November 25, 2010 – For me, baseball started back in 1957 when I followed the Milwaukee Braves beat the New York Yankees in the World Series. My brother Stan (now deceased and probably talking baseball and watching some former greats strapping it on again in the big field in the sky) and I grew up like many other kids, collecting baseball cards and trading them, not thinking they would ever be worth anything. Back then, Topps were about the only card on the market in our small home town and they were a nickel a pack or six for a quarter and each pack had some awful tasting bubblegum that was hard as a rock, not to mention that the gum often ruined the card that was next to it. I always hated the Yankees so I always traded any Yankee card for any Twins card I could get my hands on. I wonder how many Mickey Mantle cards I got rid of. Of course I don’t have any of those cards today, my Mother saw to that while I was in the Navy.
But this story is getting off of its original intent and that is to talk about managers and ejections. Back then we had no TV so the only baseball action we could get was via the radio as I listened to Milwaukee Braves night games on my transistor radio and then when the Twins moved to Minnesota we finally had our own team on WCCO radio and I listened to as many games as I could. One of my favorite parts of listening to a game was when there was a disagreement on the field and one of the managers came out to argue his side of the play. I really enjoyed Halsey Hall or Herb Carneal telling me what was going on and then the big moment, the ump calls “you are outta here” and you could hear the fans cheer or boo depending on who was ejected. Those were the good old days for me, managers like Earl Weaver, Dick Williams or Billy Martin going toe to toe with the umps, the spit flying, kicking sand on home plate, flinging first base out into right field, slamming their cap to the ground before kicking it, and of course tossing a few bats and balls on the field as they exited the diamond on their way to the clubhouse for a cool and refreshing drink. You don’t see that manager passion that much anymore and one of the last of that breed left us when Lou Piniella retired from the game this year.
But maybe all is not lost, I recently checked with the Twins to see if they could tell me how many times each of the Twins managers had been ejected but all they could provide me with were the numbers for Tom Kelly and Ron Gardenhire as stats were not kept previous to that. We all know that Bobby Cox holds baseball’s career ejection mark with something like 158 but how is our own Gardy doing? He has been thumbed a number of times in his Twins managing career. According to the Twins, current manager Ron Gardenhire has been sent to the clubhouse on 52 occasions in his nine seasons as a Twins manager. Cox managed for 33 seasons and if you divide his 158 career ejections by the number of years he managed it comes out to about 4.79 ejections per season. Gardy has only managed for 9 seasons but he already has been thrown out 52 times and that averages out to 5.78 per season, almost one full ejection more per season managed than what Bobby Cox has accrued. Of course Gardy would have to manage many more years to beat the high ejection standard that Bobby Cox has established but Gardy could well be on his way, if Gardy managed for 33 years and kept up his current ejection rate and didn’t mellow, he could end up with 190+ ejections, is that something to look forward to or what? Go gettem Gardy! Oh by the way, Tom Kelly managed for 15+ season and was relieved of his managing duties only 5 times……….You gotta love baseball.