Sunday, March 23, 2014

Success: Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinal Catcher

Like Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinal catcher, success comes with discipline and hard work. And that's a good thing to think about.

In today's age people often get stuck on entitlement. It's a mindset thing. They sit in their easy chair and wait for success to fall into their lap. In short, put nothing into something and you get nothing out.

Yadier Molina has a deep passion to be the best baseball player he could possibly be. And the rest of the story is history. Today, baseball fans have one of the greatest St. Louis Cardinal catcher's of all time. 

The moral to the story is you can be whatever you want to be. Just get motivated. Roll up your sleeves and go to work.  

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Holyt Wilhelm and The Knuckleball

Holyt Wilhelm was a major league pitcher who played on several prestigious teams during his long baseball career. Such teams included the New York Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Cleveland Indians,  Baltimore Orioles, Chicago White Sox, and more...

During his career he had an incredible pitching record, mostly in relief. He ranked 37th in saves, and carried throughout his pitching tenure the lowest earned run average (ERA) of 2.52 of any other pitcher.

In 1985 he was elected into the Baseball Hall of fame. Congratulations, Holyt Wilhelm. His statistics were impressive and the title is well deserved.

Holyt Wilhelm is best known for his Knuckleball. It's a pitch that not too many other pitches can attribute to their name today. His Knuckleball provided him with a long career in the baseball arena.

As a relief pitcher he holds the record for 124 wins. He is the first pitcher to save 200 games in his career.

I'll never forget the day I was sitting in Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois watching a White Sox game. In the 7th inning Holyt Wilhelm was brought into the game. However, before play could be resumed, Sherm Lollar, the White Sox catcher, hustled over to the home team dugout to get a special oversize catcher's mitt.  The Knuckleball always fluttered over home plate like a butterfly, and that made it difficult to catch. 

Meanwhile, back in Chicago, I can still recall Pop, Gold Coast Tigers manager, teaching Darrell how to throw the Knuckleball.

"The Knuckleball," he said, "is held with the tips of all four fingers touching the ball with the thumb serving as a base , thus making it look like a claw. A good Knuckleball will dip sharply at the plate when it reaches the hitter. In your delivery release the ball with a stiff wrist, giving it no snap or spin."

Just like  Tony La Russa with the St. Louis Cardinal's,  or any other great major league baseball manager, Pop led the Gold Coast Tigers to many victories using the Knuckleball along with a selection of other great pitches.  To learn more about Pop and this great success story, read Boys On The Gold Coast, now available on Amazonhttp://amzn.to/AfpjG1     

Friday, January 10, 2014

Greg Maddux Inspiring Pitcher

Greg Maddux who won four consecutive National League Cy Young Awards from 1992-95, and ranked eighth all time with 355 victories was just elected and inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He got 555 of the 571 ballots cast for  97.2 %. Great! And the steroid gang is shunned. Congratulations, Greg Maddux.

Greg Maddux nicknamed "Mad Dog" and "The Professor" is best known as a pitcher with the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves. He carries with him some impressive credentials. During his Cy Young Award reign he had a 75-29 record, a 1.98 earned run average (ERA), and allowed less than one runner per inning. In addition he is the only pitcher in MLB history to win at least 15 games for 17 straight seasons, and holds the record for most Gold Gloves with 18. And the lists of accomplishments goes on...

Greg Maddux was an inspiration to me. And after much practicing and hard work, thanks to some dear friends, I became a star pitcher on our team.

I still remember the day we played the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. I was nervous. It was my first time ever pitching before 35000 baseball fans.

When Ernie Banks stepped into the batter's box the bases were loaded. The knots in my stomach along with aching muscles didn't go away. Then, on a full count, this HOME RUN KING put the ball out of the park. My pride had just been crushed.

Playing with such baseball greats was my pride and joy. And who wouldn't jump at the chance to play the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field? Probably any boy alive wished they were me.

And Greg Maddux continues to this day to be an inspiration to me. I'm Darrell McDaniel, star pitcher with the boys from the Gold Coast in Chicago. You can learn more about me in BOYS ON THE GOLD COAST, an exciting baseball story now available on Amazon. http://amzn.to/AfpjG1     

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Good Books By The Fireplace

Today is another good day to sit by the fireplace and read a good book. And I can think of many good books to read—Grisham, Goodwin, King McCullough. You name it and the skies the limit.

