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

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hank Presswood- Cleveland Buckeyes

Hank Presswood had a great career in professional baseball. PLUS, he served in the army for his country! He played for four years with the Cleveland Buckeyes and the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues. He says that playing for the Cleveland Buckeyes was the best thing that happened to him!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Limeport Stadium

Jimmie Schaffer, mentioned in an earlier post, sent me a flyer about an amateur park where he volunteers in Limeport, PA!

Limeport Stadium is called, "The Field of Dreams" by locals, and it is packed with history! The flyer notes that it has changed little since being built over 75 years ago. It was built to resemble the old Connie Mack Stadium of the Phillies, and it is in Lehigh County (a GREAT area for a baseball road trip!).

The green fold down seats at this facility are original, installed the night before it's first game!

Few updates have been added other than a PA system, an electronic score board, and lights.

The flyer claims that the park has the deepest outfield in all of baseball (pro or am) standing 485 feet from home plate! Alex Sabo is the only player to have hit the ball over that fence. He would go on to play with the Senators.

Over 100 games are still played here each year.

I am going to have to visit this park next time I see the Iron Pigs! Seriously, this will be a great baseball pilgrimage this year! You have the Phillies and Iron Pigs in the area... and this great over looked field!


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Book: Carew- Rod Carew

I read Rod Carew's book recently.

Rod's career was over by the time I became interested in baseball as a kid. I remember following Rose, and Gooden, like every other kid in the 80s. Later on you read up about Mantle, Ruth, Clemente, Cobb and others. Carew was still around in baseball, but not playing. You could almost look at him as an underrated legend.

Anyway, I was glad to read this book to learn some about him! This is a fun, and a bit unusual read. The edition I read was written towards the end of his career, and he talks a lot about other players, managers, his personal life, etc. He adds an afterwards at the end of the updated edition.

The oddest point in the book is Rod's endorsement of tobacco! It is a little strange, but at least he is being honest.

Sometimes, an afterwards fits awkwardly in a book. That is the case here. Rod's daughter Michelle dies of leukemia and he says that his marriage ended. This is very sad because, in the book, his family seems so supportive and together. Obviously the story of his daughter's death is very sad.

Still, hearing about that early Twins team and Rod Carew's climbing the baseball ladder through hard work and a good attitude is fun to read about.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bob Meyer 1964-1970 Major Leaguer

Bob Meyer spent a few years in the majors, starting in 1964 and ending in 1970. He played for the Yankees, Angels, Kansas City Athletics, the Seattle Pilots, and Brewers.

He sent some great info recently on his very interesting career!

Early in his career, Bob was compared to Sandy Koufax by Whitey Ford, and he also got some great compliments from Yogi Berra! He actually pitched against Sandy in an exhibition game in 1964.

Bob has the rare distinction of loosing a one-hitter, while the opposing pitcher, Frank Bertaina won- also on a one-hitter!

Bob talks about being on a great pitching staff with the 64 Angels (the Yankees traded him to LA).

I love all of the history of the minor leagues. I am especially fascinated with the legendary team, the Hawaii Islanders (Dave Baldwin talks a lot about that team in his book, "Snake Jazz" mentioned on this site). Bob Meyer pitched the first no hitter in the history of Hawaii Stadium as a member of the opposing Vancouver Mounties. He mentions that Al Michaels was calling games for the Islanders at that time!

Thanks for all of the fnu info Bob!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Postcard: Comisky Park, Chicago

"The home of the Chicago White Sox, Comisky Park has a seating capacity of over 60,000 people. It is located on 35th Street and Shields Avenue on the South Side of Chicago."

Friday, March 18, 2011

Wild Pitches

I am not sure if you have heard about the spring training accident involving Braves minor league manager Luis Salazar. Obviously, it looks like things could have been a lot worse.

Please take a moment to read about Luis. Here is a great article from the Braves site:


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mike Vail 75-84 Major Leaguer

Mike Vail played in the majors for 7 different teams over 9 years. Mr. Vail took a moment to answer some questions for me recently.

He told me that his favorite major league teams were the Mets, Cubs, and Dodgers. His favorite teams in the minors were the Tidewater Tides and the Reno Silver Sox.

