Billy-Ball Daily: 2008-6-18

6/18/2008
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

Billy-Ball – From the diamond to your desktop…
By Baseball Newstalgist, Bill Chuck

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The only spin here is on my screwball

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Top of the 1st
CONGRATS CELTICS – CENTERSTAGE: BASEBALL
I like to think of the NBA as the warm-up act for MLB. Major sports longest season is finally over (although I drive my daughter to soccer 10 months a year!) and for the next few weeks baseball has the stage to itself (at least until the NFL opens up their sweat camps).

But congratulations are due to the NBA’s marquee franchise , the Boston Celtics, as they hang their 17th championship banner. Seventeen is a lot in any sport and so here is a recounting of the years the Boston Celtics won their championships and the baseball champions of that year as well.

1957
* The Celtics defeated the St. Louis Hawks in double overtime in Game 7.
* The Milwaukee Braves defeated the Yankees in seven games. Lew Burdette was the winning pitcher in Games 2, 5 and 7.

1959
* The Celtics swept the Lakers, the Minnesota Lakers, yeah that;s how they got their name. The Dodgers won their first World Championship in Los Angeles defeating the White Sox in six games. Reliever Larry Sherry was MVP. Other than big Ted, the ChiSox were “Klu”-less.

1960
* It was the Celtics over the Hawks in Game 7 again. In the finale, Bill Russell pulled down 35 rebounds.
* Was it the greatest walkoff ever? Jim Kaplan thinks so. Bill Mazeroski in the bottom of the 9th in Game 7 homers and the Pittsburgh Pirates defeat the New York Yankees despite being outscored 55-27.

1961
* Sam Jones hit a basket with two seconds remaining and the Celtics held on to win Game 7, 109-107, over the Philadelphia Warriors led by Wilt Chamberlain. Chamberlain had averaged 50.4 points and 25.7 rebounds for the Philadelphia Warriors that year.
* Was this the greatest Yankee team ever? The New Yorkers topped the Cincinnati Redlegs in five games. Whitey Ford was the MVP with two wins and an ERA of 0.00.

1962
* After the Celts topped the now Los Angeles Lakers in OT in Game 7, Boston had now won a record four straight championships and five in the previous six seasons.
* This was the greatest walkoff Series that didn’t happen. Willie McCovey left the tying and winning runs in scoring position when he lined out to Bobby Richardson to end the 1-0 Game 7. The Yanks topped the San Francisco Giants. Ralph Terry, who gave up Mazeroski’s homer, was the Game 7 winner and Series MVP

1963
* Boston over LA in six in Cousy’s last season.
* The Los Angeles Dodgers swept the Yanks with one of the greatest exhibitions of pitching ever. In the four games they outscored the Yanks, 12-4.

1964
* The Celts again defeating Wilt Chamberlain and the San Francisco Warriors in the title series.
* This was the end for the Yankees in this era. The Cardinals took the Series in seven games. Following the Series, the Yanks fired their manager, Yogi Berra, and hired the Cardinals’ manager Johnny Keane. It was not a keen idea.

1965
* The Celtics earned their seventh consecutive championship defeating the Lakers in five.
* Another great World Series, another Dodgers win, another great performance by Series MVP Sandy Koufax. LA won in seven over the Minnesota Twins. Koufax was 2-1 in the Series with an ERA of 0.38.

1966
* The Celtics again over the Lakers, in seven games this time. It was Red Auerbach’s grand finale.
* The Dodgers got a dose of their own medicine being swept by the Baltimore Orioles, whose pitching only permitted two runs in Game 1 and none after that.

1968
* Once again the Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers in six games. Boston captured its ninth title in 10 years. Bill Russell was at the helm.
* Another great Series saw the Detroit Tigers win in seven over the Cardinals. Mickey Lolich won three games for Detroit throwing three complete games and allowing only five earned runs.

1969
* In Game 7, played at The Forum in Los Angeles, the Celtics built a 17-point fourth-quarter lead, then held off a Lakers rally to win the championship by two points.
* The Amazin’ Mets defeated the Orioles in five games. The Mets starters were Seaver, Koosman and Gentry and a guy by the name of Nolan Ryan who pitched relief. The great Donn Clendenon was the MVP hitting .357 with three homers.

