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On May 12, 1963, Mickey Lolich made his major league debut for the Detroit Tigers. He pitched two scoreless, hitless innings of mop-up relief against Cleveland Indians, striking out the first two batters he faced — Max Alvis and Sam McDowell. He was 22 years old.
Lolich went on to win 217 games, 207 of them for Detroit. And in 1968, he won three World Series contests.
Nineteen sixty-three was something of a lost season for the Tigers. They won only 79 games, compared to 85 the previous year and 101 in 1961. However, they “blooded” several key members of the championship team they would field five years later.
Third baseman Don Wert debuted the day before Lolich. Outfielders Gates Brown, Willie Horton, and pitcher Denny McLain would be called up later in the year. 1963 was also catcher Bill Freehan’s rookie year, although he had played in four games in 1961.
All of these Tigers played key roles in the 1968 championship drive, and McLain was that season’s major league MVP. But Lolich stole the show during the World Series, pitching three complete game victories, including Game 7. All told, he worked 27 innings against St. Louis, allowing only five runs.
Game 7 was a contest for the ages. Lolich pitched it on only two days rest. His opposite number, Bob Gibson, had also pitched a pair of overpowering complete game victories in this Series, and was gunning for his eighth complete game World Series win in a row.
Gibson and Lolich both pitched shut-out ball for six innings. Detroit broke through for three runs in the seventh, thanks to a fly ball by Jim Northrup that center-fielder Curt Flood, a great outfielder, misplayed into a triple.
Lolich needed no further support. Detroit won the game 4-1. Both Lolich and Gibson went all the way.
Lolich was nearly as sharp in his only other post-season series. In the 1972 AL playoffs, against the eventual champion Oakland A’s, Lolich started two games, pitched 19 innings, and allowed just three earned runs. Both of his games went into extra innings. All Lolich had to show for them was a loss and a no-decision.
So Lolich’s final post-season totals are: five starts, a remarkable 46 innings, eight earned runs, and a 3-1 record. I work that out to be a 1.56 ERA.
Lolich’s amazing innings per game count in the post-season is emblematic of his ability to finish what he started. From 1969-1975, the portly left-hander never completed fewer than 13 games in a season, and he completed more than 20 games three times. For his career, Lolich completed nearly 40 percent of his starts.
The post-season aside, Lolich only had two truly outstanding seasons: 1971 (25-14, 2.92 ERA, with 29 complete games and 376 innings pitched) and 1972 (22-25. 2.50 ERA). In 1968, Lolich was 17-9 with a 3.19 ERA. But that was the “year of the pitcher,” and his ERA was only average in that context. In fact, Tiger manager Mayo Smith removed Lolich from the starting rotation for a few games in August after he was roughed up in three consecutive starts.
Take away Lolich’s two great seasons, and you have a good, durable pitcher who, thanks to the 1968 World Series, made baseball history. Add the great seasons back in and you have a very good, durable pitcher who made baseball history. And either way, you have one of the baseball’s most vivid personalities from the 1960s and 1970s.
You can find Lolich’s SABR biography here.
2013 featured the winter that wouldn’t end. Here in Minneapolis, the snow has finally melted and leaves are starting to come out on the trees. Farther north, though, the lakes are still largely frozen. This weekend is the opening of Minnesota’s fishing season, one of the most important dates on the calendar. But it’s hard to go after those walleyes when you’re dodging ice on the lake. The Minneapolis Star Tribune posted this mournful account:
Fishing season began Saturday in Minnesota, and in some cases involving significant determination, fishing began Saturday, too.
Anglers were greeted by temperatures far colder than just one day before, by a cold and gusty north wind and by ice still covering the largest Up North lakes. It’s believed no fishing opener since 1950 was so dramatically affected by weather, not so much the weather on opening day but that of the weeks previous.
Still, anglers found options in rivers and smaller bodies of water where ice had managed to become open water despite a winter that lingered long into spring.
The Strib’s article is accompanied by a number of photographs, including this man who is sitting on the ice of Pike Bay Lake, trying to fish:
Here he is literally ice fishing in May, using the traditional ice auger:
It is hard not to feel sorry for these fishermen. They apparently found some open water and got their lines in the lake, but they look way too cold to be having much fun:
Wallace Stevens once wrote:
One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;
And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter
Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves….
Yes, but he was talking about January, for crying out loud! When the pine trees are still crusted with snow in May, I don’t care how inured you are to Minnesota weather, there is misery in the sound of the wind.
“A dropout from a life of privilege, [Taylor] Mead allied himself with Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and other early leaders of the San Francisco Beat scene of the 1950s…”
Indie auteur Jim Jarmusch, who cast Mead in a moving vignette that closed his 2003 film “Coffee and Cigarettes,” considered Mead one of his heroes.One of my favorite movies. Here’s the movie that made me a big fan: Andy Warhol’s “Lonesome Cowboys.”
He was a familiar face on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, where he wandered the streets with a notebook, read his poetry in coffeehouses – often against a background of a Charles Mingus recording – and fed feral cats in the predawn hours….Here, you can watch the Taylor Mead segment of “Coffee and Cigarettes” on YouTube, but it will look a lot better — and the entire movie is recommended — on Amazon instant video or DVD.
Born on the last day of 1924 in Grosse Pointe, Mich., Mead was the son of a wealthy businessman and his socialite wife who divorced before he was born. He floated through boarding schools and a number of colleges before his father found him a job in a brokerage house, which was not to his liking…
Goodbye to Taylor Mead. Real tears shed for you here at Meadhouse.
ADDED: “Let’s pretend this coffee is champagne… to celebrate life… like the rich, classy people do.”
