What is your earliest baseball-related memory?
James: Watching a nationally televised Giants game with my grandmother. I don’t remember all the specifics, but I remember that we wound up getting overly excited by the fact that the Giants were making an unlikely comeback in the eighth and ninth innings. I remember it was the sort of comeback that gets managers fired. It was at that tinder age I learned the lesson of never deciding a game was over before the final out, a lesson which served me well some 20-something years later in 2001, when the then Cleveland Indians won 15-14 in 11 innings against the 116-win juggernaut Mariners after trailing 14-2 after six.
Wesley: My first clear baseball memory is probably Craig Counsell’s winning hit in the 1997 World Series. I also remember being really, really annoyed that baseball was on instead of the cartoons I wanted to watch after school.
ISH95: I’m going to show my age, or lack thereof, in this one aren’t I? Lol my earliest baseball memory in general would be watching the regular season games in 2001 on Channel 3. If you’re looking for a specific moment, it would be the 9th inning of Game 7.
Makakilo: I remember one thing before my experiences in little league baseball. In the classroom my friend played his radio to listen to the World Series. I was close enough to listen. The teacher allowed him to play his radio, which was way cool.
Jack: May 30th, 1965. Pirates at Mets Memorial Day double header. Mets lost 9-1 and 12-0. I went with my uncle Bill and a large group of his friends from the Kiwanis Club or Rotary Club or one of those. We were bussed in and back which was very popular back in those days. There were often dozens of buses bringing people to the park and waiting there to take them home. We sat in the upper deck with a packed house of 42,000 and the players looked very small. But it was so cool. I remember a very red faced Uncle Bill being extremely “happy” on the ride home, bellowing out “At least they scored 1 run”. Note: There were no 7th inning beer cutoffs in those days and this was a long day at the park.
Keegan: Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa battling each other for the single season home run record in 1998. I’m close in age to my middle brother, me being the oldest, and we watched those two go at it all season. My parents got me a Mark McGwire bat and him a Sammy Sosa bat creating an artificial brotherly rivalry between us. Life was a lot simpler back then.
Turambar: My earliest memory of pro baseball would certainly be attending a Spring Training game at Scottsdale Stadium. My dad at the time was a Scottsdale Charro’s member, which meant he volunteered to give out programs at games. That also meant he got access to some very slick seats right behind the dugout on the 3rd base line (tickets he still has 30yrs later). Specifically I remember watching Barry Bonds and eating Dip n Dots. Good times.
Who is your favorite (non-Diamondback!) baseball player of all-time?
James: Ryne Sandberg
Wesley: Satchel Paige. Besides the fact that he had a tremendously interesting career in the Negro Leagues, and was one of the oldest “rookies” ever, I’ve always been fascinated with the fact that he may have been one of the hardest throwing pitchers ever. His fastball in his prime may have been topped out as high as 105-110 MPH. (This is based on the fact that Paige is known to have thrown at 98.5 MPH late in his career, using the older method of determining another player like him in our lifetimes. velocity. Using the modern method, that would be 102-103 MPH. This was when the man was in his 40s. I’d love to have seen how hard he could have thrown 15 years earlier in his prime.) Shohei is a generational talent that I have been really paying attention to lately. I doubt we’ll see
ISH95: Albert Pujols at the moment, though Ohtani is making a strong push. Pujol’s prime coincided with my early years of my baseball obsession, and it was just a blast to watch him, and he always has seemed like an overall good person too.
Makakilo: My only non-Diamondback baseball card on my bookcase is Pablo Sandoval. Reasons that he is my favorite are explored in this AZ Snake Pit article. Photo of my baseball card follows:
Jack: Roberto Clemente. He was so dynamic, slashing the ball all over the place and running with abandon. He was always doing something exciting at the plate, on the bases and in the field and you couldn’t take your eyes off him. I was crushed when I heard the news that he died in that plane crash on New Years Eve 1972 while attempting to help deliver aid to Nicaragua following a terrible earthquake.
Keegan: Ken Griffey Jr. During that home run race between Sosa and McGwire, I was still well aware how incredible The Kid was if he could just stay on the field. I loved his youthful defiance wearing his hat backwards during batting practice and the home run derby. With better health, he would probably be the all time home run champion today.
