Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tris Speaker

I've been reading a book about Tris Speaker lately. Almost done with it. I love the history of baseball and especially that period of time after the turn of the century when the World Series was just getting started, Cy Young was at the end of his career, Babe Ruth was still a pitcher and the dead ball era was coming to a close.
There was still a lot of gambling on the games back then...much more than the so called Black Sox scandal of 1919 would ever reveal.
Some of the greatest players that ever walked on a ball field played in those early years including Honus Wagner, Walter Johnson, Ty Cobb and of course the Grey Eagle...Tris Speaker. Cobb gets more press than 'Spoke' gets in this day and age but in those times Speaker was every bit as famous as Cobb and ever more popular. Oddly enough both hitters finished their careers with 117 lifetime homeruns. A seemingly small amount but they played half of their careers in the dead-ball era and were more interested in producing wins by hitting for a high average, getting on base, steeling bases and scoring runs. It was a far different game than the slugfests played today.
In addition Speaker is still the all time leader in lifetime doubles (793), outfield assists and double plays by an outfielder. There may have never been a better defensive outfielder in the history of the game. He is also 5th in lifetime batting average and fifth in hits. Cobb, of course is first in lifetime average at .367 and second in hits.
Both Cobb and Speaker spent the last few years as player/managers on their repective teams...the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians...although Speaker began his career playing for Boston. Can you imagine a player/manager in this day and age?
Tris became a pilot during training for WWI and continued flying for years afterwards, although he never flew in the war. He was also a personal friend of Will Rogers and would perform rope and riding tricks for wild west shows during baseballs off season. There was seemingly nothing he didn't do well.
Despite his racist upbringing in Texas he broke free of that attitude later in life and eventually became the personal outfield tutor for Larry Doby...the first black player to play in the American League. Jackie Robinson broke in with the National League Dodgers one year earlier.
There are plenty of great center fielders that have played over the years and just as many opinions about who was the best...or best of their era or whatever...but overall for my money there is perhaps only one center fielder that I would put in front of Tris Speaker and that would be The Say Hey Kid.

Monday, January 30, 2012


Where the fuck have I been? Have I been in jail...or the hospital or shipwrecked on some remote Specific Ocean atoll?
Well....yeah...sorta...maybe.....or perhaps I've just been stuck in New York in the 1950's. During my visit there I learned one really important piece of would-be fact that I had previously been only partially aware of ... but mostly in denial of... which is of course just write some shit... don't worry about what it says, what it's about, who it impresses or outrages.... just do the work...put in the time and otherwise shut the fuck up. And then say it again some other way. Take the other side of the argument... or screw spelling, grammar, sentence structure (Yep...I got that one wired) and merely let er rip... so that's what I'm going to do. Will I do it here on this blog or will I do it elsewhere?
Well sure, yeah...whatever...we'll see. Or not.
It doesn't mean shit to a tree.