Top Five Friday – 1/31

In honor of Ernie Banks’ 83rd Birthday today. I proudly present…

 

Ernie Banks Top 5 Days at the Plate.

 

#5 Sept 21,1959: Runner up for the 1954 ROY, Ernie reached base via a hit, walk, or hit-by-pitch 3,416 times. This day was the only time he reached 6 times in one game. He had 4 hits and 2 walks.  http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN195909210.shtml

 

#4 Sept 29, 1957: 1960 Gold Glove Winner, Ernie had 2,583 hits over his career posting a .274 batting average. This day was the only time that he had 5 hits in one game. He had 2 singles and 3 doubles on the final game of the 1957 season. http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN195709290.shtml

 

#3 May 1,1963: 11 time All-Star, Ernie had 1,636 RBI, that is 29th all-time. This day was one of 3 times that Mr. Cub drove in 7 runs in one game. His two home runs and 7 rbi helped defeat the St Louis Cardinals 13-8. http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN196305010.shtml

 

#2 Aug 4,1955: 2-Time MVP, Ernie hit 512 career Home Runs which was 8th all-time when he retired and is still 29th overall. He hit 3 homers in a game 4 times, including this day when he had 7 rbi and his third and final homer was a two-run shot in the bottom of the eighth that wo the game for the Cubs over the Pirates 11-10. http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CHN/CHN195508040.shtml

 

#1 May 29,1962: 1977 First Ballot HOF Inductee, Ernie Banks had 1,009 career extra-base hits, that was 13th all-time when he retired and is still ranked 34th. On this day Ernie accumulated his most total bases (14) in one game and it was the only time he had 4 XBH’s in one game. Ernie had 1 double and 3 home runs. http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CHN/CHN196205290.shtml

 

There’s my Top 5. What’s yours? 

Top Five Friday – 1/24

Alright, this will be a fairly easy concept, each Friday I will present a Top 5 list. It probably will be baseball related, although not always. It might be Cubs related, but that is certainly no guarantee.

The lists might be strictly fact based (most wins by a left-handed pitcher), but more often than not will be opinion based, my opinion specifically.

 For the subjective lists, I encourage you to leave your thoughts and or personal Top 5 lists in the comment section below. Let’s get started with the first list.

 

Top 5 Chicago Cubs in the Hall of Fame

 

#5 Ron Santo: Three years ago Santo would not have made this list. Not because he didn’t have 342 lifetime HR’s, or because he was a 9-time All-Star, or a 5-time Gold Glove winner; but because it incredibly took the baseball writers and various veterans committees 38 years to elect Santo into the HOF.

 

#4 Ryne Sandberg: Sandberg was the 1984 NL MVP for the team that brought baseball relevance back to the north side of Chicago.

 

#3 Mordecai Brown: During his 10 seasons with the Cubs, Brown was 188-86 with a 1.80 era.  His ERA+ with the Cubs was 153, that is easily the best of any pitcher to wear a Chicago uniform.

 

#2 Billy Williams: Sweet Swinging Billy Williams hit 426 career HR’s and had over 1400 RBI. Williams was elected to the HOF in 1987 with 85.7% of the vote. Surprisingly, 1987 was the 6th year that Billy was on the HOF ballot; he received just 23.4% on his first vote.

 

#1 Ernie Banks:  No mystery here, Ernie IS Mr. Cub. The top 11 single-season HR leaders at Shortstop are held by two players, Ernie Banks and Alex Rodriguez.  Ernie was the back-to-back NL MVP in 1958-9 and was elected to the HOF on his first ballot in 1977

 

There’s my Top 5. What’s yours?

HOF Vote Done. Maddux, Glavine, Thomas In

 

So it’s over, the BBWAA has seen fit to elect 3 new members into Baseball’s Hall of Fame; Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas. All three are deserving players and they sailed through the election process, comfortably topping the 75% threshold needed for induction.

 

Unfortunately they dropped the ball by failing to vote in an obvious HOF caliber player like Craig Biggio. I know this was a crowded ballot, and good arguments could be made for up to 16 different players, but to not make room for Biggio to be in your top 10 among those players is ridiculous.

