Detroit Tigers’ general manager Al Avila traded his son Alex Avila (along with Justin Wilson) to the Cubs. According to Jon Morosi, this is the first time in almost fifty years this has happened at the MLB level. The best reaction on Twitter, and perhaps the best Tweet of all-time:
Theo like "uhhh Justin Wilson please and the blood of your first born" pic.twitter.com/8oJd0MLTC8
— Zack Goldman (@DaRealGoldMan) July 31, 2017
Morosi failed to provide the last dad-sends-son-packing deal in his report, however. In 1968, another Al—Dodgers’ GM Al Campanis—dealt his boy Jim Campanis to the expansion Kansas City Royals “as part of a conditional deal.” Dad’s reasoning was that Jim was more likely to get playing time with the new team rather than the established Dodgers. Perhaps the elder Aliva wanted Alex to have a better shot at a ring. The Cubs are the defending World Champions, and currently sit atop the National League Central division, while the Tigers aren’t even playing .500 ball.
(October 23, 1931 – May 26, 2017)
Nine-time All-Star and former United States Senator, Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning passed away yesterday. He was the second pitcher to collect 100 victories and 1000 strikeouts in both the American and National Leagues, threw a perfect game, and one of just seven pitchers to throw a no-hitter for two different teams. In fifteen years on the Hall of Fame ballot, Bunning never received the necessary 75% support from the BBWAA. He fell four votes short in 1988, his twelfth year on the ballot. He was finally inducted in 1996 via the Veterans Committee.
A few years ago, Gary Cieradowski did a great piece on Bunning at The Infinite Baseball Card Set.
The sixth 2016 TWJ pre-season card was posted tonight at TWJ cards on tumblr. So far, we have seen Pete Rose, Bip Roberts (by request), Frank Robinson, Don Drysdale, George Scott, and Greg Luzinski. A couple of Hall of Famers, a legend, and some fan favorites. They all share another thing in common: each was selected to at least one All-Star team during their big league careers. That is the one prerequisite for inclusion in the 2016 TWJ pre-season set: an All-Star roster spot.
Who else might be appearing in the set? Obviously, I won’t be making a card for every All-Star ever. So if you have a request, you better make it known! It doesn’t matter how well-known the guy is, as long as he has made an All-Star team, he is eligible for the set!
Want a preview of who is on the horizon? How about Mark, Tim, Dave, Tom, Mike, Joe, and another Mike?
What, you wanted to see a card before it appears on the tumblr? Fine…
The Bird himself, the late Mark Fidrych. An All-Star in his first two seasons, before injury derailed his career.
Be sure to check out TWJ cards on tumblr to see all the 2016 TWJ pre-season cards!
Baseball Stadiums 2016 Calendar
published by TF Publishing, 2015
Now that October has arrived, it is time to admit that Christmas is just around the corner. Yes, we have to get through Halloween and Thanksgiving first, but it is never too soon to start thinking about what gifts you will be buying for others. One small gift that is timeless is the calendar. Whether you go with the daily boxed variety, or the monthly hang-on-the-wall calendar, everyone needs to know what day it is at some point.
Perfect Timing publishes a wide variety of calendars, including this very nice Baseball Stadiums 2016 Calendar. Twelve ballparks are featured, including such vital statistics as home team, opening date, dimensions, capacity, and playing surface. The twelve parks are Busch (St. Louis), AT&T (San Francisco), Fenway (Boston), Citi (New York Mets), PNC (Pittsburgh), Great American (Cincinnati), Yankee (New York Yankees), Wrigley (Chicago Cubs), Chase (Arizona), Comerica (Detroit), Rogers (Toronto), and Dodger (Los Angeles). The calendar measures 11.8×23.4 when hung on the wall, showing the stadium of the month; the calendar portion has plenty of room to jot down appointment and meeting reminders in the blocks.
The Reds traded Alfredo Simon to the Tigers in December for Jonathon Crawford and Eugenio Suarez. Simon had an outstanding first half in 2014, with a 12-3 record and 2.70 ERA earning him an All-Star berth. It’s a long season, however, especially for a pitcher who had spent the the previous two seasons exclusively in the bullpen. During the second half, Simon’s record was 3-7 and his ERA bloated to 4.52. I hope Tigers fans are not looking to Simon to replace Max Scherzer.
