It occurred to me while watching the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians with my grandchildren – their first World Series – that I wasn’t doing a very good job of explaining the game to them because we were all too busy watching the historical action while eating bad food and there was too much to learn in too short of a timespan.
I decided these kids needed to take a course called “Baseball 101” before their second World Series in a year and it was my duty, as a 70-year-old retired sportswriter, to author it for them.
Thus was born the idea of a kiddie book about baseball, a work in progress. In part 3 of this series we covered Chapter 4. Here, we jump into Chapter 5.
Chapter 5: Rules
There are too many rules in baseball for a kids’ book, but after you get older and better at baseball, you should read The Rule Book to figure out what you can and can’t get away with. The most important rule is this one: Have fun! And never forget: It’s just a game.
Chapter 6: Legends of the Game
The best player in the history of the game by far. Nobody else comes close. He started out as a great pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and won his first World Series start in 1916 by pitching 14 innings and winning 2-1. Then the Red Sox made the worst trade ever by giving him to the New York Yankees for $100,000 because they were broke. The Yankees turned him into a right-fielder so he could bat every day and he started hitting more home runs than anyone thought possible. The Red Sox didn’t win another World Series for 70 years and the Yankees won it almost every year that “The Babe” played.
The best pitcher of all time; he won 512 games in his career. Today, the trophy for the best pitcher of each season is called The Cy Young Award.
The best stealer of home plate ever and one of the best hitters, fielders and base runners. He changed baseball by the enthusiastic way he played it.
Nobody has ever had more hits than Pete Rose, who was called “Charlie Hustle” for the way he sprinted to first base when he walked. Your Grandpa grew up watching Pete Rose play, who was captain of the Cincinnati Reds when he was a kid.
“The Iron Man” who played 2,632 games in a row without taking a day off. Before him, the record was held by Lou Gehrig, a teammate of Babe Ruth’s on the 1927 New York Yankees, considered the greatest baseball team of all time.
Chapter 6: 1927 New York Yankees
Most Games by Position
C Pat Collins (89)
1B Lou Gehrig (155)
2B Tony Lazzeri (113)
3B Joe Dugan (111)
SS Mark Koenig (122)
LF Bob Meusel (83)
CF Earle Combs (152)
RF Babe Ruth (95)
SP Waite Hoyt
SP Herb Pennock
SP George Pipgras
SP Dutch Ruether
SP Urban Shocker
RP Myles Thomas
CL Wilcy Moore
Chapter 7: The World Series
By the start of the 20th century (1900), professional baseball was well established with two leagues, National and American, competing against each other for fans and bragging rights since they each crowned their own champions after each season.
This caused a lot of arguments about which champion team was really the best, so a newspaper, the New York World, decided to sponsor a nine-game series between the two teams to settle the issue each season. Thus was born The World Series in 1903. It was never intended to be a world championship and all the winners were American teams until the Toronto Blue Jays won it two years in a row, 1992 and 1993.
“Let’s go, Blue Jays!!!!!!!!!”
PS: Toronto is in Canada. Barely.