Vin Scully came back to the ballpark Sunday in first-rate storytelling mode. This morning, Sons of Steve Garvey passed along this big Jackie Robinson anecdote.And in the midst of Clayton Kershaw’s sixth-inning struggles Sunday, Scully talked about one of my favorite memories.
“You know when Clayton Kershaw really got my attention?” Scully began. “I don’t know that it’s a big deal that it got my attention – I don’t mean that, but it’s just something that I will forever have in my mind when I hear his name.
“It was an exhibition game, in Vero Beach. … And it was just one of those games, and here was this kid lefthander named Clayton Kershaw. And he had two strikes on a veteran left-hand hitter by the name of Sean Casey. Remember Sean Casey? Good hitter – Cincinnati Reds, later on went on to the American League. Casey came up …
“Kershaw threw maybe the greatest single pitch I’ve ever seen. It was just such a great big overhand curveball at just that moment. I’ve never forgotten it. And every time I’ve come to see Clayton pitch, I’ll always remember Sean Casey — frozen. I mean the players laughed, not really at Casey, but just the inability of anybody to hit that pitch.”
Here’s the audio (clumsily recorded by me) that goes with it: Vin on “Public Enemy No. 1.”
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- It was far from inevitable that baseball would integrate had Jackie Robinson not succeeded in the big leagues, writes Keith Olbermann at Baseball Nerd.
- At the Hardball Times, Chris Jaffe recalls Burt Hooton on the 40th anniversary of his no-hitter. (Without meaning to single Jaffe out, he also perpetuates one of the odd things about Hooton – I’m not sure I’ve seen a player – including Doug Mientkiewicz – who had his name more frequently misspelled by so many writers.)
… As April 16, 1972, came to an end, Hooten had pitched 30.2 IP in his career and only allowed eight hits. Yes, only eight.
It’s actually a bit more extreme than even that implies. In June of 1971, Hooten came up for a cup-of-coffee start and couldn’t get out of the fourth inning. He allowed three runs in 3.2 innings on five walks and three hits. In his next three starts, Hooten tossed three complete games, allowing a total of five hits. Yeah, that’ll get people’s attention.
The second and third starts came in September of 1971. In his second start, Hooten allowed only three hits while striking out 15 batters. That tied the Cubs all-time franchise record for punchouts in a game. Oh, and those three hits allowed? They all came late in the game. Hooten went 6.2 innings with a no-hitter intact.
In his next turn, Hooten pitched a two-hitter for his first career shutout. There was no flirting with a no-hitter, as Bud Harrelson led off the game with a single, but it’s still five hits allowed over two games. Many fine pitchers never did that in their careers.
But the main event was April 16, 1972….
- Jaffe also has a story about the peculiar career arc of former Dodger manager Jim Tracy.
That epic curveball — that was when Kershaw got my attention too. But what really made me smile was that we had a lot of references to Kershaw the “minotaur” on DT before he officially got called up. The community here was big on Kershaw from the beginning.
Big debate about the triple play here:
Saw your attempts at reasoning with them on Twitter.
Forget it, Jake, it’s Fangraphstown.
But if we wanted to spend more time on this, could look up other botched calls over the past week and see whether those games should be replayed as well. I mean, if we’re going to open that Pandora’s box. Has Fangraphs also criticized Black for not protesting the game that inning? (Because he didn’t and now it’s a moot argument.) Or bunting that particular hitter in the first place?
And then of course I had to post there anyway. Already received the requisite Fangraphs patronizing response in the comments thread. No longer interesting to me. I expect they’ll carry on and come to some dramatic resolution that will change the course of baseball forever, but I have work to do.
I was lucky enough to catch that spring training game live on TV (maybe my first ever spring training game watched outside of the Freewa Series of old (i.e. before interleague play)) and remember the moment as well. I can’t believe how lucky we are to have Vin.
Going back to your last post, that post game celebration following Gordon’s walk-off yesterday made me happy for the Dodgers in a way I haven’t felt in a LONG LONG time (like since the Piazza trade); or at least in the top 5 happy moments since that time (Finley’s slam is in there somewhere as well).
Somehow, the pure joy of Dee’s face when he rounds first and the body language of Kemp when he bursts from the dugout really brought everything together for me – a new season, a hot start (even though we know it won’t last), washing clean* of McCourt…man it felt good. I can’t stop watching it.
*ok not really; for me the new owners still have a trace of the McCourt stench because of the parking lots (Simers’ moniker of old – “Boston Paking Lot Attendant” – now seems prescient in a disgusting way); it is STILL shocking to me that they agreed to him hanging around….
First off kudos to Javy for throwing up and in on the bunter.
What really hasn’t been part of the discussion so far are the umpire’s gestures, and whether the Official Rules require them in ADDITION to the verbal “call” of safe, out, foul, fair, ball, strike, balk, etc. Spend a few minutes (or more) reading through the rules-to start the game the umpire is not even required to “point” to start the game but to simply CALL “Play”. The base runners were looking at the umpire (and the “fair/foul signal”), instead of the ball which ultimately landed fair. The umpire technically did not have a “legal” right to call time or temporarily suspend play since the ball was not “foul”.
In umpire rule 9.05 (which are grandfathered and written rather archaically), repeatedly the word “call” is mentioned. The only time an arm movement is mentioned is simply to suggest to the umpire to not make any visual indicator before making the correct call. There are also references to “moving the game along”, and for umpires to convene for ten minutes to get the call correct rather than have the game replayed do to protest. My guess is that they convened, and that ultimately even thought Scott’s gesture was premature, the gesture did not nullify the ball being played by Ellis, and the lack of the runners to advance without “the call” of the umpire.”Time”- is the announcement of legal interruption of play, during which the ball is dead. Did Scott verbally call foul?Umpires motions and gestures have been assumed (universally accepted?) over time but never officially written into the rules as far as I can gather. In other words, hand/arm gestures are not required to be part of a judgement “call” even on checked swings.
Jon, thanks for republishing that audio. I nearly cried at this moment as Vin was recounting this story. It was such a great Vin moment – reminding yet again just how lucky we are to have him and how brutal the last few games have been without him.