After Cal Ripken Jr. tied Lou Gehrig’s “unbreakable” record of 2,130 consecutive games played on September 5, 1995, he told reporters, “I’m not in the business of script-writing, but if I were, this would’ve been a pretty good one."
On that Tuesday night in Baltimore, the Baltimore Orioles’ future Hall of Fame shortstop punctuated his record-tying appearance with a home run in the bottom of the sixth inning, one of his three hits against the California Angels at Camden Yards.
As if they didn’t have enough on their minds, Chicago White Sox pitchers must have been dismayed to read this banner headline in the Chicago Daily Tribune a few weeks after the 1919 World Series ended:
“COMMY HAS SCHEME TO HINDER FREAK HURLERS”
Stan Musial's life was a charmed one, and not just on the baseball field. It was said about the St. Louis Cardinals’ great that he retired from the game with more money and more friends than anyone before him. After a stellar 22-year career, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility and spent the rest of his life entertaining fans around the country with his ever-present smile and harmonica.
After the 2004 Boston Red Sox rallied from a 3-0 deficit in games against the New York Yankees to clinch a World Series berth, Red Sox owner John Henry called it “the greatest comeback in baseball history.” Most fans believed it was the first time any major league team had won a best-of-7 postseason series that way, but there was an obscure precedent.
When Ban Johnson founded the American League in 1901, he strove to publicly distance his league from the rowdyism and lawlessness that had characterized the National League’s first quarter-century. The 1877 Louisville Grays game-fixing scandal, which resulted in the banishment of four players, had been a serious threat to the NL’s integrity. In an attempt to head off any similar incidents in the AL, Johnson banned gamblers from the league’s ballparks. Nonetheless, betting continued to flourish in both leagues throughout the Deadball Era.
Driving south from Tucson on Arizona Highway 80, beyond the Wild West outpost-turned-tourist trap of Tombstone, past an endless landscape of sagebrush and cactus, you enter a tunnel carved into the Mule Mountains near the Mexican border. When you exit that tunnel, it's as if you have traveled back in time. Welcome to Bisbee, Arizona.