Monday, July 31, 2017

One Trade of Gray, One Trade of Garcia

A quick recap of yesterday's Yankee game, and then on to today's big news:

The Yankees had won 6 in a row going into yesterday's series finale with the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. So I shouldn't be upset at the fact that they lost. How they lost is another matter.

Neither starting pitcher, Jordan Montgomery of the Yankees and Scott Faria of the Rays, had anything. Montgomery didn't get out of the 3rd inning, allowing 4 runs. Faria barely made it through the 4th. Luis Cessa pitched 3 1/3rd scoreless innings, Chasen Shreve got 2 outs, and Chad Green pitched 2 1/3rd innings, although he did allow a run in the 8th that may have been a backbreaker.

I can't hold Montgomery responsible, as he was never expected to be a big contributor this season. And I can't hold Green responsible, because he's pitched very well this season, particularly after Yankee starters have had bad starts. That run he allowed raised his ERA to 1.83. Can you imagine how well the Yankees would have done this season if Tyler Clippard had done as well as Chad Green?

The problem yesterday was the bats. Clint Frazier got to 3rd base in the 1st inning, but was stranded. Ronald Torreyes hit a home run in the 2nd, his 3rd dinger of the season, giving the Yankees a 2-1 lead. Aaron Judge drew a walk in the 3rd, but was stranded. Torreyes struck again in the 4th, with a double that brought home a run, closing Tampa's lead to 4-3, and got to 3rd on the throw. But he was stranded.

The Yankees had runners on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out in the 5th. You gotta get both of those runners home. If you don't get at least 1 home, you don't deserve to win. Judge struck out, Matt Holliday popped up, and Didi Gregorious grounded out.

The Yankees had runners on 1st and 2nd with 1 out in the 6th. Surely, 1 of those runners would score? Nope: Brett Gardner grounded into a fielders choice, and Clint Frazier flew out -- to be fair, he was robbed on a very good catch.

The Yankees went down 1-2-3 in the 7th, and again in the 8th. Gardner singled with 1 out in the 9th. Frazier (Clint, not Todd) walked. The tying runs were on base. The winning run was at the plate. But Judge popped up, and Holliday grounded out.

Rays 5, Yankees 3. WP: Steve Cishek (2-1). SV: Alex Colome (30). LP: Montgomery (7-6).

The Boston Red Sox also lost, so the Yankees remain half a game ahead of them in the American League Eastern Division, 2 up in the loss column, at the 17-week mark of the 26-week MLB season. The Rays are 3 1/2 back, the Baltimore Orioles 6 1/2, and the Toronto Blue Jays 8. Therefore, the Magic Numbers to eliminate them are 50 for the Jays, 53 for the O's, 54 for the Rays, and 57 for the Sox: Any number of Yankee wins and Red Sox losses the rest of the way, adding up to 57, and the Yankees win the Division.


Now, about the trading deadline, which has now passed. The Yankees made 2 big acquisitions.

* Today, the Yankees got Sonny Gray from the Oakland Athletics. He is a 27-year-old righthanded starting pitcher from Nashville, 44-35 in a major league career, all with the A's until now, that began in 2013. In 2015, he was an All-Star, and finished 3rd in the AL Cy Young Award voting. He has a fastball that tops out at 95 miles per hour, a cutter at 92, a slider at 88, a changeup at 88, and a curveball at 83. The fact that he can throw 5 different pitches that well is a plus.

He's only 6-5 this season, but his ERA is 3.43, his ERA+ is a fine 123, and his WHIP is a sizzling 1.175. He's not a big strikeout pitcher, but I don't care how the outs come, as long as they come. He doesn't give up many walks or home runs. He's not an ace, but he's efficient. He stabilizes the rotation.

What did we give up? Pitcher James Kaprielian, currently recovering from Tommy John surgery, and was only at Class A Tampa last year; shortstop/outfielder Jorge Mateo, currently at Double-A Trenton; and outfielder Dustin Fowler, who is recovering from wrecking his knee in his major league debut a month ago.

* Yesterday, the Yankees got Jaime Garcia from the Minnesota Twins. He hadn't been a Twin for long, as they had just gotten him from the Atlanta Braves. A 31-year-old lefthanded starting pitcher from Reynosa, Mexico, he's 5-7 this season, ERA 4.29, ERA+116, WHIP 1.337. For his career, he's 67-52.

For him, the Yankees gave up Dietrich Enns, who had pitched decently at Triple-A Scranton but wasn't going to receive a callup to the Yankees anytime soon, and at age 26 has yet to make his major league debut; and Zack Littell, who had pitched very well this season, both at Tampa and at Trenton. A September callup for him would have been far from out of the question. Of the 5 players the Yankees gave up for Gray and Garcia, he might be the biggest loss in the long-term.

In other words, for one solid starter and for another guy who could be, the Yankees gave up 5 guys with a grand total of 1 major league game, and none of whom were going to help the Yankees in 2017 anyway. At most, only Littell and (presuming he returned from injury) Fowler stood to help the Yankees even in 2018.

And the "untouchable" prospects Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier, for whom general manager Brian Cashman threw away Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller, respectively, last July, remain in the Yankee organization.

If Cashman thinks this makes up for those idiotic trades, well, we'll see. The trades look good on August 1. Let's see how good they look on September 1, October 1 (the last day of the regular season), and November 1 (the date on which Game 7 of the World Series would be played, if it gets that far, and barring rainouts or other postponements).

This gives the Yankees a starting rotation of (in chronological order, not necessarily in order of talent) Luis Severino (starts tonight in the opener of a home series with the Detroit Tigers), CC Sabathia (starts tomorrow night), Masahiro Tanaka (starts Wednesday afternoon), Jaime Garcia (starts Thursday night in Cleveland against the Indians), Jordan Montgomery (next start, Friday night in Cleveland), and Sonny Gray (whose 1st Yankee start has not yet been decided, his last start was this past Tuesday, and given Tanaka's struggles in day games, maybe Gray will pitch on Wednesday and everyone will be moved back one).

Andrew Marchand of ESPN seems to think the trade for Gray "makes the Yankees the Yankees again."

Or, as Dave Dombrowski, GM of the Red Sox, put it today, "You mean the Golden State Warriors?"

Trips to the Finals 3 straight years, winning 2 of them? Hell yeah, I would take that right now. Especially since it wouldn't be the Red Sox (and, almost certainly not the Mets, either) winning the one in the middle.

Come on you Pinstripes! Time to make our move for Title 28!

The 31 Members of the 3,000 Hit Club, In Perspective

Congratulations to Adrián Beltré, who now has 3,000 hits in the major leagues.

For the record, here's the 31 current members of the 3,000 Hit Club, in chronological order of when they reached it:

1. Adrian Constantine Anson, nicknamed "Anse," "Cap" and "Pop," Marshalltown, Iowa, 1852-1922, 1st baseman-manager, Chicago White Stockings (forerunner of the Cubs), off George Blackburn of the Baltimore Orioles (National League version), at West Side Park in Chicago, July 18, 1897.

Blackburn was signed by the Orioles that month, and was released before the month was out, never to appear in the major leagues again. In contrast, Anson played 27 years, and is still generally regarded as the greatest player of the 19th Century, despite his being one of the men responsible for the color barrier that stood from 1887 to 1947. He won National League Pennants with the proto-Cubs in 1876, 1880, 1881, 1882, 1885 and 1886. Hall of Fame. Had there been an All-Century Team in the 19th Century, he would have been elected to it.

Anson's career hit total, and thus the exact moment of his 3,000th hit, or even whether he got that far, is open to debate, due to changes in rules and record-keeping. The Sporting News, known as "The Bible of Baseball" before it took its focus off baseball and started covering other sports (and also auto racing, which is not a sport), says that Anson had 3,012 hits in his major league career, from 1876 to 1897, and Major League Baseball management accepts that aggressively-researched fact to be true. If this is correct, and if this is whose count you choose to accept, then the information I've cited above on his 3,000th hit is correct.

Some sources credit Anson's service in the 1st professional league, the National Association of 1871 to 1875, as "major league," but most sources don't. If you count his stats in that league, then he actually had 3,418 hits, and his 3,000th came a lot sooner. For a long time, The Baseball Encyclopedia (published by Macmillan Publishers and thus often called "The Macmillan Encyclopedia" or "Big Mac") cited him as having had 3,055, then took out 60 hits because of the 1887 season, the one season in MLB history in which walks were counted as hits, dropping him to 2,995 hits. The Baseball Hall of Fame, which relies on the Elias Sports Bureau, credits Anson with 3,081 hits.

All other players on this list (until Jeter) played all or most of their careers in the 20th Century, and all other players on this list have had any disputes as to their totals wiped away.

2. John Peter "Honus" Wagner, "the Flying Dutchman," Carnegie, Pennsylvania, 1874-1955, shortstop, Pittsburgh Pirates, off Erskine Mayer of the Philadelphia Phillies, at Baker Bowl in Philadelphia, June 9, 1914.

Finished with 3,415. If Anson's NA totals are not counted, then Wagner broke his record, and it was Wagner's record that Ty Cobb broke. Nearly a century after his last game, is still widely regarded as the greatest shortstop who ever lived. Led the Pirates to 4 Pennants and the 1909 World Series.

3. Napoleon "Nap" or "Larry" Lajoie (LAH-zhoh-way, apparently no middle name), Woonsocket, Rhode Island, 1874-1959, 2nd baseman-manager, Cleveland Naps (forerunners of the Indians, and yes they were named for him at the time), off Marty McHale of the New York Yankees, at the Polo Grounds in New York, September 27, 1914, the same season as Wagner.

Finished with 3,242. On the short list for the title of the greatest 2nd baseman of all time. However, he is the only member of the Club who never played on a Pennant winner, or even on a postseason team. Hall of Fame. All-Century Team. Number 33 retired (wore it as a coach) and statue dedicated outside Forbes Field by Pirates, moved by them to Three Rivers Stadium and now to PNC Park.

4. Tyrus Raymond "Ty" Cobb, "the Georgia Peach," Royston, Georgia, 1886-1961, center fielder-manager, Detroit Tigers, off Elmer Myers of the St. Louis Browns, at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, August 15, 1921.

Had been credited with 4,191 hits, an all-time record until 1985, but research done after Pete Rose surpassed that figure shows that Cobb had 4,189. This is also why his lifetime batting average, so long cited as .367, is usually now listed as .366. Also previously held what were believed to be records for stolen bases in a season and in a career, and runs scored in a career. Those records are gone, but his lifetime batting average is still a record. Won 3 straight Pennants with the Tigers, in 1907, '08 and '09, but lost all 3 World Series, and never got into another.

When the 1st vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame was conducted in 1936, 5 men got at least 75 percent of the votes. Cobb got the most, making him, technically, the 1st member of the Hall of Fame. The others were, in order, Babe Ruth, Christy Mathewson (actually tied the Babe in votes), Honus Wagner and Walter Johnson. All-Century Team. While he never wore a uniform number, the Tigers honor him with their other retired numbers as if he had worn one. They dedicated a plaque to him outside Tiger Stadium, and a statue of him inside Comerica Park.

There isn't much surviving film of Cobb in his playing days, and even less of Wagner. This clip includes a few seconds of them together, at the 1909 World Series in Pittsburgh. (That's the Carnegie Library in the background. Forbes Field is gone, but the library is still there. The Pirates beat the Tigers in 7 games.) It also shows Cobb at the then-new original Yankee Stadium in the 1920s, before its triple decks were extended around the foul poles. It shows him at the 1st Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 1939, and playing golf with Ruth; although they didn't like each other much while playing, they became friends afterward.

5. Tristram E. "Tris" Speaker (apparently the E was just an initial, not standing for anything), "the Grey Eagle," Hubbard, Texas, 1888-1958, center fielder-manager, Cleveland Indians (previously starred for the Boston Red Sox), off Tom Zachary of the Washington Senators, at League Park in Cleveland, May 17, 1925.

Finished with 3,514, although I've also seen 3,515 cited, so maybe there was a discrepancy as with Cobb. Regardless, he's one of only 5 guys with at least 3,500. He is also the all-time leader in doubles with 792 (earlier sources said 793), and was hailed as the greatest defensive outfielder of his time. Won the World Series with the 1912 and '15 Red Sox, and as player-manager of the 1920 Indians. Hall of Fame. Wore Number 43 as an Indians coach in the 1940s, but it has not been retired.

6. Edward Trowbridge "Eddie" Collins, Tarrytown, New York, 1887-1951, 2nd baseman, Chicago White Sox (previously starred for the Philadelphia Athletics), off Harry "Rip" Collins (no relation) of the Detroit Tigers, at Navin Field (Tiger Stadium) in Detroit, June 3, 1925, just 3 weeks after Speaker.

