Baseball personalities

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Posted by r2d2 03/24/2009 @ 07:11

Tags : baseball personalities, baseball, sports

News headlines
New York Yankees' Nick Swisher, team's resident character, loving ... - The Star-Ledger -
With an infusion of new talent, and new personalities, the once-staid Yankees are changing. From the kangaroo court to the postgame whipped-cream pies, a new dynamic has settled in the clubhouse, one that seems to fit Swisher well....
Book examines Boston Red Sox's loss - Edmonton Sun
... talented but unstable mix of some of baseball's most colourful characters - Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson, Catfish Hunter, Goose Gossage - all answering to their mercurial owner, George Steinbrenner. The Red Sox had their own unique personalities,...
Zimmerman vs. Markakis, Straight Up - Washington Post
Post writers have been notorious for ripping into sports personalities, having agendas. I recall the David Israel vs. George Allen feud. And then there is the even more famous LaCanfora vs. Wee Willie Winkie errrr ... Vinnie Cerrato ....
Ichiro 30th on Sporting News list of baseball's best - Seattle Post Intelligencer
St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols is first on the list compiled by a panel of 100 Hall of Famers, major award winners and other baseball personalities. Pujols earned 55 first-place votes from the panel, which included former players like Willie...
Phils' Happ out to revive curveball - Philadelphia Inquirer
The Sporting News recently assembled a panel of 100 Hall of Fame players, major award winners, and other baseball personalities and asked them to rank the current best 50 players in baseball. St. Louis first baseman Albert Pujols was the overwhelming...
Louisiana Sports: Manning, New Orleans Saints, Drew Brees, LSU ... - Bayou Buzz
Manning made his home in the Garden District and runs a speakers bureau for sports personalities across the nation. He also handles commercials and endorsements for athletes and is involved as an analyst for CBS Sports' college football broadcasts....
Major League: Wild Thing Edition - JustPressPlay
While personalities clash and romance sizzles, the players find that their team is like a family. Charlie Sheen plays Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn and shares the spotlight with Tom Berenger as Jake Taylor. The former is an ex-convict who can throw but...
Around the Cage: American Idol -
And while most baseball personalities admit they can't carry a tune, it doesn't mean that they wouldn't love to show off their talents on the big stage in front of the four-person panel that includes the notoriously blunt judge Simon Cowell....
Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau get little national respect -
The selection committee consisted of "100 Hall of Famers, major award winners, and other baseball personalities," as described by TSN. The committee's ratings offer proof that Mauer and Morneau get little national respect when compared among the...

Bob Knepper

Robert Wesley Knepper (born May 24, 1954 in Akron, Ohio) is a former pitcher in Major League Baseball with a 15-year career from 1976 to 1990. He played for the San Francisco Giants and Houston Astros, both of the National League.

He was voted to the National League All-Star team twice (1981 and 1988).

He led the National League in Shutouts in 1978 (6) and 1986 (5), Hit Batsmen in 1980 (8) and Losses in 1987 (17).

He was not fined nor suspended for his remarks. At the time players were not punished merely for voicing controversial opinions. It wasn't until Bud Selig assumed the acting commissioners role in 1993 that he started implementing political correctness in MLB, and punishing baseball personalities Marge Schott, John Rocker, and others who have made disparaging remarks against women, minorities, gays etc, or voiced unpopular opinions.

Knepper followed up his controversial comments in 1988 by having one of his best seasons in his career, and was selected to the National League All-Star Team. During player introductions at the game in Cincinnati, he was loudly booed by the fans.

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Baseball Prospectus

Baseball Prospectus, sometimes abbreviated as BP, is a think tank focusing on sabermetrics, the statistical analysis of the sport of baseball. Baseball Prospectus has fathered several popular new statistical tools which have become hallmarks of baseball analysis. Baseball Prospectus is accredited by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Three of Baseball Prospectus's current regular writers are members of the Baseball Writers Association of America and thus eligible to vote for nominees for Major League Baseball's post-season awards and the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Baseball Prospectus was founded in 1996 by Gary Huckabay, who recruited the initial contributor group of Clay Davenport, Rany Jazayerli, Christina Kahrl, and Joe Sheehan, with the publication of the first annual set of forecasts. The analysis and statistics favored by Baseball Prospectus have gained significant acceptance by the management of many Major League Baseball clubs, notably the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians. BP has often been considered the modern successor to Bill James' Baseball Abstract series of books in the 1980s.

Reflecting its legacy as a group of sabermetricians who met over the Internet, BP has no "main office." Working for BP is a second or part-time job for many of the regular staff, who conduct their work for BP in their own home or professional offices.

Baseball Prospectus is owned by Prospectus Entertainment Ventures, LLC.

Prospectus Entertainment Ventures partners with Football Outsiders for the publication and promotion of Pro Football Prospectus (ISBN 0452288479).

On October 10, 2007, BP launched, a new website for the analysis of men's college and pro basketball, with Joe Sheehan taking the role of Managing Editor and announcing the lineup of principal writer-analysts for the site. Unlike, this website does not require a subscription for access.'s first annual book, College Basketball Prospectus 2008-2009 (ISBN 0452289874), was published in October 2008.

