Sunday, July 30, 2023

Signature Sundays - July 30

 Hello Friends!

Well, as you  may have seen, yesterday there was no Stadium Saturday. I've mentioned before I've been struggling with my mental health lately and I was just overwhelmed trying to even decide on a topic yesterday. Between that and being social for a while, I ended up sleeping most of yesterday evening and just woke up at almost 4PM EDT today to do this post. 

So again, I decided to postpone my Stadium post rather than put out a subpar effort. 

Anyway, onto Signature Sunday Matters!

Today I do have a post. I have a nice card to show. 

Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins!
I have a couple of his autographs. There are a few players I ended up getting a couple cards of, but since they're different cards, I'm of course going to keep them. (I do, however, have an Ernie Whitt 86T duplicate that's autographed that I'm willing to trade) 

On one hand, I'm upset with myself for not getting the post out yesterday. On the other, I'm realizing sometimes I need to take care of myself.. 

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Signature Sundays - July 23

 Hello friends! 

Here's part two of the blog doubleheader!

Of course, this is the easier post, since it's a pic and a post lol

It's Bo Naylor!
His brother Josh is also on the Guardians and their brother Myles was drafted 39th by the Oakland A's. 
Just so you know, for those who may be wondering Bo also used the name Noah for the first couple years of his pro career. Noah is his real name. 

Stadium Saturdays - Shea Stadium

 Hello Friends!

Today I'm doing a Sunday doubleheader of sorts.. I wanted to get both the Saturday and Sunday posts out, but yesterday I was so beat after going out for a bit I ended up sleeping and then getting up way too late to really do this justice. So today I'm doing both the Stadium Saturday and Signature Sunday posts..

Today's stadium, as you can gather from the title, is Shea Stadium. The formal name was William A. Shea Municipal Stadium. 

The stadium was built in 1964 for the Mets, who spent their first two seasons in the Polo Grounds. 

The Flushing site was pitched to the Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley in 1957, but he refused because he couldn't agree to terms with the city. The city was going to have a hand in the construction and operations of the stadium, but O'Malley wanted to build it himself to have control over the operations and parking. Or shall I say, the revenue from said?

The other sticking point was O'Malley wanting the new stadium in Brooklyn. The city was insistent on the Flushing site. When Los Angeles offered O'Malley what he wanted, he decided to pack up and move to the west coast. 

The Mets came into existence when Shea was trying to help begin a third Major League, called the Continental League. The league disbanded when MLB agreed to expand, adding 8 teams. 

In order to get the stadium built, the team agreed to a substantial rent in order to pay the construction bonds. At the time, the State didn't allow public money to be used to build a stadium. 

The stadium opened five days before the World's Fair in New York. The Fair site was across the street from the stadium. For the Fair, the stadium had blue and orange steel panels on the outside. They remained on the stadium until 1980. 

At one time the foul territory was the largest in the Majors. As retrofits occurred (it was retrofitted after the Jets moved out) the foul territory was lessened. At one time there were plans to have this stadium fully enclosed, but that never came to pass. In the card above, you can kind of see the outline where the outfield enclosure would have gone. 

Shea hosted one All Star Game, in 1964. It hosted the Postseason in 1969, 1973, 1986, 1988, 1999, 2000, and 2006.

Tommy Agee was the only person to hit a fair ball into the upper deck in left field. In 1971 Dave Kingman hit a ball out of the stadium and hit the Giants' team bus parked behind the bullpen.
Shea Stadium also hosted the first and last games in Montreal Expos history. 

Here we see Shea in the football configuration. 

1975 was a busy year for the Stadium. The Mets, Yankees, NFL Giants, and Jets all shared the venue. The Yankees were here due to Yankee Stadium being renovated. The two NFL teams were waiting for Giants Stadium to be completed. Neither the Jets and Giants could play home games until after the baseball season was over. Since neither MLB team made the playoffs, the NFL had the park from October on.. 

Here we see Citi Field rising in the background.

You can see the orange panels in this photo.. 
In 1965, there were plans to add a glass dome and 15000 seats, but the Mets opposed the plan. The idea was scrapped altogether when engineers determined that the foundation wouldn't be able to support the additional weight.

When it came time to remove Shea Stadium, they needed to dismantle it rather than implode it, as NYC regulations don't allow implosion in city limits. After any salvageable memorabilia was taken, demolition began. Pairs of seats were sold for $869.

So who used this place??

The New York Mets (MLB) 1964-2008
New York Jets (AFL/NFL) 1964-1983
New York Yankees (MLB) 1974-1975
New York Giants (NFL) 1975
St. John's Red Storm (NCAA) 2000

Two personal things I'd like to add.. I did a painting of Shea Stadium based on a picture from Topps Magazine while I was in high school. I still have it. Maybe once I excavate it from my closet I'll take a pic and show people. 
The other thing I remember is hating playing games in this place on any baseball video game. I don't know what it was but I found it impossible to focus playing games. 