His favorite players include John Bench, Tom Seaver, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda, Roberto Clemente, and Ducky Medwick.

He mentions that Seaver had the best fastball he had ever seen. He also tells me that Ducky Medwick taught him how to hit in the majors.

I asked him specifically about playing with the Portland Beavers. Mike tell sme that he played with them in the PCL during a comeback period. Some, he says, felt he was washed up. He ended up leading the league and ended up in Chicago for 3 years.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Al Raffo- 1969 Phillies

Al Raffo played for the Phillies in 1969. He let me know a great story recently.

"In my only win as a 27 year old rookie, I came to bat with the bases loaded" he tells me.

Jim Bunning was pitching for the opposing team, the Pirates at Forbes Field.

Al drove in 2 runs!

When Al proudly returned to the dugout, he said to Bob Skinner, his manager, Pretty good hit, huh Skip?"

Skinner mentioned that he noticed Al's backside "in the dugout."

Mr. Raffo notes that his manager obviously noticed that Al was nervous, and backing away as he hit the ball.

"However, I'll have you know, that later I also squeezed the runner on 3rd in and managed to pick off the newly acquired Freddie Patek on 1st!"

Al's closing comment is, "How do you like them apples, Skip?!!"

Monday, March 7, 2011

John Grubb- 1972-1987 Major Leaguer

John Grubb played for the Padres in 1972-1976. He spent 1977 and part of 1978 with the Cleveland Indians, and spent 1978-1982 with the Rangers. From 1983-1987 He was in Detroit.

I asked him recently about his very brief time in the minors, especially in 1986 when he played with the Nashville Sounds.

He says that he played there briefly while rehabbing from a shoulder injury. He said it was a nice place, but he was glad to be back in Detroit.

Concerning Kentucky, he says that his oldest son, Chris, went to UK and still follows them closely.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Jimmie Schaffer- 1961-1968 Major Leaguer

I got a great note from Jimmie Schaffer!

Jimmie has a couple of cool connections to Kentucky. He played his first AAA game in 1959 in Louisville as a member of the Omaha Cardinals playing against the Colonels.

He played there again in 1970 while playing with Rochester. He says that he enjoyed his visits to the bat company!

He also lived in Covington while playing for the Reds in 1968!

Jimmie managed in the Orioles minor league system, and got to know Blake Doyle who is from Cave City!

Mr. Schaffer says that he is a Phillies fan, as he played there a short time and he lives very close. He mentions that Allentown has their AAA team too!

Jimmie says that, these days, he spends a lot of time working in Limeport PA at the Limeport Stadium! He volunteers time there to help maintain the park! He sent a nice brochure on it too!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Wild Pitches

OK, so spring training is going on right now! I know, you are also excited about finally seeing some games again! It was a long winter.

For some reason, it seems that all of the sports radio and TV shows are still talking about football! ARGH!

I guess there is just more interest in that sport right now.

Still, lots going on. There is a new team in the Frontier League out of Illinois. That is exciting! I love that league.

One thing I miss about living in a major league city is the coverage of the team. I remember in Cleveland, one station had people at spring training covering the games, and interestingly, the atmosphere.

Still, I am glad that baseball is happening right now!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ted Savage- 1962-1971 Major Leaguer

Ted Savage played for 7 different teams during an almost 10 year career in the majors. He sent me a very nice note recently.

Sometimes, short letters pack a big punch! This was one of those notes.

He talked about all of the greats he played with or against. He named Rose, Clemente, Mays, Gibson, Flood, Brock, and Mudcat Grant, "just to name a few."

Concerning Kentucky and playing in Louisville, he gives an honest story. He was playing for the Buffalo Bisons in 1961, and the team beat Louisville in the championship. He says the black players were not allowed to celebrate downtown.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Garry Roggenburk- Pilots and Twins

Garry Roggenburk played for the Twins at various points during the 60s, and he played with the Pilots during their year.

I asked him about playing in Kentucky. He said that he enjoyed playing for the AAA Louisville Colonels when they were the top Red Sox farm team.

He says that he also played college basketball for the University of Dayton from 1958-1962. At that time, he played against the Louisville Colonels basketball team.