Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Top Five Braves First Basemen

Top Five Braves First Basemen, by Mark Bowman.
1. Freddie Freeman 2010-2020 ranks 4th among all MLB 1B w/ 34.6 WAR since 2011.
2. Joe Adcock 1953-1962 (above): 17.7 AB/HR ranks 4th behind Aaron, Mathews, Horner, & Andruw.
3. Fred McGriff 1993-1997: 1993 NL MVP voting: (3) Justice (4) McGriff (5) Gant
4. Fred Tenney 1894-1907 & 1911 – began MLB career as a left-handed catcher.
5. Chris Chambliss 1980-1986 (below, left).
HM: Andres Galaraga 72 HR .46 OPS
HM: Felipe Alou finished 5th in 1966 NL MVP
HM: Julio Franco joined Braves at 42, ranks 19th w/ 349 GP at 1B for club.
No mention of Hank Aaron, who played some first late in his career.
Gale Sayers and Terrell Davis played seven NFL seasons, and were later inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Former Atlanta Falcon great William Andrews played only six seasons and was even more prolific, yet is never considered for Canton.
5986 4.6 277 2647 8704 75 WA
4956 5.0 112 1307 8934 64 GS
7607 4.6 169 1280 8887 79 TD 
My new commute was much better. Very nice. Traffic on the downtown connector is almost non-existent (below: this morning at the 14th Street bridge looking south). One tiny downside: I used the time driving back and forth to work to listen to my books.
Monday: not much to report. Had more phone conversations in the morning, and by afternoon was able to get a decent amount of computer work done. Still have a decent amount of work to do. Emails are coming to my phone but not to my laptop.
Ceil cooked beef tips with onions and peppers, over rice. Also tossed salad. Watched The Neighborhood and some other shows. Also did my Hinge Health exercises. The kids ordered out.
I get to sleep a little later now. Got a decent 7.5 hours of sleep – 4.5 hours of quality sleep and almost 2.5 hours of deep sleep.
I still take a shower and shave. Wearing a Grizz Gaming t-shirt and shorts. Ceil had gone downstairs before me. I came downstairs, sat on the couch, and put on my Sonic the Hedgehog socks and sneakers. Then before walking over to the kitchen table to start work, I stopped by and gave Ceil a kiss goodbye, like I normally do before leaving for work.
SPARKY ANDERSON  [SABR Bio] was a rookie with the Phillies just two year after another Phillies rookie had won the franchise’s first ever Rookie of the Year Award - Jack Sanford won the NL ROY in 1957 playing for PHI. Anderson played for PHI in 1959 but received no ROY votes. The organization traded that ROY to a team across the country and had high hopes that in Sparky they had again found someone who could perform at that level. Sanford was traded to SFG in December of ’58. As a result, they played Anderson in 152 of their scheduled 154 games in his rookie season. Anderson is the only player to play 150 G in one season and not play a single game in any other major league season. The player the Phillies got to replace Anderson at 2nd, played for them at that position for the next 17 years: Tony Taylor. Sparky rewarded them with one of the most unusual careers ever in the majors. He became Hall of Fame worthy a little later. Anderson’s managing got him to the Hall of Fame. One example - He was the 1st manager to lead a team to a WS championship in each league.
Like many, I count at least four specific reasons why I'm at extra risk to catch coronavirus. Five really. I haven't left home in two days. Still, there are things that have to get done. Needs to be met. The world isn't stopping.

Monday, March 30, 2020


Working from home day one. Typing on the laptop and looking at the smaller laptop screen instead of a regular keyboard and my two big screens at work. No mouse. I'm far less efficient. Might sneak back to the office at some point for the mouse and other needed items.
I usually go outside when I have to talk on the phone. At least the view is nice. Made several calls, kicking all the gumballs off the driveway and street. Sounds like I’ll be working from home at least until April 13. Some of the inside salespeople will be coming into the office every other day, but not my team. More news: customer has shut down their factory for 2-3 days to fumigate after a coronavirus exposure.

