Thursday, July 24, 2014

Happy Baseball Birthday...City of Detroit

A special Happy Baseball Birthday today to the Motor City.


Today the City of Detroit  celebrates its 313th birthday, founded by the  French on April 24, 1701, as Fort Pontchartrain du D`etroit.


Baseball in Motown dates back well into the 1800s, and the city has been represented by several professional baseball clubs including the 1887 National Campionship Detroit Wolverines, the Nego Leagues Detroit Stars, and the 4 time World Series Champion Detroit Tigers of the American League.


The Wolverines played in Recreation Park, built in the late 1770s.


The Stars played in old Mack Park until a fire destroyed the park in 1929, and then In Hamtramck Park,  built by the Stars owner in 1930.


The cross streets of  Michigan and Trumbull , in the Corktown area of Detroit was the home of proffessional baseball since the building if Bennett Park in the 1880s, and continued with Navin Field, built in 1920, and remaned Briggs Stadium in 1937, and then Tiger Stadium, in 1961.


The Tigers have played in Comerica Park, about a mile from The Cornersince the 2000 baseball season.


Navin Field has be ressurected by the Navin Field Ground Crew, a group of Tigers fans who volunteer their time and money to  maintain to historic ground that was once home...at THE CORNER of Michigan and Trumbull. 


Happy Baseball Birthday Motown!


PLAY BALL!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Happy Baseball Birthday...75 years of Batman

Today is Batman Day around the D. C. Universe.

Batman first appeared in comics in 1939...the same year Little League Baseball was establushed in Williamsport, Pennsylvania,  and the year the National Baseball Hall of Fane and Museum was opened in Cooperstown,  New York.


I must admit, I'm a Amazing Spiderman guy, but loved watching the 1960s TV show starring Adam West, who's always been my favorite Caped crusader...although I also pick Michael Keaton as the best movie Batman.


Until today I had no idea the great game of baseball was a favorite of Batman.


Living in Gotham City at the time, Bruce Wayne, er, Batman, probably swung by Yankee Stadium to watch a young Joe DiMaggio smashing line drives,  checked out a guy named Willie Mays making basket catches in center field at the Polo Grounds, and dropped by Ebbetts Field to watch 'Dem Bums, the Brooklyn Dodgers.

My guess is that the #1 crime fighter in Gotham was a Dodgers fan...always rootingand cheering for the underdog. 


Thanks to D C Cimucs for the cool #Batman75 logo and awesone comics. 


Thanks to @baseballminutia for tweeting the World's Finest Comics #3 today.


Happy Baseball Birthday Batman!


POW! ZAP! ZOOM!


PLAY BALL!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Hall of Very Good adds three new members.

Today the Hall of Very Good announced the addition of three new members to the HOVG.

Former Indians and Red sox hurler Luis Tiant, Twins great Tony Oliva, and the Famous San Diego Chicken are this years inductees.

Yes, the Famous Chicken.., what a wonderful selection.

The three new members join former White Sox, Yankees, and Dodgers pitcher Tommy John, the original HOVG selection in 2012, and former Braves slugger Dale Murphy, and Pirates Workd Series MVP Steve Blass in 2013.

I enjoy the HOVG, a terrific blog that honors great...VERY GOOD...players of the past.

If you're on Twitter and are a baseball fan, @HOVG is a must follow.

On a personal note, its going to be a great day for myself, this blog, when my baseball hero, Bill Freehan, is honored and enshrined by the HOVG.

Congratulations to Tiant, Oliva, and Ted Gianollus, a k a, The San Diego Chicken, on their selections.

Please head to HallofVeryGood.com to find out more about this years members and a special announcement coming on Wednesday.

Play Ball!

Happy Baseball Birthday..John Bateman

Today's Happy Baseball Birthday is former big league catcher John Bateman.

John Alvin Bateman was born on July 21, 1940 in Ft. Sill (Lawton), Oklahoma.

John was signed by the Houston Colt ,45s as a amateur free agent in 1962.

Bateman made his big league debut April 19, 1963, at the age of 22.

In 128 games as a rookie, Bateman collected 85 base hits, 8 doubles,  6 triples, 10 home runs, and 59 RBI in 404 at bats.

John also made Houston baseball history by catching the clubs first ever no hitter, pitched by the Colt .45s Don Nottebart  on May 17, 1963, a 4-1 win over the Phillies.


