Posada, Retiring with Tearful Grace

When Gil McDougald, the jack-of-all-trades infielder for the 1950s Yankees, died toward the end of 2010, I couldn’t resist finishing my tribute to him by citing a memorable observation from Bill James, who recalled McDougald’s being picked by the embryonic Los Angeles Angels as part of their expansion draft class:

When the Angels acquired the rights to draft McDougald for their inaugural, expansion roster, and offered him the highest salary he might yet earn as a player, McDougald balked. Even though they planned to make him a regular; even though they would play their first American League season in a bandbox park (Wrigley Field, formerly the home of the minor league Los Angeles Angels) that might have enabled him to hit the long ball the way he never could (112 lifetime, 83 on the road, a mere 29 in Yankee Stadium) in The ‘Stripes.

All in the Family Feud

You’ve seen this scenario before. Marquee gigabat on the market for dollars only slightly less than those needed to bail out the auto industry, or so you’d think with the hyperbolic gnashing around the water coolers and the Twitterpated. Team who’s just lost an impact bat for the season to a torn ACL in his left knee denies that, whatever the hole now created, Marquee Gigabat isn’t the one to fill it. That was last week, this is this week. And this is no ordinary Marquee Gigabat signing with an ordinary team.

Maybe It's Still Getting Our Goats, After All?

On the other hand, maybe we’re not getting our goats as readily as I thought last fall. What the hell is this crap with sending San Francisco 49ers punt returner Kyle Williams death threats?

That was then: Nelson Cruz, designated goat of the 2011 World Series, kept a promise to turn up at a Mesquite, Texas sporting goods establishment the day after the Series ended. The right fielder kept the date despite knowing the eyes of Texas were locked upon him, but good, after the bottom of the ninth in Game Six: Pulled in shallow enough, in manager Ron Washington’s no-doubles defence, and with the Rangers a strike away from the Promised Land, Cruz couldn’t reach far enough to haul down the drive David Freese whacked to the wall, for the first of two final-strike game-tyers the Cardinals would hit, before the night ended with Freese’s Game Seven-guaranteeing walkoff bomb.

A Writer Apologises to the Kid

It still takes a big man to say he thinks he stuck the needle into the wrong vein.

Jeff Pearlman, the Sports Illustrated writer who seems never to have met a controversial athlete he couldn’t analyse nigh unto death, is proving himself a very big man these days. The news that Gary Carter’s brain cancer has taken a far more grave turn, news his daughter (Kimmy Bloemers, Palm Beach Atlantic’s softball coach, where her father is baseball coach) disclosed several days ago, has prompted the author of The Bad Guys Won, his remarkable retrospective study of the 1986 Mets, to issue a prose prayer with a mea culpa tucked inside:

Glad to Be Wrong About Larkin

Heading home to the Hall of Fame . . .

‘Twas the days before Christmas, and I was making my call on the Hall of Fame candidates, freshman and holdover alike. About Barry Larkin, I wrote: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’d vote for him even though I think it’ll take a couple of years before he makes it. Larkin was overshadowed badly enough by Cal Ripken, Jr. and Alex Rodriguez, but he was the best all-around shortstop you barely heard of in his time and place, not to mention the first at his position to go 30-30, believe it or not. Boy, was I wrong, and glad of it.

From Cy-VP to Sayonara?

Some speculation commences that precedent argues against Justin Verlander, the American League’s Cy Young Award winner and Most Valuable Player Award winner for 2011, facing other than sobering after-effects. Well, now. It’s worth a look to see just what are the precedents involving pitchers who have scored both awards for a single season.

Big Newk—the first CY-VP . . .