I was watching the Phillies-Nats game on Saturday night – in a key spot in the 6th inning, Bryce Harper, facing tough lefty Cliff Lee, surpised Lee with a successful safety squeeze bunt. The resulting run tied the game, and when the next batter, Jayson Werth, homered to left, the Nats were on their way to a victory.
It suddenly struck me that this had been a classic confrontation which I’m going to call a “To Kill a Mockingbird” matchup since it was Harper-Lee! Of course, I started thinking if I could come up with some other matchups which would be fun, whether the players’ careers overlapped or not.
The best two that I could come up with were the “Civil War Matchup” between Cliff Lee and Indians/Twins’ hurler of the ’60’s, Jim “Mudcat” Grant. That would have made a perfect first game of a doubleheader – Grant vs. Lee. I could just see the “probable pitchers” listing in the newspaper. The nightcap of the twinbill? Well, how about if Braves’ soon-to-be Hall of Famer Greg Maddux got matched up with Eppa Rixey, a 6’5″ lefty Hall of famer who pitched for the Phils and Cincy in the 1910’s and 1920’s? After Lee faced Grant, we could have an Eppa-Maddux pitchers’ duel. A Civil War classic!
My final entry for today involves a Yankee rookie infielder from 1941 named Gerry Priddy, who played with the Bombers in 1941 and 1942, then went on to some other AL teams. Suppose he had had to face lefty reliever Will Ohman, who unfortunately did not come up until 2000 with the Chicago Cubs. Well, that would have produced a “Priddy-W. Ohman” matchup, which I’ll choose to call a Roy Orbison special.
I could probably come up with hundreds of these, but I’d like to retain your friendship. I’m sure you can think of many yourselves.