Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Baseball Card of the Day... My 1990 Topps Ken Griffey, Jr.

Today on the Dan Patrick Show, Hall of Fame outfielder Ken Griffey, Jr. told a nationwide audience that had he gone to college to play football instead of signing with the Seattle Mariners at age 17 that he would've played...at Michigan!

That statement gives us today's Baseball Card of the Day, my 1990 Topps #336, Ken Griffey, Jr. 

This is my favorite Griffey, Jr. baseball card...it's much better than the 1989 Upper Deck card that is the darling of the hobby....maybe it's because the picture taken of the young ballplayer is in front of the visitors dugout at old Tiger Stadium in Detroit. 

I  an only imagine Griffey,  Jr. running pass patterns for legendary Michigan Football coach Bo Schembechler... no that would've been awesome!

Go Blue!

Play Ball! ⚾

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Baseball Card of the Day... My 1971 Detroit Tigers Team Card

Today's Baseball Card of the Day  is my 1971 Detroit Tigers team card.

                                  ⚾ My 1971 Topps #336, Detroit Tigers Team Card ⚾

The 1971 Detroit Tigers were just three years off their win over the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1968 World Series, still had stars like Al Kaline, Mickey Lolich, Bill Freehan, Willie Horton, Mickey Stanley, and Jim Northrup.

The Tigers finished the season with a record of 91-71, finishing second in the American League East Division behind eventual A.L. champ Baltimore Orioles. 

The 1971 Topps set is still my favorite set of 1970s Topps Baseball cards.

Play Ball!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Baseball Card of the Day... 2017 Topps Now Ian Kinsler

The Baseball Card of the Day isn't a card that I have... not yet.

A couple of hours ago I ordered just my 3rd Topps Now card.

In the 2017 World Baseball Classic  Championship Game on Wednesday night, Team USA 2nd Baseman Ian Kinsler hit a 2-run HR to give the Americans all the runs they needed to win the game...

...that HR is on the card I ordered today.

⚾ There's still time, as of this post, to order this card on Topps.com.

I would like to one day own all of the Topps Now cards of Tigers players that played in the WBC...and this card is a great start.

Play Ball! ⚾

Baseball Bulletin... Friday, March 24, 2017

Well, here I am, a day after my Michigan Wolverines were bounced from the Sweet 16, trying to focus on anything but hoops.

Today I'm venturing back into the radio thing, 5 years after I last broadcast.

It's all baseball  this time around, focusing solely on this surrounding our great game.

Here's how you can listen.

Here's some baseball stuff I've come across lately.....

⚾ The United States of America won their first ever World Baseball Classic Championship after beating Puerto Rico, 8-0, on Wednesday Night at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles.

It was the single greatest baseball tournament I've ever watched, a celebration of baseball world wide in Japan, Korea, The Netherlands, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, the United States, Canada, Columbia...a truly global represention of baseball.

51, 565 cheering baseball fans saw the American Baseball team defeat Puerto Rico at Chavez Ravine.

A record 2.3 Million viewers watched the game on The MLB Network.

ESPN had the Spanish broadcast, on ESPN Deportes and ESPN 2.

Somehow...not sure how...some baseball fans weren't paying attention the previous two weeks, and blamed ESPN for only broadcasting the game in Spanish, getting very upset.... they should've known that all the English speaking  WBC games were broadcast on the MLB Network.

⚾ Again this year New Era and MLB  are using the hash tag #CapsOn to celebrate Opening Day across the big leagues.

Fans can go here to enter New Era's 2017 Ultimate Fan Giveaway.

⚾ Benjamin Hill at Ben's Biz has the battle of Bacon vs Tacos.

I chose Bacon... purely based on the ballcaps.

⚾ Hail to the Flying Squirrels  is a brand new theme song for the Richmond Flying Squirrels. 

Tim Tebow is headed to Single-A  all with the Columia Fireflies.... get your Tebow jerseys right here.

