51 Questions for the Diehard Fan: Boston Red Sox

On April 26, 1901, the newly formed Boston Americans began play in baseball’s American League. The first home game in franchise history was on May 8, 1901, at the Huntington Avenue Grounds where it was 635 feet from home plate to straight away center field.

The Huntington Avenue Grounds was also the site of the first World Series in baseball’s modern era, won by the Boston Americans over the Pittsburgh Pirates in eight games, as that first series was a best-of-nine affair.

Boston officially became the Red Sox in 1908. Four years later the team christened a new ballpark in fine fashion. On April 20, 1912, the Boston Red Sox beat the New York Yankees 7-6 in the first game ever played at Fenway Park—and then the club set a franchise record for wins, claimed another Pennant, and won a second World Series title.

It was a good year, but there were even better years to come—and of course, some heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, agonizingly painful years as well.

And that is why the history of the Boston Red Sox is so compelling.

In Red Sox history, baseball fans get the absolute best moments the game has to offer: Cy Young’s perfect game, Ted Williams’ historic 1941 season, the Triple Crown seasons for Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski, Roger Clemens twice striking out 20 batters, the batting titles for Wade Boggs, Dave Henderson saving the Red Sox against Donnie Moore and the Angels, Carlton Fisk waving his ball fair, Bernie Carbo hitting a pair of pinch-hit homers in the World Series, Fred Lynn winning Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player honors in the same season, and all the meaningful games against the New York Yankees, just for starters.

Of course, in Red Sox history, Boston fans are fully aware how painful and tragic some of the most compelling moments are: Joe Morgan in 1975, the 1978 collapse, and then Bucky Dent in the 1978 playoff, Bill Buckner in 1986, and of course, Aaron Boone in 2003.

Today’s fans, however, celebrate the miracle that was the 2004 postseason—and any baseball fan who reads this eBook will celebrate with them, because in it you will find the greatest moments, players, legends, and teams from one of the most celebrated sports franchises in the world. So if you’re already a diehard fan then click here to take the challenge … good luck and have fun.


What was Melky thinking?

After Miguel Cabrera’s home run gave the Tigers a bit of life during last night’s World Series Game 3, I was hoping Detroit was on its way to extending the baseball season for at least another day or two. And then Posey went yard in the sixth, and sure the game was far from over, but everyone in the Giants dugout believed they were going to win, and you could sense that attitude just from watching on TV.

That led me to a couple of thoughts: one, the Giants ran away with the NL West after the Dodgers were big-time buyers at the deadline, and if a team I’m not exactly pulling for is going to win the series, I’m glad it’s not a WC2 team—I’d much rather see a team that overcame a lot of adversity and gelled as a group and won its Division carry through and succeed in October.

Unless of course the Cubs had been the WC2 team … then I’d probably keep my mouth shut, but that’s another story.

Anyway, thought two, I wonder what Melky Cabrera was thinking last night?

Personally I think kids in schools all across the country should be hearing lessons taught about Melky all week. You know, teach our kids that there are consequences for dumb decisions, because if ever there was a guy who had absolutely horrific timing for a dumb decision … it’s Melky.

What do you think was going through his mind when Pablo went yard three times the other night? Or when Buster—that being Posey, the NL batting champion—went yard last night? Or when Scutaro came up clutch in the tenth? Or when Romo notched his third save of the series to clinch the title? Or when Sandoval won series MVP honors?

It’d be kind of cool if everyone who was caught using banned substances could be punished this way—I mean, other guys lose 50 games, but Melky lost 50 games, was shunned by his team when he could have returned in the postseason, lost a potential batting title, and to top it off he also lost a World Series ring because he made a bad decision. And now he’s a free agent and you really have to wonder what else he might miss out on because of his poor choice.

Anyway, if nothing else we ought to be telling our kids, “See, there are consequences” … and I really wish I knew what was going through Melky’s mind when his former teammates were dancing in Detroit last night.

51 Questions for the Diehard Fan: New York Yankees

The Yankees franchise has its origins in Baltimore where the team played as the Orioles in 1901 and 1902. After two unsuccessful years as an American League team, the Orioles folded and were sold to Frank Farrell and Bill Devery—who were unusual business partners in New York. Farrell had been involved in the Manhattan gambling scene, owning pool halls and a casino, while Devery had been the New York City police superintendent, a position that later was changed to chief of police.

An interesting pair, to say the least.

But together they bought the Baltimore franchise and then moved it to Manhattan in 1903, gained acceptance into baseball’s American League that March, and then frantically built a wooden ballpark at 168th street and Broadway so the club could begin play in April. The ballpark was named Hilltop Park because its location was among the highest spots in Manhattan, and the location also gave the franchise its first New York name: the Highlanders. The club quickly became relevant in the AL Pennant race, placing second three times in eight years, but was never able to build on its success in consecutive seasons, and it was never able to get over the hump, so to speak, and claim victory. The club first began wearing pinstripes in 1912, and officially became the Yankees in 1913, but the Yankees path to becoming the world’s greatest sports franchise was laid when Jacob Ruppert led a group of investors who paid $1.25 million to purchase the club in 1915. Ruppert and his group poured money into the club, purchased Babe Ruth, won a Pennant, won a second Pennant, built a stadium, and then finally won a third consecutive Pennant and a World Championship.