The Bible commands us to “fear not” 365 times – once for every day of the year. What good is living, if I live my life in fear? Hiding in my home when I having aging parents to help out, minister to, and love on? Life is a risk every day.

A doctor said the virus is impossible to catch if you don't touch your face.
Super busy weekend. Left work Friday just after five and drove straight home. Ceil was at the end of her rope, so I took her to Whole Foods. She wanted some Tylenol but Target and Publix were out, but CVS had some.
Ordered a takeout from Pizzeria Lucca. The wait was almost an hour, so we drove around Roswell until it was ready. The pizza place, just off the Roswell Square, had their dining room closed but were walking the pizzas out to the customer’s cars in the parking lot. Glad to see they were busy. When we drove through downtown Roswell there was a little takeout business at those restaurants as well. Saw where the old Value Village shopping center in Roswell (near your old haircut place) has been torn down – supposedly to make room for a Roswell “town center” of shops and restaurants similar to what they’ve done in Alpharetta. This will mean more closer restaurants for us, as well as more competition for good ole Moxie Burger and Pizzeria Lucca.
Long Saturday. Left home before seven and headed to Macon. CFA biscuit. Packed the SUV with mom’s furniture & left out at ten for Milledgeville, about 50 minutes away. Stopped by CookOut for their burger & shake special. Got the tour of mom’s new assisted living facility, unloaded, & headed back to Macon for another load. Got back to Macon from the second trip around 5:30. Grabbed another strawberry shake from CookOut, which was supper. Tired. Hung out with dad Saturday night. Caught up on email from the week. Got little sleep on the couch.
Longer Sunday. Loaded the car with load #3. On the way to pick up my mom from her rehab place I stopped by CookOut for another burger & shake special. Much better than Wendys or Taco Bell, or of course McDonalds or Burger King. At the rebab place I had to wait 45 minutes for them to bring out mom. Drove to Milledgeville. Got her unloaded. After she had an orientation with the director and two nurses we had lunch there at the cafeteria: meatloaf, mashed potatoes, English peas, biscuit, and pineapple upside down cake. The big TV was showing the 1985 NCAA final between Villanova and mighty Georgetown, with Patrick Ewing, David Wingate, etc. I still remember where I was when that game was played, volunteering with David Deeter at the Morningside homeless shelter.
Spent the rest of the afternoon unpacking and getting mom settled, taking inventory and getting things set up. Who knew how much work this could be. Most of the time there were six people stuffed in her little apartment. Crazyness. Brother went to pick up a mattress and box springs, then later made a return round trip to Macon for more stuff, leaving me to deal with mother for most of the afternoon / evening. Not sure what my sister was doing this weekend. As the only resident you could hear everything that was said all over the facility. My mom was putting the new staff through their paces. Hopefully she won’t wear out her welcome.
Due to the busyness, I missed my group conference call. During Sunday I was learning about my office closing as well as the customer closing, knowing trucks would need to be cancelled immediately. Didn’t leave Milledgeville until 9:15. Spent the next hour on the phone. Stopped in Madison for gas and McDonalds. Didn’t get home until 11:30. Felt like I’d been beaten with a stick.
Exhausted. Didn’t really sleep well. Only got six hours of sleep, 4:40 quality, and 2:20 of deep sleep. That Diet Mtn Dew Big Gulp probably didn’t help.
This weekend Ceil put out sixteen bales of pinestraw. Today she drove up to school to get art projects to work on.
M is working on a project converting wood pallets to shelves for his plants.
From O’Reilly’s book on the Wild West I’m reading: Annie Oakley’s real name was Phoebe Cates. Phoebe Ann Cates. Doc Holliday was born in Griffin GA, grew up in Valdosta, and later moved to Atlanta – where he probably killed his first man. Due to a tuberculosis like condition, his doctor’s suggested he move to a dryer climate, so he moved west. 
My brother sys he works for Orvino Wine Imports. Helps make sure there is enough wine on the shelves.
A single lady from our Sunday School class is moving to Vegas to work at a church out there. She has pets so she booked pet-friendly hotels. Here’s her itinerary…
677 9:50 Marietta to Van Buren ARK
316 4:37 VB to Sayre OK
240 3:28 OK to Tucumcari NM
175 2:35 Tucumari to Albuquerque
323 4:44 ALB to Flagstaff AZ
238 3:32 AZ to Vegas
1963 28:46 total  
I might’ve told you that several years ago I had compiled a list of all major sporting events I’d attended in my life, going back to the mid-1960’s. When I got a new laptop a couple of years ago, I forgot to move that list over from the old computer. Thought that list had been lost forever. Today while working from home I stumbled across the list. Bingo! I’ll try to move the list onto my blog so it will be more “permanent” but that will take some work. I can’t figure out, however, how to bring up some of my current spreadsheets. Might have to get help.
July 18, 1951 Ralph Kiner hit 3 home runs and 7 RBI in a 13-12 win over the Dodgers.
CARLTON FISK  [SABR Bio] was the first unanimous Rookie of the Year Award winner in the American League - ROY 1972 He once walloped a home run that hit a synagogue. In his first of three plate appearances on a rehab assignment with the South Bend White Sox in 1992, he hit a 3-run homer that struck a synagogue down the left field line, just outside the ballpark. The synagogue was renovated this past year and was then made into the merchandise hub for the Silver Hawks. On a nearby fence, there is a plaque commemorating the Fisk shot. At the time of his retirement, he held the records for most games played and for most home runs hit by a player at his position. His record for games started played at catcher was 2,226 but was passed by Ivan Rodriguez in 2009. The record is now 2,427. His record for HR by a catcher was 351 but was passed in 2004 by Mike Piazza and is now 396. He led the league in triples one year and the following season didn’t hit a single triple—no not one! In 1972 led the AL in 3B as a rookie with nine. In 1973, with 51 more at-bats, he hit exactly…zero.

