Category Archives: Birthdays & Anniversaries

1993 HEADLINE: Reggie Jackson Inducted Into Baseball’s Hall Of Fame

1993 HEADLINE: Reggie Jackson Inducted Into Baseball’s Hall Of Fame

On this day in 1993, Reggie Jackson was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

A colorful player both on and off the field, I am fairly certain that Reggie’s speech was a classic.  If only there was YouTube back in 1993…

A member of the ‘500 HR Club’, a league MVP, a 5-time World Series champion, and a Hall of Famer, it does not get much better than Reginald Martinez Jackson!!!

Happy Anniversary to Mr. October!

Happy Birthday Jose Fernandez!

Happy Birthday Jose Fernandez!

The Miami Marlins phenom turns 22-years old today.

He stormed into the league early in the 2013 baseball season and he quickly became a name getting national attention.  Jose Fernandez has the ‘IT’ factor.

During his rookie campaign, Fernandez made 28 starts, going 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA.  In 172 innings of work, Jose stuck out 187 batters while walking just 58.  He averaged 9.7 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched and also had a WHIP of .979.

Best of all, the city of Miami embraced him.  Surely part was due to his Cuban heritage.  But, he also displays an obvious love for the game as the smile he sports both on the mound and in the dugout were captured quite often on television.  Often the first player out of the dugout to celebrate wins and start walk-off celebrations, Fernandez’s joy of the sport spread through the team’s clubhouse as the Marlins had some of the most exciting end-of-game celebrations led by #16.

As he prepares to battle back from Tommy John surgery so he can reclaim his spot as the team’s ‘Ace’ during the 2015 baseball season, ’30-YOC’ wants to wish Jose Fernandez a speedy recovery and of course, a Happy Birthday!

Los Angeles Dodgers v Miami Marlins

1959 HEADLINE: Willie McCovey Makes His Debut With The Giants

1959 HEADLINE: Willie McCovey Makes His Debut With The Giants

On this day in 1959, Willie McCovey made his major league debut with the San Francisco Giants in a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

And I have to say that McCovey did pretty well in his debut – he went 4-for-4 while collecting 2 triples and 2 singles. Most importantly, the Giants beat the Pirates by a score of 7-2.

Back in ’59, who would have thought that ‘Stretch’ would go on to be a Hall of Famer with more than 500 home runs and 1,500 RBI on his resume.

Congratulations on a fantastic debut – and Happy Anniversary, Mr. McCovey!!!

Happy Birthday Vida Blue!!!

Happy Birthday Vida Blue!!!

Pitching legend Vida Blue turns 65 years old today.

Not only did Vida Blue win the Cy Young in his first full-time season as a starter, he also was the league’s MVP. Beat that!!!

Blue had a monster year in 1971 for the Oakland A’s. He went 24-8 with 24 complete games and 8 shutouts. Add that impressive record to his 1.82 ERA with 301 strikeout and you have one of the most impressive seasons by a pitcher during the decade of the 1970’s.

Vida Blue finished his career with a 209-161 record and 1,185 strikeouts. He finished in the Top 7 for the Cy Young award 5 times and was a 6-time All-star. Blue was part of the legendary Oakland A’s teams that won 3 consecutive World Series titles in 1972, 1973, and 1974. Blue pitched in 8 games in the Fall Classic and went 3-0, a perfect record on baseball’s biggest stage!!

Happy Birthday Mr. Blue!!!

1983 HEADLINE: Andre Dawson Captures Stolen Base #200 Of His Career

1983 HEADLINE: Andre Dawson Captures Stolen Base #200 Of His Career

On this day in 1983, Andre Dawson stole the 200th base of his career.

The achievement came during the 98th game of the baseball season for the Montreal Expos as they faced the Reds in Cincinnati.

The steal came in the top of the 7th inning and came against the great defensive catcher of the Reds, Hall of Famer Johnny Bench.

On the day, Dawson was 1-for-4 with a home run, 2 RBI, a run scored, and the 200th stolen base of his career.

Happy Anniversary Andre!!!!

Dawson stealing base

 

2010 HEADLINE: Andre Dawson Enshrined At Cooperestown

2010 HEADLINE: Andre Dawson Enshrined At Cooperestown

On this day in 2010, Andre Dawson was enshrined into the Baseball Hall Of Fame.

