Sunday, May 28, 2017

My All-Time Baseball Lineup (1967-present)

The past few days on social media I've noticed people asking for our All-Time Baseball Players from each position...in our lifetime.


My lifetime is since 1960, but I use 1967 as my baseball lifetime since that's when I attended my first baseball game at Tiger Stadium in Detroit.



The lists started among a group of fellow Tigers fans,  and today I saw it expanded to the big leagues on Facebook.



So, since I've done the Tigers poll, I thought, why not write about non- Tigers players, so, here it is.




My Favorite Big League Baseball Players, 1967-present (Non Detroit Tigers)



C... Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals




My favorite position in baseball.


I've been watching a lot of baseball games in my 50 + years, and none, not Johnny Bench, Thurman Munson, Carlton Fisk, Bob Boone, or Pudge Rodriguez, were better behind the plate than Yadier Molina.

Not to say that Yadi's better than Bench, but he's just as good behind the dish that Bench was, in my opinion, and I've always appreciated the way Molina caught and played the game.



1B... Steve Garvey, Los Angeles Dodgers/San Diego Padres





My favorite All-Time baseball infield was the 1970s Dodgers.

Garvey, Ron Cey, Bill Russell, and Davey Lopes.


To me, the entire '70s Dodgrs infield should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame.



2B... Ryne Sandberg, Chicago Cubs





The best 2nd Baseman in the National League in the 1980s...it was a baseball fans joy to watch a Cubs game on WGN with Harry Caray calling day games at Wrigley Field.



3B... Brooks Robinson, Baltimore Orioles





Not only is Brooks Robinson my favorite 3rd Baseman, he's also the greatest 2nd Baseman in my lifetime, possibly of All-Time.

I have written many times about watching the 1970 World Series from a hospital bed as a 10 year old, watching every single pitch of every game, rooting for the A.L. Orioles because a beautiful nurse told me I should.




SS... Derek Jeter, New York Yankees





In my 51 years watching and following baseball no player played the game with more grace and dignity than The Kalamazoo Kid.


Derek Jeter set the Gold standard for all ballplayers to come.



OF... Dale Murphy, Atlanta Braves






Dale Murphy belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame...nobody was a better ballplayer in the N.L. in the 1980s than Murphy was...including winning Back to Back N.L. MVP Awards in 1982 and 1983.



OF... Ken Griffey, Jr., Seattle Mariners





Simply the sweetest swing I've ever seen.

No ballplayer smiled more or had more fun playing The National Pastime that Junior.



OF... Fred Lynn, Boston Red Sox/California Angels




As a 15 year old Tigers fan I watched on TV one night as Lynn single handily beat Detroit all by himself, driving in 10 fellow BoSox players...as a Rookie!

Lynn may have been the best defensive center fielder I ever saw...he never gave up on a ball and crashed many, many times into outfield walls chasing down would be doubles and triples.

That daredevil play made him one of my favorite all around ballplayers ever.




DH... Edgar Martinez, Seattle Mariners





Edgar Martinez was simply the best DH that I ever saw hit a baseball...in 2018 he shoud become the first DH elected into the HOF.



RHSP... Greg Maddux, Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves





Greg Maddux looked like he was a friend of yours sitting in the desk next to you in math class, and not a big league pitcher that won 4 consecutive Cy Young Awards.



LHSP... Jim Abbott, California Angels/New York Yankees





Jim Abbott... a kid from Flint, Michigan, was born without a right hand, yet he pitched baseball at every level, and did it well, in High School, at The University of Michigan, for Team USA in the 1988 Olympics...winning a GOLD Medal, and in the big leagues, throwing a no-hitter for the Yankees in 1993.



Closer... Tug McGraw, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies




"Ya Gotta Believe." and that's what Tug McGraw did.

No player believed in his teammates more that Tug, a kid who played Double-A Baseball in Jacksonville, Florida for the Suns, and was the closer for the 1980 World Series Champion Phillies.

Oh, and he was Tim McGraw's Dad...that's also pretty cool!



Manager... Tommy Lasorda, Los Angeles Dodgers







I love Tommy Lasorda, and remember him coaching 3rd Base for the Dodgers before becoming the Manager...I can't say that I ever saw any manager with more passion for baseball than Lasorda... " Bleed Dodger Blue" was how he lived every day in baseball.







I had to separate the two teams, Tigers and non-Tigers players, because, obviously, I'd have half the team simply of former Tigers ballplayers, guys like Freehan, Cabrera, Trammell, and Sweet Lou Whitaker.


