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  • Interesting Baseball Articles Pulled from LexisNexis

    these are interesting reads that I couldn't keep to myself

    The Washington Post

    September 27, 1989, Wednesday, Final Edition

    The Fifties, They Seem So Far Away



    LENGTH: 919 words

    Newspapers have long since ceased running those optimistic midsummer charts comparing Kevin Mitchell's homer pace with Babe Ruth's and Roger Maris's. Mitchell, who had 31 home runs at the all-star break, won't hit 60. He might not even hit 50; only a recent surge -- six homers in 17 games -- has moved Mitchell within reach of that plateau.

    Actually nobody hits 50 anymore. For all the talk of a juiced-up baseball, only once in the last 20 seasons has anyone hit 50: George Foster, 52, in 1977. Sluggers have become an endangered species.

    Forget 50, hardly anyone surpasses 45 homers anymore. Although it happened 14 times in the 1960s, it has happened only 10 times during the 1970s and 1980s combined; and an explosion -- three of the 10: Mark McGwire's 49, George Bell's 47 and Andre Dawson's 47 -- happened in 1987, when the ball was so loaded it would've failed a steroid test.

    Why should 45-plus be so rare? Ruth did it nine times. You want to discount Ruth because he played 60 years ago? Fine, but Harmon Killebrew managed it four times, Willie Mays three, Mickey Mantle and Eddie Mathews twice each -- that's one baseball generation ago.

    What changed in the '70s and '80s?

    Ballparks, for one thing. New ones were constructed to be spacious and symmetrical. No more pennant porches. No more 256 down the line. It's harder to jerk one out when your outfield wall is a toll call away.

    Artificial turf, for another. Speed-friendly surfaces influenced managements to de-emphasize power, especially in newer parks, where slugging is discouraged by design. Kansas City and St. Louis are archetypal examples of successful Turf Teams that deliberately offer less bang for the buck.

    The most obvious change was the specialization of pitchers. Even dominating long-haul starters such as Mike Scott, Dwight Gooden, Bret Saberhagen and Roger Clemens routinely make way for closers. Relief pitching has become as important as starting pitching; with certain innovative managers, such as Whitey Herzog, it may be more important. It goes without saying that everyone wants a closer, but middle relievers and the more recent category of subspecialists, the set-up men, have become essential. Take the Orioles. Gregg Olson surely is the key pitcher, but where would the Orioles be without versatile Mark Williamson? Specialization is the cultural revolution in pitching over the last 20 years.

    "You're seeing fresh pitchers all the time," baseball analyst Tim McCarver said. "They pitch for one or two overpowering outs, then leave. Specialization has made it very difficult to hit home runs. Teams used to have four starters, two of whom you'd pay to hit against -- that's where home run hitters fattened up. Now you may see a different pitcher every time up."

    Another reason you don't see 50 homers, why First-Half Phenoms cool down in the second halves, is because managers simply won't let those hitters beat them anymore -- it's too embarrassing; it looks like the manager is too dumb to learn a lesson. So Mitchell has 32 intentional walks. "Managers dig their heels in," McCarver observed. "They'll say: 'Screw him. Walk him.' "

    Clearly the odds are stacked against someone hitting 50. You need to be in a situation conducive to seeing good pitches. Mitchell benefits from Will Clark being on base in front of him so often. McGwire benefits from Jose Canseco. Don Mattingly's home runs are down this season, in part because he isn't surrounded by threatening hitters; he no longer has Rickey Henderson hitting ahead of him, or Jack Clark and Dave Winfield hitting behind him.

    But McCarver says there's another, more subtle, reason why home run hitters are evaporating. "Too many young hitters haven't any idea where the strike zone is," McCarver said. "Pitchers can literally pitch around them. They don't have to give them anything good because the hitters don't demand it. Darryl Strawberry is an example of a guy who doesn't know the strike zone. He's unable to get pitchers to come to him. They'll throw bad pitches, and he'll chase them. Young hitters have to learn that although it sounds like an oxymoron: If you take more pitches, you'll get more pitches to hit."

    McCarver, however, doesn't hold out much hope that young sluggers will heed this lesson. He doesn't see their incentive to stop swinging away. "The guiding force behind everything seems to be that you have to hit homers to make money," he said ruefully. "That's how big contracts are negotiated -- over home runs, not walks. So hitters are up there whaling away. They may even be encouraged to do so by their agents. These kids can't grasp the long-term benefit in being more selective."

    In this regard the young sluggers are victims of the societal urge toward immediate gratification. This acquisitive mind-set is baseball's version of the yuppie. They've locked themselves into their bad habits by locking themselves into instantaneous results. Hitting is a knowable craft, but it takes time to learn. Wade Boggs and Tony Gwynn are examples of patient, studious hitters. In McCarver's view many young sluggers seem unwilling to apprentice themselves to the task. They want it all, and they want it now; they've absorbed the swagger values of beer commercials. They don't want to take pitches because they're uncomfortable conceding a strike. They don't know how to set up a pitcher. And it doesn't occur to them that they ought to learn.

    The pitchers aren't necessarily ahead of the hitters, they're just smarter.
    "Batting stats and pitching stats do not indicate the quality of play, merely which part of that struggle is dominant at the moment."

    -Bill James

  • #2
    The Boston Globe

    October 8, 1988, Saturday, City Edition

    What gives, Jose?

    BYLINE: By Leigh Montville, Globe Staff


    LENGTH: 884 words


    I want the story that I cannot get. I want to sit down with Jose Canseco and talk about steroids and bodybuilding and baseball.

    "Jose," I want to say. "Tell me the truth. I will present your story better than anyone else will . . . "

    "OK, Leigh," I want Jose to reply. "I have been waiting for a man to come along like you. This is the way it is . . . "

    I do not know Jose. I have listened to him talk no more than three or four times, each of those times as part of a group of reporters standing in a circle around him. Usually a large circle.

    There is no way I could get his confidence. Not now. He is the man of the moment, the reason the Oakland A's have a 2-0 lead in games as they meet the Red Sox tonight in the third game of this best-of-seven American League Championship Series. Two games. Two homers. He is surrounded by a constant buzz.

    No one will talk to Jose. Not now. Not really.

    "Jose, a moment for CNN . . . "

    "Jose, we're broadcasting live . . . "

    "Jose, this is for 'This Week In Baseball' . . . "

    I watch him being handed from partner to partner in these nonsense dances of the fall. What is being said? Nobody cares. Words are the issue. Sound bites. The content of the words is secondary. The noise is what is important. The simple sound of a man's voice. That is all that is needed.

    The clubhouses on this off day are off limits, so Jose's interviews are held on the playing field. He is swarmed, microphones in front of his face. There is all the intimacy of a speech in front of the other members of the eighth grade. Or maybe one of the Reagan interviews as he hurries to his plane and shouts opinions on nuclear disarmament as he runs. Jose talks to faces. Faces talk back to him. Nothing really is said, but notebooks are filled and film is used.

    There are no introductions. There is no real conversation.

    "Jose," I want to say. "We have talked many times before. I think this situation has to be explained. The fans in Boston were having great fun with that 'ste-roids, ste-roids' cheer. They've made this an issue."

    "I have known you for years," I want Jose to say. "I have proof that what I tell you is going to be the real story. I have told it to no one else . . . "

    The 24-year-old guy - probably the American League Most Valuable Player this year - is the whole story in the first two games of this playoff series. Take Jose Canseco from the A's and give him to the Red Sox and the Red Sox win the first two games. Just take him from the A's and put him in a closet somewhere for those two games and the Red Sox are winners. He ruined Bruce Hurst's night and Roger Clemens' night and the nights of every stay-awake Red Sox fan in Boston.

    There was a style to him, a grand class as he did this. The entire park was yelling at him - "Just Say No" was one of the cheers - and he reacted to noise and derision with performance. Isn't that always the classiest answer on an athletic field? He made muscles at the fans early when they yelled. He had fun with them. Then he hit his home runs. He did not make muscles after his home runs. He ran the bases, shook the required number of hands, bumped the required number of elbows and sat down. Business. Happy business, to be sure, but business.

