Thursday, December 30, 2010

BBA: Blyleven and Alomar recommended for Hall of Fame

286 game winner Bert Blyleven, and 10 time Gold Glove winning shortstop Roberto Alomar have been recommended by the Baseball Bloggers Alliance for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

Both Blyleven and Alomar received 75.97% of the vote, or 117 of 154 of the votes cast by the members of the BBA.

I was one of the members who were honored to vote for the Hall of Fame, and you can find my ballot here.

Barry Larkin, the 1995 MVP Cincinnati Reds shortstop finished third in the balloting, with 70.78% of all ballots cats.

The Baseball Writers Association of America vote for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame will be released January 5th, live on the MLB Network @ 1PM.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Here we are, Christmas time. 

Was your big league club on the naughty list, and receive coal in last years stocking, like the Royals, Orioles, Pirates and Diamondbacks, or were they on the nice list, like the Giants, rewarded with visions of World Series rings dancing in their heads.

Will next year be our year, did Santa special deliver that much needed closer. back up catcher, or middle infielder.

Did ole Kris Kringle reward your team with that Cy Young winner, MVP, or special rookie you asked for?

Aren't we fans always good boys and girls, cheering on our team no matter what?

Well, maybe we shouldn't speak for New York fans, the Grinch always seems to have them covered.

So, here's to all the big league fans out there, see you in the spring.

Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Happy Birthday to Mr. Tiger

Today we celebrate the birthday of the greatest right fielder to ever play for the Detroit Tigers, Mr. Tiger, Al Kaline.

Kaline patrolled the right field corner of Briggs and Tiger Stadium like he owned the place.

He did.

Possessing he best arm in baseball, Kaline ruled American League outfield's of the 1950's and 60's with reckless abandon, making great diving catch after great diving catch.

Many a base runner tested the rocket arm of Kaline, ending up wondering how the kid from Baltimore got to a ball that was a sure double, throwing them out at second base with a precise throw from "Kaline's Corner."

You can look up all of Al Kaline's stat's here, including his 3,007 hits, but what gave him the place in our hearts, what set him apart from other players, was simply that Kaline, each and ever day, was his grace and dignity.

Al Kaline loved playing baseball, and he love the Tigers, their fans, and he loved the City of Detroit.

Baseball fans in the Motor City took that skinny kid from Baltimore and made them one of their own, and for that, Kaline gave his heart and soul to the game he loved.

Every pitch, every play, every at bat, every day, every game,

                                      Happy Birthday Mr. Tiger.   

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Happy Birthday to the Georgia Peach

124 years ago today, in the small town of Narrows, Georgia, the greatest hitter in the history of big league baseball was born.

Tyrus Raymond Cobb, "The Georgia Peach," was the most fierce and talented player to ever grace the diamond, and probably the most hated.

Ty Cobb/Hall of Fame 

Ty Cobb Official Web Site 

Whatever you think of Cobb's actions, he was the best hitter baseball has ever seen. 

12 batting titles, 4,191 hits, 2245 runs scored, and 892 stolen bases in a 24 year career, including 23 straight seasons of hitting .300 or better.

Oh, and a .367 lifetime batting average...a Major League Record.

The Georgia Peach was the first player selected into the inaugural class of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936.

"Baseball is a red-blooded sport for red-blooded man. It's no pink tea, and mollycoddles had better stay out. It's a struggle for supremacy, survival of the fittest."

Friday, December 17, 2010

Rapid Robert Feller

Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller passed away on Wednesday, at the age of 92.

I had the pleasure of meeting Feller, at a Jacksonville Suns game back in the late 1980's.

Feller was a true gentleman of the game, and he loved to talk baseball with fans.

He took time to sign a picture for me, and to tell me about facing off against the great Detroit Tigers teams of the day.

Feller was a great pitcher, the winner of 266 big league games, who served our country in WWII, in the Navy.

It's sad, to me, to lose these wonderful big league men who played so long ago.

I love the history of our great game, and listening to Feller talk baseball was a thrill, in person, and on TV.
I will always remember that talk with Feller, as special a man as you would ever have met.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

1960 Game 7 lost footage airs on MLB-TV

Tonight on MLB-TV I'm watching, and taping, Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, which is being shown in it's entirety.

I was born on February 19th, 1960, so I wasn't watching, that I can remember, the series, in fact, the '68 St. Louis Cardinals-Detroit Tigers World Series was the first that I remember watching.

Below is a link to the story on the game from,

 The Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Yankees are playing the decisive game of the series in Pittsburgh's famed Forbes Field.

Mel Allen, the Voice of the Yankees, and the Pirates Bob Prince do the play by play.

We get to see great Hall of Famers like Yogi Berra, Bill Mazeroski, Mickey Mantle, and the great Roberto Clemente.

There will be no multiple camera angles, no microphones on the field, no close ups or replays  of players stealing second, or backing off a fastball at the plate.

Umpires are old school, with vintage caps and in full umpire suits and ties.

I love the old Pirates muscle uniforms too, and and watching the Yankees manager, Casey Stengel, the "ole perfessor," as he's besides himself trying to stop the Pirates offense.

