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Sports Then and Now



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 →

Remembering Major League Baseball’s Mr. November Derek Jeter 0

Posted on November 01, 2015 by Mike Raffone

MIKE sports comic Mr. November

This athlete tops the charts as one of Major League Baseball’s most admired and respected players ever.

In addition to Derek Jeter’s Captain Clutch nickname, the former New York Yankee also came to be known as Mr. November.

Jeter got the name through unique circumstances surrounding the postponement of the 2001 World Series.

He not only earned his own separate month on the calendar in Major League Baseball lore, but he also will be remembered as one of the greatest players and most trustworthy athletes of his generation.

It’s only fitting that we honor him on this first day of the month of November.

Due to the shocking September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City, the Fall Classic between the New York Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks was delayed. Games were pushed back until late October. The Yankees won Game 4 of the series when Derek Jeter hit a walk-off home run in the 10th inning. This extra-inning game took place for the first time during the month of November. The Yankee Stadium scoreboard recognized Jeter’s historic moment and immediately called him Mr. November.

Historically, Jeter excelled in the post-season where he won five World Series championships and batted an impressive .351. The Yankee shortstop also played in a total of 152 post-season games. During that time, he made 679 plate appearances and collected 191 hits. No wonder why Derek Jeter was known for being clutch.

In addition to his remarkable post-season statistics, Jeter served as a terrific role model during his 20 years with the New York Yankees. The Yankee great is expected to be a first ballot Hall of Fame inductee.

This 1996 American League Rookie of the Year and 2000 World Series Most Valuable Player made 14 All-Star appearances. Mr. November’s also collected five Silver Slugger Awards and won five Gold Gloves.

Legendary baseball coach Don Zimmer appropriately called Jeter “the all-time Yankee.” Upon retiring last year, Jeter ranked as the all-time New York Yankees leader in hits, games played, stolen bases and at bats.

Over and above his baseball exploits, Derek Jeter’s leadership and ever present smile made him one of the most successful product spokesmen in sports.

Global brands like Nike, Gillette, Ford, VISA and Gatorade paid Mr. November handsomely to endorse their products – no matter what month of the year.

MIKE on sports!

35 Years Ago: Yankees Lose Captain in Shocking Accident 6

Posted on August 02, 2014 by Dean Hybl

It was 35 years ago that New York Yankees captain Thurman Munson died in a plane accident.

It was 35 years ago that New York Yankees captain Thurman Munson died in a plane accident.

While current New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter has spent much of this season saying good bye to baseball fans across the country, it was 35 years ago that another Yankees captain left the game in a sudden and tragic manner.

On August 2, 1979, the two-time defending World Series Champion New York Yankees were struggling to stay in contention in the American League East. Despite having completed a must-needed three game sweep the day before with a 9-1 win over the Chicago White Sox, the Yankees stood in fourth place in the division 14 games behind the first place Baltimore Orioles.

A much needed off day, it would prove to be one of the toughest in team history.

After the three game series in Chicago, Yankee captain and veteran catcher Thurman Munson chose to spend the off-day in his hometown of Canton, Ohio, rather than travel back to New York.

An 11-year veteran, Munson had been the fourth pick of the 1968 MLB Draft and in 1970 was named the American League Rookie of the Year. Over the next decade, Munson was considered the “heart and soul” of the Yankees as they looked to regain the glory of past decades.

In April of 1976, a season that would end with the first World Series appearance for the Yankees in a dozen years, Munson became the first New York player to be designated as team captain since the retirement of Lou Gehrig in 1939.

Munson was a seven-time All-Star and in 1976 was named the American League MVP. He posted three straight seasons of 100+ RBIs from 1975-77 and had five seasons with a .300 or higher batting average. Read the rest of this entry →

Losing Derek Jeter Hurts the Yankees and Major League Baseball 0

Posted on October 14, 2012 by Dean Hybl

The Yankees lost Derek Jeter for the rest of the season with a broken ankle in the 12th inning of game one of the ALCS.

The New York Yankees suffered two significant losses in opening game of the League Championship Series. Not only did the Yankees drop a 6-4 decision in 12 games to the Detroit Tigers, but they also lost their captain, Derek Jeter, for the rest of the season with a broken ankle. Losing Jeter is not just a major blow to the chances for the Yankees, but also a huge loss for Major League Baseball.

