Les Mueller

Former Tigers pitcher Les Mueller dies at 93

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Les Meuller spent parts of just two seasons in the majors, but among his 30 appearances with the Tigers was one very notable feat. On July 21, 1945, he pitched 19 2/3 innings, allowing just one unearned run, in what ended up being a 24-inning tie against the A’s in Philadelphia.

Meuller’s outing that day is the longest in the majors since 1930. The longest since was a Vern Law 18-inning start for the Pirates on July 19, 1955.

Meuller allowed 13 hits, walked five and struck out six in the game. He was finally relieved by Dizzy Trout in the 20th inning, and Trout finished it out before the game was called. It actually could have kept going; Shibe Park had lights at the time. However, there was a league rule against turning on the lights during day games.

Perhaps one reason the game lasted as long as it did was because the Tigers had their best hitter, Hank Greenberg, on the bench. Greenberg appeared as a pinch-hitter and walked.

Connie Mack’s A’s got five hits from Bobby Estalella, grandfather of the future major league catcher. Future Hall of Famer George Kell, still a youngster at age 22, went 0-for-10 from the seventh spot in the order.

After that game, Mueller didn’t pitch again for two weeks. He allowed three runs — two earned — in 8 2/3 innings in a loss to the White Sox on Aug. 5. He was primarily a starter the rest of the way, and he beat the Athletics for his final big-league victory on Sept. 14.

After the 1945 season, Mueller spent a few years toiling in the minors and then gave up on baseball. The AP reports that he operated a furniture store in Belleville, Illinois until retiring. He’s survived by his wife and three sons.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.