Not one to miss out on an adventure, I packed the kids up and headed for Traverse City to a baseball card show. I really like the shows and seeing all of the cool memorabilia for sale. This kids picked up a stack of baseball and hockey cards, and the little guy got some cars and comics. The only thing I really collect now is the team sets from the places we’ve visited. It’s fun to keep track of the Minor League players this way. We were also lucky enough that signing at this show were two former pitchers from the 1984 World Series Champion Detroit Tigers, Dan Petry and Dave Rozema. Both players were very nice to the kids and loved talking baseball. Rozema arm-wrestled Brian for his World Series ring (he lost, darn it), but they shook hands afterward anyway. Rozema loved to tell stories of when he was in the minors and how the little ballparks compared to the ones today. Petry was also nice enough to get a photo taken with the kids and we talked some college hockey, as his son played for Michigan State. We really had a fun time and a good trip. The kids Papa also met us there from downstate, so it was good for the kids to visit with him, too. It was fun for me to meet these players, too, as the ’84 team was a fun memory from my childhood. Lily and Trevor are to the age where they’re starting to appreciate experiences like this now. I hope we can make it to the show in Grand Rapids this February to meet Denny McLain!
Photos property of M.I.B.
Monday night the Detroit Tigers will honor the 1984 World Championship team in a pre-game ceromony. All the greats will be on hand including HOF manager Sparky Anderson, MVP Allan Trammell, Lance Parrish, Kirk Gibson, Willie Hernandez and more. It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years since the Tigers won it all. Detroit had the best record in baseball that season with 104 wins on their way to the World Series. This is one of my favorite memories about being a baseball fan as a kid.
Luckily, I’ve had a chance to meet some of my childhood heroes through my Minor League baseball trips. A lot of these guys like to give back to baseball and coach in the Minors. It’s great seeing them instruct a whole new generation of players. So far off the the 1984 team I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Tom Brookens (West Michigan Whitecaps), Lance Parrish (Great Lakes Loons), Doug Bair (Dayton Dragons), and Barbaro Garbey (Peoria Cheifs). We also had a chance to meet John Wockenfuss this season, who was traded in 1984 in a deal to the Phillies to bring Willie Hernandez and Dave Bergman to Detroit. We got to meet pitcher Jack Morris, too, but he wasn’t coaching, just signing at a store opening in northern Michigan. Still, he has the most wins of any pitcher in the 80’s, so it was great meeting him. I can’t wait until next years trip to see who we can meet along the way.
Tom Brookens of the Whitecaps signs for the kids in 2007
Lance Parrish of the Loons signs some cards for the kids in 2007
Photos property of MIB