After broomsticks cleared out the Red Sox, Cardinals, and Twins, the Phillies pulled out a stunning come from behind 9th inning victory to top the Rockies, 5 – 4, and win their best of five series in four games. The Rockies had rallied for three runs off of Phillies starter Cliff Lee and a couple of relievers in the bottom of the eighth, but the Phillies answered with three runs of their own, led by Ryan Howard’s two-out double and a flair off the bat of Jayson Werth to beat Rockies closer Huston Street. Street had been awesome all season, so I hope he doesn’t suffer like Brad Lidge did after he blew a playoff series to St. Louis a few years back…
So who you got? Yankees or Angels? Dodgers or Phillies? Games start Thursday… I can’t wait.
Hot Stove Already Warming Up…
The Red Sox have tried to lock in Jason Bay to a contract, but Bay admitted that he’s going to test the market unless he gets a “wow” offer in the next two weeks. At least two others have filed for free agency, pitchers David Davidson (is that redundant?) and Scott Proctor. [MLB]
If the White Sox are really interested in Bobby Jenks, perhaps they should be less vocal in asking Jenks to lose weight. Jenks is starting to take it personally. On the other hand, Jenks has become less effective each of the last two seasons – so maybe a treadmill or aerobics class might be a good thing. [MLB]
Tony LaRussa isn’t sure what he wants to do in 2010, a season where his pitching coach became disgruntled (they traded Dave Duncan’s son away, for crying out loud), and the team was blasted out of the playoffs with little more than a whimper. LaRussa, despite his obvious efforts to color his hair, is 65 now and his contract is up at the conclusion of the World Series. The Cards would keep him, no doubt, but at least it gives some news people things to talk about. [FoxSports]
The Houston Astros have at least ten people on the list of managerial candidates to replace Cecil Cooper. Get out your 1980s and 1990s baseball cards… Dave Clark, Tim Bogar, Randy Ready, Brad Mills, Bob Melvin, Al Pedrique… Even Manny Acta is on the list (really?). [FoxSports]
Hurry Back! Tim Wakefield heads to surgery to remove fragments from his back. Hopefully the knuckleballer can come back for another go… [MLB]
Is it Over? The Padres waived Cliff Floyd… (San Diego also waived Shawn Hill and Cha Seung Baek.) For what it’s worth, MLB referred to Floyd as a DH – but can a NL team really carry a DH?
Happy Birthday! Rube Waddell was born on Friday the 13th, 1876, in Bradford, PA. For this life story, you’ll have to buy my book… You know, Wild Bill Donovan’s career paralleled Rube’s career – they had many games against each other, including trips to the bowling alley. How did I never know that Wild Bill was also born on the exact same day?
Others on the birthday list include: Pickles Dilhoefer (1893), that Black Sox crook Swede Risberg (1894), Eddie Yost (1926), Hall of Famer Eddie Mathews (1931), Bob Bailey (1942), Randy Moffitt (1948), Dick Pole (1950), Frank LaCorte (1951), George Frazier (1954), *that’s a lot of former Cubs relievers…, and future Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman (1967). Wow – three Hall of Famers on the same day…
Heaven Welcomes… Larry Jansen, a Giants pitcher who won the 1951 playoff game more famous for Bobby Thomson’s homer, died at 89 on Saturday. Jansen came on in relief of Sal Maglie and got the last two outs (both strikeouts) in the top of the ninth. That year, Jansen won 23 games – the second time he had won at least 20. As a rookie in 1947, Jansen went 21 – 5. He had about a six year run as a top flight pitcher, but his arm left him during the 1952 season when he injured his back and a chiropractor encouraged him to wear a corset for support. Only, he wasn’t supposed to wear it when he was pitching – and the arm trouble set in when he was compensating by overthrowing. Jansen said that he was on the road and couldn’t see his own chiropractor and visited someone in New York that had been recommended to him. His arm never came back, and eventually was released by the Giants in July, 1954. He got a shot with the Reds in 1956, but he was never really the same.
Jansen actually had been drafted as an amateur in 1940 by the Red Sox but the Sox never signed him – so Jansen started his career with the San Francisco Seals. The Seals sent him to Salt Lake City in the Pioneer League where he would win 20 games. Returning to the Seals, he suffered through bouts of pneumonia and when called before the draft board during World War II, he was allowed to stay home and work on the farm and in other war jobs until the war ended. Returning to play in the PCL, Jansen went 30 – 6 with a 1.57 ERA in 321 innings for the 1946 Seals, and the Giants gobbled him up for $25,000. Jansen was a few months shy of his 27th birthday when he got his first start with the Giants in 1947. Among the slices of trivia to which Jansen’s name is attached – he allowed a double to Joe DiMaggio in the Clipper’s final World Series at bat in 1951. Jansen also pitched five innings of relief in the 1950 all star game, striking out a record tying six batters.
Jansen told a story of how he was closing out the second game of a doubleheader in the ninth inning against the Cardinals and it was getting dark. He and Wes Westrum, the catcher, were stalling as much as possible – and Stan Musial was the batter. With two strikes, Westrum strode to the mound and told Larry to act as if was pitching. Westrum took the ball back behind the plate with him. Jansen faked his windup and pretended to throw. Then, Westrum popped the ball in his glove and showed the ball to the ump – who called Musial out on strikes. Musial was livid – saying the pitch was high and outside… I looked for this game on Retrosheet – if it happened, it happened on May 2, 1954. However, Musial had grounded out for the first out of the inning. The last batter of the game struck out – but it was Rip Repulski.
When Jansen’s career ended, he stayed active in MLB as a pitching coach for the Giants and Cubs, then settled into real estate in his native Oregon. Jansen and his wife had 10 kids…
Attiyeh, Mike. “Larry Jansen, A Forgotten Winner of ’51 Playoff Game,” Baseball Digest. September 1998. Pages 64 – 69.
Dexter, Charles. “Pitcher’s Pitcher Larry Jansen,” Baseball Digest, February 1951. Pages 43 to 48.
McKee, James. “Larry Jansen Dusts off a few Oldies,” Baseball Digest, June 1969. Pages 45 – 46.