Tuesday, May 28, 2013

My Big League Power Rankings...May 28th, 2013

Every week baseball writers and bloggers across the country submit a big league power rankings list, some just the top five teams, some top 10, and many all 30 big league teams.

So, I was figuring I'd try to do a list myself, and I figured, heck, why not be bold, include all 30 clubs.

In no way am I saying this is the correct list, it's just my list.

So, here it is, the first ever JBLBB Power Rankings, teams 1-30.

30...Miami Marlins
29...Houston Astros
28...Milwaukee Brewers
27...Minnesota Twins
26...Chicago Cubs
25... New York Mets
24... Los Angeles Dodgers
23...Seattle Mariners
22...Toronto Blue Jays
21...San Diego Padres
20...Kansas City Royals
19...Philadelphia Phillies
18...Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
17...Chicago White Sox

The above teams are all the teams with losing records though yesterday's games.(Memorial Day).

The Marlins are setting the bar very low in their play, and really need Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison to get back from injuries to get the team going.

Morrison has joined the Marlins Double A squad in Jacksonville to continue his rehab.

Before all you ChiSox and Angels fans get mad, understand that I had to pool all the teams with losing records together.

I suspect in a week, or two, both teams will be on a winning streak, and look, the ChiSox are only 5 games back in the A.L. Central.

As for the Dodgers, well, a 13-15 record at home just isn't good.

Now for the teams with winning records.

This is tough, but here they are...

16...Cleveland Indians
15...Colorado Rockies
14...Tampa Bay Rays
13...Washington Nationals
12... Baltimore Orioles
11...Oakland A's
10...Pittsburgh Pirates
9...New York Yankees
8...Detroit Tigers
7...San Francisco Giants
6...Arizona Diamondbacks
5...Texas Rangers
4...Boston Red Sox
3...Atlanta Braves
2...Cincinnati Reds
1...St. Louis Cardinals

Year after year the St. Louis Cardinals find a way to win, and they have the best record in baseball, at 33-17.

The Reds are playing well and keeping the Redbirds in their sights.

I have the Yankees at #9.

No Derek Jeter, no Alex Rodriguez, and after a brief comeback, no Curtis Granderson.

The Yankees do have Mariano Rivera, who's perfect, as usual, saving games for the Pinstripers, and Joe Girardi is the A.L. Manager of the Year as of today.

I have the defending World Series Champion SF Giants at #7, which is right where they like to be, I think, while other teams make headlines early before they start to make their move.

Well, agree, or disagree, there's my poll, from the bottom dwelling Miami Marlins to the Cardinals in St. Louis.

Comments are welcome anytime, after all, I'm no expert, just a baseball fan giving my humble opinion.

Good Luck to your team...and Go Tigers!

Play Ball!!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Baseball fan Willie Robertson on The Dan Patrick Show 5/24/13

Duck Dynasty is one of my favorite shows on TV, a show about good guys, working hard, loving life, drinking sweet tea, and having faith in God and family.

Uncle Si was my favorite Robertson from Day 1, well before I saw this...

Uncle SI was channeling his inner Magnum, P.I. in Hawaii, wearing the "Olde English D" Detroit Tigers cap.

Today on the Dan Patrick Show, Willie Robertson, Duck Dynasty CEO, talked a bit about  baseball being "his sport", and that he was friends with Washington Nationals 1B Adam LaRoche.

Willie Roberston told Dan Patrick the next season of Duck Dynasty is filming now and should be on again in September.

I would like to thank all the great guys involved with the Dan Patrick show for putting on a quality sports show each and every day.

Thanks to Dan and the Danettes for making my morning wake up a thing to look forward to.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Happy Baseball Birthday...Ozzie Virgil Sr.

Today's Baseball Birthday is former New York/San Francisco Giants, Baltimore Orioles, Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Athetics,  and Detroit Tigers 3rd Baseman Ozzie Virgil, Sr.

Osvaldo Jose Virgil was born on this date, May 17th, in 1932.

I wanted to write today about Ozzie Virgil as soon as I saw that today Ozzie is celebrating his 81st Birthday.

