even the Orioles, who are playing good ball. Boston, who most people had finishing last in the division this year, has won eight in a row. The Yanks need to keep pace.

It looks like Aaron Judge will return to the lineup on Tuesday. Luis Severino is headed to SWB to begin rehab.

LeMahieu RBI double.
Bader 2 for 2, 2 RBI, and didn’t even start the game.
Kiner-Falefa 2 hits.

German 5 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 2 W, 5 K. 1 HBP. 4.35
Peralta 2/3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 0 K. 2.25
Marinaccio (W, 1-1) 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K. 1.76
Holmes (H, 1) 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. 4.09
Hamilton (S, 1) 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K. 1.42

Side note: Yesterday was Willie Mays’ 92nd birthday. The legend is the oldest living Hall-of-Famer.

Cardinals player and broadcaster Shannon passes away at the age of 83.

Mike Shannon, a RF/3B who won WS titles with the Cardinals in 1964 and 1967 and an NL pennant in 1968, died today at the age of 83.

Shannon played for the Cardinals from 1962-1970, and later was a long-time broadcaster for the Cardinals.

Shannon was a platoon RF for St. Louis in 1964, when he hit .261-9-43. In Game 1 of the WS, he hit a monster HR off of Whitey Ford in what turned out to be the last WS game Ford ever pitched. Shannon also hit a HR in the 1967 and 1968 WS.

In 1967, he moved to 3B because of the Cardinals picking up Roger Maris in a trade.

Nicknamed “Moonman”, Shannon was only 31 when he retired. His 162-game average was .255-12-67, OPS+ 97.

He hit .245-12-77 for the 1967 WS champs and finished 7th in MVP voting for the NL Champs in 1968, hitting .266-15-79.

In 3 WS, Shannon hit .235-3-8 in 21 games.

2x WS Champ, 1960 NL MVP Groat passes away at the age of 92.

Dick Groat, a two-sport star (baseball and basketball) for Duke, who won WS rings with the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates and the 1964 St. Louis Cardinals, passed away today at the age of 92.

Groat won the 1960 NL MVP Award when he led the majors with a .325 batting average, and was runnerup to Sandy Koufax for the award in 1963 when he led the majors with 43 doubles.

Groat played one year in the NBA as a point guard with the Fort Wayne (now Detroit) Pistons, averaging about 12 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists per game. From Wikipedia, some basketball stats first.

He was UPI Player of the Year for 1952, 1st round pick, 3rd overall.
1st team All-American, 1952, was 2nd team in 1951.
Helms Foundation Player of the Year 1951.
2x Southern Conference Male Athlete of the Year. 1951-1952.
2x Southern Conference Tournament MVP 1951, 1952.
His #10 retired by Duke.

College Basketball Hall of Fame, 2007.

Radio Color Analyst for Pitt Basketball for 40 years.

In baseball, he was an 8X All-Star. He’s in the Pirates Hall of Fame.

He played MLB baseball for the Pirates (1952, 1955-1962), Cardinals (1963-1965), Phillies (1966-1967) and Giants (1967). He missed all of 1953 and 1954 due to military service. After getting out of the military, Pirates GM Branch Rickey made him give up the NBA, and Groat was heartbroken about that. He was more naturally gifted in basketball.

15th in MVP voting 1957 .315-7-54
MVP 1960 .325-2-50. Led MLB in batting average. Went 6 for 28, 2 RBI in WS
16th in MVP 1962 .294-2-61
2nd in MVP 1963 .319-6-73, led MLB with 43 doubles. Had 11 triples.
5 for 26, 1 RBI in 1964 WS.

Mostly a SS. Did get 27 games at 3b, one each at 2B and 1b.

Over 2000 hits, .286 career batting average. 162 game average .286-3-59. OPS+ 89.

Baseball reference has him as the 58th best SS of all-time.

But a two-sport star. One heck of an athlete.

And not only that… Golf too!

He and Pirates teammate Jerry Lynch designed and built a golf course in Ligonier, PA, where he lived on the grounds, and Groat was the great uncle of Brooks Koepka. Koepka has won 4 majors (2 U.S. Opens and 2 PGA Championships.

Groat was truly one of a kind.

A notable baseball passing.

Dave Frost.

No, not the British TV host who had the Beatles on his show doing Hey Jude or who interviewed ex-President Nixon in 1977 but a pitcher.

