Box Score

Kevin Varrone
05.05.13

Hi Eephus-leaguers, this is a free iPad app version of a book of poems I wrote about baseball, Philadelphia, and the Eephus. It features collages by artist Randel Plowman and recordings by a slew of contemporary writers. If you like art and poetry, please check it out.

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I wanted to make sure everyone saw this lovely letterpress print by Jeremy Reiss. It’s a continuation of his Diamond Dictionary series, and this one focuses on pitching lingo. I’m particularly fond of the Backdoor illustration.

See more photos and get your own here!

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I stumbled across this on Tumblr and then found the store where you can buy it and several other cool prints.

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You guy HAVE to check out this animated Baseball Graphic Novel that Ryan Woodward is creating. It’s gorgeous!

03.06.12
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Chicago Tribune urging restraint. This feature is an occasional comic that lists rules for sports fans. It always ends with a ‘Don’t Be That Guy’ frame. I fear that this time, I might be that guy, as I suspect many of the Eephus League faithful are. Score on, ladies and gentlemen, score on.

02.18.12
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As pitchers and catchers get ready to report, enjoy this lovely poem by Jack Buck.

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I was sent this wonderful letterpress poster by its creator, Jeremy Reiss, a few days ago, and wanted to share it with you guys. It’s a great illustrative look at some of the more colorful pieces of baseball slang. It’s a letterpressed poster, and you can get one here. It’s always a pleasure to see such beautiful baseball related work, and to see it executed so well is a treat. Great work, Jeremy!

In honor of the 107th World Series…World Series Timeline

I found this article while looking for the origins of the phrase “in your kitchen”

Dirt Dogs & Jinegar: Baseball’s Slang

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Stumbled across some really neat work for the Victory League, a project from NeuArmy. It’s a lot of fun to see other designers taking advantage for the LOC’s baseball photo archive. I can’t wait for the chance to buy the booklet they are producing.

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Eric Swartzwelder was kind enough to point this out to me a few moments ago. Looks familiar, doesn’t it? It’s so hard to place where I’ve seen this before…. Oh yes, that’s right, it looks an awful lot like my work, doesn’t it? Well the funny thing is that it’s most definitely not my work. We all look to pieces of design and try to evoke the same emotions, but using the same photo treatment, arrangements and typeface MIGHT be taking it into the “ripping off” territory. I hope this was a personal project by Mr. Mitchell, otherwise his client might not be pleased to know he was paying for him to let someone else do the heavy lifting.

You can see the post here.

jspong:

A brash, tough-talking Texan who spent her life hurdling obstacles placed in her way by chauvinistic sports fans, sexist reporters and class-conscious golfers, Didrikson often showed up in the clubhouse before a golf tournament and bellowed to her female competitors: “The Babe’s here! Who is going to finish second?”

from “Babe Didrikson Zaharias’s Legacy Fades,” by Don Van Notta, Jr., New York Times.

The Baseball Cliche Narrative:

Emma Span, clearly doing God’s work, has taken two weeks worth of clever and insightful* postgame quotes and assembled them into an actual baseball narrative. 

It’s genius. 

*Such a thing does not exist

(h/t HBT)

IT WAS A CROWNING achievement in a life perhaps not altogether rich with athletic triumph. I stood on the mound—well, the tar spot on the parking lot that served as our mound—facing down my adversary, Flynny. The close game had built to this moment, the two of us having, for several hours, polluted the sultry neighborhood air with trash talk and profanity, and I had pulled ahead with a long home run in the last inning. This was sudden death now. By our rules, each btter got two strikes or six balls. Flynny had two outs and a strike against him. I reared back and submarined a screwball that hissed as it skimmed a hair’s breadth above the asphalt before suddenly cutting up and in. Flynny swung and missed, which would have been enough for me, but the

Despite playing during the time when baseball was perfect for me (defined by Bill James as that time when you are ten years old), I have no recollection of Jeff King. Even the internet seems to agree because there seems to be only two non-baseball card photo of Jeff King available even though he sports an enviable mustache. Here’s the less popular one:

(Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images)

It turns out that it is all for a good reason: Jeff King hated playing baseball. From Joe Posnanski’s piece over at Pitchers and Poets for their 1990s First Basemen Week:

“I’m not kidding about how much he disliked the game. His manager in Kansas City, Tony Muser, used to tell a story about how he heard King moaning one day about the National Anthem. Muser, a former Marine,

This is not the headline to an Onion article, this is something that Ron Washington actually did.

