Tuesday, May 26, 2015

This Week's Sports Illustrated Regional Cover...Kansas City Royals

Baseball makes a return to the cover of Sports Illustrated this week with Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer getting his teammates fired up.

"HEAR THEM ROAR" is the SI headline of the story about the Royals putting the American League on notice that last year's A.L. Championship was no fluke.

The Royals have made five SI covers since last summer, including this special issue from last fall.

The Royals have a 2 game lead in the A.L. Central Division over the surprising Minnesota Twins and a 3 game lead over the defending champion Detroit Tigers.

The Royals are in New York to face the Yankees, and the S.I. COVER JINX was in full force yesterday in the Bronx vs. the Yankees.

Play Ball!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Happy Baseball Birthday... W.P. Kinsella

Today we say Happy Baseball Birthday! to award winning author W.P. Kinsella.

W. P. Kinsella is the author of the novel Shoeless Joe, the book that became the basis for one of the best baseball movies ever made, Field of Dreams.

William Patrick "Bill"  Kinsella was born on May 25, 1935, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Kinsella is a graduate of the University of Victoria and the University of Iowa, kind of anamazing fact since he didn't attend formal schooling until the 5th grade and didn't go to college until he was in his mid 30's.

Before becoming a professional writer W.P.Kinsella was a college professor at The University of Calgary.

Kinsella first published novel was Dance Me Outside in 1977, a collection of short stories.

Besides Shoeless Joe, Kinsella has authored other books on baseball, including The Iowa Baseball Confederacy, Shoeless Joe Jackson comes to Iowa, The Thrill of the Grass, and The Further Adventures of Slugger McBatt.

For all his baseball themed books, go to this page.

There's a part in Field of Dreams, where author Terrence Mann explains why "...people will come Ray..."

The speech is my favorite part of the movie.

This year a new book, The Essential Kinsella, was published, and it's going to be on my must read list this baseball season.

W.P. Kinsella currently lives in British Columbia.

Happy Baseball Birthday #80 W.P. "Bill" Kinsella!

Play Ball!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Thanks Dave!

Tonight we lose a national television treasure when David Letterman broadcasts his final show after 33 years on late night TV.

Late Night with David Letterman ends tonight after nearly 22 years on CBS.

11:35 pm Monday through Friday will never be the same without the funny gap toothed guy from Indianapolis, Indiana.

When it comes to baseball, Dave gave us plenty to laugh about.

From calling former Atlanta Braves pitcher Terry Forster a "big fat tub of goo," or the Buddy Biancalanca Hit Countdown,  Dave celebrated our National Pastime like no one else in broadcasting.

Dave is a baseball fan, and so here's a funny clip of a skit of Dave playing for the Yankees.

Four decades of jokes, skits, celebrities, politicians, sports stars, entertainers, military members, stupid human tricks, and Top Ten lists all culminate in one final show tonight.

Thanks Dave, for making me laugh for 33 years, starting with your terrific. ..I thought...morning show on NBC.

Congratulations Dave on a brilliant career!

Play Ball!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Miguel Cabrera hits Home Run #400

Saturday afternoon in St. Louis Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrerasmacked career home run #400 in the Tigers 4-3 win over the Cardinals.

Cabrera's home run off  left hander Ted Lyons was a blast to straight away centerfield in Busch Stadium, almost in the exact same place he hit honer #399 on Friday night against the Redbirds.

Cabrera's milestone home run proppropelled the two time American League MVP and 2012 Triple Crown slugger as the most prolific Venezuelan home run hitter in big league history, passing Andres "The Big Cat" Galaraga.

Here's how Twitter and Facebook celebrated Miguel's historical homer yesterday.

First from the hometown Detroit Tigers.

#400 was celebrated on social media by both the baseball media and baseball fans.

Cabrera's home run #400 was also his 262nd homer as a Detroit Tigers player, tying Willie Horton on the team's All-Time long ball list.

Miguel is 4th in Tigers history in home runs, trailing three famous Tigers batters, Hank Greenberg  (306 HRs), Norm Cash (373), and Al Kaline  (399).

Miguel Cabrera   was signed as an amateur  free agent in 1999 by the Florida Marlins.

