Oh baby, here in the Northeast it is bitter cold outside or to use one of the most annoying New England regionalisms, “it’s wicked cold.”
As I retrieved my morning paper yesterday as snow flurried around me, I said good morning to the bundled-up neighbor heading to the train and to the four girls in winter coats on their way to school and as they shivered a response, I spontaneously shouted out, “Pitchers and catchers next week!”
They looked at me, clad in only in jeans and t-shirt, like I was insane. Well of course, they weren’t wrong. But they should have also realized that I am a man in love…with baseball and no matter what the weather, it keeps me warm.
I will not give you nine reasons to explain my passion, I will simply give you nine players you can think about this Valentine’s Day.
Nine to Know: Players to think about on Valentine’s Day, besides Bobby Valentine and Ellis Valentine
- Candy Cummings – Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1939, he invented the curveball
- Darryl Strawberry – Substance abuse brought down the 1983 ROY, but before it did, from the world championship 1986 season to the end of his Mets career in 1990, Strawberry hit 171 and had an .886 OPS
- Candy Maldonado – The Candy Man” played from 1981 to 1995 for the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, Cleveland Indians, Milwaukee Brewers, Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago Cubs, and Texas Rangers. He hit for the cycle for the Giants and had a World Series walkoff hit for the Jays.
- Pete Rose – C’mon, if you are reading this, I bet you don’t need to know anything from me about the newest inductee into the Reds Hall of Fame.
- Tyler Flowers – Tyler is the one of two active players on my list. After playing for the White Sox since 2009, the Braves, the team that drafted him in 2005, in December, signed Flowers to a two-year contract worth $5.3 million.
- Chocolate Calderon – This gu played in Cuba in 1911 and that’s all I can tell you other than there appears to be a company now called “Calderon Chocolates” and their chocolates look yummy (if the owners see this plug, they should be encouraged to send me samples.)
- Corey Hart – This two-time All-Star outfielder is job hunting right now. In the three years before he missed the 2013 season because of injuries, Hart hit 87 homers.
- John Candelaria – This “Candy Man” pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates, California Angels, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Montreal Expos, Minnesota Twins, Toronto Blue Jays, and Los Angeles Dodgers from 1975–1993. That means he played for both New York teams (Mets and Yankees), both Los Angeles teams (Dodgers and Angels) and both Canadian teams (Blue Jays and Expos)
- Jim Ray Hart – Jim Ray played for the Giants from 1963- 1973 and would have had a bigger career had he simply been a DH (or remained healthy, or sober). Hart could hit but was a notoriously poor fielder. He did hit for the cycle on July 8, 1970 the same game in which he had a six-RBI inning.
On Sunday, show your love to your loved ones and…