The following are excerpts from Bronx Bombers: New York Yankees Home Run History by Lew Freedman, published by Blue River Press and distributed by Cardinal Publishers Group © 2015. Please join us as we give a salute to Yogi Berra. Bronx Bomber will not only cover the great hitters and their hitting careers, it will also cover many of the iconic home runs. Lawrence Peter Berra was born in St. Louis in 1925 and grew up in that city. His best friend was Joe Garagiola, another catcher, who became more famous as a broadcaster than he ever was as a big-league ball player. Berra had a knack for a few things in this life. He did not pursue higher education, quitting school in the eighth grade, and as a big-leaguer it was said his most challenging reading was comic books and box scores. Berra excelled as a hitter and fielder and as reader of men. He was a leader on the field when he caught, a magnificent handler of pitches. Later, he became a successful manager and coach. Berra was known for sticking up for his guys and sticking out in a crowd because he uttered pithy sayings picked up by sportswriters. His most famous comment was, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” As the years went by it was never quite clear if Berra had actually said what was attributed to him or had his words embellished by overzealous sportswriters. In the end it did not matter because the words sounded as if he would have said them. Yogi had the capacity to make people laugh, intentionally or unintentionally. He once said, “I really didn’t say everything I said,” referring to the confusion of the accuracy of some quotes attributed to him. Berra stood 5-foot-7 and weighed 185 pounds. He possessed the squat look of a catcher, a body type that seemed to fit the position. He batted lefty and had a great eye for the pill. He was a bad-ball hitter in the sense that if he wanted to hit a pitch, it didn’t matter if it was out of the strike zone. Yogi would find it and blast it. Berra’s swing covered most of the plate and its vicinity and he was labeled a bad-ball hitter. His response was, “If I can hit it, it’s a good pitch.” Berra is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Yankees retired his number eight uniform. When he was in his 20s some seasons Berra was exclusively a catcher. A little later, in order to save wear and tear on his knees, he played outfield, too. A 15-time All-Star, Berra was sometimes overshadowed by Joe DiMaggio, or later Mickey Mantle, but those in the know realized he was the indispensable man for the Yankees and he won three American League Most Valuable Player awards. Another thing about Yogi: He was a winner. During his playing career between 1947 and 1963 the Yankees won 14 pennants. He played in 14 World Series, 75 Series games in all and won 10 championship rings. He added to that total later as a coach and manager, too, ending up with an incredible 21 World Series involvements in three in-uniform capacities. Berra smacked 12 World Series home runs and drove in 39 runs in World Series play. When it comes to the all-time Major League list for World Series stats, Berra’s name is all over the chart. That RBI total is second. The games played total is first. Berra is first in at-bats and plate appearances, first in singles, third in walks, first in doubles, third in homers, second in total bases, second in runs, and first in hits (71). Obviously it took Berra quite a bit of effort to prepare since he said, “Ninety percent of the game is half mental.” Berra hit .429 in the 1953 World Series and .417 in 1955. In the 1956 World Series Berra slammed three home runs and drove in 10 runs while batting .360. In 1947, Berra hit the first pinch-hit home run in World Series history against the Brooklyn Dodgers. Among some other memorable comments attributed to Berra was the way he showed gratitude upon receiving a special honor. He said, “Thank you for making this day necessary.” Make no mistake, Berra was proud of his hitting prowess and he was not ashamed that he poled several balls out of the strike zone a great distance. “I liked to hit,” he said. For regular updates, like us on Facebook (Cardinal Publishers Group) and follow us on Twitter @Cardinal_Pub
This day in Philadelphia Phillies history, September 21, 1964... On September 21, 1964 the Phillies had a six-and-a-half game lead with 12 games to play when they met the Cincinnati Reds at Connie Mack Stadium. With skipper Fred Hutchinson battling cancer, Coach Dick Sisler was the Reds’ interim manager. Sisler had played for the 1950 Phillies, the “Whiz Kids,” who blew a seven-and-a-half game lead and had to beat the Dodgers in the final game of the season to win the pennant. Sisler’s three-run homer at Ebbets Field had won the game. Although the Reds were six-and-a-half games back of the Phillies, Sisler thought his club still had a chance, “If we can get within two, two-and-a-half or three games of them. The closer we get, the more pressure will be on them. If it gets that close, they might get a little tight. That’s what I noticed on the 1950 Phillies. When you see ‘em right behind you, it begins to tell.” Art Mahaffey and the Reds John Tsitouris hooked up in a scoreless duel until the top of the sixth. After Pete Rose grounded out, Chico Ruiz singled to right. Vada Pinson followed with a single sending Ruiz to third, but Pinson was thrown out trying to go to second. So, Ruiz was at third with two outs and the Reds cleanup hitter Frank Robinson at the plate. His bombastic personality, brilliant baseball mind, and loyalty to his players earned him the moniker of the Little General. As Ruiz led off from third, he studied Mahaffey’s slow deliberate windup. A light bulb flashed on. “It just came to my mind,” Ruiz said, “you either do it or you don’t.” With two strikes on Robinson, as Mahaffey wound up again, Ruiz bolted for home plate. “Just as I’m ready to throw, Ruiz ran at the fraction of a second that my head is turning and my arm is coming down,” remembered Mahaffey. “My brain panicked and I held my arm up and threw a pitch two feet wide of the plate.” Catcher Clay Dalrymple had no chance to catch the ball as it went all the way back to the screen. Ruiz stole home and gave the Reds a 1-0 win. “If you steal home and Frank Robinson is the f*****g hitter,” said an incredulous Dalrymple, “and the game is on the line, you gotta have some big balls.” Just four days after Willie Davis stole home to beat the Phillies, it had happened again. And that is what happened this day, September 21, 1964, in Phillies history. This is an excerpt from The Little General: Gene Mauch A Baseball Life (2015) written by Mel Proctor, published by Blue River Press and distributed by Cardinal Publishers Group.
