Billy Sample Salutes Speedster George Case

Posted September 30th, 2010 by Tom Owens and filed in 1983 Texas Rangers, Billy Sample, George Case
Billy Sample still loves the game.

I admired the outfielder’s hustle during his too-short career. Hearing him broadcast was just as genuine. I felt he wasn’t showboating as a baseball scholar, but described game action like he was talking to a friend in the stands or a teammate on the bench. Even by mail, he didn’t disappoint.

I asked him about how he honed his speed, culminating in a career-best 44 steals with the 1983 Rangers. Sample wrote:

“The late George Case, who was a great base stealer in the 1940s, was a big help in the initial explosion towards the next base.”


Looking at his minor league stats, I believe Sample blossomed at bat after switching from second base to the outfield. He added:

“I signed as a second baseman, but thankfully was switched back to the outfield where I played most of my collegiate career.”


Although Sample logged just one year with the Yankees, the future broadcaster got a great introduction to the New York media circus. How was it?

“The great number of media in N.Y. seemed to make every little comment seem bigger as they were searching for something different from the next. Plus, they assign blame as easy as breathing.”


Best of all, I knew Sample had studied my letter. When I remarked in closing that my baseball “career” ended in Little League, Sample closed with a smile.

“Your Little League career was probably better than mine.”

PBS “Extra Innings” Failed This Fan

Posted September 30th, 2010 by Tom Owens and filed in Keith Olbermann, Ken Burns

Hmm…add cheese to the leftovers and it becomes a NEW casserole?

I couldn’t help but think that Ken Burns wanted to pump new life into his 1994 marathon documentary by adding “Extra Innings” chapters. A new complete set to buy?

Yes, I know that Pedro Martinez, Joe Torre and Ichiro were included in this sequel. Nevertheless, I saw the exercise as something I’d call “Punditpalooza.”

I gasped to see Keith Olbermann appearing. Keith wrote the backs of my SSPC “Pure Card” set, noting in a note from years ago that Bob Stinson was the only one (now there are others) who wouldn’t autograph the unlicensed card for K.O.

I found on the Olbermann blog an explanation (of sorts) on how he could appear on “Extra Innings” after blasting the original production.

This blog is about baseball STORIES. Not the shiny, sophisticated vignettes from today’s media, but the heart-felt recollections from those who lived the diamond history. If an invisible Midwest fan can glean these on-the-field memories for a couple of stamps, the famed documentarian shouldn’t have trouble reaching the same sources. For instance, Red Sox he mentioned like Kevin Millar and Curt Schilling are fellow media types, right? Did Burns think they were too shy?

Sorry, I didn’t stand up and cheer for these extra innings. I felt more in a college lecture hall than back in a ballpark. When Burns updates his update, I hope he gives more actual team members a chance to speak for themselves.

PBS "Extra Innings" Failed This Fan

Posted September 30th, 2010 by Tom Owens and filed in Keith Olbermann, Ken Burns

Hmm…add cheese to the leftovers and it becomes a NEW casserole?

I couldn’t help but think that Ken Burns wanted to pump new life into his 1994 marathon documentary by adding “Extra Innings” chapters. A new complete set to buy?

Yes, I know that Pedro Martinez, Joe Torre and Ichiro were included in this sequel. Nevertheless, I saw the exercise as something I’d call “Punditpalooza.”

I gasped to see Keith Olbermann appearing. Keith wrote the backs of my SSPC “Pure Card” set, noting in a note from years ago that Bob Stinson was the only one (now there are others) who wouldn’t autograph the unlicensed card for K.O.

I found on the Olbermann blog an explanation (of sorts) on how he could appear on “Extra Innings” after blasting the original production.

This blog is about baseball STORIES. Not the shiny, sophisticated vignettes from today’s media, but the heart-felt recollections from those who lived the diamond history. If an invisible Midwest fan can glean these on-the-field memories for a couple of stamps, the famed documentarian shouldn’t have trouble reaching the same sources. For instance, Red Sox he mentioned like Kevin Millar and Curt Schilling are fellow media types, right? Did Burns think they were too shy?

Sorry, I didn’t stand up and cheer for these extra innings. I felt more in a college lecture hall than back in a ballpark. When Burns updates his update, I hope he gives more actual team members a chance to speak for themselves.