On October 14, 2008, Prospectus Entertainment Ventures (PEV) announced the acquisition of Baseball Digest Daily (BDD), an online blog devoted to baseball analysis and statistics. Joe Hamrahi, new Chief Financial Officer of PEV and founder of BDD, reported that "PEV’s decision to acquire Baseball Digest Daily further enhances the content offerings of Baseball Prospectus by adding some of the game’s best analysts as well as over 100 pages of baseball news and original content. In addition, BDD’s player tracker provides a platform for serious fans and fantasy baseball enthusiasts to easily monitor the progress of their teams, allowing users to manipulate and track the progress of an unlimited set of players over a customized period of time".

At the same time, PEV revealed publicly that it "owns a significant interest in 538 (, a political analysis website that generates over 700,000 unique visitors daily".

On February 23, 2009, Prospectus Entertainment Ventures (PEV) launched the website Puck Prospectus with the intent of providing cutting edge analysis of hockey. Will Carroll assumed the role of the Executive Editor, and Andrew Rothstein the role of Managing Editor and founder of Puck Prospectus.

The website began in 1997 primarily as a way to present original sabermetric research; publish advanced baseball statistics such as EqA, the Davenport Translations (DT’s), and VORP; and promote sales of the annual book. Beginning in 2003, the site placed most of its new articles, its PECOTA forecasts, and some of its statistical databases in a “premium” section that could be accessed only by subscription.

Until 2007, when the site began to post general advertising, the premium subscriptions and book sales were Baseball Prospectus' main source of revenues. Baseball Prospectus does not publish a financial report or information about its subscriber base, but it appears to be using its income to expand its breadth of coverage to attract new customers, and it has not increased its subscription prices since initiating its premium service. It also offers a subscription to those interested in fantasy baseball, at a lower price than the premium subscriptions and giving access to fewer features and articles. has a corps of staff writers who publish articles on a regular (typically weekly) basis under a featured heading (see list of "Regular Writers" below). In addition, occasional articles are published by other BP staff or freelance authors. Some former regular writers no longer appear on the site but can be found writing for other media or employed on the staffs of major league baseball organizations, including as of 2008 the Cleveland Indians, the Tampa Bay Rays, and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Some current regular BP writers also appear simultaneously in other media including and ESPN Radio,, Sports Illustrated and, the New York Sun, the New York Times, Playboy Magazine, and the YES Network.

Although the site maintains its sabermetric core and has expanded its statistical databases (most of which are open to non-subscribers), it now regularly attends to issues such as baseball prospects (the First Year Player Draft and minor league baseball), international baseball, the economics and business of baseball (valuation of players, team and stadium finances, the player marketplace), and fantasy baseball (PECOTA, the "Fantasy Focus" series of articles, forecast manager and other fantasy tools). As BP has begun in addition to publish monographs on specialized topics, it has delved into the application of sabermetric analysis to historical topics – an emphasis clearly seen in Mind Game (2005 – a history of the Boston Red Sox), Baseball Between the Numbers (2006 – which addresses some historical comparisons), and It Ain’t Over 'til It’s Over (2007 – about historical pennant races).

Baseball Prospectus writers promote several theories on proper baseball management and analysis, many of which are contrary to those of conventional baseball wisdom.

Baseball Prospectus researchers have concluded that there is no repeatable ability of clutch hitting. As writer Joe Sheehan said, "Over the course of a game, a month, a season or a career, there is virtually no evidence that any player or group of players possesses an ability to outperform his established level of ability in clutch situations, however defined." They cite studies which find that there is insignificant correlation between year-to-year performance in clutch situations.

In an article published in 2006, Nate Silver argued that clutch hitting ability does exist to a degree. He argued that although not as important as traditional baseball analysis would suggest, clutch hitting ability was more significant than other sabermetric studies had shown. The article also found there to be a connection between clutch hitting ability and situational hitting, or the ability to adjust a hitting approach to fit the given situation.

Baseball Prospectus writers often argue that traditional baseball statistics such as RBIs, wins, and Batting Average are poor reflections of a player's true contributions. For example, they have argued that RBIs are too dependent on factors outside of the player's control, namely the production of other hitters in the lineup. They similarly argue that wins are too affected by factors such as the team's offense and bullpen.

Baseball Prospectus writers assert that teams are typically inefficient in their use of their best relievers. Teams typically assign their most effective reliever to the position of closer, using him in only save situations (when the team is leading by fewer than four runs in the 9th inning). According to many Baseball Prospectus writers, a team's best reliever should be used when the opposing team has its best chance at increasing its chances of winning.

Many writers argue that the sacrifice bunt and stolen base are overused in baseball. Teams will often attempt these plays when the score is close. Writers for Baseball Prospectus often argue that teams are, on average, actually lowering their expected number of runs scored. They argue that stolen base attempts are not completed frequently enough for them to be beneficial to the offense. For sacrifice bunts, they argue that the team is giving up more by sacrificing an out than they gain by advancing a runner one base. Their thinking is derived from the grid of expected runs in an inning based on the outs and runner situation, which shows that the sacrifice is detrimental to a team given average players in most of the situations in which it is typically used.

