I would have posted these items sooner today but I’ve been consumed by the game Word with Friends on my iPad and iPhone. Who knew a Scrabblesque game could be so darn addictive?
Finally, Happy Birthday to the biggest Tigers fan in my family, my Dad.
When I was just starting to collect baseball cards, the first thing I always did upon opening a new pack was to flip the card over to see if the player ever was a member of the Tigers.
Because my memory latches on to such random things, I clearly remember when I turned over the 1977 Topps Woodie Fryman card and saw that he played for the Tigers from 1972-74.
Fryman passed away on Friday in Lexington, Ky., at the age of 70.
Fryman won 141 games from 1966-83 with the Expos, Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies, Detroit Tigers, Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs. He pitched primarily in relief late in his career, saving 17 games for Montreal in 1980.
Fryman had four career one-hitters – including a nearly perfect game when he was a Pittsburgh rookie. He gave up a leadoff hit to the New York Mets, the runner was caught stealing and Fryman didn’t allow anyone else on base.
In 1972, Fryman joined the Tigers in the middle of the season and went 10-3 with a 2.06 ERA for them, helping Detroit win the American League East.
He was elected to the Expos Hall of Fame in 1995.
I was too young to see Fryman work his half-season magic. Do any of you remember seeing him pitch for the Tigers?
- My friend Chuck passed along this story which appeared last week in The Wall Street Journal. The piece focuses on Bill “Pappy” Holcomb, a 71-year-old retired autoworker, who’s ending his 22-season Tigers Fantasy Camp career.The main thread of the story is the aging of Fantasy Camp attendees:
The Tigers this year had 190 campers, with an average age of 54. In 1985, the average age was 44. Teams that started their camps more recently tend to have a lower average age, around 50, but they also find themselves catering to older, more-infirm players.
Be sure to view the slideshow that accompanies the article. You’ll see a photo that includes Steve Kemp.
- In our most recent Fungo Flash Poll we asked, If you could choose one, which Tigers killer would you like to see in Detroit?
- Grady Sizemore (20 percent, 199 Votes)
- Denard Span (17 percent, 171 Votes)
- Joe Nathan (16 percent, 162 Votes)
- Jim Thome (13 percent, 129 Votes)
- Carl Pavano (12 percent, 116 Votes)
- Paul Konerko (11 percent, 106 Votes)
- Michael Cuddyer (9 percent, 85 Votes)
Others receiving votes: Joe Crede, Luke Scott and, based on an interesting perspective, Todd Jones.
I was stunned to see Sizemore earn the most votes and expected to see Konerko or Thome at the top.
Thanks to the nearly 1,000 voters in this poll. Watch for another poll soon.
- I’m still amazed that the Tigers cut ties with Jeremy Bonderman. As I said on the podcast last week, the Tigers could certainly use someone of Bondo’s caliber for spot starting a la Eddie Bonine or Chad Durbin, et al. Instead it looks like he’s headed to Cleveland and the Plain Dealer‘s Terry Pluto explains why:
They did offer him a minor-league contract, but he rejected it. The market for Bonderman is slim because of that 6.50 ERA (and 13 HR in 73 innings) after the All-Star break — when his average fastball dropped from 92 mph to 88. The Indians believe fatigue was the reason.
The Indians are looking at Bonderman because you can never have enough starting pitching.
Apparently the Tigers think you can.
- This story isn’t Tigers related but it’s fascinating nonetheless. If you’ve followed the Bernie Madoff story even peripherally over the past few years, you know the devastation his Ponzi scheme has inflicted on countless people.This article in The New York Times provides a window into Madoff’s ties to the Mets’ owners — and what role Madoff played in managing the deferred income included in player contracts.
Finally, if you, like me, are a sucker for the Dos Equis commercials featuring The Most Interesting Man in the World, The New Yorker introduces us to the actor who plays him.
Stay thirsty, my friends.
Not sure if this makes the postseason more or less interesting to you, but if you watch each league’s division series you’ll likely to see lots of former Tigers:
Is it just me or were there a lot of Aug. 31 trades made back in the day? Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s it seemed that Oakland was always adding a big name at the deadline — Willie McGee, Ruben Sierra, Harold Baines. Just asking.
I’m all over the board this morning:
- Remember Macay McBride? He spent this season on Toledo’s DL and is a long, long shot to make the 2009 Tigers. Nevertheless, today’s his 26th birthday. (Happy Birthday to infield coach Rafael Belliard, too. He’s but a pup at 47.)
- According to Baseball Reference, 100 years ago today “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” was introduced by singer Billy Murray. The song writing team of Albert Von Tilzer (music) and Jack Norworth (lyrics) created the song having never seen a game.
- Thirty-five years ago this week the Tigers acquired Ben Oglivie from the Red Sox for Dick McAuliffe. If the Tigers had held on to Benjie instead of dishing him off to the Brewers for Jim Slaton a few years later, Oglivie-for-McAuliffe could’ve been the steal of the decade.
- For some reason this year’s postseason seems to be painfully long. I’m already tired of Tropicana Field, Fox’s closeups and, of course, Tim McCarver. And who thought cowbells in a domed stadium was a good idea?
- In one week, the World Series will be over and teams can start making trades. I’m eager to see if the Tigers are trigger happy again this year. Somehow I doubt they’ll jump into any moves before the Winter Meetings. You?
Finally, while the Rays are the fashionable pick in the Series, find it in your heart to root for former Tigers Chad Durbin and Matt Stairs.
Go Blue. Go Green.
Are you kidding me?When Mike first broached the possibility of Dave Dombrowski‘s blockbuster this afternoon late this morning by forwarding me Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal I thought it must’ve been some posturing and cheap talk.When I nosed around ESPN.com and saw Peter Gammon‘s blog entry saying there was some validity to it I let my mind wander a bit as to what the lineup would look like.When fellow teacher and baseball coach Paul Diegel e-mailed with news his buddy told him the deal was happening (Maybin and Miller straight up for the two), I knew it was too good to be true, and put those pipe dreams to bed.By the time I left work this evening and turned on sports yappers it was apparent there was still some smoke billowing up from these smoldering trade talks.And finally, when I heard Steve Phillips on WXYT say it was pretty well done I darn near drove off the road.I do realize the ramifications of this deal – a farm system left as barren as an 85-year-old post-menopausal woman – but I also realize this deal isn’t quite the same as that Smoltz-Alexander deal of 20 years past. For starters, Dontrelle Willis (25) and Miguel Cabrera (24) are nowhere near as long in the tooth as Doyle Alexander (37) was in 1987.Sure, the Tigers gave up a ton of prospects, but they did so for two bonafide Major Leaguers who haven’t yet reached their prime.I got no beef with the deal especially since it probably means Brandon Inge is on his way out of town. You aren’t really going to pay him $6-million+ a year to be a super-utility guy, are you? But hey, it’s not my money. If Mr. I gives the greenlight to this, then have Inge work as a catcher every chance he gets so he can take over for Pudge Rodriguez next year. With the offense that would be around him, Inge can return to his light-hitting catcher role for all I care.For his next move Dombrowski will no doubt try to move Inge, Marcus Thames, Chad Durbin, and Ryan Raburn for whatever prospects he can find. Certainly he needs to reload his minor-league pitching somehow.Of course my main questions walking away from this deal are as follows:Are there any other Dombrowski-era Marlins worth acquiring (what with Gary Sheffield, Nate Robertson, Edgar Renteria, et al)?How many times will Willis (a .508 sluggling percentage last year) pinch-hit this year?