Sports Outside the Beltway

Former MLB Pitcher Jackie Collum dead at 82

He was a journeyman reliever for six teams. I remember Collum’s name well from my playing of Strat-O-Matic Baseball past seasons. RIP.

Collum, who was born in Victor and lived in Grinnell for much of his life, pitched in the 1950s and 1960s.

He died Saturday at Mayflower Health Care Center in Grinnell. Memorial services were held Thursday.

Collum served in the U.S. Army in World War II in the Philippines. He returned home to pursue his major-league dreams.

As a minor leaguer in St. Joseph, Mo., in 1948, he had a 24-2 record.

Collum reached the majors in 1951 and compiled a 32-28 record and a 4.15 ERA with six teams: St. Louis, Cincinnati, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota, Cleveland and the Chicago Cubs.

Collum played alongside Hall of Famers such as Stan Musial, Sandy Koufax and Ernie Banks.

He pitched until 1958, then had stints with the Twins and Indians in 1962. He was known as a good hitter, too, with a .246 career batting average.

He won a career-best nine games in 1955 with the Reds.


Eight men on- Chicago Cubs tie ML consecutive hit record

The last team to open a game with 8 consecutive hits was the 2000 New York Yankees. From AP-

In the midst of a disappointing season, the Chicago Cubs started a game like no team has in almost two decades.

Aramis Ramirez, Geovany Soto and Kosuke Fukudome had two-run hits in a record-tying first inning and the Cubs handed the hapless Pittsburgh Pirates their 11th loss in 12 games, 9-4 on Tuesday night.

The Cubs tied the major league record with eight hits to start the game against the Pirates on Tuesday. They’ve done it before.

Chicago tied a major league record with eight consecutive hits to start the game. The most recent team to do that was the New York Yankees, on Sept. 25, 1990 against the Baltimore Orioles.

With yesterday’s win, the Cubs improved their record to 70-67. They are out of the playoff picture which means it will be at least 65 years between World Series appearances for the franchise.


17 in a row- Chicago Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-2

With today’s loss, the Bucs again assured themselves another losing season. From AP-

The Pittsburgh Pirates’ not-so-magic number is zero, or the number of winning teams they’ve had during a record-setting run of futility over 17 forgettable seasons.

The Chicago Cubs assured the Pirates of an unwanted place in baseball’s record book, getting two homers from Derrek Lee and an effective start from Ted Lilly while beating the last-place Pirates 4-2 on Monday.

By losing their 10th in 11 games, the Pirates are guaranteed of finishing below .500, just as they have every season since 1993. The 17 consecutive losing seasons represent the longest streak for any team in the four major North American pro team sports, and only the Phillies (1933-48) have also had as many as 16 in a row.

In 1950, the Phillies made it to the World Series. A quick survey of the present Pirate roster shows little chance of another Whiz Kids team forming. Therefore I think Pittsburgh’s losing streak will get to 20 or more seasons before it is halted.


Tribune Company sells most of their stake in the Chicago Cubs.

Will a new owner mean new fortunes for a team without a World Series appearance for 64 years? From AP-

Media conglomerate Tribune Co. announced a definitive agreement Friday to sell all but a 5 percent stake in the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field to the billionaire Ricketts family, capping a tortuous process that began nearly 2½ years ago.

Tribune valued the transaction at about $845 million.

“Our family is thrilled to have reached an agreement to acquire a controlling interest in the Chicago Cubs, one of the most storied franchises in sports,” said Joe Ricketts, who founded the Omaha, Neb.-based online brokerage TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. “The Cubs have the greatest fans in the world, and we count our family among them.”

Tribune had announced on Opening Day in 2007 that the marquee baseball franchise and historic ballpark would be sold at the end of that season. But the process was slowed by CEO Sam Zell’s efforts to maximize sale profits, the collapse of the credit markets and Tribune’s 2008 bankruptcy filing.

The Ricketts family, tentatively selected as the winning bidder last January, had agreed to pay about $900 million for the team, Wrigley and a 25 percent stake in Comcast SportsNet Chicago, which broadcasts many Cubs games.

But that total was renegotiated, with Tribune retaining a small stake for legal reasons.

The sale figure exceeds the record $660 million paid for the Boston Red Sox in 2002, although that deal did not include a ballpark.

Tom Ricketts* is a investment banker, and along with his son, are long-time Chicago Cub fans.