Finished with 3,315. Also a sensational baserunner and fielder, and on the short list for the title of greatest 2nd baseman ever. Won the World Series with the 1917 Chicago White Sox. Also on the White Sox who lost the 1919 World Series, but not implicated in the scandal. Also won the Series in 1910, '11 and '13 with the A's, and returned to them to win in 1929 and '30. Hall of Fame. Wore Number 32 as an A's coach in the 1930s, but it has not been retired.

7. Paul Glee "Big Poison" Waner, Harrah, Oklahoma, 1903-1965, right fielder, Boston Braves (played most of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates), off former teammate Rip Sewell of the Pirates, at Braves Field in Boston, June 19, 1942.

Finished with 3,152. Yes, his middle name really was "Glee." And he and his brother-teammate Lloyd were referred to by a Brooklyn sportswriter as "A big person and a little person," hence Big Poison and Little Poison -- except Lloyd was actually taller. Won the 1927 National League Pennant with the Pirates. He and Lloyd, and 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings Harry and George Wright, are the only pairs of brothers in the Hall of Fame. Paul's Number 11 is retired by the Pirates, although Lloyd's Number 10 is not.

8. Stanley Frank "Stan the Man" Musial, Donora, Pennsylvania, 1920-2013, 1st baseman (also played a lot of left field), St. Louis Cardinals, off Moe Drabowsky of the Chicago Cubs, at Wrigley Field in Chicago, May 13, 1958.

Stan was the 1st player to do it on television. Finished with 3,630 -- 1,815 in home games, 1,815 in away games, a stunning balance. Helped the Cardinals win the 1942, '44 and '46 World Series. Hall of Fame. All-Century Team. Number 6 retired and statue dedicated outside Busch Stadium II, moved to Busch Stadium III, by the Cardinals.

9. Henry Louis Aaron, "Hammerin' Hank" or "Bad Henry," Mobile, Alabama, born 1934, right fielder, Atlanta Braves, off Wayne Simpson of the Cincinnati Reds, at Crosley Field in Cincinnati, May 15, 1970.

Hank just edged Willie Mays by a few weeks to become the 1st player to have both 500 home runs and 3,000 hits. Finished with 3,771. This means that even if you took away all 755 of Hank's home runs, he still had over 3,000 hits (3,016). I don't have footage of his 3,000th hit, but I do have footage of his 715th home run. Won the 1957 World Series with the Milwaukee Braves, winning the Pennant-clinching game (not the season finale) with an 11th-inning home run.

Hall of Fame. All-Century Team. Number 44 retired by both the Braves and their successors in Milwaukee, the Brewers. Statue dedicated outside Fulton County Stadium, moved to Turner Field, whose mailing address is 755 Hank Aaron Drive. Presumably, the statue will be moved to SunTrust Park in 2017.

10. Willie Howard Mays Jr. (not "William"), "the Say Hey Kid," Fairfield, Alabama, born 1931, center fielder, San Francisco Giants, off Mike Wegener of the Montreal Expos, at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, July 18, 1970.

Finished with 3,283. Became the 2nd player, after Aaron, to have 500 homers and 3,000 hits. Won the 1954 World Series with the New York edition of the Giants, including his legendary catch that saved Game 1. Hall of Fame. All-Century Team. Number 24 retired officially by the Giants, and unofficially (with a couple of brief exceptions) by the Mets. Statue dedicated by the Giants outside AT&T Park, whose mailing address is 24 Willie Mays Plaza.

In case you're wondering about the other 2 great New York center fielders of the 1950s, Mickey Mantle had 2,415, and Duke Snider had 2,116. Joe DiMaggio, having missed 3 seasons due to World War II and retiring due to a heel injury at just 37 years old, finished with 2,214.

11. Roberto Clemente Walker (Hispanics put the mother's family name after the father's), "the Great One," Carolina, Puerto Rico, 1934-1972, right fielder, Pittsburgh Pirates, off Jon Matlack of the New York Mets, at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, September 30, 1972. He was the 1st to do it on artificial turf.

Supposedly (I cannot confirm this), he was told, as the 1972 season wound down, that it was no big deal if he didn't get Number 3,000 until the next season, and he said, "I have to get that hit this year. I might die." As it turned out, he was killed in a plane crash in the off-season, and finished his career with exactly 3,000 hitsThe announcer was Bob Prince, the legendary voice of the Pirates, pretty much the only player Roberto let call him "Bobby" instead of his proper given name.

Hall of Fame. Number 21 retired by the Pirates. They dedicated a statue of him outside Three Rivers Stadium, and moved it to PNC Park. The 6th Street Bridge, near the park, has been renamed the Roberto Clemente Bridge. Got hits in all 14 World Series games in which he played, winning in 1960 and 1971.

12. Albert William Kaline, Baltimore, Maryland, born 1934, right fielder, Detroit Tigers, off Dave McNally of the Baltimore Orioles, at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, September 24, 1974.

Finished with 3,007. Won the 1968 World Series with the Tigers. The most popular athlete in Detroit history, ahead of Gordie Howe, Steve Yzerman, Doak Walker, Barry Sanders, Isiah Thomas, and way ahead of Cobb. Hall of Fame. Number 6 retired and statue of him inside Comerica Park dedicated by the Tigers. Cherry Street outside Tiger Stadium was renamed Kaline Drive.

13. Peter Edward Rose Jr., "Charlie Hustle," Cincinnati, Ohio, born 1941, 3rd baseman (also played left field, right field, 2nd base and 1st base at various times in his career), Cincinnati Reds, off Steve Rogers of the Montreal Expos, at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, May 5, 1978.

Finished with 4,256. He and Cobb are the only ones with at least 4,000 hits. Still holds the major league career records for games played (3,562), at-bats (14,053), and hits... and also outs (9,797). Won the 1975 and '76 World Series with the Reds, and the 1980 World Series with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Scroll ahead to 2:35 on this clip for his 3,000th. And here's his 4,192nd -- now known not to be the record-breaker, but just try finding a clip of his 4,190th. 

Aside from those who have yet to reach the eligibility threshold, he and Palmeiro are the only men on this list who are not in the Hall of Fame. Rose was, however, elected to the All-Century Team. It's important to note that, even if Rose were reinstated from Major League Baseball's "permanently ineligible" list, it wouldn't guarantee his election to the Hall. The recent revelation about a teenage girlfriend in the 1970s doesn't help.

The Reds renamed Riverside Drive outside Riverfront Stadium, and now Great American Ballpark, Pete Rose Way. They have finally decided to ignore his ban, and make the retirement of his Number 14 official. Previously, they'd given it to only 1 player: Pete Rose Jr., a September callup with the Reds in 1997. Career major league hits: 2.

14. Louis Clark Brock, Collinston, Louisiana, born 1939, left fielder, St. Louis Cardinals, off Dennis Lamp (literally, a line shot off his hand) of the Chicago Cubs, at Busch Memorial Stadium in St. Louis, August 13, 1979.

Finished with 3,023. Once held the major league records, and still holds the NL records, for stolen bases in a season and in a career. Won the 1964 and '67 World Series with the Cardinals. Hall of Fame. Number 20 retired and statue dedicated outside Busch Stadium by the Cardinals. 

15. Carl Michael Yastrzemski Jr., "Yaz," Southampton (Long Island), New York, born 1939, left fielder (also played a bit of 1st base), Boston Red Sox, off Jim Beattie of the New York Yankees, at Fenway Park in Boston, September 12, 1979, a month after Brock did it.

Note that, due to missing 5 years in military service, Yaz's predecessor as Red Sox left fielder, Ted Williams, did not reach 3,000 hits, finishing with 2,654. Yaz finished with 3,419. Won the 1967 and '75 AL Pennants with the Red Sox, but his 3,308 regular-season games are not only the most any major league athlete has played with a single team, but the most that any major league athlete has played without winning a World Championship. Hall of Fame, Number 8 retired and statue dedicated outside Fenway Park by the Red Sox.

16. Rodney Cline Carew, New York City (though born in Panama), born 1945, 1st baseman, California Angels (2nd baseman for the Minnesota Twins for the first part of his career), off Frank Viola of the Minnesota Twins, at Anaheim Stadium, August 4, 1985.

Reached the milestone on the same day that Tom Seaver won his 300th game. A year earlier, Anaheim Stadium (now named Angel Stadium of Anaheim) hosted Reggie Jackson's 500th home run. Finished with 3,053. Reached the Playoffs with the Twins in 1969 and '70, and with the Angels in 1979 and '82, but never won a Pennant. Hall of Fame. Number 29 retired by both the Twins and the Angels. 

17. Robin R. Yount (I can find no record of what the initial stands for), Woodland Hills, California, born 1955, shortstop (also played some center field), Milwaukee Brewers, off Jose Mesa of the Cleveland Indians, at Milwaukee County Stadium, September 9, 1992.

Finished with 3,142. Led the Brewers to their only Pennant, in 1982. Hall of Fame, Number 19 retired and statue dedicated outside Miller Park by the Brewers. 

18. George Howard Brett, El Segundo, California, born 1953, 3rd baseman, Kansas City Royals, off Tim Fortugna of the California Angels, at Anaheim Stadium, September 30, 1992, 3 weeks after Yount did it.

Finished with 3,154. Won 1985 World Series. In fact, the Royals never even reached the Playoffs without him on the roster until 2014. Hall of Fame. Number 5 retired and statue dedicated inside Kauffman Stadium by the Royals.

19. David Mark "Big Dave" Winfield, St. Paul, Minnesota, born 1951, left fielder (also played the other outfield positions), Minnesota Twins (spent his best years with the San Diego Padres and the New York Yankees), off Dennis Eckersley of the Oakland Athletics, at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, September 16, 1993.

The Eck is the only Hall of Fame pitcher to give up a 3,000th hit, and will remain so for the foreseeable future, although Justin Verlander has a shot at it. Winfield, the 1st player to do it with a team that could be called his hometown team, finished with 3,110. Won 1981 AL Pennant with the Yankees, finally won a World Series in 1992 with the Toronto Blue Jays. Hall of Fame. Number 31 retired by the Padres, but not the Yankees. 

20. Eddie Clarence Murray (not "Edward"), Los Angeles, California, born 1956, 1st baseman, Cleveland Indians (had his best years with the Baltimore Orioles), off Mike Trombley of the Minnesota Twins, at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, June 30, 1995.

Finished with 3,255. The 3rd man, after Aaron and Mays, to hit 500 home runs and collect 3,000 hits. Won 1983 World Series with the Orioles. Hall of Fame. Number 33 retired by the Orioles.

21. Paul Leo Molitor, "the Ignitor," St. Paul, Minnesota, born 1956, 3rd baseman, Minnesota Twins (had his best years with the Milwaukee Brewers), off Jose Rosado of the Kansas City Royals, at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, September 16, 1996.

Finished with 3,319: Not only are he and Yount the all-time leaders in hits by teammates (they got 4,736 while they were together on the Brewers from 1978 to 1992), but until surpassed by Jeter, Molitor had more career hits than any person born after 1941.

Hall of Fame. Number 4 retired by the Brewers. When he finally won a World Series with the 1993 Blue Jays, who already had Number 4 occupied, he wore Number 19, in honor of Yount. Like Winfield, did it with the Twins as a Minnesota-born player, although he didn't get the 3,000th at home like Winfield. 

22. Anthony Keith Gwynn Sr., Long Beach, California, 1960-2014, right fielder, San Diego Padres, off Dan Smith of the Montreal Expos, at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal, August 6, 1999. The day before, Mark McGwire hit his 500th home run.

Finished with 3,141. He was the 1st to do it outside the United States, in Montreal. Won 1984 and 1998 NL Pennants with the Padres. Hall of Fame. Number 19 retired and statue dedicated by the Padres outside Petco Park, whose mailing address is 19 Tony Gwynn Drive.

23. Wade Anthony Boggs, Tampa, Florida, born 1958, third baseman, Tampa Bay Devil Rays (had his best years with the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees), off Chris Haney of the Cleveland Indians, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, August 7, 1999, the day after Gwynn did it.

Like Winfield and Molitor, he did it with his hometown team, albeit one that hadn't yet begun play until he was nearing the end of his career. A very unlikely player to be the 1st to hit a home run for his 3,000th hit. Finished with 3,010. Famously lost the 1986 World Series with the Red Sox, and equally (and equineally) won the 1996 World Series with the Yankees. Hall of Fame. Number 26 retired by the Red Sox, Number 12 retired by the Rays.

