And That Happened . . . Classic!

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Due to the All-Star break, we now bring you a special “Classic” version of “And That Happened.” The following originally ran on the HardballTalk newsletter, which was mailed to subscribers. Premium subscribers received it via teletype. This installment is from July 14, 1985.

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Angels 5, Blue Jays 3: California was down 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth when Reggie Jackson walked and was pinch-run for by Craig Gerber. Ruppert Jones bunted him over and Bobby Grich knocked him in with an RBI single to tie it. Next batter up was Brian Downing who hit a homer, winning the game for the Angels. As soon as he hit that home run the Blue Jays players simply walked off the field in dejection, not even waiting for Downing to round the bases. It was a striking sight, inspiring me to give these sorts of victories a special name. I shall call them: “wins which cause the other team to leave the field slowly.” I think it’ll catch on.

Reds 5, Expos 4: Montreal was leading 4-3 heading into the bottom of the ninth when Dave Concepcion singled in Gary Redus to tie things up. Then, in the tenth, Dave Parker came to bat with Pete Rose on first base and Cesar Cedeno on second. Parker hit a single driving in Cedeno to give Cincinnati the win. In other news, it’s 1985 and Dave Concepcion, Dave Parker, Pete Rose and Cedar Cedeno are still somehow relevant. Perhaps that seems normal to we grownups, for whom time moves quickly, but it has to be odd for, say, children turning 12-years-old on this very day who first came to know of these men via their older brother’s baseball cards and have it in their mind that they are nearly ancient warriors from the hazy years of their infancy.

White Sox 5, Orioles 3: Another ancient warrior, Tom Seaver, struck out 11 and allowed three runs over eight and two-thirds, scattering seven hits. Not bad for a 40-year-old.  It’s still hard getting used to Seaver in a White Sox uniform, even in his second season in Chicago. But I suppose we’ll get used to it. Just like we’ve all gotten used to New Coke.

Braves 12, Phillies 3: Bob Horner hit two homers and drove in five and Glen Hubbard knocked in four. Horner’s homers caused the game to be delayed by 17 minutes due to him stopping between each base to take a knee and catch his breath. It happens. Mike Schmidt played third base. We all know him as a third baseman, of course, but he’s played more first base this season, making this is an odd situation, at least for this year. Not as odd as Phil Collins playing drums for Led Zeppelin in yesterday’s “Live Aid” concert back home in Philadelphia, but still somewhat unusual.

Cubs 10, Dodgers 4: The Cubs had a 5-0 lead after three innings and never looked back. The first run came on a Ryne Sandberg home run. Two of the other early runs came via the bat of pitcher Steve Trout, who hit a two-run single and helped a run to score when reaching on an error. It’s so unusual to see a pitcher hit well but it’s all relative. He may not do well for major league baseball players, but he is, in all likelihood, the best hitter by the name of Trout who will ever live.

Royals 9, Indians 5: The Royals took a lead, the Indians got close, the Royals extended their lead, the Indians got close and then the Royals added some at the end and won the game going away. Julio Franco hit a two-run home run in a losing effort. That’s nice to see, I suppose as, despite his promise, the young man has been a below average hitter thus far. If that were to continue his career will, regrettably, be a short one. If he turns it around there is no reason to think he couldn’t play into the mid-1990s. Crazy, I know, but something strikes me about this kid.

Giants 7, Pirates 3: Bill Lasky outpitched Rick Rhoden, allowing two runs in five and a third innings while David Green and Chili Davis went deep. The Pirates were forced to deal with a depleted lineup, as seventeen members of the roster, four coaches, two trainers, three concession workers, five security cards, two ticket takers one of the play-by-play announcers and the parrot mascot were all meeting with their attorneys in anticipation of this September’s cocaine trial. This is all difficult, of course, but Commissioner Ueberroth told reporters yesterday that, as a result of this trail and the corresponding investigation by Major League Baseball, the game will be free of drugs by 1987. That’s wonderful news. Thank you, Mr. Commissioner!

