OBSERVATIONS: Brewers Do Reds A Big Ol’ Favor

By Hal McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave and I know baseball is upon us because I actually see the sun shining brightly outside The Man Cave window.

—BREWERS HELP REDS: The Cincinnati Reds may not have done much to improve the starting pitchig staff, but sombody else helped them immensely.

Sometimes when other teams make a trade, it helps a team not involved in the transaction.

To that end, the Reds and VP/of Baseball Operations Nick Krall had to be doing an Irish Jig or a Polka when they heard what the Milwaukee Brewers did.

The Brewers traded their ace pitcher, Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes to the Baltimore Orioles. Not only did the Brewers weaken themselves, they traded Burnes not only out of the National League Central but out of the National League.

And, of course, the Brewers lost manager Craig Counsell to the Chicago Cubs. That won’t help the Reds. It just makes the Cubs better and the Brewers weaker.

The Brewers finished nine games ahead of the Cubs in the NL Central last season and the guess here is that they won’t be a major factor this season. So. . .Cubs or Reds?

—KNOCK ON WOOD: Remember Alex Wood pitching for the Cincinnati Reds? If you blinked twice you may have missed it.

He was part of a gigantic trade before the 2019 season that brought Wood, Kyle Farmer, Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig and cash to the Reds for Homer Bailey, Jeter Downs and Joshia Gray.

Farmer is the only one still with the same team. Wood was injured most of the 2019 season with the Reds, made only seven starts and was 1-3 with a 5.80 ERA.

After the season he was a free agent and the Reds let him walk and he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Why bring up Wood? He signed a one-year $8.5 million contract for the upcoming season with the Oakland A’s. Wouldn’t his veteran presence be useful for the Reds?

Maybe, maybe not. We’ll never know but let’s see how he does with the A’s.

—TWO FOR ONE: An old friend and Pete Rose advocate, Mark Fisher, pointed out to me, “Pete Rose has more hits (4,256) than Hall of Famers Scott Rolen and Joe Mauer combined.”

That’s true. Rolen (2,077) and Mauer (2,123) combined for 4,200 hits, 56 short of Peter Edward Rose.

Says Fisher, “Put Pete in the Hall of Fame.” Unfortunately, my friend, more than total hits are Hall of Fame considerations. And we all know what we’re talking about.

—IN HIS IMAGE: This one is the ultimate like father, like son and is something out of The Twilight Zone.

Both Cecil Fielder and his son, Prince Fielder, hit 319 career home runs. Now that’s bizarre enough, but also:

***Both hit 97 two-out home runs.

***Both had 49 fourth-inning home runs.

***Both had 27 fifth-inning home runs.

***Both had 18 ninth-inning home runs.

It is not known if both liked broccoli, spinach and asparagus.

—TWO FIRSTS FOR M.C.: When I arrived in Dayton in 1962 out of Kent State University, the Dayton Journal Herald sports staff was talking about M.C. “Mickey” McGuire.

McGuire is part of Dayton’s Black History Month. He was the first black quarterback to make All-City while he was at Dunbar.

And he was the first black from Dayton to make the majors. In 1962 he batted six times for the Baltimore Orioles.Then he spent five years in the minors before getting 17 more at bats with the O’s in 1967 and collected four hits.

Hey, he beat all odds by at least making the majors, even if it was for one-fourth of a cup of coffee.
—CASEY FROM KC: Never knew the derivation of ‘Casey,’ the name Charles Dillon (Casey) Stengel went by until I read about it.

Amazingly, it was in a column written in 1923 by New York columnist Damon Runyon after Stengel hit an inside-the-park home run to win the first game of the 1923 World Series for the New York Giants over the New York Yankees.

“In case you wonder, Stengel’s nickname comes from the fact he is from Kansas City. . .KC,” wrote. Runyon. I believe I was sitting three seats to Runyon’s left in the press box.

—QBs I HAVE KNOWN: At the risk of sounding like the curmudgeon who yells, “Get off my lawn,” I have something on my infertile mind about quarterbacks.

Why is it that the younger generation believes that Joe Namath invented the quarterback position? All the sports talk people, in purple and amethyst superlatives, debat who is the GOAT — Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, Joe Montana, Lamar Jackson, Dan Marino, Aaron Rodgers?

They forget there were legendary quarterbacks before the Super Bowl was born.

Off the top of my gray head, these names come to mind: Otto Graham, Sid Luckman, Sammy Baugh, Johnny Lujack, Frankie Albert, Y.A. Tittle, Bobby Layne, Tobin Rote, Johnny Unitas, Norm Van Brocklin, Bob Waterfield and Don Meredith.

Now get off my lawn.

—TRIVIAL TIDBITS (From readers):

This one is from Dave Parker (not the ballplayer): Two pitches have received Cy Young votes in the same season they lost 20 games. Who might they be?

Wilbur Wood was 24-20 in 1973 and received Cy Young votes. Phil Niekro was was 21-20 in 1979 and received Cy Young votes.

Hitters had to ‘knuckle’ under against Wood and Niekro. Both were knuckleball pitchers.

***This one is from avid reader Jeff Singleton: Who is the only player in MLB histroy to be traded for himself?

That would be catcher Harry Chiti Jr. In 1962 he was traded by the Cleveland Indians to the New York Mets for a player to be named later. That PTBNL was him. Later that season the Mets gave him to Cleveland, the PTBNL
—YOU CAN QUOTE ME: More “—“ from baseball folks:

From manager Lou Piniella when his Reds were performing poorly: “The only time we lose our concentration is when the umpire says play ball.”

From former pitcher Lefty Gomez: “When Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, he found six baseballs Jimmy Foxx hit off me.”

From catcher/broadcaster/comedia Bob Uecker: “In 1962, I was named Minor League Player of the Year. It was my second year in the big leagues.”

From many times manager Billy Martin, criticizing an umpire: “He is so incompetent he couldn’t be a crew chief on a sunken submarine.”

From pitcher Mike Flanagan: “I could never play in New York. The first time I got into the bullpen car for a ride to the mound they told me to lock the doors.”

From pitcher David Coles on being traded to Philadelphia: “That’s too bad. That’s the only team I can beat.”

From John Kruk, describing his raucous Phillies team that included Mormon Dale Murphy: “We’re 24 morons and a Mormon.”

From Pittsburgh general manager Larry Doughty: “Baseball is supposed to be a non-contact sport, but our hitters take it literally.”

From pitcher Dean Chance, who once struck me out three times in a high school game: “Some days you can throw a tomato through a brick wall and other days you can’t dent a piece of glass with a rock.”

From infielder Tim Flannery after he retired: “I’ve become a professional go-getter. My wife goes to work and I go get ‘er.”

—PLAYLIST NO. 15: So you thought my playlist might be Running on Empty (Jackson Browne)? Not even close:

Love Hurts (Nazareth), Faithfully (Journey), Keep On Lovin’ You (REO Speedwagon), Missing You (John Waite), Dancing In The Dark (Bruce Springsteen), The Living Years (Mike & The Mechanics), Turn The Page (Bob Segar), Lady (Kenny Rogers), Total Eclipse Of The Heart (Bonnie Tyler).

Peaceful Easy Feeling (Eagles), Mrs. Robinson (Simon & Garfunkel), You Don’t Bring Me Flowers (Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond), Kiss Me All Over (Exile), Southern Accents (Tom Petty), You Are The Reason (Colum Scott &Leana Lewis), Al I Have To Give (Charley Pride), Seven Spanish Angels (Willlie Nelson & Ray Charles).

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