Monday, January 27, 2014

Happy Baseball Birthday..."Sleepy" Bill Burns

Today we say Happy Birthday to big league pitcher Bill Burns.

Bill Burns was born on January 17, 1880, in San Sabo, Texas.

"Sleepy" Bill made his big league debut with the Washington Senators on April 18th, 1908, at the age of 28.

Burns was a left handed  pitcher who started 85 games , pitched  717 2/3 innings in five seasons of big league baseball.

"Sleepy" Bill was given his nickname due to his deliberate mound presence and his propensity to sleep in the dugout during days he didn't pitch.

Bill Burns recorded 30 wins and suffered 52 losses.

Burns did complete 45 games, and managed to hit 38 of the 2, 846 batters he faced in the big leagues.

As soon as I saw the name Bill Burns today in, I wondered if he was the same "Sleepy" Bill Burns from the movie "Eight Men Out."

He is indeed, the same former pitcher who was involved in negotiations between the gamblers and the players.

The 1988 movie by director John Sayles tells the tale of the 1919 Chicago "Black Sox" and their throwing of the '19 World Series vs. the Cincinnati Reds.

"Sleepy" Bill Burns is played by Christopher Lloyd in the movie.

I was also surprised that Bill Burns was once a teammate of Ty Cobb, in Burns final big league season of 1912.

Burns and the Tigers were a not so good 69-84 in 1912, a 6th place finish in the American League.

Ty Cobb was just 25 years old in 1912, and the games best hitter swatted 226 hits in just 140 games, batting .409, with 30 doubles and 23 triples.

Today's Baseball Birthday is why I love baseball.

We learned that birthday boy Bill Burns was the same "Sleepy" Bill Burns in the movie Eight Men Out, played by the famous Christopher Lloyd, and that Burns was Ty Cobb's teammate in 1912, his last year of baseball.

Bill Burns made his mark in baseball, infamous, or not.

Burns passed away at the age of 73, on June 6th, 1953...D Ramona, California.

Happy Baseball Birthday "Sleepy" Bill!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Happy Baseball Birthday..."Mr. Baseball"

Today's Happy Baseball Birthday is Milwaukee Brewers play by play announcer  Bob Uecker. 

Uecker was born on January 26, 1935, in Milwaukee,  Wisconsin.

Growing up in Milwaukee, Bob loved baseball and the Minor League Brewers.

Minor League baseball was replaced by big league baseball when the Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee in 1953.

Uecker was signed by his hometown Braves in 1956.

The play by play man for the Milwaukee Brewers since 1971, 
Uecker played  six seasons in the big leagues for the  Braves, St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies, and the Atlanta Braves.
In those six years as a big leaguer, Uecker played in 297 games, blasting 14 home runs, with 74 RBI, while hitting .200.

I remember watching "Mr. Baseball" on Johnny Carson many times in the 1970s, with Uecker never failing to make me laugh about his many baseball feats.

Uecker is beloved in the Brew City, and, of course, by many baseball fans who have seen the movie Major League, and the voice of the loveable "Harry Doyle."

Uecker became the voice of the Brewers in 1971, and has been in the tv baseball booth since doing some of the first ABC Monday Night Baseball games.

Bob was also on the NBC "Baseball Network" in the 1990s.

Bob's baseball feats include hitting a HR off  HOFer Sandy Koufax of the Dodgers, being a catcher on the 1964 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals, and being a Ford Frick Award winner in 2003.

Today we celebrate the great baseball life and times of Bob Uecker.

Happy Baseball Birthday Mr. Uecker!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Happy Baseball Birthday....Johnny Oates

Today's Baseball Birthday is former big league catcher and manager Johny Oates.

I remember watching Johnny Oates catching in the big leagues in the 1970s, mostly for the Phillies and the Dodgers.

Johnny Oates was born on January 21, 1946, in Sylva, North Carolina.

Oates played baseball at Virginia Tech and was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the first round, pick , #10, in the 1967 Amateur MLB Draft.

Johnny Oates made his big league debut with the Orioles as a pinch hitter on September 17th, 1970, getting a single of the Washington Senators Dick Bosman in the 9th inning if a 2-0 Washington win.

Johhny Oates was a good big league catcher, playing with the Orioles, Braves, Phillies, Dodgers, and Yankees.

In 11 years, Oates collected 410 big league hits in 593 games, hitting 14 HR and 126 RBI.

Behind the plate Oates was a good fielding catcher.

In 533 games, Oates compiled a .987 fielding %,  playing 3, 955 innings, with 2,416 put outs in 2,729 on chances.

Oates only committed 36 errors, and collected 277 assists in his big league career.

Johnny Oates played his final game as a big leaguer on May 24, 1981.

In 1991 Oates took over as mananger of the Orioles, and in 4 years had a 291-270 record.

Oates took over the managerial reigns of the Texas Rangers in 1995, leading the club to thier first ever playoff appearance in 1996.

 Oates wad named Co-Manager of the year in 1996, sharing the award with the Yankees Joe Torre.

Oates managed the Rangers into 2001, compiling a 506-476 record.

Johnny Oates was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2001, and was given just months to live.

He passed away on December 24th, 2004.