 

What makes me more nervous for the short-term HOF prospects of certain players on the ballot this year is that only 4 of the other 27 players that received votes this year got over 50%. Think about that. Only Biggio, Mike Piazza, Jack Morris and Jeff Bagwell were able to get a simple majority of the writers to agree that they are Hall worthy, let alone 75%; and one of those players, Morris, will be off the ballot next year.

 

And it won’t be any easier next year. While five vote-worthy players (Maddux, Glavine, Thomas, Morris, Palmeiro) were removed from the ballot after this vote, they will be replaced by five new ones next year (R Johnson, P Martinez, J Smoltz, G Sheffield, N Garciaparra).

 

I would expect pitchers Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez to be locks next year, and I would also think that Biggio will get elected with a percentage around what Thomas got this year (83.7). Holdover players on the ballot will have to wait…….again

 

Players like Jeff Bagwell, and Mike Piazza and Tim Raines and Mike Mussina will all eventually get into the HOF, it just won’t be in the next couple of years, which is a shame. These players are HOFers. Why must we make them wait.

 

 

 

My 2014 Hall of Fame Ballot

This is the time of year when a fans appreciation for the long history of baseball and the players associated with the game come into focus. It’s also the time of year when I need to stay away from sharp corners; for nothing makes me want to bang my head against the wall more than the annual announcement of results from the Baseball Hall of Fame voting.

 

Like all the other no-voters out there, I’ve always felt that I know best when it comes to the HOF voting. I mean, I can never be wrong when my vote doesn’t count. Right? Except this year, I really don’t know if I can be right. Which is not to say that I’m wrong, it’s just that with the current ballot I don’t think any one voter could be “right or wrong”.

 

The 2014 ballot for HOF election has 36 players on it, 16 of whom are very legitimate candidates for enshrinement and an addition 6 that are least worthy a modicum of consideration.  

 

How did that happen? Well, it’s not like all these great players showed up this year. Some have been on the ballot for 10+ years (Trammell, Morris), some are borderline HOFers (Smith, Mattingly), some are caught up in the PED scandal (Bonds, Clemens),  and of course some are first-timers (Maddux, Glavine).

 

I want to, and it would be easy to, blame the baseball writers for this backlog of great players on the ballot; but the truth is that there is a combination of factors.

 

The writers do deserve some blame. Some refuse to vote for first timers on the ballot, like Biggio last year and Barry Larkin or Roberto Alomar in years past. But they’ve also let legitimate HOFers like Raines and Trammell languish on the ballot for far to long.  And now that situation is only going to get worse because the voting procedure is a problem.

 

The writers are limited to voting for ten players. It might seem like plenty, and most of the time it probably is, but when you look at the ballot this year, 10 is not enough. I’m not sure that allowing voters to chose more than 10 would help, I think we would end up with more “throw away” votes for players like J.T. Snow and Mike Timlin. However, requiring voters to pick 10 might help. Sure, we would still get some throw-away votes, but it would force the writers to consciously vote “against” players instead of just voting for the ones that they want.

 

And of course, the players are to blame. They are the ones that took the PED’s in the first place. Since McGwire first hit the ballot in 2007, I’ve kind of been against the PED players getting into the Hall, but over the years I’ve softened that opinion.  The lack of complete information about who did or who didn’t use; coupled with undefined quantitative effects of use has me leaning toward a “performance-only” stance when it comes to voting. I will factor in PED’s as a side issue, or tie-breaker if you will, like Alomar spitting in Hirshbeck’s face.

 

So here is my look at the 2014 HOF ballot in order of years eligible to be voted on.

 

Jack Morris: Very very good pitcher, not a HOF pitcher. I know, game 7 of WS, I get it; but, postseason era without that game is 4.26

 

Don Mattingly: Again, good player, but just doesn’t stack up to others at first base position.

 

Alan Trammell: Yes he should be in HOF, but he falls victim to ballot overload. He is number 11 or 12 on my list.