24. Calvin Edward Ripken Jr., "the Iron Man," Havre de Grace, Maryland, born 1960, 3rd baseman (spent most of his career as a shortstop), Baltimore Orioles, off Hector Carrasco of the Minnesota Twins, at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, April 15, 2000.

Note that he was congratulated at 1st base by fellow Club member Murray. In case you're wondering about those other legendary Orioles, Brooks Robinson finished with 2,848, and Frank Robinson with 2,943. Like Murray, Molitor and Winfield, Frank Robinson has never really gotten he credit he deserves.

Cal finished with 3,184, and, until surpassed by Jeter, had the most hits of anyone born after 1956. Won 1983 World Series with the Orioles. Hall of Fame. All-Century Team. Number 8 retired by the Orioles.

25. Rickey Henley Henderson, born Rickey Nelson Henley (not "Richard," but he was named after the singer whose real name was Eric Hilliard Nelson), Oakland, California, born 1958, left fielder, San Diego Padres (had his best years with the Oakland Athletics), of John Thomson of the Colorado Rockies, at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, October 7, 2001.

Finished with 3,055. Holds the records for stolen bases in a season and in a career, and for runs scored in a career. Won the World Series in 1989 with the A's and in 1993 with the Blue Jays. Hall of Fame. Number 24 retired by the A's.

26. Rafael Palmeiro Corrales, "Raffy," Miami Florida, born 1964 (in Havana, Cuba), 1st baseman, Baltimore Orioles, off Joel Piniero of the Seattle Mariners, at Safeco Field in Seattle, July 15, 2005.

The 4th man to have both 500 home runs and 3,000 hits, and the least legitimate. Had 3,020 hits when he was released by the Orioles following the public release of the fact that he had failed a steroid test -- thus proving that he had lied to Congress when he said he never used them -- and while he hasn't gone to jail for perjury, neither has he ever been employed in professional baseball again.

Reached the postseason with the Orioles in 1996 and '97, and the Texas Rangers in 1999 before returning to the O's. Not in the Hall of Fame. Number 25 not retired by any team for which he played.

27. Craig Alan Biggio, Kings Park (Long Island), New York, born 1965, 2nd baseman, Houston Astros, off Dan Cook of the Colorado Rockies, at Minute Maid Park in Houston, June 28, 2007.

Oddly, when he got Number 3,000, he was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double. Everyone gathered around 2nd base anyway. Finished with 3,060, and, until surpassed by Jeter, had the most hits of anyone born after 1960. Won 2005 NL Pennant with the Astros, reaching the Playoffs 6 times, but never won a World Series. Hall of Fame, Number 7 retired by the Astros.

28. Derek Sanderson Jeter, lived in North Arlington, New Jersey until he was 4, and then grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan, born 1974, shortstop, New York Yankees, off David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays, at the new Yankee Stadium in New York, July 9, 2011.

The only man to do it in a game where he got 5 hits, and only the 2nd to do it with a home run -- and, since he wasn't really remembered as a power hitter, was at least as unlikely to do it as Boggs was.

Finished with 3,465, meaning he has the most hits of anyone born after 1941. He was the 5th player to do it for what could be called his hometown team. Amazingly, he was the 1st to do it in a Yankee uniform, and he got all of those hits in a Yankee uniform. Babe Ruth got 2,873, while Lou Gehrig got 2,721, which was a record in a Yankee uniform until Jeter surpassed it in 2009. Only Musial has more hits with only 1 team, and only Musial, Cobb and Aaron have more hits with any single team. Aaron is the only righthanded hitter with more hits. (Rose was a switch-hitter.)

Won World Series in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2009. Number 2 retired and Monument Park Plaque dedicated by the Yankees. Will be eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2020.

29. Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez, born 1975 in New York City but grew up in Miami, Florida, 3rd baseman, New York Yankees (formerly shortstop with the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers), off Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers, at the new Yankee Stadium in New York, June 19, 2015.

Despite being born in Manhattan, has never really claimed New York as his hometown, preferring Miami. The 3rd player to do it with a home run, and all are players with ties to the Yankees. Even did it in Jeter's style, going to the opposite field (although Jeter, ironically, didn't do it that way).

The 5th player to have 500 homers and 3,000 hits, and the 3rd, after Aaron and Mays, to have 600 homers and 3,000 hits -- the milestone hit was his 667th home run. How many he'd have if he hadn't used performance-enhancing drugs -- or hadn't been caught, or if MLB had decided it wasn't worth pursuing -- is open to speculation. Love him or hate him, he'd got the home run and hit milestones. He finished his career with 3,115 hits and 696 home runs.

Won World Series with Yankees in 2009, 1 of 12 postseason berths in his career. It seems unlikely he'll ever get into the Hall of Fame, although the Yankees giving him a Plaque in Monument Park and retiring his Number 13 once again seem possible.

30. Ichiro Suzuki, Aichi, Japan, born 1973, center fielder, Miami Marlins (but had his best years as a right fielder with the Seattle Marinrs), off Chris Rusin of the Colorado Rockies, at Coors Field in Denver, August 7, 2016.

Ichiro remains the only non-North American to do it, the 1st to do it without a middle name, and the 1st to do it with his first name on the back of his uniform. Reached the postseason with the 2001 Mariners and the 2012 Yankees, but has never won a Pennant. (And he won't do it with the Marlins, because of the Curse of Donnie Baseball.)

Currently has 3,060 hits. Counting his 1,278 in Japan, that's 4,338, more than Rose, but neither MLB, nor the Elias Sports Bureau, nor the Hall of Fame counts it that way.

The Mariners have not reissued his Number 51 since they traded him, and are probably waiting until he retires from baseball to officially retire it. Barring doing something stupid like Rose or getting caught using PEDs, he's going to the Hall of Fame --if he ever retires.

31. Adrián Beltré Pérez, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, born 1979, 3rd baseman, Texas Rangers, off Wade Miley of the Baltimore Orioles, at Globe Life Ballpark in Arlington, Texas, July 30, 2017.

He is the 1st Dominican-born-and-trained player to reach the mark. (A-Rod is of Dominican descent, but U.S.-born-and-trained.) Reached the postseason with the 2004 Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Rangers in 2011, '12, '15 and '16.

He's also got 454 career home runs, so he's got a very good shot at joining the 500 Home Run Club. Chances are, the Rangers will retire his Number 29, but he shows no signs of wanting to retire.


After the still-active Ichiro and Beltré, the active player with the most hits is
Albert Pujols with 2,914; at 37, he has more hits than anyone born after 1980. He has an excellent shot if he doesn't get hurt. Carlos Beltrán has 2,697, but at 40 he probably won't make it. Miguel Cabrera has 2,606, and he's only 34, so he has a good shot at it. Robinson Cano is also 34, and he has 2,312, so he has an outside shot. Matt Holliday, Jose Reyes and Victor Martinez are the only other active players with at least 2,000, and, at the current stages of their respective careers, they can all forget about reaching 3,000.

As I said, Boggs, Jeter and A-Rod are the only players whose 3,000th hit was a home run. Molitor and Ichiro are the only ones to make it with a triple. Wagner, Lajoie, Musial, Clemente, Kaline, Henderson, Palmeiro  and Beltré hit doubles. The rest hit singles, although Biggio was thrown out trying to stretch his 3,000th hit from a single to a double. Aside from the homers of Boggs, Jeter and A-Rod, and the single by Biggio, I can find no record of whether any of these 3,000th hits drove in any runs.

Seven, more than any other position, played right field for the bulk of their careers: Waner, Aaron, Clemente, Kaline, Winfield, Gwynn and Ichiro. Six
 played 3rd base more than any other position: Rose, Brett, Molitor, Boggs, A-Rod and Beltré. Five played 1st base: Anson, Musial, Carew, Murray and Palmeiro. Four were shortstops: Wagner, Yount, Ripken and Jeter -- although Yount played a bit of center field and Ripken a bit of 3rd base. Three played 2nd base: Lajoie, Collins and Biggio. Three played left field: Brock, Yastrzemski and Henderson. Three played center field: Cobb, Speaker and Mays. There has never been a catcher with 3,000 career hits; Ivan Rodriguez had 2,844, and, among catchers who have probably not used steroids, the leader is Ted Simmons with 2,472.

Kaline, Winfield, Molitor and Boggs all got their 3,000th hits in their hometowns (or at least their home metropolitan areas, and you could count Jeter), while Wagner, Winfield, Molitor, Boggs, Ripken and maybe Jeter did it while playing for their hometown teams.

Winfield, Boggs, Henderson, Ichiro, and, briefly, Waner all played for the Yankees, but none of those got his 3,000th hit as a Yankee, and all (with the possible exception of Winfield) are better known for playing on other teams. Jeter was the 1st to do it, and the 1st to do it all, as a Yankee. A-Rod is the 2nd to get it in Pinstripes, although not all of them as a Yankee.

No player got 3,000 hits for the New York Giants, although Willie Mays got 3,187 of his 3,283 as a Giant, in New York and San Francisco combined. He got his last 178 hits as a Met, making him the all-time leader among players who played for the Mets. Mel Ott is the leader among New York-only Giants, with 2,876. Zack Wheat, who played for the Dodgers only in Brooklyn, is the NY-to-LA franchise's all-time leader with 2,804. And the all-time Met leader is David Wright, who came into tonight's action with 1,777 -- in other words, he could have twice as many as he has, 3,554, and he'd still only have 89 more than Jeter. And with his injuries, he may not get many more. (Sounds pathetic, doesn't it? But then, that's the Mets.)

Anson, Wagner, Cobb, Musial, Aaron, Mays, Clemente, Kaline, Rose, Yastrzemski, Yount, Brett, Gwynn, Ripken, Biggio and Jeter are the only players with 3,000 hits for one team. And only Musial, Clemente, Kaline, Yastrzemski, Yount, Brett, Gwynn, Ripken, Biggio and Jeter got all their hits for just one team.

Of the 31, eight grew up (or "were trained as players," if you prefer, a better gauge of "where they were from" than "were born") in the Middle Atlantic States: Wagner and Musial in Pennsylvania; Collins, Yastrzemski, Carew and Biggio in New York; and Kaline and Ripken in Maryland.

Seven were from the Southeast: Cobb from Georgia; Aaron and Mays from Alabama; Brock from Louisiana; and Boggs, Palmeiro and A-Rod from Florida.

Five were from the Pacific Coast, all from California: Yount, Brett, Murray, Gwynn and Henderson. Five were from the Midwest: Anson from Iowa, Rose from Ohio, Winfield and Molitor from Minnesota, and Jeter from Michigan. Two were from the Southwest, counting both Speaker's Texas and Waner's Oklahoma in this region, rather than in the Southeast. Lajoie was the only one from New England.

From outside the continental U.S., there is the Puerto Rico born-and-raised Clemente, the Dominican born-and-raised Beltré, and the Japanese Ichiro. This doesn't count Carew, Panama-born but New York-raised, or the Cuba-born but Miami-raised Palmeiro.

Ten of them were black: Aaron, Mays, Clemente, Brock, Carew, Winfield, Murray, Gwynn, Henderson, Jeter (mixed) and Beltré. Five were Hispanic: Clemente, Carew, Palmeiro, A-Rod and Beltré. Ichiro is the 1st Asian to achieve the feat.

Of the non-Hispanic white players, six were descended from England (Anson, Cobb, Speaker, Rose, Brett and Boggs), three were French (Lajoie, Yount and Molitor), three were German (Wagner, Waner and Ripken), two were Polish (Musial and Yastrzemski), two were Irish (Collins and Kaline), and one was Italian (Biggio).

In spite of being lefthanded giving a hitter an advantage, being a step closer to 1st base, 12 of the members of the 3,000 Hit Club were lefthanded, 16 were righthanded, and 2 were switch-hitters (Rose and Murray).

Of the 31, 17 did it at what was then their current home field, 13 on the road. Only 8 did it on artificial turf, the rest on grass. Brock's and Molitor's could have been ungenerously ruled errors, but the rest -- at least, from Musial's on forward, as we don't have TV or even film footage of any of the earlier 3Ks -- were clean base hits. 20
 collected 3,000 hits all or mostly in the AL, 11 in the NL.

Anson, Wagner, Lajoie, Cobb, Speaker and Collins never wore uniform numbers as active players. The numbers most commonly worn by the others are: Jeter 2, Molitor 4, Brett 5, Musial and Kaline 6, Biggio 7, Yastrzemski and Ripken 8, Waner 11, A-Rod 13, Rose 14, Yount and Gwynn 19, Brock 20, Clemente 21, Mays and Henderson 24, Palmeiro 25, Boggs 26 (12 as a Yankee), Carew and 
Beltré 29, Winfield 31, Murray 33, Aaron 44, Ichiro 51 (31 as a Yankee).

