Billy-Ball Daily: 2006-5-9

Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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Happy birthday, Tony Gwynn!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Top of the 1st
Do you ever wonder what the headline will be to your obituary?

Here’s mine: “Bill Chuck also known as Billy-Ball, The Little Man, the Czar of Entertainment – dead at 106 – loved baseball, humor, made lots of typos”

I was thinking about obituary headlines today because Jim Delsing passed away last Thursday. Delsing, a native of Rudolph, Wis., signed a pro contract as a shortstop at age 16 in 1942 with Green Bay of the Wisconsin State League and was a good defensive outfielder as well as a pretty good minor league hitter hitting .300 several times in the minors and made the Northern League, Pacific Coast League, and American Association all-star teams. After five seasons in the minor leagues, Delsing joined the Chicago White Sox and debuted on April 21, 1948 and played 20 games. He went to the minors before being traded to the New York Yankees in 1949. The club traded him to the St. Louis Browns on June 15, 1950 and he played for them until 1952.

Delsing was traded to Detroit in 1952, and in ’53 he had a career year with 62 RBIs, 11 home runs and a .288 batting average. His play in the field again was outstanding from 1953-55. He committed only two errors in 1954-55 and compiled a .996 fielding percentage in 1954. In 1956, he was traded to the Chicago White Sox and ended his career in 1960 with the Kansas City Athletics. His last game was on September 30, 1960 when he was unsuccessful as a pinch-hitter against the Tigers. He had a career batting average of .255.

“He was just a good all-around ballplayer,” said former Browns and Washington Senators star Roy Sievers. “Jim was a very good outfielder.” Former teammate Don Lenhardt said, “Jim was a good teammate to have on your ballclub. He was a very good fielder and a good ballplayer. I’ve known him for over 50 years, and we became very good friends.”

His son, Jay, was a professional golfer in the 1980s and 1990s, and his grandson, Taylor Twellman, was the MVP of Major League Soccer in 2005.

So far the obituary headline should read, “Jim Delsing, 80, fine defensive outfielder”

It didn’t.

A little aside here – did you know that Dan Rather, the former anchor of the CBS Evening News, did baseball re-creation broadcasts early in his career? He would take the play-by-play for the Triple A Houston Buffalos off the wire services and then broadcast it to listeners over the radio. He shared this anecdote with Jim Caple of’s Page 2:

“Anyway, I remember the Buffalos were on the road one time, and we were recreating it in the studio, and there was a close play at the plate. I was in that phase where I was trying to use baseball lingo — I would use wheels instead of legs, like that — I’m not proud of it, but that’s what I did. And so after the center fielder, Jim Delsing, made this terrific throw, I say, “The runner breaks, Delsing takes two steps, he makes a perfect throw, and he’s out at the plate.” I paused. And then I said, “What a hose on that Delsing.”

My color man, Frank McGee, fell off the stool laughing. I couldn’t continue. I was totally humiliated.”

So, before you think that obituary headline should read, “Jim Delsing, 80, great hose”, you need to know that Jim Delsing became part of baseball lore when the St. Louis Browns met Detroit in the 1st inning of the second game of a doubleheader at Sportsman’s Park on Aug. 19, 1951.

Delsing was apt in his description of the event of that day: “It was just a three-ring circus, with a couple of rings missing.”

On the mound was Tigers pitcher Bob “Sugar” Cain. Behind the plate was catcher Bob Swift. Ed Hurley, was the home-plate umpire. The scheduled batter was Frank Saucier. But Browns’ manager, Zach Taylor sent up to the plate a pinch-hitter, signed by St. Louis owner Bill Veeck specifically for this occasion…3-foot-7 Eddie Gaedel.

After Cain walked pinch hitter Gaedel on four pitches, manager Taylor sent in a pinch runner…Jim Delsing and according to writer C. Philip Francis, as the two passed on the infield grass Eddie patted Jim’s rump saying nothing

And that is why Jim Delsing’s last New York Times headline read, “Jim Delsing, 80, Pinch-Runner for Midget in Baseball Stunt, Dies”.

Top of the 2nd
The San Diego Padres won their ninth straight game, 8-3 defeating the Chicago Cubs who lost their seventh straight game and their ninth out of 10. The Cubs have scored three or fewer runs in 10 straight games.