What was the greatest baseball team ever?
James: The variation of play between eras makes this one almost impossible for me to answer. But the Yankees dynasty of 1997 (when they finished 2nd) through when they lost to the Diamondbacks in 2001 was an epic run of success in a more “modern” era where the athletes were bigger, stronger, and faster. The 1998 season was especially dominant.
Wesley: The Yankees during the late 1920s. Probably. Or the late 90s Yankees or Braves. The 2001 Seattle Mariners..
ISH95: The 20’s Yankees take first for me, with the 97-01 Yankees close behind. Just incredible teams with incredible players.
Jack: I’ll go with the 75-76 Cincinnati Reds. Over those two years they went 210-114 in the regular season and 14-3 in the post season, winning back to back world series. One cool little thing on the 1976 baseball reference page is their league rankings at the bottom of their Team Batting Page. Check out the 1’s across the row in EVERY offensive category, (except the bad ones). Runs, hits, 2b,3b, HR, RBI, SB, Walks, BA, OBP, SLG, OPS…..incredible. And they had the fewest strikeouts in the league that year too. I can’t find any team that matches that.
Makakilo: My choice is the 1960/1961/1962 Yankees. They scored twice as many runs as the Pirates in the 1960 World Series and somehow lost in 7 games. They scored twice as many runs as the Reds in the 1961 World Series and won in 5 games. Although they did not dominate the Giants in the 1962 World Series, they nevertheless won that World Series. In 1963 and 1964, they made it to the World Series and lost.
Keegan: Gonna agree with Jack and go with The Big Red Machine.
Turambar: The 1920’s Yankees was a collection of HOF players. Love to hate em, but hard to imagine a team filled with more baseball gods.
Outside of Game 7 in 2001, if you could attend one baseball game in history, which one would it be?
James: October 8, 1956 - Game 5 of the 1956 World Series between the Dodgers and the Yankees, when Don Larsen pitched a perfect game. I get all the World Series drama of seeing two great franchises playing for the biggest stakes and one of the greatest pitching performances ever. The game also included play by eight future Hall of Famers.
Wesley: James has the best answer here. I don’t know if I can come up with a better answer. Randy’s perfect game, I guess is my answer if I have to come up with something original.
ISH95: Randy’s perfecto for sure. I missed the entire game because I was at church choir practice, and a group of kids that day were incredibly poorly behaved so practice went an hour and a half long.
Makakilo: Game 7 of the 1960 World Series. My reasons follow:
- The underdog Pirates won the series despite being outscored 55 runs vs 27 runs. They beat the Yankees who entered the playoffs with 15 consecutive wins in the regular season.
- Small-ball played a big part in the series because the Pirates only hit 4 homers compared to the Yankees 10 homers.
- Game 7 was a high scoring game in an exciting way because the Pirates lost the lead twice and won with a walk-off.
- I would have seen 5 Hall-of-Fame players plus 2 Cy Young winners plus Roger Maris. The Hall-of Famers were Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford (Cy Young, too), Roberto Clemente, and Bill Mazeroski. The Cy Young winners were Bob Turley and Vern Law.
Turambar: Randy’s Spring Training game where he ended that bird’s life. Preferably behind home plate.
Jack: The 1971 All Star game, won by the AL 6-4 The game featured 22 Hall of Famers. Including homers by Johnny Bench, Henry Aaron, and Roberto Clemente for the NL and Reggie Jackson, Frank Robinson, and Harmon Killebrew for the AL.
Here is video with all 6 homers
- Bench: 50 seconds
- Aaron: 6:22
- Jackson: 10:05
- Killebrew: 13:50
- Robinson: 16:40
- Stargell: 19:10
Keegan: Without a doubt, 10 cent beer night. June 4th, 1974. Texas Rangers at the Cleveland Indians. If you have an hour of your life to burn, I highly suggest this podcast on the history surrounding 10 cent beer night in Cleveland. Taking inflation into account, a “10 cent beer night” in 2021 would cost about 57 cents per beer. They were using low alcohol content beer that night which is acceptable for myself and EBH. Turambar would probably have to buy the beer truck and drive it around Chase Field like Stone Cold Steve Austin and probably still wouldn’t get a buzz. Time travel the Brute Squad back to that day and it would be even more legendary than it is now.
