Monday, December 31, 2018

Wolverines to Giants

While reading the blog-a-thon over at Sport Card Collectors I couldn't help but remember the connection between football in Ann Arbor, Michigan and the Big Apple from the mid 1980s until the mid 1990s, and I had to go dig out some old football cards.

Here's just a few of them.

Jumbo Elliott

Chris Calloway

Jarrod Bunch

Tyrone Wheatley

Amani Toomer

The reason that this small pipeline between my favorite college football team, the Michigan Wolverines, and the New York Football Giants strikes a happy cord with me is that at the time it was happening my stepson loved the Giants, and we would collect the cards together.

Michigan also had a tie to the Giants in the late Ron Johnson, the former Wolverines running back who still holds the single game rushing yard game, in 1968, vs Wisconsin.

Finally, my favorite old school NY Giants football player was Hall of Famer Frank Gifford, who was married to the lovely Kathie Lee Gifford.

So, thanks to Matt and his blogging today, I got to relive the good times of being a stepdad, watching great football, and, of course, collecting cards.

I hope you got involved in the blog-a-thon and had fun reading and commenting about sports...and non-sports cards.

Have a safe and Happy New Year's!

Play Ball!

Belated My Mailbox... A Very Merry Cutchmas!

As I wasn't well enough to post all the packages that I got over the holidays, I'm going to start posting now as much as I can.

I received a great package from Collecting Cutch for winning his October Save the Boobies contest.

Winning said contest wasn't about the awesome 2012 Topps Heritage Flashback card of Carl Yastrzemski that he sent me,

as much as it was to help him support Breast Cancer Awareness....and, well, looking forward to the daily #SaveTheBoobies lady...oh, and, of course, pink Andrew McCutcheon baseball cards.

Getting namesake cards in the package is always a good thing... is any card that has the great Miguel Cabrera on it.

Thanks again to CUTCH, and an extra special thanks to all the great baseball fans and bloggers out there who posted on his blog in October to help the cause.

After all, it's certainly worth it!

Happy New Year!

Play Ball!

Roberto Clemente

Today is the 46th anniversary of the night we lost the great Roberto Clemente in a plane crash off the coast of his native Puerto Rico.

I'm posting this because the author of the book Clemente, David Marannis, is on Twitter today as he remembers the man who gave his life trying to help victims of a horrible earthquake in Nicaragua.

Clemente may be the best baseball book that I've ever read, and if you've never read it I suggest you go pick up a copy.

If you're on Twitter, go follow Mr. Marannis and enjoy his thoughts on the legendary ballplayer and humanitarian.

Play Ball!

Blog-a-thon-a-long w/ Sport Card Collecors!

Matt from Sport Card Collectors is having a Blog- a- thon and I thought I would help promote this event, as it sounds like a good idea to help break in the New Year.

Today is the 365th day of what's been a tough year for me and I'm ready for 2019 to be a heck of a lot better. 

Taking out the trash of what's been a miserable year for me health wise will hopefully be off to a good start this week as I go to see my specialist to get my MRI results on my right shoulder, a major reason why my pain is so bad.

As Matt starts his marathon of blogging, I thought I try and do as many posts as I could along the way. 

Be safe out there tonight.... and have a safe Happy New Years!

Play Ball

Saturday, December 29, 2018

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The Good.

Just thought I'd let everyone know that Google has straitened out my log in issues and I'm back into my account.

The Bad.

Since Thursday night I've been very sick, as all my pain issues, arthritis, diabetic nerve pain, neuropathy, and fibromyalgia all ganged up on me at once and caused the perfect storm, a storm that hit me like a Walter Johnson fastball to the chops.

The Ugly.

It was a good thing that my being sick kept me from watching my Wolverines, as they got hammered today by Florida.

Here's hoping that as I get better it coincides with 2019 being a heck of a lot better that this past year.

Play Ball!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Locked out of Google

Just a quick post to let you all know that I'm currently locked out of Google on my new phone (long story), and I'm typing this on my tablet using the phone's  mobile hot spot, which has limited usage available.

To all those who sent me packages in the mail, thank you, I'll get up posts as soon as Google gets me back in and I can use my phone.

Hope you all had a great Christmas yesterday and Santa Claus took care of all the good boys and girls in the blogging community.

The Santa card was FREE on the Topps BUNT yesterday.

Merry Christmas! ...and, of course,  PLAY BALL! ⚾️πŸŽπŸŽ„πŸŽ…

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Secret Santa... #Freehan77 ... cards from a Bulldog

My Secret Santa arrived  a couple of weeks ago but I thought I'd wait until it got closer to Christmas to write the post.