In a series of articles in 2004, James Click argued that sacrifice bunts are beneficial in some situations, dependent on the quality of the batter at the plate and the situation in the game.

Voros McCracken's pathbreaking article on Defense Independent Pitching Statistics also first appeared on the BP website.

Nate Silver responded to this criticism in "An Open Letter to Murray Chass," including offering to meet Chass to watch a ballgame. He expounded on the case for a positive impact of sabermetrics on the game of baseball in an article "How Sabermetrics Helps Build a Better Ballgame," published on Baseball

From a brand standpoint, we're more concerned about differentiation based on quality than differentiation based on where we fall on sort of the "saberpolitical" spectrum. We brought people like Kevin and Bryan Smith on because the absolute best at what they do.

Baseball Prospectus was widely criticized for publishing and aggressively promoting a 2003 story claiming that banished player/manager Pete Rose had reached an agreement to return to baseball. Will Carroll made the rounds on television and radio, claiming to have spoken to unnamed sources who had actually seen the agreement. Spokesmen for both Rose and Major League Baseball refuted the claim, but Carroll and his colleagues insisted their reporting was accurate. No other news source confirmed the story. In fact, Rose was not reinstated and remains banned from baseball. Neither Carroll or Zumsteg ever published a retraction or an explanation for how they got the story wrong.

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Major League Baseball on FOX

Major League Baseball on FOX or MLB on FOX is a weekly presentation of Major League Baseball games on the Fox television network. Major League Baseball on FOX began on June 1, 1996 and will continue at least through the 2013 Major League Baseball season.

FOX televised their first World Series in 1996, and has had exclusive rights to the World Series since 2000. Those exclusive rights currently extend through 2013.

Major League Baseball made a deal with FOX and NBC on November 7, 1995. FOX paid a fraction less of the amount of money that CBS paid for the Major League Baseball television rights for the 1990-1993 seasons. Unlike the previous television deal, "The Baseball Network", FOX reverted to the format of televising regular season games (approximately 16 weekly telecasts that normally began on Memorial Day weekend) on Saturday afternoons. FOX did however, continue a format that The Baseball Network started by offering games based purely on a viewer's region. FOX's approach has usually been to offer four regionalized telecasts, with exclusivity from 1-4 p.m. in each time zone.

When FOX first got into baseball, it used the motto "Same game, new attitude." FOX's primary goal when they first launched baseball was to promote their weak prime time schedule. "We'll use the World Series and League Championship Series to spur our shows", said network sports president Ed Goren.

Like its predecessor NBC, FOX determined its Saturday schedule by who was playing a team from one of the three largest television markets: New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago. If there was a game which combined two of these three markets, it would be aired.

In September 2000, Major League Baseball concluded a six year, $2.5 billion contract with FOX to show Saturday baseball, the All-Star Game, selected Division Series games and exclusive coverage of the League Championship Series and World Series. 90% of the contract's value to FOX, who paid Major League Baseball $417 million per year, came from the postseason, which not only attracted large audiences, but also provided an opportunity for the network to showcase its fall schedule.

The contract protected Major League Baseball in the event of a labor dispute (something that didn't occur with "The Baseball Network" in 1994). If some of the games were cancelled by a strike or lockout, Major League Baseball still got all its money, but had to compensate FOX with additional telecasts. On the other hand, a repeat of the 1994 Major League Baseball strike would've cost FOX well over $1 billion; the television contract created an incentive not to cause a strike, as it would hurt broadcast networks since they paid for the deal, unlike the 1994-95 television package.

Under the previous five year deal with NBC (1996–2000), FOX paid $115 million while NBC only paid $80 million per year. FOX paid about $575 million overall while NBC paid about $400 million overall. The difference between the FOX and the NBC contracts implicitly valued FOX's Saturday Game of the Week at less than $90 million for five years. Before NBC officially decided to part ways with Major League Baseball (for the second time in about 12 years) on September 26, 2000, FOX's payment would've been $345 million while NBC would've paid $240 million. Before 1990, NBC had carried Major League Baseball since 1947.

We have notified Major League Baseball that we have passed on their offer and we wish them well going forward.

Under the new deal, FOX would now pay out an average of $417 million a year, which was about a 45 percent increase from the previous deal (worth $290 million a year) that FOX, NBC, and ESPN contributed together. CBS and ABC reportedly were not interested in buying the rights at the prices Major League Baseball was offering.

Some observers believed that gaining the relative ratings boost from the League Championship Series and World Series meant more to FOX than the other broadcast networks. That was because FOX had the biggest prime time ratings decline of the four major networks during the 1999–2000 season. Its average prime time audience of 8.97 million was down 17 percent from the year before, according to Nielsen Media Research.

On July 11, 2006, rumors on the future of Major League Baseball on FOX were put to rest when it was announced that the network had signed a new seven-year contract, which will guarantee that the World Series will appear on FOX through the 2013 season. FOX had widely been expected to renew the deal, but it was unclear what they would be willing to air beyond the All-Star Game and World Series.