IN THE COMMENTS: betamax3000 said:
I was feeding apple slices to the baby alligators in the sewer through an open manhole cover when the headlights came upon me like two drunk angels. The police had beaten my dead horse before, and I sure was not going to stick around this time for another pony ride. Through the alley I went, past the passed-out vagrants and the virgin hookers and the baking-powder salesman who looked like Woodrow Wilson, then down the stairs to the jazz club in the basement below the Italian restaurant that served great Chinese if you asked right. I had my usual — gin with an orange marmalade chaser — when I heard someone call my name above the honk-and-skitter of the saxophone trio: it was Speedy Johnny, free from jail. The cops had busted him for contributing to the delinquency of minors with intent to double-park, and now he looked as pale as a night-school oyster.More in that vein, inside.
I learn via Twitter that the video below featured this past Wednesday on the Tonight Show has gone viral. BuzzFeed explains:
“Pumpcast News” is a Tonight Show sketch in which actor Tim Stack, posing as the anchor of a (fake) news show aired at gas station pumps, starts to talk directly to the unsuspecting gas station patrons.
While usually the intention of the sketch is to frighten and shock normal people just trying to go about their day, Wednesday’s installment was something else.
“Something else,” as in completely delightful.
Discussed — improperly, I think — at Metafilter, here.
AP: Federal oversight group says claim that senior IRS officials were unaware of extra tea party scrutiny isn’t entirely accurate; Updated
**Written by Doug Powers
Yesterday Michelle wrote about the IRS admitting to giving extra scrutiny to conservative groups (specifically ones that were self-described as “tea party” or “patriot” organizations) seeking tax exempt status in 2011 and 2012. Lois Lerner, head of the IRS division that oversees tax exempt groups, apologized and said the practice was initiated by “lower level workers” in Cincinnati and was not motivated by political bias (pause for laughter). Lerner also told the AP that at the time no high level IRS officials knew this was going on.
Somebody might want to ask her that question again:
A federal watchdog’s upcoming report says senior Internal Revenue Service officials knew agents were targeting tea party groups in 2011.
The Associated Press obtained part of the draft report.
That report says the head of the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups learned that groups were being targeted in June 2011. It does not say whether Shulman was notified.
Bonus points: According to this story in The Hill, not only is Lerner’s claim that no higher-ups at the IRS knew about the extra scrutiny being given to conservative groups incorrect, but that at least one of those senior officials who knew about the practice was… Lerner:
The report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is slated to be released next week — the AP obtained a draft copy of the report.
According to that draft, the head of the IRS division that overseas tax-exempt groups became aware that conservative groups were being targeted for scrutiny in June, 2011. The report does not say whether Douglas Shulman, IRS commissioner at the time, was aware of it.
In some cases, groups were asked for their list of donors, which violates IRS policy in most cases, she said.
According to Jay Carney, if anything, this might be Bush’s fault.
Double bonus points: IRS official Lerner: “I’m not good at math.”
It’s all starting to make sense now.
Update: Jewish groups too?
The New York Times must have declared the story dead, because they’ve buried it.
The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight has thrown down an investigative gauntlet to the Internal Revenue Service, demanding that the agency hand over by next Wednesday every communication in its records that includes the words “tea party,” “patriot” or “conservative.”
The committee is also demanding of the IRS that by next Wednesday it provide the committee with the names and titles of all individuals who were involved in targeting conservative non-profit groups for more intensive review of their applications for non-profit status.
**Written by Doug Powers
Team Obama has come up with its excuse for converting the Benghazi talking points into a false narrative. It was a purely bureaucratic matter, you see. The CIA and the State Department disagreed about what happened, and the White House simply wanted to make sure the talking points represented all viewpoints.
The White House has been suggesting this excuse for a few days. Today, the Washington Post’s “fact-checker,” Glenn Kessler, tries to inject it into the mainstream.
It’s not much of an excuse, of course. The White House’s proper role when it presents talking points to Congress, which had requested them, and to the public via appearances by its agents on talk shows, is to state the truth, not to make various bureaucracies happy. If the CIA and the State Department disagreed, the administration should not have included State’s spin merely because that’s what Hillary Clinton wanted.
This notion is so basic that it casts serious doubt on the White House’s “deference to the State Department made us do it” explanation — an excuse that, it should be noticed, won’t warm the heart of Hillary Clinton. In all likelihood, Team Obama endorsed State’s spin because it presented the version of events that best suited the president’s campaign purposes.
But the problem for those who want President Obama to take a major hit is twofold. First, it’s not clear that Obama himself was in the loop, and if he was, it will be difficult to prove.
Second, the CIA appears not to have put up much of a battle with the State Department. If State demanded changes and the CIA’s position was basically “whatever,” then it becomes more difficult to accuse the White House of insufficient regard for the truth in resolving the dispute, such as it was, between the two agencies.
If Obama is going to take a major hit over Benghazi, it will have to be for his response (or lack of one) to the attack while it took place. He can also be criticized for not having ordered that the military be prepared in advance to rapidly respond to events in this dangerous region, but this charge isn’t likely to resonate beyond conservative circles.
As for what Obama did or didn’t do during the attack, there is still more to be learned. As things stand now, though, it looks difficult to show that there was some action Obama could have ordered after the attack commenced that would have changed the outcome.
This isn’t to deny that Obama should have selected one or more of his military options. As I argued here, he should have; for no one knew when the Benghazi attack began how long it would last or whether it would spread to Tripoli.
However, I don’t see the administration taking a major hit for failing to employ measures that would have succeeded only in a counter-factual scenario. The way things look now, I expect Obama to skate past Benghazi.