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Welcome to Hey Bill, where Bill answers questions from his subscribers almost every day. Visitors can read the most recent Hey Bill's on this page.  Subscribers can ask Bill a question directly and also view our archive of questions and answers.

 

The fifteen most recent questions are listed here and will change almost every day.

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15 Most Recent Questions

HeyBill, I could be wrong here, but was Game 7 in 1960, arguably the greatest postseason game in history, the only game in postseason history without a strikeout?  
 
Asked by: OldBackstop

Answered: 3/22/2017
 I would be very surprised if it was.    In some eras of baseball history strikeouts were at quite low levels.   

 

Bill, I was at the Al Newman game I assume you were referencing.  Runners were on 1st and 3rd with no outs when the batter hit a grounder to short.  The SS threw it to Newman for the force at 2nd and then he threw home for the second out.
Asked by: clarkshu

Answered: 3/22/2017
 Not the right play. 

 

Re Steinbrenner types, what about Larry McPhail?  Didn't he fire Durocher and then forget it it about a couple of dozen times?
Asked by: Koogan

Answered: 3/22/2017
 McPhail wasn't the owner.   We were talking about owners. 

 

In re movie length -- the previous commenter is correct that, going back to before the historical epic era of the post-WWII years, most movies were short by today's standards.  However, you were also getting a newsreel, a cartoon, and/or a second feature.  Double-features have gone the way of doubleheaders, but audiences back then were routinely committing three-plus hours to the movie-going experience.
Asked by: sansho1

Answered: 3/22/2017
 OK. 

 

Hey Bill, you wrote that movies are getting shorter these days, but my impression was the opposite is true, that there are a lot of bloated blockbusters these days, and there's some evidence saying we're both kind of wrong. Somebody averaged the "Top 50" movies of each decade, "top" as defined by their ratings on IMDB (so not so scientific, but perhaps an ok indication of popular movies that decade) -- and it's been quite stable over the last 50 years.    
 
10s... 79 minutes  
20s... 98 minutes  
30s... 96 minutes  
40s... 109 minutes  
50s... 114 minutes  
60s... 127 minutes  
70s... 125 minutes  
80s... 129 minutes  
90s... 127 minutes  
00s... 129 minutes
Asked by: PB

Answered: 3/22/2017
 Thanks. 

 

Hey Bill,  
 
In the category of great decisions by a great athlete on the ballfield, jwilt recently posted this description of a 2012 play by 20 year old Manny Machado in Reader Posts.  It's a wonderful example of thinking on your feet:  
 
With two out in the top of the ninth pinch runner Rich Thompson is at second, when Evan Longoria hits a very slow chopper up the third base line. Manny races in, grabs the ball, fakes a throw to first, wheels around and throws behind Thompson to JJ Hardy, catching Thompson off the bag for the third out.  
 
Asked by: evanecurb

Answered: 3/22/2017
 Oh. . . .Al Newman with the Twins one year (I think it was 1989) made a similar play at a critical moment in the pennant race; I am sure some Twins fan will remember that.   My memory is this:  Royals runner on third base, no one on first or second.   There is a high, slow chopper hit toward second, probably no play at first but everybody is expecting the fielder (Newman) to go to first.   But he doesn't; he charges the ball and fires immediately to third base, and nails the runner off the third.     That's all I remember, but I remember that it was a very critical play in the pennant race.   

 

I just finished reading a book about the making of the movie "High Noon" in 1951 and they actually had to add scenes to the original shoot of the movie so that it would meet the standard of length required for an Academy Award.  
Asked by: Marc Schneider

Answered: 3/22/2017
 Thanks. 

 

Not exactly relevant, in that it didn't take any skill per se...but there was an NFL playoff game (I think the Broncos were playing) about 5 years ago where the opening kickoff rebounded off the crossbar and came to rest exactly on the 20.  The official walked over, stared for a second, then simply rotated the ball so the laces were upright.  I thought it was the greatest kickoff in the history of the NFL, but the announcers did not comment on it.
Asked by: rgonnelli

Answered: 3/22/2017
 It would have been a better kickoff if he hadn't had to rotate to make the laces straight. 

 

The Ozzie play that Bobgill describes would have been in 1978 against the Braves. I lived in in Georgia and all the games were televised so I saw it on tv. I was stunned. Incredible reflexes. I don't remember the announcers but they were quite blasé about it. Nice play, now the next batter is...
Asked by: r44fletch

Answered: 3/22/2017
 OK.