Ozzie Virgil made his big league debut on September 23rd, 1956 for the  New York Baseball Giants, the first player born in the Dominican Republic to play big league baseball.

In nine years in the big leagues Ozzie batted .231, collecting 174 big league hits, with 14 home runs and 73 RBI.

Ozzie Virgil is a very special baseball player to me.

He's the first African-American to play baseball for my favorite team, the Detroit Tigers, in 1958.


In his first game as a Tiger Ozzie Virgil went 5 for 5.

In three years with the Tigers, '58 ,'60', '61, Ozzie batted .228 in 131 games, collecting 81 hits, 7 HRs, and 33 RBI.

Those numbers don't seem like much, but Ozzie Virgil will always be part of Detroit Tigers history, the first black man to play for the Tigers.

The Tigers were one of the last teams to integrate players of color into the organization.

Ozzie Virgil's Tigers debut in 1958 came 11 full years after Jackie Robinson broke the baseball color barrier on April 15th, 1947.

The Tigers, like many other big league clubs, continued to ignore the situation, refusing to sign African-American ball players.

Only the Boston Red Sox kept the Tigers from total embarrassment.

Boston was the last big league team to have a African-American player.

Pumpsie Green made his BoSox debut on July 21st, 1959, just 13 months after Ozzie Virgil donned a Detroit uniform.

The Tigers, like every other big league ball club, could have had had players like Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Don Newcombe, Roy Campanella, or Frank Robinson.

How about an outfield of Henry Aaron, Frank Robinson, and  Al Kaline for the late '50s Tigers?

Imagine that.

I'm sure young, black ball players, growing up in the Detroit area, like Willie Horton, saw Ozzie playing for his hometown team and believed that they could one time be a big league ball player.

Ozzie Virgil's legacy in baseball continued with his son.

Ozzie's son, Ozzie Virgil, Jr., was a big league catcher, playing for the Phillies, Braves, and Blue Jays in his 11 year career.

Today we celebrate the birthday of Ozzie Virgil, a special player, a special man.

Happy Birthday Ozzie!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Happy Baseball Birthday...Jack Morris

Jack Morris belongs in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

There, I said it.

Today's Baseball Birthday, Jack Morris, was born on May 16th, 1955, in St. Paul, Minnesota.

After playing college baseball at Brigham Young University, Morris was drafted in the 5th round of the Amateur Draft by the Detroit Tigers in 1976.

Jack Morris made his big league debut for the Tigers on July 26th, 1977, after the Tigers called him up to replace an injured Marl Fidrych.

In 7 games with the Tigers in '77,  Morris was 1-1, with a 3.74 ERA, striking out 28 batters while walking 23.

After going 3-5 in '78, Jack Morris won 17 games, starting a streak of 14 or more wins, between '77-92.

Morris won 20+ games three times, and no pitcher won more games in the 1980's (162), than Jack Morris did.

Morris was a young pitcher on very young Tigers teams of the late '70's and early '80's, teams that included Lance Parrish, Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell, and Kirk Gibson.

Morris logged 3,824 innings in 549 big league games, striking out 2,478 batters.

On April 7th of the 1984 baseball season, Jack Morris threw a no-hitter at Comiskey Park in Chicago, vs, the White Sox.

That no-hitter was the centerpiece of a record 35-5 start by the Tigers, which led to the '84 East Division, American League, and World Series Championships.

Jack Morris left the Tigers after a disappointing 15-18 season in 1990, and in 1991 he led the Minnesota Twins to the World Series Title, winning a memorable Game 7, 1-0, earning MVP Honors.

In 1992 Morris moved to the Toronto Blue Jays, winning an American League high 21 games, leading the Blue Jays to the franchise's first ever World Series Title.

There has not been a big game post season pitcher any better than Jack Morris was in 1984 and 1991.

Why Jack Morris isn't in the HOF is beyond any logical thinking.

254 wins, 175 complete games, 28 shutouts, 2,478 K's, 4 time All-Star, 4 time World Series Champion, led the A.L. in wins in 1981, '82, 1984, 1991 Babe Ruth Award Winner, and made 14 straight Opening Day starts...a big league record.

