Thursday, November 26, 2020

#Freehan79 ...Day 8

                     Happy Thanksgiving! 

Hoping all of you are enjoying this day of thanks with loved ones while watching football. 

Today is Day #8 in my 11 Day Countdown to the Happy Baseball Birthday! of my favorite All-Time ballplayer, Bill Freehan, on November 29th. 


As the Tigers played baseball in 1969, defending their American League Championship and World Series Title, Bill Freehan was a writing a book about the '69 season.

Behind the Mask would become the title of the book, a unique perspective on the view of a big league catcher throughout a 162 game marathon.

In 1969  the Tigers were 90-72, finishing in 2nd behind the eventual A.L. Champion Baltimore Orioles in the first year of Divisional play in the big leagues. 

🐯 Bill batted .262, collecting 128 base hits, w/ 14 HRs and 49 RBI in 153 games.

📘 I read the book over and over as a young kid, and probably even wrote a book report in school about it.

⚾ lost my original copy some 40 years ago, and finally got another copy of it a few years back.

It's definitely worth reading, especially if your a Tigers fan, or a fan of big league catchers. 

🦃🏈 Have a terrific day of family, football, as you and yours feast on that table of turkey, and all the fixings. 

Play BALL! 🦃🦃🦃

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

#Freehan79 Day 7- Bobbleheads and Meeting Julie

Today is Day #7 of my 11 day countdown to celebrating the 79th Happy Baseball Birthday! of my baseball hero, Bill Freehan, on November 29th. 

A couple of years ago the Tigers held Bill Freehan Bobblehead Day, on June 2, 2018.

It was part of the season long celebration of the 1968 World Series Champions, and part of the celebrating was a series of 4 Bobblehead Days, one each for Willie Horton, Al Kaline, Mickey Lolich, and Bill Freehan.

I definitely wasn't going to miss this day.

Julie, of a Cracked Bat, stoped by to say hello.

Matt Boyd started the game, Miguel Cabrera singled, Nichols Castellanos connected for a pair of base hits, Jeimer Candelario hit a HR, and Big Joe Jimenez picked up the save...oh, and, the Tigers won the game.

Yes, I got to see my guy, Matt Boyd, pitch, and I also got to see a future HOFer get a base hit.

I'm very much thankful for the awesome people that I've met as part of the Blogging Community, and on social media.

They have met the world to me, and I'm a better person because of them. 

Have a terrific Thanksgiving Day, and, of course, thanks so much for taking time out of your busy day to read my blog.

Play BALL! 🐯⚾🦃 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

#Freehan79 / Tigers Card Tuesday / Happy Baseball Birthday!

Today is a three in one post.

My apologies for the delay, my arthritis didn't cooperate very well today. 

1️⃣-- Today is Day #6 of my 11 Day Countdown to celebrate my Baseball Hero, Bill Freehan, turning 79 on November 29th. 

🐯 Today I was surprised to see that I received this 1973 Topps Bill Freehan card in a PWE from a fellow Twitter collector... I'm truly Thankful for all the amazing collectors I've come across on social media...they keep me going every day! 

🐯⚾ After his 11 year career in the big leagues, Bill Freehan tutored young catchers in Spring Training for the Tigers, including 
Lance Parrish, who would win 3 Gold Gloves, and be the "Big Wheel" of the 1984 World Series Champs.

💛💙⚾ Bill returned to Michigan in 1990 to become the Head Baseball Coach, and immediately began to mentor a young catcher named Mike Matheny. 

Matheny would be drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 1991 player draft, and go on to win 3 Gold Gloves as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, as well as 1 playing for the San Francisco Giants.

👉 Matheny moved on to play in SF because of a young catcher named Yadier Molina, who, six years later, would play under Matheny, hired starting in 2012, as the Manager of the Cardinals, leading them to the 2013 National League Championship. 