I wonder how long Wrigley Field still has to go as a major league baseball stadium. It is nearly 100 years old. If there any Cub fans among my readers, please enlighten me on that subject.

*- There was a former MLB catcher and long-time coach by that name, Dave Ricketts. He passed away last year I wonder if the new owners are related to him.


Return engagement- Milwaukee Brewers acquire reliever David Weathers

He is one of the last original Florida Marlins to still be playing in the Major Leagues. From AP-

The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired Cincinnati right-hander David Weathers for a player to be named later.

Weathers is 3-3 with a 3.32 ERA in 43 games. He pitched one inning and got the win in Friday’s 10-5 comeback win over the San Francisco Giants.

The 39-year-old reliever starts his second stint with Milwaukee. He previously pitched for the Brewers from 1998-2001.

Weathers, who first came up with Toronto in 1991, is still putting up decent numbers. Anyone want to take a guess how much longer he can keep on pitching in the majors?


Philadelphia Phillie Lefty Jamie Moyer wins his 250th game

He keeps going at the age of 46. From AP-

Jamie Moyer reached a rare mark for a pitcher, becoming the 44th to win 250 games. The veteran Phillies left-hander would have been just as happy if it was his first.

Moyer went six strong innings to lead the Phillies to their third straight victory, 4-2 over the bumbling Washington Nationals on Sunday.

The 46-year-old Moyer is only the 11th left-hander to join the exclusive 250-win list. And despite his teammates’ postgame champagne toast, Moyer’s words lacked the excitement one might expect after such a rare achievement.

“It’s not about the personal things, I’m more excited about us winning,” Moyer said. “I really haven’t thought about [winning 250]. It takes so much effort to prepare and play. I was taught to play the game as a team, not as an individual. When you play 20-some years, some of these things can happen.”

Moyer has been in the majors for twenty-three seasons and has played for seven different teams. He has owned the Florida Marlins. He is 10-1 against them lifetime.

I doubt Moyer will be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame after his career is over. Left handers Jim Kaat and Tommy John have more wins and haven’t made it to Cooperstown.


Former MLB Manager Preston Gomez dead at 85

He was the first ever manager of the San Diego Padres. Before that he worked in the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodger organization and had a very brief career as a player. RIP


Former MLB pitcher Dave Roberts dead at 64

I remember Roberts. He and Clay Kirby were the 1-2 pitching combo for the Padres in their infant years. His 14-17 2.10 ERA year with the 71 Padres was truly outstanding. For the Padres went 61-100 that year.

Roberts was a journeyman but one able to win over 100 ML games. Which according to wikipedia, makes him the 4th winningest Jewish pitcher in baseball history. He also swung a mean bat for a pitcher as seen in .194 career batting average, 7 career homeruns, and .500 Slugging Pct in 1977 for the Chicago Cubs. RIP.


Former Houston Astros reliever Dave Smith dead at 53

He died of a heart attack Wednesday. I remember Smith very well, especially his work in the 1986 NLCS against the New York Mets. He was a underrated reliever who didn’t gain much notoriety except in 1986. RIP.


Chicago Cubs Carlos Zambrano throws a no-hitter

It was the first one for the franchise since 1972. From AP-

Carlos Zambrano pitched the first no-hitter for the Chicago Cubs in 36 years, returning from a sore rotator cuff to shut down the Houston Astros 5-0 Sunday night in a game relocated because of Hurricane Ike.

“I guess I’m back!” Zambrano hollered.

Pitching for the first time since Sept. 2, Zambrano stopped a Houston team that had not played since Thursday. The storm forced baseball to move two games from Texas to Miller Park and the Astros flew hours before they took the field.

Zambrano, known for his emotional displays on the mound, kept himself in control until striking out Darin Erstad.


Zambrano struck out a season-high 10 and walked one in the Cubs’ first no-hitter since Milt Pappas pitched one against San Diego in 1972. This was the 13th no-hitter in team history, including five in the late 1800s.

This was the second no-hitter in the majors this season — Boston’s Jon Lester did it against Kansas City at Fenway Park on May 19.

The Astros only once came close to a hit. David Newhan lined a drive that first baseman Derrek Lee jumped to catch to end the fifth inning.

Way to go Carlos. Now can the New York Mets, the favorite team of my youth, get their first ever in franchise history.


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