Boone staging a comeback worth rooting for

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041010_boone_vmed_10p.standard[1].jpgFive months after undergoing open-heart surgery, Aaron Boone – or Aaron “Bleepin'” Boone, as Red Sox fans know him – is about to return to the major leagues.

He’ll join the Houston Astros on Friday, then be activated when rosters expand on Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Boone has been playing in the minors since Aug. 10, and to be honest, he hasn’t done a whole lot, going 3-for-15 at Double-A Corpus Christi before moving up to Triple-A Round Rock, where he was 0-for-4 in two games.

But that’s really besides the point isn’t it?

Five months ago, doctors opened him up to perform an eight-hour procedure, cracking his sternum and replacing a leaky aortic valve. Now he’s back in the bigs.

Boone comes from a great baseball family. His brother, Bret, was a three-time All-Star with the Mariners, Reds, Braves and Padres. His father, Bob, was a four-time All-Star who caught more games than any catcher not named Carlton Fisk and Ivan Rodriguez. His grandfather Ray, was twice an All-Star.

Yet despite all that baseball royalty in his blood, Aaron Boone isn’t playing to earn accolades. Nor is he playing for money. He’s playing simply because he enjoys playing, and he enjoys life. (From the Statesman):

He may not play beyond 2009, a fate Boone said he’s comfortable with.
As he put it, “I’m looking forward to life after baseball.”
Not to mention life itself.

There’s a guy I can root for.

******

If you Twitter feel free to follow me at @Bharks.

Video: Jared Hoying gets shaken up after making a catch at the wall

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Rangers’ center fielder Jared Hoying put everything on the line to make a spectacular catch at the wall on Saturday, saving a run during the team’s eventual 3-1 loss to the Blue Jays. In the fifth inning, Kevin Pillar crushed a ball off of Yu Darvish, sending it 393 feet to the warning track in center field. It took Hoying 5.4 seconds to reach the ball, gloving it just before he crashed into the wall at full speed.

The center fielder was down on the field for several seconds and looked to be in considerable pain, drawing the attention of the Rangers’ training staff while he caught his breath. Postgame reports revealed that Hoying had not sustained any major or minor injuries during the crash, but simply needed time to recover after having the wind knocked out of him. He stayed in the game through the seventh inning and was able to field another two fly balls with little trouble, neither of them quite as dramatic as Pillar’s attempted hit off the wall.

With the loss, the Rangers now sit 9.5 games back of the division lead.

Former U.S. Senator and Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning dies at age 85

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Jim Bunning, Hall of Fame right-handed pitcher and former U.S. Senator, died on Friday at age 85. He suffered a stroke in October 2016 and was in hospice care when he died, according to former Senate chief of staff Jon Deuser.

Bunning rose to prominence in Major League Baseball during his first full season with the Tigers in 1957, recording 14 complete games and a league-leading 20 wins. The following year, Bunning pitched his first career no-hitter against the Red Sox, just the fourth no-hitter in franchise history. During his first season with the Phillies in 1964, Bunning followed up his no-hitter with a perfect game against the Mets, marking the first National League perfecto in the 20th century. By the time he retired in 1971, he boasted seven All-Star nominations, 2,855 strikeouts (maintaining his second-place ranking on the all-time strikeout list from 1967-1971) and a 224-184 record over 17 seasons.

Following a storied major league career, Bunning entered politics at age 46, serving 12 years in the House and eventually getting elected to the Senate at age 67, where he served two terms. The Republican senator was famously outspoken for his opposition to steroids in baseball, illegal immigration and an extension of unemployment benefits, among other issues, and drew criticism within his party for his ornery nature and controversial statements. He declined to run for a third term in 2010, citing a lack of financial support from the National Republican Senatorial Committee and choosing instead to throw his weight behind fellow candidate Rand Paul.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred issued a statement following news of Bunning’s death on Saturday:

Jim Bunning led an extraordinary life in the National Pastime and in public service.  He was a consistent winner and workhorse pitcher for the Detroit Tigers and the Philadelphia Phillies.  Jim threw no-hitters in both leagues, pitched a perfect game on Father’s Day in 1964 and, at his retirement, had more strikeouts than any pitcher in history except Walter Johnson.

“In his baseball career, Jim was proud of always taking the ball.  The work ethic that made him a Hall of Famer led him to the House of Representatives and the United Stated Senate.  He served the state of Kentucky for more than two decades and became the only Hall of Famer ever to serve in Congress.

“On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my deepest condolences to Senator Bunning’s family, friends, constituents and the many fans who admired his career in our game.