From the MLB.com article:

“While watching Kramer and Costanza late on Monday night, the Rangers’ manager pulled out a sheet of paper and completely overturned his roster, putting Julio Borbon in the leadoff spot and Michael Young in the cleanup spot for the first time in his career in an effort to ignite the sputtering offense.

Ian Kinsler batted third on Tuesday after leading off in all 34 of his starts. Slumping third baseman Adrian Beltre was dropped to the No. 6 spot, and Mitch Moreland was moved up to fifth. David Murphy, Mike Napoli and Craig Gentry rounded up the lineup, with shortstop Elvis Andrus staying in his regular No. 2 spot.”

No word on what particular episode…

First Francisco Liriano tosses a no-hitter. Today, four days later Justin Verlander tosses his own giving up only one walk. Looks like it could be another great year for pitchers.

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Thanks to the always amazing OldTimeFamilyBaseball, I found the amazing work of InfoJocks. They make incredible infographics, posters and illustrations based around sports. The amount of care and detail in these things are incredible, you need to check out their tumblr as well as their shop.

Some guys respond really well to pressure. Take Francisco Liriano of the Minnesota Twins who had been fighting to stay in the starting rotation. What does he do? Throw a no-hitter, of course. Congratulations to Liriano for showing he’s got what it takes to be a big league starter.

I have yet to read or see Game of Thrones, but I imagine it’s similar to how R.A. Dickey names his bats:

“His bats have no stickers. He writes his number, 43, in black ink in the middle, with a name curled around it.

One bat is called Orcrist the Goblin Cleaver and the other is Hrunting. Dickey, an avid reader, said that Orcrist came from “The Hobbit.” Hrunting — the H is silent, Dickey said — came from the epic poem “Beowulf”; it is the sword Beowulf uses to slay Grendel’s mother.”

So, MLB Network, when are you going to start production on your baseball meets fantasy epic?

Both the Padres and Nationals will pay tribute to the military tonight.

Both events are very appropriately timed.

Does it ever make sense for pitchers who get ahead in the count 0-2 to waste pitches? The answer may surprise you.

thetenssf:

Dia de los Gigantes

I’m not sure if its from the same designer and store, but according to Unnecessary Umlaut, John Hersey is the designer and the shirt can be purchased from Heebe Jeebe in Petaluma, CA. Is this a common design near AT&T ballpark? Are there thousands of ripoffs? What say you, Bay Area-ers? 

The wonderful folks at Pitchers Hit 8th are giving away an Eephus League scorebook for the best christening suggestion for their new podcast. So stop in, listen to the awesome banter, and submit your idea!

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It’s good to see commercials that nod to the history of an organization. If Berkman keeps it up, we’ll retire his number after just one season in red.

Today, the Toledo Mud Hens made history in their home opener by scheduling the first season-opening double header in professional baseball.

Go Mud Hens!

I doubt Carlos Santana had any idea he would end up starting a triple play in his major league debut at first base but that’s exactly what he did in the Indians’ victory over the White Sox on April 3rd. Video available at the link.

A new, wonderful scorekeeping-centric blog was launched today by Mark Niesse and Erin McClam. It’s called Squaretender, and it’s going to be awesome. They’ve got a great, detailed guide on how to keep score, their own scorecard design you can download and print out, and will highlight sterling examples of the art of scorekeeping.

03.28.11

Driving to work this morning, I heard this interesting story about the cost of attendance at Cubs and Sox games. The last 4 points about saving at the ball park are probably universal.

Miners to Majors: The Road to The Show is a fictitious baseball blog that I’m writing that follows Paul Miner, an up-and-coming 18 year old starting pitcher in the Tampa Bay Rays farm system on a trek to achieve his dream to play in the majors. I use MLB 11: The Show’s Road to The Show game option as the backdrop to my adventures.