πŸŽ„I have to admit up front that it hasn't been the best of times the past few months.

My health hasn't been good, and, well, life just isn't great right now, on many fronts, and getting this package has helped my spirits tremendously.

The one thing that keeps me going through all the bad stuff going on right now is the wonderful bloggers who posts I read every day, as well as my awesome Twitter and Facebook Family of collectors as well.

πŸŽ…I must admit also that I hadn't previously known my Secret Santa and his blog, but now I've gained another awesome blogger to follow.

Many thanks go out to Roy, a.k.a "The Bulldog," for coming through with a couple of awesome  Bill Freehan art cards that are a wonderful addition to my collection.

Roy has a terrific blog, Nothing if not Random, and I'm  glad that we are now connected in Ye Olde Blogosphere! 

The cards are beautiful, and again, I'm blessed that Roy got my name...thanks Roy, on a job well done.

Merry Christmas! πŸŽ…πŸŽ„πŸŽ

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Thank You! James McCann

Former Detroit Tigers Catcher James McCann thanked the Tigers and all of the Motor City in a tweet today.

McCann is one of my favorite Tigers catchers, a young man who, although he didn't get to be the great catcher we thought he'd be, battled injuries, as catchers do, and gave it his all every time he put on the Olde English D.

McCann was also my wife's favorite player, not just because of the player he was for Detroit, but because if the man he is.

A devout Christian, McCann, who played college baseball at Arkansas, spoke at a function we attended early in the 2017 season at Comerica Park and spoke to those in attendance before a Tigers game about his faith and beliefs. 

One  of my favorite things about McCann  is the way he signs his baseball cards.

McCann was released by the Tigers on November 30th, making way for younger backstops like Grayson Griener and Jake Rogers to claim their spot in the big leagues.

McCann is now officially  a member of the rival Chicago White Sox, so we'll  see James again at least another 19 times in 2019.

Thanks James, for proudly wearing the uniform that I've loved for 52 years, for honoring all the Tigers catchers that have played with the tools of ignorance since 1901.

Good Luck in Chicago James McCann, well, at least in 143 out of the 162 games next season. 


Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Happy Baseball Birthday... Mr. Tiger, Al Kaline

Today I send out Happy Baseball Birthday! wishes to the best right fielder in Detroit Tigers history, William Albert Kaline, a.k.a. the one and only Mr. Tiger.

Al Kaline was born 84 years ago today in Baltimore, Maryland, and wasn't it appropriate that his 3,000th career base hit was in his hometown.

3,007 base hits as a Tiger, second only to Ty Cobb in franchise history, Kaline was the best defensive right fielder in the American League for more than a decade, and won 10 consecutive Gold Glove Awards starting in 1957.

🐯⚾ The Gold Glove Award was started in 1957 by Rawlings, and I think had the award existed at the start of the 1954 season, his rookie year, that total would've been 13 for sure.

As far as his baseball cards, my favorite that I have in my collection is his 1960 Topps Card, from the year I was born.

                   Al Kaline 1960 Topps #50

In 1960 Kaline played 137 games in the outfield, committing just 5 errors in 377 total chances, w/ a fielding percentage of .987%.

 I was lucky enough to have seen Kaline play baseball at old Tiger Stadium, including this 1969 game.

At 84, Kaline is in his 65th year working for the team that he signed with out of high school, playing in his very first big league game on June 25, 1953.

🐯 Kaline never played a game of baseball in the minor leagues, but he did play a Tigers team record of 2, 834.

Every single fan of the boys from the Motor City is glad that the kid from Baltimore made Detroit his home.

Happy Baseball Birthday! Mr. Tiger!

Play BALL! 🐯⚾

Friday, December 7, 2018

My Mailbox... #Freehan77/ Gummy Arts/ Burls Breaks

It looks like I entered My Favorite Baseball Card post in P-Town Tom's contest a little early as today's mailbox goodies included the following card...

...from the awesome Gummy Arts, who drew the special card for my hero's 77th Happy Baseball Birthday! on November 29th! 

When Gummy messaged me that he was going to send me the card that he had drawn for Bill Freehan I was overjoyed by his kindness, and I cannot thank him enough.

I've showcased Gummy's art before, including this 1968 The Sporting News Topps Bill Freehan card.

πŸ“ͺ As always, if you're a baseball card collector on Twitter, Gummy is a must never know what card will appear.

πŸ“ͺ Speaking of 1968 Topps, today's delivery also had my winning card from Burls Sports 1968 card break last week.