I believe Jack Morris belongs in the HOF, and one day he will be so honored.

In my humble opinion, Jack Morris would already be in the HOF had he pitched for the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers, Cardinals...the media darling teams.

Happy Birthday Jack!!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Dodgers Hyun-Jin Ryu Plays Catch with Young Fan

This is what baseball is all about.
This kid will never forget Hyun-Jin Ryu.

The Dodger lefty just got a new fan...ME!

Happy Baseball Birthday...Les Moss

Today's Happy Baseball Birthday is former big league catcher and manager Les Moss.

Les Moss was born on this day, May 14th, 1925, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Moss was 21 years old when he made his big league debut, for the old St. Louis Browns, in September of 1946.

Moss played in 824 games, had 2,234 at bats, collecting 552 hits, with a batting average of .247.

As a catcher with the Browns/Orioles, and White Sox, Moss had a lifetime fielding percentage of .978.

Moss spent the years after his playing days as a coach and manager, including 12 years managing Winter Ball.

In 1979 the Detroit Tigers named Moss manager, replacing the retiring Ralph Houk.

Moss had been in the big league managerial role before, with the Chicago White Sox, for 36 games, in 1968.

Moss didn't last long leading the Tigers.

Moss had the '79 Tigers at a 27-26 record before he was dismissed as manager, on June 12th.

His replacement?

Sparky Anderson.

Anderson, manager of the 1970's Big Red Machine, had guided the Reds to back to back World Series Championships, in '75-76.

The Reds fired Anderson after the '78 baseball season...for finishing second.

I really don't remember much about Les Moss.

I do remember that I was very happy to see my team hire Sparky.

From all I've read about Les Moss, he was a terrific big league catcher, manager, pitching coach, and just a plain good, loyal, baseball guy.

Moss continued to coach in the big leagues after his time in Motown, helping teach young pitchers, and stayed in baseball until 1995.

That gave Les Moss 55 years playing and coaching baseball.

Les Moss passed away last year, at age 87.

Happy Birthday Les!!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

City Slickers...3rd base for Pittsburgh

Watching City Slickers tonight on IFC.

Always look forward to this part of the movie.

                                               "...3rd base for Pittsburgh..."

There's also this scene w/ Billy Crystal talking about his "best day" with his Dad at Yankee Stadium.

I love watching movies that make a baseball reference withing the dialog, always makes any movie better.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

My early All-Star Ballot

Today I started my voting for this years big league baseball All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York City.

The home of the New York Mets will host the annual clash between the American and National Leagues, a tradition since the very first All-Star Game at Chicago's Comiskey Park, in 1933.

I started filling out ballots as a young fan in the early 1970s.

The balloting was always sponsored by Gillete, and you'd pick up a ballot at the local grocery stores, fill out the ballot, then place the ballot in the appropriate slot in the Gillete display.

You could also send the ballot in the mail, but it always seemed neat to put the ballot in the display slot.

I always voted for my baseball hero, Bill Freehan, as the A.L. representative at catcher.

Then I'd vote for Al Kaline, Hank Aaron, Pete Rose, Willie Mays, and Harmon Killebrew.

Over the years I've voted at different big league ball parks, and for the past 30 years, or so, at Jacksonville Suns games.

I sit there during the ball game, picking the players in between pitches, making sure a foul ball isn't headed my way.

This year the Suns will host the 2013 Southern League All-Star Game on July 17th at Bragan Field.

As I've noted here before here's how I use my 25 votes.

I vote 5 times right about this time of the season.

Then, in about 3 weeks, or so, I'll vote 5-10 times.

After that I wait until the end of June to use my remaining 0+ votes.

I vote this way because I feel it's the best way to get the most deserving players into the game.

Now, I am a homer at times, as you see below.

Miguel Cabrera is will get all 25 of my votes at Third Base, as will his Tigers teammate, Prince Fielder at First Base.

I try to find deserving players, even this early, like Mets catcher John Buck, Indians catcher Carlos Santana, and Diamondbacks First Baseman Paul Goldschmidt.