What say you? Any memories of Shea? Let me know!

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Signature Sundays - July 16

 Hello Friends!

As you can see, there was no Stadium Saturday post. Honestly the past few weeks I've been feeling low emotionally, mentally, and physically. I've had zero energy. As I put it to my CMHA worker, I just feel done with everything. And that includes being done with everything. 

Yesterday I didn't have the energy or the motivation to do a post that you, the awesome readers of this blog, deserve. I feel it's better to not do it than quarter-ass it.. 


It's Sunday! That means it's time to show another autographed card from my collection..

Today's card is Paul Quantrill. It's from that Leaf Signature Series they did where every card was autographed. 
Now, I just need to get an autograph of his son.. 

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Signature Sundays - July 9

 Hello Friends!

It's Sunday. Technically this is the second post I've done today since my stadium post launched after midnight.. (oops) but I digress..

Today's card puts another check in my "Canadian Player Autograph Card" collection/project.. 

Love those Marlins uniforms, though I love the original teal even more. 
He played for the Marlins, Reds, Rangers, Cubs, and Red Sox.
After retiring, he went into the Cubs' front office, pitched for Canada in the 2017 WBC, and started broadcasting Cubs games. 

Fun fact.. He was originally drafted by the Rangers, but was traded with Rick Helling to the Marlins for John Burkett.
He was born in Gibsons BC, which was also the setting of a long running Canadian series, The Beachcombers. 

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Stadium Saturdays - Tropicana Field

 Hello friends!

I was honestly debating on skipping today because I haven't been feeling the best, but I've already been down on myself and didn't want to give myself more ammo...


Today's topic is a field that seems to be one of the more.... Hated? fields around... Tropicana Field. The Juice Carton... 

Located in St Petersburg Florida. 
So, The Trop came into being because after Tampa got the Buccaneers and the Rowdies in the 70s, St Petersburg said "Us too!!" and started designs on a stadium to attract MLB to the area. Original designs were to be an open-air stadium with design cues from Kauffman Stadium. There was going to be a circus-tent like covering as well. 

This design was rejected due to the weather in Florida in the summer. Humidity and Thunderstorms. With the odd Hurricane knocking on the door.. They decided on a fixed dome design for this reason and started working on it in 1986. 
The first team it targeted was the Chicago White Sox, who were in a battle with Illinois government officials to get funding to replace Comiskey Park. 
In the early 90s, the Mariners and Giants were both rumoured to be moving to the Dome. 

It received its first tenant in 1991, with the Arena Football League's Tampa Storm. In 1993, the Lightning of the NHL used the facility for its home games for three seasons. During this time, the stadium went from being called the Florida Suncoast Dome to The ThunderDome....
In 1996 the Rays came into (future) existence. The Lightning and Storm moved to a new arena, and Tropicana Field underwent retrofitting to complete its intended purpose. 

Ebbets field was the inspiration for some of the upgrades. 

Of the upgrades, the turf was done a couple times. In 2007 the Ray tank was added where people could touch a ray. (I'm honestly surprised PETA doesn't have their knickers in a knot about this) 
Tropicana Field has also served as the "home" stadium for a couple other teams for a series. In 2015 due to rioting in Baltimore, the series that was supposed to be at Camden Yards was moved to Tampa. Baltimore served as the home team.
In 2017 due to flooding in Houston due to a hurricane, a Houston/Texas series was moved to the Trop. Oddly enough, two weeks later, a Rays home series against the Yankees was moved to Citi Field due to another hurricane. 

During the pandemic, World Wrestling Entertainment took over Tropicana Field and (re) renamed it The ThunderDome. They used the facility for all tapings and shows until the 2021 baseball season was ready to start, where they moved to another arena. 

Of course, this place has had a lot of criticism.. I'm not going to go over too much of it, mainly because we all know the big points.. The catwalks.. The fact it's far away from Tampa and hard to get to.. The fact it looks like a giant warehouse inside.. 
But there were issues before the place was even built. 

Where Tropicana Field sits was site of the Gas Plant district from the late 1800s to 1986. In the 1800s, St Petersburg started a recruitment drive to get people to settle in the area. A large community of African Americans moved to the area looking for work and a place to live and well.. Have a life like everyone else. The Gas Plant district housed 800 people. Business and churches sprung up and the area did well. 
In 1979, city council decided they needed to refurbish the area, as it "has seen better days" 
The original plan called for new affordable housing and industry in order to revitalize the area. By 1982, no plans had been submitted. A group finally submitted a plan that included the stadium. Council agreed. 
The residents of the area felt betrayed by council. They were given relocation and reparation packages with the understanding the area would be refurbished and be made a functioning community again. The result was a fracture in the relationship between the city and the African American community. 

