Paul's blog - Baseball

In 1960, when I was 10 years old,  I returned to the U.S. after living in England.  A lot had changed since I had left the country 3 years earlier.  My old team, the Brooklyn Dodgers, were no more.  We lived in New York, and occasionally I'd go to Yankee Stadium and watch the Yankees play.  I never liked the Yankees.  It never seemed that they needed me as a fan; they had plenty of fans. The worst team in the league in 1960 was the Baltimore Orioles.  I chose them as my team because I felt they needed my support. 
 Brooks Robinson joined the Orioles in 1955.  By 1960, he was on his way to becoming the greatest third baseman that ever lived.  He was the cornerstone of the great infield that the Orioles amassed, which included at their peak Brooks Robinson, Louis Aparicio at Shortstop, Jerry Adair at Second and Jim Gentile on first.  Later on Boog Powell took over at First base.  In the summer I could pick up the Orioles radio signal from Baltimore.  I would lie awake and listen to the games and thrill at the plays that my heroes made, especially Brooks Robinson, who seemed to catch everything that was hit to him; nothing seemed to get by him.  Many times he hit game-winning runs.  He was the ultimate clutch player and his entire career was spent with the Orioles.  Other great players like Frank Robinson, who later managed the Orioles, joined the Baltimore club.  Hoyt Wilhelm, an old guy who was a great knuckleball pitcher, and Jim Palmer.  There was another knuckleball pitcher named Robin Roberts, who was quite old and had a long career.
Back in those days, in the '60s, it seemed to me that the baseball players were a little better athletes all around.  The catchers specifically were much better.  Most of the time, an attempt to steal second resulted in an out.  Today that's not the case.  More often than not, the catcher will throw to the wrong side of the bag if he makes it to the bag at all.  It's a routine play that rarely goes right today.  
  There are some players today that seem to have the same spirit as the old guys.  Derek Jeter has a lot of ability, but you never read about him in any kind of controversy.  He seems like a gentleman, and he seems professional, as baseball players were back in the day.  And Cliff Lee's performance in last year's Series against the Yankees was a throwback to the days of the great pitchers like Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Whitey Ford and Jim Palmer.  
They hit better, they threw better, they ran better, they fielded better.  
They tried harder.

the blues and baseball: there's always hope and next year

Paul,

I heard you and Annie in concert Sunday evening in Lexington. Had I known you were an Orioles fan, I would have surely introduced myself. As a diehard O's fan, living here in Boston is tough--but you can always hope for weekends like this one with the sweep. Boog, Jim Gentile, and Gus Triandos are among my favorites, but Brooks is incomparable: in fact, we had our son induced on Brook's birthday to ensure his good fortune. I also remember the nights listening to WBAL on the transistor radio--the signal always carried widely, particularly late at night. See you at a future gig and at the World Series in Camden Yards!

Bruce

Paul And Brooks Robinson

You know, dear friend.....it is amazing.........that my FAVORITE blues guitar player should write about my FAVORITE baseball player. My brother and I just came back from Cooperstown yesterday, where I bought the nicest Brooks Robinson signed 16X20 that I have ever seen.....perhaps I should hang it next to a 16X20 of Paul Rishell........

Love you dearly....always

Peter Lembo

ORIOLES

I grew up in Towson,MD during the late 50's thru the early 60's and The Orioles were my team; For several years in the early 60's they were considered the best team in baseball. How about when Boog came to the plate and the crowd yelled Boog..Booooogggggg! And Jim Palmer..one of the great pitchers. My dad used to take me to games and this was when they still had a wood fence outside with holes in it that those who couldn't afford tix could see thru. I was a catcher on a little league team in '65 and we won our division that summer. Well Paul thanks for bringing back all those great memories.

Tall Richard

"After You've Gone"

After a strenuous Google session, I find that "After You've Gone" is the name of the blues tune that regales us in the wake of the baseball movie, "Eight Men Out."

KL

Baseball and music

Hi Paul -- My wife and I (big guy with the Ohio State ballcap) saw you in Canton, CT with the snakes, crickets and smattering of blues fans and we enjoyed the program immensely. Wish I had known you were such a baseball fan. I was general manager of an Eastern League team in Glens Falls, NY from 1984-88. I needed a keynote speaker for our Hot Stove Dinner prior to the 88 season and booked Brooks Robinson. I picked him up at Albany Airport and drove the 45 minutes back to Glens Falls. We stopped for lunch at the apporpriately named Pat Russo's Dugout in South Glens Falls and he signed autographs for all. He was dynamic as a speaker. I still have the canceled check I gave him for his appearance complete with his endorsement on the back and the hotel bill he signed. He is as classy a man as there ever was in the game and I'm proud to have met him.

