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Archive for the ‘Baseball’ Category

1976 REDS VERSUS 1927 YANKEES

Posted by Tim Bryce on July 20, 2015

BRYCE ON BASEBALL

– Which was the best team in Major League Baseball?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

One of the favorite arguments among baseball aficionados is, “What Major League team is considered the greatest of all time?” Inevitably, the 1976 Cincinnati Reds is matched against the 1927 New York Yankees, two great teams from different eras. First, I would like to make my case for the Reds as I was fortunate to have watched them during the 1970’s. I also have a fondness for the Yankees, particularly this legendary group from the 1920’s who dominated the baseball world in their heyday.

1976 Cincinnati Reds – nicknamed “The Big Red Machine” (1970-1976)
Won two back-to-back World Series titles (1975-1976). Was in the World Series four times during this period. The team’s combined record from 1970-1976 was 683 wins and 443 losses, an average of nearly 98 wins per season. In 1976, their record was 102-60, a record for the time. During the 1976 All-Star Game, the Reds dominated by having five players in the starting line-up, Bench, Rose, Morgan, Foster, and Concepción. Also in 1976, they swept the New York Yankees in the World Series 4-0, with an accumulated score of 22-8.
The team was best known for its speedy offense and “Gold Glove” defense.

Starting players:

Johnny Bench (C) –
Hall of Fame. Reds retired his number, 5
1970 and 1972 NL MVP (same years the Reds went to the World Series).
1976 World Series MVP.
MLB All-Century Team.
MLB All-Time Team.
All-Time Rawlings Gold Glove Team.
14 time All Star.
10 time Gold Glove.
1970 NL HR Champ (45)
1972 NL HR Champ (40)
NL Rookie of the Year (1968).
Career HR: 389.
Career RBI: 1,376.
Lou Gehrig Memorial Award.
Babe Ruth Award.
Hutch Award.
In 1976, 16 HR, 74 RBI.

Dave Concepción (SS) –
Reds retired his number, 13.
9 time All Star; MVP (1982).
5 time Gold Glove winner.
In 1976, .281 average, 21 stolen bases.

George Foster (LF) –
1977 NL MVP.
5 time All Star; MVP (1976).
2 time NL home run champ (1977, 1978).
3 time NL RBI champ (1976-1978).
Silver Slugger Award (1981).
In 1976, .306 average, 172 hits, 29 HR, 121 RBI.

César Gerónimo (CF) –
Four consecutive Gold Glove Awards from 1974 to 1977
In 1976, .307 average, 22 stolen bases.

Ken Griffey (RF) –
3 time MLB All-Star; MVP in 1980
In 1976, .336 average, 189 hits, 34 stolen bases.

Joe Morgan (2B) –
Hall of Fame. Reds retired his number, 8.
1975 and 1976 NL MVP (same years the Reds won the World Series).
10 time All Star; MVP (1972).
5 time Gold Glove.
Silver Slugger Award.
In 1976, .320 average, 151 hits, 60 stolen bases.

Tony Perez (1B) –
Hall of Fame. Reds retired his number, 24.
7 time All-Star; MVP 1967.
Lou Gehrig Memorial Award.
Career HR: 379.
Career RBI: 1,652.
In 1976, 19 HR, 91 RBI.

Pete Rose (3B) “Charlie Hustle” –
1973 NL MVP.
1975 World Series MVP.
17 time All Star. Won 1970 All-Star Game.
2 time Gold Glove.
Silver Slugger Award.
3 time batting champion (Silver Bat Awards).
Career Hits: 4,256 (MLB Hits King).
NL hitting streak record (44).
NL Rookie of the Year (1963).
MLB All-Century Team.
Lou Gehrig Memorial Award.
Roberto Clemente Award.
Most seasons of 200 or more hits – 10 (shared).
Only player in major league history to play more than 500 games at five different positions – 1B (939), LF (671), 3B (634), 2B (628), RF (595)
And many other MLB records.
In 1976, .323 average, 215 hits.

Gary Nolan (P) –
1972 All Star.
Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame.

Sparky Anderson – Manager –
Hall of Fame. His #10 was retired in Cincinnati.
3 times World Series champion; twice with the Reds and once with the Detroit Tigers.
He was the first manager to win championships in both the National and American Leagues.
American League Manager of the Year in 1984 and 1987.