⚾ Tommie Sisk pitched his first 7 years in the big leagues for the Pirates, from 1962-68, compiling a 37-35 won/loss record with a good 3.69 ERA for the Buccos.

⚾ 1968 is my absolute favorite Topps Baseball card set, so I'm very happy that I won a free spot in that break.

Be sure to follow Burls Sports on Twitter and Facebook as they are always breaking sets of great old baaeball cards.

Well, that's it for this post, as it's 12:40 am and I need to get ready to watch the beautiful Gewn Stefani sing Christmas music on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in a few minutes.


Wednesday, December 5, 2018

My Favorite Card of 2018...BIG John Hicks

P-Town Tom is once again hosting his favorite card of the year contest, and I automatically thought about my 2018 Topps Update Series #139 of BIG John Hicks! 

Why is this my favorite card of 2018?

Because it took 2 years and every Topps baseball card issue for BIG John to finally get his first Tigers card!

Another terrific thing about the card is that instead of a picture of BIG John batting, or playing 1st Base, Topps used a great in action photo of him wearing the tools of ignorance.

I know that Julie from the blog A Cracked Bat, a fan of a catcher in his gear, loved this card of the Goochland, Virginia native as well.

BIG John had his best season in the big leagues, playing in a career high 81 games before a groin injury ended his season in August.

What's your favorite baseball card from the past year?

If you have one, get over to the contest and submit your entry...the deadline is January 7th.

Play Ball! ⚾

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Just Dam (on) Ugly.

There are somethings that are just ugly, and this card, I hope, is ugly enough for Peter's UGLY Baseball Card Contest this year.

 2010 Topps National Chicle Johnny Damon

The first time I pulled this card out of it's pack it's scared me, and nothing's changed.

I'm not sure what's going on with Damon's expression, but it looks like, while his mouth is ready to explode, his eyes seem rather calm.

Also, the Olde English D isn't correct, as they're using the same wider D as on the jersey instead of the traditional skinny D that's been on the cap (which looks like a batting helmet on Damon's head) for decades.

To make matters even uglier, I've had many collectors send me the card in packages over the years...and in multiples...clearly they also agree that it was, well, too ugly to keep.

Anyway, thats my ugly baseball card post, and I hope you found it amusing, or, at least, well, ugly.

Play Ball! ⚾

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Happy Baseball Birthday! ... Bill Freehan

Today's Happy Baseball Birthday! celebration is in honor of my baseball hero, Bill Freehan, born 77 years ago in Detroit, Michigan.

I woke up to this awesome card on Twitter from the great Gummy Arts.

Gummy draws amazing baseball cards every day and he's a must follow on Twitter.

Over the years I've written many times about my hero, so I won't go over the same stats that I've done so many times, they're all readily available on Baseball Reference.

I'm gonna do something that I haven't done before, but I feel like today's the day.

I'd like to ask that, in honor of my hero, Bill Freehan, if you can, please donate exactly $11 to Alzheimer's Research.

Where it asks "IS THIS A TRIBUTE GIFT?" hit the "YES" button...

If you know someone who's battling dementia, Alzheimer's, then by all means, donate in their name.

For over a decade now Bill has been battling dementia, a horrible disease linked with Alzheimer's.

Please take a few minutes and read this article about Bill and his battle to fully understand what he's going through.

My thoughts over the past few days have been about Bill, his wife Pat, and their family as his Birthday got closer.

When the article about his illness was published earlier this year, well, I honestly didn't know if Bill was going to still be here, but he is, and I'm so glad.

To my hero, and his family, I send out my love, and hope that today was truly special for the Freehan family.

Happy Baseball Birthday! William Ashley'll always be my hero...PLAY BALL! 

Thursday, November 22, 2018

#Freehan77... Giving Thanks.

On this day of Thanksgiving I'd like to thank all the awesome bloggers out there who make each and every day special.

Some 8 1/2 years ago I started this blog to share my love of baseball with other fans, and it hasn't let me down once, and that's more important than anyone will ever know.

Giving me something to do, to look forward to, as I battle being disabled and not able to work, well, the blogging community has made a place for me, a community of great baseball fans.

I've been a baseball fan longer than I can remember, and it's a joy to go through all the different posts every day and read about other fans team loyalties, players they love, and the collections of baseball cards that fuels their passions every day.

For over 50 years my passion has been the Detroit Tigers, and my favorite player to watch has been Bill Freehan, a young man from Detroit who grew up playing baseball and football,  went to the University of Michigan to play both sports, and who, for 15 years, gave his heart and soul every day to his teammates and the Motor City.

