Monday, February 19, 2018

Happy Presidents Day 2018!

Today is February 19, 2018, the 50th day of the year.




Across our country we celebrate Presidents Day, the annual national holiday were we honor the Birthdays of our 1st American President, George Washington, and our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln.


Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, and Washington on February 22, 1732.


The holiday, established as Washington's Birthday, in honor of General Washington, became Presidents Day in 1971, celebrated on the 3rd Monday in February to create more 3 day weekends for Federal workers.


I've always taken time on Presidents Day to again rank my Top 5 All-Time Presidents...

1. Abraham Lincoln


2. John F. Kennedy

3. George Washington



4. Franklin D. Roosevelt

5. Thomas Jefferson

(6-10, in no particular order, Teddy Roosevelt, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Harry Truman, John Adams.)


This may be the best picture a sitting President has ever taken .





One every 7 years Presidents Day also happens to fall on my Birthday, including today, as I turn 58 years old.


I was born during the last year of the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the year the City of Brooklyn demolished cherished Ebbetts Field, the year the USA Hockey team defeated Czechoslovakia to win the Gold Medal, the year Rocky Colovito became a Detroit Tiger, the year Bill Mazsroski became legend in Pittsburgh by walking off with the World Series homer against the New York Yankees.


58 years...where has all the time gone.


Every year I struggle to remember those early days of my life, a Kalamazoo kid born on Burdick Street in Downtown Kalamazoo to a young Mother named Dorothy Sharp, who would tell me of sitting on her Father's lap listening to Tigers games on the radio...Al Kaline was all the girls could talk about...regardless of how Mr. Tiger was playing.


As I finish this post I must mention my late Uncle Bob, the man who's responsible for all that baseball love that's inside of me.

He's been gone for 3 years now, and each time my Birthday comes he was one of the first calls I received, after my Mom.

My Uncle Bob always remembered that my Birthday was also Iwo Jima Day, the anniversary of the Marines landing on the small island too battle the Japanese, on February 19, 1945.



As a Navy veteran born on a famous date like that, well, it's pretty darn awesome!


Play Ball!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Happy Year of the Dog

I saw that its the Year of the Dog according to the Chinese calendar, and since this is a baseball blog, I thought it warranted a shout out to the The Crime Dog, former big league first baseman  Fred McGriff.





McGriff got his nickname The Crime Dog from former ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman, (who famously would give ballplayers nicknames on his SportsCenter and Baseball Tonight shows), because his last name reminded him of Mgruff The Crime Dog.




Mgruff was a public service announcement spot on TV back in the 1980s to help citizens deter crime to themselves, their families, and their homes.


Fred McGriff was a terrific baseball player for many teams in his 19 years career, including the 1995 World Series Champion Atlanta Braves.


McGriff played in 2,460 games, collecting 2490 hits, with 493 home runs, 1,550 RBI with a .284 career batting average in 8,757 big league at bats.






The 5- time All-Star was originally drafted by the New York Yankees in the 9th round of the 1981 amateur player draft, and made his big league debut on May 17, 1986 with the Toronto Blue Jays.


There is certainly a case to be made that McGriff belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame, and if you look at the numbers... 2.490 base hits, 493 round trippers, and a slugging percentage of .509, and you put that along with leading both the A.L. and N.L. in homers, winning 3 Silver Slugger Awards, winning a World Series, and adding a .992 fielding percentage in 2,239 games at first base...well, that's a pretty darn good resume.


Happy Year of the Dog!  🐢


Play Ball! ⚾️


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Happy Baseball Birthday... DubMentality

Today we send out Happy Baseball Birthday! wishes to a great baseball fan and card blogger extraordinaire, DubMentality.


Dub is a awesome sports fan, a Georgia native who loves his Atlanta Braves, Falcons, Hawks, and especially loves to Hunker Down with his Georgia Bulldogs.


I came across Dub by accident sometime last spring when he was opening football cards online.

All he asked in the chat was to say hello and let him know who your football team was...and in a few days time I got a envelope in the mail with some Detroit Lions cards, including a Topps RC of the great Barry Sanders.

That's all he needed, for you to say hi, talk sports, and automatically, he became your friend.

Almost a year later it's hard to imagine life on a daily basis without reading Dub's tweets, or his review of cards and pop culture on DubMentality. com.