2️⃣ + 3️⃣ = 5️⃣ --- Today's Tigers Card Tuesday & Happy Baseball Birthday! are combined to celebrate former Tigers outfielder Jim Northrup.

Northrup was the Grand Slam King of baseball in 1968, smashing 5 Grand Salamis, and it continued in the World Series, where Jim hit a four bagger in Game 6.

⚾⚾⚾⚾ In 1969, we Tigers fans looked forward to pulling the World Series cards, and Jim was well represented.

🐯 Jim Northrup was an outstanding ballplayer in Detroit, playing all three outfield positions, batting .268, with 145 HRs, 540 RBIs, 218 doubles, 42 triples, collecting 1.184 base hits.

This is one of my favorite cards of Northrup.

🐯🍕 This card is from a 1988 set of cards sponsored by Dominos Pizza, owned at the time by Tigers owner Tom Monaghan.

😮 I was watching this game on TV when he robbed a home run against the Baltimore Orioles.

😢 Northrup, a.k.a the "Gray Fox," passed away in 2011 at the age of 71.

Many thanks, again, for taking a moment to read by blog, it's an honor to write about the greatest game ever invented. 

Have a awesome Wednesday, and I'll see you back here tomorrow.

Play BALL! ⚾ 

Monday, November 23, 2020

#Freehan79 ... FIVE Gold Gloves

Welcome to Day #5 of my 11 Day Countdown to the 79th Happy Baseball Birthday! of my baseball hero, Bill Freehan, on November 29th. 

The thing that always stood out to me about Bill, and truly made me a fan, was his defensive greatness.

🐯 Here's Bill's fielding percentage from 1963-1971.

.996  *GG
.996  *GG
.992  *GG
.994  *GG 
.992  *GG

From his first full season in the big leagues, the young backstop out of the University of Michigan was a defensive force for Detroit, and, Bill was the FIRST Big League catcher to win 5 CONSECUTIVE GOLD GLOVE AWARDS, 1965-69! 


1️⃣1️⃣ -- 11 times in his career, Bill's fielding percentage was at least .992! 

When Bill retired after the 1976 season, his lifetime career fielding percentage was .993...a big league record that stood for nearly 25 years!

It's been 44 years since Bill retired from the big leagues, yet, he's still 36th on the All-Time Catchers Lifetime fielding percentage! 

🤲 As I was reading Fugis post today I read about the challenge of giving thanks at the end of each post, through Thanksgiving, from Trevor at Bump and Run Football Card Blog.

🦃 As I blog about my baseball hero these 11 days, I have one person to thank for my love of not just Bill Freehan, but of the game of baseball, and that's my late Uncle Bob, who taught me the rules of the game, how to switch hit, and, most importantly, the sportsmanship of playing, and being a fan, of baseball.

👉My Uncle Bob grew up a fan of the great Mickey Mantle, and would tell me about the many battles between the Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers in the World Series.

He, and his friends would cheer on New York, while my Uncle Paul and Grandma rooted for "dem Bums."

👍 These days I'm thankful for all of you who take a moment from your day to read my blog... I'm truly blessed by you all.

Have a terrific Turkey 🦃 week.


Sunday, November 22, 2020

#Freehan79 ... Day 4

Today is Day #4 of my 11 day countdown to the 79th Happy Baseball Birthday! of my favorite All-Time ballplayer, Bill Freehan.

1️⃣9️⃣6️⃣6️⃣ Topps Baseball #14 Bill Freehan

👉 I love this card. Posing for Topps at Yankee Stadium in 1965, with that famous facade of the old ballpark on the background. Must've been pretty cool for a young kid from Detroit. 

👉 In 1966, Bill Freehan was in his 4th full season in the big leagues, and although he hit just .234, Bill did collect 115 base hits, including a career high 22 doubles, with 12 HRs, 46 RBI, and scoring 47 runs in 462 at bats.

Bill was his usual stellar defensively, committing just 4 errors in 958 total chances.