The unsung hero of the Reds was their General Manager, Bob Howsam, who helped engineer the team. As GM, he built up the club’s farm system, producing players such as Concepcion and Griffey. In 1971, he crafted a deal with the Houston Astros which brought Morgan, Foster and Geronimo to the Reds. He was also the man who replaced veteran manager Dave Bristol with an unknown, Sparky Anderson.

1927 New York Yankees – nicknamed “Murderers’ Row” (1926–1928)
Won two back-to-back World Series titles (1927-1928). Was in the World Series three years in a row.In 1927, their record was 110–44, a record for the time.Also in 1927, they swept the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series 4-0, with an accumulated score of 23-10.
The team was best known for its awesome batting.

Starting players:

Pat Collins (C) –
Capable catcher but was traded after the 1927 season.
In 1927, .275 average.

Earl Combs (OF) –
Hall of Fame by Veterans Committee.
Lead off batter.
In 1927, .356 average, 231 hits.

Joe Duggan (3B) –
Finished his career with a .957 fielding percentage as a third baseman.
In 1927, .269 average.

Lou Gehrig (1B) “The Iron Horse” –
Hall of Fame. First player to have his uniform number retired in MLB, 4.
1927 AL MVP, same year as winning the World Series, and 1936.
7 time All Star.
Triple Crown winner (1934).
AL Batting Champ (1934).
Career HR: 493.
Career RBI: 1,993.
Gehrig played 2,130 consecutive games, a record that lasted several years until Cal Ripkin, Jr. or the Orioles broke it in 1995.
MLB All-Century Team.
MLB All-Time Team.
In 1927, .373 average, 47 HR, 175 RBI.

Mark Koenig (SS) –
Batting a team-leading .500 in the 1927 World Series.
In 1926, .285 average, 150 hits, led the AL in errors (47).

Tony Lazzeri (2B) –
Hall of Fame (posthumously by Veterans Committee).
1 time All Star.
Considered one of the top hitting second basemen of his era.
In 1927, .309 average, 102 RBI.

Bob Muesel (OF) –
AL Home run champion (1925).
AL RBI Champion (1925).
In 1927, .337, 174 hits.

Babe Ruth (OF) “The Bambino,” “The Sultan of Swat” –
Hall of Fame. Yankees retired his number, 3.
2 time All Star.
1923 AL MVP.
AL Batting Champion (1924).
AL ERA Champion (1916).
Career HR: 714.
Career RBI: 1,992.
Played on 7 World Series Champion Teams.
Named the greatest baseball player of all time in various surveys and rankings.
MLB All-Century Team.
MLB All-Time Team.
In 1927, .356 average, 60 HR.

Wayte Hoyt (P) –
Hall of Fame by Veterans Committee.
In 1927, 22 game winner, most in AL.

Miller Huggins – Manager
3 times World Series champion with the Yankees.

When you look at the statistics between the two teams, an interesting picture emerges:

STATS BY STARTING LINEUPS

1927 YANKEES 1976 REDS
HITS 1,314 1,284
RBI 749 652
HR 151 118
SB ? 186
SO* 308 525
ERA* 3.192 3.064

* OF THE STARTING ROTATION

1927 YANKEES 1976 REDS
HALL OF FAMERS 4* 4
MVP 2 (3 years) 4 (for 6 years)
ALL-STARS 3 7 (5 became MVP) (69 appearances in total)
ALL-CENTURY 2 2
ALL-TIME 2 1
GOLD GLOVE** N/A 5 (26 GG total)

* Two were awarded by the MLB Veterans Committee.

** Gold Glove started in 1957, after the 1927 Yankees.

From the statistics, the Yankees had a definite edge in terms of batting, which explains how they received the nickname “Murderers’ Row.” Pitchers were simply intimidated by them. Both Ruth and Gehrig had superlative seasons in 1927, particularly in terms of slugging. In addition, five players of the starting rotation batted over .300.

The Reds also had five players of the starting rotation batting over .300, but they also had speed, defense and balanced pitching. Whereas the talent of the Yankees was primarily vested in Ruth, Gehrig, Combs, and Lazzeri, the Reds represent a more complete team of talent.

