Thursday, July 13, 2023


My word, I adore newspapers. If I had lived in Philadelphia today in 1976, there's about a 101-percent chance that this page would've already been taped to my bedroom wall in advance of tonight's game ...

13 Jul 1976, Tue The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)


  1. I finally had to look up who won this year's All-Star Game. No one on my Twitter feed said anything about the game, other than to complain about uniforms.

  2. I didn't watch, but what I read about it indicated that it was well played and intense.

  3. “This is an announcement of the greatest baseball game ever scheduled.”

  4. That’s the first sentence of a May 19, 1933, story in the Chicago Daily Tribune:



    Fans to Name Teams
    In Tribune Vote.

    [Copyright: 1933: By The Chicago Tribune.]

  5. The story goes on to explain that the game “will bring together the strongest team that can be recruited from the National league against the best that can be assembled from the American league. The game will be sponsored by The Chicago Tribune. It will be played either at Comiskey park or Wrigley field on July 6 and will stand as baseball’s contribution to A Century of Progress Exposition.”

  6. I’m fascinated with every word of the Wikipedia page for Archie Burdette Ward (1896-1955) of Irwin, Illinois. Here are many of them:

    He was the creator of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, the Golden Gloves amateur boxing tournament and the World Professional Basketball Tournament. …

    Ward completed college at the University of Notre Dame, where he worked as publicity director under Knute Rockne in 1919 and 1920, before graduating in 1921. Ward then worked for the Star in Rockford, Illinois, during 1921–1925. He joined the Chicago Tribune in 1925, and became sports editor in 1930. …

    In 1941, he was offered the role of Commissioner of the National Football League (NFL), but turned it down. He later started the rival All-America Football Conference (AAFC). He was quoted as being an "idealist", one that felt the NFL was a "cheap-john minor league outfit" which needed a major pro league like the AAFC to force the NFL to pay their players better. Ward helped set up the first meeting of the organization that would become the AAFC on June 4, 1944, with word getting out about the league in late August of that year before a formal announcement on September 2, 1944. The league lasted four seasons, with the sudden heart attack suffered by Benjamin F. Lindheimer in late 1949 (who owned three of the eight AAFC teams) being a key point of the demise of the league, with various members involved with the league saying that Ward turned the NFL into a major league in spite of itself. …

    Ward was involved in conservative political causes and as well as the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. Described as affable and mild mannered, he was considered a dynamo with powerful contacts in American politics, church matters, and journalism.

    Ward died in his sleep in 1955 at the age of 58, at his home on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago; his death was attributed to a heart attack. He was survived by his wife, Helen, and a son; a daughter had predeceased him in 1940. His funeral took place the same day as the 1955 MLB All-Star Game.

  7. But back to his Chicago Tribune story introducing the “big game for the World’s Fair … here are some highlights:

    -- The newspaper is underwriting the game.

    -- The profits will be donated to the Baseball Players’ Charity organization, to establish “a trust fund, investments to be solely in United States government securities, and to devote the proceeds annually to the relief of old players who are destitute.”

    -- Each league will appoint two umpires to work the game.

    -- “Commissioner K.M. Landis’ rules governing all interleague contests will be followed to insure proper conduct on the field.”

    -- “Every day admission prices will prevail:” $1.65 for a box seat, $1.10 for grandstand and 55 cents in the bleachers.

    -- Each team will have three pitchers. “They probably will work three innings apiece. This will enable them to bear down with everything they have.”

    -- Various regular-season scheduling complexities are being worked out to make way for the game and travel. For example, the Giants and Braves are scheduled to play a doubleheader in Boston on July 5. “It is impossible to play even a single game in Boston and get to Chicago for a game the next day. The Boston magnates agreed to send any players chosen from their team and go through with the double header.”

    1. The Chicago Tribune gave us "Little Orphan Annie," "Dick Tracy," the MLB All-Star Game, and probably a lot of other stuff. It was an amazing institution.

  8. And here's where Arch Ward really closes the deal:

    How would you like to see Gabby Hartnett, Chuck Klein, Lefty O’Doul, Paul Waner, Pie Traynor, Bill Terry, and three or four other equally dangerous hitters in there swinging for the National league? And you American league fans—wouldn’t there be a thrill watching the National league’s leading pitchers try to fool Babe Ruth, Jimmy Foxx, Al Simmons, Joe Cronin, Sam West, Lou Gehrig, and Goose Goslin?

    Now for the best news of all. The baseball fans of the nation, particularly those who follow the clubs through The Chicago Tribune, will choose the teams. Starting immediately, you may pick the lineup you consider the strongest each league can put on the field and mail your selections to the sports editor of The Tribune. The players who receive the greatest number of votes for the various positions will appear in the game. …

    The ballots will be published in a few days to show you how your candidates are running.