The two ThunderDomes... 

So.. Speaking of ThunderDomes... Who used this place?????

Tampa Bay Storm (AFL) 1991-1996
Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL) 1993-1996
Tampa Bay Rays (MLB) 1998-now
St Petersburg Bowl (NCAA) 2008-2017
WWE ThunderDome (WWE) 2020-2021

There were some common knowledge things I intentionally left out like this being one of the barriers to future MLB expansion and the whole Montreal Bay ExRays....

But what say you? What are your impressions of the place?

Sunday, July 2, 2023

Signature Sundays - July 2

 Hello Friends!

It's Sunday! Meaning it's another day I pull an autographed care out of my collection.. 

Rounding out the Canadian weekend that is Canada Day weekend, we have an autograph of a Canadian player who stuck around for a number of years and had a pretty good career..

Matt Stairs! 

In his 19 year career, he played for 13 teams. 
Montreal, Oakland, Boston, Cubs, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Toronto, Texas, Detroit, Philadelphia, San Diego, and Washington.

(Montreal and Washington are different!) 

It's funny.. His Nicknames according to Baseball Reference are Wonder Hamster and Newf.. 

The problem of course is.... Newf is used for those from Newfoundland. Stairs is from New Brunswick.. 

Anyway.. I know the Star Spangled Spectacle of July 4 is coming up soon.. As many of my American friends wished me a Happy Canada Day, I wish you all a happy and safe Independence Day..

Saturday, July 1, 2023

It's Canada Day

 Today is July 1. That's Canada Day here in the Great White North. 

Of course, the first thing that everyone thinks of when they think of Canada is hockey. And  yes, we have had a number of excellent players. I think of baseball. 

There have been Canadians in baseball since the beginning, really. One of the first big names from Canada was Tip O'Neill

There is an award named after him. 
An interesting fact.. Former US Speaker of the House Thomas O'Neill was given the nickname "Tip" as a child after the ballplayer.
The Tip O'Neill Award is an annual award given out by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame to the Canadian baseball player "judged to have excelled in individual achievement and team contribution while adhering to the highest ideals of the game of baseball."

The next big milestone for a Canadian was becoming a manager. That was done by George Gibson in Pittsburgh

George Gibson was the first Canadian born manager in the Major Leagues. It took until Rob Thomson to become manager of the Phillies to get our second. 
We also had, between the 1910s and 1940s, players just as Russ Ford, Phil Marchildon, Dick Fowler, George Selkirk and Jeff Heath all making names for themselves in the Majors. 
George Selkirk not only took over Babe Ruth's position for the Yankees.. He also wore #3

Dick Fowler was the first Canadian to throw a no-hitter. The only other to do so is James Paxton. And that was in Toronto. 

The 50s 60s and 70s had guys like Ron Piche, Ron Taylor, Pete Ward, Claude Raymond, Fergie Jenkins, and Terry Puhl all showing up in the Majors. 

We also had some politicians show up in sports in the way of awards.. Lester B Pearson has an award named after him in the NHL and, in the 80s, there was the Pearson Cup, a cup that was contested between the Jays and Expos.

Fergie, of course, is the first Canadian born player to be elected to Cooperstown. Canadian players in general were still few and far between, but the floodgates would soon be opening. 

The 80s, 90s and 00s up to today have seen a number of Canadian born players
Rob Ducey, Jeff Francis, Jason Bay, Denis Boucher, Paul Quantrill, Cal Quantrill, Bo Naylor, Josh Naylor, Jordan Romano, Tyler O'Neill, Larry Walker, Mike Soroka, Eric Gagne, Russell Martin, Justin Morneau, Joey Votto and more have plied their trade in the Majors. 

Larry Walker is of course, the second Canadian in the Hall.. I'd like to think Joey Votto will be joining them.. 

Of course, in the history we can't forget about the teams.. Montreal and Toronto both started out as minor league cities with the Royals being in Montreal and the Maple Leafs being in Toronto. Over the years there have been teams in London, Hamilton, St Catherine's, Niagara Falls, Ottawa, Quebec, Trois-Rivieres, Thetford Mines, Sherbrooke, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Victoria, and Vancouver. 
The Expos moved to Washington to give them the third kick at the Major league can.. Just imagine if the 1994 season didn't end in a strike.. 
Toronto is still around, making a push for the playoffs each year lately. Hopefully we'll see a World Series win again soon..

Happy Canada Day, eh?