San Francisco Chronicle - (Sunday)
Bay Area baseball’s beastly menagerie
First of all, apologies up front. We’re taking a little break from our regularly scheduled program to share some silliness a month into the season.
With #RallyRabbit all the rage at Oracle Park — Alex the therapy bunny made another appearance Wednesday, this time in the bleachers — we figured we’d go hog wild, have a whale of a time and let the cat out of the bag with an animaldriven roster of Giants and A’s. So holy cow, let’s take the bull by the horns and start this wild goose chase:
(With an assist from two baseball historians, former Chronicle copy editor Kurt Aguilar and Bay Area photographer Brad Mangin.)
SS, Roadrunner: Bert Campaneris, 566 stolen bases for A’s (649 career).
2B, Mad Dog: Bill Madlock,
.296 average in three Giants seasons.
CF, Buck: Willie Mays, the Giants’ alltime leader in home runs (646).
1B, Baby Bull: Orlando Cepeda, slugged .535 in nine Giants seasons.
DH, Cobra: Dave Parker,
hit 34 homers on A’s pennant winners of 19881989.
LF, Boogie Bear: Kevin Mitchell, 1989 NL MVP for Giants.
3B, Panda: Pablo Sandoval,
hot corner star of the 2010, 2012 and 2014 champs.
RF, Rob Deer: The whiffprone slugger was originally a Giant.
C, Marion Mule: Ray Fosse, three years behind the plate, 36 behind the mike in Oakland.
Catfish: Jim Hunter, Cy Youngwinning ace of the A’s dynasty of the ’70s.
Horse: Matt Cain, author of MLB’s 22nd perfect game. Bear: Ron Bryant, 24 wins in 1973.
Shark: Jeff Samardzija, key pickup for 2014 A’s and Giants rotation workhorse.
Bulldog: Orel Hershiser, 13 years in L.A. but a single solid season in S.F.
Goose Gossage, Tuna (Dave Heaverlo), Mudcat Grant, Moose Haas and Russ Swan.
1B: Big Cat (Andres Galarraga) and Baby Giraffe (Brandon Belt)
INF: Fred “Chicken” Stanley and Ducky (Dick Schofield)
OF: White Shark (Gregor Blanco) and Eric Fox
C: Rooster (Dave Rader)
Swamp Fox: Alvin Dark, piloted the Giants to the 1962 World Series and A’s to the 1974 title.
Around the majors
In the wake of last Sunday’s column on how it seems perfectly acceptable that the number of strikeouts has dramatically surpassed the number of hits, we present Joe DiMaggio’s amazing strikeouttohit data: 2,214 hits versus just 369 punchouts. In fact, most seasons he had more homers than Ks. Overall: 369 strikeouts, 361 homers. Then there’s Barry Bonds, who also took great pride in not striking out. His 2004 season was amazing for many reasons, including 45 homers against just 39 strikeouts, the only player since Ted Kluszewski in 1955 with 40plus homers and fewer than 40 strikeouts. Speaking of the homers king, Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. is getting the Bonds treatment at Dodger Stadium: “boooo.” Tatis was the first visiting player since Bonds in 2002 with backtoback multihomer games at Chavez Ravine. Dodger fans give the talented and colorful Tatis steady razzing, a reminder of Bonds, who once said, “Dodger Stadium is the best show I ever go to in all of baseball. They say, ‘Barry sucks’ louder than anybody out there . ... You’ve got to have some kind of serious talent to have 53,000 people saying you suck, and I’m proud of that.” And let’s not forget the words of Reggie Jackson, a popular target of boos in his day: “Fans don’t boo nobodies.” Interesting what Madison Bumgarner told reporters after his seveninning “nohitter,” his second solid start in a row for the Diamondbacks following a couple of clunkers: “That was obviously a very rough stretch. I’ve been through a lot of rough stretches. You’re going to see some more. You guys are going to bash me like you did during the last one. That’s just part of it.” We imagine that, more than most, Bumgarner cares little about media bashing. The A’s winning streak, which finally ended at 13, surfaced reminders of other franchise streaks, and one of the most memorable was the 110 in 1981, then a bigleague record for most wins to open a season. Let’s pick up legendary Bill King at the mike: “Cruz 1for4 today, two out. The windup and the pitch, swung on, flyball left field, Henderson going back, he’s under it. Got it. The A’s pour out of the dugout celebrating their 11th consecutive victory, surpassing the marks of the ’55 Dodgers. the ’62 Pirates and the ’66 Indians. The bullpen comes in to join in the celebration. The fans in a standing ovation. In the ninth inning, no runs, no hits, no errors and nobody left on for the Seattle Mariners. And the crowd rejoices. Final score, A’s 6, Mariners 1.” Some news on Ralph Nelson, the Giants assistant general manager under Al Rosen back in the late ’80s and early ’90s. He has been the CEO of the Rocket City Trash Pandas (actual name) in Madison, Ala., the Angels’ DoubleA affiliate, at least until he resigned last week. He had overseen the team’s relocation from Mobile and construction of a new park, but he bolted shortly before the season for a new minorleague opportunity. It’s not unlike Nelson, who has held a variety of jobs in the game, from his 17 years with the Giants to helping to oversee the ground floor of the expansion Diamondbacks to becoming MLB’s vice president of umpiring.