July 31, 2006 [LINK]

Nationals keep Soriano!

Great news for Washington Nationals fans: They decided to keep Alfonso Soriano, raising hopes for a respectable last two months and a steadily improving future. Livan Hernandez will be staying with the Nats, as well, which is another big relief. I'm glad my hunch that all those trade rumors were mostly a ploy to maximize bargaining leverage turned out correct. Whew! [This apparently means that the Nats' new owners and Soriano's agent have reached a rough understanding of what a long-term contract with him might look like. See MLB.com. I guess we'll have to give credit to Jim Bowden for his risky, high-stakes acquisition of Soriano from the Rangers last December after all.]

Hall of Fame inductions, 2006

Congratulations to Bruce Sutter, pitcher for the Cardinals, Cubs, and Braves, for being admitted to Cooperstown on Sunday. Likewise to the 17 former Negro League players, living and deceased, who were chosen by a special panel of baseball historians this spring. Among them was Ernest Judson Wilson, of the Homestead Grays (Pittsburgh and Washington). For some reason, former Kansas City Monarch Buck O'Neil was not included, though he did speak at the induction ceremony.

Extreme old timers

Speaking of O'Neil, he recently became (at age 94) the oldest professional baseball player in history, playing in the minor league All Star game. He thereby surpassed the record set three weeks ago by Jim Eriotes (age 83), who played in a game for the Sioux Falls (South Dakota) Canaries, while I happened to be in the Prairie State earlier this month.

The mail bag

Tom Boyles searched in vain for the Hiram Bithorn Stadium page, so I will have to make it easier to find some of those "oddball" neutral venues.