Babe Ruth’s daughter remembers her father’s legacy

CONWAY, N.H. -- A hundred years ago, a legend was born as 19-year-old George Herman "Babe" Ruth Jr. made his major-league baseball debut, pitching for the Boston Red Sox. He is still the answer when a 10-year-old at the Baseball Hall of Fame is asked to name his idol. But it's a 97-year-old who feels his presence more than anyone. Julia Ruth Stevens is Babe's adopted daughter. She still calls him "Daddy." She says, "I always did. When I think about Daddy. I think about him just being my father, but he really belonged to the world." She still loves talking baseball, but she might have lost a little something off her fastball. "I have thrown out quite a few first pitches. Of course, I don't get it very far anymore," she says laughing. In the ways that really count, she's as sharp as ever. She says she loved going to ballpark with her dad. "I loved goin' to the ballpark and watching Daddy play. Everybody almost held their breath when he came up to bat." To the rest of the world, Babe Ruth was a hall-of-fame carouser who would down three hot dogs and two beers before a game. But she says all that stopped once he married her mother. "I went off to camp and he made me a bedspread," she says, "to go on my, on my bed at, at the camp." "I think it would have undercut his image a little bit if people knew that your father sewed you a bedspread to go off to camp with," we point out. "I don't," she replies laughing. A hundred years after he broke into the game and 66 years after his death, the details of his life are still devoured. Babe Ruth has one the world's most famous nicknames. We asked her if her mother called him George around the house. "She called him Babe. Everyone did," she replies. In the late innings of her life, she has a single wish when it comes to her father. "I hope that his fame lives as long as baseball is played." Because as a fan once said of her daddy once said, "Heroes get remembered. Legends never die." Continue Reading

Dominant NL West, ‘Babe Ruth of Japan’ highlight 2018 Cactus League

If a thrilling, edge-of-your-seat, seven-game World Series left you wanting more, get ready to settle into another beguiling baseball season.Start it by seeing all that the Cactus League has in store.Five of the past eight World Series champions, as well as five of the past eight World Series runner-ups, conduct spring training in the greater Phoenix area, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, who paced Major League Baseball with 104 wins last season.The Dodgers have won the National League West crown each of the past five seasons and look to be the favorites once again in 2018. They will have to contend, however, with not only a confident Arizona Diamondbacks team coming off a 93-win season and a wild-card appearance, but a re-energized San Francisco Giants franchise that added two big-name superstars, Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen.There is no shortage of star players and intriguing teams in the Cactus League, which features the Chicago Cubs and sluggers such as Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo; the Cleveland Indians and stud infielders Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor; the Colorado Rockies and their two big boppers, Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon; not to mention the Dodgers and two of baseball’s newest stars in Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager.This spring training also will introduce a captivating new face: young Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani, who has joined megastar center fielder Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels after becoming the most sought-after free agent of the offseason. Ohtani could be primed to do something that hasn’t happened with any real regularity in 100 years.Ohtani, 23, hopes to become the first full-time, two-way player in the majors since Babe Ruth. Nicknamed the “Babe Ruth of Japan,” he is a right-handed power pitcher whose fastball clocks into triple digits and is a left-handed power hitter who had a .500 career slugging percentage with the Nippon-Ham Fighters. It’s Continue Reading

5-at-10: Friday mailbag with SEC over-under win totals, NBA nicknames and other Rushmores, NFL Hall of Fame and best title games

