Monday, June 30, 2014

Happy Baseball Birthday...Ron Swoboda

Today we say Happy 70th Baseball Birthday to former New York Mets outfielder Ron Swoboda.

Ronald Alan Swoboda was born on June 30, 1944, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Ron played baseball at Sparrows Point high school in Baltimore, and went on to NYU  and the University of Maryland.

In 1963 Swoboda signed  a contract with the New York Mets, and played one year of Double A ball in Williamsport, PA in 1964.

Ron made his big league debut with the Mets, on April 12, 1965, at the age of 20.

Swoboda appeared in 135 games as a rookie, collecting 91 hits in 399 at bats, with 50 RBI.

Ron smacked 19 home runs as a rookie, a Mets club record that would stand until it was broken by a young Mets rookie named Darryl Strawberry in 1983.

Swoboda had a terrific throwing arm from the outfield, and played at least 109 games for the Mets between 1965-1970.

Ron collected 126 hits in 1967, batting .281, and in '68 Ron smacked 109 base knocks with 59 RBI.

In the Mets 1969 Championship season Swoboda played in 109 games, with 57 hits, 9 HR, and 40 RBI in 327 at bats.

Swoboda will be forever in the hearts of Mets fans for his diving grab of a sure extra base hit into right center field gap off the bat of the Orioles Brooks Robinson in Game 4 of the '69 World Series.

The great ninth inning defensive play saved the game for the Mets, who won the game, 2-1,  and went on to a 4 games to 1 series win over Baltimore.

In the middle of the 1971 season, Swoboda was traded to the Montreal Expos, where he played in just 39 games.

The Expos then traded Swoboda to the New York Yankees, where Swoboda would play through the 1973 season.

His last big leaguel appearance was with the Yankees, on September 30th, 1973.

After being released by the Yankees Swoboda went to Spring Training with the Atlanta Braves in 1974, but was released in March.

Swoboda tried another comeback in the spring of 1976 with his old team, the Mets, but didn't make the team.

In his nine year big league career Ron Swoboda played in 928 games,  collected 624 hits, scalloped 73 home runs, scored 285 runs, with 344 RBI in 2,581 at bats.

After his playing days Ron worked in TV and radio broadcasting baseball games.

He lives with his family in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Happy Baseball Birthday Ron!

Play Ball!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

My 2014 Big League All-Star Game Starters

Here's my  Baseball Bloggers Alliance ballot for the MLB All-Star Game at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The 85th edition of baseball's mid summer classic is on July 15, and will be televised nationally by FOX.

Before I list my starters for each league, let me first explain what it's been like for me the first 3 1/2 months of the baseball season.

For the first time in a very long time I haven't been able to watch much baseball on TV.

I haven't had cable TV, or the Internet in my house since early March.

The only live games I've seen are the Saturday night games on FOX Baseball Night in America.

My smartphone isn't very good, either, and it won't stream games from MLB.TV.

So, all I've know of baseball is from my Twitter feed, my Facebook page, and articles and stats from the MLB At Bat APP.

I haven't seen one Detroit Tigers game on TV, but I follow my beloved team through the broadcast by Dan Dickerson and Jim Price through the At Bat APP.

I've also had a chance to listen to a few other broadcast games through the At Bat APP, and have done my best to follow the game as best I could.

OK, with that said, here are my choices, right, or wrong, for both the American and National League's starters for this year's game.

**********American League*********

Catcher...Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals

First Base... Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers

Second Base... Jose Altuve, Houston Astros

Third Base... Josh Donaldson, Oakland Athletics

Shortstop... Alexi Ramirez, Chicago White Sox

Outfielders... Mike Trout, L.A. Angels of Anaheim

Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays

Yoenis Cespedes, Oakland A's

Designated Hitter.. Victor Martinez, Detroit Tigers

**********National League**********

Catcher...Jonathan LuCroy, Milwaukee Brewers

First Base... Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks

Second Base... Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies

Third Base...Todd Frazier, Cincinnati Reds

Shortstop...Troy Tulowitzli, Colorado Rockies

Outfielders... Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins

Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers

Andrew McCutcheon, Pittsburgh Pirates

***No DH for NL squad***

I've rooted for the American League every year I've been a baseball fan, and I like the fact that every team has a representative at the game.

My favorite All-Star Game will probably always be the 1971 game, held for the third, and final time at old Tiger Stadium in Detroit.

The American League won the game, 6-4.

The one thing I'm still waiting for is a All-Star Game MVP from a Tigers player.

Maybe Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler, or Victor Martinez can make that happen this year in Minneapolis.


Friday, June 27, 2014

Happy Baseball Birthday...Bull Durham

Today's Happy Baseball Birthday is former big league pitcher Bull Durham.

Louis Rapahel Staub was born on June  27, 1877, in New Oxford, Pennsylvania.