    "I'm a professional baseball player," he explained at the press conference after his second homer Thursday night had helped the A's to their 4-3 win and their 2-0 series lead. "I won't show up any pitchers, opposing players or opposing fans. The home runs show that I'm a quality player."

    He has denied the charge that he built his body by taking steroids as a minor leaguer. He vaguely has threatened legal action against Tom Boswell of the Washington Post, who made the charge. There has been no shouting in any of this. He has been nice, a gentleman.

    I do not know if he has or has not taken steroids. He is a big man, 6 feet 3 inches, 230 pounds, but he certainly does not have the exploding weightlifter's body of Ben Johnson. He is not built, either, to the dimensions of one of those mammoth National Football League offensive linemen. He mostly seems to be a big man on a team of big men, a big man who can hit baseballs a long way.

    "Look, I took steroids," I want Jose to say. "I was young. I thought I could use an edge. This was the edge available. Maybe you think I made a mistake, but I think I made the big leagues. We will see what happens in the future . . . "

    "Never," I want Jose to say. "I know you think this is what I would say, anyway, a thousand times, but this is the truth. You can check my progress at the Nautilus club at home in Miami. You'll see how I made myself strong. This is the truth . . . "

    I would like the final story. For sure. I know that I will not get it.

    Jose is on the field on this off day, out there in the setting California sun at Oakland Alameda Coliseum. Marty Barrett, the Red Sox second baseman, has talked with proper awe about him. Barrett has said that Jose Canseco probably would have hit 50 home runs and might have hit 60 if he had played at Fenway Park instead of this stadium. I watch Jose as he swings a couple of his new bats and talks with teammates.


    No steroids?

    All I know for sure - all anyone knows - is that he is the difference. The man is killing the Red Sox.
    "Batting stats and pitching stats do not indicate the quality of play, merely which part of that struggle is dominant at the moment."

    -Bill James


    • #3
      The Toronto Star

      July 31, 1999, Saturday, Edition 1


      BYLINE: Rosie DiManno


      LENGTH: 1309 words

      Green streaks to record as Jays win 8-2, C1


      He is: The Hunk . . . Individualized Physical Perfection . . . WOW.

      The Babe.

      So sayeth the July issue of gym magazine - ''For The Physical Man'' - and they oughta know.

      The buff mag put Kapler, a 23-year-old Detroit Tigers rookie anointed as the next major sports heartthrob, on its cover in semi-disrobed glory; all those marvellous rippled muscles and the Popeye pecs and that washboard abdomen, not to mention the adoring, even salivating, accompanying text within. A story which - how shall I put this? - suggests that the (male) author was rather smitten with his subject, was maybe even tumescent about the boy.

      ''Uh, I dunno what to think, pretty weird eh? Uh, no comment,'' Kapler sputters, after a reporter inquires whether gym is a publication aimed at the gay community, which fersure he hadn't even contemplated when he agreed to the interview and invited the writer into his home, even though he had a head cold at the time, and it was all months ago anyway, when he was still greener than Brussels sprouts.

      But there's one thing Kapler - in Toronto for a weekend series against the Blue Jays - wants to put on the record, in case there's any misunderstanding: ''I just want to make it clear that I'm 100 per cent married, happily married, and we're expecting our first baby. Otherwise, I have no comment about that. ''

      There are many pitfalls for any wide-eyed rookie who suddenly hits the big time. But posing for cheesecake photos - jeans fly pulled partly, provocatively, open in one shot - is a bit of a self-inflicted pain in the butt, and no doubt the subject of much hazing in the clubhouse.

      That's another lesson that Kapler, this nice Jewish boy from Hollywood, Calif. , is learning by hands-off experience: the fact that scrubeenies, no matter how beautiful, are expected to keep their yaps shut during the embryonic phase of their major league careers, which goes against his garrulous nature.

      ''I'm learning things the hard way,'' he admitted in a recent interview at Tiger Stadium. ''I'm a man of many opinions, always have been. So I'm struggling with having to listen to things that are being said and not speaking up myself. Nobody's actually said anything to me about it. But you figure it out soon enough. That you're a rookie, that you should be seen and not heard.''

      This is a tall order for a guy who can jabber about any topic that comes to mind, from his Jewishness - they're a rare breed in professional sports and he has said he wants to make it ''cool'' to be a Jewish jock - to his body- building obsession to the prevalence of big-haired groupies in the baseball universe to his long-range aspirations for an acting career in the movies. And then there are all the nuances of baseball itself, the minutiae of hitting against big-league pitchers, the demands of patrolling centre field, the rapid decision-making process of playing this thoughtful game between-the- lines, and the whole maelstrom of issues that have seized baseball off the field.

      Meanwhile, he occasionally still has to pinch himself as a reminder that, golly, after four years in the minors, riding buses through what he calls the ''redneck'' circuit, toiling in Fayetteville and Lakeland and Jacksonville - minor league player of the year last season, as adjudged by USA Today, USA Today Baseball Weekly and The Sporting News - he is, reallyreallyreally, standing at first base shooting the breeze with Mark McGwire, or at third with Wade Boggs, or facing Roger Clemens on the mound, or just gobbling up the sensations on the green, green grass of Tiger Stadium . . . Yankee Stadium . . . Fenway. Even, save for that green, green grass part, SkyDome.

      ''I grew up a Blue Jays fan,'' he says, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense for a boyhood spent in La-La-Land, Dodger territory. ''I loved George Bell and Lloyd Moseby, Kelly Gruber and Dave Stieb.''

      Kapler is the son of ''hippie parents'' who were originally from the East and active in the anti-war movement in New York before migrating cross-country. Mom Judy is director of a preschool and father Michael is a music teacher. Older brother Jeremy works in a wine specialty store. As a kid, Kapler was hyperactive, diagnosed with attention deficit disorder and put on Ritalin. Later, as an adolescent, he had trouble fitting in at school, even almost fell for the romanticized Hollywood version of the street thug.

      This novice Arnold Schwarzenegger was drawn to the notion of danger, of being an outlaw and might have gone down that road were it not for the very early, very stabilizing influence of high school sweetheart Lisa, who's now his wife.

      ''She was with me when I had no direction in my life, and then when I was making no money in the minors. She's the one who was working, as a preschool teacher and a surgery room nurse.''

      It was Lisa, also, who kept Kapler in high school when he wanted to drop out, so frustrated had he become with his own inability to sit still. Stillness does not become him.

      The artsy/education thrust of his parents' lives is worlds removed from baseball. But their lifestyle was more synonymous with Kapler's alternate career choice - acting. ''I did quite a bit of stage acting when I was in high school and then took acting classes in college. But you can't play baseball and be an actor at the same time. That's something to think about for later on.''

      He selects Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino as favourite thespians but envisions something a little more Bruce Willis-ish or Claude Van Damme-y for himself, should he ever go Hollywood, which would essentially be the same as goin' home. Action-oriented stuff. And for that, he's already got the hard body qualifications.

      Until lately, with the McGwires and the Cansecos changing people's minds, baseball was never a sport notable for its highly conditioned participants. It didn't demand the heft of football or the cardiovascular capacity of hockey. A guy could look like gut-ty John Kruk, late of the Phillies, and still be a star.

      Kapler is no star, not yet. Maybe he never will be, despite the advance notices and the hubba-hubba looks made for celebrity. This first year with Detroit has been less than a smooth transition from the minors. ''It's been an up and down year,'' he admits, mindful of a temporary demotion to Toledo earlier in the season after making the Tigers out of spring training. ''Rocky at times. I've taken my lumps.''

      He's also taken his slumps. But Kapler - who posted one of the top offensive seasons ever last year in the Southern League - is tied for second among American League rookies and third among major league rookies with 13 homers. His 34 RBIs put him in a tie for eighth place among AL rookies, and he posted his first career two-homer game June 14.

      What he has also done is maintain a vigorous training regimen wherein he isolates one part of his body every day: chest, back, arms, shoulders, legs, abs. Then he starts the rotation all over again.

      He considers the back the most important muscle group. (As he told gym magazine: ''A great back makes everything else look good.'') He carries only 6 or 7 per cent body fat.