The package was officially announced on October 17, with the news that TBS will air all Division Series games through 2013 and alternate League Championship Series with FOX during the contract. Additionally, FOX's coverage of the Saturday Game of the Week was expanded to start in April and last during the entire season.

FOX airs a Game of the Week every Saturday of the season. Coverage for several years, began with a pregame show at 3:30 p.m. Eastern time, in which host Jeanne Zelasko was joined by a rotating group of studio analysts (beginning with the 2009 season, FOX dropped the pregame show all together). This is followed by regional telecasts of up to three games, starting at about 3:55 p.m. ET. (See below for the names of all of the announcers that will be part of the coverage.) Previously, the games had staggered start times of 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. ET. Also, all games are aired in high definition. Previously, only the primary game aired in HD.

FOX has certain rights for afternoon Major League Baseball games on Saturdays, and ESPN has the same rights for night games on Sundays. Broadcasters cannot show games of in-market teams regardless of whether the game is home or away as long as the game of the local team has a start time or likely end time intruding on FOX or ESPN's national window, unless that network waives its exclusivity (thus, a 1:00 ET game can be televised, while a 2:00 ET game cannot). This is to encourage people to watch the ESPN or FOX game. A further enticement comes simply through the fact that FOX offers mostly regional coverage.

Usually there are no other games scheduled at these times, except when a team decides not to change the start-time even after FOX drops the game in favor of a better match-up, which they can and often will do on a few weeks notice, particularly after the All-Star Game. ESPN's post-All-Star Game schedule is likewise picked as little as two weeks ahead of time (schedules for the first half of the season are usually set during the winter). Other teams simply schedule games for other time-slots, particularly on Saturday nights or on Sunday afternoons. Also, the Texas Rangers often play summertime home games at night on Sundays because of the extreme heat common to Texas during much of the season, and normally receive special permission from ESPN to televise these games locally (their opponent's TV partner can also show the game). The Toronto Blue Jays sometimes have home games that conflict with FOX's Saturday afternoon telecasts, as Canada is not subject to FOX's exclusivity. Unlike ESPN, FOX does not normally permit the visiting U.S.-based team to televise the game live in its regional market.

FOX is allowed to show each team up to nine times during the regular season.

The Fox Broadcasting Company's sister network FX aired numerous Major League Baseball contests on Saturday nights in 2001, including Cal Ripken, Jr.'s final game at Camden Yards. FX also aired one game in the Major League Baseball postseason from 2001 to 2005, on the first Wednesday night of League Championship Series week when MLB schedules two games at the same time. On that night, FOX distributed one game to local affiliates based on a regional coverage map, and the other game aired on the corresponding cable affiliate of FX, the main DIRECTV or Dish Network channel, or an alternate channel on the satellite services.

With a new MLB TV contract signed, again excluding FX, the last such broadcast was scheduled for October 11, 2006, but that night's NLCS game between the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets was rained out, making the Detroit Tigers-Oakland Athletics game in the ALCS a national broadcast; FX aired the movie Any Given Sunday instead. Both series were played on October 13, but FOX showed both games, with the ALCS during the day and the NLCS at night.

Since the network bought the rights to post-season baseball coverage, FOX has received criticism from non-baseball fans for not airing first-run original programming during October. (Baseball fans point out that there are plenty of other broadcast and cable networks available on every TV package that do show original scripted programming.) For the majority of the years that FOX has aired baseball, the network started the season for The Simpsons and other shows in November, although a few shows begin in August or September and then go on hiatus until after the World Series. In 2005, FOX started its season in September, took the month of October off to show the Major League Baseball playoffs, and resumed non-baseball programming in November. Both approaches have drawn criticism, indicating that there may not be a perfect way to accommodate both sports and regular programming.

In the first year of its six year, exclusive contract (2001), FOX did a split-telecast (not seen of since the days of the ill-fated "Baseball Network") for the League Championship Series. This meant that two games were played simultaneously on the same night, with one game airing on the FOX network and the other on the local regional Fox Sports Net cable channel (depending on market, as some markets had no regional sports network with a relationship to FSN). The rationale behind the split-telecast was that because of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the whole post-season schedule was pushed back a week. Because of this, two Sunday LCS games came in conflict with an NFL on FOX doubleheader. The fans and sports media reporters were unimpressed with the situation and MLB commissioner Bud Selig vowed it was a one-time deal necessitated by circumstance. However, in later years FOX used split telecasts on a few occasions to keep the playoffs "on schedule" and maximize its prime time advertising revenue, and aired the second game on FX (as previously mentioned), which has virtually national cable/satellite coverage. This ensured that FOX did not have to air an LCS game on a weekday afternoon, when many viewers are unable to watch. The 2007-2013 contract eliminates this, as TBS will have one of the League Championship Series each year.

Starting in 2004, FOX's Game of the Week telecasts only appeared three times after August 28, because the network chose to begin telecasts in mid-May and avoid going up against college football in September. With lead play-by-play broadcaster Joe Buck now also handling the same duties for FOX's NFL coverage, FOX had to use a variety of announcers for its late-season baseball coverage. This may change under the 2007-2013 contract, as FOX is supposed to show games throughout the season.

