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.


St. Louis Cardinals sign P John Smoltz

He was released by the Boston Red Sox less than two weeks ago. From AP-

John Smoltz agreed to a deal with the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday, giving the 42-year-old former ace a chance to rejuvenate his career in the middle of a pennant race.

Smoltz joined the NL Central leaders shortly after he cleared waivers, following his release by Boston. He was 2-5 with an 8.33 ERA in eight starts for the Red Sox.

General manager John Mozeliak said Smoltz likely would start Sunday at San Diego, and probably would get at least a few turns in the rotation. Mozeliak said Smoltz didn’t ask to start as a “negotiating ploy.”

“He had very little demands,” Mozeliak said on a conference call. “He had no demands. From everything he had heard about this club, he was excited to take this opportunity. The reason for the start was just to get him work and know what we have.”

The Cardinals hope Smoltz either can fill a void as the fifth starter or provide right-handed relief in the bullpen.

The Cardinals are six games up in the NL Central, so they can spare a game too in the standings. That said, I don’t understand this move. Why put yourselves at risk with a pitcher who looks finished career wise?


Tampa Bay Rays acquire Reliever Russ Springer

There must be a ‘I need another ancient relief pitcher’ virus going around the offices of MLB teams at this moment. From the St. Petersburg Times-

The Rays had interest in adding veteran Russ Springer to their bullpen anyway. After going through two extra-inning games in four days, they believed it was even more important to make a move.

The 40-year-old right-hander was claimed on waivers from Oakland, with the Rays assuming the nearly $1 million remaining on his $3.3 million contract.


Springer was 0-4 with a 4.10 ERA in 48 games with Oakland but had a 1.61 ERA over 25 games since early June.

The addition of Springer required Tampa to make another personnel move.

The Rays’ decision to designate IF Joe Dillon for assignment to make room for Springer wasn’t cut-and-dried. Ultimately, the Rays decided to go with eight relievers and three bench players in large part because they had played two extra-inning games this week.

Though Dillon rarely got off the bench, Maddon said he didn’t like having to cut him loose. In addition to being a fan of Dillon’s approach to the game, Maddon will have to be especially creative with the way he uses his bench.

That’s an understatement. Only three bench players severely limits a manager’s options. One of those backups has to be a catcher, the most likely player to get injured in any given game. Managers are a cautious lot, and will be cautious in using their only backup catcher. That limits a team’s strategy moves with only three bench players even more.

Springer, like the recently traded David Weathers, has been all over the major leagues for fifteen plus years. He is a decent reliever, but for the reasons I already stated, I don’t understand why Tampa needed this guy.


St. Louis Manager Tony LaRussa gets to 2,500 career wins

A Cardinal victory over Kansas City got him to that career milestone.

Albert Pujols comes through Kansas City once a season. The Royals wouldn’t be too disappointed if he never came back.

Pujols finished off a three-day romp in Kansas City with two homers and six RBIs, helping the St. Louis Cardinals rout the Royals 12-5 Sunday in win No. 2,500 for manager Tony La Russa.

Only Connie Mack and John McGraw have won more games as a Manager. Mack’s record is out of reach but LaRussa could surpass McGraw(2762 career wins) in as little as three years. Before taking over the Cardinals, LaRussa managed the Oakland A’s and Chicago White Sox.

Albert Pujols also equaled some St. Louis Cardinals records.

Pujols tied Stan Musial’s team record of nine career grand slams and matched the season mark of three shared by Jim Bottomley (1925), Keith Hernandez (1977) and Fernando Tatis (1999).

So far as Grand slams go, Pujols is a slacker. I mean Richie Sexson has hit sixteen in his career.


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.


NFL Draft 2009 Round 2 #35- St. Louis Rams- ILB James Laurinaitis

ESPN writes- A very productive college linebacker, Laurinaitis has excellent instincts and he rarely gets caught out of position. He also projects as a three-down linebacker because of his strong skills in coverage and as a pass-rusher. However, his stock dipped this year because film evaluations revealed his problems getting off blocks. He simply makes too many plays three or four yards downfield.

