Here’s some stuff I read this week that you might enjoy:
- When You Think About It, Trivia Isn’t Trivial (Part 1) (Hardball Times) – John Paschal pens a fun three-part series (Part 2, Part 3). Rickey Henderson, Dave Winfield, and Odrisamer Despaigne, Tony Clark, and Brad Ausmus all get mentions in the first installment, which focuses on player names. And if you like names, you might also enjoy John Thorn’s look at early team names. [h/t reader Didi]
- Why Discriminate (Our Game) – Speaking of Thorn, here he reproduces an open letter written by African American baseball player Welday Walker in 1888 and published in The Sporting Life advocating for the inclusion of blacks in baseball. And although people of different races were eventually accepted, the struggle continues for those of various sexual orientations. Former A’s pitcher Mike Norris remembers his teammate, the late Glenn Burke, as a man who had few friends in baseball despite possibly inventing (or at least popularizing) the high five.
- The major league baseball games that were played while Apollo 11 landed on the moon (The J.G. Preston Experience) – I was 2 ½ months old when this happened, so my memories of that day are fuzzy, to say the least. The Padres were playing in Atlanta, and in the seventh inning the game was halted to honor the astronauts. Fans were asked say a silent prayer, which was then followed by “God Bless America,” when that song still had meaning. More famously, Gaylord Perry hit his first big-league homer in San Francisco, 25 minutes after the landing. Seven years earlier, then-Giants manager Alvin Dark had reportedly said, “We’ll have a man on the moon before he hits a home run.” Or words to that effect, or maybe not. Who cares, it’s a great story. [h/t SABR]
- Quick Observations on Austin Hedges’ Defense (Padres Public) – Yeah, Dustin wrote this a while ago, but I was on vacation and am just now reading it. Plus I needed a link that wasn’t about events that happened more than 30 years ago. And it’s a good article. As Dustin notes, although Hedges hasn’t hit much yet, his pitch-framing and throwing ability have been at least as good as advertised.
- Robot umpires should be the future of baseball (Vox) – Joseph Stromberg notes that on Tuesday night an Indy league game used a computer system to call balls and strikes. He advocates for the adoption of such technology in MLB, which would unfortunately render the aforementioned Hedges’ pitch-framing skills moot. Personally I’m holding out for robot players, but whatever. As long as we have robot something (maybe not toasters), I’ll be fine. [h/t Gaslamp Ball]