Pete Kozma Returns

He’ssssss Back!!!! Welcome back to the fray Pete Kozma!! Lets see what you can do this time around. Here’s the media alert that was sent to me.

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that pitchers Jaime Garcia (left shoulder inflammation) and Michael Wacha (right shoulder stress reaction) have both been placed on the 15-day disabled list.  Garcia’s move is retroactive to June 21, and Wacha’s is back-dated to June 18. 

In addition, the Cardinals today recalled right-handed pitcher Eric Fornataro and infielder Pete Kozma from Memphis (AAA).  Both players are expected to join the Cardinals in Denver tonight for their series opener against the Colorado Rockies.
Fornataro, 26, was 1-2, with a 3.27 ERA and 4 saves in his 19 games (22.0 IP) for Memphis.  He has enjoyed a solid June, posting a 0.87 ERA and 3 saves in his eight games this month.  The 6-1, 225-pound rookie right-hander debuted for the Cardinals earlier this season, appearing in seven games (7.2 IP).
Kozma, 26, began the season on the Cardinals Opening Day roster, but appeared in just four games (1-for-3; .333 BA) before being optioned to Memphis on April 14.
At Memphis, Kozma has compiled a .234 batting mark (44-for-188) in his 59 games played with 4 home runs and 24 RBI.   Kozma has shown consistent success against left-handers, batting .295 (13-for-44) with a .941 OPS and he continues to excel with runners in scoring position, batting .306 (15-for-49) with 21 of his 24 RBI coming in those situations.  Kozma hit .322 (37-for-115) with runners in scoring position last season while serving as the Cardinals everyday shortstop.
Fornataro wears uniform no. 67 and Kozma wears no. 38.
Source: St. Louis Cardinals.
Advertisements

United Cardinals Bloggers Annual Dinner

 
Once again I had a wonderful evening with my fellow Cardinals Bloggers at Joe Bucks Restaurant near Busch Stadium. This evening was a blast for me, not even the thunderstorm rained on my good fortune but I will get to that later. I was able to see and talk with people I know and was able to give some good advice to some of the Bloggers on how to improve their Baseball Blogs. I have to add that the food at Joe Bucks was superb. The highlights for me was meeting Media Relations Director Geoff Goldman. Once I introduced myself he responded with “I know who you are”. I was wondering if this was a good thing or bad thing. I soon learned that part of his job was to stay in touch with our Blogs. It was also fun to see that the Fox Sports Midwest Girls showed up for the festivities.
Towards the end of the evening we received the door prizes goodie bag thanks to Rob and Sally Rains. It included a silver color small bat with Matt Carpenter and Yadi Molina’s name on it, candy, and headphones with a StlSportsPage pouch. So here is the exciting news. I had bought a raffle ticket for a four tickets to a game that includes a tour of the Fox Sports Midwest Studio. So there could be a chance to meet two of the following…. Pat Parris, Jimmy “The Cat” Hayes, Jim Edmonds, Andy Benes, Tim McCarver, Al Habrosky, Jason Isringhausen and Ricky Horton. I am totally excited about winning these tickets!!
 
 

My Goodbye to Tony Gwynn

 

In 2009 during the All Star activities at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis I stood in the same room where Tony Gwynn was holding a hitting clinic with all ages of kids that wanted to learn how to hit. At that time my son Gabe was four years old. I tried to get Gabe to go up to him to say hi but he wanted to run the bases. I was just amazed how his energy just transferred over to the children that spent an afternoon of hitting with him. A few times I wanted to go over to talk to him and maybe get an autograph but I didn’t. I was just amazed that I was standing in the vicinity of greatness. This morning I found out that Tony Gwynn died of cancer at the age of 54.  What an amazing career he had. He spent twenty years with the Padres and accumulated 15 games All Star appearances. Other accolades included five gold gloves, seven sliver slugger awards, eight batting titles, Branch Rickey Award, Roberto Clemente Award and Lou Gehrig Award. No wonder he is a Hall of Famer. Tony was a student of the game. He studied the pitchers by video tape before that became popular with other MLB teams. He also had the highest career batting average against pitchers. With an minimum of fifty at bats and including postseason here are some stats for some of the pitchers during his career.
.444 John Smoltz
.441 Ron Darling
.415 Greg Maddux
.379 Bryn Smith

Just an amazing talent. My thoughts and prayers  goes out to the Gwynn Family.