Despite the achievement of 3,000 hits, the following did not finish their careers with a lifetime batting average of at least .300: Kaline, Brock, Palmeiro, Murray, Yastrzemski, Yount, Winfield, Biggio, Henderson, Ripken and A-Rod. In fact, Cal's lifetime batting average was .276, hardly even noteworthy. 
Beltré is at .286, so he will join them. Ichiro will not, as he is at .312.

But 3,000 hits is still 3,000 hits -- as long as you didn't cheat to get it. Palmeiro and A-Rod are the only ones whose bona fides on the issue are at question, unless you don't count Anson's National Association hits as "major league." 

Eight players got to 2,900 hits, but not to 3,000: Sam Rice (2,987), Sam Crawford (2,961), Frank Robinson (2,943), Barry Bonds (2,935), Jake Beckley (2,934), Willie Keeler (2,932), Rogers Hornsby (2,930) and Al Simmons (2,927). 

The player with the most career hits who's eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame, but not yet in -- and not tainted by steroids -- is Harold Baines, with 2,866. has him, on their Hall of Fame Monitor, where 100 is a "Likely HOFer," at 66, well short; on their Hall of Fame Standards, where 50 is the "Average HOFer," he's at 44, much closer.

But their 10 Most Similar Batters puts him in a better light: 4 are in the Hall of Fame (Kaline, Tony Perez, Billy Williams and Andre Dawson), 1 is an active player who will almost certainly got in (Beltré), another is an active player with a good shot (Beltrán), 2 can have legitimate cases made for them (Rusty Staub and Dwight Evans), 1 isn't that far away (Dave Parker), and 1 is tainted by steroid suspicion (Luis Gonzalez).

Among Yankee Legends not yet mentioned: Reggie Jackson had 2,584 hits, Joe Torre had 2,342, Graig Nettles had 2,225. and Yogi Berra had 2,150.

The Waners have the most career hits by brothers: 5,611. Paul (a.k.a. Big Poison) had 3,152, and Lloyd (a.k.a. Little Poison, even though he was actually an inch taller at 5-foot-11) had 2,459. The most hits by a father/son combination is 4,821, by the Bondses: Bobby had 1,886, Barry 2,935. (Pete Rose has 4,256, Pete Rose Jr. 2.)

Here's the career home run totals of the club's members: Aaron 755, A-Rod 696, Mays 660, Palmeiro 569, Murray 504, Musial 475, Winfield 465, 
Beltré 454 and counting, Yastrzemski 452, Ripken 431, Kaline 399, Brett 317, Henderson 297, Biggio 291, Jeter 260, Yount 251, Clemente 240, Molitor 234, Rose 160, Brock 149, Gwynn 135, Boggs 118, Cobb 117, Speaker 117, Ichiro 116 and counting, Waner 113, Wagner 101, Anson 97, Carew 92, Lajoie 82 and Collins 47. It should be noted that Cobb, Speaker, Wagner, Anson, Lajoie and Collins played all or most of their careers in the pre-1920 Dead Ball Era. Of the others, Henderson, Biggio, Clemente, Rose, Brock, Gwynn, Ichiro and Waner played most of their home games in pitcher-friendly ballparks.

Between them, these men won 33 World Series: Collins 6 (1910, '11, '13, '17, '29 and '30), Jeter 5 (1996, '98, '99, 2000 and '09), Rose 3 (1975, '76 and '80), Musial 3 (1942, '44 and '46), Speaker 3 (1912, '15 and '20), Henderson 2 (1989 and '93), Brock 2 (1964 and '67), Clemente 2 (1960 and '71), and 1 each for Wagner (1909), Waner (1925), Mays (1954), Aaron (1957), Kaline (1968), Murray and Ripken (both 1983), Brett (1985), Winfield (1992), Molitor (1993), Boggs (1996) and A-Rod (2009). 

There are 21 members still alive: Aaron, Mays, Kaline, Rose, Brock, Yastrzemski, Carew, Yount, Brett, Winfield, Murray, Molitor, Boggs, Ripken, Henderson, Palmeiro, Biggio, Jeter, A-Rod, Ichiro and 

A shocking 128 pitchers have given up 3,000 or more hits, the active leaders being, not surprisingly, the fat guys, Bartolo Colon with 3,345 and CC Sabathia 3,087. There have been 39 who gave up at least 4,000. Four gave up 5,000, including Hall-of-Famer Phil Niekro and an early pro pitcher named Bobby Mathews, whom you might have heard of and might be in the Hall if he'd won just 3 more games: Counting his NA stats, from 1871 to 1887 he went 297-248. Jim "Pud" Galvin gave up 6,405 hits, and, as you might guess, the all-time leader, as in so many other categories, is Cy Young with 7,092.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Another Gardner Walkoff Keeps Yanks in 1st

The Yankees head toward the trading deadline, and into the heart of the season, on fire, with wins galore, some of the walkoff variety.

This is in spite of the starting pitching difficulties that forced Joe Girardi to go the musical chairs route on the mound against the Tampa Bay Rays yesterday. He gave rookie Caleb Smith his 2nd major league start, and allowed him to go only 3 1/3rd innings, 71 pitches. He was shaky: 2 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks.

Then it was Adam Warren to pitch the rest of the 4th inning and all of the 5th, Dellin Betances the 6th, Tommy Kahnle the 7th, David Robertson the 8th, and Aroldis Chapman the 9th.

Gary Sanchez hit his 16th home run of the season in the 4th, and Chase Headley hit his 5th of the year in the 6th. It was 4-3 Yankees in the 8th, but David Robertson did the one thing we most needed him to do: Not pitch like Tyler Clippard. He allowed a game-tying home run.

For the 2nd straight game, Lucas Duda, whom the Rays acquired from the Mets, hit a home run in the 8th inning. It didn't matter the day before, because the Yankees had a big lead. This time, the game was tied.

And tied it remained into the bottom of the 9th. Rays manager Kevin Cash brought in Brad Boxberger, and he had a meltdown. Cliche alert: Walks can kill you. He issued a leadoff walk to Headley. Girardi sent the speedy Jacoby Ellsbury in to pinch-run for the slow-as-molasses Headley. Ellsbury did what we needed: He stole 2nd. This turned out not to be necessary, as Todd Frazier was hit with a pitch. Then Ronald Torreyes bunted to move the runners over, and beat the throw at 1st base, and now the bases were loaded with nobody out.

Cash had seen enough of Boxberger, and brought in Dan Jennings to evit the apparently inevitable. But, as he was on Thursday night, the walkoff hero was Brett Gardner. No home run this time, just a single to center field, but that was enough to bring Ellsbury home. Yankees 5, Rays 4. WP: Chapman (4-1). No save. LP: Boxberger (2-3).

The Boston Red Sox won last night, so the Yankees remain a half-game up on them in the American League East.

The series concludes this afternoon. Jordan Montgomery starts for us, Jacob Faria for them. Then, the Detroit Tigers come into Yankee Stadium.

Tomorrow is the trading deadline. Rumors about bringing in pitcher Sonny Gray of the Oakland Athletics are all over the place. At this point, I'm less concerned about what he can do for us than I am about what we'll have to give up. Because, as you know, I don't trust Brian Cashman any further than I can throw him.

Cliche Alert: And with my bad knee, Ed, I shouldn't be throwing anybody.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Can't Say Yanks Are Toothless: Back in 1st Place!

So Brett Gardner hit a walkoff home run in the 11th inning on Thursday night, and in the celebration, somebody jumped up, and his helmet smacked Aaron Judge in the mouth, breaking one of his teeth.

The tooth was fixed yesterday morning, and Judge was in the lineup against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium last night. Good thing, too: He hit a home run in the 4th inning. Gardner hit one in the 1st. And rookie sensation Clint Frazier hit one in the 5th, going a Judgelike 455 feet, driving in 3 runs.

That's 4 home runs on the season for Frazier (remember, he's a recent callup), 19 for Gardner (remember, he's meant to be the speed guy on this team), and 33 for Judge (which is more home runs than a person has teeth, even to start out with)! Say what you want about the Yankees, but they are not toothless!

(Okay, Clint is no longer a prospect, or even a "prospect." He's a rookie sensation. But he could still turn out to be the next Kevin Maas, Dan Pasqua or Steve Balboni. But I would definitely settle for him being the next Shane Spencer, or even the next Brian Doyle!)

Masahiro Tanaka pitched his best game of the season, mainly because Joe Girardi let him: 8 innings, 109 pitches, 1 run, 2 hits, no walks, and a career-high 14 strikeouts.

The 1 run was a home run by Lucas Duda, whom the Rays just picked up from the Mets. This time, though, the home run that Tanaka allowed wasn't an early gopher ball that opened the floodgates. Instead, it was in the 7th inning, an inning that Girardi usually doesn't even let him pitch.

A Didi Gregorius single brought home another run in the 8th, to finish it off. Yankees 6, Rays 1. WP: Tanaka (8-9). No save. LP: Austin Pruitt (5-2).

And the Boston Red Sox lost to the Kansas City Royals 4-2, hours after acquiring former Yankee Eduardo "NunE6" Nunez. The Yankees are now in 1st place in the American League Eastern Division by half a game -- 2 games in the all-important loss column! First time alone in 1st place since June 21.

The series continues this afternoon. Caleb Smith starts against Blake Snell.

Don't look now, but Adrian Beltre, now with the Texas Rangers, has 2,998 career hits, 454 home runs, and a .307 lifetime batting average. His ticket to the Hall of Fame is being printed. And I will have to do that "3,000 Hit Club In Perspective" post again.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Gardy Goes Walkoff Yardy to Beat Rays

Last night looked like it was going to be one of those games where I would have to copy-and-paste my frequent use of, "But because Joe Girardi is an idiot who does not know how to handle a pitching staff,"...

Because the opener of our 4-game home series with the Tampa Bay Rays went to extra innings. And once the game goes to extra innings, and I remember that Girardi is the manager, my confidence crashes through the floor.

The Yankees scored 2 runs in the 2nd inning. Gary Sanchez hit a home run in the 3rd, his 15th of the season, to make it 3-0.

CC Sabathia cruised through the 1st 3 innings, but fell apart in the 4th. By the time Chad Green wrapped up the 6th, it was 5-3 Rays. It remained 5-3 Rays as Tommy Kahnle pitched a perfect 7th and Dellin Betances a shaky but scoreless top of the 8th.

Didi Gregorius led off the bottom of the 8th with a single, and Chase Headley followed with another, getting him to 3rd base. Matt Holliday grounded into a fielder's choice, eliminating Headley but allowing Didi to make it 5-4.

Adam Warren pitched a scoreless top of the 9th. The rest of the game was the Brett Gardner show. Our resident speedster led off the bottom of the 9th with a triple. But "prospect" Clint Frazier, in a big clutch moment, failed, grounding to 3rd, forcing Gardner to stay put. Aaron Judge flew out, and the Yankees were down to their last out. But Sanchez singled to center, tying the game. Didi grounded out, sending the game to extra innings.

Girardi used closer Aroldis Chapman to pitch the 10th and the 11th, knowing that he has David Robertson to close tonight's game. See what having 2 closers can do, especially when you don't trade them away for "prospects," Brian Cashman?

It also helps if you don't trade away Brett Gardner, as many Yankee Fans have suggested. He led off the bottom of the 11th with a long drive to right field. Cue John Sterling: "Swung on, and there it goes! Deep to right field! That ball is high! It is far! It is gone! Gardy goes yardy! Ballgame over! Yankees win! Theeeeeee Yankees win!"

Yankees 6, Rays 5. WP: Chapman (3-1). No save. LP: Andrew Kittredge (0-1).

There was one unfortunate casualty of the celebration. As the players were jumping up and down at home plate upon Gardner's return, somebody jumped up, and his helmet smacked Judge in the mouth, and broke one of his teeth. This is not a recommended way to "take one for the team." Not even in old-time hockey.

This was 1 of the 4 games the Yankees had in hand on the Red Sox. We are now half a game behind them in the American League East, and a game ahead of them in the all-important loss column. 100 games down, 62 to go.

The series with Tampa Bay continues tonight, with Masahiro Tanaka starting against Austin Pruitt. Why do people keep giving their sons last names as first names? They end up sounding like sleazy law firms, or maybe sleazy soap opera characters.

How to Be a Yankee Fan In Cleveland -- 2017 Edition

Next Thursday, the Yankees begin a 4-game series away to the Cleveland Indians.

