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Sports Then and Now



Costly Baseball Thumb Injuries, Then And Now 0

Posted on November 22, 2017 by Joe Fleming
The Los Angeles Angels could not overcome the thumb injury suffered by star Mike Trout during the 2017 season.

The Los Angeles Angels could not overcome the thumb injury suffered by star Mike Trout during the 2017 season.

Considering that the wounds are relatively minor, a blistered or sprained thumb has caused considerable consternation in baseball over the years. In the 2017 season, a sprained thumb might have cost two teams each a playoff berth, and of course, there’s also that famous thumb injury in 1986 which arguably extended the Curse of the Bambino another twenty years.

Medically, a sprained thumb affects the tissue in either the interphalangeal joint (thumb knuckle) or metacarpophalangeal joint (thumb base). In addition to physical activity, arthritis often causes either a hyperextension (when the thumb moves backward) or hyperflexion (repetitive motion). A few simple exercises, and perhaps a thumb brace and a little ice, usually cure the problem. But alas, these measures were insufficient to change the course of history for these three teams:

2017 Los Angeles Angels

The World Series Champion Houston Astros eventually ran away with the American League West title in 2017, but in May, preseason favorite Los Angeles appeared to be in the driver’s seat. Then, in a May 28 loss that brought the team’s record under .500 for one of the first times that season, MVP candidate Mike Trout sprained his thumb. Read the rest of this entry →

Welcome to the 600 Club Albert Pujols 1

Posted on June 04, 2017 by Dean Hybl
Albert Pujols became the 9th player in MLB history to reach 600 career home runs with a blast against the Twins on June 3rd.

Albert Pujols became the 9th player in MLB history to reach 600 career home runs with a blast against the Twins on June 3rd.

While reaching a milestone home run number is not as earthshaking news in the world of Major League Baseball as it once was, that does little to negate the impressive achievement of longtime slugger Albert Pujols. With a grand slam home run Saturday night, he became just the ninth player in major league history to reach 600 career home runs.

When Pujols first joined the St. Louis Cardinals in 2001, Major League Baseball’s 600 home run club consisted of three members in Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) and Willie Mays (660) and had not added a new member in 30 years.

For multiple reasons that have been well chronicled, home run production has escalated in the last two decades and thus the number of players accumulating large career totals has also risen.

Beginning with Barry Bonds in 2002 and now including Pujols, six players have reached 600 home runs in the last 15 years. Bonds, who hit 509 home runs after turning 30 years old and 340 after turning 35, finished with a modern era record of 762. Alex Rodriguez completed his career with 696, Ken Griffey with 630, Jim Thome with 612 and Sammy Sosa with 609.

What is somewhat different for Pujols than the other five recent players is that he has reached the total through a long period of consistent numbers, without having one or two huge (50+) home run seasons.

During his 11 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, which included two World Series titles, Pujols finished in the top five in the MVP voting 10 times (three MVP Awards and ninth the other year) and hit at least 32 home runs every year with six seasons above 40 and a high of 49. He also had a .328 batting average for the Cardinals and drove home more than 100 runs 10 times. Read the rest of this entry →

Yankees and Angels Ride Brooms To The ALCS 4

Posted on October 12, 2009 by Don Spieles
Game 2 ALDS - Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Angels

Erick Aybar and the Angels swept the Red Sox to earn a date with the Yankees in the American League Championship Series.

With Halloween approaching, it seems only fitting that the Angels and Yankees should ride brooms into the ALCS, sweeping Minnesota and Boston respectively.  Based on those performances, baseball fans are in for a postseason that is markedly different from the recent past.

The Angels, who have left the dance early in ’04, ’07, and ’08 – all to the Red Sox – finally found a way to beat the Boston bunch.  Pitching turned out to be the answer for the Halos, held the sometimes potent Boston line-up to a .186 batting average as they blew past them for a berth in the ALCS.

John Lackey and Jered Weaver, combined for some impressive numbers over the first two games.  A combined ERA of .062, 7.1 innings in each of their starts allowed only one single run. And while Darren Oliver’s game three performance was lack luster, the Angels put together a come-from-behind win, compliments of a timely single by Vlad Guerrero.

Read the rest of this entry →

Angels Reach ALCS By Sweeping The Red Sox 3

Posted on October 11, 2009 by Dean Hybl
The Los Angeles Angels kept the Red Sox on their backs throughout their American League Playoff Series.

The Los Angeles Angels kept the Red Sox on their backs throughout their American League Playoff Series.

The Boston Red Sox offense finally found their bats, but the bullpen couldn’t hold a late lead as the Los Angeles Angels surprisingly completed a series sweep to end the 2009 season for the Sox.

It was a disappointing end to a season that was filled with peaks and valleys.

The Red Sox began the season seizing a lead of as many as five games in the American League East before injuries started to erode their pitching depth.

After slumping in July and early August, the Sox rebounded to clinch their sixth playoff appearance in the last seven seasons.

Read the rest of this entry →

American League Division Playoffs: Red Sox vs. Angels 1

Posted on October 05, 2009 by Dean Hybl
The Angels and Red Sox are familiar postseason foes as this will be the third straight season in which they have squared off.

The Angels and Red Sox are familiar postseason foes as this will be the third straight season in which they have squared off.

If something seems familiar about an American League Division Playoff matchup between the Los Angeles Angels and the Boston Red Sox, it isn’t your imagination. The Angels and Red Sox are meeting in the opening round of the playoffs for the third straight year and fourth time in six years.

The Angels are hoping that this time the final results will be different than in those three previous meetings. Boston swept the Angels out of the playoffs in 2004 and 2007 and then last season won the best of five series in four games with the only Los Angeles win coming in 12 innings in game three.

Both the Angels and Red Sox spent much of the 2009 season seemingly biding their time waiting for the playoffs to begin.
Read the rest of this entry →

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Bulldog Turner: Two-Way Star
      November 12, 2017 | 8:52 am
      Bulldog Turner

      Bulldog Turner

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was a two-way star for the dominant Chicago Bears teams of the 1940s.

      Though Hardin-Simmons College in Abilene, Texas was not known as a football power, legendary head coach George Halas could find great players anywhere and chose Clyde “Bulldog” Turner with the seventh pick in the 1940 NFL Draft.

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