Cardinals re-sign C Yadier Molina for 18th season
Puerto Rico's Yadier Molina reacts after tagging out Venezuela's Ali Castillo during the first inning of a Caribbean Series baseball game at Teodoro Mariscal Stadium in Mazatlan, Mexico, Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)ST. LOUIS – Yadier Molina enjoyed going through the process of free agency for the first time in more than two decades as a pro. But it was fun — fun to be part of the free-agent process," Molina said, “but in my mind, it was always St. Louis. Molina hit .262 with four home runs in 42 games during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, his last under a $60 million, three-year deal. But he's best known for his defense behind the dish, trailing only Ivan Rodriguez (13) and Johnny Bench (10) for the most Gold Gloves won by a catcher.
Don Sutton, Hall of Fame pitcher for Dodgers, dies at 75
The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, said Sutton died at his home in Rancho Mirage, California, after a long struggle with cancer. (AP Photo, File) (AP Photo, File)LOS ANGELES – Don Sutton, a Hall of Fame pitcher who was a stalwart of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ rotation spanning an era from Sandy Koufax to Fernando Valenzuela, died Tuesday. The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, said Sutton died at his home in Rancho Mirage, California, after a long struggle with cancer. Shortly before the start of the following season, Sutton broke his left leg. Sutton pitched for Dodgers Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda, who died on Jan. 7.
From Kobe to Maradona, a year of staggering losses in sports
Not long after came a seismic jolt, the helicopter crash of Kobe Bryant in the fog-shrouded California hills that reverberated across sports and across continents. Deep into the year, a bookend to Bryant, Diego Maradona died from a heart attack in Argentina weeks after brain surgery, the waves of grief rippling across soccer. The losses, of course, came against a backdrop of a pandemic, its number of fatalities rolled out daily on TV screens. Niekro won 318 games and pitched until he was 48, his knuckleball dancing and mystifying batters across the decades. Kurt Thomas in 1978 became the first U.S. male gymnast to win a world title but lost an Olympic shot in 1980 because of the boycott.
Adam Wainwright wins MLB's Roberto Clemente Award
NEW YORK – Longtime St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright has won the Roberto Clemente Award, given annually by Major League Baseball for community involvement and philanthropy. The effort provided more than 4 million meals to prevent childhood hunger during the coronavirus pandemic and nearly 8 million meals in all. Let’s go there even more now.’”A 39-year-old right-hander, Wainwright is a free agent after spending all 15 of his big league seasons with the Cardinals. The award usually is announced during the World Series but was delayed this year until Monday because of the pandemic. Wainwright thought back to gathering donors at the ballpark back in 2013 when the foundation was just starting.
Dodgers 1 win from title after 32 years and more than $3.6B
FILE - In this Oct. 20, 1988, file photo, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser holds his World Series Most Valuable Player trophy following the Dodgers' decisive 5-2 win over the Oakland Athletics in Oakland, Ca. Since Hershiser struck out Oaklands Tony Phillips for the final out of the 1988 World Series, the Dodgers have played 5,014 regular-season games and 113 more in the postseason in pursuit of their next title. The rookie right-hander hopes to keep the World Series from reaching a Game 7 for the fourth time in five years. The Rays and Cash have impressed Roberts with their relentlessness, evidenced by their ninth-inning rally to win Game 4. Hershiser, the 1988 World Series MVP, says each time the postseason is lengthened it adds another level of uncertainty to the competition.
Joe Morgan, driving force of Big Red Machine, dies at 77
And to his star-powered teammates, Joe Morgan was a driving force, too. “Joe Morgan was quite simply the best baseball player I played against or saw,” Reds Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench texted to The Associated Press. The Reds decided to dismantle the Big Red Machine, prompting Morgan to also leave. Morgan also was board vice chairman of baseball's Hall of Fame and on the board of the Baseball Assistance Team. ″Bench probably had the most raw baseball ability of any of us,” Morgan said before his Hall of Fame induction.
Joe Morgan, driving force of Big Red Machine, dies at 77
Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan has died. And to his star-powered teammates, Joe Morgan was a driving force, too. “Joe Morgan was quite simply the best baseball player I played against or saw,” Reds Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench texted to The Associated Press. “Small in stature like his idol Nellie Fox, Joe played every game at the highest level. ″Bench probably had the most raw baseball ability of any of us,” Morgan said before his Hall of Fame induction.
