Tag Archives: Bobby Richardson

The Up and Down Career of Gene Host

Eugene Earl Host was once one of the highest-rated mound prospects in the Detroit organization.  Born on January 1, 1933 in Leeper, Pennsylvania, the 5′ 11″, 190-pound hard-throwing left hander was signed as a 19-year-old free agent in 1952 by the Detroit Tigers.

Sent to Kingston of the Coastal Plains League in his first professional season, he was 26-7 with a 1.81 ERA and named to the league All Star team.

He spent the 1953 season with Montgomery in the South Atlantic League (A) where he was 10-13 with a 3.51 ERA and in 1954 bounced between three teams: Little Rock (Southern Association – AA), Wilkes-Barre (Eastern League – A), and Durham (Carolina League – B). His combined record was 7-7.

In 1955 he spent the entire season with Little Rock where he was 10-13 once again. In May he hit Chattanooga’s Lyle Luttrell with a pitch, breaking his jaw.

In 1956 he finished 13-15 with Charleston (American Association – AAA) before being called up to the Tigers where his contract with the major league club called for a salary of $4,200.

He pitched in one game for Detroit at Briggs Stadium on September 16, 1956 against Boston. Wearing number 19, he started the game and allowed four runs on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings. Two of those hits were home runs by Billy Klaus (in the 5th inning with one on and one out) and Jackie Jensen (also in the 5th inning, a solo shot with two out).

After a single by Jimmy Piersall and a walk to Norm Zauchin, manager Bucky Harris called on future Hall of Famer Jim Bunning to replace Host on the mound. Bunning won in relief, allowing one hit the rest of the way as the Tigers won 8-4.

On December Host was traded by the Tigers with Wayne Belardi, Ned Garver, Virgil Trucks and $20,000 to the Kansas City Athletics for Jack Crimian, Jim Finigan, Bill Harrington and Eddie Robinson.

Gene HostHost signed with Kansas City at a salary of $5,100 and appeared in 11 games for the Athletics in 1957, mostly in relief. His uniform number was 28. He started two games, at Comiskey Park on April 20 against the Chicago White Sox (his first game for Kansas City, no decision) and at Cleveland Stadium on May 10 against the Indians (his first loss of the season).

His second loss came on June 9 at home at Municipal Stadium. In relief of Tom Morgan with no one out and two on in the fifth inning Host retired the side with no outs. In the eighth he gave up a solo home run to Ted Lepcio. In the ninth inning Jimmy Piersall and Ted Williams hit home runs and Lepcio singled home Jackie Jensen. Boston won 8-4 as Kansas City’s offense gave no support to Host.

On June 14 at Kansas City versus the New York Yankees, Host came on in relief of Mickey McDermott. Facing Mickey Mantle with two out and Bobby Richardson on second, Mantle promptly homered. Finishing the game, Host allowed seven hits, three runs (all earned), and struck out one: Mantle in the ninth.

Host’s final game in the majors was on June 23 at Fenway Park in Boston where he allowed three runs on four hits in 1 1/3 innings.

Traded to Buffalo for Glenn Cox a few weeks later, Host pitched in three games for the Bisons before being obtained by the Denver Bears of the American Association in late July. Under the tutelage of manager Ralph Houk, Denver won their league title. Playing versus Buffalo in the Junior Series championships Host was removed from the 20-player limit but he shared in the players’ share of the winnings.

In September he was sent to Little Rock to end the season. He was 1-4 in five appearances for the Travelers before being assigned back to Buffalo for 1958.

Host never appeared for the Bisons, however, as he was purchased by Indianapolis (American Association – AAA) in April before the season began. Having made his home in Little Rock, he left the club for a week to return to Arkansas without explanation, then rejoined the team on April 24. In May the Indians sent him to San Antonio (Texas League – AA) who returned him to Buffalo in June.

Buffalo assigned him to Winona (Illinois-Indiana-Iowa League – Class B) but he refused to report and was placed on baseball’s suspended list.

