Feb 20

Pete Rose Not In The Cards

There is nitpicking, there is pettiness, and there is Major League Baseball policy, which is in a category by itself. There’s no other way to explain my reaction to what I just read.

TOPPS baseball cards, of which I have tens of thousands, banned Pete Rose from its 2013 set. TOPPS not only won’t have Rose’s picture on any cards, but also won’t put his name on the back in a feature called “Career Chase,’’ where a current player is listed to how close he is to the all-time record. Since Rose has the record with 4,256 hits – his name won’t be found.

urlRose was banned from baseball for gambling on the sport, including on his own team, and because TOPPS has the exclusive right to produce MLB-licensed cards, Rose is ineligible to be listed. According to the letter of the contract, TOPPS is within its right to omit Rose, but this comes off as petty and vindictive by both the card maker and MLB.

The object of the game is to hit the ball, and nobody did it more than Rose. It’s like when Stalin had his opponents’ names and pictures stricken from the Russian history books. Stalin had them killed and names erased, but it doesn’t alter the fact they existed. MLB and TOPPS can’t issue an edict on Rose otherwise.

Rose exists and excelled at his game. In the process, he generated millions of dollars in ticket sales, memorabilia and souvenirs for MLB. If MLB wants to ban Rose from holding a baseball job I have no problems with that. However, banning Rose from all things baseball is petty and cruel spirited.

The Hall of Fame is a baseball museum, and despite its strong ties with MLB, it is still a museum. History is not neat and clean, it is messy and tumultuous, and its characters not always emblematic of the best human stock. The Hall of Fame is loaded with those who drank, cheated on their spouses, were racists who never wanted Jackie Robinson in the game, and even murdered.

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May 31

Today in Mets History: A long one vs. the Giants.

Greetings all. I hope you had a great holiday weekend. I was away at a place with no Internet access and it was like being stranded on Gilligan’s Island without the Professor.

KRANEPOOL: A busy day.

I see I didn’t miss much with the Mets during the Phillies series. A lot of pre-series talk about getting back to .500 and making a statement went by the boards. It’s time to climb out of the hole again.

Tonight it is the Pirates, but on this day in 1964, the Mets played an unforgettable doubleheader against the San Francisco Giants at Shea Stadium. The Giants swept, winning the first game, 5-3, but needing 23 amazing innings to prevail in the nightcap, 8-6.

“I wanted it to go a little longer,’’ said Ed Kranepool, who played in all 32 innings. “That way I could say I played in a game that started in May and ended in June.’’

The Mets tied it in the seventh inning on a three-run homer by Joe Christopher off Bob Bolin and even turned a triple play in the 14th inning. The game lasted 7:23.

It’s always fascinating looking at the box scores for games like this. Eight different players, including Willie Mays for the Giants and Kranepool for the Mets had 10 at-bats. Galen Cisco for the Mets pitched nine innings of relief and took the loss, while Gaylord Perry worked ten innings in relief for the Giants and earned the win.

Years later, Perry said that game enabled him to break into the Giants rotation and launch his Hall of Fame Career.

GAME ONE

GAME TWO