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COOPERSTOWN CONFIDENTIAL
2004-01-30 13:47
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

HOT STOVE EDITION

By Bruce Markusen

(Reprinted at Bronx Banter with the permission of the author.)

Yankee Doodles

In spite of the acquisitions of veteran free agents Gary Sheffield, Kenny Lofton, Tom “Flash” Gordon, and Paul Quantrill, it’s been a winter of discontent for many in Yankee fandom. Most Pinstriped diehards have already vented frustration over the failure to aggressively pursue homegrown Bomber Andy Pettitte (which might have served as a preemptive strike against the Astros and their offseason plan to sign the resident Texan), the lukewarm interest in free agent prize Vladimir Guerrero, the continued signings of older players in their mid to late-thirties, and the failure to address the team’s near abysmal defensive scheme. The Yankees, though still talented and ever capable of reaching the World Series for a sixth time in seven years, are a less likeable bunch than most of their predecessors dating back to 1995, which means that many of their fans have placed an even higher premium on winning it all. Otherwise, George Steinbrenner, Brian Cashman, and perhaps even Joe Torre will hear a season-long wrath filled with “I told you so’s” and “What were you thinking’s?”

The latest offseason setback can’t be blamed on the front office or the owner, however. Aaron Boone’s ACL tear, which he suffered while foolishly playing pickup basketball in violation of his contract, leaves the Yankees with a serious hole on the left side of their infield. (The Players Association has stepped in and claimed that Boone didn’t violate the contract, but Boone’s already admitted to his mistake. The Association is trying to say that Boone didn’t breach his contract because he wasn’t playing basketball in a professional league, which is a simply laughable argument.) Let’s hope the Yankees don’t try to kid themselves into thinking that some makeshift platoon of Miguel Cairo and Enrique Wilson will fill the bill in 2004; in a stacked division where the Red Sox may have already established themselves as favorites, the Yankees need a real third baseman, preferably one whose strength is on the defensive side of the field. Cairo and Wilson are middle-infield utility types; neither has a tremendous amount of experience on the corner and neither can hit well enough to play every day.

Whom do the Yankees turn to? In the short term, they’re ready to take a flyer on ex-Phillie Tyler Houston, who lost his place on Larry Bowa’s Christmas card list but has quietly signed a minor league deal with the Pinstripes. Houston’s an intriguing option, but he’s a below-average defender at best, doesn’t hit left-handers, and is better suited to filling a bench role as a backup infielder and third-string catcher. Coming off an excellent season as a pinch-hitter in Philadelphia, Houston could very well make the Yankees’ 25-man roster, but it’s not likely to be as the everyday third baseman.

So who’s the answer to the Yankees’ newly developed hole on the infield? Gary Sheffield’s offer to play third is a noble gesture, but the Yankees’ infield defense is already well below average and can’t sustain another position filled with unnecessary hijinx. Drew Henson can barely play at the Triple-A level, so the Yankees shouldn’t dare think that he might be anything near adequate in the Bronx. Erick Almonte isn’t out of the question, but the fact that he was dumped from the 40-man roster over the winter—and wasn’t picked up by any other team on waivers— doesn’t bode well for his future in New York. Double-A prospect Brian Myrow, who tore up the Eastern League at the age of 27, is an interesting story, but fielding is clearly not his strong suit. In terms of trade prospects, the name of Adrian Beltre continues to pop up, but it’s hard to imagine what players of substance the Yankees could offer in return; New York won’t surrender top catching prospect Dioner Navarro, whom the Dodgers are likely to seek in exchange for Beltre. The Yankees’ most sensible alternative might have been previously unemployed free agent Jose Hernandez, but he signed a minor league contract with the Dodgers earlier in the week. Though coming off a terrible season split between the Rockies, Cubs, and Pirates, Hernandez is a converted shortstop who has plus range at the hot corner.

Hernandez would have ranked as the safest choice for the Yankees, but he would not have been the most interesting or creative. Those adjectives might be used to describe the Pirates’ Jason Kendall, who’s very available given Pittsburgh’s desire to shed his oversized contract. As discussed on one of the recent “Clutch Hit” threads on Baseball Primer, Kendall’s an intriguing possibility for New York. Although a catcher by trade, he’s a terrific athlete whom the Pirates have pondered converting to the outfield or to second base in past years. It’s not unreasonable to think that Kendall could play third, especially if he’s given an entire spring training to make the transition. It’s a possibility the Yankees should give some serious consideration...

