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

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Kevin Hagen 1983-1984 Cardinals

Kevin Hagen spent some time with the Cardinals in the mid-80s.  I was mostly interested in his time with AAA Louisville!

He told me that he enjoyed playing 3 seasons in Louisville at the fairgrounds park.

He mentions that in 1984 Louisville was the first minor league team to draw over 1 million fans!

He says that he still follows the Cardinals and it was a great World Series last year!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Charlie Mitchell- 84-85 Boston Red Sox.

Charlie Mitchell spent parts of 1984 and 1985 with the Boston Red Sox.  More interestingly in my opinion, he also played with AAA Pawtucket and Toledo.  He spent 1988-1991 with the Nashville Sounds!

Charlie sent me a nice long note.

He mentioned that he grew up a Braves fan, and still loves the team.  Growing up, his favorites were Hank Aaron and Phil Niekro.

He always enjoyed watching Pete Rose play because he played the game hard.  Charlie now coaches youth teams, and he would like to see his players play like Rose.  He says that he likes watching Bryce Harper now, because he plays hard.

He also says that he enjoys watching Derek Jeter play because he is a real professional and a class act.

Charlie says that he loved watching Kirby Puckett play.  He says that he played against Kirby one year in Junior College and again while Charlie was in Pawtucket and Kirby was in Toledo.

Charlie says he only faced Kirby once that year.  Charlie struck Kirby out.  Kirby didn't get the bunt down on the first couple of pitches, and then Charlie says he threw him his best pitch on the 3rd strike.  "I'm glad he was called up before I had to face him again!" Charlie says.

I asked Charlie about his time at Toledo (at first as a Twins affiliated team), and he says that he pitched well against them, noting that might be why they traded for him the next season.  He was traded for Mike Stenhouse.  Charlie says he really didn't think to much about that trade at the time.  Later on, Charlie and Mike would both find themselves playing for the Toledo Mud Hens at the same time while in the Tiger's system.

Charlie was released by the Tigers, and in 88 he found himself playing for the Red's AAA Nashville team.  He lived in Nashville, so this was very convenient.  His first night with the team, he pitched in relief a couple of innings.  After he left the game and went to the locker room, the starter told him that Charlie may have made history.  He was told that he may have been the first player person to play in the Red's organization with facial hair!  He had a mustache at the time, and no one had told him to shave!

Since Charlie has such a strong tie to Nashville, I asked him about the prospects for a new stadium there.

He does feel that the Sounds need a new venue, as the current one is too old.  He says downtown would be a nice location.  He also says that he does not want the tax payers to have to cover it.

I asked Charlie if he ever contributed to any books on baseball.  He mentions a book about a "Fan Legend" in Nashville.  Chuck Ross would come to the park early, and he would yell out each players name.  he wouldn't stop until that player acknowledged him.  Charlie contributed to a book about Chuck Ross.  Sales from the book helped support Chuck after his mother died.  (note:  This blogger would like more info and a copy of this book if anyone can help him out)

Charlie says he was also in a photo book about the minors.  He is in one of the pictures.

Charlie says that he enjoys books about baseball and Christianity, and he does read those kind of books himself.  He mentions one called, "Intentional Walk".  He says the last book he read was Bobby Bonners, "From the Diamond to the Bush" which can be ordered on Bobby's website (http://iamministries.info/index.php).  It is about Bobby's playing days and how he became a missionary.

Charlie says that Bobby's last year in pro baseball was Charlie's 1st year at AAA.  Charlie was in Pawtucket and Bobby was in Rochester.  Charlie didn't really know Bobby, but he remembers Bobby leading chapel for both teams one Sunday in Pawtucket.  Charlie says he thought that was gutsy.  Charlie says that he hears there is talk of making Bobby's book into a movie!

Charlie does send a small religious book he wrote to me called, "Fielder's Choice."

Charlie does give me a nice Kentucky story!

Growing up he played on a 16-18 year old summer team called the Huffines.  They were in the Connie Mack League.  To get to the league's World Series, you had to make it past the So. Lexington team.  They always had a good team.  One of his teammates during that time often reminds him that he (Charlie's friend) pitched a shutout against So. Lexington at UK in a tournament.  Charlie hit a home run in that game for the only score!

His friend's brother went to UK playing baseball.  His name is Steve Williams.  The Huffines later became the Twitty City Organization.  Conway's son Jimmy Jenkins played on that Huffines team with Steve.

Charlie goes on to tell me that when he was 16, they played So. Lexington's 18 year old team in a tournament at Greer Stadium (Charlie has a LONG history with that place).  he was playing on a team of 16 year olds against a team of 18 year olds.  He pitched that game and his team lost, but it was close.  he mentions that there were about 4 guys on the other team that were drafted.  He started throwing a "Ephus" pitch to try something different during that game.  he says it worked for the most part.

Charlie mentions that he will be coaching a team of 15 year olds in a tournament in Lexington soon!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Wounded Warrior

I usually try to avoid simply scanning in a modern image.  I love this one though- it gives me goose bumps.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Franklin County Stadium/Cooper Stadium, Columbus, OH

I found this postcard, put out when Cooper Stadium was called Franklin County Stadium.

The back says, "Minor League Baseball's finest Stadium features artificial turf, luxurious sky boxes, Excellent lighting and comfortable grandstand seating."

I always loved this park, but it was never photogenic.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Engel Stadium in Chattanooga, TN.

The Chattanooga Lookouts played their home games at Engel Stadium from 1930-1999!

I stopped by briefly a couple of weeks ago to snap some photos.

Engel was recently used for filming in the movie "42" about Jackie Robinson.

While I was there, workers were taking down HUGE green screen walls that were used for the movie.

I do love the fact that the venue is being used in some form.  I am not a fan of green screen though.  There is something obviously fake about it.

There is a little part of me that feels excited about a great, historic park getting some screen time BUT is seems they are masking a lot of it.

Still, I am glad they are making the film.  I am sure I will watch it, and I am sure I will love it.

I have to admit that there was something cool about watching them take down the green screen.  They spent a lot of time putting that up and all.  The screen looked several stories high.

Please excuse the dust appearance on some of the photos.  Chattanooga was very hot and very rainy while were were in town, and it affected my camera some.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Brian Sweeney- Padres and Mariners

Brian Sweeney has pitch in pro baseball for almost a decade and a half now.  He has been everywhere and spent 3 years in Japan!  At the MLB level, he played for Seattle and San Diego.  He has had some GREAT years, going 6-0 at high A in 1998, 12-4 in 2004 at AAA and with the Padres.  He went 12-5 for Nippon in 2008!

I saw him play for Buffalo last year at Toledo.  I sent him the photo you see and he kindly signed it, and sent a nice note!

He mentions that he loves the Seattle area, noting that there is a lot of culture and great food.

He was happy to play for Buffalo because he was close to home, and he was able to sleep in his own bed some nights, which is rare during the season.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Glen Cook- 1985 Texas Rangers

Glen Cook spent a little time with the Texas Rangers in 1985!

He took a moment recently to answer some questions about his baseball career.

He says that his favorite team is the Astros and he still follows the Rangers.

He has no favorite player and he has not contributed to any books on baseball.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Brian Jeroloman

Brian Jeroloman is a catcher in the Blue Jays system, making at up to AAA!

I sent him a photo I took of him back when he first started playing professionally, back in 2006!

The picture got a little damaged in the mail, but I love the inscription Brian put on it!

I took the photo at a Mahoning Valley Scrappers game.