Talking Baseball in January

Jeff Zimmerman

Ned Yost takes center stage.

To get my baseball fix in while I am waiting for a YES to finally show up. I went to a couple of baseball events over the last few days and here is my take from each.

Kansas Baseball Hall of Hall Induction (1/26/13)

This past Saturday, six members were inducted to the Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame, Walter "Barney" Barnett, Jim Deckinger, Paul Roberts, John Weitzal, Lee Stevens and Chris Wimmer. Pat Meares was also to be inducted, but he had other arrangements. The event started with a reception at the Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame. This event was pretty dull as most of the inductees were unapproachable since they were spending time with family members.

After the reception, everyone went to the Hillside Christian Church for the ceremony and a buffet catered by Jet Bar-B-Q. I have to at least talk about the spread. The barbecue was OK, the only item I would have had twice was the turkey. It was moist and had good smoke flavor which is a hard combo to pull off with tukey. The pulled pork was OK (I can make better), the brisket was tough and dry and the first bite I took from a sausages had a big chunk of bone in it. I've eaten worse, I have eaten better. Now on to the inductions.

Jim Kobbe, former sports anchor from channel 3 in Wichita, led the ceremonies. He introduced several people for helping with the event, but the big thanks goes to Paul Savage who sets up the event and houses the Hall of Fame. It used to just be list of names with no building to house them.

Terry_medium

(Ralph Terry)

The main speaker at the event was Ralph Terry. Terry. He was the 1962 World Series MVP, but is probability best known for being the pitcher who allowed the walk off home run to Bill Mazeroski in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series. When asked about how he felt after the home run, "Have you every wanted to get drunk, but couldn't. That was me."

I talked to Ralph Terry for a bit on pitcher inning limits. In his prime, Terry threw quite a few innings. From 1962 to 1963, he was 3rd in the league with 566 innings and 5th in complete games with 32. For comparison, from 2011 to 2012, the leaders in innings was Justin Verlander with 489 innings and James Shields with 14 complete games.

He said after 3 days, he still had a sore arm and it finally felt OK on the 4th day. Waiting an extra day and pitching every fifth day would probably be the ideal situation for him.

Terry went on. Besides throwing more in the 60's, the pitchers were expected to throw out the pen on their off days. In 1962, when he lead the league in innings pitched, he was called upon to throw in relief [4 times] and ended up with a few Saves [2 Saves], even though they weren't called Saves back then

On the use of relievers, the way they are used today [short 1 inning stints] allows them to throw gas he said. He believed teams get better use of pitchers by using the current bullpen strategies.

After Terry spoke, Mickey Mantle's son, David Mantle talked for a bit. Then, each of the inductees got a chance to speak. Not a ton of information was given out then, but I did find out Chris Wimmer is now the southern plains area scout for the Detroit Tigers.

Overall, I had a good time. It was well worth the $15 I spent to help fund the Hall of Fame and listen to people talk about baseball for a couple of hours.

Wichita State 1st Pitch Banquet

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(Dirks and Yost)

The 1st Pitch Banquet starts off the 2013 Shocker baseball season. It began with an social hour which was rather enjoyable. Next came a catered meal which the salad ended up being the highlight. Finally, the program got started.

2012 player awards were given out with Johnny Coy, Dayne Parker and Kevin Hall getting most of them. After the awards were given out, Andy Dirks gave short speech where he kept mentioned everyone outside of Wichita State calls Gene Stephenson, the old man.

Finally, it was time for Ned Yost to speak. He told several stories about umpires, farts, having a team come up through the minors together and NASCAR (with some great Vrrrroooooooooooommmmmm sound effects which pretty much made the night for me).

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Chen and Hochevar will be batting out for the 5th starter position. I am still a little surprised as Davis doesn't get lumped with them as he may struggle the most as a starter. -jz
  • The team is looking to get 1000 innings out of their starters over the course of the season. The last time the Royals got 1000 innings from their starters was in 1997 -jz
  • The focus for the team in the past was to "win games and get over the hump". This season it will be to "Live life, love life, enjoy life". No comment.-jz
  • He talked about his mentors in life. Bobby Cox taught him how to treat people with respect and honor. Ted Simmons taught him how to play the game. Finally, Dale Earnhardt taught him how to compete and never accept mediocrity.
  • Once Ned had no work during the 1994 strike, he went to work for Dale Earnhardt as a rehydration engineer. Over the last few races of the season, he gave Dale a cup of water through the windshield on a long pole.
  • No chance Crow will be tried in the rotation this season. His pitching motion and lack of control make it almost impossible for him to throw 100 pitches a night constantly.
  • Felipe Paulino and Dan Duffy are both on schedule to return to the team by the All-Star Game.

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(Yost)

The last speaker was Gene Stephenson, Wichita State's coach. He first pointed out ex-shocker Carl Hall who was paralyzed in an automobile accident and had a home built for him by Extreme Makeover. He mentioned the baseball program has had the most Academic All-Americans in division I, II or III ever with Notre Dame second. Besides those two points, I don't have a clue what he said. It was a rambling spiel which had no point or structure. Once he was done, the ceremony was over and people could go or get some autographs.

Overall, it was worth the $40 charity donation and I will gladly go back again.

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