Out of baseball in 1959, he returned the next season as a member of the Monterrey Sultans (Mexican League – AA) pitching staff. In the opening game he was the loser in a slugfest in Mexico City in front of 25,000 fans who saw the Reds win 13-8. His record with the Sultans was 2-5 as his ERA ballooned to 5.86.

Host was a member of the Nashville Vols in 1961, signed by the club in March. He appeared in 11 games, winning two and losing five. His first win came against Chattanooga on Monday, April 10 in the second game of the season as Nashville trounced the Lookouts 8-6. By May 3 Birmingham handed him his fourth consecutive defeat, but on May 7 he pitched brilliantly in a four-hit, 2-0 shutout as Nashville’s Gene Davis popped a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth.

It was Host’s final win of his career. The May 31, 1961 edition of The Sporting News announced his release by Nashville.

Once his baseball career was over he became a bus driver for Continental Trailways, and in 1964 began working as a machinist at the Ford Motor Co. glass plant in Nashville. Host passed away August 20, 1998 at the age of 65 and was cremated.

© 2015 by Skip Nipper. All Rights Reserved.

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Baseball Celebration, Baseball Chatter

Baseball has been a slice of America since its beginning. It has created rivalries among cities, towns, and states, and has also brought schools, teammates, and families together. Attending a game brings a peace to everyday life where fans can chat about home, discuss batting averages, and enjoy the progress of raw talent while admiring the decline of an All-Star and maybe a future Hall of Famer.

It is a participation game. It calls for players at nine positions on the field, and a supporting cast of relievers, utility fielders, and sometimes designated hitters. Playing the game creates situations that call for quick thinking, strong arms, and lively bats.

It is also a game to be watched. Fans see athletic skills, managerial prowess, and disappointing losses at the ballpark. “The Game” is perfect in its imperfections through errors, wild pitches, and strikeouts.

The solace of a ballpark, of concrete and steel and of wood splinters and bleachers, overlooks the stage of green and brown where players paint their masterpieces of sweat and of tears.

Celebrating those moments are as important as studying the past, reliving historical traditions, and hoping for continuation of moments once experienced by previous generations.

Tomorrow night at the Millennium Maxwell House in Nashville the Old Timers Baseball Association of Nashville will give area baseball fans a chance to celebrate once again. It will be the 76th annual banquet for the Old Timers, an organization which has as its creed a testament to all things “Baseball”:

“To enjoy fellowship with baseball enthusiasts and to honor and support the great game of baseball at all levels.”

HearFormer professional baseball players will be attending including Bobby Richardson who was MVP of the 1960 World Series as second baseman for the New York Yankees, amateur players will be honored, twenty high school seniors will receive scholarship awards, Gerald Montgomery will be honored as the latest selection for Nashville’s Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame, and Dennis Birdwell will be given his “Mr. Baseball” award.

But that’s not all. The baseball chatter at each table will be there for all to hear. Lean in and listen. The stories are vital to those telling and vital those who hear them.

Those “slices of America” are important in the celebration of “The Game”, too.

© 2014 by Skip Nipper. All Rights Reserved.

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Old Timers to Award 20 Scholarships at 76th Annual Banquet

ScholarshipOld Timers Baseball Association of Nashville president Jim Forkum released the names of twenty high school senior baseball players who will be receiving a scholarship award at the Old Timers’ 76th annual banquet on Thursday night, January 23rd.

Former New York Yankees second baseman and 1960 World Series MVP Bobby Richardson will be assisting in the presentation of scholarships. The award winners can be found on the Old Timers website:

http://www.otbaseball.com

Join in the festivities by purchasing a ticket at the door. It will be an exciting night and you are encouraged to attend!

