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Posts Tagged ‘Hank Aaron.’

The Baseball World mourns the death of “Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks

Ernie Banks (photo by Scott R. Anselmo via wikipedia commons)

The baseball world was disappointed Friday when the Chicago Cubs had to announce that their beloved “Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks had passed away at the age of 83.

Fans on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posted photos of Banks with a note of how he had affected their life. Whether a Cubs fan or not, Ernie Banks was well-liked by anyone connected with baseball.

Despite many years of playing on losing teams in Chicago, the always-smiling, upbeat Banks always had enthusiasm for the game and was its best ambassador next to Hank Aaron and Yogi Berra

He was famous for always saying, “It’s a great day for baseball. Let’s play two”!

The two-time National League MVP in a 19-year career with the Cubs, had a .274 average with 2,583 base hits, 512 homers, 1,636 RBI’s in a Hall of Fame career. He played from 1953-1971. He hit 40 or more homers in a season five times. Other career highlights and awards include: 14-time All-Star, a 1960 Gold Glove winner, 2-time NL Home Run and 2-time NL RBI champion, Cubs retired his #14 jersey  and he was a member of the MLB Century All-Star Team.

He started his career as a shortstop and ended it as a first baseman.

Ernie Banks in 1955 on Bowman Baseball Card (Public Domain via wikipedia commons)

The one sad fact about his career, he never reached the postseason. Which is mind-boggling considering the Cubs in those days had some great players in Ron Santo, Ferguson Jenkins, Glenn Beckett, Don Kessinger, Billy Williams, Kenny Holtzman, Randy Hundley, Bill Hands and Phil Regan.

He reached the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility of 1977.

One fact that most fans don’t realize about Banks is that he was the Cubs’ first black player on 1953.

Banks signed with the Cubs in the fall of 1953. He made his major league debut at Wrigley Field on September 17 at age 22, and played in ten games. He became one of a handful of former Negro league players who joined MLB teams without playing a single minor league game.

In 1954, Banks’ double play partner during his official rookie season was Gene Baker, the second Cubs black player. Banks and Baker roomed together on road trips and became the first all-black double-play combination in major league history.

Milwaukee Brewers give Uecker a statue outside Miller Park

 

Bob Uecker (Brewers photo)

Milwaukee Brewers broadcaster Bob Uecker was never a great baseball player by any stretch of the imagination. But he is very popular with Brewers fans and baseball fans in general.

For that reason, the Brewers management unveiled a statue on Friday outside of Miller Park of the 77 year old icon.

The 7-foot bronze statue feature Uecker smiling with his hands in his pockets.

Uecker, who grew up in Milwaukee, affectionately dubbed “Mr. Baseball” by Tonight Show host Johnny Carson in the 1970′s, joins Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Robin Yount and Former Brewers owner and current MLB Commissioner Bud Selig as the fourth person to have a statue outside the main gates of Miller Park.

The 90-minute ceremony included members of  Uecker’s 80′s hit television show “Mr. Belvedere”, which ran for 117 episodes from 1980 to 1985. Other attending was former Milwaukee Braves teammate Joe Torre and former Brewers star reliever Rollie Fingers.

A righty all the way, Uecker’s claim to fame is that he hit a home run off of Hall of Fame lefty Sandy Koufax. His career totals include a .200 batting average with 14 homers, 74 RBI’s while playing for the Milwaukee Braves, St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia and Atlanta. He won a World Series championship in 1964 with the Cardinals and was awarded the Ford C. Frick Award in 2003 which puts him in the broadcast wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

 

Info compiled from Milwaukee Brewers, MLB, Radio & TV news

Thome bypasses Indians offer to stay; returns to Philadelphia

 

Jim Thome (file)

The Cleveland Indians brought Jim Thome back home to his original team during the second half of 2010. They even invited him to come back in 2011. He kept giving signals in the media that he was going to retire. But then, the Philadelphia Phillies called and he accepted.

The Phillies need Thome’s bat and ability to play first base due to the fact that they’re superstar first baseman Ryan Howard is recovering from surgery on his left Achilles tendon. Thome has not played first base since 2007, but says he’ll work all off-season working on his defense.

The 41-year-old Thome was a big  hit during his first stint in Philadelphia. He led the NL in homers with 47 in 2003 and 42 in 2004. Overall with the Phillies, he hit .260 with 96 home runs and 266 RBI’s.

He and the Phillies agreed on a $1.25 million, one-year contract last weekend.

In 2010, with the Minnesota Twins and Indians, the Illinois native hit .256 with 15 homers and 50 RBI’s in 93 games. He hit .350 with runners in scoring position.

In his career which also includes Cleveland twice, the White Sox and the LA Dodgers. He has a career average of .277 with 604 homers and 1,674 RBI’s. He is one of only eight players to hit more than 600 homers joining, Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Sammy Sosa and Ken Griffey, Jr.

 

Info courtesy of MLB & Philadelphia Phillies news

 

Veterans committee Hall of Fame ballot has Tiant, Finley, Santo, Hodges

 

Baseball Hall of Fame (courtesy of NBHOF via wikipedia commons)

The Baseball Hall of Fame Veterans Committee consisting of Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Al Kaline, Ralph Kiner, Tommy LaSorda, Juan Marichal, Brooks Robinson, Don Sutton and Billy Williams will have their hands full when they meet on December 5 at the winter meetings in Dallas.

The committee, totaling 16 members, will be looking at candidates from the “Golden Era” of baseball 1947-1972 to put the Hall for 2012.

The list includes Buzzie Bavasi, Ken Boyer, Charlie Finley, Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Allie Reynolds, Ron Santo and Luis Tiant.

Hodges was an eight-time All-Star, who helped lead the Dodgers to seven pennants and two World Series. As a manager, he led the New York Mets to their first World Championship in 1969.

Bavasi led the Dodgers to four World Series and eight NL championships when he general manager from 1951-1967.

Finley was owner of the Oakland A’s from 1960-1980. He was very colorful, as was his teams with their white shoes, different sets of uniforms involving, California gold, white and Kelly green. His teams won three World titles.

Candidates have to receive votes on 75 percent of the ballot to be elected to the Hall of Fame. Candidates elected will be inducted in July 22 festivities along with players selected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on January 9.

 

Info compiled from MLB, Baseball Hall of Fame, Radio & TV news

Jim Thome joins the 600 club in home runs

 

Jim Thome (file photo)

Minnesota Twins designated hitter Jim Thome became the eighth Major League Baseball player to hit 600 home runs when he reached the coveted milestone on Wednesday night by hitting two at Detroit’s Comerica Park against the Tigers.

He belted a 2-run homer in the sixth inning for career #599.

He came back in the seventh and clubbed a 2-1 pitch from the Tigers Daniel Schlereth for a 3-run homer. Thome was met at home plate by his teammates and family members.

The Twins beat the Tigers 9-6.

THE 600 HOME RUN CLUB INCLUDES:

762 – Barry Bonds

755 – Hank Aaron

714 – Babe Ruth

660 – Willie Mays

630 – Ken Griffey Jr.

626 – Alex Rodriguez

609 – Sammy Sosa

600 – Jim Thome

Thome began his career with the Cleveland Indians in 1991. He has also played for Philadelphia, the Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers before winding up with the Twins.

The lef-handed hitting slugger was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 13th round of the MLB Draft.

 

Info compiled from MLB, Minnesota Twins, Radio & TV news

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