The pitch: Facing Ted Williams today might be so bad. Scary, for sure. But still …
Consider that you’d be pitching against a 94-year-old frozen in time.
Johnny James, a right-handed pitcher for the Yankees and Angels between 1958 and ’61, says that living these days in Scottsdale, Ariz., he often drives by the Alcor Life Extension cryonics facility where Williams’ detached head is still reported to be chilling out in the hopes of being brought back to life years from now.
Maybe that’s tough for someone in Southern California who’s supposed to consider the Giants a hated rival. But in a short, sweet and succinct autobiography, the San Francisco 33-year-old lefty relief specialist who has landed with the World Champions after trips through Kansas City and Colorado opens up about a religious awakening that will define his legacy more than just trying to strike out Detroit Tigers in key Fall Classic appearances.
The pitch: Andy Messersmith didn’t want out of L.A. He just wanted a no-trade clause in his contract so he could pitch for the Dodgers until the end of his career. The Dodgers and owner Peter O’Malley didn’t seem all that sold on giving that up to the pitcher who in 1974 was an NL All-Star and led the league in wins, and then in ’75 had the most complete games and shutouts.
When the arbitration dust settled, Messersmith (along with semi-retired pitcher Dave McNally) was a free man in 1976 — just three years after the Supreme Court had ruled in favor of Curt Flood and his right to refuse a trade, a decision that both Messersmith and O’Malley watched with keen interest.
Where a kid on the South Side of Chicago could dream, in 1988. (Photo by Thomas. C. Harney)
The book: “Portraits From the Park: Comiskey Park Photographs, 1973-1990” The author: Photos by Thomas W. Harney, text by Thomas Nawrocki, Harney and Ed Maldonado The vital stats: Columbia College Chicago Press, 93 pages, $35