click the "headlines" for full story . _____________________ . About "Still In Progress..."


You don’t get too many cold calls when you’re a self-proclaimed baseball-history lunatic.
Calls mostly come from creditors or money-starved alumni associations, rather than from potential employers, friends or girls, for that matter.
The only e-mail squatting in my inbox this morning, for example, was an ad for inflatable, team helmet-and-tunnels — the kind the college and pros run through to take the field.
I’m thinking of getting a University of Arizona one.
It was June of 2007 when my cell phone flashed a foreign, Florida area code.
The man on the other end of the digital line was cold calling the sports writers of Tucson, in a quest to locate an old, yet lost, friend.
Billy Loes,” the Floridian said. “He was a pitcher; won a World Series with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
“Ever hear of him?”
‘Um, do you mean the same Billy Loes who famously “lost a ground ball in the sun” during the 1952 World Series?’
The man’s quest to track down his lost friend led him to an Old Pueblo nursing home. And from what little he’d deduced from the tight-lipped nursing staff, it seemed that good old Billy wasn’t his affable self.
In fact, according to the caller, it sounded as if Loes had two outs in the ninth inning of the game of life and had just gotten himself into a run-down between the bases.
The timing of the call couldn’t have been worse. The next morning, I tossed the last of my belongings in the back of my truck, jumped on I-10 and didn’t stop until I reached a new job and life in South Carolina.
The opportunity to chat with the infamous Brooklyn Dodger right-hander slipped through my fingers like an over-petroleumed spit ball.

Loes, 80, passed away on July 15 in a Tucson hospice.

I wanted to talk with Loes, to look him in his quirky face and ask him firsthand if he really lost that ball in the sun. Several of his Dodger teammates came to his defense, affirming that the late-day sun poking through the pillars of Ebbets Field, did, indeed, cause sun spots.

I wanted to know which hitter was the toughest he faced in the pre-steroid era of Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle and Stan Musial.

I wanted to know if the Dodger really predicted in the New York press that the Yankees would win the 1952 series against Brooklyn in six games. He later proclaimed that he was misquoted. He actually said ‘Yanks in seven,’ to which he was correct.

I wanted to see what shell a former player wears when his legacy isn’t held together by stats, but rather by dubious anecdotes — the kind only the game of baseball can concoct.

Loes allegedly has claimed that he didn’t want to win 20 games in a season, because that meant having to reach the benchmark every year. And that was just too much stress for the Queens, N.Y. native.

He needn’t stress too much. In 11 seasons (including stints with the Orioles and Giants) he finished with a forgettable 80-63 record and a clunky 3.89 ERA.

I wanted to ask Loes about yakking up one of the most notorious balks in baseball history.

It was in that fabled 1952 World Series and Loes was on the mound with a lead in game six.

An anxious Brooklyn crowd on the edge of their seats clasped their hands together in prayer, as if to will their Dodgers to the first World Series title in its seven-decade history.

Instead of becoming a hero, he balked, moving a runner into scoring position. That set up the infamous “lost ground ball in the sun,” to the next batter, which gave the Yankees the win.

The very next day, the Bronx Bombers snatched another World Series trophy away from the Brooklyn ‘Bums.’

According to the legend of the balk, while standing on the mound, the ball simply fell out of his hand.

And a golden opportunity literally slipped through his fingers.
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Which came first:

The Milwaukee Bucks




The Bucks played their inaugural season in 1968, and promptly tied for the NBA's worst record with another 1968 expansion team, the Phoenix Suns. After winning a coin toss, Milwaukee selected Kareem Abdul Jabbar with the first pick of the 1969 draft. Two years later the Bucks were world champs.

Jagermeister can trace its roots back to 1935 Germany. The liquor was popular among hunters, which gave rise to false rumors that it was one-part elk's blood. It's satirically dubbed 'leberkleister' by Germans, which translates to 'liver glue.'

Check this out: Catch the subliminal message in the Jager logo? Take the circle around the logo (the "O") and combine it with the elk and the cross and it spells out: "O Deer God."

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"Culling The Thoughts That Occur When You're Waiting For Something To Happen..."

I rarely talk to Mexican food, mostly because I failed Senor Bravo's Spanish 110 my senior year at the University of Arizona.

