February 27th, 2011


Springtime Has Arrived!

Despite the surprise snowstorm that greeted my neighborhood this morning, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Well, it actually the pattern of light on my monitor, which is currently showing me the first Dodgers TV game of spring training. Huzzah!

When he was managing the Amazin' Mets in the early sixties, Casey Stengel was talking to some reporters about two young players, Ed Kranepool and Greg Goossen. He pointed at Kranepool and said, "See that fellow over there? He's 20 years old. In ten years he has a chance to be a star. The he pointed at Goossen. "Now, that fellow over there, he's 20, too. In ten years he has a chance to be 30." Kranepool never became a star, but he was a solid player for the Mets for eighteen years, and has sort of become the franchise's grand old man. Goossen never became a star, either, or even became a regular, although he achieved some small measure of baseball immortality by being one of Jim Bouton's teammates 1969 Seattle Pilots, the season Bouton recorded in Ball Four. He was out of baseball by age 25, but he did make it to 30. Among other things, he became an actor and stuntman, with bit parts in a handful of movies. Much like his baseball career, he never became a star, or a regular, but he did achieve some fame as Gene Hackman's stand-in in numerous films.

I bring all this up because Goossen passed away yesterday at the age of 65, which is way too young.

(Edited to update)

And Charley Steiner just mentioned on the broadcast that Duke Snider, the Duke of Flatbush, has also passed away. He was 84. Not a good day. I just took a photo of his jersey at the Hall of Fame a few weeks ago. Terry Cashman wrote the song "Talkin' Baseball" about the time when New York had the three best centerfielders in baseball.

(Further update)

Jon Weisman's remembrance.