By the end of the 1920s, the Yankees were a dynasty under the leadership of manager Miller Huggins and the extraordinary play of legends like Ruth and Gehrig and Lazzeri and Combs. And the Yankees didn’t dominate for just one decade and then return to irrelevancy, as other franchises have done—New York won six Pennants in the 1920s, five Pennants in the 1930s, five Pennants in the 1940s, eight Pennants in the 1950s, five Pennants in the 1960s … and on and on, you get the picture.

All total: 51 playoff appearances, 40 Pennants, and 27 World Championships.

And counting.

Not to mention some of baseball’s greatest legends: Yogi Berra, Bill Dickey, Joe DiMaggio, Whitey Ford, Lou Gehrig, Reggie Jackson, Tony Lazzeri, Mickey Mantle, Phil Rizzuto, and Babe Ruth are just a few of the many Hall of Famers whose path to Cooperstown was paved through the Bronx—and then you have Derek Jeter, who through the 2012 season is arguably baseball’s greatest actively playing legend.

It is impossible to tell baseball’s greatest stories without talking about the Yankees—precisely because it was the Yankees that gave baseball so many of its greatest legends and moments. And most of them are in this eBook, so if you’re already a diehard fan then click here to take the challenge … good luck and have fun.


“Man, this sucks. Now I know how the Yankees feel.”

This is why I don’t gamble—one, I’d never be able to bet against the teams I want to win, and two, that means yesterday I’d have taken an unbelievable beating as the teams I was passionately rooting for were: Florida over Georgia at the Cocktail Party, OU over Notre Dame in Norman, and of course the Tigers over the Giants in the World Series.

Yeah, ouch … I was 0 for 3 in the games I cared about most.

I was rooting for the Gamecocks to beat the Volunteers, but I was hardly worried about that one because come on, nobody thought it’d be close. And of course not only was the game ridiculously close, but also it was heartbreaking and sickening as a diehard fan of great players and great games to see Marcus Lattimore’s injury. This morning the ESPN website is calling yesterday’s NCAA action a perfect day of football and I’m thinking, no it wasn’t … this guy’s career is in jeopardy, yesterday sucked.

About the World Series though—I’m really disappointed in the Tigers, sure, and I’ll explain that in a minute, but the team I’m most annoyed with is the Cardinals. If the Cards had beaten the Giants, then I’d have been at Game 2 of the Series … see I bet wrong again, I bought my World Series tickets thinking the Cards were going to be there.

Well, whatever.

The reason I’m most upset about the direction of this year’s World Series is I just don’t want to see the baseball season end—at best we’ve got four games left, and then it’s a long cold winter we’re facing. And trust me, I love the NFL, but baseball is my real passion. So I’d like the Tigers to win a couple, keep this thing going. Come on guys, really.

The second reason I’m upset about the World Series has to do with my nephew. The kid’s first year of little league his team was the “Tigers” and they all had caps just like the Detroit Tigers. So that’s how he started rooting for Detroit. He was thrilled when the Tigers swept the Yankees. Thought it was freaking hilarious. Now last night, in a moment that’s about as introspective as a little kid can be I suppose, he said, “Man, this sucks. Now I know how the Yankees feel.” Well my little man, not yet you don’t—because the Tigers aren’t swept yet, but … yeah, getting close.

And lastly, checking out the Elias notes from the World Series it’s hard to believe but the Giants won that game with 12 strikeouts and two runs scored—and the last time a team won a World Series game despite being so inept at the plate was 1972. Also, the Giants have not trailed in 54 consecutive innings going back to the NLCS—and the last time a team’s starting pitchers logged three consecutive World Series starts without giving up more than one run each, which the Giants’ starters have now down vs. Detroit … 1905.

51 Questions for the Diehard Fan: Atlanta Braves

The Braves are the oldest continuously operated franchise in National League history and are one of just six Major League clubs with more than 10,000 victories—that’s more than the Boston Red Sox or the New York Yankees and nearly 1,000 more than the Philadelphia Phillies (though the Phils have lost 10,000-plus games). In baseball’s modern era the Braves franchise has won three World Series titles, 17 Pennants, and made 22 playoff appearances … not to mention an unprecedented run of 14 consecutive Division Titles and the team of the 1990s under the leadership of Bobby Cox.

A virtual who’s who of Hall of Fame legends also claim the Braves as their home team: Hank Aaron, Warren Spahn, Eddie Mathews, and Phil Niekro to name a few—not to mention soon-to-be Hall of Famers Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Chipper Jones.

The Braves franchise tells some of baseball’s greatest stories, including the “Worst-to-First” 1991 Braves, the legendary career of Manager Bobby Cox, and the unprecedented Cy Young success for the Braves during the 1990s—and the focus of the trivia in this book is solely on the Atlanta era of team history. If you’re already a diehard fan then click here to go straight to the trivia and take the challenge

Good luck and have fun.