Saturday, May 31, 2014

MLB Cancer Home Run Challenge

Tonight on Baseball Night in America on Fox I saw Joe Buck talking to Mike Milken about this year's Home Run Challenge to fight Prostate Cancer.

During the week of Father's Day, June 9-15, you can help the fight against prostate cancer by donating money for every home run hit in the big leagues that week.

Milken, a prostate cancer survivor since 1993, is the founder of the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

I have regular prostate exams, and I encourage baseball fans everywhere to have check ups as well.

I donated ten cents, (.10¢), for every home run hit that week.

Last season 143 big league home runs were hit during the week of Father's Day.


Let's cure prostate cancer!

Play Ball!

Friday, May 30, 2014

JDRF Night with Jacksonville Suns

Join the Jacksonville Suns on June 7th in celebrating families with type one diabetes.

The Suns will be taking on the Tennessee Smokies at 7:05 pm.

Limited space is available.

Contact Candace Monroe at  (904) 739-2101, or

Let's find a cure for diabetes..Play Ball!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Throwback Thursday

40, or so years ago, my Mom took some pictures of me in a few baseball poses in my Portage Little League uniform.

Notice the perfection I used in squaring around for a sacrifice bunt.

Had my best days as a kid growing up in Portage, Michigan playing baseball, on the sandlots, backyards, and Little League diamonds in the city.

Play Ball!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Happy Baseball Birthday...John "The Count" Montefusco

Happy 64th Birthday to former big league pitcher John "The Count" Montefusco.

John Joseph Montefusco was born in Long Branch, New Jersey, on May 25, 1950.

John went to Brookdale Community College, and made his big league debut on September 9, 1974 for the San Francisco Giants.

Not only did he make his big league debut as a pitcher, "The Count" also hit his first big league home run in his first big league at bat.

In 13 seasons, with the Giants, Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres, and New York Yankees, Montefusco compiled a 90-83 record, with a 3.54 ERA.

John Montefusco was the 1975 National League Rookie of the Year, and a All-Star for the Giants in 1976.

The  '76 American Bicentennial was extra special for Montefusco, who put his mark on baseball with a no hitter vs. the Braves on.September 29th.

"The Count" pitched his final game in the big leagues on May 5, 1986, for the Yankees.

Happy Baseball Birthday to "The Count."

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Happy Memorial Day Weekend

As we enjoy this annual weekend of baseball, family, and bar b que, let's also remember the service men and women who died in the many battles fought for the freedom of our great county since 1775.

God Bless America!


Thursday, May 22, 2014

And the winner is...Aye Chihuahua!

Fear the Ears!

After two million fan votes on the El Paso Chihuahua's have been chosen as the "Best Cap in the Minors."

The Chihuahuas beat out the Richmond Squirrels and the Albuquerque Isotopes for the honor.

For three weeks this month fans of Minor League Baseball teams across the country voted for their favorite teams ball caps.

The Top Five caps as voted on by the fans were El Paso, Richmond, Albuquerque, the Quad City Bandits, and the Durham Bulls.

The top Southern League ball cap belongs to the Montgomery Biscuits, at #11.

For us Detroit Tigers fans, the franchise has three affiliate caps in the top 24, with the Toldeo Mudhens at #13, the West Michigan Whitecaps at #20, and the Erie Sea Wolves at #24.

As readers of this blog you now how cool I think the Chihuahuas are, and yes, I voted for the black home cap with the angry Chihuahua.

Congrats to the Chihuahuas, Squirrels, Isotopes, and to all the fans who voted.

Play Ball!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Happy Baseball Birthday...Monty Stratton

Today's Happy Baseball Birthday!  is former Chicago White Sox pitcher Monty Stratton.

One of my favorite baseball movies is The Stratton Story, the true story about Stratton, who's big league career ended after a hunting accident on his family farm in 1938.

Monty Franklin Pierce Stratton was born on May 21, 1912, in Wagner, Texas.
Monty started pitching in the minor leagues before being signed by the ChiSox.
Monty made his big league debut on June 2, 1934, and pitched on Chicago's South Side through the 1938 season.

Stratton's finest years were his last two, 1937, and 1938.

Monty started 21 games for the ChiSox in '37, completing 14, amassing a 15-5 record, with a 2.40 ERA, making the American League All-Star squad.

In '38 Stratton started 22 games, completing 17 games, a 15-9 record, with a 4.01 ERA.

Stratton's hunting accident caused his right leg to be amputated, ending his big league career.

Monty was a coach for the ChiSox in 1939 and 1940.

