Author Archive

Given my choice between watching the College or Major League World Series, I’d pick college without hesitation. Even in the opening rounds, the players are more fundamentally well-schooled in the basics: advancing the runner, hitting the cut off man and laying down a bunt. And, to be frank, if those same players put on a […]

Willie Mays turns 81

Posted: 9th May 2012 by Joe Guzzardi in MLB

On May 6, Willie Mays celebrated his 81st birthday. During those 1950s years the baseball world couldn’t resolve the debate about who was New York’s best center fielder, Mickey, Willie or the Duke. As sports writer Red Smith said: “Duke Snider, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays. You could get a fat lip in any saloon […]

What really happened to “Big Ed” Delahanty the night he died?

Posted: 25th April 2012 by Joe Guzzardi in MLB

“Big Ed” Delahanty was the most successful of five siblings who played in the majors during the 1890s and into the early 20th Century. None of Delahanty’s brothers, Frank, Joe, Jim and Tom could match Ed’s prowess. But during the Deadball Era, no one else could either. From 1894 to 1896 Delahanty compiled astonishing batting […]

To Make Room for Jackie, “Big” Ed Stevens Sold to Pittsburgh

Posted: 17th April 2012 by Joe Guzzardi in MLB

Here’s a little known chapter from the great Jackie Robinson’s baseball history. Robinson has a connection, albeit an indirect one, to the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1947, when Robinson was called up to Brooklyn, “Big Ed” Stevens held down first base. Remember that Branch Rickey ordered field manager Leo Durocher (before he was suspended) to play […]

The Eternal Promise of Opening Day

Posted: 11th April 2012 by Joe Guzzardi in MLB

Editor’s note: This originally ran in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on April 1. _____________________ Every spring, the ritual repeats itself. As major league baseball teams break camp, managers report that their athletes have never been in better condition, predict that rookies will shine, vow that last year’s underperforming veterans will bounce back and declare that the […]

Pedro Alvarez: Play Him? Demote Him? Platoon Him?

Posted: 4th April 2012 by Joe Guzzardi in MLB

What to do about Pedro Alvarez? That’s the number one question asked by Pittsburgh Pirates fans during spring training. Alvarez is the highly touted second overall pick from the 2008 draft who signed a $6.4 million contract with a $6 million signing bonus. First called up to the Pirates major league roster in 2010, Alvarez […]

Opening Day: Warm weather helps

Posted: 28th March 2012 by Joe Guzzardi in MLB

Years ago, I had a good job that required extensive traveling. During the 1970s taking an airplane from New York to, for example, Chicago was something to look forward to. The three major airlines that served Chicago—United, American and the old TWA, offered flights that left every hour. As your taxi pulled up to La […]

Phil Rizzuto: Great Player, Better Broadcaster

Posted: 21st March 2012 by Joe Guzzardi in MLB

Our friends over at Seamheads.com had a great post about some of history’s most famous baseball voices. Included were Ernie Harwell, Red Barber, Mel Allen, Bob Prince and Vin Scully. I’ve heard them all. None held a candle to Phil Rizzuto who for 40 years did the New York Yankees’ color commentary. For 15 of […]

Joe Pate, His Brief Major League Career and the “Raw Raw”

Posted: 14th March 2012 by Joe Guzzardi in MLB

During minor league’s heyday from 1920 to 1940, dozens of leagues and hundred of teams played baseball in every corner of the nation. Local kids made up many teams’ rosters. And some players, even talented ones, had little interest in moving up to the Major Leagues. To many, especially those from rural areas, big city […]

A Pittsburgh Perspective on the Andrew McCutchen Deal

Posted: 7th March 2012 by Joe Guzzardi in MLB

For the last two seasons, when asked about the possibility of locking up Andrew McCutchen up long term, Pittsburgh Pirates’ General Manager Neil Huntington was purposely vague. So the Pirates caught Pittsburgh by surprise with the announcement that the team signed McCutchen to a six-year contract worth $51.5 million with a club option for 2018 […]