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Sports Then and Now



Willie Mays and Orlando Cepeda: Baseball Legends Remembered 0

Posted on July 02, 2024 by Dean Hybl
Longtime teammates Orlando Cepeda and Willie Mays both passed away in June 2024.

Willie Mays and Orlando Cepeda, two iconic members of the Baseball Hall of Fame and longtime teammates with the San Francisco Giants passed away within 10 days of each other in late June.

From their early days in the sport to their contributions on and off the field, Mays and Cepeda’s journeys were defined by talent, resilience, and a deep love for baseball.

Willie Mays: The Say Hey Kid

Willie Howard Mays Jr., born on May 6, 1931, in Westfield, Alabama, emerged as one of the greatest all-around players in baseball history. His journey to stardom began in the Negro Leagues before he signed with the New York Giants (later moving with them to San Francisco) at the age of 20. Mays made his MLB debut on May 25, 1951, quickly demonstrating his exceptional skills as a center fielder and hitter.

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Happy 90th Birthday Willie Mays 1

Posted on May 06, 2021 by Dean Hybl
Shown celebrating his 41st birthday in 1972, the great Willie Mays turns 90 years old today!

The beauty of sports is that even though his birth certificate tells us that Willie Mays turns 90 years old today, our minds can still remember the “Say Hey Kid” as the young superstar with a smile and personality that could light up New York and who possessed enough talent to fill up a baseball stadium.

You can argue about who was the greatest baseball player of all-time, but there is little doubt that Mays is on the short list for any discussion.

Mays was the rare player who could win games with his bat, glove and legs.

After earning Rookie of the Year honors in 1951, Mays missed most of the 1952 season and all of the 1953 season while serving in the military.

When he returned in 1954, Mays began a streak of 19 straight years earning an All-Star spot as he won the first of his two National League MVP Awards.

During his career, Mays led the league in runs, hits, triples, home runs, stolen bases, batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage.  He was the first player in baseball history to steal 30 bases and hit 30 home runs in the same season.

Read the rest of this entry →

2016 MLB Preview: Is It the Year of the San Francisco Giants (Again)? 1

Posted on April 03, 2016 by Dean Hybl

Madison Bumgarner will look to build on his 18 win season of 2015 as the Giants look for their fourth World Series title of the decade.

Madison Bumgarner will look to build on his 18 win season of 2015 as the Giants look for their fourth World Series title of the decade.

Since winning their first World Series in 56 years back in 2010, the San Francisco Giants have become the kings of the even year in Major League Baseball. It is an even year, so does that mean it is again time for the Giants to win the World Series?

Though the Giants posted a respectable 84-78 record last season, they were well off the pace of the playoffs as they finished eight games behind the division winning Los Angeles Dodgers and 13 games out of a Wild Card spot.

Their past championship teams have been built on a foundation of strong pitching and that will certainly have to be the case again if they hope to make a run in 2016.

The addition of Johnny Cueto would appear to be a great move in that direction. Though he finished 2015 with an 11-13 record and struggled during his tenure with the World Champion Royals, Cueto should benefit from returning to the National League this season. He registered an ERA under three runs a game in each of his final five seasons with the Cincinnati Reds (including 2.62 before being traded to KC in 2015).

In addition, Jeff Samardzija is back in the National League after posting an 11-13 record with 4.96 ERA pitching for the Chicago White Sox in 2015. Though he has registered only one winning season during his career, Samardzija has shown signs of greatness and should benefit from being part of a solid rotation.

The remainder of the staff includes three pitchers with All-Star pedigrees. Madison Bumgarner was 18-9 with a 2.93 ERA last season and is the clear staff ace. Jake Peavy was 8-6 with a 3.59 ERA in 19 starts last season.

Matt Cain has struggled the last three seasons, but if he is able to regain the form he showed while winning 55 games between 2009 and 2012 he will be a great end of the rotation anchor for the Giants.

The position lineup is led by perennial All-Star catcher Buster Posey. The 2012 MVP has been a steady performer since missing most of the 2011 season due to a horrific home plate collision. He has played at least 147 games in each of the last four years and in 2015 hit .318 with 19 home runs and 95 RBI. Read the rest of this entry →

Happy 80th Birthday Willie Mays 0

Posted on May 06, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Happy 80th birthday to the "Say Hey Kid".

The beauty of sports is that even though his birth certificate tells us that Willie Mays turns 80 years old today, our minds can still remember the “Say Hey Kid” as the young superstar with a smile and personality that could light up New York and who possessed enough talent to fill up a baseball stadium.

You can argue about who was the greatest baseball player of all-time, but there is little doubt that Mays is on the short list for any discussion.

Mays was the rare player who could win games with his bat, glove and legs.

After earning Rookie of the Year honors in 1951, Mays missed most of the 1952 season and all of the 1953 season while serving in the military.

When he returned in 1954, Mays began a streak of 19 straight years earning an All-Star spot as he won the first of his two National League MVP Awards.

During his career, Mays led the league in runs, hits, triples, home runs, stolen bases, batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage.  He was the first player in baseball history to steal 30 bases and hit 30 home runs in the same season. Read the rest of this entry →

Year of the Pitcher Ends with Giants’ Victory 2

Posted on November 03, 2010 by Dean Hybl

Tim Lincecum capped the "Year of the Pitcher" with eight strong innings in the final game of the World Series.

In a perfect ending to the “Year of the Pitcher”, the San Francisco Giants received back-to-back great pitching performances to secure the first World Series title for the franchise since 1954.

It wasn’t quite the showing of the 1966 Baltimore Orioles, who held the Los Angeles Dodgers without a run for the last 33 innings of their series sweep, but it was almost that impressive given that the Rangers were among the top offensive teams in baseball in 2010.

In holding the Rangers to five runs over the last four games, with four of them coming in their only victory of the series, the Giants demonstrated exactly what took them from floundering team to World Series champion over the final three months of the season.

After seeing their record fall to 41-40 on July 4th, the Giants rallied to go 51-30 over the final three months of the season. During that stretch, 20 of their victories were in games in which their pitching staff held the opponents either scoreless or to one run.

Though Tim Lincecum will not claim a third consecutive Cy Young Award, the performance of the young hurler during the World Series proved that he is indeed a staff ace. Read the rest of this entry →

Willie Mays – The Say Hey Kid 0

Posted on July 10, 2010 by Dean Hybl

Willie Mays

We recognize as the July Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month a player who is always on the short-list of greatest players in Major League Baseball history. Willie Mays is one of three players (along with Hank Aaron and Stan Musial) to earn 24 All-Star appearances.

After earning Rookie of the Year honors in 1951, Mays missed most of the 1952 season and all of the 1953 season while serving in the military.

When he returned in 1954, Mays began a streak of 19 straight years earning an All-Star spot as he won the first of his two National League MVP Awards.

Mays was the rare player who could win games with his bat, glove and legs. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Dale Murphy: A Hallmark of Excellence
      July 2, 2024 | 1:53 pm
      Dale Murphy

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was a standout player of the 1980s, remembered not only for his exceptional skills on the field but also for his exemplary character and sportsmanship.

      Born on March 12, 1956, in Portland, Oregon, Dale Murphy’s journey to becoming one of the most respected players in baseball history is a testament to dedication, perseverance, and a genuine love for the game.

      Early Career and Rise to Prominence

      Murphy was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the first round of the 1974 MLB Draft. He made his Major League debut on September 13, 1976, at the age of 20. Initially a catcher, Murphy transitioned to the outfield early in his career, where he would solidify his place as one of the premier outfielders of his era.

      Read more »

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