 

Lee Smith: I’m torn on Smith, in a less crowded year he might get my vote, not this year.

 

Mark McGwire: “Performance-Only” he is a yes, but with so many on ballot and the fact that he really is only a marginal candidate when compared to other first baseman (it’s true); I’m going to use my “tie-breaking” PED position and say no for 2014.

 

Tim Raines: Yes Yes Yes. He had the bad fortune of playing the same time as the greatest lead-off hitter of all-time, R Henderson, otherwise he would have already been in.

 

Edgar Martinez: Great hitter. Another guy I would like to vote for but he falls just below my 10 cut line.

 

Fred McGriff: Really close, super consistent for 19 years; a no until backlog clears up.

 

Jeff Bagwell: Yes. I’m not playing the rumor game here. Numbers are really good in totality against HOF players and particularly other first baseman.

 

Larry Walker: Did Coors help that much? Not sure. Outside my top 10.

 

Rafael Palmeiro: Oh this is a tough one. Had an actual positive PED test, but numbers are so huge, 3020 hits and 569 HR’s, that he gets my begrudging vote. Don’t be surprised if real voters give him less than 5% and he falls off ballot.

 

Craig Biggio: Yes. I’m a big Saber-metric guy, but the crazy thing is, Biggio actually comes up a little short in some comparative analytics, yet he gets my vote. 3000 hits is still 3000, even if it is just an arbitrary number.

 

Mike Piazza: Yes. Falls in the Bagwell category. Great at his position but comes under rumor scrutiny. I’m not playing that game.

 

Curt Schilling: Will go in someday. Don’t just look at the win totals, look at K-BB ratio, ERA+ number and his post-season record. He IS who people think Jack Morris was.

 

Roger Clemens: Personally not a fan, but this isn’t a fan-favorite vote, this is for HOF based on performance. He gets my vote for being one of the best of all-time.

 

Barry Bonds: Yes. See Roger Clemens above, same comment.

 

Sammy Sosa: “Performance-Only” he is a yes, probably number 10 on my ballot. Surprisingly, despite 600+ HR’s he is still just under average compared to other HOF right fielders in the Hall when you look at some comparative metrics. I again use my “tie-break” to drop him off.

 

Greg Maddux: One of the greatest pitchers of all-time. He is this years only sure fire lock to get inducted. One of my greatest pleasures in life was to be able to see him pitch in person multiple times.

 

Frank Thomas: Yes. Top 10 RH hitter in history of game. Should go in this year, but might fall victim to “first-ballot” voting.

 

Mike Mussina: He should go in, and will some day, but not this year. When you really look at the numbers, he was real close, if not better than Glavine.

 

Tom Glavine: Yes. HOF pitcher all the way. Will probably go in with Maddux as the writers create their own HOF stories voting in teammates together.

 

Jeff Kent: Good, but not great. Has an MVP award but doesn’t stack up as well as I thought he would against other HOF second baseman.

 

So there it is, my rundown of the 2014 HOF candidates. The results will be released tomorrow and anything less than 4 inductees will bring about my usual disappointment.

 

5 Reasons to Read Wrigley Regular

It’s been a while since I’ve made a post, almost a full year in fact. There’s no real reason for not posting, not a good one anyway, I just haven’t. But like all things New Year; losing weight, getting into financial shape, reading more books, wasting less time looking at a computer screen and being a better person; I figured this was as good a time as any to re-launch Wrigley Regular.

 

By re-launch of course, I just mean that I will make more than the one post that I was able to regale you with in 2013.

 

It’s also not really a coincidence that I’m writing now. It’s Baseball Hall of Fame time, and there isn’t much in this game of baseball that makes me want to bang my head against a wall (or write a post for Wrigley Regular ;) ) like the voting for the HOF does.

 

Until I actually write my HOF post, I guess I should give you some reasons to come back here and read this blog in 2014.

 

The top 5 reasons to read Wrigley Regular in 2014.

