There is a fantastic story over at The Postgame by Steve Henson that went live late Monday night. Thanks to Old Gator I read it this morning. The topic: Bing Russell, Lou Gehrig’s last home run bat and a whole lot more.
Bing Russell is the father of actor Kurt Russell and the grandfather of former big leaguer Matt Franco. In the late 1930s and 1940s he was a mega-batboy/clubbie for the Yankees. It was more than just a temp job for a kid, as he traveled with the team and forged friendships with many of the stars despite being a kid. In April 1939, Gehrig hit two homers in an exhibition game against the Dodgers. They would be the last two homers he’d hit in any setting. When he came back to the dugout he gave his bat to Bing Russell. That bat is now up for auction and will fetch a zillion dollars.
But the story is about far more than the bat. It’s about Bing and his interesting life in and around baseball. He went on to an acting career — which of course led to Kurt Russell’s acting career — but also owned a minor league team in Portland, Oregon in the 1970s, maintained a lifelong friendship with Lefty Gomez and then followed Matt Franco around the minors, cheering on his grandson.
Just a wonderful story about what sounds like a wonderful life. Definitely take a gander.
Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.
Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).
Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.
David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.
Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:
[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.
The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.