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You may know Joe Nuxhall's name as the youngest person ever to play major league baseball -- as a wartime replacement player in 1944 at the age of 15 years, 10 months, 11 days.

You may even know his name as that of a two-time All-Star pitcher in the 1950s and winner of 135 big league games -- sort of a left-handed Rick Wise.

Me? I'll always remember the sound of Nuxy's voice ...

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Phil Rizzuto, known as "The Scooter," died this morning. Rizzuto was the oldest living Hall of Famer; he played for the Yankees throughout the 1940s and 1950s, won seven World Series rings and played in five All-Star games. He had been in declining health for several years and was living at a nursing home in West Orange, N.J.

He is also believed to be the only member of Baseball's Hall of Fame to perform on a best-selling album, as a voice in "Paradise By the Dashboard Light" on Meatloaf's Bat out of Hell album.

Holy cow, Scooter, you'll be missed in Batter's Boxes all around North America.

All too often, media sports announcers and commentators make themselves the story, when rarely do they deserve to be so central to the news.

But today, we learn that Dan Patrick, the sole remaining half of Sportscenter's legendary The Big Show (where have you gone, Keith Olbermann?) is leaving ESPN ... the site, the show, the radio bit, the whole deal. That really is a news story for those of us who grew up on Dan & Keith and the rest of the desk pilots at the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network.

Arguably the best in the business, Patrick -- we can only hope -- is bound to turn up elsewhere quite soon, just as Olbermann did. Thanks, Dan, for years of sportscasting that has been -- dare we say it? -- en fuego.

The man who was commissioner of MLB when the Blue Jays were born, Bowie Kuhn, has passed away at the age of 80.

Though he may be a bit nervous today, wondering what havoc Charlie Finley has wrought in the afterlife in his 11-year head start on the ex-Commish, there's no question that Kuhn wrote well his own epitaph: "I want it to be remembered that I was commissioner during a time of tremendous growth in the popularity of the game," he said, "and that it was a time in which no one could question the integrity of the game."

If you remember back that far, share your remembrances of the man who once said of the job he held, "You've got to develop a sense of humor. You have to be able to stand back and laugh. That's invaluable, or you're apt to go slightly balmy."

Looking at the 1982 California Angels

Sometimes my Hall of Names travels and travails cause me to fall into "wander" mode on the greatness of BaseballReference.com; that happened to me tonight and at the end of it all, random clicking led me to the team page for the 1982 California Angels.

This was a good ball club -- they won 93 games (though their Pytagorean results called for 95) and the AL West pennant by three games over the Kansas City Royals ...
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When I first saw "Charles Chulk" on a list of Southern League ERA leaders in 2002, my mental image was of a schoolteacher, or perhaps an explorer, on the mound. Not quite right. Vinnie was, and is, young, eager and straightforward, with his front teeth sometimes protruding in front of his pursed bottom lip on the mound as he delivers the ball.
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Say the headline out loud if you don't get the pun!

Normally, Batter's Box would not devote an entire thread to the news of ESPN hiring a new senior baseball writer.

Ah, but when that new guy's name is Keith Law (pictured, left) that becomes an entirely different matter indeed.

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If you subscribe to Lee Sinins' ATM (Around the Majors) Report daily (multiple) e-mail newsletter, then you know this already. If you don't, you may not understand the enormity of it. But in yesterday's ATM Report, as recorded here in ATM's blog archive, Sinins announced, "I have decided to submit my resignation from the ATM reports, effective immediately."

I don't know Sinins, have never met him -- we have exchanged a very few baseball/Web-related e-mails -- but this occasion demands two things: (1) that as a subscriber I take a moment to express how disappointing -- while understandable, certainly -- this is; and (2) that as a baseball fan, we take a moment to say "Thanks, Lee."

Not all is lost, however ...

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According to the incomparably accurate Newberg Report, the Los Angeles Dodgers have signed RHP Spike Lundberg to a minor league contract.
You may remember Lundberg from his generous Ask Spike interview session here on Batter's Box, or even the astoundingly cleverly-named followup, Ask Spike II.

Regardless, we look forward to the Jays facing Spike when he starts Game 1 of the 2006 World Series. He's off to be with the (city of) angels now ...

Kirby Puckett passed away today after suffering a stroke yesterday. We remember Kirby the ballplayer with affection, emerging from nowhere to be a leader of the World Series champion Twin clubs of 1987 and 1991, and always with a smile on his face. Teammmates would rub his head for luck.
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There will be no pretence of objectivity today. Orlando Hudson is my favourite current ballplayer, and I was disappointed to see him leave Toronto. His heart, his unique diction and his smile are all appealing, but it is his blend of artistry and toughness around the bag which most captivates me.
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Treat this thread however you want ... roundup, speculation, whatever. But share your Rance Mulliniks memories, too, as the man turns 50 today!

Batter's Box Challenge: The best (as judged by, ahem, me) limerick or haiku birthday greeting/memory to or about Rance wins a No-Prize, courtesy of your favorite interactive magazine!

The second player drafted under the J.P. Ricciardi regime was the first to reach The Show. With all due respect to other prospects who have been drafted and moved up and moved on, Dave Bush is the first of “Ricciardi’s own” that this Jays fan is pained to see gone. In a move that signals the organisational shift from rebuilding mode to the future is now, Dave Bush was dealt along with Gabe Gross and Zach Jackson to the Brewers for Lyle Overbay on December 8.
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In case you missed it yesterday in all the Burnett drama the Jays traded Chad Gaudin to the Oakland A's for a player to be named later.
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Maple Ridge, British Columbia native (and former Expo great) Larry Walker has announced his retirement.

Share your memories of and thoughts about one of the greatest Canadian-born MLB players in the history of The Great Game.