Keokuk Westerns of 1885, who played in the minor leagues. Note the presence of Bud Fowler, one of the few black players who appeared with white players in the 19th century. Earlier, in 1875, Keokuk fielded a team that competed in the National Association, which was a major league.

Next week Major League Baseball will put on a spectacle in Dyersville, Iowa, when the White Sox and Yankees roll into that small farming community to play a regular season game.

The game, to be played on August 12, is being dubbed the “Field of Dreams” game, in homage to the Oscar-nominated 1989 film of the same name. It’s sure to be a ratings boon for baseball, as Fox Sports will telecast the special game in prime time.

One thing this game won’t be: the first Major League game in Iowa. Forget what MLB is saying, this will not be…

“It’s hard for a pitcher to go nine innings with a guy like him in our lineup.” — Chuck Tanner

He had a short swing and a shorter temper, won four batting titles, and was instrumental in helping three teams to the postseason, but Bill Madlock has been largely overlooked as one of the best hitters of his generation. The reasons for that are complicated, but boils down to this:

  1. Madlock was unfairly critiqued with an emphasis on his deficiencies rather than his strengths.
  2. Madlock became embroiled in several notable controversies.
  3. Madlock spent his career split (essentially) between four teams…

When I lived and worked in Cooperstown, I enjoyed visiting Willis Monie's book shop, located on Main Street, only a few blocks from the Hall of Fame. For those of you looking for old guides, they usually have quite a few.

Charlie Bennett throws out one of his many first pitches on Opening Day in Detroit.

Charlie Bennett probably threw out more ceremonial first pitches than any man in baseball history. Maybe a president did it more, but it’s unlikely.

Every spring, like the arrival of the birds from the south, as sure as the sun came up, Bennett would make his way onto the field at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull in Detroit and rock himself back to fire a first pitch. With this act, baseball season could begin.

But first, let’s discuss Bennett’s playing career, which was remarkable.

When Charlie Bennett began his major league playing career in 1878, the record for games…

George Daniel “Buck” Weaver (August 18, 1890 — January 31, 1956)

“Though they are hopeless and heartless, the White Sox have a hero. He is George Weaver, who plays and fights at third base. Day after day Weaver has done his work and smiled. In spite of the certain fate that closed about the hopes of the Sox, Weaver smiled and scrapped. One by one his mates gave up. Weaver continued to grin and fought harder…. Weaver’s smile never faded. His spirit never waned…. The Reds have beaten the spirit out of the Sox all but Weaver. Buck’s spirit is untouched. He was ready to die fighting. Buck is Chicago’s one…

“You could have your back turned and not see the hitter, and when that ball came off Jimmy Ray’s bat, it made a different sound.” — teammate Jack Hiatt

Jim Ray Hart played the game of baseball in a form of isolation because he was not very educated and he had an unfortunate speech impediment that made him embarrassed to start or join a conversation. But he was, as one teammate called him, “A kindhearted, childlike presence in the clubhouse.”

Hart was a drinker, he loved bourbon, drank it every night in the hotel bar or in his room. His…

The Sporting News reported on the yellow baseball experiment in their August 11, 1938, issue.

Charlie Finley, the owner of the Kansas City A’s, urged Major League Baseball to adopt orange baseballs in the 1960s. Finley liked the novelty of it, but his idea wasn’t new. In the late 1930s, MLB used a non-white baseball in a handful of games.

The idea was hatched by a color engineer named Frederic Rahr, a Harvard graduate who apparently had an obsession with the color spectrum. Rahr said his goal was “to reduce chances of injury to players and spectators; reduce probability of errors; and increase the accuracy of play, but in tennis, table tennis, handball, squash, and…

Lefty O’Doul
Francis Joseph “Lefty” O’Doul

I f not for the baseball missionary work of Lefty O’Doul there might have never been an Ichiro Suzuki.

O’Doul was baseball’s polymath: star pitcher, batting champion, father of professional baseball in Japan, successful manager, innovative batting coach, conduit to major league’s expansion to the west coast. He even created a popular Bloody Mary recipe. If there was ever a reason for inducting a person into the Baseball Hall of Fame for his lifetime contribution to the sport, the life of Francis Joseph O’Doul is it.

They called him “The Man in the Green Suit” because that was his favorite…

Long before professional baseball players earned enough money to buy mansions and yachts, they eked out a living by selling their services as often as possible. In the deadball era, players frequently played exhibition games to scrounge together extra salary when the time allowed. After the regular season, many players would participate in games for $100 here and $250 there. Due to his lightning-quick fastball, Walter Johnson was often recruited for such contests. In 1913, one of the most amazing exhibition tours commenced, which gave Johnson an opportunity to face the other great pitcher of his era for the only…

Where were your favorite TV shows set? Which cities “hosted” the most shows and which were the best in each city? I answer those questions in this exhaustive post about television history and pop culture. And yes, you will find out where Joanie and Chachi tried to be rock stars.

Los Angeles : Detectives for hire

Los Angeles and the surrounding area have been the setting for the most TV shows.

Logistically it makes sense for television shows to be set in southern California: the studios are there, the actors are there, the weather is beautiful. Probably 2/3 of the shows in this article that were set somewhere else, where actually shot on sound stages in Hollywood. …

Dan Holmes

Formerly worked as web producer for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Also worked for Major League Baseball Advanced Media as a content producer.

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