Daily Archives: February 4, 2011

The Most Special Andre Dawson Ticket Stub – EVER!!!

The Most Special Andre Dawson Ticket Stub – EVER!!!

A few months ago I showed off a ticket stub that I scored that was from the game in which Andre Dawson hit the 300th home run of his major league baseball career.

Well, I think that I have officially trumped that very special ticket stub with this little beauty….

What you see below is a stub from a game on September 11, 1976 – Andre Dawson’s big league debut!!!

On the road in Pittsburgh to take on the Pirates, Andre was called up to the majors as a late-season roster addition.  His Expos team was in last place in the division so giving ‘the rookie’ a chance to get in some time in the majors was the move that the Expos thought Dawson was ready for.

In the game, he had two official at-bats.  He went hitless in that game, striking out one time.

I own some very cool pieces of memorabilia that celebrate the fantastic career of Andre Dawson – but this is where it all started.  And while I thoroughly enjoy putting my thoughts into words, I am having a hard time finding the perfect word to describe just how happy I am to own this piece of Dawson history!!!

Enjoy.

Brooks Robinson 2009 Goodwin Champions – ‘Gold Glove’

Brooks Robinson 2009 Goodwin Champions – ‘Gold Glove’

Now this card here is a work of art!!!

If I had to select a baseball card to get signed by Mr. Robinson, this card from the 2009 Goodwin Champions set would get strong consideration…

Beautifully done, this card features a painting of Brooks in his old Orioles uniform.  And while I cannot ever recall seeing Brooks wearing an Orioles ‘B’ cap, I guess that anything is possible.

The cloud-filled sky in the background of the painting gives you the impression that Brooks is larger than life – and as a defensive infielder, he certainly was one of the greatest ever – probably Top 2.

Oh, and check out that ‘Gold Glove’ logo in the upper-right hand corner – TOO SWEET!!

‘My First Time’ – Lance Berkman – July 16, 1999

‘My First Time’ – Lance Berkman – July 16, 1999

The setting – The Astrodome, Houston, Texas

From Berkman – “I could barely stand.  My knees were just weak, I was so nervous.  Justin Thompson was pitching, and the first two guys got on against him, so now I’m ready.  Obvious bunting situation, and I’m so zoned in, I didn’t realize that they’re trying to call me back to get a better bunter in there!  I kept walking into the batter’s box, they announced me, and Dierker figured, ‘Well, I’d better let him stay in there, and we’d better let him swing away; he’s going to be too nervous to get a bunt down.’  So, second pitch, I bang into a double play and kill the rally.  I ended up 0-for-my-first-10 and 2-for-my-first-21.’

The Boxscore – Astros 2, Tigers 1 in inter-league play.  Berkman goes 0-for-1.

Marlins Ace Josh Johnson Is Ready For The 2011 Baseball Season To Begin!!!

Marlins Ace Josh Johnson Is Ready For The 2011 Baseball Season To Begin!!!

By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com

MIAMI — Claiming the National League ERA title was rewarding, but Josh Johnson would have traded the distinction for a chance to have finished last season healthy.

Due to a strained back muscle and a sore right shoulder, the Marlins shut Johnson down after a Sept. 4 start.

The two-time All-Star and ace of the staff finished up with an NL-best 2.30 ERA to go along with an 11-6 record in 28 starts. With better fortune, his win total would have been much higher. Johnson exited seven starts with a lead only to settle for a no-decision. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that was the most of any starter in 2010.

“Everybody talks about the ERA,” Johnson said. “But I would rather have thrown 220-plus innings or however more innings I could have thrown. But it worked out the way it did.”

By missing the final three weeks of 2010, Johnson finished with 183 2/3 innings and 186 strikeouts.

“Just sitting and watching those last couple of weeks, it wasn’t fun,” Johnson said. “It was tough to even go to the dugout. That’s how mad I was. I didn’t want to give a negative vibe on the bench. It was tough.

“I want to be out there with the team and be one of the guys who helps us win, and not just someone who can’t do anything about it.”

Now fully healthy, Johnson is eager for the start of Spring Training, which begins Feb. 18 at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla.

The 6-foot-7 right-hander, who turned 27 on Jan. 31, spent the offseason at his new home in the Las Vegas area.

After spending months training at the Philippi Sports Institute, Johnson arrived in Jupiter last week, where he has been training at the Roger Dean Stadium complex.

Already, he has thrown three bullpen sessions in Jupiter, and he has another one scheduled for Friday. Before leaving for Florida, he tossed off the mound three times at his home in Nevada.

A longtime resident of Oklahoma, Johnson and his family had an eventful past few months. In December, his wife, Heidi, gave birth to their second son, Cruz.

About a week before the birth, Johnson began his throwing program, first long tossing off flat ground before working his way to the mound.

Right now, everything is on pace for him to be Florida’s Opening Day starter on April 1 against the Mets at Sun Life Stadium.

While he missed the final three weeks of 2010, Johnson will head into Spring Training workouts with no restrictions.

As part of his recovery in recent months, Johnson specialized his training routine in hopes of preventing another injury setback in 2011. He was recommended to go to the Philippi Sports Institute in Las Vegas.

