Tag Archives: baseball

Keep it 17 Inches Wide

— An account by former college baseball coach Chris Sperry

In Nashville, Tennessee, during the first week of January, 1996, more than 4,000 baseball coaches descended upon the Opryland Hotel for the 52nd annual ABCA’s convention.

While I waited in line to register with the hotel staff, I heard other more veteran coaches rumbling about the lineup of speakers scheduled to present during the weekend. One name kept resurfacing, always with the same sentiment — “John Scolinos is here? Oh, man, worth every penny of my airfare.”

Who is John Scolinos, I wondered. No matter; I was just happy to be there.

In 1996, Coach Scolinos was 78 years old and five years retired from a college coaching career that began in 1948. He shuffled to the stage to an impressive standing ovation, wearing dark polyester pants, a light blue shirt, and a string around his neck from which home plate hung — a full-sized, stark-white home plate.

Seriously, I wondered, who is this guy? After speaking for twenty-five minutes, not once mentioning the prop hanging around his neck, Coach Scolinos appeared to notice the snickering among some of the coaches. Even those who knew Coach Scolinos had to wonder exactly where he was going with this, or if he had simply forgotten about home plate since he’d gotten on stage. Then, finally …

“You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing home plate around my neck,” he said, his voice growing irascible. I laughed along with the others, acknowledging the possibility. “I may be old, but I’m not crazy. The reason I stand before you today is to share with you baseball people what I’ve learned in my life, what I’ve learned about home plate in my 78 years.”

Several hands went up when Scolinos asked how many Little League coaches were in the room. “Do you know how wide home plate is in Little League?”

After a pause, someone offered, “Seventeen inches?”, more of a question than answer.

“That’s right,” he said. “How about in Babe Ruth’s day? Any Babe Ruth coaches in the house?” Another long pause.

“Seventeen inches?” a guess from another reluctant coach.

“That’s right,” said Scolinos. “Now, how many high school coaches do we have in the room?” Hundreds of hands shot up, as the pattern began to appear. “How wide is home plate in high school baseball?”

“Seventeen inches,” they said, sounding more confident.

“You’re right!” Scolinos barked. “And you college coaches, how wide is home plate in college?”

“Seventeen inches!” we said, in unison.

“Any Minor League coaches here? How wide is home plate in pro ball?”…………“Seventeen inches!”

“RIGHT! And in the Major Leagues, how wide home plate is in the Major Leagues? “Seventeen inches!”

“SEV-EN-TEEN INCHES!” he confirmed, his voice bellowing off the walls. “And what do they do with a Big League pitcher who can’t throw the ball over seventeen inches?” Pause. “They send him to Pocatello !” he hollered, drawing raucous laughter. “What they don’t do is this: they don’t say, ‘Ah, that’s okay, Jimmy. If you can’t hit a seventeen-inch target? We’ll make it eighteen inches or nineteen inches. We’ll make it twenty inches so you have a better chance of hitting it. If you can’t hit that, let us know so we can make it wider still, say twenty-five inches.’”

Pause. “Coaches… what do we do when your best player shows up late to practice? or when our team rules forbid facial hair and a guy shows up unshaven? What if he gets caught drinking? Do we hold him accountable? Or do we change the rules to fit him? Do we widen home plate? ”

The chuckles gradually faded as four thousand coaches grew quiet, the fog lifting as the old coach’s message began to unfold. He turned the plate toward himself and, using a Sharpie, began to draw something. When he turned it toward the crowd, point up, a house was revealed, complete with a freshly drawn door and two windows. “This is the problem in our homes today. With our marriages, with the way we parent our kids. With our discipline.

We don’t teach accountability to our kids, and there is no consequence for failing to meet standards. We just widen the plate!”

Pause. Then, to the point at the top of the house he added a small American flag. “This is the problem in our schools today. The quality of our education is going downhill fast and teachers have been stripped of the tools they need to be successful, and to educate and discipline our young people. We are allowing others to widen home plate! Where is that getting us?”

Silence. He replaced the flag with a Cross. “And this is the problem in the Church, where powerful people in positions of authority have taken advantage of young children, only to have such an atrocity swept under the rug for years. Our church leaders are widening home plate for themselves! And we allow it.”

“And the same is true with our government. Our so-called representatives make rules for us that don’t apply to themselves. They take bribes from lobbyists and foreign countries. They no longer serve us. And we allow them to widen home plate! We see our country falling into a dark abyss while we just watch.”

I was amazed. At a baseball convention where I expected to learn something about curve balls and bunting and how to run better practices, I had learned something far more valuable.

From an old man with home plate strung around his neck, I had learned something about life, about myself, about my own weaknesses and about my responsibilities as a leader. I had to hold myself and others accountable to that which I knew to be right, lest our families, our faith, and our society continue down an undesirable path.

