Bonesville: The Authoritative Independent Voice of East Carolina
Daily News & Features from East Carolina, Conference USA and Beyond

Mobile Alpha Roundup Daily Beat Recruiting The Seasons Multimedia Historical Data Pirate Time Machine SportByte™ Weather

East Carolina Hall of Famer and
former baseball coach Keith LeClair.
 (Photo: ECU Media Relations)

View last week's FROM THE DUGOUT...

Send Coach LeClair a baseball question...
Send Coach LeClair a personal note...


From The Dugout:
The 'Condo' Awards

[Editor's note: This feature coordinated by Denny O'Brien]

He’s back, and this week he’s handing out the hardware. Coach LeClair, still bitter over Aaron Boone’s shot-heard-‘round-the Bronx that eliminated his Red Sox, weighs in on the first annual “Condo” awards.

It takes more than just a run-of-the-mill player to take home a “Condo.” Coach LeClair looks for guts, grit, and good ‘ole hard-nosed guys. He likes to think outside the box, too, so you might be surprised by a few of his selections.

Plus, he answers a question about a late legend.

Be on the lookout next week, as the “All-Condo” team is announced. In the meantime, if you have a question about baseball, past or present, feel free to aim your best pitch right here:

Or, if you just want to send Coach LeClair a personal note, do so at this address:

The 'Condo' Awards

By Keith LeClair

MVP: This was a close race all the way down to the wire, but this man did something that nobody has done since Bucky Dent — hit a home run that devastated the whole city of Boston and even got the manager fired. His name of course is Aaron Boone. With one swing of the bat, he leap-frogged over Bonds and Pujols. I don’t care what experts say, this guy is the Major League MVP for 2003 with his heroics in Game Seven of the ALCS. It may have been his only hit, but who cares? It meant more than any home run by Bonds or Pujols.

Cy Young: This was a no-brainer. Mike Maroth of the Detroit Tigers gets my vote after a courageous 9-21 mark. The intestinal fortitude it took for this guy to take the mound every start knowing he was going to lose is really a remarkable test of courage. His nine wins were most likely all shut outs with the Tigers explosive lineup. On top of that, he allowed only 50 walks in close to 300 innings, but the down side to that is he gave up 34 bombs.

I know Gagne had a great year, but if he were with the Tigers, he would have only had five save chances, so you have to take into account everything when making a decision.

Manager of the Year: Alan Trammel of the Tigers. He edged out Jack McKeon by a nose. Do you know how many 'Keep your heads up, we will get ‘em tomorrow' speeches he had to deliver? To be exact, 119. He must have saved his best for last, because whatever he said after 119 must have worked to keep the Tigers from a historical 120-game losing season. Let the champagne roll after that dramatic 43rd win.

Rookie of the Year: The Chicago Cubs fan that made a tremendous play on a foul ball that allowed the goat to keep grazing for another year.

Game of the Year: Toss up between Game Seven of the Yankees and Game Six of the Cubs-Giants. Since the Babe’s shadow was still cast on the Sox when Boone’s ball left the park, I will have to go with this one. It left all of Boston and its fans, including myself, heartbroken one more time. The letter “B” is killing the Sox, starting with Babe, Bagwell, Bucky — and who can forget Buckner? — and now Boone. Maybe Boston needs to change the letter B on their caps to R for Red Sox. Just a suggestion.

Bonehead of the Year: This is tough since John Rocker’s departure, but I have to go with Randall Simon hitting the sausage guy over the head with a bat. That probably cost some guy big money in Vegas who had that sausage to win the race.

Chokemaster of the Year: It has to be the Chicago Cubs losing two in a row at home with Prior and Woods on the mound. After the fan made a spectacular play on the foul ball, Moises Alou throws a temper tantrum, stomping up and down and then Gonzalez boots a double play ball. But nobody wants to talk about that — instead, let’s blame the guy who paid big bucks to go to a game dreaming of catching foul ball.

Sucker Punch of the Year: It has to be my hero Zimmer’s flailing right hook on Pedro. I still think he should have used a jab to set up that overhand right. But give Zim credit. He bounced up, wiped the blood off and stayed in the game. If that had happened to Pedro, he would have gone on the DL.

Jenny Craig Award: The classic David Wells statement prior to his Game Six start, after busting on Clemens’ and Pettites’ workout program, saying he needs to write a book on how not to condition. He comes out of Game Six in the second inning with a bad back. What made it even funnier was listening to Tim McGarver brag on how durable Wells was in his career. Hats off to David Wells and the Jenny Craig Lean Mean Fighting Machine award. A few more sprints and a lot less donuts may help that back in the future.

