Thursday, April 14, 2016

Happy Baseball Birthday! Peter Edward Rose

Today we say Happy Baseball Birthday! to big league baseball's All-Time hits leader, Pete Rose, who turns 75 today.

Peter Edward Rose, Sr.  was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on April 14, 1941, and since making his big league debut on April 8, 1963, has been probably the most beloved Reds player ever.

Regardless of how you feel about Pete, and his banishment from the game since 1989 because of betting on baseball, what he accomplished on the field in 24 years was simply amazing.

Pete collected 4,256 base hits, a big league record that's highly unlikely to ever be broken.

Besides all the base knocks, Pete also holds these big league records...

⚾ 3,256 Games

⚾ 15,890 Plate Appearances 

⚾ 14,053 At Bats

In 50 years as  baseball fan I never saw any player play the game with the combination of pure ferocity and fun playing baseball.

I will always remember Pete playing in the '75 World Series against Boston, with that memorable head first slide into third base...

Charlie Hustle was an appropriate nickname for the player who ran to first base after a walk like he had just hit a ball into the gap in right centerfield and was on his way to a triple.

Pete played nearly every position on the baseball field as well... he played over 500 games at every infield position, and both left and right field. 

The 1963 National League Rookie of the Year, Pete Rose played in 17 All-Star Games, won the 1968 N.L. Batting Title, and in 1973 was the N.L. MVP.

Pete was a member if 3 World Series Championship teams, the 1975-76 Big Red Machine in Cincinnati, and the 1980 Philadelphia Phillies.

No one will ever be able to deny the greatness that was Pete Rose on the diamond, and only Pete himself is responsible for his breaking baseball's most valued rule, that no player or manager may bet on our National Pastime.

I'm not sure we will ever see Pete in the Baseball Hall of Fame, and I have always been in favor of him not being allowed into Cooperstown as well.

For as much enjoyment that Pete gave me growing up loving baseball, he simply betrayed the game, and its fans.

I would love to meet Pete one day, to meet the man that fuels the passion of so many Reds fans this day.

There are still plenty of Pete Rose fans who believe in him and that his rightful place in the HOF is warranted, and I salute them for their true love of the game, and always standing by him.

No matter your stance, Pete Rose will always be prominently on display in the games grand history.

Happy Baseball Birthday! Pete Rose....Play Ball! ⚾

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Paul Carey... 1928-2016

Tonight we've lost another link to our childhood, as Paul Carey, longtime Detroit sportscaster, has passed away at the age of 88.

In 1973...although it somehow seems longer ago than that, Paul Carey joined legendary Detroit Tigers play by play announcer Ernie Harwell in the radio booth.

As a teenager and Tigers fan listening to games on the radio, Ernie and Paul not only described the ballgame being played, they taught us the rules, history, and passion of baseball played at the corner of Michigan & Trumbull Avenue in the Motor City.

We learned not only about how graceful Eddie Brinkman played shortstop, we learned about how Mickey Stanley moved flawlessly from center field to shortstop in the 1968 World Series, or how the great Billy Rogell turned double plays with Charlie Gehringer in the 1935 World Series.

Ernie would call innings 1-2-3, then Paul would do play by play for innings 4-5-6, and Ernie would return to do the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings...and if the game went extra innings, Paul would return as play by play.

We also learned about the other baseball games being played...on the out of town scoreboard...and after the Tigers games Paul would recap all the day's baseball on The Paul Carey Scoreboard Show."

"...for the Twins, 4 runs, 7 hits, 1 error, 5 men left on base..."
"...for Texas, 1 run, 6 hits, 2 errors, the Rangers left 8 men on base. "

We were spoiled, first by Ernie and Ray Lane, then Ernie and Paul Carey.

The mighty Ball Game in Heaven has another announcer, as Paul is joining in with the late Joe Garagiola, who passed away a couple of weeks ago.

Tonight we say a prayer for Paul Carey and his family, remembering the days of our youth, and the joy he gave us every time we heard "...Hello again everyone, this is Paul Carey." 

Play Ball! 😇

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Play Ball!

Well, it's that time again baseball fans.

Starting today it all counts.

All 30 big league baseball teams start the day tied for first place, their dreams of winning the World Series Championship just a mere seven months and 162 regular season games away.

I've never been very good at predictions of what ballclub will win what division, what player will win that award, or win what team will win that final game to secure the final wild card spot in the playoffs.

