THE ROARING NINETIES
Hall-of-Famer Bobby Doerr can add another honor to his long baseball resume. The Boston Red Sox legend is now the oldest living former major-leaguer. Doerr turns 99 on Friday and is the last surviving player who debuted in the 1930’s. The second baseman first appeared in the bigs in 1937 with the Red Sox. He’s also the oldest living member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. The second oldest former big-leaguer is 98-year-old Chuck Stevens who played first for the St. Louis Browns and is one of just 51 living ex-players who debuted in the 1940’s. There are still 361 former major-leaguers alive who debuted in the 1950’s. According to Bill Carle and David Vincent, longtime members of the SABR Biographical Committee, the 12 oldest former big-leaguers are (age as of Friday):
Player, Pos., Debut, Seasons, Birthdate, Age (years and days)
AROUND THE HORN
… Jose Quintana of the White Sox, on Tuesday, became the first pitcher whose surname begins with “Q” to start on Opening Day since Jack Quinn opened the season for the Braves against the Dodgers on April 16, 1931, almost 86 years earlier.
… Monday was a memorable day for Stephen Piscotty, in a good way, when he signed a six-year $33.5 million contract with the Cardinals; Tuesday was also memorable, in a not-so-good way, when, in the fifth inning, the outfielder was hit on the right elbow by Cubs starter Jake Arrieta, hit on the left elbow by a throw from catcher Willson Contreras when he stole second and clonked on the earflap of his helmet by a throw to the plate by second baseman Javier Baez as he scored the Cards’ first run of the game.
… According to stat maven Bill Chuck, the career batting average of Angels first baseman Albert Pujols has fallen every year since 2009 when it was .334; it was .331 after the 2010 campaign, .328 after 2011, .325 after 2012, .321 after 2013, .317 after 2014, .312 after 2015, .3091 after 2016 and, after four games this season, .3087.
… Madison Bumgarner became the first pitcher to clout two homers on Opening Day when he went yard twice against the Diamondbacks on April 2; the Giants ace now has 16 career homers that have traveled a total of 6,393 feet.
… The Triple-A affiliate of the Marlins has changed its name from the New Orleans Zephyrs to the New Orleans Baby Cakes.
… The Braves, Cardinals, Nationals, Rangers and White Sox have joined the Dodgers, who pioneered the concept, in wearing batting helmets with 3D logos.
… Food stands at the Rangers’ home, Globe Life Park, have introduced a new item called the Fritos Kimchi Chili Dog which is an all-beef hot dog topped with sweet and spicy kimchi, chili, Texas teriyaki sauce, Fritos corn chips and fresh cilantro – all for the low, low price of $10.50.
… Eight Jewish ballplayers made Opening Day rosters this season (up from six in 2016): Ryan Braun (Brewers), Alex Bregman (Astros), Craig Breslow (Twins), Scott Feldman (Reds), Ian Kinsler (Tigers), Joc Pederson (Dodgers), Kevin Pillar (Blue Jays) and Danny Valencia (Mariners).
… Delta Airlines passengers wearing Mets apparel and flying out of any New York airport over the next week and a half will receive free priority boarding.
… MLB umpires are wearing an “RG” sleeve patch honoring former A.L. umpire Russell Goetz who passed away this spring; Goetz officiated in 2,384 regular-season games and worked two All-Star Games, four ALCS and two World Series while ejecting 54 players, managers and coaches and wearing sleeve number 5 (currently worn by ump Dale Scott).
… According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Reds had the youngest Opening Day roster with an average age of 26.4 while the Blue Jays had the oldest at 30.7.
… Last season, 28,067 shifts were recorded on balls put into play according to Baseball Info Solutions; that’s nearly a third of the total balls put into play.
… Through Thursday, Buck Showalter needed just three more wins with the Orioles to pass Jimmy McAleer for second most managerial wins in Browns-Orioles franchise history; McAleer had 551 wins as the Browns skipper from 1902 to 1908 while the peerless Earl Weaver tops the list with 1,480 victories with the O’s.
… Last season, with the exception of Jackie Robinson‘s universally retired number 42, every number from 00 to 79 was worn by at least one player in the bigs; this season, two players are wearing number 99 (outfielder Aaron Judge of the Yankees and pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu of the Dodgers).
… Sharp-eyed SABR member Bill Deane notes that Mark Teixeira, who retired after last season, finished his career with 1,862 hits in 1,862 games played; the major-leaguer with the most hits in an equal number of games played is Luis Gonzalez with 2,591 knocks in 2,591 contests.
… Outfielder Nomar Mazara of the Rangers became the 10th big-leaguer in the 21st century to collect multiple hits in his team’s first game of a season at age of 21 or younger.
… The youngest position player on Opening Day rosters was Padres catcher Luis Torrens at 20 years and 336 days of age while the youngest pitcher was German Marquez of the Rockies at 22 years and 40 days; the oldest position player was Ichiro Suzuki of the Marlins at 43 years and 163 days and the oldest pitcher was Braves starter Bartolo Colon at 43 years and 314 days.
… The Giants haven’t won a World Series during the administration of a Republican President since 1954.
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