December 21, 2017
Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about the perplexing potential end to Manny Machado trade rumors, then bring on former major leaguer and current fun-fact star/national treasure Johnny O’Brien to discuss his life and career with the Pirates, Cardinals, and Braves in the 1950s, becoming a reluctant two-way player (and experiencing immediate, surprising success), his signing by Branch Rickey, being a “bonus baby” and skipping the minor leagues, playing in the Harvey Haddix game, forming half of the only double-play duo of twins in MLB history, playing without his twin for the first time, playing for both great and terrible teams and both with and against baseball legends, being buddies with Bing Crosby, and more.
- Johnny O'Brien
- Eddie O'Brien
- Branch Rickey
The Raveonettes, "The Truth About Johnny"
Flogging Molly, "Sentimental Johnny"
Chuck Berry, "Bye Bye Johnny"
Manny Machado trade talk.
- Jeff first discovered the O'Brien twins during a stat segment in Episode 1143: Giancarlohtani.
- Instead of The Ringer, Jeff notes that Ben is "of Star Wars".
- Johnny and Eddie were 'Bonus Babies' and signed with Branch Rickey for $20,000 each. They went from finishing basketball season at Seattle University to spring training with the Pirates.
- The first batter Johnny faced as a pitcher was Frank Robinson. He struck him out and thought, "maybe there ain't too much to this pitching".
- Johnny recalls giving up Hank Aaron's 87th career home run, and Willie Mays' 187th homer.
- On player injuries in the 1950s, "You say hello to the trainer at spring training and goodbye at the end of the year."
- Johnny was the starting second baseman in the Harvey Haddix game.
- After returning from military service Branch Rickey told Johnny and Ed that they would 'play their way into shape'. Ed's first at-bat was against Warren Spahn.
- Johnny's locker was next to Roberto Clemente. He was teaching Roberto English and Roberto was teaching Johnny Spanish. Johnny's brother Bill noted "you made a bad deal. You [Johnny] should teach him English and he [Clemente] should teach you how to hit."
- After Bill Mazeroski was called up: "I watched him for 10 minutes and said, 'I am now a utility infielder.'"
- On how playing for a bad team had its perks: When pulled over by a police officer he was let go without a ticket when he mentioned he played second base for the pirates. The officer remarked, "Go ahead you got enough problems already."
- At 56:30 Jeff explains the tOPS+ stat to Johnny.
- Johnny got to know Bing Crosby when he was part owner of the Pirates and Crosby continued to send him and Eddie Christmas gifts until passing away in the 1970s.