      No steroids, Kapler insists, just creatine and whey powder. For the doubters, he would gladly submit to drug testing, but nobody in baseball has ever requested it.

      ''All I'm trying to be is a good weightlifter,'' he says. ''I'm more a weightlifter than a bodybuilder. . . . I think, for me, it's allowed me to stay healthy. I've never had an injury that has forced me to miss any games.

      ''I collided with the wall at spring training and banged my knee, but that's different.''

      Now this Babe has collided with major league ball.
      "Batting stats and pitching stats do not indicate the quality of play, merely which part of that struggle is dominant at the moment."

      -Bill James


      • #4
        Daily News (New York)

        October 13, 2000, Friday




        LENGTH: 1313 words

        ST. LOUIS - The highlight reel has been playing all week long, in and around Busch Stadium, on the jumbo video screen, the television monitors, at the various buffets where sports writers take their nourishment. This would be the promotional film that endeavors to capture glories now two summers past.

        The great home run race of '98, that famously telegenic duel between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, had a lot to do with the resurgence of Major League Baseball. Everybody loves home runs. Sosa and McGwire, who remains a deity in this town, changed the game. They forever altered the expectations for power hitters.

        But in watching the video, you are reminded of something else. They also altered long-accepted notions about baseball players and what they should look like. For generations, baseball players were thought to be unlike football players or basketball players. They looked, well, sort of normal. But the great home run race created a new physical archetype. There could be little debate: bigger was better. One can only imagine what Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris would have said at the sight of Sosa and McGwire. They aren't built like ballplayers. They're built like superheroes. And in a way, that's just how they are marketed: the muscled avengers who saved The Game.

        As you might expect, the video blissfully ignores the controversy of that summer. Mark McGwire was then taking androstenedione. Andro, as it's called, boosts testosterone.

        The National Football League considers it a steroid. The NCAA considers it a steroid. The United States Tennis Association considers it a steroid. The International Olympic Committee considers it a steroid.

        But Major League Baseball considered it a problem. Like the video, baseball ignored it. No one wanted to see the home run race tainted. No one wanted to cast aspersions on McGwire's accomplishment. McGwire took exception with the consensus of his fellow biochemists. Reminding the world that the FDA did not classify andro as a steroid, McGwire announced that andro had nothing at all to do with hitting a baseball. The slugger's declaration was treated as an expert opinion.

        As kids in high school and junior high began gobbling andro - no doubt imagining themselves as McGwire-esque stars of their own highlight videos - commissioner Bud Selig announced a plan for further study. Two years later, baseball is still studying andro.

        But now comes word that the grand game has - get this - a steroid problem. Everybody is very concerned. Earlier this summer, syringes and steroids normally used for veterinary purposes were found in Manny Alexander's Mercedes in an envelope addressed to the Red Sox infielder. According to the New York Times, one out of five players in the Padres' minor league system tests positive for steroids. Rangers outfielder Gabe Kapler tells HBO's Real Sports that "the guys who are using steroids are completely open. Open with it to other players and I think the reason is that they don't mind anybody knowing because it is so spread out now. There's a lot of people doing it."

        If that's the case, and there is every reason to believe it is, then the commissioner's office and the players union are both equally and shamefully culpable.

        Major leaguers aren't tested for steroids. Basically, under the collective bargaining agreement, they can't be. For years, baseball didn't want to know from steroids. Any doubt of this is erased when you consider baseball's handling of andro. Andro is a steroid, unless you work for the FDA or Major League Baseball. Baseball took a pass. There was a chance to send a message. Instead, the game's caretakers winked at andro. Now there's a steroid problem? Imagine that.

        YOU DON'T WORRY so much about the Mark McGwires. As his home run numbers indicate, he was blessed with extraordinary natural abilities, whatever he did or did not ingest. But you worry about the littler guys. You wonder about the ones trying to make a big league roster. You worry about the high school kids trying to catch a scout's eye. You wonder, years from now, when they are ex-ballplayers, how many of them will be looking and feeling like superheroes. Lots of talk about New York becoming a war zone in the event of a subway series.

        And the way I'm hearing it, CNN was thinking about dispatching Christiane Amanpour to the Marriott Marquis.

        Right across the street from Busch Stadium is the International Bowling Hall of Fame.

        And there isn't so much as a plaque to honor the greatest bowler who ever lived.

        So why are they blackballing Fred Flintstone?

        I mean, show me the betting slips already.

        In a how-to-fix hockey forum in Sports Illustrated, Brendan Shanahan says, "We're not going to have a Dennis Rodman. We won't allow it. That's something that's great about our game."

        Rodman is bad. But Marty McSorley is good, right? A class guy, eh?

        Of course. Why settle for a chattermouth with bad dye jobs when you can have an authentic psycho willing to put his homicidal impulses on display before thousands of fans?

        Former Indiana University basketball player Tom Geyer has quit the team. Without Bobby Knight, he said, the game just wasn't fun anymore.

        He'd much rather be cuffed around, humiliated and gently choked.

        Still, no truth to the rumor that Geyer has signed with Mistress Helga's Barnstorming Basketball Troupe.

        Dave Checketts as quoted Oct. 6, 2000 on the Knicks' incomprehensible series of offseason moves: "It makes all of us uncomfortable. But I'm comfortable with the discomfort because I think we all have to work harder to figure it out."

        There you go, Knick fans. Feel better now?

        Comfortable with your discomfort?

        What would Steinbrenner be saying about Roger Clemens if he weren't Roger Clemens?

        For a couple of seasons now, people have been asking, what's wrong with Michael Strahan?

        And only now has the truth been revealed. It's those idiot New York sports writers.

        If they gave out MVPs for the division series, it would've been John Franco.

        I'm just wondering if he'll give Turk Wendell one of Barry Bonds' teeth to wear in that necklace of his.

        Jeff Kent told reporters that he still thinks the Giants are the better ballclub.

        Reached in Seattle, Patrick Ewing agreed.

        For those of you keeping score at home, Keyshawn Johnson has more fumbles than touchdowns.

        There may be a worse, more inane, tune than "Who Let the Dogs Out."

        But probably not in this lifetime.

        Who would've thought the big break for the Mets would be Derek Bell's injury?

        How is it that nine Mets, including Bell, make more than Edgardo Alfonzo?

        This Charlie's Angels movie is getting me a little worked up. I mean, Drew Barrymore? How'd she make the cut?

        I don't see kids hanging Drew Barrymore swimsuit posters up in their bedrooms.

        Here's my squad: Lucy Liu, Li'l Kim and Al Gore's daughter, the one who wore a leather skirt to the debate.

        Overheard at the NLCS party: "Of all the Charlie's Angels, Kate Jackson never got enough respect."

        "I know what you're saying, yo. She was the glue. You know, kind of like Velma on Scooby Doo."

        Does Omar Minaya get some kind of finder's fee for coming up with guys like Melvin Mora and Timoniel Perez?

        The first period of the Bruins-Panthers much anticipated Columbus Day matinee included four majors for fighting, three slashing penalties, two for tripping, two for cross-checking and a roughing.

        That's the NHL for you. Always thinking of the kiddies.

        And you thought Hollywood had a problem?

        Wait'll Joe Lieberman reviews the tape from Fox SportsNet.

        Then again, at least hockey isn't some kind of corrupt, immoral spectacle like wrestling.

        Hockey, you see, is real.

        And so's the blood.

        Sad to hear that Raissman was denied access to his customary place of worship on the High Holidays. As Yom Kippur fell on a Monday, Belmont was closed.
        "Batting stats and pitching stats do not indicate the quality of play, merely which part of that struggle is dominant at the moment."

        -Bill James


        • #5
          The Boston Globe

          September 28, 1996, Saturday, City Edition

          Clemens: Goodbye . . . good riddance?
          If this is indeed his farewell, it should be one of good cheer;

          BYLINE: By Dan Shaughnessy, Globe Staff

          SECTION: SPORTS; Pg. G1

          LENGTH: 768 words

          He will trot in from the bullpen sometime after his final warmup tosses, and fans in swollen Fenway will stand, cheer and applaud. Citizens of Red Sox Nation will rise and toast him again when he takes the mound at 1:05 p.m. to pitch against the American League East champion New York Yankees.

