I hope you have a Jim Kern Day… NOT a Warren Brusstar Day

I never saw Jim Kern pitch.
Not live at least. If I saw him on TV, I have no memory of it.

But yet I remember Jim Kern vividly. I didn’t remember the fact that he was a 3 time All Star and finished 4th in the 1979 AL Cy Young Award balloting.

Nope. I remembered that every year it seemed like he just looked happy on his baseball card.

I mean just look at his 1979 Topps Card.

The guy is loving life!
He’s playing for a 90 loss Indians team going nowhere in a hurry, but he’s laughing away.

He’s an All Star with mess up hair and the bad ass “Tomahawk C” hat and a full set of teeth,

This guy is ready to take the mound and have a great time.

In 1979 he switched teams to Texas and won the Rolaids Relief Award. That would put a smile on anyone’s face.

I distinctly remember being 7 years old and laughing when I saw this card.

Later in Texas he grew some ridiculous facial hair but that obviously didn’t put a damper on his mood.

I have no idea if he was a cool guy or not.

But I remember thinking even as a kid that he looked like he was having fun and savoring being a ball player.

Jim Kern was a state of mind. A way to look at life.

It was about positivity and being happy with where you are.

Now contrast that with Warren Brusstar.

Man this guy always looked mad.

Maybe he was ticked off that his hat didn’t quite cover his curly hair, giving him a “White Oscar Gamble” quality.

Maybe it was playing in the rough Veterans Stadium in some intense playoff caliber actions.

Maybe he was grinding his teeth in pain from all the shoulder injuries he piled up as a sinker ball pitcher

Or perhaps, unlike Kern, Brusstar had a thankless job. He wasn’t a starter and he wasn’t a closer. He piled up neither wins (he got 28 over 9 big league seasons) nor saves (14 total in his career) in an era when those two stats seemed to be the only yard stick people had to measure a pitcher’s value.

Either way, as a kid, I thought he looked really mean.

And he kept looking mean as the years went on.

Being a part of a World Champion and pitching in the 1980 World Series didn’t put a smile on his face..

Even a hair cut and moving to The Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field couldn’t cheer him up.

Come on man! You are a big league pitcher with a World Series ring! Cheer up!

So that’s my advice to you my dear readers.
Embrace the Jim Kern within.
Wear that smile. He may not have a won a World Series, but he seemed to have more fun along the way.

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Phillies pitchers who clinched a post season Series: From Ruthven to Hamels

With Brad Lidge leaving Philadelphia for the Nationals today, I realized that exactly 1/2 of the pitchers who have clinched a World Series for the Phillies switched teams. The late Tug McGraw was the other one.

I asked the Phillies fans to pay to pay their respects to Lidge today. But later I realized that the fraternity of Phillies pitchers to clinch a post season series is actually very very small.

Despite being a member of the National League since the 19th century, the Phillies went from 1903, the year of the first World Series, to 1979, a World Series I remember watching, without a single post season series victory. They lost the 1915 and 1950 World Series. They lost the 1976, 1977 and 1978 NLCS. And less said about 1964 the better.

In fact if the Houston Astros got another hit in the 9th inning of Game 4 of the 1980 NLCS, their searched for post season victory would have been prolonged.

So like I did for The Red Sox, I decided to honor each and every Phillies pitcher who threw the last pitch of a post season series.

Here are the pitchers, the game they pitched, and how was the last out recorded.

1980 National League Championship Series – Game 5
Phillies, 8, Astros 7

October 12, 1980
At The Astrodome, Houston

2 innings of relief of five pitchers for the win.
LAST OUT: Enos Cabell flew out to center fielder Garry Maddox.

1980 World Series – Game 6
Phillies 4, Royals 1

October 21, 1980
At Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia

Two innings of relief to save the game for starter Steve Carlton.
LAST OUT: Strikeout of Willie Wilson.

1983 National League Championship Series – Game 4
Phillies 7, Dodgers 2

October 8, 1983
At Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia

1 2/3 innings of relief for starter Steve Carlton and reliever Ron Reed.
LAST OUT: Strikeout of Bill Russell.

1993 National League Championship Series – Game 6
Phillies 6, Braves 3

October 13, 1993
At Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia

One inning of relief and the save for starter Tommy Greene and reliever David West.
LAST OUT: Strikeout of Bill Pecota.