1974
* Celtics faced off against Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the Milwaukee Bucks. But Dave Cowens was the hero in Game 7, scoring 28 points as the Celtics brought the title back to Boston for the first time in five years.
* This all-California Series saw the Oakland A’s top the LA Dodgers in five games. Rollie Fingers won one game and saved two others to become the MVP.

1976
* Boston won their 13th NBA championship defeating the Phoenix Suns in six games. Game 5 went to three overtimes.
* The Spirit of ’76 was exemplified by the Reds as they swept the Yankees. Johnny Bench led the Big Red Machine hitting .533 with two homers and six ribbies. Bench was one of seven Reds to hit over .300 in the Series.

1981
* Boston won the series 4 games to 2 over the Houston Rockets. Cedric Maxwell was the MVP helped by three guys named, Bird, McHale and Parish.
* The Dodgers defeated the Yankees in six games and they shared the MVP among three of the victors. Ron Cey, who hit .350; Pedro Guerrero who had two homers and seven RBI; and Steve Yeager, who had two homers were the co-winners.

1984
* The Big Three led the Celts to a seven game win, once again over the Lakers.
* This was a five-gamer with the Tigers overwhelming the Padres. Alan Trammell was the MVP hitting .450 with a pair of homers.

1986
* Despite Houston’s “Twin Towers,” Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson, Boston took the series in six games. It was the club’s 16th NBA title. In his first year with the Celtics, Bill Walton won the NBA Sixth Man Award.
* It was so close to being a dual Boston championship but then came Game 6 and Calvin Schiraldi and Bob Stanley whose gaffes were represented by Bill Buckner. It was the Mets in seven. I can still picture Jesse Orosco celebrating.

2008
* After a long hiatus, it was Boston vs. LA in the finals and the result was so very familiar to Celtics fans as they won in six games. The 39-point margin in the finale surpassed the NBA record set by the Celtics in a 129-96 rout of the Lakers in Game 5 of the 1965 Finals. The Big Three this season, : Kevin Garnett, Series MVP Paul Pierce and Ray Allen combined for 69 points, 21 rebounds, 16 assists and eight steals.
* As for baseball? The season is still young and now its time for centerstage.

Top of the 2nd
THAMES TIMES
Marcus Thames homered in his fifth straight game and Kenny Rogers pitched seven strong innings to help the Detroit Tigers beat the San Francisco Giants 5-1. Thames matched the franchise record for consecutive games with a homer and each of his last eight hits have been homers. The last streak longer was Mark McGw*re in 2001 when he had 11 straight according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The last Tiger to record home runs in five straight games was Willie Horton in 1969.

Edgar Renteria picked up his 2,000th career hit, beating out an infield single.

Top of the 3rd
WORLD SERIES PREVIEW?
Evan Longoria’s homer snapped a 6th inning tie, then the rookie third baseman fielded Reed Johnson’s 9th inning bunt with his bare hand and threw to first baseman Willy Aybar on one hop, preventing the tying run from scoring from third base in the Rays’ 3-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs.

“Probably the best bunt play I have ever seen, capped off with the pick by Aybar,” closer Troy Percival said. “That ball right there, typically, is going to be bobbled just enough for the guy to be safe.”

The victory before a crowd of 31,607, including thousands of Cub fans, was the Rays’ 41st victory of the season, one shy of their most ever before the All-Star break. They won 42 before the break in 2004, when current Cubs manager Lou Piniella wound up leading his hometown team to a franchise-best 70 wins.

Top of the 4th
WORLD SERIES PREVIEW?
Jon Lester struck out five over seven shutout innings and Coco Crisp homered to lead the Boston Red Sox to a 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. Lester (6-3) won his third straight start allowing six hits and walking only one. Boston matched a club record with six stolen bases from Crisp (two), Julio Lugo, Jacoby Ellsbury, Sean Casey, and Dustin Pedroia.

