Thursday, January 26, 2017

2017 Topps Baseball Card #1 is...

Today on the MLB Network it was revealed that Chicago Cubs 3rd Baseman Kris Bryant is card #1 in Topps Series One Baseball cards in 2017.

Bryant, the 2015 National League Rookie of the Year, is a terrific baseball player who helped the Cubs win their first World Series Championship since 1908 last year, and was voted the 2016 National League MVP.

Baseball fans, myself included, voted in a poll last year on who they wanted to be the #1 Topps card...I voted for Miguel Cabrera... here's the list of players you could've voted for. my dismay, NO Detroit Tigers player has ever been card #1...ugh!

The very first Topps #1 Baseball card was Andy Pafko in 1952.

Here's a look at every Topps #1 card 1952-2016.

Series 1 Topps Baseball will be released on Wednesday morning February 1st.

Play Ball!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Baseball Bulletin... 2017 Hall of Fame Edition

Tomorrow the official 2017 BBWAA Hall of Fame results will be released.

No matter who gets in, the debate about which player, or players, that didn't get in, will be debated about all day, and will continue through the summer inductions into Cooperstown.

⚾⚾⚾ As a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance I have the privilege of voting annually for their HOF balloting... here's my ballot from January 3rd. ⚾⚾⚾⚾

While our ballots for the HOF don't count, it's a great community of baseball fans and bloggers who have a magnificent passion for our National Pastime.

Here's a few HOF related things I've come across lately...

⚾ The great thing about being a baseball fan this time of the year is all the HOF banter we get on Twitter, and that includes the Hall of Fame tracker Ryan Thibadaux.

Ryan tracks every  ballot made public...

....including writers who, for some reason, unreasonably leave their HOF ballots blank.

When a baseball writers sends in a blank ballot in protest, or making a stand on a certain issue, they're not making a statement, they're making it harder for players to get in, because a player needs 75% of the writers votes to be elected.

⚾ One of best baseball writers I follow is Graham Womack, who wrote a terrific piece on which player could be the FIRST ever unanimously elected into the HOF.

No baseball player has ever gotten every single vote cast by the BBWAA, not Ty Cobb, not Hank Aaron, not Mickey Mantle, not Stan Musial.

Since no player was unanimously voted in on the original 1936 ballot, writers belive that if Babe Ruth and Walter Johnson didn't get 100% of the vote, then neither should  Cal Ripken, Rickey Henderson, or Pedro Martinez.

Jayson Stark of ESPN writes about what he believes will be a historic day for baseball writers on Wednesday.

Jason also has  new HOF trivia. ... I didn't do to well, just 2/5 right...damn analytics got me again.

⚾ One player I hope makes it this year, whom I also vited for, is former Seattle Mariners 3rd Baseman and Designated Hitter Edgar Martinez. 

The Seattle Times had a terrific article on Edgar Martinez gaining momentum this year in HOF balloting.

⚾ ⚾⚾ The Baseball Hall of Fame is a very exclusive club...but it's too exclusive. 

While it should be hard to get it to the HOF, it shouldn't be impossible, and that's what it's become.

Players like Dale Murphy, Jack Morris, Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell and Alan Trammell have been denied election because writers have been held unaccountable over the years for voting based on bias towards players, not watching games, and just plain arrogance that their word, or words, are scripture.

Let's hope that there are some must deserved phone calls to Tim Raines, Vladimir Guerrero, and Edgar Martinez tomorrow from the HOF with the great news that they have become the newest members of the greatest club in sports.

Play Ball!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Baseball Bulletin... January 14, 2017

Here's a few things I've come across lately for you to pin on your baseball bulletin boards...

⚾ First, let's say Happy Baseball Birthday! to former University of Michigan and Detroit Tigers player, Dave "Soup" Campbell, who turns 75 today.

Dave Campbell was a member of the 1962 Michigan NCAA Championship team and played 9 games for the 1968 World Series Champion Tigers.

Dave played in the big leagues  from 1967-74, for the Tigers, San Diego Padres, St. Louis Cardinals, and Houston Astros.

I remember Dave Campbell as a terrific analyst on ESPN baseball broadcats in the 1980s and 1990s.

⚾ I had the opportunity to meet former Tigers pitcher Denny  McLain today at a baseball card show here in Kalamazoo.