John had his best year in Houston in 1966, batting .279, with 121 hits, 17 home runs, 70 RBI, and 24 doubles in 433 at bats.


In 1969 the expansion Montreal Expos drafted John off the Astros roster with the 6th pick.


In just the teams 7th game of 1969 Bateman caught his second no hitter, this time by the Expos Bill Stoneman, against, ironically, the Phillies, on April 17, 1969.


John led all National League catchers in double plays turned in 1966 (14), 1970 (19), and 1971 (12).


John was traded by Montreal om June 14 of the 1972 season to the Phillies for catcher and future Hall of Fame broadcaster Tim McCarver.

Johns final big league game was on October 3, 1972, at the age of 32.


In his ten year big league baseball career, John Bateman started 923 games behind the plate, catching a total of 7, 941 innings, with a fielding percentage of .982.


At the plate John collected 765 base hits, 123 doubles, 18 triples, swatted 81 home runs, drove in 375 base runners, and scored 250 runs, in 3,330 at bats.


One reason that I selected John Bateman today is the Twitter feed @1969Expos

 

This Twitter page is a great honor to the late Expos catcher, who pased away much to young on December 3, 1996, at the age of 56,  In Sand Springs, Oklahoma.


I had the pleasure of talking about John Bateman, the old Astros and Expos, with the man behing @1969Expos , Mr. Ken Webster.


Ken is a terrific baseball fan, and his knowledge of the game, and his tweets are a true honor of the former big league catcher,.


If you're a baseball fan on Twitter, follow @1969Expos, youll enjoy the info very much.


In addition to Mr. Webster, information for this blog was obtained by some good baseball sites, baseballreference.com , The Baseball Alamanac, AstrosDaily.com , and Wikipedia. 


Baseball Birthday John Bateman!


PLAY BALL!


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Happy Baseball Birthday....Mike Illitch

Happy Baseball Birthday #85 to Detroit Tigers owner Mike Illitch.

Thanks for making my Tigers relevant again,

Go Tigers!

Play Ball!

45 years ago today... "...one giant leap."

"...one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."  --Niel Armstrong, on the moon, July 20, 1969.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Happy Baseball Birthday... Ben Geraghty

Ben Geraghty is a special person in Jacksonville baseball history.

The former big league ballplayer is today's Happy Baseball Birthday. 

Benjamin Raymond Geraghty was born on July 19, 1912, in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Ben went to Villanova University, and signed as a free agent with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

On April 17, 1936, Ben made his big league debut with the Dodgers,  and played in 51 games for Brooklyn, collecting 25 hits in129 at bats.

Ben played in the minors from 1937-42, making it back to the big leagues with the Boston Braves in 1943.


Ben played in just 8 games with the Braves in '43, and 11 games in 1944.


His big league career lasted parts of three years and 70 games, with Ben collecting 29 base hits, 4 doubles, 9 RBI, in 146 at bats, batting .199.


In 1946, while playing for the Class B Spokane Indians of the Western League, Geraghty survived a horrific team bus crash that sent him flying out a window, and down a hill.

Nine fellow players and the teams mmanager were killed, and Geraghty's injuries ended his playing career. 

He took over as the Indians coach in '46, and in '47 led the Indians to a 87 win season and second place finish.

1946 began a 17 year minor league managerial career, including eight years here in Jacksonville, as the manager of the JAX Tars, Braves, and Suns.

He won five pennants managing in Jacksonville between 1953 through 1959, including managing a skinny second baseman for the JAX Braves named Hank Aaron. 

In 1951 Geraghty's JAX Tars beat the big league Boston Red Sox in an exhibition game.

Geraghty helped integrate proffessional baseball in the "Jim Crow" south, and fought for his players of color throughout his managerial career.

Aaron said  Geraghty was "...the kindest and best manager I've ever played for."

Geraghty won 1, 317 games as a minor league manager in Class A Sally League and the AAA American Association,   and his 610-457 record as a Jacksonville manager (including games managed), are all franchise records.


Geraghty led the 1962 JAX Suns to the 1962 International League pennant.


Ben Geraghty had a heart attack and passed away at the age of 50 on June 18, 1963, here in Jacksonville.

Ben Geraghty is enshrined in the Florida Sprts Hall of Fame.