Besides, when Mexican cuisine speaks, it often doesn't care much about what you have to say. It's usually the one doing all the chatting.

But when my pack of La Banderita soft tortillas shells told me the other night to check out "The Perfect Game" at, I decided to listen.

After all, the phrase 'perfect game' is a rather large boast - be it athletic or cinematic.

"Perfect Game" is a rehashing of the 1957 Monterey Industrials, an impoverished band of pegadores from Monterey, Mexico. The Industrials defied unfathomable odds to win the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

Major motion pictures have been made based on much less premise. Ever see "Ed," the movie about a chimpanzee that joins a Major League team?

Besides, how could you go wrong with a movie that stars both Cheech Marin and Lou Gossett Jr.?

I cannot tell you whether or not the "Perfect Game" is blemish-free because no theaters in this area are showing it. Not helping matters is the film's advertising budget, which apparently was limited to packages of flatbread.

So last night's dinner didn't just get me talking, it also got me thinking: what is the quintessential sports movie moment?

- Roy Hobbs hitting the game-winning homer in "The Natural?"

- Benny "the Jet" Rodriguez out-running Hercules the angry dog in "The Sandlot?"

- Rudy Ruettiger getting the first and only sack of his career for Notre Dame in "Rudy?"


Chris Snyder's catcher's mitt is apparently the Sun City of error; a place where guffaws go to retire.

The Arizona Diamondback catcher's current 217-game errorless streak is the third-longest stretch by a backstop in MLB history.

He squats behind Cleveland Indian Mike Redmond - who is still adding to his current streak of 249 games - and Mike Matheny who went 252 games without an error at the dish.


Someone call University of Arizona softball coach Mike Candrea: my 2-year-old daughter is ready to become a Wildcat. I deduced that this morning watching her throw a Wiffleball in the living room.

How many times have you heard this one: "You gotta see the arm on my kid? Now, I know he's only (insert age here), but..."

I once sat next to a guy who used every available second of the 45-minute flight from Atlanta to Savannah, Ga., talking about his son, Aristotle. You read that correct. His son was named after a Greek deity.

Note to self: tell no one about the skills you use to pay the bills. Unless, of course, you got rich turning your kid into a sports superstar; as is the case with only a handful of parents these days.

Take the case of Internet-sensation Ariel Antigua, whose YouTube video of him swinging a bat and fielding ground balls is going more viral this week than the Hantavirus.

It we're to believe the Internet (and who doesn't?), then the 5 year old from Lyndhurst, N.J., is Joe Mauer reincarnate.

You be the judge. Is Ariel the Next A-Rod without a cool nickname yet or just another product of overbearing parenting?


Baseball is a game that holds in high regard its etiquette, superstition and unwritten rules. Just ask New York Yankee third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who found out the hard way that pitchers hate it when you walk across thier mound between plays.

One of the more notorious superstitions is to never mention a no-hitter while one is in progress. But with technology dramatically re-sculpting our lives, do we need to re-evaluate how we prevent breaking the protocol of superstitions?

Human nature says we want to tell everyone in our rolodex when we're watching a no-hitter in progress.

Your buddy Gary in Orlando wants to make sure you heard it from him and not ESPN that Ubaldo Jiminez is blanking the Atlanta Braves.

When Yankees' hurler Phil Hughes cleared the seventh inning of a game against the Oakland Athletics on April 21 without yielding a hit, I rushed to Facebook to see which bozo would blab first.

The message board was silent, save for those kvetching about their lousy work day or those starving their cows on their virtual farms.

Is it acceptable to post on a social media that a pitcher is throwing a no-hitter?


Speaking of the Bronx Bombers, the Yankees' cable conglomerate the YES Network has added a running pitch count to the scoreboard in the upper left-hand corner of its screen during game telecasts.

How much more information do we need filling up a screen? And what's the next thing that baseball eggheads need blocking the view of the game?

I'm still waiting to hear that some super-fan has named his kid 'Rhelob' in scoreboard homage to "runs, hits, erros and left-on-base."

Don't confuse Rhelob with Shelob of Lord of Ring fame. Either name will condemn your kid to a lifetime of wedgies, wet willies and the daunting rear admirals on the playground.
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A) Former New England Patriot Tight End?