The thing that I like about Dub the most is his absolute love of baseball cards from the junk wax era, that period of the late 1980s and into the 1990s where Topps, Fleer, Donruss, Score and Upper Deck produced so many cards of every sport that they are, for the most part, not worth much...unless that's when you started to collect cards, and that's how Dub got started.


Dub and the young collectors of that era had so many choices, while I only had one set of Topps cards to focus on, and that made it had to make it hard on those kids...what do you spend your card allowance on, a pack of Upper Deck, Fleet, or the traditional Topps cards?


While I was cutting hair and selling pop and candy bars to fellow shipmates in the Navy, Dub was growing up rooting for his Atlanta Braves with the great Dale Murphy to cheer for, and falling in love with a few young ballplayers named John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, David Justice, and Terry Pendelton.



I moved back to my hometown of Portage, Michigan, in July 2016, and the one regret that I've had since we left Jacksonville, Florida, is that Dub, who I hadn't yet come across, was living just a few hours away in Georgia, and that he would come too JAX to see his Bulldogs play...just a few minutes from were we were living at the time.


One day we'll actually meet, maybe at a Tigers/Braves game, or maybe, if the football God's make it happen, at a game between his Dawgs and my beloved Wolverines...now that would be something!



Happy Baseball Birthday! Dub! 

Play Ball! 

Monday, February 12, 2018

Happy Baseball Birthday... Abraham Lincoln

Today we once again celebrate the Happy Baseball Birthday! of our 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.





It's no secret that I consider Mr. Lincoln the  greatest U.S. President in our country's 242 years, and that I'll watch the movie Lincoln whenever it comes on my TV.


Daniel Day Lewis portrayed Lincoln in the 2012 movie that earned him his 3rd Academy Award.

Lewis's performance is by far the best in any film made about Lincoln, or any other President, for that matter.





Legend has it that Lincoln loved the early game of base ball, and regardless of weather it's true, or not, I choose to believe that he indeed loved the game that became our National Pastime. 


                                                Photo from John Thorn on Facebook.





My Baseball Bucket List definitely includes attending a Washington Nationals game to see President Lincoln win the Racing Presidents run.




Of course the Nationals acknowledged Mr. Lincoln's Birthday...


I always remember Mr. Lincoln's Birthday because, well, he's my favorite President, and, well, his Birthday comes exactly one week before mine.


Happy Baseball Birthday! to our President...our Greatest President!







Play Ball! ⚾️ 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Michigan Card Shows...Muskegon, April 7, 2018

Just a quick post to help my fellow Detroit Tigers collector Bill Welch promote his upcoming card show in Norton Shores, Michigan.








Bill is an awesome Tigers fan, collector, and former military veteran who also helps run Detroit Tigers Collectors "Cards and Memorabilia."


If you are in the area, or are looking for that special gift for that amazing Tigers fan...or for yourself, give Bill a call.

It's a lost time for pitchers and catchers to report to spring training...

...Play Ball! ⚾️

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

There's Only one Miggy

Series One Topps Baseball Cards haven't been out a week yet, but I've found a early candidate for worst card of the year.

Look at this card and tell me what's wrong.




See it? 

Miggy and Hos? 

Miguel Sano has played in the big leagues since 2015.

In all the baseball games I watched him play in, all the MLB Network and ESPN shows, all the baseball related articles I've read about the young slugging 3rd Baseman of the Minnesota Twins, not one single time did I ever hear or see him refered to as... Miggy.


Miggy... are you kidding me with this Topps?

How can this happen...who's the proof reader responsible for this travesty? 

The only Miggy playing big league baseball wears the uniform of the Detroit Tigers, and his name is Miguel Cabrera!






The 2012 and 2013 American League MVP became the first player to win Baseball's Triple Crown in 2012, is a .317 career hitter, on his way to hitting 500 home runs and collecting 3,000 base hits on his way to the Hall of Fame.


OK, I get it, as a Tigers fan I'm probably overly sensitive to this, after all, it's just a baseball card, right?

Wrong!

Baseball cards are an important part of being a fan and card collector.

It's a little thing on the card, "Miggy," but to me, and many Tigers fans, having a 4th year Twins ballplayer being refered by the same nickname as our legendary slugger, well, it's just not right.

If you think I'm crazy, OK, but hit the links to both players baseballreference.com pages and look at their " nicknames" and you'll find that I'm right.

There's only one Miggy...and his name is Miguel Cabrera!

Go Tigers! 🐯⚾️ 

Play Ball! 

