Zobrist, Rauch, Wood excel on first day of playoffs

Major League Baseball

Ben Zobrist; Photo by Keith Allison via Flickr

Kentucky highlights from Wednesday playoff action and the latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Former Morehead St. right-handed pitcher Jon Rauch pitched a perfect inning for the Twins in the team’s 6-4 loss to the Yankees. Lexington native Austin Kearns didn’t appear in the game for New York.
  • Former Lexington Legends utility man Ben Zobrist plated the Rays only run in the team’s 5-1 loss to the Rangers with a solo home run. Zobrist finished the game 2-4 with a home run and double.
  • While the story of the Reds/Phillies game is undoubtedly Roy Halladay’s no-hitter, 2010 Louisville Bats left-handed pitcher Travis Wood did pitch three and one-third scoreless innings of relief for the Reds. Wood struck out three while surrendering one hit and one walk.
  • Linda Blackford of the Lexington Herald-Leader profiles Baseball Hall of Fame Chairwoman Jane Forbes Clark, who is competing in the World Equestrian Games.

Sunday Afternoon Notes

College Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Dan Uggla

With the Kentucky minor league teams playing afternoon games today we have an abbreviated notes post.

  • First I’d like to welcome Rob Gidel to BluGrass Baseball.  Rob gave me my first job in baseball and knows as much about the sport as anyone I know.  He was the former director of media relations for the Lexington Legends, and was the youngest solo play-by-play man in minor league baseball in 2008.  Rob will be posting here from time to time.  His first post below first appeared on Kentucky Sports Radio, a UK sports blog that Rob helped found.
  • Louisville native and member of the All-Time BluGrass Baseball Team, Dan Uggla hit his 20th home run of the season on Aug. 5.  According to the Phil Rogers at the Chicago Tribune, Uggla became just the second 2nd baseman in major league history to hit at least 20 home runs in his first four seasons.  The other was 2009 Hall of Fame inductee Joe Gordon.
  • Bowling Green Hot Rods outfielder Kyeong Kang’s 10-game hitting streak ended Saturday with an 0-2 performance.  Kang did reach base via a walk.
  • Louisville Bats outfielder Drew Stubbs stole his 44th base of the season Saturday.  The 44 steals lead the International League, Reds organization and rank 11th among all minor leaguers.
  • Legends’ prospect Ross Seaton had a rare bad start Saturday.  Seaton allowed six runs (2nd most on the season) in just four innings (shortest start of the season).

Bluegrass Hall of Famers

Major League Baseball

Jim Bunning

With Sunday’s induction of outfielders Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice into the Baseball Hall of Fame and Monday’s announcement from hall of famer Jim Bunning that he wouldn’t seek re-election to the U. S. Senate I thought we’d profile Kentucky’s four hall of famers.  Clicking on each player’s name will take you to his official Hall of Fame entry.

Jim Bunning, RHP, Detroit Tigers

  • Bunning is perhaps more famous for his political career as a U. S. representative (1987-1999) and U. S. senator (1999-present) today, but before he was a nationally prominent politician he was a hall of fame pitcher.  Bunning pitched from 1955-1971 for Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles.  Over his career Bunning was 224-184 with a 3.27 ERA and 2855 strikeouts.  Bunning was the first pitcher to record both 100 wins and 1,000 strikeouts in the American and National League and pitched a no-hitter in each league.  He was a seven-time All-Star and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1996 by the Veteran’s Committee.

Pee Wee Reese, SS, Brooklyn Dodgers

  • “Pee Wee” was born Harold Henry Reese in Ekron, Ky., in 1918.  The defensive whiz spent his entire career with the Dodgers organization and played along side Jackie Robinson for most of his career.  Reese was the captain of the Dodgers during their dominant run through the National League in the 1950s and 1960s.  Pee Wee is most famous for his embrace of Robinson during pre-game warmups in Cincinnati during Robinson’s first season in baseball.  As Reese, a white man, embraced his black teammate on the field the crowd that was heckling Robinson quited.  The moment was immortalized in a statue in Brooklyn in 2005.
  • Reese led the National league in putouts four times, double plays twice and fielding percentage and assists once each.  Reese helped lead Brooklyn to seven pennants and never missed a inning of the seven World Series he participated in.  Reese only batted over .300 once in his career and finished his playing days with a .269 average, 2170 hits and 1338 runs scored.  He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1984 by the veterans committee.