Since its baseball coverage began in 1996, FOX has aired three regular-season games in timeslots other than Saturday afternoon. As part of its coverage of Mark McGwire's bid for Roger Maris's single-season home run record in 1998, FOX aired a Sunday afternoon Cincinnati Reds/St. Louis Cardinals game on September 6 and a Tuesday night Chicago Cubs/St. Louis Cardinals game on September 8 of that year. (McGwire hit his record-breaking 62nd home run of the season in the latter game, which got a 14.5 rating for FOX and remains the network's highest-rated regular-season Major League Baseball telecast.) On April 16, 2004, the network aired a Friday night game between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox to cover those teams' first head-to-head meeting since the memorable 2003 ALCS.

For a Saturday afternoon telecast of a Los Angeles Dodgers/Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field on August 26, 2000, FOX aired a special "Turn Back the Clock" broadcast to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the first televised baseball game. The broadcast started with a re-creation of the television technology of 1939, with play-by-play announcer Joe Buck working alone with a single microphone, a single black-and-white camera, and no graphics; then, each subsequent half-inning would see the broadcast "jump ahead in time" to a later era, showing the evolving technologies and presentation of network baseball coverage through the years.

During the pre-2001 period, Bob Brenly acted as the third man in the booth with Buck and McCarver during the All-Star Game, League Championship Series and World Series. Buck and McCarver were at the microphone when Brenly led the Arizona Diamondbacks as manager to the 2001 World Series title.

Since Joe Buck was hired to work on The NFL on FOX, following the retirement of lead play-by-play voice Pat Summerall in 2002, Dick Stockton and Kenny Albert have both filled-in for Joe Buck whenever he is unable to work a game.

For several years, Fox utilized active or former players and managers as "guest analysts" on the network's League Championship Series telecasts. These included Bret Boone (2003 ALCS), Al Leiter (2003 NLCS and 2004 ALCS), Bob Brenly (2004 and 2005 NLCS), Lou Piniella (2005 and 2006 ALCS), and Luis Gonzalez (2006 NLCS).

The original studio host in 1996 was Chip Caray. Dave Winfield and Steve Lyons were the show's original analysts. Unlike the network's primary broadcast teams, the studio personnel have not had the same longevity. Winfeld left Fox after only one season, and both Caray and Lyons would move to the broadcast booth before leaving the network. From 1999–2000, Keith Olbermann took over the hosting seat from Caray, before being replaced by Jeanne Zelasko, who was promoted from Fox Sports Net's National Sports Report.

As previously mentioned, due to economic reasons and otherwise poor ratings, FOX beginning in 2009, has decided to scrap the studio/pregame show all together.

Most Saturday baseball games on FOX have been preceded by a baseball-oriented show. From 1996-1999, FOX aired a baseball program geared to children and teenagers called In the Zone. In 2000, In the Zone was replaced by This Week in Baseball, which had previously been in syndication. TWIB has been on FOX ever since.

On July 8, 1997, FOX televised its first ever All-Star Game (out of Jacobs Field in Cleveland). For this particular game, FOX introduced "Catcher-Cam" in which a camera was affixed to the catchers' masks in order to provide unique perspectives of the action around home plate. Catcher-Cam soon would become a regular fixture in FOX's baseball broadcasts.

Note that FOX executives actually shelved ball tracer. strike zone, and high home cam after the prime time game on April 16, 2004, although Scooter was still used until 2006.

In October 2004, FOX started airing all Major League Baseball postseason broadcasts (including the League Championship Series and World Series) in high definition. FOX also started airing the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in HD that year and the following year. Prior to the 2008 season, one of the three regional games the network televises each Saturday was presented in HD. Now, all MLB games FOX televises -- including the aforementioned Saturday regional games -- are presented in HD.

During some broadcasts, FOX has experienced various technical difficulties. In its broadcast of Game 3 of the 2007 World Series between the Colorado Rockies and Boston Red Sox, for instance, a blackout occurred during the top half of the seventh inning, resulting in the disruption of a key moment in the game.

In 1996, FOX used the scoring bug on their MLB telecasts. Within two years, the bug would be expanded to all sportscasts. However, golf wouldn't use them at all, and scoring bugs would phased onto tennis broadcasts. On baseball broadcasts, the bug would be turned off at critical points (e.g. Mark McGwire's 62nd home run, the final out of the World Series, etc.). It was only the 1996 and 1998 World Series that the network left the bug on for the final out; when the bug and graphics were updated in 1999, the network turned it off for the final out of the 2000 Series. This was criticized as the network's purpose was to provide the play rather than the usual information given during that certain at-bat.

Despite adopting new graphics for its other properties, viz. the NFL, NFL Europe, and NASCAR, FOX retained this on-screen look for its baseball coverage in 2004 until its coverage of that year's postseason. This banner was also used by FOX Sports Net for all sports broadcasts from 2001 until the middle of June 2005, and today it still can be found on numerous video clips.

A graphic from this package was used during the 15th inning of the 2008 All-Star Game when FOX displayed highlights from the 1967 MLB All-Star Game.