While playing minor league baseball Staub got into a bar fight, and was banned from playing baseball.

Staub found a law loophole that allowed him to change his name, and so Louis Staub Durham was given a new start in baseball.

While playing for Augusta of the South Atlantic League, he was chosen by the Brooklyn Superbas in baseball's Rule 5 Draft.

Bull Durham made his big league debut on September 16, 1904, at the age of 27.

Durham played for Brooklyn, the Washington Senators, and the New York Giants.

His big league career was brief, pitching in just 9 games, going 2-0, with a 5.28 ERA in 29 innings pitched.

His last big league appearance was for the Giants, on May 19,1909.

Durham pitched in 155 minor league games, playing in Augusta, Altoona, Lancaster, Louisville, and finally in Denver of the Western League.

After baseball Durham spent time acting in silent movies.

Bull passed away on June 28, 1960, in Bently, Kansas, at the age of 83.



Thursday, June 26, 2014

Happy Baseball Birthday...Babe Herman

Today we celebrate the Happy Baseball Birthday of former big league outfielder Babe Herman.

Floyd Caves "Babe" Herman was born on June 26, 1903, in Buffalo, New York.

Babe graduated from Glendale High School in Glendale, California.

He played in the minor leagues through the early to mid 1920's, including spending time with Ty Cobb's Detroit Tigers in spring camp in1922.

Herman made his big league debut on April 14, 1926, at age 22, with the Brooklyn Robins.

In 137 games as a rookie Babe collected 158 base hits, smacked 35 doubles, 11 home runs, and drove in 81 runs in 496 at bats.

Babe was one of the National Leagues best power hitters in his years in Brooklyn.

In 1928, 29, 30, Babe hit .340, .381, .393, and collected an amazing 217 hits in 1929, and 241 more hits in 1930.

On his 13 years in the big leagues, Babe Herman played in 1,552 games, with the Robins, Reds, Cubs, Pirates, Cardinals, Tigers, and Brooklyn Dodgers.

Babe smacked 1,818 hits, 181 HR, 997 RBI, 399 doubles, 110 triples, and scored 882 runs in 5,603 at bats.

Babe played his final big league game at age 42 for the Brooklyn Dodgers, on September 16, 1945.

The 6'4'' 190 lb big leaguer passed away at the age of 84 on November 27, 1987, in Glendale.

Happy Baseball Birthday Babe!

Play Ball!

Congratulations Vanderbilt Baseball

The Vanderbilt Commodores are the 2014 NCAA Baseball Champions.

Vandy defeated Virginia 3-2 in the third and deciding game on Wednesday night on Omaha, Nebraska.

It's Vanderbilt's first ever NCAA Baseball Title.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

This Week's Sports Illustrated Cover...Houston Astros

As you probably know, I love when baseball is featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

This week the magazine spotlights the young Houston Astros, including rookie slugger George Springer on the cover.

The Astros young squad is led by 24 year old shortstop Jose Altuve, who leads the American League in batting average, .337, and all of MLB with 105 base hits.

Springer has hit .240, with 14 home runs, 39 RBI, and 54 base hits in 59 games this season.

The Astros, in their second year in the American League, are in last place in the A.L. Central.

SI has the Astros headed out if the cellar soon, and has pegged the team as the 2017 World Series Champions.

Monday, June 23, 2014

ROAR of 1984

Tonight at 7 pm on fans can 're-live Game 5 of the 1984 World Series by watching a live stream 're-airing of the Tigers 8-4 Series clinching win over San Diego.

Tigers fans can get involved in the celebration on Twitter today by using hash tag  #Roarof84

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Happy Baseball Birthday...Jake Wood

Today we say Happy 77th Baseball Birthday to former Detroit Tigers second baseman Jake Wood.

Jacob "Jake" Wood was born on June 22, 1937,  in Elizabeth, New Jersey, 

Jake played one year of college baseball at Delaware State before signing with Detroit as a amateur free agent in 1957.

Wood started his minor league baseball career at Erie, of the New York-Penn League.

Wood earned his trip to the big leagues with his performance at AAA Denver in 1960.

Jake hit .305, with 24 doubles, 18 triples, 12 home runs, and 76 runs batted in.

Jake Wood made his big league debut on Opening Day 1961, at Tiger Stadium, becoming the first African-American ball player to make his way through the Tigers minor leagues to the big league level.

Jake was issued Olde English D uniform retired for Hall of Fame second Baseman Charlie Gehringer.

In the 7th inning Jake collected his first big league hit, a two run HR off Jim Perry of the Cleveland Indians.

Wood played in all 162 games at second base in 1961, leading all American League rookies with 14 triples...and 141 strikeouts.

Jake smacked 171 base hits in 1961, with 17 doubles, 11 home runs, and also stole 30 bases, in 663 at bats.