Unquestionably my favorite baseball player of all-time, I have so many fond memories of watching Andre Dawson perform in his Expos, Marlins, Red Sox, and Marlins uniforms. But it was his performance on July 25, 2010 in front of the library at Cooperstown that will remain engrained with me forever.

Executing a perfect speech while looking like a presidential candidate, Andre Dawson captivated me once again; more than 25 years after he first made an impression on me.

Congratulations and Happy Anniversary ‘Hawk’. One of the greatest sports moments of my life – provided courtesy of my favorite player!!!

Here is Andre’s speech from that fantastic day:

“Thank you, Commissioner Selig.

Congratulations to my fellow inductees, Jon Miller, Bill Madden, Doug Harvey and Whitey Herzog.

It’s an honor to be here with you both, though I’m surprised that they let this manager and this umpire sit so close together today.

It is both humbling and overwhelming to see the men sitting up here on this stage, to hear their names called before mine.

Thank you, gentlemen, for welcoming this rookie to your team.

All I ever wanted growing up was to be like Hank Aaron and Willie Mays and now I get to shake their hands and be treated as a friend. It’s an honor beyond words.

We’ve got a lot of Cubs in this group. Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins. These guys had to go through a lot to fight their way here, more than you will probably ever know. I admire you all a lot and I thank you for paving the way.

Ryne Sandberg, who was a teammate of mine for six years and I didn’t even know the man could speak until I saw him up here five years ago. My kind of player, never whined, never complained. Showed up every day, left it all on the field.

Speaking of the Cubs, thank you, Cub fans, for coming all the way out here. No fighting with the Cardinal fans now, but just make sure we all hear from the Cardinals fans the rest of the day.

I see Tom Seaver sitting back here. So, I saw him this morning at breakfast, too, and he wanted me to feel comfortable, so threw a breakfast roll past my head.

Bruce Sutter, I really hated that splitter, man. Still haven’t fixed my swing from having to face you.

Tommy Lasorda, he taught me how to get a free meal. He said eat half your steak and send it back and complain and get a whole new free one. You’ve got to love Tommy.

Rickey Henderson mentioned last year that when he was young he waited in a parking lot outside the Oakland Coliseum so that he could ask Reggie Jackson for an autograph. If I recollect, he said Reggie gave him an ink pad with his name on it.

In 1977 I met Reggie at a card show. I was very nervous, but I had just been named Rookie of the Year. So, I liked my chances of getting a signed picture. I asked Reggie for an autograph. Rickey, all he gave me was a candy bar with his name on it.

What a great day this is. I’m very grateful to the Baseball Writers Association of America for this tremendous honor and I thank you for the respect with which you always treated me and I hope you feel like I did the same to you.

I didn’t play this game with this goal in my mind, but I’m living proof that if you love this game, the game will love you back.

And I am proof that any young person who can hear my voice right now can be standing here, as I am. Like most of us up here, by the age of eight, I was using a busted broom handle for a bat and using rocks as a ball and by then I knew I was born to play this game. I dabbled in other sports, sure — my knees are proof of that — but baseball was my love. And baseball is where I belonged. And I found out quickly that if you love this game, the game will love you back.

It’s still a great game, too. It bothers me when I hear people knock the game. There’s nothing wrong with the game of baseball. Baseball will from time to time, and like anything else in life, fall victim to the mistakes that people make. It’s not pleasant and it’s not right. Those mistakes have hurt the game and taken a toll on all of us. Individuals have chosen the wrong road and have chosen that as their legacy. Others still have a chance to choose theirs. Do not be lured to the dark side. It’s a stain on the game, a stain gradually being removed.

But that’s the people, not the game. There’s nothing wrong with the game. Never has been. I think people just forget why we ever got involved in the game in the first place. When we were nine and ten years old, we just loved playing the game. What we found was that if you put your heart into this game, if you love this game, the game will love you back.

That’s why I made it here and anyone who can hear my voice right now can be standing here, as I am.