John Grisham is one of my favorite authors. I've read all of his books. I can read them over and over again and never get tired of reading them.

John Grisham has a unique writing style that is easy to follow. Do you agree?

Calico Joe by John Grisham is another one of my favorite books. I'm always intrigued when the underdog succeeds. Joe Calico, baseball player, leaves the reader spellbound when he steps up to the plate and hits home runs. I love it.

Team Of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin is another good book. I learned in a recent TV interview that it took her ten years to write it. She said, "it was like having Abe Lincoln living in your house all those years. And when the book was completed it was like a big let down when he left. 

It was my privilege to get an autographed copy of her book when she was signing autograph copies in the Old Capital building in Springfield, IL during the celebration of the Lincoln Centennial. Wow! I was talking to a real live author. Hurray! 

Ever since I first saw the Chicago Cubs play ball at Wrigley Field I wanted to be a baseball player. Fate took me into a different direction later in my life even though the passion to be a Chicago Cub remained.

To compensate for my unfulfilled dream, I've been blessed to write three baseball stories now available on Amazon.

BOYS ON THE GOLD COAST has a bunch of average guys eventually playing the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. http://amzn.to/AfpjG1

THE UNKNOWN BASEBALL PLAYER talks about Orville Hodge, Indiana farm boy, who is down on his luck. But able to ride above his circumstances he becomes a hero with the Cincinnati Redlegs. http://amzn.to/ktuge9

ON THE ROAD AGAIN. No. This isn't country singer Willie Nelson singing a song. Instead, it's a book about a baseball success story with many hurdles to overcome along the way. A real baseball thriller. bit.ly/14DmZmT 

So what are you reading? Grisham, Goodwin, Ferguson, King, McCullough and more... You name it and the lists is endless. Cozy on up to the fire and enjoy another good book. 

      

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Good Book Sitting By The Fireplace

On a cold day like today where it is -3 in my part of the country with a chill factor in the -20's, nothing could be better than sitting by the fireplace and reading a good book.

One of my favorite books is BOYS ON THE GOLD COAST, an exciting baseball story that takes place where the weather is warmer, sunny, and clear. Forget about all that cold stuff that even has the snot in your nose freezing over once you step outside your door.

The story starts with a bunch of average boys playing baseball on a school lot every chance they get. And when they got kicked out of the school lot due to no fault of their own, a retired janitor came along and took them to a local park, and helped them develop a baseball team. As their confidence started to soar they started to feel good about themselves. Great! Isn't that what life is all about???

Helping to perfect their baseball skills made them to be better ball players in the long run. Pitching, fielding grounders on the infield grass, and making spectacular plays in the outfield, aroused the excitement in many baseball fans.

As their reputation grew, more GOLD COAST residents didn't hesitate to gather in the park. Catching up on the latest gossip while watching a baseball game became a favorite past-time for lots of people.

In a time when organized youth baseball wasn't popular, being invited to play the CHICAGO CUBS at WRIGLEY FIELD was the greatest thing that ever happened to the boys and they loved every bit of it. And Jiminy Cricket in Walt Disney's movie Pinnochio was right when he said, "when you wish upon a star dreams can come true." They certainly did for the boys on the Gold Coast.

So dear friend, if your hankering for something to do on this cold day, cozy on up in your favorite chair near the fireplace and enjoy reading a good book. One of my favorites is BOYS ON THE GOLD COAST, now available on Amazon for only .99 cents (http://amzn.to/AfpjG1). Stay warm and happy reading to you all.        

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Chicago Cubs Play Boys on the Gold Coast


Where are the BOYS ON THE GOLD COAST? Average guys playing baseball on corner lots turns into a nightmare. Now they are gone. Kicked out of the neighborhood.

Where are they? And how did they ever come to playing the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field? This is a heated topic that was talked about in the general store. They argued about baseball. A baseball team was lost to the community. Why? More shouting matches among the patrons. 

Inside the general store the conversation often got so loud that a person couldn't hear themselves think. Lots of people were talking at the same time.

