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.
“I go by it frequently,” James says on page 89. “I always say, ‘Hi, Ted’ when we do because he was my hero when I was a young boy wanting to be a ball player. My wife, of course, thinks I’m nuts and she’s probably right. She usually is.” Continue reading →
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.
From page 133: “I never thought about justice, poverty or other social issues when I was growing up. I once saw a homeless person and told him, ‘Get a job. You’re lazy. take a shower and cut off your beard. Go to McDonald’s and be a janitor. Do something, man.’ I rolled my eyes and walked away. I didn’t have a compassionate bone in my body — not for the kid who was getting bullied, not for the orphan in Africa, not for anyone.”Continue reading →
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.
Messersmith eventually circled back to finish his career with the Dodgers in 1979. But neither he nor the Dodgers got what they really wanted out of the deal. Continue reading →
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