Miguel made quite a splash in his big league debut for the Marlins on June 20, 2003, smacking a walk-off home run.

For 13 years we've been fortunate to watch Miguel Cabrera play baseball.

From a skinny minor league shortstop to slugging first baseman, Miggy has given Marlins and Tigers fans much to cheer about.

At age 32 Cabrera is now on his way to first ballot Hall of Fame induction five years after his retirement.

Here's hoping that day is many, many years away.

Congratulations Miguel!


Friday, May 15, 2015

ESPN The Magazine... Felix Hernandez

Seattle Mariners ace right handed pitcher Felix Hernandez graces the new issue of ESPN The Magazine.

The 2010 American  League Cy Young Award Winner, King Felix is front and center on the magazine's "The Pitching Issue."

The issue comes out just in time for Hernandez's start on Saturday night in Seattle vs Rick Porcello and the Boston Red Sox. 

Felix Hernandez   is in his 11th year in the big leagues, all with the Mariners, and has won 131 games with a 3.05 era.

As you know, we love any magazine covers with baseball as the theme, and look forward to picking up a copy of the issue soon.

Enjoy the magazine and all the baseball action this weekend. 


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Happy Baseball Birthday...Yogi Berra

Today we send out a great big 90th Happy Baseball Birthday! to the greatest champion in baseball history, Yogi Berra.

In celebration of Yogi, here are 90 things about the player who once stated so eloquently, "...it ain't over 'till it's over."

1. Born Lawrence Peter Berra, on May 12, 1925, in "The Hill" neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri.

2. Yogi's best friend growing up was former big league player and broadcaster Joe Garagiola.

3. Yogi attended Southside Catholic school, but quit after the 8th grade.

4. Yogi learned how to play catcher in American Legion Baseball.

5. His famous nickname comes from a friend saying he looked like a "Hindu Yogi."

6. Yogi signed his 1st pro baseball contract with the New York Yankees for $500.00

7. Yogi started his pro career with the minor league Norfolk Tars.

8. Yogi played in 111 games with the Tars in 1943, smacking 7 HRs, batging .253.

9. Yogi served in the US Navy in World War II, and was in the Normandy Invasion on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

10. Yogi loved reading Superman comics.

11. Yogi was also featured in his own comic book.

12. Yogi played baseball for the Navy base team in Groton, Connecticut at the end of his military service.

13. Yogi was assigned to the Newark Bears in 1946.

14. Yogi played against Jackie Robinson for the first time in a game in 1946 between Newark and Montreal.

15. Yogi made his big league debut with the Yankees on September 22, 1946, at the age of 21.

16. Yogi was 2-4, with a HR in his debut vs. the Philadelphia Athletics.

17. In 1946 and 1947 Yogi wore uniform #35 and #38 As a Yankee.

18. Yogi got his famous #8 Yankee Pinstripes in 1948, after the retirement of Hall of Fame catcher Bill Dickey.

19. Yogi's first baseball card was a 1947 Bond Bread issue.

20. Yogi appeared in his first World Series in 1947, collecting 3 hits and a HR vs. the Brooklyn Dodgers.

21. Yogi caught 1,699 big league baseball games.

22. Yogi also played 149 games in left field, 116 in right field, 2 games at first base, and 1 game at third base.

23. In 19 big league seasons Yogi committed only 125 errors, 110 as a catcher.

24. Yogi handled a total of 10, 165 chances as a big league player.

25. Yogi led the American League in runners caught stealing in 1950-51-52, throwing out 117 base runners.

26. In his career Yogi caught 403 of 426 attempted  base stealers.

27. Yogi loved the chocolate drink Yoohoo.

28. Yogi was a terrific contact hitter, striking out only 414 times in 7,546 at bats.

29. Yogi stole 30 bases and was caught stealing 26 times.

30. Yogi smacked 358 career home runs.

31. Yogi hit 210 home runs at the original Yankee Stadium.

32. 148 of Yogi's home runs were away from the Bronx.

33. Yogi loved Briggs Stadium in Detroit, smashing 37 round trippers, the most of any he hit on the road.

34. Young baseball fans could once pitch to Yogi.

35. Yogi loved hitting against Detroit, whopping 72 of his home runs vs. the Tigers.

36.. Yogi was hit by a pitch 52 times.

