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Tuesday inspirational MLB brights — from Dusty Baker’s life saver to surprising sources of free ballpark food

Dusty Baker, MLB inspirational tuesday

What better time than spring training for the good news stories of MLB? And what better way to start the week?

The best and brightest stories from around the league this week:

The MLB Doc who helped the Houston Astros win World Series

dusty baker
Jeff Swinger via Imagn Content Services, LLC

When the manager of the Cincinnati Reds was unavailable before a September game at Wrigley Field 11 summers ago, he was said to be under the weather, and it wasn’t immediately clear how dire the health scare actually was.

How urgent.

“Doc looked at me and me and made me get in his car,” Dusty Baker said last week, the Astros manager recounting to Steve Greenberg of the Chicago Sun-Times the events of that day in Chicago more than a decade ago.

“Doc” is Dr. Stephen Adams, the Cubs’ longtime head team physician — the first emergency specialist to serve as a head physician for a team in the majors — who on more than one occasion in four decades with the team put that specialized training to life-saving purpose, never more than in the case of Baker, then the Cincinnati Reds manager.

Baker initially pushed back at leaving the ballpark with Adams that day in 2012, but Adams insisted and rushed Baker to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where an irregular heartbeat was detected — and where Baker then began to have a stroke before he could be discharged.

But because of Adams’ actions, Baker was in the right place for this wrong moment, and damage was minimized. Baker returned to the dugout before the end of the Reds’ NL Central-championship season and managed through their division series loss — and another six seasons (and counting) with the Reds, Washington Nationals and Astros since then.

“He helped save my life,” Baker said.

Adams, whose big personality and quick wit made him a favorite among players, staff and even media over the years, has retired as Cubs head physician, the team announced this spring. He’s will remain with the club as a special advisor to the front office.

Adams, who shunned the spotlight even after the Baker praised his actions publicly in the immediate aftermath of the episode, also was instrumental in getting then-GM Jim Hendry to the hospital in Orlando during the 2006 winter meetings for what turned out to be a heart blockage that required angioplasty.

“His service, empathy and dedication to our organization and the game has benefited countless players, uniformed personnel and front office associates,” Cubs president Jed Hoyer said.

Baker has never forgotten. Saved his life? Adams might have made him immortal, considering the 500-something more wins, six more playoff appearances and that 2022 World Series since assuring the continuation of Baker’s career clinched Baker’s place in the Hall of Fame.

So here’s a tip of the cap, and a snap of a glove, to one of baseball’s unsung heroes on a truly impactful career.

Son also rises in MLB Florida split-squad game

houston astros
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Tony Mansolino, the Baltimore Orioles’ third-year infield and third-base coach, on Saturday took the O’s lineup card for a split-squad game against the Braves to home plate, where he was met by the umpires and Braves player development advisor Doug Mansolino, his dad.

The Braves and Doug went out of their way to make sure the elder Mansolino made the spring road trip for the rare father-son on-field matchup and lineup exchange.

“I though that was a nice touch,” O’s manager Brandon Hyde told Baltimore media. “You can tell where Tony comes from. They’re, like, identical. I’ve known of Doug Mansolino for a long time. He’s a baseball lifer, and Tony doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

The pair posed for a photo with the umpire crew.

Philly’s favorite Hoskins isn’t who you think

rhys hoskins
John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

Rhys Hoskins? Yeah, Philadelphia Phillies fans like him fine. The guy hit four home runs in the NLCS last fall, after all, including a huge two-run shot in the decisive Game 5.

But the NL champs’ first baseman is not even the most popular Hoskins among Phillies fans these days.

That would be Jayme, his wife, who introduced herself to the Philly Phaithful by picking up the beer tab for fans in her seating area during the World Series at Citizens Bank Park, was at it again over the weekend — treating fans to free food at a spring game.

She hid 15 envelopes containing gift cards for ballpark concessions and an “exciting announcement” around the Phillies spring ballpark in Clearwater, Florida, before Saturday’s game against the Tigers, then publicized it on her Twitter account — asking fans who found the envelopes to tag her. (The announcement was for a Muscular Dystrophy Association benefit event June).

She keeps buying goodies for fans, and Rhys is going to need to get on those extension talks with the team sooner rather than later.

Gordon Wittenmyer covers Major League Baseball for Sportsnaut. You can follow him on Twitter at @GDubCub.

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