OBSERVATIONS: He is not Darth Vader, He is Vada Pinson

By Hal McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, awaiting the pomp and circumstance of the Super Bowl. Why? Because once it is over, it is BASEBALL TIME.

—PLUGGING PINSON: Why has baseball evaded Vada Pinson for the baseball Hall of Fame. He isn’t Darth Vader. He was a baseball player with a lot of gloss.

Consider this, which the voters must have ignored or didn’t know: Pinson had three seasons of at least 200 hits, 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases. No other MLB player in history can make that claim.

Jose Altuve has done it twice and no other player did it more than once.

In our last episode, it was pointed out that Pete Rose had more hits than the combined total of Hall of Famers Scott Rolen and Joe Mauer.

I’m not picking on them because I voted for both Rolen and Mauer and believe they belong. But Vada Pinson’s placque should be hanging in Cooperstown right with them.

Pinson’s numbers are comparable and as far as hits go he has many more (2,757) than Rolen (2,077) and Mauer (2,123).

Vada’s other numbers: 256 homers, 1,169 RBI, .286 batting average. Rolen: 311 homers, 1,287 RBI, .281 batting average. Mauer: 143 homers, 923 RBI, .306 batting average.

—A JOLT FOR JOE: Speaking of the Hall of Fame, the voting baseball writers always take kicks in the pants for voting shortcomings. . .like ignorning Vada Pinson and Dave Concepcion.

But that’s nothing new. Grab a seat before you digest this: Joe DiMaggio did not make the Hall of Fame his first year on the ballot. Nor did he finish second or third. He finished fourth behind Dizzy Dean, Al Simmons and Bill Terry..Only Dean and Simmons made it.

When the Brookly Eaglen newspaper found Simmons at Hialeah Race Track in Miami to tell him, he kept saying, “Are you sure? Are you sure it’s me?”

DiMaggio should have made it just for marrying Marilyn Monroe, but he was included in the cass of 1955.

—SOAR WITH SOAR: With the Super Bowl creeping upon us, we send you back to 1938 and the pro football championship game between the Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants.

With a blinding storm piling up snow, a Packers guard named Buckets Goldenberg was heard to yell, “C’mon, guys. This game is for real dough. Big dough.”

But they lost, 23-17, in the Polo Grounds when Hank Soar caught a touchdown pass. Soar later became an American League umpire.

So, how much dough? Greenberg’s Packers each received $368.84 and Soar’s Giants won $506.45.

—PLAY FOR PAY: There is no doubt NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) and the transfer portal are turning college football into a messy morass, especially the mid-level schools who can’t pay athletes.

One example is Miami University, tucked away in the small hamlet of Oxford that makes one think of volunteer fire departments and justices of the peace.

Coach Chuck Martin guided the Redhawks to the Mid-American Conference Championship and a bowl appearance.

Then he lost three of his best players to the transfer portal because Power Five teams will pay them $250,000, $200,000 and $200,000.

“And six others were offered money to leave but say they are staying, but I check my text messages about every hour,” he said.

And does it work? One inside story is that Texas A&M supportors paid players close to $25 miillion last season and received a 7-6 record for their investment. And they paid coach Jumbo Fisher $75 million to skedaddle out of Texas and take his whistle and playbook with him.

—A ‘RICH’ NIGHT: Was fortrunate last Saturday to spend considerable time with former major league coach Rich Donnelly at Wright State University’s First Pitch dinner. His tear-jerking speech about the tragic deaths of his 17-year-old daughter to a brain tumor and his son that died after he was hit by a car had the Nutter Center floor as quiet as an ant walking on carpet.

Despite the tragedy in his life, Donnelly remains blessed with a deep sense of humor.

“One year with the Pittsburgh Pirates our team was so smal we had a shoe contract with Buster Brown,” he said. “And another team was so bad we considered a 2-and-0 count a rally.”