Oh, and the score is shown by having a camera on the Forbes Field scoreboard, watching the numbers being hand.

The game was filmed by kinescope while the game was being broadcast on TV.

Bing Crosby was a part owner of the Pirates, and headed to Europe, to nervous to watch the game, and had a aide record the game via the kinescope.

If you get a chance, watch the special with Bob Costas before hand.

Costas, the best baseball TV guy there is, with a special taping done before the game was shown at a local Pittsburgh theatre.

This is how I learned to watch baseball on TV, one camera from center field, one showing the dugouts and the on deck hitters, and one from behind home plate, way higher up than they are today.

If your a baseball fan, this is a must see. If you don't have the MLB Network, you can buy the DVD here, @

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Thumbs Up Award...Cliff Lee

When I heard that the most coveted free agent pitcher in baseball, left hander Cliff Lee had signed with the Philadelphia Phillies, I was, as a lifelong baseball fan, ecstatic.

Now, I know, we old school baseball fans really don't like the way piles and piles of cash have taken over the game, but in going to the Phillies, where he pitched in 2009, Lee has made a choice for himself, and where he feels comfortable.

Yes, he could have gone back to the Texas Rangers, a place he loved to play also, but he also turned down the mighty and powerful OZ, er, the New York Yankees, who threw everything they could, even the clubhouse sink, to get Lee.

OK< Lee did get $120 Million over 5 years, and that's still a pi;e of cash, but it's still not as much as the Yankees offered, and that's why I applaud Lee.

For many years now, players have gone for the big pile of money, but they always said the money wasn't the reason they signed.

They stated things like school systems for their kids, even though they could afford to send their kids to any school in America.

Remember, Mike Hampton in Colorado?

In 2001, Alex Rodriguez went to the Texas Rangers as a $250 Million dollar free agent, stating he really liked where the Rangers were headed. 

Where they were headed was the bottom of the American League West, and after 3 years with the lowly Rangers, he demanded a trade out of Texas, and the cash rich Yankees came calling.

I know players have a right to make money, but they also have a responsibility to act like adults, and explain why they went to a certain team.

We know it was for the money, just say so.

Cliff Lee got paid a lot of money today, but he did what he wanted to do, and said so.

He didn't want to play in New York, or in Texas.

He wanted to go back to Philly, the place where he felt comfortable.

Thanks Cliff Lee, I applaud you.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance

As the great Chico Escuela once said, "baseball has been very, very good to me..."

I had been looking to find a new carer since I became disabled in 2009.

I had to find something to keep me busy, and so my wife taught me how to get onto the Internet.

 A whole new world of sports, and sports fans had been opened up to me, including finding the great game of big league baseball at and

As time went on I traveled all around the web, finding out that there were actual baseball fans who were writing there own opinions, thoughts, and passion for our National Pastime.

The passion for big league baseball, and baseball in general, couldn't be any better than the passionate fans who are members of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance

Every form of baseball, from the minors, to the majors, is covered by the great writers on the BBA.

Daniel Shoptaw, a fan of the St.Louis Cardinals, started the BBA in 2009, and a terrific interview with him is here, on the blog Miscellaneous Baseball.

It was an honor to be accepted into this great fraternity of baseball lovers, fans who show their love of the game and their teams with every stroke of the keyboard.

Today is Baseball Bloggers Alliance Day, a day in which the blog members of the BBA will write about their blogs and the alliance we are all a part of.

Every big league team is represented in the BBA, and there are also blogs, like this one, covering baseball in general, and the history of our National Pastime.

What I love about the BBA is that it has one, and only one requirement...

...that you keep up your passion and love of the game of baseball by writing about baseball as much as you can, keeping your blog going with the passion of a Ty Cobb spikes high slide into 3rd base.

For a link to the BBA list of blogs, go here.

There are 32 blogs on the Yankees and Mets, 10 San Francisco Giants blogs, 9 Philadelphia Phillies blogs, and even 8 Kansas City Royals fan bloggers who write passionately about George Brett, Bret Saberhagen, and weather or not Zack Greinke will stay a Royal, or be traded.

The game of baseball has no equal in sports history.

Dating back to the 1869 Cincinnati Red Legs, pro baseball will be entering it's 142nd season in 2011.

The blog you are reading is my passion for the game I have loved since my uncle taught me how to play in the mid 1960's.
I write about baseball history, and what I love about America's grand game.

I hope you will check out some of the other blogs that are in the BBA. They are outstanding fans who live and die with their teams for 162 days of the year, and then wonder what next year will bring the other 203 days of the year.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown will be enshrining it's 75th class of big league immortals, and the writers of the BBA will be voting on who we believe belong in that hallowed hall.

It is just one of several opportunities we writers have to let the baseball world know how we, as fans, see the sport we have loved since the days of our innocence.
"Baseball, I think, is the greatest sport of all..." George Herman "Babe" Ruth

Reminder: Friday baseball talk

Just a quick reminder that Austin Drake of

talk baseball tomorrow @ 12 NOON on my radio show, 

Join us as we talk about our National Pastime.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My Hall of Fame Votes

As a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance I was honored to be asked to vote for the best big league ball players not in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

There were 300 former ball players on the ballot, all who have been over looked by either the Baseball Writers Association of America( BBWAA) or the Veteran's Committee.

