Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Happy Baseball Birthday... John Vander Wal

Today we say Happy Baseball Birthday to former big leaguer John Vander Wal.

John Henry Vander Wal was born on April 29, 1966, in Grand Rapids,  Michigan.

John attended Hudsonville High School in Hudsonville, MI., then went on to play college baseball at Western Michigan University.

John chose to play college baseball for the Broncos even though he had been selected by the Houston Astros in the 8th round of the 1984 amateur draft.

At Western Vander Wal was a two time All-Mid American Conference selection, in 1986-87, and in his three years in Kalamazoo Vander Wal hit 23 home runs with 125 RBI.

In 1987 John was drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 3rd round of the amatuer draft.

John played here in Jacksonville, then known as the Jacksonville Expos, as the clubs Double-A franchise in the Southern League.

John's best year in Jacksonville was 1990, when he collected 84 base hits, batting .303, with 8 HR, 25 doubles, 3 triples, and 45 runs scored in 277 at bats.

I love these old Jaxpos ball caps.

John made his big league debut with the parent club Montreal Expos on September 6, 1991, at the age of 25.

John played in 14 big league baseball seasons, for the Expos, Rockies, Padres, Pirates, Giants, Yankees, Brewers, and Reds.

In 1,372 games John collected 717 base hits, 170 doubles, 18 triples, 97 home runs, with 430 RBI, scoring 374 runs in 3,166 plate appearances.

A superb pinch hitter, John is 7th on the All-Time career pinch hit list, with 129 base hits off the bench, and in 1995 John set the modern big league record with 28 pinch hits in a season, with the Colorado Rockies.

John's last big league game came with the Reds on September 27, 2004, at the age of 38.

In 2003 John was inducted into the Western Michigan Hall of Fame.

John has spent part of  his post playing career as a big league scout.

Happy Baseball Birthday! John Vander Wal!

Play Ball!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Happy Baseball Birthday... Barry Larkin

Today's Happy Baseball Birthday! goes out to former Michigan Baseball All-American and Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin.

Barry Louis Larkin 
was born on April 28, 1964, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Barry attended famed Moeller High School in Cincinnati, and went on to play college baseball at the University of Michigan.

Barry was a two time All-American and Big Ten Player of the Year, in 1984-85.

Barry played shortstop on the last two Wolverines teams to make it to the College World Series, in 1983-84, and was a member of the 1984 USA Baseball team.

Barry's #16 has been retired by the Wolverines. 

The Reds selected Barry in the 1st round of the 1985 amateur draft, the 4th overall selection. 

Barry made his big league debut on August 13, 1986, at the age of 22.

Barry was a superb big league shortstop, winning three Gold Glove Awards while compiling a .965 lifetime fielding percentage. 

Barry was a 12 time All-Star for the National League, won the 1995 N.L. MVP Award, and was a member of the 1990 World Series Championship Reds team.

Barry played his final big league game on October 3, 2005, at the age of 40.

In 19 big league seasons with the Reds, Barry collected 2,340 base hits, 441 doubles, 76 triples, 198 home runs, 960 RBI, batting .295.

In 2008 the Reds inducted Barry into the teams Hall of Fame.

Barry Larkin was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012.

Happy Baseball Birthday! and Go Blue! to Barry Larkin.


Why the National League needs the Designated Hitter

There is no one who's more of a baseball traditionalist than I am.

The history of our National Pastime is what sets baseball apart from other sports.

With that stated, it's time for big league baseball to implement the Designated  Hitter in both the American and National Leagues.

                          Awesome!  Daytona Tortugas batting turtle logo

42 years ago baseball started playing two separate games, one, with the new designated hitter in the American League, and one, by the National League, that continued to have pitchers hit in the batting order.

In 1973 the A. L. started allowing a designated batter to hit in place of the pitcher, trying to increase offense, and to allow some older players like Harmon Killebrew and Al Kaline to play a few more years.

Ron Blomberg of the New York Yankees became the first ever DH on April 6, 1973.

