Results tagged ‘ Herb Score ’

Mitchell injury shades of Herb Score

One of my most vivid memories of first following baseball as a kid was a newspaper photograph on the morning of May 8, 1957 of Indians pitcher Herb Score with blood rolling down his nose after he was struck in the face by a line drive off the bat of the Yankees’ Gil McDougald.

That image came to mind in the second inning Monday night at Yankee Stadium when Bryan Mitchell fell to the ground on the mound after being struck in the head by a line drive by the Twins’ Eduardo Nunez that went into center field for an RBI single.

Mitchell, a spot starter as the Yankees decided to give an extra day’s rest to all the pitchers in the rotation, was on the verge of getting out of a jam that inning. He had a 0-2 count on Nunez, the former Yankees infielder, with runners on first and third and the crowd urging him the righthander on. The liner caught Mitchell flush and he hit the ground as if slugged by an opposing boxer.

The Stadium quieted as manager Joe Girardi and head trainer Steve Donohue raced to the mound. Mitchell lay prone with his right hand clutching his forehead. He eventually got to his feet on his own power and walked off the field holding a blood-stained towel over his eyes. A scary moment indeed.

Score back in ’57 was the hottest young pitcher in the game off of two All-Star seasons with strikeouts galore and a promising future ahead of him that was never realized. He was never the same pitcher after the incident. For that matter, neither was McDougald the same player as he was haunted by the damage he had done unwittingly but very graphically.

Mithell was taken to New York Presbyterian Hospital where he was diagnosed and treated for a small nasal fracture and released. Yankees medical personnel will continue to monitor Mitchell for potential concussion symptoms.

Tanaka still undefeated thanks to Yanks’ comeback

Masahiro Tanaka still has a shot at another unbeaten season. He came close to sustaining his first loss in the major leagues Sunday night but got off to hook when the Yankees tied the score in the bottom of the seventh inning against the Angels and went on to a 3-2 victory despite totaling only three hits.

Tanaka, who was 24-0 in Japan last year, pitched well enough to win but came out of the game trailing, 2-1, with one out in the top of the seventh. The Yankees had only two hits off Angels starter Garrett Richards at that point, but Mark Teixeira got them even with his second home run of the season, a bomb to right field off a 2-2 fastball.

That kept Tanaka’s record at 3-0. The righthander struggled somewhat with his command. He walked four batters, twice as many as he had combined over his first four starts, and hit one. But Tanaka piled up 11 strikeouts and pitched exceedingly well with men on base, which the Angels had regularly with five hits in addition to the walks and the hit batter.

However, Tanaka kept Los Angeles hitless in seven at-bats with runners in scoring position as the Angels left seven runners on base over the first five innings. They loaded the bases in the fourth on a leadoff double by Erick Aybar, a hit batter and a walk with one out but got only one run on a fielder’s choice. Tanaka ended the inning with a strikeout of Collin Cowgill with Mike Trout on deck.

The Yankees made it 1-1 in the fifth. Richards walked Teixeira to start the inning and gave up a one-out double to Brian Roberts. The Angels kept the infield back conceding a run, and Ichiro Suzuki complied with a ground ball to shortstop.

Tanaka was taken deep by David Freese on a first-pitch fastball leading off the sixth and then did not allow another base runner. It took Tex’s drive the next inning to stick Tanaka with a no-decision. Tanaka’s 46 strikeouts are the third highest total for a rookie pitcher in his first five starts, the most since the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg had 48 in 2010. The major league record is 50 by the Indians’ Herb Score in 1955.

The winning decision went to Adam Warren (1-1), who pitched 1 2/3 innings of shutout relief and benefit from the Yanks getting a gift run in the eight from the leaky Angels bullpen as the result of two walks, a passed ball and a wild pitch. David Robertson struck out pinch hitter Raul Ibanez with a runner on second base to end the game and earned his fourth save.

Fordham to honor memory of Gil McDougald

With the Yankees not playing until 8:05 p.m. Saturday in Texas (on YES), why not take in a game in the Bronx in the afternoon? Former Yankees infielder Gil McDougald, who died last Nov. 28 in Wall Township, N.J., at the age of 82, will be honored prior to Fordham’s 4 p.m. game against Saint Joseph’s at Houlihan Field.

