#53 - (Barry Bonnell)

This week there is no legal section of the blog.
Now for the Opening Day memory:
Although the Philadelphia Phillies made Barry Bonnell the first pick of the 1975 Major League Draft, he never played for them. Rather, he began his 10 year major league career with the Atlanta Braves in 1977, concluded it with the Seattle Mariners in 1986 and had a 4 year pit stop with the Toronto Blue Jays from 1980-1983 where in 1983 he had his best year hitting .318 with 10 home runs, 10 stolen bases and 54 RBI. He was known as a clutch right handed hitter who hit 4 career grand slams, almost always led his team in game winning RBI and had an excellent big league outfield arm. He finished his career with a respectable .272 average, 56 home runs and 355 RBI’s. After his retirement from baseball, he pursued his passion for aviation. Here are his Opening Day memories:

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#52 - (Don Newcombe)

This week there is no legal section of the blog.
Now for the Opening Day memory:
Don Newcombe is intertwined with major league baseball history. In 1949, he became the first African American to start a World Series game. In 1955, he became the first African American pitcher to win 20 games. In 1956, he became the first pitcher to win the MVP and Cy Young in the same season. Until 2011 when Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander won the MVP and Cy Young, Don had been the only player ever to win Rookie of the Year, the MVP and the Cy Young. Don played (together with Brooklyn Dodgers teammate Roy Campanella) on the nation’s first integrated team in 1946–the Nashua Dodgers in the New England League. In 1949, he became a member of the Newark Eagles of the Negro League. That same year, the Eagles let Branch Rickey sign Don to a contract with the Dodgers for no compensation. Don proceeded to win 17 games, lead the league in shutouts and pitch 32 consecutive scoreless innings. He was one of the first 4 African American players to be named to an All Star team along with Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella and Larry Doby, and was named Rookie of the Year. In 1950, he won 19 games for the Dodgers. In 1951, he had his first 20 win season and led the league in strikeouts. In the “shot heard around the world” playoff game against the Giants where Bobby Thomson hit the home run off of Ralph Branca, it was Don who Branca relieved.

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#51 - (Joe Sambito)

This week there is no legal section of the blog.
Now for the Opening Day memory:
Like me, former Houston Astros star reliever Joe Sambito is a Mickey Mantle fan. But Joe had quite the major league baseball career of his own. He began his career with the Astros in 1976 and as their closer, led the team in saves each year from 1978-1981. His best year was 1979 with 22 saves and a 1.78 ERA, which resulted in him receiving his only All Star team selection. After a great start in 1982, Joe got injured and had to undergo Tommy John surgery, which caused him to miss the remainder of the 1982 and 1983 seasons. He tried to come back with the Astros in 1984 and the New York Mets in 1985, but could not. But in 1986, he did come back with the Boston Red Sox, was a key member of their bullpen and got to finally participate in the World Series. He was not as successful with the Red Sox in 1987, and retired after that season. After his retirement, he became a player agent. Here is his Opening Day memory:

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