In reality, this is not about which team is better, but instead, it denotes the attributes of a great team. Both the Reds and the Yankees had truly great players, great coaching, discipline on the field, but also knew how to have fun. Any differences or opposing attitudes were put aside for the sake of the team.

The key though was their ability to play as a cohesive unit, where each player watched the back of the other. This is also a fine example of leadership, where the great players inspired the others to play at a higher level. As role models, they set an example for others to emulate. For example, the friendly competition between sluggers Ruth and Gehrig, resulted in Ruth hitting his record 60 home runs in 1927, and Gehrig gathering 175 RBI. This helped push others like Combs to collect 231 hits, and Muesel and Lazzeri to collect over 100 RBI each.

On the Reds side, players like Bench, Rose, Morgan and Perez led the team. On the field, Bench was the field general who controlled the game. From his vantage point behind home plate, he could see everything and instructed the defense accordingly. Rose and Morgan were the spark plugs who charged the machine into action, and Perez was a mentor to the younger players.

It was much more than just talented players, both teams were examples of leadership determined to achieve greatness.

Regardless whether you prefer the Reds or Yankees, we will probably never see the likes of such teams again in our lifetime.
Keep the Faith!Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field.

He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE USDA’S SYSTEM SNAFU – Another example of government waste and incompetence in building systems.

LAST TIME:  BACKING UP THE TRUCK  – Whoa, slow down! Let’s not leap before we look.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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Posted in Baseball | Tagged: , , , , | 9 Comments »

BASEBALL: THE LOVE OF THE GAME

Posted by Tim Bryce on May 22, 2015

BRYCE ON SPORTS

– It is a great game.

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I have always had a fondness for the game of baseball. As a kid, I played Little League but also carried my glove and bat with me just about everywhere for a quick pickup game whether it was before or after school, or during recess. Growing up in Connecticut, I followed the early 1960’s Yankees and vividly remember when the Mets were introduced. As we moved around the country I became a fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Chicago Cubs, and finally watched the emergence of the Big Red Machine in Cincinnati. Frankly, I do not believe we will ever see another team as good as the 1976 Reds. They were very special.

I played in coed softball leagues as I got older. When I became a parent, I coached boys baseball, girls softball, served on the local Little League board of directors, and umpired to boot. My signature as a coach was to line my kids up on the infield foul line before a game and pledged allegiance to the flag. After all, it is America’s game. Curiously, there were some coaches who adamantly opposed me doing this, but I see citizenship as an inherent part of the game.

I suffered under no illusion my kids were going to be superstars and, as such, I concentrated on teaching the basics (hitting, fielding, and pitching), teamwork, and hopefully, the love of the game. There is something magical about the game of baseball; the smell of the grass, the heat of the sun on your back, the taste of the leather string on your cowhide mitt, the crack of the bat, and the excitement of the play. You relish the camaraderie of your teammates, the precision of a perfect bunt, the tenacity of a runner stealing a base, and the grace of an infielder flawlessly throwing out a runner or executing a double play.

Baseball is a game of nuances and you really cannot appreciate it if you have never played it. As you approach home plate to bat, you see how the fielders are setting up to play you, either deep, in close, or to a particular field. You take your sign from the third base coach, check the eyes of the pitcher, hear the cheering of the parents, and all along your mind is constantly calculating all of the variables involved. Your hands grip the bat as you position yourself in the batter’s box. Your body language tells the other team whether or not you can be intimidated. Finally, just before the pitcher makes his wind-up, you spit. Translation,
“Bring it on!”

There is also a lot of communications in a baseball game, both vocal and silent. The vocal is rather obvious, the silent communications is a lot more interesting. We’re all aware of the third base coach making strange gyrations with his hands in order to call the play, but there are also a lot of subliminal signs not so apparent, such as a manager turning up his collar or crossing his legs. The communications between pitcher and catcher is also well known. The great Willie Mays was notorious for his ability to study and steal the signs of the opposing team. It just takes a little concentration and attention to detail.

