2019-2020 MLB Hot Stove

Robert Crawford

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I’m just not on board with this. I’ll wait until the fans are permitted to participate, then I’m still not sure how enthusiastic I’ll be about the sport
(I absolutely hate the 3 batter minimum rule).
So be it, but I can't wait to watch team sports again on TV with or without fans.
 
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Mike Frezon

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Al Kaline was one of the great players of my youth. And a player I respected very much.

Lifetime .297 batter. 3007 hits. 399 HRs.

He and my hero--Yaz--overlapped in the AL for much of their careers. Guys like him and Killebrew, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Mantle, etc. were the guys of my youth.

Kaline finished 3rd in batting in Yaz's triple crown year of '67 (.308).

 

Mike Frezon

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In 1955, Kaline led the AL with 200 hits and batted .340!

But, for some reason, Kaline finished second in the MVP to Yogi (despite nearly all his numbers being better). My guess would be because the Tigers finished 17 games (5th place in the AL) behind the Yanks that year (1st place).

Kaline was the youngest player (20 years old) to win a batting title since Cobb in '07. I love reading this stuff. In the '55 season, Kaline also hit two HRs in the same inning and 3 HRs in one game!
 

Dennis Nicholls

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Since Mike is going all history on me, let me add a few photos I took from the town of Weiser (pop. 5,400) not that far from Boise.

IMG_0863.JPG


IMG_0873.JPG

On this small municipal diamond scouts discovered a semi-pro pitcher who kept throwing shutouts. His name was Walter Johnson. He was recruited for the majors on the spot.

Years later, on the diamond already known for Walter Johnson, a young local boy played small time ball. He dreamed of someday making the majors just like Walter Johnson. But his dreaming days were cut short when some scouts saw him play. His name was Harmon Killebrew.
 
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Mike Frezon

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I'm not sure if there is any other small town municipal field upon whose turf two Hall of Fame players were discovered.
I can't be certain about that exact question, but I stumbled upon this interesting bit of trivia the other day:



For those who want to know without looking it up, the answer about who is #1 is here:

Stan Musial

Maybe they played on a same field in Donora.
Pretty cool.
 

Robert Crawford

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One more thing, Griffey Jr. was born in Donora, but he was raised in Cincy. Now his pop might have played on those same fields.
 

Scott Merryfield

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One more thing I'd like to share regarding Al Kaline, from a personal experience:

I've mentioned elsewhere that I am currently scanning and digitizing my father's old 35mm slides during this downtime. Yesterday I processed the slides from our family road trip to Florida in March, 1977. My dad was friends with a person who worked in the Detroit Tigers organization as a scout, and this person got us a room at the Holiday Inn in Lakeland where the Tigers players were housed during spring training at that time (before they made enough money to buy their own houses and condos ;) ). We used Lakeland as a jumping off point to visit a lot of the Florida attractions, as it's pretty centrally located.

This friend of my dad's also got us free tickets and access to the players area on the day we attended a spring game at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland. I came across these two photos my dad took of Mr. Kaline, who was working as a coach during spring training:





Our room at the hotel was amongst the players rooms. As a 14 year old kid who loved baseball and the Tigers back then, I was in heaven. Here is a shot from outside our room -- hopefully you can recognize the player:



Yes, It's Mark "The Bird" Fidrych, who we watched come and go all week. I took a similar photo with Mark waving to us, but I just had a cheap Instamatic camera then and the photo faded away long ago, so I'm happy to have found this one among my dad's slides.

I also have a baseball that was autographed by many of the players from that spring training, including by Kaline and Fidrych.
 

Osato

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One more thing I'd like to share regarding Al Kaline, from a personal experience:

I've mentioned elsewhere that I am currently scanning and digitizing my father's old 35mm slides during this downtime. Yesterday I processed the slides from our family road trip to Florida in March, 1977. My dad was friends with a person who worked in the Detroit Tigers organization as a scout, and this person got us a room at the Holiday Inn in Lakeland where the Tigers players were housed during spring training at that time (before they made enough money to buy their own houses and condos ;) ). We used Lakeland as a jumping off point to visit a lot of the Florida attractions, as it's pretty centrally located.

This friend of my dad's also got us free tickets and access to the players area on the day we attended a spring game at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland. I came across these two photos my dad took of Mr. Kaline, who was working as a coach during spring training:





Our room at the hotel was amongst the players rooms. As a 14 year old kid who loved baseball and the Tigers back then, I was in heaven. Here is a shot from outside our room -- hopefully you can recognize the player:



Yes, It's Mark "The Bird" Fidrych, who we watched come and go all week. I took a similar photo with Mark waving to us, but I just had a cheap Instamatic camera then and the photo faded away long ago, so I'm happy to have found this one among my dad's slides.

I also have a baseball that was autographed by many of the players from that spring training, including by Kaline and Fidrych.
that’s fantastic!!!
 
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Jeffrey D

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One more thing I'd like to share regarding Al Kaline, from a personal experience:

I've mentioned elsewhere that I am currently scanning and digitizing my father's old 35mm slides during this downtime. Yesterday I processed the slides from our family road trip to Florida in March, 1977. My dad was friends with a person who worked in the Detroit Tigers organization as a scout, and this person got us a room at the Holiday Inn in Lakeland where the Tigers players were housed during spring training at that time (before they made enough money to buy their own houses and condos ;) ). We used Lakeland as a jumping off point to visit a lot of the Florida attractions, as it's pretty centrally located.

This friend of my dad's also got us free tickets and access to the players area on the day we attended a spring game at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland. I came across these two photos my dad took of Mr. Kaline, who was working as a coach during spring training:





Our room at the hotel was amongst the players rooms. As a 14 year old kid who loved baseball and the Tigers back then, I was in heaven. Here is a shot from outside our room -- hopefully you can recognize the player:



Yes, It's Mark "The Bird" Fidrych, who we watched come and go all week. I took a similar photo with Mark waving to us, but I just had a cheap Instamatic camera then and the photo faded away long ago, so I'm happy to have found this one among my dad's slides.

I also have a baseball that was autographed by many of the players from that spring training, including by Kaline and Fidrych.
Looks like that’s Phillies 2B Ted Sizemore standing next to Kaline (I don’t recognize the other Phillies player in the photograph).
 
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Scott Merryfield

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Looks like that’s Phillies 2B Ted Sizemore standing next to Kaline (I don’t recognize the other Phillies player in the photograph).
I'm not sure on the Phillies, but the other Tiger in that photo is Mickey Stanley. There were also photos of other Tigers players in the set, including a double image of Lou Whitaker -- one year before he and Alan Trammell made the big club and started their record run together as a double play combo. My dad's scout friend told us that the Cardinals had made the Tigers a significant offer for Whitaker, but the Tigers had no interest in trading him. They thought both he and Trammell were going to be special (and they were right).

The player on the end looking at the camera is John Wockenfuss, who was a local favorite "everyman" who played a bunch of different positions -- catcher, 1B, outfield, etc.



Here's the double image of Sweet Lou Whitaker:

 
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