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Spring sports have no control over weather

May 3, 2008
Wayne Cook
It’s been another wet weekend, postponing several spring sporting events in the area.

Coaches and players alike realize the weather is one variable that teams can’t control. There’s no use worrying about it.

Ex-major league player Mickey Rivers said it best: “Ain’t no sense worrying about things you got no control over, ‘cause if you got no control over them, ain’t no sense in worrying. And ain’t no sense worrying about things you got control over, ‘cause if you got control over them, ain’t no sense worrying.”

That quote from the outfielder, who played for the Angels, Yankees and Rangers, is taken from the book, Tales from the Dugout — the Greatest True Baseball Stories Ever Told.

When the weather can be dreary like this spring, reading that book can soothe a person’s mind and give you a better perspective of the game.


How did Jim Hunter, who pitched for Oakland and later signed as a free agent with the Yankees, get the nickname, Catfish?

The story goes like this:

When the A’s came to the Hunter farmhouse to sign the youngster to his first professional baseball contract, he was down by the creek fishing.

The team’s representatives waited, and eventually Hunter came home, carrying a string of catfish he had pulled out of the creek.

The story is not true. It was a complete fabrication by A’s owner, Charlie Finley. He thought catchy nicknames would create more fan interest.


How many stolen bases did Pirates first baseman Willie Stargell have in his 21-year baseball career? Seventeen.

In his younger days, Stargell had good speed, but a succession of knee injuries and added weight robbed him of most of his speed.


Cincinnati’s Pete Rose, who holds the major-league record for hits in a career (4,256), played baseball seriously. He was hard-nosed.

Well, he was doing a photo shoot in downtown Cincinnati for his biography, and the photographer was joking around with him.

After a couple dozen pictures were taken of Rose in various poses, the New York publicist turned around Rose’s cap so that the bill was pointed backward.

“Let’s try a couple of shots like that to show your lighter side,” the publicist said.

Rose jerked the bill of his cap back to the front and said, “No way! I never, ever wear a baseball uniform like a clown.”


It was July 15, 1973, when Nolan Ryan fired his second of seven no-hitters, striking out 17 batters against Detroit.

Norm Cash of the Tigers was the last batter Ryan faced that night.

He walked up to the plate against the “Ryan Express,” holding not a bat but a wooden table leg.

Home plate umpire Ron Luciano didn’t even notice that Cash wasn’t holding a Louisville slugger until a laughing Ryan pointed it out to him

Using a regulation bat, Cash managed a blooper, which was caught by the shortstop to end the game.


Wade Boggs, who made an appearance in Marshall recently, was playing for Boston and being heckled by a Yankees’ fan behind home plate.

It was a big fat guy who had a couple of burly friends sitting next to him. Boggs walked over and asked the fan if he was the one always yelling.

“Yes, it’s me,” the man said.

“Well, why are you always on my case?” Boggs asked.

The Hall of Famer took a new baseball out of his back pocket.

He autographed it, tossed it to the man and went about his business.


Little known facts:

April 23, 1952 — Bob Feller, an Iowa native, of the Indians and Bob Cain of the Browns combine on a double one-hitter at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis.

The Browns win,1-0, as the first batter, Bobby Young, hits a triple and later scores on an error.

For Feller, it was his major-league record 11th one-hitter. It was the first one that he ever lost.


May 5, 1964 — Rookie right-hander Wally Bunker, 19, of the Orioles pitched a one-hitter to beat the Washington Senators, 2-1, at Memorial Stadium. It was Bunker’s first major-league victory.

Two months later (July 3), Bunker fired another one-hitter at Memorial Stadium. It was against Kansas City.

Bunker compiled a 19-5 record for the season, the most wins by a teenager in a single season in major-league baseball history.


Augustana’s Nate Baumann (Marshall) was named the North Central Conference’s baseball player of the week April 30 following his 8-for-14 (.571) hitting in a four-game series against North Dakota.

Baumann, a freshman catcher, had three home runs, six runs scored and nine runs batted in.

He hit a two-run and three-run homer in a 9-8 win and added a grand slam in a 13-4 win.


Matt Bauer (Tracy) leads Ridgewater College — ranked No. 2 nationally in JUCO baseball — into the state tournament in St. Cloud this weekend.

The sophomore third baseman leads the Warriors (25-4-1) in hits (55), doubles (18), batting average (.481) and RBI (39).

Bauer, who was named an All-American last year, will play at SMSU next season. He hasn’t homered this year after hitting seven last year.



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