When I coached Little League, and my kids were batting with one or more runners on base, I would suddenly yell from the dugout, “Red-22, Red-22.” Actually, it was nothing more than a smoke screen as it meant absolutely nothing, but it put the other team on edge as they thought some trick play was about to be executed. My kids thought it was a riot.

As a Little League coach, you realize you are having an impact on your young players when they start asking you more questions about the game, such as the meaning of the infield fly rule, how to keep a scorecard, how a batting average is calculated or ERA, the number of ways a runner can advance to first base (eight) or the number of ways to make an out (14), etc. It’s no small wonder baseball is a great game for trivia buffs as there are so many facets to it. Casual spectators do not truly appreciate baseball as much as students of the game.

You know you have a love of the game when you collect baseball cards, not as a commodity, but simply to have them; that you keep a prized baseball signed by your teammates many years ago; that you cannot bring yourself to throw away an old baseball bat or glove years after you have stopped using them, or; you completely understood what Pete Rose meant when he said, “I’d walk through hell in a gasoline suit to play baseball.”

It is a great game.

Originally published: April 16, 2010

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE JEWISH VOTE – Are American Jews being taken for granted by the Democratic Party? 

LAST TIME:  ENGAGING YOUR WORKERS  – How to inspire and motivate the work force.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Baseball, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , | 11 Comments »

HAS BASEBALL’S TIME PASSED?

Posted by Tim Bryce on May 22, 2013

BRYCE ON THE NATIONAL PASTIME

– It looks more like a three ring circus as opposed to a sporting venue.

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I recently had a friend make the observation that nobody goes to baseball stadiums to watch baseball anymore. He made this observation after attending a Spring Training game down here in Dunedin, Florida where the Toronto Blue Jays practice. Prior to the game he noticed all of the Canadians in attendance got up to proudly sing “Oh, Canada!” then settled in to watch and study the game. In contrast, the Americans gave a lethargic rendition of our national anthem, and then did everything but watch the game.

I have to admit, my friend had a point. When I go to see our home town Tampa Bay Rays, or my old team, the Cincinnati Reds, I am often distracted by the eye pollution, the people wandering around the stadium aimlessly, or partying at the many social venues they have. Last year, when I visited the Reds, a friend sprung for some rather expensive tickets featuring a restaurant venue where you could gorge yourself on all of the local cuisine if you were so inclined. Many people stayed inside the air conditioned clubhouse where they imbibed on cocktails. Television sets were laced throughout the clubhouse, but I didn’t see too many people watching them. As for me, I settled into my seat outside and watched the game.

I’m one of those guys who has always been a student of the game. When I go with my old high school buddies, we talk about such things as the positioning of the fielders, how their feet are placed, where and how the batter is standing in the batter’s box, the pitcher’s eyes and his motion to first base, and dozens of other nuances. We also talk about history, and who had what batting average. I’m not sure why I’m like this, maybe because I am an old Little League coach. Whatever the reason, I’m an anomaly as compared to the other people in attendance who need to be entertained. While others are downing all of the local delicacies, I’m happy with a beer and a simple bag of peanuts.

Sometimes I keep score of the game myself, an old habit I picked up while coaching. I do this more to study patterns, and see where the batters are likely to hit the ball. Most of the other people in the stands couldn’t care less. They are more concerned with getting a free T-shirt as shot out of an air cannon by the stadium crew.

To me, baseball is a great game, full of nuances, communications, and strategy, but I don’t believe Americans share the passion for it as they did years ago. To illustrate, membership in Little League has dropped 25% since 1996. Attendance at MLB games in the 21st century has been flat, which probably answers why ballparks have been turned into three ring circuses.

It is certainly not the national pastime anymore. What a shame. Then again, my friend who made the observation about baseball, also noted basketball has changed likewise. People go to games, pay hefty prices for tickets, and expect to be entertained as opposed to watching the game. Maybe they think of such venues as another form of “American Idol” or “Dancing with the Stars.”

Maybe I should just stick to watching Little League games or the Minor Leagues. They may not have all the glitz of the Majors, but they certainly try harder.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  SOME THOUGHTS ON MEMORIAL DAY – It’s not about barbecues, auto racing, or the start of summer.