The names below are my choice for my first five ballots.

The list isn't perfect, but by the time I finish the other 20 ballots, I believe I've made an intelligent choice in voting the best players in the big leagues mid summer classic.

***I copied my picks from MLB.com***

American League
  • 1B - Fielder, Prince
  • 2B - Altuve, Jose
  • SS - Peralta, Jhonny
  • 3B - Cabrera, Miguel
  • C - Santana, Carlos
  • DH - Martinez, Victor
  • OF - Cruz, Nelson
  • OF - Hunter, Torii
  • OF - Jackson, Austin
  • Write-in - N/A

National League

  • 1B - Goldschmidt, Paul
  • 2B - Phillips, Brandon
  • SS - Castro, Starlin
  • 3B - Wright, David
  • C - Buck, John
  • OF - Beltran, Carlos
  • OF - Choo, Shin-Soo
  • OF - Upton, Justin
  • Write-in - N/A

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Marlins rookie gets hit in first big league at bat today after callup from AA Jacksonville

The Miami Marlins called up young Derek Dietrich today from Double A Jacksonville.

I remember Derek being on local TV here in Jacksonville, showing off his juggling prowess.

Here's some more Dietrich juggling...

The Suns had played a 13 inning contest last night with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, losing, 5-4.

Dietrich got on a plane in the early hours here in Jacksonville, flew to San Diego, and got to the ballpark in time to start at second base.

I was watching the game, on, and off, and got back to the Marlins broadcast just in time to see Dietrich smack a clean single to right field in the 3rd inning, off the Padres Jason Marquis.

His proud parents were smiling in the stands, and they couldn't wait to talk to the Marlins Allison Williams about Derek's grandpa, former Tigers and Indians infielder Steve Demeter.

I was already happy for the young man, reaching the big leagues at 23, collecting a base hit in his very first at bat when  I heard the Marlins broadcast team talking about Steve Demeter.

I looked at my wife and said " I know Steve Demeter, he played for the Tigers!"

We were leaving for got church, so I had to get in the car and try to remember Steve Demeter.

Then it came to me...Norm Cash.

Demeter played just one year in Detroit, 1959.

In the off season, after playing in just 11 games, the Tigers sent Demeter to the Cleveland Indians for a young first baseman named Norm Cash.

In 71 games with the Chicago White Sox in 1958 and '59, Cash was traded to the Tribe, who then traded Cash to the Tigers for Demeter.

Demeter lasted just four games for the Tribe, was sent down to the minors, and played the rest of his baseball career for various minor league teams.

Norm Cash played for the Tigers for 15 years, 1960-74, and was the Tigers slugging first baseman on the 1968 World Series Championship team.

Cash hit 377 home runs...373 in a Detroit uniform.

Cash played in 2,018 games as a Tiger, collecting 1,793 hits, batting .272 with 1.087 RBI.

In 1961 Norm Cash led the American League in hitting, a .361 batting average.

Detmer was young Dietrich's baseball hero, talking to his grandpa about baseball, and his dream of making it to the majors.

Steve Detmer passed away just months before his grandson's debut.

Steve Demeter passed away this past February 3rd, in Parma, Ohio, at age 78.

I'm not a Marlins fan, but I follow the Marlins because they provide players for the Double A Jacksonville Suns.

I also get every Marlins game on cable TV, and I like Rich Waltz and Tommy Hutton broadcasting the games.

I don't get to see every player that comes through JAX, but I do my best.

This Friday will be my first Suns game of the season, former Atlanta Brave Dale Murphy will be here.

I missed Dietrich, and hope Marlins prospect Christian Yellich is still here on Friday.

If you live in a minor league city, head out to the ballpark.

You never know what future big league may be in the lineup that night.

Just look what happened today.

Congrats to young Derek Dietrich, I hope this is the first game of a long big league baseball life.

Happy Baseball Birthday...Turkey Stearns.

Today's Baseball Birthday is kinda special.

If you pay attention to the backgrounds of baseball blogs, you'll notice that my background photo is actually today's Baseball Birthday Boy, former Nergo Leaguer and Hall of Famer Turkey Stearns.

