Thoughts and pictures of my local minor league baseball team the New York Penn League Connecticut Tigers; a Detriot farm team. We'll still be looking at former Navigators/Defenders players along the way....

Friday, December 31, 2010

Mitch Walk...

in 2003 action.

Happy New Year!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Does anyone know this 2003 batboy...

and what his name is?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Shane Turner....

I'm liking those caps more and more lately....

Monday, December 27, 2010

Mike Cervenak goes yard....

with Adam Shabala and John Pachot scoring ahead of Mike on 5-19-03, a 11-9 Navs win over the RockCats.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

This picture is in..

stark contrast to what's going on outside my window as the northeast gets it's first snow storm of winter.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!!

see Hondo's Holiday Greetings in the prior post.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Chris Curry in 2003....

Chris ended up playing 3 seasons in Norwich, one of my favorite Navigators. Chris is now the head baseball coach at Meridian Community College in Meridian, MS.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Jeff Clark, hometown 2003 Navigator...

and by hometown I mean he was born in Norwich, grew up in Ledyard and went to UCONN. He webt 2-4 in 2003 in just seven games before an injury basically ended his pitching days.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Shane Turner makes a pitching change....

during the Navs 11-9 victory on 5-19-03 against the RockCats. The players left to right are Mike Cervenak, catcher John Pachot, ss Jamie Athas, rp Kevin Vent abd 2B Carlos Mendoza.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Matt Montgomery....

went 4-3 in 2003 with a 2.68 ERA and had 13 saves as the Navs closer that season. Matt is pictured here on 5-24-03; a 5-3 victory over Trenton. FYI--I own that jersey, it's a Turn the Clock SF Giants jersey the team was wearing. The Thunder were wearing Yankee uniforms for the game.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Carlos Mendoza.....

who played 2B for the Navs in 2003. He had 5 HRs and 19 RBIs during that season. Carlos had cups of coffee with the Mets and Rockies before his stint with Norwich. He went on to play several seasons with Trenton.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Jack Taschner....

in the bullpen warming up prior to starting game 2 of a doubleheader against the RockCats on 6-17-03. Navs were shutout in both games 1-0 in the opener and 11-0 in the nightcap.
Jack was 0-6 in 2003 with Norwich ptching to a 5.71 ERA over 34 games; 12 of them starts.
He made his MLBB debut in 2005 and has pitched for the Giants, Phillies and last season the Pirates. He has a 10-5 MLBB record.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

More blasts from 2003...

The top picture is Vance Cozier on the mound with Mike Cervenak at third. The second pic features relief pitchers #43 Kevin Vent and #47 Ryan Cox.
Cozier appeared in 26 games half of those starts for a 6-7 record. Vent went 6-5 with a 3.50 ERA out of the bullpen and Cox went 1-3 in 26 games throwing to a 7.46 ERA.
These pictures were taken on May 20, 2003 a 10-5 loss to the RockCats. 2003 was the last season of organized baseball for the three pitchers.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The "ping" returns to Dodd in 2011...

as the UCONN baseball team will play two Big East games in Norwich. The first game is May 7 against USF and the second is May 13 against Louisville with 6PM starts for both games.
UCONN will also play a game at New Britain Stadium and a game at the Yard in Bridgeport during the 2011 season.
Those NCAA tourament games last year were a lot of fun. The Friday night game in particular hosted a pretty full house.
UCONN slugger George Springer is pictured.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bob Feller dies at 92....

the Indians ace spent four years in the Navy in World War II and was inducted into the HOF in 1962.
I spoke with him once, I think at old Beehive in New Britain in the mid 90's. He seemed like at very nice man. I saw him this past July up at Cooperstown and perhaps he was at Dodd Stadium once as well at some point also--it seemed he was always popping up on TV someplace.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mike Cervenak taking a couple of cuts...

before heading to the plate with 3B Corey Erickson on deck in this 2003 picture. Erickson was a strange deal. He played just 16 games with the Navs in April and then was released and picked up by the Cards who sent him to Tenn. of the Southern League where he played 100 games as their everyday 3B. He spent another season in '04 in Dounle A Tenn. before hanging them up

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Noah Lowry...

as we continue with the 2003 Navigators for a bit. Noah was 9-6 with the Navs in '03 and made his MLBB debut with the Giants that season. He five seasons with SF he went 40-31 before injury ended his career.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Alejandro Freire....

