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Sports Then and Now



Calls To The Hall: The Morals Of Cooperstown 4

Posted on November 29, 2012 by Rick Swanson

When it comes to electing the upcoming class into the baseball Hall of Fame, we are going to either change the record books or let in everybody that cheated.

The fact that Roger Clemens is up for nomination is going to cause us to see who really gets in and who is left outside looking in with Pete Rose.

Watching Clemens when he was in New Britain, CT in 1983, there was talent on the mound, that had Cooperstown in my mind instantaneously.

That day when he threw a shutout to win the Eastern League Championship, I said “someday I will see him win the World Series for Boston.” When I went to Game Six in 1986, my dream was close to coming true.

He won 192 games in a Red Sox uniform and nobody has worn his number 21 since he left for Toronto in 1997.

The greatest pitcher in Red Sox history, and he threw it all away for a syringe a decade later

How could using PED’s in the 1995-2007 era be any different than those that used greenies from the 50′s until 2011?

We let Gaylord Perry in the HOF and he admits he cheated from day one.

Craig Nettles even had super balls come out of his bat, and how many times has cork been found inside one?

Cap Anson might have been the biggest bigot of his era, and he kept color out of baseball for 64 years, but baseball let him into Cooperstown.

Tom Yawkey did not have a man with color on his team until Pumpsie Green a decade after Jackie Robinson, but he too is enshrined.

Read the rest of this entry →

Clemens’ Mistrial is Perfect Ending to Baseball’s Steroid Era 8

Posted on July 16, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Roger Clemens was on trial for lying during a 2008 Congressional hearing.

Given that the “Steroid Era” in baseball has been built on a series of lies, accusations and uncertainties, it seems almost normal for baseball’s darkest era to come to an end with a mistrial in a federal courtroom that accomplished nothing and left as many questions as answers.

Ever since baseballs started flying out of stadiums at uncanny rates beginning in the early 1990s, the game of baseball has been in a civil war between those who believe in preserving the history and sanctity of the sport and those who saw the opportunity for greater success through artificial means.

This battle has left baseball with nearly two decades of inflated statistics and history that no one really knows what to do with.

Baseball purists have always pointed to the purity of statistics as being one of the components that make baseball special. For generations they contended that you could directly compare the statistics of players like Joe DiMaggio, Tris Speaker and Lou Gehrig with Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Sandy Koufax to legitimately determine the greatest players of all-time.

Now in reality that argument is unsupportable as each era has its own nuances that make it difficult to compare with other generations.

Frank “Home Run” Baker earned his nickname by leading the American League in home runs four consecutive years between 1911 and 1914. During those four seasons, he blasted a combined total of 42 home runs, including 9 to lead the league in 1914. Yes, NINE! He finished his 13-year career with 96 home runs and 103 triples.

Just a few years later, a giant lefthander pitcher named George Herman “Babe” Ruth switched from being one of the American League’s most dominant pitchers to being its greatest slugger. He led the AL with 11 home runs in just 95 games in 1918 and in his first full season playing in the field in 1919 set a new single season record with 29 home runs. He hit 54 home runs in 1920 and 59 the following year and in 1921 became MLB’s career a home run leader, a distinction he would hold until 1974. Read the rest of this entry →

Recent Stories Putting Black Eye on the Face of MLB 3

Posted on August 30, 2010 by Don Spieles

For as much as Bud Selig tries to make sure that Major League Baseball always puts its best foot forward, sometimes people just can’t seem keep from tripping him up. Here are four recent stories that make baseball look less then wonderful, one that centers on Selig, himself!

Nationals Handling of Steven Strasburg

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg throws against the Florida Marlins during the fourth inning of MLB National League baseball action in Washington in this August 10, 2010 file photo. According to the team's website, Strasburg has a significant tear in his ulnar collateral ligament will likely require Tommy John surgery, the team announced in a conference call on August 27, 2010. Picture taken August 10, 2010.  REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)As a friend said to me recently, “Well, that was short-lived.” He was, of course, speaking about Strasburg’s time on the MLB stage. Many (including your truly) predicted that Strasburg would not see the big show this year at all. Now that the young ace is scheduled for Tommy John surgery and will be missing possibly until the 2012 season, perhaps the Nationals brass is wishing that those predictions had proven accurate.

You certainly don’t have to look far to find success stories related to what is perhaps the most well known surgical procedure after a tonsillectomy. Some notable names who have made the papers after the procedures include Kenny Rogers, Tim Hudson, Chris Carpenter, John Smoltz, and Mariano Rivera. There is no reason to be overly pessimistic about Strasburg’s furture.

The bottom line is that his career need not have started with this setback. They monitored his pitches, innings, and all of that. But what was not taken into account (or so it would seem) is that there is a huge difference in throwing in front of 5,000 fans in a minor league game, and then throwing in front of 50,000 fans on a national stage. Especially when the pitcher in question throws as hard as Starsburg does. Read the rest of this entry →

Waiting For The Weekend: Egos the Size of Texas 0

Posted on December 11, 2009 by Dean Hybl
Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones attends game against the New York Giants

Jerry Jones seems bound and determined to ruin the NFL.

Boy there seems to be a lot of sports news these days about players, coaches and owners who seem to think they are exempt from the laws of common sense to which the rest of us must live. Of course, when our own Congress doesn’t seem to understand where sports should be among our national priorities, how can you expect anyone else?

Goodbye NFL

With their decision this week to discontinue the revenue sharing plan among NFL teams and the seeming likelihood that the NFL will play the 2010 season without a salary cap, I think it is now safe to say that the golden era of the NFL is officially over.

For decades, the league was able to fend off the attempts of owners such as Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys to hoard as much money as possible and put smaller market teams at a disadvantage.

However, with the union seemingly vulnerable and owners looking to take back some of the concessions they have given over the years, this seems to be a perfect opportunity for Jones and company to ensure that teams like St. Louis, Buffalo and Kansas City stay down. Read the rest of this entry →

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    • Rod Carew: Hitting Machine
      July 5, 2014 | 3:42 pm
      Rod Carew

      Rod Carew

      With the Major League All-Star Game being played this year in Minnesota, we recognize as the July Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month one of the best hitters of the last half a century who was named to 18 straight All-Star teams, including in each of his 12 seasons with the Twins.

      Few have been as good at the craft of hitting a baseball as Rod Carew. During 19 major league seasons, Carew won seven batting titles and hit .330 or better ten times.

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