This series is tied at a game apiece.

Top of the 5th
OAKLAND GETS A’S, ARIZONA GETS F’S
The Oakland Athletics’ Mark Ellis hit two home runs and Eric Chavez, Kurt Suzuki, Bobby Crosby and Rajai Davis one a piece, as Oakland routed Brandon Webb and the Arizona Diamondbacks 15-1. Since May 26, Arizona is 7-14 but have added a game to its NL West lead during that time. Webb is now 2-3 since winning his first nine starts.

Justin Duchscherer (7-4) went eight innings, allowing one run and five hits while striking out six. In the 2nd, Duchscherer swung and felt a twinge in his surgically repaired hip. Manager Bob Geren and a trainer visited him, and Geren ordered Duchscherer not to swing the rest of the game. Duchscherer went down looking four times. Just another reason to dislike interleague play.

Top of the 6th
BILLY-BALL-VIDEO-OF-THE-DAY
David Letterman’s Top Ten Ways The New York Mets Can Turn Things Around:
http://www.cbs.com/latenight/lateshow/video_player/index/php/958398.phtml

These are just the extras:
* Free agent Willie Mays is just sitting by the phone
* Back to basics like hustling, good defense and a boat load of steroids
* Just enough gamma radiation to make them strong and aggressive without turning them green and crazy
* New incentive for players: get on base and get a $15 gift certificate to Radio Shack
* Lobby Major League Baseball to grant exemption to “Three strikes and you’re out” policy

Top of the 7th
PROBABLE PITCHERS
Red Sox (Justin Masterson) at Phillies (Kyle Kendrick), 1:05
Tigers (Armando Galarraga) at Giants (Barry Zito), 3:45
Astros (Brian Moehler) at Orioles (Jeremy Guthrie), 7:05
Padres (Jake Peavy) at Yankees (Darrell Rasner), 7:05
Cubs (Carlos Zambrano) at Rays (Andy Sonnanstine), 7:10
Dodgers (Derek Lowe) at Reds (Bronson Arroyo), 7:10
Braves (Jo-Jo Reyes) at Rangers (Eric Hurley), 8:05
Blue Jays (Shaun Marcum) at Brewers (Ben Sheets), 8:05
Nationals (Jay Bergmann) at Twins (Kevin Slowey), 8:10
Pirates (Tom Gorzelanny) at White Sox (Mark Buehrle), 8:11
Royals (Brian Bannister) at Cardinals (Braden Looper), 8:15
Indians (Aaron Laffey) at Rockies (Jeff Francis), 9:05
A’s (Joe Blanton) at Diamondbacks (Dan Haren), 9:40
Mets (Oliver Perez) at Angels (Jon Garland), 10:05
Marlins (Ryan Tucker) at Mariners (R.A. Dickey), 10:10

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
Since June 9, White Sox third baseman, Joe Crede is 3-for-21 with 0 HR and 0 RBI. Crede this season is 5-50, an even .100.

Top of the 9th
READ AN EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK
Check out an excerpt “Walkoffs, Last Licks and Final Outs – Baseball’s Grand (and not so grand) Finales” on SI.com: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/baseball/mlb/06/16/lastlicks.excerpt/index.html then head over to www.Billy-Ball.com to buy it.

Bottom of the 9th
BUY THE BOOK
Bill Chuck is the creator of Billy-Ball.com and, with Jim Kaplan, is the author of the book, “Walk-Offs, Last Licks, and Final Outs – Baseball’s Grand (and not so Grand) Finales,” with a Foreword by Jon Miller available now from ACTA Sports.

Autographed first editions are available by contacting, Bill@billy-ball.com or order directly from Acta Sports, http://www.actasports.com/detail.html?&id=3427 or from your favorite bookstore worldwide.

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Information provided in Billy-Ball has been gathered from A.P. reports, espn.com, sportsline.com, mlb.com and numerous other e-sources. Opinions expressed in Billy-Ball are obviously solely the opinions of the author of Billy-Ball and do not reflect those of source material no matter how off the wall they may be.