          Roger Clemens today pitches for the Red Sox, perhaps for the final time in his illustrious career.

          This has not been a glorious week for the Rocket. He said some dumb things in New York Monday night, then repeated them Tuesday. He came home and took his nameplate off his locker and talked about maybe not pitching today if the race was over because he doesn't have a job next year and he might have to talk to his agents and . . .

          None of that will matter today. Clemens will be equal parts Charles Lindbergh, Audie Murphy and Ray Bourque when he takes the hill. Fans will chant his name, as they did for Luis Tiant during the golden days of the mid-1970s.

          This is Clemens' first home appearance since the mythic 20-strikeout game in Detroit 10 days ago. The possibility exists (particularly now that he's annoyed management with his remarks) that he will never again wear a Red Sox uniform.

          And so today the fans in the ballpark will forget about the Rocket's ill-timed, self-contradictory contract discussions.

          They will remember 20 strikeouts in Tiger Stadium, and 20 K's at Fenway against the Seattle Mariners April 29, 1986. They'll remember the 14-0 ride at the start of '86 and how Roger went to the Astrodome and retired nine National Leaguers in order to cop the All-Star MVP in his hometown.

          They'll remember Clemens winning the seventh and deciding game of the 1986 AL Championship Series, beating the California Angels after a 24-4 season.

          They'll remember Clemens leading the Mets, 3-2, pitching a four-hitter after seven innings in the sixth game of the '86 World Series. They'll remember Mike Greenwell pinch hitting for Clemens (my, how their paths have intertwined through the years).

          Clemens was a hardball god in 1986. In those days, we thought he had a chance to be the baseball equal of Larry Bird. But bad things started to happen after the ghoulish World Series finale.

          Clemens staged a spring training holdout in 1987. It didn't hinder his performance, but put the first tarnish on his image. The Rocket was baseball's best pitcher in the second half of the 1980s, but he he needed a spinmaster to go with his split-fingered fastball.

          In the winter of 1988, when his friend Bruce Hurst signed with the Padres, Clemens went on Channel 5 and complained about ballplayers having to carry their own luggage. That was it. His image never fully recovered from the luggage interview.

          The culmination of Clemens' dark period came in the 1990 playoffs when he exploded on the mound in Oakland, getting ejected. Then came the first day of spring training, 1992, when he dissed new manager Butch Hobson. The Rocket was a week late and never called. When Butch finally found Clemens on the Winter Haven warning track, Clemens donned headphones. Hobson looked like Mike Dukakis in the tank and never recovered.

          It got better for Clemens after that. As he matured in his early 30s, he lost a foot on his fastball but gained the respect of the local sports community. He evolved into a hard-luck pitcher, often not getting the run support he needed to win.

          Gradually, his image changed. Clemens didn't win as many games, but he gave us four years of good behavior and never stopped working as hard as he did when he first burst on the scene in 1984. Fans took note of his community service, which far exceeded the efforts of one Larry Bird. The Rocket became a fan favorite again, and it looked like his golden years here would be sweet and successful. What was more fun than watching Roger Clemens walk to the plate and get a hit against Norm Charlton earlier this year?

          Then came the 20-strikeout game, and suddenly Roger was saying the wrong things again.

          Management doesn't know what to make of the events of this week. The Sox still want to sign Clemens, and quite possibly they will.

          But now the Clemens bashers have new fodder. Ripping the Rocket is all the rage, and as in the past, Clemens brought it on himself.

          Clemens always had the talent and dedication. If he only could have won the big games and strapped a seatbelt over his mouth, he could have been another Larry Bird in this town.

          None of that will matter today. On this final Saturday against the Yankees, Fenway fans will stand and cheer for the best pitcher in the long history of the Red Sox franchise.
          "Batting stats and pitching stats do not indicate the quality of play, merely which part of that struggle is dominant at the moment."

          -Bill James


          • #6
            The Boston Globe

            September 28, 1996, Saturday, City Edition

            Clemens: Goodbye . . . good riddance?
            Now we know the going rate for loyalty: Four years, guaranteed;
            WILL McDONOUGH

            BYLINE: By Will McDonough, Globe Staff

            SECTION: SPORTS; Pg. G1

            LENGTH: 1088 words

            I know it's Saturday and you are probably tired from working or going to school this week. And, like me, you are probably distraught after all the weeping and sobbing by Roger Clemens and Mike Greenwell about how terrible life has been for them.

            Still, I ask you to take this test:

            Who said this on March 29, 1996, on these very sports pages?

            "I have all the nice things in life because of the fact that Mr. John Harrington took care of me. I don't need a lot of money."

            Or: "Loyalty is a personal thing to me. I've been loyal to the Red Sox and they've been loyal to me. And that's why if I ever did leave to start my career somewhere else - and the only reason I would ever do that is because my boys would want me to stay at home - I could never pitch against the Red Sox, so it would have to be another league."

            Those two gems belong to Roger Clemens.

            How about this one?

            "I just believe in loyalty. That's the way I was raised, and I hope my kids are the same way. I've worn the same uniform, put on the same socks, used the same bats, the same locker for 10 years. I would never want to go anywhere else."

            That was, as Clemens referred to him this week (for whatever reason), Mr. Greenwell.

            It seems that Mr. Clemens and Mr. Greenwell have a different version of loyalty than most people, and as we well know after their pathetic statements of the past week, it might last only from March to September and is solely dependent on whether they can shake down the Red Sox for another contract.

            But the Red Sox organization has to shoulder some blame for creating the atmosphere that allows players making millions to think they are being put upon.

            Let's take a look at Clemens. Everywhere along the line, the Sox have kissed his continually expanding butt. When he came out of college, they gave him the biggest contract in team history for a new player. Then he had the highest salary of any Sox minor leaguer ever. When he was a rookie, his deal again was the best ever. And so on, all the way up the line, until he collected $ 21 million over the past four years. He paid the Sox back with 40 wins and 38 losses, an average of 10 wins a season.

            Beyond the money, Clemens has called all the shots. He went home whenever he wanted. He came to camp when he decided it was time. All team travel plans had to pass through Roger. Better seats and more security for the wives. Improved wives' room at the ballpark. Whatever Roger wanted, Roger got.

            Now Roger wants a four-year contract and says he is out of here if he doesn't get it. That's loyalty?

            Greenwell has been paid more than $ 10 million the last three years to average 11 home runs and 65 RBIs per season. But when the Sox wouldn't guarantee him he would be a full-time player next year, he said he won't be back. That's loyalty?

            When the Red Sox gave Greenwell a three-year contract, the consensus at the time was that it was a big mistake. The guy can't field, run or throw. This year, when he came back from injury, Greenwell basically volunteered to be traded. He said it might be best for him and the organization, and there would be no hard feelings. Greenwell has a provision in his contract that in the event of a trade, he would get a bonus. When asked by management to waive the bonus so it could trade him more easily, Mr. Greenwell said "no."

            And, of course, he was thinking of the Red Sox when he did that, out of loyalty.

            Losing Greenwell won't make any difference. There are dozens of guys around who can average 11 home runs and 65 RBIs.

            Clemens is different. He can still pitch when he wants. He showed that the past month. But where was that fastball hiding over the previous three seasons? Does someone suddenly start throwing harder at the end of a season when he is 34 years old? Or was Roger sending a message to the baseball world that he still had the ability to be one of the best pitchers in the game?

            What I don't understand is why Clemens insists on four years. In this era of free agency, if a player really thinks he can perform big, he'd want nothing more than one year at a time, to keep holding the club hostage for new contracts.

            If I ran the Red Sox, two years would be it. This is a guy who has put on 30 pounds during his Boston career and gotten away with it because the Sox never had the fortitude to put a weight clause in his contract and give him a real gut check year to year. Imagine what he might look like four years from now with a guaranteed contract, giving him the money even if he stinks.

