Joshua Prager wrote the book The Echoing Green, which is the definitive story of the 1951 pennant race that culminated in “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World.” Today he has a remembrance of Bobby Thomson over at The New Republic. He reproduces a Thomson quote there that, even if you’ve seen it before, bears repeating:
“A better hitter would have let Branca’s pitch go by for a ball,” he told his hometown Staten Island Advance, disparaging in a high and hoarse voice the feat of a lifetime. “If I was a good hitter I’d have taken that one,” he assured The New York Times. “It was a pitch,” he told the Daily News, “that Musial or any other good hitter would have taken. It was high and inside. I didn’t deserve to do a thing like that.”
Sometimes a ballplayer’s humility seems forced or cliched. After reading The Echoing Green, you realize that Thomson’s wasn’t.
Athletics right-hander Jharel Cotton will undergo Tommy John surgery, per an announcement on Saturday. Cotton initially experienced some elbow soreness during a Cactus League start earlier this week and was officially diagnosed with a strained ulnar collateral ligament and strained flexor muscle on Thursday. He’ll be out of commission until 2019 at the earliest.
This isn’t the first time Cotton has dealt with elbow issues. According to MLB.com’s Jane Lee, he had screws inserted in his right elbow after sustaining a stress fracture in 2013 and suffered some minor elbow discomfort again last fall. Prior to his diagnosis, the 24-year-old was poised for his third run with the A’s in 2018. He pitched his first full season with the club in 2017, turning in a 5.58 ERA, 3.7 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 in 24 starts and 129 innings.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle adds that the team is open to adding pitching depth this spring, though they’ll wait to see if the price goes down on some free agents first. Barring that, right-handed long reliever Andrew Triggs could be tabbed to fill the fifth spot in the rotation.