Three More Good Hitting Pitchers

Don Drysdale

For his career, DD hit 29 home runs, drove in 113, and batted only .186.  He did have some bad seasons at home plate.

1958-hit seven home runs with a batting average of .227; had 15 hits in 66 at bats.

1961-hit five home runs  with a batting average .193; had 16 hits in 83 at bats.

1965-great hitting season coupled with a 23-12 pitching record; good justification for MVP; hit seven home runs, drove in 19; got 39 hits in 130 at bats for an even .300 batting average.


Don Larsen

DL had a losing lifetime pitching record of 81-91; his best season was 1956 with an 11-5 record;  his capped this season of course by pitching a perfect game in the 1956 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers; it was the fifth game of the series at Yankee Stadium.  Larsen’s record as a hitter was quite impressive; he hit 14 home runs, drove in 72, and batted .242.  His best hitting seasons were as follows:

1958-hit four home runs and drove in 13; Larsen went 15 for 75 in hitting for a rousing .306 batting average.

1961-Don Larsen started  this season with the Kansas City A’s and and was traded to the Chicago White Sox.  Larsen hit two home runs and had  14 hits in 45 at bats; this was good for a .311 batting average.


Bob Gibson

Lifetime Bob Gibson hit 24 home runs, batted in 144, and hit .206.  He was a tremendous athlete.

1965-Gibson hit five home runs, drove 19, and batted .240.

1970-Won the Cy Young Award with a 23-7 record.  His pitching and hitting made him a valid pick for MVP.  Gibson hit two home runs and drove in 19;  had a batting average of .303 going 33 for 109.

1972-Batted only .194 getting 20 hits in 103 at bats;  but Gibson hit five home runs and drove in 12.


Good Hitting Pitchers

Having a good hitting pitcher on a ball club is quite a luxury.   Managers don’t have to use pinch hitters as much so the pitcher can stay in a game longer.  Conversely, managers often use good hitting pitchers as pinch hitters. This latter point is very critical. To me, it is the only justification for a good pitcher  winning  the Most Valuable Player Award.   The Cy Young Award was started because of this point.  Here are three of the best.

Warren Spahn hit 35 home runs, the most for any pitcher.   Spahn drove in 189 runs and had a lifetime batting average of .194.  He simply should have retired three years earlier.  Three years stand out for Warren Spahn.  He hit four home runs in both 1955 and 1961.  His overall best year was 1958.   Spahn had 36 hits in 108 at bats for an amazing .333  average. Two of his 36 hits were home runs.   Spahn played for the Braves in both Boston and Milwaukee.  He played his final year in 1965 for the New York Mets.


For Philadelphia Phillies in 1973,  Ken Brett hit a home run in four consecutive starts.  Most pitchers don’t hit four homers in their career. With the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1974, Ken Brett hit two  home runs  and got 27 hits in 87 at bats for a .301 average.


Don Newcomb’s overall hit 15 home runs, drove in 108, and had an amazing .273 batting average.   He played mostly for the Dodgers in both Brooklyn and Los Angeles.  His last two years were with Cincinnati and Cleveland.   Milestones by year:

1954-15 hits  in 47 at bats for an average of .319.

1955-hit seven home runs and drove in 23.  DN got 42 hits in 117 at bats for a .359 batting average.

1958-Newcomb went 26 for for 72 for a .361 batting average

1959-hit three home runs and drove in 21 runs.  Newcomb got 32 hits in 105 at bats for a .305 batting average.

Senator Jacob Javits on the Nature of Our Political Parties II

The change to Liberal and Conservative Parties…The idea assumes that there are individual interests with the United States that are large enough to form a majority all by themselves.  The truth to the contrary is that in comparison to the total voting population each individual interest in the nation is a minority interest.   It can only hope to become a part of the majority interest by entering into coalition of some sort with other minority interests.  And the very concept of a coalition  implies that the elements in it will compromise their maximum rival demands on each other in order to agree on the demands they have in common.  To the extent that they are successful in effecting such compromise, the majority they form cannot in the nature of things stand purely for one thing and purely against another.


In the second place, the idea assumes that there is an orthodox liberal and conservative position that embraces every single case and controversy before the nation, and that in every such case and controversy the same men can always be to vote the same catechism in the same way.  Nothing, in fact, could be  more remote from the central reality and the genius of American politics. In all its experiences to date save one, our political system has shunned the doctrinaire and ideological approach to public affairs.  It has excepted the fact that life is larger than logic, and that the main function of politics is to serve the practical needs of life as those needs present themselves in different forms and in different settings. It has accepted the further fact that the major political parties, while giving full rein to their differences, must do so within the for corners of four grounds rules.

(1) When a party forms a government, it shall govern by consent instead of coercion;

(2) It shall itself consent to surrender the government to the direction of a rival party if elected;

(3) When the exchange takes place it shall be in a peaceful, indeed cooperative way, and;

(4) the changes in existing relations and proportions in the whole community shall be of a moderate rather than a drastic sort.

