Results tagged ‘ Bob Gibson ’
I think that every state has their own, special sporting legends that seem to transcend the field of play and mean something just a bit more. In Minnesota, that figure was/is Harmon Killebrew.
Now, by the time I became interested in baseball, “The Killer” was already enshrined in Cooperstown, so I don’t have any first-hand insight into the matter, but sometimes you can just tell by the way a guy is talked about. I haven’t found a person yet who watched Twins baseball in the 1960s-early 70s and DIDN’T idolize Harm. As a child, my dad rooted for him at the old Met, got his autograph coming out of the stadium (which promptly got stuck in the bicycle spokes, of course…no pristine collector’s cases back then!), and emulated his batting stance and swing on the Little League diamonds.
Thus, I was very saddened to hear that Killebrew has contracted esophogeal cancer. This may be a tough nut to crack, but (in typical Harmon fashion) he is resolute on beating the diesease. Pretty mundane stuff for the guy who stared down the likes of Bob Gibson and Don Drysdale, right?
My thoughts and prayers are with the Killebrew family during this rough time. Having him around as a Twins ambassador reminds me that my elder generation (like my dad) once had heroes too, idolizing the same sort of “mythic” sports heroes I once (and still do) today.
Good luck Harm!
(I was out of town for the A.S. Game, thus am just commenting on things now…)
For whatever reason (probably because of the rich history of the event), I am an MLB All-Star game junkie. I started watching the Midsummer Classic in 1997, the same year the American League began their current winning streak, and have been hooked ever since. I mean, how can a baseball fan NOT be excited about the biggest gather of current stars in the same place, as well as the fact that the actual game means more than any other professional sports’ All-Star games (almost put together). I am also in the minority (at least I think) of people who LOVE the fact that the game determines which league gets home field advantage in the World Series…I would never want to go back to those by-and-large boring contests of the 1990s, where the Home Run Derby and pregame ceremonies far eclipsed the game itself. Thus, this year was no less exciting for me.
First, there were the always-touching pregame ceremonies…
Old-time St. Louis Cardinals such as Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith, Red Schoendist, Bob Gibson, and Stan Musial (picture above) were honored before the ceremonial first pitch. As a self-proclaimed “baseball historian”, I always find it exciting to see those stars of yesteryear and remember their past greatness on the diamond. It was also quite interesting to see how the metaphorical St. Louis baseball torch is being passed from Stan The Man to Albert Pujols. Stan owned St. Louis since his retirement, and only Pujols has been able to carry that mantra since.
The network then made a big deal about the ceremonial first pitch, as it was thrown out by some guy you probably have heard of…
Let’s just say that maybe he should stick to hoops (although at least he didn’t bounce it too badly!).
The game then began with the two horses (Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum) taking their respective mounds for either league…
Right out of the gate, the National League looked like a circuit that has had its hind end handed to it for a while now, as some fielding jitters allowed the AL to take an early 2-0 lead.
In the second inning, though, the NL came storming back…
Yadier Molina singled to score David Wright and Shane Victorino, and was quickly driven home himself when Prince Fielder hit a ground-rule double, giving the Senior Circuit a 3-2 lead.
For the next few innings, the contest was dominated by pitching. Only a Joe Mauer double in the fifth, preceded by a Derek Jeter fielder’s choice, finally tied the contest at 3-3…
Arguably the biggest play of the night, though, came in the seventh inning, when pinch hitter Brad Hawpe sent a towering fly to left-center off the first pitch he saw from Jonathon Papelbon. Carl Crawford drew a bead on the missile, though, and timed a perfect leap to rob Hawpe of four bases…
Then, right away in the next half-inning, Curtis Granderson tripled off of NL reliever Heath Bell, and later scored on a sacrifice fly from Adam Jones, giving the AL a lead it would not relinquish (not with Joe Nathan and Mariano Rivera next out of the pen). Granderson took home MVP honors for his triple and run-scored…
So once again, the 2009 version of the MLB All-Star game was another exciting experience. The game was well-contested and full of tension, while (selfishly) the AL extended its winning streak and will now have home turf come late October. Plus, Joe Mauer (1-3, double), Joe Nathan (1 scoreless inning), and Justin Morneau (two hard-hit outs) had good showings in the game.
-Relief pitcher Kevin Mulvey is up, third-string catcher Jose Morales is down, as the Twins want a 12-man pitching staff going forward.
-Late breaking news: Alexi Casilla may still be a bonehead; letting a ball skip right past him on one occasion last night and then failing to cover the base on another. Let’s just chock it up to “I want to impress Gardy” nerves and keep our fingers tightly crossed.
Preview (46-44, 3rd, 0.5 GB CWS): Scott Baker (7-7, 5.42) vs. Scott Feldman (8-2, 3.83). One big key for the Twins in the second half is to have Baker and Liriano pitch better than they did in the first 81. That starts tonight.