Baseball’s Joe Frazier: 1922-2011

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A lot of folks may not remember Joe Frazier.  He played for the Indians, Reds, Cardinals and Orioles organizations in the late 40s through the 50s. His highest profile job in baseball was as manager of the Mets, but he only had the job for a short period of time.  He took over for the 1976 season and was fired 45 games into 1977.

His firing was sort of symbolic of what was about to happen with the Mets. A still competitive and respectable team in ’76 — they won 86 games that year — in ’77 they started horribly before Frazier was replaced by player/manager Joe Torre.  Two weeks later the Mets traded Tom Seaver and Dave Kingman on the same day in what came to be known as the “Saturday Night Massacre.”  The franchise was competitively moribund and generally dreary on the eyes of the fan base for several years afterwards. It was only when Strawberry and Gooden showed up that fortunes began to change.

In later years Frazier managed in the minors and held various jobs in and around baseball.  He retired to his home in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma where he lived with his wife until yesterday, when he died of a massive heart attack.

Good travels, Joe Frazier.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.