Look at me and these incredible men who make up the Hall of Fame. They are proof of that. There are many of us up here who had nothing, who came from nothing, who wondered if nothing was all there ever was. But look at us. There is hope. But you can’t get here by skipping school or disrespecting your parents or your teachers or your coaches.

And you can’t get here by dropping out of society. You can’t get here if you believe you have nothing to lose out on the streets. You have everything to lose. But in this game you have everything to gain. A lot of kids feel abandoned, and I understand that. Some of us know what that feels like. It’s a tough road and it’s unfair. But feeling sorry for yourself isn’t going to save you. Baseball can. Baseball can be your salvation. I am proof of that. And if you can hear my voice today, you can stand here, just as I am today.

As my grandmother used to say, “Take God with you. Get on your knees and believe it. Be thankful of the blessings before you receive them. If you can get left behind or you can get on board.”

Love this game and the game will love you back.

You don’t get to stand up here without the support of so many friends, family members, teammates, coaches and Managers. So, today, I want to start by thanking Paul Como, my coach at Southwest Miami Senior High School, who moved me from the infield to the outfield, and Coach Costa Kittles, who gave me a chance at Florida A & M University as a walk-on when no other college would look at me because of a knee injury.

Legendary field coordinator, Mel Debian, who didn’t let a knee brace scare him off and got me invited to a tryout camp. My college roommate, Paul Watson and my outfield partners in Montreal, Warren Cromartie and Ellis Valentine.

Another Montreal teammate, Gary Carter, who was arguably the best young catcher in the game, went by the name the Kid. But Warren Cromartie tagged him with the nickname Teeths, T-e-e-t-h-s, Teeths, because when the cameras came on, that’s all you saw from him. Amen.

We were fortunate that as young players we were able to look up to people like Vern Rapp, Jim Fanning, Dave Cash, Al Oliver, the consummate pro, and Hall of Famers Tony Perez and Dick Williams.

I really enjoyed my time around Pete Rose and I was the first guy to the park, and Pete was second. The only problem then is you had to listen to him talk for three hours before anyone else showed up.

In Chicago, I had a coach named Jose’ Martinez. If I wasn’t looking for him, he was looking for me. We put in a lot of time together in that outfield at Wrigley Field. Baking in that hot sun, and we weren’t just working on our tans.

We had a great manager in Don Zimmer. Zim treated me with great respect. And he’s a man who really loved the game. But you didn’t want to be around him when we gave away a game. I only thought I knew every curse word, but Zim, Zim made up some new ones. Don Zimmer, that’s a man who has given his whole life to the game of baseball.

Our closer was Lee Smith. He used to take batting practice with my game bats. He would pick out my pearls, as I called them, I would say Smitty, there’s a 15-game hitting streak in that bat. You can’t use my gamers in BP. He would just keep on walking. He said, yeah, that’s a nice one, Hawk, but I only swing with pearls. If you ask me, Smitty, Smitty ought to be sitting up here in one of these chairs.

Tim Raines should be up here, too. Raines was like a brother to me.

Shawon Dunston was like a little brother to me. He liked to say that I was old enough to be his dad. Funniest man I ever met, Shawon Dunston. Unfortunately, this is a family show and I can’t tell you a single Shawon Dunston story right now.

Goose Gossage was also a teammate in Chicago, one of my all-time favorites. The only player I know who drink a case of beer on a flight from Chicago to St. Louis and still be lights out the next day.

Thank you to all the doctors and trainers who managed to keep me in one piece. Well, maybe a few pieces. Okay, a lot of pieces. But they kept me on the field, they kept me playing. This is a very, very long list, but I’ll try to keep it to under 50 people.

From Montreal, trainer Ron McLean and Dr. Larry Cardinal. In Chicago, John Fiero and Dr. Michael Shaffer. Florida Marlins team doctor John Uribe and trainer Larry Stark. And the man who did my knee replacements, Dr. Vincent Burke. Physical therapist, Lisa Kurrens (phonetic), Ed Garabety (phonetic). Husband and wife team, Ryan and Marti Vermelia. Thank you all for keeping me upright and I know you all spent more time with me than your own families some of those years. Thank you.

Thank you to my cousin and off-season workout partner, Donald Napier. And to brothers Glen and Chip Sesselmann, for the use of their hitting facilities.

