Wednesday, February 25, 2015

This Week's Sports Illustrated Cover...Giancarlo Stanton

Miami Marlins slugging outfielder Giancarlo Stanton graces the cover of this week's Sports Illustrated.

Stanton is SI's first painted athlete on the magazine's cover.

The magazine has been known to paint over athletes and models in past pages, including this year...

Stanton is coming off a season ending beaning in September, and the Miami Marlins hope he takes off right were he left off, smashing home runs and making the Marlins fun to watch.

I can't wait until April 4th, when Stanton and the Marlins come to Bragan Field  to play the hometown Jacksonville Suns in the last exhibition game before the 2015 big league season.

My wife and I were fortunate enough to see Stanton smack two home runs for the Suns in 2010, and we have watched many Suns players like Christian Yelich come through our city on their way to the show.

Well, time to go find this week's SI.

Play Ball!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day 2015

Happy Valentine's Day to all the great baseball fans out there, especially to those who take time to read this blog. 

51 big league ballplayers were born on February 14th, starting with Al Nichols in 1852, through current Oakland Athletics catcher Derek Norris in 1989.

Today is a day filled with love.

May you all spend quality time with your special Valentine, make sure to tell that someone special you love them.


Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday the 13th

Today is Friday, February the 13th, 2015.

I was thinking about baseball and the number 13, and why any player would ever want to wear the "unlucky" number on their baseball uniform.

Then I thought, hey, my Detroit Tigers current starting catcher Alex Avila wears #13... did another Tigers backstop, former Gold Glove catcher Lance Parrish...

...a classic baseball poster!

Bill Shores of the 1931 Philadelphia Athletics was the first big league ballplayer to wear #13, and there has been a total of 293 big league ballplayers to wear the number 13.

The number 13 and baseball.

Ralph Branca is probably the most famous #13 big leaguer.

Branca, pitching for the Brooklyn Dodgers in relief, served up a fastball in Game 3 of the 1951 National League playoff to Bobby Thompson of the New York Giants in the bottom if the ninth inning, a ball that landed in the left field seats at the old Polo Grounds in New York, sending the Giants to the World Series,  and Branca into #13 infamy.

Roberto Clemente briefly wore #13, for the 1955 Pittsburgh Pirates, as did Zack Greinke, Bobby Tolan, Ray Fosse, Mort Cooper,  Joe Ferguson, Harold Baines,  Dick Pole, Ozzie Guillen, Steve Kemp, and Bobby Wine.

Omar Vizquel  is the all-time leader in wearing #13.

Omar donned a big league uniform with the number 13 on the back for a big league record 21 years, from 1989-2001.

Runner-up players include...

19 years...Dave Concepcion (1970-88)

 18 years...Lance Parrish (1977-95)

16 years...Ozzie Guillen (1985-2000)

Some players wore #13 as champions, like Concepcion, the shortstop on the 1975-76 Big Red Machine of Cincinnati, Lance Parrish of the '84 Tigers, 1981 Dodgers catcher Joe Ferguson,  and Mort Cooper of the 1942 and 1944 Cardinals.

Myself,  I'm not afraid of the number 13, and I'm not overly superstitious when it comes to breaking glass, or walking under laders, and I even own two black cats.

One of my black cats is named Mr. Paws, after the Detroit Tigers mascot.

My Mr. PAWS...

Have a great Friday the 13th.

Play Ball!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Happy Baseball Birthday... John Paciorek

Today we celebrate the 70th  Happy Baseball Birthday  of former Houston Colt .45  outfielder John Paciorek.

John Francis Paciorek was born on February 11, 1945, in Detroit,  Michigan.

John played baseball at St. Ladislaus High School in Hamtramck,  Michigan, and signed an amateur free agent contract at age 18 with the Houston Colt .45s.

After a summer in the Houston farm system, John made his big league debut on September 29, 1963, the final day of the season.

That one game John went 3/3, with 3 singles,  3 RBI, 2 walks, and scored 4 runs, in 5 plate appearances.

A perfect line score... 3/3... a  1.000 batting average.

In right field John caught two fly balls in his only two fielding chances.

John fought injuries after that one day in the big leagues, and finished playing baseball in the minors until he retired in 1969.

Jim Paciorek, the only player in big league history with a perfect batting average, slugging, and fielding percentage.

John Paciorek...the Perfect ballplayer. 

I must admit that I knew of John Paciorek mainly because if his brother, Tom Paciorek, who I remembered playing for the Mariners and White Sox.

John's brother Jim Paciorek also played big league baseball.

I also heard John Paciorek on TV this morning on Hot Stove, on the MLB NETWORK, and that led me to write today's HBB post.

I also saw that there's a book, Perfect, by Steven K. Wagner, and its definitely on my must read baseball book list.

John went to the University of Houston, and has a terrific blog on coaching and teaching at

John teaches physical education at a private school in California,  and is the author of two books,  "Plato & Socrates,and "Principles of Baseball."

Happy Baseball Birthday John Paciorek!

Play Ball! ⚾

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Happy Baseball Birthday. ..Don Hoak

Today's Happy Baseball Birthday is former big league third baseman Don Hoak.

Don Albert Hoak was born on February 5, 1938, in Roullette, Pennsylvania.

Don played baseball at Roullette High School and signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers as a amateur free agent in 1938, and served in the Marines during World War II.

Don made his big league debut for the Dodgers on April 18, 1954, at the age of 26.

Don played third base for 11 big league seasons,  smacking 1,144 base hits, 214 doubles,  44 triples,  89 home runs, 498 RBI, scoring 598 runs in 1,263 games, batting .265, in 4,322 at bats.

Don was a terrific 3rd sacker,  who led the Senior Circuit in fielding percentage in 1957 (.971), with the Reds, and in 1962 (.969), with the Pirates.

Don was a National League All-Star in 1957 as a member of the Cincinnati Reds,  and was a member of two World Series Championship teams, the 1955 Dodgers, and the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates.



3rd Base?

Billy Crystal made me remember Don in City Slickers...

Don Hoak played his final big league game with the Philadelphia Phillies on May 12, 1964, at the age of 36.

Don Hoak passed away due to a hear attack on October 9, 1969, at the age of 41.

Happy Baseball Birthdayon Don Hoak!


This Week's Sports Illustrated Cover...2015 Swimsuit Issue

We like to celebrate when baseball graces the cover of Sports Illustrated.

With Spring Training baseball right around the corner, the annual SI Swimsuit Edition will be out on Monday, just in time for pitchers and catchers to report to the sunshine of Florida and Arizona.

In case you were wondering how former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was doing in retirement,  you have to look no farther than the SI Swimsuit Cover, graced by Derek's girlfriend, Hannah Davis. 

Congratulations Hannah!