In 1938 a charity game was played in Monty's honor, between the North Side Cubs and the White Sox, raising $28,000 for Stratton.

After several years of hard work on his baseball skills, getting a good motion, landing on his prothstetic leg, fielding bunts, covering first base, Stratton returned to baseball in 1946.

Pitching for the Class C Sherman Twins, Monty went 18-8, with a 4.17 ERA.
From 1947, through 1953, Monty pitched in Class B, C, and D baseball.

The aforementioned movie, The Stratton Story, starring Jimmy Stewart as Monty, and June Allyson as his wife Ethel, was terrific at the box office, and earned an Academy Award for Best Screenplay.

Monty Stratton served as an advisor during the film's production.

Monty Stratton died after battling cancer, on September 29, 1982, at the age of 70.

Today we celebrate the life of Monty Stratton.

Happy Baseball Birthday Monty!

Play Ball!  ⚾

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Peter Bragan, Sr. heads Inaugural Southern League Hall of Fame

Today the Southern League announced the ten members of the Inaugural Southern League Baseball Hall of Fame.

Each one of the ten S.L. teams has a representative member in addition to former S.L. Commissioners Billy Hitchcock, Bobby Bragan, and Don Mincher, who were announced in July, 2013.

***The Inaugural 2014 Southern League Hall of Fame Class***

*Jacksonville Suns...Peter Bragan, Sr. (Sun's owner)

*Montgomery Biscuits...Alan Trammell(1977 Montgomery Rebels/1977 SL MVP)

*Mississippi Braves...Dale Murphy(1976 Savannah Braves)

*Mobile Bay Bears...Mike Darr(1998 Bay Bears)

*Jackson Generals...Bo Jackson(1986 Memphis Chicks)

*Birmingham Barons...Reggie Jackson(1967 Birmingham A's)

*Tennessee Smokies...Ryne Sandberg(2009 Tennessee MGR)

*Pensacola Blue Wahoos..Tim Wakefield(1991 Carolina Mudcats)

* Chattanooga Lookouts...J. Frank Burke(Lookouts GM)

*Huntsville Stars...Rosemary Hovatter(30 years front office)

As a Detroit fan I'm proud that the greatest shortstop in Tigers history is being recognized for his 1977 MVP season as a Montgomery Rebel.

Trammell hit .291 with a S.L. Record 19 triples.

I'm also very proud that Peter Bragan, Sr., the longtime owner of the Jacksonville Suns, will be honored in this first class.

Mr. Bragan, who passed away in 2012, bought the struggling franchise here in Jacksonville in 1984, and with his son, Pedro, made the Suns the standard for all minor league baseball.

The Sun's first ever Southern League Championship came under the Bragan leadership, in 1996, then the Double A Affiliate of the Detroit Tigers.

The Sun's have won five S.L. titles under the Bragan's ownership.

More than the winning baseball, the Suns have become a Jacksonville love affair between the fans, players, and ownership.

I saw my first Sun's game in 1981, before the Bragan's ownership, and will always have a special place in my heart for Mr. Bragan, Pedro, his staff, the players, and the great baseball fans here in Jacksonville.

I also had the pleasure of meeting Bobby Bragan, Peter's brother, at the J. C. Penny store I was working at , in 1983, when Bobby was working for the Texas Rangers.

The Bragan's are the reason we have the beautiful Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, the Suns home since 2003.

The Suns had played in old Wolfson Park since the early 1960s.

After his passing, the Suns renamed their home Bragan Field at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

Congratulations to all the inductees, it should be a great ceremony at this year's S.L. All-Star Game, to be played in Chattanooga on June 17th.

Play Ball!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Baseball Card of the Day

23 year old Randy Johnson started 24 games for the 1987 Jacksonville Expos.

Johnson compiled a record of 11-8, a 3.73 ERA, striking out 163 batters, walking 128, in 140 innings pitched.

Today's card is Randy Johnson's 1987 Pro Sports Card Jacksonville Expos #451.

Happy Baseball Birthday...Media...Heidi Whatney

Today's Happy Baseball Birthday!  wishes go out to the host of "Quick Pitch "  Heidi Whatney.

Heidi was born on May 19, 1981.

She graduated from San Diego State, and has been a on air personality in Fresno, California,  in the Boston area for New England Sports Network, and now works at the MLB Network. 

Heidi is the weeknight  host of "Quick Pitch," on the MLB Network, where she started in 2012.

Heidi Whatney is blonde, beautiful, and covers baseball, heck, she even has her very own bobblehead doll.

Now that's a home run!

Happy Baseball Birthday Heidi!

