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Posts Tagged ‘Lou Gehrig’

Lou Gehrig puts his arm around Babe Dahlgren, the first baseman who replaced him when his consecutive games streak came to an end.

Ellsworth Tenney “Babe” Dahlgren would be an anonymous figure in Yankees’ history if he hadn’t been penciled in as the starting first baseman on May 2, 1939, the day Lou Gehrig’s then record streak of 2,130 consecutive games came to an end.  In that game, the Yankees didn’t miss a beat without their legendary captain as Dahlgren went 2-5 with a home run, but the rest of his career hardly met the standard established by the Iron Horse.

Following in Gehrig’s footsteps couldn’t have been easy for Dahlgren, but at least it gave him a bit of immortality. After all, without that distinction, chances are very few baseball fans, even the most hardcore, would know his name. However, that isn’t the footnote Dahlgren seemed to believe was most associated with his name.

I recently came across the following video from the 1939 World Series, which includes a glimpse of Dahlgren crossing home plate after homering in game 2. Amazed by the quality of this rare footage (which is remarkable in its own right), and hoping to find more just like it, I clicked on the provided URL and stumbled across an intriguing website about a book called “Rumor in Town”, which tells the story of another anecdote regarding Dahlgren’s career: one about which I had never heard even though Dahlgren spent the rest of his life trying to  dispel it.

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In last night’s 15-3 drubbing of the Baltimore Orioles, Alex Rodriguez tied Lou Gehrig for one record and moved to within a nose of the Iron Horse for another.

During the Yankees seven run outburst in the eighth inning, Alex Rodriguez capped off the scoring with a grand slam. The bases loaded clout was the 22nd of Arod’s career, bringing him within one of the record held by Gehrig.

Grandslam Leader Board

  Grand Slams
Lou Gehrig 23
Alex Rodriguez 22
Manny Ramirez 21
Eddie Murray 19
Willie McCovey 18
Robin Ventura 18
Jimmie Foxx 17
Ted Williams 17
Hank Aaron 16
Dave Kingman 16

Source: Baseball-almanac.com

In the inning, which represented the first time the Yankees had scored more than three runs in a single frame (the last team in baseball to accomplish the feat), Rodriguez also increased his RBI total in the game to six. It was the 14th game in which Arod knocked in at least six runs, tying Gehrig for the most ever.

Most Games with 6 or More RBIs

  G HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
Lou Gehrig 14 26 96 0.694 0.732 2.129
Alex Rodriguez 14 24 92 0.662 0.667 1.789
Babe Ruth 12 25 76 0.691 0.712 2.218
Joe DiMaggio 12 20 79 0.712 0.742 1.966
Dave Kingman 11 25 73 0.561 0.583 1.947
Ted Williams 10 17 67 0.638 0.702 1.830
Al Simmons 10 15 61 0.632 0.644 1.596
Jimmie Foxx 9 17 63 0.689 0.725 2.044
Mel Ott 8 16 50 0.658 0.690 2.053
Jack Clark 8 14 50 0.600 0.619 1.829

Source: Baseball-reference.com

With several more productive seasons left in his career, Alex Rodriguez will have the chance to rewrite a good portion of the record book. For obvious reasons, some people might bristle at that possibility. Others might simply lament the slow eradication of names like Gehrig from atop many all-time lists. However, that last concern really isn’t warranted. The great chain of baseball history links together the game’s best players; it doesn’t break them apart.

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(In addition to appearing at The Captain’s Blog, this post is also being syndicated at TheYankeeAnalysts.)

On Tuesday in Fort Myers, Justin Morneau took a round of batting practice and then joined his teammates for a few minutes of long toss. Similar scenes play out repeatedly in Florida and Arizona, but yesterday’s news about Moreneau was worthy of a banner headline.

Morneau has not played since this collision on July 7, 2010 resulted in a severe concussion (Photo: Reuters).

If you’re confused, just think about how Morneau must feel. On July 7 of last year, the Twins slugging first baseman was on his way to another MVP year (.345/.437/.618). In the eighth inning of that night’s game, however, his season came crashing to a halt…literally. After leading off the inning with a line drive single to center, Morneau succeeded in breaking up a double play, but in the process slammed his head into short stop John McDonald’s knee. After the collision, Morneau slowly walked off the field under his own power. Yesterday was the first time he returned to it.

At the time of the injury, Morneau was considered “day-to-day” with a mild concussion and, according to manager Ron Gardenhire, was available for pinch hitting duties the very next day. Obviously, that initial diagnosis was incorrect because the former MVP still isn’t 100% and there are no guarantees that he will be ready by Opening Day. In an effort to avoid any set backs, the Twins plan to gradually ease Morneau back into his routine. Meanwhile, the first baseman will be sporting sun glasses at the plate and in the field in an effort to limit the debilitating impact of the sun. Both are very sensible precautions, but the fact that they are still required over eight months since the concussion is a little scary.

Morneau is not the only recent player to severely suffer from a concussion. In addition to all of the other ills faced by the Mets over the past few years, the team has had three players impacted by a serious head injury. In a spring training game against the Dodgers in 2008, right fielder Ryan Church suffered his first concussion of the season when he collided with second baseman Marlon Anderson. Then, on May 20, the outfielder incurred another head injury from a knee to the head while breaking up a double play: the exact same kind of play as Morneau.

David Wright sustained his concussion after being hit in the head by a Matt Cain fastball.

The side effects of Church’s head injuries dogged the outfielder all season, but it still took some time until the team finally caught on to the extent of his troubles. As a result, the organization (from the GM to the medical staff on down to the coaches) was soundly criticized, particularly for having Church take a cross country flight soon after the second injury. Undoubtedly, the Church case taught the Mets some valuable lessons about how to handle head injuries. Unfortunately, those lessons were immediately put into practice when David Wright missed 15 games in August 2009 after being beaned in the head, and Jason Bay missed the last 63 games of 2010 after banging his head against the outfield wall at Dodger Stadium.

Although in a much less publicized way, the Yankees have also had to deal with player concussions. The Record’s Bob Klapish wrote an outstanding article about Jorge Posada’s recent experience with head injuries. In particular, Klapish recounts a game on September 7, 2010 in which Posada was hit squarely on the mask by a foul tip. Although the veteran catcher had absorbed similar blows in the past, this one had a much more serious impact. (more…)

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