Thursday, September 4, 2014

Happy Baseball Birthday... Hawk Harrelson

Today's Happy Baseball Birthday is former big league first baseman and outfielder Ken "Hawk" Harrelson.

Kenneth Smith Harrelson was born on September 4, 1941, in Woodruff,  South Carolina.

Hawk went to high school at the Benedictine Military School in Savannah, Georgia,  where he played golf, baseball, football,  and basketball.

Harrelson was signed as a amateur free agent by the Kansas City Athletics in 1959.

Hawk made his big league debut on June 9, 1963, at the age of 21.

Hawk played first base and right field for 9 big league seasons,  1963-71, for the Athletics,  Washington Senators,  Boston Red Sox, and Cleveland Indians. 

In 1968, playing for the BoSox,  Harrelson led the American League in RBI, with 109, playing in the All-Star Game for the only time in his big league career. 

Hawk played in 900 games, scored 374 runs, collecting 703 base hits, 94 of them doubles,  along with 13 triples, 134 home runs, and 421 RBI in 2,841 at bats.

In the field Harrelson was a terrific defensive player, making only 41 errors in 4,101 chances, a .990 lifetime fielding percentage. 

Hawk played his final big league baseball game as a member of the Indians,  on June 9, 1971, at the age of 29.

After baseball Harrelson played proffessional golf, missing the cut in the 1972 British Open by one stroke (+11).

Hawk started broadcasting baseball games in 1975,  staring as a analyst on Red Sox games with Dick Stockton. 

Harrelson waa fired by the BoSox for his criticism of the teams players, and Hawk moved on to broadcasting ChiSox games in 1981, the left the booth in 1985, becoming the White Sox General Manager.

Harrelson was a less than successful GM, firing a young manager named Tony LaRussa, and his assistant GM, a guy named Dave Dombrowski.

In 1990 Hawk became the White Sox #1 TV announcer,  a job he is still doing today.

I love Hawk Harrelson...there, I said it.

There is no radio or TV play by play announcer with more love of the game of baseball and passion for his team quite like Hawk Harrelson and his beloved South Siders.

From his signature " can put it on the board...YES!"  home run calls for the White Sox,  to the "...he gone!"  call when an opposition player strikes out, Hawk Harrelson broadcast ChiSox games with unbridled baseball knowledge and passion. 

One of the reasons I love Hawk is that he loves the game, and will praise any player, on any team, for their good play, and criticize any player,  including ChiSox players,  for their poor play.

Hawk is also fantastic when he recalls the history of the game, including his playing days, and his tales of playing against the great American League players and teams of the 1960s.

Hawk was a member of the 1967 American League Champion Boston Red Sox, playing alongside guys like Carl Yaztremski and Jim Longborg, and facing down big league pitchers named Luis Tiant, Sam McDowell,  Mickey Lolich, and Bob Gibson.

There seems to be no gray are when it comes to Hawk Harrelson, its either pro Hawk, or anti Hawk.

Hawk has certainly done and said controversial things, but that's Hawk Harrelson,  and I think you have to give him credit for his consistency in the way he calls ball games.

Hawk is a 5 time Emmy Winner broadcasting baseball games, two time Illinois Sportscaster of the Year recipient,  2010 Ring Lardner Award winner, and a 2007 Ford Frick Award finalist.

To me, quite simply,  Ken "Hawk" Harrelson deserves to be in the broadcasting wing of the Hall of Fame.

Happy Baseball Birthday Hawk... "Mercy!"


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Happy Baseball Birthday, Celebrity Edition...Charlie Sheen

Today's Celebrity Happy Baseball Birthday is actor Charlie Sheen.

Carlos Irwin Estevez was born on September 3, 1965, in New York City, is an avid baseball fan, and  loves the Big Red Machine and the Cincinnati Reds.

Baseball fans and movie lovers also know Charlie as the young veg head Rick Vaughn, The Wild Thing, in Major League and Major League 2.

Charlie also starred as Elmer "Hap" Felsch in the movie Eight Men Out, about the 1919 Chicago White Sox scandal that led to the infamous team nickname "Black Sox," as the "8 Men Out" conspired to lose games in the 1919 World Series. 

Sheen, in my humble opinion, was brilliant on TV as Charlie Harper on the CBS sitcom "Two and a half Men."

The reruns still make me laugh.

His departure from the show has bern well documented,  and after all, we're celebrating the good that is Charlie Sheen, the Reds fan.

Happy Baseball Birthday Charlie!


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

This Week's Sports Illustrated...Andrew McCutchen

Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star centerfielder Andrew McCutchen is one of the regional covers of this week's Sports Illustrated.

Baseball on the SI cover is always something special on the blog,  and its specially awesome when its a player or team you like, and I love McCutchen and his passion for our National Pastine.

The other regional cover from the SI Instagram page was of Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts. 

One year ago, September of 2013,   McCutchen graced the SI cover, and he was alsothe cover for SI for Kids in April, 2014.

★★Thanks SI for the great baseball covers you continue to issue.


Happy Baseball Birthday...Albert Goodwill Spalding

Today's Happy Baseball Birthday is former big league pitcher, manager, and baseball pioneer,  Albert Goodwill Spalding.

Albert Spalding was born 164 years ago today, September 2, 1850, in Byron, Illinois.

Spalding was the best pitcher in the old American Association, winning 52 games in 1884, and 54 in 1875, for the Boston Red Stockings. 

Albert Spalding was the 1st big league pitcher to win 50 games, 100 games, 150 games, 200 games, and 250 big league games.

In 7 seasons Spalding compiled a 252-65 record,  a .705 winning percentage...#1 All-Time for any big league pitcher. 