Hats off to the Marlins

Even though I picked the Yankees in seven games to win the World Series, I honestly believe the best team won. I don’t think any team since I have been watching Major League baseball played as unselfish and hard as the Marlins.

Jack McKeon did an unbelievable job in bringing these young players together and getting them to believe in one another as a team, which is not easy in professional baseball. Maybe this is where their youth paid off down the stretch and all the way to a World Series championship. They played with passion and executed every step of the way.

With the Marlins winning, it tells other organizations around the league you don’t have to always have the highest payroll to win. Hopefully, the way this unfolded, other teams will resist opening up their checkbooks and paying free agents astronomical amounts of money, and instead use their farm system to compete much like the Marlins did.

What’s sad is the fact the Marlins in the near future won’t be able to afford the Josh Becketts, Brad Penny or the Dontrelle Willis's of the world. But while it lasts, you can expect the Marlins to put a competitive team on the field. As long as Josh Beckett stays healthy, they certainly have a number one starter to build this team around. This young guy is by far the most impressive presence I have seen on the mound in my lifetime. All he did was beat the Cubs on two days rest in Game Seven and come back in the World Series to shut down the Yanks on three days rest. That is not supposed to happen in this day and age.

As for the Yankees, you can be assured that Mr. Steinbrenner will go out and spend enough cash in the free agency market to contend for another World Series. Whether we think it’s fair or not, you have to respect the guy’s passion for wanting to win. I gained a lot of respect for Mr. Steinbrenner when Clyde King spoke to our teams at our annual team Christmas banquet. Every year the question would be asked to Mr. King, who works for Mr. Steinbrenner: “What is he like?” And Mr. King would always say as much bad that is written about him he does twice the good, giving generously to charities that nobody even knows about. Sometimes we are quick to judge people by the cover and overlook what’s on the inside, but just to be on the safe side I will continue to call him Mr. Steinbrenner.

Red Sox sink to all-time low

I am not too afraid to say that the Sox are my team and have been my whole life. But I must admit, I am embarrassed with the way they have treated Grady Little. This week, they let him go as manager after losing to the Yankees in Game Seven of the ALCS. They stated that it had nothing to do with leaving Pedro in the game to face Hideki Matsui with a two run lead. What a boldface fabrication of the truth. If Pedro gets Matsui out and the Sox go onto win, the Red Sox would have rolled out the red carpet and given Grady Little a nice lucrative contract. Instead, the Boston front office said he just wasn’t the guy for the future, citing differences in game managerial styles. In all my years being a Red Sox fan I have never heard the word future used. It’s now or never with every Bostonian fan that is alive.

It’s quite apparent that the people running Boston’s organization did not see the same pitching staff on the field I did. Grady Little got a lot out of the Red Sox, despite not having a quality three, four and five starter and a bullpen that was inconsistent all year. It feels good to get that off my chest and vent a little frustration. That just goes to show you as a coach, you’re only as good as the last game you play. Or, should I say appreciated depending on the outcome?

Musing the “Mick”

Robert Gray of Raleigh, a huge Mickey Mantle fan, chimes in with a question for me: How do you think Mickey Mantle would rate if he were 25-years old today, playing on today's Yankees?

I love talking about the old time players and how experts think they would stack up in today’s game. And by no means am I an expert on this subject because I never saw the Mick play, but I know that when you have hit 536 homeruns, driven in 1509 runs and hit .298 for your career, that speaks for itself. Although I never saw him play during my time, I have read a couple of his books.

Here is a player who switch hit, ran under four seconds to first base and played great defense in the outfield. Mickey Mantle was and is the greatest all-around player to ever play the game. Only Barry Bonds will probably be considered greater than Mickey Mantle when he retires.

The sad part about Mickey Mantle is the fact that many people thought he could have been even better if he had chosen to take care of himself off the field. It was no secret that the Mick liked the nightlife and his liquor. The question will never be answered on just how much better Mickey Mantle could have been if he had devoted himself more to the game. But one question that can be answered: He is one of the greatest ever to put on a uniform.

Could he play today and how would he stack up amongst the modern conditioned player today? Only speculation can answer those questions, but in my opinion, amongst the steroid abusers of today he would still be one of the greats. His tools are second to none in his ability to hit, run, throw, field and display light pole power. Whether you stack him up against players of today or players of his time, he still is one of the all-time greatest.

Submit baseball questions to:
Send personal messages to:

02.23.07 10:27 AM


©2001-2002-2003-2004-2005-2006-2007-2008-2009-2010-2011-2012-2013 All rights reserved.
Articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files and other content originated on this site are the proprietary property of
None of the articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files or other content originated on this site may be reproduced without written permission.
This site is not affiliated with East Carolina University. View's Privacy Policy. Advertising contact: 252-349-3280; Editorial contact:; 252-444-1905.