 

1)      My never asked for, never anticipated, doesn’t make a difference in the world; Baseball Hall of Fame post. Yes I know I just spent the last several paragraphs talking about this magical, unwritten at this point, post; and now I’m adding it to this list also. But after all this build up, how could you not come back to read it?

 

2)      The Cubs should be better this year. I don’t want to make that sound like I’m a band wagon jumper and that I can only be bothered to write about them when they win, but let’s be honest, when a team loses 288 games over three seasons it kind of zaps your will to write about them. Which leads me to next reason.

 

3)      My posts will be less Cubs-centric. Over the past 7 years I’ve shared season tickets for the Cubs, but for 2014 I gave up my tickets **read that as getting my financial house in order** .  So while I have always been a Cubs fan, and always will be a Cubs fan, I think my big picture on the current game of baseball as a whole needs to improve.

 

4)      The occasional fantasy baseball post. I know fantasy baseball is a love it/hate it issue for many fans, but I love it and will make several pre-season posts about the topic. Look for the majority of these posts in late Feb and March.

 

5)      It’s free to read.

So thanks for coming here now, and hopefully I’ll have much more to give you in 2014 to make a return visit worth while.

2013 Hall of Fame Vote

One thing was made perfectly clear to me yesterday; Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa will Never get elected to the Hall of Fame………NEVER!

And that goes for you too Alex Rodriguez and Andy Pettitte and Manny Ramirez.

Not this year, not next year, or 10 or 15 years from now……..Never.

The Baseball Writers of America own the keys to the front door, and you ain’t getting a copy.

And for those of you that think that maybe this was just a First Ballot punishment and that we need to see where the vote totals go next year, forget it. We need look no further than Mark McGwire’s vote totals over the years to give us some perspective.

Yesterday was the seventh time McGwire has been on the ballot, it was also the lowest vote total (16.9%) that he has ever received. He is not moving up with time and perspective, as some have suggested will happen with Bonds and Clemens, he is moving down.

The writers, many of whom in their own way were at least indirectly responsible for the popularity of the “steroid era”, have now determined that they are the moral compass

Sound like a bad deal? Too bad, because the system isn’t changing and you and I don’t get a vote.

While I think fans would always like to see someone go in each year and the writers might get some minor heat for not putting anyone through, the next couple of ballots will give the writers and the HOF itself plenty of cover to avoid calls for any changes to the voting procedures. 

In just the next three years (2014-16), I can see as many as 11 players getting elected into the HOF.
C Biggio
G Maddux
T Glavine
F Thomas
J Kent
M Mussina
R Johnson
P Martinez
J Smoltz
K Griffey Jr
T Hoffman

Electing that many players from one era will allow the writers to easily stay away from the “steroid” guys and the so-called “steroid era”.

However, if there was one way for the “steroid” players to get in, it would be this. A large group of current HOF players would have to stand up en-mass and say that only the numbers matter, not how they were obtained. If Frank Robinson and Hank Aaron and Billy Williams and Johnny Bench and other Hall of Fame players from the 60’s and 70’s said it was ok, then Bonds and Clemens might have a chance; but I don’t believe that will ever happen. So as I said, the steroid guys will never get in.

As for Craig Biggio not getting in, it’s embarrassing.

It is obvious looking at voting patterns from the last couple of years that a large block of writers continue to practice “first ballot” protection voting.

Craig Biggio IS a HOF caliber player and I’m sure he will go in next year. Yet there were plenty of voters out there yesterday that just don’t think he is in the same league as Joe DiMaggio or Jimmy Foxx or Rogers Hornsby or Ted Williams or Eddie Mathews or Juan Marichal or Billy Williams or Etc………and while they might think that and you reading this might think it as well, the HOF plaque doesn’t mention if you are a first or second ballot guy.

Oh; btw. Of the seven HOF players I just mentioned in the last paragraph, only one went in on the first ballot. I’ll leave you to figure out which one it was.

Trade deadline comes, Dempster leads list that go

Ryan Dempster, Paul Maholm, Reed Johnson, and Geovany Soto all are sent packing while the Cubs get 5 minor league players in return. If I had to make a snap judgment right now, I’d have to call the Cubs losers in the trade game. And the losing started when Ryan Dempster said no to the Atlanta trade.