I also added a Manager to my list, although I've seen nobody else use the team's skipper.



My Favorite Detroit Tigers Players, 1967-present







 Catcher...                                                                   Bill Freehan.. My baseball hero.








1B... Cecil Fielder



2B ... Sweet Lou Whitaker



3B ...                                                                                Miguel Cabrera




 


SS ... Alan Trammell




OF... Al Kaline



                                                                                        Steve Kemp








JD Martinez




RHSP ....                                                                         Justin Verlander







LHSP ... Mickey Lolich



Closer... John Hiller



DH... Gates Brown



MGR...                                                                                    Mayo Smith








Head over to my friend Dub's blog, to check out his post on his favorite players, and a contest.



Play Ball!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Sports Illustrated Cover... May 29, 2017

For the 3rd time in 4 issues, the great game of baseball has made the cover of Sports Illustrated. 








Senior SI Baseball writer Tom Verducci takes a look at old Uncle Charlie, the Curveball.



I'm not sure when S.I. last put baseball on the cover so often, but, as I've stated many times, it's awesome when The National Pastime graces sports most recognizable magazine.




Yankees young slugger Aaron Judge graced the cover on May 11th.








High School phenom Hunter Greene made his S.I. debut on May 1st.







Make sure to head over to S.I.com and give Verduuci's article a read, or, if you can, go out and get the issue at your local area bookstore.


PLAY BALL!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Derek Jeter Week... My Final Vote for #Jeets16 Bracket

This week the folks at Cut 4 @ MLB.com have been asking fans to vote for the most iconic moment in the 20 year career of Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.



I've been voting all week on Twitter, and today I voted on the Final choice...



                                                                             "THE JEET 16"




To me, if you walk up to me ask ask what you'd say was Derek's most memorable play or moment in his career, I'd tell you it's " The Flip."











The walk-off base hit in his final at bat is right there, and I get why fans would vote for it, or the "Mr. November" home run, or Derek's HR for his 3,000th career base hit, but for me, that play in Oakland in the playoffs is the #1 play.



That play, "The Flip," came when the Yankees, down two games to none against the Athletics in the ALDS were in need of a huge play, and their Captain, their leader, Derek Jeter, was there to make that play.



The Yankees are retiring the #2 uniform number that Derek wore from 1995 until his final game in 2014, and I'll be right there in front of the TV on Sunday Night to watch the ceremonies.






I'm sure you'll be there as well.


Play Ball!

30 Day Baseball Card Challenge... Day 24

Day 24 of the 30 Day Baseball Card Challenge is a favorite oddball card from the 1960s.




I don't know how long I've had this oddball card, in fact, I never considered it odd at all, it was just a over sized card of my favorite player, Bill Freehan.








                                           My 1964 Topps SUPER 3x5 #30 Bill Freehan Card

     That's Tigers slugging 1st Baseman Norm Cash shaking hands with Freehan at home plate.



The best part of the card, besides it being of Freehan, is the story on the back, with Bill reaching base 9 straight times in 1963 for the Detroit Tigers.



Bill Freehan  has been my favorite player longer than I can remember, and I know for sure as a 4 year old I didn't know anything about baseball, or baseball cards, so I probably picked up the card sometime in the mid/ late 1970s when I had money.



I searched Google for oddball cards of the 1960s and found many Freehan cards that I never knew existed, and would love to have.



I'll definitely be at the next card show here in Portage next month with my eyes open for any oddball Freehan stuff.



Up next in the challenge is an oddball 1970s baseball card...I already know the two, yes, two cards that I'll post about.



PLAY BALL!












Thursday, May 11, 2017

Derek Jeter Week... The Players Tribune

We're one day closer to Derek Jeter Day this Sunday Night, time for another post about my favorite player to play for the Yankees.



Derek created a terrific website, the Players Tribune, a place for athletes to write letters to fans in all sports.



                                        Image result for the players tribune





Athlete's from every sport have taken to the site to thank fans for their support during both good times, and bad, times, in their careers.




Today Derek penned his own heartfelt letter to the City of New York.





In February Mrs. Jeter herself, Hannah, penned this terrific letter about her Husband.




Here's a link to the BASEBALL page of the Players Tribune.... head over to the links provided, it's truly a special place for baseball fans to go.




PLAY BALL!







This Week's Sports Illustrated Cover... Aaron Judge

With all I've got going on this week, starting my Derek Jeter Week posts, continuing the 30 Day Baseball Card Challenge, I missed this week's Sports Illustrated cover reveal, and so here's my belated post.


