Monday, May 23, 2011

Ed Randall's Bat for the Cure 2011 Minor League Road Trip

I am proud to announce the launch of our 5th Annual Ed Randall's Bat for the Cure Prostate Cancer Awareness and Education Road Trip Across Minor League Baseball with our new national sponsor, Walgreens, serving as propellant.
 
I am prouder still to tell you of our designation as an Official Charitable Partner of Minor League Baseball, which further validates our life-saving mission.
 
Never in the history of minor league baseball has there been a healthcare initiative of this magnitude.
that has served its unserved constituency from coast-to-coast.
 
Last season, 137 ballclubs graciously opened their homes to us and we have every expectation we will exceed that total this year.
 
We are especially gratified to be working with the Camden Riversharks of the Atlantic League. They will welcome the charity on June 24th and have pledged to make a financial contribution that will allow us to further our mission of spreading our twin gospels of prostate cancer awareness and education.
 
On Father's Day, the Spokane Indians of the Northwest League will don baby blue uniform tops as a show of support. The uniforms will be raffled off and proceeds donated to this charity.
 
I have a special place in my heart for Spokane as I was their play-by-play announcer on KHQ-Radio
in the same ballpark (with the same phone number) in 1975.
 
We thank them and all the clubs for their constant kindness and support and wish them all a great season.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fw: Ed Randall's Meanderings, Minutiae & Miscellany



----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Ed Randall <edwrandall@yahoo.com>
To: russell@bravestreet.com
Sent: Tue, May 17, 2011 4:52:49 PM
Subject: Ed Randall's Meanderings, Minutiae & Miscellany

If ever there was an incongruous nickname, this was it.
 
Legendary broadcaster Bob Wolff, the voice of the Washington Senators, nicknamed a fresh-faced slugger named Harmon Killebrew, "Killer."
 
His persona was anything but, a kind, sweet, soft-spoken, self-effacing man who never boasted of his accomplishments and one of the nicest people I have ever met in the game.
 
Harmon Killebrew's personality belied his achievement on the field as, arguably, the most popular player in Minnesota Twins history: 573 home runs (he didn't need the wind blowing out), currently
11th on the all-time list, and 5th at the time of his retirement.
 
I have a personal note in his file folder at home dated July 23, 1992 that reads simply, "Dear Ed,
I'm sorry we didn't have connect for your show in San Diego (at All-Star FanFest). I hope you'll give me a rain check for another shot at it!"
 
That shot came on January 21, 1994 when Harmon Killebrew arrived at HBO Studios in Manhattan
to be a guest on the 341th edition of "Ed Randall's Talking Baseball.". Not only was he there to talk about his fabulous career but also to promote a new women's league, The National Fastpitch Association.
 
The story I will always remember was Harmon telling me was of his signing.
 
He was headed from his native Idaho to the University of Oregon to play baseball and football. United States Senator Herman Welker was from Harmon's home town. He was a great  friend of Washington Senators' Owner Clark Griffith and told him about, as Harmon said, "a young boy out in Idaho he thought could hit the ball pretty well. I think more than anything else, just to keep Senator Welker quiet, Mr. Griffith sent Ossie Bluege, the farm director, out to see me."   
 
There was torrential rain and it appeared that Ossie Bluege had made the trip for nothing. But the rain let up, the field was prepared and Harmon Killebrew hit a long home run over the left field fence. The following morning, the farm director went back to the field the next morning and stepped it off. The ball went 435 feet, pretty good for a 17-year-old. He immediately called Clark Griffith, left a contract in Senator Welker's law office and went back to Washington.
 
Soon thereafter, Harmon Killebrew became a 'bonus baby' and took his first at-bat in the major leagues in 1954 at age 17. It would be 1959 before he had his first full season. Two years later, the Washington Senators were now the Minnesota Twins and Harmon Killebrew, across the 1960s would become the face, heart and soul of the franchise.
 
He personified power, the first to clear the roof at old Tiger Stadium in Detroit and, as Casey Stengel once said about another prodigy, Ron Swoboda, "could hit home runs over tall buildings."
 
Eight times, Harmon Killebrew struck 40 or more home runs, a record surpassed only by Babe Ruth.
   
He made 11 All-Star teams and was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1984. His statue rests outside Target Field in Minneapolis.
 
Harmon Killebrew was a great baseball player.
 
He was a better man. 

Killer

If ever there was an incongruous nickname, this was it.
 
Legendary broadcaster Bob Wolff, the voice of the Washington Senators, nicknamed a fresh-faced slugger named Harmon Killebrew, "Killer."
 
His persona was anything but, a kind, sweet, soft-spoken, self-effacing man who never boasted of his accomplishments and one of the nicest people I have ever met in the game.
 
Harmon Killebrew's personality belied his achievement on the field as, arguably, the most popular player in Minnesota Twins history: 573 home runs (he didn't need the wind blowing out), currently 8th on the all-time list, and 5th at the time of his retirement.
 
He told me on this wonderful show I hosted called "Ed Randall's Talking Baseball" that a sitting United States Senator from his native Idaho was influential in his signing. Turns out the Senator was friends with Clark Griffith, the Owner of the Washington Senators and told him of a young slugger that he needed to sign.
 
Killebrew became a 'bonus baby' and took his first at-bat in the major leagues in 1954 at age 17. It would be 1959 before he had his first full season. Two years later, the Washington Senators were now the Minnesota Twins and Harmon Killebrew, across the 1960s would become the face, heart and soul of the franchise.
 