The Detroit Tigers...Baseball's Best

Yes, I know it's only May 19th...the clock just passed midnight as I began to write about my beloved Detroit Tigers, who just finished off a three game sweep of the Boston Red Sox.

The Tigers have won 6 straight games on their current road trip, and 11 consecutive road games overall.

With a 27-12 record, the Detroiter's have big league baseball's best record.

The sweep over the BoSox was the first time the Tigers swept a three game series at Fenway Park since 1983.

I tend not to get excited about my favorite baseball team before June, but the Tigers are becoming a fun team to follow.

The Tigers head to Cleveland to take on the Tribe tomorrow, taking a 7 game American League Central Division lead with them.

First year skipper Brad Ausmus, a former big league catcher with the Tigers, seems to be making all the right moves so far in his rookie debut.

It's a pretty good thing to be able to pencil in Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Torii Hunter, Raji Davis, Austin Jackson, and Alex Avila in the lineup every day.

Oh, and Ausmus just so happens to have a starting pitching staff of Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez, Rick Porcello, and Drew Smyly.

I'm really enjoying Dan Dickerson's play by play of the Tigers games through MLB.TV on my phone.

Dickerson and former Tigers catcher Jim Price do a terrific job calling the action every game.

Well, that's all for now, just wanted to do a quick post about how well my Tigers are playing so far this year.

Go Tigers!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Happy Baseball Birthday...Don Lund

Today's Happy Baseball Birthday is former big league outfielder Don Lund.

Donald Andrew Lund was born on May 18, 1923, in Detroit. Michigan.

Lund attended Southeastern High School in Detroit, and went to the University of Michigan, where he lettered in baseball, football, and basketball.

Lund was scouted by former Baseball Hall of Famer George Sisler, who played baseball for the Wolverines under manager Branch Rickey, who also played baseball at Michigan.

Lund was drafted on the first round of the 1945 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears, but chose instead to sign a minor league baseball contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

On April 12, 1947, in an exhibition game between the Dogers and their Montreal Royals farm club, Don Lund hit a tremendous HR into the left field bleachers at Ebbets Field.

Lund rounded third and headed for home, stepped on home plate, and was greeted with a handshake from the man who scored just ahead of him...Jackie Robinson.

Lund played big league baseball for 7 years, with the Dodgers, St. Louis Brown's, and the Detroit Tigers.

Lund's best season in the big leagues came in 1953 with the Tigers.

In 131 games Lund collected 108 hits, with 21 doubles, 9 HR, 47 RBI, and a .257 batting average, in 421 at bats.

Don Lund played his final game of his career at the age of 31 on July 29, 1954, with the Tigers.

Lund returned to his Alma Mater as the head baseball coach for the Wolverines, in 1959.

Michigan won the Big Ten Baseball Championship in 1961, and in 1962 Lund led the Wolverines to the College World Series and a National Championship.

Lund then worked for the Tigers organization, from 1963-1970, then returned to Michigan as an  assistant athletic director until his retirement in 1992.

Don Lund passed away this past December, at the age of 90.

Today we celebrate the life of one of Detroit's, and the State of Michigan's finest athletes and family man... a true Michigan Man.

Happy Birthday Don! Go Blue!


Saturday, May 17, 2014

My Mailbox...Stars and Strikes

Today I received a copy of Dan Epstein's new book about baseball and America in 1976, Stars and Strikes.

I won the book in a contest on Twitter, courtesy of The Book Dude.

Growing up a baseball fan in the 1970s was fantastic, from Pete Rose running over Ray Fosse in the 1970 All-Star Game, to Willie Stargell's World Series winning 2-run HR in Game 7 of the 1979 Fall Classic.

I look forward to reading about the Bicentennial year of 1976, and re-live the wonderful year of my 16th birthday, and the great game of baseball.

Play Ball!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Seattle Rainiers...1948 Scorecard

This terrific old baseball program from the 1948 Seattle Rainiers was posted on my Facebook page by the great baseball fans at When We Wore Fedoras.

Old baseball stuff, as you may know, is something I can't pass on looking at, or reading about.

Things like this program continues to add to my love of baseball history.

The Rainiers were a Seattle baseball mainstay for over 70 years, starting as the Indians in 1903.

The Seattle Indians were named as such to honor the Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest.

The Seattle team was also.know as the Clamdiggers, when they were part of the Pacific Northwest League, from 1907-18.

The Indians were part of the newly formed Pacific Coast League in 1903,  along with the Oakland Oaks, Los Angeles Angels, Portland Beavers, Sacramento Salons, and the San Francisco Seals.