“If I am lucky,” Coach Scolinos concluded, “you will remember one thing from this old coach today. It is this: “If we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard of what we know to be right; if we fail to hold our spouses and our children to the same standards, if we are unwilling or unable to provide a consequence when they do not meet the standard; and if our schools & churches & our government fail to hold themselves accountable to those they serve, there is but one thing to look forward to…”

With that, he held home plate in front of his chest, turned it around, and revealed its dark black backside, “…We have dark days ahead!.”

Coach Scolinos died in 2009 at the age of 91, but not before touching the lives of hundreds of players and coaches, including mine. Meeting him at my first ABCA convention kept me returning year after year, looking for similar wisdom and inspiration from other coaches. He is the best clinic speaker the ABCA has ever known because he was so much more than a baseball coach.

His message was clear: “Coaches, keep your players—no matter how good they are—your own children, your churches, your government, and most of all, keep yourself at seventeen inches.”

And this my friends is what our country has become and what is wrong with it today…

“Don’t widen the plate.”

SOURCE: Originally viewed on Facebook and found on Chris Sperry’s website at www.sperrybaseballlife.com/stay-at-17-inches/. Read more about Coach Scolinos in a great article by Kevin Kernan: Baseball’s John Wooden

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor, news commentator and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com.

Top Ten Baseball Players of the Last 50 Years

Here are the top ten baseball players of the last 50 years (1970-2020) as selected by the fans in the By George Journal dugout.

First, the honourable mentions go to Gary Carter, Thurman Munson, Mike Schmidt, Kirby Puckett, Rod Carew, Miguel Cabrera, Alex Rodriguez, Carlton Fisk, Joe Morgan, Don Mattingly, Rickey Henderson and pitching greats Tom Seaver, Jim Palmer, Catfish Hunter, Jack Morris, and Greg Maddux.

Player greats who deserve extra special mention — who were close to making the final list and are ball players who’d be that marquee star on any team today: Reggie Jackson, Cal Ripken Jr, George Brett, Ken Griffey Jr., Albert Pujols, Joey Votto, and pitching legends Nolan Ryan, Roy Halladay and Randy Johnson. Also, special mention to a player in a league of his own (but not selected because in the 1970s he was at the end of his illustrious career) Mr. Hank Aaron.

So, from 1970 to today, in reverse order, here are the top ten baseball players:

10. Willie Stargell

Pittsburg Pirates 1962-1982 – Stargell nicknamed “Pops” later in his career, was a left fielder and first baseman who spent 21 seasons in MLB. During his career, he batted.282, with 2,232 hits, 423 doubles, 475 HRs and 1,540 RBIs. Stargell helped the Pirates win two NL Pennants and two World Series championships (’71 & ’79). He was a seven-time All-Star and two-time NL HR leader. In 1979, he won the NL MVP, LN Championship Series MVP Award and the World Series MVP Award.

9. Johnny Bench

Cincinnati Reds 1967-1983 – Bench was a catcher who is a 14-time All-Star selection and a two-time NL MVP. He was a key member of the Big Red Machine that won six division titles, four NL Pennants and two consecutive World Series championships. Known for his prowess on both offense and defense, ESPN has called Bench the greatest catcher in baseball history.

8. Pete Rose

Cincinnati Reds 1963-1986 and manager 1984-89 – Rose, also known by his nickname “Charlie Hustle” was a switch hitter and is the all-time MLB leader in hits (4,256), games played (3,562), at-bats (14,053), singles (3,215), and outs (10,328). He won three World Series rings, three batting titles, one MVP Award, two Gold Gloves, and the Rookie of the Year Award. Rose. made 17 All-Star appearances at an unequaled five different positions.

7. Larry Walker

Montreal Expos, Colorado Rockies and St. Louis Cardinals 1989 – 2005 – Walker played right field for 17 years and, in 1997, he became the only player in major league history to register both a .700 slugging percentage and 30 stolen bases in the same season, on his way to winning the NL MVP Award. Walker was the first player in more than 60 years to record a batting average of .360 in three consecutive seasons from 1997 to 1999 and he also won three NL batting championships. From Maple Ridge BC, Walker has been named the 13th-greatest sporting figure from Canada by Sports Illustrated.

6. Mike Trout

LA Angels, 2011-present – Trout is a centre fielder, nicknamed the Millville Meteor, who is an eight-time MLB All-Star, three-time AL MVP (while finishing second four times) and a seven-time winner of the Silver Slugger Award. Trout won the 2012 AL Rookie of the Year Award unanimously. His athleticism on the field has received great praise and is regarded as one of the most outstanding young players in the history of baseball. Trout has led the American League in runs and times of base four times. As of 2019, he led all active major league ballplayers in career slugging percentage (.581) and on base plus slugging (1.000), and was second in career on base percentage (.419) and stolen base percentage (84.75%).

5. Roger Clemens

Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, NY Yankees, Houston Astros 1984-2007 – Clemens is nicknamed “Rocket” and pitched for four teams through a 24 season career. He was one of the most dominant pitchers in major league history, tallying 354 wins, a 3.12 ERA and 4,672 strikeouts (third-most of all time). Clemens is an 11-time All Star and two-time World Series champion. He won a total of seven Cy Young Awards during his career, more than any other pitcher in history. Clemens was known for his fierce competitive nature and hard-throwing pitching style.

4. Cal Ripken Jr.

Baltimore Orioles 1981-2001 – Ripken is nicknamed “Iron Man” and played third base as an Oriole for 21 years. He was one of the most offensively productive third basemen, compiling 3,184 hits, 431 HRs and 1,695 RBIs during his career. He won two Gold Glove Awards for his defense, was a 19-time All-Star and twice named AL MVP. Ripken holds the record for consecutive games played at 2,632, surpassing Lou Gehrig’s streak of 2,130 that had stood for 56 years.

3. Mariano Rivera

NY Yankees 1995-2013 – Rivera spent most of his career as a relief pitcher, 17 seasons as the Yankees go-to closer. He had two nicknames: “Mo” and “Sandman.” Rivera was a thirteen-time All-Star and five-time World Series champion, He is MLB’s career leader in saves (652) and games finished (952). Rivera won five AL Rolaids Relief Man Awards and three Delivery Man of the Year Awards and he finished in the top three in voting for the AL Cy Young Award four times. In 2019, he was the first player ever to be elected unanimously into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

2. Derek Jeter

NY Yankees 1995-2014 – Jeter is a shortstop that spent his entire 20-year MLB career with the Yankees. A five-time World Series champion, Jeter is regarded as one of the primary contributors to the Yankees’ success of the late 1990s and early 2000s for his hitting, base-running, fielding, and leadership. He is the Yankees’ all-time career leader in hits (3,465), doubles (544), games played (2,747), stolen bases (358), times on base (4,716), plate appearances (12,602) and at bats (11,195). His accolades include 14 All-Star selections, five Gold Glove Awards, five Silver Slugger Awards, two Hank Aaron Awards, and a Roberto Clemente Award. Jeter was the 28th player to reach 3,000 hits and finished his career ranked sixth in MLB history in career hits and first among shortstops.

1. Barry Bonds

Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants (1986-2007) – Bonds is a talented all-around left fielder who is considered to be one of the greatest baseball players of all time. He received a record seven NL MVP awards (no other player has won more than three MVP awards), eight Gold Glove Awards, a record 12 Silver Slugger Awards, and 14 All-Star selections. Bonds was regarded as an exceptional hitter, placing within the top five hitters in 12 of his 17 qualifying seasons. He holds many MLB hitting records and his career stats are stellar: .298, 2,935 hits, 762 HRs, 1,996 RBIs, and 2,558 BBs (all-time leader). Bonds is the all-time leader in home runs and walks (2,558) and he also holds the top two spots in single-season on-base percentage. His .609 on-base percentage in 2004 is the highest and his .582 OBP in 2002 ranks second. (Barry Bonds also ranks as No. 6 on the By George Journal‘s Top Ten Baseball Players of All–Time.)


Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Top Ten Baseball Players of All-Time

By George Journal consulted 10 reliable baseball sources to tabulate their respective selections for the best players of all time – and here are those magnificent players…

The 10 sources used for this tabulation are The Baseball Almanac, Baseball Reference, MLB Rank, ESPN, The Score, Britannica, Bleacher Report, Ranker.com, Stadium Talk, and Line Ups.

First, honourable mentions include Shoeless Joe Jackson, Joe DiMaggio, Johnny Bench, Mike Trout, Nolan Ryan. Jackie Robinson, Pete Rose, Sandy Koufax, Cal Ripkin Jr., Randy Johnson and Ernie Banks.

Player greats who were selected by at least one of the sources but did not make the top ten list include: Mickey Mantle, Cy Young, Honus Wagner, Satchel Paige, Oscar Charleston, Alex Rodriguez, Rogers Clemens, and Christy Mathewson.

And so, in reverse order, here are the top ten baseball players of all-time.

10. Rogers Hornsby

Hornsby of the St Louis Cardinals 1915-1926 & 1933, NY Giants 1927, Boston Braves 1928, Chicago Cubs 1929-1932, St. Louis Browns 1934-37. Roger Hornsby had a lengthy 23-year career in which he hit .358, and had 2,930 hits. He won seven batting titles, and had two Triple Crown seasons. In 1926 he took home a World Series, and won two MVPs.

9. Stan Musial

Musial of the St Louis Cardinals 1941-1963. Stan The Man racked up over 3,500 hits in his career, and hit .331. He had 475 stolen bases, and nearly 2,000 RBI. He was a three-time World Series champ, and took home seven batting titles. Musial landed on 24 all-star teams and was a three-time MVP.

8. Lou Gehrig

Gehrig of the New York Yankees (1923-39). Lou Gehrig won six World Series with the Yankees (1927-28, ’32, ’36-38) and his career stats included: .340, 2,721 hits, 493 HRs, 1,995 RBIs. It is Gehrig, not Babe Ruth, who has the Yankees’ career RBI record (1,995). Gehrig also holds the record for highest slugging percentage in a World Series. He slugged 1.727 in a four-game sweep of the Cardinals in 1928.

7. Walter Johnson

Johnson of the Washington Senators (1907-1927). Walter Johnson was baseball’s original strikeout king; he was the only member of the 3,000 strikeout club for over 50 years. Johnson led the league in strikeouts a record 12 times, one more than Nolan Ryan. His 110 shutouts are 20 more than any other player in MLB history. His career record is W-L: 417-279, 110 shutouts (all-time leader), 5,914 1/3 innings pitched, 2.17 ERA and 3,509 strikeouts.

6. Barry Bonds

Bonds of the Pittsburgh Pirates (1986-92), San Francisco Giants (’93-2007). Bonds’ career stats: .298, 2,935 hits, 762 HRs, 1,996 RBIs, and 2,558 BBs (all-time leader). Bonds is the all-time leader in home runs, walks (2,558) and MVP awards (seven). No other player in MLB history has won more than three MVP awards. Bonds also holds the top two spots in single-season on-base percentage. His .609 on-base percentage in 2004 is the highest and his .582 OBP in 2002 ranks second.

5. Ty Cobb

Cobb of the Detroit Tigers (1905-26), Philadelphia A’s (’27-28). Cobb’s career stats: .366 (all-time leader), 4,189 hits, 117 HRs, and 1,933 RBIs. Cobbis the the only player to lead his league in hits eight times, ranks second all time in hits, runs and triples, as well as fourth in doubles and stolen bases. His 54 steals of home are most all time, and his .367 batting average is also the best ever. He led the American League in that category a whopping 12 times, including nine in a row from 1907-15.

4. Ted Williams

Williams of the Boston Red Sox (1939-42, ’46-60). Williams career stats: .344 (all-time leader, 2,654 hits, 521 HRs, and 1,839 RBIs. Williams won two Triple Crowns and two MVPs — yet neither of his MVPs came in the Triple Crown years, or in his famed .406 season in 1941. He ranks first all time in on-base percentage at .482, a number reached in a single season in the past 50 years by only two players.

3. Hank Aaron

Aaron of the Milwaukee Braves (1954-65), Atlanta Braves (’66-74), Milwaukee Brewers (’75-76). Aaron’s career stats: .305, 3,771 hits, 755 HRs, 2,297 RBIs (all-time leader),and 6,856 TBs (all-time leader). Aaron was baseball’s all-time home run leader from 1974 to 2007, finishing with 755 career home runs. Aaron had 20 or more home runs in 20 consecutive seasons, the most such seasons and longest such streak all time.

2. Willie Mays

Mays of the New York Giants (1951-52, ’54-57), San Francisco Giants (’58-72), New York Mets (’72-73). Willie Mays played Major League Baseball for twenty-two seasons and was named to twenty-four All-Star Games. He was the first player in National League history to join the 30 Home Runs and 30 Stolen Bases Club. Mays won twelve consecutive Gold Gloves starting the year the award was first introduced (1957) and up through 1968. Mays finished his career with 660 home runs, third most in big league history behind Aaron and Ruth.

1. Babe Ruth

Ruth of the Boston Red Sox (1914-19), New York Yankees (’20-34), Boston Braves (’35). Forgive us but By George is providing the “fast facts” section from the Baseball Almanac on the best player of all-time.

Babe Ruth is the single most famous baseball player in the entire world. Babe Ruth is also one of the greatest baseball players in the history of the game. The Bambino’s slugging ability was so great, his last name became an adjective – “Ruthian” – used to describe performances of heroic proportion.

Babe Ruth the “champion”: Ruth was a World Series champion seven times, American League home run champion twelve times, RBI Champion six times, On-Base Percentage Champion ten times and the Sluggin Average Champion thirteen times.

Babe Ruth the “home run king”: Ruth was the first player in Major League history to hit 200, 300, 400, 500, 600 and 700 home runs. In 1919, Ruth hit 29 home runs becoming the all-time single-season home-run leader. A year later Ruth hit 54 home runs, breaking his own record as the all-time single-season home run leader and became the first player to hit over 50 home runs in a season. The very next year, he hit 59 home runs, breaking his own record yet again. Finally, in 1927, The Sultan of Swat hit 60 home runs, breaking the mark and establishing a plateau that was legendary for decades. Currently, Ruth still holds records for most home runs in any decade (467 in the 1920s), fastest player to hit 600 home runs (2,044 games) and fastest player to hit 700 home runs (2,418 games).

Babe Ruth the “best left-handed pitcher in baseball”: Ruth was 18-8 with a 2.44 ERA his first full season on the mound (1915). Ruth still holds pitching records for most shutouts in a season by a lefty with 9 (tied by Ron Guidry in 1978) and most innings pitched (14) in a World Series game – a complete game 2-1 victory in 1916. Ruth is part of an elite set of pitchers in Major League history whose career on the mound spanned at least ten seasons and NEVER once included a losing record!

Babe Ruth the “postseason prince”: Ruth set World Series records with 3 homers in a game (and did it twice) and 12 total bases in a game. His 15 postseason home runs, all hit during World Series games, were a record until Mickey Mantle tied him in 1963 then eventually passed him in 1964. And let us never forget the 1932 World Series, legendary and debatable still to this day, courtesy of “The Called Shot”.

Babe Ruth the “nickname collector”: Babe (which some actually believe is his real name due to its use) probably had more well-published nicknames than any other player and here are but a few we have seen in print: The Bambino, The Sultan of Swat, The Colossus of Clout, The Wazir of Wham, The Maharajah of Mash, The Rajah of Rap, The Caliph of Clout, the Behemoth of Bust, The Mammoth of Maul, The Mauling Mastodon, The Mauling Monarch, The Wali of Wollop, and to his teammates, Jidge.

Babe Ruth the “hall of fame legend”: Ruth was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on February 2, 1936, by the Baseball Writers Association of America, as part of the inaugural class of inductees. At the time of his induction, Ruth held literally hundreds of baseball records. The single most prolific hitter in baseball history, a key component in “Murderer’s Row” and a charismatic personality – both on and off the field – that made him a larger-than-life figure and one of the greatest sports heroes, not just in baseball, but in American culture.


Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

By George’s FAV Baseball Quotes

“Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are created equal” – Journalist & Author, George Will

“Baseball is an American icon. It is the Statue of Liberty, the bald eagle, ‘In God We Trust,’ Mount Rushmore, ice cream, apple pie, hot dogs, and rally monkeys. Baseball is America.” – Victor Baltov, Jr. in Baseball Is America

“Baseball is a drama with an endless run and an ever-changing cast.” – Joe Garagiola in Baseball Is A Funny Game

“Baseball isn’t just a game. It’s life being played out on a field – a field of dreams – on diamonds of green, where players pursuing their dreams try to be the best they can be on the grandest stage of all – where men become boys and boys become men, all speaking one universal language without uttering a single word.” – Tom Tatum

“Sandor Boatly had never guessed that, properly played, baseball consisted of mathematics, geometry, art, philosophy, ballet, and carnival, all intertwined like the mystical ribbons of color in a rainbow.” – W.P. Kinsella

“Baseball is not life. It is a fiction, a metaphor. And a ballplayer is a man who agrees to uphold that metaphor as though lives were at stake.” – David James Duncan

“[Baseball] is a game with a lot of waiting in it; it is a game with increasingly heightened anticipation of increasingly limited action” – John Irving

“For all its gentility, it’s almost leisurely pace, baseball is violence under wraps.” – Willie Mays

“No matter how good you are, you’re going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you’re going to win one-third of your games. It’s the other third that makes the difference.” – Tommy Lasorda

“A ballplayer spends a good piece of his life gripping a baseball, and in the end, it turns out that it was the other way around all the time.” – Jim Bouton

“You could be a kid for as long as you want when you play baseball.” – Cal Ripken, Jr.

“Baseball is a team sport played by individuals for themselves.” – Joe Torre

“There may be people who have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you.” – Derek Jeter

“Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games.” – Babe Ruth

“A baseball game is simply a nervous breakdown divided into nine innings.” – Earl Wilson

“Baseball is a lot like life. It’s a day-to-day existence, full of ups and downs. You make the most of your opportunities in baseball as you do in life.” – American Sportscaster Ernie Harwell

“Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again. That’s the way life is, with a new game every day, and that’s the way baseball is.” – Bullet Bob Feller

“More than any other American sport, baseball creates the magnetic, addictive illusion that it can almost be understood.” – Thomas Boswell

“Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too.” – Yogi Berra

“That’s one of the great gifts of this, the greatest of all games, baseball: it allows you, still, to lose yourself in a dream, to feel and remember a season of life when summer never seemed to die and the assault of cynicism hadn’t begun to batter optimism.” – Mike Barnicle


Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.


Everybody marvels at Yogi Berra’s quotes. He is an unflappable treasure of the game…

“Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too.”

“Little League baseball is a very good thing because it keeps the parents off the streets.”

“If the people don’t wanna come out to the ballpark, nobody’s gonna stop ’em.”

“Baseball ain’t like football. You can’t make up no trick plays.”

“I’m ugly. So what? I’ve never seen anyone hit with his face.”

“Think?! How are you supposed to think and hit at the same time?”

“I never blame myself when I’m not hitting. I just blame the bat, and if it keeps up, I change bats.”

The New York Yankee legendary catcher passed away in 2015 and, at that time, By George Journal paid tribute to the man. For more of his offhanded insights, read R.I.P. Yogi Berra – Our Dozen FAV quotes.

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Thomas Boswell Defining Baseball

There is perhaps no finer writer on the subject of baseball than sportswriter Thomas Boswell. In his brilliant book “How Life Imitates the World Series” Boswell does an admirable job of defining the attractiveness of the game. It’s a priceless description.

Baseball constitutes a small, but fundamental, province of the American mind, a backwater of our spirit to which we hie when we want a sense of tradition appetites. In our daily cacophony, the national “pastime” is one of those notes we periodically strike in hopes of hearing a hint of middle C….

Baseball’s greatest blessing and the source of its richness: you play it every day. Consequently, baseball has no “game face” – no mood of real or feigned mortal crisis that must be put on like a protective psychological mask before leaping into the fray….

That sense of moderation – of both physical and emotional temperance in all the familiar acts of the game – is almost a philosophical precept. Given a choice between raw effort and controlled skill, the latter will usually win in baseball. As a result, the sport cultivates a certain balance temperament, encourages a stable cast of mind. The sense of elemental sanity and order that we sometimes feel around baseball is not entirely a romantic wish; the game has, at its core, a distinct therapeutic quality….

For those who like their truth with capital letters, baseball, as a steady diet, probably will not suffice. The game is simply one of our many human kaleidoscopes. Shake it lightly each day and the colours, configurations, and symbols seem totally changed. The picture, like our sense of the game and the people in it, is never the same two days running. Each time we return to the game and its folk we see a different scene, a different mood, a different trait of character ir twist of personality. What does baseball have to offer? Just a bit of everything, a vast serendipity. 

This description is strung through Boswell’s opening chapter entitled, “This Ain’t a Football Game. We Do This Every Day.” For those that love the ball diamond, this is a must read-book.


Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.




Great Baseball Quotes

  • “There are three types of baseball players: those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happens.” – Tommy Lasorda
  • “Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games.” – Babe Ruth
  •  “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” – Babe Ruth
  •  “Never allow the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game!” – Babe Ruth
  •  “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” – Babe Ruth
  • “Baseball was, is, and always will be the best game in the world to me.” – Babe Ruth
  •  “Athletes are born winners, there not born losers, and the sooner you understand this, the faster you can take on a winning attitude and become successful in life.” – Charles R. Sledge Jr.
  • “Baseball is about talent, hard work, and strategy. But at the deepest level, it’s about love, integrity, and respect.” – Pat Gillick
  •  “A man has to have goals – for a day, for a lifetime – and that was mine, to have people say, ‘There goes Ted Williams, the greatest hitter who ever lived.” – Ted Willams
  • “Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer.” – Ted Williams
  •  “With baseball, it’s simple. There’s no mystery to what happens on the field because everything has a label – full count, earned run, perfect game – and there’s a certain amount of comfort in this terminology. There’s no room for confusion.” – Jennifer E. Smith
  • “The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and that could be again.” – James Earl Jones
  • “If there was magic in this world, it happened within sight of the three bases and home plate. […] Wrigley [stadium]was a field of dreams. Dreams of eternal glory for the men who ran to the outfield, who took their respective bases, and prepared for battle against those who would dare enter their hallowed realm. Dreams for the kids in the stands, all wanting to don a uniform, kiss their mom’s goodbye, and wield their bats as enchanted weapons destined to knock the cover off the ball.” – Tee Morris
  •  “It is dangerous to spring to obvious conclusions about baseball or, for that matter, ball players. Baseball is not an obvious game.” – Roger Kahn
  • “Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand.” – Leo Durocher
  • “Remember kid, there’s heroes and there’s legends. Heroes get remembered, but legends never die. Follow your heart kid and you can never go wrong.” – The Babe, The Sandlot
  • “Baseball is a man maker.” – Al Spalding
  • “Baseball gives a growing boy self-pose and self-reliance.” – Al Spalding
  •  “They say some of my stars drink whiskey. But I have found that the ones who drink milkshakes don’t win many ball games.” – Fred McMane
  •  “Baseball is like a poker game. Nobody wants to quit when he’s losing; nobody wants you to quit when you’re ahead.” – Jackie Robinson
  • “Watching other teams in the World Series is like watching somebody else eat a Hot Fudge Sundae.” – Joe Torre
  • “The greatest feeling in the world is to win a major league game. The second greatest feeling is to lose a major league game.” – Chuck Tanner
  • “More than any other American sport, baseball creates the magnetic, addictive illusion that it can almost be understood.” – Thomas Boswell
  • “It’s unbelievable how much you don’t know about the game you’ve been playing all your life.”- Mickey Mantle

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

More Great Baseball Quotes

  • “People ask me what I do in the winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” – Rogers Hornsby
  • “They give you a round bat, and they throw you a round ball, and then they tell you to hit it square.” – Willie Stargell
  • “Playing baseball for a living is like having a license to steal.” – Pete Rose
  • “I’d walk through hell in a gasoline suit to play baseball.” – Pete Rose
  • “You could be a kid for as long as you want when you play baseball.” – Cal Ripken, Jr.
  • “If my uniform doesn’t get dirty, I haven’t done anything in the baseball game.” – Rickey Henderson
  • “I never smile when I have a bat in my hands. That’s when you’ve got to be serious.” – Hank Aaron
  • “When I was up there at the plate, my purpose was to get on base any way I could, whether by hitting or getting hit.” – Shoeless Joe Jackson
  • “Catching a fly ball is a pleasure, but knowing what to do with it after you catch it is a business.” – Tommy Henrich
  • “Baseball is like driving, it’s the one who gets home safely that counts.” – Tommy Lasorda
  • “I’ve come to the conclusion that the two most important things in life are good friends and a good bullpen.” – Bob Lemon
  • “Never save a pitcher for tomorrow. Tomorrow it may rain.” – Leo Durocher
  • “You can’t steal second base and keep one foot on first.” – Reggie Jackson
  • “Fans don’t boo nobodies.” – Reggie Jackson
  • “I really love the togetherness in baseball. That’s real true love.” – Billy Martin
  • “A baseball manager is a necessary evil.” – George ‘Sparky’ Anderson
  • “I’m a guy who just wanted to see his name in the lineup everyday. To me, baseball was a passion to the point of obsession.” – Brooks Robinson
  • “Close doesn’t count in baseball. Close only counts in horseshoes and grenades.” – Frank Robinson
  • “Baseball was 100% of my life.” – Ty Cobb
  • “I think I was the best baseball player I ever saw.” – Willie Mays
  • “I could have played baseball another year, but I would have been playing for the money, and baseball deserves better than that.” – George Brett
  • “Remember these two things: play hard and have fun.” – Tony Gwynn

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

10 Baseball Quotes (shareable memes)

By George is pitching 10 memes to you so that you might drive these memorable quotes out of the park in your next sports post. Share the memes by right-clicking on the images; save them to your computer or copy them right into your email or social media post.  Swing away…

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.


Contrasting Hockey and Baseball

In Home Game, Roy MacGregor and Ken Dryden opine on the difference between Canada’s and America’s national games. It’s a striking contrast of the two sports:

Baseball is America’s game. It is planned and orderly, the action starts and stops, and every next moment seems a brand new chance. Effort matters; skill matters more. Time is slow – you only move when you are ready. The game goes on until a winner is declared. Time in infinite. The game could go on forever. Hockey is messy and confused. Its action rarely stops. One moment runs into the next, and its past lives on it its present and future. Skill matters, efforts matter as much, time matters more. Time is finite. A game must end. Time is short and beyond control. Baseball is a game of imagination, a mythical game. It is a demonstration of life as we might wish it to be. Hockey is real life.   

In one short paragraph, MacGregor and Dryden sum up the rich and complex differences between the sports. Brilliant analysis.

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.


April, it’s every Canadian sports fan’s dream

There is perhaps no better month of the year for Canadian sports fans than April. This is the glorious time of year when the puck drops on the NHL playoffs and fans enjoy the first pitches of the baseball season.

However, this year, like all things in life, it appears April has been cancelled. The rinks and ball parks are dark. A recent Sports Illustrated editorial tells us:According to the experts—medical experts, not the money-making experts in league offices—we will not have sports any time soon. And when we do, we will not attend the games.”

American epidemiologist Dr. Zach Binney baldly states: “We will not have sporting events with fans until we have a vaccine.” Dr. Binney surmises that barring a medical miracle, the process of developing and widely distributing a vaccine is likely to take 12 to 18 months.

So, cancel April. Cancel spring and summer, perhaps the whole year through to next spring or summer.

For ardent sports fans this is very troubling. For young Canadians who play hockey, soccer, or baseball, or participate in sports like gymnastics, rowing, or martial arts, this is both agitating and heartbreaking at the same time. To cancel sports and halt sporting activities is problematic for everyone — and for society.

The Economist this month broached the subject in an article: “The game’s the thing” in which it forwarded that “cancelling sports will dent morale” and that “a solution may be needed.” The commentary suggests the economic implications will be significant because sport is big business, but the effect on consumer sentiment of the hiatus may be even greater. A majority (59%) of Americans are sports fans (and this number would also hold true in Canada). With the loss of sporting events, an important source of enjoyment disappears. Cancelling sports compounds the effect of being stuck at home.

Cancelling sports robs an individual of an essential physical and emotional outlet. John Maynard Keynes talked a lot about the importance of “animal spirits” to economic growth. The Romans understood the importance of “bread and circuses” – keeping the public not just fed, but entertained with gladiatorial games and chariot races. Athens founded the Olympics for its citizenry. Today, people lose themselves in matches of soccer, football, baseball – and, here in Canada, we lose ourselves in our beloved hockey. The Economist concludes: “If all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, then no work and no play risks making Jack depressed and discontented.”

Looking at the next three weeks without playoff hockey and baseball is depressing – and looking at the weeks and months ahead without sports is very dark indeed. As The Economist alludes: a solution will be needed.

At By George, we are offering a quick-fix for the short-term. Through the remainder of April, By George Journal will be celebrating both the greatest game on ice, and American’s great pastime. We hope our followers will be able to lose themselves in thoughts of “the game” and their own fond memories of their team and that past victory.

Each day we will post articles for your reading pleasure. For a regular stream of quotes, photos and articles that are sure to score, we suggest you follow By George Journal on Facebook and on Twitter. Also, By George Journal will issue two newsletters featuring hockey and baseball in the weeks ahead. If you are not on our newsletter distribution list, you can sign up here.

Our ballparks and arenas may be closed, but rest assured here at By George the puck will drop each day.

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Yogi Berra: “What I’ve learned”

The Yankee great on baseball, Yogi-isms and, well, the moniker “Yogi.”


  • If I didn’t make it in baseball, I won’t have made it workin’. I didn’t like to work.
  • For Christmas, I asked dad, “I want a baseball bat, a glove, and a ball.” He said, “Which one of the three do ya want?”
  • I told my dad, “Dad, you realize if your other two sons had played ball, you’da been a millionaire.” He said, “Blame your mother.”
  • You don’t have to swing hard to hit a home run. If you got the timing, it’ll go.
  • It don’t have to be a perfect pitch. If you see it good, swing at it. But if you can’t hit it, lay off it.
  • New York is always the place to play.
  • When I caught, I’d look at the hitter, the way he strides. He strides in, then ya get the ball inside to him. I watched ‘em pretty good.
  • Joe was the best player I ever saw. He didn’t do anything wrong. DiMaggio I never saw slide. He just was there. It’s funny – I never seen him slide for a ball. He run the bases good. Every damn thing…
  • I was playin’ American Legion Baseball. Bobby Hoffman, used to play with the Giants, we were on the same team. We never had dugouts. We’re sittin’ on the ground. I always had my legs crossed and my arms folded. Bobby said, “You look like a yogi.” And it stuck.
  • My wife, she calls me Yogi. If she calls me Lawrence, I know she’s mad at me.
  • A lot of guys go, “Hey Yogi, say a Yogi-ism.” I tell ‘em, “I don’t know any.” They want me to make one up. I don’t make ‘em up. I don’t even know when I say it. They’re the truth. And it is the truth. I don’t know.
  • I get a kick out of some guys. They look at ya and say, “You look like Yogi Berra.” I say, “Yeah, a lotta people tell me that.”


From a 2001 Esquire magazine column “What I’ve learned”

Chris George, providing reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

R.I.P. Yogi Berra – Our Dozen FAV quotes


Legendary New York Yankee baseball catcher (and beloved wise guy) Yogi Berra died today at age 90.

The NY Yankees franchise began their tribute to their shining star in stirring fashion:
A loss that unquestionably transcends the game has sent all of baseball into deep mourning. Yogi Berra — Hall of Famer, all-time Yankees legend, World War II veteran, master of misstatement and beloved international icon, is gone. Berra died Tuesday night — on the 69th anniversary of his Major League debut — at age 90.

The team website has a plethora of interesting articles about Yogi and his life – a must read for Yogi’s fans.

Here are By George’s Dozen FAV quotes from the man who could leave all others speechless with his insight.

  1. It’s like deja-vu all over again
  2. You can observe a lot by watching
  3. The future ain’t what it used to be
  4. When you come to a fork in the road, take it
  5. If you don’t know where you’re going, you might end up some place else
  6. If the world was perfect, it wouldn’t be
  7. Baseball is 90% mental – the other half is physical
  8. He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious
  9. I always thought that record would stand until it was broken
  10. The future ain’t what it used to be
  11. It ain’t over ‘til it’s over
  12. I never said most of the things I said… Take it with a grin of salt

Here are a few more of Yogi Berra’s unflappable gems.

  • Never answer an anonymous letter
  • It ain’t the heat; it’s the humility
  • I usually take a two-hour nap from one to four
  • A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore
  • Pie a la mode, with ice cream
  • You tell the stupidest questions
  • I wish I had an answer to that, because I’m tired of answering that question
  • (about a St. Louis restaurant) No one goes there anymore. It’s too crowded
  • Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t go to yours

And he was never at a loss of words about the game he loved:

  • We made too many wrong mistakes
  • The lousy teams are good this year
  • We were overwhelming underdogs
  • (about the effect of the sun in left field in the old Yankee Stadium during late-season games) It gets late early out there
  • (about teammate Bill Dickey) He learned me all his experience
  • If people don’t want to come to the ballpark, how are you going to stop them?


Rest in Peace Yogi.