If you are in Littleton, Colorado this Saturday, September 19th stop in the Costco located at, Southwest Denver 7900 W Quincy Ave., Littleton, CO 80123-1350 and meet Denver Christian's beloved and famed basketball coach Dick Katte along with co-author of the book Over Time: Coach Katte on Basketball and Life, Mark Wolf. They will be there from 1:00 - 3:00 pm and would love to chat with you and sign your copy of the book. Enjoy the following article by Mark Wolf as he tells you how he came to put this amazing story together... Coach Dick Katte's secret is simple and straightforward. I’m pretty sure I had a mouthful of English muffin when I came up with the idea to write a book about Dick Katte. I was eating breakfast and reading The Denver Post on a February morning in 2012 when I saw a story that Dick was going to retire at the end of the season as the state’s winningest basketball coach. I sketched an outline of the project, attended Denver Christian’s next game and handed him a copy. He was initially underwhelmed at the notion, but finally agreed to let me hang around during the final week of his career, when his team capped an undefeated season with a thrilling victory in the state championship game. That led to long interview sessions on his patio and around his kitchen table during which we talked about, among other things, basketball, life, his faith and the aneurysm that nearly killed him. I spent a day in his hometown of Sheboygan, Wisc., interviewed many of his players, friends and fellow coaches, reporters who covered him and his teams and pored over hundreds of newspaper stories involving Denver Christian, many in the pages of season-by-season scrapbooks assembled by Dick’s wife – and most important assistant coach – Lorraine. The book was conceived as a third-person biography of Dick but one afternoon during a long writing session at the Columbine library, I was transcribing some notes and decided that, except for the first reported chapter on that final week, the book had to be in first person. At that moment, the manuscript came alive. Telling the story in Dick’s voice gave the book a sense of authenticity that would have been impossible to capture in third-person. After spending a year working with Dick I came to understand what it must have been like to play for him. His players told me about his insistence on detail and I became accustomed to getting printouts of chapters heavily edited by Dick in pencil. I learned a lot about basketball in the course of writing this book, but I learned even more about the importance of living an honorable life. Mark Wolf is co-author with Dick Katte of “Over Time: Coach Katte on Basketball and Life.” He is a longtime journalist and is now a public policy editor at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The announcement of the pending release of Jonathan Pollard brought forth assertions by alleged “experts” opining that “friends don’t spy on friends.” Here’s a clue: spies spy. That is what they do. It’s their job. They spy on enemies and friends … on everybody. To wit: In a 7 May 1997 article The Washington Post stated that the American National Security Agency had intercepted an encrypted call by and between an Israeli Mossad agent and his boss, General Danny Yatom. It was a request from the Israeli Ambassador for a copy of a letter written by former Secretary of State, Warren Christopher to PLO chief, Yasser Arafat. Yatom’s response was a curt, “This is not something we can use MEGA for.” From this intercept, The Washington Post deduced that an Israeli mole was loose somewhere in the US Intelligence community, ala Jonathan Pollard, and his code name was MEGA. The alarm sounded throughout American counterintelligence and the US Attorney General, Janet Reno, immediately assigned the FBI to investigate. The MEGA affair turned out to be no more than a Mossad security check of their communications with what is called in The Trades, a “dangle.” Had the American investigators inquired, they would have discovered that MEGA (short for MEGAWAT) identifies one of two databases the US maintains and shares with friendly governments on current affairs. The second database is coded KILOWAT. Additionally, the Christopher letter had been published in its entirety in the Hebrew daily, Ha’aretz, almost as soon as it was delivered. This raised serious questions as to the reason(s) the story was leaked in the first place when the NSA never, ever leaks to the press. Putting aside complete incompetence, most felt that it was simply part of an on-going effort by the American Intelligence community to bash Israel in the media. Or, perhaps it was a simple message of American one-up-man-ship to the Israelis. Whatever the case, it was bad news for Israeli Intelligence. In going for the Israeli “dangle,” the NSA revealed that the communications code known as SILON had been deciphered. And, that was the good news. SILON is one of those unbreakable, automated cipher-jumping, frequency-hopping codes, the breaking of which does not point to NSA ingenuity but rather directly to an American “mole” inside Israeli Intelligence. So, the next time some pundit sadly bemoans the Pollard Affair with “friends do not spy on friends,” remember, The Trades is a game for serious players only and spies always spy. Article by William Northrop Author of SPOOK WAR, A MEMIOR FROM THE TRENCHES Spook War gives a glimpse into the events when the Reagan Administration shifted American foreign policy to the interests of the Arab States from our allies.