Reds-faced: When the Phillies had five players leading at their positions in the first All-Star balloting results released this week, it inevitably recalled 1957 when
Cincinnati Reds were voted into the starting NL lineup: second baseman Johnny Temple, shortstop Roy McMillan, third baseman Don Hoak, catcher Ed Bailey and outfielders Frank Robinson, Gus Bell and Wally Post.
Subsequent investigation revealed that more than half the ballots came from Cincinnati. A local newspaper, the Enquirer, distributed preprinted ballots with the Reds players already written in. There were rumors that some taverns wouldn't serve Hudepohl, the local brew, to patrons until they voted. Commissioner Ford Frick stepped in and appointed Willie Mays and Hank Aaron to replace Bell and Post and took the decision-making process away from the fans.
Reds first baseman George Crowe had to be really miffed. Even though the fix was in and he led the team in homers and RBI that year, he lost out to Stan Musial.
The fans got the vote back in 1970 and safeguards have been put into place to make sure this never happens again. Still, just 4 years ago, eight of the nine AL starters were with either the Yankees or Red Sox.
Scoreboard watching: Before games at Citi Field, the Mets display their all-time franchise leaders in a variety of categories on a continuing loop.
Couldn't help noticing this week that three of New York's top six career leaders in saves also played for the Phillies. Billy Wagner is fourth with 101, Tug McGraw fifth with 86 and Roger McDowell sixth with 84.
McGraw is also fourth in Phillies history (94) and Wagner eighth (59). McDowell, who was with the Phillies from June 1989 until July 1991, had 44 saves in a Phillies uniform.
Minor promotion: The Clearwater Threshers had planned to give away Pat Burrell bobbleheads last season, honoring the 2008 world champions. Oops. The Tampa Bay Rays objected, citing an arcane rule that prohibits other major league names or brands from being marketed in their territory.
Now that the Rays have released Burrell, can the Phillies' Florida State League affiliate proceed with the promotion? Uh, no. "Unfortunately, the same rule applies [even though Burrell is no longer with Tampa Bay]," Threshers general manager John Timberlake said in an e-mail.