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

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Wally Wolf - 1969 & 1970 California Angels

Wally Wolf spent a bit of time in the majors, and he took a moment recently to answer some questions for this blog!

I asked Wally about playing for that fun, pre-major league San Diego Padres team. The team was part of the Pacific Coast League then. Wally tells me that he remembers Dave Bristol was the manager.

I asked Wally about his favorite player, and his favorite team. Wally says that Johnny Bench was his favorite. He says that his old team- The Angels- are his favorite.

Concerning Kentucky, Mr. Wolf tells me this:

My first professional start was against the Louisville Colonels at the Fairgrounds.

He also says that he was in the horse business, and he has spent time in Lexington and Paris. He loves the farms and ranches!

Thanks Wally!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New jersey Cardinals 8/21/05

Yeah, I am going through CDs of photos from baseball road trips from a few years ago.

We stopped at Skylands Park to catch the New Jersey Cardinals on one of those road trips.

The outside of the park looks like a big red barn. It is very unique.

Again, I wasn't taking a ton of pictures at this venue, the way I do now, but I still took some fun ones. We were there on military appreciation night, and they had a helicopter fly off of the field, which is darn cool. I saw kids there asking some of the military guys for their autographs! That's the way our military should be treated!

They did an eyeball race (which is a fun tradition at the Florence park too).

I know the year after our visit, the Can-Am team the Sussex Skyhawks moved in, as the NYPL Cardinals moved. I hoped to eventually get back to the area to catch that team, but it was just announced that the Skyhawks will not be back for another season.

I hope someone moves in. This is a very nice little area worth a stop.

For any horror movie fans out there, this ball park in Augusta New Jersey is VERY close to filming locations for the first two Friday the 13th films!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Book: When a Star Fell on Alabama

I sent a note to Jack Kubiszyn not too long ago, and he sent a note back about his book. I figured it looked like a good read, so I picked it up!

Jack had a very short stay in the majors, spending parts of two seasons (1961-1962) with the Cleveland Indians. I really enjoy reading books by and about the guys that had brief careers, especially during the 60s! Sure, they had the major league career, but they had a real life too.

Jack had a very successful college sports career, playing basketball and baseball. He had a preference for basketball, and the first half of this book talks mostly about his basketball days at the University of Alabama. He played on a very successful team and met his wife (and the author of this book) Lucy while at a college party!

The second half of the book covers Jack's signing with the Cleveland Indians, and his bouncing around their minor league system while trying to start a family. I especially enjoy reading about the old minor leagues, and the characters at those levels. He covers his time in Nicaragua which was different (money is stolen and a monkey is almost purchased!).

I don't want to give too much of this book away (because YOU need to buy it and read it!) but Jack and Lucy talk very openly about Jack getting hit by a pitch in the eye, their adopting their first child, and they give an account of the difficulties of walking away from pro baseball.

I really like this book because it is honest, and it is a safe book for anyone in the family. Jack is a happily married young man in baseball, and his time in the pros is very family focused. He is not running around partying. Also, Jack's faith is mention, but the book doesn't get preachy. Jack and Lucy give a very nice description of their time in baseball. I think it is very sweet that Lucy is the author of a book about her husband.

I must say that there is one thing I don't like about this book. Jack does mention a basketball rivalry between the University of Alabama and the University of Kentucky Wildcats. He even talks about one game where the Wildcats take a loss to the Crimson Tide. Again.

I think Jack is a good guy though and a UK fan can still appreciate reading about a Wildcats loss.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Akron Aeros 2005 Eastern League Championship game

Here are some pictures I took at the last game for the Akron Aeros (and the Portland Sea Dogs) in 2005.

This was the last game of the championship series between the 2 teams. The home team Aeros won.

I mentioned that I caught the Sea Dogs at their home field earlier in the year. That was just a legendary AA team. The Aeros were great too, but I know the Indians let go of a number of guys from that team that seemed to have "it" to me. There were some guys on that team that I expected to make it to the show that never have.

Still, this was a fun series. There was a good atmosphere that night, but, unlike the playoffs and championship games at higher levels, the crowd was a bit small in my opinion. Check out the totally empty bleacher seats in the photos. I love how nearly everyone dances during the playing of the YMCA (I am still not sure that song is appropriate for ball parks, but most play it- AND they play the uncensored part).

I took several pictures of the Aeros celebrating after their win. I love how the board in the background is a bit off. That is so minor league. And, finally, the photo of the Sea Dogs bus after the loss. I am sure it would be a long way to Maine for those guys. That's OK though. I am sure most of the team thought about their future major league careers on the ride home.

