I didn’t see it, but many have told me that during last night’s Red Sox-Yankees game ESPN put up a graphic that showed the all-time hits leaders. On that list, right behind Derek Jeter, was Honus Wagner. Many people also told me that, when the graphic was displayed, ESPN color man John Kruk said something along the lines of “Not bad for a shortstop . . . He may have the most hits for a shortstop, are any of those guys on that list shortstops?”
Jeter does have the most hits for a shortstop, but how one can look at a list with Honus Wagner’s name on it and not know he too was a shortstop is pretty mind blowing. I mean, he’s only one of the inner-circle all-time greats. Perhaps the best shortstop in baseball history.
I realize that Kruk’s appeal is not based on his encyclopedic knowledge of the game. But given that we’ve pretty much ruled out charisma, strategic insight and general listenability, we’re running out of options here.
In other news, Jim Bowden is still alive and tweeting and posting columns over at The Worldwide Leader as if nothing pretty crazy and normally termination-worthy happened last week.
Ken Harrelson has been broadcasting for decades but yesterday was his last one. As of today the Hawk has hung up his mic and entered retirement. He gone!
Harrelson, 77, who played in the majors for nine seasons with the A’s, Red Sox, Indians and Senators and led the AL in RBI in 1968. He was also the White Sox’ general manager for a single season in the mid-80s. That didn’t go well — he famously fired Tony La Russa and Dave Dombrowski and traded away a young Bobby Bonilla, but his career as a broadcaster went swimmingly.
Harrelson served as a Red Sox broadcaster from 1975 through 1981. Despite his reputation as an unrepentant homer for his White Sox — who he called “the good guys,” as opposed to the “bad guys” playing them — he was actually fired as a Red Sox broadcaster for being critical of ownership. He then embarked on his first stint with the White Sox before his move into the front office, worked as a Yankees broadcaster from 1987-88 and worked games for NBC’s Game of the Week in the mid-1980s as well. He then returned to call games for the White Sox in 1990 and the rest is history.
Hawk will still be a team ambassador for Chicago so he not totally gone, but the White Sox broadcast booth is entering a new era.