Lost amidst all of the Yankees’ off-season transactions has been a trade that has received less publicity than all of the others, but might actually provide the greatest in long-term benefits. Very quietly, the Yankees traded Chris Hammond—one of the few residents of Torre’s doghouse—to the A’s for two minor league prospects. At a time when the Yankee farm system is nearly barren and probably in its worst condition since the early 1990s, two unheralded youngsters may end up playing important roles in 2005 and beyond. Shortstop J.T. Stotts has already drawn comparisons to Anaheim’s Adam Kennedy; a high-average hitter, he’ll probably end up playing second base in the major leagues. Assuming Stotts, who split last season between Single-A and Double-A, is ready by 2005 or 2006, the Yankees can then move Alfonso Soriano to the outfield, which is probably something they should have done this winter. (Cashman wanted to sign Kaz Matsui to play second and move Soriano to center or right, but “The Boss” overruled him on that matter.) The other player acquired in exchange for Hammond, 21-year-old right-hander Edwardo Sierra, has impressed Yankee scouts with his high-powered fastball, which registers 96 to 98 miles an hour. A right-handed reliever, Sierra could be ready to pitch in a set-up role by 2005, which could work out well given the advancing age of Gordon, Quantrill, and Mariano Rivera.

Card Corner

From time to time throughout the year, we’ll take a 30-year step back and examine cards from the 1974 Topps set, which represented the first time that the company issued all of its cards (Numbers 1-660) at once and not in a series of staggered releases… This 1974 card of Juan Marichal (No. 330) is one of the last two regular cards that the Topps Company issued for the Hall of Fame right-hander; the other one is part of the Topps Traded series for 1974 (No. 330T), featuring Marichal in the colors of the Boston Red Sox (yes, it’s strange to think of him in Beantown after all those years by the Bay). The final card for a player is almost never worth as much as the player’s rookie card, but a Marichal in mint condition is still a pretty nice card to have in one’s collection. Beyond the card’s monetary value, I like the ’74 Marichal because it encapsulates the lasting image of the great right-hander’s most memorable attribute—an extraordinarily high leg kick that counterbalanced a no-windup delivery. The photographer skillfully managed to catch Marichal’s left leg at its highest point, with the toes of his left foot practically even in height with the tip of his cap. (Don’t try this at home; it’s sure to cause a muscle pull or some other serious injury.) The photo on the card is particularly striking because almost no pitchers in today’s game use this kind of a motion, in part because of the modern-day emphasis on the slide step and in part because pitching coaches like to teach more compact motions, thereby lessening the possibility of bad mechanics. As distinctive as Marichal’s motion seems in contrast to today’s big league pitcher, it’s hardly the only one of its kind in baseball history. A number of great pitchers have used high leg kicks and—in a dissimilarity to Marichal—big convoluted windups, including Hall of Famers Bob Feller and Warren Spahn. For years, the high leg kick was considered important for a variety of reasons; it added to a pitcher’s velocity, proved distracting to a hitter, and helped a pitcher hide the ball—and his pitching arm— behind his leg… While one’s eyes naturally tend to gravitate toward Marichal’s front leg, his back leg is also worth a look. In the photo, he’s bending his right knee severely, almost unnaturally, as a way of absorbing all of the weight that the leg kick causes to shift to the back side. The more I look at that back knee, the more my own joints start to suffer… The photograph for the ’74 Marichal was taken during a day game at Candlestick Park, at a time when the stadium still featured artificial turf—and lots of empty seats beyond the left-field fence. Yeah, those were the really fun days in Frisco, when players not only had to deal with the howling wind and glaring sun at The Stick, but also the rock-hard turf that supplied a pounding to the legs of infielders and outfielders. Of course, the fans didn’t have much fun either while dealing with the Candlestick elements, which kept down the size of the crowds in 1973, the year that this Marichal photo was taken. (The Giants finished a more-than-respectable 88-74 that season, but drew fewer than 900,000 fans, the third-worst figure in the National League.) So even on a day when the popular Marichal pitched, fans showed their apathy in the form of their absence. Still, for those who had a chance to watch Marichal, he always entertained with a speckled assortment of breaking pitches and that gymnastically fashioned leg kick.

