Results tagged ‘ pitcher ’

Bartolo Colon breaks record and does time travel.

bartolo artsy“I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.” –T.S. Eliot

Bartolo “Big Sexy” Colon went yard Saturday night becoming the oldest player in ML history to hit his first home run at age 42. This feat was of a particular interest to me as he is one of 4 players in the league that are older than yours truly. (Alex Rodriguez was born the day after.) I also have an affinity for El Bart because of his superb dos seasons in a Oakland uniform including an All Star nod at age 40. These affinities moved to the physical realm as well when Bartolo made us all feel proud that he could be successful on the field despite his “physical limitations” and humorously strange haircuts. I, like many other fans, found it hard to believe that the man could weigh 265 pounds eating a strict Dominican diet of rice, beans and tubers. No, it was decided that Colon was also imbibing on American junk food.

We may all have a more mobile relationship to age than to other perspectives or subject positions … because we are all aging at any one moment. Bartolo’s rookie year with Cleveland was in  1997: I was a young man, 22 years old and living in my first ramshackle apartment with my girlfriend at the time. It was a second story, one bedroom tenement behind a raucous gay bar. Many times I was awoken at the witching hour to make sure that people urinating and fist-fighting in the alley weren’t breaking in to her car. (a black Dodge Challenger!) We worked at a coffee shop and liked to collect records and vintage furniture. We were naive and world-weary at the same time–and here I sit 19 years later with the conviction that life is no more than the sum of contingent facts, a chronicle of chance intersections, of flukes, of random events that divulge nothing but their own lack of purpose…equivalent to a Bartolo Colon home run.

Each life is irreducible to anything other than itself. Which is to say: lives make no sense. Thank you Bartolo for the echoes of the past and congratulations on a record that makes little sense and may never be broken.

Random facts about a player hardly anyone remembers.

1967 Topps Jack Sanford

“Smiling Jack”

Jack Sanford ended his career with 137 wins in 1967–a number that everyone agrees would constitute a successful run in the big leagues. 

A darker side of Sanford’s personality also grabbed headlines during and after his baseball career, which wound down with the California Angels and Kansas City Athletics following arm and shoulder troubles.

After Sanford made a World Series appearance, a 1963 Sportmagazine article titled “Jack Sanford’s Grim World” laid bare the pitcher’s on- and off-the-field demeanor, all the while acknowledging his pitching skills. The author wrote that “Jack Sanford is a man of many moods, mostly bad” and that “Smiling Jack Sanford is a blue-eyed blond, somewhat less adorable than Shirley Temple. His blue eyes are hard and cold, shielded by heavy brows, and he squints around them… His jaw is hinged, his face flexible, and he twists it into various expressions, most of them forbidding, defiant, scowling. He saves his smiles for his friends, and he doesn’t make friends easily.” He was nicknamed “Smiling Jack” because he was usually scowling, and he was also nervous and irritable.

Another report, in a golf book, described Sanford as bloodying his own head from whacking himself with golf clubs after particularly bad shots.

In 1954, he was suspended for ten games after refusing to give the ball to his manager as he was being removed from a game.

 Sanford’s son John acknowledged that his dad was known for his explosive temper: “He always said that’s what helped an average kid from Wellesley to make it in the bigs. He carried it over to the golf course, where it wasn’t beneficial, but we didn’t see much of it at home.” Sanford’s daughter Laura added: “As to my dad’s so-called temper, he demanded so much from himself and was frustrated when he failed. Less than a perfect performance on his part was not sufficient; he was very competitive.”
Sanford died in 2000 at the age of 70 from brain cancer. R.I.P. Jack.

Dennis Lamp sells fish in grocery store

lampHere’s something you probably won’t find in any other grocery store outside the Bristol Farms in Newport Beach: a former major league pitcher manning the seafood counter.

And it’s no publicity stunt.
Though Dennis Lamp fields the occasional autograph request, most shoppers seem to have no idea that the burly, outgoing man handling their halibut once came within three outs of pitching a no-hitter against the Milwaukee Brewers.

The name tag pinned to his red-and-white checkered shirt — “Dennis L.” — provides only this added detail: “Providing extraordinary service since 2004.”

Lamp, 58, was not hired to glad hand or tell tales of his 16 seasons in the majors from 1977 to 1992.

He was hired to work.

“It doesn’t matter if he was a major league baseball player,” store manager Eric Fuchser says of Lamp, the recent winner of a customer-service award. “He’s a great employee — great with the customers, and just a kindhearted man. …

“He talks sports. He sells fish. He works hard.”

If fetching flounder or scooping scallops in a grocery store sounds like a comedown for someone whose one-time career ambition was to pitch in the World Series, so be it.

Lamp doesn’t see it that way.

Though a 1999 divorce rocked him financially, the father of three says he is not broke.

He made about $4.5 million in the majors.

“I just enjoy working,” he says.