Saturday, January 30, 2016

Remembering Tiger Stadium

My Twitter baseball friend Displaced Tiger Fan was talking about old Tiger Stadium in Detroit, and asking his followers to post comments about a certain game or remembrances about the grand old ballpark.

He also wrote a terrific post about Tiger Stadium on his it here.

My Uncle Bob started taking me to games at the corner of Michigan & Trumbull in 1967, and, although I don't remember the first couple of games, I do remember the 1969 game, on August 1, when Tigers Cy Young Award Winner Denny McLain shutout the Chicago White Sox, 8-0.

That game has always stood out to me because we got the '69 Tigers Yearbook, and instead of paying attention to the entire game, I couldn't stop reading about the 1968 World Series Champions, and that's what I did, cover to cover, over, and over, and over, again.

The other thing about that game, and the reason I kept going over that yearbook was the fact that my baseball hero, Bill Freehan, didn't play...something that crushed me as a 9 year old Tigers favorite player wasn't going to play  in the one and only game I'd be at for another year.

The Tigers beat the ChiSox that night, 8-0, a complete game shutout for Cy Young Award Winner Denny McLain, who won his 16th game of the '69 season.

Bill Freehan's backup, Jim Price, was 0-2, with two walks, and a run scored.

As I said, my Uncle Bob to us to Tiger Stadium every year between 1967-74, until he married my Aunt Karen in '74 (?), and started his own family.

As an adult I managed to get back to the grand old ballpark a few times, including the last weekend of the 1999 season, and I was in attendance at the next to last game, a win over the Kansas City Royals.

The next day, as ai sat in my hotel room right fown the street, the Tigers beat the Royals again, and that was it, the last game to ever be played by my team at the greatest ballpark I've ever seen a baseball game at.

From the Original, Bennett Park, to Navin Field, then Briggs Stadium, and finally Tiger Stadium, over 100 years of big league baseball was played at The Corner. 

For those of you who never got to watch a ballgame at Tiger Stadium, I'm sincerely sorry for you.

I think sometimes about how great it would've been to go to old Ebbetts Field in Brooklyn, a place that was gone before I was born, so I could see the great Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella play at one of the great ballparks ever built.

Those old parks, Ebbetts Field, Tiger Stadium, the original Yankee Stadium, Crosley Field, The Polo Grounds, Shibe Park, thry all had a certain ambiance about them...something that Fenway Park and Wrigley Field still have...a link to the glorious past of our National Pastime.

While Comerica Park is a terrific ballpark, it simply cannot, and shouldn't, replace Tiger Stadium...Comerica will, in time, will carve out its own heritage to new generations of Tigers fans.

If you're inclined to, please leave a comment about TigerStadium in the comments section, or hit me up on Twitter... @freehan11 ...I love talking baseball, especially Tigers baseball, with other fans.

Go Tigers!


Thursday, January 28, 2016

The DH fix is simple.

The last month or so there had been a lot of talk about finally getting the Designated Hitter installed in the National League, so that both the N.L. and American League are playing the same game.

That simply isn't going to happen, and it shouldn't.

In 1973 the A.L. started inserting an additional batter into the lineup so the pitcher would no longer hit during games.

The N.L., the oldest organized professional baseball league, founded in 1876, has fiercely rejected the move toward pitchers not batting in games.

The current designed hitter rules are this...

In the N.L. the pitchers hit, usually occupying the 9th spot in the batting order, although some managers, like Hall of Famer Tony LaRussa, who would, at times, bat his pitcher 8th.

The A.L. pitchers don't hit when they play other American League teams, and when visiting National League teams play in the A.L. home park.

The N.L. pitcher is replaced by a DH in the A.L. ballpark.

When A.L. teams play on the road at N.L. ballparks, the A.L. must bench the DH, and the starting pitcher is added to the lineup.

The problem, as I see it, is that the American League is always at a disadvantage in Interleague play.

When the N.L. team goes to play in an A.L. park, they simply insert an additional bat into the lineup.

