Results tagged ‘ Forbes Field ’

Good & bad about All-Star selections

The good news is that the Yankees will have six players on the American League roster, four in the starting lineup, for the All-Star Game July 12 at Chase Field in Phoenix. The bad news is that several deserving players from the Yankees will not be making the trip next week to Arizona.

Let’s start with the positive. The Yankees will make up three-quarters of the AL starting infield for the third time in franchise history with second baseman Robinson Cano, third baseman Alex Rodriguez and shortstop Derek Jeter.

The only other time the Yankees had three infielders elected to the starting unit was for the 2004 game at Minute Maid Park in Houston with Rodriguez, Jeter and first baseman Jason Giambi.

The Yankees also had three starting infielders in 1980 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, but only one – shortstop Bucky Dent – had been elected by the fans. Graig Nettles started at third base as a replacement for injured George Brett of the Royals. The Brewers’ Paul Molitor was voted the starter at second base but had to be replaced due to injury as well. The Angels’ Bobby Grich was added to the roster, but the Yankees’ Willie Randolph started the game at the position.

This will mark the 10th time that the Yankees have had at least three infielders on the All-Star roster. First baseman Mark Teixeira’s failure to make the squad this year cost the Yankees the chance to have four infielders overall for the third time. The Yankees had four infield All-Stars in 2002 at Miller Park in Milwaukee (Jeter, Giambi, 2B Alfonoso Soriano, 3B Robin Ventura) and in 1939 at Yankee Stadium (1B Lou Gehrig, 2B Joe Gordon, 3B Red Rolfe, SS Frankie Crosetti). Giambi and Soriano were starters in 2004 and Gordon in 1939.

Other years in which the Yankees had three All-Star infielders were 1950 at Comiskey Park in Chicago (1B Tommy Henrich, 2B Jerry Coleman, SS Phil Rizzuto), 1957 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis (1B Moose Skowron, 2B Bobby Richardson, SS Gil McDougald), Game 1 in 1959 at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh (Skowron, Richardson, SS Tony Kubek), Game 2 in 1959 at Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles (Skowron, Kubek, McDougald) and 2006 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh (Cano, Jeter, Rodriguez).

Yankees catcher Russell Martin had led in the voting until the last week when he was passed by the Tigers’ Alex Avila. At least Martin made the team as an alternate. His handling of the Yanks’ pitching staff has been superb.

Mariano Rivera was an obvious choice for the staff despite his blown save Sunday, which ended a 26-save streak against National League clubs in inter-league play.

Now for the head-scratching stuff – why no Teixeira or CC Sabathia? And has anyone other than Yankees fans been paying attention to the season David Robertson is having?

Tex fell out of the balloting lead at first base last month behind the Red Sox’ Adrian Gonzalez, an admitted Most Valuable Player Award candidate, but still ran a strong second in the voting. The Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera cannot compare with Teixeira defensively and trails him in homers, 25-17, and RBI, 65-56, but his .328 batting average is 80 points higher than Tex’s.

Now, here’s the rub. Teixeira has been invited to participate in the Home Run Derby. Nice. He can’t be on the team but he can fly all the way to Phoenix and take part in an exercise that could ruin his swing. Ask Bobby Abreu or David Wright about that? Say no, Tex.

All Sabathia has done is lead the AL in victories with 11 and posted a 3.05 ERA. Oh, that’s right. Pitching victories do not count anymore. I guess that’s why there was room for Felix Hernandez on the staff. The word is that CC pitching Sunday before the Tuesday night All-Star Game hurt his chances of making the team. Dumb reason.

To his credit, AL manager Ron Washington of the Rangers said nice things about Robertson when Texas was in town and that he was given him strong consideration. With so many other Yankees on the team, Robertson didn’t stand much of a chance, particularly since every team needs to be represented. When you see the Royals’ Aaron Crow in the pre-game announcements, think of Robertson. Crow, also a set-up reliever, is Kansas City’ lone representative.

