Wednesday, June 29, 2016

This Week's Sports Illustrated Regional Cover...Ken Griffey, Jr.

It's that time of the summer when Sports Illustrated does their annual two week Where are they now? cover.

⚾⚾⚾ One of the regional SI covers this week is of former big league outfielder Ken Griffey, Jr., who's getting ready for his induction in July into the Baseball Hall of Fame. 

                                     Sports Illustrated Cover, July 4-11, 2016 

Junior, in my opinion, watching baseball for 50 years, still has the most beautiful swing I've ever seen of any big league smooth! 

In January Junior was elected into the HOF with a BBWAA record 99.3% of the vote.

In what would be many stories, Junior first appeared on the cover of SI on May 7,1990.

I'm not sure how many covers Junior was on, but it was quite a few...

...we love when baseball gets the cover of SI, or any other magazine...until the next SI baseball cover... Play Ball!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Baseball Bulletin...June 28,2016

As my Detroit Tigers try and recover from another humiliating series against the Cleveland Indians, here's some  baseball things I noticed recently.

⚾ MLB released the last All-Star Game vote leaders today, and the failure of the average baseball fan to vote correctly continues.

The next vote update will be next Tuesday, July 5th, when the starters for each team will be revealed.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports  has a terrific article on the frustration of fans voting for lesser deserving the entire Cubs infield, and Royals second baseman Omar Infante...949,308 total votes, who was released by K.C. like 3 weeks ago.

I'll be posting my annual All-Star Game ballot later this week.

⚾ The amazing Ichiro Suzuki continues his march towards 3,000 hits.... his current total sits at 2,983, just 17 hits to go.

Ichiro and the Miami Marlins will be in Motown Tuesday and Wednesday to play my Tigers.

You still have time to order your Ichiro 3,000 hits Countdown t-shirt... just touch the Countdown T-Shirt on the top right of this blog...

...mine is here and I'm excited to countdown baseball history in the making.

⚾ The New York Times Bruce Fretts has a terrific article on actor Paul Giamatti and his new baseball themed movie, The Phenom.

⚾ My baseball blogger friend Steve Gierman, who writes/owns White Sox Cards, has been doing something on his blog for many, many years, and that thing has apparently been stolen from him by the folks over at Topps.

The Sporting News has come out with its list of the 50 BEST Baseball players in the big leagues today... all I can say about the list is that Tigers first baseman and defending American League Batting Champion, Miguel Cabrera, is somehow only the 13th best player in baseball.... OK, he may not be as popular, and as young as Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, but please...13th?

I don't think it would take 13 big league GMs and owners before Cabrera would be taken in a draft...he belongs in the top 5.

⚾ Ad Week has released its 30 Most Powerful Women in Sports., including MLB Senior VP of Baseball Operations, KIM NG.

⚾ Speaking of women is sports, Shannon Ryan of the Chicago Tribune has this great piece on Why more Women aren't in Sports Radio.

⚾ Justine Siegal continues to break barriers for women in baseball.

⚾ 40 years ago this week this then 16 year old Tigers fan turned on the weekly Monday Night Baseball on ABC to watch my beloved Detroit Tigers and a young pitcher named Mark "The Bird" Fidrych take on the New York Yankees.

On the 40th Anniversary of that start, June 28, 2016...that entire game will very re-broadcast by Cinema Detroit and the Navin Field Grounds Crew.

How I wish I could be there to celebrate "The Bird." and the teenager in me again.

Mark Fidrych  was everything to us young baseball fans in '76, and we couldn't wait to watch...or listen on the his next start.

He wasn't that much older than us, just 21 years old that summer in '76, and we all thought he was cool...and of course, we all got in our back yards and  began to pretended to be "The Bird "

Mark Fidrych got hurt in 1977, and never came close to his Rookie of the Year performance in the Bicentennial Year of '76...but we all remember how great he made if feel that year, and he will never be forgotten...

... on April 13, 2009, Mark Fidrych was accidentally killed on his farm in Massachusetts.

If you live in, or near, Detroit, head out to relive that magical night in Detroit Tigers baseball history.

