The Top 25 Baseball Stories of 2015 — #16: Legends Yogi Berra and Ernie Banks pass away


We’re a few short days away from 2016 so it’s a good time to look back at the top 25 baseball stories of 2015. Some of them took place on the field, some of them off the field and some of them were creatures of social media, fan chatter and the like. No matter where the story broke, however, these were the stories baseball fans were talking about most this past year.

Every year brings us the loss of members of the baseball community. Among the notable losses in 2015 were Minnie Minoso, Al Rosen, Alex Johnson, Nelson Doubleday, Jr., Darryl Hamilton, Billy Pierce, Joaquin Andujar, Milo Hamilton, Dean Chance, Tommy Hanson and Dave Henderson.

But this year two clubs lost their most beloved and notable ambassadors: Ernie Banks of the Cubs and Yogi Berra of the Yankees.

Banks, who died in January at age 83, was the face of his franchise for multiple generations. A franchise known more for its futility than its success, but it was a futility which never lessened or besmirched the legacy of its greatest player. He hit 512 home runs in his 19 major league seasons, all in Chicago, and posted a career line of .274/.330/.500. He was a big-hitting shortstop in an age where shortstops were not expected to hit. His bat was so good that, when he could no longer handle the position due to knee problems which dated back to his days in the army, that bat played just fine at first base. Mr. Cub stands in death, as he did in life, as one of the most famous figures the game has ever known and, by far, the most famous and beloved Chicago Cub.

Berra, who passed in September at age 90, led the Yankees to 14 World Series appearances during his 18 seasons in the Bronx, won three MVP Awards and played in 15 straight All-Star Games. He hit .285/.348/.482 in 19 overall seasons and led both the Yankees and the Mets to pennants as a manager. He was known the world over for his famous quotes and malapropisms, but as I wrote in September, he was the rare man who was much, much greater than his legend.

Death touches baseball as it touches us all. But rare is it that two figures as universally loved and respected as Banks and Berra enter Baseball Valhalla in the same year. Their loss will be forever felt by fans and friends even as their legacies are never forgotten.

Tyler Glasnow scheduled to rejoin Rays’ rotation

Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Tyler Glasnow is scheduled to rejoin the rotation at Cleveland after missing nearly 14 months because of Tommy John surgery.

The Rays’ Opening Day starter last year hasn’t pitched this season after undergoing the procedure on Aug. 4, 2021.

“I think we’re pretty confident he’ll be starting for us,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said before the game with Toronto. “This is the first time he’s thrown pain-free in quite some time, so he’s encouraged by it.”

The 6-foot-8 right-hander went 5-2 with a 2.66 ERA in 14 starts last year and is a key addition as the Rays near a wild-card spot.

“Compared to the past, like, three years it feels way better as far as postday and the week leading into starts and stuff,” Glasnow said. “It’s good to have an UCL, you know.”

Cash said Glasnow will throw around 45 pitches in his initial outing, which should allow him to go two or three innings.

“Two innings of Glasnow is still a huge plus for our team,” Cash said. “Like to get three innings. If we do, great. If we don’t, that’s fine, too.”

Glasnow allowed one run, one hit, four walks and had 14 strikeouts over seven innings in four starts with Triple-A Durham.

“I’m really excited,” Glasnow said. “I’m approaching it like normal, staying on routine. Feels normal.”

Glasnow signed a two-year, $30.35 million contract that will delay the start of his free agency by one year last month. He’s making $5.1 million this year and will get $5.35 million next season and $25 million in 2024, which is the first year he would have been eligible for free agency.