Monthly Archives: August 2010

When the Stars Came Out in Michigan and California

To cover my best-of-three All-Star Series, it’s a pleasure and a hoot to welcome Cal Butterworth and Harry Caray into the Funky booth. Most of you know Harry from his glorious days broadcasting the Cardinals, White Sox and Cubs games, but Mr. Butterworth is here on a special invite from my previous blog, 1924 and You Are There! where he reported the daily fates of the Detroit Tigers for that entire season. Mr. Butterworth, now at the ripe-but-still sharp age of 85, has been living comfortably for years at the Ninth Inning Gardens retirement home in Coral Gables, FL, and rose at the chance to report the action from our series opener in his native city. Take it away, gentlemen!

Game One—TIGER STADIUM

By Calvin J. Butterworth
Ex-scribe, Detroit-Free Enterprise

It is a truly splendid day for a ball game in this once-fair and industrious city, and for this reporter it is difficult to discern which is the bigger shock: seeing Navin Field again in its expanded and enclosed form, or feasting on two stellar lineups mixing both white and colored players. In either case, I am moved to tears of joy. Continue reading

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Break Time!

ST. LOUIS—Lester doesn’t like it when his Cards lose, and Lester’s been very unhappy lately because the darn Dodgers have owned us since the season began to the tune of ten out of twelve, and we have to beat them today at Busch to prove we belong in this pack of pennant chasers.

It doesn’t look good for us at first, because L.A. goes up 2-0 right away on two singles, two walks, and an error by pitcher Underwood. But Tommy John and his 10-4 record are having an off day, and Keith Hernandez clears the bases with a 3rd inning triple. Simmons follows with an upper deck shot, and we take the lead 5-2! Continue reading

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Dearest Goose…

While Carlton and I drove the roughly 350 miles to Philadelphia for the two Pirates games there before the All-Star rest, I had a sudden urge to stop in the hills of McKeesport, just south of Pittsburgh. It was one of my many childhood homes, and the old man who lived there in 1977 didn’t remember meeting me or anyone in the Grossinger family, but he did save a shoebox full of old, unmailed letters he found in the cellar once.

They were written by mother Sophie, an obsessed Pirates fan, and they were love letters to Bill Mazeroski, Dale Long, Ralph Kiner and other team luminaries of the 50s and 60s. I was ashamed to even show them to Carlton, but he was fascinated and read some aloud while I drove for an hour or two. I suddenly realized why I had this buried affection for the Pirates, and why I felt compelled to see them play in Philadelphia after their horrific visit to Cincinnati. I actually cared about them. Continue reading

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The Bullpens Bursting in Air

In honor of Independence Day, 1977, and the season’s non-official halfway point, I thought I’d let our diverse cast of characters report in from their scattered doubleheader locations.  Take it away, peoples! Continue reading

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Pirate Plunge into a Red Abyss

Noticed a whole bunch of folks wearing Reds hats walking around the last few days here at Cedar Point Park, what with their ball club storming the National League bastille and all. And with Cincy home for three with first place Pittsburgh, including a Fourth of July double-dipper tomorrow, there was no way Crazy Amy was missing that action.

I tried to fall asleep earlier in my maintenance shack so I could get up at the crack of dawn, but somebody was snooping around it in the middle of the night and I had trouble falling back asleep. It wasn’t any night watchman either because he didn’t have a flashlight, and there was a creepy deep breathing I’d never heard before. Continue reading

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Eight Shopping Days till Star Time

I figure to be playing my best-of-three Funky All-Star Series®©™ the weekend of August 14-15, meaning y’all have a tad over a week to get your votes in for the series winner and combined R-H-E totals.  All entry info can be found here, and you can e-mail your best guesses to funkyball77@gmail.com. The winner will receive two home-spun funky CDs, and the contest is also open to all ’77 managers, family members, pets and avatars.  I play no favorites.

Below are the re-posted rosters, with a few late additions due to fan pressure.

AND ANOTHER THING: I’ll be appearing on the Seamheads Radio Hour podcast Monday 8/9 at 9 p.m. eastern, as a guest this time.  I’m scheduled to follow sports broadcasting legend Roy Firestone, which is like Chris Farley being asked to follow Groucho Marx, but I’ll give it a whirl.

33-MAN ALL-STAR ROSTERS
(Games 1 and 2 starting pitchers marked)

National League

ATLANTA: Jeff Burroughs
CHICAGO: Bruce Sutter, Bobby Murcer
CINCINNATI: Johnny Bench, George Foster, Joe Morgan, Pete Rose, Tom Seaver (2)
HOUSTON: J. R. Richard, Bob Watson
MONTREAL: Gary Carter, Ellis Valentine
LOS ANGELES: Reggie Smith, Steve Garvey, Burt Hooton
NEW YORK: Jerry Koosman
PHILADELPHIA: Greg Luzinski, Mike Schmidt, Bake McBride, Gene Garber, Steve Carlton
PITTSBURGH: Dave Parker, Bill Robinson, Rennie Stennett, John Candelaria (1), Goose Gossage
ST. LOUIS: Keith Hernandez, Ted Simmons, Garry Templeton
SAN DIEGO: George Hendrick, Gene Tenace
SAN FRANCISCO: Willie McCovey, Gary Lavelle

American League

BALTIMORE: Ken Singleton, Jim Palmer (1), Rudy May
BOSTON: Jim Rice, Carl Yastrzemski, Carlton Fisk, Bill Campbell
CALIFORNIA: Bobby Bonds, Frank Tanana (2)
CHICAGO: Oscar Gamble
CLEVELAND: Andre Thornton
DETROIT: Ron LeFlore
KANSAS CITY: George Brett, Dennis Leonard, Al Cowens, Hal McRae
MILWAUKEE: Robin Yount, Don Money
MINNESOTA: Rod Carew, Larry Hisle, Lyman Bostock
NEW YORK: Thurman Munson, Willie Randolph, Reggie Jackson, Ron Guidry
OAKLAND: Mitchell Page
SEATTLE: Leroy Stanton, Vicente Romo
TEXAS: Gaylord Perry, Bert Blyleven, Mike Hargrove, Toby Harrah
TORONTO: Pete Vuckovich

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By the Time We Left Phoenix, Got to Houston, and Kept Going

Both Texas teams had hit the road, and here I was with Sheila after two incredible days getting to know her in a doctorless way. It would have been less than two days but the train stopped for many hours for no special reason somewhere in New Mexico, and neither of us minded one bit. The window in our dinky train compartment got wicked steamy, and I was surprised how warm her skin was under her usually cold personality. The fact she kept her glasses on didn’t even make a difference, but when those got foggy too she finally ditched them. Continue reading

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Meanwhile, in the Gladiator Pit…

NEW YORK—Friendly Fred back at ya, with nothin’ but baseball this time around. Boston’s at the Stadium for three, peoples, and we got serious ground to be making up. Suppose I could have just watched the game at home, but I’ve been getting sick of Grandma lately, and it was no sure thing they’d have the Yanks and Sox on ABC Monday Night Baseball. Seems like they’ve mostly been showing Royals and Pirates games this year. Continue reading

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Groovy Reds Invade Philly

I tell ya, I bust my hump every day to get these players through their exciting replay, and then Seaver and Rose pull stuff like this, jumping out of their rubber band to go on the freakin’ Mike Douglas Show.  To launch Cincinnati’s big three-game series in Philadelphia (both teams are tied for second, one game behind Pittsburgh, and Seaver’s pitching the opener), I give you this special Sunday treat.  Many wild polyesters were killed in the making of this video.

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