I couldn't afford to have him sign anything for me, but it was nice that Denny took a picture with me.

I had previously met Denny at a card show back in the 1990s in Florida, and do I have a signed picture somewhere, packed away in a box.

Thanks again Denny!


⚾ I've been a baseball fan for at least 50 years, watched every World Series since 1970 on TV, have been to one World Series game, in 1992, but I've never been able to be anywhere near the actual World Series Trophy.

That will change on Monday, February 20th here in Kalamazoo, when the Chicago Cubs World Series Trophy Tour makes its way to my Hometown.

⚾ Speaking of the Cubs, one of the founding members of the famed Wrigley Field Bleacher Bums, Mike Haley, has passed away at age 67.

⚾ All the players, coaches, and media members in the baseball Twitter world can be found right here.

⚾ The Lansing Lugnuts are giving fans the chance to VOTE for the team giveaway on Opening Day of the 2017 season.

⚾ President-Elect Donald Trump has fired one time Washington Senators announcer and  the longtime Voice of Presidential Inaugurations.

⚾ Former big league player Billy Spiers is part of the 2016 National Championship Clemson Tigers coaching staff.

⚾ The Detroit Tigers 2017 Winter Caravan is ready to roll.

Carlos Beltran is playing for the Houston Astros in 2017.

⚾ Topps released information about all the Rookie Baseball cards for 2017 Series 1.

⚾ You can buy the movie Spaceman on DVD... and it comes with a special edition baseball card.

⚾ The Baseball Writers Association of America will reveal the final results of the 2017 Hall of Fame Ballot next Wednesday, January 18th.

As a reminder, here's my my HOF ballot...if I had one.

Until next time baseball fans... Play Ball!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Happy Baseball Birthday... J.K. Simmons

Although we've already wished former Detroit Tigers 3rd Baseman Phil Mankowski a Happy Baseball Birthday! , there has to be an additional HBB to the list, as Tigers celebrity fan J.K. Simmons turns 62 today.

Jonathan Kimble Simmons was born on January 9, 1955, in Detroit, Michigan. 

My favorite J.K. role has always been his portrayal of Dr. Emile Skoda on Law and Order.

J.K. also played the character J. Jonah Jameson in the Spider Man movies, and played Tigers manager Frank Perry in the movie For Love of the Game, starring Kevin Costner as a legendary Tigers pitcher.

In 2014 J.K. won the ultimate acting award, the Oscar, for his performance in Whiplash.

As if those credentials aren't enough, J.K. is also the voice of the Yellow Peanut M & M...

Happy Baseball Birthday! J.K. Simmons.... Play Ball!

Happy Baseball Birthday! ...Phil Mankowski

I consider The Natural the best baseball movie ever made, I've seen it easily over a hundred times, and yet, I learned something about the 1984 movie that I never knew...former Detroit Tigers 3rd Baseman Phil Mankowski plays for the New York Knights.

Mankowski plays Knights 3rd sacker Hank Benz, and that fact alone makes him a no doubter for today's Happy Baseball Birthday!

Philip Anthony Mankowski  was born on January 9, 1953, in Buffalo, New York, played high school baseball at Bishop Turner HS, and was the Tigers 9th round selection in the amateur player draft in 1970.

Mankowski made his big league debut at age 23 on August 30, 1976 vs the California Angels, collecting his first big league base hit.

Mankowski played 4 years with Detroit, collecting 185 base hits, 8 home runs, and 85 RBIs in 284 games.

The Tigers traded Mankowski to the Mets in 1979, where he played for 2 years before playing his final game in the big leagues on July 21, 1982.

In 1984 Mankowski won the role of playing Robert Redford's Knights teammate in the Natural, shooting the movie at old War Memorial Stadium in his hometown of Buffalo.

In 2011 Mankowski was elected into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.

Happy Baseball Birthday! Philip Mankowski!

Play Ball! 

Friday, January 6, 2017

My Favorite Card of 2016

Scrolling through some of the blogs I follow I ran into to a contest over at Eames Catiulli's blog  that actually started in December... name your favorite sports card of 2016.

The contest, which ends January 9th, will reward someone a pack of 2017 Topps Baseball Cards... count me in!

