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Great Baseball All-Star Game Moments: 1990-2019 1

Posted on July 18, 2020 by Dean Hybl
The most memorable moment of the 2001 All-Star Game occurred when Alex Rodriguez convinced Cal Ripken, Jr. to play shortstop. (Photo credit JOHN MABANGLO/AFP/Getty Images)

Over the last three decades, the Major League Baseball All-Star Game has transformed from being simply a game to being a multi-day extravaganza where the game itself is simply one component. For that reason, the game has at times seemed to be anti-climatic, but has still produced some great memories.

After the National League dominated the competition throughout the 1960s and 1970s, including a stretch of 19 victories in 20 games, the rolls have completely reversed in recent years.

The American League has claimed 23 out of the last 30 meetings, including a 13 game winning streak between 1997 and 2009 as well as a current seven game winning streak

In this final installment of the three part series in which we have reminisced about some of the great moments, games and players in All-Star history, we look at the most memorable games of the last three decades. Here are links to part one from 1933-1959 and part two from 1960-1989.

July 10, 1990 (Wrigley Field, Chicago)
The addition of lights at Wrigley Field allowed for the All-Star Game to be played at the storied venue for the first time since 1962.

The lights came in handy as the game endured 85 minutes worth of rain delays, which made it difficult for either team to develop a rhythm or establish a consistent pitching rotation.

The American League used six pitchers and the National League went through nine hurlers in the contest.

The game was scoreless until a two-run double by Julio Franco gave the AL all the runs they needed in posting a 2-0 victory.

July 12, 1994 (Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh)
In one of the most exciting All-Star Games in recent memory, the lead changed hands five times before the National League pulled out the victory in the 10th inning.

The NL jumped to a 4-1 advantage before the AL stormed back to claim a 7-5 lead entering the bottom of the ninth.

Read the rest of this entry →

Alex Rodriguez: Is This Really How It Ends? 1

Posted on August 08, 2016 by Dean Hybl

The Alex Rodriguez era in New York will officially end on August 12th.

The Alex Rodriguez era in New York will officially end on August 12th.

It wasn’t supposed to end this way. Rather than completing his career in a generally meaningless game on a Friday night in August, Alex Rodriguez was supposed to exit either with a dramatic World Series performance or after eclipsing the “bogus” home run record of a disgraced cheater.

Instead, following a hastened Sunday morning press conference, Rodriguez will serve on the active roster for the Yankees only through August 12th before being released. While there is still a chance that he will be picked up by another team, the fact that he is still owed more than $25 million dollars over the next year means he will likely instead move to an advisor role with the Yankees.

It seems like forever ago, but it has actually only been eight years (2008) since Rodriguez was seen by most in baseball as the savior who would free the game from the purgatory of having Barry Bonds and his chemically supported body at the top of the prestigious career home run list.

Of course, we all know about his dramatic fall from grace. It started with a Sports Illustrated article and a somewhat confusing explanation in 2009 where Rodriguez admitted to taking PEDs given to him by a relative while with the Texas Rangers, but insisted it was a short-term thing and hadn’t significantly enhanced his performance.

While his explanation was hard for some to accept, for the most part people (most particularly Yankee fans) took it hook line and sinker. Especially when he overcame past playoff failures and helped lead the Yankees to a World Series title in 2009.

Interestingly, while Rodriguez still showed above average power for the next couple seasons, he never again hit .300 for a season (something he had done nine times between 1995 and 2008). He also started regularly missing time with injuries starting in 2009.

After reaching 30 home runs and 100+ RBI in 2009 and 2010, from 2011-2013 Rodriguez played in only 265 games (out of 486) and totaled only 41 home runs and 138 RBI in three years.

During this time, his insistence that using PEDs was not a regular part of his career also came into question as he was prominently mentioned in the investigation of the Biogenesis lab in Miami. It was his inclusion and supposed attempt to cover up his involvement that resulted in Major League Baseball coming down with a historic suspension that ultimately saw Rodriguez miss the entire 2014 season.

Despite some wondering whether the Yankees would want him back, the fact that they owed him $65 million guaranteed that he would return.

Playing almost exclusively as the designated hitter, Rodriguez actually had a solid season at the age of 39 in 2015. He appeared in 151 games, his most since 2007, and hit 33 home runs with 86 RBI. However, he struggled over the final two months of the season and went hitless as the Yankees lost the Wild Card Playoff Game. Read the rest of this entry →

Baseball Salaries Through the Years 5

Posted on August 15, 2014 by Felix Senett

 

Salaries in baseball, as in all sports, has exploded over the last 30 years.

Salaries in baseball, as in all sports, has exploded over the last 30 years.

Baseball as with other major sports in the US, has seen a huge rise in salaries over the last 100 years. This may come as no surprise to most, as you would expect salaries to rise with inflation, but sports stars’ salaries has risen far beyond this.

One man has conducted a study into these salaries over the years, with interesting conclusions. Professor Michael Haupert, who is the professor of economics at Wisconsin La Crosse, found some interesting patterns and trends, but the most surprising thing seems to be the lack of full data available to great a comprehensive report.

Despite financial information being more freely and readily available, there still seems to be a lack of recorded salaries on file for a lot of major league players. Hauperts study takes into account only 50% of players who have played at least one major league baseball game since 1874.

The study only takes into account actual salary details, excluding any bonuses. Even without taking any additional bonus earnings into account, it’s clear to see from Haupert’s study that earnings have increased exponentially since 1874.