2008 National League Division Series – Game 4
Phillies 6, Brewers 2

October 5, 2008
At Miller Park, Milwaukee

1 inning of relief for starter Joe Blanton and reliever Ryan Madson.
LAST OUT: Jason Kendall grounded to Jimmy Rollins at shortstop who threw to Ryan Howard at first for the out.

2008 National League Championship Series – Game 5
Phillies 5, Dodgers 1

October 15, 2008
At Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles

1 inning of relief for starter Cole Hamels and reliever Ryan Madson.
LAST OUT: Nomar Garciaparra popped up foul to catcher Carlos Ruiz for the out.

2008 World Series – Game 5
Phillies 4, Rays 3

October 29, 2008
At Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia

1 inning of relief for starter Cole Hamels and relievers Ryan Madson and J.C. Romero.
LAST OUT: Strikeout of Eric Hinske.

2009 Division Series – Game 4
Phillies 5, Rockies 4

October 12, 2009
At Coors Field, Denver

1/3 of an inning for the save in relief of Cliff Lee, Ryan Madson and Scott Eyre.
LAST OUT: Strikeout of Troy Tulowitzki

2009 National League Championship Series – Game 5
Phillies 10, Dodgers 4

October 21, 2009
At Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia
1 inning of relief for pitchers Cole Hamels, J. A. Happ, Chad Durbin, Chan Ho Park and Ryan Madson.
LAST OUT: Ronnie Belliard flies out to center fielder Shane Victorino.

2010 National League Division Series – Game 3
Phillies 2, Reds 0

October 10, 2010
At Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati

Complete Game five hit shutout.
LAST OUT: Strikeout of Scott Rolen.

So there you have it, Phillies fans. All 10 Post Season Series that the Phillies won are listed here.
And how about some more respect for Brad Lidge?

He clinched HALF of them!

I thought for sure they would have added to this list in 2011.
The window is slowly closing on this squad.

Maybe I’ll add Papelbon.

But remember, they won’t have Harry Kalas call it.
Let’s savor his 2008 call.

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A World Series fact I bet you didn’t know

I was driving the other day doing what i do best… thinking about random baseball stuff.

And in my wandering mind I stumbled across a little factoid that surprised me.
Two expansion franchises have never met each other in the World Series.
In every World Series there has been at least one franchise that existed back in 1903 (the year of the first series.)
Think about it for a second…
Since 1961 there have been 14 new franchises added to Major League Baseball.
1961 gave us the Angels (whether they are from Los Angeles, California, Anaheim or Los Angeles of Anaheim) and the new Washington Senators (now the Texas Rangers.)
1962 gave us the Houston Colt .45s (now the Astros) and the Mets.
1969 was the beginning of the Kansas City Royals and the Seattle Pilots (now the Milwaukee Brewers.) Also that year was the debut of the San Diego Padres and the Montreal Expos (now the Washington Nationals.)
1977 marked the debut of the Toronto Blue Jays and the Seattle Mariners.
1993 the NL expanded to form the Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies.
And the last expansion was 1998 with the Tampa Bay Rays and the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Now the Rangers, the Nationals and the Mariners have never played in a World Series.
The first ever expansion team to win a pennant was the 1969 Mets and they played the Orioles… who began as the Milwaukee Brewers and became the St. Louis Browns.
In 1973 the Mets played the A’s… who were in Oakland but were a team in 1903.
The other two Mets pennants (1986 and 2000) were against the Red Sox and Yankees.
The next expansion franchise to win a pennant was the Royals. They played the Phillies in 1980 and the Cardinals in 1985.
The Brewers (formerly the Pilots) played the Cardinals in 1982.
The Padres played the Tigers in 1984 and the Yankees in 1998.
The Blue Jays played the Braves in 1992 and the Phillies in 1993.
The Marlins beat the Indians in 1997 and the Yankees in 2003.
The Diamondbacks beat the Yankees in 2001.
The Angels beat the Giants (San Francisco by way of New York) in 2002.
The Astros lone pennant was a loss to the White Sox in 2005.
The Rockies played the Red Sox in 2007.
The Rays played the Phillies in 2008.
There it is… no two expansion teams have ever faced off.
Oh there have been close calls.
The 1980 Astros had the pennant winning run in scoring position in the NLCS which would have clinched a Houston/Kansas City World Series.
The 1986 Angels were one strike away, a sacrifice fly away and a Gary Pettis near home run away from meeting the Mets in the World Series.
What does this mean?
What is the significance? 
Well if the Angels play the Rockies in the World Series… it will be unique. (Not that it will get good ratings.)
And if I am forced to have this little nugget in my head… then by God you will have it too!

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