Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Special Happy Baseball Birthday... Mr. Hockey

Today is a very special Happy Baseball Birthday.

Gordie Howe is celebrating his 87th Birthday today, and hockey fans everywhere are happy that Mr. Hockey is still with us after a health scare last December.

We are doing this special post because, well, we love the greatest hockey player in Detroit Red Wings history, and, well, Gordie loved the game of baseball.

Gordie Howe was born on March 31, 1928, in Floral, Saskatchewan.

Gordie played baseball as young man, but had to give up baseball after signing with Detroit in 1944.

Gordie and the Red Wings won Stanley Cup Championships in 1950, 52, 53, 55.

Gordie formed a friendship with Al Kaline, a.k.a, Mr. Tiger, who would invite Gordie to batting practice at Briggs Stadium(Tiger Stadium).

Sure looks like #9 had a sweet swing wearing tne Olde English D.

Gordie Howe is spending his 87th Birthday today with his family and friends in Texas..

Tonight in Motown the Red Wings are playing the Ottowa Senators, and the first 7,500 fans through the turnstiles will receive a special  Gordie Howe Bobblehead.

                       Photo from +Detroit Red Wings Twitter page.

We wish Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe, a very, very, Happy Baseball Birthday.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Happy Baseball Birthday... Cy Young and Denny McLain

Today's a unique Happy Baseball Birthday.

Denton True "Cy" Young was born on March 29, 1867, in Gilmore, Ohio.

Cy Young  won 511 baseball games as a pitcher in both the American and National Leagues between 1890-1911.

511 wins...that's why is called The Cy young Award.

Young pitched for the old Cleveland Spiders in 1892 winning 36 ball games, and won 28 games for the first World Series Champion Boston Americans, in 1903.

Cy pitched in 906 baseball games, completing 745.

Cy pitched his final game on October 6, 1911, for the Boston Rustlers.

Cy Young passed away at the age of 88 on November 4, 1955, in Newcomerstown, Ohio.

In 1937 Cy Young was Inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

I wanted to do today's HBB once I saw that the man who's name graces the Cy Young Award, happens to celebrate the same birthday with just one actual Cy Young Award Winner.

Dennis Dale McLain was born on March 29, 1944, in Chicago, Illinois.

Denny McLain was the wonderboy pitcher for my Detroit Tigers, who, for two marvelous years, was the best pitcher in the American League.

Denny won back to back Cy Young Awards, 1968-1969, and is the last big league pitcher to win 30 games, in 1968, winning 31.

in addition to his Cy Young Award, McLain was also the American League Most Valuable Player in 1968.

Denny pitched for the Tigers, Washington Senators, Oakland A's, and Atlanta Braves, over a 10 year career...a career that flamed out as quick as it came, due to McLain's many off the field issues.

If you care to read about Denny's rise and fall, read this ESPN article.

For the Tigers, between 1963-70 Denny won 117 games in the Motor City, helping Detroit win the 1968 World Series.

I got to meet Denny at a card show here in Jacksonville a decade or so ago, and despite his time spent in prison, we try and remember the greatness that was the 1968-69 Denny McLain, the pitcher who captured our childhood imaginations as we pretended to be Denny on the sandlots in West Michigan.

Today is a special Happy Baseball Birthday Cy Young and a Happy Baseball Birthday #71 to Denny McLain.

Play Ball!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Happy Baseball Birthday...Glenn Davis

Today's Happy Baseball Birthday is former big league first baseman  Glenn Davis.

Glenn Earle Davis  was born on March 28, 1961, in Jacksonville, Florida.

Glenn was drafted by the Houston Astros in the first round of the 1981 amatuer draft.

Glenn had previously been drafted, by the Baltimore Orioles in the 1979 draft.

Glenn decided to play college baseball first, starting at Georgia before transferring to comunity college, then playing in Columbus, Georgia for the Houston minor leagues.

Glenn made his big league debut on September 2, 1984 with Houston, collecting his first big league hit, a double, going 1-4.

Glenn was a National League All-Star in 1986 and 1989, and in his 10 year career Glenn collected 965 hits, 177 doubles, 13 triples, 190 home runs, scoring 510 runs in 3,719 at bats for the Astros and Orioles.

Happy Baseball Birthday Glenn!