However, the N.L. is never at a disadvantage because the A.L. pitcher must hit on the road, but the N.L. pitcher NEVER has to bat in the A.L. park.

So, the debate rages on, should the DH be used in both leagues, should the DH be abolished, making A.L. pitchers hit, or should the DH remain status quo?

I've got the answer, and, frankly, it's quite simple...

...let the two big leagues play baseball the way they play baseball, in every game, home, or on the road.

That's matter where the Interleague Games are played, in the N.L. or A.L. ballpark, the American League team plays with a lineup of 9 batters in the lineup, and the National League has 8 batters and a pitcher, and that pitcher has to grab a bat and hit.

The A.L. manager continues to run his club the same way all 162 games with the DH, and the N.L. skipper has his pitcher batting, and he can use all the double switch moves he has too make.

Pretty darn simple, don't you think?

No having A.L. pitchers worrying about taking batting practice instead of working on their pitching, no N.L. manager trying to figure out what bench player has to DH one night, and not the next.

Disagree, think I'm wrong...or, do you agree, or have your own solution to the DH issue?

Comment below and please vote in the DH Poll at the upper right of the blog.

If you'd like, hit me up on Twitter, at @freehan11 ...I'll be glad to hear from you.


Red Wings Goaltender Honors Detroit Tigers Greats

On February 27th the Detroit Red Wings will play the Colorado Avalanche in a NHL Stadium Series game outdoor at Coors Field, Home of the Colorado Rockies.

Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard  will honor past Detroit Tigers players Alan Trammell, Ty Cobb, Al Kaline, Kirk Gibson, 1984 World Series Championship skipper Sparky Anderson, and legendary Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell. 

Howard's mask also recognizes the four Tigers World Series Championship teams of 1935, 1945, 1968, and 1984.

One of my favorite things as a fan of all four Detroit professional sports teams, I love to see the interaction between players and coaches supporting each other,and this Howard mask is a tremendous showing of that...and, both teams, the Red Wings, and the Tigers, are both owned by the Illitch family.

A big shoutout to Bishop Designs and Jimmy Howard designing that great Hockey Mask honoring Detroit's oldest professional sports team, my beloved Tigers! 

PLAY BALL⚾, Drop the Puck! 

New Spring Training Caps for 2016.

When my Detroit Tigers report to spring training on Friday, February 19th (my 56th Birthday...coincidence? ), the team will be sporting new ballcaps.

Every big league ball club will wear new caps and jerseys, some teams, like Detroit, Minnesota, and Tampa Bay, will have two different caps and jerseys, and each cap will have either a FL patch for the Grapefruit League or AZ patch for the Cactus League.

There is already, as expected, a buzz on social media about the new look for the teams, and yes, there are some hits... I, for what it's worth, love the Tigers caps, as well as the new White Sox, Blue Jays, Athletics, Twins, and Red Sox.

The very best cap may well be the retro Milwaukee Brewers cap.

Another big winner is the cap for the defending World Series Champion Kansas City Royals.

There are also some misses, like the Rays light blue cap.

The Rays other cap is much better.

Some of the caps are just OK, and are kinda like the teams regular caps.

What ballcaps do you like, don't like?

What about your favorite teams caps, Yes or No?

Feel free to leave a comment or hit me up on Twitter... @freehan11

For a gallery of all the new Spring Training ballcaps, go to

★All ballcap photos from ★


Monday, January 25, 2016

Happy Baseball Birthday...Ernie Harwell

Today we celebrate the 98th Happy Baseball Birthday! of legendary Detroit Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell.

To all of us young baseball fans who grew up listening on their transistor radios in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Ernie Harwell was our voice of all things Tigers baseball.

Ernie Harwell was everything that was great about baseball, and his love of baseball wS probably best embodied by his acceptance speech at the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981 as the winner of the Ford C. Frick Award.

Happy Baseball Birthday Ernie!


My Mailbox...Jim Abbott

A month or so ago I asked former Michigan Wolverines and big league pitcher Jim Abbott ( @jabbottum31 ) on his Twitter page about his book IMPERFECT, and about getting a autograph.

