Credit him with a hold . . . up

I thought at first this was a weird and funny story. But then I realized it’s a weird and sad story.

Former holder of the all-time saves record (for about 45 minutes before the next generation blew past him) Jeff Reardon was arrested for robbing a jewelry store in Florida last week. According to the article, Reardon apologized and blamed medication he’s been taking; his son committed suicide last year and he’s suffered from depression since.

Here’s wishing him a turnaround in his fortunes. He was a fun pitcher to watch, he manhandled the Cardinals in the 1987 World Series (4.2 IP, 5 H, 3 K), and he had a fantastic beard. I hope things go better for him from here.

More baseball Christmas

As with last year, I spoke too soon. Arriving today in the mail was a gift from Levi and Stacey: The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2006, and you can tell they’re serious about the “annual” thing this time because they remembered to include a year in the title. I’m sure Levi likes it because of the profile of Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty; everyone else can enjoy the two articles by Bill James, which include statements such as “The Royals walk less than Stephen Hawking.”

Baseball-related Christmas

Unlike last year, now that the 2004 trip is further in the past, this year I only got one baseball-related book for Christmas. It’s Grand Old Game: 365 Days of Baseball, a collection of 365 photographs from the Baseball Hall of Fame’s collection, each taking up the entire right-hand page with the photo caption on the left-hand page, which explains why it’s 744 pages long. When I opened the book, the first photo I turned to was of the stands at Ebbets Field in August 1944, packed with the boys who sold the most war bonds

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in Brooklyn, all waving to the camera. Also visible in the near foreground are a policeman leaning on a railing, a vendor standing nearby, and next to the vendor, a sign reading “In Case of Air Raid, Follow Arrow,” the arrow on the sign pointing under the stands. It is a great photo.

Jingle bells — you know, ho ho ho and mistletoe and presents to pretty girls

A new acquisition for the baseball-related radio station jingle collection: this one, from WBLG in Lexington, Kentucky (which now has different call letters and an ugly web site that hasn’t been updated in months). I don’t think this was a Reds network-wide jingle campaign; I think this particular affiliate had it done on their own. I believe it’s from about 1976 or 1977, which would make the lyric particularly apt.


Cardinals fans have spent the past couple of weeks worrying that the Cardinals might, as rumor had it, sign Jacque Jones from the Twins. Jacque Jones is not a very good baseball player, and he was destined to be overpaid.

So the Cubs signed him! For three years! For

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$16 million!

Dan Szymborski of has a hilarious analysis of the signing at their Transaction Oracle. I can’t figure out how to permalink to the post, so you should go here, then scroll down just a bit until you find the Jones signing. It’s worth it.

Pure good meets pure evil; hair cut, universe destroyed

Well, despite my unemployment, I’ve been feeling pretty good recently. Hmm, as long as I’m sitting here in front of my computer waiting for “Deal or No Deal” to accumulate on the TiVo, I’ll activate iChat. Why, I’ve got an instant message popping up already! It’s from hanger-on Maura. She usually has something interesting to say, often about baseball. I’ll just bring the message window to the front, and…OH, MY GOD, NO!

They needed a big empty space, and…

On tonight’s episode of “The Amazing Race,” one of the tasks for the three teams of four remaining in the race was to search among the seats of Olympic Stadium in Montreal for one of three small

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boxes containing a departure time for a flight the next morning — and then nap on cots on the floor of the stadium until time to go to the airport.

So there were 12 people (plus an indeterminate number of cameramen and other production people) inside Olympic Stadium, which is probably more than they’ve had in there in quite a while, and yet the concession stands did not appear to be open and serving poutine! What a travesty.

Thanks, Matt

Matt Morris has reportedly signed a 3-year, $27-million deal with the Giants, reuniting him with his favorite backstop, Mike Matheny, and ending a nine-year career as a Cardinal.

Matt’s been one of my favorite baseball players since his rookie season in 1997, when he went 12-9 with an ERA of 3.19. I learned that season that Matt sometimes rode

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his bicycle to the park on days he wasn’t pitching, and that was all I needed. He was always fun to watch pitch. He comes across as one of those guys who manages to be ultra-competetive without being a prick. His Cardinal career also coincides exactly with the period of my most intense baseball fandom: post-college, with more time on my hands and the Internet to keep me close to my team. He’ll always be one of the faces of that era of baseball to me.

His best moments in a Cardinals uniform, though, came in one week in October of 2001. Twice in six days, he dueled Curt Schilling and the Diamondbacks in the Division Series. The Cards came out on the wrong side both times, as Morris lost the first game 1-0 and took a no-decision after 8 1-run innings in a 2-1 loss in the deciding game five. It was tough, stressful baseball, the kind that makes us ordinary people wonder how anyone can block out the drama long enough to actually participate in it. Up against Schilling at

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his world-beating best, Matt Morris threw a couple of the best games of his life.

He ends his Cardinal career having started the tenth-most games in team history, 209. with a 101-62 record, a 3.61 ERA, and an ERA+ of 119*. He’s fourth in team history in strikeouts, with 1337, and sixth in winning percentage at .620. Oh, and he’s sixth in hit batsmen with 49.

Thanks, Matt. Good luck in San Francisco. I think you’ll like the city and that big ballpark.

*ERA+ is a complex stat designed to show how a pitcher performed relative to other pitchers in the league that year. 100 is average, anything over that is good. Matt’s best was a 166 in his injury-shortened 1998. Last year, an off year for him, he still managed a 104.

Remember these golden classics

Bet you weren’t expecting this at this late date! Courtesy of Mrs. Levi, we have some late additions to the pool of photographs of the 2004 trip. In Cleveland, here are Maura, Jim, Dan, and Dianne, and you may notice that Dan is eagerly showing off a Hostess Baseball:

And eight days before that, in St. Louis, standing in a location that doesn’t exist anymore, here are The Flash, Trainman, Cap’n Slap, and Bicycle Repairman (in their not-so-secret identities as Tony, Jim, Levi, and Luke):

What good is this blog if we can’t use it to embarrass people we know?

Here is Oakland Tribune Giants beat reporter Andrew Baggarly appearing on Young People’s Week on the syndicated version of “Card Sharks” (with host Bill Rafferty) in 1987.

Unfortunately, it’s the last game of the week, so it’s a rushed, sudden-death kind of thing, and we don’t get to hear much from li’l Andy — especially since he doesn’t get to play the bonus round for the trip to Hawaii. (Oh, sorry, should I not have spoiled an 18-year-old game show?)

Thanks to TiVo for religiously recording the Rafferty “Card Sharks” once GSN started rerunning it earlier this year, and thanks to Jason for pointing out that this does have a connection to baseball and was therefore eligible for posting here.