Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Herb Pennock: The Good and the Ugly

By Special Guest Blogger Harvey Frommer

All the medical news these days coming out of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania aboutBarbaro gives that locale the most extensive news exposure since the days of Herbert Pennock, the man they called "The Knight of Kennett Square." One of the top hurlers of his time, Pennock went directly from high school to amajor league debut May 14, 1912 with the old Philadelphia Athletics. His final game was August 27, 1934.

Classy, he was a horticulturist, a breeder of red silver foxes at his countryhome near Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. Pennock was known for a flowingpitching motion punctuated by fidgety movements on the mound. He did not over-power batters. He let them hit the ball, giving up more than a hit an inningin his career. But he still was a big winner with this approach, notching 35 lifetime shutouts. Legendary sports writer Grantland Rice said Pennock pitched each game "with the ease and coolness of a practice session. "The loose southpaw was just another one of the talented players the Yankees stripped away from the Boston Red Sox.

He came to the Yanks in 1923 and led theleague in winning percentage (.760), the first of four over .700 seasons. Hefollowed with a 21-9 record in 1924, and was 59-25 in 1926-28. Yankee manager Miller Huggins called Herb Pennock the greatest lefthander inbaseball history, marveling at the "Squire's" World Series record: 5-0, 1.95lifetime ERA. In 11 Yankee seasons, Pennock was 162-90 for a .643 winningpercentage.In December of 1943 Bob Carpenter purchased the Philadelphia Phillies. Pennockhit it off with the new owner and was hired "for life" as General Manager.

Pennock did not hit it off with Branch Rickey in 1947, attempting to block Jackie Robinson's breaking of the color line. Pennock reportedly had a telephoneconversation with Rickey during which he said that the Phillies would not take the field if Jackie Robinson were in uniform for a series starting May 9. It was reported that Pennock told Rickey: that you "just can't bring the nigger here (to Philadelphia) with the rest of your team." The Dodgers came, and Jackie Robinson came, too. Racial hatred was on parade atthe ball park for four days. Robinson played on despite the horrid spewing ofracial epithets. It was so horrific that Dodger infielder Eddie Stanky, out of Alabama, challenged all those in the Philly dugout - this within earshot of Pennock and Carpenter. "The Knight of Kennett Square" had many marvelous and uplifting moments on the baseball field. His attitude towards Jackie Robison was not one of them.

Harvey Frommer is now in his 32nd consecutive year of writing sports books. He is the author of 38 sports books, including the classics: "New York CityBaseball," "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," "Rickey and Robinson," "A YankeeCentury," and Red Sox Vs. Yankees: The Great Rivalry" (with Frederic J.Frommer). His newest efforts are OLD TIME BASEBALL and WHERE HAVE ALL THE REDSOX GONE? Frommer sports books are available direct from the author - discounted andautographed.He is now at work on the definitive book on the 1927 Yankees to be published in 2007.

Sunday, May 28, 2006


I hope the Yankees are doing the right thing not disabling Jorge Posada. A catcher of his status doesn't need a knee injury of any kind.

The last two season Jorge has impressed me with his defensive improvements. He has made his locker worthy of the Thurman Munson baseball card he has hanging in there. For years Jorge was calling great games while wielding a potent bat but when it came to blocking the plate he was second rate. In the last two seasons Posada's defense was born. An infielder by trade Jorge all of a sudden got the knack of defensive catching.

My whole problem now is that if the Yankees don't rest him and let it heal several things can happen.

  1. It could throw off his timing at the plate.
  2. It could hamper his running .
  3. It may make Posada shy when it comes to player contact.

I say unless you are 100% sure he can play through this without making any sacrifices then do it. If not it is time to DL Jorge before we lose him physically and mentally for the season.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


With the potential season ending injury to Iron-San Hideki Matsui, {who would believe he would be our second Hideki?} the tabloids are projecting deals for every available and not so available outfield arm from here to Anaheim or should I say Los Angeles of Anaheim?

Peter Botte of the Daily Snooze has a his suggestion list after praising Brian Cashman for being patient (for what one day?). Michael Morrisey of the Post contemplates his suggestions as well. While the gang over at BTB have their mixed emotions for your participation.

Anyway they brought up Kevin Reese who had a great spring and a good AAA year thus far to help fill the void. Oh what the heck let's trade for them all.

Friday, May 05, 2006


I know I have been complaining that we didn't have a 1-run victory yet but I didn't want one in a game we were leading 8-1. Aaron Small was brought in to hold the potent Ranger bats in check with a seven run lead in the 8th. After suffering his first regular season loss in his last outing Small looked to be well on his way to his second.

He left the game with bases loaded and two down in the eight. Mariano Rivera was summoned to get the 4 out save. The Sandman did it the hard way by giving up 2 hits and a hit batsman allowing the Texas team to within one. That's all she wrote as the Yankees drew first blood by a score of 8-7. Mike Mussina who is having a great year got the win despite the bullpen.

Carl Pavano is schedule to begin his 4 week rehab Sunday in Tampa