  9. This is about the most exciting thing that 1933 me has ever heard of.

    1. I think 1933 you would have been pretty excited about the New Deal. Certainly 1933 me would have been.

  10. In the leadup to the 1976 game in Veterans Stadium, there's a lot of celebration of baseball's history. Given we're just a week past the Bicentennial, there's all sorts of celebration of all sorts of American history going on--especially in Philadelphia. They drive up two Chevrolets from the outfield to the pitcher's mound to introduce three baseball luminaries. First we have Babe Ruth's daughter getting out of a 1933 model--I think it's a Master Eagle; whatever, it's beautiful. The second car--I'm not kidding about this--appears to be a 1976 Chevette! Based on the grill and the back end, I'm pretty sure they have poor Bobby Thomson and Henry Aaron climbing out of the back seat of a freaking Chevette!

  11. And now they do the great big-baseball-game-on-TV thing where the dugouts empty onto the field and the two teams stream themselves along the first and third baselines and everyone gets individually introduced. I love this tradition.

  12. The American League is introduced first. Frank Tanana of the California Angels is a bigger man than I expected--maybe even an inch taller than Rich Gossage of the Chicago White Sox beside him. Hal McRae is smaller. Freddie Patek is really small, but I knew he was little. I was surprised to see this is Patek's first All-Star Game.

    Among American Leagues, the Philadelphia fans offer their loudest ovation for Don Money of the Milwaukee Brewers (he started out as a Phillie) and their loudest boos for Gene Mauch, the Minnesota Twins manager who was the head dude with the Phillies in 1964 when they lost their big pennant lead in the last days of the season. I always judged Mauch as an overly serious, unfun person because he always looked so stern on his baseball cards--but, in fact, Mauch appears to get a genuine laugh with Frank Robinson of the Indians out of the greeting and then slowly wags a finger in front of him as if to say "shame" to Veterans Stadium.

    1. Somewhere on the HP, we have a detailed breakdown of the 1964 NL Pennant Race. Mauch deserved all the booing he got.

  13. They go through all of the coaches, support staff and reserves, and now they bring out the manager and starters in batting order one by one from the dugout. The manager is Darrell Johnson of the Red Sox. (By the way, after winning the pennant in 1975, Boston is in second place in the American League East, 9.5 games behind the Yankees.) And here's A.L. batting order:

    1. Ron LeFlore, Tigers, left fielder
    2. Rod Carew, Twins, second baseman
    3. George Brett, Royals, third baseman
    4. Thurman Munson, Yankees, catcher
    5. Fred Lynn, Red Sox, center fielder
    6. Toby Harrah, Rangers, shortstop
    7. Rusty Staub, Tigers, right field
    8. Bobby Grich, Orioles, second baseman
    9. Mark Fidrych, Tigers, pitcher (who is warming up in the bullpen)

  14. Veterans Stadium, of course, goes ga-ga for all of the Phillies on the N.L. roster, and it most fiercely boos all of Reds, Tom Seaver of the Mets, Al Oliver of the Pirates,

    Sparky Anderson of the Reds is the manager, and here's the N.L. batting order:

    1. Pete Rose, Reds, third baseman
    2. Steve Garvey, Dodgers, first baseman
    3. Joe Morgan, Reds, second baseman
    4. George Foster, Reds, center fielder
    5. Greg Luzinski, Phillies, left fielder
    6. Johnny Bench, Reds, catcher
    7. Dave Kingman, Mets, right fielder
    8. Dave Concepcion, Reds, shortstop
    9. Randy Jones, Padres, pitcher

    1. This is probably the best All-Star Team in NL history.

  15. Now they bring out the honorary team captains, Bob Lemon for the American League and Robin Roberts for the National. They look ancient; they are 55 and 49, respectively.

  16. And now we have President Ford coming on to throw out the game's first pitch. Bill Conlin went crazy in the July 13, 1976, Philadelphia Daily News about the Ford campaign's strategic brilliance: “Carter will be in smoked-filled Madison Square Garden, well on his way to the Democratic nomination for the Presidency, a TV show which promises to be lacking in drama, pyrotechnics and viewers. Ford will be in Veterans Stadium, a front row witness at the All-Star Game, his Appalachian countenance a ready target for the electronic might of ABC-TV Sports, the heavyweight champeen of fun and games."

  17. Randy Jones is 16-3. That's really good. The Padres are only 43-44.

    1. So far in the 2023 season, no pitcher has won more than 11 games.

  18. I enjoy that Bob Prince typically calls him "John Bench."

    1. I don't remember ever hearing him called John that's so random.

    2. Poor John Bench. He's really wearing down. He has some sort of shoulder injury that's forcing him to let go of one hand on the bat at the end of his swing. Bob Prince said John Bench's defense and throwing remain as good as ever, but his batting has really been compromised. Apparently, John Bench even said he agreed with the Veterans Stadium fans that the Phillies' Bob Boone should've been voted ahead of him as the N.L. starting catcher.