I’m a huge baseball fan and a huge video gamer. When baseball season comes around, there’s only one baseball game to get: Sony’s MLB: The Show series. I specifically bought a Playstation 3, a $300+ game system, just to play this game. It’s that good and I’m that crazy a baseball fan.

In this game, among its many great offerings, they have a game option called The Road to The Show, where you can create-a-player at…

My 14-year-old daughter Kei is on a mission. She wants to be the first female General Manager for the Chicago Cubs.

Does she have potential? Well, why not?

She criticizes trades openly. When I applaud the proper delivery of a grounder to 3rd by Aramis Ramirez, she snickers and says “well, good job…that’s what we pay you $8 million a year to do.” Like most Cub fans, she is more than cynical about the operations-side of baseball, as in ‘this ain’t working, no ring or trophy yet.’

I’m doing my best to raise her right.

Last week, she blurts out “I am going to be a baseball blogger!”

…OK. Well, why not?

A couple of days ago, she launched her very own blog: “Future General Manager.” And hey, it’s not bad at all. First step towards her mission?…

21: The Story of Roberto Clemente will be released by Fantagraphics on April 12.

Great news. This book has been delayed for two years.

(More art from 21: Publishers Weekly)

“We thought that he was running faster, but that just meant that he was chasing the balls he missed faster.”

— Ron Gardenhire, the human quote machine, on the bulkier Delmon Young that has reported to camp

Gardenhire already got himself a fancy new t-shirt with his bard-like wit, but what now? A development deal with CBS? A talk radio program on NPR? While Ron Gardenhire is a great manager, part of me can’t wait for him to retire and move into color commentary. 

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The almighty Jeff Polman (the genius behind Play That Funky Baseball) has begun a new blast from the past blog. It’s called The Bragging Rights League, and it’s set in the 1940′s. Jeff’s style and humor are so unique, you have to add this to your daily reading list.

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Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog sent me a link to these gorgeous baseball desktop designs based on historical images.

One of Greg Maddux’s high school scouting reports. I wonder how often players that were valued as possibly “the number 1 player in the country” end up far exceeding that valuation. It’s also interesting that the Cubs used a 1-10 ranking system, rather than the much more common 20-80 scouting scale.

Click through to view a second report on The Professor.

(via Reddit)


yourdailyread:

The Kyle Farnsworth-Paul Wilson fight video. What we all need to start the 2011 baseball season right.

The rarest of all rare occurrences: the pitcher fight.


Just like it says on the back of the card:

On 9-26-93, Bo [Jackson] was chased from the batter’s box to the dugout by a bee.

But that’s not how the story ends. Head over to The Baseball Card Blog to see who ultimately won the battle between bee and bat.

02.23.11
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Ultimate Mets Database has the scorecard for every Mets game ever played, including the one here which includes a series of plays that will be very familiar to Eephus Leaguers.

anthonyscaramuzzi:

Major League Baseball Uniform LetteringType Specimen After witnessing over 1,000 major league baseball games, I was always curious as to what typeface was used for the lettering on the back of the jerseys. I had no such luck in finding the typeface, so I decided to recreate it. 

I’m slobbering a little.


RA Dickey to Write a Book:

From the New York Times:

“Dickey said the book would include many accounts of which he is not necessarily proud, as in how as an adult with two children he almost drowned in the Missouri River over a foolish wager. He will chronicle how, while pitching in the minor leagues, he missed the birth of his third child, who arrived early. Dickey listened on the phone as his wife described the Caesarean section birth, then took the mound minutes later and threw a complete-game victory…

An English literature major at Tennessee, Dickey said he began keeping a journal about five years ago and wrote mostly in small notebooks, often in hotel rooms before and after games. Putting it all together in a book was on his mind for some time,

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This site has a wonderful collection of old baseball photographs available for purchase, if you feel like dropping over $400 for a photo. Regardless of the price, the images are outstanding and it’s definitely worth your time to hunt through the archive. Definitely check out the SPORT Magazine cover archive as well.