LAST TIME:  THE DECLINE OF CRAFTSMANSHIP – They are getting harder and harder to find.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News with Dave and Lance” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Baseball, Sports, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

THE LESSONS OF A LITTLE LEAGUE COACH

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 12, 2012

BRYCE ON LIFE

– How one coach taught America’s pastime to young players.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

For ten years I coached Little League baseball and softball, not to mention being an umpire and serving on the local board of directors. I cannot lay claim to being the greatest coach, nor the worse. I certainly didn’t suffer under the illusion this was the big leagues, nor that my kids would go on to play pro ball, even though a handful made it to the college level. Instead, I wanted to teach the mechanics of the game (how it is played), sportsmanship, and the general love of the game. My kids are all grown up now and if I made the slightest impression on them, that I somehow shaped their perspective on the game, than I consider myself lucky. There were only two things I asked of them; that they try their hardest, and maintain their grades in school.

Baseball is a game; something you are supposed to find entertaining and rewarding. I never understood those coaches or parents who believed in winning at all costs. Some would accuse me of not being competitive enough. Sure, I wanted to see our team win, but not “at all costs”; not if it caused us to lose sight of right and wrong and a distorted sense of sportsmanship. There were coaches who would make their kids run laps if they lost a game. I guess this was designed to shame them into playing better and to teach them losing was a disgrace. Had this been some life threatening event, I may have understood their rationale. It wasn’t. It was Little League. It was a game.

Whether I was coaching boys or girls, prior to the game I would have the kids line up on our foul line, take off their caps, and recite the pledge of allegiance to the flag. It became my signature to do so. To my way of thinking, baseball is America’s game and it was my way of making the kids cognizant of not only our country but the need for fair play. When we recited the pledge, we would invite the other team to join us, as well as the parents. Most were happy to do so, but I ran into at least three coaches who steadfastly refused to have their teams participate. I thought this was strange, as did the parents of the other teams.

During practice we would spend a lot of time teaching defensive moves both in the infield and outfield. There was also a lot of batting practice. The league would also sponsor clinics in batting, pitching, catching, and umpiring. During batting practice, I would spend considerable time on bunting. Girls had no problem with it, but boys tended to resist it. Nonetheless, they learned the virtue of a good bunt and how it can win a game. There is perhaps nothing more exciting to see a bunt win a game or a stolen base. Speed was important to me. If we got on base, we made it clear we were going to challenge the arms of the other team, if for no other reason than to unnerve them.

Aside from the physical nuances of the game, we also taught the psychological aspects, such as the importance of momentum, dominance at the plate or on the mound, and how to “sell” a play to an umpire. As to the latter, we obviously didn’t want our players to cheat, but we told them an umpire has only one set of eyes and cannot possibly see everything. Therefore, it is important to do such things as showing the ball in your hand after a close play, thereby helping the umpire make up his mind for him.

One time, when we were playing defense, a player from the other team advanced to first base in a close game and we were concerned he would steal second base. From the dugout I would yell a football call, “Red 21″…”Red 21.” This confused the runner and coach who believed a secret play was in the works to throw him out. Consequently, the runner held at first and never advanced. As the inning ended, my players returned to the dugout where they asked me what “Red 21” meant. “Nothing,” I replied. It was just a smokescreen to confuse the other team. The kids thought it was a riot.

We also spent a lot of time explaining the strategy of the game, such as when to throw a pitch-out to a dangerous hitter, how a third baseman should challenge a bunt, picking-off a runner, how to keep a runner on second base, and much more. A lot of my kids, particularly the girls, learned how to keep score and came to realize the value of a well maintained scorecard.

It was also important to teach the kids to have fun. During practice we would play certain rock and roll songs with a certain beat and rhythm to teach them timing, particularly Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top, and The Who. Parents who would normally drop the kids off and leave would stay and listen to the music. It became somewhat of a social scene for the parents who would gel and become strong supporters of the team.

Now and then, when our hitting was off, we would say “Time to wake up the bats,” and drop three or four bats loudly in the dugout to get the kids to snap out of their slump. If the kids were groggy at an early Saturday morning game, which seemed to be common, we would give them sugar-sweet pixie sticks which would give them a jolt of energy to wake them up.