Thursday was an active day in baseball with several high-profile players changing teams, including Matt Kemp and Yoenis Cespedes. Unfortunately, the Cincinnati Reds did not land either of those sluggers to fill the emptiness that is left field. Despite failing to address the biggest need on the team, Walt Jocketty traded starting pitchers Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon, picking up four youngsters from the Miami Marlins and Detroit Tigers in exchange.
Eugenio Suarez, Jonathon Crawford, Anthony DeSclafani, Chad Wallach are the newest members of the Reds organization. Crawford was Detroit’s first-round draft pick in 2013 and posted a 2.85 ERA in 23 starts for the West Michigan Whitecaps in 2014. Wallach has baseball in his blood; his father is Tim Wallach, the five-time All-Star third baseman.
Thanks to TWJ contributor Patrick for whipping up these awesome customs. Hopefully the Reds continue to wheel and deal without “going all in” by sending Johnny Cueto packing.
(December 14, 1961 – October 26, 2014)
Former major league pitcher Jeff Robinson passed away Sunday from an undisclosed illness. Robinson pitched 1987-1992 for the Detroit Tigers, Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers, and Pittsburgh Pirates, compiling a 47-40 record and 4.79 ERA.
The 50 Greatest Tigers Every Fan Should Know
by Lew Freedman
Blue River Press, 2014
Everyone loves making lists and rankings, especially when it comes to sports. When thinking of the fifty greatest baseball players to wear the Detroit uniform, there is no argument about Ty Cobb‘s placement at the top of that list. But who should be second? Al Kaline or Hank Greenberg? Do Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker belong in the top ten? And where do current superstars Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander rank?
Author Lew Freedman does his best to answer these questions with three- to four-page profiles of each player in The 50 Greatest Tigers Every Fan Should Know. The Hall of Famers are all here, as well as those who should be in Cooperstown and those who may end up there eventually. The superstars from recent years, such as Lance Parrish, Cecil Fielder, and Mickey Lolich are remembered, as are the oft-forgotten names of the early twentieth century like Bobby Veach and Bob Fothergill. The further down the list you go, the more questionable the selections become; Magglio Ordonez, Tony Clark, and Steve Kemp are prime examples. The exclusion of Mark Fidrych is addressed in the introduction, and I’m sure there are other names missing that the devout Detroit disciples will notice, but that’s the point of making lists: generating fun discussion and debate.
To that end, The 50 Greatest Tigers Every Fan Should Know is a thought-provoking volume that Tigers fans will love.
The Bird: The Life and Legacy of Mark Fidrych
by Doug Wilson
Thomas Dunne Books, 2014 (paperback)
It is often said that if you didn’t follow baseball in 1976, you cannot understand how big of a deal Mark Fidrych was. The right-handed pitcher for the Detroit Tigers who played the game for fun, just like a kid, was a national phenomenon and created such a buzz that games sold out when he was scheduled to pitch. If you weren’t there, at least you have authors such as Doug Wilson. Wilson’s biography of “The Bird” takes the reader back to that simpler time, before the internet, when baseball on television was still a big deal and when a player could become a sensation based on a few quirks and an amazing season.
The book’s focus is on that rookie season in which Fidrych went 19-9 wit a league-leading 2.34 ERA, recounting the pitcher’s strange ritual of patting down the dirt on the mound and chasing away grounds crews when they attempted to help. His enthusiasm for the sport and for life in general is evident in nearly every sentence and quote. The devastating injury in the spring of 1977 is documented, Fidrych’s demise that saw him lose his abilities over time and landed him in Pawtucket just a few years after his spectacular first season. The showdown with Dave Righetti is also included, showing that even after he lost the ability to pitch at the major league level, Fidrych could still draw a crowd. The Bird’s life after baseball is discussed, as well as his untimely death resulting from a freak accident on his farm.
Baseball will never see another player like Mark Fidrych, but Wilson’s The Bird is a flattering yet fair remembrance of the man’s abilities and impact on the game. Highly recommended for fans of baseball history and the characters that shaped it.