Homestand Finale, Chatting with a Yankees Legend

In the longest game of the year, both innings-wise and time-wise, the TinCaps lost, 9-6, facing the West Michigan Whitecaps Monday night.

Fort Wayne never held a lead for very long, as they were up, 3-2, after four innings, but West Michigan stormed back with four runs in the fifth and sixth, and the TinCaps scored three runs combined in the sixth and the seventh, with the Whitecaps scoring three times in the top of the 13th against Roman Madrid to seal the win.

Gameplay itself was four hours, thirteen minutes, and a brief rain delay after the eighth inning was 38 minutes. In the first five games of the second half, Fort Wayne is now 1-4. Missed opportunities were the name of the game yesterday, as Fort Wayne went 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position, left 16 runners on base, and struck out 17 times, which is one shy of the franchise record for strikeouts in one game.

Today is the finale of the series and of this six-game homestand. First pitch is scheduled for 12:05 at Parkview Field. It’s  Splash Day, too, which means if you’re at the game, you should prepare to get a little wet, so bring your bathing suit! This will also likely be the last start for Adys Portillo, who has been working his way through a triceps injury, as he presumably tries to make his way back to Double-A San Antonio, where he finished last season after a promotion from Fort Wayne.

If you can’t make it to the game, check us out on XFINITY 81. If you don’t want your boss to know you’re watching baseball, listen on the radio on The Fan 1380 (at a reasonable volume) or online at TheFanFortWayne.com.

TALKING WITH A LEGEND

Yankees great Bobby Richardson, who played in New York from 1955-1966, and made it to the Yankees at age 19, was our guest on the TV broadcast yesterday. He was an eight-time all-star, three time World Series Champion, and the MVP of the 1960 World Series, even though the Yankees were on the losing end. Our conversation spanned his time in the minors (back when there was Class D baseball and a minor-league team in Denver), what it was like to travel when he played, and on some of the big-name players he was a teammate of in New York:

On what it was like playing in the Minor Leagues:

“When I started out, meal money was $2.50 and I probably made closer to $350 a month, when I got up to Triple-A, it got up to $350 or $400 a month. When I got to Denver, we started to fly because of the tremendous distance.”

On playing for Casey Stengel:

“I’m not sure he learned my name in those five years.”

On Travel

“My first two years we traveled by train. We had two Pullmans with a dining car in between. When the west coast came into the league we had to fly. We were the last team to fly. We had a traveling secretary who didn’t like to fly and he used the excuse that the ballplayers were too valuable to fly because we don’t want to lose them all in the air at one time.”

On Bobby Martin getting traded to Kansas City

“It had all the impact in the world. He went out to a nightclub one night with three of the fellas and they had a big bill they didn’t have the money for, and he signed the owner’s name. (The Yankees) used that to trade him to Kansas City. We were in Kansas City, and we went out to the bus (after a game) and Casey Stengel and Billy Martin stayed in the clubhouse for over an hour, and they came out, Billy sat next to me and said, “OK, kid, I’ve been traded to Kansas City and (the job) is all yours now. We were vying for the same position, and I got his uniform number. It was sad because it’s always tough when somebody leaves a ballclub. I’d seen it happen so many times with my friends and teammates, that I was sad for him.”

What was it like traveling with Roger Maris, Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle?

“We had guys like Elston Howard that would’ve been a most valuable player on any other ballclub, and he couldn’t make the starting lineup because of Yogi Berra. Then finally (the Yankees) got wise, and put the one who wasn’t catching out in left field, and we had all the bats in the lineup.”

Me, Bobby Richardson, and Kent Hormann.

Me, Bobby Richardson, and Kent Hormann.

On Yogi Berra as Manager:

“I remember he came down to spring training and said, ‘Hey, I want to try something out on your for tomorrow. It’s the first time I’m going to be speaking to the ballclub–I’m going to set some rules: no tennis, no golf,’ and then he was going to say, ‘No, I’m just kidding we’ll work hard.’ He didn’t have a chance, (because) after the third rule, (Mickey) Mantle threw his bat down and said, ‘I quit’, threatened to walk out, and it backfired.”

Relationship with the Yankees:

“It’s wonderful. The Yankees have been so good to me. When I retired, I was the 10th Yankee to have a day at Yankee Stadium. From age 31, to being 77 now, I’ve been invited back to the old-timers game every year.”

Our thanks to Bobby, who signed plenty of autographs during his stop at Parkview Field, and we wish him the best.

MUSICAL GUEST

Eric Clapton…take it away!

Thanks for reading. If you’d like to get in touch, you can reach me at Couzens@TinCaps.com or on Twitter @MikeCouzens.

MCsig

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