Pastime Passings

Johnny Blatnik (Died on January 21 in Lansing, Ohio; age 82; extended illness): A veteran of three major league seasons, Blatnik made his debut for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1948. The right-handed hitting outfielder hit .260 with six home runs in 128 games as a rookie, but would appear in only 17 more games the rest of his career.

Marie “Blackie” Wegman (Died on January 20 in Delhi Township, Ohio; age 78; heart failure): Wegman originally turned down an offer to play in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL), but then found out that a spot in the league paid more than her factory job and also included a nice bonus of a spring training trip to Cuba. A pitcher and infielder, Wegman played for four teams in the AAGPBL, including the Rockford Peaches.

Tom Glaviano (Died on January 19 in Sacramento, California; age 80): Nicknamed “Rabbit,” the diminutive Glaviano played for four seasons as an infielder with the St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies. Sometimes adventurous with the glove, he was best known for making errors on three consecutive plays in a game on May 18, 1950. In 389 career games, Glaviano batted .257 with 24 home runs.

Harry “The Cat” Brecheen (Died on January 17 in Bethany, Oklahoma; age 89): Brecheen was best known for winning three games in the 1946 World Series, as his St. Louis Cardinals defeated the favored Boston Red Sox for the World Championship. A two-time All-Star, Brecheen also pitched in the 1943 and ’44 World Series, earning an overall record of 4-1 in the postseason. In regular season play, Brecheen forged a record of 133-92 with an ERA of 2.92. The 12-year veteran enjoyed his best season in 1948, winning 20 games while leading the National League in ERA, strikeouts, and shutouts.


COMMENTARY: Brecheen is one of those pitchers whose overall reputations might be hurt by his terrific performance in the 1946 World Series. We remember the three wins he had against the Red Sox that fall, but do we all appreciate a pitcher who won 40 more games than he lost, posted a lifetime ERA of sub-3.00, and twice led the National League in shutouts? While it’s true that Brecheen pitched part of his career during the watered down World War II years, he actually did his best work after the war. He enjoyed his best full season in 1948, when he led the NL in ERA, strikeouts, won-loss percentage, and shutouts. He also pitched pretty well in 1949 before starting to show signs of age at the beginning of the 1950s… I had always assumed that his last name was pronounced Bruh-CHEEN, but the “CH” actually forms a “K” sound, making the correct pronunciation Bruh-KEEN.

Jim Devlin (Died on January 15 in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania; age 83): The left-handed hitting catcher appeared in one major league game. As a 21-year-old rookie, he went hitless in one at-bat for the Cleveland Indians on April 27, 1944.

Gus Suhr (Died on January 15 in Scottsdale, Arizona; age 98): The oldest living alumnus of the Pittsburgh Pirates at the time of his death, Suhr played more games at first base for the franchise than any other player. As a rookie, Suhr batted .286 with 17 home runs and 107 RBIs, marking the first of three seasons in which he reached the century mark in runs batted in. An All-Star in 1936, Suhr also set a National League record by playing in 822 consecutive games, a mark that was eventually broken by Hall of Famer Stan Musial in 1957. After playing the first eight and a half seasons of his career in Pittsburgh, Suhr finished out his playing days with the Philadelphia Phillies.


COMMENTARY: Suhr didn’t hit with the ideal amount of power you’d like from a first baseman, but he was a fine defensive infielder and extremely durable. In fact, his long playing streak only came to an end because of his decision to attend the funeral of a family member… According to former Pirates public relations official Sally O’Leary, Suhr appeared at the team’s PirateFest event a few winters ago and proved to be extremely popular with Pittsburgh fans, drawing longer lines than many of the current-day Pirates. Suhr also returned to Pittsburgh last year, as the Pirates honored all of their former All-Star players. As part of the event, Suhr provided autographs for fans, signing clearly and legibly despite his advanced age.