37. Yogi hit 12 World Series home runs.

38. Yogi loved to hit against the Brooklyn Dodgers in the World Series,  smacking 7 homers, 5 of them at Ebbetts Field.

39.  Yogi played in a big league record 75 World Series games.

40. Yogi once owned a bowling alley with Yankees teammate Phil Rizzuto.

41. Yogi collected at least 100 hits 13 times, 12 straight years between 1948-1959.

42. Yogi made his first American League All-Star team in 1948.

43. Yogi was selected to every A.L. All-Star team from 1948-1963.

44. Yogi had 2, 148 base hits as a Yankee, 8th on the All-Time Yankees team list.

45. Yogi had 2 base hits as a New York Met.

46. Yogi's teams won a record 14 American League Pennants and played in 14 World Series.

47. Yogi  was a member of a big league record 10 World Series Championship Yankee teams.

48. Yogi won three American League MVP Awards, in 1951, 1954-55.

49. Yogi received MVP votes every year he was a Yankee.

50. Yogi finished 2nd in MVP voting twice,  in '53 and '56.

51. Yogi appeared on many baseball magazine covers, including this iconic 1955 Sports Illustrated cover.

52. Yogi caught the only perfect game in World Series history, as Don Larsen and the Yankees  beat the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1956.

53. Yogi led all A.L catchers in putouts 8 times...1950-52, '54-'57, '59.

54. Yogi led all A.L backstops in double plays turned as a catcher in 1949-52, '54, '56.

55. Yogi had 49 career triples, 10 of them in 1948.

56. Yogi appeared in 2,116 games for the Yankees...only Gehrig, Mantle, and Derek Jeter played in more.

57. Yogi still says Jackie Robinson was out on this steal of home in the 1955 World Series.

58. Yogi hit the  first ever pinch hit home run in World Series play, in 1949 off the Dodgers Ralph Branca.

59. Yogi led the Yankees in RBI for seven consecutive years, 1949-55.

60. Yogi had 1,430 RBIs as a Yankee...behind guys named Gehrig, Ruth, and DiMaggio.

61. Yogi collected an amazing 318 total bases in 1950.

62. Yogi's 3,641 total bases as a Yankee are the 7th most team history.

63. Yogi was a big fan of P.F. Flyers sneakers.

64. Yogi was walked 704 times.

65. Yogi was intentionally walked at least 49 times.

66. Yogi hit a career high .307 in 1954, two points higher than his  previous best .305 batting average in 1948.

67. Yogi once caught an entire 22 inning game... at age 37.

68. Yogi's highest salary as a ballplayer was $65,000, in 1957.

69. Yogi's lowest salary was $5,125, in 1947.

70. Yogi had 44 career sacrifice flies.

71. Yogi played his final game in the big leagues on May 9, 1965, at age 39, for the New York Mets.

72. Yogi became the Yankees manager in October, 1963.

73. Yogi played in or managed in every Yankees World Series appearance between 1949 and 1964.

74. In 1965 Yogi went to the New York Mets and coached with his old manager Casey Stengel.

75 Yogi coached with the Mets as a member of the 1969 World Series Champions.

76. Yogi became the Mets manager in the spring of 1972 after the death of Gil Hodges.

77. Yogi led the Mets to the 1973 National League Championship, losing to the Oakland Athletics.

78. Yogi Berra was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.

79. In 1972 the Yankees retired Yogi's uniform #8 along with fellow catcher Bill Dickey.

80. Yogi is forever enshrined at Monument Park in Yankee Stadium.

81. Yogi's became a coach for the Yankees in 1976, and served as coach through three straight A.L. pennants and back to back World Series Championships in 1977 and 1978, giving Yogi 13 championships.

82. Yogi managed the Yankees in 1984, and in 16 games in 1985.

83. Yogi was a coach for the 1986 Hoston Astros,  who won the N.L. West Division.

84. Yogi opened the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center in 1998.

85. Yogi once caught 148 straight games without comitting an error.

86. Yogi refused to attend any Yankee events, or to return to Yankee Stadium for nearly 15 years after being fired by Yankees owner George Steinbrenner just 16 games into the 1985 season after he was given assurances that he would manage the entire '85 year.