            To me, today will be Clemens' last game in a Red Sox uniform. Someone will give him what he wants somewhere else and he'll be out of here, with Mr. Greenwell, and their own peculiar ideas of loyalty.
            Red Auerbach was not pleased when he heard the Boston Garden auction was featuring his seats plus the phone "used to call the dressing room and for Chinese food." Said the Celtics legend, "That's a bunch of bull. I never had a phone at my seats. I never called the dressing room. Where do they come up with that kind of bull?" . . . Lawyers representing the NFL, the Patriots and Maurice Hurst were in Boston this week working on the grievance the former defensive back has filed against the team, saying he is owed money because he was waived while injured.
            Everybody around Foxboro Stadium agrees that Frank Stapleton was a sound, hardworking coach and is gone because he was being undermined by the American players on the Revolution, who thought he was pushing them too hard in practice.

            Meanwhile, the first-year Revolution averaged more fans per game than the Bruins and Celtics will. The local soccer entry averaged just under 20,000 per contest and drew 38,600 for its finale last Saturday, even with the worst team in Major League Soccer.
            Mo Vaughn got the shaft this week when his terrific three-homer, four-hit performance was largely ignored because Clemens started moaning about his contract, though he said in the spring he would never talk contract until the season was over.
            Colleague Bob Ryan reminds that Ed Hockenbury, a wonderful guy who died this week, is remembered fondly by all balding Boston College Eagles for setting up one of the great wins in the school's basketball history. Under Bob Cousy, the Eagles looked to be cooked by a strong Louisville team led by Wes Unseld. But Hockenbury drove for a layup that hung on the rim, then fell in to tie the game as the buzzer for regulation expired. The Eagles went on to beat Louisville in triple overtime.
            "Batting stats and pitching stats do not indicate the quality of play, merely which part of that struggle is dominant at the moment."

            -Bill James


            • #7
              Daily News (New York)

              February 19, 1999, Friday



              SECTION: Sports; Pg. 91

              LENGTH: 637 words

              OPPOSING BATTERS ARE not the only people who must deal with Roger Clemens' fastball. The media have experienced The Rocket's brushback pitch. Some get out of the way. Others have been beaned.

              The Yankee clubhouse has been a sea of tranquillity for the local media during Joe Torre's regime. With the arrival of Clemens, those who ask the questions might consider fastening their seatbelts.

              George Kimball, the veteran sports columnist for the Boston Herald, covered Clemens during the pitcher's 12-year tenure with the Red Sox. Near the end, the two barely spoke to each other. One incident shows just how contentious Clemens can be.

              During the 1992 season, Kimball wrote a column based on a letter he received from an elderly woman whose grandson idolized Clemens. The kid was suffering from Down syndrome. During spring training, the grandmother went to Red Sox camp hoping to get Clemens' autograph for her grandson. She thought she had a chance when the pitcher began signing after a workout. But when he got to this grandma holding a baseball, Clemens blew her off.

              "She wrote to me that this greatly distressed her," Kimball said yesterday. "But she never told her grandson what happened because she never wanted him to know his hero had feet of clay. She wrote that her grandson had since died without ever knowing what a jerk Clemens was."

              Kimball told the woman's story in his column. Clemens never read the piece, but someone told him about it. After a game Clemens pitched in Minnesota, Kimball and other reporters gathered around him to get a post-game interview.

              "He sees me there and says he's not going to talk as long as I'm there," Kimball said.

              The writer could have stayed and messed it up for the other reporters who were on deadline. Instead, he decided to exit the clubhouse.

              "I started to walk off and Clemens is yelling and cursing at me. The next thing I know, he throws a roll at me. It whizzed by and missed. He threw three more and hit me in the shoulder with one," Kimball said. "I turned around and he was coming at me still cursing and screaming. I took a step toward him and Tony Pena grabbed him. Jack Clark grabbed me and was whispering in my ear, 'Not now, not now, he's about to lose it.' At that point I started laughing and said, 'About to lose it? Look at him.' Clemens was bug-eyed and his face was beet-red."

              Later that day Kimball found out Clemens thought the column said the kid had died because he didn't get his autograph. Kimball never wrote that. The grandmother made it clear as did the column she never told her grandson that Clemens refused to sign.

              "That was a typical thing for him," Kimball said. "He was constantly saying something that was incredibly stupid and then either denying it or claiming he was 'misinterpreted.' That's his famous word."

              WFAN's Suzyn Waldman, who broke the Clemens-to-Yankees story yesterday on the "Imus in the Morning" show, has known the pitcher since 1986. She said some of Clemens' problems with the media stem from his candor/loose lips.

              "If you ask Roger what the weather is going to be tomorrow he'll run the gamut," Waldman said. "By the time you're finished talking he will have said everything. That's how he goes. Sometimes he's said things that don't come out right and he's been burned."

              KIMBALL SAID there were periods where Clemens was able to foster an us-against-the-media attitude in the Red Sox clubhouse. Waldman believes it will be easier for him to live in peace in the Yankees clubhouse.

              "He's not the only guy here. There's (David) Cone, (Derek) Jeter, (Paul) O'Neill and all the rest," she said. "There are plenty of stories. Roger won't be the focus everyday."

              Perhaps Waldman will be proven right. If she isn't, some folks in the media better be prepared to duck.
              "Batting stats and pitching stats do not indicate the quality of play, merely which part of that struggle is dominant at the moment."

              -Bill James


              • #8
                The Boston Globe

                October 16, 1990, Tuesday, City Edition

                What to do about Roger?

                BYLINE: By Mike Barnicle, Globe Staff

                SECTION: METRO/REGION; Pg. 21 p

                LENGTH: 765 words

                Before we put the bats and balls away for the winter, I must admit I'm a bit puzzled over the media reaction to Roger Clemens' recent temper tantrum. He gets thrown out of a ballgame and all of a sudden a lot of otherwise sensible sportswriters are suggesting he be sent to Danvers State Hospital for 30 days observation. That seems kind of goofy.

                Maybe we've lost our sense of perspective, our sense of humor, or both, but the fact that Clemens got booted from a playoff game for swearing at an umpire doesn't seem a very good reason to start altering the waistband of Jimmy Piersall's old straitjacket. The guy went bonkers in Oakland. Big deal.

                First of all, let's take a look at Clemens. He is a big, beefy, righthanded pitcher from Texas who can throw a round, hand-stitched piece of horsehide better than almost any other human now playing major league baseball. That happens to be who he is and please don't look much deeper.

                He doesn't talk to sports reporters but that's probably a good thing because Roger sounds as if he'd have trouble conversing with a rock. He is rude to waiters and waitresses. He likes to psych himself by listening to tape recordings of angry, crazed pit bulls.

                He isn't exactly the brightest bulb in the lamp. He is young, rich, spoiled, ignorant about much around him, insensitive, isolated by fame and probably afraid of any little pain or ache that hits his good right arm. After all, without that limb, Clemens would be delivering kitchen sets for Sears down in East Dunghole, Texas.

                And that makes him no different than hundreds of other pampered, millionaire, crybaby athletes who don't have a clue as to what life is truly about. And don't care, either.

                Clemens, however, has a couple of items on the plus side of the ledger. In addition to his talent, he isn't whacked out on drugs, booze or pills. He's a legitimate team guy and he's very competitive. He wants to win. He takes care of himself and works zealously to stay in shape. In short, he earns his money and gives his club more than a fair return on the dollar.

                So what if he's a common jerk?

                There are a lot of jerks in life and sports. We read about them all the time. You could put together an All-Jerk All-Star team in about five seconds.

                Guys put nose candy in their nostrils all the time. There are guys who have pitched in the World Series, played in the Super Bowl, ridden the Kentucky Derby and participated in bowl games absolutely stoned out of their minds.

                We've had college football teams capable of qualifying all by themselves for the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list. The NBA and NFL have to have their own drug treatment programs. Right here, we have the Patriots, who might pull a gun on their opponents during a goal-line stand. There are musical conductors who stalk off the stage when someone hits a wrong note on a tuba. Singers who don't show up because the curtains are the wrong color or because the hall is too small.

                Yet, Clemens gets the thumb from an umpire and we decide he's whacky. He loses his temper, shoots his mouth off and that makes him a candidate for the funny farm? There's a big difference between being stupid and being insane.

                Clemens isn't a nut-boy. His problem is more basic than that: He has never been told what he can and cannot get away with. He is simply an immature, out-of-control child.

