Jacob Pomrenke is SABR’s web content editor/producer. He is chairman of the Black Sox Scandal Research Committee and editor of Scandal on the South Side: The 1919 Chicago White Sox, published in 2015. He lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, with his wife, Tracy Greer, and their cats, Nixey Callahan and Bones Ely.
As the Baltimore Orioles gather for spring training in Sarasota, Florida, they’ll be trying to end an obscure 91-year baseball drought. If you’re not aware of this one, well, you’re not alone.
Few fans today remember his name, but by the end of the 1912 season, Heinie Zimmerman of the Chicago Cubs was arguably the biggest star in baseball. He was being mentioned by writers and analysts with the likes of Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Napoleon Lajoie, and Honus Wagner. And why not? The 25-year-old third baseman had just won the Triple Crown in the National League, topping the senior circuit with a .372 batting average, 14 home runs, and 104 RBIs.
Less than a year into his tenure as commissioner of Major League Baseball, Rob Manfred gave a definitive answer to a question that had been evaded or ignored by every one of his predecessors: Would baseball finally consider reinstating Shoeless Joe Jackson and Buck Weaver, who were handed lifetime bans by Kenesaw Mountain Landis in the 1919 Black Sox Scandal?
Recently, I wrote about the “three kings” of minor league home runs—Mike Hessman, Buzz Arlett, and Héctor Espino—whose career records were set under such different circumstances that they each hold a legitimate claim to the throne.
Any avid reader will tell you one of their favorite feelings is to get so engrossed in a good book that all sense of time is lost. You forget where you are and what you are doing. Your mind gets transported to another world.
With great fanfare, Mike Hessman of the Toledo Mud Hens hit his 433rd career minor league home run on August 3, 2015, a towering grand slam that moved him past Pacific Coast League (PCL) legend Buzz Arlett on the all-time leaderboard of Minor League Baseball.
“Charlie Hustle” was back in the news recently, making his case for reinstatement. Pete Rose’s banishment from baseball is a saga that’s well known to most fans—the then-Cincinnati Reds manager agreed to a lifetime ban from Commissioner Bart Giamatti in 1989 after an investigation revealed that he had bet on his own team for years. His actions cast doubt on the integrity of those games and violated baseball’s cardinal rule against gambling, enacted after the 1919 World Series was tarnished by the Black Sox Scandal.
It’s hard for a perfect game to get overshadowed. For many years, newspaper editors have been known to rip up their front pages and make room for a no-hitter on the other side of the country. But on October 2, 1908, in the midst of a thrilling pennant race that captivated the country like never before, Addie Joss’s historic performance against the Chicago White Sox wasn’t the most important baseball story of the afternoon. You could even make a case that he wasn’t the most dominant pitcher that day at Cleveland’s League Park.
I can tell you so much about the baseball games I’ve attended in my life.
As a big Braves fan who spent most of my formative years growing up near Atlanta, I can tell you that I saw Chipper Jones hit 12 home runs in person, including his first and 45th of his MVP season in 1999. I can tell you that I saw John Smoltz’s first shutout, his 100th save, and the final win of his career (No. 213) in 2009.