By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, in awe of the Phillies’ power supply and, y’know, I picked the Phillies to win the World Series before the playoffs began.
—COOKIN’ ONE UP: Max Scherzer took the mound for the Texas Rangers for Game 3 of the ALCS after a 36-day layoff with shoulder tightness.
That brought back memories of the 2007 World Series, the only appearance there by the Colorado Rockies.
The Rockies were down three games to none to the Boston Red Sox. Rox manager Clint Hurdle, one of my all-time favorites, decided to pitch Hamilton’s Aaron Cook in Game 4 despite Cook’s 79-day layoff due to a right oblique injury.
Cook was 7-and-2 at the time of the injury and took that record into his World Series start. He gave Clint and the Rockies a quality start, three runs in six innings, but Boston won, 4-3, ending the World Series.
While at Hamilton High School, Cook gave up only one home run his entire career. It was to Kevin Youkilis of Cincinnati Sycamore High School and, of course, Youkilis made it to the majors. Youkilis was on the Boston roster and was a late-inning defensive replacement for first baseman David Ortiz, so didn’t face Cook.
—GOING SOLO: The Philadelphia Phillies should be drinking their Gatorade in the dugout out of red solo cups. The last 13 home runs the Phillies have hit in the post-season have been solo shots.
But they have been mighty effective, especially the ones hit in the first inning by Kyle Schwarber, Trea Turner and Bryce Harper that put the Diamondbacks quickly on the heels of their spikes.
The Phillies love to jump on first-pitch fastballs. They don’t take any wooden nickels and they don’t take called strike ones.
—QUOTE: From Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Preacher Roe on facing Hall of Famer Stan Musial: “Even when ah do strike out Musial, the wind from his swing blows me plomb off the mound.” (The D-Backs must feel the same way when Schwarber, Turner and Harper swing and miss.)
—WHERE’S THE BALL?: What would a memorabilia collector pay for the baseball Pittsburgh’s Bill Mazeroski hit for a Game 7 walk-off home run to beat the New York Yankees in 1960?
Probably about the same worth as King Nebuchadnezzar’s vast fortune.
The ball clearned the left field wall at Forbes Field and landed in Schenley Park. A young kid picked up the ball, tucked it into his pocket and walked home.
Did he get rich on it? Well, no. He and some buddies played with the ball on a sandlot the next spring. . .and lost it.
—ABSENTEE WRITER: All the years I covered baseball for the Dayton Daily News, I had a desk in the sports department. I never used it. My ‘office’ was baseball press boxes all over America, and sometimes Canada.
My old sports editor, Ralph Morrows, used to say, “Pop in the office once in a while so the other staffers can see what you look like.”
But I seldom did and felt guilty. . .until I read the advice sports columnist Red Smith told Roger Kahn on the day Kahn became a baseball writer for the New York Herald Tribune.
Said Smith, “There are only two excuses for a baseball writer to go to the office during the season. One is to drop off an expense account. The other is to pick up a paycheck.”
That’s what I did, Red, that’d what I did.
—A BROWNOUT: How good is the Cleveland Browns defense? About as stout and sturdy as the Hoover Dam. In their first five games they have given up only 52 first downs. For the mathematically challenged, that’s 10.4 a game.
—DOWN AND OUT: ESPN puts out a weekly column called The Bottom 10, where it makes fun of struggling college football teams.
UMass (1-7) is in the list and the Minutemen were paid $1.6 million to visit Happy Valley and take a 63-0 beating from Penn State. A large portion of that $1.6 million will go toward the purchases of crutches, casts, braces, bandages and painkillers.
Two schools from my youthful stomping grounds are on the list — Kent State (1-6), my alma mater, and Akron (1-6). The two Mid-American Conference schools are 10 miles apart.
They play each other November 1 and the loser plays UMass in the Toilet Bowl in Flushing, N.Y.
—THE BOOK WORM: Mark Purdy is no relation to 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy, but he called a great audible to me this week.
After reading how I am a voracious reader of baseball books (I have more than 200 on the shelves of my home office), the former Cincinnati and San Jose sports columnst, and great friend, suggested that I list some of my favorites.
So, I will. These are books that I have read and I’m sure there are some fantastic ones out there that I have not read. . .yet.
***The Baseball 100 (Joe Posnanski), K (Tyler Kepner), The Glory of Their Their Times, (Lawrence Ritter), Ball Four (Jim Bouton), The Boys of Summer (Roger Kahn).
***Oscar Charleston (Jeremy Beer), Showdown at Rickwood Field (Art Black), 3 Nights in August (Buzz Bissinger), The Summer Game (Roger Angell), No Cheering in the Press Box (Jerome Holtzman).
***Henry Aaron (Howard Bryant), Where Nobody Knows My Name (John Feinstein),
Sandy Koufax, A Lefty Legacy (Jane Leavy), Why We Love Baseball (Joe Posnanski), Ted Williams (Lee Montville).
Those are just 15 of my favorites, not necessarily in that order. And they are all hardcovers because I don’t like soft covers and I don’t like Kindles.
Can you tell I’m 83 years old?