Wild Pitches


I have been thinking a lot about all of the problems going on in society. There are a lot of sad headlines in the papers.

If you are like me, there is one headline that brings you down quicker than any other. That is right, nothing is more sad than reading about a vacant ballpark.

It looks like the Sussex Skyhawks of Augusta, NJ have vacated Skylands park. There is hope for the park though. Read the article linked above. Other teams have interest in this fun park. I will get a review of my visit to Skylands (back in 2005) up soon.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Portland Sea Dogs & Hadlock Field 2005

The first time I made it to Hadlock Field in Portland Maine was in 2005.

At that time, I was just getting back in to appreciating baseball.

Even then, I enjoyed taking pictures of parks. I wasn't as obsessive about it though. On any given vacation, I would take my camera with me to the park and just click and shoot whatever.

These days, I try to get pictures of all of the players, mascots, and pretty much every section of the park.

Lester, Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez and David Murphy were on the Sea Dogs lineup sheet then. Ramirez was white hot at that time, and the team just seemed loaded.

I loved this park, the team, the mascot, and the feel.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Don Wert 1963-1970 Detroit Tigers

Don Wert had a great run with that legendary 60s Detroit team. He ended his career playing briefly for the Senators in 1971.

Don took the time to send me a note recently!

He says that he doesn't follow any team closely these days, though the Phillies and the Orioles are local teams. He does say that he will check to see how the Tigers are doing.

Concerning his trade to Washington, he says that he was notified by a call from a sportswriter. He says that he really didn't get a chance with the Senators.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Gordy Lund- 1967 Indians & 1969 Pilots

Gordy Lund sent a very fun note recently!

"I don't have a favorite team but I do follow the Chicago teams."

"I go to 4 or 5 Kane County Cougars in the Midwest League."

I asked him about his favorite players, and he said, "my favorite player was Nellie Fox with the White Sox."

I also asked Gordy about his time with the legendary PCL Hawaii Islander. He said that the players with that team were "a great bunch of guys."

That team's manager was Chuck Tanner. Gordy calls Chuck a "great guy to play for."

He also mentions that the information on baseballreference.com is incorrect. He tells me he, "went to Taft HS in Chicago from 55 to 59 when we won two city championships."

Monday, January 10, 2011

Book: Gary Carter- Still A Kid At Heart

So, I have read the other 2 autobiographies on Gary Carter. I had to ask myself if I really wanted to read a third one.

"Do you really wanted to hear the Kid talk about the 86 World Series again?"

Well, my answer was yes.

This book came out in 2008. If you are a fan of Carter, you already know about his growing up, playing baseball and football, his trade to the Expos, etc.

He does talk about all of that. I was glad that Gary did not talk too much this time about Bill Buckner, or Tommy Lasorda. In fact, he seemed a bit more sympathetic to Buckner this time around.

As Carter has been trying to break in to the majors again, this time as a manager, he talks a lot about that. I did enjoy his discussion of getting jobs in the minors, interviewing, etc. He mentions that he did talk to the Columbus Clippers at one time about managing there! I would have really loved seeing my favorite 80s player working with one of my favorite minor league teams!

Gary has a good amount of success managing. As a fan of Carter, I did feel frustrated at times with his decisions. At one point, he passes on managing a AA team because he would have to be too far from his home. I wanted to yell at the book, "Gary! That's not the way to climb the ladder to the majors!"

Gary Carter has always been Gary Carter. I have admired his character and style forever. I think he has a big heart, and even when he doesn't make the best decisions, I think he makes those decisions for the right reasons.

If you are a casual baseball fan, reading one of the books about Gary will be enough. If you are a fan of Carter, read all three.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Baseball Sculptor Tom Tsuchiya

Tom Tsuchiya's exciting sculptures can be seen in many places. If you have been to Great American Ball Park, you have had the chance to admire his sculptures of some of their best players.

Tom sent a very nice note saying that he is always happy to hear from fans. He also mentions that he is working on a NEW series of sculptures for GABP!

Thanks Tom! We can't wait to see your new work!!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Joe McClain 1961-1962 Washington Senators

Joe McClain gave me this great story about playing in Louisville on opening day!

"Playing in Colonels Field and it had new sod infield. During the game a ball was hit and no one could locate the ball- It disappeared! The ball was found under the sod. I was playing for Charleston W. Va. and Herb Moford was pitching for us. This was the American Association League then."