The banner was given a cosmetic upgrade beginning with the 2004 postseason. The abbreviations this time were electronic lettering in the team's main color, the shaded area above it was removed, and the scores were in black parallelograms. Whenever team-specific information was displayed in the banner such as a run scored, an out, the abbreviation would morph into the team logo; with the run scored, the team whose run scored would have its abbreviation morph into its logo, and a "strobe light" would flash over the black parallelogram as the score changes. Also, when a home run was displayed in the banner, a split "strobe light" would flash a few times across the banner; then the words "HOME RUN" and the team's name in the team's color zoom in to the center from both left and right, making two distorted electric buzzes followed by a futuristic computer sounder; this was the first time a home run was displayed in the banner. When it was turned on, flashing lights spanning the top of the screen with two moving lines on top and bottom would join to morph into the banner; when first formed, the team logos are seen before changing into the abbreviations. When turned off, the banner became just a quick beam of light spanning the top of the screen, which would disappear very quickly. During the 2005 World Series, a new white banner was introduced, resembling a chrome finish, and the team abbreviations became white letters in the team's main color; the next couple of years, the new banner was adopted for all games. This banner, unlike the 2001–2004 version wouldn't be turned off at the final out of the World Series, but it was turned off at other critical points (like whenever Alex Rodriguez came to bat, tied with an April record 14 home runs, and when Barry Bonds had 753 home runs).

Despite adopting new graphics for its other properties, viz. the NFL, NASCAR, BCS, and Formula One (which used a different graphics package than the other three properties), FOX retained this on-screen (for the second time it has retained the same look for baseball after adopting new graphics for football and NASCAR) look for its baseball broadcasts in 2007, this time through that year's postseason.

It was also used in the Rockies vs. Mets game on July 12, 2008 until the ninth inning but with the 2008 graphics package instead of the package that was used with this banner.

For the 2008 season, the graphics package was changed to a variation on the aforementioned new Fox Sports graphics. The diamond graphic now appears to the right of the scores, slimmed down to only consist of the main three bases (unlike other implementations which include the home plate). The MLB on FOX logo was moved to the far left. The colored strip across the top of the banner is locked to being blue (instead of being in the colors of the active team), the team abbreviations are no longer in the team's main color, like the 2001–2004 banner, and the shaded area above, which is used for the first time since the '01–'04 banner was last used, does not contain the animated stripe pattern. They only had the stripe pattern in the player stats graphic. The team's logo no longer flashes after scoring a run but the background sound of a computer mouse clicking is played with the changing of the score. The banner no longer flashes after a home run. Instead, along with the usual clicking sound, the text "HOME RUN: (team)" on the team color's background clicks in the empty space on the far right, which also includes the count and the out-of-town scores. The same goes for the NFL on FOX scoreboard when a touchdown or a field goal is scored. This banner is very similar to the 2001–2004 score banner since it and the shaded area above retract from the top of the screen whenever turned on or off but in a rather different way. The team names are always abbreviations (for example if the Phillies were playing the Mets the Phillies would be listed as "PHI" and the Mets as "NYM"), but the scores aren't shown in yellow boxes. If a team scores, the team letters and score numbers flip while the points are being added. If a team scores on a Home Run, this happens 5 or 6 seconds after the "HOME RUN" bar pops out. The ball strike count pops out of the blank area when needed. The bug is turned off for reporting camera angles and for the press box camera.

Note that like its predecessor, the bug wasn't turned off for the final out of the World Series.

The Major League Baseball on FOX theme music was composed by NJJ Music, who has composed many other Fox Sports themes. It has been used for the entire duration of FOX's MLB coverage. A new version of the theme was introduced on May 12, 2007, involving a more orchestral, brassy sound, although the original version was used for the Mets-Yankees game on May 19, 2007, the beginning of the Yankees-Red Sox game on April 12, 2008, and the Dodgers-Mets game on May 31, 2008. It is currently unknown which version of the theme FSN will use for the 2009 season.

Fox Sports has also received criticism from sports fans of bias toward teams in certain conferences, especially during the Super Bowl and the World Series, usually the National Football Conference in football (due to the fact that FOX owns the rights to NFC games) and the American League, especially the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, in baseball. FOX rarely shows teams from outside the top-10 media markets during the regular season.

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John Hart (baseball)

John Henry Hart (born July 21, 1948) is an American Major League Baseball executive. In addition, he was once the former general manager of the Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers; now he currently serves as senior adviser, baseball operations, for the Rangers.

Hart was born John Henry Hart in 1948 in Tampa, Florida. He attended Seminole Junior College where he was catcher on the baseball team. In 1969 he won All-American honors and began his professional career as a catcher in the Montreal Expos organization. He caught with them for three seasons before leaving the organization and returning to Florida. He graduated in 1973 from the University of Central Florida with majors in history and physical education.

Hart then coached high school baseball in the Orlando, Florida area before joining the Orioles organization in 1982 as a minor league manager. He managed in their minor league organization for six seasons before joining the major league team as third base coach in 1988.

In 1989, John Hart joined the Cleveland Indians as a special assignment scout, but then replaced Doc Edwards as manager for the final 19 games of the regular season (the team put up an 8-11 record during those games). For the next two seasons, Hart served as Director of Baseball Operations for the club. In September 1991, John Hart replaced Hank Peters as general manager and executive vice president of the Indians. During the next 10 years, the Indians were 870-681 under Hart. They won six American League Central division titles (1995 – 1999 and 2001) with appearances in the World Series in 1995 and 1997.