                You have to have a head on your shoulders to handle riches and fame. If everyone says you're "the greatest," you can quickly get used to it and figure it for truth. People wait on you, cater to your every whim. Doors open. Crowds cheer and, after a while, your hat size resembles the Goodyear blimp.

                This is a fairly predictable reaction in our celebrity-crazed, star-struck society. As a nation, we confuse wealth with wisdom and cash with character. If Donald Trump is rich, he must be smart, correct? If Michael Milken has made billions, he has to be doing things right. And if Roger Clemens wins 20 games every summer, why, then, there is no need for anybody to tell him to grow up, shut up or sit down before he makes a fool of himself.

                In truth, the Rocket isn't whacky. He just symbolizes much of what America has become: Narcissistic, selfish, pushy, pampered, short-sighted, ungrateful, greedy and awesomely talented.

                So, instead of reserving a rubber room at McLean Hospital for their franchise only because he said the F-word on national TV, maybe the Red Sox should do what more parents ought to do every single day: Give the big baby a good spanking and then hand him his allowance before he runs away from home.
                "Batting stats and pitching stats do not indicate the quality of play, merely which part of that struggle is dominant at the moment."

                -Bill James


                • #9
                  Daily News (New York)

                  February 21, 1999, Sunday


                  BYLINE: BY LUKE CYPHERS

                  SECTION: Sports; Pg. 118

                  LENGTH: 1886 words

                  No doubt about it, Roger Clemens can be a jerk.

                  Sometimes he talks too much to the press and gets himself in trouble. Sometimes he doesn't talk enough, and the same thing happens.

                  Acknowledged as a truly devoted family man, he's hurled shockingly lurid insults at umpires and opponents, and hamburger buns at a Boston reporter.

                  He throws at batters, and some of his plunk victims think he's as motivated by malice and petty feuds as by protecting the plate.

                  He plays the game hard, like a throwback, and prepares like a consummate professional. But he's been strangely ineffective in the postseason.

                  His contract negotiations yield the biggest numbers in baseball, yet he never seems satisfied.

                  He's one of the biggest draws in the game, yet he's alienated fans in both places he's worked. As he says of himself, he is often "misinterpretated."

                  When you bring Roger Clemens to your town, you get many things: strikeouts, power, presence, intensity.

                  You won't always get a lot of love. For a trade that is billed as a no-brainer, people certainly have reservations. A Daily News fax poll on the deal had an overwhelmingly negative response: Fans opposed to Clemens-for-David Wells, et al, outnumbered those in favor by 9-to-1.

                  Yet Clemens' positives are so great that the Yankees, who taunted him and were ready to war with him last season after a beanball incident, have welcomed him like a long, lost brother.

                  "He's one of us now," said catcher Jorge Posada.

                  "I know the tradition," Clemens said. "I was talking to my mother and she said that I always talked about the Yankees when I was little. I guess it's come full circle."

                  As for the intensity, and his beanball battles, he said, "I'm a competitive person. I hope they know that."

                  Indeed, Clemens fits in with a long history of New Yorkers labeled as jerks - including such legends as Reggie Jackson and Graig Nettles. His new boss, George Steinbrenner, has carried the tag himself, on more than one occasion.

                  But being a jerk isn't necessarily a bad thing. Jackson, Nettles and yes, Steinbrenner, have all been wildly successful. And it is undoubtedly the jerk in Clemens, the insanely relentless competitor, that pushed a 35-year-old pitcher coming off a 10-13 record and an ugly parting with the Red Sox in 1996 to regain a perch as one of the game's dominant pitchers.

                  In two years in Toronto, Clemens, thought by many to be on his last legs, put together a 41-13 record, posted more than 550 strikeouts and won two Cy Young Awards to add to the three he won in Boston.

                  It was as if he'd magically made 10 years disappear.

                  He was a kid again, taking the mound with the same enthusiasm he throws into playing with his children - Koby, Kory, Kacy and Kody.

                  Kevin Kennedy, Clemens' former manager in Boston, said anyone who thinks the star will be a problem is wrong. "He's the most prepared pitcher I've worked with, ever. He's the first one running the day after the start, and then he'll run with the team, and then on his own again, and then he'll take another run through the city at night."

                  Off the field, he's in perpetual motion: playing golf, tending to his family or organizing charities.

                  Maybe he enjoys life for the same reason he's so intense at his job; he had it rough growing up, and he takes nothing for granted. When Roger was an infant, Clemens' father left his wife and five children. His stepfather, a tool-and-die maker, died when Roger was nine.

                  It was then that the family moved from Dayton, Ohio, to Katy, Texas - a Houston suburb. His mother worked multiple jobs to keep her kids in good clothes, with the best sports equipment.

                  Clemens grew into a high-school football and baseball star, attacking hitters with the same verve he attacked opposing ballcarriers as a defensive end. After an All-America year at San Jacinto Junior College, and then leading Texas to the College World Series title in 1983, he embarked on one of the most storied, and stormy, careers in Red Sox history.

                  He piled up victories, strikeouts and Cy Youngs. But he couldn't beat the Mets in the ae86 Series.

                  Fans flocked to Fenway to see him pitch, but he feuded with the media - once throwing rolls at a columnist. He fought with Wade Boggs when Boggs had an error changed to a hit - and hurt Clemens' ERA. And his contract haggling gave him a reputation as money-hungry.

                  Still, Steinbrenner coveted him, and made a run at him in ae96. When Clemens spurned him for Toronto, the Boss said it was his biggest disappointment in 25 years as Yankee owner.

                  He has more than proven his worth in Toronto, proven that he still has it.

                  But Clemens will take some getting used to. Overnight, the team's image has changed from a kind of Sesame Street ensemble to the richest, biggest bullies on the block. Instead of goofball David Wells, whose own jerky Yankee moments were always offset by an endearing Babe Ruth's-hat incident or a perfect game, they've got the Rocket's dread glare.

                  Yet there is another side to Clemens. "Roger hated me, I mean hated me," said Dan Shaughnessy, a columnist for the Boston Globe. But after Shaughnessy's daughter was diagnosed with leukemia, a giant box arrived with a Katy, Tex., postmark. Inside was a five-foot white teddy bear. Shaughnessy's daughter named it Clementine.

                  Clemens will need to mend a few fences in New York. He's thrown at new Yank teammate Chuck Knoblauch several times, with conspiracy theorists tracing the roots back to the fact that Knoblauch had the temerity to have played at Longhorn rival Texas A&M.

                  Last season, Clemens clocked Derek Jeter in spring training and drilled Scott Brosius in the back, nearly starting a brawl.

                  And with Clemens, there will always be questions about motivation: Is he, as he says, glad to be here, thankful for the opportunity to finally win a championship?

                  It's true that he's never done well in the playoffs or World Series. His mad rants during the 1990 League Championship Series, where he taunted a recovering alcoholic opponent and was thrown out of a game for cursing an umpire, still stain his brilliant career.

                  But is that all he's after? Or is it about the money, and do the Yankees have a wink-and-nudge agreement to extend and upgrade his current $ 8 million-a-year contract? In the past when Clemens has said that money wasn't a factor, it always was.

                  There is also the small matter of the country's largest city. How will Clemens handle New York? As importantly, how well will his wife, Debra, and his kids adjust?

                  Luckily, the Rocket will have Ambassador David Cone to help him assimilate.

                  Cone had been planning to hand his Manhattan apartment to Wells, and the other day, he joked, "I'd offer it to Roger, but I don't think he's gonna want it. We'll find a place for him in the suburbs. He can still be a New York guy."

                  As jarring as the trade was for New York fans, the baseball people all agree it makes the Yankees a better team.

                  The game is supposed to be a business, and as business decisions go, this one was a no-brainer. Just ask Peter Seligman, whose PR firm represents Pro Player, the main licensee for baseball apparel.

                  "If you look at this from a marketing perspective, this will take the Yankees and - no pun intended - rocket them to the Chicago Bulls' level," Seligman said.