Even for baseball fans whose two favorite teams are the squad they follow and then whoever is playing the Yankees, this isn’t the way you want to see the Yankees go down. Only fans that have far crossed the line can be pleased to see the symbol of the franchise for the last 15+ years lying on the ground agonizing in pain.

In an era where star power is a major driver of fan interest, Derek Jeter has been among the steadiest players in the game. Though he has never been the league MVP or posted lofty power statistics, Jeter has been a key member of five World Series Champions and collected more than 3,000 career hits. In just the last few weeks some were debating whether he might be the one to break the all-time hit mark held by Pete Rose.

After Jeter went down while diving for a ground ball in the 12th inning of the opening game against the Tigers the thoughts are no longer about potential records, but instead of what baseball will be like without the Yankee captain.

That is something the Yankees have little time to digest as they will be back in action today for game two against the Tigers and must try to overcome not just his loss, but also the fact they are trailing in the series. Read the rest of this entry →

New York Yankees Finally Get a Member of the 3,000 Hit Club 3

Posted on July 09, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Derek Jeter is only the 28th player in baseball history to reach 3,000 career hits.

Given how much money they have spent to acquire the best players from across baseball over the last century, it is ironic that the first player to reach 3,000 hits as a member of the New York Yankees has spent his entire career in Yankee pinstripes.

It didn’t take Derek Jeter long after coming off the disabled list last Monday to get the last six hits needed to reach the prestigious milestone. With a home run in the third inning Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays (part of a 5-hit day that also included the game-winning RBI), Jeter became the first player to reach 3,000 hits since Craig Biggio in 2007 and joined Wade Boggs as the only players to hit a home run to reach the plateau.

It is likely that the next player to reach 3,000 hits will also be a Yankee as Alex Rodriguez is within reach at 2,762 career hits. Though a pair of future Hall of Famers, Ivan Rodriguez (2,842 hits) and Omar Vizquel (2,831) are currently ahead of A-Rod, both are nearing the end of their careers and seem unlikely to stick around long enough to join the club.

Now that he has become the 28th player in baseball history to reach this milestone, it is interesting to analyze where Jeter stands in the pantheon of Yankee and all-time greats. Read the rest of this entry →

Baseball All-Star Selection Process Hasn’t Improved Over Time 2

Posted on July 04, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Derek Jeter will be starting in the 2011 All-Star Game despite hitting .260 with 20 RBI.

Despite continual tweaking designed to make the process as fair and consistent as possible, the selections for the 2011 Major League Baseball All-Star Game follow the history of rewarding past accomplishments and dominant teams while overlooking a number of deserving players.

Selecting the players for the All-Star Game has been a challenge for generations.

The most egregious example of exploiting the system occurred in 1957 when ballot stuffing in Cincinnati led to the Reds having the top vote getter at seven of eight field positions. Eventually, two of the players were replaced in the lineup and fans lost the right to vote for the All-Star starters for slightly more than a decade.

Since fan voting was restored in 1970, the biggest problem has not been ballot stuffing, but instead a tendency for fans to vote some of their favorite players into the lineup regardless of whether they were having the best year of a player at that position.

Some all-time greats, including Brooks Robinson, Rod Carew, Wade Boggs, Reggie Jackson, Cal Ripken Jr., Ozzie Smith and Johnny Bench continued to be selected by the fans even in years when they were clearly not the best player at their position.

The unintended consequence of this desire to see certain fan favorites is that other deserving players don’t get the recognition of being All-Star starters in years when they were obviously the best player at their position.

One such example was first base for the American League during the late 1970s and early 1980s. After moving from second base, where he was an eight time starter, Rod Carew was voted by the fans as the starting first baseman every year from 1976 through 1984. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Matt Snell: Super Bowl Hero
      December 24, 2020 | 4:06 pm
      Matt Snell

      The Vintage Sports Then and Now Athlete of the Month was the key weapon behind the most important upset in pro football history.

      While Joe Namath was the face of the 1968 New York Jets and Super Bowl III, Matt Snell was the backbone of the New York offense and primary weapon during the shocking victory.

      In many ways, the foundation for the 1968 championship squad started to be built in the 1964 AFL Draft when the Jets selected Snell, a star at Ohio State, with the third pick in the first round. Occurring at the height of the AFL-NFL player war, Snell was also drafted by the New York Giants in the 4th round of the NFL Draft (49th overall pick).

      Read more »

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