Little League games typically last just six innings. One time, during a night game, we were playing a team coached by a friend of mine. We concocted a little scheme with the umpire and at the end of the fifth inning, the umpire called “time,” and both teams came out of their dugouts and over to the sidelines where the parents were sitting. They looked perplexed as to what we were doing. We had the kids assemble in multiple lines in front of the parents and, on queue, we began to sing “Happy Birthday” to one of the mothers who was a local school teacher. Both the parents and the kids enjoyed the experience, and I’m sure the mom won’t forget it anytime soon.

As we live in Florida, we have a Fall league to provide additional coaching to players. Inevitably, we would play during the day on Halloween in October. For this, the coaches wore masks which looked ridiculous but broke the tension for the kids.

There were of course many other things to liven up the season, such as ice cream, pizza, and an occasional barbecue. It was important that we taught the kids to play hard both on and off the field.

I learned a lot from this experience. I met a lot of good, caring parents over the years, but more importantly I got to meet a lot of great kids and it was fun watching them grow into adulthood. It’s not important they remember me, although I will bump into one of my players now and then, but it’s more important they remember something they learned along the way, such as how to lay down a bunt, how to keep score, appreciating the difficulty of throwing a runner out at second, the importance of teamwork, or standing for the national anthem with their hand or cap over their heart. If I contributed in any way to such things, then I consider myself a successful coach. It’s not the runs scored that makes baseball a fascinating game, it’s the kids.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.
NEXT UP:  OUR INTOLERANT SOCIETY – What role does technology have in all this?
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Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Baseball, Life, Management, Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

BASEBALL CARDS

Posted by Tim Bryce on July 7, 2011

Something near and dear to a young man’s heart is his collection of baseball cards. Although cards today are bought and sold as a commodity, years ago we collected them simply because of the love of the game. My friends and I would trade them, discuss the stats of each player, and chew the lousy gum accompanying each pack of five cards. We would also attach them to our bicycles using clothespins so they would flicker between the spokes of the wheel thereby making a rather impressive sound as you were riding, something like a motorcycle, at least so we thought. In my day, you weren’t cool unless you had a Stan “The Man” Musial baseball card powering your bicycle. In hindsight I wish I had kept that card as opposed to ruining it on my bicycle, but such is life.

The nirvana of baseball cards in my day was to get Mickey Mantle’s (see accompanying photo). As a kid growing up in the New York area in the early 1960’s, Mantle was a god to us. Sure, we watched other teams and other players, but there was something special about the Mick. So much so, obtaining his baseball card meant a step up in your social stature. Fortunately, I got mine in a regular pack of cards and I was the envy of my friends. I was offered stacks of cards for the Mantle card but I stubbornly held on to it, and I’m glad I did. I was even offered a Willie Mays, Roger Marris, and Whitey Ford. If he had thrown in a Yogi Berra I would have been tempted, but such was not to be. Besides, I had a couple of Willie Mays cards already.

Most of my card collection ended up in a shoe box where I kept them neatly organized. For my really good cards I’ve got a special binder with plastic sleeves which keeps them neat and clean. As the cards were important to me, I kept them hidden in my bedroom. As I grew up and moved away to college, the card collection remained hidden in my room. It’s a good thing I hid them too as my room was purged and cleaned by my mother after I moved out. As is common for moms to do, she disposed of my old comic book collection and “Mad” magazine collection, both of which dated back to the early 1960’s. I’m not sure why mothers do this, perhaps as a form of revenge for leaving the nest, but I know a lot of guys who lost such collections, not to mention coin and stamp collections. Moms view such things as nothing more than dust-catchers, guys cherish them as mementos of their past.

Today, baseball cards are bought and sold at hefty prices, a lot more than the nickel we used to pay for a pack and probably without the bubble gum. In my day, “Topps” was the only manufacturer of baseball cards. Today, there are many others, but I can’t say the quality is any better. Some now have special stamps emblazoned on them, some come packaged in air tight plastic containers, and some are real works of art. Whereas baseball originally had a monopoly on such cards, today there are cards for football, hockey, basketball, soccer, even wrestling, entertainment and politics. I still don’t think I would trade my Mickey Mantle for a Barack Obama, no way, no how. I would be much more interested in a Jackie Robinson or Satchel Page, but I think I would still hold on to the Mick.