Family members and former players will be on hand to salute McDougald, who reached the World Series eight times in his 10 seasons with the Yankees (1951-60) and won five rings. He was Fordham’s head baseball coach from 1970-76 and led the Rams to a 100-79-4 record.

That the tribute will be held May 7 is a sad piece of irony. On that date in 1957, a line drive hit by McDougald struck Indians pitcher Herb Score in the face in one of baseball’s most tragic accidents. McDougald vowed to quit the game if Score did not recover, which he did but was never again the imposing pitcher he had been in 1955 and ’56. It is fair to say that McDougald was not quite the same after that incident, either.

Later in life, long after his major-league career, McDougald fought a long battle with deafness. Below is a copy of the blog I wrote for The Cutoff Man after McDougald’s death. For those who may not have had a chance to read it, here it is again.

In memory of the late Gil McDougald, who died last week of prostate cancer at the age of 82, I would like to share a piece I wrote on the five-time All-Star Yankees infielder back in 1997 when the New York Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America honored him with the Casey Stengel “You Can Look It Up” Award.

For a long time, Gil McDougald lived in a noiseless world. Embarrassed by his deafness, the former Yankees infielder withdrew from his friends, turned away from all but his immediate family and settled into a chamber of silence.

The lively sounds at Yankee Stadium were once music to McDougald’s ears. A hearing disorder stemming from a concussion McDougald suffered in 1955 during a batting practice accident worsened to the point that in 1976 he resigned as Fordham’s baseball coach because of communication difficulties. In 1985, he felt compelled to sell his building-maintenance business. His suburban New Jersey home had become more a place of exile.

An article in 1994 by New York Times columnist Ira Berkow drew attention to McDougald’s situation. He was contacted by Dr. Stephen Epstein, a Yankees fan who directs the Ear Center in Maryland and recommended McDougald consult Dr. Noel Cohen, chief of otolaryngology at New York University Medical Center. That November, in a 3-hour operation, McDougald received a cochlea implant of a microcomputer that helped restore his hearing. McDougald lectured around the country on the benefits of the procedure.

“There’s a real need to build awareness of the technology,” McDougald told Sports Illustrated. “When you’re fortunate and something good happens, even though you weren’t expecting anything, that’s when the payback comes. When you see the progress, particularly with little children, it’s so satisfying. It’s like hitting a home run with the bases loaded.”

That was one of McDougald’s career highlights, a grand slam off the Giants’ Larry Jansen at the Polo Grounds in the 1951 World Series. The honor bestowed by the writers is most appropriate for McDougald because Stengel was the only manager he played for in his 10 major-league seasons, all with the Yankees, from 1951 through 1960 before he quit rather than go into the American League expansion draft.

McDougald was among the most gifted of the tough, heady infielders who were integral figures on Stengel’s teams such as Phil Rizzuto, Billy Martin, Jerry Coleman, Bobby Brown, Andy Carey, Tony Kubek, Bobby Richardson and Clete Boyer.

The Ol’ Perfessor would have loved Derek Jeter.

That brings us to the “You Can Look It Up” part, which refers to one of Casey’s pet expressions. Among Jeter’s accomplishments in his Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award season of 1996 was a .314 batting average. What’s the big deal, you say? Well, you have to go back 40 years to find a New York shortstop – Yankee, Met, Giant or Dodger – who hit .300 over a full season.

And that shortstop was Gil McDougald. True, Kubek hit .314 in 1962, but he played in only 45 games that year because of military duty and a back injury. McDougald’s .311 mark for the Yankees in 1956 was the highest for a fulltime shortstop before Jeter topped it in ‘96.

The AL Rookie of the Year Award is another link between the two Yankees shortstops. McDougald was the first and Jeter the most recent of the eight Yankees who have won the award. McDougald wasn’t a shortstop when he won in 1951 by two votes over White Sox outfielder Minnie Minoso, 13-11. The more heralded Yankees rookie, Mickey Mantle, did not receive a vote.

McDougald played third base and second base until 1956 when Stengel tabbed him to succeed Rizzuto at shortstop. In the 10 years McDougald played for the Yanklees, they won more than 90 games nine times, eight pennants and five World Series, including ‘56, which made him a precursor to Jeter as a .300-hitting shortstop for a Series champion.

In that ‘56 Series, McDougald made an alert play that helped preserve Don Larsen’s perfect game against the Dodgers in Game 5 at Yankee Stadium. Jackie Robinson led off the second inning with a line drove to third that glanced off Carey’s glove to McDougald, who threw out Robby at first base.

