A GREAT view of the field at AT&T Park in Chattanooga during their pre-season open house!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Dave Barnett- Texas Rangers broadcaster

Dave Barnett, who just had a great year working with the Rangers, took a moment to send me a not after the season ended! Congrats to Dave and the rest of the Rangers organization, as they had about the best year in the team's history!

"This was a year worth waiting for, although I would not want to wait another 39 seasons."

I asked Dave about Cliff Lee and Josh Hamilton. I also asked him about favorite former players.

"Cliff Lee is up there among current players. He and Josh Hamilton do things I've never seen before. Among former players, broadcasting Nolan Ryan games was always a treat, as were Fergie Jenkins games."

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Garry Jestadt- 1969 Expos

Garry Jestadt played for the 1969 Expos, the 71 Cubs, and he played for the Padres in 1971 and 1972.

He says that these days, he follows his local team, the Diamondbacks. Concerning Kentucky, he says that he never played in my state.

"I loved baseball growing up in Chicago. Loved the Cubs, and my hero was Ernie Banks. Great thrill to be drafted by the Cubs and eventually playing with Ernie in Chicago. The 1969-1971 Cubs were possibly the greatest Cubs teams ever. Even without a World Series victory they are a memorable group of players."

Friday, November 19, 2010

Wild Pitches

Not a lot going on in baseball at the moment. I did notice a great note on Ryne Sandberg recently.

I know the rumors were he would be the next manager of the Cubs, but that rumor died. Interestingly, he was just named to manage the PHILLIES AAA team, the Iron Pigs.

Anyone who has followed Ryno knows that there is some irony to his finding his way to the Phillies. He came up in the Phillies system, and briefly played for them before being traded to Chicago in one of those all time questionable trades.

Sandberg is one of my childhood favorites and I am excited to see him with the Pigs.

More locally, the Florence Freedom have a new manager too. Fran Riordan, the winningest manager in Frontier League history is taking over.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Steve Jones 1969 Royals

Steve Jones spent some time with the 1967 White Sox, the 1968 Senators, and the very first Royals team in 1969!

Steve very generously sent a great note, and some photos from his playing days!

These days Steve lives in the Knoxville area, and he mentions the UT game against Kentucky. He also talks a lot about baseball.

"Baseball has always been a part of my life... My brother Gary was also a left handed pitcher with some time with the New York Yankees."

"I have 9 grandchildren and most play baseball or softball." He goes on, "I continue to coach youth teams and since retiring 4 years ago have helped with the high school team."
He says that he follows the Atlanta Braves and this year he followed the Reds who had a great year.

Steve and I share a favorite player right now, Cliff Lee!
"Today I enjoy watching Cliff Lee, the Texas left-hander, he has really pitched well."

"In 1967 I enjoyed pitching the first half of the year in Indianapolis before joining the Chicago White Sox. 'Cotton' Nash, a Kentucky All American basketball player was a teammate. About every time I pitched that season in Indianapolis, Cotton would hit a home run."

Continuing with his Kentucky connections, Steve shares a great Louisville story.
"Later in my career in the American Association I pitched several good games at the fairgrounds in Louisville."

I asked Steve about his time in Evansville Indiana.
"I don't remember a lot about Evansville... I did throw a seven inning no hitter against the Yankees Columbus Georgia team which got me promoted to Indianapolis."

He says that the winter after that, he played winter ball, and that helped him to improve and play in the majors the next 3 years.

He mentions that his White Sox team was just short of making it to the World Series in 1967 and he is proud of being a part of that 1969 first Royals team.

I asked Steve about his local AA team the Smokies.

"I too enjoy our AA Tennessee Smokies team located near Knoxville in Sevierville. Its a great stadium and the team is a Chicago Cubs farm team."

I really appreciated the note Steve sent. He talks a lot about baseball, the region, and his family. He talks about his wife Anne, and seeing the Louisville Slugger Museum in Louisville.

Any southpaw with a connection to this great region, who loves baseball, his family, and Cliff Lee is A1 in my books!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pat House- 1967-1968 Astros

Pat House spent some time with the Houston Astros in the 60s. He took the time to send a great note about his playing days!