Friday, March 27, 2015

Happy Baseball Birthday...Celebrity Edition... Fergie

A special celebrity Happy Baseball Birthday today to singer, actress, and Los Angeles Dodgers fan Fergie, who turns 40 today.

Fergie, was born Stacy Ann Ferguson on March 27, 1975, in Hacienda Heights, California.

Fergie is married to actor Josh Duhamel, who stars in a new cop show, Battle Creek.

Battle Creek is a small Michigan town known fir producing cereal, and is about 20 miles east of my hometown of Kalamazoo.

I think Josh should get Fergie to guest star on the show, maybe at a Detroit Tigers game, and wearing a Tigers cap.

Happy Baseball Birthday Fergie!


Thursday, March 26, 2015

ESPN The Magazine 2015 Baseball Preview Issue...Giancarlo Stanton

I apologize for my tardiness on seeing the ESPN The Magazine Baseball Preview Issue for the 2015 baseball season, which ESPN announced on March 20th.

Former Jacksonville Suns and current Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton graces ESPN's cover this year.

Stanton and the Marlins will be here in Jacksonville in 9 days, April 4th, to play the Suns in an exhibition game at Bragan Fiels at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

My wife and I are excited to get to the game.

I love this baseball magazine cover, as I've  become  a Stanton fan since his days here in Jacksonville.

Again, sorry for not seeing this earlier, and I need to get to Walmart to get the issue.


Opening Day First Pitch at Comerica Park...Oscar Winner J K Simmons

The Detroit Tigers announced on on their Twitter page  today that Academy Award winning actor J K Simmons will throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day at Comerica Park on April 6th vs. the Minnesota Twins.

Simmons, 60, was born in Detroit, and grew up a Tigers fan.

In 1999 Simmons played make believe Tiger manager Frank Perry in For Love of the Game alongside fellow baseball fan Kevin Costner.

Simmons  won the Best Actor Oscar this year for  his portrayal of music teacher Terence Fletcher in the movie Whiplash.

My favorite Simmons role is that of former  psychiatrist Dr. Emil Skoda on Law & Order.

Opening Day, my beloved Tigers, and Dr. Skoda....PLAY BALL!

Bill Slayback (1948-2015)

I was saddened to read today of the passing of former Detroit Tigers pitcher Bill Slayback.

William Grover Slayback was born on February 21, 1948, in Hollywood, California.

As a Tigers fan growing up in the early 1970s, I remember going to Tiger Stadium with my Uncle Bob to see Slayback pitch his rookie year of 1972.

Bill was terrific his rookie year, nearly tossing a no-hitter in his big league debut on June 26, 1972.

I ddon't know if I was at Slayback's debut, or one of his games after that, but I remember him pitching a terrific game and being so excited afterwards to go home and watch the sports report on TV for the highlights.

Bill didn't  know he was throwing a no-hitter that night until Al Kaline told him after Kaline tried throwing out the Yankees Johnny Callison on a single to right in the 8th inning.

Here's  a nice piece on Bill from SABR.

As a Tigers fan, and a baseball fan, I also knew that Bill, along with Tigers Hall of Fame announcer Ernie Harwell co-wrote, and Bill sang "Move over Babe, Here comes  Henry!"  as future Atlanta Braves OF Henry Aaron was about to surpass Yankees great Babe Ruth as big league  baseball's all-time home run champion.

Bill Slayback pitched in just 42 games for the Tigers from 1972-74, as arm injuries led to his early departure from baseball after a meteoric rise.

In some ways Bill Slayback's short tenure with would re-appear again just two short years later in a young  fireballing right handed pitcher  named Mark Fidrych.

Rest in Peace Bill Slayback.

Opening Day...11 days away

11 days until the Detroit Tigers begin their quest for a 5th consecutive  American League Central Division Title. 



Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Happy Baseball Birthday...Celebrity Edition...Danica Patrick

A special celebrity Happy Baseball Birthday  today to Chicago Cubs fan Danica Patrick. 

Danica Sue Patrick  was born on March 25, 1982, in Beloit, Wisconsin.

Danica has thrown out the first pitch a couple of times at famed Wrigley Field.

Danica ia the only woman to win a Indy Car series race, in 2008, in Japan, and in 2009 finished 3rd in the Daytona 500, the highest finish ever for a woman driver.