On his blog, Baseball Past and Present Graham Womack asked the members of the BBA to chose the 50 players on the ballot that we felt deserved recognition as worthy of enshrinement into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

Only 292 players have been inducted in Cooperstown, an elite list in the glorious 141 years since the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stocking began playing professional baseball/

The player receiving the most votes was Bert Blyleven, who won 287 games in his 22 years career.

Here are the 50 players that I put on my ballot...
Bill Freehan, Jack Morris, Allan Trammell, Lou Whittaker, Ron Santo, Bert Blyleven, Robby Alomar, Curt Flood, Steve Garvey, Gil Hodges, Fernando Valenzuela, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Pete Rose, Barry Larkin, Mickey Lolich, Pepper Martin, Don Mattingly, Mark McGwire, Minnie Minoso, Thurman Munson, Dale Murphy, Lefty O'Doul, Don Newcombe, Buck O'Neil, Tim Raines, Bobby Thompson, Joe Torre, Jeff Bagwell, Bobby Bonds, Dom DiMaggio, Mark Grace, Tommy John, Davey Lopes, Roger Maris, Edgar Martinez, Jon Olerud, Schoolboy Rowe, Ted Simmons, Rusty Staub, Bobby Veach, Larry Walker, Smokey Joe Wood, Harold Baines, Bill Buckner, Phil Cavaretta, Vince Coleman, Dwight Evans, Babe Herman, Tony Oliva, Raphael Palmeiro.
As you can tell by my first vote, I selected Detroit Tigers catcher Bill Freehan.

I believe he belongs in the HOF, and even though I know he won't be selected, I know that from 1963-72 he was the best catcher in the American League.

 I was also very excited to see that Freehan finished 48th, and that 19 of my fellow baseball fans selected Freehan on their ballot.

 To me, that's verification enough that my hero deserves to be mentioned among the greatest catchers of All-Time.

As for the Hall of Fame, I still don't see how the BBWAA can keep out players like Blyleven, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, and Ron Santo.
In a previous post on the passing of Santo I wrote that I hoped the writers get together and select the Cubs 3rd baseman on this years ballot. He deserves it.

The BBWAA isn't always on my list of favorite people, because I believe they just don't know the history of baseball, and they get caught up in their own agendas.

It's easy to vote for Aaron, Ruth, Seaver, Ryan, Brett, etc., but it takes a true baseball man to do the homework and recognize that not every player will be Ruth, or Gehrig, or Bench.

If that's the criteria, then how can someone vote for another hitter. Ty Cobb had 4191 hits, and won 12 batting titles. 

No one will ever play defense like Willie Mays, so how could you compare a players outfield play when voting for the HOF?

The answer is simple. 

It's not the Hall of Ruth, Cobb, Gehrig, Young, and Mays.

It's the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

On the Radio

Just a quick reminder to join me on John's Big League Radio Show every Monday and Friday @ 12 NOON.

Next Friday, December 10th, I will be joined by Austin Drake, founder of Detroit Tigers Scorecard Blog.

We will be talking baseball for the entire half hour, so join us, as we talk about the end of the baseball season, the Hot Stove League, and the post season awards.

Ron Santo, Cubs legend

Ron Santo, the best 3rd baseman in the National League for most of the 1960's, has passed away at the age of 70.

As a life long baseball fan, it was sad to hear of Santo's passing. He was a true baseball fan, and someone I loved to watch play as a kid.

Growing up in south western Michigan was a baseball fans delight.

I got to listen to big league baseball on the radio from both the American League, through the Detroit Tigers, and the National League, with the Chicago Cubs.

I also got to watch the Cubs on a daily basis on cable, Superstation WGN, and I loved those day games @ Wrigley.

Don Kessinger @ shortstop, , Glenn Beckert @ second base, Jim Hickman @ first base, and Ron Santo @ third base. A terrific infield.

Ron Santo played throughout his big league career loving the Cubs, and the city of Chicago.

Those lovable losers on the North Side of Chicago, the Cubbies, 102 years and counting since their last World Series win.

No one epitomized the Cubs like Santo, who became as popular a broadcaster as any city in baseball as ever know, wearing his love of the team, and the city that was his life for 50 years.

Santo came up to the Cubs in 1960, @ the age of 20, and for the next 15 years he played the "hot corner" like a Hall of Fame player.

Ron Santo isn't in the HOF, but he should be, and the BBWAA should put him in this year.

2,243 games
.277 average
                                                            342 Home Runs
                                                            1,331 RBIs
                                                           5 Gold Gloves
                                                           9 All-Star games

Ron Santo also played baseball while battling Type 1 diabetes, something baseball fans never knew, because Santo never let it stop him from playing the game he loved.

As a diabetic myself, I look at the courage of a man like Ron Santo, who lost both of his legs to diabetes, and I know how blessed I am.

I hope I will have the same courage to face my disease as Ron Santo did, in fact, if I'm half the man of Santo, then that would be a blessing.