⚾ USA Today wants to know if you can identity all 30 ballparks...from above.

...Good Luck...I had to stop after a few.

⚾ Former big league catcher David Ross is on Dancing with the Stars and his first dance was a HOME RUN !

And if a World Series ring with last year's Cubs and the DWTS gig wasn't enough, Shawn Anderson of Hall of Very Good says there's a movie about Ross in the works.

⚾ A 1956 Topps Roberto Clemente Baseball Card sold for $100,099.

Kevin Kiermaier of the Tampa Bay Rays signed a 6-year contract with the team.

⚾ Former big league pitcher and manager Dallas Green has passed away at age 82.

Rest in Peace Mr. Green...enjoy the great ballgame in Heaven. 😇

Play Ball! ⚾

Back on the radio.

Back seven years ago I had a little radio show on Blog Talk Radio.

I really didn't know what I was doing, I just wanted to talk about sports...I still don't know what I'm doing, but hey, that's life.

My health and a few other setbacks caused me to stop doing the show, but I always hoped to get back into it.

Tomorrow that day is here as I'll re-start my sports radio venture again.

A few things...

⚾ It's all baseball this time around. ⚾

Yes, all things baseball, including this blog, collecting baseball cards, and anything else I can think of.

Last time it was all sports...and that's too much for me anymore, so it's all about Our National Pastime.

⚾ I hope to do the show every Monday through Friday at 1pm.

This is my Home Page.... Big John on Baseball

That's a good time, I hope, as there are lots of 1pm games still going on in Spring Training and at the start of the season there are lots of 1pm day baseball games.

* I continue to battlehealth problems every day, so some shows may be delayed, or re-scheduled.

⚾ I want to include baseball card collecting this time around.

I hope this attracts a good group of listeners, as many of the baseball blogs I follow are of the card collecting variety.

⚾ I'll have guests talking baseball as much as I can...no callers, just guests that love to talk baseball like I do.

So, that's about all for right now... I should go get some sleep, since my first show back is less that 12 hours away.

Until then... Play Ball!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

My Baseball Card of the Day... 2016 A.L. ERA Leaders

I've wanted to do a post like this for a long time, just never got around to it.

I've been collecting baseball cards since the late 1960s, and I still like to tear into a pack of baseball cards like I was a kid.

Last night my Princess surprised me with a pack of 2017 Topps Heritage.

That pack produced the first ever card of the day, card #8, American League ERA Leaders.

It's the card of the day because of the guy in the middle, Detroit Tigers RHP Justin Verlander.

Any pack of cards with a Tigers player in it, and when Verlander is on one of those cards, well, that's even sweeter.

Until next time.... go rip open some packs, have fun.

Play Ball! ⚾

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Happy Baseball Birthday... Bob Costas

Today we say Happy Baseball Birthday! to life long baseball fan, broadcaster, and Emmy Award winner, Bob Costas.

When I think about Bob Costas, I automatically think about baseball, and his love and passion for our National Pastime.

 Bob Costas was born 65 years ago today in Queens, New York, grew up loving the New York Yankees and his boyhood idol, Mickey Mantle.

Among his many baseball games he broadcast in his career   none was better than the legendary performance of Chicago Cubs 2nd Baseman Ryne Sandberg  on a summer day at Wrigley Field with Costas on the call for NBC's Game of the Week.

Besides being a tremendous baseball fan and broadcaster, I always think of  Costas and the 1958 Topps All-Star Baseball card  that he carries with him every day, no matter where he goes.

Bob Costas gets plenty of grief on social media for things he says....myself, I tend to appreciate what's great about him...his unbridled passion for the game that we both grew up loving and playing.

The game of baseball is a better place with Bob Costas in it.