From Todd C. For the mailbag — let's discuss all of the 2018 (too early) SEC east and west football win totals. Give your over/under numbers (I like the 7.5 or 8.5 number as an arguing point). Todd C. — My pleasure my good man. Alabama — 11.5. And as crazy as it seems, we'd lean toward the over considering that Alabama and Nick Saban have had the best stretch in college football history and have not really had an elite quarterback in the last nine years. Now, they will have all of that — just look at all the freshmen who played Monday night — and now they have Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback. Look out. Arkansas — 5.5. We would lean toward the over here for two reasons. One the Hogs non-conference is Eastern Illinois, at Colorado State, North Texas and Tulsa and their non-traditional East crossover is Vandy. That should be five right there. So ask yourself if Arkansas is going to go bagel-and-7 against the West and Missouri. Here's betting they win one of those and go over the 5.5. Auburn — 9. Under. The schedule for Auburn is always tougher in even number years with trips to Athens and Tuscaloosa. Now add in replacing 80 percent of the starters on the O-line, more than 80 percent of last year's rushing yards and three secondary starters and good luck Gus. You are going to have to earn that monster contract extension. Florida — 7.5. We will go under, but just barely. The Gators have the best chance in our view of flipping the misery and going from 4-8 to 8-4. We believe that much in Dan Mullen and what he can do with quarterbacks. Georgia — 10.5. Over. Georgia will be loaded on offense with Jake Fromm, D'Andre Swift and the rest of the talented youngsters. Gang, buckle up for the foreseeable future that will have anything other than an Alabama-Georgia meeting in Atlanta in December be called a surprise.  Kentucky — 6.5. One of three teams that plays MTSU in the non-conference, so the Blue Continue Reading

Top 10 nicknames in baseball history

Major League Baseball has a long history of nicknames, from old-timers like "Old Hoss" Radbourn and "Shoeless" Joe Jackson to contemporary players like "King" Felix Hernandez and David "Big Papi" Ortiz, professional baseball players have always added flair to their names.While some of baseball's more exuberant ones are from years past, the game's rich tradition of nicknames continues into the 21st century. In fact, MLB plans to celebrate the game's colorful characters with a "Players' Weekend" in August where uniform policies will be relaxed and players will be allowed to wear nicknames on the backs of their jerseys, among other things.Without further ado, here are my 10 favorite nicknames in baseball history. Disclaimer: As a New England native, a lot of subjectivity went into the creation of this list, which may have caused me to skip over a few players who have worn pinstripes. Agree? Disagree? Tweet me @BigRickMorin with some of your all-time favorites.As baseball attempts to remedy its pace-of-play issues, it should thank the heavens that Mike Hargrove is no longer playing. Younger fans might remember Nomar Garciaparra taking forever in between pitches, but Hargrove was even worse. Adjusting his batting gloves three-to-four times between each pitch, stepping back in the box one leg at a time, pinwheeling the bat over and over before finally readying himself for the next pitch. Oh, yeah, Hargrove would be on Rob Manfred's most-wanted list.Speaking of good fits, this one pretty much sums up what Frank Thomas did to opposing pitchers. Given to him by a guy with a pretty good nickname himself, Ken "Hawk" Harrelson, Thomas spent 19 years of his life putting the big hurt on the American League.This one sticks with me after Shane Victorino helped the Red Sox to a World Series title in 2013. Like Griffey, he always brought huge amounts of energy to the game — so for his nickname to encapsulate both that and his heritage makes him a no-brainer Continue Reading

We owe a lot to Babe Ruth, the Sultan of Swat who saved America’s game

In this season when baseball was severely smudged by unthinking, greedy ballplayers who put illegal junk into their bodies so they could whack more home runs, we look to a positive symbol. It's Thanksgiving week, so it's fitting that we thank the the hard-working, honest ballplayer. With this in mind, I'll choose just one player who encompasses all the good and fun in baseball. I'm thinking of this one man who actually saved the game some years ago. The man came along when baseball stumbled into such a deep hole that it needed the strong and heavy hand of this man to pull it up again. I would suggest that today we who love baseball give thanks to this man with that big mitt. We give thanks to Babe Ruth. Yes, call him the savior of our game - it's been documented. Babe Ruth was always given credit for saving baseball, something he didn't realize, of course. Ruth saved it by playing the game like only he could in his time. "I love the game of baseball," he would say many times. "It's such a grand, structured game like no other that it's indestructible." In 1919, Arnold Rothstein, a popular and brilliant New York sports fixer, manipulator and goniff, almost destroyed baseball when he took on the unheard of task of fixing the World Series. He was looking to commit the "perfect crime" and the sleaze pretty nearly got away with it. The Chicago White Sox were in the World Series against the NL's Cincinnati Reds. All the writers were writing stories about how it would be a cinch series for Chicago. When the best-of-nine series was won by the Reds, five games to three, baseball fans started to wonder. It was a dastardly crime committed by ballplayers for money. The culprits got away with it for a year, and had it not been for one or two of the players bragging about how they "put it over" on the newspapermen and fans alike, the subject would've evaporated in the winds. In 1920, everything exploded in headlines such as "Series Thrown!" Continue Reading