The 2016 season begins with the defending champs, the Kansas City Royals, as the team to beat again, with just about every American League team capable of winning and beating the Royals...who are trying to become the first A.L. team to win three straight A.L pennants since the 1998-99-2000-01 New York Yankees.

The Senior Circuit has the champion New York Mets trying to repeat their World Series run of 2015, while the Pittsburgh Pirates try to stay out if another Wild Card playoff game...hard to do with the Cardinals and Cubs playing against you 19 times.

Zack Greinke took his pitching prowess from Hollywood to the Arizona desert to win a championship for the Diamondbacks for the first time since their 2001 World Series title over the Yankees.

⚾ So, just because I write a baseball blog, I suppose I have to, so...I like...

...the Red Sox in the A.L. East, the Royals in Central...hey, until somebody beats the Champs...and the Houston Astros in the West.

I'll take my Detroit Tigers and Toronto Blue Jays to play in the Wild Card game, with my Tigers beating Toronto in Comerica Park behind Miguel Cabrera, Victor and J.D. Martinez, Justin Verlander, and K-Rod closing it out.

My Tigers will beat Boston in the Division Series, Houston will upset the Royals, and in the ALCS...the Astros will beat my Tigers in Game 7 in Houston behind Dallas Keuchel.

I all thought I was taking my Tigers all the way...well, no, I'm not...I deleted that post, so there.

In the National League I like the Washington Nationals to win the N.L. East, the St. Louis Cardinals in the Central, and the Arizona Diamondbacks in the West.

In the Wild Card game I'll take the Chicago  Cubs over the New York Mets...sorry Pirates fans.

In the Division Series I've got the Cubs vs. the Cardinals, with the Cardinals beating the Cubbies in 6 games...yes Cub fans, its still not your year...and the Nationals over Arizona.

In the NLCS I'll take the Cardinals over the Nationals in 5 games.

As for the World Series, I like the young Houston Astros, led by Jose Altuve and Carlos Corriea, to win the teams first ever Championship, in 6 games vs St. Louis.

OK, now, I'm sure there are many, many, baseball fans out there going hey...the Astros are your pick to win it all?


Yes, really...did anyone see the 2014 KC Royals coming...I know I didn't.

An easy puck would've been the BoSox in the A.L., and bring tge Mets back for redemption.

Hey, there are probably plenty of prognosticators out there saying just that...and they could be correct.

As for the baseball awards.... I'll take the Astros Jose Altuve and the Diamondbacks Paul Goldschmidt as league MVP'S...with the Cy Young Awards go to Justin Verlander of the Tigers (my one homer pick of the year.),  and Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals.

Well, there it is...not perfect I'm sure, probably completely wrong, however, I just can't do the easy thing and pick a Red Sox-Cubs World Series...that, I'm sure, may be more than baseball fans can handle.

I hope you all have a joyous big league baseball season...and please, try and remember...the players can't hear to yell at the TV or see your mean Tweet...enjoy the game...don't disect every pitch, every swing of the bat.

It's a long baseball season...relax...and PLAY BALL! ⚾

Friday, March 25, 2016

Friday Fastballs...Good Friday 2016

As we head into Easter weekend I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all a blessed time with family and friends on this Holiest of times.

⚾ Let's look at some baseball stuff I've come across this week.

⚾ Baseball Card of the Day...actually, two cards, for Easter.

⚾ Today's Happy Baseball Birthday! former Detroit Tigers owner John Fetzer, who was born on March 25, 1901.

Mr. Fetzer was the Tigers owner when I first learned about baseball and the Tigers.

Mr. Fetzer owned WKZO Radio in my hometown of Kalamazoo, and that's how I followed the Tigers as a boy growing up, with Ernie Harwell and WKZO.

Here's a terrific article on Mr. Fetzer by Scott Ferkovich of the Detroit Athletic Company Blog.

⚾ As I write this I'm watching the Cardinals-Mets game on ESPN.

I give ESPN grief in many things...covering big league baseball is the #1 thing they do best.

John Kruk, although not at the game, was still great to listen to today. can you not like Kruk? 

My favorite analyis at ESPN is Tim Kurkjan, all 5 foot nothing of one at ESPN knows the game of baseball like Kurkjan does...I could talk baseball for hours with Tim.