Unlike a lot of these cities, I have been to Cleveland, and have even seen the Yankees beat the Indians at Jacobs Field -- sorry, Progressive Field. (I hate the corporate name. But I love the "Flo" commercials.)

Before You Go. You've no doubt heard the legends of wind blasting off Lake Erie and "lake-effect snow." Well, this will be August, so cold and wind won't be an issue., the website connected with the city's main newspaper, The Plain Dealer, is predicting temperatures in the high 70s for the afternoons, and the high 60s at night. They say thunderstorms are possible for Thursday and Friday, but Saturday and Sunday will be dry. So we may be looking at a doubleheader.

Despite former Indian 3rd baseman Graig Nettles' joke on a Yankee flight to Cleveland in 1977 -- "Ladies and gentlemen, we are about to land in Cleveland. Please set your watches back 42 minutes." -- Cleveland is in the Eastern Time Zone, so you won't have to change your timepieces.

Tickets. The Indians won a surprise American League Pennant last season. That's caused their attendance to rise about 4,200 per home game this season. Only Colorado and, with a new ballpark this season, Atlanta have a bigger improvement. But that's still only 23,836. Ohio has never really recovered from the Bush Recession -- and short memories may explain why the State fell for Trump's line of bull. So even with a Pennant, the Tribe's attendance ranks 26th out of 30 MLB teams.

This should be shocking to those of you who remember their home field, then known as Jacobs Field for Richard Jacobs, the owner who got the place built, being sold out every game from 1995 to 2001. But it shouldn't be shocking to those of you whose memories go back further, to the days when they played at 86,000-seat Municipal Stadium, a.k.a. "Cavernous Cleveland Stadium," where there were often 75,000 to 80,000 people who showed up disguised as empty seats.

However, the Yankees are always the biggest draw of the year for the Indians, and the park officially seats 35,051 people (from a 2009 peak of 45,569), so, just to be on the safe side, don't just show up at the box office and say, "Gimme whatever you got."

Naturally, tickets to see the Indians play the Yankees are more expensive than those against other opponents. Field Boxes (lower-level infield) are $88, Lower Boxes (lower-level down the foul lines) are $74, Lower Boxes in the corners by the poles are $50, Lower Reserved (right-field bleachers) are $47, View Box (first few rows of upper deck) are $27, Upper Box are $19, and Upper Reserved (pretty high up) are $13.  The Bleachers, in left field under the big scoreboard, are $23.

Getting There. Cleveland is 500 land miles from New York. Well, not quite: Specifically, it is 465 miles from Times Square to Public Square; and 467 miles from Yankee Stadium to Progressive Field. Knowing this, your first reaction is going to be to fly out there.

This may be a good idea -- if you can afford it: Like New York, Boston and Chicago, but unlike most of the American League cities, Cleveland has good rapid transit from the airport to downtown. In fact, with the extension of the RTA Rapid Transit's Red Line in 1968, Cleveland became the 1st city in the Western Hemisphere to have rapid transit direct from downtown to its major airport. But round-trip fare could run you over $1,000.

Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, named for William R. Hopkins, a City Manager in the 1920s and an early pilot, is about 12 miles southwest of downtown, and the Red Line takes 24 minutes, 9 stops, to get from Hopkins to Tower City.

From Tower City, underneath the iconic Terminal Tower on Public Square, there is a walkway directly to the ballpark and the adjoining Quicken Loans Arena – meaning you could fly in, ride in, walk in, see a game, walk out, ride out and fly out, all in one day. But you really should take a day to see the city.

Train? Bad idea. Not because of the price, just $166 round-trip, but because of the schedule. The Lake Shore Limited (formerly known as the Twentieth Century Limited when the old New York Central Railroad ran it from Grand Central Terminal to Chicago's LaSalle Street Station) leaves New York's Penn Station at 3:40 every afternoon, and arrives at Cleveland's Lakefront Station at 3:27 in the morning. Let me say that again: 3:27 AM. In reverse, the train leaves Lakefront Station at 5:50 AM and arrives back at Penn Station at 6:23 PM. Time-wise, this is incredibly inconvenient.

And, unlike the Cleveland Union Terminal, now known as Tower City Center but hasn't had long-distance passenger rail traffic since 1977, Lakefront Station, at 200 Cleveland Memorial Shoreway, is not exactly one of the great rail terminals of this country. To make matters worse, while the RTA Green Line and Blue Line both serve Lakefront Station, the RTA doesn't run overnight, and thus any Amtrak train that comes into the station will not be serviced by it.
Not only isn't it an Art Deco masterpiece like Union Terminal,
but Lakefront Station is about the size of Metropark in Woodbridge.
Pathetically small for a metro area of Cleveland's size.

How about Greyhound? There are 9 buses leaving Port Authority every day with connections to Cleveland, but only 2 of these are nonstop: The rest require you to change buses in Pittsburgh or Buffalo. The ride, including the changeover, takes about 13 hours. Round-trip fare is $260, although it can be as little as $96 with advanced purchase.

The terminal, at 1465 Chester Avenue, adjacent to the Cleveland State University campus east of downtown, was a hideously filthy hole on my 1st visit in 1999, but by my next visit in 2004, they'd gotten the message and cleaned it up, and it's tolerable again. At least on the inside; on the outside, it’s a magnet for panhandlers. It's a 7-block walk from the terminal to Public Square, but it's better to take a cab, or to walk 3 blocks to the corner of 13th Street & Superior Avenue and take the Number 3 bus in.
If you decide to drive, the directions are rather simple, down to (almost literally) the last mile. You'll need to get into New Jersey, and take Interstate 80 West. You'll be on I-80 for the vast majority of the trip, through New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio. In Ohio, in the western suburbs of Cleveland, I-80 will merge with Interstate 90. I point this out merely to help you avoid confusion, not because I-90 will become important. You'll take I-80's Exit 173, and get onto Interstate 77 North. Take Exit 163 toward E. 9th St. This will take you into downtown. If you’re driving, I would definitely recommend getting a hotel, and there are several downtown, including some near the ballpark.
If you do it right, you should spend about an hour and a half in New Jersey, 5 hours and 15 minutes in Pennsylvania, and a little over an hour in Ohio. Counting rest stops, preferably at either end of Pennsylvania, and accounting for traffic in both New York and Cleveland, it should be no more than 10 hours.

Once In the City. Cleveland, which once had a city population of over 900,000, but is now under 400,000 with a metro area population of 3.5 million, was founded in 1796 by Moses Cleaveland, a hero of the War of the American Revolution, a General in the Connecticut militia, and a shareholder in the Connecticut Land Company. When the Northwest Ordinance was passed in 1787, a lot of New Englanders moved to what's now the Great Lakes States, and many "original" Ohio families can trace their roots back to Connecticut and Moses' expedition to what was known as the Western Reserve.

Supposedly, the reason for the difference in spelling is that, in 1830, the city's 1st newspaper was established, but the editor found "Cleaveland Advertiser" was too long to fit on the incorporation form, so he dropped an A.

The city doesn't really have a highway "beltway" as we understand that term. It is centered on Public Square, at the intersection of Ontario Street and Superior Avenue (U.S. Route 6), with Euclid Avenue (U.S. Route 20) flowing into it. The Terminal Tower, a 708-foot Art Deco masterpiece, is at the southwest corner of Public Square, and includes the Tower City rail hub and shopping mall. It opened in 1930 and, until 1964, was the tallest building in North America outside New York.

At the southeast corner is the Soldiers & Sailors Monument, probably the best memorial to the American Civil War outside of that war's preserved battlefields. And at the northeast corner is the Key Tower, at 948 feet now the tallest building in the State of Ohio; Richard Jacobs, who owned the Indians for a time, also owned the real estate development company that built the Key Tower (named for Key Bank) in 1991.
The sales tax in Ohio is 5.75 percent, and in Cuyahoga County (which includes Cleveland), it's 8 percent. ZIP Codes in Cleveland begin with the digits 441, and the Area Code is 216.
The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) runs a heavy rail Red Line, similar to New York's Subway, and light rail Blue and Green Lines. They converge at the Tower City, and all 3 run together from there to East 55th Street. The Blue and Green Lines both start at South Harbor, and run together to Shaker Square before diverging. The fare is $2.25, and is the same for RTA buses. An all-day pass is a bargain at just $5.00.
An RTA line outside the Browns' stadium

Going In. Progressive Field, named for the insurance company (with TV spokesgal Flo) and called Jacobs Field from 1994 to 2008 -- once "The Jake," it's now "The Prog" -- is 7 blocks from Public Square, at 2401 Ontario Street. Parking at lots around the ballpark runs from $5.00 to $20.
As I said, a walkway connects Tower City Rail and the ballpark. Ontario Street is the 3rd base side, Carnegie Avenue the 1st base side, 9th Street the right field side, and Eagle Avenue the left field side. Gates A and B, including a statue of Bob Feller, are at the left field corner. Gate C is a the right field corner, and Gate D is behind home plate. Each gate features a ticket office as well as an entry point.

Quicken Loans Arena (a.k.a. "The Q," formerly Gund Arena) is across Eagle Avenue. It is the home of the 2016 NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers, a minor-league hockey team called the Lake Erie Monsters (but there's no monster in Lake Erie, the way some people say there are in Loch Ness and Lake Champlain), and an Arena Football team called the Cleveland Gladiators.
The first thing that will catch your eye when you get to your seat is the big scoreboard in left field. The light towers are also distinctive, known as "The Toothbrushes." If you've been to Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, "The Jake" is going to seem rather familiar. The layout is nearly identical, with the wraparound being from the left field corner around home plate, around the right field corner nearly to center field, with the bleachers in left field under a huge board. There's even a statue of a legendary pitcher outside left field (in Philly's case, Steve Carlton).
The ballpark faces northeast, and from some sections Cleveland’s taller buildings, such as the Terminal and Key Towers, can be seen. The field is natural grass. Outfield distances are as follows: Left pole, 325 feet; left-center, 370; center, 405; deepest part of the park, to the right of dead-center, 410; right-center, 375; right, 325.

In 1999, Jim Thome hit the park's longest home run, 511 feet. There is some dispute as to the longest ever at Municipal Stadium: Officially, Luke Easter holds the record with a 477-footer in 1950, but Mickey Mantle may have hit one there a little longer in 1952, and Ted Williams may also have surpassed it.

Food. Ohio -- much more than New Jersey and Maryland, which get into the conference this year -- is part of Big Ten Country, where college football tailgate parties are practically a sacrament. However, unlike the Tigers, White Sox and Brewers, there really isn't a lot of great food options.

Their "Ballpark Classics," "Ballpark Grill," "Cleats" and "Market Pavilion" stands have the usual fare, and there's a Subway sandwich shop and a snow-cone cart inside. But you're better off going somewhere either before or after the game and loading up.

According to a recent Thrillist article on the best food at each of the 30 current MLB parks, the best at Cleveland's is the grilled cheese sandwich at Melt Bar and Grilled, in "The Right Field District."

There was a restaurant called the New York Spaghetti House on East 9th Street, just a few steps from the ballpark, but it went out of business in 2001. Original owner Mario Brigotti, who died in 1998 at age 99, was a childhood friend of another Italian Clevelander, Mario Boiardi – a.k.a. Chef Boyardee.

Team History Displays. The Indians put their title notations under the right field roof: Their 1920 and 1948 World Championships; their 1954, 1995 and 1997 American League Pennants; and their 1996, 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2007 AL Central Division titles.

Many of those upper-deck seats in right field have been closed off, hence the drop in seating capacity. Atop the current last row of seats, the Indians have their retired numbers: 3, Earl Averill, center field 1929-39; 5, Lou Boudreau, shortstop 1938-50 and manager 1942-50; 14, Larry Doby, center field 1947-58 (grew up in Paterson, New Jersey); 18, Mel Harder, pitcher 1928-47; 19, Bob Feller, pitcher 1936-56; 20, newly-retired for Frank Robinson, outfielder 1974-76 and manager 1975-77; 21, Bob Lemon, pitcher 1946-58 (and Yankee manager 1978-79 and 1981-82); and, of course, Jackie Robinson's universally-retired Number 42. The 25 of Jim Thome, 1st baseman 1991-2002, is not yet retired, and they may be waiting for him to be elected to the Hall of Fame.
All of their honorees except Harder are in the Baseball Hall of Fame. They have also retired a number for their fans, 455, for the number of consecutive sellouts at the park from 1995 to 2001 (a record since topped by the Boston Red Sox in 2008, and lasting until 2012).