Frost pitched for the White Sox (1977), Angels (1978-1981) and Royals, going 33-37, 4.10, ERA+ 97 in his career. His 162-game average was 12-14, 4.10.

His best year was in 1979, when he helped the Angels to their first postseason by going 16-10, 3.57, ERA+ 114. His postseason was not so good. In two games, one start, he was 0-1, 18.69.

Frost was 70.

Game #20. Jays topple Yanks, 6-1.

Even though Tampa Bay is 17-3, the team I fear most in the AL East is Toronto. After all, it seems like Tampa Bay has played the Bad News Bears for most of their games so far this season (they opened vs. the Tigers, A’s and Nationals). We will see how the Rays do when they meet tougher competition.

Anyway, the Yanks (12-8, 5 games back, tied for 3rd in AL East with Toronto) got a look at Toronto last night and lost, 6-1. The Blue Jays got all the runs they would need after just three batters. George Springer hit Domingo German’s first pitch of the game for a double, and one out later, Vlad Guerrero Jr. (more on him in a bit) hit a 2-run HR.

German settled in a bit after that, but the Yanks only got one run on five hits for the game.

The Yanks’ only run came on a Oswaldo Cabrera HR (1) in the bottom of the second inning.

German gave up a 2-run HR to Brandon Belt in the sixth. Belt got a 2-run double off of Albert Abreu in the eighth.

Today is a battle of aces. Alek Manoah (who has struggled so far this season) vs. Gerrit Cole (who has been great so far).

So Vlad Jr. says he won’t play for the Yankees ever—even if dead. He joins Ken Griffey, Jr. in acting that way. I don’t know if it is the Yankees’ grooming policy (no Brandon Marsh or Matt Strahm look on the Yankees!) that ticks them off or what. It may be other Yankees’ rules or the way the Boss used to treat their fathers. While I have respect for their fathers as well as the Juniors as far as talent, the way the Juniors act kind of signifies to me that for all the talent they have that I respect, that, growing up as the talented and privileged sons of a couple of good MLB players (one a Hall of Famer), that they were a pair of spoiled brats (and that goes for Barry Bonds as well).

Cabrera solo HR (1).

Although the Yanks are second in AL in HR (28), they are tenth in runs scored, last in doubles, and tenth in batting average .229. I know no Bader, Donaldson…..and now Stanton, but bats have to pick up. ERA of 3.17 is third in AL, and that is without Rodon, Severino, Montas, Effross, Loaisiga, Trivino.

German (L, 1-2) 6 IP, 4 R, 5 H, 2 W, 6 K. Gave up 2 HR. 4.50
Abreu 2 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 1 W, 4 K. 1.80
Weissert 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 W, 0 K. 1 HBP 0.00

Game #9. Judge hits 2 HR in Yanks’ 5-3 win.

Aaron Judge hit 2 HR, and Franchy Cordero added another as the Yankees (6-3) beat Baltimore 6-3 on Easter Sunday.

Giancarlo Stanton got an RBI single in the first inning to start the scoring.

Judge hit his first HR of the day to straightaway center to make it 2-0 in the third inning. Cordero hit a 2-run HR to make it 4-0 in the top of the fifth.

The Orioles struck back with two runs in the bottom of the sixth.

Judge’s second HR of the game, and fourth of the season, made the score 5-2 in the top of the eighth. A little more to the left and the Great wall of Baltimore would have kept it in play, but he got it just to the right of where the wall juts back in.

A Baltimore HR by Adley Rutschman closed it to 5-3 in the bottom of the eighth but the Yanks closed it out from there.

Judge 3 hits, 2 solo HR (4)
Rizzo 2 hits, and was robbed of a HR.
Stanton RBI single.
Cordero 2 hits, 2 RBI. 2-run HR (2)

Cortes (W, 2-0) 5 1/3 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 2 W, 5 K. 2.61
Abreu (H, 1) 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 2 K. 0.00
Marinaccio (H, 2) 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 1.80
Jimmy Cordero (H, 1) 1 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K. Gave up 1 HR. 4.91
Holmes (S, 3) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 3.86

A side note; C Hobie Landrith, the first player selected by the Mets in the expansion draft for the Mets’ inaugural season of 1962, died a few days ago at the age of 93.