Category Archives: Birthdays & Anniversaries

1965 HEADLINE: Ferguson Jenkins Notches First Win As A Cub & Connects For Home Run!!!

1965 HEADLINE: Ferguson Jenkins Notches First Win As A Cub & Connects For Home Run!!!

On this day in 1965, Fergie Jenkins made his second start for the Cubs.  The team was at home to face the Los Angeles Dodgers in front of a crowd of just 6,974 fans.

The ones that were at the ballpark, were in for a treat!!

Fergie took over in relief during the third inning of the game for Bob Hendley.  He then threw five plus innings allowing four hits and zero runs while striking out three batters.  During that stretch, the Cubs scored two run to take a lead and secure victory.

And it was Fergie Jenkins that supplied the offense!!!  Jenkins went 2-for-3 on the day including a 2-run home run that would account for all of the runs needed to secure victory for the Cubs and Fergie.

Happy Anniversary Mr. Jenkins!!!

Jenkins

1954 HEADLINE: Henry Aaron Hits First Big League Homer!!

1954 HEADLINE: Henry Aaron Hits First Big League Homer!!

On this day in 1954, Henry ‘Hank’ Aaron crushed the first home run of his major league career.

On the road, and playing against the St. Louis Cardinals, Hank Aaron and the Milwaukee Braves battled the Cards in a 4-hour marathon. In total, the game consisted of 25 hits and 12 runs.

And for Aaron, this game was where his historic start as one of the game’s greatest power hitters took off. In the top of the 6th inning, Aaron belted a solo homer off of Cardinals’ pitcher Vic Raschi. On the day, Aaron went 3-for-7, while collecting 2 RBI, scoring 2 runs, and connecting for his first home run as a major league player.

And as they say, the rest was history…

Happy Anniversary, Mr. Aaron!!!

Happy Birthday Warren Spahn!!!

Happy Birthday Warren Spahn!!!

Today we celebrate Warren Spahn’s birthday.

A 21-year big league veteran, Warren Spahn was solidifying his spot as one of the game’s greatest pitchers way before the likes of Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, and Bob Gibson.

Over the course of his playing days, Spahn collected 363 wins – including 13 seasons of at least 20!! A truly amazing and durable hurler, Spahn started 665 contests during his career, and finished way more than half(382 to be exact) including 63 shutouts.

Warren Spahn was a 15-time All-Star and the 1957 Cy Young Award winner. He was a member of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves World Series championship winning team in which he started 2 games, going 1-1.

Happy Birthday Mr. Spahn!

1994 HEADLINE: Eddie Murray Tops Mickey Mantle For Most Career Games With Switch-Hit Home Runs

1994 HEADLINE: Eddie Murray Tops Mickey Mantle For Most Career Games With Switch-Hit Home Runs

On this day in 1994, Eddie Murray broke Mickey Mantle’s record of hitting switch-hit home runs in the same game. Mantle’s record of 10 was dropped down to second place as Murray accomplished this incredible feat for the 11th time in his career.

It was 16 years ago that ‘Easy Eddie’ blasted a home run from both the left and right sides of the plate. And the rest is baseball history!!

Happy Birthday Don Mattingly!!!

Happy Birthday Don Mattingly!!!

Don Mattingly turns 53 years old today.

So, we’re going to continue a ’30-YOC’ tradition by dedicating today’s full day of posts to the fabulous career of Don Mattingly, aka Donnie Baseball!!!

As time passes, my appreciation for Mattingly grows considerably. From an offensive standpoint, there was nothing Mattingly could not do. A blend of contact and power hitting were some of Mattingly’s greatest strengths. And defensively at first base there was no-one better during his playing days. 9 Gold Gloves, 3 Silver Slugger Awards, and an MVP Award later and you have an extremely solid career from one of baseball’s biggest stars during the 80′s.

When you talk about the most well-rounded players from his era, Don Mattingly has to be one of the first names mentioned. Due to his incredible talents, Mattingly was wildly popular. During his time with the Yankees, he was the team leader and captain. And now more than 20 years removed, he remains a favorite of collectors today.

Happy Birthday to Donnie Baseball!!

Happy Birthday Frank Viola!!!

Happy Birthday Frank Viola!!!

Frank Viola turns 54 years old today.

Frank Viola didn’t take baseball by storm the way some other pitchers did during their first season in the majors. Drafted out of college in 1981, Viola debuted with the Minnesota Twins in the middle of the 1982 season and the next year and a half were a learning process for both him and the Twins team.

It was not until the 1984 season when Viola took off and began dominating hitters. After going 11-25 in his first two seasons, Viola sparkled in ’84 when he went 18-12 while pitching 250+ innings. In each season from 1984-1993, Viola had double-digit wins with the most being 24 wins during the 1988 season.

In 1987, Viola helped the Twins win the World Series and he earned the World Series MVP Award for his outstanding pitching performance. Viola started 3 games against the Cardinals and went 2-1. He displayed amazing control in a pressure filled series as he only allowed 3 walks in 19+ innings, while striking out 16.