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Patrick sent me this AWESOME link that showcases the different World Series rings. It’s fascinating to see how ring fashions have evolved. I love this ring from 1929, when the Philedelphia Athletics beat the Cubs 4 games to 1. The ring features their trademark elephant (why any elephant? That’s research for this afternoon). Awesome.

How Weather, Altitude, and Velocity Affect the Curveball:

If you’re going to visit one interactive NASA database that concerns itself with the physics of baseball, make it this one.

I’m hoping that I can Weird Science into existence a pitcher who throws a 30 mph curveball with 1,960 RPM of spin on it because, sister, that guy would be unhittable. Until he blew out his eight pitches into his career because man is not intended to spit in the face of the gods like that.

(h/t Reddit)

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I absolutely love this. Great name, great packaging, great product. If you need to get some baseballs to toss around, make it a Sack O’ Taters!

Buster Olney passes along word from an unnamed AL source:

“CC Sabathia has lost 30 pounds this winter and looks great. He has done this to aid with past knee trouble.

In unrelated news, Little Debbie Snackcakes reported a 15% sales decrease in the last quarter. 

While CC Sabathia still has a long way to go before we start confusing him with Aroldis Chapman, it is probably the best thing for his career longevity. Sabathia carries his weight better than most, and is just naturally a beast of a man, but this should hopefully preclude him from a David Wells-with-the-gout fade to his playing days.  It does give me one less excuse to eat an entire bag of potato chips while watching baseball, however. (h/t Hardball Talk)

One of the wonderful readers of the Eephus League is a Cubs fan who goes by the handle yoshiki89. Stevo-sama keeps score for every baseball game he watches, then he posts them on his site. The site is an incredible look into one fan’s perspective of baseball and scorekeeping. The amount of dedication and love it takes to keep score this consistently, and then post about it online, is remarkable. I love Stevo-sama’s clean and precise way of keeping score, be sure to look over the scorecards and see how he uses straight lines to denote line drive hits, and arches to signal a looping drive.

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This is every fan’s dream, right? Choosing between three excellent throwback options for your team to sport the following season? My vote goes to the 1931 uniform, for it’s lovely baby blue color and the delicious stirrup socks.

Further analysis to come tomorrow, because I am fascinated by the differences of these three sets.

A note from queasyundergrad: Hey there. Your post on scorekeeping reminded me of a recent talk at Interesting North on baseball scorecards and digital design. An interesting connection to make.

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This is interesting. Using historical, personal, and quirky examples of baseball scorecards, graphic designer Stefanie Posavec explains how scoring games as a young girl influenced her data-capture approach to digital design.

Thanks for passing along the link, Queasy!

Bethany’s Note A kindred spirit!!!! Thanks for sharing, mightyflynn!

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Did you know that walking on the wrong patch of Kentucky Bluegrass can get you fired? Back in March, 2000 three Detriot Tiger employees were fired for walking on the freshly laid sod at Comerica Park. Note that this is just a few weeks before games were to be played on the field. Growing turf in ballparks is serious business!

Today, NotGraphs introduced us to the wonderful paintings done by Derek Erdman, heretofore referred to as ‘My Hero’. His paintings cover a wide spectrum of topics, but for the baseball minded, you can pick up a Magnum PI in Tigers cap, if you so choose:

Or, perhaps you’re a Baltimorian and you’ve got a hankering for some Terry Crowley, whose legendary swing resulted in 42 career home runs. It can be yours for only $250:

 

But art is also that which can elevate the senses and stimulate the mind in new and spectacular ways. Derek Erdman provides that with his classic Mo Vaughn Rides a Hobby Horse. Naturally, this one is not for sale as there is not enough money in all the banks of the world to pay for such a piece:

I…

If you’re a sucker for old baseball images and analysis, then you need to check out 19th Century Baseball. The site breaks down the original rules of baseball, the field, positions, equipment and uniforms. You can also buy vintage-style baseballs and bases and start your own 19th century baseball league! It’s a really fun and informative site that has plenty of great images to bring the origins of the game to life.