He personified power, the first to clear the roof at old Tiger Stadium in Detroit and, as Casey Stengel once said about another prodigy, Ron Swoboda, "could hit home runs over tall buildings."
 
Eight times, Harmon Killebrew struck 40 or more home runs, a record surpassed only by Babe Ruth.
   
He made 11 All-Star teams and was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1984. His statue rests outside Target Field in Minneapolis.
 
Harmon Killebrew was a great baseball player.
 
He was a better man. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Second At-Bat: Lucky Me!

Hi again everybody.
So when we last left Ed, Dr. Nicholas Romas, the world-renowned Chair of the Urology Department at the St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in Manhattan, was leaning forward from behind his desk, looking me in the eye and saying with a straight face, "Ed, you have cancer and you have a LOT of cancer."
This ruining of my day just confirmed what I had been prepared for by my general practitioner, Dr. John Cornwall, who had given me scouting reports that I was in trouble, I mean, BIG trouble. We've all had moments in our lives where, for one split second, we are completely disbelieving of what we had just seen or heard.
Not denial, mind you, just stunned...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Bombers Bombing?

Yankee fans should be very concerned with regard to a championship repeat performance. After winning eight straight games, they have lost five of their past six and eight of their last 10 games. Five of those losses have been one-run defeats. Three have come in the opposition's final at-bat. But with serious concerns about whether Derek Jeter has begun his final descent and Alex Rodriguez not hitting home runs with the frequency of the past, they no longer strike fear into the opposition and seem vulnerable. Their problems underscore just how hard it is to defend your crown. The World Champions are just 15-16 against clubs heading to October. The only certainty in the starting rotation remains CC Sabathia, on the verge of a 20-win season. They are no better than the Mets at the start of the season whose rotation was Johan Santana and four other guys until they got back to Santana. Fortunately for the Yankees, Andy Pettitte makes his long-awaited return this Sunday from the groin injury suffered in July. With a lack of trust in the ability of A.J. Burnett from game to game, Pettitte, if he is able to provide a much -needed lift to the rotation, becomes the #2 starter come October. How can they possibly re-insert him as the #3 for a possible match-up with Texas? In a five-game series, they'll see Cliff Lee, who won all of Philadelphia's World Series games against them last fall and owned them again on Sunday, twice. There is no waiting on a guy who's barely a .500 pitcher on a team 30 games over .500. How is that possible? The Yankees cannot put the good teams away. Ample evidence was provided in Texas, where they were swept and Tampa Bay where, save for a Jorge Posada game-winning home run, they would have been swept again. And know this about Tampa: they are superior to their World Series club of 2008 which got to the promised land without a bullpen of consequence. That was before they acquired Rafael Soriano in perhaps the most unsung deal of the post-season. He leads the American League with 43 saves and struck out Jeter and Rodriguez to close out an electrifying series in St. Petersburg. Now if only the local population would embrace them and show their enthusiasm at the gate. Shame on them.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

My Friend Ernie

In 1981, I was working for Enterprise Radio situated in Avon, Connecticut, the nation's first all-sports radio network. Perhaps we were ahead of our time because, 9 months to the day we went on the air, we had gone bankrupt. But,luckily, before we did, I was successfuuly campaigned to cover the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Cooperstown. On that July Sunday, the great Ernie Harwell was ushered into the broadcast wing for his meritorious service to the game. That day began a wonderful friendship that would last almost 30 years. I have never met a kinder, gentler, more graceful and solicitous soul in my life. And he loved the love of that life, Lulu, through 68 years of marriage. Ernie was always there for me, never saying no to an interview request, ever upbeat, optimistic and funny with an infectious laugh. When I started Ed Randall's Talking Baseball on public access television (which, by the way, gives the First Amendment a bad name) in suburban New York, he rode with me to White Plains where we sat talking for a half hour in a studio with three cameras and no camera operators. But he never made that operation seem small, insignificant or beneath him. He ate in our home where my mom prepared a classic Italian dinner. I would take her to sit in the back of his radio booth when the Tigers visited Yankee Stadium. He made her feel what he made me feel:  important. I was with Ernie when he was honored at a Congressional luncheon hosted by the Michigan delegation on the final weekend of the 1992 season. After all, he was the most beloved figure in the state. A guy would close his gas station with these words: "It's five minutes to Ernie." Two days later, at the final game of Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, he signed off on his final broadcast without fanfare but with his customary class and dignity, thanking the listeners for their friendship and loyalty. The reaction to his being fired for being 74 years old was fast and furious. Tigers Owner Mike Illitch restored order a year later. He delivered newspapers to Margaret Mitchell, author of "Gone with the Wind," Babe Ruth signed his shoe because he had nothing else on him, he is the only announcer in the history of baseball to be traded for a player (catcher Cliff Dapper from the Brooklyn Dodgers to the Atlanta Crackers), Jackie Robinson stole home in his first major league game in 1948, called Bobby Thomson's home run on the first coast-to-coast telecast of a major sporting event ("only Mrs. Harwell and I know I was on that afternoon") and was the guy who hired Jose Feliciano to sign the national anthem at the 1968 World Series. A few weeks ago, unable to get him on the phone, I sent him an email wishing him well. I told him I loved him. He response? "I love you, too." Proudly, that is our epitaph. He was not the broadcast voice of the Detroit Tigers. He was the Detroit Tigers. It was both an honor and joy to know him.