The Indians/Rainiers/Angels were minor league affiliates of the old Boston Braves, the Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, and the California Angels, who changed the Rainiers to the Seattle Angels.

Thanks again to WWWF for the post.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Today in Baseball...May 15, 1976.

Few pitchers with a 29-19 career record are remembered in baseball.

In Detroit, a rare bird took flight on this day in 1976, sending Tigers fans in a frenzy every day he pitched.

Mark Fidrych is revered by all us Tigers fans who grew up in the 1970s.

Fidrych was just a kid, not much older than we teenagers were.

I was 16 years old in '76, and the Tigers were everything to me.

Mark Fidrych was just 22 years old when he made his big league debut on May 15th, and what a debut it was.

9 innings, just 2 hits and 1 run allowed to the Cleveland Indians.

That amazing debut by the curly haired rookie was the first of 19 wins, a American League best 2.34 ERA and 24 complete games.

The A.L. Rookie of the Year in 1976, Mark Fidrych was the starting pitcher for the Junior Circuit at the All-Star Game in Philadelphia.

Fidrych hurt himself running around in the outfield grass in Lakeland during the spring if 1977, and he really never recovered.

Mark Fidrych was the big baseball show in 1976, and we can only imagine what a healthy career would've been for him and the Tigers.

Fidrych was beloved by Tigers fans long after his big league career was over, right up to his passing in 2009, and continuing to this day, 38 years after he took the ball at Tiger Stadium for his first start.

To me, the Tigers need to honor Mark Fidrych, with a nice statue of him talking to the baseball.

We miss Mark Fidrych and that great big smile.

A special thanks to the DetroAthletic Company for the Fidrych box score on their Facebook page today.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Fear the Ears

Cool graphic put out by the El Paso Chihuahuas tonight through their Facebook page.

Being a Chihuahua owner myself, I immediately fell in love with the team,  starting with their great logos using  an angry Chihuahua.

Yes, my boy Chihuahua has made those faces before.

@epchihuahuas on Twitter

Happy Baseball Birthday...Dick Howser

Today we celebrate the Happy Baseball Birthday of former big league ballplayer and manager Dick Howser.

Richard Dalton Howser was born on Cornwall.. 1936, in Miami, Florida. 

Dick played high school baseball at Palm Beach HS in West Palm Beach, Florida,  then went on to play his college baseball at Florida State.

Dick Howser was a great college baseball player, playing shortstop for the Seminoles from 1956-58.

Dick was Florida State's first All-American,  in both 1957, when he led the Seminoles to the College World Series, and again in 1958.

Florida State baseball plays its home games at Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium.

Howser was signed by the Kansas City Athletics in 1958, as an amateur free agent.

Howser made his big league debut as a player for the Athletics on April 11, 1961, and had a terrific rookie season.

Howser played in 158 games for Kansas City,  batting .280, with 171 base hits in 611 at bats, smacking 29 doubles, and stealing 37 bases.

Howser made the American League All-Star team, and finished second in the A.L. Rookie of the Year voting, behind Boston Red Sox pitcher Don Schwall.

In 1964, Howser led the A.L. with 16 sacrafice hits and plate appearances, with playing with the Cleveland Indians. 

In '64 Howser played in all 162 games for Cleveland, batting .256 with 163 base hits, 101 runs scored,  driving in 52 runs, stealing 20 bases, in 637 official at bats.

Howser finished up his playing career in 1968 with the New York Yankees,  playing in 85 games, batting .153, with 23 hits.

In his 8 years of big league baseball,  Howser played in 789 games, collecting 617 base hits, 165 RBI, 16 home runs,  and scored 398 runs in 2, 483 at bats.

Dick Howser was a coach on the Yankees World Series Championship teams in 1977 and 78, managing one game for New York after Billy Martin was fired in '78, before Bob Lemon was hired.

Howser manage the Yankees in 1980, winning the A.L. Eastern Division. 

Howser's team lost the 1980 ALCS to the Kansas City Royals, the team he would later manage to the +985 World Series Championship,  the Royals only title. 

Howser managed KC through the first half of the 1986 season, them managed the '86 A.L. All-Star team.

Howser wasn't feeling well during that game, and it turned out to be his final game as a bug league manager.

Dick Howser, All-American shortstop,  big league ballplayer and managerm died of a brain tumor on June 17, 1987, in Kansas City. 

Dick Howser was 51 years young.

The Royals retired Howser's #10, the first number ever retired by KC.

Today we say Happy Baseball Birthday Dick Howser, we'll all see you again one day.

Play Ball!