At the beginning of the 2001 season, Hart announced that it would be his last season as general manager of the Indians. After the season, Hart stayed true to his word and Assistant GM Mark Shapiro took over as general manager on November 1. But rather than take another position with the club, or retire, John Hart instead took the general manager position that had opened up with the Texas Rangers after the departure of Doug Melvin.

On July 21, 2004 the Rangers announced a contract extension for Hart for a guaranteed two more years and an annual mutual option to extend the contract each year thereafter. In addition, the contract stipulated that once it was terminated by either side, it automatically converted to a five year agreement for Hart to serve as senior advisor to the owner.

Just over a year after agreeing to the extension, John Hart stepped down as general manager of the Texas Rangers on October 4, 2005 and was replaced by Jon Daniels. During his four years with the Rangers, the team compiled a record of 311–337, never advancing to the playoffs.

After Hart garnered interest for the general manager position on other teams in the 2005 off-season, the Rangers extended his senior advisor contract for three more years in exchange for Hart refusing to consider any other GM positions. Thus Hart remains with the Rangers today and is locked up through the year 2013.

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ESPN Major League Baseball broadcasters

ESPN Major League Baseball broadcasters are listed below, including games broadcast only on ESPN currently and formerly.

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Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson in the California Winter League, 1944

Jack Roosevelt "Jackie" Robinson (January 31, 1919 – October 24, 1972) was the first African-American Major League Baseball player of the modern era. Although not the first African-American professional baseball player in United States history, Robinson's 1947 Major League debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers ended approximately 60 years of baseball segregation, breaking the baseball color line, or color barrier. At that time in the United States, many white people believed that blacks and whites should be kept apart in many aspects of life, including sports. Despite this obstacle, Robinson went on to have an exceptional baseball career.

Robinson played on six World Series teams and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. He earned six consecutive All-Star Game nominations and won several awards during his career. In 1947, Jackie won The Sporting News Rookie of the Year Award and the first MLB Rookie of the Year Award. Two years later, he won the National League MVP Award—the first black player to do so. On April 15, 1997, the 50-year anniversary of his debut, Major League Baseball retired Robinson's jersey number 42 across all MLB teams in recognition of his accomplishments in a ceremony at Shea Stadium.

He also had success away from the baseball field. Robinson was the first African-American Major League Baseball analyst and the first black vice president of a major American corporation. In the 1960s, he helped to establish the Freedom National Bank, an African-American owned and controlled entity based in Harlem, New York. Due to his achievements, Robinson was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. In 1950, he played himself in the biographical film The Jackie Robinson Story. In 1946, Robinson married Rachel Annetta Isum, and after Robinson died of a heart attack in 1972, she founded the Jackie Robinson Foundation.

Robinson, the youngest of five children, was born in Cairo, Georgia in 1919 during a Spanish flu and smallpox epidemic. His older siblings include Edgar, Frank, Mack and Willa Mae. His middle name was in honor of former President Theodore Roosevelt, who had died 25 days before Robinson was born. The Robinsons were a family of sharecroppers, and after their father left them in 1920, they moved to Pasadena, California. Raised by a single mother, Robinson grew up in relative poverty and joined a local neighborhood gang that his friend Carl Anderson eventually persuaded Robinson to abandon.

In 1935, Robinson graduated from Dakota Junior High School and enrolled in John Muir High School ("Muir Tech"). There he played on various Muir Tech sport teams, and lettered in four of them: football, basketball, track, and baseball. His older brother, Matthew Robinson, inspired Jackie to pursue his talent and love for athletics. Jackie played shortstop and catcher on the baseball team, quarterback on the football team, and guard on the basketball team. He was also a member of the tennis team and the track and field squad and won awards in the broad jump.

In 1936, Robinson won the junior boys' singles championship in the annual Pacific Coast Negro Tennis Tournament, starred as a quarterback, and earned a place on the annual Pomona baseball tournament all-star team which included future Baseball Hall of Famers Ted Williams and Bob Lemon. The next year he played for the high school's basketball team. That year the Pasadena Star-News newspaper reported on the young Robinson.

After leaving Muir, Robinson attended Pasadena Junior College (PJC), where he continued to excel in sports. He played basketball, football, and baseball. He played quarterback and safety for the football team, shortstop and leadoff batter for the baseball team, and participated in the broad jump. While at PJC, he was elected to the "Lancers,” a student-run police organization responsible for patrolling various school activities. However, on January 25, 1938, he was arrested for questionable reasons and sentenced to two years probation. In 1938, he was elected to the All-Southland Junior College (baseball) Team and selected as the region's Most Valuable Player. On February 4, 1939, he played his last basketball game at Pasadena Junior College. Thereupon Robinson was awarded a gold pin and was named to the school's "Order of the Mast and Dagger" (Omicron Mu Delta).