🐯 Bill had a .996 fielding percentage in 1966.

👉 Bill was an American League All-Star for the 3rd straight year in 1966, representing Detroit at the game at the new Busch Stadium II.

🐯⚾ Bill had 1 base hit in two at bats in the '66 AS Game...the ballpark, where, just 2 1/2 years later, Bill would catch the final out of the 1968 World Series.

💯 Thanks for taking time out of your football Sunday to read my blog post on Bill Freehan. 

Hope you're all having a great Sunday. 

Play BALL! 🐯⚾ 

Saturday, November 21, 2020

#Freehan79 ... Day 3/ Three HR Game

It's Day 3 in my countdown to the 79th Happy Baseball Birthday! of my baseball hero, former Detroit Tigers catcher Bill Freehan, who turns 79 on November 29th.

No big league catcher has ever hit 4 home runs in a game, but Bill Freehan is on the list of big league catchers who've hit 3 HRs in a game!

On August 9, 1971, the Tigers had a slugfest at Fenway Park with the Red Sox, with Boston claiming a 12-11 win.

✌️Bill hit 2 of his HRs off of A.L. Cy Young Award the 7th (off of Sparky Lyle), and in the 9th (off Jim Longborg.)

** I'm not sure how many players have hit HRs off off two  different Cy Young Award winners in a game, but Freehan is one of them, and that's just pure awesomeness. 

The 1971 Tigers, still loaded with talent from the '68 World Series Championship, had a terrific team, finishing the season with a 91-71 record. 

In 1972 the Tigers won the American League Eastern Division and played in the ALCS against the Oakland Athletics.

🐯🐯🐯 In Game 3 at Tiger Stadium, Freehan doubled and hit a HR in the Tigers 3-0 victory.

1972 was the last time the Tigers would seriously make a run at a World Series until 1984.

In the 12 years between the two great Tigers teams, fans still had a couple more years of Norm Cash, Willie Horton, and Al Kaline, who retired following the 1974 season.

🐯⚾ Ron Leflore, Aurelio Rodriguez, Rusty Staub, Mark Fidrych, Jason Thompson, Steve Kemp helped us Tigers fans along until the '84 guys got it rolling towards that great 35-5 team made history.

I'll be back tomorrow for Day 4 in my countdown.

Have an sensational Saturday, and, remember, to always, always, Play BALL! ⚾

Friday, November 20, 2020

#Freehan79 ...Day 2/ Freehan Friday Debuts

Today is the first Freehan Friday! post on the blog, as I continue my daily countdown to the 79th Happy Baseball Birthday! of my baseball hero, Bill Freehan.

The first Freehan Friday needed to come out swinging, so I chose today to finally start this new blog idea that I've thought about doing for awhile now.

💯 I had no idea that he was sending the two amazing's a testament to the continued love that I'm blessed with as a member the Blogging community.

The cards were both a huge surprise, and I can't thank CUTCH enough for the awesome gifts. 

1️⃣9️⃣6️⃣1️⃣ Bill Freehan played his college baseball at the University of Michigan, and, in 1961, his .545 Batting Average not only led the Big Ten, it broke former Purdue Boilermaker Bill "Moose' Skowron's conference record.

.6️⃣4️⃣5️⃣ That .545 batting average is STILL a Big Ten record, 59 years later! 

See y'all back here tomorrow for Day 3 of #Freehan79 .

Have an amazing Friday, and, as always, thanks for stopping by to read my blog.

Play BALL! ,⚾💛💙〽️

Thursday, November 19, 2020

#Freehan79 ... Day 1

Today marks 11 days until my baseball hero, Bill Freehan, turns 79 years old, and so begins 11 consecutive days of posting about the greatest catcher in Detroit Tigers history.

Bill Freehan was an 1️⃣1️⃣ time American League All-Star, starting with the 1964 season, through his final All-Star season, in 1975.

🐯 Bill batted .300, with 18 HRs, and 80 RBI in 1964.

