Monday, April 20, 2015

Happy Baseball Birthday...Tommy Hutton

Happy Baseball Birthday! to former big leaguer Tommy Hutton, who turns 69 today.

Tommy  broke into the big leagues with his hometown Los Angeles  Dodgers in 1966 at the age of 20.

The man who signed Tommy for the Dodgers?

Tommy Lasorda.

Tommy played 13 years, for the Dodgers, Phillies, Blue Jays, and Expos, collecting 410 base hits, 22 home runs, and 186 RBI, batting .248.

Since the 1997 baseball season Tommy has been the color commentator for the Miami Marlins. , and, in my opinion, he's the best in the business.

Tommy also teaches the game of baseball, at the Tommy Hutton Baseball Academy.

In 2014 Tommy celebrated 50 years in professional baseball.

Happy Baseball Birthday Tommy Hutton!

Play Ball!

Happy Baseball Birthday... Navin Field

103 years ago Detroit Tigers owner Frank Navin reconfigured the teams home, Bennett Park, rotating right field into home plate, and Navin Field was born.

For the next 89 year's "The Corner" of Michigan and Trumbull would become a destination for young, and old, Tigers fans , and baseball fans like myself.

Today's Happy Baseball Birthday! is Navin Field, the ballpark that saw Ty Cobb, Wahoo Sam Crawford, Harry Heilmann, Charlie Gehringer, and Hank Greenberg showcase their Hall of Fame baseball skills for the Tigers.

The Tigers played in five World Series at Navin Field, 1907-08-09, 34-35, winning the franchise's first championship in 1935.

It was also the ballpark that opponents like Honus Wagner, Napoleon Lajoie, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Jimmy Foxx played at for visiting teams in the days of train travel  and day ball games.

In 1937 Tigers owner Walter Briggs renamed Navin Field Briggs Stadium, and in 1961 new Tigers owner John Fetzer renamed the old ballpark Tiger Stadium, the name it held for its remaining 38 years, until the final pitch on September 27, 1999.

Although the old ballpark at The Corner has been torn down, the field still remains.

A group of volunteers that call themselves the Navin Field Grounds Crew have been maintaing the site, all at their own costs and from donations.

A documentary,  Stealing Home, is the story about the NFGC and their love of a treasured Historic Michigan Landmark abandoned by the City of Detroit, and their passionate labor to preserve the greatest ballpark in Michigan history.

Please visit both their web sites and support both the ballpark efforts and the movie any way you can.

One of my goals is to one day go back to Michigan and Trumbull on a Sunday afternoon to stand behind home plate where my heto, Bill Freehan, played catcher...

...and re-create the greatest defensive play in Tigers history.

Happy Baseball Birthday Navin Field!!


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Happy Baseball Birthday...Southpaw

Today we send out a big Happy Baseball Birthday to the top dawg himself, Southpaw, the Official Mascot of the Jacksonville Suns.

Last night at the ballpark I ran into the K-9 pooch himself.

There's a big birthday bash at Bragan Field today as the Suns take on the Montgomery Biscuits at 3:05 pm.

Special guest Billy the Marlin from the big club Miami Marlins will be on hand to celebrate Southpaws birthday.

For schedule and ticket information for Southpaw's big day go to

Happy Baseball Birthday Southpaw!


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Mike Trout youngest to 100/100

Baseball history was made on Friday night as Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim centerfielder Mike Trout became the youngest big leaguer to reach 100 home runs and 100 stolen bases in a career.


So far in the young year Trout us batting .444, with 3 HRs and 9 RBI.

Trout, the reigning American League MVP, is a marvelous ballplayer, a harkening back to the great five tool ballplayers of the past like Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, and Henry Aaron.

Mike Trout looks like a big league ballplayer.

I ordered cable TV, and the MLB Extra Innings package this baseball season so I could see guys like Trout, Miguel Cabrera, Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Altuve, and Yasiel Puig play baseball.

Less than 2 weeks into the 2015 big league year I think I made a good choice.

Play Ball!

Happy Baseball Birthday... Miguel Cabrera

Today we say Happy Baseball Birthday to slugging first baseman Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers.

Miguel Cabrera turns 32 today, and early on in the baseball season he has already put the American League on notice by winning the first American League Player of the Week Award of 2015.

Miguel has hit 2 home runs so far, giving him 392 for his big league career, and he just missed #393 on Friday as his blast off ChiSox right hander Jeff Samardziga smashed off the top of the fence in left field, bouncing back into play for a double.

Miguel Cabrera's Baseball Reference Page

Through the Tigers first 10 games Miguel has a American League leading 16 hits in 37 at bats, for a .432 batting average.

The Tigers hope to celebrate Cabrera's birthday with a win against Chris Sale and the ChiSox today.

Happy Baseball Birthday Miguel!!

Play Ball!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Congratulations to Cardinals Hall of Famer Red Schoendienst

There's quite a lot going on today in big league baseball.

MLB is celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Hall of Fame right fielder  Roberto Clemente's debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates, on April 15, 1955, and the debuts the next year of Hall of Famers Frank Robinson, Luis Aparicio, and Don Drysdale on April 15, 1956.

As I posted earlier today it's also the day that Detroit Tigers HOFer Al Kaline hit 3 home runs at Briggs Stadium against the Kansas City Athletics.

Probably the biggest news in baseball today is the big league debut of Chicago Cubs rookie phenom Kris Bryant.

As I'm writing this Bryant's big league debut isn't going so well as the young slugging third sacker has struck out all three times at bat today.

There's something else...quite a big deal...going on in baseball tonight in St. Louis, as the Cardinals host the Reds.

