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Via Peter Abraham:

Former Bronx Bomber and current jazz musician Bernie Williams has earned his very first latin Grammy nomination.  Williams released his first album, Moving Forward this past spring.  His label released the following statement,

“I don’t have many words right now that can explain how excited and grateful I am about this nomination. When I stopped playing baseball, I knew that I would become more dedicated to my music,” Bernie said. “Just to have the chance to sign with Reform Records and create this CD was a tremendous opportunity. Now, to already have my first Latin Grammy nomination from my fellow musicians is beyond anything I could have dreamed. Last year I was able to attend the Latin Grammy Awards just as a music fan. I’m elated that this year I can return as part of such an illustrious group of nominee.”

Congrats to Bernie.  I always loved the guy as a Yankee.  Not much of a jazz fan, though.  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate it, just wouldn’t buy the guy’s CD.

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Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano are on pace to become the 16th teammates in major league history to each hit 200 hits and 20 homeruns.  This would be the second time in Jeter’s career he has done this – the last time was in 1999 when Bernie Williams was the other teammate.

Jeter is the first player to achieve this feat with two different teammates.  Lou Gehrig and Joe Dimaggio achieved the marks twice as teammates – in 1936 and 1937.

Thanks to the Daily News for this piece of information.

Manny Ramirez, the controversial slugger for the Los Angeles Dodgers, hit his 536 career home run Friday night, tying Mickey Mantle for 15th all time. 

Ramirez’s hit the 2-run homer in the top of the sixth, helping the Dodgers to a 12-8 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. 

“It feels good, but it’s just like another home run,” said Ramirez, . “It makes me proud, but like I said it’s just another home run that I hit. I didn’t even know I tied him.”

I’m not going to sat much about this except his comments irk me a little.  Either he is oblivious and doesn’t care about his career numbers, which is a little bit disrespectful to the Mick, one of the best ballplayers to ever live, or he’s simply trying to be modest. 

Obviously, I don’t know Manny personally, but I have a feeling its the former, not the latter.

This Saturday, July 4, 2009, is the 70th Anniversary of the day that Lou Gehrig gave his famous last speech at Yankee Stadium.  The New York Times reported online today that Major Leage Baseball will have the speech read at every game this Saturday during the seventh inning stretch.

“It’s an honor to pay tribute to this American Legend,” commissioner Bud Selig said.  However, the purpose does go beyond simply honoring one of the greatest players in MLB history.  The league also hopes to raise awareness for ALS, formally known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis but more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. 

When Gehrig gave the speech on July 4, 1939, no one knew that the great man was essentially giving his goodbye speech.  He played in 2,130 consecutive games before taking himself out of the lineup on May 2, 1939 due to his declining performance.  He never played baseball again.

The Yankees announced his retirement on June 21 and proclaimed July 4th “Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day.”  Gehrig gave his famous speech between the games of a doubleheader that day.  During the ceremony, the Yankees retired his number 4, honoring him as the first player to ever have their number retired in MLB history.  Gehrig died nearly two years later, on June 2, 1941 at the age of 38.

Here is the famous speech:

“Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans.

“Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn’t consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day? Sure, I’m lucky. Who wouldn’t consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball’s greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins?  Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy? Sure, I’m lucky.

“When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift — that’s something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies — that’s something. When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter — that’s something. When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so that you can have an education and build your body — it’s a blessing. When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed — that’s the finest I know.

“So I close in saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for. Thank you.”

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The NY Times reported Tuesday that former slugger Sammy Sosa was one of the 104 players who tested positive in 2003, when Major League Baseball was trying to figure out if there was a steroid problem in the league.  The Times credited anonymous lawyers with access to the list for the information.

The list of players was released to the government when it was subpoenaed.  Sosa is now the second player on that list to be identified by anonymous sources.  Alex Rodriguez was exposed as a member of that list in February and admitted using the steroid primobolin while a member of the Texas Rangers from 2001-2003.

Sosa has long been suspected of using performance enhancing drugs, but has consistently denied it.  In front of a congressional committee in March 2005, Sosa said, “To be clear, I have never taken illegal performance-enhancing drugs,” and cited the fact that he had always tested clean.

Both his agent, Andy Katz, and MLB declined to comment on the Times report.  None of the major news sources have apparently been able to reach Sosa either.

Sosa is currently sixth on the career home run list with 609 dingers, almost all of them with the Chicago Cubs.  It has long been suspected that Sosa used performance enhancing drugs.  Along with Mark McGwire, Sosa was partly responsible for helping baseball heal after the 1994 player’s strike.

In 1998, he and McGwire raced along with former Yankees 1B Tino Martinez for Roger Maris’ home run record.  McGwire ended the season with 66, setting the new mark.  Barry Bonds would later reset the mark at 70 only two years later.  Both McGwire and Bonds are also suspected of having used PEDs.

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