Thursday, January 31, 2013

Today's Google Front Page

Today is my youngest brother's birthday.

Until today I had no idea he celebrate his birthday with Erine Banks, Nolan Ryan, and Jackie Robinson.

To celebrate the Jackie's 94th birthday, Google has honored the former Dodger and Baseball Hall of Fame player on it's home page.

How awesome if that!

For a complete list of all of today's birthday boys, go here.

Happy Birthday to everyone born on this day, including Joe Sharp, who, with every birthday, reminds me of exactly old I am as the older brother.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Favorite Southsider

Today in my series of favorite All-Time players from every big league team I take a look at my favorite player from the South Side of Chicago.

That player is former White Sox third baseman Bill Melton.

For the most part of the 1970s the top billing on the White Sox belonged to Dick Allen, but for me, Bill Melton was always a player I enjoyed watching.

Every Sunday during home games in 2012 the White Sox wore their red pinstripe '72 uniforms, and every time I turned on WGN on a Sunday afternoon I'd seen those stand out uniforms and remember Bill Melton.

Melton was signed as a free agent by the ChiSox in 1964, and made his big league debut for Chicago in 1968.

In ten season, mostly as one of the American League's best third sackers, Melton crushed 160 home runs, including 33 dingers each in 1970 and 71, the latter leading the Junior Circuit.

Melton was selected to  his only All-Star Game in 1971, held at Tiger Stadium in Detroit.

I really only got to see "Beltin' Bill" when the Tigers played the ChiSox at old Comiskey Park in Chicago, when the Tigers road games were on TV.

I did get to watch an occasional Sox game on cable TV when Harry Carey was the club's TV play by play guy.

When I was looking up his stats today I was surprised to find 
 that Melton only played until 1977, because  it seemed like he played longer.

Also, I don't remember him playing for the California Angels, just as a ChiSox power guy.

Steve Gierman, my baseball card friend who writes White Sox Cards had this to say about Melton...

Melton is still respected in Chicago, but mostly because of his work as a pre and post game commentator for White Sox games. His accomplishments of an AL HR title and a White Sox single season HR title were eclipsed by the arrival of Dick Allen in 1972, who eclipsed his Sox HR record by 5, but also won the MVP. Bill had hit 33 in both 1970 and 1971 and became the toast of the town, but was mostly remembered for dwindling production when he was traded. But Sox fans don't forget special players and Melton has held onto fans hearts by being the sole reason to cheer for some of the worst Sox teams in 1970 and 1971. His dry humor and wit that he brings bookmarking White Sox games today cemented his place in team history. 

If your a White Sox fan and a collector of all things ChiSox, look up Steve on his blog, he's a good guy, and we have traded Tigers cards for White Sox cards in the past.

★★★★Happy Baseball Birthday! today, July 7, 2015, to Bill Melton!★★★★

Play Ball!

Happy Birthday Ton Selleck

Today we celebrate the 68th birthday of Detroit Tigers fan Tom Selleck.

Selleck was born in Detroit, Michigan on this day in 1945, the same year the Tigers would win the World Series over the Chicago Cubs.

Coincidence or not that Selleck was born the same year the Tigers got back slugging Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg back after World War II...?

I've seen Mr. Selleck in several TV interviews talk about his growing up a Tigers fan, and wanting to be his hero, Tigers Hall of Fame RF Al Kaline.

Selleck's love of the Tigers even spilled into his famous TV show, Magnum, P.I., as the actor wore a Tigers ball cap during many of the show's episodes.

I wasn't an avid watcher of Magnum, P.I., but I will always remember the appearance of two Tigers legends on the show.

These days Selleck plays NYC Police Commissioner Frank Reagan on the hit CBS show Blue Bloods, one of my favorite TV shows.

Happy Birthday Tom, and Go Tigers!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Stan Musial Eulogy - Bob Costas (Full)

I have long been a fan of Bob Costas, and this eulogy of Stan "The Man" just confirms that.

His love of baseball, and the past greats of the game, make Costas the preeminent television baseball storyteller and historian.

Nobody does it better than Bod Costas.

Gloves 4

This morning I was watching MLB's Hot Stove, a terrific show detailing the off season news and moves in big league baseball. 

One of the segments involved the story of Vance Albiz, a minor league ballplayer in the St. Louis Cardinals organization.

Vance has started  

Gloves 4

and his goal is to send 1.000 baseballs and baseball gloves to our troops around the world.

As Vance puts it on the website...

"Sending our troops our National Pastime."

As soon as I saw this I felt the need to get involved, and I'm going to try and get our local baseball teams and area businesses to donate to this great cause for our servicemen and servicewomen.

Here's the video from Vance, please watch it.

Please go to the website,, or...

