Bob Gibson

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Black aces remember how it was

A major league pitcher today, even if he barely completes the minimum five innings, pitches a “quality start.” “Back in our day,” says Jim “Mudcat” Grant, who pitched four of his 14 big-league seasons (1958-1971) for the Minnesota Twins in the mid-1960s, “a quality start for us was nine innings.”

Today’s lowered standards for starting pitchers sometimes baffles Grant and other retired hurlers of his ilk. “If they give you the ball to start the game, you want to pitch nine innings,” continues Grant, trying to not sound like a “we were tougher then” type of old-timer. Today’s pitchers are more specialist than workhorse, adds Ferguson Jenkins, the Hall of Famer who pitched for six MLB clubs in 19 years (1965-1983). Along with the typical four starters, “It was long relief and short relief when I played. There were nine pitchers on the staff when I broke in,” he points out. Continue Reading →

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All-Star hype offers little for Blacks



The Minnesota Twins last week kicked off the team’s apparent year-long promotional blitz on their hosting of the 2014 All-Star Game. It is their third time being hosts at three different venues: the old and gone Metropolitan Stadium (1965); the old and soon-to-be gone Metrodome (1985); and, a year from now, at their present edifice located on the North Minneapolis-downtown border. “We dreamed of hosting this incredible event,” said Twins Owner Jim Polhad in a team release. After reading this and the media-distributed fact sheet, my curiosity got the best of me and I came up with some Roberta Flack-Donny Hathaway-Billy Preston-type questions:

Where were the Blacks then, and will there be any Blacks next year? Willie Mays and Bob Gibson were among 12 Blacks who played here in the 1965 game, and seven Blacks played in the 1985 dome game. Continue Reading →

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