Joe Garagiola, RIP: An erudite Everyman

Joe Garagiola (right) with (from left) Joe Buck and Harry Caray, not long after Garagiola joined the Cardinals' KMOX broadcast team. (Photo: KMOX.)

Joe Garagiola (right) with (from left) Jack Buck and Harry Caray, not long after Garagiola joined the Cardinals’ KMOX broadcast team. (Photo: KMOX.)

If you’ll pardon the expression, Joe Garagiola—who died at 90 Wednesday—made it necessary for the Yankees to sign Yogi Berra. And, in turn, the U.S. Senate made it necessary for Garagiola to transition from a journeyman catcher to a broadcaster. Which story would you like to read first?

Bryce Reiser?

Blasting his way into thumb surgery . . .

Blasting his way into thumb surgery . . .

The line between hard nosed and bull headed can be a very fine one. The question before the house, as Bryce Harper begins his recuperation from surgery to repair a torn collateral ligament in his thumb, incurred during a head-first slide on a bases-clearing triple, is whom on the Washington Nationals has crossed it further, Harper or his rookie manager Matt Williams.

Ralph Kiner, RIP: The slugger who outslugged the Mahatma

Ralph Kiner, a slugging Pirate . . .

Ralph Kiner, a slugging Pirate . . .

Ralph Kiner’s death at 91 Thursday, a day before pitchers and catchers were due in to start spring training, provokes a pool full of thoughts, considering my experience with him has been as a New York Mets fan since the day they were born. Kiner was one of the original Mets broadcast trio (Lindsey Nelson and Bob Murphy, both of whom preceded him in death, were the others) but the longest-serving, even if Bell’s palsy finally wore him down to periodic appearances the Mets never begrudged him.