⚾⚾⚾ My Top 5 Baseball TV analyst/Writer types.⚾⚾⚾

#1...Bob Costas, NBC, MLB Network 

#2...Peter Gammons, MLB Network 

#3...Tim Kurkjan, ESPN 

#4...Ken Rosenthal, MLB on FOX, MLB Network 

#5...J.P. Morosi, FOX, MLB Network 

Honorable Mention...Kruk, ESPN, Eric Byrnes, MLB Network, Aaron Boone, ESPN, Brian Kenny, MLB Network, Mark DeRosa, MLB Network, Jessica Mendoza. 

Speaking of ESPN, the network unveiled their Top 100 Baseball Players, with, as expected, Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim coming in at #1.

The ESPN Top 10 big leaguers...

#1. Mike Trout, Angels

#2. Bryce Harper, Nationals 

#3. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers 

#4. Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks 

#5. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates

#6. Zack Greinke, Diamondbacks 

#7. Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays

#8. Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins

#9. Jake Arrieta, Cubs

#10. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers 

OK, first off...I get Trout and Harper #1 and #2, however...

...Josh Donaldson should be #3...and, my biggest problem...Miguel Cabrera...the reigning American League batting champion, widely considered the best hitter in tenth...tenth...are you kidding me.

Miguel Cabrera belongs in the Top 5...put him where you want, 1-5...but put him there...oh, and to have Arrieta, a one half of a season pitcher last year  ahead of Cabrera...terrible...just terrible. 

The complete 100 best baseball players according to ESPN can be found here.

⚾ The Yankees Assistant to the Travelling Secretary,  George Costanza, has his own baseball card...finally...

⚾ The best article of the week goes to Mike Piellucci of Vice Sports Straight out of Tokyo: Tony Barnette's Long Road to the Majors.

Locally, new Jacksonville Suns owner Ken Babby is investing $1.8 Million to The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

That's going to do it for this week.

Have a great Easter weekend and enjoy the baseball....Play Ball!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Baseball Bulletin...March 24, 2016

It's been a busy week of baseball so far, and it's only Thursday.

Let's start off with our Happy Baseball Birthday! today, former Michigan Baseball and St . Louis Browns Hall of Famer,  George Sisler.

⚾Most of the discussion of baseball has been President Barack Obama's visit to Cuba, and his attendance at the game between the  Cuban National Team and the Tampa Bay Rays in Havana. 

Here are a few terrific articles by some great baseball writers. ..

J.P. Morosi of FOX and the MLB Network... Major League Baseball returned to Cuba and it was a sight.

Rodger Sherman at SB Nation... The President of the United States is at a ballgame in Cuba...

Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports... The lasting impressions of three days in Cuba....

Joel Sherman at the New York Post writes about the Rays Chris Archer,  the breakout star of the historic game in Cuba...

It was a  great few days of baseball involving the Rays trip to Cuba, and from whatI've seen and read, it was a complete success from the baseball side, regardless of any political issues.

I hope the trip by Mr. Obama helps in our country's relationship with Cuba..and, as usual, baseball, our National Pastime, was front and center.

Here's to an annual visit by American teams playing in Havana against the marvelous talented players of the Cuban team.

⚾⚾⚾Other than the game in Havana, here's some baseball stuff I saw around social media...

⚾ As you may know, I love baseball history, and that includes the Negro Leagues.

I came across this marvelous article on former Negro League ballplayer Leon Day, over at the blog The Negro Leagues Up Close.

⚾ Former big leaguer Joe Garagiola passed away on Wednesday.

Joe Garagiola was a huge part of my baseball youth, watching tge NBC Game of the Week and World Series games on TV.

Back in 2013 I wished Mr. Garagiola a Happy Baseball Birthday!

And yesterday I I wrote a small piece on his passing.

⚾ If you happen to have around $400,000 lying around, you can now purchase the home of Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig.

⚾ The Adam Laroche story has continued this blogger friend Steve Gierman  wrote about it beautifully over at White Sox Cards.

⚾ If you've ever wondered how likeable all the MLB owners are, Dave Tobener over at The Comeback has a nice list.

My Tigers owner, Mike Illitch and his family, came in at #3...awesome! 

⚾⚾⚾ That's about all I have for now...tomorrow marks 11 days and counting until my Detroit Tigers play baseball for real.

Have a great weekend of baseball everyone... Play Ball! ⚾⚾⚾

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Joe Garagiola... 1926-2016

As I was watching baseball this afternoon news broke of the passing of one my favorite baseball broadcasters, Joe Garagiola.

As a teenager watching NBC's Game of the Week, in the mid 1970s, Joe and Tony Kubek together in the booth was as good as it got.

