Posts Tagged ‘Mickey Vernon’

Fish Wrap

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

The Washington Nationals loss to the Florida Marlins on Tuesday was yet another example of the Nats’ good-news-bad-news season. The good news is that Stephen Strasburg is healthy, the bad news is that the Florida Marlins roughed up “the kid” — who lasted just 4.1 innings in his worst outing of the year. If that comment seems unfair, it’s only because it is: while Nats fans have expected a stellar outing whenever Strasburg steps on the mound, the simple truth is that any old 22-year-old phenom can get hit, as can any Hall of Famer or Cy Young winner. Strasburg is not the only very good pitcher who, after trying out his best stuff, finds himself tramping to the dugout. That said, there are reasons for Strasburg’s indifferent outing on Tuesday. Reasons. Not excuses.

Strasburg had not pitched in three weeks and, in the wake of his activation from the D.L. was not given the luxury of a rehab start in Triple-A. It was Strasburg who said it best: “Everybody is human. They are going to have these days sooner or later,” he said after the game. “I’m a little disappointed in myself, because I really went out there not focusing on the one thing that you really have to focus on: Just going out there and competing, and going with what you had. I spent the whole time worrying about trying to fix what was going wrong instead of just letting it go — just throwing the ball.”

And credit the Marlins. If Hanley Ramirez were to spend his career playing only the Nationals he’d be the next Stan Musial, while Dan Uggla hit the pitches he wanted (mostly up-in-the-zone fastballs that went wicked fahhh). The barrage, when coupled with 6.2 innings from a tough Anibal Sanchez and nearly spotless Fish relief spelled the difference. Oh, and the failure of Nationals’ hitters to take advantage of the few chances they had to score runs. Most disturbing of all, perhaps, is Josh Willingham’s continued drought, a slump that has now reached epic proportions. Willingham was 0-3 with a strikeout; his down-the-drain average is at .262, his power numbers plunging. The slump hasn’t really lasted all that long — only since June.

Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: You’d have to be an insensitive lout to not be overtaken by the emotion of Andre Dawson’s appearance at Nationals Park on Tuesday. The former Expos great teared up during his induction into the newly inaugurated Ring Of Honor — as good an idea as the Nationals front office has had since the hiring of Mike Rizzo. Dawson was joined by former Expos catcher Gary Carter, who told MASN broadcasters Bob Carpenter and Rob Dibble that he was honored by his name being included, but that the night was “really about Andre.” The Ring of Honor celebrates Hall of Fame inductees who played for the Montreal Expos (the home franchise team of the Nationals), the Washington Senators and the Homestead Grays of the old Negro League, who played their games in D.C. for many years. Those honored include Dawson, Carter, Cool Papa Bell, Josh Gibson, Walter Johnson and Harmon Killebrew. You have to have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame to be considered — hence the non-inclusion (alas) of Washington Senators’ first baseman Mickey Vernon, perhaps the most deserving veteran who has not yet been voted into the shrine. So change the rules: Mickey’s name belongs on that ring.

Matt Capps . . . And Dean Stone

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Matt Capps pitched to David Ortiz in Anaheim on Tuesday night — it was just one-third of an inning in the Mid-Summer Classic — but that was enough for the Washington Nationals reliever to register a win, a point of pride for fans of the Anacostia Nine. Capps whiffed “Big Poppy” on five pitches, the last an up-and-in fastball (95 on the gun) that sent Ortiz back to the pines. Capps’ relief effort not only helped Phillies big man Roy Halladay out of a jam, it gave the senior circuit a chance to rally for a much-needed 3-1 triumph. Capps was thrilled to be in the record books. “It feels pretty good,” Capps said after the NL victory. “I just came in to face one hitter. The guys did a great job of putting some runs up later. It worked out well, I’m very pleased with it, excited about it.” Capps is the first Washington pitcher to notch a win in the All Star game since Dean Stone, a lefty Washington Senator, did it for the American League back in 1954.