⚾ Have a fantastic week of baseball friends...Play Ball!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

National Selfie Day...Baseball Style

Today is National Selfie Day here in the United States, and nobody takes better selfies than baseball players and the media that cover them....even mascots!

                                        From Twitter page of  @OrioleBird

⚾ The greatest baseball selfie of all-time is still this picture of then Tampa Bay Rays reporter Kelly Nash.

                                           Photo courtesy of Kelly Nash.

In 2013 at Fenway Park in Boston, Kelly was taking this selfie of herself on top of The Green Monster for her Instagram a count. when a baseball flew by her head during batting practice...she had no idea that ball was coming right at her.

I'd love to have a autographed copy of this selfie, maybe Kelly will read this and send me one.

⚾⚾ Another of my favorites is this Justin Verlander selfie at a Starbucks, I think this during spring training...the little kid is wearing a Verlander #35 Detroit Tigers know JV had to meet the kid afterward.

                                            Photo courtesy of Justin Verlander.

⚾⚾⚾ Also, Nationals Bryce Harper provided us fantastic selfies in the past.

                                             Thanks Bryce Harper!

⚾⚾ Let's see those great baseball themed selfies, you never know, I might just put a blog post together of the best ones. ⚾⚾

⚾⚾⚾My contribution to today's Baseball Selfie Day... Go Tigers! ⚾⚾⚾

Play Ball! ⚾

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day! to all the great baseball Dad's and single Mom's who make it possible for kids to play the great game of baseball.

In 1976 and 1985 Topps released some neat baseball cards with famous ballplayers and their big league Dad's.

My favorite was always the cards of Ray and Bob Boone, because Ray was a terrific 3rd Baseman for my Detroit Tigers in the 1950s.

With all the great big league Father and Sons who've played in the big leagues since these cards were released, I'd love to see Topps bring this set back.


My favorite, of course, would be Big Daddy Cecil Fielder and his Son, Prince Fielder, who both played baseball in Motown for my Tigers.

   ⚾⚾⚾⚾⚾⚾⚾⚾Happy Father's Day! ⚾⚾⚾⚾⚾⚾⚾⚾⚾⚾⚾⚾

Play Ball!

Happy Baseball Birthday...Lou Gehrig

Today we celebrate the Happy Baseball Birthday! of The Pride of the Yankees, Henry Louis Gehrig. 

Lou Gehrig, "The Iron Horse,"  was born 113 years ago today in New York City, and although he wasn't a father himself, I think we can all say that we would hope that all Dad's have some Lou Gehrig in all of them, a kind, gentle man, who worked hard every day, and gave all he could until he couldn't anymore.

Happy Baseball Birthday! to the great Lou Gehrig... " the luckiest man on the face of the earth."

Play Ball!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Baseball Card of the 2001 Ichiro Rookie card

Yesterday in the top of the first inning, Miami Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki lead off the game with an infield single, the 4,256th base hit collected in his professional career.

That base hit gets my 2001 Topps #726... Ichiro Rookie Card... as today's Baseball Card of the Day. 

Topps got Ichiro in the set with a high numbered Series Two card, #727 of 791 cards.

Did Topps wait until Series Two was released to make his card more highly anticipated, boosting sales, or, did Topps not have the new Japanese import in the set plans, putting Ichiro in after proving himself in the big leagues?

Whatever the reason, Ichiro has a great looking rookie card...I have on idea really what mine is worth, it's basically been untouched in a plastic sleeve as long as I've had it.

There is a "Like New" Ichiro GRADED RC for $250.00 on ebay...

Ichiro came to the big leagues with 1,278 base hits in his back pocket while playing for the Orix Blue Waves in the Japanese Pacific League.

Starting with his rookie season in 2001, when he led the American League in hits with 242, Ichiro started his big league career by collecting at least 200 hits in 10 consecutive seasons, including setting a new, single season record of  262 hits in 2004, breaking the previous mark of 257 hits by George Sister in 1920.

Ichiro gets career base hit 4,256...and 4,257.

Ichiro is a great ballplayer, and a magnificent hitter.

I was honored to be able to watch Ichiro play in an exhibition game in 2015 here in Jacksonville at Bragan Field, and it's something I'll never forget.