Who is baseball’s biggest villain ever?
Wesley: I’m going to go with Marge Schott. She was a racist, penny-pinching, NAZI sympathizer. That’s just the minimum of talking about all of her controversies. ‘Nuff said. Cap Anson and a few other racist hall of famers who in baseball’s early years promulgated the segregation of baseball. Anson’s contemporaries may have been just as racist, but Anson’s fame definitely contributed to baseball becoming segregated. Kennesaw Mountain Landis later codified that segregation as a commissioner. Also, Roger Clemens. f*** that guy.
James: Hmmm. This one is hard, due to how the term villain can be differently applied. On one hand, I want to say Alex Rodriguez. In addition to being somewhat of a scumbag off the field, he was a guy who never played as a clean player from the time he hit high school and he went on to make a mockery of the sport. He was, even more than Barry Bonds, the poster child for the PED era. He even failed testing twice, even going so far as to try and litigate his way out of one of the positive tests. But even he didn’t try to ruin the sample-taker’s life the way Braun did. Pete Rose gambled on his own team, though he gambled on them to win. But, he still broke one of baseball’s cardinal rules. Ken Landis was a tyrant as Commissioner and prolonged racial segregation. As Wesley has already pointed out, Marge Schott was something “special”. Both John Rocker and Roger Clemens come to mind as well as players with some truly disgusting off-field issues that coupled with on-field ones as well.
ISH95: What, no love for Bud Selig? The man actively turned a blind eye to steroids, and then when his profits were secured again after the strike, started punishing the players who used them. Pretty villainous heel turn there if you ask me. Sorry Guru…
That being said, its got to be Marge Schott
Wesley: Selig and Manfred were the first two people to come to mind, but once I remembered Schott’s existence, that was the obvious answer to me, ISH95.
Jack: [Jack’s computer is hacked by Diamondhacks…..] “Ken Kendrick ! Ken Kendrick !”
(Sorry Hacks, it came to me and made me laugh to myself so I had to roll with it. ;)
Seriously I’ll go with Ben Chapman, the Manager of the Phillies in 1947 who lead his team in vicious racial tirades against Jackie Robinson when they played in April that year. You can read about it here. There is also a video in the article of Jackie being interviewed by Dick Cavett. The entire interview is great, but pick it up around 3:30 to hear about what Chapman was doing direct from Jackie. Great stuff. By the way, Dick Cavett is still THE best interviewer I’ve ever seen. There are a lot of his interviews on Youtube. I highly recommend checking him out.
Makakilo: In the movie Major League, owner Rachel Phelps was the villain largely because she wanted the team to lose. On the other end of the spectrum, there are players/managers who are villains because they wanted to win but acted in an unacceptable manner. In addition, non-baseball actions can qualify baseball people as villains. Deciding the biggest villain is ‘above my pay grade.’
Keegan: As a D’backs fan of this generation, if your answer isn’t Ryan Braun what are you even doing with your life?
Turambar: I’ve always read that Ty Cobb was an A-1 class jerk of the highest order.
What movie do you HAVE to finish watching anytime you stumble across it while channel surfing?
James: Hudson Hawk. No, I am not going to defend my nerdisms.
Wesley: What is a “channel”? In all seriousness, probably most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and I have to finish Jurassic Park whenever I catch it on tv.
ISH95: Like Wesley said, what’s a channel? All the movies Wesley said also would get me to stop and watch, but I’ll add Apollo 13. I just love that story, and they did a phenomenal job turning it into a movie, IMO.
Jack: The days of channel surfing are long gone. I’ve been strictly streaming since 2016, and the 6 years prior to that I was in China. But between 2000-2010, every time A Few Good Men came on, no matter where they were in the movie, I would park it there and start watching to the end. Same for the Godfather.
Makakilo: My only channel surfing is when I travel (one time in the last two years). If I stumbled across Galaxy Quest, which always makes me laugh, I would gladly watch it.
Keegan: I have quite a few. When I like a movie, I can watch it repeatedly no issue. I’ll go with Goodfellas this time around.