The 2003 edition of the Norwich Navigators was the first season of the franchise being a Giants farm team.. It was also one of the worst teams fielded in franchise history. Freire and Mike Cervenak were pretty much was the offense that season. Freire played 137 games with 18 HRs and 80 RBIs with a .311 BA. He went on to have a brief stint with the Orioles.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Congrats Mr. & Mrs. GB!!!!

on the birth of their first child..a girl!

Thanks to bacci for the heads up!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Mayor of Norwich....

Mike Cervenak, as shown in this 2003 picture--note a rare use of the cream home uniform.
He's the player I somehow think of first as the all time Dodd Stadium player. Many others have had better, longer and more successful careers to be sure but he's the guy I think of first.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Scoreboard April 27, 2003.....

the world cries out for Bess Eaton and the clock is working in this pic...Navs win 8-7 over the B-Mets.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Ex-Nav Boof Bonser signs with the Mets....

a move that will pack them in at Citifield. Boof was with the Red Sox and A's last season.
Incredible money being thrown around at the winter meetings between Werth and Crawford and with wharever Lee signs for...

Boof is the hatless player, #16, and a pic of Tater with Giants colors. These pictures were taken on 4-06-03, a DH against the Mets. Navs won the first game 6-3 and the Mets took the second 10-5.
Clink on the pic to enlarge.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

This picture reminds me to re-watch...

"The Bronx is Burning" on DVD sometime in January when I'm snowed in and hunkered down for a day...

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Iron Horse....

Monday, December 06, 2010

"Dandy" Don Mededith dies at 72.....

for those of us who were around to remember when Monday Night Football on ABC burst onto the scene the three man booth of Cosell, Gifford and Mededith was as much of a reason to watch/listen to the game as was the novelty of a game on Monday night. I remember plenty of less than productive Tuesdays because of those Monday night games and half the water cooler talk the next day would revolve around what announcer said what to the other guy.

The AP story follows:

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Don Meredith, one of the most recognizable figures of the early Dallas Cowboys and an original member of ABC's "Monday Night Football" broadcast team, died Sunday. He was 72.

Meredith's wife, Susan, told The Associated Press on Monday her husband died in Santa Fe after suffering a brain hemorrhage and lapsing into a coma. She says a private graveside ceremony is being planned and that family members were traveling to Santa Fe.

"He was the best there was," she said, describing him as kind, warm and funny. "We lost a good one."

Meredith played for the Cowboys from 1960-68, becoming the starting quarterback in 1965. While he never led the Cowboys to the Super Bowl, Meredith was one of the franchise's first stars.

Over his nine-year career, Meredith threw for 17,199 yards and 111 touchdowns. He retired unexpectedly before the 1969 season.

Just two years after retiring from football, Meredith joined Keith Jackson and Howard Cosell in the broadcast booth as part of the "Monday Night Football" crew.

He quickly became one of the most popular broadcasters in sports because of his folksy sayings and country humor.

Meredith's signature call was singing the famous Willie Nelson song "Turn Out the Lights" when it appeared a game's outcome had been determined.

Meredith left ABC after the 1973 season for a three-year stint at NBC. He returned to the "MNF" crew in 1977 before retiring in 1984, one year after Cosell left the team.

Before a generation knew Meredith for his colorful broadcasting career, he was one of the most recognizable figures of the early Cowboys teams.

Meredith was drafted in the third round by the Chicago Bears in 1960 and was traded to the expansion Cowboys franchise for future draft picks.

"Dandy Don", as he was affectionately known, shared time under center with Eddie LeBaron before winning the starting job in 1965.