This week SI put a baseball player  on the cover for the 2nd time in three weeks, putting New York Yankees rookie phenom Aaron Judge.











The headline says it all...                   " ALL RISE"

Aaron Judge is on this Week's Sports Illustrated Cover.
Judge has come into this baseball season slugging his team into first place, batting .317, with 33 hits, 13 of them home runs, while driving in 28 base runners in 104 at bats, with a .413 on base percentage and a whopping .760 slugging percentage!




Two weeks ago SI put another baseball phenom, High School star Hunter Greene.



I absolutely love watching Aaron Judge play baseball, trying to watch Yankee games when I can, and making sure to watch my favorite baseball show, Quick Pitch, with Heidi Whatney and Jamie Hersch every night on the MLB Network.




We are in a new age in baseball, with a tremendous group of young ballplayers, and Judge has quickly put himself right in the middle of terrific young players like Mike Trout, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, Mookie Betts, Many Machado, and Corey Seager.



I hope I pay attention next Tuesday...another great baseball player, or moment,,, (Derek Jeter retirement), just might make it onto the SI Cover.



Play Ball!

30 Day Baseball Card Challenge... Day 23

Day 23 of the 30 Day Baseball Card Challenge is a favorite oddball card from the 1950s.



Probably the greatest thing that's come out of this awesome challenge is finding and learning about baseball cards that I never knew existed.



I don't own any oddball cards for the '50s, so I scoured the Internet, and found some great choices before settling in on today's card.



I'm combining the card challenge with a Happy Baseball Birthday! post for former Detroit Tigers Hall of Fame 2nd Baseman Charlie Gehringer, who was born on May 11, 1903, in Fowlerville, Michigan.



Gehringer is, to me, the most underrated and under appreciated second baseman in baseball history.



Searching the Internet for today's card challenge I came across this card, a 1950 Callahan HOF Baseball #34 of Gehinger.





A simplistic sketch card illustrates a young Charley, probably from a picture taken of him in the 1920s...his first year was 1924...and the card has the facsimile Gehringer signature.




B.E. Callahan, publisher of the famous Who's Who in Baseball book was the man behind the set HOF cards.



Gehinger was simply one of the best 2nd sackers to ever play in the big leagues, and the best in Tigers history.



Charley Gehringer played for the Tigers from 1924-1942, only wearing the Olde English D uniform and no other.



In his 19 years Charley appeared in 2,323 baseball games, collecting 2,839 base hits, 184 HR, 146 triples, 547 doubles, 1,427 RBI, scoring 1,775 runs.



Defensively Charley was also terrific, retiring with a .973 fielding percentage in 2,185 games at 2nd Base, with just 309 errors in 12, 746 chances, turning 1,444 double plays.






Those defensive stats earned him one of baseball's All-Time great nicknames of "The Mechanical Man"



Charley was the 1937 American League MVP, played in 3 World Series with the Tigers, winning the Series in 1935, Detroit's first ever WS victory.



In 1949 Charley was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.




Happy Baseball Birthday! to the Mechanical Man!



Tomorrow's challenge is an oddball card from the 1960s... I'm already hitting up Google to find a great card.




PLAY BALL!




Wednesday, May 10, 2017

30 Day Baseball Card Challenge... Day 22

Day 22 of the 30 Day Baseball Card Challenge is a card of a common player that always seemed to elude you.


This is definitely a challenge today.



As I've posted along the way in this journey through baseball cards, I had every single issue Topps Baseball card between 1968 and 1980...complete collections.





So, I thought about the common baseball card that is currently eluding me, two cards of Milwaukee Brewers Korean import, Eric Thames.




                                                         2012 Topps #293 Eric Thames


                                                              2011 Topps Update #US288



I have boxes of common baseball cards for the last five years, or so, and after Thames started blasting homers for the Brew Crew, I started going through those boxes, and, as of yet, have failed to come across one single Thames card.


I'm still digging through boxes, but, hey, if you have a extra Thames common laying around, give me a shout out, I'd be interested in trading for them...thanks.




If you need Thames cards, here's his Check out My Card page of commons.




Up next in the challenge is a favorite oddball card from the 1950s.







PLAY BALL!

Baseball Bulletin... Derek Jeter Week Edition

This Baseball Bulletin is all about Derek Jeter Week, leading up to the #2 uniform retirement ceremony this weekend at Yankee Stadium.









I've been writing this week about Derek, one of my All-Time favorite ballplayers.


Here's what I've posted so far...

Day 1...Derek Jeter Week Begins.

Day 2... Rookie of the Year.