Ewald Pyle (Died on January 10 in Du Quoin, Illinois; age 93): Nicknamed “Lefty,” Pyle pitched for the St. Louis Browns, Washington Senators, New York Giants, and Boston Braves during a journeyman five-year career. In 1945, Pyle was included in the deal that sent him and Hall of Fame outfielder Joe Medwick to the Giants for Clyde Kluttz. Pyle won a career-high seven games that season but also lost 10 decisions and sported an ERA of 4.34.
Mike Goliat (Died on January 14 in Seven Hills, Ohio; age 82; heart failure): One of the lesser known members of the “Whiz Kids,” the scrappy Goliat served as the starting second baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies during their pennant-winning season of 1950. A natural third baseman with a strong arm, Goliat moved to second base to fill a need for the Phillies in the middle infield. He batted .234 with 13 home runs and 64 RBIs in 1950, as the Phillies won the National League pennant on their way to facing the New York Yankees in the World Series. The following season, Goliat put on weight and was eventually demoted to the minor leagues before being sold to the St. Louis Browns late in the 1951 season. Goliat’s major league career came to an end the following year.

Tug McGraw (Died on January 5 in Nashville, Tennessee; age 59; brain tumor): One of the most colorful and comical players of the seventies and eighties, McGraw earned a reputation as a fearless ace reliever for successful teams while never allowing the pressure of the job to affect his sense of humor. In 1969, McGraw played a secondary role in the first World Championship for the New York Mets, saving 12 games while posting an ERA of 2.25. Four years later, he established himself as one of the game’s best firemen by helping the Mets to an unlikely National League pennant. Adopting the slogan, “Ya Gotta Believe,” McGraw emerged as the emotional leader of the 1973 Mets. After the 1974 season, the Mets traded an injury-plagued McGraw to the Philadelphia Phillies. Considered washed up by some, McGraw enjoyed a revival in Philadelphia and became a major contributor to the franchise’s lone World Championship in 1980. McGraw saved two games in the World Series against the Kansas City Royals, including the clinching Game Six… Although diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in early 2003, McGraw managed to attend the final game in the history of Veterans Stadium. In closing ceremonies at “The Vet,” McGraw reenacted the final pitch of the 1980 World Series, when he struck out Willie Wilson of the Kansas City Royals and then waited for third baseman Mike Schmidt to jump into his arms… McGraw died at the home of his son, country music singer Tim McGraw. McGraw is also survived by two other sons, Mark and Matthew, and a daughter, Cari.


COMMENTARY: Tug McGraw could be tough to interview because he liked to joke about everything and sometimes wouldn’t give you a sincere answer to the most serious of questions. Yet, there was something inherently noble about McGraw, because of his ever-present enthusiasm and spirit and a complete lack of bitterness or self-pity over his ill-fated battle with cancer. It’s not that well-known, but the Mets actually thought he had become afflicted with cancer as far back as 1974, which partly motivated their decision to trade him to the Phillies. McGraw had developed a growth on his back, which worried the Mets so much that they rushed into making a trade (for John Stearns) that they would later regret. As it turned out, doctors determined that McGraw’s growth was not cancerous, which left the Phillies with a healthy fireman for the balance of the 1980s and beyond… No one seems to know for sure how sincere McGraw was in sounding his “Ya Gotta Believe” motto throughout the 1973 season. The slogan actually started after team chairman M. Donald Grant chided players in a clubhouse meeting, insisting they could win if only they “believed” in themselves. At the end of Grant’s address, McGraw proceeded to yell “Ya Gotta Believe” while hysterically jumping up and down. Grant considered McGraw’s actions mocking in nature, but the left-hander kept up the “act” for the rest of the season, convincing the team’s beat writers that he meant what he said. So what may have started out as a gesture of sarcasm actually became a rallying cry for an under- talented Mets team.

Taylor Duncan (Died on January 3 in Asheville, North Carolina; age 50; stroke): The No. 1 draft pick of the Atlanta Braves in 1971, Duncan made his major league debut six years later with the St. Louis Cardinals. Scouts considered the energetic Duncan one of the best players to emerge from the sandlots in Sacramento, California, with one scout later comparing his abilities to those of Hall of Famer Joe Morgan. Yet, Duncan never lived up to such high praise as a professional—in part because of injury. Duncan broke his ankle during his first minor league season, robbing the talented middle infielder of some of his speed and range and forcing his switch to third base. He was later traded to the Baltimore Orioles as part of the deal that brought Dave Johnson to the Braves. During a brief big league career that included stints with the Cardinals in 1977 and the Oakland A’s in 1978, Duncan batted .260 in 331 at-bats. He later played in the Japanese Leagues and the Mexican League.