I saw earlier that today is the 70th Anniversary of the big league debut of Hall of Famer Red Schoendienst.

The Cardinals will be wearing these special patches tonight on their classic uniform sleeves.

Albert Fred Schoendienst was born in Germantown, Illinois, on February 2, 1923.

In 1942 Red signed a amateur free agent contract with the Cardinals, and at the age of 22 made his big league debut on April 17, 1945.

Red played second base for the Cardinals 1946 World Series Champions, and played with the Redbirds until 1955.

After playing with the New York Giants in '55-'56, Red was traded to the Milwaukee Braves, and was a key member of the '57-'58 National League Champions and 1957 World Series Champion Braves.

Red returned to the Cardinals in 1961, and played his final game as a player on July 7, 1963.

In his 19 years as a Hall of Fame player, Red collected 2,449 base hits, 427 doubles, 84 home runs, and had 773 RBI in 2,216 games.

A terrific fielder, Red finished with a .983 lifetime fielding percentage.

Red was a 10 time National League All-Star, and won 5 World Series Trophies as a player, manager, and coach, spanning 5 decades, 1946/1957/1964/1967/1982.

Red's umiform #2 has, fittingly, been retired by the Cardinals, and Red is a member of the Cardinals Hall of Fame as well as the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

Red Schoendienst is revered in St. Louis,  and rightfully so.

If you have a way to watch the game tonight, try and see the pre-game ceremonies the Cardinals have for Red.

It should be a fun night in baseball in the Gateway to the West.

On Twitter, use the hashtag #lovered2 to celebrate Red's life in baseball.

We love Red Schoendienst, a true and proud man and big league ballplayer.

Congratulations Red on 70 years in baseball.


April 17, 1955...Mr. Tiger belts three dingers

We baseball fans, well, we Detroit Tigers fans, know that Tigers Hall of Famer Al Kaline is the youngest batting champion in big league history.

In 1955 the young Kaline batted .340, winning the American League Batting Championship as a 20 year old, one day younger than fellow Tigers HOFer Ty Cobb. 

On April 17, 1955, at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, the Tigers clobbered the Kansas City Athletics, 16-0, as Kaline smacked three home runs, including two in the 6th inning.

Kaline went 4-5, with 3 runs scored, 6 RBIs, and 13 total bases.

Kaline smacked 200 base hits in 1955, leading the A.L., hit 27 home runs, with 102 RBI, 121 runs scored, had a .421 on base percentage, and a .546 slugging percentage.

Kaline also led the A.L. in total bases in '55, with 321.

Play Ball!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Happy Jackie Robinson Day 2015

Today we celebrate Jackie Robinson Day across our great nation.

Jackie Robinson broke into the big leagues 68 years ago today, April 15, 1947, at Ebbetts Field in Brooklyn.

Big League and Minor League baseball clubs all around baseball will be honoring Jackie Robinson today and tonight, including our local team, the Jacksonville Suns.

The first 1,000 fans in attendance tonight at Bragan Field will receive a special "42" pin.

Here's how the Sporting News covered that historical day, not only in baseball history, but in American History as well.

Before that day in 1947, there had been a "gentelman's agreement" between all big league baseball clubs that no man of color would be allowed to play baseball for any of their clubs.

That all changed when Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey signed Robinson to a professional contract on August 28, 1945.

Robinson played for the Dodgers AAA affiliate Montreal Royals in 1946.

Jackie Robinson was born in Georgia, grew up in California, went to college at UCLA, playing baseball and football, and served in the US Army in World War II.

Jackie played Negro League Baseball for the Kansas City Monarchs before joining the Dodgers organization.

Jackie Robinson played big league baseball for the Dodgers his entire big league career, 1947-56, was the '47 Rookie of theYear, the 1949 National League Most Valuable Player, and played on the 1955 World Series Championship Dodgers.

Jackie was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

Jackie passed away in 1972, shortly after making an appearance at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati for the '72 World Series.

In 1997, 50 years after he broke the color barrier, Major League Baseball retired Jackie's #42 uniform number.

The last player to wear #42 in the big leagues was Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees, during the 2013 baseball season. 

I hope you get to a ball game tonight in your city, or get to watch a game on TV.

The Dodgers, now in Los Angeles,  always play at home on this day, and their game vs. the Seattle Mariners will be on ESPN tonight.

Have a great #JackieRJackieRobinsonDay everyone. 


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Jackie Robinson Night Pin Giveaway for Jacksonville Suns 4/15/15

The Jacksonville Suns will observe Jackie Robinson Night on Wednesday Night at Bragan Field at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

The Suns, defending Southern League Champions, are the AA affiliate of the Miami Marlins.

For tickets and game info go to

The first 1,000 fans through the turnstiles will receive a special "42" pin to honor the late Dodger Hall of Fame player who, 68 years ago on Opening Day at Ebbetts Field in Brooklyn, became the first African-American ballplayer in the modern era of big league baseball. 

I'll be at the ballgame, and look forward to celebrating the life of baseball's greatest pioneer, Jack Roosevelt Robinson.

I'll be on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram all day Wednesday, and I look forward to talking baseball, Jackie, the Brooklyn Dodgers, and our hometown Jacksonville Suns.

Play Ball!

Today in Baseball History, April 14, 1910

105 years ago today, on Opening Day of the big league baseball season between the Philadelphia Athletics and Washington Senators, baseball's very first ceremonial first pitch ever thrown out by a United States President was tossed by President William Howard Taft.

Walter Johnson, the star pitcher of the Senators, caught the ceremonial first pitch, and had President Taft sign the ball.

Here's a list of  Presidential first-time Baseball stuff.

Play Ball!