In 1962, Jake played in 111 games at second base for Detroit, scored 68 runs, stole 24 bases, collecting 83 hits.

Wood hurt a finger in 1963, and was a part time player for the Tigers into the 1967 season.

After playing in just 16 games in 1967, Wood was traded to the Cincinnati Reds, where he appeared in just 14 games.

Jake Wood played his final big league game as a member of the Reds, on August 11, 1967, at the age is 30.

Jake Wood was inducted into the Union, County, Delaware Hall of Fame, and resides in Pensacola, Florida.

Happy Baseball Birthday Jake Wood.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Tony Gwynn (1960-2014)

Hall of Fame big leaguer Tony Gwynn, the best left handed hitter in my lifetime, has passed away from Cancer.

Tony Gwynn was just 54 years young.

God Bless Tony and his family.

Happy Baseball Birthday...Ron LeFlore

Go Go Go!

Today we celebrate the Happy Baseball Birthday of former big league center fielder Ron LeFlore.

Sunday, June 15, 2014


Today we say Happy Baseball Birthday!  of former big league first baseman Tony Clark.

Anthony Christopher Clark  was born on June 15, 1972, in Newton, Kansas.
Clark played baseball at Christian HS in El Segundo, California, and college baseball at San Diego State.

The Tigers drafted the 6' 8'' slugger second overall in the 1990 amateur player draft.

Tony made his big league debut  at the age of 24 for the Detroit Tigers on September 3, 1995.

Tony played 15 big league seasons with the Tigers, Red Sox, Diamondbacks, Mets, Yankees, and Padres.

Clark made his mark slugging baseballs in Detroit from 1996-1999.

     1996...27 HR, 72 RBI...3rd ROY voting
     1997...32 HR, 117 RBI
     1998...34 HR, 103 RBI
     1999...31 HR, 99 RBI

Tony played in one All-Star Game, in 2001, representing the Tigers.

In 1,559 big league games Tony Clark collected 1,188.base hits, 251 home runs, 233 doubles, 11 triples, with 824 RBI, batting .262 in 4,532 at bats.

Today Tony Clark is the Executive Director of the Major League Players Association.

Happy Baseball Birthday! to Tony the Tiger, Tony Clark! 

Play Ball!

Happy Father's Day

"...hey, Dad,.wanna have a catch?"

"...if you build it, he will come."

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Jimmy Rollins is the Phillies All-Time Hit King

Congratulations to Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who collected his franchise record 2, 235th base hit today vs the Chicago Cubs.

Rollins, the 2007 National League MVP, singled off former Detroit Tigers RHP Edwin Jackson in the 5th inning, passing Phillies Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt.

The Phillies top five hit leaders in history are... #5, Del Ennis, 1,812.. #4, "Big Ed" Delahanty, 2,213... #3, my favorite Phillies player...Richie Ashburn, 2,317, Schmidt, 2,234, and Jimmy Rollins.

Rollins, the Phillies second round draft 1996,  has always been one of my favorite of the current big league players.

Rollins loves the game, always seems to be having fun on the ball field, and he wears favorite baseball uniform number.

Congratulations Jimmy!


Happy Flag Day 2014

Friday, June 13, 2014

Happy Friday the 13th

Former Detroit Tigers catcher Lance Parrish wore lucky #13 between 1977-1986.

Parrish hit 212 home runs as a Tiger, caught a Jack Moris no hitter in April 1984, and won a World Series Championship with Detroit in '84.

The #13 was definitely a good thing for Parrish and the Tigers.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Happy Baseball Birthday...Baseball Hall of Fame

Today is the 75th Anniversary of the National Baseball Museum and Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

On June 6, 1939 the first four classes of ballplayers elected into the HOF, from 1936, 37, 38, 39, were inducted.

The first five players voted in by the Baseball Writers Association of America in 1936 were Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Bonus Wagner, Christy Matthewson, and Walter Johnson. 

Ruby Dee (1922-2014)

Actress Ruby Dee has passed away at the age of 91.

The Emmy Award winning and Oscar nominated actress, best known for her roles in A Raisin in the Sun and American Gangster, also starred in two baseball movies, both as a Brooklyn Dodgers wife.

In 1950 she starred as Rachel Robinson in the Jackie Robinson Story, alongside the future Hall of Fame ballplayer himself.

Ruby was friends with both Rachel and Jackie Robinson before the movie.

In 1977 Ruby starred alongside Paul Winfield as Ruthie Campanella in "Alive," a TV movie based on Roy Campanella's autobiography.

Ruby Ann Wallace was born in Cleveland, Ohio on October 27, 1922.

I'll always remember Ruby Dee for her being married to actor Ossie Davis, who passed away in 2005.

Ruby died of natural causes in New Rochelle, NewYork.

May God Bless her and her family.