COMMENTARY: A classic example of “what if,” Duncan seemed destined for major league stardom until breaking his ankle as a minor leaguer. Unlike other notable ankle victims like Tommy Davis and Rennie Stennett, Duncan never experienced major league success before being cut down by the fracture of his foot. As a player who relied partly on his speed, Duncan lost most of it; the injury also took away enough of his range to necessitate a move from shortstop to third base. So instead of becoming the Joe Morgan of shortstops, Duncan had to settle for a secondary claim to fame—as part of the blockbuster trade that sent him and hard-hitting catcher Earl “Heavy” Williams to the Orioles for Dave Johnson (he was “Dave” back then, not “Davey), pitchers Pat Dobson and Roric Harrison, and catcher Johnny Oates. Although Duncan put up some good numbers as a third baseman in the Orioles’ farm system, he had the misfortune of being stuck behind both Brooks Robinson and Doug DeCinces… Duncan really didn’t receive an extended major league opportunity until he was taken by the A’s in the Rule 5 draft after the 1977 season. The 1978 A’s provided him with a window of opportunity, if only because they were so bad. Playing at third base, Duncan platooned part of that season with Wayne Gross, who hit a mere .200 with only seven home runs in 285 at-bats. Just how awful were the ’78 A’s? Their double play combination consisted of monumental mediocrities Mike Edwards (second base) and Mario Guerrero (shortstop), their starting outfield included the immortal Joe “Tarzan” Wallis, and their top winner was the royally named John Henry Johnson, who won all of 11 games for the lowly A’s.

Leon Wagner (Died on January 3 in Los Angeles, California; age 69; effects of drug abuse and homelessness): The colorful Wagner was an enormously popular player with both the Los Angeles Angels and Cleveland Indians. Nicknamed “Daddy Wags,” a self-imposed nickname that tied into his clothing store, he began his big league career with the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals before finding a niche in Southern California. In 1962, Wagner hit 37 home runs with 107 RBIs for the Angels, earning him a fourth-place finish in the American League MVP sweepstakes. After hitting 26 home runs in 1963, the Angels traded him to the Indians for slugging first baseman Joe Adcock and pitcher Barry Latman. Wagner played four seasons for the Tribe before wrapping up his career with the Giants and Chicago White Sox in 1968. In 12 major league seasons, Wagner hit 211 home runs, batted .272, and compiled 669 RBIs. Off the field, the well-dressed Wagner concentrated his efforts on operating a clothing store that bore the colorful slogan, “Get Your Rags at Daddy Wags.” He later acted in the 1976 film, The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings, which featured Billy Dee Williams and James Earl Jones…


COMMENTARY: I didn’t realize how good a player Wagner was until I looked at his career statistics earlier this month. Having always heard stories about Wagner’s fielding faux pas in the outfield and his flaky personality, I had regarded him as sort of a clownish journeyman—and nothing more. Boy, was I wrong. From 1961 to 1965, Wagner averaged 31 home runs and 90 RBIs, at a time when those figures still meant something. Simply put, he was one of the American League’s best left-handed power hitters during those years, strong enough to hit home runs in any of the league’s spacious ballparks. If only he had received a chance to play regularly before his 26th birthday, Wagner might have put up some numbers that would have made him a borderline candidate for the Hall of Fame… Off the field, Daddy Wags was much more than a clown; loved by teammates and fans alike, he sincerely enjoyed talking to people, even if he did brag a little bit too often about his batting prowess. He loved to hit, he found joy in playing the game, and he always seemed willing to give something back to his fans. It was no wonder that he was given the nickname, “The Good Humor Man,” during his tenure with the Angels… After his playing days, Wagner found day-to-day life to be a struggle, partly because he had made little money in baseball’s pre-free agent era and partly because he lacked a college degree. He dabbled in acting, appearing in the controversial Bingo Long film about the Negro Leagues, but he did not enjoy long-term success in Hollywood. Wagner later became severely addicted to drugs, which cost him most of his money and left him in debt to others. Stricken with poverty, Wagner ended up living in an old car and then a small electrical shed—located next to a dumpster—where his lifeless body was found earlier this month.