I'm far from a qualified  NASCAR expert, but it's certainly better during the races if Danica is doing well.

The 33 year old race car driver currently competes each week driving the #10 GoDaddy.com car for Stewart-Haas Racing.

Danica Patrick's website... danicaracing.com

Danica on Twitter

Happy Baseball Birthday Danica!


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Throwback Baseball...1970 All-Star Game

posted from Bloggeroid

This Week's Sports Illustrated Regional Covers...2015 Baseball Preview

Big League baseball are waiting for Opening Day, in anticipation to see if their favorite ball club will have what it takes to dethrone the San Francisco Giants as World Series Champions.

Sports Illustrated  has issued four regional covers to preview the 2015 baseball season.

                                    The Washington Nationals

                                        The Cleveland Indians

The Kansas City Royals 

The Seattle Mariners 

I'm  not sure what cover will be issued here in Jacksonville, but Im going to guess it's the Nationals for the East Coast.

Actually, I wouldn't mind having all four covers.

Play Ball!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Happy Baseball Birthday. .. Robert Fick

Today we say  a Happy Baseball Birthday to former big league ballplayer Robert Fick.

Robert Charles John Fick was born on March 15, 1974, in Torrence, California.

Robert was selected  in the 5th round of the 1996 amatuer baseball  draft out of California State Univeristy Northridge.

Robert made his big league debut for the Tigers on September 19, 1998, starting a 10 year big league career with the Tigers, Braves, Devil Rays, Padres, and Nationals.

Robert Fick collected  613 hits in the big leagues,  but my favorite is the one he hit in the 8th inning on September  27, 1999.

His GRAND SLAM home run hit the right field roof at Tiger Stadium, giving the Tigers one final send off at the old ball park.

That HR by Robert Fick was the LAST HIT EVER COLLECTED at THE CORNER... at old Tiger Stadium...at Briggs Stadium...at Navin Field...at Bennet Park.

Happy 41st  Birthday Robert Fick!


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Orestes "Minnie" Minoso, 1925-2015

Former Negro League ballplayer and long time Chicago White Sox legend Minnie Minoso passed away today at the age of 89.

Minnie Minoso baseball reference page

Minnie Minoso was the first black and latino ballplayer to play big league baseball in the City of Chicago, for the White Sox, in 1951.

Minoso made his big league debut for the Cleveland Indians on April 19, 1949, at the age of 23.

Santurino Orestes Armas (Arrieta) Minoso was born on November 29, 1925, in La Habana, La Habana, Cuba.

Minoso played with the New York Cubans of the Negro Leagues, 1946-1948.

In 17 big league seasons with the Indians, ChiSox, Cardinals, and Senators, Minoso collected 1,963 base hits, including 336 doubles, 83 triples, 186 home runs, and 1,023 RBI, scoring 1,136 runs in 6,579 at bats.

Minoso was a terrific big league outfielder, with a lifetime .971 fielding percentage, committing just 112 errors while handling 3,859 total chances.

Minoso led the American League in assists by a left fielder in 1954-55-56-58-59-60.

Minoso's fielding prowess earned him three Gold Glove Awards, in 1957, 1959-60.

Minoso played in the big leagues through 1964, then went on to be a player/manager in the Mexican Leagues threw 1973.

Minoso made a comeback in 1976 with the ChiSox as player/coa h...something I remember from my teenage years watching ChiSox games on cable TV...as well as his 2nd comeback,  in 1980.

The ChiSox retired Minoso's uniform #9  in 1983, and erected a statue of the "Cuban Comet" in 2004 outside the teams ballpark, US Cellular Field.

There has been quite an outpouring of love for Minnie Minoso today, on social media, and in blogs and posts throughout media outlets.

Here's a few...including ChiSox fan President Barack Obama... http://m.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/03/01/statement-president-passing-minnie-minoso

Chicago White... @whitesox

White Sox Cards


The Sporting News


Minnie Minoso has been inducted into the Mexican Professional Baseball Hall of Fame, the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame (in exile), and the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame.

It's been a rough off season for baseball fans in Chicago, with the passing of Minoso and Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer Ernie Banks.

Today we say farwell "Mr. White Sox," may God Bless you and your family.