Tuesday, September 30, 2014

This weeks Sports Illustrated Regional Covers

This week Sports Illustrated has combined previews of the 2014 big league baseball post season and the 2014-15 NHL season preview on three regional covers.

The East Coast cover has Baltimore Orioles Gold Glove center fielder Adam Jones and Washington Capitals goal scoring great Alex Ovechkin.

In the Midwest its the St. Louis Cardinals ace right hander Adam Wainwright and USA Hockey and St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie.

Out West the cover features Los Angeles Dodgers Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw and Stanley Cup Champion Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings.

Sports Illustrated points out that no team since the 1935-36 sports year have both the World Series and the Stanley Cup Champions resided in the same city.

That city?

Detroit, Michigan... The 1935 Detroit Tigers won the World Series and the following spring the Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup.

With that very fact in hand, why didn't SI have a cover with Miguel Cabrera and Pavel Datsyuk on the cover representing the ONLY city to accomplish the feat?

Happy Baseball Birthday...Johnny Podres

Today we celebrate the Happy Baseball Birthday of 1955 World Series hero Johnny Podres.

John Joseph Podres was born on September 30, 1932, in Witherbee, New York, and attended high school at local Minerville HS in Witherbee.

In 1951, at the age of 19, Johnny signed as a amatuer free agent with the Brooklyn Dodgers,  and made his big league debut with Brooklyn on April 17, 1953.

In 15 big league seasons Johnny Podres compiled a 148-116 record, with a ERA of 3.68,   for the Dodgers, Detroit Tigers, and San Diego Padres.

Johnny pitched in 2,265 innings, striking out 1,435 batters, walking 743 batters in 440 big league games.

Podres led the NL in ERA in 1957, at 2.66.

Johnny was a National League All-Star for the Dodgers in 1958, '60, '62.

Johnny won at at least 12 games for the Dodgers between 1957 and 1963... 12, 13, 14, 14, 18, 15, and 14.

His best regular season was in 1961, when Johnny won 18 games, losing just five games in 255 innings pitched, leading the NL in winning percentage, at .783%.

In the 1955 World Series Johnny Podres became part of Brooklyn Dodgers lore and big league baseball history.

The Brooklyn Dodgers won their one and only World Series in 1955, and it was because of the pitching of Series MVP Johnny Podres.

Podres went 2-0 against the New York Yankees, including a complete game 2-0 shutout win in Game 7 at old Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

Podres pitched 18 innings against the Yankees, allowing just 3 runs, 2 earned, striking out 10.

For his performance Podres became the first ever WS MVP, given out in 1955 by Sport Magazine.

Later that year Podres was also named Sports IlIllustrated Sportsman of the Year.

Johnny won three more WS titles with the Dodgers, all of them in Los Angeles, in 1959, '63, and '65.

After his big league career Johnny became a big league pitching coach, working for the Padres, Red Sox, Twins, and Phillies.

Johnny Podres passed away on January 13, 2008, in Glens Falls, New York, at the age of 75.

Today we remember Johnny Podres and say Happy Baseball Birthday Johnny!


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Thanks Tigers!

Thanks to my favorite baseball team, the Detroit Tigers, on winning their 4th consecutive American League Central Division Championship!

On to the playoffs!



Sunday Salute

Its the final day of the 2014 regular big league baseball season, Game 162.

Baseball is the greatest of all games, a test of resolve that comes down to one game sometimes, as it does in the Motor City and the Windy City today.

My Detroit Tigers, yes, they're mine, have a 1 game lead in the American League Central Division over the Kansas City Royals .

The Tigers host the Twins, and the Royals play at the White Sox, to determine the division champion for 2014.

A tip of the cap to all the great baseball fans out there, keep up your passion for our great game.

A special tip of the cap to Paul Konerko of the Chicago White Sox and Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees as they play their final games of their Hall of Fame careers.

Thanks for the memories.

Play Ball!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Baseball on Sports Illustrated... Derek Jeter

One more time, as he plays his final week as a big leaguer, New York Yankees Hall of Fame bound shortstop Derek Jeter is on this week's SI cover.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Happy Baseball Birthday... Hawk Harrelson

Today's Happy Baseball Birthday is former big league first baseman and outfielder Ken "Hawk" Harrelson.

Kenneth Smith Harrelson was born on September 4, 1941, in Woodruff,  South Carolina.

Hawk went to high school at the Benedictine Military School in Savannah, Georgia,  where he played golf, baseball, football,  and basketball.

Harrelson was signed as a amateur free agent by the Kansas City Athletics in 1959.

Hawk made his big league debut on June 9, 1963, at the age of 21.

Hawk played first base and right field for 9 big league seasons,  1963-71, for the Athletics,  Washington Senators,  Boston Red Sox, and Cleveland Indians. 

In 1968, playing for the BoSox,  Harrelson led the American League in RBI, with 109, playing in the All-Star Game for the only time in his big league career. 

Hawk played in 900 games, scored 374 runs, collecting 703 base hits, 94 of them doubles,  along with 13 triples, 134 home runs, and 421 RBI in 2,841 at bats.

In the field Harrelson was a terrific defensive player, making only 41 errors in 4,101 chances, a .990 lifetime fielding percentage. 

Hawk played his final big league baseball game as a member of the Indians,  on June 9, 1971, at the age of 29.

After baseball Harrelson played proffessional golf, missing the cut in the 1972 British Open by one stroke (+11).

