This is the first part in what will be a very special mini-series covering the fascinating history of “The Gas House Gang”. Join Paulie over the next few weeks to uncover not just a story about baseball, but one about ourselves… -Jay


There have been many memorable teams in the storied history of baseball: McGraw’s feisty Baltimore Orioles squads of the Gay 90’s; his NY Giant teams which dominated the early decades of the 20th century; the powerful Cub squads of the first decade of the 20th century; the several dynastic periods of Connie’s Philadelphia Athletic Mack-Men; the immortal Yankee dynasties of Ruth, DiMaggio, Mantle, and Jeter; the Bums of Brooklyn in the 40’s-50’s; the Big Red Machine; Earl Weaver’s Orioles of the late 60’s-early 70’s; and, of course, Charlie O’s mustachioed masters of the diamond, also of the early 70’s. All of these teams were powerful; some were awesome; and, many were endearing. But, none of them were as colorful as the St. Louis Cardinal’s Gas House Gang of 1934.

The Cardinals, a perennial losing team, both in the standings and at the box-office, were owned by Mrs. Britton. She was rumored to be looking into selling the club to buyers in another city. A local insurance executive came up with the idea that local merchants would invest in the club by buying stock. In 1917 Mrs. Britton agreed to this arrangement. Each investor who bought $50 worth of stock would receive one ticket which was to be used for one kid during the season. These were called Knot Hole Tickets, and an entire section was set apart for what was to be called the Knot Hole Gang.* The consortium of businessmen agreed on Miller Huggins as manager and, by a unanimous vote, agreed to pursue Branch Rickey as Club President; at that time Rickey was business manager of the St. Louis Browns. The head financier of the group was Charles Breaden, a notorious skinflint. He later became President of the Cardinals and worked closely with Rickey.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Part One of this series can be found here. This is Part Two of this this series can be found here.  This is Part Threee of a three-part series. 

The year was 1962. The place – the Carlyle Hotel in New York City. A man, in his early 40’s, was observed prancing around the corridors of the Carlyle, tearing off his clothing, The individual’s bodyguards found his antics quite amusing at first, until he began making bizarre paranoid rants, spouted nonsense that was obviously delusional in nature, and apparently was in a psychotic, delusional State. This individual was suffering the effects of an overdose of methamphetamines.

His name was John Fitzgerald Kennedy, at that time the President of the United States.

The POTUS, unbeknownst to him, was a meth addict.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Part One of this series can be found here. This is Part Two of a three-part series. 

“The rules are quite clear. For violation of any part of this rule, deliver what is called the “shine” ball, “spit” ball, “mud” ball or “emery” ball, the umpire shall call the pitch a ball, warn the pitcher and have announced on the public address system the reason for the action.” — Fast Facts of Baseball- The Spit Ball*

For decades, the spitter was an accepted part of major league baseball, and little to no controversy surrounded its use.  Jack Chesbro, who achieved baseball immortality by setting the unbreakable 20th century record of 41 wins in the 1904 season, was a notorious spit-ball pitcher. (Perhaps the baseball gods achieved their revenge on “Happy Jack” when he managed to lose the deciding game of that same season on a wild pitch which was undoubtedly a spitter (a pitch he called a “slow ball”) with a bit too much action.  During a match between his own New York Highlanders (nee: Yankees) and the Boston Americans (nee: Red Sox), Chesbro ‘s wild pitch allowed the winning run to score from third base. However, for many years, Chesbro’s bereaved widow blamed the team’s catcher for the miscue.) The following year, Chesbro stated that he had invented a new pitch which he called the “jump ball”, which unfortunately for him, didn’t jump all that much; his record plummeted from a mind-boggling  41-12 to a pedestrian 19-15. During the hallowed ’04 season, Jack also posted an ERA of 1.82, struck out 239 batters, pitched 454 2/3 innings, and set MLB baseball records for wins, complete games and innings pitched in a season. Jack also won 14 straight games during that season, which would remain a Yankee record until Roger Clemens broke it almost 100 years later in 2001; he also held the Yankee strike out record until Ron Guidry broke it 74 years later in 1978. (However, because of the brobdinagian number of innings he pitched that year, his K/9 ratio that season was a mere 4.7). In 1908, Chesbro announced that he would forever more eschew the use of the wetball, and his record amply demonstrated his truthfulness, as he went 14-18 for the season.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This is Part One of a three-part series.