    3. Between 1968 and 1975, Johnny Bench averaged 6.3 wins above replacement. In 1975, he was worth 6.6 wins above replacement -- the last time his WAR was above 6. Between 1976 and 1980, he averaged 4.6 wins above replacement. In his last three seasons -- 1981 to 1983 -- he totaled 2.3 wins above replacement.

    4. Johnny Bench leads all catchers with a career WAR of 75.1. Here is the top 5:

      1. Bench: 75.1
      2. Carter: 70.1
      3. I. Rodriguez: 68.7
      4. Fisk: 68.4
      T5. Piazza: 59.5
      T5. Berra: 59.5

  19. Jones gives up a single and a walk in the top of the first, but he also gets Carew and Munson to ground out softly into the middle of the infield. "That's what Randy Jones does to you almost all night long," Bob Prince says.

  20. John Bench has not been safe in 21 consecutive attempts to steal a base.

  21. Fidrych is getting hit hard; Staub fell down on a long hit to right field, and Munson just allowed a passed ball. This is a rough start for the American League. It's 2-0, Nationals, through two innings.

  22. Well, I finished watching over the weekend, but I didn't feel like typing. The National League clobbered the Americans. Something like 7-1. George Foster was MVP. It was a lot of fun to watch.

  23. It's exciting how much of ABC's coverage of Montreal 1976 is available today on YouTube, but I need to bear down and not get distracted. So I'm working to some Japan-Poland men's volleyball--in Polish!

  24. Replies
    1. Hold the phone! I can't wait to see where Victor Vogel's "Ballet 'Homage To The Athletes' Rock Movement" lands on Matthew's ranking. This song is great! It makes me feel like I'm shopping in a glorious mall.

  25. Here’s part of the extended Associated Press roundup on American League games of July 20, 1976:

    Brewers 6, Angels 2

    Hank Aaron hit the 775th home run of his career and George Scott added an another to lead Milwaukee. The back-to-back homers in the seventh inning gave the Brewers a 5-1 lead for winning pitcher Jerry Augustine, 3-7.

    Aaron was pressed as to whether his recent success might prompt him to reconsider retirement after this season.

    At first, he hinted he might be receptive to an offer of “something I can’t refuse.”

    “But I don’t know what that is,” baseball’s career home run record holder said. “It’s not money. I’ve been fooling ‘em for 23 years. That’s it. I’ve got to be satisfied—except I’d like to have more wins and have us up further in the standings.”

    Pressed further, he said, “This is my last year. I can’t be any plainer than that.”

  26. Replies
    1. I don't even remember this, but honestly it felt like this sort of thing happened all the time in the 1970's. The one I really remember was all those killings in Atlanta.

  27. Also, the Summer Festival starts tonight 1976 in Paducah. The Dukes and Duchesses of Paducah are scheduled to have their annual supper together at 7 at the patio of city hall--then move over the library fountain for drinks and desserts. It's supposed to be hot and muggy. Tomorrow, too--for the Balloonarama and arts-and-crafts fair at Noble Park and gospel singing on the riverfront.

    1. For me, personally, the balloon launch at the beginning of the Summer Festival was the single most exciting thing that happened in Paducah during my childhood, except for occasional big-time high school football and basketball games, and that one time the UK basketball team played an exhibition game at Tilghman.

  28. Meanwhile, in Draffenville, here's the lineup for 1 and 5 p.m. Kaintuck Territory shows each of the next several Sundays:

    — Ronnie Milsap on July 25
    — Sonny James on Aug. 8
    — Don Williams on Aug. 15
    — Conway Twitty on Aug. 22
    — Ernest Tubb on Aug. 29
    — The Monkees on Sept. 5

  29. Back to baseball, here are the standings at the start of games Friday, July 23.

    Yankees 57-33
    Orioles 46-44, 11 games back
    Indians 44-44, 12
    Tigers 42-47, 14.5
    Red Sox 42-48, 15
    Brewers 37-50, 18.5

    Royals 57-35
    A’s 49-45, 9
    Rangers 46-45, 10.5
    Twins 43-48, 13.5
    White Sox 43-49, 14
    Angels 39-57, 20

    Phillies 61-28
    Pirates 51-40, 11
    Mets 49-46, 15
    Cardinals 40-51, 22
    Cubs 38-54, 24.5
    Expos 28-58, 31.5

    Reds 58-35
    Dodgers 52-42, 6.5
    Astros 48-48, 11.5
    Padres 47-48, 12
    Braves 43-50, 15
    Giants 40-55, 19

  30. And that might well conclude my MLB76 coverage. For one thing, the division races are pretty much settled. And then, for another, ...