The highest salary recorded for a player at time was $2,000. Of course this was still a large salary almost 150 years ago, but when compared with inflation, it works out as an annual salary of just over $41,000. This is a fairly modest earning for anyone, never mind top players today, like Alex Rodriguez who earned a whopping $29 million in 2013. Alex Rodriguez’ last annual salary would have been worth over $1 million in 1874 – a far cry from Fergus Malone’s salary at the time. In essence, Alex Rodriguez earned more per plate – $56,000 this year – than Malone did all year in 1874 (with calculated inflation).

Even Joe Dimaggio’s huge 1949 earnings of $100,000 is still worth under $1 million in today’s money. This means that even in the last 60 years, the salaries of major league baseball players has multiplied by over 300%. This is a huge rise not seen in any other profession outside of major league sports. Read the rest of this entry →

Alex Rodriguez Disaster Takes Focus Off The Field 9

Posted on August 10, 2013 by Dean Hybl

Alex Rodriguez has struggled in his return to the field.

Alex Rodriguez has struggled in his return to the field.

For all who simply want to talk more sports, the Alex Rodriguez debacle has not been good. Since the one-time sure Hall of Famer has become the latest poster child for the PED era in baseball, performance on the field of play has been overshadowed by the growing circus off the diamond.

It is hard to believe that just five years ago Rodriguez was seen as the savior who would save the baseball world from the “tainted” star who “stole” the home run record from Hank Aaron.

Now, Rodriguez is quickly replacing Barry Bonds and former pitcher Roger Clemens as the face of the steroids era.

Where once he was pointed out as the prototype for the 21st Century baseball star, there now seems to be enough doubt to wonder if Rodriguez was instead the 21st Century version of a test tube star. In recent weeks some have wondered if even the young Alex Rodriguez who emerged as a star at the age of 20 with the Seattle Mariners could have been enhanced through artificial means.

In hindsight, it could be considered a little fishy that Rodriguez hit .232 with five home runs and 19 RBI in 149 at bats in 1995 and then the following year won the AL batting title with a .358 average, 36 home runs and 125 RBI.

The following season he hit .300 with 23 home runs and 84 RBI, but starting in 1998 Rodriguez hit at least 30 home runs and drove in at least 100 runs every year for the next 13 seasons. During that time, he blasted at least 40 home runs eight times with three seasons of more than 50 homers. He also hit .300 or better seven times and never had a season with an average below .285. Read the rest of this entry →

Dallas Braden Adds Perfect Game to His “Handfull of Wins” 1

Posted on May 09, 2010 by Don Spieles

On April 22nd, the lead story after Dallas Braden’s 4-2 win over the Yankees was not Braden’s then 3-0 record or his 2.77 ERA.  Instead, the most savory tidbit for post-game was the altercation between Braden and Alex Rodriguez after A-Rod’s disrespectful stroll over the mound.  Whether it was the fact that they were playing in Oakland or Braden’s reverence for the nuances of the game and disdain for high-paid prima donnas, he told Rodriguez, “Stay the [expletive] off my mound.  A-Rod’s response (aside from claimed ignorance of the significance of his trespass) was to break a second unwritten rule by impugning the skills of his opponent by saying, ” I’d never quite heard that, especially from a guy that has a handful of wins in his career.”  Later, when asked about further comments made by Braden, A-Rod said, “I really don’t want to extend the 15 minutes of fame he already has.”

Box score from Braden's perfect game.

Grammar aside, Rodriguez’s hopes that Braden was going to be out of the papers crashed and burned on Sunday. During the Oakland’s Mother’s Day game against Tampa Bay , Dallas Braden went a long way to showing just how talented he can be and exactly who the pitcher’s mound at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum belongs to.  Braden became only the 19th pitcher in Major League Baseball history to throw a perfect game. Read the rest of this entry →

Hey A-Rod, Get Off My Mound! 1

Posted on April 24, 2010 by Don Spieles

Pitcher Dallas Braden did not like A-Rod's shortcut.

Pitcher Dallas Braden did not appreciate A-Rod's shortcut.

In the sixth inning of the Yankee-A’s game on Thursday, Alex Rodriguez was rounding second and realized the play was moot and he jogged back to first.  The problem was, he crossed directly over the pitcher’s mound.  Dallas Braden, the now 3-0 A’s starter took exception to A-Rod’s lack of respect for baseball etiquette, and he told him so.  A-Rod, for his part, waved Braden off with a swat of his hand, much like a pesky fly.

So, what of this baseball etiquette thing. The term refers to the unwritten rules of baseball.  Examples of these include the idea that sliding hard is OK, but coming in with spikes high is not, stealing bases and bunting are OK, unless your up by 8 runs.  Another is be happy when you hit a home run, but don’t stand and watch it leave or expect to get someone plunked, and yet another is (according to Dallas Braden) don’t run across the pitcher’s mound. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Early Wynn: 300 Game Winner
      August 1, 2020 | 8:37 pm
      Early Wynn

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month pitched in four decades, was a veteran of World War II and is one of only two pitchers to finish with exactly 300 career victories.

      Hall of Famer Early Wynn began his career as a 19-year old in 1939 by pitching three games for the Washington Senators. After spending the 1940 season in the minors, he went 3-1 with a 1.58 ERA in a brief stint in the majors in 1941.

      Read more »

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