 

As a 10 and 5 player, Dempster has a certain set of rights when it comes to trades, and I fully support those rights. But if media reports are to be believed, Dempster had listed the Braves as a team that he would be willing to go to in a trade, and then changed his mind when the Cubs actually agreed to a deal that would send Ryan to Atlanta. Apparently Dempster really wanted to go to the Dodgers. While that’s great for him, it put the Cubs on the wrong side of the scale when it came time to negotiate a deal with L.A.  It’s hard to drive a hard bargain when in a trade when one side knows the other side has no other option.

 

This is where I really credit Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein. When the Dodgers offered far less than what the Cubs thought Dempster was worth, they just said no. They put the ball back in Dempster’s hand and said we can work out a deal to NY or Texas; or you will just stay in Chicago (and all the fans will know you blocked the Cubs future progress) .

 

So instead of getting a Major League ready Randall Delgado from Atlanta for Demspter, the Cubs end up sending both Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson for two lower level minor league players.

 

Then they trade Soto for minor league pitcher Jake Brigham. My friend Steve over at One Strike Away…Twice likes Brigham as a potential 4th or 5th starter in the rotation. I’ll take that in return for an oft injured and disappointing Geo Soto.

 

Then back to Dempster. With the deadline rapidly approaching, the Cubs went back to the Rangers and worked out a deal that would send Ryan to Texas for two more minor league players. 

 

Look, I know the Cubs were going to lose Dempster after the season anyway and should be happy that they got some mid-level prospects back in return instead of nothing, but the truth is, it seems like the Cubs didn’t get what us fans thought Dempster would bring in return. After all, if Andrew Cashner brought Anthony Rizzo, shouldn’t Dempster have also brought a top of the list prospect?

He Was A Cub

Volume 4 – Donnie Moore

Less than 18,000 men have played Major League Baseball, that’s it.  Think about that, if every player that ever played in the Majors sat in the stands at Wrigley Field, the place would be half empty.

 

When put in those terms, it seems like we baseball fans would have a fairly solid handle on almost all the players that have played the game. Yet for the overwhelming majority of those players, their careers are nondescript. They pass like a blur, only to be remembered by friends and family or on the pages of the Baseball Encyclopedia and Baseball-Reference.com. 

 

So to be remembered for playing Major League Baseball is a special thing. Why they are remembered though is a different story.

 

Some are remembered for great careers; Ruth, Aaron, Jeter.

 

Others are remembered for the events of just one game; Don Larsen, Harvey Haddix

 

And still others are remembered for just a single play or pitch or at-bat; Fred Merkle, Al Downing, Brant Brown, Ralph Branca. It’s this category that our latest ‘He Was A Cub’ falls into.

 

The moment we remember came on Oct 12th 1986 in game 5 of the ALCS as Donnie Moore was pitching to Dave Henderson. 

 

Moore and the California Angels were leading Boston 3 games to 1 in the best of 7 series as they headed to the 9th inning with a 5-2 lead over the Red Sox in Game 5. I think there is little doubt that if that game was being played today; Donnie Moore, the team closer, would have been brought in to start the inning. However the Angels stayed with starting pitcher Mike Witt. Witt allowed a leadoff single to Bill Buckner (who went on to play a significant role in Game 5 of the WS that year), then struck out Jim Rice before giving up a two-run home run to Don Baylor. Witt then got Dwight Evans to pop-out to third base. With left-handed hitting Rich Gedman due up, the Angels went to the bullpen and brought in lefty Gary Lucas. On his first pitch, Lucas hit Gedman. So with a 1-run lead and a runner on first, Donnie Moore comes in to face Dave Henderson. Henderson gets to a 2-2 count before fouling off two more pitches……….and then it happens…………….