Spring Training game, or not, watching Ichiro go through his bending and stretching routine while in the on deck circle was an amazing thing to see...and then, seeing him step in the batters box and take his swings... classic Ichiro!  

 What are your thoughts on Ichiro's hit total...should his total hits in Japan count, or is Rose the true big league Hit King? 

Take the Ichiro/Pete Rose poll at the top right of this blog.

Until next time... Play Ball!

Ichiro gets his 4,256th professional baseball hit

Ichiro Suzuki of the Miami Marlins collected base hit number 4,256 today in San Diego against the Padres.

Ichiro dribbled the ball down the first base line for an infield base hit, giving him 2,978 career base hits in Major League Baseball, and the Japanese import is now just 22 hits away from the hallowed 3,000 hits total.

Playing for the Orix Blue Waves in the Japanese Pacific League Ichiro collected 1,278 base hits...and that gives him a professional baseball hits total of 4,256, tying him with Pete Rose, who had 4,256 base hits in the big leagues.

So...there's all kinds of buzz on baseball games, TV programs, and on social media about weather or not Ichiro is becoming the new hit king of baseball.

Pete Edward Rose, Jr. played 24 years in the big leagues, for the Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, Montreal Expos, and back to the Reds as player/manager to end his playing career.

It has been a spirited debate, to say the least, a good baseball fans debate about what constitutes a big league base hit from a minor league baseball hit.

I'm not really sure how this started...probably an Ichiro fan, or maybe just anti-Rose fans...but it's all just a bit ridiculous. 

Pete Rose is the all-time MLB hit king...end of discussion.

Just to be fair, I didn't want Rose to surpass Cobb...hey, I'm a lifelong Tigers fan...and I kept hoping he'd get hurt...not hurt bad, just bad enough so he'd be slowed down...and that maybe Pete would end up retiring from baseball before he broke Cobb'so hallowed 4,191 career base hits.

Ty Cobb, The Georgia Peach," played for the Tigers and the old Philadelphia Athletics.

Yes, it was totally juvenile to want Rose to not pass Cobb, and I learned to accept the fact that Pete Rose is the All-Time HIT KING.

This doesn't diminish the career of Ichiro, a ballplayer who'll be enshrined one day in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Ichiro's accomplishments are matter where you play...4,256 base hits is a pretty big deal.

However, the Japanese baseball, as well as baseball played in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Cuba, Korea, Canada, or any other league not called Major League Baseball, is not the big leagues.

And there's also the Negro Leagues.

From everything I've read and heard over the years of following baseball, record keeping in the Negro Leagues, both the Negro American League and Negro National League, was far from reliable, and cannot be used to add to the records of ballplayers like Jackie Robinson, Ernie Banks, Larry Doby, and Monte Irvin, to hame just a few.

Big league baseball records, beginning with the original National League in 1876, as well as the American League in 1901, are the two leagues you must have played in to accumulate even one official big league hit.

⚾⚾⚾ UPDATE... Ichiro collected base hit number 2,979 while I'm writing this post...that gives Ichiro 4,257 professional baseball hits! ⚾⚾⚾

Ichiro Suzuki is a great ballplayer, and he deserves all the accolades coming his way, however, you can't just add hits from another league because he's reached, and surpassed, big league baseball's all-time leader in baseball hits.

Ichiro will get 3,000 hits...and then some, and he will be, 5 years after his retirement, a sure fire first ballot Hall of Famer, and recognized as one of the truly great hitters of our lifetime.

Congratulations! again to Ichiro on his climbing hit total, and for giving us 16 years...and counting...of magnificent baseball memories.

Play Ball! ⚾⚾⚾⚾⚾⚾⚾⚾⚾⚾⚾⚾⚾⚾

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Happy Baseball Birthday...Don Newcombe

Today we send out special 90th Happy Baseball Birthday! wishes to former big league pitcher Don Newcombe.

Donald Newcombe   was born on June 14, 1926, in Madison, New Jersey, and attended Thomas Jefferson High School in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Don signed with the old Brooklyn Dodgers in 1946, and made his debut in the big leagues at age 23, on May 20, 1949.

"Newk" was a big, powerful pitcher, standing 6' 4".