Hitting out of an unorthodox, open stance which he moderated midway through his career, McDougald compiled a .276 career average with 112 home runs before retiring at age 32 after the 1960 World Series rather than play for the expansion Los Angeles Angels or Washington Senators.

McDougald was an unwilling participant in a baseball tragedy May 7, 1957. Indians lefthander Herb Score, then in the third year of a career that might have led him to Cooperstown, was struck in the face of by a liner off McDougald’s bat. Score was never the same pitcher again.

Less known is the incident two years earlier in which a BP liner by Bob Cerv hit McDougald above his left ear. It was diagnosed as a concussion, and McDougald was back in uniform in several days. He later learned that he had inner ear damage from an undetected fractured skull, which began McDougald’s quiet retreat.

“Except for playing golf, Gil had really become a recluse,” said former AL president Bobby Brown, one of McDougald’s oldest and closest friends. “But now since he can hear again, he’s his old self and able to contribute. It’s an emotional thrill for all of us.”

McDougald’s struggle against silence

In memory of the late Gil McDougald, who died last week of prostate cancer at the age of 82, I would like to share a piece I wrote on the five-time All-Star Yankees infielder back in 1997 when the New York Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America honored him with the Casey Stengel “You Can Look It Up” Award.

For a long time, Gil McDougald lived in a noiseless world. Embarrassed by his deafness, the former Yankees infielder withdrew from his friends, turned away from all but his immediate family and settled into a chamber of silence.

The lively sounds at Yankee Stadium were once music to McDougald’s ears. A hearing disorder stemming from a concussion McDougald suffered in 1955 during a batting practice accident worsened to the point that in 1976 he resigned as Fordham’s baseball coach because of communication difficulties. In 1985, he felt compelled to sell his building-maintenance business. His suburban New Jersey home had become more a place of exile.

An article in 1994 by New York Times columnist Ira Berkow drew attention to McDougald’s situation. He was contacted by Dr. Stephen Epstein, a Yankees fan who directs the Ear Center in Maryland and recommended McDougald consult Dr. Noel Cohen, chief of otolaryngology at New York University Medical Center. That November, in a 3 -hour operation, McDougald received a cochlea implant of a microcomputer that helped restore his hearing. McDougald lectured around the country on the benefits of the procedure.

“There’s a real need to build awareness of the technology,” McDougald told Sports Illustrated. “When you’re fortunate and something good happens, even though you weren’t expecting anything, that’s when the payback comes. When you see the progress, particularly with little children, it’s so satisfying. It’s like hitting a home run with the bases loaded.”

That was one of McDougald’s career highlights, a grand slam off the Giants’ Larry Jansen at the Polo Grounds in the 1951 World Series. The honor bestowed by the writers is most appropriate for McDougald because Stengel was the only manager he played for in his 10 major-league seasons, all with the from Yankees, from 1951 through 1960 before he quit rather than go into the expansion draft.

McDougald was among the most gifted of the tough, heady infielders who were integral figures on Stengel’s teams such as Phil Rizzuto, Billy Martin, Jerry Coleman, Bobby Brown, Andy Carey, Tony Kubek, Bobby Richardson and Clete Boyer.

The Ol’ Perfessor would have loved Derek Jeter.

That brings us to the “You Can Look It Up” part, which refers to one of Casey’s pet expressions. Among Jeter’s accomplishments in his Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award season of 1996 was a .314 batting average. What’s the big deal, you say? Well, you have to go back 40 years to find a New York shortstop – Yankee, Met, Giant or Dodger – who hit .300 over a full season.

And that shortstop was Gil McDougald. True, Kubek hit .314 in 1962, but he played in only 45 games that year because of military duty and a back injury. McDougald’s .311 mark for the Yankees in 1956 was the highest for a fulltime shortstop before Jeter topped it in ’96.

The American League Rookie of the Year Award is another link between the two Yankees shortstops. McDougald was the first and Jeter the most recent of the eight Yankees who have won the award. McDougald wasn’t a shortstop when he won in 1951 by two votes over White Sox outfielder Minnie Minoso, 13-11. The more heralded Yankees rookie, Mickey Mantle, did not receive a vote.

