Elsewhere in football, Conference USA is fining East Carolina $10,000 after fans stormed the field following the Pirates’ 24-3 upset of No. 8 West Virginia last weekend.
A Norwegian physicist, by the way, has determined the fans could have gotten on the field much quicker if some of them hadn’t been carrying beer kegs.
Here’s how great a season Cliff Lee (22-2 and counting) is having for the Indians: He’s resurrected the memory of Sylveanus Augustus “Vean” Gregg.
Lee needs just one victory to tie Gregg’s club record for most wins in a season by a southpaw - set 97 years ago, when Vean was a rookie. Why am I bringing this up, you ask? Well, for starters, Gregg is the only major league pitcher since 1900 to win 20 games in his first three seasons. (Who knew?) Then there’s this: The year before, with Portland of the Pacific Coast League, he set a minor league mark by striking out 376 batters. (Many of them, no doubt, swinging in vain at his feared curveball.)
My main reason for digressing about Gregg, though, is that he wound up his MLB career with the Washington Senators in 1925. It was a big story at the time. He was 40, you see, when the Senators signed him, and had been out of the majors for six years. He had retired for a while, plagued by arm trouble, but then began pitching again in the Pacific Coast League. After he helped his Seattle team win a pennant, Washington came calling.
The Senators went to the World Series in ‘25, but Gregg, alas, didn’t go with them. In late August, after posting a 2-2 record in 26 games, mostly in relief, he was sent to Class A New Orleans as partial payment for a prospect named Buddy Myer. Myer, a middle infielder, would turn out to be one of the best players in franchise history, spending 15 of his 17 seasons with Washington and finishing with 2,131 hits, a .303 average and one American League batting title (1935, when he hit .349).
But, hey, don’t thank me for the history lesson, thank Cliff Lee. Without him, none of it would have been possible.
And finally …
Three potential uses for the foul poles at Shea Stadium, which will be sold along with countless other artifacts when the place closes at the end of the season:
1. String a clothesline between them and hang laundry.
2. Nothing gives you better radio reception than a 100-foot foul pole.
3. Give one of them to Usain Bolt, and see if he can break Sergey Bubka’s record (which has stood since ‘94).
Dan Daly has been writing about sports for the Washington Times since 1982. He has won numerous national and local awards, appears regularly in NFL Films’ historical features and is the co-author of “The Pro Football Chronicle,” a decade-by-decade history of the game. Follow Dan on Twitter at @dandalyonsports –- or e-mail him at email@example.com.
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