Happy Baseball Birthday! Bob Costas.... PLAY BALL!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Happy Birthday Birthday! Charles Leerhsen

A special Happy Baseball Birthday! today goes out to writer Charles Leerhsen, who's baseball book Ty Cobb, a Terrible Beauty, arrives at my doorstep tomorrow.

Charles is a nationally recognized writer who's book about the greatest Detroit Tigers player, and the greatest hitter in baseball history, won the 2015 Sabr Baseball Research Award.

One of my Baseball Bucket list items will now include meeting Mr. Leerhsen one day to have him sign my book.

Happy Baseball Birthday! Charles Leerhsen.... PLAY BALL! 

New! Baseball Bloggers Alliance Logo for 2017

Today the Baseball Bloggers Alliance released a brand new logo for our group.

The logo, created by the talented Rebekah Dyer, is a new, fresh, exciting baseball logo that starts us BBBA Bloggers off to what's certain to be an amazing year of baseball.

The BBBA is a terrific group of lifelong baseball fans who love to write about the greatest sport ever invented, our National Pastime, the game of baseball.

If you're a baseball fan who's also a blogger, check out our awesome community right here.

Play Ball!

This Week's Sports Illustrated... 2017 Baseball Covers

Well, it's been awhile since we've had baseball on the cover of Sports Illustrated,  but with less than 2 weeks until the start of the big league baseball season, we get not one, not two, but Three S.I. Baseball covers.

Reigning National League MVP and Chicago Cubs World Series Champion Kris Bryant...

American League MVP Mike Trout...

and the young Boston Red Sox outfielders...

 are your three National covers for Sports Illustrated annual Big League Baseball Previews. 

Living now in West Michigan, it's 99.999% that I'll walk into my local bookstore and find the Bryant cover, and that's fine...as long as it's not Trout, I'll buy a copy.

Play Ball!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

My Favorite 1970s Topps Baseball Card Sets

It all started today over at Baseball Prospectus, who's staff got together and ranked their favorite 1980s Baseball Card sets.

I saw the post, thought it was pretty well done, although my favorite 1980s Topps Baseball Card design is the 1983 set.

⚾ In response, Sabr Baseball Cards decided to do the best Topps Baseball Cards of the 1970s.

Of course, being a young baseball fan who grew up collecting every set of 1970s Topps Baseball Cards,  I couldn't just send an email or Tweet for my vote, I had to post about it...maybe you'd like to vote yourself...the information is in the Sabr link above.

Topps cards were the only choice we had for baseball cards in the 1970s...no Fleer, Donruss, or Upper Deck baseball cards to open.

⚾⚾⚾⚾⚾ My Favorite 1970s Topps Baseball Card Sets. ⚾⚾⚾⚾⚾

Oh, of course, I'm using Bill Freehan cards from 1970-77...you know I have to get my hero included.

⚾ #1... 1971

There was always something special about those 1971 Topps cards...that black border allowed the players picture to pop right off the cards, and the players signatures were awesome as well.

The players and team names were all different colors, blue, yellow, red, green...it all came together to make it the best set of Topps cards in the 1970s.

⚾ #2... 1976

This set is a very close 2nd...what made me love these cards were the little ballplayers that Topps put next to the players names on the bottom of the cards, especially the catcher, who looks in in charge of the game.

⚾ #3... 1973

Again, the position players were cool, and I liked the borders around the pictures.

I'm still trying to figure out why Bill Freehan has the ball in his right hand as he's trying to tag out the runner with his mitt.

#4... 1974

The team banners popped right at you in '74!

#5... 1972

The best team name nameplates of any '70s set was this Hollywood marquee look in the '72 set, and the colors popped right at you.

#6... 1975

These were great cards...the players signatures were awesome!

Topps also produced a mini version of the '75 set, very hard to find and collect.

⚾ #7... 1970

Classic pictures in the '70s set, but the Grey borders get the ranking down.

⚾ #8... 1977

Players signatures were back in the '77 set, and the team name at the top was big and bold...I saw those Tigers cards easily opening up the packs.