Jim sent me this awesome signature card and note.

Jim Abbott was born in Flint, Michigan, pitched Michigan to two Big Ten Titles, was the 1987 Sullivan Award Winner as the top amateur athlete, was on the 1988 USA Olympic Gold Medal winning baseball team, and played 11 years in the big leagues.

You can reach Jim Abbott on his website,

Thanks Jim, for responding so nicely to this Wolverine fan.


Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Baseball Hall of Fame welcomes Ken Griffey, Jr and Mike Piazza

On Wednesday, January 6th, 2016 the Baseball Writers Association of America  voted two new members into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, former Seattle Mariners centerfielder Ken Griffey, Jr. and former New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza.

99.3% of all the ballots cast had Junior Griffey's name on it, setting a HOF record previously held by HOF pitcher Tom Seaver.

Junior was elected on his first year of eligibility, and will enter the HOF wearing a Mariners cap on his plaque.

86% of all the ballots cast had Piazza's name on them, catapulting the former All-Star into Cooperstown in his 4th year of eligibility.

Piazza will have a Mets cap on his plaque, joining Seaver as the only Mets players in the HOF.

Earlier this week I cast my Baseball Bloggers Alliance HOF vote, and it included both Junior Griffey and Mike Piazza.

I was particularly happy to see Piazza voted in by the BBWAA, as I've bern a huge Piazza fan since his rookie year with the Dodgers.

Griffey, Jr was a future HOF player tge day he stepped into the Mariners lineup, and he had the sweetest swing I've ever seen.

I have, over the years, collected some baseball cards of both Junior Griffey and Mike Piazza.

This is my favorite card of Junior.

Junior Griffey posing...I do Tiger Stadium in Detroit. 

I believe this was Junior's first TOPPS baseball card, because of the TOPPS Rookie Team logo on the bottom left of the card.

This is my favorite card of Piazza.

This card is awesome, it's plain, it's simple...Mike Piazza is a catcher for the Dodgers. 

Some other cards I've gotten over the special autographed or memorabilia cards, just some cool cards of two great baseball players. 

Congratulations to both Ken Griffey, Jr and Mike Piazza in their receiving the ultimate compliment for any big leaguer, election into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. 


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Alan Trammell belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame

I love the Detroit Tigers...there, that's out of the way.

I stated my love of the Tigers, my favorite baseball team since I was a little kid growing up in Western Michigan in the late 1960s, stated my love of the Tigers so people don't have to say that I'm biased about Alan Trammell ... its all out in the open...not that I've ever hidden it.

Alan Trammell belongs in the Basebal HOF, not because I'm a biased Tigers fan, but because I'm a baseball fan 50 years now....and a biased Tigers fan.

In the debate about the HOF... Trammell's stats... are easily found on his page...I don't need to give them to you...not right now anyway.

Here's why Alan Trammell is a Hall of Fame baseball player... I saw him play.

Yes, that's it, I saw him play...and that seems to be lost in today's Sabrmetrics analytical baseball writing and TV.

OK, I am no fan of Sabrmetrics, and you're gonna say I'm unfair in criticism of the numbers...and you'd be wrong. 

I love the passion of Sabrmetrics fans, but for the majority of them, they want most of the stats I grew up on eliminated in favor of the new stats, instead of trying to add the Sabrmetrics too go in addition to the traditional stats.

You want a goes...Alan Trammell played 1,918 games at shortstop with fellow Tigers second baseman Lou Whitaker for 19 years...BOTH...BOTH are big league records.

Trammell and Whitaker...19 years...

Trammell and Whitaker were the BEST DOUBLE PLAY COMBO in the American League for over a decade...they were in the lineup every day...Whitaker and Trammell, Trammell and Whitaker...for 19 years.

Trammell was the Captain of the Detroit Tigers...he was the BEST SHORTSTOP in Tigers history...and he was the BEST SHORTSTOP to play baseball in the American League in the 1980s.

What didn't Trammell do to be a HOF player?

1977-1996...all wearing the Olde English D of the Detroit Tigers.

