Must Click-Link: the beanball that turned into an attempted murder investigation

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Over at Vice Spots Steven Goldman gives us a wonderful history lesson about beanballs, retaliation, Making Baseball Fun again and some of the most colorful characters in mid-century baseball history.

The story is about Joe Medwick, the 1937 Triple Crown winner, who was traded from the Cardinals to the Dodgers in 1940. Not long after the trade the Cards came to Brooklyn. Medwick and friend/new teammate Leo Durocher engaged in some hotel elevator trash talk with that day’s starting pitcher, Bob Bowman. A few hours later Medwick would be laying sprawled out and unconscious on the ground in Ebbets Field, beaned right in the noggin by a Bowman pitch.

The story features the fascinating detail that, yes, the Brooklyn D.A.’s office actually briefly investigated Bowman with an idea of charging him with a crime. That didn’t go anywhere, but if it had one wonders how it might’ve changed professional sports. Less dramatically, the story also contains some classic Durocher lip, some hilarious Larry MacPhail bluster and a lot of conversation about the nature of trash talk and purpose pitches in baseball which, contrary to what Bryce Harper says, has always been fun, even if it has been stupid at times.

A nice lunchtime read for you today.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year deal with Astros

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, spent his first nine major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first baseman became a free agent after batting .304 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .824 OPS this year.

With the Astros, he replaces Yuli Gurriel at first base in a batting order that also features All-Star sluggers Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Gurriel became a free agent after Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies this month for its second World Series championship.

The 35-year-old Abreu becomes the biggest free agent to switch teams so far this offseason. Born in Cuba, the three-time All-Star and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is a .292 career hitter in the majors with 243 homers, 863 RBIs and an .860 OPS.

The Astros announced the signing. Abreu is scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.