87. Yogi returned to the Yankees in 1999 after Steinbrenner personally apologized to Yogi.

88. On July 18, 1999 Yogi, back at Yankee Stadium, caught the ceremonial first pitch from Don Larsen, and the two proceeded to watch as the Yankees David Cone pitched a perfect game.

89. Yogi married his wife, Carmen, on January 26, 1949, and were married for 65 years until her passing in 2014.

90. For 90 years we've ben blessed having had Lawrence Peter Berra on this earth.

Baseball fans everywhere are sending out best wishes today that Yogi Berra has a wonderful Happy Baseball Birthday!


Monday, May 11, 2015

Happy Baseball Birthday... Charlie Gehringer

Today's Happy Baseball Birthday! is Detroit Tigers Hall of Fame second baseman Charlie Gehringer.

Charles Leonard Gehringer was born in Fowlerville, Michigan, on May 11, 1903.

Gehringer played baseball, basketball, and football in high school, and attended the University of Michigan were he played baseball, and basketball.

Gehringer, for whatever reason, didn't letter in baseball, possibly because he still played for the local Fowlerville team as well as independent baseball in Indiana while attending Michigan.

Gehringer caught the eye of Tigers star outfielder Bobby Veach, and, after trying out for Tigers skipper Ty Cobb, was offered a contract, and in 1924 Gehringer signed with Detroit, and on September 22 Charlie made his big league debut at the age of 21.

This spring MLB had fans select the Franchise Four of every big league ball club.

My Tigers Franchise Four.... Ty Cobb, Gehringer,  Hank Greenberg, and Al Kaline. 

My generation of Tigers fans often get caught up in the glory of the 1984 Tigers, and would probably vote for Lou Whitaker, but Gehringer is the clear choice.

In ten years current Tigers slugging MVP and Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera will probably be there, but that's then...this is now...and then.

Gehringer, the Tigers second sacker between 1924-1942, is, in my opinion, to often overlooked when TV and media "experts" talk about the greatest second baseman in baseball history.

Joe Morgan, Bill Mazeroski, Ryne Sandberg, Roberto Alomar are always at the top of the discussion.

None of those great second baseman are as good as "The Mechanical Man."

19 years... 10,244 plate appearances,  8,860 at bats, 1,775 runs, 574 doubles, 146 triples, 184 home runs, 1,427 RBI, 181 stolen bases, 1,186 walks, a lifetime. 320 batting average, 2,323 games,and 2,839 hits.

Charlie Gehringer collected 200 or more hits in a season in 1929-30, 1933-37, including  227 hits in 1936.

Gehringer led the American League in games played in 1929-40, 1933-34, in doubles in '29, '36, and in stolen bases in '29.

In the field Gehringer led all A.L. second baseman in fielding percentage in 1929-30, 35-36, 39, 41.

In 1937 Gehringer was the American League Most Valuable Player, leading the A.L. in batting average, .371, collecting 209 hits, 40 doubles, 90 walk, 133 runs, with 14 home runs and 96 RBI in 564 at bats in 144 games.

As great a year as '37 was, Gehringer's finest season was probably 1929, when Charlie hit .339, led the A.L. in games played, 155, hits, 215, runs, 131, triples, 19,doubles, 46, smacking 13 home runs with 106 RBI in 717 plate appearances.

Gehringer was part of the Tigers famed "G-Men," of Hank Greenberg, Gehringer,  and Goose Goslin, all part of Detroit's great teams of the 1930s, and winners of consecutive A.L. Pennants in 1934-35, and the Tigers first World Series Championship, in 1935.

Gehringer played his final big league game on September 27, 1942, at the age of 39.

In 1949 Charlie Gehringer was Inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

The Tigers HOF second baseman had his #2 uniform number retired by the Tigers in 1983, along with his teammate Hank Greenberg's #5.

Charlie Gehringer passed away on January 21, 1993, in Bloomfield Hills,  Michigan, at the age of 89.

Happy Baseball Birthday! Charlie Gehringer!