The name on the front of the jersey

Jeter Rivera

Future Hall of Famers Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, Yankees throughout their careers…quite a rarity these days.

Gehrig. Feller. Williams. Musial. Banks. Stargell. Yastrzemski. Bench. Yount. Ripken. The list goes on and on. Many of baseball’s all-time greats never changed uniforms in their lengthy big league careers. Of course that’s a rarity now, which makes present-day Yankees greats Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter all the more unusual.

I grew up in an era when baseball was changing dramatically. In the 1970s, as the DH rule and free agency hit baseball, longtime stars suddenly started moving from team to team. I remember thinking how strange it was to see Catfish Hunter become a Yankee, but superstars changing uniforms quickly became the norm. Continue reading

Meeting Vida

Vida Blue

Vida Blue in his heyday with the Oakland A’s

Vida Blue was one of my baseball idols growing up. He was with the A’s and then the Giants throughout my childhood. I remember actually crying when the Giants traded him to Kansas City before the 1982 season. He was the one guy who was in the Bay Area playing for my teams from the time I could remember all the way up to then. McCovey had retired. Catfish was long gone. Vida was the last one. So I took it kinda hard.

He ran into trouble in KC…part of the infamous cocaine trials of the mid-1980s that scarred baseball for a time. But he paid the price, got straight, and a few years later was back in the Bay Area again, with the Giants to finish his career. And later he went to work in the Giants front office – community relations and such – for many years.  He still works with the Giants and last year appeared on TV with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area too. Continue reading