Mets 1, Astros 0: The Mets’ phenom, Dwight Gooden, tossed a five-hit shutout, striking out 11, after which he ran laps around the outfield and then gave high-speed interviews to multiple media outlets. It was as if he had some sort of unusual source of energy. As if he were able to access another level of sensory acuity. I can’t explain it, folks. It must just be his youthful vigor.

Yankees 7, Rangers 1: Ron Guidry allowed one run, struck out six and didn’t walk a batter in the course of tossing a complete game. Every Yankee player reached base at least once. Omar Moreno doubled and tripled and Dave Winfield hit a home run. Manager Yogi Berra was fired after the third inning, his replacement, Billy Martin, was fired after the sixth inning, his replacement, Clyde King, was fired after the eighth inning after which Martin was hired again to finish out the ninth.

Tigers 8, Twins 0: Walt Terrell and Willie Hernandez combined to pitch a shutout for the defending World Series champions. A juggernaut of a team last year, the Tigers aren’t doing quite as well now, trailing the Blue Jays and Yankees. Still, the team will be well-represented in Minneapolis for the All-Star Game this Tuesday evening. Lou Whitaker and Lance Parrish were voted on to the team, Jack Morris will be the starting pitcher, Hernandez and Dan Petry will be on the staff, Alan Trammell will be on the bench and, of course, Sparky Anderson will manage. I spoke with Sparky before the game and teased out the starting lineup for the Midsummer Classic as well:

  1. Rickey Henderson, CF
  2. Lou Whitaker, 2B
  3. George Brett, 3B
  4. Eddie Murray, 1B
  5. Cal Ripken, Jr., SS
  6. Dave Winfield, RF
  7. Jim Rice, LF
  8. Carlton Fisk, C (for the injured Parrish)
  9. Jack Morris, P

I suppose that’s a fair lineup. There may even be a future Hall of Famer on there. Possibly even two.

Athletics 11, Brewers 2: Carney Lansford, Mike Davis and Bruce Bochte all hit homers as the A’s throttled the Brewers. In all there were 13 hits in this game. Here are ten of them:

  1. A View to a Kill — Duran Duran
  2. Sussudio — Phil Collins
  3. Raspberry Beret — Prince
  4. The Search is Over — Survivor
  5. Would I Lie to You — Eurythmics
  6. Every Time You Go Away — Paul Young
  7. You Give Good Love — Whitney Houston
  8. Voices Carry — Til Tuesday
  9. Glory Days — Bruce Springsteen
  10. The Goonies R Good Enough — Cyndi Lauper

Wait, I’m sorry, that’s the playlist from this week’s “America’s Top 10,” which I snagged off the radio. I was typing that out to insert into the case of the Memorex cassette onto which I recorded it. I’m the best at these tapes, by the way. I can hit “play” and “record” at the same time, the second when Casey Kasem gets done talking. You couldn’t do that back when all there were were records. God, can you believe people listen to records? Get with the times, man. Tapes are where it’s at.

Red Sox 6, Mariners 2: Wade Boggs went 3-for-3 with a homer, a walk and two RBI as the Red Sox take three of four from the Mariners. Boggs is an All-Star himself, so as soon as this game ended he needed to hop that long flight from Seattle to join his mates. I wonder what a ballplayer like Boggs does on a long flight to pass the time.

Cardinals 2, Padres 1: San Diego took a 1-0 lead but Terry Pendelton hit a home run off of Eric Show to tie things up in the seventh and Tito Landrum singled in Vince Coleman in the bottom of the eighth to put the Cards ahead for good. Tough break for Show, who otherwise pitched well, but if not getting run support is the worst thing that happens to that fine young man, he’ll be doing all right in life.

Texas Rangers ink free-agent ace Jacob deGrom to 5-year deal

Jacob deGrom
USA Today
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Jacob deGrom is headed to the free-spending Texas Rangers, who believe the health risk is worth the potential reward in trying to end a six-year run of losing.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner agreed to a $185 million, five-year contract Friday, leaving the New York Mets after nine seasons – the past two shortened substantially by injuries.