Cardinals Call Up Nick Greenwood

The St. Louis Cardinals announced prior to today’s series finale with the Washington Nationals, that they have purchased the contract of left-handed pitcher Nick Greenwood from Memphis (AAA) and optioned outfielder Randal Grichuk to the triple-A affiliate.

The 6-1, 180-pound Greenwood was 3-3 with a 2.61 ERA in 22 games (three starts) for Memphis this season, limiting the opposition to a .221 BA in his 41.1 innings pitched.  Greenwood, a native of Farmington, Connecticut, was 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA in his three games started, the most recent on June 1 at Oklahoma City.
The 26-year-old Greenwood will be making his Major League debut with his first appearance, becoming the fifth player to debut with the Cardinals this season, joining Grichuk, Greg Garcia, Eric Fornataro and Oscar Taveras.
A veteran of 218 career minor league games (47 starts), Greenwood was acquired by the Cardinals from San Diego on July 31, 2010 in a three-way trade with the Padres and Cleveland Indians that also sent pitcher Jake Westbrook to St. Louis.
Greenwood has been assigned uniform no. 62.
Source St. Louis Caedinals

Ooooh LaLa its Jon Hamm Bobblehead Night!

On Monday, August 18th the Cardinals will celebrate Hollywood actor and St. Louis native Jon Hamm during the first-ever Jon Hamm Night at the ballpark.

                The Million Dollar Arm and Mad Men star will throw the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Cardinals taking on the Cincinnati Reds at 7.15 p.m. All fans who purchase the special game ticket will receive an exclusive Jon Hamm bobblehead.
                “Jon Hamm is one of the greatest ambassadors for Cardinals baseball,” said Dan Farrell, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “Whether he’s photographed walking down the street in his lucky Cardinals cap, or talking up the team on late night television, he’s one of our biggest fans. We’re really looking forward to hosting this event with him.”
                A limited number of VIP ticket packages are also available for the event. In addition to the bobblehead, VIP ticketholders will be able to take their photo with the homegrown star during a pre-game meet-and-greet.
                “I am beyond thrilled and tremendously honored that the St. Louis Cardinals are having “Jon Hamm Night” at Busch Stadium. I have been a fan of the team since before I can remember and participating in a night like this is simply mind-blowing. I’d like to thank the team, the organization, and the fans for participating in what I hope will be a fantastic night for everyone but the Reds.”
                Tickets and VIP packages for Jon Hamm Night at Busch Stadium are on sale now at cardinals.com/theme. For each themed ticket sold, a portion of the ticket price will be donated to Jon’s charity of choice, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
                A graduate of John Burroughs High School and the University of Missouri, Hamm rose to fame starring as Don Draper in the hit AMC television series Mad Men. Most recently, the avid Cardinals fan merged his love of baseball and acting for the role of J.B. Bernstein in Disney’s feel-good baseball tale Million Dollar Arm
                Jon Hamm Night is just one of the many unique personalized Theme Ticket promotions planned for the 2014 season. Theme Tickets are customized promotions that allow a select number of fans to celebrate a common interest while enjoying access to a unique promotional item and/or exclusive pre-game event. Targeted around different occupations, organizations, communities, celebrities and more, Theme Tickets let fans enjoy the game in a whole new way. 
                                                                                         

                                                                                 

source: St.Louis Cardinals
 

Are the Cardinals interested in David Price?