The one time these four ground rules were broken-the one time when American politics ideological and hence rigid and categorical was in the decade of the 1850’s and the consequence was the Civil War.   At all other times to date, American politics, by a kind of bipartisan secret wisdom, have  taken care to avoid a proliferation of the one-interest, extremist dogma haunted fractionalized  parties like those which paralyzed and later led to the death of Germany’s Weimar Republic and France’s Third Republic.  American politics has cast up two major political parties which do in fact differ from each other in general temperament, outlook, and in the order of priorities.  But they also have allowed for a variety of internal opinions, often sharply conflicting with in each party.


In a nation as diverse as the United States-a nation that is continental in scope, and federal in organization-there could be no national parties if party members wherever  they were located were expected to think alike on all issues all the time. There could only be precinct parties, ward parties. county parties, and at the most upstate and downstate parties. But there could not be so much as a state party or or even a regional party. Why? Because the rule of uniformity would lead to an endless series of purges of  all those who, as various cases and controversies were cast up, failed to conform to what some self appointed high priest  of liberal orthodoxy or conservative orthodoxy said was the orthodox position to take.

Even if by some miracle it was possible to form on a national basis a pure liberal or pure conservative party, the natural tendency of the arrangement would be to shatter the ground rule…Sydney Hyman said the following in his  book The American President.   Parties based on ideology would expose each party to the peril of annihilation any time it committed its united strength on a crucial public issue, and the commitment was based on a very wrong guess.  With the destruction of the party that guessed wrong, there would be no force to hold the remaining party in check.  From a two part government, the United States would become a one party government, and by the logic of monopolies, the one in time could become the state.  Secondly, as each party dropped the dissenters who wanted to check the majority, each, now free of all internal restraints, might fly to an extreme positions carrying millions of Americans with them.  With parties in this polarized position, coercion might replace consent, if points of difference appeared impossible to reconcile. From the same cause, a party might refuse to surrender the government to a rival through fear of what it might do.  Even if the exchange of power took place peacefully,  the alterations in existing relations and proportions in the community could be drastic.  For there would be brought into the seat of government a body of people, interests, and opinions never before represented and totally out of sympathy with what they had displaced.  Once they gained control of the apparatus of government, and used it as the  executive agent of their will, they could wrench the whole social order out of socket.

Going Back Where They Came From I

In baseball, many players go back where there came from to finish their careers.  Older fans came reminisce  about how good the players were. Younger fans learn from the parents.  The ball clubs obviously do this to draw more fans.  In some cases, though, the players should have retired and made themselves look foolish.

Keep this in mind.  The Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee in 1953, leaving that city with only the Red Sox. No other ball club has expressed a wish to make Boston a two team city again.  The Braves moved to Atlanta in 1966.  After one year, 1969, as the Seattle Pilots, this team moved to Milwaukee and became the Brewers in 1970.   The New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to the West Coast in 1958.   The New York Mets began as an expansion team in 1962. 

Ruth and Aaron went to the other league. 

Babe Ruth for five years was a great pitcher for the Boston Red Sox.  Ruth had a record of 94-54, an earned run average of 2.28,  and two years of 20+wins.   Ruth pitched for  29 consecutive scoreless innings in the World Series.  Whitey Ford broke this record in 1961.  The New York Yankees traded for Babe Ruth in  1920 and converted him to an outfielder. The legend began.  In 1934, Babe Ruth was still good for most players;  but for  him, it  showed a drop in production.  HRs 22 RBIs 84 BA .288.  The Yankees traded him to the Boston Braves in 1935.  Ruth played just 28 games for the Braves.  He went 13 for 72 with six home runs, 13 RBIs and a batting average of .181.


1974 was the year Hank Aaron for the Atlanta Braves broke Babe Ruth’s  record of 714 lifetime home runs.  His play went downward that year and the Braves traded him to the Milwaukee Brewers the next year.

1974-HRs 20, RBIs 69 BA .268.  In his two years with the Brewers, Hank Arron record again showed his age.  HR 22 RBIs 95 BA .232.


In 1971, Willie Mays hit 18 HRs, had 61 RBIs, and BA of .271 in San Francisco.   This was a sharp decline and the Giants traded him to the New York Mets.  In the two years back in New York, Mays hit 14 HRs,  had 44 RBIs and a BA of .238. 

Philadelphia Eagles 1973-First Year Mike McCormick

In the subject year,   the team went from 2-11-1 in 1972 to 5-8-1. The Eagles obtained Roman Gabriel for Harold Jackson.  Gabriel was the league’s leading passer with  the ends  Harold  Carmichael,  Charlie Young, and Don Zimmerman.  Tom Sullivan and Norm Bulaich ran for 956 yards and 450 yards respectively.  This was an explosive team but with a below par defense.  Here are Philadelphia’s five victories, the St. Louis win was on the road with the other four at Veterans Stadium.   The records posted are before the game.

Game 5- The Eagles (0-3-1) defeated the St. Louis Cardinals (2-2),  27 to 24.

