Great players I watched when growing up

Charles Martel

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This thread is a tribute to the great players I watched while growing up.

Harmon Killebrew

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Brooks Robinson

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Tom Seaver

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The Brooks Robinson photo (looks like a trading card picture) was taken in Yankee Stadium circa 1963. The Frank Howard photo (in a LA Dodger uniform) is from the same period, taken at the Polo Ground where the Mets were playing. The Polo Grounds were torn down after the 1963 season when the Mets moved to Shea Stadium.
 

Don Wassall

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Still the most popular and beloved baseball player of all time after Babe Ruth (and maybe Joe DiMaggio), as anyone who has ever seriously collected baseball cards knows. Mickey Mantle was my idol as youngster.

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Mickey Mantle was the biggest sports star of his time. And a bigger star in his time than anyone since. Mantle was of the early TV era, DiMaggio retired after the 1951 season, before every house had a TV.
 

Flint

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That’s a young picture of Howard. I remember him looking much different later on. He closed his career out in Detroit 50+ pounds heavier and with glasses. Those earlier years in the Polo Grounds and than Chavez Ravine cost him a lot of career HR’s.
 
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Don Wassall

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Mike Schmidt was the best ever all-around third baseman -- 10 Gold Gloves, 8 home run titles, as many as 29 stolen bases in a season, 12 All Star games among many other accomplishments. He comes to mind because I was browsing the magazines at the grocery store the other day and he's on the cover of the current Sports Collectors Digest. Usually when you haven't seen a picture of someone for a long time there's initial shock until you adjust to how much older they've gotten, but they're still recognizable. But I would never recognize Schmidt today just seeing a picture without knowing who it was. He's 70 now and still looks quite fit, but I just don't recognize his face at that age.

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Charles Martel

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Don Drysdale

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Steve Carlton

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Dennis McLain
(of questionable character, but a great pitcher)

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Don Wassall

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I met someone the other day whose last name is MacDowell. Living in Pittsburgh, I immediately thought of Sam McDowell, a fireballer from the 1960s and '70s who grew up in Pittsburgh but played mostly for the Indians. He's one of the few pitchers to average a strikeout an inning during his career and led the AL in strikeouts five times in six years from 1965 through 1970. His league leading K totals were 325, 225, 283, 279 and 304, very impressive in any era. But he was brought along slowly and his stats before those peak years were unimpressive, and as I recall injuries shortened his career as he ended up with a so-so 141-134 won-loss mark. Like Nolan Ryan, and Sandy Koufax and Randy Johnson in their early years, McDowell had a difficult time harnessing his incredible power.

Sam McDowell was not an all-time great but he had an all-time great fastball. And for a time he was Cleveland's answer to the great Bob Feller:

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Kaptain

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Mike Schmidt was the best ever all-around third baseman -- 10 Gold Gloves, 8 home run titles, as many as 29 stolen bases in a season, 12 All Star games among many other accomplishments. He comes to mind because I was browsing the magazines at the grocery store the other day and he's on the cover of the current Sports Collectors Digest. Usually when you haven't seen a picture of someone for a long time there's initial shock until you adjust to how much older they've gotten, but they're still recognizable. But I would never recognize Schmidt today just seeing a picture without knowing who it was. He's 70 now and still looks quite fit, but I just don't recognize his face at that age.

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And he's racist! Lol. After reading this post I looked up what he looks like today and found this article: https://www.crossingbroad.com/2017/06/mike-schmidt-is-more-of-a-bigot-than-you-thought.html
In the photo of him in the article he looks good and I think recognizable, but I can see how most photos he for some strange reason isn't even though he remains fit - maybe it's just the white hair and no ball cap? The article if you don't want to waste time is claiming Schmidt is a bigot because he didn't think some Hispanic player on the Phillies could be a leader because of the language barrier. God forbid communication skills be considered in leadership roles.
 

Charles Martel

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Norm Cash was AL batting champion in 1961 with a .361 batting average.

In the 1968 World Series, Cash hit .385 (10-26). With two out in the seventh inning of Game 7, Cash singled to start a three-run rally that broke a scoreless tie and propelled the team to its first World Series title since 1945.

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Don Wassall

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Whitey Ford has died, shortly before his 92nd birthday. The ten time All Star pitched for the great Yankees teams of the 1950s and first half of the '60s before their dynasty suddenly went south for a lengthy period of time starting in '65 and finished his career with a sparkling 236-106 record, the best ever win percentage among pitchers with at least 300 decisions, including marks of 25-4 and 24-7. He also had one of the coolest baseball names ever. RIP

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Shadowlight

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Practically within a month three of the game's greatest pitchers died. Tom Seaver, Bob Gibson and now Whitey Ford.
 
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I saw White Ford on TV many times. Casey Stengel made a disastrous mistake in not starting White Ford in the 1960 World Series opening game, not using Ford until Game Three. Ford shut out the Pirates in both Games Three and Six.
 

Charles Martel

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I saw Whitey Ford on TV many times. Casey Stengel made a disastrous mistake in not starting White Ford in the 1960 World Series opening game, not using Ford until Game Three. Ford shut out the Pirates in both Games Three and Six.
Yes, and during the regular season, Stengel wouldn't put him in as many games as he should have.

That changed in 1961 with the new manager Ralph Houk in 1961, who pitched him every fourth day. After exceeding 30 starts only once in his nine seasons under Stengel, Ford had 39 starts in 1961. Ford had his first 20-win season, a career-best 25–4 record, won the Cy Young Award, and was World Series MVP.
 
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Flint

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Will there ever be another athlete nicknamed “Whitey”?
 

Freethinker

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RIP to Whitey Ford. The greatest Yankee pitcher and one of the best lefties in baseball history. 2020 has been a rough year for baseball HoFers dying.
 

Charles Martel

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Cincinnati Reds HOF second baseman Joe Morgan has died at age 77.
Some are saying today he was the best second baseman of all time.

Joe Morgan was a very good all-round player, but not as good as Roger Hornsby, the best second baseman of all time.
 

Don Wassall

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Some are saying today he was the best second baseman of all time.

Joe Morgan was a very good all-round player, but not as good as Roger Hornsby, the best second baseman of all time.

I agree. Morgan had no weaknesses batting or fielding, and ranks 11th all time in stolen bases. His lifetime batting average was a relatively modest .271 but he led the NL in on base percentage four times, with his patience and short stature (5' 7") enabling him to get lots of walks.

As a player and announcer, Morgan was articulate and always came across well. The other announcers in the booth always pandered to him, with Bob Uecker in particular always acting like an excited three month old puppy around him.

Later on Morgan became the poster boy for the endless whining about the supposed lack of blacks in baseball and we made fun of him quite a bit for that, but that may have been caused as much by the media's kneejerk agenda to always call on Morgan every time they wanted to milk that topic as Morgan being totally obsessed with it.

As an aside, whatever happened to big-time base stealers? The current active career leader is Dee Gordon with just 333. Brett Gardner is fourth with 270. Compare that to the thiefs of the '60s through early '00s like Rickey Henderson (1,406), Lou Brock (938), Tim Raines (808), Vince Coleman (752), Ichiro (708), Joe Morgan (689), and a number of others with more than 500, including Brett Butler with 558. Is everyone too busy swinging for the fences and/or striking out?
 
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Count me in as another fan who loves base stealing and other forms of small ball. There's a role for the home run/strikeout player but so many are trying to do it these days.
 
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