Donate gloves, baseballs, or money
through the mail:

Vance Albitz
c/o Gloves 4 Troops
23133 Hawthorne Blvd Ste. 303
Torrance, CA 90505

Also, Vance is on Twitter, at or you can email Vance at

There is also a monthly prize drawing for a personalized bat made by World Bats.

The donations are only taken until February 23rd, so let's all get behind Vance.

If you're a baseball blogger, please write about this cause, Tweet it out, post it on Facebook, whatever you can do.

Ball players like Vance are what makes baseball great, and for me, our help to Vance and his cause should be a no brain doubter.

Please give what you can, that glove that you haven't used in forever, that extra baseball, or two, you have, or that $20.00 that you found in a pair of old bluejeans.

For me, I will be following Vance, not only in this cause, but as his baseball career unfolds.

Let's all wish God's blessings on Vance, and this project.

May God Bless our troops.

Play Ball!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Hail to the newest Chief!

Quick, name the first US President to throw out the first pitch of Opening Day at a big league baseball game?

The Washington Nationals have announced the addition of a fifth contestant in the team's Presidents Race.

This week the Nationals posted this on their Twitter page...

The rumors are true – there will be a  racing in 2013! But who will it be? Find out at !

Then came this Tweet from racer President Teddy Roosevelt...

Just heard the news... ? Looks like I'll have my work cut out for me this season. Wonder who it could be...

Last October 5th, President Teddy finally won a race after years of losing to President's Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln.

Speculation on who would become the new Presidential Racer began, with JFK being my choice.

The came the team's official announcement, via Twitter, of course...

BREAKING:  come to terms with  as, pending physical: 

Here's the official announcement, at Nats Fest, video courtesy of the great Nats fans over at 

Here are your contenders for the start of the 2013 Washington Nationals Presidents Race...

The 27th President, William Howard Taft, is the perfect choice for the Nats, and the answer to the trivia question.

In 1910 President Taft became the very first US President to throw out the ceremonial first pitch on opening day.

Taft tossed the first presidential first pitch for the Washington Senators home opener on April 14th, 2010.

Taft first appeared at a Senators game when he arrived in the 2nd inning of the 1909 game on April 19th.

Here's a complete list of President Taft's visits to Senators games, courtesy of Baseball .

Over on Baseball you'll find a brief baseball story on Mr. Taft.

One of my favorite baseball sites, referenced above, is Let Teddy Win, a blog that details the Nationals Presidents Race.

Oh, I should mention my favorite President Racer, and my #1 fave US President, the Honorable Abraham Lincoln.

Honest Abe also happens to be the #1 Nats Presidential Racer, having won 214 times.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Passing of "The Man"

This has turned into a very sad day indeed.

Earlier today I wrote about the passing of former Baltimore Orioles skipper Earl Weaver, who died at age 82.

And now we learn of the passing of Hall of Fame St. Louis Cardinal Stan "The Man" Musial.

What do I remember the most about the great Cardinal and National League Most Valuable Player?

Stan Musial was a great ambassador of baseball, and he loved to talk about the great game and to have fun, which is why we all played the game as young boys and girls.

Nobody had more fun, had a bigger smile, than "The Man," who loved to play "Take me out to the Ballgame" on the harmonica.

Stan Musial played all 22 seasons with the Redbirds, hit 475 home runs in his big league career, and his 3,630 hits were divided evenly, 1,815 on the road, 1,815 in Sportsman's Park in St' Louis.

Musial's last season in the big leagues, 1962,  was Pete Rose's first season in the big leagues.

As a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA) , I vote every year for the BBA Most Valuable Player, named the "Stan Musial Award."

The Hall of Fame election this year by the Baseball Writers Association of America resulted in no one being selected.

I guess the greatest game every played needed two more angels today, a manager, and a left fielder/first baseman.

Here's some of the reaction's on Twitter tonight in honor of "The Man."

God Bless Stan Musial and Play Ball!

We lost a baseball legend today, but his legacy will live on...

The entire St. Louis Cardinals family is deeply saddened by the passing of Hall of Famer Stan Musial at the age of 92

Bob Broeg told me that in '46 at Ebbets Field, fans chanted, "Here comes the man." He began writing, "Stan the Man."

My prayers are with the Musial family tonight. I will cherish my friendship with Stan for a long as I live. Rest in Peace.

RIP, Stan Musial and Earl Weaver

"As remarkable as 'Stan the Man' was on the field, he was a true gentleman in life." – Commissioner Bud Selig: 

A sad for the Hall of Fame family. The Hall of Fame obituary for Stan Musial who passed away on Saturday.  

We mourn the passing of  icon and Hall of Famer Stan Musial, who has passed away at the age of 92

Cardinal nation, my thoughts are with you! Stan and Lil were paragons of life

Earl Weaver

I logged onto my Facebook page today and learned about the passing of Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver.