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2014 Area “Hot Stove” Baseball Events

stoveNow we can put the year 2013 behind us. As a New York Yankee fan, it’s really easy to do to! Looking forward to the 2014 season is one thing, but there are many opportunities to be a part of “Hot Stove League” baseball through the rest of the winter. Pitchers and catchers will be reporting to their team’s spring training camp in only a few weeks, but in the meantime one can partake of one or more of these opportunities:

Thursday, January 23, 2014: The Nashville Old Timers Baseball Association will hold their 76th annual banquet at the Millennium Maxwell House. Former New York Yankees second baseman and 1960 World Series MVP Bobby Richardson will be the speaker.  The doors open at 5:30 PM with the banquet starting at 6:30 PM (CT). Tickets are $50.00 each; email me if you need more information: skip@sulphurdell.com

Saturday, January 25, 2014: Fifth annual SABR Day. Our local Grantland Rice-Fred Russell (Nashville) chapter will meet at Shelby Park in east Nashville in the “Junie” McBride Old Timers board room from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM (CT). The Old Timers Nashville Amatueur Baseball Hall of Fame is displayed there. More information to follow. Guests are always welcome at SABR chapter events.

Saturday, January 25, 2014: Fifth annual SABR Day. The East Tennessee Chapter will also be meeting at 10 AM (ET) at the Knoxville Lawson McGhee Library in Knoxville. Email Bryan Stepherson: steverson@charter.net or Mark Aubrey: mark.aubrey@gmail.com for more information. Once again, guests are welcome.

Thursday, February 6, 2014: 13th annual American Baseball Foundation Lead Off Dinner, Birmingham, Alabama. Roger Clemens, seven-time Cy Young award winner, is speaker. Tickets are $150.00 each and more information may be found here:  http://www.americanbaseballfoundation.com/lead-off-dinner/

Saturday, March 1, 2014: 11th annual Southern Association Conference will be held in Atlanta. Presentations will consist mainly of Atlanta’s long and memorable tenure in the Southern Association although other topics related to baseball in Atlanta and the South may be included. Should you wish to be considered as a presenter, send a brief synopsis to David Brewer:  david@rickwood.com.

Friday, April 4, 2014: The 19th Annual Conference on Baseball in Literature and Culture will be held at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro.  The luncheon speaker is former Kansas City Royals star Willie Wilson. Additional information will be updated soon here:  http://www.mtsu.edu/english/BBConf/

Opening Day is right around the corner, too.  In 2014 there are many opportunities to enjoy the Game! Here’s a list of area minor league teams’ games to kick off the home season:

Thursday, April 3, 2014:

Bowling Green Hot Rods vs. South Bend Silver Hawks, 7:05 PM (CT)

Chattanooga Lookouts vs. Jackson Generals, time TBA (ET)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014:

Birmingham Barons vs. Jacksonville Suns, 7:05 PM (CT)

Huntsville Stars vs. Pensacola Blue Wahoos, time TBA (CT)

Jackson Generals vs. Mississippi Braves, 7:05 PM (CT)

Tennessee Smokies vs. Chattanooga Lookouts, 7:05 PM (ET)

Thursday, April 10, 2014:

Louisville Bats vs. Columbus Clippers, 6:35 (ET)

Friday, April 11, 2014:

Memphis Redbirds Opening Day vs. Iowa Cubs, 7:05 PM (CT)

Nashville Sounds Opening Day vs. Omaha Storm Chasers, 7:05 PM (CT)

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Get Your Off Season Baseball Fix…

calendarIt has been just over a month ago since the Boston Red Sox won the World Series, and 2014 spring training is still 87 days away.  However, don’t despair! There are upcoming baseball events in our area:

Thursday, December 12, 2013: Pulitzer Prize winning author, Doris Kearns Goodwin will be in Nashville discussing her latest book, “The Bully Pulpit”.  The event takes place at Montgomery Bell Academy at 6:15 PM.  You may remember Ms. Goodwin from her interviews on Ken Burns’ PBS Special, “Baseball” and as author of “Wail Till Next Year” about her family’s love for the Brooklyn Dodgers when she was a young girl.

I’m not sure that Ms. Goodwin will be speaking about baseball, but we all know from her appearance on PBS that she is an interesting author. Take a copy of her book, I’ll bet she’ll be happy to sign it!

Thursday, January 23, 2014: The Nashville Old Timers Baseball Association will hold their 76th annual banquet at the Millennium Maxwell House. Former New York Yankees second baseman and 1960 World Series MVP Bobby Richardson will be the speaker.

