Posted by: furmanbisher | November 20, 2011

Cleaning Out the Closet

—-This is, of course, a reflection of my vintage, but it strikes me as being totally sinful that the Rookie of the Year in the National League is a pitcher who played only one  inning at a time. True indeed, that Casey Kimbrel played his part in the Braves’ charge toward the National League pennant, but consider where they might have finished without Freddie Freeman’s daily appearance at first base. This “closer” thing has become a baseball disease.  Freeman was in the lineup every day, with a .282 batting average, 76 RBI—only Dan Uggla drove in more — 21 home runs, 32 doubles and a bulwark of defense at first base. Kimbrel—an inning at a time, nicely done. I’m repeating myself, I know, but I never have, and never will cast my Hall of Fame vote for a “closer.”  Never.

—-The horse racing class is making another pass at parimutuel betting in Georgia, and this time they’ve come to the state with a team of thoroughbreds in the lead. Bill  Farish and Nick Nicholson,  a leading  breeder and the president of Keeneland race track, both have been here making their pitch. But, as in the case of Zell Miller and his days as governor, they ran into a cold rejection by Gov. Nathan Deal. The thoroughbreds, we love ’em, but there’s no heart for betting windows to gamble on them in Georgia.

—-That  brings to mind the day Fred Hooper celebrated his 100th birthday—or had it celebrated for him. One of the classic gentlemen of horse racing, a native of Georgia in fact, out of White County. The morning after his party, I dropped by his farm outside Ocala to call on him. His secretary told us Fred was out in the pasture with his farm  manager.

“This early in the day?” I said.

“Yes,” the lady said, “he and his farm manager are working on their five-year plan.”

One hundred years old and planning five years ahead. Horse people do live a long and busy life.

—-Tell you one thing, you’ll never see another World Series game like Game 6 of the last one. Write it down: Next World Series, I want the white towel concession—or yellow, or whatever color…..

—–Advice from the former basketball coaching guru, Bob Knight: “Never recruit a player from a three-car garage family.”




  1. Mr B.
    I’ll have to say that I am in agreement with your comments about a ‘closer’ getting ‘Rookie of the Year:” Shoot, nowadays if a major league pitcher goes ‘nine’ it is a newsworthy event !
    Re your words on this fall’s WS, won by the Cardinals. The final game was indeed a good one…..I’ve seen many over the years…but none quite like the ’60 game 7 won by Danny Murtaugh and his overmatched lads at Pittsburg. Allow me to conger up a few schoolboy memories. ‘Course, the series was played during daylight hours back then, just as the good Lord had intended.
    The pirates were outscored 55 to 27 in that series…..outhit .338 to .256….out-homered 10 to 4. (Pirates got 3 of their 4 in game 7) Whitey Ford threw 2 complete shut outs for the Bombers. Names like Stengel, Maris, Howard, Kubek, Mantle, Skowron, Richardson, Terry, and Berra, were outfitted in pinstripes. (Maris would grab the 1960 AL MVP award that season)
    On the other side were Groat, Clemente, Face, Friend, Virdon, Mazeroski, Hoak, Law, backstop Smokey Burgess, and Hapless Harvey Haddix…winner of that fateful game 7. (Pitcher ‘Vinegar Bend’ Mizell added ‘flavor ‘ to the Bucks staff….)
    The day before game 7, the Yanks had creamed Pittsburg 12- zip at Forbes. Betting men would no doubt lose millions on the outcome of game 7 the next day…don’t ‘cha think ?
    Game 7 will forever be remembered for the dinger that Maz sent over the left fiels wall to win the game that the Yanks had tied in the 8th. Bedlam ensued.
    As an 11 year old Crackers fan watching on our old B/W Motorola in our surbaban Atlanta living room, I cheered too. The NY dragon (at least for a season) had been slayed.
    But that game 7 has one other distinction, if my memory hasn’t completely failed me yet… all of Major League playoff history, it is the only game in which niether team recorded a strike out. Is that correct?
    Thanks for letting me ramble….the World Series always does that to me. Hey, did ya see where MLB wants to add yet MORE teams to the play-off mix…..? As the great Charlie Brown might say,,,,Good Grief !
    Greg H.
    Richmond Va

  2. Have to agree with you about “closers”. How many times have you seen a guy pitching well and getting people out in the 8th, only to be pulled so the “closer” can come in and get a save? Often it results in the “closer” blowing the game or getting himself into a jam and almost blowing the game. Over-managing is killing baseball, in my opinion. If a guy is pitching well, why run the risk of the unknown, when even the best pitcher you bring in, might not have his stuff today?

    I’m not a Braves fan but if I’d had a ROY vote, mine would’ve been for Freeman.

  3. Craig, not Casey, Kimbrel

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