Archive for the ‘ Obituaries ’ Category

R.I.P. ‘Back in the Game’

bitg1Goodbye to the TV show, Back in the Game. We hardly knew you. That fact, however, is no fault of our own. The higher ups at the flailing American Broadcasting Company made the decision to cancel this great show after airing only ten episodes. As of this time, there are no plans to air the remaining three. Really? Why not just let the show runs it’s course with all thirteen episodes shown, and make a decision from there. If the genius’ that brought us Three’s Company and Mork & Mindy were still running things at ABC, I’m sure Back in the Game would have been picked up for at least another season. For those who have yet to enjoy this show, it’s about a single mom who moves back in with her dad (a former professional baseball player), and coaches her son’s Little League team. After playing baseball and softball all her life, she makes a great coach, and a better mother. I have to admit, though, it’s easy to become smitten by Maggie Lawson‘s character, Terry, Jr. She’s seriously cute, and her character is simply a great person. James Caan plays Terry’s dad, The Cannon, and steals the scenes when he’s on like Ricky Henderson taking second base. It’s a great show about family, with baseball as the backdrop. Although compared to the Bad News Bears, the Angles (miss-spelled from Angels) are a unique bunch. This weeks episode even featured our own former Fox Sports Detroit Girl, Allison as a guest star. If you haven’t had a chance to see the show yet, you can check it out on ABC.com or Hulu-Plus. If you like what you see, please sign the petition to save this show HERE.

JAMES CAAN, LENORA CRICHLOW, JJ TOTAH, BEN KOLDYKE, MAGGIE LAWSON, COOPER ROTH, KENNEDY WAITE, BRANDON SALGADO, GRIFFIN GLUCKPhotos courtesy of Back in the Game/ABC

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R.I.P. Jim Northrup

Jim Northrup passed away yesterday in Holly, Michigan, and the baseball world lost a legend in his own right. Dubbed the ‘Grey Fox’, Northrup was born, attended college, played baseball, and passed on all in the Great Lake State of Michigan. He was born in the farming town of Breckenridge, and attended Alma College where he was a five-sport athlete. Not only did he play baseball, but was the quarterback for the football team, played basketball, ran track, and was on the golf team. His first love was baseball, and he signed with the Detroit Tigers in 1961 after turning down offers to play football for the Chicago Bears and New York Titans. Northrups best season with Detroit was in 1968, when he hit four grand slams in the regular season and one in the playoffs. He also helped the Tigers win the 1968 World Series over the Cardinals with a two-run triple of Bob Gibson in game 7. He patrolled the outfield of Tiger Stadium with fellow great Al Kaline, Mickey Stanley, and Willie Horton. His playing time increased during the ’68 Series when Stanley was moved to play shortstop. Northrup also played a short time with the Expos and Orioles, but retired after the 1974 season. The kids and I were lucky we were able to meet him last year at a baseball card show downstate. He looked so different from his baseball card at this time, I don’t think Lily and Trevor realized they were meeting the same guy. Northrup was so nice to them, though, and loved talking baseball with his fans. His playing days were well before my time, but as a fan of baseball and the Tigers, meeting him as a real thrill.

Photos property of M.I.B.

Farewell, Ernie

harwellauto.jpgI understand this is hardly breaking news at this point, but the passing of Ernie Harwell took place while I was on the road, and this is my first chance to post since. I’m not going to waste time going over Harwell’s great career as a broadcaster, because baseball fans are well aware of his exploits in and out of the booth. Like most Tigers fans, though, we grew up with Ernie on the radio. He was as much a part of the team as any of the players. Sometimes more so, as he was just always there. Enie was broadcasting games well before I was even born, so for so long he was all that I ever new when it came to listening to the Tigers. That’s an easy way to take thing for granted, though. I never had the chance to meet him, but my dad did and was able to get his autograph. There has been no one like him since, nor will there ever be again. Baseball lost a legend, but the world lost just a really good person. Thanks for the memories, Ernie.

Top photo property of MIB

Bottom photo courtesy of the Detroit Tigers

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RIP Mark ‘The Bird’ Fidrych

thebird.jpgA few months ago in a tragic accident, former Detroit Tigers pitcher Mark ‘The Bird’ Fidrych lost his life while working on a truck on his farm in Massachusetts. The details of the accident arn’t as important as the fact that he was only 54 years old, and left behind a wife and daughter. Our prayers go out to his family and friends.
I was actually only four years old when he made his major league debut. I can still remember how much fun he was to watch as a kid. I went to my first Tigers game in 1977, a year after Fidrych won the Rookie of the Year award, and made baseball fun again for so many fans. Due to injury, I never did see him pitch live, but that didn’t stop him from being my favorite player back then, and even now. One of my most prized possessions is an old baseball card of him that my mom cut off the bottom of a Twinkie box. The price guides will tell you it’s worthless. It’s bent, beat up, and doesn’t fit the mold of a ‘mint’ baseball card. To me, though, it represents a part of my childhood. I used to carry that card in my back pocket everywhere I went when I was in gradeschool. It was as important to me as my Star Wars toys that I cherished at the time.
I did have the pleasure of meeting Mark in 1995 at a card show in Mt. Pleasant. He was great with his fans and signed a card for me. I have always wanted my kids to meet him, tfidrych-walbeck.jpgoo, but that isn’t going to happen now. I did actually send him two cards in the mail to sign for Lily and Trevor (before Brian came along). He was nice enough to sign them and send them back. Mark is Lily’s favorite player, too, basically because she’s heard all of the stories from me and has seen all of the things I collect of his. All I can do, I guess, is keep telling the stories, showing the pictures, try to keep his legend living on. Pictured to the right is Fidrych at a Whitecaps game on 70′s night in 2007. So Rest in Peace, and in my opinion, the Bird is STILL the word.
Pictures courtesy of MLB
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