Think you know more of the history of baseball than a 13 year old? Think Again
Those familiar with the history of baseball will know of the “Whiz Kids,” the nickname given to the 1950 Philadelphia Phillies, because of their youthful greatness. Well look out, there is a new Whiz Kid!
Matt Nadel is a 13-year old Springfield, NJ native and die-hard Yankee fan, who has probably forgotten more of the history of baseball than most adults ever knew. Matt is the creator and author of the baseball history blog, “Baseball with Matt” (http://baseballwithmatt.blogspot.com). Matt’s blog’s byline explains his mission – “A baseball history blog for kids (and adults too)…written by a kid blogger” – which is right on the money, and believe me, interesting.
Matt is passionate about baseball and his love of the game has taken him far beyond his hobby of tracking baseball statistics. Matt Nadel has developed an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of baseball that is on par with that of historians three and four times his age. He can recite every World Series champion since 1921, along with the teams who lost each World Series.
If you are still not impressed, read this interview with Matt and you will know the history of baseball is in good hands, and not only with his knowledge, but because of his perspective and creativity.
Jack Perconte – First, I am a little envious, as I have been trying for years – how did you get Babe Ruth for an interview?
Matt Nadel – I reached out to the Babe Ruth Museum’s chief historian, Mike Gibbons, asking if he would answer the questions I sent in, but in the way the Babe would answer if he were alive today. After about two weeks, I got an email with all the answers to my questions. I literally thought I had just gotten an email from the Babe himself.
Jack Perconte – You can pick one for your future – become a major league player or write for a major sports magazine or blog?
Matt Nadel – I would rather write for a sports magazine because I am much better at writing than I am at hitting a baseball.
Jack – Best Interview subject you have done so far and why?
Matt – I think a lot of people liked the interview I had with Jim Palmer and so did I, because I’ve done some good interviews with Hall of Famers, but this one was on the phone. It was really interesting hearing the answers from him instead of interviewing him via email, which is how I’ve done most interviews. Fun fact: he’s really good buddies with Dennis Eckersley, and when I asked him what you and your other Cooperstown friends talk about, he said: “Well me and Eck talk about our families, golf, and Real Housewives of Orange County.” I was laughing my face off.
Jack – When did your love of baseball begin?
Matt – Well when I was about eight, my dad told me stories about the four Yankee greats: Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, and Mantle. So, I started reading their biographies. From those books I got more names and in a couple years, I basically knew every prominent Hall of Famer in baseball history.
Jack – How do you come up with all the info and ideas?
Matt – Usually, I get my ideas from articles, books, and my friends, like Andy Abrams, who gave me the idea for a blog post about famous baseball injuries. By the way, when I use someone’s idea in a post, I always give them a shout out. I get my info from many different web sites like baseball-reference.com and mlb.com, and by reading a ton of baseball books.
Jack – I am interested in your view on whether alleged steroid users should get into the Baseball Hall of Fame
Matt – No. I get asked this question a lot by my friends. They’re like, ‘Bonds hit 762 homers. He’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer.’ And then I say, ‘He hit 400 homers without steroids in about 13 years. That’s it.’ The reason I say that is because players with artificial power don’t have the right to be in Cooperstown. You need real talent to get in. On another note of people getting in the Hall, I guest-blogged on morethanafan.net about Pete Rose who definitely belongs in the Hall. He gambled for HIS TEAM! It would be different if he bet on his opponents and then played badly, but he didn’t.
Jack – Do your friends or family challenge you with baseball-history, trivia questions?
Matt – Yes. I always ask them to name years and I have to name the World Series winner. I always win. I have them all memorized going back to 1921.
Jack – Who is on your wish list for interviews in the future?
Matt -In order, it would be Mike Schmidt (especially), everyone still living who is on my dream team (which includes Schmidt plus Eckersley, Ripken, Ryan, Musial and Fisk (I got Aaron already). The Rangers turned me down for a Ryan interview, probably because I asked during the season, every living Hall of Famer, and anyone else interesting to baseball history fans.
Jack – Have you developed a favorite “era” in baseball yet?
Matt – I really like the beginning of the ‘50s. The Yankees finished their five straight World Series wins from ’49-’53; Snider, Mantle, Mays and Aaron began their careers; Mantle won the Triple Crown; Mays made “the Catch”; Larsen pitched a perfect game; and the Red Sox were not doing well.
Jack – Who is your favorite major leaguer – current and past?
Matt – Now, Jeter hands down. I met him on August 16, 2008. I’ll never forget that date. I have his autographed jersey hanging in my room. You’re gonna be surprised but for past players I always liked Mike Schmidt the best. His mixture of talent at the plate, field, and mustache- combing skill amazes me.