Monday, May 31, 2021

A-Z= My Favorite Ballplayers by Letter

This wasn't easy, as my memory ain't what it used to be.

I've been watching baseball for a long time, and I definitely had to go through the A-Z Guide on Baseball Reference to help my memory.

So, here goes, from AARON to ZIMMER

A- Hank Aaron

⚾ The most important live event of my lifetime on TV was Henry Aaron breaking the 39 year old record of the legendary Babe Ruth with his 714th and 715th Home Runs at the start of the 1974 season.

That Monday night in Atlanta, broadcast by the great Curt Gowdy on NBC, Aaron's mighty feat certainly help shape my passion for learning about the games history beyond just the back of my baseball cards.

This has always been my favorite card of Aaron. 

B- Matthew Boyd 

                            🐯Yeah, BOYD! 🐯

As Fugi said a couple of times in his blog post, there are gonna be no-doubters in every list, and this is the first of my list.

C- Ty Cobb

Another no-doubter choice, Cobb is the greatest hitter in baseball history, and the greatest Detroit Tigers player to ever wear the Olde English D.

D- Ed Delahanty

One if the great ballplayers of the 19rh Century, I've grown to appreciate the big man much more from playing the HOF Quiz on Sporcle.

E- Luke Eater

Luke played baseball in the Negro Leagues, and signed w/ the Bill Veeck ran Cleveland Indians.

He's a favorite of mine, to a large degree, for being someone I can name on quizzes on Easter Sunday.

F- Bill Freehan


My hero since I was seven years old, Bill Freehan is, and always will be, the best catcher in Tigers history.

My #1 no doubter in my A-Z list, Freehan, who played baseball at Michigan, still holds the Big Ten record for batting average in a single season, .585, in 1961.

His 5 Gold Gloves remain a standard for Tigers catchers, as does his .993 lifetime fielding percentage, 11 All-Star Game Selections, 

1️⃣1️⃣ Yes, this is card #11 of 25...VERY COOL! 

G- Charlie Gehringer

The "Mechanical Man," Gehringer is one of the most underrated second baseman in baseball history, a man who won two A.L. pennants, a World Series, an A.L. Battling Title, a MVP Award, and is in the HOF.

πŸ‘‰ When you get to hold the bat Gehringer used to win the A. L. Batting Title you can't not smile.

H- Harry Heilmann

Another overlooked player, Heilmann won A.L. Batting Crowns in 1923, 25, 27, 29.

I- Ichiro (Yes, I'm going with ICHIRO because that's all I've ever called him and know him by.)

I've been a fan of Ichiro from the day I saw his first highlights on TV, and read his first box scores in the morning newspaper.

J- Derek Jeter, a.k.a, The Kalamazoo Kid! 

This could've been almost anybody...until Jeter became the starting shortstop for almost 20 years in the Bronx...oh, yeah, he's from my hometown of Kalamazoo Michigan, and had already committed to playing college baseball at Michigan under Bull Freehan before being drafted by New York.

K- Al Kaline

There was never a ballplayer that ever played right field better than Al Kaline.

Clemente ( I love Roberto, by the way) was a great right fielder as well, and is as good as Kaline, but just not better... Clemente was the Kaline of the National League, and not the other way around. 

This is one of the best baseball cards you'll ever see.

L- Rick Leach 

When your favorite college QB as a teenager decides to play baseball for your favorite team, instead of playing in the NFL, that gives you a special place, and that's what Leach did, going from All-Big Ten QB at Michigan, to playing for my Detroit Tigers.

M- Dale Murphy

Nobody, nobody, in the National League, played better baseball than Dale Murphy did during the span of 1982-88.

Moving to Jacksonville, Florida in December, 1980, I quickly found Superstation TBS and was fascinated by pro wrestling, cool TV shows, and, every single Atlanta Braves baseball game.

On Michigan, we only got a few home games a year, and selected road games per year...we never got to watch every game.

Murphy quickly became my favorite Braves player, and I would watch the replays of tat nights games after getting home from my Dad's bar at 3am.

Murphy should already be in the HOF, and I hope he eventually gets there.

N- Jim Northrup

A true Detroit Tigers World Series Hero.

O- Tony Olivia

All Tony Olivia did was hit, and, it seemed like all of them came against my Tigers.

P- Mike Piazza

I was a HUGE Piazza fan when he played for the Dodgers (my favorite Senior Circuit team), and followed and cheered for him through his days in New York playing for the Metropolitans.

Q- Frank Quilici

Quilici played for, and managed, the Minnesota Twins...and, he played college baseball in my hometown of Kalamazoo, for Western Michigan University.

R- Jackie Robinson

The best to ever wear the uniform of the old Brooklyn Dodgers.

S- Turkey Stearnes

My favorite ballplayer from the Detroit Stars.

T- Alan Trammell

Yes, he's in the Baseball HOF, but Trammell is still highly underrated.

For 19 seasons in the Motor City, Team and Lou Whitaker were the best double play duo in baseball...Sweet Lou belongs next to Team in the HOF.

U- Bob Uecker

When I was little I would stay up late with my Uncle Bob when he visited and we watched Johnny Carson together...that's how I learned about "Mr. Baseball." 

V- Justin Verlander

No right handed pitcher in Tigers history was better than JV, who, had he not been traded at the deadline in 2017, would hold every single pitching record in Detroit history.

W- Lou Whitaker

The best second baseman in the American League in the 1980s.

X- n/a

Y- Robin Yount

Yes, I'm old enough to remember "Rockin' Robin" play as a teenager.

Z- Don Zimmer

OK, so Im not old enough to have watched "Zim" play baseball, but, he played for the Brooklyn Dodgers, and I watched him manage a lot of baseball games over the years.

A.K.A. "Popeye," Zimmer was such an amazing baseball man who saw more than any of us can imagine.

Well, that's my list, appreciate you checking it out.

Are you, have you, done the A-Z blog around?

Hope you're having a terrific weekend.

Play BALL! ⚾ πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ


  1. A. I completely forgot about Oliva and should have at least considered him for my list.

    B. Great to see guys like Leach and Quilici make your list.

    C. Love statements like "I'm old enough...". I use them all the time with my students.

  2. Great list! I definitely appreciate more 'History' guys on your list, the history of the game is slowly being forgotten. I also like seeing who 'team' guys like you put on. Not only the greats from your favorite team, but your teams rivals that you grew to respect like Oliva.

  3. We have 7 the same, 2 of whom were Tigers.

    Tough to beat that pic of you with Gehringer's bat.

  4. Love the old timers. And Turkey Stearnes!