Monday, January 26, 2015

Happy Baseball Birthday...The State of Michigan

Today we celebrate Happy Baseball Birthday #178 to the great State of Michigan.

Michigan gained Statehood on January 26, 1837, the 26th State in the Union.

I was born in Kalamazoo,  and lived in East Lansing, Kalamazoo, Muskegon, and Portage, graduating from Portage Northern High School. 

In both Muskegon,  and in Portage,  my brothers and I played a lot of baseball, both on the local sandlots, and in Little League Baseball.

My brother Robert and I even got to play together on the same Little League team, Robert at 2nd Base,  Me at 1st Base.

Michigan has a tremendous baseball history.

Kalamazoo baseball dates back to at least 1858, when the city's first "official" Village team was organized by early town residents,  including Oscar Coleman, playing many games in Bronson Park.

Bronson Park is the place where my Grandmother Sharp and Uncle Bob took us boys to play on the weekends and during the summertime in Kalamazoo.

The simple thought that as a young boy I played around in the  grass and water fountains of the same park young boys played base ball over 100 years previous,  is what makes baseball special.

Base Ball  was being played by kids in Michigan since at least the 1830s, and the State's first professional ball club, The Franklin Club,  formed in 1857.

The Detroit Base Ball Club  was formed in the Motor City on May 25, 1859.

Professional big league baseball in Michigan produced many great ball clubs, including the 1887 World Champion Detroit Wolverines,  the famed House of David, the American League Detroit Tigers, and the Negro Leagues Detroit Stars.

Tiger Stadium was always the place all us kids wanted to go to, to  go watch our heroes, Al Kaline, Willie Horton, Mickey Lolich, and Bill Freehan,  play baseball.

It was the same field that saw Ty Cobb, "Wahoo" Sam Crawford, Charlie Gehringer,  Hank Greenberg,  Schoolboy Rowe, and Dizzy Trout wear the Olde English D. 

 Jim Abbott, Kiki Cuyler, Bobby Grinch, Jim Kaat, Milt Pappas, J.J. Putz, Ted Simmons, and John Smoltz are all big league ballplayers born in the State of Michigan

Big League Ballplayers born in Michigan

The University of Michigan Wolverines  started a baseball team in 1866, Michigan State University Spartans in 1884, and my hometown Western Michigan University Broncos in 1911.

The very first College World Series was played in my hometown of Kalamazoo, at Hyames Field, Western's Home Ballpark.

The Yale University 1st Baseman that day was a young man named George Herbert Walker Bush.

1947 and 1948 College World Series

There's so much more baseball history I could write about, and the future I need to do that.

Many thanks for help in my research for this #HappyBaseballBirthday blog post go out to  Michigan's Past on Tumblr, and (@MichiganHist) on Twitter.

They sent me these links....

Hey Batter Batter

Baseball Fever: Early Baseball in Michigan

Thanks so much to that site for their help.

Follow them on their Social Media sites, it's worth getting tjosr great tweets every day.

#HappyBaseballBirthday to my home, my place of birth, the Great State of Michigan!


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