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

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sam Bowen- 1977-1980 Red Sox

Sam Bowen played for the Red Sox from 77-80 in a few games. He also spent a lot of time with the AAA Red Sox team, and he played EVERY inning of the 33 inning game between the Paw Sox and Rochester Red Wings!

He mentions that Dan Barry just released a great book about the game!

Sam tells me a great story about Kentucky. In his first year at AAA, 1977, he was in spring training and his team had no home. The previous year in Pawtucket, the owner bankrupted the team! Boston had to find a new AAA home quickly!

Well, Louisville was the leading choice, and the Red Sox had been there some time before. Sam says that right before the AAA Red Sox broke camp for Louisville, the AAA Pawtucket team was sold, and the new owner paid all debts!

Thanks for the great story Sam, and for the tip off about the new book about the longest game! I picked up a children's book about the longest game when I visited McCoy Stadium a few years back! I am glad a new one is out there!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Doug Clarey- 1976 Cardinals

Doug Clarey played for the Cardinals during 1976.

"although my major league career was relatively short, I cherish each and every memory. I am a very lucky and blessed person to have had the opportunity to play professional baseball" he tells me.

He mentions that he now lives in LA, and follows the Dodgers, though he doesn't stay up on all of the current players in baseball right now.

He mentions that the game now is very different from when he played in the 70s. He feels that change has been influenced by the huge salaries the players are paid now.

He feels that players in the 70s were more fundamentally sound than the players now.

I asked him about the Holyoke Millers in Massachusetts. He says that he remembers Matt Gilante was his manager, and the town was charming. He enjoyed playing there.

Doug mentions that he is one of the 13 players who had short but successful careers mentioned in the book, "A Glimpse of Fame" by Dennis Snelling.

Concerning Kentucky, he says that he doesn't remember playing in Kentucky.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Craig Cacek 1977 Houston Astros

Craig Cacek made it to the majors with the Houston Astros, playing in 7 games in 1977. He recently sent me a very nice note!

In his letter, he recommends reading Roger Kahn's "Good enough to Dream." He says that it is a fantastic book about the minors.

He also mentions that he loved reading "Ball Four" as a kid.

Craig says he is mentioned in 3 books- "One Hit Wonders" by George Rose, "The Portland Beavers" by Carlson and Andersen, and "Nearly the Greatest."

He mentions that he never had a major league baseball card, but he had some from the minors from 77-82.

Concerning his favorites, he says that he loved the 62-68 Yankees growing up. He especially loved Mantle. His other favorite players were Kaline and Rusty Staub.

I specifically asked Craig about playing for the Charleston Charlies. He says that he loved playing there, and the fans were great. His two favorite cities were Portland and Charleston.

About Kentucky, Craig says that he never played in the state. He also clarifies that he has never been here, but he would love to see the horse country and the Derby.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mike Rogodzinski- 1973-1975 Phillies

Mike Rogodzinski sent me a very cool, and very honest note recently about his time in baseball.

If you read my blogs often, you know I love reading books about baseball, and baseball with a connection to Kentucky. Mike let me know that he was part of a book about Jim Bunning by Frank Dolson.

Mike said that he loved playing in Reading for the R-Phils. He hit one of the longest homers in Reading Municipal Stadium history. Mike said that, at the time, Maris was the only other player to hit the ball over the right field wall and into the street. Mike says that experience made him feel great!

I asked Mike about playing for the Mud Hens. Mike said that he didn't think much of playing in Toledo.

I also asked him his opinion about the way the game is played today.

"Players today can't do any of the things that make the game great."

He says that pitchers can't bunt, outfielders can't hit the cut off men, and defense is non-existent.

Hey Mike, thanks for the note!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hensley Field- Lakeland Florida

I know, I picked a bad time to visit a park and get photos. Still, I got a couple of shots of the other Lakeland area park that has hosted the Tigers for spring training.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Kal Segrist 1952 Yankees, and 1955 Orioles

Kal Segrist played in 20 games during 2 years in the majors. Kal sent a note and answered some questions for me recently.