Sunday, March 29, 2020


Jesus said, in the Sermon on the Mount
(Matthew 5: 43-44 & 46):
You have heard that it was said,
'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'
But I say you, Love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you...
For if you love those who love you,
what reward do you have?
Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
Mary-Clayton captured on video: Will helping the neighborhood boys trying to get a frisbee out of the tree. The boy threw the basketball, knocking the frisbee out onto the ground - but then the basketball got stuck in the tree.

 An almost cool custom bat, sold by the Pillbox Bat Company.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

More Quarantine Photos

Today's Bellwood Coffee advertisement, featuring Charles Norman.
From Uni Watch: the MLB baseball jersey factory in Pennsylvania has been converted to make hospital gowns and masks - out of dri-fit jersey fabric.
 The new sign is up.
Ladies and gentlemen, your Las Vegas Raiders.
A classic ad from my childhood. Like I said yesterday, i could stare at these classic uniforms for hours. Detroit Lion Mel Farr (bottom left). Viking center Mick Tinglehoff (white #53). Chicago Bear Richie Petitbon (#17). Redskin tight end Jerry Smith (#87). Colt tight end John Mackey. New York Giant Spider Lockhart (#45). Cowboy Bob Lilly (#74 in back). Mr. Falcon Tommy Nobis.
 The new Chargers uniforms? Sure hope so.