Whitey Ford, Hall of Fame ace for mighty Yankees, died at 91
FILE - In this June 12, 2016 file photo, former New York Yankees pitcher Whitey Ford waves to fans from outside the dugout at the Yankees' annual Old Timers Day baseball game in New York. A family member tells The Associated Press on Friday, Oct. 9, 2020 that Ford died at his Long Island home Thursday night. Ford won 236 games and lost just 106, a winning percentage of .690. Ford holds records for World Series wins (10), games and starts (22), innings pitched (146) and strikeouts (94). Ford won 18 games in his first season back and never won fewer than 11 for 13 straight seasons.
Bob Gibson, fierce Hall of Fame ace for Cards, dies at 84
Gibson's death came on the 52nd anniversary of perhaps his most overpowering performance, when he struck out a World Series record 17 batters in Game 1 of the 1968 World Series against Detroit. Gibson died less than a month after the death of a longtime teammate, Hall of Fame outfielder Lou Brock. During the regular season, Gibson struck out more than 200 batters nine times and led the National League in shutouts four times, finishing with 56 in his career. (When the two faced off a decade later, at an old-timers game, Gibson beaned him). Gibson was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1981, and the Cards retired his uniform number.
Celtics roll in Game 5, take 3-2 series lead on Raptors
Jaylen Brown scored 27 points and the Celtics never trailed, rolling past the Toronto Raptors 111-89 in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series on Monday night. Boston now leads the series 3-2 and can earn a trip to the East finals on Wednesday. Toronto outscored Boston 28-25 in the third and it already didn't matter; the Celtics' lead was 87-63 going into the fourth. The Celtics scored more points in the second quarter (37) than they allowed in the first half (35). The Raptors went 1-0 last season in win-or-else games, that being the Game 7 triumph over Philadelphia in the East semifinals.
Wieters has 19-pitch at-bat as Cardinals split DH with Twins
St. Louis Cardinals' Harrison Bader celebrates after scoring during the third inning in the second game of a baseball doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)ST. LOUIS Backup catcher Matt Wieters acknowledges he might have to get in better shape for the St. Louis Cardinals. Wieters hit 14 foul balls during a grueling 19-pitch at-bat that finished with a deep flyout with the bases loaded during a wild rally that sent the Cardinals over the Minnesota Twins 6-4 Tuesday night for a doubleheader split. Wieters set the Cardinals record for a plate appearance in that span, topping 17 pitches seen by Rick Ankiel in 2008. Everyone says St. Louis is a baseball town, and my father absolutely was a baseball guy.
LEADING OFF: MLB looks into GM's ejection, Brock mourned
FILE - In this Jan. 11, 2020, file photo, Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo talks with members of the media during the team's "Winterfest" baseball fan festival in Washington. The Nationals and Rizzo finalized a multiyear contract extension Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020. Brock died less than a week after Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seavers death at 75. During their stellar careers, Brock and Seaver faced each other 157 times -- the most prolific batter/pitcher matchups for either star. Keuchel (6-2, 2.19 ERA) threw five scoreless innings, then was pulled after tossing a few warmup pitches before the sixth.
Hall of Fame outfielder Lou Brock dies at age 81
FILE - In this April 9, 1965, file photo, Lou Brock, of the St. Louis Cardinals, poses in Missouri. The Cards were World Series champions in 1964 and 1967 and lost to the Detroit Tigers in seven games in 1968. Brock was even better in postseason play, batting .391 with four homers, 16 RBIs and 14 steals in 21 World Series games. For Brock, base stealing was an art form and a kind of warfare. He also made two damaging mistakes that helped cost St. Louis the 68 World Series.
Batter Up! Baseball, soundtrack of summer, is back - sort of
The Los Angeles Dodgers play the Los Angeles Angels at sunset during the fifth inning of a preseason baseball game, Tuesday, July 21, 2020, in Los Angeles. Rather than keeping players and club personnel sealed in a bubble environment, baseball teams will fly around the country, raising more health concerns. Fans won't be permitted at Nationals Park or at Dodger Stadium when Los Angeles plays San Francisco - or at any field. Going to be 2020 coronavirus baseball, Yankees star pitcher Gerrit Cole said. Its that sound, its the summer sound.___AP Baseball Writers Ronald Blum and Janie McCauley and AP Sports Writers Howard Fendrich and Joe Reedy contributed to this report.