The Great 1965 Topps Project is an ambitious endeavor by Orioles fan Kevin. Since 2007, Kevin has been trading for and collecting 1965 Topps cards, and featuring them one by one on his blog. He’s nearly collected an entire set! When he features a card he gives a wonderful breakdown of the image on the card and the player himself. Kevin picked a wonderful set to base his project around and I wish him the best of luck in completing the set!

Via The Chicago Tribune:

“Give the Red Sox credit for taking no chances. Their $142 million deal with Carl Crawford includes a clause that prohibits any team he’s traded to from then trading him to the Yankees. They rarely give no-trade clauses, and in Crawford’s case allowed him to block trades to only two teams.”

Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I feel confident that something like this has never happened before, and is probably impossible to enforce. Can a contract really stipulate what one team can do with a player once they’re on the payroll?

Still, any team that ever wants to trade with the Red Sox in the future would be wise to heed their warning, and not begin baseball’s version of a nuclear holocaust.

Stephen Strasburg Attempts to Quit Smokeless Tobacco:

While I applaud Strasburg’s efforts because it’s the less disgusting and healthier choice, here comes the really sobering information from the Washington Post:

“Major League Baseball has urged players to not use it when on camera. Since 1993, all tobacco products have been banned in the minor leagues on fields, in clubhouses and during team travel. It’s also banned in college and in every significant amateur association.

And yet, experts say, the usage among major league players has remained steady. Roughly 33 percent of major league players, Connolly said, use some form of smokeless tobacco, a rate that has remained stagnant. More dispiriting, its use has risen among young males. The only significant increase of any tobacco product over the last five years, according to Connolly and other advocates,

From ESPN, via Rob Neyer

The Minnesota Twins will take down the pine trees behind center field wall. Hitters complained the trees made it difficult for them to pick up the ball out of the pitcher’s hand.

The 14 trees swaying in the wind, and the shadows they cast, led several hitters from the Twins and other teams to voice their displeasure.

 Twins President Dave St. Peter says the team is still trying to determine what to do with the trees. Relocating them inside the ballpark is a possibility. The team will also install a material on the batter’s backdrop that cuts down the glare during afternoon games.”

My opinion essentially echoes Neyer’s, but when did the hitters get to dictate every facet of a Major League stadium? Must every team’s center field be covered only…

I’m falling in love with 11th and Washington. The writing is superb and there’s a ton of it. Topics include players who have gone from Notre Dame into the Majors, Ballcap insignia musings and some great and in-depth analysis on teams and players. And that’s just what I’ve gathered from the first few pages, the archives of the site go all the way back to 2004!

In addition to Bethany’s fabulous stat section, the brand new FanGraphs Sabermetrics Library is an amazing resource for all your statistical inquiries. It even has a link to a wOBA calculator!

http://www.fangraphs.com/library/

James. K. Skipper Jr. is probably my favorite person in the world. If you visit the SABR Research Journal archives, you can find several wonderful pieces written by him about one very specific thing: Baseball nicknames. He also wrote an incredible book chronicling baseball player, manager and umpire nicknames, and how they got them. I have checked this book out from my library countless times as I am unable to find a copy for myself. The amount of time, love and research Mr. Skipper put into his fascination is mind-boggling, and I count myself lucky that I have the opportunity to sort through it every day.

Funkyball is a brilliant effort to recreate the 1977 season in blog form. The commentary is hilarious and the game recaps are perfect. Nothing I say can do the site justice, you’ll just have to visit and read for yourself!

Chitwood & Hobbs is a brand new blog “dedicated to the intersection of sports and culture.” It’s a very nice looking site and I love the content they have so far, and I’m excited to watch the site grow. Bookmark it and keep an eye on it, I’ve got a feeling you don’t want to miss anything they are going to post.

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This is the best blog on the topic. If the topic is the many mustaches of baseball. Mr. Wagner classifies the ‘stache, and gives a (usually) random tidbit about it’s owner.

