Results tagged ‘ Kevin Youkilis ’
By Jeff Idelson
I spent last night in Fenway Park enjoying the final game of a three-game series between the Red Sox and their rival, the New York Yankees. There’s no bigger rivalry in baseball and it ranks among the all-time greats in professional sports.
There were four Hall of Famers in the house: Joe Morgan, in town to broadcast on ESPN with 2010 Ford C. Frick Award winner Jon Miller; Jim Rice, a fixture at Fenway as a pre and post-game analyst for the Red Sox’ cable rightsholder, NESN; Pudge Fisk, in town to spend a few days in the Red Sox Legends Suite, entertaining clients for the Red Sox, and Orlando Cepeda.
Orlando, or Cha-Cha as he’s known in baseball circles, was in town for an event with EMC2, a worldwide leader in digital data storage. Orlando flew cross country from the Bay Area and made his first visit to the Fenway since 1987, 14 years after making history as the first designated hitter in Red Sox history in 1973.
Since he was already at the ballpark, Cha-Cha was asked to participate in a pre-game ceremony on Mother’s Day Sunday. He was to don a Red Sox jersey – with his number, 25, on the back, and a dark blue Red Sox cap — and escort a cancer-surviving mom to the mound and deliver the first pitch baseball to her so she could throw it out prior to the game.
Before the event, Orlando, Pudge, Red Sox manager Terry Francona, Hall of Fame PR Chief Brad Horn and I sat in the dugout for a few minutes and exchanged some banter.
“Orlando! What are you doing here? Can you still hit?” Francona asked the 1999 Hall of Fame inductee who hit 20 home runs in 1973 for Boston. “I don’t think so, my knee is not too good,” Cepeda said smiling. “How about you Pudge? Can you catch a few innings?” Fisk just rolled his eyes and chuckled.
Red Sox catcher Victor Martinez came out of the tunnel, and Francona introduced his starting catcher to the two legends. Martinez’ eyes lit up.
Next was Kevin Youkilis. “What size bat did you use, Orlando?” asked Youk. When told that he swung a Louisville Slugger B83 model, weighing 40-ounces, the Red Sox infielder raised his eyebrows in disbelief, then turned to Francona and said: “Can you imagine swinging something that big against the fireballer (Nefti Feliz) from Texas?”
Francona wanted to know who the fastest pitcher was that Cepeda faced. Without thinking twice, Cha-Cha stated, “Nolan Ryan, but there were so many others. Bob Veale. So many.”
“How about Marichal?” asked Francona. “He threw around 92,” Cepeda replied.
Fisk swung Youkilis’s Mother’s Day pink bat and marveled at the feel of it.
Cepeda walked down the dugout to meet Dustin Pedroia, who grew up near his home in Fairfield, Calif. They talked about living in the Bay Area. Then David Oritz came into the dugout and the two power hitters exchanged hugs.
“I loved to watch your dad, Tito, hit,” Cepeda told Francona.
Francona smiled and told Orlando: “He loved watching you hit too. You and Rico Carty were the two guys who really could hit the ball hard.” “And Yaz,” said Cepeda. “He swung harder than anyone I know.”
As the pregame ceremony started, Orlando left the dugout for the field. I wondered if the 15 minutes of levity helped the Red Sox at all as the team salvaged the final game of the Series with New York.
Jeff Idelson is president of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
By Trevor Hayes
August is ending, the postseason is around the corner, records are starting to fall and today’s stars are joining the legends of yesteryear.
Back in the News: Two weeks after becoming the sixth player to belt 400 homers with a .320 average, Vladimir Guerrero recorded his 1,000th hit for the Angels – the eighth player in franchise history to do so. With 1,215 hits as an Expo, he’s the second player to collect 1,000 hits for a single team in both leagues. As a Padre and then a Yankee, Hall of Famer Dave Winfield was the first. Aside from Guerrero, Manny Ramirez is the only active player with 1,000 for two teams (Indians and Red Sox).
Also this week – at 34 years, 194 days old – Guerrero recorded his 1,300th RBI. Since divisional play began in 1969, only eight players have reached the mark at a younger age: Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., Juan Gonzalez, Ramirez, Sammy Sosa and Jeff Bagwell along with Hall of Famers Jim Rice and Eddie Murray.
Sox-Yanks: Baseball’s premiere rivalry provided an offensive showcase last weekend. Friday’s 20-11 slugfest was significant. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the two clubs combined 31 runs, was the most in a single game in the over 100 year history of the rivalry. The previous mark was July 29, 1903, with the Highlanders beating the Americans 15-14 at Huntington Avenue Grounds – almost nine years before Fenway Park opened.
Hideki Matsui paced New York’s 23-hit attack with a pair of three-run jacks and seven RBI. It was the most by a Yankee at Fenway since Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig in 1930.
Not to be outdone, the Sox fired back. Kevin Youkilis contributed two homers and six RBI in a 14-1 victory over the Yankees on Saturday. Over the last 70 years, only Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk has hit two home runs and driven in at least six against the Bronx Bombers. Pudge did it on April 6, 1973 in a 15-5 rout at Fenway.
A good start: The Royals Zack Greinke is a long way away from 3,000 strikeouts, but on Tuesday night he recorded a performance that four of the members of the 3,000 strikeout club never did. Greinke sat down 15 Indians to break a single-game club record en route to recording his 700th career strikeout. And while 705 career strikeouts isn’t even a quarter of the way to 3,000, the 15 strikeouts for the 25-year-old Greinke represent a single-game feat Hall of Famers Don Sutton, Phil Niekro and Ferguson Jenkins and recent retiree Greg Maddux – all members of the 3,000 strikeout club – never accomplished.
Arms race: John Smoltz will make his second start as a Cardinal tonight. When he debuted last Sunday, he became the ninth former Cy Young Award winner to play under Tony La Russa. Between the White Sox, Athletics and Cardinals, La Russa has had two Cy Young winners make it to the Hall of Fame: Dennis Eckersley and Tom Seaver. Joe Torre is the only other manager with nine or more Cy Young winners on his staffs.
Trevor Hayes is the editorial production manager at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum