When they built you brother, they broke the mold
Today, the baseball world is mourning the loss of Jerome Holtzman — former baseball writer for the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times, inventor of the save statistic and baseball’s official historian — who died over the weekend at the age of 82.
I was just discussing Holtzman’s legacy with longtime Tribe beat reporters Sheldon Ocker of the Akron Beacon Journal and Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer, who both got to know “The Dean” of baseball writers pretty well over the years. They were not short on praise for Holtzman as a person and as a professional.
“How many guys love baseball enough to invent their own stat, and everyone uses it?” Ocker said.
Indeed, Holtzman created the first formula for the save in 1959. Ten years later, it was officially adopted as a statistic. Considering that was the first time baseball adopted a new stat since the 1920 introduction of the RBI, it was clearly a major development. And just think how many millions of dollars Holtzman has earned for relievers over the years (I somehow doubt he got any kickbacks for his efforts).
Hoynes told me that one day Holtzman’s editor called him up to tell him he was using too many cliches in his stories — phrases such as “two-bagger.” Turns out, Holtzman invented those, too.
“He told his editor, ‘Those are my cliches!'” Hoynes remembered with a chuckle. “So he was allowed to keep using them. He’d say, ‘It’s not a cliche if you invented it.'”
I’m sure many of Holtzman’s cliches have made their way into my stories. I only wish I had as good an excuse to use them.
Here are tonight’s lineups for the first of a three-game set between the Indians and Angels…
INDIANS (43-54): CF Grady Sizemore, 1B Casey Blake, RF Ben Francisco, SS Jhonny Peralta, DH David Dellucci, C Kelly Shoppach, 3B Andy Marte, LF Franklin Gutierrez, 2B Asdrubal Cabrera. RHP Paul Byrd (3-10, 5.47).
ANGELS (60-38): 3B Chone Figgins, 1B Casey Kotchman, SS Maicer Izturis, DH Vladimir Guerrero, CF Torii Hunter, LF Garret Anderson, 2B Howie Kendrick, RF Gary Matthews Jr., C Jeff Mathis. RHP Ervin Santana (11-3, 3.34).
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…
- Fausto Carmona (left hip strain) will throw a side session here Tuesday. Assuming it goes well, Carmona will return to the rotation Saturday against the Twins. Matt Ginter, tomorrow’s starter, is expected to be the odd man out in the rotation.
- Byrd is 0-5 over his last six starts and Santana is 0-5 in six lifetime starts against the Indians.
- The Indians’ series win over the Mariners over the weekend was just their four road series victory this season.
- On Sunday, Cliff Lee became the first Indians pitcher to give up at least 11 hits in a complete-game win since Charles Nagy gave up 13 against Baltimore on June 17, 1992, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
- Reliever Brendan Donnelly, coming back from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, has been moved up to Triple-A Buffalo after a short stint at Class A Kinston. Donnelly worked two scoreless innings in two appearances at Kinston. He could be a bullpen option for the Indians before the end of the year.
- Down at Kinston, outfielder Nick Weglarz, who will be on the Canadian Olympic team, has hit safely in nine straight games, batting .400 (12-for-30) with 10 runs scored, a double, two triples and two RBIs. He is batting .280 with 10 homers and 37 RBIs in 92 games this season, and his .408 on-base percentage ranks fifth in the Carolina League.
- At Buffalo, Michael Aubrey has heated up, batting .480 (12-for-25) over the course of a six-game hitting streak. He is now batting .299 with nine doubles, two homers and 17 RBIs in 39 games with the Bisons.
- The Angels were the first MLB team to 60 wins this season. In each of the last four seasons, the first team to 60 wins has reached the World Series. The Angels’ nine-game lead on the second-place A’s is their largest on July 21 in club history.