Gene Michael, RIP: The big Stick

Paul O'Neill (far left) and Gene Michael (next to O'Neill) with, from left, head trainer Gene Monahan, Joe Torre, Tino Martinez, David Cone, Mariano Rivera, and Jorge Posada, when O'Neill---for whom Michael dealt to begin building the Yankees' 1996-2000 dynasty---was presented his Monument Park plaque.

Paul O’Neill (far left) and Gene Michael (next to O’Neill) with, from left, head trainer Gene Monahan, Joe Torre, Tino Martinez, David Cone, Mariano Rivera, and Jorge Posada, when O’Neill—for whom Michael dealt to begin building the Yankees’ 1996-2000 dynasty—was presented his Monument Park plaque.

You could say the Yankees’ fabled Core Five dynasty wouldn’t have happened if Gene Michael—the Yankee general manager who was inadvertently allowed to build it, and who died of a heart attack 7 September at 79—hadn’t had something in common with Phil Rizzuto, other than being Yankee shortstops a couple of generations apart.

This Bud’s not for you, but he’s in the Hall of Fame

Bud Selig (right)---he almost helped break baseball in half, then got to present the Red Sox with three World Series  trophies and David Ortiz (left) the MVP of the 2013 Series.

Bud Selig (right)—he almost helped break baseball in half, then got to present the Red Sox with three World Series trophies and David Ortiz (left) the MVP of the 2013 Series.

Don’t look now, but former commissioner Bud Selig is a Hall of Famer. This is like the cobra inviting the mongoose for a dinner date.┬áSelig was the first owner to become commissioner after he engineered the putsch that threw Fay Vincent overboard. And violated the intent of the office when he stepped in.

Is there still trouble on Joe Pepitone’s line?

Joe Pepitone, young, haunted, a Yankee whose promise went unkept.

Joe Pepitone, young, haunted, a Yankee whose promise went unkept.

“There’s trouble on Joe Pepitone’s line,” was the title Bill Madden gave a chapter of his 2003 book Pride of October: What It Was to be Young and a Yankee. The title alluded to what Madden heard when he first called Pepitone at his Long Island home to arrange interviews for the book. Long before he struggled to reach the former first baseman, there was trouble on Joe Pepitone’s line. And there would be again, nine years later.

Al Rosen, RIP: Heart over vision

Rosen (far left) with Martin and Steinbrenner, before the Billy & George Show sent Rosen scurrying.

Rosen (far left) with Martin and Steinbrenner, looking none too thrilled, before the Billy & George Show finally sent Rosen scurrying.

When Gabe Paul bolted as the Yankees’ president, exhausted by George Steinbrenner’s machinations, Steinbrenner had just the man to succeed him: Al Rosen, the one-time Cleveland third base star and a minority partner in the Yankee ownership.

There were those who thought the personable Rosen—who died 14 March at 91—was just the right guy to neutralise the tensions between two time bombs named Steinbrenner and then-Yankee manager Billy Martin. Including Martin himself. “Al played the game,” Martin told reporters. “He understands what it’s like. Gabe got in the way. He didn’t know the game.”

Carmen Berra, RIP: “I figured he probably had a future”

The Berras with Diana Munson (left), widow of Yankee catcher Thurman.

The Berras with Diana Munson (left), widow of Yankee catcher Thurman.

Once upon a time New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica asked Yogi Berra at home what he thought was his greatest accomplishment. Berra’s comely wife, Carmen, had just left the room, and he pointed to the door through which she had just passed. “Getting her to marry me,” Berra replied. “Who’d have thought?”

Does baseball need its own First Amendment?

Karen Eidem wearing the T-shirt that offended Miller Park security . . .

Karen Eidem wearing the T-shirt that offended Miller Park security . . .

Let’s see. A harmless Milwaukee Brewers fan disgusted over Ryan Braun shows up at Miller Park last Wednesday. She shows her contempt for Braun’s duplicitous behaviour by wearing a T-shirt replica of Braun’s uniform jersey—with “F” and “D” replacing “B” and “N” in Braun’s name above the familiar number 8. And Miller Park security offers a choice between turning the shirt inside-out or leaving the ballpark.

Hideki Irabu, RIP: The Troubled Dream

Hideki Irabu, a troublesome and troubled Yankee . . .

Did Hideki Irabu’s various crashes and prolonged burn finally cost him what mattered most, in turn costing him his life at 42?

Once an overhyped Japanese import in a Yankee uniform, Irabu was living mostly quietly in a well-to-do southern California suburb when, two months before his suicide Thursday, his wife, Kyonsu, left him and took their two little daughters with her. A neighbour told reporters the former pitcher seemed very down, not his usual “perky” self, since those departures.