He lets me know that he played for the Kansas City Blues in Louisville for his first series in professional baseball. He would visit Louisville often over the next four years in baseball.

He started out playing shortstop. He was moved all over, and finally ended up at third.

He says that he really doesn't care for professional baseball now, feeling that it is about the money and not about team spirit.

Kal recently had his 80th birthday, and I really appreciate his taking the time to send a note!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Butch Wynegar 1976-1988 Major leaguer

Butch Wynegar spend most of his career with the Twins, then he spent the mid 80s with the Yankees. he finished his career with the Angels in 1987 and 1988.

He had a great career, and he is one of those great characters in the game who could probably retire and be happy, but he is still around the sport as a coach in AAA!

I asked Butch about his career. "I am starting my 5th year as AAA hitting coach for the NY Yankees this year. It is nice being back with the Yankees as a coach!"

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Cy Buker- 1945 Brooklyn Dodgers

Cy Buker played in the majors 65 years ago! During WWII he was able to spend some time with the Brooklyn Dodgers!

Cy VERY kindly sent a great note to me recently.

I asked Cy about other players, playing in Kentucky, and some other things.

He told me that his memory is faint these days. He says that he remembers playing in Louisville, but he can't remember the name of the hotel his team stayed in.

He says that he had all sorts of records relating to his career but they were stored in an attic. He rented the house out, and the renters cleaned out the attic.

Concerning playing in Louisville, he says that he remembers flooding. He tells me that, as the teams train would come approach Louisville, all you could see was water.

Also, when his team was scheduled during Derby- things would get wild.

He spent four years in the old American Association, and he says that he enjoyed every minute of it.

He says that Louisville always had a good ballpark with long fences, and well maintained grounds. He says there weren't any parks better. He enjoyed pitching there.

He mentions some of the other parks he pitched in. He mentions Minneapolis was brutal for pitchers. He says you could almost spit over the right field fence from home plate!

He says that Columbus, Indianapolis, and Kansas City were OK.

Cy, thanks for the letter, and all of the info! I appreciate your taking the time to write!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Gary Wheelock- Angels and Mariners

Gary Wheelock played some games for the Angels in 1976, and he played for the Mariners in 1977 and 1980. He kindly took the time to send me a brief note recently!

He let me know that Sandy Koufax was his favorite player.

I asked him about playing for the Spokane Indians specifically, and he said that it was a pretty city with good fans.

He also mentioned that his favorite baseball movies were "Field of Dreams" and "Damn Yankees".

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bruce Von Hoff

Bruce Von Hoff played for that very early Astros team between 1965 and 1967.

He sent a nice note about his playing days, and answered some questions.

He says that he loved playing, but now he does not follow any teams.

I asked him if he had a favorite baseball book, and he mentions Willie Mays' "The Life, The Legend."

I also asked him about playing for the legendary Asheville Tourists in 1969. He said that he "had a blast" in Asheville. He mentions that he loved the drinking water and the cool evenings. He also says that he had some great teammates who were a bunch of cut- ups.

I asked Bruce if he had any good baseball stories relating to Kentucky. He said that he did not, but he did go to the same high school (Batavia, IL.) as basketball legend Dan Issel!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Jim Strickland 1971-1973 Twins

Jim Strickland pitched for the Twins in the early 70s, and he briefly joined the Cleveland Indians in 1975. Jim sent me a great note recently.

I asked him about stories relating to my state. "No Kentucky stories" he tells me.

He goes on with a great story about playing for the Pocatello Chiefs in Idaho. His manager at the time was Tom Lasorda! Well, the future Dodgers manager started a brawl against Idaho Falls. It was the 25 players from Jim's team, against the 42 with Idaho Falls. Jim was pitching that day. The fight lasted 20 minutes, and Jim stresses that everyone fought.

Jim fought the pitcher for the other team. Jim says that after the fight ended, he was the first hitter- hitting against the guy he was just fighting! Jim hit a line drive between the pitchers legs and drove in two runs.

This was Lasorda's first year managing. Jim says he knew Tommy for a long time- he was the scout that had signed Jim!