Khalil Greene homered and Mike Cameron had three RBI as Greg Maddux couldn’t get out of the 4th inning. A win would have tied Maddux with Nolan Ryan and Don Sutton for 13th on the all-time victories list with 324. Instead, Maddux had his shortest start since he went two innings against Florida on April 5, 2003. He also went 3 2/3 innings last June 15, also against Florida.

The Padres got their first-ever four-game sweep of the Cubs in San Diego. The Padres are on their longest winning streak since setting the club record with 14 straight in 1999. They are two games above .500 (17-15) for the first time this year.

Top of the 3rd
Miguel Tejada has now played in 950 straight games, this leaves him just 1,682 shy of tying Cal Ripken’s consecutive game streak. That means that Tejada has to play the next 10 1/3 seasons without missing a game.

Good luck, Miggy!

Top of the 4th
On May 9, 1984, the longest game in A.L. history (both in time and frames) ended in the 25th inning when Harold Baines homers off Chuck Porter to give the White Sox a 7-6 victory over the Brewers. The game took eight hours and six minutes to play and had been suspended the previous day after 17 innings with the score tied 3-3. Each team scores three runs in the 21st inning. Tom Seaver pitched the final inning to earn the win, then won the regularly scheduled game as well, 5-4.

Top of the 5th
Matt Holliday was 3-for-4 with two solo homers and scored three runs as the amazing Colorado Rockies continued their wining ways defeating the St. Louis Cardinals and Jason Marquis, 6-2. Brad Hawpe singled twice and drove in three runs for the Rockies (20-13), who moved seven games over .500 for the first time since July 7, 2000, when they were 45-38. The Rockies have gone eight consecutive games without an error.

Roy Halladay pitched a four-hitter and Bengie Molina and Alex Rios homered to lead the Toronto Blue Jays over the Angels, 5-1. Halladay improved to 3-0 in four starts since missing time due to a right forearm strain in mid-April. He struck out a season-high six and walked one for the 21st complete game of his career and the first of the season for Toronto.

The Angels have lost nine of 11 and have scored just 30 runs in their last 12 games.

Top of the 6th
We have often heard play-by-play announcers say, “the pitcher comes to the set position,” and some of you might be actually curious as to what the “set position” actually means.

The set position and the wind-up position are the two legal pitching positions.

According to MLB rules:
“Set Position shall be indicated by the pitcher when he stands facing the batter with his entire pivot foot on, or in front of, and in contact with, and not off the end of the pitcher’s plate (the rubber), and his other foot in front of the pitcher’s plate, holding the ball in both hands in front of his body and coming to a complete stop.”

Top of the 7th
BILLY-BALL-A-GRAM – 5/9/2006
Happy birthday to this Hall of Fame Manager who returned to the dugout on this date in 1944 after missing much of spring training (and the early season) due to illness.

In 1932, the Phillies had three players who drove home over 100 runs, name those three players.
Send your answers to

Bottom of the 7th
This Hall of Fame birthday boy sat out the entire 1930 season in a salary dispute.

Yesterday, Joe Torre picked up his 1,000 win as the manager of the Yankees, name the current Hall of Famer who earlier this season reached the 1,000 career win plateau as a manager.
Frank Robinson

Top of the 8th
The Fullerton Flyers, an independent minor league baseball team that begins play next month, recently traded for a pitcher from a team in Schaumburg, Ill., whose season is already underway.

The Flyers acquired the pitcher by sending the Schaumburg team, also known as the Flyers, 60 cases of Budweiser. That’s because the pitcher is Nigel Thatch, who is 0-3 in seven starts but is also the actor who played cocky athlete Leon in Budweiser commercials.

“This trade was a bargain for us,” Fullerton General Manager Ed Hart said. “We were prepared to throw in a Clydesdale.”

Rich Ehrenrich, owner of the Schaumburg team, told the Chicago Tribune, “Nigel really gave us a unique presence in the sports marketplace. In the true spirit of ‘Leon Time,’ we’ll have a cold one courtesy of Fullerton and thank Nigel for his time here.”

Top of the 9th
“Game of Shadows”, by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams is the report of the most important story in sports in recent memory. I have a pristine, steroids-free copy of the book that I want one of my readers to have.

Here’s all you have to do – write 73 words, no more – no less, about Barry. Send it to and the best written will be the winner.

We have a number of excellent attempts thus far, so please get your 73 words in by the Friday deadline.

Bottom of the 9th
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Information provided in Billy-Ball has been gathered from A.P. reports,,, 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.