Donnelly coached for manager Billy Martin, noted heavy drinker, and was his designated driver, “Because I didn’t drink. Billy would drink Chivas Regal, one after another. The only thing it did was make him mean.”

Donnelly was standing next to Martin during the infamous marshmallow salesman incident. “This guy, the marshmallow salesman, walks up to Billy and says, ‘Ah, Billy Martin, tough guy. You don’t look so tough to me.’

“And he took a swing at Billy and then Billy knocked him out cold with one punch.”

If you haven’t seen the video with Donnelly talking about how the tragic events of his life affected him, check out ‘The Chicken Runs At Midnight’ on YouTube.

Have a handkerchief handy.

—QUOTES MACHINE: More gags and funny stuff from baseball people:

From catcher/broadcaster/humorist Bob Uecker on Philadelphia fans: “On off days, they go the airport and boo landings.”

From Pittsburgh pitching coach Don Osborne: “The only thing wrong with our pitchers is that they all have to pitch on the same night.”

From former outfielder/broadcaster Richie Ashburn, who used to wear me out on a clay tennis court: “The kid doesn’t chew tobacco, smoke, drink, curse or chase broads. I don’t see how he can possibly make it.”

From former pitcher Bill “Spaceman” Lee on how his team feels during a losing streak: “Our pain isn’t as bad as you might think. Dead bodies don’t suffer.”

From former pitcher/broadcaster Waite Hoyt on Babe Ruth’s ballpark eating habits: “If you cut that big slob in half, most of the concessions food at Yankee Stadium would pour out.”

From Former Reds catcher Dann Bilardello on Deion Sanders: “Down in Atlanta they have that guy they call Prime Time. In San Diego they call me No Time.”

From Clark Griffith, owner of the Washington Senators: “Fans like to see home runs and we have assembled a pitching staff for their enjoyment.”

From pitcher Curt Schilling on naming his dog Slider: “I can’t throw one, so I bought one.”

From former Reds pitcher Jose Rijo: “I can’t find my slider. I have to hire someone to find it for me. I’ve got to hire a detective guy.”

From pitcher Frank Tanana: “In the ‘70s I threw in the 90s. In the ‘90s I threw in the 70s.”

From Baltimore manager Earl Weaver on catcher Rich Dauer: “Rich Dauer is so slow we time him to first base with a calendar.”

From former Reds first baseman Harry Spilman on his lack of speed: “You can’t make a racehorse out of a mule.

From Ernie Fazio, when asked about using a lighter bat: “It’s lighter to carry back to the dugout after I strike out.”

From former Reds manager Dusty Baker on superstitions: “For five years in the minors I wore the same underwear and still hit .250, so, no, I don’t believe in that stuff.”


—PLAYLIST NUMBER 16: These songs were all One-Hit Wonders. Column A is songs I like and listen to. Column is songs I listened to once. . .and never again:

—COLUMN A: Angel In The Morning (Merilee Turner), To Know Him Is To Live Him (The Teddy Bears), Spirit In The Sky (Norman Greenbaum), Teen Angel (Mark Dunning), Wild Thing (The Trogs), MacArthur Park (Richard Harris), Little Star (The Elegants), Judy In Disguise (John Fred & The Playboy Band), Stranger On The Shore (Acker Bilt), Telstar (Tornados), Hooked On A Feeling (Blue Swede).

—COLUMN B: In The Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus), Winchester Cathedral (The New Vaudeville Band), Mother-In-Law (Ernie K-Doe), Alley-Oop (Hollywood Argyles), Wipeout (Safaris), Green Tambourine (The Lemon Pipers), Dominique (The Singing Nun), Harper Valley PTA (Jeanie C. Riley), Girl From Ipanema (Astrud Gilberto & Stan Getz), Mr. Custer (Larry Verne), Denise (Randy & The Rainbows), Venus (The Shocking Blue) Kung Fu Fighting (Carl Douglas), My Sharona (The Knack), Ring My Bell (Anita Ward), Afternoon Delight (Starland Vocal Band).


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