I still appreciate the simplicity of the cards from years ago. In preparing for this article, I brought out my baseball card binder so I could scan the Mickey Mantle card. Afterwards I stopped by a friend’s house and showed him the binder. He enjoyed it immensely and as he flipped through it we would discuss the various players, what teams they played on over the years, their statistics, memorable moments in their playing careers, and argue over who were the better players. A lot of baseball ears should have been burning that day. Then again, that’s what we did as kids, we talked baseball, and this is what I think baseball cards were originally designed to do.

I just wish I still had that Stan “The Man” Musial card instead of ruining it on my bicycle.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

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Copyright © 2011 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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BASEBALL: THE LOVE OF THE GAME

Posted by Tim Bryce on April 16, 2010

I have always had a fondness for the game of baseball. As a kid, I played Little League but also carried my glove and bat with me just about everywhere for a quick pickup game whether it was before or after school, or during recess. Growing up in Connecticut, I followed the early 1960’s Yankees and vividly remember when the Mets were introduced. As we moved around the country I became a fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Chicago Cubs, and finally watched the emergence of the Big Red Machine in Cincinnati. Frankly, I do not believe we will ever see another team as good as the 1976 Reds. They were very special.

I played in coed softball leagues as I got older. When I became a parent, I coached boys baseball, girls softball, served on the local Little League board of directors, and umpired to boot. My signature as a coach was to line my kids up on the infield foul line before a game and pledged allegiance to the flag. After all, it is America’s game. Curiously, there were some coaches who adamantly opposed me doing this, but I see citizenship as an inherent part of the game.

I suffered under no illusion my kids were going to be superstars and, as such, I concentrated on teaching the basics (hitting, fielding, and pitching), teamwork, and hopefully, the love of the game. There is something magical about the game of baseball; the smell of the grass, the heat of the sun on your back, the taste of the leather string on your cowhide mitt, the crack of the bat, and the excitement of the play. You relish the camaraderie of your teammates, the precision of a perfect bunt, the tenacity of a runner stealing a base, and the grace of an infielder flawlessly throwing out a runner or executing a double play.

Baseball is a game of nuances and you really cannot appreciate it if you have never played it. As you approach home plate to bat, you see how the fielders are setting up to play you, either deep, in close, or to a particular field. You take your sign from the third base coach, check the eyes of the pitcher, hear the cheering of the parents, and all along your mind is constantly calculating all of the variables involved. Your hands grip the bat as you position yourself in the batter’s box. Your body language tells the other team whether or not you can be intimidated. Finally, just before the pitcher makes his wind-up, you spit. Translation, “Bring it on!”

There is also a lot of communications in a baseball game, both vocal and silent. The vocal is rather obvious, the silent communications is a lot more interesting. We’re all aware of the third base coach making strange gyrations with his hands in order to call the play, but there are also a lot of subliminal signs not so apparent, such as a manager turning up his collar or crossing his legs. The communications between pitcher and catcher is also well known. The great Willie Mays was notorious for his ability to study and steal the signs of the opposing team. It just takes a little concentration and attention to detail.

When I coached Little League, and my kids were batting with one or more runners on base, I would suddenly yell from the dugout, “Red-22, Red-22.” Actually, it was nothing more than a smoke screen as it meant absolutely nothing, but it put the other team on edge as they thought some trick play was about to be executed. My kids thought it was a riot.

As a Little League coach, you realize you are having an impact on your young players when they start asking you more questions about the game, such as the meaning of the infield fly rule, how to keep a scorecard, how a batting average is calculated or ERA, the number of ways a runner can advance to first base (eight) or the number of ways to make an out (14), etc. It’s no small wonder baseball is a great game for trivia buffs as there are so many facets to it. Casual spectators do not truly appreciate baseball as much as students of the game.

You know you have a love of the game when you collect baseball cards, not as a commodity, but simply to have them; that you keep a prized baseball signed by your teammates many years ago; that you cannot bring yourself to throw away an old baseball bat or glove years after you have stopped using them, or; you completely understood what Pete Rose meant when he said, “I’d walk through hell in a gasoline suit to play baseball.”

It is a great game.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

Copyright © 2010 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Posted in Baseball, Sports | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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