Lynn Cartwright (Died on January 2 in Los Angeles, California; age 76; dementia-related illness after a hip fracture): The veteran actress earned the biggest break of her career at the age of 65, when she was cast as the older adaptation of all-star catcher Dottie Hinson, the character portrayed by Geena Davis in A League of Their Own. Cartwright appeared in memorable scenes at both the start and finish of the highly popular movie. According to an interview with her daughter, Cartwright’s portrayal of Hinson was the favorite role of her film career.


COMMENTARY: When I first saw A League of Their Own, I thought the filmmakers had done a wonderful job of putting makeup on Geena Davis to make her look some 45 years older at the start and finish of the film. It wasn’t until 2002, when director Penny Marshall and several cast members visited Cooperstown, that I discovered it wasn’t Geena Davis after all, but a completely different actress who had portrayed the older version of Dottie Hinson’s character. I don’t know who made the decision to cast Lynn Cartwright in the role, but whoever it was should be regarded as a casting genius. Cartwright’s facial features looked so much like those of Geena Davis; if you did one of those computerized age projections, an older Davis likely would have doubled as Cartwright’s sister. Cartwright’s subtle performance, which represented the highlight of an otherwise obscure career, is just another reason why A League of Their Own remains one of the best baseball films ever.

Paul Hopkins (Died on January 2 in Deep River, Connecticut; age 99; brief illness): At the time of his death, Hopkins was the oldest living former major league player. A product of Colgate University, Hopkins pitched for two seasons with the Washington Senators and St. Louis Browns. In making his major league debut for the Senators on September 29, 1927, Hopkins gave up Babe Ruth’s record-tying 59th home run. Hopkins claimed that he didn’t know he would be facing the legendary slugger when he was first called from the bullpen to enter the game with the bases loaded.

John Stoneham (Died on January 1 in Owasso, Oklahoma; age 85): A longtime minor league outfielder, Stoneham earned a promotion to the Chicago White Sox in 1933, appearing in 10 games. He struggled in 25 at-bats, suffered a demotion to the minor leagues, and never again returned to the big leagues.

The Nickname Game

Within most editions of “Cooperstown Confidential,” I’ll spotlight a nickname or two from baseball’s past, offering up some explanations—or at least some well-founded theories—as to how the nickname came to be. Given his passing in early January, it might be appropriate to start with Frank Edwin McGraw, who was known without exception as “Tug” throughout his adult life. So why Tug? According to James Skipper’s book, Baseball Nicknames, McGraw earned the name because of his habits as a baby. Simply put, he tugged so hard at his mother’s breast while being nursed that his parents thought it only natural to give him the nickname, “Tugger.” According to another theory, McGraw tugged at everything as a child, from fabrics to toys to furniture. In either case, the Tugger label was eventually shortened to Tug. In the more politically correct times of today, the nickname might have been dropped, but thankfully it remained part of McGraw’s legacy, adding to the pitcher’s larger-than-life personality… Since I mentioned his name earlier in this week’s column, let’s provide an explanation for the nickname, “Tarzan,” given to journeyman outfielder Joe Wallis. The former A’s and Chicago Cubs outfielder never did much on the field during a five-year career in the late 1970s, but he garnered a reputation as one of the game’s more unusual characters. His teammates gave him the Tarzan label because of his tendency to jump out of motel windows, landing him directly in each facility’s swimming pool. Presumably, Wallis let out some kind of a jungle-like yell as he completed each assault on chlorinated water. Wallis also added to his offbeat persona by wearing an extremely thick beard, which gave him a look that might have earned a casting call for the 1970s cult classic, Deliverance.

And Another Thing

Speaking of nicknames, two former players who each sported alternate monikers will be making an appearance at the Hall of Fame in mid-February. Jim “Mudcat” Grant and Al “Scoop” Oliver will be featured as part of the Hall of Fame’s Legends Series on Saturday, February 14. They will talk about their own careers and efforts to promote baseball to the African-American community, beginning at 1:00 pm in the Hall of Fame Library’s Bullpen Theater. Admission to the Legends Series is free for all who purchase a Museum ticket that day, but seating is limited. For more information on the program with Oliver and Grant, call 607-547-0261.

Cooperstown Confidential writer Bruce Markusen is the author of three books on baseball, including A Baseball Dynasty: Charlie Finley’s Swingin’ A’s, which is available at www.amazon.com and at Borders Books. A fourth book, The Kid: The Life of Ted Williams, published by Greenwood Press, is scheduled for release this spring.

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