Today we celebrate the life of Johhny Oates.

Happy Birthday Johnny!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Happy Baseball Birthday.....Schoolboy Rowe

Today we celebrate the Happy Baseball Birthday of former big league pitcher Schoolboy Rowe.

Lynwood "Schoolboy" Rowe was born in Waco, Texas, on January 11, 1910.

I always feel bad that Schoolboy Rowe seems to get forgotten in Tigers history, myself included.

On April 15, 1933, Schoolboy made his big league debut at age 23 with Detroit,  a spectacular six hit, 3-0 shutout over the Chicago White Sox at Navin Field.

Rowe had a good rookie season, a 7-4 record, 3.58 era, in 19 total games for the Tigers.

1934, Schoolboy's second season, was his finest in baseball, producing a 24-8, 3.45 era for the American League Champion Tigers.

In the 1934 World Series, Rowe had a 1-1 record, 2.95 era, as Detroit lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in 7 games.

Row pitched  for the Tigers through the 1941 baseball season,  and part of 1942, compiling a 105-62 record, with a 4.01 era in ten years.

Row went on to pitch for the Brooklyn Dodgers in part of 1942,  and then finished up with the Philadelphia Phiilies, in 1943, 46-49.

Schoolboy Row finished his 15 year big league career with a W/L of 158-101 and a 3.87 era.

Lynwood "Schoolboy" Rowe died of a heart attack at the age of just 50, on January 8, 1961, in El Dorado, Arkansas.

Today we say a Happy Birthday to the "Schoolboy," a Detroit Tiger forever. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

VOTE #FaceoftheTigers #MiguelCabera

The MLB Network is once again asking fans to vote for the #Faceof each of the 30 MLB Franchises.

Its time for #FaceoftheTigers now and baseball fans, Tigers fans, need to vote for who they believe is the current #FaceoftheTigers.

Is it #JustinVerlander ,  the 2011 American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner?

How about 2013 American League Cy Young winner #MaxScherzer ?

My choice was #MiguelCabera , the back to back American League MVP, 2012-2013 , and the A.L. Triple Crown winner in 2011.

Cone on Tigers fans, get on your social media choice, Twitter, Facebook,  Google+, Tumblr, etc.

Play Ball!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Hall of Fame thoughts

Just a few thoughts on this years balloting for the 2014 Hall of Fame induction into the hallowed grounds of Cooperstown,  New York, this summer.

● Three big leaguers, all first ballot players, Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine, and Greg Maddux were voted for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

As a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance,  I included Thomas, Glavine, and Maddux on my BBA ballot this year.

●As usual, controversy reared its usual madness as many former big leaguers didnt achieve the reqiured 75% of all ballots cast by voting members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

For me, the HOF won't really be right until players like Buck Weaver,  Gil Hodges, Tim Raines, Dale Murphy, Jack Morris, Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza, Alan Trammell,  Lou Whittaker, Jim Kaat, Edgar Martinez, and Don Mattingly are given tbeir proper due and Inducted into the HOF.

●The Dan LeBatard/Deadspin vote.

I didn't participate in Deadspin's vote, never paid attention to anything having to do with the secret writer/ballot stuff, as it seemed just to silly.

That said, the LeBatard/ Deadspin ballot was a pretty darn solid ballot for the HOF.

The ballot contained 7 players that I voted for on my BBA ballot.

The three that I didn't have on my ballot were...Curt Schiilling, a solid pick, and two I will never vote for...steroid kings Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.

I have stated in the past that Bonds, Clemens, Manny Ramirez, Sammy Sosa, Alex Rodriguez, will never have my support.

As for until Morris, Kaat, pitchers better than Schilling, pitchers better than Mike Mussina, are chosen for HOF selection.

●Why would LeBatard, or any baseball writer, agree to such foolishness?

If LeBatard wanted to make the point that the BBWAA voting system is flawed...which it is, then why didn't he solicit possible selections for his HOF ballot through his TV show, radio show, or through social media like Twitter or Facebook?

Selling, or giving up your prized vote as a baseball HOF selector, means you really don't deserve a vote, nor do you want it, obviously.

●●●●Today the BBWAA stripped LeBatard from ever voting again for the HOF...probably what he wanted anyway, along with the publicity●●●●

●The 2014 HOF Class is a terrific group, Glavine, Maddux, Thomas, along with Veterans Committee selections, former big league players and Managers Joe Torre, Bobby Cox,  and Tony LaRussa.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy Baseball Birthday...Hank Greenberg

Happy Birthday to two time  American League MVP, Hank Greenberg.

Hank Greenberg was born on January 1st, 1911, in New York, New York.

Hank was signed by the Detroit Tigers in 1929, and would spend 12 of his 13 years playing in the Motor City. 

331 home runs, 1,276 RBI, .331 lifetime batting average, in 13 years, missing 4 years serving in World War II.

Hank was Inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1956. 

Hank Greenberg died in Los Angeles, California, on September 4th, 1986, at age 75.

●●●●Did you know that Hank Greenberg was the very first big league ball player to win MVP Awards at two positions?●●●●Hank was the 1935 AL MVP as the Detroit Tigers first baseman, and again won the AL MVP as the Tigers left fielder in 1940.●●●●