Friday, July 13, 2007


I have always been one who enjoys the notes at the end of game stories, many times reading them first. This is a day for my notes from the delightful Atlantic League All-Star Game in Lancaster, PA Wednesday which did not fit into yesterday's Independent Baseball Insider column.

Grand Marshall Brooks Robinson and Ellie Rodriguez, who is the league's talent boss in Latin America after nine seasons in the '60s and '70s as a talented major league catcher, reminisced of the day (1972, Ellie believes) when the man known as the vacuum cleaner at third base turned his smash down the line in Milwaukee into a triple play. "I felt certain I had a double," Rodriguez recalled, "but Brooksie dived (toward the line) and dragged his foot across third", then threw from the ground to second to continue the around-the-horn triple killing.

It also is noteworthy that Robinson started his Hall of Fame career nearby in York, PA, where he now is part owner of the newest AL team, the Revolution. He hit .331 with 11 homers and 67 RBI in 95 games as a second and third baseman as an 18-year-old in that 1955 season. The teen from Little Rock was with Baltimore before the season ended although he did not stay with the Orioles fulltime until 1960.

All-Star Managers Tommy John (Bridgeport, CT) and Frank Klebe (Lancaster) presented an interesting match since T.J. is the winningest major league pitcher (288) not in the Hall of Fame and Klebe (pronounced KLEE-bee) may have been best known as a ranked boxer. John is a bit hobbled these days while Klebe appears fit enough to go into the ring...well, at least to reach the pre-game meeting at home plate.

The first time I saw former Rutgers standout Bobby Brownlie he was responsible for terrific "buzz" at the Cape Cod League-New England Collegiate League All-Star Game in Keene, NH. Now 26, the onetime Chicago Cubs first rounder still has not pitched in a major league game, but he won his last four starts (7-3, 3.33) to help Newark, NJ come from well off the pace and capture a first half title. It also earned Brownlie the start--and a scoreless inning--for John's winning North Division All-Star team.

The actual star of the night, in one man's opinion, was Clipper Magazine Stadium, which appears to be a treasure any time and was as lively as a ballpark can be on this balmy summer evening.

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