Roman Gabriel threw for two touchdowns in the last 90 seconds-27 yards to Harold Carmichael and 24 yards to Don Zimmerman on the last play of the game.  The Eagles came from a 24 to 13 deficit.  RG completed 29 of 45 passes for 379 yards and three touchdowns.  Carmichael caught 12 passes for 104 yards  and two touchdowns.  Tom Sullivan caught seven passes for 36 yards.

Week 7-The Eagles (1-4-1) defeated the Dallas Cowboys (4-2), 30 to 16.

Gabriel completed 20 of 34 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns.  Harold Carmichael caught two touchdown passes.  Po James caught seven screen passes for 43 yards. Calvin Hill gained 100 yards for Dallas.  The Cowboys finished 10-4 and lost to the Minnesota Vikings 27 to 10 in the NFC Championship game.  This was first time the Eagles defeated Dallas since 1968.

Week 8-The Eagles (2-4-1) defeated the New England Patriots (2-5), 24 to 23.

Philadelphia  came from behind 17 to 0 to win.  Roman Gabriel completed 24 of 36 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns.  Charlie Young caught eight passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Defensive End Will Wynn returned a fumble 24 yards for a touchdown.

Week 11-The Eagles (3-6-1) defeated the New York Giants (2-7-1), 20to 16.

This was a duel between the top runners of both teams.  Tom Sullivan carried 32 times for 156 yards and a touchdown.  The Giants’ Ron Johnson gained 101 yards.

Week 13-The Eagles (4-7-1) defeated the New York Jets (4-8), 24 to 23.

As with the Patriots,  the Eagles came from  behind 17 to 0 to win.  Gabriel went 14 for 25 for 214 yards and two touchdowns.  Carmichael caught five passes for 146 yards and a touchdown.  John Outlaw returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown putting the Eagles ahead for good.  For the NY Jets Emerson Boozer carried 21 times for 160 yards and a touchdown.

Senator Jacob Javits on the One Time Nature of Political Parties

There are wings within both the Republican and Democratic Parties that have more in common with each other than with their parent parties.  The wings therefore should be detached and recombined to form two new parties.  One would include all Liberals and the other would include all Conservatives.  If this done, so the idea goes,  many benefits would follow.  The two new “pure” parties would be free of dissenters who would now force the Republican and Democratic Parties into  internal compromise. { I AM NOT CERTAIN WHAT HE MEANS HERE BY THE LAST PART OF THE PRECEDING SENTENCE BY FORCING THE PARTIES INTO INTERNAL COMPROMISE.} In their platforms and choice of candidates, therefore the “pure” parties and choice of candidates, therefore, the “pure” parties would present voters with clear-cut alternatives.  The voters, on their part, being presented with such choices, would come to the polls in far greater numbers than they do now.  The victorious candidates themselves, once in office, would know that they had a clear mandate to do what was set forth in the party platform, and could be clearly judged depending on whether or not they remained faithful to that platform and they results they produced through it.

Listened to from afar, the idea has the solid, common sense ring of a maxim.  Examined close in, it had the dull thud of a cracked drum.  To be continued

Rockville Bridge, Fishing Creek, and Fort Hunter

The subject three places are eight miles north of Center City  Harrisburg.  Fishing Creek and Fort Hunter are on the east side of the Susquehanna so it makes  sense to view the Rockville Bridge from this place as well.  Fishing Creek and Fort Hunter are next to each other and the bridge some 50 yards south.

Fishing Creek flows into the Susquehanna at a good clip and Sunday morning fisherman are all over.  It is a great opportunity to meet a wide variety of people even though I am not a fishing addict.  Fort Hunter was one of a series of forts along the Susquehanna that the French had in colonial days.  Now it is a home open to tours and rentals for special events.  I remember the clean smell of varnish on the furniture.

On first site, the Rockville Bridge is overwhelming.  Restating an earlier point, the best time for viewing is late on a Sunday afternoon.  I drove off Front Street to a lookout and saw the bridge on from a somewhat higher point.  On Sundays,  there is minimal noise from cars and the eastbound train and the echoing rumble left me limp.  Forty eight stone arches support the Rockville Bridge making it the largest of its kind in the world.   There have been pictures of the bridge on railroad photography and art since the time it was constructed.  The rail, coal, and iron companies completed the bridge in 1849 and replaced in 1877 with an iron truss structure.  This gave place to the present four track stone arch crossing finished in 1902.

Standing or sitting there often for two hours plus looking at the bridge, the river, and the mountain gave me a real appreciation of what railroads meant to the United States.   I have traveled by rail eight times between Philadelphia and Flagstaff.  {As I sidebar, there is a shuttle going from Flagstaff to Phoenix.}  Only the Raton Pass in New Mexico comes close to riding on the Rockville Bridge for interesting scenery.

Harrisburg remains a transportation hub.    Today, we are under utilizing rails for both passengers and freight.   More development of our rail system would provide jobs and solve many more problems.