In 1989 the DH was allowed during All-Star games in A.L. ballparks only, and in 2010 MLB instituted the DH as a permanent part of every All-Star Game.

In 1976 the designated hitter made its debut in the World Series, with Dan Driessen of the Cincinnati Reds becoming the first DH in Series play.

In 1997 MLB started inter-league games, having A.L. and N.L. teams play each other in the regular season.

The A. L. uses the DH at home, their pitchers must hit in N.L. parks.

The DH needs to be adopted for use in the N.L., and it's real simple why.

It's unfair to the American League.

That's it.

That's the bottom line.

At no time, in any game, is the National League ever at a disadvantage when it comes to using the DH.


The A.L. pitchers have to hit in every N.L. ballpark, giving the N.L. teams the advantage because the A.L. pitchers are terrible   hitters.

But, when the N.L. teams go to the A.L. ballpark, the DH is used...therefore, the A.L. has lost any advantage it has.

The N.L. pitcher doesn't have to hit, allowing the manager of that team to insert a position player who can hit.

Advantage National League.

Every time.

In the World Series the rule is the same.

Ask any Tigers fan who's had to watch their pitchers hit in Interleague and World Series play if there should be a DH only rule in baseball.

Here's  a great great article on the DH and why the NL needs to get in line.

All the talk lately about keeping the game traditional is understandable, and I'd agree to keeping pitchers in the lineup, if that were plausible, which it is not.

The MLB Players Association will never allow a roster deletion of a player, because it will be eliminating a big league job, and a big league salary.

If the American League went back to allowing pitchers to hit, and teams added a extra roster spot, creating a even playing field, I'd be fine with that as well.

I doubt that scenario will ever happen.

The DH, once a gimmick to keep aging veterans in the lineups of the A.L. has produced some of the greatest hitters of the past 30 years.

Hitters like Dave Winfield, Reggie Jackson, Paul Molitor, Jim Thome, Frank Thomas, Edgar Martinez, and Harold Baines, have given American League fans many thrilling memories of gave winning base hits in big games.

The last time I was excited about a pitcher getting a base hit in a ballgame was when the Tigers Justin Verlander got a hit against the Padres... ending an 0-26 career mark of futility.

Its time for baseball to play with the exact same set of rules for all its players, coaches, and fans.

Play Ball!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Happy Babe Ruth Day!

                                       Happy National Babe Ruth Day! 

On April 27, 1947, at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, George Herman "Babe" Ruth made his final appearance at Yankee Stadium.

The Babe, frail, and dying from throat cancer, spoke for the final time to baseball fans before passing away on August 16, 1948, at the age of 53.

Play Ball!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Cardinals Mitch Harris makes baseball history

Baseball games are amazing.

You never know what will happen, or what you'll see at a ballgame. 

Last night in Milwaukee  St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Mitch Harris became the first U.S. Naval Academy player to appear in a big league baseball game since 1921.

Baseball In America.

It never ceases to amaze.

Because I was in the Navy, worked side by side with guys on a boat in the middle of the ocean,  it's special to see a guy make it to the big leagues after his Naval career.

                         thanks for picture via Twitter.

I hope Mitch Harris does well, and sticks in the big leagues.

I am now following Mitch on Twitter... here.

Congratulations Mitch! 

Play Ball!

Miguel Cabrera hits Home Run #393

Miguel Cabrera  of the Detroit Tigers hit career home run #393 today vs. the Cleveland Indians at Comerica Park in Detroit.

The opposite field blast landed in the seats over te right field wall, and was HR #255 for Cabrera as a member of the Tigers.

Up next on the list is former outfielder Willie Horton, at 262 home runs.

Detroit Tigers All-Time Home Run Leaders

#1. 399... Al Kaline

#2. 373... Norm Cash

#3. 306... Hank Greenberg 

#4. 262... Willie Horton 

#5. 255... Miguel Cabrera

Cabrera came to the big leagues as a rookie in 2005 with the Florida Marlins, and played in Miami for five years, 2005-2008, hitting 138 home runs with The Fish.