In 1949 Newk help pitch the Dodgers to the National League Pennant by going 17-8, with a 3.17 ERA, pitching in the All-Star Game and winning the Rookie of the Year Award.

In 1955 Newcombe won 20 games, helping the Dodgers win another N.L. Pennant, and celebrated with his teammates as the only Brooklyn Dodgers team to win the World Series, beating the Yankees in 7 games.

The big man had his finest season in 1956, leading the N.L. with 27 wins (27-7), winning both the N.L. Most Valuable Player Award, and the very first ever Cy Young Award as baseball's best pitcher.

Don Newcombe compiled a record of 149-90, 3.56 ERA in 344 big league games from 1949-60, with Brooklyn and the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Cincinnati Reds, and Cleveland Indians.

Happy Baseball Birthday! Big Newk! 

Play Ball! 

Happy Flag Day 2016

                                                                   Happy Flag Day! 

Ichiro road to 3,000 hits...this t-shirt is awesome!


Since he arrived here from Japan in 2001 I've been a fan, not a fanatic, but a fan, and now that he's nearing 3,000 big league baseball hits, it's become a great thing to watch, especially on Twitter, where his hit count has become nightly fascination among all baseball fans.

Tonight I started following MrJayMiami on Twitter tonight, mostly because I saw that he was the creator of The Official Ichiro 3,000 hit Countdown T-Shirt.

3,000 base hits is a huge deal in the big leagues, and especially when a man the caliber of Ichiro does it.

Go to Ichiro'so Baseball Reference page to see his stats.

Head over too the website site, get your t-shirt, and follow my new baseball fan friend Mr. Miami Jay.


⚾⚾⚾ Tonight in San Diego, in the Marlins 13-4 win  over the San Diego Padres, Ichiro collected three (3) more base hits...that's 2,977 career base hits and counting!  

Oh, and I still want a Ichiro 3k hits bobblehead!


Monday, June 13, 2016

Baseball Card of the Day... 2016 Topps Jim Harbaugh

Today's Baseball Card of the Day  is, for the first time, a baseball card that I don't have...yet.

Topps 2016 Series 2 Baseball First Pitch insert cards come out Wednesday, and for me, it's the first time that I've seen a card that I actually want...

Last July at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan Wolverines head football coach Jim Harbaugh threw out the first pitch before a Tigers game...and has become part of the special series of baseball cards.

The cards, especially the Harbaugh card, is already gaining attention on the Internet.

I'll do whatever it takes to get one of these cards, either by opening Topps Series 2 packs, by trading for the card, of by purchasing the card on ebay.

Jim Harbaugh is a Wolverines legend, both as a player...he was the 1986 Big Ten Player of the Year, and now coach...a 10-3 record in his first season, and one of my favorite Michigan players ever.

If you're reading this, and have the Harbaugh card, and would like to send it to me on a trade, please leave me a message in the comments, or look me up on Twitter.... @freehan11 ...⚾

Play Ball!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

This Week's Sports Illustrated Cover... Muhammad Ali

This Week's Sports Illustrated cover isn't a baseball player, but that's OK, because the late Muhammad Ali graces the cover for the 40th time.

Muhammad Ali  was as polarizing a figure that's ever been in sports, a larger than life man, true humanitarian, and is, arguably, along with Joe Louis, one of the two best fighters to ever get in a boxing ring...yes, my opinion.

Thus is going to be another of those must have SI issues...what a fantastic choice of a picture to put on the cover than a smiling Ali staring straight at you.

Ali was a baseball fan, a big Louisville Cardinals baseball fan, and loved, and supported the team with the Muhammad Ali Leadership Baseball Scholarship.

Ali will be laid to rest in his hometown of Louisville this Friday, and the Service is OPEN to the Public.

Muhammad Ali wouldn't have it any other way.

Play Ball!

50 years ago today...the 1966 Big League Player Draft

50 years ago today, June 7, 1966, with the 2nd pick in the 1966 MLB June Player Draft, the then Kansas City Athletics drafted a young power hitting outfielder out of Arizona State by the name of Reginald Martinez Jackson.

⚾ 1966 June MLB Player Draft.