 

Donnie Moore was drafted by the Cubs in the first round of the supplemental draft in January of 1973. He signed that summer and was sent to the Cubs rookie league team. In 1974 he played for the Cubs single and double A teams. He was a combined 11-16 with a 3.26 era as a starter.  In 1975 he again pitched for AA Midland. As a starting pitcher, he was 14-8 with a 2.97 era. That season’s minor league performance earned Donnie a September call-up to the Cubs.

 

Donnie Moore made his Major League debut on September 14th 1975 against the Philadelphia Phillies. Coming into the game in relief of starter Steve Stone, the first batter Moore faced in his career was future HOF third baseman Mike Schmidt with two runners on base. Schmidt hit a single that ended up scoring both runs with the help of an error by catcher George Mitterwald. Moore pitched in 3 more games that fall.

 

Donnie spent all of the 1976 season and half of 1977 back in the Cubs minor league system. For the remainder of the ’77 season as well as 1978-79, Donnie would be shuttled back and forth between the Cubs major and minor league teams.

 

During his career with the Cubs, Moore pitched 233 innings over 141 games. His record was 14-13 with a 4.44 era.

 

Just after the 1979 season ended, Donnie was traded by the Cubs to the St. Louis Cardinals for Mike Tyson.  Moore started the year on the Opening Day roster, but was sent back to the minors in May for the remainder of the 1980 season.

 

Donnie spent all of the 1981 season in AAA until he was purchased in September in what was basically a rent-a-player deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. Moore pitched in 3 games that month for the Brew Crew before being returned to the Cardinals after the season.

 

The next spring Donnie was traded to the Atlanta Braves. Like he had done with the Cubs and the Cardinals, Moore spent the next two seasons moving back and forth between the Major League team and AAA. It wasn’t until 1984 that Donnie spent the entire season in the majors. That year he had a 2.94 era and was the primary closer in a closer-by-committee bullpen.

 

That winter he was taken by the California Angels in the Free Agent Compensation draft. It was a great pick for the Angels and Moore. Donnie had what would be his best career season. He was 8-8 with 31 saves. He made his only All-Star team and finished 6th in the AL MVP balloting. It was perfect timing for Moore as he became a free agent after the season. The Angels re-signed Moore for $2M over two years, a huge contract at the time.

 

Although 1986 wasn’t as good for Moore as ’85 had been, he still was 5th in the AL in saves and the team made it to the playoffs.

 

After the heartbreaking loss in the ’86 ALCS, 1987 was not kind to Moore.  Because games 6 and 7 of the previous years ALCS were in Boston, the fans were getting their first chance to “greet” their players after the Championship Series loss, and they vented their disappointment at Moore the most. Donnie was routinely boo’d by the home town fans early in the season; and although he didn’t pitch horribly, he started out by blowing 2 of his first 5 save chances and gave up runs in 5 of 6 outings. Eventually, Donnie ended up spending most of the 1987 season on the DL.

 

That winter Moore was re-signed as a free agent again by the Angels for $1M. Moore had a poor season in 1988 and was released by the Angels on August 26th.

 

Donnie was signed as a free agent by the KC Royals in 1989 and sent to AAA. Unfortunately he didn’t pitch well there, a 6.39 era in 7 games, and was released in June. He never pitched in a professional game again. His last big league appearance came on August 7th, 1988 against the Chicago White Sox.

 

Just a month after his release from the Royals, Donnie Moore got into an altercation with his wife during which he shot her. Tonya Moore survived the shooting, but Donnie turned the gun on himself and committed suicide.

 

One can never know for sure what ultimately lead Moore to take his own life, but it’s clear that Donnie’s life changed both professionally and emotionally after giving up that home run to Henderson and it without doubt played a role in his eventual demise.

 

And so maybe Donnie Moore will always be remembered for one pitch that he delivered to Dave Henderson on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Anaheim in Game 5 of the ALCS………….

 

But just for one day………….let’s remember that………….

 

Donnie Moore was a Cub………………..

American History, Cape Cod, Second Half and Vacation

While the first half of the season was wrapping up and the league was holding its annual All-Star game, I was taking a vacation with my family around the east coast. We spent time in Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Cape Cod and then finished up with a day at Niagara Falls.