Topics of discussion were of no importance. It was mostly small talk like the weather or the house needs to be painted. Visitors walking through one house noticed walls with a dull finish. And the lists of topics was endless with nothing to intimidate or ruffle feathers.

On another note the conversation could be personal. "How many kids do you have?" asked Blanch. "What does your husband do for a living? Does he like his job?" It usually included a dialogue with close friends.

Then again some folks may meet a long lost friend at the store. Perhaps an old friend just happened to stop by. And naturally there will be lots of things to get caught up on. Lots of chatter.

People came from far and wide, a 5 mile radius, to get things and get caught up on the latest gossip. The store was a common going meeting place.

People walked through the store getting ready to make a selection. A variety of can goods like vegetables, soups, and bake beans were a favorite. In a long white box separated by a sliding glass door were pork chops, pot roast, and chicken, next to the milk, eggs, butter, and ice cream. In front of the store, high above the counter were a variety of cereal boxes. And on the way out was a penny peanut machine that always attracted the kids. 

Today, things appeared to be getting bogged down at the check out counter. A heated discussion was taking place with a group of customers huddled around the cash register with Mr. Lucas, the store owner. 

The group, long time Gold Coast residents were upset because the boys didn't play baseball anymore in the old school yard across the street. They missed gathering near the fence with friends to watch them play ball. Gone were the good old days, thought one gentleman.

Mr. Lucas loved to be around people. That's one reason why he opened the store. But the interruptions of baseballs snapping his green canopy was annoying. Some people never learned so he called the police and had the rascals kicked out of the neighborhood. And the argument continued.

You can learn more about the boys, their love for baseball, and how they eventually played the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in BOYS ON THE GOLD COAST, an exciting baseball story now available for only .99 cents on Amazon at http://amzn.to/AfpjG1. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Inquisitive Stranger

Inside the general store the conversation often got so loud that a person couldn't hear themselves think. And patience wore thin in the check out line as Mr. Lucas couldn't stop talking to a customer.

"So how's Harry doing, ma'am?"

"Oh Mr. Lucas." Maggie blushed. "It's all in his head. You know how men are. They think they're sicker than they really are. Probably they want some attention."

"Oh?" Mr. Lucas looked surprised. 

"Yes! And if he would just take his medicine like the doctor said, he'd be a lot better off." Maggie loved to ramble.

Suddenly, with a push and a shove, an inquisitive stranger nudged his way into the front of the line. "Pardon me Mister, Mister..."

"Folks around here call me Mr. Lucas, sir."

The gentleman stood 5'10" tall. In a dark blue suit he wore all the proper attire for a business man—white shirt, striped red and blue tie with a Windsor knot peeking through a starched collar, and black wind-tipped shoes. 

"Mr. Lucas." The gentleman addressed the proprietor in all the etiquette formalities ready to give a speech. 

"And who are you?" 

"Mr. Burger. Allow me to introduce myself. Here is my card." 

The man who is friendly to all people at the cash register scanned the print. "Acromie Insurance," he mumbled. "Nope! Not interested." Then handed the card back to his visitor.

"No! That's not why I'm here." Mr. Burger shook his head protesting the accusation.

"Oh?"

"Yes! I use to walk through this neighborhood all the time. Noticed some boys playing baseball over there." He pointed to the school lot across the street. Then the inquisitive stranger looked around the shop as if he were searching for gold. 

"So?" Mr. Lucas grimaced.

"Don't see 'em anymore. Do you know where they might be? I loved to watch them play ball."

"Yeah. I got rid of 'em. They were a nuisance. A menace to the neighborhood if you know what I mean. Baseballs kept hitting my canopy."

"Oh come on. It can't be that bad. Can it?" Angry feelings started to fester in Mr. Burger's character.

"Look Mister. They deserved everything they got. No more baseball around here. End of subject."

"Can't you just lighten up a bitForgive and forget?"

"Don't tell me what to do, Mister. Forgiveness is not the issue."

Will Mr. Lucas remain stubborn? Be hard boiled? Hold a grudge? Maintain a heart full of hate? Struggle to forgive? Or will he have a change in heart? Read BOYS ON THE GOLD COAST, now available on Amazon (http://amzn.to/AfpjG1) for only .99 cents and learn more about the fate of Mr. Lucas.