McDougald played third base and second base until ’56 when Stengel tabbed him to succeed Rizzuto at shortstop. In the 10 years McDougald played for the Yanklees, they won more than 90 games nine times, eight pennants and five World Series, including 1956, which made him a precursor to Jeter as a .300-hitting shortstop for a Series champion.

In that ’56 Series, McDougald made an alert play that helped preserve Don Larsen’s perfect game against the Dodgers in Game 5 at Yankee Stadium. Jackie Robinson led off the second inning with a line drove to third that glanced off Carey’s glove to McDougald, who threw out Robby at first base.

Hitting out of an unorthodox, open stance which he moderated midway through his career, McDougald compiled a .276 career average with 112 home runs before retiring at age 32 after the 1960 World Series rather than play for the expansion Los Angeles Angels or Washington Senators.

McDougald was an unwilling participant in a baseball tragedy May 7, 1957. Indians lefthander Herb Score, then in the third year of a career that might have led him to Cooperstown, was struck in the face of by a liner off McDougald’s bat. Score was never the same pitcher again.

Less known is the incident two years earlier in which a BP liner by Bob Cerv hit McDougald above his left ear. It was diagnosed as a concussion, and McDougald was back in uniform in several days. He later learned that he had inner ear damage from an undetected fractured skull, which began McDougald’s quiet retreat.

“Except for playing golf, Gil had really become a recluse,” said former AL president Bobby Brown, one of McDougald’s oldest and closest friends. “But now since her can hear he can hear again, he’s his old self and able to contribute. It’s an emotional thrill for all of us.”

Eerie moment of silence

A seriously injured player lying on the ground for an inordinate amount of time is a scene that has been repeated in the long history of American League games between the Yankees and Indians, a figure that reached 1,911 Saturday.

The latest episode silenced a Yankee Stadium crowd of 46,599 as Cleveland pitcher David Huff, 25, a lefthander in his second major-league season making his first start of the year and ninth of his career, fell to the mound and lay there still after being struck below the left ear by a line drive off that bat of Alex Rodriguez in the third inning.

Teammates and coaches along with Tribe manager Manny Acta encircled the mound to see after the prone pitcher. Just behind the mound was Rodriguez kneeling on one knee, his head bowed. The eerie quiet as trainers from both teams attended to Huff was interrupted several times only by a hush sound from the crowd as they viewed replays of the incident from the multitude of screens around the Stadium.

The ball was hit so hard that Hall couldn’t get his glove up in time to soften the blow. He was hit flush in the head. The force was such that the ball ricocheted into right field for a double. Hall was removed from the field by a cart. As he was being placed on a stretcher, the crowd began to cheer, and he acknowledged their response by giving the thumb’s-up sign with his right fist. As the cart motored toward an opening in the fence in left center field where an ambulance awaited, Hall raised his left palm to the bleacher creatures giving him a standing ovation.

Word came later from Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center that a CT scan was negative, that Huff never lost consciousness or memory, indications that there was no brain damage. The preliminary diagnosis was much more positive than that of two other chapters in Yankees-Indians lore which are among the most infamous in baseball history.

Huff’s injury most closely resembled that of Herb Score, another young lefthander who on May 7, 1957, a month before his 24th birthday, was hit in the right eye with a line drive by Yankees shortstop Gil McDougald at the old Municipal Stadium. The blow broke several bones in Score’s face and put him out of action until late in the 1958 season. Score was the AL Rookie of the Year in 1955 and on his way to a terrific career, but he was not the same pitcher after that.

Score was 38-20 with a 2.63 ERA and led the AL in strikeouts twice before the accident and 17-26 with a 4.43 ERA afterwards. Score never blamed the accident but rather a torn tendon he suffered a year later. McDougald was never quite the same player after that, either. He retired after the 1960 World Series at the age of 31 rather than risk being taken in the ’61 expansion draft. Score enjoyed a second career as a broadcaster with the Indians for 34 seasons. He retired in 1998 and died 10 years later at the age of 75.

Perhaps baseball’s darkest moment occurred in a Yankees-Indians game Aug. 16, 1920 at the Polo Grounds when Tribe shortstop Ray Chapman was struck in the head by a submarine pitch from righthander Carl Mays. Chapman never regained consciousness and died the next day. In those days, pitchers routinely scuffed and applied dirt to balls which turned them brown. Chapman’s death resulted directly in a rule ordering umpires to remove balls that were discolored. The ruling came far too late for Chapman.