I didn't collect much in 2016, but I do have a favorite card...

I can't say enough how cool it was that Topps sent me a Christmas card...with a Topps Now card really made my day when I opened it!

The card Topps inserted into the holiday card was two-sided, with the front of the card celebrating the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series on the left, and New York Yankees rookie catcher Gary Sanchez on the right.

At the bottom of the front side of the card says "Happy Holidays to you and your family from the Topps family."

On the back of the insert card Topps celebrates Miami Marlins veteran Ichiro Suzuki's 3,000th hit, and the last game in the career of Boston Red Sox DH David Ortiz.

While I did open a few packs of Topps cards, and win a couple of cards on Twitter, and purchase a Topps Now card, this awesome gesture by Topps to those who purchased a Topps Now card last year was simply terrific.

Thanks Topps, and thanks Eames for this contest... Play Ball!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Happy National Bird Day!

Today is National Bird Day, so here's to all you great Blue Jays, Cardinals, and Orioles fans out there in baseball land.

For me, and all my Detroit Tigers brethren, we like to celebrate our very own bird... Mark "The  Bird" Fidrych. 

The Bird was the 1976 American League Rookie of the Year, posting a 19-9 record with a 2.34 era, and started the All-Star Game in Philadelphia. 

We lost Mark Fidrych way to young, but we'll always have great memories of that magical season when "The Bird was the Word."


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Happy Baseball Birthday... Doris Kearns Goodwin

Today we send out special Happy Baseball Birthday! wishes to America's Presidential Historian and lifelong baseball fan, Doris Kearns Goodwin, who turns 74 today.

Doris Kearns Goodwin was born on January 4, 1943, in Brooklyn, New York, when 'Dem Bums were still thrilling their fans at old Ebbets Field in Flatbush.

I first saw Doris Kearns Goodwin in the 1994 Ken Burns PBS special Baseball.

Baseball on PBS  is one of my favorite things of, well, ever,and should be a must watch for all baseball fans.

Doris was terrific recalling growing up a Brooklyn Dodgers fan right along the same time Jackie Robinson was getting to the big leagues, listening to the Dodgers on the radio with Red Barber, and learning baseball from her Dad.

In 1957, Doris, along with every other Dodgers fan, was crushed with the teams move to Los Angeles, and it would take years for her to welcome baseball back in her life, becoming a Red Sox fan after attending a game Fenway Park.

Doris wrote about her love of baseball in her book, Wait till Next Year.

Doris is a Pulitzer Prize winning author who has written many books on Presidential history, including Team of Rivals, which was turned into the Academy Award winning movie Lincoln.

I've had a huge crush on Doris Kearns Goodwin since I first saw her on the PBS special, and found out that she loves American History and the history of our U.S. meet her one day would be absolutely extraordinary...a Home Run!

Happy Baseball Birthday! Doris Kearns Goodwin... Play Ball!

Baseball Bulletin... National Trivia Day, January 4, 2017

So, I just found out that today is National Trivia Day, and, well, I'd thought I'd do a 9 question trivia post about baseball.

Good Luck!

⚾ 1... I'm reading the book Brooks, The Biography of Brooks Robinson... many Gold Gloves did Brooks win playing 3rd Base in his career?

A. 6  B. 10  C. 16  D. 18.

⚾ 2... My hero, Bill Freehan, was the first catcher to win _____ consecutive Gold Glove Awards. 

A. 2  B. 5  C. 7  D. 10.

⚾ 3... New York Yankees Hall of Fame 1st Baseman Lou Gehrig played college baseball at ___________________.

⚾ 4... Name the only Braves ballplayer to play in all three (3) cities... Boston, Milwaukee, and Atlanta. ______________.

⚾ 5... The $100,000 infield played baseball for the...

A. Boston Red Sox  B.  New York Yankees C.  Washington Senators D. Philadelphia Athletics.

⚾ 6... Jackie Robinson was playing baseball with the _______________ in the Negro National League with what team when he signed with the old Brooklyn Dodgers?

⚾ 7... Los Angeles Dodgers longtime baseball play by play man, the legendary Vin Scully, retired after the 2016 many years did Vin broadcast Dodgers games?

A. 60 years  B. 56 years  C. 44 years.  D. 67 years.

⚾ 8... Match the baseball team with the teams celebrity super fan...