Wigan Athletic Central Midfielder?


Georgia State House 163 Candidate?

D) All Of The Above

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We can’t all be perfect.

But these days, it seems that it’s becoming easier to go unblemished on the pitching mound.

Baseball prides itself on its imperfections, the anomalies unique solely inside its diamond-shaped heart.

It’s a place where flawlessness is usually reserved for myth.

So, when a pitcher tosses a perfect game, it’s considered entry into an elite fraternity — presumably Epsilon Tau Alpha or ERA to the non-Greek-speaking layman.

It’s a caste of 20 players dating back to 1880 that’s about as privileged as it is fickle when it comes to its enrollment.

Despite the discretionary company, it appears, in an age caricatured by hulking hitters, that it is now easier to toss a perfect game — AKA 27 batters up, 27 batters slink back to the dugout without reaching base.

There have been 11 perfect games thrown since Len Barker, a man known around the Cleveland Indian clubhouse as “the Big Donkey,” got stubborn with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1981.

That’d be a dozen perfectos, had Tiger pitcher Armando Galarraga not been fleeced by Jim Joyce. The first-base umpire incorrectly ruled what would have been the final out of Galarraga’s June 2 bid in Detroit to become the fraternity’s 21st member.

Conversely, MLB only witnessed the feat nine times in the 100 years prior to Barker’s perfect game.

That’s an average of one every three years in the post-Barker era, as opposed to one every 11 years dating back to the 19th century.

Perhaps MLB’s new steroid-testing policy has done to the long ball what debit cards did to the panhandling industry — that is, systematically destroy a once-profitable market.

Maybe it’s the pitchers who are much stronger? Of the 65 players suspended by MLB since 2004 for using performance-enhancing supplements, 34 of them were pitchers.

None of them — it should be noted — are members of the perfect game fraternity.

While it can’t be determined whether or not science is being used to gain perfection, we can use science to predict the next one.

Of the 20 perfect game thrown, seven of them have been thrown in May — the most of any month by far.

None have ever been tossed under the humidity of August.

Chalk it up to fresh arms, colder weather and chillier bats.


April – 1

May – 7

June – 3

July – 4

August – 0

Sept. – 3

Oct. – 2

It also helps to be pitching on the Lord’s Day to trap a little divine mound magic. Seven of the 20 perfect games occurred on a Sunday afternoon — the most of any day of the week.

Also a mere six of the 20 have been thrown on the road.

Does a foreign city plus the lure of performance inhibitors equate to perfection?

Only one has been thrown on a Tuesday. Monday’s only perfect game was the biggest anomaly of them all: Don Larsen’s call to perfection in the 1956 World Series.

Saturday has played host to two bouts with history. They happened 130 years apart in 2010 (Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies) and 1880 (Lee Richmond, Worcester Ruby Legs).

Sunday – 7

Saturday – 2

Friday – 3

Thursday – 3

Wednesday – 3

Tuesday – 1

Monday – 1

All of these pitchers in this class of perfection have proven to be fallible.

One of Cy Young’s MLB-record 511 career wins was perfect; but the former Cleveland Spiders is also credited with the most losses (316) in history.

There are as many pitchers with losing career records (five) in the perfect game frat as there are hall of famers.

As Joyce, Galarraga and the rest of baseball were painfully reminded last week:

Nobodie’s perfekt.


The Florida Marlins are selling roughly 13,000 of the unsold tickets to Roy Halladay’s perfect game on May 29 in Miami. Tickets are going for face value and are selling faster than Halladay shut the Marlins.

Dennis Martinez (1991) and Kenny Rogers (1994) threw perfect games three years to the day on July 28.

Eight of the perfect games thrown have come from left-handed pitchers.

The combined career record of pitchers who have thrown perfect games is 3,351-2,424.