Meredith led the Cowboys to three straight division titles and to consecutive NFL Championship games in 1966 and 1967. Dallas lost both games though to eventual Super Bowl winners Green Bay.

In 1966, Meredith guided the Cowboys to their first-ever winning season (10-3-1). He was named NFL Player of the Year after throwing a career-high 24 touchdown passes and 2,805 yards.

Meredith was one of nine Dallas players selected to the Pro Bowl that year -- the first of his two Pro Bowl years.

His last moment in a Cowboys uniform was painful. Meredith threw three interceptions in a 1968 playoff game against the Cleveland Browns and was pulled in favor of Craig Morton.

"I tried to talk him out of it," Dallas head coach Tom Landry said after Meredith announced his retirement. "But when you lose your desire in this game, that's it."

Meredith and Don Perkins were the second and third players inducted to Cowboys Ring of Honor in 1976.

Meredith was one of the first athletes to make the transition from the field to the color analyst -- and the move to calling "Monday Night Football" was an easy one for him.

While on the show, Meredith was part of many memorable moments on ABC's landmark hit.

In 1970, Meredith was in the booth for the St. Louis Cardinals' 38-0 whitewashing of his former team. The Cotton Bowl crowd late in began chanting "We want Meredith!"

Meredith quipped, "No way you're getting me down there,"

Another famous Meredith moment occurred in 1974 at the Houston Astrodome. The Oakland Raiders were in the process of beating the Houston Oilers 34-0.

A cameraman had a shot of a disgruntled Oilers fan, who then made an obscene gesture. Meredith said of the fan. "He thinks they're No. 1 in the nation."

He was also in the booth when Howard Cosell announced that John Lennon had been assassinated on Dec. 9, 1980.

In addition to his broadcasting career, Meredith appeared in several TV shows and movies after his playing career ended. He had a recurring role in "Police Story" and was a spokesman for Lipton.

Before his career with the Cowboys, Meredith was a three-year at quarterback for SMU. He was an All-America selection in 1958 and 1959.

Meredith was born and raised in Mount Vernon, Texas -- which is about 100 miles east of Dallas. He never played a home game outside of North Texas.

Billy and the Boss not voted into the HOF...

by the baseball veterans committee.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Jeter signs....

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Eugenio Velez....

aka "Eugene" was released by the Giants the other day. Eric Threets met a similar fate with the White Sox....

Friday, December 03, 2010

RIP Ron Santo

Beloved Cubs icon Santo dies at age 70

Nine-time All-Star, longtime broadcaster was Chicago legend

By Adam McCalvy /

Ron Santo played his last of 15 Major League seasons for the crosstown Chicago White Sox, but he was always a Cub. A star third baseman and part of the Cubs teams of the 1960s with Hall of Famers Ernie Banks and Billy Williams and Fergie Jenkins, many believe Santo should be in the Hall himself. Then he became a broadcaster who couldn't help but cheer or chide his team from the radio booth for 21 more years.

He wasn't Mr. Cub -- that title belongs to Banks -- but Santo was the next best thing. So it was with great sadness that Cubs fans around the world reacted Friday when they learned Santo had died from complications of bladder cancer. He was 70.

Santo passed away in Arizona, where he makes his offseason home. He had battled health issues for a number of years, including diabetes, a disease that cost Santo both of his legs from the knees down, and slipped into a coma Wednesday, according to the Chicago Tribune. He died Thursday night.

My siblings and I first knew Ron Santo as fans, listening to him in the broadcast booth," Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said in a statement. "We knew him for his passion, his loyalty, his great personal courage and his tremendous sense of humor. It was our great honor to get to know him personally in our first year as owners.

"Ronnie will forever be in the hearts and souls of Cubs fans."

Most young Cubs fans know Santo as the team's color commentator on radio broadcasts, and he certainly was colorful. Santo was a fan first and a broadcaster second, cheering a big hit as heartily as he groaned and sighed after a big strikeout. He never apologized for that.

