Sunday, June 21, 2009

Quick MLB Tidbits II

A few things of note in MLB.

On May 29th, the Colorado Rockies fired manager Clint Hurdle. The Rockies had a record of 18-28 and were 14½ games back of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. Since Jim Tracy took over the reins of the team the Rockies have gone 18-5. In fact, they have won 16 of their last 17 games. Granted the Rockies are still 9½ games back of the Dodgers but they are now a contender for the NL Wild Card. Frankly, I didn't think the Rockies would do very much under Tracy but then again what do I know?

Philadelphia Phillies slugger Ryan Howard was not in the lineup against the Baltimore Orioles this afternoon due to flu like symptoms. He had played in 343 consecutive games going back to 2007. To give you an idea of how impressive Cal Ripken, Jr's consecutive games streak of 2,632 is Howard would have to have had played another 12 years without missing a game to match it. Fortune shined on Cal Ripken, Jr. as he never came down with the flu or any sustained any other serious malady during the nearly 17 seasons the streak lasted.

Tony LaRussa collected his 2,500th win as a major league manager as the St. Louis Cardinals prevailed over the Kansas City Royals 12-5 this afternoon. LaRussa has been managing major league baseball for more than 30 years. He has been managing as long as I've been watching the game. LaRussa needs 263 more wins to match John McGraw for second place on the all time managerial wins list. He turns 65 in October and his contract with the Cardinals expires at the end of the season. If LaRussa doesn't re-sign with the Cardinals he'll be managing somewhere. Baseball would be very strange if he weren't standing a dugout somewhere.

So who has the most wins as a major league manager? Connie Mack won 3,731 games as manager of the Philadelphia Athletics over 53 seasons. LaRussa will never match that mark unless he manages until he is 85. Mack managed the Athletics until he was 87. Then again Mack also owned the team. How else could a manager get away with finishing in last place in the AL 17 times? Simultaneous ownership and on-the-field management is now prohibited by MLB. If the name sounds familiar his grandson, Connie Mack III, was a Republican Senator in Florida for more than a decade and his great-grandson, Connie Mack IV, has served in the House of Representatives since 2004.

Finally, I am pleased to note that Jon Miller has returned to the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball telecast after a two week absence. Miller rejoined tonight's broadcast of the interleague game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. No reason was given for his absence. I suppose it doesn't matter now. It is satisfaction enough that he is back in the broadcast booth. But if he were to leave the telecast altogether then Sundays would never be the same.

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