Major League Baseball had a twisted ride to 2014 World Series

Published 6:59 pm Friday, October 17, 2014

I have been following Major League Baseball since I was a youngster in    New Jersey in the early 1950s, and I have never before seen a more strange twist to the MLB than the one that has occurred this year.

The National League’s Washington Nationals, Los Angeles Dodgers, Saint Louis Cardinals and the American League’s Baltimore Orioles, four of the    heavy favorites, have been eliminated.

Two wild card teams, the National League’s San Francisco Giants and the American League’s Kansas City Royals are in the World Series.

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The Giants’ ace pitcher, right-hander Tim Hudson, is a former Atlanta Brave. Former Braves general manager Frank Wren, who was fired just after the conclusion of the Braves’ 2014 season, declined to retain him as a free agent him prior to last season. The Braves had made similar non productive moves in the past.

Saint Louis Cardinals’ ace right-hander Adam Wainwright was originally a Braves first-round draft choice, but he was traded to the Cardinals for a one-year rental of former Lee County High School Trojan and Florida State University Seminole right fielder J.D. Drew, who left as a free agent the following season.

The Braves are still saddled with the long-term, big-money contract they gave to center fielder B.J. Upton a couple of years ago. Former Braves assistant general manager, Dayton Moore, is currently the Royals’ general manager and the man who built them into the team it is today.

Moore ironically has been rumored to become the new Braves general manager when the World Series is over. It will be interesting to see what happens.

The National League World Series participant Giants were my favorite team growing up, but back then they were the New York  Giants.

Former Giants center fielder Willie Mays, known affectionately known as the Say Hey Kid, was my hero. The Giants, and the other two New York teams, the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers,  had great center fielders in my youth as well.

The Giants had the great switch-hitting center fielder Mickey Mantle, and the Dodgers had power-hitting center fielder Duke Snider, who was known as the Duke of the Flatbush. Ebbets Field where the Dodgers played was located in the Flatbush area of Brooklyn.

Mays, Mantle and Snider were among the best center fielders of all time, and I feel very privileged to have been able to see them play in their prime. It is something I will never forget as long as I live.

There is a popular 1980s baseball song dedicated to those three baseball greats entitled “ Talkin’ Baseball (Willie, Mickey & the Duke.”