 Most people eat the M&M's out of the trail mix.
Someone in my family does the opposite.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Inside Sports

Found the Inside Sports 1991 baseball preview issue in my desk. What horrible journalism. Nothing in-depth. Not much "inside" and even less "sports." About the eventual NL Western Division pennant winning Braves they wrote “If CNN was as bad as the Braves, they’d still be reporting the 1988 election” and “The Atlanta Braves rebuild again, hoping to climb out of the NL West cellar before the 1996 Olympics come to town.” No wonder the magazine faded away in 1998.
I first got interested in uniforms as a young boy in the late 60’s, growing up attending Braves and Falcons games, I was quickly fascinated by the uniforms, stripes, logos, facemasks, shoes, and socks. A player wearing his stirrups higher than others, like Frank Robinson. Brooks Robinson’s truncated batting helmet bill. Otis Taylor’s twin single bar facemasks. Willie Lanier’s padded helmet. Football players with taped shoes, cut off sleeves, and socks pulled up just so - like Fred Biletnikoff and Jim Kiick. Pete Maravich in the Hawks’ blue/green uniform and floppy socks. I would pour over two books: The First 50 Years (football) and This Great Game (baseball), mainly looking at the uniforms. Then in 1972 the Braves introduced their “feather” uniforms. At home (and in class at school) I would draw player after player - wearing the feather, football helmets and players, and basketball players as well. I’ve been Uni Watching ever since.    
Work: getting a lot done at work but some projects need to be done every week, and its time to do some of them again. Also coming up on month end as well.  
Thursday: left work just after five. Stopped by Dollar Tree for eight items. When I go in a store I’m trying not to need a buggy or basket. One less thing to touch.
Ceil cooked a pasta dish for supper, and tossed a salad. M got home from work with his usual bag of groceries. Watched Chicago Med and Schooled.
For the rest of March employees get 30% off at Whole Foods, so C is giving him lists of needed items.

Friday afternoon / evening I was in the car from 5:30-6:30 and 7:00-8:30, then supper with family, then cleanup until 9:30. Was getting so many notifications that I left my phone and watch in the other room.
One of the characters in a series on novels I read has the ability to remember – an eidetic memory – Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp, or Steve Berry’s Cotton Malone. Just learned author Steve Berry grew up in Atlanta. Born in 1956 and went to Catholic school (Marist?). Then Mercer law school. Practiced law and served as a representative (statewide?) until he broke out as an author.
Denison: In the “truth is stranger than fiction” category: the patron saint of resisting epidemics is named St. Corona. She was martyred as a teenager eighteen hundred years ago; her relics have been preserved in Germany since AD 997. Her shrine is being prepared for display once the pandemic has passed...
…a traveler told reporters that he was the only passenger on his Southwest flight from Dallas to Houston on Tuesday.
RALPH KINER  [SABR Bio] is the only slugger to lead his league in home runs for seven consecutive seasons. Led NL in HR 1946-52. In all but the first of those, he also led the majors. Led majors 1947-52. Only once in those years did his team finish above .500. Pittsburgh reached .500 only in 1948 during that stretch. He had signed with that team BECAUSE of their lack of talent. Kiner signed with the perennial second division-dwelling PIT right out of high school figuring he’d have a faster path to The Bigs with them rather than with the talent-rich NYY, who had also expressed interest in him. His choice proved to be a wise one as he spent just a little over two years in the Bucs’ minor-league system.
Thought for the day: just because says something, it doesn't mean you need to respond.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Donald Trump's Fabulous World of Golf

Heard Rickie Fowler recently played Dustin Johnson. Both played left-handed. Johnson shot a 94 to win. With the dearth of live sports on TV, the Golf Channel should’ve televised the match. Would’ve been cool to just have one camera following the players, listening to their conversations. That would be similar to the old Golf Channel show “Donald Trump’s Fabulous World of Golf.”    
One memorable episode had Trump playing golf with John Smoltz and Tom Glavine (below). Walking down the first fairway after their tee shots, Smoltz said to Trump “I hear you’re building a big shopping center out here.” Glavine asked where. Smoltz quipped “Between my ball and yours!”
Not much on line about Trump’s World of Golf. Looks like back before the last presidential election CNN was trying to dig up dirt on Trump, asking the Golf Channel for footage from the show, but the Golf Channel denied the request.   
Q: What did the baby corn say to the mama corn?
A: Where’s Pop Corn?
This worldwide crisis is getting serious. Kroger was out of crunchy peanut butter. 
Seriously: to fight coronavirus do not take ibuprofen / Advil. Instead take Tylenol. Also take lots of vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc 30 mg. Silver. Hot licorice root, lemon balm, peppermint, elderberry, rosemary tea. Eat raw garlic, onion, and ginger.   