A. Jon Hamm                               1. Pittsburgh Pirates

B. J.K. Simmons                           2. Boston Red Sox

C. Josh Charles                             3.  Cleveland Indians

D.  President Barack Obama     4. New York Yankees

E. Maria Menounos                     5. Baltimore Orioles

D. Drew Carey                               6. St. Louis Cardinals

E. Beyonce                                      7. Los Angeles Dodgers

F. Michael Keaton                         8. Detroit Tigers

G. Alyssa Milano                            9. Chicago White Sox

⚾ 9... What Boston Red Sox player walked n the 9th inning of Game 4 of the 2004 American League Championship Series vs New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, leading to the BoSox comeback win, forcing a Game 5?

A. David Ortiz B. Kevin Millar C. Dave Roberts D. Doug Mientkiewicz.

⚾⚾⚾⚾ Extra Credit...

What's my Twitter handle?  


I'll have the answers in a post tomorrow...please leave your answers in the comments...Thanks!

Play Ball! 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

My 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot

As I do every year, it's time for me to announce the players I believe should be elected into the National Baseball HALL of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

Here are are all the eligible players for consideration in 2017.

I've stated more than once that I don't belive any steroids abusers belong in the HOF, and nothing going has changed.

Once hallowed baseball records were shattered by cheating, just to make millions of dollars in order to get somewhere they could never approach on their own.

I have watched baseball for 50 years, and I knew a great ballplayer when I saw them play...I didn't need anyone analyzing every miniscule aspect to the game to tell me who did or didn't belong in Cooperstown.

So, here they are, the great ballplayers who I believe should be inducted this summer into the Hall of Fame.

⚾ Tim Raines

⚾ Edgar Martinez

⚾ Jeff Bagwell

⚾ Trevor Hoffman

⚾ Vladimir Guerrero

⚾ Fred McGriff

⚾ Ivan Rodriguez

⚾ Lee Smith

⚾ Larry Walker

There they are, the 9 eligible ballplayers, if I had a vote, that I'd elect into the HOF.

OK, so...before you go off on me about not voting for steroids users and then voting for suspected steroids abusers Pudge Rodriguez and Jeff Bagwell...I have never seen anything other than speculation that either of them have done steroids.

If I turn out to be wrong, then so be it, however, as in Mike Piazza last year, speculation about players because they played in the era, is just that.

Also, as far as Curtis Schilling and Mike Mussina...they are probably deserving for the HOF, but they aren't  more worthy than Jack Morris, and so I am pulling my homercard as a Detroit Tigers fan that until Morris gets his due, those two, and other pitcher hinges candidates, don't get my vote.

 Good Luck to all the men  I voted for... Play Ball!

A New Year for Me

Happy New Year's 2017! 

It's been awhile since I've published a blog post here.

I've started about a dozen or so post since before Thanksgiving , but just couldn't finish them in order to post them for you to read, including many unfinished posts that I was writing about my hero, Bill Freehan, who celebrated his 75th Happy Baseball Birthday! on November 29th.

There have been a few reasons for the lack of posts, but mostly it's because of my health that I've failed to continue to write about baseball.

My health hasn't been good for a long time...I won't blame anyone but myself...and it all came to a not so good moment last week when I was sent to the hospital with a blood sugar reading in the 600s...yes...over 600!

For months I sat down with great ideas about what to write on this blog, only to have to stop because I didn't feel well, and had to stop...sometimes for days as I slept and was in tremendous pain.

I hadn't had my proper medicine for my diabetes for months...yes, months...for reasons that I put myself in during our move from Florida to Michigan...I ignored my health and I paid for it with a three day stay in the hospital with an IV in my arm, getting blood drawn every day, and having my fingers pricked about 10 times a day and being woken up in the middle of the night to have your vitals wasn't fun...nor should it have been.

I love baseball,  I loved watching the World Series, and it's now Hall of Fame voting time...I need to be healthy to follow and continue to write about our great game.

I've already started my annual HOF ballot post,  and I hope to have it done in a couple of days.

As its January, that means that we are only about a month that and a half from pitcheers and catcheese reporting to Spring Training facilities in the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues.

Here's to a better... a healthier 2017... Play Ball!