This year the Jacksonville Suns franchise started the LEGENDS of JACKSONVILLE BASEBALL, and Geraghty was part of the inaugural class that included Aaron, Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Phil Niekro, Hoyt Wilhelm, Peter Bragan, Sr., Sam Wolfson, and Dom Mullaney.


Happy Birthday Ben!


Play Ball!



Friday, July 18, 2014

Happy Baseball Birthday...Roger Hoover

Today we celebrate the Happy Baseball Birthday of Jacksonville Suns play by play guy Roger Hoover.

Roger Hoover was born in Kingsport, Tennessee.

Roger is in his third year as the Suns Director of Broadcasting and lead play by play announcer.

Roger has briadcast Southern League Baseball for fuvevyears, including three SL All Star Games.

All 140 Suns games are broadcast on the teams flagship station, Classic Rock 94.1, WSOS-FM and streamed live at jaxsuns.com

This season the Suns are broadcasting 11 home games on local TV, on CW 17.

Roger Hoover graduated from the University of Tennessee, and he served as color analyst for the Vols baseball games in 2012.

You can follow Roger on Twitter... @Roger_Hoover and the Suns on Twitter at @sunsbaseball


Give Roger a big Happy Baseball Birthday shoutout today, or at the the ballpark this weekend.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY Roger!


#GoSuns.


Play Ball!


Thanks to the Jacksonville Suns for the info provided in this years game program, jaxsuns.com, and Tales from Bragan Field on sunsradio.com

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Happy Baseball Birthday...Don Kessinger

Today's Happy Baseball Birthday is former Chicago Cubs  shortstop Don Kessinger.

Growing up in Portage, Michigan, in the early 1970s, was a baseball fans dream.

In addition to my Detroit Tigers radio and TV games we also received the Cubs and Chicago White Sox games on radio and cable tv.

The Cubs were on tv every night on WGN, and every Cubs home game was a day game.

Many times I was able to watch a double header of a Cubs home tilt and a Tigers road game at night. 

The Cubs had a great infield in the late '60s and early 70's with Jim Hickman at first base, Glen Beckert ar second, Ron Santo at third, and my favorite Cub player, Don Kessinger, at shortstop.

Donald Eulon Kessinger was born on July 17, 1942,  in Forrest City, Arkansas.

Don played high school baseball at Forrest City HS, where he was a 4 sport All Star and All American while playing for the Mustangs. 

Don then went on to play college baseball at Mississippi, where he was an All SEC and All American in both basketball and baseball for the Rebels. 

Kessinger played for the Peoria Pacers of the Central Illinois summer league in 1963, and was signed by the Cubs as a amateur free agent in 1964.

Don played for the Double-A Forth Worth Cats in 1964 before making his big league debut on September 7, 1964, at the age of 22.

In 1965 Don started the baseball seasin with Dallas-Forth Worth before getting called up to the big leagues for good.

A terrific shortstop,  Kessinger won the National League Gold Glove in 1969 and 1970.

Kessinger is my favorite All Time Cubs player, and it was probably in part because as a kid I noticed that he was wearing #11 for the Cubs, the same number worn by my baseball hero, Tigers catcher Bill Freehan. 


Wearing my hero's #11 may have been a reason to notice Kessinger,  but his play was why I loved to watch him as the Cubbies shortstop. .


Don played in just 4 games after that September call up to Chicago in '64, and in 1965 he played in 106 games, becoming the Cubs starting shortstop, where, next to Beckert, the two would play until 1973.

Kessinger led the National League in assists in 1966, 68, 69.

In 1969 Kessinger's .976 fielding percentage ked the Senior Circuit. 

Kessinger played in 2,078 baseball games, 1, 955 of them at shortstop, swatting 1,931 base hits, scoring 899 runs, with 254 doubles, 80 triples, 684 walks, 14 home runs, and 527 RBI in 7, 651big league at bats.


Kessinger played on the North Side of Chicago until 1975, when the Cubs traded him to the rival St. Louis Cardinals in the iff season. 


In 1977, after 59 games in St, Louis, the Cardinals traded Kessinger to the White Sox. 

On September 8, 1978, the ChiSox held "Don Kessinger Night, " a tribute that attracted 31,000 fans to old Comiskey Park.


Reports from the ball park that night stated that half the 31,000 in attendance were Cubs fans, who came to honor their former shortstop. 