Monday, February 5, 2018

First Detroit Tigers Topps Card of 2018

Last Wednesday my wife brought me home a box of 2018 Topps Series 1 Baseball cards.


The box is from Target here in Portage, and I asked her to go there because the Wal-Mart she works at never has any baseball cards the day they're released.


I have to say that I liked the cards more than I did when I first saw the images released.


There's something, I guess, about actually having them in your hands and seeing them up close makes a difference.


I only received one card of a Tigers player, and it was of slick fielding shortstop Jose Iglesias. 





What a great look at Jose making a play to throw out a baserunner! 


Iglesias avoided arbitration and signed a 1-year contract with the Tigers for 2018.




I love Jose, he's one of the best defensive shortstops the Tigers have ever had, and I think if he gets a little better offense this year he'll win a Gold Glove Award, because he's probably the best shortstop with the glove in the American League.


Now that the football season is officially over, it's now time to start to focus on baseball, as pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Lakeland on Valentine's Day.


It's almost time to PLAY BALL! ⚾️

Friday, February 2, 2018

Happy Baseball Birthday... Matt Boyd

Today's Happy Baseball Birthday! goes out to my favorite Detroit Tigers pitcher, lefty hurler Matt Boyd.





Matthew Robert Boyd was born on February 2, 1991, in Bellevue,  Washington, and  attended Oregon State University, and after joining the Tigers in a July 2015 trade with the Blue Jays, Matt received his first Happy Baseball Birthday! wishes from me two years ago.



One of my baseball goals in 2018 is to have the opportunity to meet the young man who shares common ground with me...my middle name and his last  name, one in the same.


I'm also  still looking to collect his many baseball card variations.





See ya at the ballpark Matt!


Happy Baseball Birthday! ...oh, and... Go Tigers! 🐯⚾️πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ 


Think Baseball

Baseball trivia is the best.

Every day towards the end of MLB Now on the MLB Network, hosted most days by Brian Kenny, the show asks a question... Think Baseball.


Now, I wish I could say I have a good track record of getting the answers right, but, well, there's only about 150 years of trivia, and, with lots of questions involving analytics, I'm probably lucky if my batting percentage is somewhere near the Mendoza Line.


So, as I was getting myself ready to call it a day...at around 1:25 am, I had the MLB Network on and I heard the question of the day...


"Eddie Murray of the Baltimore Orioles hit his 500th career home run on September 6, 1996...when hitting 500 home runs was hitting 500 home runs...(before steroids)...name the last player to hit his 500th HR before Murray."


OK, now I'm not sure if the above quote by Mr. Kenny is exactly word for word, but that was pretty close, I believe...it is, as I write this, 2:00 am on February 2nd.


OK...so, as I was walking around the house during the commercial break I'm hoping that somehow I can figure the question out before the show gets back...

(yes, this was me actually thinking out loud)

...let's see...1996...Eddie Murray...500 HRs...yes, I know he hit it vs my Detroit Tigers, I had just travelled to Maryland that night to visit my Uncle Bob...500 HRs when it meant something to hit 500 HRs...that's before steroids ruined the great game of baseball...OK, focus...was it Mike Schmidt vs the Pirates...1987?... maybe...sounds good...or, maybe it was Reggie Jackson...no, that was probably 1986, no, maybe 1984...wasn't Reggie playing for the old California Angels when he hit #500...OK...its Mike Schmidt, vs the Pirates, at Three Rivers Stadium... I can hear Harry Kalas on This Week in Baseball... that's my guess...Michael Jack Schmidt!


As I was walking back to the bedroom I got to my TV just in time...


Michael Jack Schmidt!!





I remember that great call by the late Phillies radio broadcaster Harry Kalas so well...it's great calls like that...they help jar the old memory bank...it's amazing how much useless information I have in my head...and yet, I can't remember something from two days ago that my wife told me, but hey... I got one right Mr. Brian Kenny!

...April 18, 1987... almost 58 years old, but not done yet... one more tick over the Mendoza Line.!


Play Ball! ⚾️ 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Oscar Gamble, 1949-2018

It was reported this morning on MLB Network that former big leaguer Oscar Gamble has passed away at the age of 68.


Oscar was a dynamic player in the 1970s and into the '80s with several clubs, however, what most baseball fans and card collectors remember about Oscar was that glorious afro that he is most famously sporting on his 1976 Topps Baseball Card.






There is no reported cause of Oscar's passing at this time.


We send out prayers to the family and friends of Oscar Gamble, may he rest in peace.