                  But what about Clemens bringing his less-than-genial karma into the harmonious clubhouse that produced 125 victories last year? "It's not like he's a Dennis Rodman," Seligman said. "What you see is what you get with Clemens. There's an irritability to him, and there's been the contract situations a But he can strike out 20 guys in a game. You flat-out pay to go see him pitch."

                  Kennedy, his former manager, guarantees the fans will get their money's worth watching Clemens chase a World Series ring. "He's about winning more than anything," Kennedy said. "He doesn't want the perks or the fame. He's more passionate about baseball than anything."

                  THE KERKY BOYS

                  There have been hundreds of questionable characters to make their way through the Big Apple over the years. Here are some of our favorite and least favorite professional jerks:

                  NAME CLAIM TO FAME COMMENT

                  John McEnroe "Answer the question, Jerk!" Such a big jerk, New York loves him

                  Kerry Collins Racial slurs, quitting on his team, arrested for drunken driving He's a jerk until proven innocent

                  Latrell Sprewell Choking former coach P.J. Carlesimo While we can't necessarily blame him, the N.Y. jury is still out

                  Dave Kingman Sent a rat to a female reporter Between strikeouts, Kong struck a blow for feminism

                  Billy Martin Fighting with RF Reggie Jackson in Yankee dugout Taking on Reggie was fine, but he should have stuck to picking on Ed Whitson

                  Reggie Jackson Fighting with manager Billy Martin in Yankee dugout One of the few times people rooted for Martin in a fight

                  Mark Gastineau The Sack Dance What was Brigitte Nilsson thinking?

                  Eddie Murray Thankfully, nothing The man still hasn't cracked a smile

                  Bobby Bonilla Showing reporter Bob Klapisch the Bronx Looking forward to the second go-round

                  Derrick Coleman Nothing "Whoop-de damn doo"

                  Mike Keenan Alienating players, GMs and other human beings Banishment to Vancouver was fitting

                  Splashy Deals

                  Roger Clemens 2/17/99 Blue Jays sent five-time Cy Young Award winner to Yanks for David Wells, Graeme Lloyd and Homer Bush. At 36, the Rocket is one of baseball's premium power pitchers and brings a strong work ethic and competitive drive to the clubhouse.

                  Orlando Hernandez 3/8/98 Former Cuban national team star defected in 1997, went 12-4 for Yankees last season. Won crucial game vs. Indians in ALCS.

                  Chuck Knoblauch 2/5/98 Second baseman sent by Twins for pitchers Eric Milton and Daniel Mota, OF Brian Buchanan, infielder Cristian Guzman and cash. .361 OBA last season, 117 runs, 64 RBI.

                  Chili Davis 12/10/97 Free agent signed with Yanks after solid season as Royals' DH: 30 HR, 90 RBI, .279 BA in 140 games. His 328 home runs through the 1997 season were second-highest total of any player ever acquired by Yanks (behind Rocky Colavito's 369). Hit .291 in 103 at bats last season.

                  Scott Brosius 11/7/97 World Series MVP was acquired from A's for lefty pitcher Kenny Rogers. Batted .300 in 1998 regular season after struggling offensively in '97.

                  Hideki Irabu 4/22/97 Former Chiba Lotte star dreamed of pinstripes, forced Padres to deal him after acquiring rights months earlier. Came to Bronx with infielder Homer Bush and outfielders Gordon Anderson and Vernon Maxwell for OF Ruben Rivera, pitcher Rafael Medina and $ 3 million. Went 13-9 last season.

                  David Cone 7/28/95 Acquired from Toronto for bargain basement price: minor league pitchers Marty Janzen, Jason Jarvis and Mike Gordon. Thrives in New York, has gone 32-13 the last two seasons.

                  Tino Martinez 12/7/95 Traded by Seattle with pitchers Jeff Nelson and Jim Mecir for LHP Sterling Hitchcock and 3B Russ Davis. Hit 44 HR, 141 RBI, .298 Avg. in 1997; 28 HR, 123 RBI, .281 Avg. last season.

                  Darryl Strawberry 6/19/95 Former Mets slugger agreed to terms with club after being cut by Giants and suspended by major leagues in February 1995 for violating baseball's drug policy. Hit 24 HR last season before being sidelined with cancer.
                  "Batting stats and pitching stats do not indicate the quality of play, merely which part of that struggle is dominant at the moment."

                  -Bill James


                  • #10
                    Good to see you're putting your subscription to good use.
                    Dave Bill Tom George Mark Bob Ernie Soupy Dick Alex Sparky
                    Joe Gary MCA Emanuel Sonny Dave Earl Stan
                    Jonathan Neil Roger Anthony Ray Thomas Art Don
                    Gates Philip John Warrior Rik Casey Tony Horace
                    Robin Bill Ernie JEDI


                    • #11
                      free with tuition...haha

                      so I figured I better use it for something!
                      "Batting stats and pitching stats do not indicate the quality of play, merely which part of that struggle is dominant at the moment."

                      -Bill James


                      • #12
                        Can you perhaps pull some articles on Barry Bonds when he was first coming with the Pirates? I would be interested to know the media's take on him when he first came up.


                        • #13
                          i was actually doing that last night...I will copy some shortly
                          "Batting stats and pitching stats do not indicate the quality of play, merely which part of that struggle is dominant at the moment."

                          -Bill James


                          • #14
                            St. Petersburg Times (Florida)

                            March 12, 1987, Thursday, City Edition

                            Father-son game? // Pirate Barry Bonds rich in talent, background, and playing well in shadow of talented dad, Bobby

                            BYLINE: DAVE SCHEIBER

                            SECTION: SPORTS; Pg. 1C

                            LENGTH: 884 words

                            DATELINE: ST. PETERSBURG

                            ST. PETERSBURG - As a child, Barry Bonds received a baseball education most kids can only get in their dreams.

                            On any given day, Willie Mays might drop by the house for a visit.

                            Maybe Willie McCovey would stop by to say hi. Or perhaps Gaylord Perry could be at the door. You just never knew who would knock next when your dad was the star rightfielder for the San Francisco Giants.

                            For seven seasons, Bobby Bonds was a Giants fixture. His rare combination of power, speed and throwing ability was cut in the mold of his close friend and outfield mate, Mays. And though Bonds never achieved the stature of the "Say Hey Kid," he certainly left his mark on the game: 332 homers and 461 stolen bases in 14 years, including a remarkable five seasons with at least 30 homers and 30 stolen bases.

                            Those weighty numbers could easily have driven his son into another field of work - anything to avoid the endless comparisons and expectations.

                            But Barry Bonds was determined to follow in the formidable footsteps of his father. And so far, he's on the right track as starting second-year centerfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

                            Bonds originally riveted Pittsburgh's attention at Arizona State, where he batted .347 with 45 home runs, 175 RBI and 57 stolen bases.

                            The Pirates made him their first-round pick in the 1985 free-agent draft, then watched happily as he batted .299 with 13 homers and 15 stolen bases in 71 games.

                            The next step was Triple-A ball last season in Hawaii. After 44 games, Bonds was batting .311 with seven homers and 16 stolen bases.

                            That was all the Pirates needed to see.

                            On May 30, with their outfield corps in need of a lift, they called their promising prospect up to the majors. Bonds paid immediate dividends, leading National League rookies in homers (16), runs batted in (48), stolen bases (36) and walks (65) - all in just 113 games.

                            He was the only rookie in either league to top 15 homers and 30 stolen bases. In addition, his stolen base total was the most since Omar Moreno's 60 in 1982; and his 16 homers were the most by a Pirate rookie since Al Oliver in 1969.

                            Not everything went well. Bonds' batting average was a weak .223 (92-for-413). But he's now heading into his first full big-league season with greater confidence and a goal to improve in every category.

                            "I don't want to say I was happy with last year, because I always believe I can do better," he said Wednesday before walking twice and going 0-for-2 in a 6-2 loss to St. Louis. "I won't be happy with my performance until I prove to myself over and over again that I can't do any better."

                            At 22, Bonds has plenty of time to prove himself. But his tendency to push too hard may have caused some of his batting problems as a rookie.

                            "When you have his kind of ability, you can wind up trying to do things nobody's capable of doing," said Pirates manager Jim Leyland. "He's anxious. It's like he wants to have five years of experience hitting .300 in just one year. You have to take your time and let things happen."