White Sox owner Bill Veeck named Don the manager of the South Siders on October 19, 1978, and he served as ChiSox player/Manager in 1979, the last American League player to hold that distinction. 

Kessinger played in just 56 games for the '79 ChiSox, playing in his final big league game on July 31stm at the age of 37.

With the club in last place, he resigned as the Chicago White Sox skipper on August 2nd.

Don Kessinger was a terrific ballplayer, and an even better person.


In 1976 the Cubs honored Kessinger with the Ken Hubbs Award,  for his exemplary conduct on and off the ball field.


Kessinger was honored in 1977 with the Danny Thomas Award for Christian Spirit in baseball, and was the 1978 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award recipient. 


Don Kessinger went back to his Alma Mater, Ole Miss, becoming the Rebels head baseball coach in 1991.

In six seasons as the Rebels coach, Kessinger compiled a record of 185-153, leading Ole Miss to four 30 win seasons.

In 1996 Kessinger left the baseball team to become the Associate Athletics Director of Internal Affairs at Ole Miss.


Don Kessinger has been honored by and Inducted into the...

●Chicagoland Sports Hallof Fame

●Chicago Cubs Hall of Fame

●Wrigley Field Walk of Fame

●Ole Miss Sports Hall of Fame

●Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame

●Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame

●National High School Sports Hall of Fame

Don was also voted to the Ole Miss All Century basketball team in 2008.


Don and his family are in real estate business in Oxford and Watet Valley,  Mississippi, and they can be found at kessingerrealestate.com

Happy Baseball Birthday Don! 


PLAY BALL!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Miguel Cabrera joins Tigers All Star Home Run list

Miguel Cabrera joined an exclusive list of Detroit Tigers on Tuesday Night at the 85th All Star Game.

Cabrera smacked a line drive two-run homer off Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals in the bottom of the first ining, giving the American League a 3-1 lead. 

The American League defeated the National League, 5-3, at Target Field in Minnesota.

Cabrera became the first Tigers player since 1986 to hit an All Star Game homer.

Sweet Lou Whitaker hit a home run off New York Mets ace Doc Gooden at the Houston Astrodome, also a win for the Junior Circuit.

Whitaker's dinger was the first by a Tigers batter since catcher Bill Freeman hit a home run in the 1969 game in Washington D.C.

Cabrera's home run was the 13th long ball hit by a Detroit Tigers player in the All Star Game.

All Kaline  and Rocky Colivito are the only Tigers batters to homer twice in All Star Game competition.

Kaline homered in the 1960 and 1961 All Star Games, with Colovito bashing dingers in '61 and '62.

Rudy York became the first ever Tigers batter to slug a All Star Game home run, belting a blast in the 1942 game.

In 1951 the Tigers were hosts of the annual big league classic, held at Briggs Stadium.

Two Tigers teammates, George Kell, and Vic Wertz, smashed home runs at their home ballpark.

The home fans cheered on their local boys,  who crushed a pair of solo shots of Vic Rashi In the bottom of the first ining.

★★★Here's the list of Detroit Tigers All Star Game Home Runs★★★

★Rudy York, 1942     Polo Grounds, New York, NY

★Hoot Evers, 1948     Sportsman's Park, St. Louis, MO.

★George Kell, ★Vic Wertz    Briggs Stadium, Detroit, Michigan

★1954 Ray Boone   Cleveland Stadium,  Cleveland,  OH

★1960 (Game One*)  Al Kaline    Municipal Stadium, Baltimore,  MD

★★1961 (Game One*)  Al Kaline   Candlestick Park,  San. Francisco, CA

★1961 (Game Two*) Rocky Colovito   Fenway Park, Boston,  MA

★★1962 (Game Two*) Rocky Colovito   Wrigley Field,  Chicago, IL

★1965 Dick McAulffe     Metropolitan Stadium  Minneapolis-St? Paul, MN

★Bill Freehan   Robert F, Kennedy Stadium, Washington DC

★1986 Lou Whitaker   Astrodome,  Houstin, Texas

★Miguel Cabrera    Target Field, Minneapolis-St. Paul

*Two All Star Game that year.

★★★thanks to baseballreference.com fir the stats★★★



Miguel Cabrera hits 2 run HR in 85th All Star Game

thanks Detroit Tigers, fot the picturem from Facebook page.