Tickets are $50.00 each; let me know if you are interested. Better yet, get a group of 10 and be recognized with your own table!

Saturday, January 25, 2014: Fifth annual SABR Day. Our Grantland Rice-Fred Russell chapter will meet at Shelby Park in east Nashville in the “Junie” McBride Old Timers board room from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM.

The Old Timers Nashville Amatueur Baseball Hall of Fame is displayed there. Guests are always welcome at SABR chapter events.

Friday, April 4, 2014: The 19th Annual Conference on Baseball in Literature and Culture will be held at MTSU in Murfreesboro. The luncheon speaker is former Kansas City Royals star Willie Wilson.

Would you consider joining the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR)? No matter whether your interest is baseball research, history, or whether you need your statistics fix, SABR is for you. The research opportunity is almost unlimited, and the friends you’ll meet are great! Check us out here:  http://sabr.org/content/frequently-asked-questions.

For more information about SABR or any of these events, email: skip@sulphurdell.com

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Old Timers Banquet To Feature Bobby Richardson

Bobby Richardson, second baseman for the New York Yankees from 1955 through 1966, will be the featured speaker at the 76th Annual Old Timers annual banquet, scheduled for Thursday, January 23, 2014, at the Millennium Maxwell House, 2025 Rosa L. Parks Blvd.

Richardson played in more than 1,400 games while the New York Yankees were winning American League pennants in nine of his first ten years. Named the Most Valuable Player in the 1960 World Series (still the only player from a losing team to be so named), he holds numerous World Series records, including single-game runs-batted-in, runs-batted-in in a series, and hits in a series. Richardson also holds the record for having played in 30 consecutive World Series games.

BRHe finished as runner-up to Mickey Mantle in the voting for American League MVP in 1962. A member of seven American League All-Star teams, Richardson won five consecutive Rawlings Gold Glove awards.

After retiring from the Yankees at the age of 31, Richardson became the baseball coach at South Carolina. In 1975, his team compiled a record of 51-6, losing to Texas in the final game of the College World Series. Having also coached at Coastal Carolina College and Liberty University, he stepped down as Athletic Director at Liberty in 1990. Active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, for ten years Richardson has been president of Baseball Chapel.

Previous speakers include R. A. Dickey, Bill Buckner, Tommy Lasorda, Tim Corbin, Buck Showalter, and Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew.

Since 1999 the Old Timers Baseball Association of Nashville has awarded 138 scholarships worth close to $275,000. Funds are raised at their annual scramble golf tournament and all proceeds go toward assisting some young men who might not have had the chance to further their education.

The deadline for submitting scholarship applications is December 15th, and the form can be accessed here:

http://oldtimers.faithsite.com/uploads/1283/102720.pdf

Please ask high school coaches, principals, and guidance counselors to encourage qualified candidates to apply. More information about the group can be found on the Old Timers website, http://www.otbaseball.com.

For more information email info@otbaseball.com

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Old Timers Baseball Scholarships To Be Awarded

For the past 15 years the Nashville’s Old Timers Baseball Association has presented over $250,000 in scholarships to worthy high school senior baseball players from the Nashville area. Scholarships are awarded based on grades, need, community involvement and baseball participation and are a way for the organization to help defray some of the education costs for a special group of young men.

CreedFunds are raised at the annual Old Timers scramble golf tournament held each September, and scholarships are awarded at the annual banquet.  Scheduled for Thursday, January 23, 2014, at the Millennium Maxwell House near downtown, the banquet is expected to draw 600 attendees. It will be the 76th annual Old Timers banquet.

Former New York Yankees second baseman and 1960 World Series Most Valuable Player Bobby Richardson will be the  speaker.

A scholarship application is available for download at http://www.otbaseball.com.  If you are a coach or guidance counselor at a high school in the Nashville area, would you discuss this with your senior ball players, be sure that each one receives a copy, and encourage them to apply? If you are a parent or family friend, your encouragement would be appreciated, too.

The application deadline is December 15, 2013.

There is nothing more exciting than to give funds to those who are qualified to receive scholarships, and the Old Timers group will soon be going through the applications to determine those who are best served!

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