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I shouldn't have been surprised at the news today that former Yankee OF (and current announcer) Bobby Murcer, 62, had passed away. The cause was no surprise, complications from his well-publicized brain cancer.

Who was Bobby Murcer to Yankee fans? Well ...
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In football the object is for the quarterback, also known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy's defensive line.

In baseball the object is to go home! And to be safe! I hope I'll be safe at home!

George Carlin has died at the age of 71.

The above baseball/ootball rant was just one of the many lines in one fo the great monologues (the whole bit is here) brought to us by a man who truly could lay claim to being, at least arguably, the greatest American stand-up comedian ever.

That a bit like saying "Babe Ruth is the greatest baseball player ever" ...

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Former Blue Jay closer Aquilino Lopez (14 saves as a 2003 rookie) has been optioned to AAA Toledo to transition into a starting pitcher for the struggling Tigers

Lopez has no starts in his 134 career big league appearances and has averaged barely 1.1 IP for those appearances. His most-similar player, historically, is another former Blue Jay closer, Darren Hall, who had 17 saves as a '94 rookie, and who made zero starts in 130 career appearances -- averaging less than one inning per appearance.

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(Or should that be "End of an E.R.A."?)

The Dodgers have designated RHSP Esteban Loaiza, Blue Jay expatriate, for assignment -- to make room for the arrival of stud rookie LHSP Clayton Kershaw.

The 36-year-old Loiaza, 2003 recipient of the inaugural Batter's Box Andujar Award (meh, we only gave it out twice), is 1-2 with a 5.63 ERA and 77 ERA+ in seven appearances (three starts) for LAD in '08.

Is this the end of the road for the man tagged Lord Voldemort ("He Who Must Not Be Named") here on Da Box?

One of the greatest-hitting catchers in the history of the Great Game, Mike Piazza, has decided to hang' em up after 16 years.

Questions for you:

  • Where does Piazza rank on the list of All-Time Greatest Catchers? (Remember, that includes defense!)
  • Is this the right time for him to go?
  • Is there any question that he's a FBHOFer (First-ballot Hall-of-Famer)?
Craig Burley asked for it, so his wish is our command: "You know, Scott Cassidy just retired too, and I don't see anyone composing paeans to his memory. Hmph."

Saturday, Matt Holliday homered off Cassidy in a frame in which "Butch" surrendered four runs in one-third of an inning. Yesterday, he retired.

Your thoughts and "paeans to his memory"?

As noted in another thread recently, Shawn Green has retired  ... and that doesn't seem to be getting much attention 'round these parts.

So let's take just a moment to reflect on the impact of the seven-year Jay, who spent his final season in TO (1999) putting together a .309/42/133 season that ended with a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove -- nice combination, that, in retrospect, was probably worth more than Raul Mondesi the ensuing off-season!

His career comparables lists include Canadian heroes like Andre Dawson, Dave Winfield and Vernon Wells, as well as some guy named Bonds. Oh wait, that's Bobby Bonds. Please share your favorite Blue (Jay) and Green moment(s) here ...

If anyone could lay claim to the title of "World's Biggest Jays Fan", it was her.

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Don Chevrier passed away suddenly last night.

I'm sure most of us will always associate hearing his voice with the Blue Jays.
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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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