30 years ago, 75 years old Luke Appling hit a homer at RFK Stadium


Last night was the 30th anniversary of 75 year old Luke Appling hitting a home run off Warren Spahn in the 1982 Cracker Jack Old Timer’s Baseball game. I was hoping to embed the video of it — there used to be a pretty good clip on youtube, but it’s gone. This ESPN retrospective video has Appling’s homer at 10:37.

Appling, a Hall of Fame shortstop with the Chicago White Sox, was never a power hitter and the left field stands were in football configuration, but the homer was one of the great moments in RFK Stadium history.

FURTHER READING

Old Dog With New TricksSports Illustrated

Luke Appling and the 1982 Cracker Jack GameMisc. Baseball

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If you give the Nats two intentional walks in the 10th inning, you deserve to lose on wild pitch, Mets

After Tyler Clippard blew his first save of the year (wiping out Ross Detwiler’s excellent scoreless outing) the Washington Nationals had to come back against the New York Mets in the bottom of the 9th. They did, tying it at 3 (Danny Espinosa with the RBI single) but couldn’t get more.

In the 10th, the Mets got the lead runner on. He scored and the Nats needed two runs.

In the bottom of the inning, Jhonatan Solano singled and advanced to second on a Steve Lombardozzi bunt. Bryce Harper then tripled to knock in Solano and may have scored if he was not covered by David Wright after sliding. Then, the Mets walked Ryan Zimmerman (because who wouldn’t walk Mr. Walk-Off with the winning run on third?) and then walked pinch hitter Ian Desmond. I was thinking, really, two IBBs? That’s just setting yourself up for a wild pitch Mets; you karma. It took an extra batter though, since Adam LaRoche grounded to first, erasing Harper. That also meant Zimmerman was on third and on a 1-2 count to Tyler Moore (who homered earlier) that the pitch went wild and Zimmerman scored on it. Again.

Here’s the rally video (should be embeddable, grrr)

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Nats, Marlins, Rockies and the ’93 expansion curse

When you think about it, the Miami Marlins (previously Florida) and Colorado Rockies have been giving D.C. trouble for over 20 years now. Back in 1991, D.C. fell short to South Florida and Denver in the ’93 expansion derby. If I recall correctly, Denver had the promise of a new sales-tax funded ballpark and South Florida had Blockbuster Video/Waste Management chairman Wayne Huizenga (and his 50% ownership of Joe Robbie Stadium) behind them while D.C. had, um RFK Stadium. Baseball finally returned to Washington in 2005, but the results against the two expansion teams that won in ’93 haven’t been pretty.

The records:

 YEAR:     W-L     Win %  
 2011:     7-11    .389     
 2010:     5-13    .278     
 2009:     6-12    .333      
 2008:     3-14    .176     
 2007:     10-8    .556     
 2006:     7-11    .389
 2005:      9-9    .500

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The Marlins played in a stadium (that changed names seemingly bi-annually) that was perhaps the least pleasant weather wise in the NL. I don’t know that the South Florida humidity made much difference though, there were some terrible Nats teams over the years and that doesn’t account for home losses.

The Marlins expansion partner, the Rockies have also had a strong record against the Nats:

 YEAR:     W-L     Win %  
 2011:     3-4      .429     
 2010:     3-5      .375     
 2009:     0-6      .000      
 2008:     3-4      .429     
 2007:     3-4      .429     
 2006:     0-8      .000
 2005:     4-2      .667

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The Rockies play in the mile high setting of Denver, though that doesn’t account for home losses either. Two really bad seasons against the Rockies brings the Nats overall record down, but they only took the season-series against the Rockies once, in 2005.

I wasn’t thrilled when I learned the Nats would have the All-Star break bookended by this troublesome teams. They managed only one win against the Rockies (who are in last place in the NL West) in the series before the break after splitting a four game series at Coors Field earlier. The Nats finished the season series 3-4. Against the Marlins, the Nats just split a series which is an improvement against the Fish. Washington is just a game behind in the season series with Miami, so things may be getting better. Perhaps the change of venue and “name” have helped the Nats. But a 4-5 record doesn’t inspire confidence just yet, even if seven of those games were in Miami.

The Nats are now 2½ up on the Atlanta Braves, who picked up two games this week in the NL East. Those historical worries weren’t unfounded.

Tonight, Ross Detwiler faces Jon Niese of the New York Mets in Nationals Park. The Mets are starting to fall off a bit and this series is a chance to start putting them away.

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Penn State: The Freeh report comes out today

Penn Staters are facing yet another dark morning of the soul today. I don’t have high expectations that the Freeh report will result in anyone being exonerated, any opinions being changed and certainly not any healing. We’re still where we were in November:

I don’t know when and if I’ll read the report or comment on it.

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