The ’88 season was very special for Viola. Not only did he go 24-7, but he also had the lowest ERA of his career at 2.64. That year, Viola earned 27 of the 28 first place votes for the Cy Young Award.

After 8 seasons with the Twins, Viola spent the last 7 years of his career playing for the New York Mets, Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds, and lastly the Toronto Blue Jays.

With a career record of 176-150, Viola’s record does not stand out as an above average pitcher. But, when you examine the kinds of teams he played for and their success you begin to see how valuable his efforts were as most of these teams had losing records. With 4 Top 6 Cy Young award finishes, and 1 win of the award, Viola should go down as one of the most consistent pitchers of the 1980′s.

Happy Birthday Mr. Viola!!

1987 HEADLINE: Schmidt Connects For Home Run #500!!!

1987 HEADLINE: Schmidt Connects For Home Run #500!!!

On this day in 1987 Michael Jack Schmidt hit the 500th home run of is incredible career!!

I remember watching the highlights of this game. The joy that Schmidt shared with us as he rounded the bases while pumping his fists is one of the greatest memories I have of baseball from 1980′s. Rarely do you see a player emit so much joy during a game, but Schmidt did not hold back and I am thankful that I was able to enjoy his moment with him.

Schmidt finished his career with 548 home runs placing him in 13th place on the all-time list.

Congratulations Mike and Happy Anniversary!!!

schmidt

1965 HEADLINE: Orioles’ Jim Palmer Makes Major League Debut

1965 HEADLINE: Orioles’ Jim Palmer Makes Major League Debut

On this day in 1965, Jim Palmer made his major league debut.

The appearance came in a relief effort as starting pitcher Robin Roberts got battered by the Red Sox in the first two innings of the game.  Palmer entered the game in the third inning and pitched the 3rd and 4th for the O’s.  In the two innings of work, Palmer allowed just 1 hit while striking out 1 batter and walking 2.

The Orioles lost the game 9-12.  Palmer did not factor in the decision.

jim palmer

Happy Birthday Steve Avery!!!

Happy Birthday Steve Avery!!!

Steve Avery turns 44 years old today.

Steve Avery may have been thrown into the fire a little too early, but his talent level even at a young age had expectations high as he joined the Atlanta Braves’ talented starting pitching core nicknamed – ‘The Young Guns’.  To be considered on par with Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, and Tom Glavine must have been wonderful, and yet stressful, for Avery.

Avery made his debut with the Braves in 1990 and didn’t fare well as he finished the season with a 3-11 record alongside his 4.02 ERA.  But as the youngest player in the game in 1990, Avery managed to impress the Braves’ management enough to remain in the pitching rotation and his hard work began to pay off.  In 1991, Avery went 18-8  while finishing in 6th place for the Cy Young Award.  The next year he declined a bit as he went 11-11 but then thrived in 1993 by going 18-6 and earning his lone trip to the All-star game.

Unfortunately Avery suffered an injury to his pitching arm in late 1993 and he would never be able to recover the success he had for the Braves.  Prior to the injury Avery had a regular season record of 48-36, but after coming back from his injury he managed to go just 44-50.  Many blame the heavy workload and pressure to perform as the Braves’ 4th starter for his breakdown.  While the Braves’ were winning division titles one after  the other, the accolades went to their talented trio of pitchers and Avery became lost in the shuffle.

In 1997 Steve Avery joined the Boston Red Sox and pitched well for them for 2 seasons.  He was no longer the dominant guy that he was in the early 90′s but he performed well as their #2 starter.  The Red Sox kept his innings down and he managed to go 16-14 for them.  In 1999 he joined the Cincinnati Reds and posted a losing record of 6-7 with an enormous ERA of  5.16.  Steve Avery left the game after the 1999 season.

Avery attempted a comeback in 2003 as he wanted to give professional baseball one more attempt.  4 years after leaving the game, Avery joined his hometown team, the Detroit Tigers, as a relief pitcher.  He went 2-0 and played in 19 contests for the Tigers before finally hanging up his cleats for good.

Happy Birthday Mr. Avery!!!

Happy Birthday David Justice!!!

Happy Birthday David Justice!!!

David Justice turns 48 years old today.

Starring for four different teams during his 16-season big league career, David Justice was a baseball superstar for most of his playing days in the major leagues.

A player with a tremendous swing, Justice was able to hit monster home runs while maintaining a healthy batting average.  On 11 different occasions, Justice collected 20 or more home runs, including 2 seasons with at least 40 dingers.  He also compiled a .300 or better batting average four times.

Justice made the All-star team 3 times.  He won the Rookie of the Year award in 1990 with the Braves.  And most importantly, Justice competed in 6 different World Series match-ups, ultimately winning two championships.

Dave Justice was an impactful player for all of the rosters he was a part of.

Happy Birthday Mr. Justice!!!