Outside the left field gates is a statue of Feller, who was the 1st Cleveland-based athlete to have his number retired, and is generally considered the greatest Indian of all time by those who don't remember Napoleon "Nap" Lajoie and Tris Speaker, who played before uniform numbers became standard. (Speaker would later wear Number 43 as an Indians coach.)
Feller's statue

Also outside those gates are statues to Boudreau (to be unveiled before the Saturday game), Doby, Thome, and Robinson, showing him handing in his lineup card as MLB's 1st black manager on Opening Day 1975.
In center field, the Indians have Heritage Park, similar to Monument Park at Yankee Stadium. Unlike the Yankees, who have a rather exclusive list, the team honors the 100 Greatest Indians, as chosen in a 2001 poll for the team's 100th Anniversary. It has since been expanded into a Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame:

* From the team's early days: Bill Bradley (no relation to the Knick-turned-Senator), Elmer Flick (Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown), Vean Gregg, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Addie Joss (Cooperstown), Napoleon Lajoie (Cooperstown, player-manager, team had previously been named "Cleveland Naps" in his honor before the 1915 switch to "Indians" to copy Boston's World Champion Braves), Robert "Dusty" Rhoads (not to be confused with the New York Giant who beat the Indians with a walkoff homer in the 1954 World Series) and Terry Turner.

* From the 1920 World Champions: Jim Bagby Sr., George Burns (supposedly, the New York-born comedian named himself for this former Giant star), Ray Chapman (accidentally hit by Yankee pitcher Carl Mays, the only player to die in an on-field incident), Stan Coveleski, Larry Gardner, Jack Graney (became the first former player to become a broadcaster), Charlie Jamieson, Guy Morton, Steve O'Neill (no relation to the man of the same name who owned the Indians in the late 1970s and early '80s), Joe Sewell (Cooperstown), Tris Speaker (Cooperstown, player-manager of the '20 champs), George Uhle and Bill Wambsganss (pulled unassisted triple play in the '20 Series).

There is also a monument to Chapman that had been inside the right-field gate at League Park, before the team moved into Municipal Stadium full-time. It got lost, and was finally found in 2007, inside a trunk at Jacobs Field. Obviously, it had gotten moved in with the move to the new ballpark in 1993-94, but it took them 13 years to open the trunk in question.
* From the 1920s and '30s: Averill, Harder, Sewell, his brother Luke Sewell, Wes Ferrell (the Cooperstown Hall probably should have elected him instead of his brother Rick Ferrell), Lew Fonseca (better known as the director, editor and sometimes narrator of the official World Series highlight films in the 1940s and early '50s), Willis Hudlin, Johnny Hodapp and Joe Vosmik.

* From the 1940 team that just missed the American League Pennant: Harder, Johnny Allen (former Yankee), Feller, Boudreau, Odell Hale, Jeff Heath, Ken Keltner and Hal Trosky.

* From the 1948 World Champions: Feller, Boudreau, Doby, Keltner, Lemon, Gene Bearden, Mike Garcia, Joe Gordon (came to the Indians in the trade that sent Allie Reynolds to the Yankees), Steve Gromek, Jim Hegan, Dale Mitchell (helped Dodgers win 1956 Pennant and became Don Larsen's last victim in his perfect game), Satchel Paige (Cooperstown) and Al Rosen (general manager of Yanks' 1978 World Champions and now the last surviving man who played on a World Series winner in Cleveland).

* From the 1954 Pennant winners: Feller, Doby, Lemon, Garcia, Hegan, Mitchell, Rosen, manager Al Lopez (Cooperstown), Bobby Avila, Luke Easter, Don Mossi, Ray Narleski and Early Wynn (Cooperstown).

* From the 1959 team that nearly won a Pennant: Rocky Colavito (Bronx native who closed his career with the Yankees), Jim "Mudcat" Grant (who pitched the Minnesota Twins to a Pennant and is now an Indians broadcaster), Herb Score (Queens native whose stunning career what short-circuited by a line drive from Yankee Gil McDougald, but became their beloved broadcaster, their Phil Rizzuto, their Richie Ashburn), Woodie Held, Minnie Minoso, Jim Perry (Gaylord's brother and a pretty good pitcher in his own right), Vic Power (had been in Yankee system) and Al Smith (better remembered for his "beer shower" while chasing a home run for the White Sox in the '59 Series).

* From the 1960s: Max Alvis, Joe Azcue, Gary Bell, Tito Francona (father of former Red Sox manager and current Indians manager Terry), Sam McDowell (briefly a Yankee toward the end of his career), Luis Tiant (better known as a Red Sock but also a Yankee toward the end), Johnny Romano, Sonny Siebert and Leon Wagner.

* From the 1970s: Frank Robinson (although he's in Cooperstown for what he did well before becoming MLB's 1st black manager), Buddy Bell, Dennis Eckersley (Cooperstown, though not for what he did in Cleveland), Ray Fosse, Rick Manning, Toby Harrah, George Hendrick, Duane Kuiper, Gaylord Perry (Cooperstown), Andre Thornton and Rick Waits (who had this nasty habit of beating the Yankees, including in the 1978 regular-season finale to force the Bucky Dent Playoff).

* From the 1980s: Len Barker (pitched a perfect game in 1981), Bert Blyleven (Cooperstown, but not for what he did with the Indians), Tom Candiotti, Joe Carter, Joe Charboneau, Mike Hargrove (managed them to their 1995 and ’97 Pennants), Brook Jacoby, Doug Jones and Pat Tabler.

* From the 1995 and 1997 Pennant winners: Hargrove, Sandy Alomar, Carlos Baerga (who they sent to the Mets in exchange for Jeff Kent, dumb Met trade), Albert Belle, Julio Franco (starred for the Tribe in 1980s but returned to them for 1997 Pennant, closed his career with the Mets), Kenny Lofton, Jose Mesa, Charles Nagy, Orel Hershiser, Kenny Lofton, Manny Ramirez (not only was he an Indian, but shaved his head instead of wearing dreadlocks, and as far as we know he was clean then), Jim Thome and Omar Vizquel.

* Since 1997: Roberto Alomar (Cooperstown) and Travis Fryman.

In 1933, Indians Averill, Ferrell and Oral Hildebrand were named to the 1st All-Star Game. Lajoie, Jackson, Speaker, Feller, Paige, Wynn, Perry and Robinson were named to The Sporting News' 100 Greatest Baseball Players in 1999.

Also named to that team was Cy Young, the Ohio native who pitched for the Naps in 1909, '10 and '11, and for the National League's Cleveland Spiders from 1890 to 1898. Also in 1999, Young was named to the Major League Baseball All-Star Team. In 2006, Feller was Indians fans' choice in the DHL Hometown Heroes poll.

Since the start of Interleague Play in 1997, the Indians and the Cincinnati Reds have competed for the Ohio Cup. The winner of the season series gets it. The Indians have won it 8 times, 9 if you count this year's series being tied, thus the Indians retain it under the rules; the Reds, 5. Overall, the Indians lead the series, 55-46.
They have never met in the World Series, the closest call coming in 1940, when the Reds won their Pennant and the Indians fell just short in theirs. They've made the postseason in the same year in 1995 and 1999.

Stuff. The Cleveland Indians Team Shop is located under the 3rd base stands, with a non-game entry on Ontario Street. Additional team stores are located throughout the ballpark. However, if you’re looking for Native American-themed items, you won't find any aside from things with the "Chief Wahoo" head logo on them. The Indians are sensitive about that sort of thing, including frequently wearing caps with a block C on them instead of the Chief's head… but not so sensitive as to change the name of the team.

The 1920 World Series was before the age of official World Series highlight films, but the 1948 highlight film is available on DVD. However, there is, as yet no DVD of The Essential Games of the Cleveland Indians.

The best books about the Indians are a series by Terry Pluto, the great columnist of The Plain DealerThe Curse of Rocky Colavito: A Loving Look at a 33-Year Slump, about the fall from regular contention from 1940 up to the trade of Colavito for Harvey Kuenn 20 years later, and hadn't even been in a Pennant race through the book's 1994 publication; Burying the Curse, about the Jacobs-led recovery, the new ballpark, the return to contention and the 1995 Pennant; and Our Tribe, an overall history of the team that dovetailed with the life of Pluto's father Tom, born in the World Series year of 1920 and died in 1998, just after their most recent World Series appearance; Pluto himself remarked that he was born in 1955, just in time to miss the last Pennant the team would win for over 40 years.

Our Tribe is, I believe, truly one of the best books ever written about anybaseball team.  Its chapter comparing the less-than-intellectual Cleveland hitters Shoeless Joe and Manny is fascinating, and shows that "Manny Being Manny" started well before Ramirez arrived in Cleveland, let alone in Boston.

During the Game. A recent Thrillist article on Baseball's Most Intolerable Fans ranked Indians fans 10th. In other words, not good, but not up there (or down there) with the very worst.

Cleveland fans really hate the Yankees. Which is understandable, as the Yankees ruined many a Pennant race for them: 1921, 1923, 1926, 1940 (even though the Yanks didn't win that one, either), 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956 and 1957. Too long ago, you say? Well, the Yankees also ruined the Indians' bid for a Pennant in 1998, and also won Pennants that Indian fans felt their team should have won in 1996, 1999, 2000 and 2001. That the Indians beat the Yanks in Division Series play in 1997 and 2007 seems only to have fed their contempt for us. As city native Drew Carey put it when they finally broke their 41-year Pennant drought in 1995, "Finally, it’s your team that sucks!'

So don’t tell the classic "Cleveland Jokes." You know, the ones about the city going broke in 1969 (besides, New York came pretty close to going broke in 1975) and Lake Erie catching fire the same year (actually, it was the Cuyahoga River, not the Lake). Or the one told by 1970 outfielder Richie Scheinblum: "We should change our name to the Cleveland Utility Company. All we have are utility players." Or the one told by the late umpire Ron Luciano: "I loved umpiring Indian games, because they were usually out of the race by Memorial Day and I knew my calls wouldn’t affect the Pennant race." Or the one I mentioned from Nettles about setting your watches back. Or Russian comedian Yakov Smirnoff's line: "They made me feel at home in Cleveland. So I had to escape again."

And you definitely do not want to remind Indians fans that George Steinbrenner was from Cleveland. However, it's not as bad as it would be if you were wearing Pittsburgh Steelers or Cincinnati Bengals gear to a Browns game: Chances are, no one will try to pick a fight with you. But, aside from Red Sox and Met fans, Indian fans may hate the Yankees more than anyone else.

The Thursday night game will not feature a promotion. But Friday night will be Dollar Dog Night, the 1st 10,000 fans will receive an Indians "mason jar mug," and there will be postgame fireworks. Having been to an Indians home game on a Friday night with postgame fireworks, I can tell you that these have a particularly loud echo through the skyscrapers of downtown Cleveland. Be warned.

The Saturday night game will give replicas of the newly-unveiled Boudreau statue to the 1st 12,500 fans, and there will again be postgame fireworks. And Sunday afternoon will be Kids Fun Day, with kids being allowed to run the bases after the game. All fans will also receive a set of Topps baseball cards, presumably of the current Indians players.

In the 1970s, '80s and '90s, Rocco Scotti, an opera-singing construction worker, sang the National Anthem at Indians games, and along with Robert Merrill of the Yankees was one of the most popular Anthem singers in baseball. He died in 2015, at age 95. The Indians now hold auditions for Anthem singers, rather than hire a regular.
The mascot is Slider, a big pink thing that doesn't seem to be any animal in particular. During the 1995 Playoffs, the man in the Slider suit performed a stunt, and injured an ankle. The Indians played the Seattle Mariners in the ALCS, and for the first time ever, both mascots were injured, as the Mariner Moose had broken an ankle during a stunt a few weeks earlier.
Slider with a kids' birthday party.
Clearly, those kids are not from England,
or else they'd know what that gesture means.

The Indians also have an unofficial mascot, John Adams. The native of nearby Parma was a drummer in his high school band, is a longtime employee of AT&T, and teaches at Cleveland State University. Starting in 1973, he sat in the bleachers at Municipal Stadium, 513 feet from home plate -- he had it measured -- and pounded away on a 26-inch-wide bass drum while the Indians batted, and during the 9th inning when the Indians were getting close to victory.

He said Indians fans used to bang on their seats during rallies, but since he was in the bleachers, where there were no seats, just wooden planks, he needed something else to bang on. It was publicized by Bob Sudyk, the famed reporter for the now-defunct Cleveland Press. Herb Score nicknamed him "Chief Boom-Boom."