                            Leyland worries that frustrated Pirates fans, longing for a new star to come along, will heap too much pressure on Bonds.

                            "They're starving for somebody to relate to," Leyland said. "But if Barry lets that get to him, and starts thinking he has to be what other people want him to be, it could hurt him."

                            Of course, Bonds already has dealt with the pressure of great expectations. Everywhere he goes, he's singled out as the son of Bobby Bonds.

                            "That doesn't bother me," he said. "I'm very proud of what my father accomplished. And I think that if I always give 100 percent, good things can happen for me, too."

                            Mike Shannon, a former St. Louis third baseman and now a Cardinals broadcaster, played against Bobby and likes what he has seen of Barry.

                            "He attacks the ball just the same way his dad did," Shannon said. "It's got to be tough playing under the shadow of his dad. But he doesn't let it bother him. He's got a lot of guts just to be out there."

                            Bonds speaks with his father - now a batting coach for the Cleveland Indians - on a regular basis. In the off-season, they often get together with Mays.

                            "But we don't talk baseball," Bonds said with a smile. "It's fun. We just go out and play golf. Hopefully, I'll be able to beat them at it someday."

                            Notes: Andy Van Slyke went 3-for-3 Wednesday, including a two-run homer in the second inning, to pace St. Louis' victory. It was Van Slyke's second game-winning blast in three games. Jim Lindeman added another two-run homer in the fourth inning to put the game out of reach. Mike Dunne got the win for the Cards, pitching three innings and allowing one hit with no runs.
                            "Batting stats and pitching stats do not indicate the quality of play, merely which part of that struggle is dominant at the moment."

                            -Bill James


                            • #15
                              Here is a good one....after his first MVP season it shows Bonds the jerk, but at the same time shows his shyness and give reasons for why he isn't good with the media.


                              St. Petersburg Times (Florida)

                              October 7, 1990, Sunday, City Edition

                              "Marked man'

                              BYLINE: MARC TOPKIN

                              SECTION: SPORTS; Pg. 4C

                              LENGTH: 1196 words

                              DATELINE: CINCINNATI

                              Barry Bonds wants to win the National League MVP award. Barry Bonds is afraid to win the National League MVP award.

                              Barry Bonds doesn't like to talk to reporters. Barry Bonds talks openly and at length with reporters.

                              Barry Bonds hates to be compared to his famous ballplayer father, Bobby. Barry Bonds loves his father.

                              Barry Bonds is a bad guy. Barry Bonds is a good guy.

                              Barry Bonds is a tough read. He's perplexing, enigmatic, contradictory "Nobody knows Barry but Barry," the Pittsburgh Pirates' talented leftfielder says. "Nobody."

                              Barry Bonds, 26 years old and in his fifth major-league season, emerged in 1990 as one the game's best players. He compiled a season unmatched by anyone in the National League a .301 batting average, 33 home runs, 114 runs batted in, 52 stolen bases, 93 walks and a .565 slugging percentage.

                              The left-handed hitter became the first Pirate to reach the 30-home run, 30-stolen base plateau, joining his father in that fraternity. He became the second player in history with 30 homers and 50 steals, and the first to hit .300, score and drive in 100 runs, hit 30 homers and steal 50 bases.

                              "He's such an unbelievable talent," says his manager, Jim Leyland. "There's no telling what he can do."

                              With Bonds, though, the issue might be what he allows himself to do.

                              Leyland, one of Bonds' biggest supporters, often qualifies his predictions. Bonds is destined for greatness "if he goes about his business the next few years of his career like he did this year." He'll be able to deal with the success "if he handles all the adjustments."

                              Bonds came into this season more focused than in any other, Leyland says.

                              A California native, he stayed in Pittsburgh to work out all winter for the first (and he says last) time. He lost a bitter salary arbitration case receiving $ 850,000 this year instead of the $ 1.6-million he requested when the Pirates argued successfully that he didn't produce enough runs. (Bonds had 59, 58 and 58 RBI the last three seasons.) His defense was that he was a leadoff hitter being compared with players in the middle of the lineup, so he told the Pirates he no longer wanted to bat first.

                              And he worked hard, four hours a day, five days a week, hitting, lifting weights, running in the snow.

                              The payoff was his achievements and the team's division championship. The punishment was the resulting attention.

                              "I don't know if I'm ready for all this stuff that's happening right now," Bonds says. "All I know is I just wanted to have a good year, that was all my goal was. I wanted to do something positive for a change and get the media off my back. It was driving me crazy."

                              Bonds says he has no animosity toward reporters.

                              "I'm not a media person. I don't like to talk about a lot of things. I don't like to answer the same questions. It gets old after a while. What's left unsaid. "What's it like having a famous father?' How many times do I have to answer that?," Bonds says.

                              "I just like to play. I turn down a lot of interviews and that's just my own preference. It's the United States of America and I have freedom of choice and that's what I choose to do. I just like to go to work. I just like to be left alone and go to work."

                              The aloofness sometimes carries over to his teammates. There are stories of him of walking right by players and team officials without saying hello, of him skipping team functions.

                              "People say he's moody. I didn't sense that," says Cincinnati's Billy Hatcher, who was with the Pirates part of last season and this spring training. "There's bad press and people with negative things to say about Barry Bonds. Who's to say if he deserves it?

                              "He's a very cocky individual, sure. He might let everybody in the world know it, but he can back it up. People say he's a selfish ballplayer. Every ballplayer in the major leagues has some selfishness."

                              Leyland has had no problems with Bonds. "I've never really seen that attitude that everybody else, that a lot of people, want to talk about," Leyland says. "He played hard for me and that's how I judge people."

                              Based on his numbers, Bonds is likely to be judged the league's most valuable player by the sports writers who vote on the award.

                              "I think I'm afraid of the MVP more than anything else because of the expectations you guys are going to put on me next year," Bonds says.

                              In other words, Barry Bonds will have to prove himself. Again.

                              "Potential? What is the definition of potential?" he asks. "People may now think I'm capable of doing it all the time. Am I? Do you know that? Do I know that? I don't know if I'm capable of doing that.

                              "I'm not mechanical. I'm not a machine. I'm very skeptical about that MVP. Without it, I always have potential. With it, everybody wants me. Every pitcher wants to get me out.

                              "I'm a marked man. I've been a marked man all my life. I'm tired of it."
                              Reds, Pirates spend day
                              just fooling around

                              CINCINNATI The National League Championship Series is even. There have been two tense one-run games. Pitching has so far overshadowed hitting. The emphasis has been on execution.

                              But Game 3 isn't until Monday afternoon. So how did the teams spend the first of their two days off?

                              Fooling around.

                              The Reds went through a very causal workout here. Gold Glove outfielder Eric Davis played shortstop. Outfielder Billy Hatcher hit fungoes. Reliever Norm Charlton brought his dog, a black lab, onto the field.

                              In Pittsburgh, the Pirates ran and joked around on the Three Rivers Stadium turf, sharing the field with some members of the Steelers, who play the Chargers today.

                              The unprecedented two-day break in the series was arranged by CBS-TV when the schedule was shuffled because of the spring training lockout.

                              Pirates manager Jim Leyland said there is no benefit or downside. "This is the way it is set up. You go with the program," Leyland said.

                              Reds manager Lou Piniella said it was an advantage for his squad "It helps us because our bullpen is rested again. They'll all be ready to go on Monday," he said.

                              In other news:

                              With Pittsburgh starting left-hander Zane Smith in Game 3 Monday, Piniella is considering some lineup changes. Glenn Braggs will start in the outfield. He may play rightfield in place of Game 2 hero Paul O'Neill. Or O'Neill and Braggs may both play, with Davis moving to centerfield and Hatcher sitting down. Piniella also said he would use a right-handed hitter at first base, either Todd Benzinger or rookie Terry Lee.

                              Pirates third baseman Jeff King, who bruised his lower back in a pickoff play Friday, was questionable for Game 3.
                              Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
                              "Batting stats and pitching stats do not indicate the quality of play, merely which part of that struggle is dominant at the moment."

                              -Bill James


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