As a hitter, Spaulding hit .313,  and played first base and the outfield when not on the mound. 

Spalding played his last big league game on August 31, 1878, at the age of 27.

Albert Spalding, while still playing baseball, opened up The Spalding Sporting Goods Company, with his brother, William.

Spalding was alao a big reason the NationaL League was formed in 1876, and Spalding basically ran the league into the 1900s.

In 1878 Spalding Sporting Goods became the official ball of the National League,   with Spalding donating baseballs for every NL team, and paying each NL team $1.00 for every dozen Spalding baseball's used.

Also in 1878, the 1st Spalding Official Baseball Guide was published.

Henry Chadwick, the creator of the baseball box score, and noted baseball historical chronicler,  edited the Spalding Guide. 

Spalding paid the Senior Circuit a fee to publish his baseball guide, 

In 1882, at the age of 31, Albert Spalding became sole owner of the Chicago White Stockings, when owner William Hubert passed away.

Albert Goodwill Spalding passed away on September 9, 1915, at the age of 65, in San Diego, California. 

In 1939, Spalding was elected by the Veteran's Committee,  into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown,  New York.

Happy Baseball Birthday to A.G. Spalding!


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Happy Baseball Birthday...Tracy Stallard

Happy Baseball Birthday to former big league pitcher Tracy Stallard.

Tracy Stallard is best known by baseball fans as the pitcher who gave up home run #61 to Roger Maris during the final game of the 1961 season at Yankee Stadium.

Evan Tracy Stallard was born 77 years ago today, August 31, 1937, in Coeburn, Virginia.

Tracy attended Coeburn high school and signed as a amateur free agent with the Boston Red Sox in 1956.

Tracy made his big league debut on September 14, 1960, and pitched for 7 years  with the Red Sox, New York Mets,  and St. Louis Cardinals. 

Tracy won his first game as a starting pitcher on August 10, 1961, tossing 8 innings, striking out 8 Minnesota Twins batters in the BoSox 3-2 win.

Tracy compiled a 30-47 big league pitching record, with a 4.17 era in 138 games, in 764 2/3 innings.

After his big league career, Stallard pitched in the minor leagues, playing for teams like the Tulsa Oilers, Dallas-Forth Worth Spurs, and pitching in AAA Mexican League for Torreon and Cordoba.

In 1968 Stallard took a year off from pitching to take over as the pitching coach with the High Point-Thomasville Hi-Toms, under rookie manager Jack McKeon.

You can purchase memorabilia, and #61 signed baseballs from Tracy at

Happy 77th Baseball Birthday Tracy Stallard!


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

This Week's Sports Illustrated Regional Covers

We love Sport's Illustrated when they put baseball on the cover,  and this week SI has given us two regional covers,  featuring the Kansas City Royals and Little League World Series sensation Mo'Ne Davis.

Covers courtesy Of Sports Illustrated 

Happy Baseball Birthday...Bobby Richardson

Today we say Happy Baseball Birthday to former New York Yankees second baseman Bobby Richardson.

Robert Clinton Richardson was born on August 19, 1935, in Sumter, South Carolina.

Bobby attended Edmunds High School in Sumter before signing with the New York Yankees on June 12, 1953.

Bobby made his big league debut with the Yankees on August 5, 1955, at the age of 19.

Bobby  was a stellar second sacker for the Yankees from 1955-66, a five time Gold Glove Winner and three time World Series Champion,  in 1958, 61, 62.

In 1960 Bobby became the only player on a losing team to win the World Series MVP Award, batting .367, with 11 base hits,  12 RBI, scoring 8 runs.

The Yankees lost in Game 7 of the '60 WS to the Pittsburgh Pirates,  on a Game Winning Home Run by fellow second baseman Bill Mazeroski.

Bobby is also known for his 1962 World Series saving catch of a line drive off the bat of the San Francisco Giants slugging First Baseman Willie Mc Covey with two outs in the ninth inning of Game 7.

In 12 big league seasons,  Bobby collected 1,432 hits, 196 doubles,  37 triples, 34 home runs, and 390 RBI in 5,386 at bats.

In those 1,412 games and 5,586 at bats Bobby struck out just 243 times, finishing with a .266 lifetime batting average.

Bobby led the American League in base hits in 1962 with 209, and led the Junior Circuit in at bats in '62 (692), '63 (630), and '64 (679).

After Bobby retired he became the Head Baseball Coach at South Carolina, from 1970-76, taking the Gamecocks to their first NCAA Baseball Tournament in 1974, and the College Baseball World Series in 1975.

Bobby was also the Head Baseball Coach at Liberty University and at Coastal Carolina University. 

Bobby Richardson published his memoir,  "Impact Player," in 2012, and is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Happy 79th Baseball Birthday Bobby!


Monday, August 18, 2014

Happy Baseball Birthday...Roberto Clemente

80 years ago today, August 18th, 1934, the great Roberto Clemente was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico.

Clemente left us much, much, to early,  passing away at the age of 38 in a plane crash on New Year's Eve 1972, while sending aid to earthquake ravaged Nicaragua. 

If you haven't read a book on the Pirates Hall of Fame right fielder,  I suggest Clemente, by David Maraniss.

I simply loved the book,  couldn't put it down, just tremendous

I also chose Clemente's 1971 Topps card, my favorite of all his baseball cards,  to post for his 80th Birthday. 

Today we send out a special Happy Baseball Birthday to the great Roberto Clemente!


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Colorado Rockies retire Todd Helton's #17

Today the Colorado Rockies retired uniform #17, worn for 17 years by All-Star First Baseman Todd Helton.