Hawk started broadcasting baseball games in 1975,  staring as a analyst on Red Sox games with Dick Stockton. 

Harrelson waa fired by the BoSox for his criticism of the teams players, and Hawk moved on to broadcasting ChiSox games in 1981, the left the booth in 1985, becoming the White Sox General Manager.

Harrelson was a less than successful GM, firing a young manager named Tony LaRussa, and his assistant GM, a guy named Dave Dombrowski.

In 1990 Hawk became the White Sox #1 TV announcer,  a job he is still doing today.

I love Hawk Harrelson...there, I said it.

There is no radio or TV play by play announcer with more love of the game of baseball and passion for his team quite like Hawk Harrelson and his beloved South Siders.

From his signature "...you can put it on the board...YES!"  home run calls for the White Sox,  to the "...he gone!"  call when an opposition player strikes out, Hawk Harrelson broadcast ChiSox games with unbridled baseball knowledge and passion. 

One of the reasons I love Hawk is that he loves the game, and will praise any player, on any team, for their good play, and criticize any player,  including ChiSox players,  for their poor play.

Hawk is also fantastic when he recalls the history of the game, including his playing days, and his tales of playing against the great American League players and teams of the 1960s.

Hawk was a member of the 1967 American League Champion Boston Red Sox, playing alongside guys like Carl Yaztremski and Jim Longborg, and facing down big league pitchers named Luis Tiant, Sam McDowell,  Mickey Lolich, and Bob Gibson.

There seems to be no gray are when it comes to Hawk Harrelson, its either pro Hawk, or anti Hawk.

Hawk has certainly done and said controversial things, but that's Hawk Harrelson,  and I think you have to give him credit for his consistency in the way he calls ball games.

Hawk is a 5 time Emmy Winner broadcasting baseball games, two time Illinois Sportscaster of the Year recipient,  2010 Ring Lardner Award winner, and a 2007 Ford Frick Award finalist.

To me, quite simply,  Ken "Hawk" Harrelson deserves to be in the broadcasting wing of the Hall of Fame.

Happy Baseball Birthday Hawk... "Mercy!"


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Happy Baseball Birthday, Celebrity Edition...Charlie Sheen

Today's Celebrity Happy Baseball Birthday is actor Charlie Sheen.

Carlos Irwin Estevez was born on September 3, 1965, in New York City, is an avid baseball fan, and  loves the Big Red Machine and the Cincinnati Reds.

Baseball fans and movie lovers also know Charlie as the young veg head Rick Vaughn, The Wild Thing, in Major League and Major League 2.

Charlie also starred as Elmer "Hap" Felsch in the movie Eight Men Out, about the 1919 Chicago White Sox scandal that led to the infamous team nickname "Black Sox," as the "8 Men Out" conspired to lose games in the 1919 World Series. 

Sheen, in my humble opinion, was brilliant on TV as Charlie Harper on the CBS sitcom "Two and a half Men."

The reruns still make me laugh.

His departure from the show has bern well documented,  and after all, we're celebrating the good that is Charlie Sheen, the Reds fan.

Happy Baseball Birthday Charlie!


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

This Week's Sports Illustrated...Andrew McCutchen

Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star centerfielder Andrew McCutchen is one of the regional covers of this week's Sports Illustrated.

Baseball on the SI cover is always something special on the blog,  and its specially awesome when its a player or team you like, and I love McCutchen and his passion for our National Pastine.

The other regional cover from the SI Instagram page was of Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts. 

One year ago, September of 2013,   McCutchen graced the SI cover, and he was alsothe cover for SI for Kids in April, 2014.

★★Thanks SI for the great baseball covers you continue to issue.


Happy Baseball Birthday...Albert Goodwill Spalding

Today's Happy Baseball Birthday is former big league pitcher, manager, and baseball pioneer,  Albert Goodwill Spalding.

Albert Spalding was born 164 years ago today, September 2, 1850, in Byron, Illinois.

Spalding was the best pitcher in the old American Association, winning 52 games in 1884, and 54 in 1875, for the Boston Red Stockings. 

Albert Spalding was the 1st big league pitcher to win 50 games, 100 games, 150 games, 200 games, and 250 big league games.

In 7 seasons Spalding compiled a 252-65 record,  a .705 winning percentage...#1 All-Time for any big league pitcher. 

As a hitter, Spaulding hit .313,  and played first base and the outfield when not on the mound. 

Spalding played his last big league game on August 31, 1878, at the age of 27.

Albert Spalding, while still playing baseball, opened up The Spalding Sporting Goods Company, with his brother, William.

Spalding was alao a big reason the NationaL League was formed in 1876, and Spalding basically ran the league into the 1900s.

In 1878 Spalding Sporting Goods became the official ball of the National League,   with Spalding donating baseballs for every NL team, and paying each NL team $1.00 for every dozen Spalding baseball's used.

Also in 1878, the 1st Spalding Official Baseball Guide was published.

Henry Chadwick, the creator of the baseball box score, and noted baseball historical chronicler,  edited the Spalding Guide. 

Spalding paid the Senior Circuit a fee to publish his baseball guide, 

In 1882, at the age of 31, Albert Spalding became sole owner of the Chicago White Stockings, when owner William Hubert passed away.

Albert Goodwill Spalding passed away on September 9, 1915, at the age of 65, in San Diego, California. 

In 1939, Spalding was elected by the Veteran's Committee,  into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown,  New York.

Happy Baseball Birthday to A.G. Spalding!