Since then, he claims to have missed only 37 home games in 41 years -- mainly midweek afternoon games when the phone company wouldn't give him the day off -- and made the move from the last row of the bleachers at Municipal Stadium to the last row under the scoreboard at Jacobs/Progressive Field.  He claims he goes through 3 sets of mallets a year, and occasionally has to replace the skins on his drum, but that he's still using the same drum from the beginning.
He was invited to throw out the first pitch for a Playoff game against the Yankees in 2007, and when he drummed for his 3,000th game (though not consecutive) in 2011, the Indians set up a first-pitch ceremony with another of their club's characters, 1980 American League Rookie of the Year and noted wacko Joe Charboneau: "Super Joe" threw the pitch, and Adams hit it with his drum.

At the old Stadium, his drumming was especially noticeable when there was a small crowd in the huge old stadium, and it used to particularly bother Red Sox star Carl Yastrzemski, who complained about it to the media. "Ever since then," Adams said, "I play a little louder when the Red Sox are in town." In spite of the big crowds the Indians got in the Hargrove years, he could still be heard over the noise.

Since 2007, the Indians have had a takeoff on the Milwaukee Brewers' Sausage Race, the Sugardale Hot Dog Derby. At the end of the 5th inning, a race is held between hot dogs with the following toppings: Mustard, listed as "the all-American boy of the group" on the Indians' website; Ketchup, wearing nerd glasses in "honor" of the Charlie Sheen character in the Indians-themed Major League
films, and like Sheen will cheat in order to be "Duh, winning"; and Onion, a female character who is described as a diva, and supposedly has a crush on Mustard, which irritates Ketchup.
Nevertheless, the results are usually rather even among the 3 racers. (Sometimes Slider attempts to influence the outcome of the race.)

The Indians do not have a regular song to play in the 7th inning stretch after "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." But in the 8th inning, they play "Hang On Sloopy" by The McCoys, an Ohio-based rock band, and long part of the repertoire of the Ohio State band.

After a win, they play The Presidents of the United States of America's version of Ian Hunter's "Cleveland Rocks" – the version you may remember as the theme to The Drew Carey Show. (Although the 1st season of that show had Drew himself singing "Moon Over Parma" and the 2nd season had the Vogues' 1966 hit "Five O'Clock World" -- which probably had to be dropped since you don't want to be a Cleveland guy with a Pittsburgh group's song.)

After the Game. Cleveland has some rough areas, but you should be safe downtown. There are a number of places you could go after the game, with names like the Greenhouse (2038 East 4th Street at Prospect Avenue) and the Winking Lizard (811 Huron Road East at Prospect). A House of Blues is at 308 Euclid Avenue, 5 blocks from the park.

The Winking Lizard, a.k.a. Winks, is the home of the local Jet fans' club. The local Giant fans meet at Anthony's, 10703 W. Pleasant Valley Rd. at York Rd., 18 miles southwest of downtown. Bus 45.

If your visit to Cleveland is during the European soccer season, which gets underway in mid-August, the best place to watch your club is probably The Old Angle Tavern, at 1848 West 25th Street in the Ohio City neighborhood, across the Cuyahoga, west of downtown. Red Line to West 25th-Ohio City.

Sidelights. Cleveland has a losing reputation. The Indians haven't won a World Series since 1948, the Browns haven't won an NFL Championship sine 1964 (Super Bowl –II, if you prefer), and the Cavaliers have played since 1970 and didn't win so much as 1 NBA Finals game until 2015, before finally winning the title last year. But Cleveland is still a great sports city.

As I said, Quicken Loans Arena, home of the Cavs, is next-door to Progressive Field. The Browns' new stadium, now named FirstEnergy Stadium, stands at on the Cleveland Memorial Shoreway at West 3rd Street, across from Lakefront Station to the south. To the east are the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and the Great Lakes Science Center – good museums, but expensive.

Built in 1999, FirstEnergy Stdium has hosted U.S. soccer games. The men's team won a friendly 2-0 over Venezuela on May 26, 2006; lost a friendly 4-2 to Belgium on May 29, 2013; and won a CONCACAF Gold Cup Group Stage game 3-0 over Nicaragua this past July 15. The women's team won a friendly 4-0 over Germany on May 22, 2010, and won a friendly 2-0 over Japan on June 5, 2016. (UPDATE: They won a friendly 2-1 over China there on June 12, 2018.)

Formerly named simply Cleveland Browns Stadium, the new stadium was built on the site of Municipal Stadium, which was the Indians' part-time home from 1932 to 1946, and their full-time home from 1947 to 1993.

The stadium opened on July 3, 1931, with a Heavyweight Championship fight. Max Schmeling, quite popular in America before the rise of Nazism in his native Germany, delivered the only knockout of William "Young" Stribling's career.

An NFL team named the Indians played at the Stadium in its 1st season, 1931. The NFL's Rams played there from 1936 to 1945, winning the 1945 NFL Championship Game there, but moved to Los Angeles due to lousy attendance. The Browns, founded with the All-America Football Conference in 1946 and moving into the NFL in 1950, played there until 1995, before being moved to Baltimore to become the Ravens and being reborn in 1999. The U.S. soccer team has played 2 games there, a win over Venezuela in 2006 and a draw to Belgium in 2013.
The Browns won the AAFC Championship in all 4 seasons of that league's existence, then won NFL Championships in 1950, 1954, 1955 and 1964. In fact, the Browns played in a league championship game every season they played, from their 1946 debut until 1955.

The 1950 NFL Championship Game, won by a Lou Groza field goal in the last 30 seconds of a chilly Christmas Eve encounter over, ironically, the Rams, is regarded as one of the greatest games in pro football history, although the Rams got revenge in the 1951 title game in Los Angeles. The Browns lost the 1952 Title Game at home to the Detroit Lions, lost to the Lions in Detroit in 1953, beat the Lions at home in 1954, and beat the Rams in Los Angeles in 1955.

A new generation of Browns won the 1964 NFL Championship Game at home against the Baltimore Colts – though it's hard to argue that Baltimore taking the Browns in 1995 was revenge. Still, that '64 Title remained the city's last World Championship for 51 1/2 years. No city with at least 3 major league sports teams has waited longer.

Most Clevelanders who watch college football are Ohio State University fans, even though Ohio Stadium is 145 miles away in Columbus, which is further from Browns Stadium than the Steelers' Heinz Field, 135 miles. Still, while O-State has won many Big Ten titles and some National Championships over the years, including since 1964, they are a team for the entire State, not Cleveland-specific, and have played very few home-away-from-home games in Cleveland.  And Cleveland State only restarted their football program in 2010. So while Cleveland is a great pro football city and a great high school football city, it is not a good college football city.

Municipal Stadium hosted a Beatles concert on August 14, 1966. The Beatles also played Cleveland's Public Auditorium on September 15, 1964. That building, which opened in 1922, not only still stands, it now hosts the annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Elvis Presley sang there on November 6, 1971 and June 21, 1974.

It also hosted the Republican Conventions of 1924 (nominating Calvin Coolidge) and 1936 (Alf Landon). And it hosted the only Presidential Debate of 1980, when Ronald Reagan hit Jimmy Carter with the lines, "There you go again," and, "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" 500 Lakeside Avenue East, a 6-block walk from Public Square and across from City Hall.

There were 2 different ballparks known as League Park, constructed at East 66th Street and Lexington Avenue on the city's East Side. The 1st was built in 1891, and was the home of the National League's Cleveland Spiders until 1899 and the American League team that became the Indians from 1901 to 1909. A 2nd park built there in 1910 was the Indians' home until 1946. A pro football team called the Cleveland Indians played there from 1916 to 1921.
League Park was also the home of the Cleveland Buckeyes, who played in the Negro Leagues from 1943 to 1950, and won the Negro World Series in 1945.

Unlike most parks of the pre-World War I era (or even those built before the 1960s), something remains of this park: The ticket office that stood behind the right-field corner still stands. And there is a baseball field, a public park, on the site today, although it is currently undergoing renovations. However, this is a poverty-stricken neighborhood – it has never really recovered from a race riot in 1966 – so do not visit at night.
The Number 3 bus will take you up Superior Avenue to 66th, and it's a 6-block walk; a bus called "The HealthLine," which can be picked up on Euclid Avenue across from the Soldiers & Sailors Monument at Public Square, will take you up Euclid Avenue to 66th, and it's a 7-block walk.

There is a Baseball Heritage Museum, inside the 5th Street Arcades shopping center at 530 Euclid Avenue.  It began as a private collection of Negro League memorabilia, and it grew to include stuff from the Indians and all kinds of baseball, including amateur, industrial/semi-pro, women's and international leagues.

The Cleveland Arena was home to one of the great minor-league hockey teams, the Cleveland Barons, from 1937 to 1974 and the World Hockey Association's Cleveland Crusaders from 1972 to 1974. It was home to the Cleveland Rebels in the 1st NBA season of 1946-47, and the Cavaliers from their 1970 debut until 1974.

It was here, on March 21, 1952, that local disc jockey Alan Freed hosted the Moondog Coronation Ball, which is often called the first rock and roll concert (which is why Cleveland is the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame). The place held about 10,000, but about twice that tried to get into Freed's show, launching him on a career that would take him to his pioneering job on New York's WINS and then WABC.
The Crusaders didn't do much: They got to the WHA Semifinals in their 1st season, 1972-73, but that's as far as they got. Nick Mileti, who owned the Barons, the Indians and Cavaliers at various times, owned them. Their biggest player was the once and future Boston Bruin goaltender, Hall-of-Famer Gerry Cheevers, who made the WHA's All-Time Team.

Elvis sang at the Arena on November 23, 1956. (While the 1988 film Heartbreak Hotel shows him, played by David Keith, in concert at the Cleveland Arena in 1972, that film is fiction, and the website clearly states that he gave only one concert in the State of Ohio that year, at the University of Dayton Arena.)

The Arena was demolished in 1977. The HealthLine bus will drop you off at 36th Street; but, again, this is an uneasy neighborhood, so be aware of your surroundings.

From 1974 to 1994, between the Cleveland Arena and the Gund/Quicken Loans Arena, the Cavs played at The Coliseum at Richfield, a.k.a. the Richfield Coliseum. This was also the home of the WHA's Crusaders in the 1974-75 and 1975-76 seasons, and the NHL version of the Barons (who had been the California Golden Seals) in the 1976-77 and 1977-78 seasons, before money problems forced them to be merged with the Minnesota North Stars.
On March 24, 1975, in his first fight after regaining the heavyweight title from George Foreman, Muhammad Ali fought a journeyman fighter from North Jersey, Chuck Wepner, a.k.a. the Bayonne Bleeder. Wepner actually knocked Ali down in the 9th round, and that pissed Ali off: He clobbered Wepner, but the Marine veteran refused to go down, until he had nothing left and fell to an Ali punch with 19 seconds left in the 15th and final round. Supposedly, seeing this fight on TV led Sylvester Stallone to create the character of Rocky Balboa. Wepner is still alive at age 74, and recently retired from running a liquor store in Carlstadt, Bergen County.

Like the Meadowlands Arena and the Nassau Coliseum, the Richfield Coliseum had two levels of seats and one level of concourse – and, when a full house of 20,000 showed up, this was a mess. The location was also bad, picked because it was halfway between downtown Cleveland and downtown Akron, but it didn't exactly help people of either city. When the Cavs moved out, its days were numbered, and it was demolished in 1999. The site is now a wildlife sanctuary. 2923 W. Streetsboro Road, and don't expect to take public transportation: The closest bus, the 77F, drops you off almost 6 miles away.

Elvis sang at the Coliseum on July 10 and 18, 1975; and on March 21 and October 23, 1976. Elvis actually gave concerts in Cleveland before becoming nationally famous. On February 26, 1955, nearly a year before "Heartbreak Hotel" hit the charts as his first national hit single, he did 2 shows at the Circle Theater, at 105th & Euclid (built 1920, demolished 1959 for the expansion of the Cleveland Clinic, hence the bus is called the "HealthLine," and this area is a bit safer). On October 19, 1955, he again played 2 shows at the venue.  The next day, he did a matinee at Brooklyn High School (9200 Biddulph Road, Number 45 bus to Biddulph and walk a mile west) and an evening show at St. Michael's Hall (Mill Road & Wallings Road, 77F bus to Wallings, walk a mile west and a couple of blocks south on Mill).

No NCAA Final Four has ever been held in the State of Ohio. Ohio State won it in 1960, and lost Finals in 1939, 1961, 1962 and 2007, but they're in the State capital of Columbus, 142 miles from Public Square, and considerably closer to Cincinnati. The most notable college in the area is Cleveland State University, whose Vikings notably reached the Sweet Sixteen as a 14th seed in 1986, upsetting Indiana and St. Joseph's of Philadelphia before David Robinson and Navy beat them by 1 point to keep them out of the Elite Eight, but that's as close as any Northern Ohio team has come to the Final Four. Their campus is headquartered on Euclid Avenue between 17th and 26th Streets.