 

I’d like to say I got to see some baseball during the trip, but other than an hour at the Cape Cod Baseball Hall of Fame and a quick 15 minutes or so each morning checking the box scores, the past two weeks was strictly family and vacation fun. I’m not going to go through every detail of my trip, however I would like to mention a couple of things.

 

The great thing about the trip was, if it wasn’t going to include a lot of baseball, it was going to include another favorite topic, history.

 

I’m not exactly a Civil War or Revolutionary War buff (actually if I had to pick one period of time I’m most knowledgeable about it would be WWII), but I do appreciate getting a chance to learn about any U.S. History. The really great thing is that I have kids that are willing to learn as well. So while it’s always good to sprinkle in a day at the beach or a trip to the local park into the schedule, I am lucky not to have kids that are always trying ‘just to get through’ things so that they can get back to the hotel pool.

 

We started our trip in Philadelphia. I know everyone likes their local fireworks and backyard barbeques, but is there a better place to spend the Fourth of July than in the city that our Constitution and Declaration of Independence was written? We rose early that morning and went to see the Liberty Bell, then got a great spot for the parade just across the street from Independence Hall. 

 

That night we watched the fireworks bursting in air above the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Spectacular! And yes, the next day I did run up the 72 steps and jump around. Just check out that 7 inch vertical. 

 

We then moved on to New York City. The Cubs were in town to play the Mets in the final series before the break. I was planning on going to one of the three games, but it just never worked out. Instead we visited Central Park, Bryant Park, Radio City Music Hall, Intrepid Air and Space Museum, and other iconic NYC landmarks like Times Square. It’s crazy to see all of the video boards lit up and running ads. It’s also just as fun to see yourself with your daughters, and hundreds of others, on a huge screen. 

 

We also went to the 9/11 Memorial. I’d never been to New York before this visit, and so despite having full knowledge of course of what happened that day, it never really fully hits you until you stand there at the footprint of the World Trade Center towers and start reading the names of all the people that were lost that day.

 

We also saw the Statue of Liberty. I’ve seen every monument and memorial in Washington DC, all amazing in their own right, but to pass by the Statue of Liberty at sunset is something a picture can say a lot better than I can. 

 (You can click on this or any of the others pictures to see them in full size)

After New York, we went to Boston. I was in Boston last year to see the Cubs play the Red Sox and what I wrote about that trip last year has been my most viewed post.

 

This year I didn’t see a game, but I did see most of Boston. It is a beautiful city. We walked the Freedom Trail, spent a lot of time in the Public Gardens, and took a duck boat tour. I have a lot of great pictures from historical sites all around the city, but my two favorite are when my youngest daughter actually got to sit in the driver’s seat and “drive” the duck boat while we were on the Charles River.

 

As great as my daughters are about seeing historical sites and taking tours around different cities, they still need to have fun on vacation. So we went to Cape Cod for three days of Sun, beach and relaxation ( I also squeezed in a little baseball).

 

There are 10 teams in the Cape Cod league and it has produced many Major League players, enough so that they have their own Hall of Fame in Hyannis. It’s small, basically one room in the basement of the J.F.K. Museum, but it’s worth a stop if you are in that part of the world.

 

The real highlight of the trip to the Cape was the sunset sand dune tour we took of the National Seashore protected lands off Provincetown. We took the tour with Art’s Dune Tours. They are the best. If you ever want to feel like you are at the “end of the Earth”, take this tour.

 

And so now I’m back, and so is baseball. The Cubs have started the second half off great with a sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks and next up is Ozzie Guillen and the Miami Marlins. Lets Go Cubs!!!

Changes in Latitude

Thanks to everyone that has been stopping by Wrigley Regular for the past 10 days, the whole year actually :) , I’ve been on vacation with the family and haven’t had a chance to add any new posts.

I will be back after the All-Star break, but until then you can read my post from last year on how to fix the All-Star Game, they implemented part of one of my suggestions for this year.

Or you can enjoy this number from Jimmy Buffett………….

 

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