How cool is that picture!

He looks great in that Detroit uniform.

Stearns was born on this day, May 8th, 1901, in Nashville, Tennessee.

Stearns made his big league debut with the Nashville Giants of the Negro National League, in 1920.

In 1923 he joined the Detroit Stars, and  a NNL star was born.

Because Negro League records weren't kept as well as MLB records, Stearns 176 home runs(NNL Record) may be well short of the actual total.

Stearns won 7 NNL HR titles and 4 NNL batting titles, and appeared in 4 Negro League All-Star Games.

He was a terrific base runner and is considered by many Nergo League experts as the best left fielder in league history.

Turkey Stearns passed away in 1979, in Detroit, at age 78.

Stearns was Inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000.

Happy Birthday Turkey Stearns!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Happy Baseball Birthday...Dick Wakefield

Today we celebrate the birthday of former big league outfielder Dick Wakefield.

Wakefield was born on this date, May 6th, 1921, in Chicago, Illinois.

In 1941 Wakefield played college baseball at Michigan, and after hitting .372 with 9 homers, Wakefield signed with the Detroit Tigers.

As a Tigers fan I knew of Wakefield being a good outfielder for the Detroit club, but what I didn't know is that Dick Wakefield was the first ever baseball bonus baby.

Wakefield received offers to sign with the Cincinnati Reds, Brooklyn Dodgers, and the Tigers, who signed the young slugger to a never before bonus...just to sign his name on a contract...of $52,000.

Wakefield made his big league debut on June 26th, 1941, just months after playing for the Wolverines.

After appearing in just 7 games with the Tigers in '41, Wakefield played in the Texas League in 1942.

In 1943 Wakefield was back with the Tigers, compiling an amazing rookie year.

The Tigers young hitter led the American League in games played, 155, plate appearances, 697, at bats, 633, doubles. 38, and in hits, with 200.

Wakefield was chosen to represent the Tigers in the '43 All-Star Game, collecting two hits, including the game winner.

Had there been a rookie of the year award in '43, Wakefield would have won easily.

In nine total big league seasons Wakefield batted .293, with 635 hits, 53 home runs, 315 RBI, scoring 334 runs in 638 games.

Wakefield served in World War II in 1943, part of '44, returned to the Tigers for the rest of the '44 season, then was back in the war for 1945.

Wakefield was back with the Tigers in 1946.

After seven years with Detroit, Wakefield was released in 1949, and finished his big league career with the Yankees in 1950(3 games) and New York Giants in 1952(3 games).

Happy Birthday Mr. Wakefield!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Today;s Baseball Birthday...Rick Leach...Go Blue!

Today we say Happy Baseball Birthday! to Rick Leach, the former Detroit Tigers outfielder and All-American quarterback at the University of Michigan.

Rick Leach was born on May 4th, 1957, in, of all places, Ann Arbor.

I guess you can say he was born with Maize & Blue blood flowing through his veins.

Leach was the Tigers 1st round pick, 13th overall, in the 1979 Amateur Draft.

On April 30th, 1981, Rick Leach realized his dream of playing big league baseball for his home team Detroit Tigers.

My Senior Year at Portage Northern High School the Wolverines came to play Western Michigan.

I sat in the stands and never took my eyes off of Leach.

He was my football hero at Michigan, taking the mantle from Rob Lytle after he graduated in 1976.

This famous picture wasn't famous at the time, mainly because no one knew that kid in the end zone running and cheering on his favorite Michigan football player...a young boy who is now well known... none other than former UM quarterback and current Wolverines head coach, Jim Harbaugh.

Leach played three years for the Tigers Leach was released, and in the spring of 1984 he was signed by the Toronto Blue Jays.

I wrote about Rick Leach in my series of my favorite baseball players from every team.

Here's my story on Leach, my favorite Blue Jay.

Please feel free to visit the link of my previous story on Rick Leach, as I don't want to be to repetitive here.

Happy Baseball Birthday! to a true Meeeechigan Man, Rick Leach!

Play Ball.