⚾ #9... 1979

For the only time in the decade, the tradition Topps logo appears on the bottom of the card...a solid baseball card for sure.

#10... 1978

In my opinion, the '78 Topps set was blandest of all the '70s sets...not much has going on.

⚾ The bottom three card sets aren't bad at all, but it's a top 10 list, and something has to be last...the 1978 set, to me, is the bottom set of what was a great decade...my decade, of collecting baseball cards.

Let's hear your rankings...and go to the Sabr Baseball Cards link above to give your opinions to the poll.

Play Ball!

Friday, March 10, 2017


As Team USA begins play in the 2017 World Baseball Classic tonight vs Columbia, I post about my favorite All-Time American Baseball player, former Michigan Wolverines and BIG league pitcher  Jim Abbott.

In 1988 Abbott lead Team USA to the Gold Medal by beating Cuba in the final, 5-3.

⚾⚾⚾⚾⚾ Jim Abbott's 1988 Topps Traded baseball card is my favorite card of the Flint, Michigan native. ⚾⚾⚾⚾⚾

Baseball was a demonstration sport in 1988, but Team USA still received their Gold Medals.

Jim played college baseball at the University of Michigan, and after the 1988 Olympic games started his big league career with the California Angels.

On September 4, 1993, Abottom, pitching for the New York Yankees, the way a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians.

Here's to a great WBC for the American team this year...it would be awesome for Team USA to win the tournament this year for sure.

Play Ball!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Baseball Bulletin... March 8, 2017

I'm sitting here on a Tuesday night watching Chopped, and clicking over during the commercials to the World Baseball Classic game between China and Cuba, from Tokyo, Japan...I think there are more people in the Food Network studio filming the Chopped episode than there are in the stands at the WBC game...yikes!

This is kind of a big week for me as I head over to Battle Creek on Thursday to see some doctors and get my new glasses...I've been having the darndest time trying to see the computer screen, the TV...heck,  anything at all...hopefully my new specs will allow me to do a better job of blogging this baseball season.

My Detroit Tigers play the Mets at 1pm on ESPN...and...my Michigan Wolverines play Illinois in the Big Ten hoops tournament on  the Big Ten Network ...all while I'm at 3 separate DRs appointments and getting my new glasses...

...I hope my tablet will get the Internet connection I need... Go Tigers! and Go Blue!


So, let's get to it then...he's some stuff that I've come across lately in the baseball social media world...

Team USA begins play in the 2017 World Baseball Classic on Friday vs Columbia...I hope the lovely Sofia Vergara and Manuela Arbelaez are prepared for the USA victory...

... here's the USA schedule for the WBC this year.

⚾ Team USA coach Willie Randolph is honoring Jackie Robinson at the WBC this year.

Robinson's #42 is retired across MLB, with former New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera being the last big league player to wear the uniform number 42.

I think it's pretty darn awesomeness that Randolph gets to honor the memory of Jackie Robinson.

This April 15th will be the 70th Anniversary of Jackie Robinson's debut at Ebbetts Field, April 15, 1947.

⚾ I love it when I come across contests on blogs...I don't seem to do very well, but the thought of winning some cool baseball cards of ballplayers from my beloved Detroit Tigers keeps me hopeful each time...

... that hope continues over at The Daily Dimwit...and this awesome contest over on his blog...

⚾ Speaking of contests...I've also found a new blog to add to my daily reading...

... A Cracked Bat has this contest going on also...

⚾ In honor of the late Dr. Seuss, who would've turned 113 years old this past week  we give you this famous quote of his...

⚾ There have been some pretty bad baseball teams the past 15 years... The Sports Daily ranks the worst teams every year since 2002.

⚾ Ryan Spaeder at The Sporting News says it time for MLB to re-think the sacrifice fly.

New Arena has their list of the Top 20 big league pitchers of All-Time.