From the Hall of Fame, thanks to Jane Forbes Clark, Jeff Idelson and the Hall of Fame Committee for your hospitality, for your respect and for this wonderful weekend.

Thank you to the Montreal Expos organization for drafting me and giving me my start. You gave me my first ten years in the Major Leagues, the experience of a new culture, and playing across the border.

Thank you, Expos fans, for your kindness and your admiration.

Thank you to the Red Sox for simply wanting me.

And thank you to the Florida Marlins, people like David Dombrowski, David Samson and Jeffrey Loria, for giving me the chance to experience both playing and working at home.

I want to send a special thank you to Marvin Miller for being a pioneer to the players. And I want to thank my good friend and agent, Dick Moss, who had the idea to show up in Arizona, in Spring Training, in 1987 with no job, no contract and no uniform. The Cubs gave me a job, and for that I’m also thankful.

And from my heart, from my heart, thank you, Cub fans.

You were a true blessing in my life. I never knew what it felt like to be loved by a city until I arrived in Chicago. And though it wasn’t my way to show it, I can’t express to you enough how I appreciate what you did. You gave me new life in baseball when I arrived in Chicago and you are the reason I continued playing the game. I can’t thank you enough for how good you were to my family and me. You were the wind beneath the Hawk’s wings.

In 1987, I thought about giving up the game or maybe going to Japan. But I knew there had to be a place where the game could be fun again. I found that place. It’s called Wrigley Field. It reminded me that if you love this game, the game will love you back.

I wouldn’t be here without the love and support of my seven brothers and sisters. And a special thanks to my Uncle Curtis Taylor, who introduced me to the game of baseball and bought me my first glove.

And my Uncle John Taylor, one of my biggest supporters, who helped me to see it through when I was so homesick at Florida A & M.

My kids, Darius and Amber. Thanks for demonstrating the characters and mannerisms that every parent would want to see in their kids.

In the eyes of the world, you may only be two people. But in the eyes of two people, you are the world.

To my wife, Vanessa, who would get out of bed at 11:00 at night and get me ice bags and pain medication and more ice bags and anti-inflammatories and yet more ice bags because at times it was difficult for me to put two feet on the floor and do it, myself. Thank you.

And she put up with a lot in 20 years of baseball, wondering if I was ever going to take off that uniform. She put up with all the surgeries and all the rehabs, the crutches the bandages, the many hours a day of working out, having to watch me in pain through much of it. Could not have been easy and it took as much effort on her part as it did mine to get through those years.

Thank you, Sweety. I love you.

And you don’t arrive on this earth magically. There are some people to whom I owe a lot that are not here anymore. My Uncle Theodore Roosevelt Taylor, who played Minor League baseball and taught me so much. And my Uncle Matthew Napier, who coined the nickname “The Hawk” when I was a kid. My mother-in-law Lucille Turner, who just recently passed. She was a huge baseball fan and a big supporter of mine.

My grandmother, Eunice Taylor. I called her Mama. She helped raise me. She taught me to believe in myself and to believe in God. And without her, I never would have made it through high school, let alone college or the pros. She taught me that if you want respect, you have to give it first. She was an advocate of education. She always reminded people that baseball was recreation. She said education was a stepping stone to my future. Without it you’re not going to get very far. School first and if you have the talent to play baseball, someone will take notice.

My mom, Amanda Brown, died four years ago. And I miss her today as much as I did then. She was my mom. She was my dad. She was my big sister. My big brother. My best friend. She was my whole world for a very long time in my life. And I only wish she were here to see this. Before she passed, she dreamt of this moment, she dreamt of this day. She promised me it would happen. And my mother never, never broke a promise to us.

She said it’s inevitable, what God has planned, no man can change. More than anyone else or anything else, this is for my mom, who did the impossible every day, to raise a family and she taught her kids right from wrong. She kept it together and somehow got by. My grandmother and my mom were my true heroes. They gave me life, they gave me my daily bred and they gave me hope. They showed me the way to get through the day and to overcome obstacles hundreds of years old. They showed me how to live. They showed me the way out. They showed me the way here. They taught me to love and to hope and to believe in help from above.