This will be last pick to pick post. I may make comment on individual selections, particularly those of the Miami Dolphins.


WR Torry Holt signs with Jacksonville Jaguars

He had played his entire NFL career with the St. Louis Rams up to now. From ESPN-

Former St. Louis Rams wide receiver Torry Holt agreed to a three-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday that could be worth as much as $20 million.

The 32-year-old Holt agreed to a creative contract that grows financially based on the way he plays. The deal, a source told’s John Clayton, calls for three years with base salaries totaling $13 million. While there is no signing bonus, the first year of the contract is guaranteed.

The Jaguars worked a similar deal with left tackle Tra Thomas that rewards him with bigger salaries based on his playing time and his performance.

Holt chose the Jaguars over the Tennessee Titans, among other teams that were interested. He was released by the Rams and was considered one of the top receivers available via free agency.

If he was one of best available free agents at his position, why didn’t the wide receiver starved Miami Dolphins go after Holt?

Ah there is more to the story.

The deal lessens the need for Jacksonville to get a receiver early in this weekend’s NFL draft and gives the franchise its biggest weapon at the position since Jimmy Smith retired in 2006.

The Jaguars still might select a receiver with the No. 8 pick, especially since Holt will be 33 years old this summer and has been slowed by knee problems in recent years.

Then this personnel decision of the Jaguars makes no sense to me.


Former MLB Coach Tom Burgess dead at 82

He also played professional hockey and had two brief stints a major league baseball player. RIP.

Tom Burgess, who played briefly in the major leagues before serving as a coach under Joe Torre and Bobby Cox, has died. He was 81.

A member of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, Burgess died Monday at his Lambeth home after a battle with cancer, Baseball Canada said.

Burgess spent most of his professional playing career in the minors but had two short stints in the big leagues as an outfielder and first baseman. He went 1-for-21 (.048) at the plate with the 1954 St. Louis Cardinals and didn’t get back to the majors until eight years later, when he batted .196 with two homers and 13 RBIs for the 1962 Los Angeles Angels.

After his playing career ended, Burgess managed at many levels for St. Louis, Atlanta, the New York Mets, Texas and Detroit. He was third base coach for the Mets under Joe Frazier and Torre in 1977 and for Atlanta under Cox in 1978.

Burgess also coached and managed for Baseball Canada and Baseball Ontario.

“Tom could not give enough back to baseball,” Tom Valcke, president of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, said in a phone interview Thursday. “He would teach anyone, anytime, everything he knew, as long as they wanted to learn and to work.”

As well as the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, Burgess also is a member of the London, Ontario, sports Hall of Fame and the Rochester Red Wings Hall of Fame.


Former MLB Pitcher Preacher Roe dead at 92

He was a key member of the Brooklyn Dodgers in the late 40′s and early 50′s. His best year was 1951, when he went 22-3. What was Dodger Manager Charlie Dressen thinking in the famous ‘shot around the world’ game when he pulled Don Newcombe only to put in Ralph Branca. Branca hadn’t just pitched two days earlier but had given up numerous gopher balls to Bobby Thomson. I think 7 alone in 1951. Yes Branca gave the Dodgers the platoon advantage, but based on everything else Preacher Roe was the best available option. Roe, wasn’t used at all in the 3-game series versus the New York Giants. RIP.


Former MLB Shortstop Eddie Brinkman dead at 66

An excellent gloveman, but a light hitter, Brinkman played spent most of his career with the Washington Senators and Detroit Tigers. Brinkman was part of the deal that sent Denny McLain to Washington after the 1970 season. More recently Eddie Brinkman worked for the Chicago White Sox. Living in New York till I was 15, I saw Brinkman play when I sometimes watched NY Yankee baseball. He was an excellent defensive SS. RIP Eddie.


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