A quick glance at the '66 Athletics baseball reference page shows a roster that already includes 1965 #1 overall pick Rick Monday.

Also on those mid '60s-early Athletics teams were players like Campy Campaneris, Dick Green, Blue Moon Odom, Sal Bando, and Catfish Hunter... players who would become the cornerstones of the 1972-73-74 World Series Championships A's teams.

The draft isn't always a sure bet, that's just a fact...hit, or's hoping your team...and my Tigers, make the right choices.

The 2016 MLB Draft is starts at 6pm on Thursday, on the MLB Network.... the Philadelphia Phillies have the first pick.

Play Ball!

Happy Baseball Birthday... City Slickers

Today we send out a special Happy Baseball Birthday! to the movie City Slickers, starring Billy Crystal, which was released 25 years ago today, June 7, 1991.

Why is a movie about buddies going on a old fashioned cowboy roundup getting attention on a baseball blog?

Because of its use of baseball in the movie, from Crystal wearing a New York Mets ballcap, to this now legendary scene around dinner at a cattle roundup.

That scene also gave great attention to the big league career of Pittsburgh Pirates 3rd Baseman Don Hoak, who's been a Happy Baseball Birthday! honoree.

If you've seen the movie, the start of that scene has actors Bruno Kirby and Daniel Stern are having an argument on the better right fielder.... Roberto Clemente  (Stern), or Henry Aaron (Kirby).

That's how they transition into the Don Hoak scene, and good old baseball discussion about the best right Fielder in baseball...and, of course, when I first saw the movie I'm yelling at the screen... "hey, ever heard of a guy named Al Kaline!" 

Yes, I have a sore spot when it comes to Kaline, my 10-time Gold Glove winner of the Detroit Tigers...seems like he's always a forgotten guy...not that he's better, just that he's never in the discussion...come on!

Anyway, Congratulations! again, to all involved in the movie...remember... thevsecret to life is about 1 thing...just 1 thing...

Play Ball!  

Happy Baseball Birthday...Thurman Munson

Today's Happy Baseball Birthday! is the late Thurman Munson.

Thurman Lee Munson was born 69 years ago today in Akron, Ohio.

A few years ago on the anniversary of Munson's death, I wrote this post about one of my Brothers favorite palyers.

Happy Baseball Birthday! to the late Thurman Munson... Play Ball! 

Monday, June 6, 2016

This Day in Baseball...Bill Gatewood

95 years ago today, June 6, 1921, Detroit Stars RHP Bill Gatewood pitched the first no-hitter in the history of the Negro National League.

As a Detroit baseball fan, I think it's cool that a player playing for a team in Motown pitched the first ever no-hitter in the history of the Negro National League...anytime the Motor City gets positive recognition it's a good thing.

Big Bill Gatewood  was born in San Antonio, Texas, on August 22, 1881.

I must admit until I opened up today, I'd never heard of "Big Bill" Gatewood...and I love that we are able to see the history of the Negro Leagues so much in baseball these days.

I need to read up and do more posting on the Stars, and the players like BIG BILL, great players who made their mark on baseball in Detroit.

Play Ball!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Baseball Card of the Day...2008 Topps Heritage James Loney

Last night at Marlins Park in Miami, the New York Mets beat the Marlins, 6-2, behind the 100th career home run by the Mets James Loney.

That 100th career homer gets James Loney our Baseball Card of the Day, my 2008 Topps Heritage #288.

⚾ James Anthony Loney was born in Houston, Texas, on May 4, 1984.

The Los Angeles Dodgers selected Loney with the 19th pick in the 1st round of the 2002 big league amateur player draft.

In 2004 Loney arrived here in Jacksonville to play for our Double A Suns, then affiliated with the Dodgers.

The back of Loney's baseball card shows his two years here, which included the Suns 2005 Southern League Championship.

Loney played for the Dodgers for 7 years, 2006-12, and had double figure years in homers in 2007-11, blasting a career high 15 dingers in '07.

Loney also loves home runs and the #13...he's hit 13 homers three times, in 2008-09, 2013.

Loney then moved on to Boston, Tampa Bay, and now plays with the Mets.

Congratulations! James Loney, on your 100th career HR, and being our Card of the Day.

Play Ball!