"It is always good to hear from baseball fans from all sections of our country."

"It was a good time to play in the pros. It was the love of the game and certainly not the money although we thought it was pretty good. There was a lot of competition getting to the next level."

The major league team that I keep track of the most is the Astros. I am still a good baseball fan but only get to see major league games on TV and an occasional trip to Seattle to see the Mariners which is 500 miles away and the closest major league team to Boise. I don't have a favorite minor league team although I do go to our local minor league team (Boise Hawks in the short season Class A Northwest League."

Pat says that he really doesn't have a favorite player, though he is very proud of three native Idahoans that did well in the majors- Vernon Law, Harmon Killebrew, and Larry Jackson.

I asked Pat about his playing time in one of my favorite sports towns, Indianapolis, and about playing anywhere else near Kentucky.

"My memory of Indianapolis is that of the ballpark and tornado warnings. I think the park had a brick wall outfield with ivy like Wrigley Field. I do remember that as a reliever in 1969 I lead the American Association in saves that year with the Indians."

"My closest area to Kentucky that I played ball in was probably old Crosley Field in Cincinnati. The freeway was very close to the left field fence. There was some pretty good history in that old park."

"I don't have many stand-out memories of the majors since my time there was limited. My debut in the majors was at Candlestick Park and my first hitter was Willie McCovey (he hit a weak grounder back to me). The other was a save I got by striking out Billy Williams of the Cubs in Wrigley Field for my first and only save."

After baseball, Pat went home to Idaho and owned an engineering firm for 37 years. His son owns it now. In 1967 he married a "Texas gal" he met in Austin in 1964. They are still married and have four sons!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Wild Pitches

Not a lot going on right now.

I do know that the Asheville Tourists have a new look and logo that is pretty cool. I am a huge fan of the moon, and I am glad to see a team using it in their logo!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

George Kernek- 1965-1966 Cardinals

"My favorite Major League team is the Cardinals. I was in that organization for 7 years. I don't really have any favorite players, but I pull for the hard workers."

I asked George if he keeps up with baseball there days.

"I have not been to very many games in recent years, but keep up with it through the newspaper and TV."

I asked George if he ever played baseball in Kentucky.

he says he never played in Kentucky, but his wife is a horse trainer (Barrel Racing) and instructor. Because of his wife's work, he has been to Kentucky and has visited many of the farms, Chuchill Downs, and the Horse Park!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Postcard: The New Downtown St. Louis

Check out this great St. Louis postcard! I believe it is postmarked 1964. There is a great and too long description of the new downtown area of St. Louis for that time.

Check out the ballpark!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Wild Pitches

I am sure all baseball fans know that Sparky Anderson died yesterday. This is very sad news, as Sparky was one of the greatest assets to the game. Many players, especially now, seem to try to get all they can out of the game. Sparky tried to give all he could to the game and the fans. More on Sparky later.

Congrats to the Giants this year! I was pulling for Texas, but both teams are worthy.

I know some talk radio shows were a bit hard on Cliff Lee (and I swear I will stop going on and on about how great Cliff Lee is after this post). He didn't do as well as he usually does, but he still did a lot better than most. Some run support would have helped too.

Yes, 1st was open, and a walk would have been a good idea (in hindsight, it was obviously the better choice to make) but he is Cliff Lee! He knows that, on most nights, he is getting the hitter. Unfortunately, this was the last game of the World Series. he is still my favorite.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Arte Moreno- Angels Owner!

The Angels are proving to be a great organization this year. I have received some very kind notes from several people associated with the team!

I was very excited to hear back from team owner, Arte Moreno. I personally admire Arte because he is a dedicated family man, a smart business person, and he is a Vietnam War vet.

I felt honored that he responded to a note from me.

He was kind enough to send a note, and he signed my stadium photo.

I asked him about his favorite player.

"In response to your questions, my favorite player was Roberto Clemente... He was a great man on and off the field."

Thanks for getting back to me Arte! Any reader of my blog knows that Clemente is my favorite too.