At the 2010 All-Star Game, Johnson met a friend of Jason Giambi, who also has trained at PSI, which is owned by Mark Philippi, a strongman competitor.

“I did a lot of core stuff,” Johnson said. “I thought I did a lot of core stuff before, but after working with this guy, I realized it wasn’t enough.”

Johnson has refined his diet, and he is doing more distance running. His weight is at 250, and he expects to drop five more pounds by the start of Spring Training.

“I’ll probably be at 245, which is down a little from the past,” Johnson said.

As a preventive measure, Johnson plans on training his core more and working to keep his back loose for the entire season.

More than his shoulder, his back bothered him most in 2010. He felt discomfort in July and pitched through it in August before he was shut down in September.

“The back pretty much caused the shoulder [issue],” Johnson said. “The shoulder just was sore. I went to a chiropractor. It’s fine.”

Johnson plans on doing his stretching and strengthening exercises throughout the season, which is a change in his conditioning program.

“Even if it feels good, you have to make sure you are doing the right stretches,” Johnson said.

One of the hardest throwers in the game, Johnson says he feels his arm strength is building up.

“You just have to wait until you throw more ‘pens,” he said. “Right now, my velocity feels pretty good.”

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Andre Dawson To Join Florida Marlins On Overseas Troops Visit

Andre Dawson To Join Florida Marlins On Overseas Troops Visit

By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com 

MIAMI — A couple of years ago, Marlins special assistant and Hall of Famer Andre Dawson had the sobering experience of visiting wounded soldiers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.

It was during a series with the Nationals, and several members from the Marlins stopped by the military hospital in a show of support for the troops.

“The touching part was the ages of a lot of the patients,” Dawson said. “When I say their ages, they were very young. I could only imagine at that point how many kids were over there. 

What their life was like. You’re talking about 20, 21, 22. That’s when they should be enjoying their lives, but they’re taking the liberty to go out and to represent their country.”

In the upcoming days, Dawson again will get a better understanding of military life. The 2010 Hall of Fame inductee is part of a Marlins contingent heading overseas to visit United States troops in Germany and Southwest Asia as part of the “Caravan of Troops.” The trip begins on Thursday, as those selected will travel to Washington before heading overseas. They will return on Feb. 11, which will then kick off the organization’s annual caravan, which leads into the start of Spring Training, which is Feb. 18 for Florida.

For the second straight year, the Marlins are working with Armed Forces Entertainment (AFE) to reach out to those serving their country.

The contingent includes outfielder Logan Morrison, catcher John Buck, team president David Samson, special assistant Jeff Conine and Dawson. Also part of the group are Sean Flynn (Marlins senior vice president of marketing), John Sulser (Fox Sports Florida Marlins game producer), Boris Menier (Marlins marketing supervisor) and three members of the Marlins Mermaids dance team.

“As long as Armed Forces Entertainment will continue to make these trips, the Marlins will continue to go on these trips,” Samson said. “It’s something we care very deeply about. We always say we run a baseball team. We are here to entertain people. To the extent we can bring that entertainment overseas is something that we’ve always wanted to do. We’re proud that we are a team that does it.”

In 2010, representatives from the organization traveled to Iraq and Kuwait. Chris Coghlan, John Baker and president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest were part of that trip.

Initially, Dawson and Conine were supposed to go to Iraq and Kuwait. But Dawson had to cancel once he was selected into the Hall of Fame. Conine was unable to go because the dates overlapped his annual charity golf tournament.

As part of the 2011 trip, the Marlins will visit wounded soldiers at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

After seeing soldiers at Walter Reed, Dawson is better prepared for what he will experience at Landstuhl.

“To see some of the injuries they sustained, and to see individuals [with lost] body parts and with amputations, that’s touching,” Dawson said.

As a player with the Reds a few years ago, Conine also experienced life at Walter Reed.

“The first room we went into, a 19-year-old kid had a bullet rip open his entire digestive track,” Conine said. “He had been there six months, after he had already been on the battlefield. He will never be the same. It was hard for me to realize that. I am old enough to be his dad, and he’s got a dad out there somewhere who knows that his kid is forever changed.”

Like last year, two active Marlins will be on the trip. Morrison, 23, is going in honor of his father, Tom, who passed away from lung cancer in December. Tom Morrison previously served in the Coast Guard.

“When David asked me to do this, my only answer was yes, with my father being in the military,” Morrison said. “It was a way to honor him.

“I think the Marlins have a really good grasp on reality. The troops do what they do over there so that we can play a game for a living. I think that is really special and something that needs to be recognized, not just once a year, but year-round. As long as we have [troops] over there, I’d be willing to go over there and see them.”

Buck, a free-agent acquisition, will be meeting the group in Washington. In all, the Marlins will be spending about 32 hours in transit over the next eight days.

The members of the Marlins are bringing their gloves, and they plan on playing catch with the troops. They’ll also be handing out caps and shirts, as well as interacting with the soldiers.

The team also is striving to set up a Super Bowl watch party with the troops. Because of the time difference, the football game will start about 2:30 a.m. on Monday.

“This is a whole new group this year going,” Samson said. “That ensures that everyone in our organization has a chance to really give back to soldiers all around the world.”

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.