Billy-Ball Daily: 2007-7-17

7/17/2007
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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Ty Cobb died July 17, 1961, in Atlanta

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Top of the 1st
SUMMER IN THE CITY
Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
Been down, isn’t it a pity
Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city

All around, people looking half dead
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head

Oh yes, I know I’m old, you don’t need to remind me; my back reminds me on a daily basis. And yet, my friends, age does have its advantages. You see I remember when there were summer songs. I remember when top groups released singles specifically for the summer and they were some of the best music of our lives. What could be better than a summer of music, baseball, and hanging with your friends at Playground 10? Well, how about a look back at the music and the baseball while hanging with your friends at Billy-Ball.com.

Summer in the City was a 1966 hit single by The Lovin’ Spoonful. 1966 was the same year that the Braves made their debut in Atlanta and Sandy Koufax won 27 games and then retired. The Orioles swept the Dodgers in the World Series, 5-2, 6-0, 1-0, 1-0 behind Dave McNally and Moe Drabowsky, Jim Palmer, and Wally Bunker.

Summertime, Summertime proves that all the summer songs weren’t great, or even good. The Jamies were the one-hit wonders who sang this annoying song originally released in 1958, but re-done by different groups who subsequently wanted the privilege of singing this irritating ditty. The New York Yankees regained the world championship beating the Milwaukee Braves in the World Series, four games to three, after trailing three games to one. The Dodgers and Giants made their West Coast debuts. Ted Williams won the American League batting championship for the sixth time. Richie Ashburn of Philadelphia took the NL batting title with a .350 average. Whitey Ford (14-7) of New York had the best earned run average with 2.01. Baltimore’s Hoyt Wilhelm no-hit the Yankees, 1 to 0, on Sept. 20; it was the last one-pitcher no-hitter thrown against the Yankees to date.

Not all one-hit wonders are bad, take In The Summertime by Mungo Jerry. Ray Dorset, who was the group’s lead singer and guitarist, wrote this song which was a huge hit in 1970. Mungo Jerry was a character from T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. The Orioles were the World Series champs defeating the Reds, 4-1. Boog Powell and Johnny Bench were MVPs; Jim Perry and Bob Gibson were Cy Young Award winners and Thurman Munson and Carl Morton were Rookies of the Year. On July 14, at Riverfront Stadium, the National League won its eighth straight All-Star Game, 5-4 in 12 innings. Pete Rose slammed into Cleveland Indians catcher Ray Fosse to score the controversial winning run on Jim Hickman’s single. Fosse, who never had the ball, was hospitalized. That game didn’t count.

Some of the summer songs were instrumentals although Wipe Out by The Surfaris did say its name in the song. Equally memorable to the words “Wipe Out” being said was one of the great drum solos of all-time. Back in 1963, when this song was a hit, we had a thing called “records.” Records unlike CDs had an “A” side and a “B” side, with the “A” side intending to be the hit side. The Surfaris released Wipe Out as the B-side to “Surfer Joe” by a disk jockey liked Wipe Out better and the rest, as they say, is history. The Dodgers behind Sandy Koufax, swept the Yanks in the World Series. Sandy was the Series and regular season MVP (and Cy Young Award winner). Elston Howard was the AL MVP. Koufax and Juan Marichal led the majors with 25 wins, while Whitey Ford had 24. Koufax had an ERA of 1.88.

Some songs were adapted for new audiences. A great example is from the 1935 opera “Porgy & Bess” written by Dubose Heyward and George Gershwin. “Summertime” has been recorded literally hundreds of different times by different artists. This shouldn’t be confused with the 1991 hit Summertime by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, which I also loved. The version which means summer to me was by “the Fat Man” Billy Stewart who had the hit in 1966. This is the Summertime recorded by Janis Joplin (or Billie Holliday), which will tear your heart out. Joplin’s epic was off the “Cheap Thrills” album from 1968. In baseball that year, Bob Gibson had an ERA of 1.12 and struck out 17 Tigers in Game 1 of the World Series. His Series opponent was Denny McLain who won 31 regular season games. Despite Gibby’s heroics, the Tigers won the Series, 4-3 thanks to Mickey Lolich pitching on two days rest, won Game 7 his third win of the Series.

1969 was the Summer of Woodstock and the song from that summer that will close out today’s special musical edition of Billy-Ball is “Hot Fun In The Summertime” by Sly and Family Stone. Sly & the Family Stone was a funk, soul and rock band from San Francisco that made you want to dance to the music. They wanted to take you higher. They made everyday people feel like a star. In baseball, 1969 was the year of the Miracle Mets with the pitching of Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Gary Gentry, and a kid by the name of Nolan Ryan. It was catches in the Series against the Orioles by Ron Swoboda and Tommy Agee. It was heroics by Walt Weiss and Donn Clendenon. It was the last and only year of the Seattle Pilots.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this. If you did and would like another edition before the summer is out, write to me bill@billy-ball.com. At least drop me a line and tell me your favorite summer song. Until that time, I just want to thank you falettinme be mice elf agin.

Top of the 2nd
MANNY BEING MANNY
Rookie Kason Gabbard gave Red Sox fans another good reason to hope that the Senator Curt Schilling doesn’t rush back back from the disabled list. Gabbard pitched Boston’s second complete game shutout of the season, Schilling threw the other, and beat the Kansas City Royals, 4-0. Gabard was helped by a two-run shot by David Ortiz and homers by Dustin Pedroia and Manny Ramirez who is finally showing signs of life.

Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer recalls that Manny was Manny before Manny was a Red Sox – As O.J. Simpson and the white Bronco headed down the freeway in Los Angeles on June 17, 1994. Indians players, after a game at Jacobs Field, were watching a replay of Simpson’s Bronco being followed by a fleet of Los Angeles police cars. The announcers kept saying, “O.J. this . . .” and “O.J. . . . that.”

Hoynes writes, “Ramirez walked by, looked at the television, heard the announcers talking about O.J. and said, “Why are the police after Chad?”

That would be teammate Chad Ogea (pronounced O.J.), not O.J. Simpson.”

American League East
Team W L Pct. GB Home Road East Cent. West L10 Strk
Boston 56 36 .609 – 31-16 25-20 21-11 10-7 13-12 5-5 W 1
N.Y. Yankees 46 44 .511 9 27-18 19-26 12-18 12-5 12-13 7-3 W 3
Toronto 45 47 .489 11 26-19 19-28 18-17 13-13 4-9 5-5 L 1
Baltimore 41 51 .446 15 22-22 19-29 14-11 15-15 6-13 5-5 L 1
Tampa Bay 35 56 .385 20