Capps undoubtedly wishes his career will be more stellar than Stone’s: Darrah Dean Stone played in a Washington Senators’ uniform for four seasons, after being drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 1949. The big (6-4, 205) southpaw was signed as an amateur, but spent his early career kicking around the minors before starting for Senators, Red Sox, Cardinals, Colt 45s, White Sox and Orioles. Stone finished his career after spending 1963 in Japan. Stone was never a particularly effective starter, except for the ’54 Senators, when his fastball and curveball finally worked in tandem, when he was 12-10 with a 3.22 ERA. Stone was a part of a staff that boasted proto-ace Bob Porterfield (22-10 in ’53) and former Bosox biggie Mickey McDermott. If Porterfield and McDermott had pitched in ’54 as they had in their previous incarnations, the Senators might have been good: but Porterfield had lost something on his fastball and McDermott was never the same pitcher he had been in Boston. That left the surprising Stone, who dazzled D.C. crowds in the first part of the season.

Neither Capps nor Stone were exactly afterthoughts in the All Star selection process, but neither of them were headliners. As Capps seemed eclipsed by the big guns of Jimenez, Johnson, Halladay and Wainwright, so too Stone was viewed as a single paragraph guy after Whitey Ford, Bob Lemon and Virgil Trucks. And unlike Capps, Stone was not the only member of his team on the the ’54 staff — with Porterfield and perennial All Star Mickey Vernon leading the Washington squad into Cleveland. The ’54 game turned out to be one of the more exciting All Star tilts in major league history, with the American League winning a nail-biting come-from-behind victory. Cleveland Wahoo Larry Doby provided the home town crowd with one of Cleveland’s great moments, spiraling a game tying home run into the left field seats to knot the score. With the bases loaded, Nellie Fox provided the winning single and the Americans were victorious, 11-9. Stone, who had pitched the eighth, got the victory, but he never threw a pitch. Instead, Stone caught Cardinal All Star Red Schoendienst attempting to steal home. Doby pinch hit for Stone in the bottom of the 8th and Virgil Trucks, closing out the game, preserved his win in the 9th.

Zim Wins Goslin MVP Award

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

The Washington, DC chapter of the Internet Baseball Writers Association has voted Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman its 2009 Goose Goslin MVP Award. The award is voted on by the DC-IBWA — an organization that represents Washington Nationals’ internet writers, on-line media outlets, and bloggers. Goslin was a left fielder for the Washington Senators from 1921-30, 1933 and 1938. He also played for the St. Louis Browns (1930-32) and the Detroit Tigers (1934-37). As Nationals News Network notes in quoting from the Hall of Fame’s description: “Burly and strong-armed, Leon Goose Goslin swung the bat with Ruthian effort and forged a reputation as a powerful clutch-hitter. He spearheaded his teams to five American League pennants — three with the Senators and two with the Tigers. He drove in 100 or more runs on 11 occasions and hit .300 or better 11 times, compiling a .316 lifetime average and 2,735 hits. He led the Senators to a World Series title in 1924 with a .344 average and three home runs.”

Zimmerman played in 157 games for the Nats in 2009, hitting .292 with 33 home runs. 106 RBIs and 110 runs scored. His amazing defensive play at third base puts him in line to receive his first gold glove award. Zimmerman finished seventh in at bats, seventh in plate appearances, fourth in runs scored, eighth in extra base hits and sixth in RBIs in the National League. By any measure his was an extraordinary season.  

Zimmerman took first place honors with 88 points, including 14 first place votes. Nyjer Morgan finished second and Willie Harris a distant third. The Walter Johnson Starting Pitcher of the Year Award was given to John Lannan, with second place going to Jordan Zimmermann and third to Craig Stammen. The Frederick “Firpo” Marberry Relief Pitcher of the Year award was given to a deserving Tyler Clippard. Other awards were given to Adam Dunn (Frank Howard Slugger of the Year), Nick Johnson (Mickey Vernon Comeback Player of the Year), John Lannan (Josh Gibson Humanitarian Player of the Year), and Derek Norris (Minor League Player of the Year). Zimmerman took three awards in all: the MVP award, the Sam Rice Hitter of the Year award and the Joe Judge Defensive Player of the Year award.

Voters for the awards were asked to name first, second and third place for each category. First place votes received five points, second place votes received three points and third place votes received one point. Twenty ballots from association members were submitted from the following online media outlets: Nationals News Network, Nationals Pride, We’ve Got Heart, Centerfield Gate, FJB, Federal Baseball, The Nationals Enquirer, DC Sports Box, Nationals Inquisition, Nats Fanboy Looser, Planetary Nats, Bang! Zoom!, Nats Nation, Let Teddy Win!, Nationals Review, DC Sports Plus, and Passing Time Between Wil Nieves Bombs. Full results can be found at Nationals News Network.