Pioneering Holtzman devised the ‘save’

Growing up with The Sporting News as a bible (it was, after all, the “Bible of Baseball”), those of us of the right age were exposed on a weekly basis to the baseball columns of Dick Young, Joe Falls, Jim Murray, Bob Addie, Shirley Povich, Melvin Durslag, Leonard Koppett, Jerome Holtzman, Furman Bisher and others. 

With the passing of Jerry Holtzman, 82, on July 19, it may be noted that he not only invented the “save rule,” (without which, no Wilhelm, Fingers, Sutter, Eckersley or Gossage in the Hall of Fame), but he gave us two of the most important books of our times: No Cheering in the Press Box and Fielder’s Choice. Read More

Connie Mack: Civil War to Whitey Ford

I was recently researching some facts about the 1950 season, which was Connie Mack’s last as a manager. It has always struck me as fascinating that rookie Whitey Ford actually pitched in the major leagues with Connie Mack in the opposing dugout.  In Mack’s first year as a manager, 1894, he managed against King Kelly. Talk about spanning the generations. Read More

Finding Who’s Who and what’s what in MLB

It being the week before Opening Day, I stopped at my local magazine store and purchased the 2008 edition of  Who’s Who in Baseball. I’ve been doing this now for 47 years, but this is the 93rd edition, as it says on the cover, so I am sure there are others with a longer streak going.

Of course, being a collector, I have gone back and purchased most of the earlier ones, although I must admit that the first few years had such little information that I do have some gaps in the teens. There are reprints available to fill in those gaps, but they, too, are expensive, and they don’t match the small format that would make them fit properly when aligned with the others. No red cover, either. Read More

The Red Sox season few have read about

We always hear that the Red Sox attract the most literary attention and bring out the finest in writers, whether from the world of sports or outside of it. Think Stephen King, David Halberstam or John Updike. That is part of what we now know as Red Sox Nation – a gathering place in sports for the nation’s literati.

I wonder where they were in 1967, the year of “The Impossible Dream?”

I have always thought that the ’67 Red Sox was one of the most important teams in baseball history. With the exception of the ’21 Yankees, which forever changed that franchise (now that they had Babe Ruth), the ’67 Red Sox turned that franchise into one of the most successful in sports, a story that continues to this day. That’s 40 years, living off that wonderful final weekend of the season when so much went right. Read More

Mitchell Report begs several questions

I needed several days to digest all of the Mitchell Report material and decide how I felt about it and how it will affect baseball. And now, several days later, there is still too much information to process.  I feel somewhat overwhelmed by it all.

But since this is a column about Vintage Books, I thought I’d deal with the record book aspects that the report forces us to confront. Read More