So, I think of them day and all they sacrificed for me. I will not forget their struggle, not on this the greatest of days.

I’m not ashamed to say my mom was everything to me. And while she’s not here, she is still with me. I hope she looks down and she is proud of me. I love you, Mom.

Thank you, again, for this tremendous honor. I will never forget this day and I will never forget those who helped make it possible. I will never forget that it was my love for the game that propelled me and kept it going when times got tough.

I will never forget that if you love this game, it will love you back.

Thank you.”

Happy Birthday Barry Bonds!!!

Happy Birthday Barry Bonds!!!

Barry Bonds turns 50 years old today.

We are all entitled to our opinions, and I know that we all have them when it comes to Bonds. But, of all of the guys that have exited the game during the course of the last few years and are headed to Cooperstown, we saw sharp declines in their output – except for that of Barry Bonds. We saw it from Frank Thomas and Ken Griffey Jr. and John Smoltz and Randy Johnson and even my beloved Greg Maddux.  And while I don’t enjoy watching the demise of my baseball heroes, I do think that Barry Bonds was posied to give us more.

Bonds is the guy that I feel like he could have given us a lot more to watch. 3,000 hits was very close. As was 800 home runs. I would have liked to have seen him reach both milestones prior to his retirement from the game.

Easily one of the best hitters of his generation, Bonds worked very hard to get to that level.  He did that by learning on the job – becoming more disciplined at the plate, hitting the ball the other way, being disruptive on the bases.  He was a true menace – in a very, very good way.

Happy Birthday Mr. Bonds – you are missed by this fan!!!

Happy Birthday Nomar Garciaparra!!!

Happy Birthday Nomar Garciaparra!!!

Nomar Garciaparra turns 41 years old today!!

I have been racking my brain for the last few days trying to remember a rookie that has impressed me as much as Nomar Garciaparra did during his rookie campaign in 1997. And to be honest, if it wasn’t for Jerome Walton’s amazing year in 1989 and Mike Trout’s debut in 2012, I would say that Nomar’s rookie year is the most impressive one I have ever been witness to.

In the ’97 season, Nomar took the baseball world by storm. He collected 209 hits while ending the year with a .306 average. He belted 30 home runs, collected 98 RBI, and scored 122 times. He was also able to amass 44 doubles, steal 22 bases, and amazingly show enough patience as a hot-hitting rookie to strike out just 92 times. That season was certainly Nomar’s most highly decorated one too. He was an American League All-star and he won the Silver Slugger award, finished in 8th place for the MVP, and was the league’s Rookie Of The Year award winner.

The sky was the limit for Nomar and over the next 6 seaons, he finished in the Top 7 for the MVP award five times.

Happy Birthday Nomar!!!

Nomar

Happy Birthday Don Drysdale!!!

Happy Birthday Don Drysdale!!!

Don Drysdale had a very stellar 14-year baseball career that ultimately landed him among the greatest pitchers from his era.

Starting 465 games during that span, Drysdale earned a record of 209-166, while throwing 167 complete games including 49 shutouts.

His dominance continued into the post-season as he helped lead the Dodgers into 5 World Series championship match-ups, and 3 titles.

Drysdale was a 8-time All-Star and winner of the 1962 National League Cy Young Award. He is a member of the 1984 Hall of Fame class.

Happy Birthday Mr. Drysdale, they don’t make them like you anymore!!!

Happy Birthday CC Sabathia!!!

Happy Birthday CC Sabathia!!!

CC Sabathia turns 34 years old today.

Always the bridesmaid, never the bride, CC Sabathia always ranks as on the sport’s great pitchers, but he never quit gets the credit from the media for the tremendous efforts he has put into his 14+ season career.

Winning games at a 64% clip, Sabathia is a 6-time All-star and has won at least 13 games in 11 of his 14 seasons.

A dominant pitcher with very good control, CC hovers around the 2.8 K:walk ratio on a regular basis. And with a World Series championship under his belt, it should not be long before talk of him being one of the best of his generation starts.

It sounds like CC will be put on the shelf for the remainder of the 2014 baseball season.  Hopefully he can recover from his injuries and return to All-Star form in 2015.

Happy Birthday CC!!!!