Day 3... Jeter's Gold Glove Awards.




Some things about Derek that I've come across are...



Well, we'll start with Derek and Jeb Bush buying the Miami Marlins.



Over at Cut 4 at MLB.com you can decide whats the MOST ICONIC DEREK JETER moment.



Chris Bahr of FOX SPORTS reports on Derek's ONLY REGRET in his career,



Alfred Santasiere III reports for Yankees Magazine on why Derek chose Sunday Night to have his number 2 retired....







,,,and Alfred also takes us back to the naming of Derek Jeter Field at Kalamazoo Central.



This Jeter fan is all in this week, and wants all of us to use hashtag #Respect2Jeter.



And, of course, not everyone wants an entire week of Jeter, says the fans at Pinstripe Alley.



Jeter is a truly humble man, and that's how he played the game, humbled by the men who came before him that wore the Yankee Pinstripes.



I'll be posting, as much as I can, the rest of the week, including a post on Jeter baseball cards.



Remember, use #derekjeterweek on Social Media this week.... PLAY BALL!

Derek Jeter Week... Day 3

It's Day 3 of Derek Jeter Week, as we look forward to the New York Yankees adding Derek to the Immortals of the Pinstripes on Sunday Night.

I'll post something about the future Hall of Fame ballplayer every day this week, honoring the Kalamazoo Kid.








Derek Jeter  won 5 Gold Glove Awards in his distinguished big league career, in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, and in 2010.



As far as shortstops go, only Ozzie Smith, 13, Omar Vizquel, 11,  Luis Aparicio, 9, and Mark Belanger, 8,  have won more Gold Gloves as a shortstop than Derek has.







Gold Gloves have only been awarded since 1957.... here's the complete list of every big league shortstop to win the Gold Glove Award.



If you're on Social Media, use the hashtag #derekjeterweek and post your best Jeter moments.



Play Ball!


2017 Sports Emmy Awards... Baseball Winners

The 38th annual Sports Emmy Awards were held Monday Night in New York City.


There were 8 different winners with baseball media ties...


The Lifetime Achievement Award was given to longtime broadcaster Brent Musburger.


                             





The 2017 Sports Emmy Award Winners are...



GEORGE WENSEL TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD... MLB Network Showcase


OUTSTANDING LIVE EVENT Audio/Sound... MLB ON FOX /  FOX/FS1/MLB Network


OUTSTANDING TECHNICAL TEAM/STUDIO... MLB Tonight MLB Network


OUTSTANDING STUDIO SHOW--LIMITED RUN ... FOX/FS1/FoxSports.com ( THE POSTSEASON)


OUTSTANDING LONG FORM EDITING... CONFESSIONS OF A CUBS FAN: A CENTURY OF WAITING ... FS1


OUTSTANDING SPORTS PERSONALITY - STUDIO HOST- BOB COSTAS ... MLB Network/NBC/NBCSN


                                                 


OUTSTANDING LIVE SPORTS SPECIAL... 112TH WORLD SERIES Chicago Cubs vs Cleveland Indians ... MLB on FOX


                                                         


You had to expect baseball winners would get some Emmy LOVE because of the 2016 World Series Championship run put on by the Chicago Cubs, and they're all well deserved.



Congratulations to all the winners who covered our National Pastime on their awards.







PLAY BALL

Derek Jeter Week... Day 2

Day 2 of Derek Jeter Week celebrates Derek's 1996 Rookie of the Year Award.








Derek was the unanimous selection as the 1996 Rookie of the Year by the Baseball Writers Association of America.



Derek was drafted by the New York Yankees with the 6th pick of the 1992 Amateur Player Draft out of Kalamazoo Central High School in my Hometown of Kalamazoo, Michigan.


In 1992 Kalamazoo Central's baseball field was re-named Derek Jeter Field.











How could I not love a baseball player who made it to the big leagues and went to the same High School as my Mom, and my Aunt's and Uncle's from both sides of the family tree.



In 1996 Derek played in 157 games for the Yankees,batting .314,  collecting 183 hits, 10 HR, 25 doubles, 6 triples, scoring 104 runs in 582 at bats.



In the playoffs Derek collected 22 more base hits as the Yankees won the World Series.




On Sunday Night the Yankees will retire Derek's uniform #2 with a pre game ceremony before they play the Houston Astros.



If you're on Twitter, use the hashtag #derekjeterweek , and look me up at @freehan11 to share your Jeter memories,


Play Ball!









Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Baseball Card of the Day... 1983Topps Tony Gwynn

Today would've been the 57th Happy Baseball Birthday! of former big league outfielder Tony Gwynn, and to celebrate I've made my 1983 Topps #482 Tony Gwynn RC today's Baseball Card of the Day. 










What's great about this Gwynn RC is that I've had it since I pulled it out of a pack of '83 Topps... in 1983.


The '83 Topps set is one of the best cards that Topps have produced, with that great action shot of Tony and the player portrait in the lower left hand corner, and the card back is crisp and clear, easy to read.




I've been watching today's Rangers vs Padres game today on the MLB Network,  and they are using the Padres TV broadcast of the game, allowing us to hear some great stories about Tony on his Birthday.




Never had the opportunity to watch Tony Gwynn play baseball in person, but I enjoyed him as a baseball fan through many games on TV, reading stories and box scores in newspapers, and collecting his baseball cards.





Tony was also a pretty good baseball analyst on TV, and I, like many millions of other fans, got to see him working  with the ESPN and Baseball Tonight crews over the years.



Today we celebrate the too short, but magnificent life of Baseball Hall of Fame player, husband, father, and coach, the great Tony Gwynn. 



PLAY BALL!


Monday, May 8, 2017

30 Day Baseball Card Challenge... Day 21

Day 21 of the 30 Day Baseball Card Challenge is a baseball card of a rookie that you thought you were " investing " in.



Now this isn't easy, because I've never really been a investor of any one players baseball cards, as I've always collected baseball cards as if I was that boy of 8 years old opening up baseball cards looking for Detroit Tigers players.



That said, I've acquired quite a few cards of many ballplayers, but I only have them because they were either in packs that I opened, or they were cards that I traded for...I never purchased hundreds of cards because I though that player was going to make me a ton of money.



I was in the Navy in the late 1980s, and cards of Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire of the Oakland Athletics were the "big" names in the card hobby.



We bought packs and boxes of 1986/87/88/89 Topps cards hoping to get a Canseco or McGwire card, along with cards of Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs, Don Mattingly, Ozzie Smith and Dale Murphy.



We had no idea at the time that the so called "junk" era of baseball cards was in full swing, and that any cards we would get in those packs were going to be worth pretty much nothing because all of the companies... Topps, Fleer, Donruss, and Upper Deck, were mass producing cards at an alarming rate.


If we found that special card, yes, we went right to the Beckett Card Guide, but we needed, or I did, to know the value of a card in order to trade it back to the card shop owner for another card you wanted, or you knew another collector who would trade a card that he had to you for the card you just got in that pack.



With all that said, I decided to use my 1987 Topps #620 Jose Canseco card as today's challenge card.









Just in case you were wondering, here's a '87 Topps Canseco for sale... for a whopping .... .18 cents!




I still have an entire box of 1987 Topps cards that I opened and put right back in the box...30 years...that's a long time ago for sure.



I have many great 1980s and 1990s cards, cards of terrific ballplayers like brand new HOFer Rock Raines, Alan Trammell, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs, Gary Carter, and Kirby Puckett.



I've never collected baseball cards purely for the money, although I have sold cards in the past out of pure economic need...It still hurts that I had to do that instead of trading for other cards that I needed to complete a set, or just wanted because I liked the card or the player.


Today the hobby is much different, and yes, I hope that Ill pull that next great card....mostly know because I hope that I'll be able to trade it for a Miguel Cabrera or Justin Verlander card.



Up next in the challenge is a card of a " common " player that always seemed to elude you.



Play Ball!




Derek Jeter Week... Day 1

While watching last nights 18 inning Yankees win over the Cubs  at Wrigley Field, I saw that this coming Sunday the Yankees will be honoring legendary shortstop Derek Jeter prior to the game vs the Houston Astros.






















I thought this week I'd honor Jeter by posting something each day to honor my favorite player to ever win the Yankee Pinstripes.




Up first is my post about Jeter back in 2010, where I declared him My favorite Yankee player of All-Time.




I'm continuously amazed every day how much Jeter gets vilified on Twitter/... he gave 100% each and every play in his 20 years in the big leagues, starting with his 1996 Rookie of the Year season that ended with the Yankees winning their first of FIVE World Series Championships with Jeter at shortstop.







I've  been watching baseball for over 50 years, and there simply haven't been any players who've played the game with more grace and dignity than Derek Jeter.


I hope you will share your best Jeter memories on your blogs this week,.., I'd really enjoy reading them.


If your on Twitter, use hashtag #Jeets16 on your posts this week.



You can find me on Twitter at @freehan11.


Play Ball!