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The Bill Chuck Files of March 1, 2020

There will be regular-season games this month

“I was told I would never make it because I’m too short. Well, I’m still too short. It doesn’t matter what your height is, it’s what’s in your heart.” – Kirby Puckett

Here are the home run leaders by their reported height as compiled by the great Baseball-Reference.com

Height (in inches) Season Total
83 Jon Rauch – 1 Jon Rauch – 1
82 Chris Young, Randy Johnson – 1 Chris Young, Randy Johnson – 1
81 Mark Hendrickson -1 Mark Hendrickson -1
80 Tony Clark – 34 Tony Clark – 251
79 Aaron Judge – 52 Frank Howard – 382
78 Giancarlo Stanton – 59 Dave Winfield –465
77 Mark McGwire – 70 Mark McGwire – 583
76 Ryan Howard – 58 Jim Thome – 612
75 Hank Greenberg – 58 Alex Rodriguez – 696
74 Babe Ruth – 60 Babe Ruth – 714
73 Barry B*nds – 73 Barry B*nds – 762
72 – Six feet Sammy Sosa – 66 Hank Aaron – 755
71 Mickey Mantle – 54 Mickey Mantle – 536
70 Willie Mays – 52 Willie Mays – 660
69 Mel Ott – 42 Mel Ott – 511
68 Kirby Puckett – 31 Kirby Puckett – 207
67 Jimmy Rollins, Yogi Berra (2) – 30 Yogi Berra – 358
66 Hack Wilson – 56 Hack Wilson – 244
65 Charlie Duffee – 16 Freddie Patek – 41
64 Willie Keeler – 5 Willie Keeler – 33
63 Cub Stricker – 3 Cub Stricker – 12
43 Eddie Gaedel – 0 Eddie Gaedel – 0

Rest in Peace Johnny Antonelli

I know most of you don’t know the name Johnny Antonelli, and to be honest, most of his success was before my time as well (and I’m old enough to remember games between the dinosaurs and the cavemen), but Antonelli was a pretty good pitcher for the New York Giants and was one of the stars of the 1954 World Championship team. Antonelli, who would have been 90 on April 12, went 21-7 with a league-leading 2.30 ERA for the 1954 Giants. In the Series against the Indians (who had won 111 of 154 games), Antonelli started one game, finished one game (saving Game 4), and went 1-0 with a 0.83 ERA. In 10.2 IP in the Series, Antonelli allowed eight hits, one run, struck out 12, yet walked seven. Antonelli won 20 games for the Giants in 1956 as well.

  • Antonelli was a “bonus baby”signing in 1948 with Boston Braves for $65,000 and never pitched a day in the minors. he was obtained by the Giants in the same deal that dealt Bobby Thomson to the Braves.
  • The Giants traded him and Willie Kirkland to the Indians for Havey Kuenn in 1960.
  • In 1955, manager Leo Durocher suspended Antonelli after the pitcher refused to give up the ball and be removed from the game. The suspension lasted one day before Antonelli apologized to Leo. Leniency was suggested so that Antonelli would not lose a day’s pay which equaled $154.76.
  • In 1961, the Mets purchased his contract (and Ken McKenzie’s) from the Braves “conditionally” based on Antonelli’s ability to make the expansion team.
  • Rather than sign with the Mets, the 31-year old retired from baseball to pursue a career in business and stay home with his family. Antonelli eventually owned more than two dozen Firestone tire stores in Rochester, New York, and surrounding areas. As the great Arthur Daley wrote in the New York Times of January 26, 1962, “If the rubber has disappeared from Johnny Antonelli’s once elastic left arm, there is still plenty left in the tire business.”

Whole new ballgame?

Burlington, Vermont Mayor Bernie Sanders, right, before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at the Vermont Reds’ inaugural game at Centennial Field in 1984. With him are Reds booster-club head Thomas Racine, left, and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). (Toby Talbot/AP)

The picture above was right before the Vermont Reds home opener on April 18, 1984, as the team prepared to play their first game in Vermont since 1955 in the Class C Provincial League. The editorial page of the Burlington Free Press wrote that morning, “To hundreds of baseball-hungry Vermonters, who will be in the stands tonight to welcome the new team, the cry of “Play Ball” will be music to their ears.”

The team had moved to Burlington from Lynn, Massachusetts as owner Mike Agganis’s team was averaging just 400 fans a game and looking for a new home. Thanks to the hard work and persistence of Mayor Bernie Sanders, the team came to Burlington Vermont despite losing its affiliation with the Pittsburgh Pirates and seemingly at the last moment connecting with the Cincinnati Reds who moved their club from Waterbury. Connecticut.

Paul O’Neill was featured on Opening Day in the team’s coverage in the Burlington Free Press

Jayson Stark thinks there could be a record number of Intentional Walks this season

I like to use the column to plug the good stuff to watch, listen to, or read when it comes to baseball. So, I was listening to Starkville, The Athletic’s great podcast with HOFer Jayson Stark and his buddy, the very smart, Doug Glanville and they were talking about intentional walks. It’s Jayson’s contention that because of the new rule that will require relievers to pitch to three batters, that we are going to see a dramatic record in the number of IBB as a lefty pitches to a lefty, walks the next righty batter, and then pitches to the next lefty. I find that to be an interesting contention. Here are some record high intentional walk numbers of the years.

  • Last season, there were 753 intentional walks.
  • In 2018, there were 929 intentionals.
  • In 2017, there were 970 IBB.
  • In 2014, there were 985 intentional passes.
  • In 2013, there were 1018 intentional walks
  • In 2012, there were 1055 intentionals.
  • In 2011, there were 1231 IBB
  • In 2008, there were 1310 intentional passes.
  • In 2007, there were 1323 intentional walks
  • In 2006, there were 1410 IBB
  • In 2002, there were 1452 intentional passes
  • In 1993, there were 1477 intentional walks
  • In 1955, there were 722 intentional walks, the first year it was an official statistic.

Let’s see if Jayson is correct.

Billy-Ball Portmanteaus

Merriam-Webster defines portmanteaus as a word or morpheme whose form and meaning are derived from a blending of two or more distinct forms (such as smog from smoke and fog).

This season on Billy-Ball, we will attempt to play with the true meaning and make some baseball-related portmanteaus. The quality, I’m sure will improve with your participation (send your suggestions to Walkoffs@gmail.com).

Each week, I will try to add another one to the list:

Ten to One

And if you missed last night’s Saturday Night Live, you didn’t see the great Kenan Thompson‘s very funny Forgotten Figures of Black History. Enjoy the video.