The last time I heard David Price’s name connected to the Cardinals was at the beginning of the 2014 season. It was Paul White of USA Today that wrote about a potential trade between the Cardinals and the Rays that would send Oscar Taveras and Michael Wacha to Tampa Bay for David Price. I cringed when I heard about this. I would hate to see both great potential players like Wacha and Taveras for Price. During my morning breakfast I was reading Bernie Miklasz’s article about the MLB trade market and his comments on what the Cardinals might be up to. First of all I would tend to think that the Cardinals would be in search of a power bat like Giancarlo Stanton or Carlos Gonzalez but think again Cardinal fans, Mozeliak just might be looking for a top notch pitcher like David Price. At this moment Price has a 4-6 win loss record but he had proven himself as a dependable starting pitcher. He earned a Cy Young award in 2012 and been selected to three All-Star games. David Price could be our second lefty that could very well be our headline pitcher and what a great addition he would be with Wainwright. As of right now he leads the AL in innings pitched (99.1), strike outs (111), and complete games (2).  At this time the Rays are 24-41 and ready to start moving players. So who would the Cardinals trade to get David Price. Well the Cardinals have what the Rays want, young players with fire in their bellies. So who would Mozeliak trade for David Price. In Bernie’s article he talked about Carlos Martinez, I would hate to lose  him but he would be a great chip with one of our young outfielders. So I wonder which outfielder, I would say the Cardinals will not trade Taveras, Grichuk, Piscotty or Bourjos which leaves Jon Jay, Matt Holliday or Alan Craig. I would think that Craig would be the sacrificial lamb. I really like the potential starting pitchers line up of Wainwright, Price, Miller, Wacha and Garcia. So this would send Lance Lynn to middle relief. This type of trade would definitely help the Cardinals in  the long run.

Sources, Paul White, Bernie Miklasz and MLB

Cardinals Top Draft Picks Close to be Signed

                                                                    Jack Flaherty
I was happy to hear that Jack Flaherty, Luke Weaver and Ronnie Wilson will soon be wearing Cardinal red. As of right now nothing is official until they pass there physicals. Out of these three pitchers I find Jack Flaherty to be the gem. Flaherty is a top notch power pitcher from Harvard-Westlake High School in California. Apparently Flaherty is committed to play baseball at the University of North Carolina. In order for the Cardinals to sign him, they would have to go way of the slot value of $1.6 million. It was thought by most MLB Draft Analyists that the Cardinals would not be able to sign him because of  his commitment to University of North Carolina.  Another interesting thing about Jack is that he is also comfortable at third base.

Here is Flaherty’s scouting report:

Flaherty first arrived on the national scene as a sophomore when he tossed a complete-game win in the opening round of USA Baseball’s 2012 National High School Invitational. Now he’s one of the more intriguing two-way players in the country. Flaherty could go on to play two ways for the University of North Carolina, and he does like playing the infield. Seeing him in the Tar Heels rotation and at third base isn’t a stretch. Most pro teams like him on the mound as a projectable right-hander who already has a good feel for pitching. Flaherty has a four-pitch mix, though none of the offerings grade out as better than average right now. He has a clean and easy delivery and the kind of frame that suggests he could add some velocity as he matures. The team that sees that projection in Flaherty, especially if he focuses on pitching only, and believes it can sign him away from his North Carolina commitment, will be the one to take the SoCal right-hander in the early rounds.
MLB

2014 MLB Draft Bloodlines

                                                                       Ryan Ripken

Today finished out the three day MLB Draft of 2014 with some very familiar names. The two names the stand out the most are Cal Ripken’s son Ryan and Mariano Rivera’s son Mariano Jr. Ryan Ripken was drafted in the 15th round by the Nationals while Mariano Jr. was drafted by the Yankees in the 29th round. It will be fun following the career of these budding future stars that stand in the shadows of their famous fathers. Another name that also popped up was Brandon Bonilla the son of Bobby Bonilla the five time All-Star for the Pirates. Brandon was drafted by the Orioles in the 751st round.
Other names that also looks very familiar are:

Nick Gordon picked by the Twins as #5 in the 1st round. His dad is pitcher Tom Gordon and his brother is Dee Gordon of the Dodgers.

Hunter Brothers (RHP, Lipscomb)
Brother of Rockies reliever Rex Brothers, selected in the 30th round (893rd overall) by the Rockies

.Logan Browning (LHP, Lakeland Christian HS)
Son of former Major League All-Star pitcher Tim Browning, selected in the 36th round (1,085th overall) by the Reds.

Grayson Byrd (SS, King’s Ridge Christian School)
Son of former All-Star pitcher Paul Byrd, selected in the 39th round (1,183rd overall) by the Braves

Luke Dykstra (SS, Westlake HS)
Son of former All-Star outfielder Lenny Dykstra, selected in the seventh round (223rd overall) by the Braves.

J.J. Franco (2B, Brown)
Son of four-time All-Star pitcher John Franco, selected in the 38th round (1,153rd overall) by the Braves.

Juan Gomes (C, Odessa)
Brother of Indians catcher Yan Gomes, selected in the 37th round (1,118th overall) by the Indians

Dominic Jose (OF, Stanford)
Son of former All-Star outfielder Felix Jose, selected in the 24th round (722nd overall) by the Yankees.