Here is one of Barry Bonds' lawyers, a woman named Alison Berry Wilkinson, arguing in San Francisco County Superior Court on Friday afternoon, acting as if the whole world is as thick as her client, not just the judge in front of her. "We are seeking to have the credibility and integrity of the grand jury proceeding restored," Alison Berry Wilkinson says. She wants the credibility and integrity of the grand jury restored? We want the credibility and integrity of the baseball record books restored, and somehow protected from the likes of Barry Bonds, a Bonds we now read all about in a new book. According to the authors of the book, "Game of Shadows," Bonds is not just the third most prolific home run hitter in baseball history, he is as prolific a steroid junkie as the game has ever known. That Bonds is the one who got booed out of San Francisco County Superior Court the way he will get booed out of ballparks all over baseball this season. Barry Bonds really does think everybody is as thick as he is, thick in body, thick in head. Everybody told him to sue if he is some sort of victim of this book, if Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams have libeled him. But he does not sue for libel, because he knows he cannot win a libel suit, now or ever. So he sues - and these words come from the lawyers and the judge - for the "disgorgement of any profits related to or derived from the publication and distribution of the book." Bonds says he wants the royalties from the book frozen. We want his home run totals frozen. Jump ball. He wants a restraining order against Fainaru-Wada and Williams? People who care about the game, who don't look like yahoos who still go into the tank for this guy, like sportswriters who think defending him will somehow draw attention to their own thick-headed views, want a restraining order against Bonds, more of an enemy to the record books than Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, combined. He is more than arrogant with all this. More than a Continue Reading


Brian Cashman and Omar Minaya can only dream about scouting and signing a pitcher of Christy Mathewson's caliber. The six-foot Bucknell University grad had matinee idol looks, a devastating screwball and - something lacking in modern-day pitching - incredible durability. The New York Giants righthander won no fewer than 22 games for 14 - yes, 14 - consecutive seasons (1903-1914) and had four seasons of at least 30 wins. Nicknamed "Big Six," Mathewson finished with 434 complete games (in 551 games started) in his 17-year Hall of Fame career - over three times as many as Roger Clemens (118). Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan has 222 complete games in 773 starts. Mathewson pitched in four Giants' World Series appearances but won only one ring in the 1905 five-game victory against the Connie Mack-managed Philadelphia Athletics. Mathewson won all three games he started vs. the A's, whiffing 18 and walking one in 27 innings of work. Mathewson was traded from the Giants to the Reds midway through the 1916 season and retired after that year at age 35. Less than a decade later, Mathewson was dead, the victim of tuberculosis he contracted from exposure to mustard gas during a training mission overseas. He had enlisted in the Army near the end of World War I. Mathewson is tied for third on the career wins list with Pete Alexander (373), trailing only Walter (Big Train) Johnson (417) and Cy Young (511). Mathewson was one of the five players in the Hall of Fame's inaugural class of 1936, joining Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb and Johnson. Career highlights Finishes with a career-best 37 wins against 11 losses (1.43 ERA) in the 1908 season, but the Giants finish in third place. Mathewson pitches a complete-game, five-hit shutout in the 1905 Series clincher against the A's, striking out four and walking none. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Fred ‘Chicken’ Stanley, former Yankees infielder, now Giants special assistant

