I put this post off, waiting until the outcome of the MVP race, but I did want to congratulate Mike Trout on winning the American League Rookie of the Year Award. He was basically a sure thing after his performance in the 2012 season. Trout was the unanimous pick for the award, as he’s not just the best rookie this season, but some say he’s the best rookie ever. He finished second in the league in batting average with .326, first in steals with 49 and runs with 129, third in on-base-percentage at .399, and third in slugging % at .564. His was pretty good defensively, too, robbing batters of four home runs, and 23 runs altogether. Trout also became the first player to win the MLB Rookie of the Month Award four months in a row. Then you hear him compared to guys like Mickey Mantle and things really start clicking. But with all his stats and steals and defense it still wasn’t enough to edge Triple Crown winning Miguel Cabrera for the MVP Award. It wasn’t all that surprising that Miggy won, I guess what surprised me is that the voting wasn’t a lot closer. So the Angels fans are probably feeling a little jilted, and they have a right to feel so, while the Tigers fans get a little reason to smile after the disastrous World Series. The voting really could have gone either way, though, and fans of both players have a reason to feel their guy is the best. All awards and voting and BS aside, though, nothing can take away the year that Trout had. The guy is 21 yrs-old. I’m sure within the next 20 years he’ll get his due. He’ll give Angels fans and all baseball fans alike some great moments in this sport.
When I saw him play back in 2010, he was a stand-out at the Single-A level at only 18. We sat in the front row right behind the on-deck circle, and he was nice enough to chat with us before the game started. He seemed pretty humble and had a great attitude about being a top draft pick. Then he hit the first pitch out of the ballpark. He had his own little cheering section, and he made sure his fans got a game ball. The whole game experience in Cedar Rapids was amazing, and watching a talent like Trout made it even better, especially the way he conducted himself. There’s nothing but good things for this guy in the future, and he’ll have a lot of fans rooting for him.
Photos property of Minoring In Baseball
Former West Michigan Whitecap Omar Infante was the only player to really show up in the World Series for the Tigers (other than the gallant pitchers, who literally had 0 run support…). All he really has to show for this is a broken hand, but, hey, at least he got on base, unlike the rest of his teammates. Maybe he and Sean Casey should start their own little club, or something…
Photo courtesy of the West Michigan Whitecaps
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.
Yesterday the kids and I headed south to a baseball card show that featured former Detroit Tiger and 1968 World Series Champion Jim Northrup signing autographs. Little road trips are always fun, and especially if you can meat an ex-big leaguer. The kids had no idea who he was, but are always up for an adventure. Northrup played well before my time, too, but I can appreciate what he did as a Tiger. I think that they were a little confused, too, as he really doesn’t look a lot like he did on his baseball cards anymore. Northrup was great with the kids, though, as he was with all of the fans who came to meet him. I think the older player really get what the fans and the game really meen better than some of the bozos who play today’s game. The kids each got a card signed and their Papa and I each got a baseball signed so it was a successfull trip. As for baseball cards, I really didn’t find anything I was looking for-although I still view cards as a hobby, not an industry (that could be an entire blog on it’s own). This helped us gear up for the games next month, though. Just a few weeks away.
Photos property of MIB
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