.285 batting average, 2,365 hits, 185 home runs, 1003 RBI, 4 Gold Glove Awards, 4 Silver Slugger Awards, 6 All-Star teams, 1984 World Series MVP.


.343, 28, 105.. Batting Average, HRs, and RBIs for Trammell, who took a veteran Tigers ballclub, put them on his back, and led them to an amazing come from behind American League Eastern Division Championship over the Toronto Blue Jays.

The answer is that Alan Trammell did everything he could,  everything he was asked to do for 19 years, 2,393 games.

Baseball is a game of stats, that's what's built the game...but we also watched baseball games, and we used what we saw with the stats, instead of coming up with some stat to try and make a player look better.

I don't know what Trammell's WAR is...well, actually, I do, it was zero...WAR didnt exist, neither did OPS, or OPS+, or BABIP.

Let me say this in closing... I'm saying that Alan Trammell should be in the HOF...Trammell...not Travis Fryman, or Kiko Garcia, or Tony Phillips, or Eddie Brinkman...all good infielders....but not HOF players.

I'm not trying to sway Carlos Guillen to the HOF, I'm writing about Alan Trammell, and he belongs in Cooperstown.

Trending... #tramforhof ...

#tramforhof is a new hashtag I saw on Twitter tonight...there are many, many Tigers fans...and baseball fans, who would live to see Trammell enshrined in Cooperstown next Summer...but we also know it's probably not going to happen.

What we are doing, is laying groundwork for a few years from now when ghe Veteran's Committee starts their next deliberation and voting...and we're hoping that both Trammell and Lou Whitaker...and pitcher Jack Morris...all make the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Good Luck Tram!

Play Ball!

My BBA 2016 Hall of Fame Ballot

Every year in early January I have the honor and privilege of voting for the Baseball Hall of Fame as a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.

The BBA asks us to vote, like the BBWAA, for up to 10 players to be inducted into the HOF, and will put any player who gets the required 75% of the into nomination for the HOF.

Here are my 10 players that I voted for on my BBA ballot...

Allan Trammell

Mike Piazza

Ken Griffey, Jr.

Tim Raines

Edgar Martinez

Fred McGriff

Trevor Hoffman

Jeff Bagwell

Curt Schilling

Larry Walker

There it is, my ballot.

Now, it's not perfect, there are more players that I could've voted for, but that's the ballot.

A few things....

I didn't vote, nor will I ever, for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, or Sammy Sosa.

I believe the steroids era has ruined sacred baseball records, and has therefore permanently harmed the game and the baseball players who did the right thing and play on their God given abilities alone.

I also don't belive in grouping players like Piazza and Bagwell into "supposed" PED/Steroids users just because they played at the same time as Bonds and other one ever includes Ken Griffey Jr in the bunch, and rightfully so...Griffey Jr. probably had the sweetest swing ever.

Players like Trammell, Edgar Martinez are HOF baseball players who numbers get over shadowed by steroids and ped users that put up video game numbers.

I could've voted for Garry Sheffield...500+ home runs is still, to me, an automatic HOF vote, but I believed also that Fred McGriff, Tim Raines, Edgar Martinez are better players than Sheffield.

Mike Mussina isn't a HOF pitcher...people who try to tell me he's a HOF guy better show me he's a better pitcher than Jack Morris, who belongs in the HOF.

No one ballot is right, or wrong, but I believe in voters responsibility as well, and writers who refuse to hand in ballots, submit blank ballots, or vote for just one player, as a protest in balloting, those writers voting privilege should be revoked...forever.

Ken Griffey Jr. will come as close as any player ever has to getting 100% of HOF votes, but someone will, as usual, leave him off their ballot, or, worse, leave their submitted ballot blank.

If Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, WillieMays, Al Kaline, etc., can't get 100% of the votes, then, as the old writers say, noone should.

As a old school fan, I never get that, but that's part of the BBWAA problem.

Good Luck to all the eligible players who played the game the right way.


Happy National Bird Day!

                                               Happy National Bird Day!