Wednesday: left work shortly after five. Drove straight home. M had a new pot and cooked supper: black beans, rice, chopped onions, special cheese (gouda?), chives, and chicken from the grill outside. I made a quesadilla and also ate the beans and rice with chips.
Not much on TV. Watched an interesting episode of Bon Appetit’s Test Kitchen, where Claire baked cherry pies and flew them out from NYC out west to enter them at a county fair (below). They didn’t place. Also worked on my laptop, talked on the phone, and handled a crisis at work. Bed at ten.
Last night I changed the settings on my phone, adding a bright new Gwinnett Stripers custom screensaver. Didn’t realize it made it hard to read the time. Usually I wake up between 6:05 and 6:15 without an alarm. Of course when I wake up I’m wearing my CPAP mask and no glasses, and I’m looking at the time on my watch. This morning I woke up and I thought my watch said 6:37. Popped out of bed and went in to take a shower. Next time I looked at the time it read 6:05 am. I had misread 5:37 for 6:37. I was an hour early.
Stopped by Kroger on the way to work. Didn’t get much. The bath tissue ailse was empty. Not desperate for TP, but while I was in the store I thought I would check. First time in a store for over a week, thought C and M have been. W and A went to Home Depot yesterday. Guess he was buying wood for his deck.
Oh yes C drinks coffee. Also M, A, and W&MC. They’re BIG coffee drinkers. They buy whole bean from Joel’s Bellwood Coffee. They have their coffee bean grinders, scales, French presses, the whole setup. In the past Will has worked behind the counter at Bellwood for special events: trivia night, the grand opening, etc. Today's Bellwood Coffee advertisement:
Denison: If the pandemic is not God’s specific judgment, why did he allow it? Scripture teaches that our world is fallen as a result of human sin (Genesis 3:16–19; Romans 8:22). Diseases and disasters are natural consequences of this Fall.
…While I do not know why God allows all that he does, I am convinced that he redeems all he allows. We can ask him for such redemption, knowing that he suffers with us (Isaiah 43:2) and loves us unconditionally (John 17:23).
…Tragedies such as the coronavirus pandemic cause many of us to struggle on some level spiritually. When God doesn’t answer our prayers as we want him to, as with the Apostle Paul’s “thorn in the flesh,” it’s natural to be frustrated (2 Corinthians 12:8). Even Jesus cried from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). 
…Jesus knows what it is to feel temptation (Hebrews 4:15), weariness (John 4:6), thirst (John 19:28), rejection (Matthew 27:22), and horrific pain (Matthew 27:26). What’s more, he not only empathizes with us but has the ability to heal us (Matthew 4:23), forgive us (Luke 23:34), and sustain us with his enduring presence (Matthew 28:20). As a result, here’s the most relevant coronavirus faith question I can ask: Will you bring your questions and struggles to Jesus?
COOL PAPA BELL  [SABR Bio] was jokingly rumored to be so fast that he was called out while sliding into second base once because he was struck by the same line drive that HE himself had just hit. It was often said that there was no one faster in all the Negro Leagues. Paul Simon recorded a song with his name in it. Simon’s song is titled “Cool Papa Bell” but it has some R-rated lyrics. His birth name was James Thomas Nichols. Bell, originally a pitcher, earned the nickname “Cool” after he struck out the legendary Oscar Charleston in one of his first Negro National League mound appearances. Bell’s manager Candy Jim Taylor later added “Papa” (No reason given). He was the third player from the Negro Leagues voted into the Hall of Fame who had never played in the majors - HOF in 1974. Josh Gibson and Buck Leonard became Hall of Famers in 1972.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Top 5 Braves Catchers