Roy Halladay, R*
May 29, 2010

Dallas Braden, L
May 9, 2010

Mark Buehrle, L
July 23, 2009

Randy Johnson, L*
May 18, 2004

David Cone, R
July 18, 1999

David Wells, L
May 17, 1998

Kenny Rogers, L
July 28, 1994

Dennis Martinez, R*
July 28, 1991

Tom Browning, L
September 16, 1988

Mike Witt, R*
September 30, 1984

Len Barker, R
May 15, 1981

Catfish Hunter, R
May 8, 1968

Sandy Koufax, L
September 29, 1965

Jim Bunning, R*
June 21, 1964

Don Larsen, R
Oct. 8, 1956

Charlie Robertson, R*
April 30, 1922

Addie Joss, R
Oct. 2, 1908

Cy Young, R
May 5, 1904

John Montgomery Ward, R
June 17, 1880

Lee Richmond, L
June 12, 1880

*Road Game
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“It’s unbelievable. We just won the Stanley Cup. I can’t believe this just happened. Holy crap.”

- Patrick Kane being interviewed Wednesday on NBC after his overtime goal in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals delivered the Chicago Blackhawks their first Stanley Cup in 49 years.
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Breast In Peace: Pamela Anderson passes away at the age of 72. Her lifeless body was found floating face-up in a Los Angeles pool. The buxom actress flourished in her second career as a Senior Olympic gold-medal swimmer, excelling in, of course, the breast stroke.


My Blog List


"Great article! I'll never forget as a teenager, seeing Carl Yastrzemski at a show. I waited in line, not realizing he was charging for his signature (I didn't pay). It's sad. You grow up idolizing these guys and want to honor them by asking for their autograph, all they want is the money."

- Abdulhadi Ahmedi, via Facebook

SIPAPT: It really is a bummer. Among some of the nicer athletes I've met, I'd have to include Tommy John and Martin Brodeur. Oh, and nice work on correctly spelling 'Yastrzemski.' !!

"I'm still waiting for Jerome Walton's $8 autographs to live up to its price tag. I think I bought like 8 of them and waited an hour on line in a mall. And I don't think he said a word to me."

- Gary Housman, via Facebook

SIPAPT: You can get an autographed Jerome Walton bat on eBay for $72. If you hadn't bought all those autographs back when Walton was considered a young phenom and not-a-future bust, you'd have enough to buy that bat today...and still have enough left over to buy a Bob Feller signature.

"Since my uncle, Jesse Hill was head football coach at USC in the mid 1950's and later A.D., I've got every Trojan Heisman winner on a correct period football program.

"But my prized Heisman winner autograph is Glen Davis of Army, who won it in 1945. Back in the '70's, I was working at the L.A. Herald-Examiner and went to the Times Grand Prix on a press pass, and Davis was the PR guy for the Times in charge of the press. I had to have him sign my press pass so I could get into the Press Patio for the free lunch and beer.

"I kept the signature because I had heard that when he was married to his 1st wife, Terri Moore, Davis had caught her and Howard Hughes making love on the couch in his living room one evening and he knocked Howard out, over the couch, and threw him out on the front lawn, naked before throwing the clothes in the trash. I shook his hand, too.

"I got this story from Jim Bacon, who was Howard's PR guy, and was my co-worker at the Her-Ex later.

"Yer pal, Ferrari Bubba"

- Ferrari Bubba, via



"When I was 15, I worked as a caddie at the really nice local golf course in my hometown. It was the middle of summer and I had other things to do than sweat it out for some rich bozo on a Saturday morning.

"Anyhow, I get to work at 7 a.m. and I get the 'privilege' of being assigned to carry the bag of former St. Louis Cardinal pitcher Bob Forsch. For a guy who slammed 12 home runs and threw two 'no-no's,' he couldn't hit the green to save his life. I know, because I was carrying that 1/4-ton bag of his. Mind you, I've played enough golf to give tips to the guy if he's struggling (He did listen, too).

"So, 18 holes, four hours and what seemed like 15,000 yards later, it finally comes time to pay out. After he signs my pay-card, I look at it, and there it is in all it's glory.

"Right next to this 168-win, 1,100+ strikeout, 3.75 ERA Cardinal great's John Hancock: $2.

"I guess Major Leaguers didn't get paid that much in the '70s and '80s."

- Scott Salisbury, via e-mail

SIPAPT: You gotta remember, back then $2 could get you and a date into a movie, popcorn, Sno-Caps, one milkshake (two straws) and still have enough left over to tip the soda jerk (insert your Bob Forsch joke here).


In Progress At Press Time