Tell your friends. Mustaches & Baseball

Players Who Out-WARed Their Entire Teams:

As a Pirates fan, this FanGraphs article hits close to home with the discovery that Andrew McCutchen was the first player since 2007 to out-WAR his team, posting a 3.3 WAR while the rest of the club combined for a 2.7 mark. It must make for some interesting bragging rights as McCutchen can now say to new manager Clint Hurdle, “Pencil me in to play all nine positions and we’ll be a better team.” 

Click through to read the full article that features plenty of highlights like the fact that the legendary Robert Fick was the better than the entire train wreck that was the 2002 Tigers. 

01.22.11

I love Joe Posnanski’s writing, one of my favorite baseball writers. These two posts are as good as it gets!

Trading 500 for 325


Trading Walks for Hits

Mighty Flynn’s tumblr has become an oasis in my daily ritual. It’s always populated with wonderful baseball imagery and insights and never fails to bring a smile to my face.

The Onion: Prince Fielder Explains Complexities Of Salary Arbitration Using Cheeseburgers:

Never before has salary arbitration been broken down into a system I can understand.

“So this cheeseburger is the player, this one is the ball club, and either can submit a dispute over a salary if the player has at least three but no more than six cheeseburger years of service. For our purposes today, we’ll say six cheeseburgers,” Fielder said while holding up a cheeseburger in each hand, gesturing toward two cheeseburger stacks, and eating three more cheeseburgers. “Now, the arbitrator cheeseburger’s decision is binding and determines the number of cheeseburgers for compensation. He could determine that the player deserves six, eight, or 10 cheeseburgers, which I will now eat. “

“I’m gonna need about 65 more cheeseburgers over here,” Fielder added.

Click through for

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dbish has sent me yet another fantastic link, coming from the Brooklyn Museum, which is doing an exhibition of Norman Rockwell’s paintings that were based off photographs. Rockwell photographed Cubs and Boston Braves fans in Boston as reference for a Saturday Evening poster cover he painted. Rockwell was predominantly an oil painter, so it’s significant that this piece was done in watercolor.

I just love the stirrups the bat boy is wearing, and I’d never noticed the arching line under the lettering on a Cubs jersey before. The first instance of it I’m seeing on Dressed to the Nines is 1937. The arching underline was only on the road jersey. The painting was done in 1947, right in the middle of the lifespan of that look, which was retired after 1956.

The message to take away from…

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One of my favorite aspects of researching scorebook designs is coming across makeshift scoresheets. Some poor fan finds himself at a game and has no official means to document it with, so he grabs a nearby scrap of paper or notepad and makes it work. My friend Nick Sherman (a fellow historical typography nerd) showed me this blog from Columbia University Libraries that has images of William Archibald Dunning’s makeshift scorebook. In 1870, when he was a young man, Dunning converted a bankbook into a scorecard for tracking baseball games.

The book is not only a fascinating look at the ingenuity of a 13 year-old boy, it also depicts a wildly different game than we see today. There is one column per inning, each dot represents a run scored, and the numbers are for the outs (1…

An Eephus League reader was kind enough to share this site with me (thanks Mr. Vogel!) Bugs & Cranks is a great place to go for quality baseball writing. The writers are clever and funny and I’m always surprised by the subjects they write about.

Jersey Name Frame is a great service that allows you to get a custom-made framed jersey lettering with a variety of color and typeface options. They offer vertical arching for the name! How can you turn that down? I also really love the customized wedding vest and table number services they offer as well.

One of the greatest aspects of starting this site has been meeting baseball fans who share my love of the minute and absurd facets of the game. Old Time Family Baseball is a tumblr that features quotes, images and links to things you won’t find at most baseball sites. There is a lot of great baseball analysis in there as well, if you like meat on your daily baseball sandwich. A wonderful source for info, imagery and humor, Old Time Family Baseball is a site you’ve got to visit at least once a day.

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A Continuous Lean has a wonderful writeup memorializing Bob Feller, who passed away December 15th, 2010. Feller played his entire career for the Cleveland Indians and gave up the chance to play in his prime when he joined the U.S. Navy to fight in WW2. He was a remarkable player and a remarkable man.

Image retrieved from the Dennis Goldstein collection


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