“We acknowledge the risk, but we also acknowledge that in order to get great players, there is a risk and a cost associated with that,” Rangers general manager Chris Young said. “And one we feel like is worth taking with a player of Jacob’s caliber.”

Texas announced the signing after the 34-year-old deGrom passed his physical. A person with direct knowledge of the deal disclosed the financial terms to The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the club did not announce those details.

The Rangers were also big spenders in free agency last offseason, signing shortstop Corey Seager ($325 million, 10 years) and second baseman Marcus Semien ($175 million, seven years).

The team said deGrom will be introduced in a news conference at Globe Life Field next week following the winter meetings in San Diego.

“It fits in so many ways in terms of what we need,” Young said. “He’s a tremendous person. I have a number of close friends and teammates who played with Jacob and love him. I think he’s going to be just a perfect fit for our clubhouse and our fans.”

Texas had modest expectations after adding Seager, Semien and starter Jon Gray ($56 million, four years) last offseason but still fell short of them.

The Rangers went 68-94, firing manager Chris Woodward during the season, and then hired Bruce Bochy, a three-time World Series champion with San Francisco. Texas’ six straight losing seasons are its worst skid since the franchise moved from Washington in 1972.

Rangers owner Ray Davis said the club wouldn’t hesitate to keep adding payroll. Including the $19.65 million qualifying offer accepted by Martin Perez, the team’s best pitcher last season, the Rangers have spent nearly $761 million in free agency over the past year.

“I hate losing, but I think there’s one person in our organization who hates losing worse than me, and I think it’s Ray Davis,” Young said. “He’s tired of losing. I’m tired of losing. Our organization is tired of losing.”

After making his first start in early August last season, deGrom went 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 11 outings. He helped the Mets reach the playoffs, then passed up a $30.5 million salary for 2023 and opted out of his contract to become a free agent for the first time.

That ended his deal with the Mets at $107 million over four years, and deGrom rejected their $19.65 million qualifying offer in November. New York will receive draft-pick compensation for losing him.

The fan favorite becomes the latest in a long line of ace pitchers to leave the Mets for one reason or another, including Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and David Cone.

The Rangers visit Citi Field from Aug. 28-30.

When healthy, deGrom is perhaps baseball’s most dominant pitcher. His 2.52 career ERA ranks third in the expansion era (since 1961) behind Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw (2.48) and Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax (2.19) among those with at least 200 starts.

The right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.90 ERA in five career postseason starts, including a win over San Diego in the wild-card round this year that extended the Mets’ season. New York was eliminated the next night.

A four-time All-Star and the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year, deGrom was a ninth-round draft pick by the Mets in 2010 out of Stetson, where he played shortstop before moving to the mound. He was slowed by Tommy John surgery early in his career and didn’t reach the majors until age 26.

Once he arrived, though, he blossomed. He helped the Mets reach the 2015 World Series and earn a 2016 playoff berth before winning consecutive NL Cy Young Awards in 2018 and 2019.

But injuries to his elbow, forearm and shoulder blade have limited him to 26 starts over the past two seasons. He compiled a career-low 1.08 ERA over 92 innings in 2021, but did not pitch after July 7 that year because of arm trouble.

DeGrom is 82-57 with 1,607 strikeouts in 1,326 innings over nine big league seasons. He gets $30 million next year, $40 million in 2024 and 2025, $38 million in 2026 and $37 million in 2027. The deal includes a conditional option for 2028 with no guaranteed money.

The addition of deGrom gives the Rangers three proven starters along with Gray and Perez, who went 12-8 with a career-best 2.89 ERA in his return to the team that signed him as a teenager out of Venezuela. Young didn’t rule out the addition of another starter.

With several holes on their starting staff, the Mets have shown interest in free agents Justin Verlander and Carlos Rodon to pair with 38-year-old Max Scherzer atop the rotation.

Now, with deGrom gone, signing one of those two could become a much bigger priority.