RIP Selva Lou [Lew?] Burdette And The Milwaulke Braves

February 6, 2007 at 11:26 pm (Baseball, Life & Death)



In addition,Lew was a terrific hitter [for a pitcher :-)].

In 1957 “Saliva Lou” [sometimes he signed autographs Lou, at other times Lew. Ver vehst?], a reputed spitballer, set the mighty Yankees on their collective heels by winning three games in the World Series. That was some Braves team. Start with [then] future Hall of Famers Warren Spahn, Henry Aaron, Ed Mathews and Red Schoendienst. Add a pitching staff that not only included Burdette, an All Star, but also Don Buhl, Bob Rush, Juan Pizzaro, Carlton Willey and Don McMahon. In addition there were solid players at every position. Tough as nails Johnny Logan, old Cub Andy Pafko, power hitting Joe Adcock, Frank [Joe’s brother] Torre, slick Billy Bruton, Del Crandall, [the premier catcher in the National League] and Wes Covington [an unlikely fielding hero of that series]. The bench included than future Met Felix Mantilla, terrific backup catcher Del Rice, Nippy Jones [He of shoe polish fame], future New York Giant Danny O’Connell and phenom Hurricane Hazel. Man for man, that was as good a ball club as I’ve ever seen.

One of my favorite Braves, Johnny Logan, ss.


Don McMahon, reliever supreme.


The great Ed Mathews, 3b and…


… Red Schoendienst, 2b. Hall O’ Famers both.


Outfielder Johnny Demerit, future Mets expansion draft choice.


Billy Bruton, solid in center.


Former Senator Bobby Malkmus played some infield for the ’57 Braves.


What can I say, that hasn’t been said, about pitcher Ray Crone? He was once a New York Giant and that makes him very special to me.


Outfielder Bobby Thomson, former and future New York Giant.


The great Warren Spahn, #21




Future Pirates manager, Chuck Tanner, of. [and father of Bruce]


Juan Pizarro was a 20 year old rookie pitcher n 1957


Dick Cole played some infield for the ’57 World Champions.


Del Crandall wore #1 and was the #1 catcher in the NL by ’57


Capable Del Rice backed up Crandall.


Carl Sawaski backed up Del Rice.


Rookie Bob”Hawk” Taylor got a “cup of coffee with the Bavos in 1957.


Andy Pafko platooned with…


… Wes Covington, a surprise defensive star in the ’57 Woild Serious.


Ray Shearer played outfield, ever so sparingly.


Nippy Jones, from Sacramento.


Danny O’Connell, a future Giant in 1957


Bob “Hurricane” Hazle was the “Natural” in ’57


Gene Conely, “posted up” the Brave rotation.


Bob Buhl was the worst hitter in baseball, but a solid pitcher.


Carlton Willey, future Met.


Bob Trowbridge had the most interesting name on the team.


Years later, Ernie Johnson Jr. would announce Brave games. His dad [pictured bellow] was a part of a terrific pitching staff.


Joey Jay was the first former Little Leaguer to make the majors.


Dave Jolly, another solid reliever.


Bob Rush came over from the Cubs with…


… infielder Casey Wise.


Red Murff, after his pitching career ended, became a scout for the Mets and signed Nolan Ryan.


Felix Mantilla, excellent utility infielder for the Braves. While playing every day for the Mets, later on in is career, he didn’t show much excellence.


Mel [smoke the ] Roach, another fine utility infielder.


Yet another utility infielder was Harry Hanebrink.


Fred Haney was the skipper.


Here’s Fred, with his coaches:

Joe Adcock was a terrific hitter…


… as was Frank Torre, his platoon mate.


Pitcher Phil Paine is pictured bellow.


Another former Cubby, Taylor Phillips pitched for the Braves in ’57.


Henry Aaron, in his prime.



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Steve Barber, RIP

February 5, 2007 at 11:25 pm (Baseball, Life & Death)


The absolute worst thing about getting old[er] is recognizing more and more names in the obituaries. Today I read that former pitching ace Steve Barber [the first Baltimore Oriole to win 20 games] passed away. He was only 67. Led by Paul Richards, the Orioles of the very early 60s assembled a group of young pitchers that was nicknamed the “Baby Birds.” There was Barber, Chuck Estrada, Milt Pappas and [a not so young] Billy Loes, a former Dodger from Jackson Heights, who once lost a ground ball in the sun. [As an aside, their first baseman was Bob Boyd. My New York accent makes this amusing. To me and me alone, perhaps.]

Later in his career, Barber was a member of the Seattle Pilots. His portrayal in the Jim Bouton book, “Ball Four,” gave me insight into how baseball organizations cut slack to players with a history of success. Never “sore,” his aching shoulder was always “almost” ready.

Steve went on to pitch for the Angels, Yankees, and Giants, without regaining star status.

Better, of course, to be a “has been” than a “never was.”

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The Mets…

February 1, 2007 at 11:23 pm (Baseball, New York Mets)

…passed on Tony Armas, Jr. [or he on them] in favor of Aaron Sele. Tough call… Brings back memories of his dad playing outfield with Henderson and Murphy, back in the days when Rickey was Rickey. Christ, that was one GREAT outfield.

Until Bonds put up the stats he did over these past ten “performance enhancing” years, Rickey was getting some run as the best left-fielder in history. That is exactly what pisses me off so much about The State of the Game. In the past we were always able to use statistics to settle arguments such as these. Mantle-Mays. Musial-Williams. Ruth-Cobb. Sure, nothing was ever definitive. Different eras [dead ball, lower or higher pitching mound, etc.] skewed things more than a bit, but now it comes down to ‘my daddy’s chemist is better than yours’.

Nice going, Bud Selig.

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