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Open Thread: Cubs vs. Astros, Thursday 9/29

Before we get into tonight's pitching rematch of last Friday's game at Wrigley Field, I thought I'd share with you (with his permission) some thoughts on the end of the bleachers as we've known them, that Mike e-mailed to me last night:

You may remember Stan the accountant (that's all I knew him as), who was a regular with us during Papa Carl's heyday, he was among those who attended the year-end dinner we threw (in 1979), the last social occasion Papa Carl attended. The only time I saw him afterward was about a dozen years ago, he showed up at a night game when I was there alone; there were a few of those, before we all assumed the work shifts we have now.

He wanted to talk, and it was a curious conversation, he seemed to be looking or waiting for something. He bought me a hotdog, and to be polite I ate it, the only one I've ever had at a ballpark, I ordinarily consider them repulsive. We recalled old times and old people, and he finally asked me whether I thought I'd spent too much time in the bleachers. I said, I'd spent many of the best times of my life on that bench, with no regrets at all. He agreed such was also his case, and added, "I'm glad you said it first". Haven't seen him since, but that night he found what he sought.

After forty-two years in the "cheap" seats, and thirty-three on that piece of pine, I not only don't regret any of it, I resent anything that's ever stood between me and it. If I believed in fate, that bench would be my number one example. I'm not sociable by nature, and most of my most treasured friendships have happened there. The genius loci of that space was perfect for me, and I'm very glad I found it, I may never have found it elsewhere. It's now too well established to be affected by any change of venue.

Which also sums up my feelings on this day, six-plus months before we'll return to the reconstructed bleachers.
Today's Starting Pitchers
Glendon Rusch
G. Rusch
vs. Wandy Rodriguez
W. Rodriguez
8-8 W-L 10-9
4.62 ERA 5.62
106 SO 77
52 BB 52
13 HR 17

Derrek Lee must get two extra-base hits to get to 100, as we discussed the other day; he also has 388 total bases, which led me to ask Mike (since he knows this stuff!) about how often 400 total bases has been accomplished in a single season.

Here's the scoop:

There have been 29 seasons of 400+ total bases. Was done a lot in the '20s and '30s, rare after that. Jim Rice in '78 was the first in 19 years, it would be another 19 years for the next.

Multiple 400 seasons: Gehrig 5, Klein 3, Hornsby, Foxx, Helton, Sosa 2 each.

AL 457 Ruth 1921
NL 450 Hornsby 1922

Chronological list, since Rice:

1978 Rice 406
1997 Walker 409
1998 Sosa 416
2000 Helton 405
2001 Sosa 425
2001 Gonzalez 419
2001 Bonds 411
2001 Helton 402
Couple other notes: total 2005 attendance was 3,099,992, which means that the eight games that Phil said he was coming to, but didn't, were the difference holding back the Cubs from 3.1 million.

And, strong rumors are about that Ron Santo might do only home games next year. More on this as I get more info.

Discuss amongst yourselves.