random stuff

It’s Hot Stove season. Know what the term Hot Stove means? a lot of you long time fans know. Before some of the other sports became popular Baseball was “The Game”. Most kids who were gifted with athletic ability wanted to be big league ballplayers. All the major league teams were in the East and midwest. Cold in the winter. So, men sat around a hot stove at the local general store and started talking about what their team needed to improve the next season. That was called the Hot Stove season. We’re in it now.

I was just thinking about some things that have happened since the end of the World Series and thought I’d share them with you. First, a sad item. My former teammate and friend Bob Forsch passed away last Thursday night at his home in Florida. Most of you have probably read about it. “Forschie” was a great teammate and a classy, stable individual…notice how most of us players or former players all have nicknames that have an ‘ie’ or “y” at the end. like little kids. Which is what we are and always want to be. “Forschie” was one of those quiet competitors. Didn’t show a lot of outward emotion but had that determined game face on the day he pitched. This was a real shocker. No apparent medical issues. Had settled into a nice position with the Reds coaching in the minor leagues. Looked great throwing out the cermonial 1st pitch before game 7 of the World Series. My friend Tim McCarver has often said to me after sad news like this, “We’re all like snowflakes.” All of a sudden we’re just gone. Sad but true. I try my best to cherish the memories I have of great ffriends and teammates I’ve had that have died.Thurman Munson, my Yankee teammate and friend in 1979, Zoilo Versalles, Earl Battey, Cesar Tovar, Bob Allison, Harmon Killebrew, my teammates from the 1965 AL Champion Twins. Many more. Not to get ‘preachy’ but these losses are reminders to live life to the fullest way you know which I hope is to treat people the right way, be thankful if we’re healthy and vibrant. Next year Whitey Herzog is planning a reunion celebrating the 30th anniversary of the 1982 St. Louis Cardinal World Series Champions.Those of us that will be fortunate enough to be there will reminisce about ‘Forschie” and “Snivy”. That was Darrel Porter’s nickname. Don’t know why. He was just 50 when he passed away.

On to happier news. I mentioned to Jim Thome at the Baseball Players Alumni dinner this past Thursday what a cool thing it would be for him to join his mentor Charlie Manuel in Philadelphia because of Ryan Howard’s injury. He didn’t react at all. Poker faced. And lo and behold, that’s where he’s going. I don’t know how strongly the Twins will pursue keeping “Cuddy”, Michael Cuddyer’s nickname; but if the Phillies signed him they would have 2 of the classiest, most stable players in baseball. He and Jim Thome.

Awards time. Glad I don’t vote..some tough choices….I wish the MVP award was named the ” Player of the Year”..reserved for position players only. That would make it easier. Pitcher’s have the Cy Young. But it is the MVP. hard to go against Verlander. Of course, being a former pitcher, I tend to think they’re very valuable even though they don’t perform everyday. Has anyone been more valuable to one team than Mariano Rivera for the past 15 years??
Clayton Kershaw seems like an obvious choice for NL Cy Young. MVP?? Braun, Kemp, Fielder, Pujols..be interesting to see who the writers choose. I find it hard to speculate on who some of potential winners without talking to their teammates and opponents. They’re the one’s who really know the best choices.

Well, the Hot Stove season has begun. More things to blog about every week from now intil spring training starts in February.

7 Comments

It’s a great article, Kaat friend. Tovar married his companion on that team of 65. What do you think of him as a person and player?. Greetings from Venezuela

I loved “Pepe” as a teammate and player…..could play all the positions..played all 9 one day and struck out Reggie Jackson…..always played hard and wanted to play everyday..a joy to be around…

A nice article Jim, keep up the great work.

Hey Kitty, speaking of the hot stove league, I know it’s hard to leave your home in the warm climate, but it would sure be great to see you join the Twins Winter Caravan and drive around the upper midwest this January and visit the fans. We could sure use you now that Killer has passed on.

Mr. Kaat, this is terrific! As soon as I learned about your blog, I went right to it and bookmarked it. I’ve been a Twins fan ever since they came to Minnesota (I was 10 then). No matter where I’ve lived (all over the country), I have always followed them. I still rue the day that Calvin Griffith let you go to the White Sox! But I followed your career nonetheless and even got to see you pitch one night in Philadelphia.

Sorry my last reply was chopped up. I tried to do it from my phone. Anyway, what I said before is that I hope HOF rectifys their oversight in the future with your election and as a lifelong Yankee fan I miss you on the Yankee broadcasts.

Now a question if you wish to weigh in on. I was watching a MLB Top Ten right now and they had managers. I watch very little NL games but as always these programs brood controversy. I wanted to know your thoughts on the best AL managers in the game right now and your thoughts on them. I will give you my list. Even though I am a die hard Yankee fan – I cannot give the nod to Coach Girardi. Here’s my top 5 and am interested in your thoughts:
5. Ron Gardenhire
4. Jim Leyland
3. Mike Scioscia
2. Joe Madden
1. Buck Showalter.

Thanks and love the blog. Ned

Jim: Enjoying your comments on MLB these days, and seeing you reminds me of how often I’ve used you as an example of how amazing big leaguers really are. By that, I mean that pitchers are not normally considered great hitters. You had a relatively good hitting career — 16 homers, even that .375 average with the Cardinals in ’81. I witnessed your hiotting prowess personally during the winter of 1964-65 when I spent time with the St. Pete Times sports department and played with you in a winter softball league. You killed the ball!!! MY claim to fame, as a second baseman, was saving my teammate Hal Lanier an error when he fielded a grounder at shortstop and threw to me for a force at second — it was a bad throw, but I fielded it on a shorthop and made the put out. But I still remember that you were “just” a pitcher and that you killed the ball — some prodigious home runs.

With kind regards, Dave Orman

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