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Home » April 2008 Game CommentsApril 2008 » Dropped


Game 21: April 21, 2008
Rangers 3 L: Dustin Nippert (1-2) 7-13, 4 game losing streak
WinRed Sox 8 W: Clay Buchholz (1-1) 14-7, 5 game winning streak
Highlights: Even with Co-Player of the Week Manny Ramirez taking a breather (a well-deserved break with his 10-24 and four homers in the last seven games), the Red Sox smacked 12 hits (including four doubles). Julio Lugo in particular took a shine to the Rangers’ pitching. The veteran shortstop, perhaps feeling the pressure because of Jed Lowrie’s outstanding debut, turned in a 4-for-4 performance with a double, a run batted in, and a base on balls.

Nederland, Texas native Clay Buchholz faced off against a team from his home state surrounded by many familiar faces from his Triple-A days: Jacoby Ellsbury led off, Dustin Pedroia manned the keystone sack, Jed Lowrie took over at the hot corner, and Joe Thurston spelled Manny Ramirez in left. Not only were there friends on his side of the ball but he opposed a pair of his former Pawtucket teammates, too: Kason Gabbard was the Rangers’ starting pitcher and David Murphy batted seventh and played right field.

Texas seems to spawn great athletes in abundance. Not 10 miles away in Beaumont, Texas multi-sport phenomenon Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias was born; there is a golf course named in her honor in Buchholz’s town. Most everyone knows of Zaharias’s prowess in track and field and golf, but I was surprised to learn that she also barnstormed with the House of David baseball team. According to Leroy Oliver, a teammate of Zaharias who was quoted in Susan E. Cayleff’s biography on the athlete, Babe “wasn’t really all that good a pitcher,” much like the assortment of arms the Rangers trotted out after Gabbard departed after the second inning due to back stiffness.

It was Dustin Nippert’s line that was marred with eight earned runs over two and a third innings of work, but Franklyn German did let two inherited runs score on David Ortiz’s fifth-inning wall-denting double. Of the Rangers’ hurlers only Joquain Benoit could contain the home team’s profuse offense.

Even over the radio Joe Castiglione and Dave O’Brien’s words painted a clear and vibrant account of the day’s events. In my mind’s eye I could see Buchholz flummox opposing batters with his on-target change-up. As clear as the sky, through their eyes I saw the red-tailed hawk make a flyby during Ortiz’s at bat in the bottom of the seventh. I laughed along with the 36,999-odd spectators at the fan who dropped Milton Bradley’s foul ball in the third. For a State Street Pavilion patron to celebrate so lustily only to have the object of his exultation plummet to the common seats below was a better lesson on class differences than a Charles Dickens or Mark Twain novel.

At least the fan didn’t hurt anything but his pride, as Bill Gramatica did when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament after over-enthusiastically rejoicing in the completion of a 42-yard field goal back in December of 2001. The fan could attribute his clumsiness to the tearing of his transverse carpal ligament.


Hey Empy,

The House of David factoid on Zaharias was fascinating. If I'd gone back to get my PhD in Religion my thesis topic would have been Midwest religious utopianism and HOD would have been a focal subject. Their story is unbelievably interesting. If you are looking for more check out the archives of the Chicago Reader- they did a 10 page focus story, End of the House of David, about 15 years ago. Sadly, it was about the impending shuttering of their compound, the story was pretty through but even it missed your crack research talents. I'd have loved to see them play. My mother remembers HOD barnstorming tours as a tour de force in baseball prowress- schooling teams led by the likes of Babe Ruth.

Amazing anecdote, John. Did your mom save any memorabilia or photos from those games?

I made sure to double check the Zaharias story. I wanted to make sure the internet sources that did relate this story were not confusing Babe Ruth with the female Babe.

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