I'll be updating Cabrera's home run total in the upper right hand corner of this blog.

We are watching one of the greatest right handed hitters in baseball history in Miguel Cabrera.

Enjoy every minute.

Play Ball!

Happy Baseball Birthday...Bernard Malamud

Today's Happy Baseball Birthday! goes out to writer Bernard Malamud, author of "The Natural."

Malamud's book was turned into an award winning, and in my opinion, the best baseball movie ever made.

"...their goes Roy Hobbs, the best that ever was."

Malamud was born on April 26, 1914, in Brooklyn, NY.

The Natural, which came out in 1952, was Malamud's first published work.

Malamud passed away in March, 1986, just a couple of years after The Natural made it to the big screen.

Today we say Happy Baseball Birthday! Bernard Malamud!

Play Ball!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Happy Baseball Birthday... Valarie Bertinelli

Earlier today on Twitter I happen to see that it's Valarie Bertinelli's 55th Birthday.

Automatically I had to formally wish her a very Happy Baseball Birthday!

Valarie Bertinelli was born on April 23, 1960, in Wilmington, Delaware.

It took me awhile to find Valarie in proper baseball attire for the blog, these shots of a Cleveland Indians are all I could find.

I'm far from a fan of the Indians, but these pics are from a 2011 appearances at Progressive Field.

I'll forgive Valarie for wearing the Tribe gear because of her TV show.

Valarie currently stars in Hot in Cleveland on TV Land.

Myself, Valarie Bertinelli will always be Barbara Cooper from One Day at a Time.

I had a very serious crush on Barbara Cooper...uh, Valarie back in the day, and never missed an episode of the show.

I haven't watched Hot in Cleveland much, just a show, or two, but I know it's a huge success for TV Land.

Happy Baseball Birthday Valarie Bertinelli!

Play Ball!

Pete Rose will be at Ba All-Star Game in hometown of Cincinnati

Pete Rose, suspended by Major League Baseball for betting on baseball games as a manager with the Cincinnati Reds almost 26 years ago, will be allowed to attend the All-Star Game in his hometown of Cincinnati.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has stayed that Pete Rose will be allowed to participate in some manner at this year's Mid Summer's Classic in the Queen City on July 14th.

All baseball fans as old as I am...55...have an opinion on Pete Rose.

4,256 hits is a number that's hard to forget, and it's impossible to forget how Pete Rose played big league baseball.

Pete's baseball numbers are amazing, and if it was just about the game played between the lines, well, Peter Edward Rose would've been a first ballot, near unanimous selection into Cooperstown.

I'm gald Commissioner Manfred and MLB are allowing Pete to be included in the All-Star Game, a game he appeared on as a player 17 times.

I won't get into weather Pete should be reinstated by the Commissioner, or if he should be in the Hall of Fame.

That discussion is for another time.

Pete Rose was recently hired by Fox Sports to be a commentator on baseball coverage this season.

That hiring couldn't have come without, I believe,  a conversation between FOX Sports, the Commissioner of Baseball, and Pete himself.

It should be a fun All-Star Game weekend in Cincinnati in July, and it certainly will be interesting to see how Pete does on baseball telecasts this year.

Play Ball!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy Baseball Earth Day!

                                    Happy Baseball Earth Day!

Here's a article on what's happening around big league baseball on #EarthDay2015.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Happy Baseball Birthday... Joc Pederson

 Happy Baseball Birthday! to Dodgers centerfielder Joc Pederson.

Joc Russell Pederson  was born on April 21, 1992, in Palo Alto, California, and attended Palo Alto High School.

Joc was selected by the Dodgers in the 11th round of the 2010 Amatuer Baseball Draft.

Joc , like his Dodgers teammate  Yasiel Puig two years ago, is my favorite rookie to watch so far this young baseball season.

I have him on my don't change the channel list when he comes to bat.

Happy Baseball Birthday! to Doc Pederson...