 

Tony Perez is remembered today and being a fairly poor defensive 3rd baseman prior to his switch to 1st base in 1972.     I'd be curious to know whether your win share/loss share figures concur with that reputation.
Asked by: DavidH

Answered: 3/21/2017
 We're working on the data.   Don't know right now. 

 

What's weird about the 1B on that Mickey Mantle play is how he was going to throw over to 2B as if he was going to get Mickey on a force play, even though stepping on 1B took the force off.  So, from that perspective, it's like a shark playing poker against a square, and you are left dumbfounded as to exactly what is going on here.  Mick would have to be thinking "you are going to chase me now".  But instead, the 1B makes the motion that he is going to throw 89 feet to 2B, with Mick standing 10 feet away.  It's fascinating to watch.
Asked by: tangotiger

Answered: 3/21/2017
 Oh, that reminds me of another play, probably 1962; I was listening on the radio, but it was Harry Carey so it's almost like television.   This is memory and it's 55 years, so, you know. . .probably never happened.  Same play; Maury Wills on first base.   Batter--it might have been Ron Fairly--hits a hard ground ball to first.   Bill White steps on the bag, removing the force, and then sees Wills standing there looking at him.   White realizes Wills can now return to the bag, so he starts to chase Wills--and chases him all the way to second base.    
 
It seemed odd, but even then I realized something that probably nobody else did.   One year, I think the first year in pro ball for both Wills and White, they were in the same league, and one of them led the league in stolen bases.    Bill White. 

 

Bill - it was Rocky Nelson, not Dick Stuart. Rocky wasn't known for his smarts either.
Asked by: DFleitz

Answered: 3/21/2017
 OK. 

 

1. Speaking of incredibly quick reactions reminds me of something I THINK I saw on a weekly highlight show back around 1980, when Ozzie Smith was still with San Diego: He was diving for a hot grounder to his left, but the ball took a bad hop and went over his glove, but in a hundredth of a second or some ridiculously short time, he stuck his right hand up and caught the ball barehanded, then managed to flip it to second for the force out. I always wonder if I'm remembering this right, because it seems nearly impossible, but that's the way I recall it, anyway.  
 
2. The first baseman involved in the play with Mantle in the 1960 Series may have been Rocky Nelson. I read something about that just recently, and it seems to me that this article mentioned Nelson rather than Stuart.  
 
3. It was CHRIS Von der Ahe, not Gus.  
 
Asked by: BobGill

Answered: 3/21/2017
 May have been.   Could have had a good major league career, Rocky.   Just didn't work out for him.  

 

I enjoyed your comments about things taking a lot longer in the "old" days and since I'm older than you, I definitely remember those days. One additional comment re the length of movies. Some were so long that there was an intermission in the middle of the movie. I can't remember specific examples but there were lots of them. I also remember that before a movie began they played God Save the Queen (I'm Canadian). I also agree with your comments re the length of "my" ball club's games. A Blue Jay game is never too long.
Asked by: Siskokid

Answered: 3/21/2017
 I remember "Tess" had an intermission, "Dr. Zhivago" did.   We watched some old movie on Netflix within the last year that had an intermission, but the intermission was like 15 minutes from the end of the movie.   Seemed weird.   

 

I would dissent on the movie thing a bit. Yes, a good number of large-scale and/or expensive movies were very long, but in the 1930s, for instance, the typical Hollywood release was often a tidy 73 minutes or so, and even into the 1990s lot of movies would be right around 90 minutes. Today, it seems like the typical movie isn't content with bothering you until 2 hours and 15 minutes have elapsed, minimum. The first James Bond movie with Daniel Craig is a good example of a movie that should have ended a half hour before it actually does end. In 1975 Robert Altman's Nashville was 160 minutes long and much of the media coverage focused on how long it was. 2 hours and 40 minutes wouldn't get media people writing about the movie's length today, to the same extent. You have mentioned in the past that increased ticket prices made baseball people think that a game had damn well better run four hours..... I think something similar happened in Hollywood, people are paying, they should get a lot.
Asked by: wovenstrap

Answered: 3/21/2017
 Thanks.    I think a lot of times movies are afraid to stop when they are over.   A lot of times it looks like the director told the story and then the producers said they needed a little more.  

 

 
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