Braves beat-writer Mark Bowman ranked the top five catchers in Braves history.
1. Brian McCann: his 43.6 fWAR leads all Braves catchers and ranks 6th most among all players in franchise history.
2. Javy Lopez owns MLB record for most home runs by a catcher (42).
3. Joe Torre led all MLB catchers in fWAR (34.9) and wRC+ (131) between 1961-1968.
4. Del Crandall: won 4 of the first 5 NL Gold Glove Awards.
5. Eddie Perez: owns a franchise-best 1.250 OPS in NLCS games. Hit a grand slam in the playoffs.
Honorable mention: Bruce Benedict logged the 4th most innings in franchise history. Greg Olson was the catcher on the 1991 World Series team. And not list is complete without at least mentioning Biff Pocoroba.
My additions: As a rookie Bob Didier played an Olson-like role for the 1969 Western Division champions. And if Biff Pocoroba is mentioned, so should Bob Uecker. Top bullpen catcher: Bobby Dews.
Next week Bowman ranks the first basemen. My take: (1) Freddie Freeman (2) Chris Chambliss (3) Orlando Cepeda (4) Bob Horner (5) Andres Galarraga (HM) Willie Montanez and a surprise player.    
NFL QB’s: one take on where Cam Newton will land: Patriots (wrong), Chargers (maybe), Jaguars, Dolphins, or Redskins. Any team signing Newton will eventually wigh they hadn’t. Another rumor: the Colts Jacoby Brissett to the Patriots. Probably not.
Just heard a good anagram to remember when making decisions: HALT…decision making is harder when you are facing Hunger, Anger, Loneliness, and Tiredness. Don’t make decisions when you haven’t slept, are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. Most of the population doesn’t get enough sleep, including more than a few people I know. Takes years off your life.
I’m reading Kristin Hannah’s “Home Front” about a mom who is a helicopter pilot, who gets shot down in Iraq. Finally finished Hannah’s “The Great Alone” about rural Alaska. Next up: Bill O’Reilly’s “Legends & Lies: The Real West.” I don’t read much Patterson, but the one he wrote with Bill Clinton is real good – “The President is Missing.” The President meets the bad guys in the stands during a Washington Nationals game. Also the three he wrote about golf: (1) Miracle on the 17th Green (2) Miracle at St. Andrews, and (3) Miracle at Augusta.
One of these days I guess I’ll have to start drinking coffee. Don’t like it black and don’t need the sugar. Did I tell you about my new drink? Every day I add Hawaiian Punch fruit punch mix to my 32 ounce water bottle. Lately when I drink down the bottle halfway, I will pour in a 12 ounce can of Diet Mtn Dew. Gives it a kick, and makes the Dew last longer.
I’m seeing more walkers on my street. Barney has plenty to bark at these days.
Any news? Not much going on. Left work Tuesday shortly after five. Straight home. Calls with father, sister, brother about moving mom to assisted living. While talking I kicked all the gumballs from the driveway off to the natural area. Cleans the driveway, and relieves stress.
Ceil made chicken soup and tossed a salad. Made me a ham & cheese sandwich on the panini press. Cleaned up. Not much on TV besides a Hallmark movie rerun. Bed at ten.
This morning Azalea Road was closed down by the river. Took Oxbo instead, and boy that “creek” alongside was bursting at the seams. 
HARMON KILLEBREW  [SABR Bio] is the only member of the 500 home run club to hit a grand slam as a teenager - GS 21-Jun-1956 at age 19 yrs 358 days. He is the only player to drive in at least 125 RBI while batting below .250 that same season - 1962 = 126 RBI/.243. He hit more home runs in the 1960s than any other major leaguer - 393 HR 1960-69. (H. Aaron was next w/375).
My sister recently posted these Bible verses on Facebook.
Wise words to follow as we endeavor to transition our mother
from rehab to assisted living.
Hasn't been an easy time, but the rewards we seek won't be given on this earth, if we are confident in our faith in Christ.