The Baltimore Orioles skipper led the Birds to 4 World Series appearances, 1969-71, and 1979.

In 1970 the Orioles defeated the Cincinnati Reds to win the World Series.

Earl Weaver was one of the best baseball managers in my lifetime.

Here's the obituary at the Hall of Fame.

My Tigers always seemed to have trouble with the 1970s  Orioles, especially in Baltimore at old Memorial Stadium.

Other than the Tigers '72 A.L. East Division Pennant, the team wasn't very good, especially '75-79.

The Orioles had Hall of Fame players like Jim Palmer, Brooks and Frank Robinson, and All-Stars like Boog Powell, Mike Flanagan, Mike Cuellar, and Paul Blair.

The Tigers had Rusty Staub, Ron LeFlore, Jason Thompsom, Steve Kemp, Mark Fidrych (1976 mostly), and Kiko Garcia.

I always remember how mad Weaver would get when he would go out to challenge a call.

Whatever it took, Weaver would do it to get at the umpires, including turning  his cap backwards, so he could get right into the face of the man in blue.

In this clip you can see him getting into an argument during a Tigers game. 

You can see former Tigers first base coach Dick Tracewski watching on during Weaver's argument.

Earl Weaver was ejected 98 times as the Orioles manager, the most ever in the American League .

Earl Weaver was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996.

May God Bless him, and his family.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Me, my Wife, and the World Baseball Clasic

I must admit, in the past I haven't paid much attention to the World Baseball Classic.

It just never seemed like something I could get into, mainly because it interferes with spring training.

As a baseball fan, spring is for my Detroit Tigers preparing for the new baseball season.

The one time I did pay some attention to the WBC, in 2009, I was really just watching what was going on with team Puerto Rico.

Why should I care about how the Puerto Rico team was doing?

It's simple, Pudge Rodriguez.

I've told the story before, how my wife fell in love with the former Detroit Tigers catcher.

Here I go.

Please indulge me as I look back.

In early 2005, when my wife and I were first dating, she would cook dinner at her apartment and bring it to my apartment.

Yes, I was, am, still, not a good cook.

Back then my cooking as a bachelor was Bubba Burgers and macaroni and cheese.

On one occasion when she was over I had a Tigers game on TV, and as she was walking to the kitchen she heard Tigers play by play guy, Mario Impemba say...

"...and that brings "Pudge Rodriguez" to the plate."

Now, for me, and every other baseball fan watching the game, we just heard that Pudge Rodriguez was about to come to the plate and hit.

What she heard was "Pudge" AND NOTHING ELSE.

She didn't know much about baseball, just what I had told her in the few months we had been together.

When she heard Impemba say "Pudge" she thought he was making a derogatory statement about his statue, his body figure.

I explained to her that the term "Pudge" was a badge of honor, going back to Carlton "Pudge" Fisk, the Hall of Fame catcher of the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox.

After my explanation of the name, in an instant, Ivan "Pudge" Rodriquez gained a lifetime fan.

I had, in a span of five minuets, created a new baseball fan, a new Tigers fan.

So, fast forward to 2009 as we plan  our trip to Lakeland, Florida, the spring home of the Tigers.

One day in Orlando at Downtown Disney, the next watching the Tigers play.

 The 2009 WBC was going on, and it looked as if team Puerto Rico was going to spoil our trip.

Then, the day we woke up in Lakeland we learned  that Puerto Rico has lost, and that Pudge will play today for the Tigers.

The smile on my wife's face was priceless.

The game was terrific, a huge crowd was in attendance, and when Pudge ran out onto the field at Joker Marchant Stadium, the applause was tremendous. 

My wife loved to watch the Tigers with me...when Pudge came to the plate. 

She would stop anything she was doing to watch him hit.

Her smile that first time she saw Pudge reminded me of how I must have looked the first time I saw my baseball hero, Bill Freelhan, play at Tiger Stadium in the late 1960s.

When I told her Pudge in going to play for another team, and not the Tigers, she was devastated.

All she knew about baseball was myself, the Detroit Tigers, and Pudge Rodriguez.  

On of the best things I've ever had happen to me was when Pudge Rodriguez followed be back on Twitter last year.

If you are on Twitter,  follow Pudge Rodriguez, he's a pretty darn good guy.

Also, if your a Tigers fan, Mario Impemba is also on Twitter.

My wife still likes to watch the Tigers with me, only now it's Justin Verlander pitching,  Miguel Cabrera  and Prince Fielder hitting.

This year I hope to watch more of the WBC, especially when the USA team is playing, and I'll be cheering on the Red, White, and Blue.

 Every time I hear a score, or see a highlight from a Puerto Rico WBC team game, I'll think back to that spring in 2009, and the smile on my wife's face when she saw Pudge Rodriguez.

Play Ball!