But the more veteran Cubs fans know Santo as an All-Star third baseman, a fourth-place finisher in 1960 National League Rookie of the Year balloting who went on to hit .277 with 342 home runs and 1,331 RBIs in 15 big league seasons, all but one with the Cubs.

He hit at least 30 home runs in four straight seasons from 1964-67 and drove in at least 100 runs four times, including a career-best 123-RBI season in 1969, when the Cubs lost a nine-game lead in the NL East to the eventual World Series-champion Mets.

Santo won five consecutive Gold Glove Awards from 1964-68 and made nine All-Star teams. He holds the NL record among third basemen for consecutive games played (364, from April 4, 1964, to May 31, 1966), most games played in a season (164 games, 1965) and most seasons leading the league in fielding chances (nine).

And he played all of those games as a Type 1 diabetic. Santo was diagnosed at age 18 but didn't reveal his condition to teammates for years.

"Today, a diabetic knows a lot more about it," Santo told in 2002. "When I played, they didn't even know if I could play baseball."

Santo annually hosted a walk-a-thon to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. At the time he was diagnosed, shortly after he had signed his first pro contract, life expectancy of someone with Type 1 juvenile diabetes was 25. To some, he was a hero for his resiliency.

"I can't tell you how much it means to me," Santo said. "I'm very proud to be able to be an inspiration to a lot of people. I get a lot of letters, and my son opens them. When I get one from somebody who has lost a leg and is a diabetic, instead of me writing back, I call them. It means so much more to them. I've helped a lot of people who have lost limbs."

Santo's health had deteriorated in recent years. In addition to the diabetes and the amputations, he also suffered from heart disease and cancer. But he planned on returning to his broadcasting duties in 2011.

"I love what I do, and it keeps me alive, as far as I'm concerned," Santo told last Christmas.

"He absolutely loved the Cubs," Santo's broadcast partner, Pat Hughes, told the Chicago Tribune. "The Cubs have lost their biggest fan. ... He never complained. He wanted to have fun. He wanted to talk baseball. He considered going to games therapeutic. He enjoyed himself in the booth right to the end."

Santo was long a strong Hall of Fame candidate for his resume as a player, coming especially close to election in 2007 via a Veterans Committee vote, but he never realized enshrinement.

His last chance came in 2008. After falling five votes short the previous season, Santo fell nine votes shy of enshrinement.

The Cubs honored him last June on the 50th anniversary of his Major League debut. More tributes are planned in the wake of his death.

"In the days and seasons ahead, we will honor Ron and celebrate all he has meant to our team and our fans," Ricketts said. "Ron's No. 10 will always be close to our hearts and Ron will forever be a member of the Cubs family."

On the day he was honored last June, Santo recalled his first game. He had flown in the day before from Houston and roomed with pitcher Don Elston. He'd never been in a Major League ballpark, and he sat in the stands to watch the Pirates before he got into uniform, watching Roberto Clemente and Bill Mazeroski.

When he made his first trip to the plate, the first pitch Santo saw was a curveball that buckled his knees.

"[Catcher] Smokey [Burgess] threw the ball back and said, 'That's a big league curveball, kid,'" Santo said. "Then I hit a line drive up the middle and it was like the world came off my shoulders."

Santo was 20 years old, playing in front of 40,000 people for the first time. He was scouted by all 16 Major League teams, but had developed a love affair with Wrigley early after watching the Cubs on the "Game of the Week" television broadcasts.

"When the Cubs played, there was something about Wrigley Field and Ernie Banks," Santo said.

The Cubs didn't make him the highest offer but he signed anyway, in 1959.

"Money wasn't the criteria for me," he said. "It was to get to the big leagues."

After he was finished playing in 1974, Santo was away from the game for 16 years. He came back in 1989 to throw out the first pitch for a Cubs playoff game. In 1990, he joined the broadcast team.

"I said, 'I'd love to be here when the Cubs win it,'" he said.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

hondo is right...

that is a convenient setup...the bar being next to the parking garage.