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Remembering Leo Cardenas, The Superstitious One

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Bert Blyleven, Reggie & Revisionist History

[LAST EDITED, APRIL 22, 2013]

Blyleven pitching against Tigers, 1973


-PHOTO: Jackson batting, Game 1 '73 ALCS vs Orioles - 

Funny how people change their minds over things!

It's what we do. We're all prone, and it's our right, to alter the way we think. That includes the very opinionated and fluctuating Reggie Jackson!

Last year, Reggie was outspoken in a published piece or two about his druthers for including Bert Blyleven and others in the Hall Of Fame.


Blyleven, August, '73 shutout vs Royals

So, it was interesting for me to come across this article with a game report from 40 years ago today - Sat., April 14, 1973 (BBRef) at the Met (hmmnnn...my favorite light-hitting team of the 70's, another one run loss for Bert...who coulda guessed that one?), in which you get a completely different take from the famous slugger. To wit (see middle section, especially):





Bill James has said it's useful to go back and factor what was said about players in past decades, the word of their contemporaries, to help in deciding their rank as players. Sensible, yes? So, what changed in 30 years for Reginald (keeping in mind he hit .200-some vs. Bert, career)?

When he put his sizable foot in his mouth - forget about "Killing the Queen" - Mr. October was really "Mr.-Kill-The-Fun"!
[ : do check out soundbite of Reggie, "Naked Gun," - suggesting you substitute "fun" for "queen" as you listen!]

Maybe Billy Martin had something there when he said of George Steinbrenner and Reggie: "One's convicted, the other's a born liar." Rough, but when the shoe fits...I guess if Jackson had gone on to have a great career batting line against Blyleven post '73, I would understand his turnabout. But, like so many low-info Hall of Fame voters, my guess is he's going on results - the bare fact that the Curveballer came up short of 300 victories - to judge worthiness. Jackson, of all people, should know pitching wins are dependant upon having your team score more runs than the opposition.

So, I will close thus: the next time one of your baseball friends up and changes his mind over a matter inexplicably, even though past history and facts dictate some other action or response, give them this:

"You pullin' a Reggie on me?

As our old broadcasting buddy Herb Carneal said it:
"So long, everybody!
***

This article gives some more detail from that game when Reggie got so lucky against Blyleven - if you're so inclined...





1 comment:

Tom Owens said...

Awesome stuff, Michael! Growing up in Central Iowa, all parents thought they'd be shot taking their kids to a city like Chicago or St. Louis. It was safer to go see all the Minnesota cousins and add in a Twins game. I'm young again looking at this treasure trove. Thanks!