As you were playing, the blues song at the end of my favorite baseball movie -- "Eight Men Out" -- kept going through my mind. Are you familiar with it? I'll have to google it.

Looking forward to seeing you and Annie against at Roaring Brook. The intimacy of the room is incredible. I especially loved the bluegrass tunes despite Annie's balky mandolin.

With deep respect and appreciation,

Ken Lipshez
kenlip@aol.com

Baseball - for the love of the game

I thought I'd share some of my baseball experience as I played in an age and skill tiered hardball (baseball) league until one month before my 50th birthday. I played in my mid-season all star game as my last game and struck out the last two guys I ever faced - one on a curve ball and one on a fastball. I had to quit as I was in so much pain from all the years of sports during adulthood that I was taking pain meds before every game. Not good. Since then I've had a total hip replacement and am nursing the other one to last awhile longer. This loss of baseball which was my souce of social life and stress release caused me to re-assess where to go next. I always needed something to challenge me and to be part of a routine of practice. I decided to get back into music as I've always been passionate about it, but had not performed since high school. The blues was a natural choice so I took vocal lessons to hone my skills and bought a harmonica thinking it would be an easy item to "add to the party." Well a little over four years later I'm finally just starting to get to play out in a duo and I found out how hard the harmonica is to master as well as singing well. I feel an intense melancholy when I re-connect with my former teammates and especially on the weeks where I follow them playing in out of town tournaments such as the one in Phoenix every year. All I can do is channel that energy into my music and hope that it is felt by others. But I'll never forget the memories of the 18 years I spent in the adult baseball league here in the Seattle area (PSSBL) and can only hope that the blues provides me with a similar memory set while lasting longer into my senior years to come.

Willie Stargell

When I was a bit older than you, I travelled to see the first pro baseball game of my life. We left on a bus from Buffalo, N.Y. and drove to Pittsburgh. The Pirates were in their "We are Family" phase. They wore throwback uniforms with old pillbox caps.
Willie Stargell was on the field during warm-ups and was talking to some kids in the lower seats. They clustered around while he was absent-mindedly hitting baseballs with a bat in one hand. It was like watching him hit tennis balls with a racket. Very cool!
Later that night he hit a two run home-run and as he "ran" around the bases the entire stadium was on it's feet singing "We are Family" while fireworks went off in the sky.
What a show! I still smile when I think of it.
-Kev Barry

Baseball

Funny, Mr. Rishell...........I grew up a Baltimorte Oriole fan...I adopted them in 1960 after Ted Williams retired.....Brooks Robinson was the reason........Had the pleasure of meeting him a bunch of times.....and he, Like Jeter, is a man of quality, talent and staure...much like yourself........Peter Lembo

1965 Baltimore Orioles

Had to try harder...in "65 the highest paid player was 64K, lowest 6,500. They had to work hard for all that dough!

"My feeling is that when you're managing a baseball team, you have to pick the right people to play and then pray a lot." - Robin Roberts

from:
www.baseball-almanac.com/teamstats/roster.php?y=1965&t=BAL

See you soon,
Rich Brown

Had to try harder...

Had to try harder...in "65 the highest paid player was 64K, lowest 6,500. They had to work hard for all that dough!
"My feeling is that when you're managing a baseball team, you have to pick the right people to play and then pray a lot." - Robin Roberts
from:
www.baseball-almanac.com/teamstats/roster.php?y=1965&t=BAL
See you soon,
Rich Brown
greating

In MY day........

The whole world is different now, Paul. Back then, they had to have winter jobs because they were not paid as much even in a relative sense. As far as throwing out base stealers, I really wonder sometimes if players are faster today. It seems that, as dedicated, year round athletes, that they should have better raw abilities. After all, everybody knows, for instance, that Yaz smoked like a chimney. I wonder how many ballplayers smoke cigarettes nowadays?

old days vs new

Yeah I love the old guys too.
but todays players are bigger faster and stronger by an exponential factor.
It's not bad catchers but slow to the plate pitchers they steal off and players are so fast Bill Dickey couldn't throw them out.

Jackie Robinson was out at home,Berra was right to protest.