Obit of the Day: The Oldest Living Major League Baseball Player
Conrado “Connie” Marrero played all of five seasons of major league baseball. Pitching for the woeful Washington Senators, Mr. Marrero compiled a 39-40 career won-loss record, but earned a spot on the 1951 American League All-Star team and even a 1952 MVP vote.
Unusual for baseball, Mr. Marrero was a 39-year-old rookie in 1950 having coming up from the Havana Cubans where he won the Florida International League MVP going 25-8 and pitching a league-record 44 scoreless innings.
He was proud of his rural upbringing and was nicknamed “El Guajiro de Laberinto,” “The Peasant from Leberinto” during his years playing in Cuban amateur and professional leagues. Squat, stading at only five feet, five inches tall and weighing 158 pounds, Mr. Marrero was known for his mix of sliders and curves.
Mr. Marrero’s major league career ended after the 1954 season when he was the oldest active player at age 43. He returned to Cuba where he managed the Havana Sugar Kings of the Cuban League. When Fidel Castro took control in 1959, Mr. Marrero remained in Cuba and lived out the remainder of his life there.
In 1999 when the Baltimore Orioles came to Cuba for an exhibition series against the Cuban national team, Mr. Marrero threw out the first pitch.
Conrado Marrero died on April 23, 2014 at the age of 102 - two days shy of his 103rd birthday. Upon Mr. Marrero’s death, veteran infielder Mike Sandlock is now the oldest living ex-major leaguer at 98.
Sources: CBSSports.com, Wikipedia, and Baseball-Reference.com
(Image 1953 Topps card of Conrado “Connie” Marrero is copyright of Topps, Inc. and courtesy of goldenagebaseballcards.com)
Albert Pujols hit home runs 499 and 500 last night and the reaction is rather “ho-hum.” Here’s a reminder as to why.
Number of hitters reaching 500 home runs by decade:
1920s - 1 (Babe Ruth)
1930s - 0
1940s - 2 (Jimmie Foxx, Mel Ott)
1950s - 0
1960s - 5 (Ted Williams, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Eddie Matthews, Hank Aaron)
1970s - 4 (Ernie Banks, Harmon KIllebrew, Frank Robinson, Willie McCovey)
1980s - 2 (Reggie Jackson, Mike Schmidt)
1990s - 2 (Eddie Murray, Mark McGwire)
2000s - 9 (Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, Ken Griffey, Jr., Frank Thomas, Alex Rodriguez, Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Gary Sheffield
2010s - 1 (Albert Pujols)
You can say what you want about PED users but diluting the importance of 500 home runs was the biggest impact. And we can also stop pretending that steroids didn’t help with power. (This does not mean that the players shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame, heck pitchers were using too.)
Maybe people will give Pujols more credit if he’s the only 500 home run hitter of the decade. (Unless you think he took PEDs, too.) But until we get back closer to the norm we’re going to yawn when we hear someone crossed the 500-home run plateau.
Wow theonion, wow.
Obit of the Day: Chasing Hank Aaron
On April 8, 1974 Hank Aaron knocked an Al Downing fastball into the Atlanta Braves’ bullpen for home run number 715, making him the all-time leader, passing Babe Ruth. After he came around second base two young men ran up behind him, patted him on the back and fled the frame. The two 17-year-olds are now as connected with that home run as Aaron, Downing, announcer Vin Scully, and Braves pitcher Tom House, who caught the ball.
The boys, Britt Gaston (brown jacket) and Cliff Courtenay (navy sweater), were arrested and were bailed out by Gaston’s dad, who was at the game with them. It may be the best $100 ever spent.
The boys were lucky they were only arrested. The previous season and into April 1974 Aaron had received numerous death threats from those who felt a black man had no right to surpass the achievements of a white man. Aaron had even hired a bodyguard. Britton and Courtenay may just as easily been beaten to a pulp. But Aaron, after what appears to be a slight moment of panic, shrugged them off.
Britt Gaston, who passed away at the age of 55 on September 3, 2011, reunited with Courtenay and Aaron in 2010 for the first time in 36 years.
(Video of Aaron’s home run is courtesy of beefweef on YouTube.com and copyright of the Atlanta Braves and Major League Baseball.)
[Originally posted in 2011 and re-posted in honor of the 40th anniversary of Mr. Aaron’s home run.]
Hank Aaron at his press conference following the game where he passed Babe Ruth with home run 715.
The Braves beat the Dodgers 7-4.
WP - Ron Reed
SV - Buzz Capra
LP - Al Downing
Photo courtesy tucec9.tumblr.com
Hank Aaron hitting home run number 715 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.
April 8, 1974
Aaron went 1-3 with a walk, and the 2-run home run in the 4th inning off Al Downing. Darrell Evans was on first following a walk went Aaron went deep. Tom House caught the ball in the Braves bullpen.
John Baker took it like a champ.
To re-cap the season thus far, the Cubs’ 5th starter has lost two games in relief, a player wore the wrong uniform, and the pitcher and catcher collided going for a pop-up.
This is the year!
|—||Howie Rose, Mets radio announcer, referring to the Mets’ inability to hold a lead having scored in the 1st inning of all three games this season. They lost the first two to the Nationals.|
(via Joey Devine)