With the demise of the Barons, minor-league hockey has been played at the Coliseum and The Q, but the closest NHL team is the Pittsburgh Penguins, 134 miles away. It's not clear how much of the fandom of the Columbus Blue Jackets, 142 miles away, comes from Cleveland, but with Cleveland being a big boost to Ohio State's fandom, I can easily imagine Clevelanders preferring a team from Ohio's capital, however much they might dislike the State government, over the team from Steeler Town. If Cleveland ever did get another hockey team, it would rank 17th in population in NHL markets.

Cleveland's highest-ranked soccer team is AFC Cleveland, which plays in the National Premier Soccer League, the 4th tier of American soccer. Their home field is Stan Skoczen Stadium, at Independence High School, in Independence, 10 miles south of downtown. Bus 77 will get you to within a mile away.
I once asked Drew Carey, through Twitter, if he loves soccer so much, why didn't he try to get a Major League Soccer franchise for Cleveland, instead of buying into the group that owns the Seattle Sounders? Especially since Cleveland had done so well in the Major Indoor Soccer League. He said there was no suitable playing facility, unless they wanted to play before 50,000 empty seats at the new Browns stadium. This made sense, which is why the nearest MLS team is the Columbus Crew, 138 miles away. The next-closest is Toronto FC, 289 miles away.

There is a Cleveland Museum of Art, but it's way out on the East Side of the city, at 11150 East Boulevard at Wade Oval Drive, near the campus of Case Western Reserve University. It's a 15-minute walk from the Euclid-East 120th Street Station on the Red Line, or a 35-minute ride on the HealthLine bus.

Cleveland was home to a President, James Garfield, elected in 1880 but assassinated just a few months into his Presidency. Although he died near us, at his "Summer White House" in Long Branch, New Jersey, he was born in the Cleveland suburb of Orange (now Moreland Hills, and he was the last President to be born in a log cabin), and his home, Lawnfield, stands at 8095 Mentor Avenue in Mentor, northeast of the city. It takes 4 buses to get there: The 3, the 28, the R2 and the R1, but it is possible to get there without a car or an expensive taxi.

William McKinley, elected in 1896 and 1900, was from Canton, 60 miles away, and there are some historic sites there relating to him. We Yankee Fans also know Canton as the home town of Captain Thurman Munson. But most sports fans know it as the home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, selected because it was the location of the NFL's founding meeting on September 17, 1920, at the Hupmobile showroom of Ralph Hay, also the owner of the Canton Bulldogs. The Frank T. Bow Federal Building is now on the site. 201 Cleveland Avenue SW.

The Hall of Fame itself is 3 miles to the northwest, at 2121 George Halas Drive NW, off Exit 107 on Interstate 77. Just to the south is Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, named for the owner of the New Orleans Saints, who made a big donation to renovate the Hall and the adjoining Fawcett Stadium, which was renamed for him. Originally built in in 1938 for McKinley High School, just to the south, it replaced the old 8,000-seat League Field. It now seats 22,375, and annually hosts the NFL's exhibition season-opening Hall of Fame Game.

The Canton Bulldogs played at League Field from 1905 to 1926, winning Ohio League titles in 1915, 1916, 1917 and 1919, and NFL Championships in 1922 (10-0-2), 1923 (11-0-1) and 1924 (7-1-1 -- that's 28-1-4 in 3 seasons). They featured eventual Pro Football Hall-of-Famers Jim Thorpe, Joe Guyon, Guy Chamberlin, Pete Henry, Link Lyman and Greasy Neale, though not all at the same time.

But starpower meant big salaries, and their owners couldn't afford them. After the 1926 season, the NFL cast off several weaker franchise, and the Bulldogs were among them. Thus passed the 1st great professional football team.

The Akron-Canton Regional Airport, where Thurman Munson died on August 2, 1979, is at 5400 Lauby Road in North Canton. He is laid to rest at Sunset Hills Burial Park and Memory Gardens, 5001 Everhard Road NW. Thurman Munson Memorial Stadium is a 5,700-seat minor-league ballpark at 2501 Allen Avenue SE. It was built in 1989, before Camden Yards in Baltimore revolutionized ballpark construction in both the majors and the minors, so it is an all-aluminum stadium, and the Canton-Akron Indians left after the 1996 season to become the Akron Aeros.

It is possible to get from Cleveland to Canton via public transportation, via GoBus, but it takes 2 hours and 20 minutes. Each way.

Akron is about 30 miles south of Cleveland on I-77, a little more than halfway to Canton. There is a Bus C that goes there, taking a little under an hour and costing $10, each way. Since 1997, the Double-A Eastern League team known as the Akron Aeros, and now the Akron RubberDucks (1 word), has played at Canal Park, 300 S. Main Street at Exchange Street.

The 1st NFL Champions were the Akron Pros, in 1920. Their coach was also their best player, two-way back Frederick Douglass "Fritz" Pollard -- the 1st black head coach in any major league sport. (Well, sort of: He was, unquestionably, the head coach; it's the NFL's status as "major league" up until 1933 or so, or even until after World War II, that's questionable.) Another great black football player of the era, the 1917 and '18 All-America end at Rutgers and later actor and singer Paul Robeson, played for them in the 1921 season. (He also played for the Milwaukee Badgers in 1922.)

The Pros played under various names, in various leagues, from 1908 to 1926, but financial problems made them part of the NFL's post-1926 purge, and they folded. They played at League Park, at the southeast corner of Carroll and Beaver Streets, a mile and a half east of downtown. The area is industrial now.

Also associated with Ohio are Presidents William Henry Harrison, Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Harrison and William Howard Taft, but they were from the Cincinnati side; Rutherford B. Hayes, whose hometown of Fremont was closer to Toledo; and Warren G. Harding, whose birthplace of Blooming Grove and adult hometown of Marion are closer to Columbus.

The Armstrong Air & Space Museum was built to honor Neil Armstrong, the 1st man to walk on the Moon, in his hometown of Wapakoneta, Ohio. The building is, naturally, shaped like a crescent moon. 500 Apollo Drive, 185 miles southwest of Cleveland, 93 miles southwest of Toledo, and 88 miles northwest of Columbus.

If you're a fan of The Drew Carey Show, and you remember the cast's hangout, the Warsaw Tavern, you should know that there is a real-life bar with that name, in Brooklyn (a separate city) south of downtown, on West 22nd Street at Calgary Avenue. Take the Number 35 bus.

The House from the film A Christmas Story, in which Cleveland stands in for Chicago and author Jean Shepherd's hometown of Hammond, Indiana, is at 3159 W. 11th Street at Rowley Avenue, and was restored by a fan to its exact appearance in the movie, made in 1983 but set around 1939 or so. Take the Number 81 bus. The Higbee's store was also real, but was most likely based on Chicago's real-life Marshall Field's chain.  Higbee's still stands on Public Square, and the sign visible in the movie is still there, but the store closed years ago, and is now home to the Cleveland Convention & Visitors Bureau and Horseshoe Casino Cleveland.

Thurman Munson is not the only Monument Park honoree buried near Cleveland. Charles "Red" Ruffing, a Hall of Fame pitcher in the 1930s and the early '40s, is laid to rest at Hillcrest Memorial Park, 26700 Aurora Road in Bedford Heights, about 17 miles southeast of Public Square. Light rail on the Blue/Green/Waterfront Line to Van Aken-Warrensville, then transfer to Bus 41.

Bob Feller is buried in Gates Mills North Cemetery, at the southeast corner of River Oaks Trail and Chagrin River Road, in Gates Mills. In spite of being only 16 miles east of downtown Cleveland, it's very rural, and not reachable by public transit. Cy Young is buried in New Peoli Cemtery, next to the local Methodist Church, on State Route 258 in Port Washington, Ohio, 111 miles south of downtown.

Toledo is 115 miles west of Cleveland, where the Maumee River flows into Lake Erie. Megabus can get you there in 2½ hours. In fact, it's closer to Detroit: 60 miles. For this reason, their Triple-A baseball team, the Toledo Mud Hens, has been a farm club of the Detroit Tigers for much of their history, including continuously since 1987.

What's a "mud hen"? It's a bird that flocked near Bay View Park, where the team played from 1886 to 1896. It's also known as an American coot. The team left the next season, but the name stuck. The stadium remained in place, and was used as the site of the Heavyweight Championship fight of July 4, 1919, when Jack Dempsey won the title by destroying Jess Willard. It's all parkland now, except for the clubhouse of the Bay View Yacht Club. 3900 Summit Street, 3½ miles northeast of downtown.

Originally known as the Toledo Blue Stockings, they played at League Park from 1883 to 1885, before moving to Bay View Park. It was here, in the 1884 season, that they fielded catcher Moses Fleetwood "Fleet" Walker and his brother, outfielder Weldy Wilbeforce "Welday" Walker, the 1st 2 black players in what we would now call Major League Baseball, but were forced by the baseball establishment to let them go.

The Taylor Body Shop is now on the site of this important, but shunted-aside, piece of baseball history. 1400 Monroe Street, just west of downtown. 

The Mud Hens moved to Armory Park, playing there from 1897 to 1909. This was the home of an early pro football team, the Toledo Maroons, from 1902 onward. In 1922, they entered the NFL, but it became too expensive for them, and they folded after the 1923 season. Armory Park was demolished in 1934, and the site is now part of the Civic Center Mall, on Jackson Street between Spielbusch Avenue and Erie Street.

Swayne Field opened in 1909, and was the home of the Mud Hens until 1955. This stadium, eventually reaching 14,800 seats after a 1928 expansion, would have been "home" to the M*A*S*H character Max Klinger, played by Toledo native Jamie Farr, who made the Hens' jersey and block-T cap nationally famous. For this reason, the modern version of the team retired Number 1, which Klinger wore, for Farr.

In 1927, they won their 1st Pennant at Swayne Field. But they were never prosperous, and in 1955, they moved, and the ballpark was soon demolished. A shopping center, including a McDonald's, is on the site now. 3000 Monroe Street, at Detroit Avenue (U.S. Route 24), 2 miles west of downtown, and a mile and a half's walk down Monroe from the site of League Park.

The team was revived in 1965, when the 10,197-seat Lucas County Stadium opened, thanks to the efforts of County Commissioner Ned Skeldon. They won the Pennant in 1968. In 1988, when it was learned Skeldon was dying, the County government renamed the stadium for him. He lived long enough to see it, dying 3 months later.

Ned Skeldon Stadium remains a home for amateur baseball, as part of the Lucas County Recreation Center. 2901 Key Street in suburban Maumee, 8 miles southwest of downtown.

In 2002, the Mud Hens moved back downtown, to the 10,300-seat Fifth Third Field, named for an Ohio-based bank (which also holds naming rights to Dayton's ballpark and the University of Cincinnati's arena). They won Pennants there in 2005 and 2006. 406 Washington Street at Huron Street, downtown.

And while Adam's Ribs, the Chicago barbecue joint mentioned in one of the better M*A*S*H
episodes, isn't real (though many places with the name have popped up since that 1974 episode), Klinger's beloved sausage emporium, Tony Packo's Café, is absolutely real. The original is at 1902 Front Street at Consaul Street, 2 miles across the river from downtown, and they have another across from the ballpark at 7 S. Superior Street.

Elvis sang at the 5,230-seat Toledo Sports Arena on November 22, 1956, and at the University of Toledo's 8,300-seat John F. Savage Arena on April 23, 1977. The old Sports Arena stood at 1 Main Street at Riverside Drive, a mile across the river from downtown, from 1947 to 2007, hosting concerts and minor-league hockey. It was replaced by the 5,000-seat Huntington Center, at 500 Jefferson Avenue at Huron Street, downtown. It is home to minor-league hockey's Toledo Walleyes. The Savage Arena is at 2025 Douglas Road, on campus, 4 miles west of downtown.

Bowling Green State University, of the Mid-American Conference, is 112 miles west of Public Square, and 22 miles south of downtown Toledo. They won hockey's National Championship in 1984. The 5,000-seat Slater Family Ice Arena is at 417 N. Mercer Road.

The 24,000-seat Doyt Perry Stadium, built in 1966 and named for their former football coach, who from 1955 to 1964 won 5 of the school's 12 MAC Championships, is next-door, at Stadium Drive & Alumni Drive.


A visit to Cleveland can be a fun experience. These people love baseball. They don't like the Yankees, but they love baseball, and their city should be able to show you a good time. Again, don't mention that The Boss was a Clevelander. And, for your own sake, don't mention the name of Art Modell.

And one more warning, from Major League: Is very bad to steal Jobu's rum.
Is very bad.