Every city has that player...a player that gives everything for his team, a player that gives everything on each pitch, each ground ball, each drive into the right field gap, each play at the plate.

On this day of THANKS, I send out a huge THANKS to each and everyone of you, and ask that, if you're a person of faith, that you send out a prayer to my hero, and to his wife Pat, and their family as they go through this season of THANKS taking care of Bill as he battles Dementia.

It's 8 days to Bill's 77th Birthday, and I'll see you all back here tomorrow as I look forward to Michigan Football vs Ohio State on Saturday.

May all of you have a great Thanksgiving Day weekend....PLAY BALL! ⚾

p.s... GO BLUE! πŸ’›πŸ’™πŸˆ

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

#Freehan77 ... .993%

It's nine days until Bill Freehan celebrates his 77th Happy Baseball Birthday! 


For almost three decades after he retired, my baseball hero, Bill Freehan, held the record for all big league catchers with a .993 fielding percentage... .993! 

Just so you know, his .993% was better than catchers named...

Elston Howard (.992)
Lance Parrish (.991)
Gary Carter (.990)
Johnny Bench (.990)
Joe Torre (.989)
Yogi Berra (.988)
Roy Campanella (.988)
Pudge Fisk (.987)
Benito Santiago (.987)
Ray Fosee (.983)
Thurman Munson (.982)

...that's pretty darn good!

Bill's .993 % as a catcher was always the thing that made me so proud of him, that it took all those years for a catcher to surpass that record,  even though he's now 33rd on the fielding % list.

In 1971, at age 29 and battling back issues, Bill caught 144 games, with 966 total chances, 912 putouts, and only 4 errors! 

His defensive accomplishments in an era where catchers were ran over at home plate nearly every game stands out to me.

Bill was always considered the Tigers team leader, and catching a 31 game winner named Denny McLain and a pitcher who won 3 World Series games named Mickey Lolich is a pretty good testament to that.

My Uncle Bob used to always tease me about being a Freehan fan, and he and my other family members would always ask me who the best catcher of all-time was, thinking I would always answer with Freehan, but I knew that Bench was better, and said so.

I've always believed that Bill's accomplishments were over looked because he didn't always have gawdy offensive stats, but to me, there was never a better catcher in baseball...on the field, with the tools of ignorance on, than my hero.

I'd like to hear from you...give me your list of the best defensive in your lifetime, just comment below, I'll look forward to your responses.

Have a great day... PLAY BALL! 🐯⚾

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

#Freehan77 ... Hit By Pitch

I'm continuing to post about my baseball hero, Bill Freehan, counting down the days until he celebrates his 77th Happy Baseball Birthday! ⚾πŸŽ‚πŸŽπŸŽ‰  on November 29th.


One of the things I've always remembered about Bill was that he always seemed to get hit by pitch quite a bit.

Bill was hit 114 times in his 15 years wearing a Tigers uniform, and 42 years after he retired he's still the Tigers All-Time team leader.

Bill led the American League in hit by pitch three times, getting plunked 8 times in 1964, 20 times in '67, and 24 times in '68.

One of the great things about baseball is a stat like this.

Each baseball fan remembers the minutiae, the small things, that go mostly unnoticed, and that's a key to why we love baseball so much.

It's not just the big statistical numbers, like batting average or home runs, but also the smaller, but still important stats, like getting hit by pitch, that separates baseball from other sports.

I know there's probably a way to find out how many times after those 114 HBP that led to Bill's 706 runs career runs scored, but I haven't the patience to look that up.

Thanks for reading about my hero, it's important that I post about Bill and what he means to me.

Have a terrific night everyone...PLAY BALL!

Monday, November 19, 2018

#Freehan77 ...11 Time All-Star

It's 11 days until Bill Freehan turns 77, and I want to post a little something each day leading up to his Happy Baseball Birthday! on November 29th.


Bill Freehan was an 11- Time American League All-Star, 1964-73, 1975.


Bill's best All-Star Game batting performance was in the game at old Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C., in 1969, when he collected 2 hits, including his only ASG home run, off Steve Carlton.

Overall, in the 8 ASG in which he batted, Bill was 4/17, a .235 average, with 2 walks, 2 runs scored, 1 sacrifice hit and 3 strikeouts.

I'll be posting about Bill every day on Twitter until his 77th Birthday, using the #Freehan77 hashtag in my tweets.

As always, I appreciate you all for taking time to read my posts about Bill, and if you'd like, please feel free to comment.