8️⃣ Bill was hit by a pitch 8 times in 1964, the most in the A.L. 

7️⃣ Bill finished 7th in the A.L. MVP Award voting in 1964. 

9️⃣9️⃣3️⃣ Bill Freehan finished the 1964 season with a .993 fielding percentage, a stat that will come up in another post in the next 11 days.

Have a great Thursday, and we'll get together again tomorrow to continue the countdown. 

Play BALL! 1️⃣1️⃣🐯⚾

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Tigers Card Tuesday... 2020 Tiger of the Year, Jeimer Candelario

Since 1965, the Detroit Chapter of the BBWAA has handed out the "Tiger of the Year," award to the best player on the Tigers.

Starting with 3rd Baseman Don Wert, the list of players earning the TOTY is a who's who of Tigers greats, including Al Kaline, Ron LeFlore, Alan Trammell, Cecil Fielder, Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, as my personal favorites, Bill Freehan (1967), and last year's winner, Matthew Boyd.

This year's award goes to Tigers third baseman turned first baseman, Jemier Candelario, who moved from the hot corner, across the diamond, after a season ending injury to starter C.J. Cron.

2018 Topps Detroit Tigers #DT-8 
Jeimer Candelario

This is such a cool card of Jeimer...making a young baseball fan very happy with the autograph of a big league ballplayer! 

Jeimer came alive after a very slow start in 2020, having his best season in the Motor City, batting .297 ( with 52 hits in 55 games!) , cranking out 7 HRs, with 29 RBI.

9️⃣9️⃣1️⃣ Defensively, Jeimer committed just 3 errors in 319 chances at first base, a stellar .991 fielding percentage! 


Even if it was just a couple of months, fans and management are certainly hoping that Candelario brings it with him in 2021.

🐯 If the Tigers bring back Cron, or sign another first baseman, Jeimer will head back to third, but if they feel like he can handle a 162 game grind at first, then the Tigers can look for another answer at third base... wouldn't Nolan Arenado look good in the Olde English D! 

Congratulations to Jeimer on a most deserved Tiger of the Year Award! 

Play BALL! 🐯⚾

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Tigers Card Tuesday... 1977 Topps ERA Leaders

Today's edition of Tigers Card Tuesday! comes to us in the form of a request from our friend, Fugi, who commented on yesterday's post, stating that he'd like to see Mark "The Bird" Fidrych featured. 

Fidrych led the American League in Earned Run Average, a rookie in 1976, thus earning himself a place on the Topps 1977 ERA Leaders card with former Cardinal pitcher John Denny, the National League ERA Leaders.

1977 Topps #7, ERA Leaders, Mark Fidrych/John Denny 

🐯⚾ Fidrych had no card in the '76 Topps set, so all us Tigers fans had to wait until the spring of '77 to open up new card packs to try and find a card of Mark. 

🐯⚾ I also chose this card because it has been immortalized by the great Gummy Arts.

I was absolutely mesmerized by Fidrych in '76, from his talking to the baseball, grooming the mound dirt, and thanking his teammates after they made a great play in the field... everything that made him famous in the "Year of The Bird."

Fidrych started the 1976 All-Star Game for the A.L., would go on to win 19 games as a rookie in '76, pitching 24 complete games,winning the Rookie of the Year Award, as well as finishing 2nd in the MVP Award.

🤔 Do you know the pitcher who got the start as a rookie in 1977 because Fidrych got hurt? 

🤔 Who would you like to see featured in an upcoming Tigers Card Tuesday post...what about Football Card Friday? 

Just leave a comment below, and if I have a card of that player, I'll try and get it in a future post? 

➡️➡️ The answer of the above question... Hall of Famer Jack Morris, who, frequently, on Tigers broadcasts, has mentioned that Joe that's how he got his first start in the big leagues.

Have a awesome day, and, as always, thanks for taking time to read my blog. 

Play BALL! ⚾