Brandon Leibrandt (LHP, Florida State)
Son of former Major League pitcher Charlie Leibrandt, selected in the sixth round (172nd overall) by the Phillies.

Montrell Marshall (3B, South Gwinnett HS)
Cousin of three-time All-Star Brandon Phillips, selected in the 12th round (365th overall) by the Reds.

Benito Santiago Jr. (C, Coral Springs Christian Academy)
Son of former All-Star catcher Benito Santiago, selected in the 38th round (1,138th overall) by the Giants.

Shane Zeile (C, UCLA)
Nephew of former third baseman Todd Zeile, selected in the fifth round (160th overall) by the Tigers.

I know I probably didn’t get everybody but these are the names that stand out to me the most. Good luck ton them all.

Don Zimmer a Baseball Legend Passes Away

I was sad to learn that Don Zimmer has passed away today. Zimmer’s health has been down hill since his in April due to a leaky heart valve. He has had kidney and diabetes problems since May of 2012. He will be sorely missed. I remember him so well during  his managerial years with the Cubs. I recall his 1989 team when they finished in first place but lost the NL Championship to the Giants. After his 1989 season he became Manager of the Year. During his three years with the Cubs he had a 247-239 record as the manager. This was the highest victory total for a Cubs manager since Leo Durocher’s 535 games that cover 1966-1972.  Zimmer also managed the Padres, Redsox and Rangers. Don Zimmer also had a host of different nicknames like Popeye, Zim, Zip, Zimmy and Gerbil. As a player he spent seven years with the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers. He was a part of the 1955 World Series Champions Dodgers and the 1959 World Series Winner over the Whitesox. He was Pee Wee Reese back up and a team mate with Jackie Robinson. Don Zimmer produced 235 batting average, 91 home runs and 352 RBIs. He was a one-time All-Star, with the Cubs in 1961,

Don was well respected among players and managers. He will be sorely missed. He is survived by his wife, Jean; a, son, Tom, a daughter, Donna, and four grandchildren.

St. Louis Cardinals 1964 World Series Team Honored

Last Monday on Memorial Day my family enjoyed a very special day with my cousin Charlie James that was honored by the St. Louis Cardinals that celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the 1964 World Series team. Had a wonderful time visiting and talking about the 1964 team he played on. Once again this proves how the St. Louis Cardinals influences both sides of the family that are related to Charlie James. When I was as a child. I was always a part of some type of baseball team growing up in St. Louis. I was tagged as Charlie James cousin among the little league coaches. My ability to play baseball was good at best but never exceeded beyond little league but I loved the game anyway. Now as a father my nine year old now embraces the fan fare in regards to Charlie. Since playing baseball himself my son  has taken on Charlie’s jersey number 23 but he does remind people that number 23 has nothing to do with David Freese. My son tells me when he becomes a Major League Baseball player he will choose number 23 to honor Charlie James.

Just recently an article was written about Charlie James in the Fulton Sun that was brought to my attention. Its a great read:

Charlie James has a particular World Series recollection of Bob Uecker shagging fly balls with a musical instrument during batting practice.
James was a reserve infielder for the St. Louis Cardinals and Uecker served as the team’s backup catcher. The pair were taking practice cuts prior to Game 1 of the 1964 series against the New York Yankees.
James and Uecker, now a Hall of Fame announcer for the Milwaukee Brewers, noticed a band rehearsing the National Anthem in center field of the old Busch Stadium. Uecker — the team “joker,” according to James — had the bright idea of trying to exchange his catcher’s mitt for a tuba from one of the band members.
The trade was made and before James knew it, Uecker was traversing the outfield and hauling in balls with the brass.
“I don’t know how much good that did the tuba with all the dents,” James said with a chuckle on Tuesday. “But it was a sight to see.”
So, too, was that 1964 Cardinals team, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of its World Series title during a ceremony before Monday afternoon’s game against the Yankees in St. Louis.
James — a Fulton resident since 1972 and retired owner of Central Electric — was one of 14 former Redbirds in attendance to commemorate the well-documented efforts of that championship squad.
The Cardinals — down 6 1/2 games with 12 to go — won nine of 10 to end the regular season and capitalized on a historic collapse by the Philadelphia Phillies to clinch the National League pennant on the final day.
From there, St. Louis took down the favored Yankees in seven games to capture its seventh world title, and first since 1946.
James’ memories of that late-season run are still crisp as he wonders where all the time went.
“The way you could tell it was 50 years was that some of us were slower getting around,” James joked. “Some of us had bad wheels, were slumped over, but most of us are still in pretty good shape.”
The 1964 team was inducted into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame in 2011 and was honored by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America-St. Louis chapter this past January.
Former teammates gathered again last Sunday for dinner and catch-up time at the Four Seasons St. Louis.
Lots of stories — sometimes “stretched,” in the words of James — were rehashed. James and former Cardinals catcher Tim McCarver recalled the team’s small margin for error during that September pennant race.
“I think we were winning all the kind of, what you would call ‘must-win games’ to stay right there,” James said.
During dinner, James fondly remembered the routine, or lack thereof, between McCarver and Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Gibson whenever McCarver tried to approach the mound.
“When Tim would come out, (Gibson) would say, ‘No. Just stay with the catching and I’ll stay with the pitching,’” James said. “They were good friends, but they would tell funny stories about how they interacted.”
James — a native St. Louisan who played five seasons with the Cardinals and one with the Cincinnati Reds — got the biggest kick out of seeing his old roommate and former St. Louis second baseman Julian Javiar.
“He was one of the people that couldn’t make it to the writers’ dinner in January, because he lives in the Domincan Republic,” James said. “I was really excited to see him.”
The players reconvened at Busch Stadium on Monday and were each honored with a jersey with their uniform number on the back. They took questions from the media before each boarded a Ford Mustang (a model celebrating its own 50th anniversary), took a pregame tour around the stadium and were introduced to the crowd at home plate prior to the first pitch.
Tom Clapp and Steve Mallinckrodt — both friends of James — witnessed the ceremony live from Section 240.
Mallinckrodt — now the director at SERVE, Inc., in Fulton — was 12 years old during that memorable run in 1964 and remembers tuning his radio and tracking the Cardinals’ push.
He and James became acquainted in the 1980s when the latter joined the congregation at Court Street United Methodist Church.
“… We overemphasize the importance of sports and I’m a crazy Cardinal fan, but Charlie is a class act more than just being a World Series champion,” Mallinckrodt said. “He’s a champion in how he treats people.”
Mallinckrodt particularly noted the cohesion of that 1964 squad, a not-so-homogenous group that featured black and Latin American players. In a time where totally integrated teams still weren’t the norm, St. Louis manager Johnny Keane successfully molded the players into a unit.
More than a world championship, Mallinckrodt believes that racial harmony will be that 1964 team’s most lasting legacy.
The relationship between James and Javiar is a prime example of that.
“That was the kind of man Charlie was,” Mallinckrodt said. “He was open and honest and accepting, and that wasn’t always accepted back then.”
James — who went hitless in three pinch-hit appearances during the World Series against the Yankees — stressed that tenacity was the 1964 group’s calling card.
Not only did the Cardinals have to scrape, claw and get some help from the Phillies to win the NL pennant, but they had to deal with the underdog tag against the mighty Yankees, winners of 14 of the previous 16 American League crowns.
“A lot of people were thinking that the big Yankees were going to roll into town and roll over the Cardinals,” James said. “We didn’t feel like we were going to be outplayed, we felt like we had just as good of a team as them. We did not fear the Yankees.”
St. Louis took the opener 9-5, then dropped the next two games. New York led 3-0 through five innings in Game 4 before a grand slam by third baseman Ken Boyer led the Cardinals to a 4-3 win and evened the series at 2-all.
The teams split the next two contests before St. Louis clinched the Series title with a 7-5 victory in Game 7.
“If you could have been there to hear the ovation,” recalled James. “I couldn’t believe it.”
It was a sight to behold, just like Uecker fielding fly balls with a tuba days earlier.
As for Mallinckrodt, seeing James — first a member of Cardinals lore and now a friend — get recognition with the rest of the 1964 ensemble was a proud moment.
“To know Charlie James as a human being and know his contributions to the community just beyond knowing a member of that team, it was great to honor that team and to know that Charlie was a member of it,” Mallinckrodt said.

article written by Josh Mosley of the Fulton Sun