On June 5th, 2013, T.J. Quinn, Pedro Gomez, and Mike Fish collaborated in writing an article in ESPN’s Outside the Line’s*, reporting that Major League Baseball was preparing to suspend such luminaries as Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez, Jhonny PeraltaMelky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon, and likely up to 15 other players who were connected to the Biogenesis clinic based in Miami Florida. The founder of the clinic, Tony Bosch, was reportedly going to testify against the players who had over the last several years established connections with the clinic, reportedly purchasing Performance Enhancing Drugs (P.E.D.’s), in order to plea-bargain and lesson the charges for his own egregious offenses.. These players faced up to a 100 game suspension, (which is actually the penalty for the second doping offense), for both denying their connection to the clinic as well as using P.E.D’s. As it turned out, Bosch provided phone records, receipts, data collected by the NSA or intercepted by drones hovering over the clinic. All of the players except for Alex Rodriguez have since then admitted their guilt, and were suspended for the remainder of the season; meanwhile, of course, AROD, the baseball equivalent of the Kardashians, has fought his case against the Lords of baseball, and will be suspended for one season, with his appeal in process.

Please, blog, may I have some more?


“The Iron Horse

After the 1938 season, Yankee pitcher Wes Ferrell, who played golf with Gehrig on a regular basis, noticed that Lou refrained from wearing golf cleats; instead he wore sneakers, and was sliding his feet along the ground.  He became frightened that something was wrong, and notified Yankee skipper Joe McCarthy. Gehrig played the first 8 games of the 1939 season, but it was apparent that he was not the same player as before. When Gehrig made a routine play with more then a small bit of difficulty, several Yankees, including Bill Dickey and Joe Gordon, patted him on the back, complimenting him on his effort.  It was at that point that Gehrig knew the gig was up, and feeling utterly humiliated, took himself out of the game.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In 1948, Yankee Scout Tommy Greenwade had taken a trip to Kansas to see a prospect named Billy Johnson who played for a semi-professional team named the Baxter Springs Whiz Kids. During the game, a young, strapping 16 year old boy named Mickey Mantle walloped three long home runs. The next year Greenwade returned, and when he left town, Mantle had signed his first contract to play for the New York Yankees.

“He’s the best prospect I’ve ever seen.” – Branch Rickey

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Who was the greatest pitcher during the first decade of the 20th century? Cy Young, perhaps. Christy Mathewson? Maybe Joe “Iron Arm” McGinnity”? The immensely talented and idiosyncratically eccentric Rube Waddell? Addie Joss? A case can be made for any one of these hurlers. However, the truth is that perhaps the very best of them couldn’t be identified by 95% of the fans of the American pastime. Beyond that, this same individual was considered by many astute observers as the equal of the legendary and irascible John McGraw as a manager. He was one of the most successful owners in the game, and as an Administrator, was the equal of such as Ban Johnson, the President and founder of the fledgling American league. That man was Rube Foster. In all of these respects, there has never been anyone who excelled in all of these capacities in the history of rounders. And although he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1981, he remains a rather obscure figure in baseball history. But the truth of the matter is that without Foster, there likely would not have been an organized Negro league; without Foster, it is likely that there never would have been a Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, or a Jackie Robinson.

Please, blog, may I have some more?


Exit light
Enter night
Take my hand
We’re off to never never-land

On July 16th, at the All-Star Game played at Citi-Bank Park, Mr. Sandman was played in its entirety in a park other than Yankee Stadium for the first and last time. Manager Jim Leyland called in Mariano Rivera to pitch the 8th inning against the NL’s finest. Rivera took the call, and stood on the mound with watery eyes, perhaps reminiscing about his entire career, and how he had come to this point in time. Then he returned to the business at hand, and proceeded to retire the side in order. The crowd, mostly composed of fans of the rival Metropolitan club, gave him a rousing ovation. For this would be Rivera’s last appearance in the all-star game. We have but three months more to marvel at the man who is without a question the greatest reliever in the history of baseball. But the question is – how did it come to this? That is a most remarkable story…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“See that little mound of dirt out there with the rubber in the middle? That’s my concern. I don’t have any problems, just concerns. And that’s my big concern, right out there.” Eddie Stanky

Eddie Stanky was the spark plug second-baseman known as “The Brat”. Stanky played for over a decade in the National League from 1943-1953 and had a career batting average of .268. He led the NL in walks three times and in runs scored once.

Please, blog, may I have some more?