...when I see these lists, which, are subjective, of course, I'm not all in unless that particular list has Cy Young #1... 511 WINS All-Time...and...it's called THE CY YOUNG AWARD for a reason.

⚾ Admitted steroids abuser Alex Rodriguez has been hired full time as a baseball analyst for FOX.

⚾ After a long hiatus, the blog Grubby Glove has a terrific article on the history of baseball cards.

⚾⚾⚾⚾ We end this post with a tribute by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Baseball on baseball television director Bill Webb, who passed away this week. ⚾⚾⚾⚾

May God Bless Mr. Webb and his family. ⚾

Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Best/My Favorite... Pittsburgh Pirates

After a brief conversation a few weeks ago with Matthew Scott of the Pirates blog BOB WALK the PLANK I started thinking about the best Pittsburgh Pirates players of All-Time and my personal favorite Pirates players.

⚾ The Pittsburgh Pirates started playing baseball in 1882, and joined the National League in 1891.

The 1903 Pirates played in the very first World Series, have won 7 N.L. Pennants and 4 World Series Championships, in 1925, 1960, 1971, and 1979.

Their have been 37 Hall of Fame Baseball Players who played part of their careers in Pittsburgh.

These are my Top 5 All-Time Pittsburgh Pirates players...

⚾ Roberto Clemente 

⚾ Honus Wagner

⚾ Willie Stargell 

⚾ Pie Traynor

⚾ Andrew McCutcheon 

These are my 5 Favorite Pittsburgh Pirates...

⚾ Roberto Clemente 

⚾ Andrew McCutcheon 

⚾ Willie Stargell 

⚾ Honus Wagner 

⚾ Don Hoak 

Don Hoak... I have him 5th on my list for this great clip from the movie City Slickers...


Matthew's Top 5 All-Time Pittsburgh Pirates are...

1. Honus Wagner - I love the analytical stats. Because of the time period he played in he might be even underrated.  He is 5th all time in WAR! The only people ahead of him are Babe Ruth, Bonds, Mays and Ty Cobb. 

2. Roberto Clemente -

3. Paul Waner - One of my prized possessions is a 30's era Paul Waner card

4. Willie Stargell

5. Barry Bonds - I feel like he needs to be on the list even if his Pirates tenure was short. Steroids or not the only comparable player to him is Babe Ruth. WAR wise he is 8th all time in Pirates history, but the guys ahead of him were no where near the player he was during his tenure.  

Honorable Mentions - Ralph Kiner, Arky Vaughn Andrew McCutchen.

Matthew's Favorite 5 Pittsburgh Pirates are...

Favorite Pirates - This list is based on an unscientific formula of combining actual playing ability and enjoyment of watching that person play.

1. Jason Bay - Bay is ahead of Cutch because he was the only Pirate that many card sets would produce in the mid 2000's. I have a soft spot for anything Jason Bay.
2. Andrew McCutchen - The key component to making the Pirates relevant again. 
3. Jason Kendall - He had the best baseball card photos of anybody on the Pirates during the 90's and early 2000's. Loved watching him play. 
4. Gregory Polanco - The first guy that I really went out of my way to try and pick up cards before he even debuted. 
5. Kent Tekulve - The overall coolness of a Tekulve card puts him on the list.  I was 7 years old when he retired so I never got to witness him play.

Honorable Mentions - Gerrit Cole, Andy Van Slyke, Starling Marte

Terrific lists!

Because Matthew writes a baseball card blog I had to go find a couple of Pirates cards to add to this post...

This Jason Kendall card is one of my favorites...

...and I have some Barry Bonds cards when he was a terrific player first the Buccos.

I hope to continue this series of posts, getting great baseball fans like Matthew, to talk about their love of baseball and the players who have fueled that passion.

Thanks again to Matthew for being the very first...make sure you check out his blog...even if you're not a Pirates fan...he does a great job!

Play Ball! ⚾