Fred Stanley didn’t even realize he had made the pun. But the ex-Yankee, in explaining why he took a lesser executive role with the San Francisco Giants a few years ago, offered this as one reason: “I’m not a spring chicken anymore.” Get it? Stanley, the former Yankee infielder who forged a 14-year career in the majors, was famously nicknamed “Chicken” at the beginning of his career. “It started out as ‘chicken wing,’” recalls Stanley. “I didn’t look like Arnold Schwarzenegger coming out of high school. I was thin and lanky. I couldn’t gain weight.” MCCARRON: HERO OF '78 WORLD SERIES NOT LETTING PARKINSON'S STOP HIM Stanley was drafted by the Astros and was in the instructional league with them and the Phillies’ team was working at the same Florida site. “Del Unser said I looked like a chicken wing,” Stanley says. “It just kind of became ‘Chicken.’ I’d goof around, too, walking around like a chicken. You’re 19 years old – it wasn’t something profound. “They told me I ran funny, too, like a chicken. I thought I ran fine.” “Chicken” Stanley has run all the way to a 49-year career in baseball as a player, coach and executive. He was the Giants’ director of player development, helping produce some of the players who have delivered three World Series titles in the last five seasons. He’s now a special assistant for the Giants. He still has plenty to do for the Giants, evaluating the club’s system by visiting each of the seven minor-league teams. “I report back to (GM) Bobby Evans, give him a summary of what I saw, write reports and evaluations of what I see, the potential,” Stanley says. “They’ll ask, 'Are these guys you’d trade? Who is untouchable?’ That type of information.” But he wanted to leave behind the Continue Reading

NYCFC grabs the soccer spotlight with home opener at Yankee Stadium vs. Revolution

Ready or not, here they stumble. NYCFC, a newborn MLS team still without a nickname or its English superstar, opens the inaugural home season Sunday at Yankee Stadium, which has an even newer-born, makeshift grass field. It may be a big mess out there in the Bronx, cleats flinging clods of wet sod in every direction. But in the end, it’s a start. This match against the New England Revolution will be a notable sports event in New York, what striker David Villa is calling, “a big party for the city, for the club.” A crowd greater than 40,000, close to a sellout, is expected to fill a building that is clearly not built for soccer. The seats will be too far from the field, which will be too narrow for much wing play from attacking midfielders. Still, this is a famous place, land of Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter and (nobody’s perfect) Alex Rodriguez. Even the NYC’ers who did not always revere the interlocking N-Y can appreciate the ambience. “Growing up in Norway, they don’t show a lot of baseball in Europe, though they call it the World Series,” said Mix Diskerud, who scored the sole goal for NYCFC during its draw last weekend in Orlando. “But it has so much history, it doesn’t matter if it’s a soccer stadium or not. We’ll be making history.” The logistics of these last few days have been difficult for coach Jason Kreis, to say the least. The grass practice field at SUNY-Purchase, where the club plans to practice, has been unplayable due to the snow. Instead, NYCFC practiced Wednesday on a turf field at the same college. The players then moved Thursday at a private school in Tarrytown, which has a better turf field. The team hasn’t run on a grass field, however, since leaving Florida. “I have no idea what it means to have a pristine of surfaces,” Kreis said. So what can we expect from them? In the opener against Orlando, Continue Reading

Alex Rodriguez’s absence from ‘Sandlot’ video shows Yankees are selling next stars

Anyone else wondering why Alex Rodriguez did not perform in the Yankees’recent video re-enactment of the Babe Ruth scene from the 1993 movie “The Sandlot?” Well as Jack Woltz, the big-shot studio boss in “The Godfather,” might say: “You don’t understand. A-Rod never gets that movie. That part is perfect for him.” Indeed. An appearance by Rodriguez in the video would be tantamount to Yankees brass giving him their true stamp of approval and officially welcoming him back into the fold as a member in good standing. It would also further soften Rodriguez’s tainted image, placing him smack in the middle of a singular group of players the organization has left to market. Seriously, as cute and fun as this video is, it shows the direction and lengths Bombers brass must go to sell players like CC Sabathia, Didi Gregorius, Dellin Betances, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Brett Gardner. We are a long way from the Joe Torre years. The Yankees were once a mixture of the Core Four, high-priced superstar free agents and other assorted homegrown heroes. That’s how the pinstriped fortress was constructed. Ticket sales and TV ratings were not a problem. The reality now is the Yankees are a team in transition. The glitz is gone. See, it’s doubtful any current players are going to be seen, like Derek Jeter was, in national TV commercials providing huge exposure for him and the team. RELATED: A-ROD MAKES AT 1B FOR YANKEES: 'IT WAS PRETTY COOL' This means going in another direction to sell individual players to potential ticket buyers and viewers. Instead of just relying on the hard sell — only featuring pure baseball video, interviews, etc. — the producers of the “Sandlot” video showed these guys in a different light. They are doing some acting, having a lot of fun, showing plenty of personality. The Continue Reading