It is a tough break for Robertson, but he is no more deserving than Sabathia, so it is hard to say he was snubbed. A lot of people don’t like the baseball rule about All-Star Games having to have players from each team, but I think it is a good thing. The 2012 game is supposed to be in Kansas City. It would be a shame if someone from the Royals was not on the team.

Each club no matter where it is in the standings has someone who deserves All-Star recognition. That the Yankees have so many is a testament to the terrific season the team is having.

Uncovered gem brings back sad memories

To a certain generation, perhaps the most distasteful single game witnessed by a Yankees fan was Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, which also was one of the most exciting Series games ever played. Here’s one slice of trivia: that was the only World Series game in which no batter struck out. The game ended on Bill Mazeroski’s home run leading off the bottom of the ninth inning for a 10-9 Pirates victory at old Forbes Field.

That explains why Yankees fans hate the game so much. Yankees players recall seeing Mickey Mantle crying in the clubhouse after that game. That’s how deep a wound it had on the Yankees 50 years ago.

In fact, Yankees fans hate that whole World Series. The Yankees had ended the 1960 season with 15 straight victories. They might have been the hottest team that ever went into a World Series. They seemed superior to Pittsburgh in nearly every facet of the game and pretty much proved it by outscoring the Pirates, 55-27. Much of the lopsidedness came in the Yankees’ three victories on scores of 10-0, 12-0 and 16-3.

Unfortunately, the Pirates won the other four games. This was Casey Stengel’s last World Series. His decision not to start Whitey Ford in Game 1, which would have allowed the future Hall of Famer to make three starts in the Series, was the key factor in costing Stengel his job. On the day he was fired after a 12-year run in which the Yankees won 10 pennants and seven World Series, Casey said, “I’ll never make the mistake of being 70 again.”

Why all this ruminating on the 1960 World Series? There was an interesting story in Friday’s edition of the New York Times. It seems that a pristine tape of Game 7 was discovered in the wine cellar of Bing Crosby’s home in San Francisco. Crosby, the legendary entertainer who died in 1977, was a huge baseball fan and a partial owner of the Pirates.

According to his widow, Kathy, Crosby thought he would jinx the Pirates by watching the Series on television and took her on a trip to Paris. There, he listened to the games over Armed Forces Radio. Yet before he left, Bing had someone in his television production company tape Game 7, so he could have a copy if the Pirates somehow won the Series.

The tape was discovered in a wine cellar among other Crosby memorabilia. Many of his television specials are being transferred from old kinescopes and video tapes into DVDs. A tin was found with a sign on it reading “1960 World Series,” and it contained Game 7 from first pitch to last. There is no other known copy of the complete game. Most of the clips from that game are from tapes that are no more than four or five innings in length.

Actually, it is not all that surprising that such a treasure was found in Crosby’s home. Many people may not be aware that the old crooner had a life-long interest in tape, initially audio tape and later video tape. Crosby even had the copyright on a certain brand of audio tape that was developed in the 1940s when he was the host of the “Kraft Music Hall” radio program.

Crosby was also starring in movies for Paramount Pictures and making personal appearances. He had one of the busiest schedules in Hollywood, and he also tried to find time to enjoy his hobbies of golf and fishing. Crosby was interested in tape because he wanted to be able to tape his radio program before a live audience and have it played on the air instead of having to do it live. That would give him extra time to pursue other endeavors. When television came along, Crosby was an early investor in the ABC network. His production company pioneered the use of video tape in the mid 1950s.

Yogi Berra was at Yankee Stadium Friday night. He hit a three-run home run in the sixth inning of that game, but the Pirates fought back and went ahead with a five-run eighth. The Yankees tied the score with two runs in the ninth on an RBI single by Mickey Mantle and an infield out by Berra. An alert base running maneuver by Mantle, eluding a tag at first base, allowed Gil McDougald to score from third base.

It is Yogi’s back that is one of the last images from that game. He was playing left field and watched Mazeroski’s drive off Ralph Terry go over the wall. Yogi is seen positioning himself to play the carom if the ball had hit the wall instead of going over it.

So it was not surprising to hear Yogi’s reaction to the discovery of the Game 7 tape.

“Oh, who’d want to watch that game?” he said.