In 2013 I wished him a Happy Baseball Birthday!

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Garagiola family for the loss of Joe, one of the finest baseball men we've ever had.

The great ballgame in Heaven has a marvelous new addition today.

God Bless you Joe Garagiola!  

Play Ball! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

This Week's Sports Illustrated regional covers...2016 Baseball Preview

With just two weeks until Opening Day of big league baseball, the annual Sports Illustrated 2016 Baseball  Preview issue has been released, with 4 regional covers.

The New York Mets are the Eastern cover.

The Chicago Cubs in the Midwest.

The Houston Astros in the Southwest.

The San Francisco Giants have the West Coast covered.

Slight Senior Circuit slant with a 3-1 cover favoring the N.L. ...and the Astros heave only been in the American League a few years.

I think S.I. could've had the Boston Red Sox w/ David Price...oh, and where are the defending champion Kansas City Royals? 

K.C. will probably use the S.I. covers as motivation for another run at the WorldSeries.

Enjoy the baseball coverage in the S.I. issues,  they've always done a terrific job, especially with the 1969 Baseball Preview.

Play Ball! ⚾

Baseball Today...Tampa Bay Rays vs Cuban National Team

The most anticipated baseball game of the spring happens today in Cuba when the Tampa Bay Rays play the Cuban National team in Havana, Cuba.

The Rays will become the first big league baseball team to play in Cuba since the Baltimore Orioles in 1999.

ESPN will televise the game this afternoon at 1:30 pm, with coverage beginning at 12 NOON.

There has been several articles about the game are a few that I've read.

John Thorn, Our Game... Cuba, the U.S., and Baseball : A Long if Interrupted Romance.

The New York Post, Joel Sherman... The Cuba pride, passion, and fears from baseball-fan mecca.

FOX Sports, J.P. Morosi... I traded baseball hot takes with the locals in Cuba and it was fantastic.

SABR... Fidel Castro and Baseball.

MLB... Archer gives fan thrill of a lifetime in Cuba.

⚾ ⚾⚾ Here's a list of Cuban born big league baseball players and managers.

I hope you all enjoy the game today...Play Ball!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Happy Baseball Birthday... Twitter

Today we say Happy Baseball Birthday! to Twitter, which celebrates it's 10th Birthday today!

The social media giant went live 10 years ago today, March 21, 2006.

All 30 big league teams and all Minor League Baseball teams use Twitter today, it's the best way by far to communicate with their fans...

As a baseball fan on Twitter you start by following Major League Baseball... @MLB ,@MLBNetwork , ⚾ ESPN Baseball,  @BBTN ⚾ FOX Baseball, @MLBONFOX and @FS1⚾ 

...I follow my beloved Detroit Tigers... @tigers , my local Jacksonville Suns... @SunsBaseball , and my favorite college team, the Michigan Wolverines... @umichbaseball ...

...and I get to follow my favorite baseball players on Twitter as well, like the @tigers ... @JustinVerlander and @MiguelCabrera , the @Marlins and @ChristianYelich and @Giancarlo818 .

⚾⚾⚾All big league baseball players on Twitter can be found right here on Baseball Reference.⚾⚾ ⚾

I started on Twitter around 2010, and 6 years later it's the biggest part of my day, a place where I get all the baseball news, and where I can talk with great baseball fans, players, and teams from all over the world.

Twitter also allows fan to follow the baseball media, the men and women who cover the game on a daily basis...

...All the teams beat writers, national writers, and if course, great baseball bloggers who get to write anout their passion of America's National Pastime are on Twitter as well, and being able to interact with them has been terrific.

If you'rea baseball fan on Twitter,  look me up... @freehan11 ...let's talk baseball, big leagues, minor league baseball, or college baseball...PING!

Have a great werk baseball fans!

Happy Baseball Birthday! Twitter....PLAY BALL! 


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Happy Baseball Birthday... Glenn Close

Today we say Happy Baseball Birthday! to award winning actress Glenn Close.

Glenn Close was born on March 19, 1947, in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Ms. Close is one of my favorite actresses, and was in two of my favorite movies, The Big Chill, and The Natural.

The Natural gets Ms. Close today's Happy Baseball Birthday! wishes, as she appears in the best baseball movie ever made. 

Ms. Close plays Iris, who grows up with Roy Hobbs, played by Robert Redford.

Iris, not wanting Roy to fail, makes this one of the most memorable scenes in the movie.

Happy Baseball Birthday! Glenn Close... Play Ball!