After leaving PJC in 1939, Robinson transferred to the nearby University of California, Los Angeles where he became the school's first athlete to win varsity letters in four sports: baseball, basketball, football and track. He was one of four African American players on the 1939 UCLA Bruins football team, the others were Woody Strode, Kenny Washington and Ray Bartlett. Washington, Strode, and Robinson starred on the 1939 UCLA Bruins football team where they made up three of the four backfield players. This was a rarity—to have so many African Americans when only a few dozen at all played on college football teams. Ultimately, Robinson withdrew from UCLA in 1941 with one semester to go, to take a job with the government's National Youth Administration.

Robinson then briefly worked as an athletic director for the National Youth Administration before going to Honolulu that fall to play football for the semi-professional, racially integrated Honolulu Bears. The season was brief and he returned that December shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that drew the United States into World War II. The army drafted him the following year.

Drafted into the United States Army and assigned to Fort Riley, Kansas, Robinson learned that white men with his level of education were allowed to go to Officer Candidate School, but blacks could not. Robinson had met heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis during basic training and he asked him for help. Louis talked to a friend in Washington, D.C. and the army then allowed Robinson and several other black men to train to become officers. Whether the army made the decision on its own or because of Louis' friend is not clear.

Robinson was commissioned a second lieutenant and re-assigned to Fort Hood, Texas where he joined the 761st "Black Panthers" Tank Battalion. While waiting for the results of hospital tests on an injured ankle, he boarded an Army bus with a fellow officer's wife; although the Army had commissioned its own unsegregated bus line, the bus's driver (who apparently believed that Robinson's companion was white) ordered Robinson to move to the back of the bus, away from his companion. Robinson refused. The driver backed down, but when he reached the end of the line he summoned the Military Police, who took Robinson into custody. When Robinson confronted the white officers who arrived on the scene to "investigate" his behavior (and the stenographer summoned to take his statement), the officers recommended that he be court-martialed. After Robinson's commander in the 761st, Paul L. Bates, refused to authorize the legal action, Robinson was summarily transferred to the 758th Battalion where the commander quickly consented to charge Robinson with insubordination, disturbing the peace, drunkenness, conduct unbecoming an officer, insulting a civilian woman, and refusing to obey the lawful orders of a superior officer.

By the time of the court-martial in August 1944, the charges had been reduced to include only Robinson's alleged insubordination during questioning; the actual incident on the bus that had inaugurated the episode was not mentioned in the charges or at the trial. Robinson was acquitted by an all-white panel of nine officers. He was transferred again, to Camp Breckenridge, Kentucky, where he served as a coach for army athletics until he received an honorable discharge in November 1944. Although his former unit, the 761st Tank Battalion, eventually become the first black tank unit to see combat, Robinson never saw combat action during World War II.

Robinson's Major League debut ended approximately sixty years of baseball segregation, also known as the baseball color line. His career started at the advanced age of 28 so he only played 10 seasons; all of them for the Brooklyn Dodgers. During his career, the Dodgers played in six World Series and Jackie played in six All-Star games. He is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame and a member of the All-Century Team. Robinson scored more than 100 runs in six of his ten seasons and had a .311 career batting average, a .409 career on-base percentage, and substantially more walks (740) than strikeouts (291). Robinson led the league in fielding in 1948, 1950 and 1951. He stole home 19 times in his career; one of the most difficult feats in baseball, and none of them were double steals. A double steal is when a player on first steals second at the same time as the player on third steals home and is the only way that current players will attempt to steal home.

Although Jackie played every game of his rookie season at first base, Robinson spent most of his career as a second baseman. In his first seven seasons, from 1947 to 1953, Robinson averaged over 110 runs. During his career from 1947 to 1956, Robinson was one of two players with 125 steals and a slugging percentage over .425. He had 197 steals and a .474 slugging percentage. Minnie Miñoso was the other player; he compiled 127 steals and a .479 percentage.

In 1946, Robinson came to Daytona Beach, Florida for spring training with the Montreal Royals. He was banned from playing in Jacksonville and Sanford, but not in Daytona. He played his first integrated game for a team in Organized Ball on March 17, 1946. His first plate appearance came in an exhibition game against the Royals' parent club, the Brooklyn Dodgers. Robinson thus became the first African-American to play in the Major Leagues since the baseball color line was implemented in 1889. Jackie proceeded to lead the International League with a .349 batting average and .985 fielding percentage. It was the first time an African-American had played Class AA baseball without being passed off as a Cuban, a Mexican, or an Indian. Montreal was forced to cancel a Southern exhibition tour, but in the first regular season game Robinson had four hits including a home run. Although away tours were emotionally taxing due to the virulent hostility he faced, Robinson played well for Montreal, where the local fans supported him as their summer hero with reassuring enthusiasm, and six days before the start of the 1947 season the Dodgers called him up. On April 15, 1947 he made his debut before a crowd of 26,623 spectators, 14,000 of whom were black. Although he didn't get a base hit, the Dodgers won 5–3. Robinson became the first player since 1887 to break the baseball color line. That winter he married Rachel Isum, his former UCLA classmate. The nation was initially divided on whether Robinson should be allowed to play. Virtually all blacks and many whites applauded the decision as long overdue, but a large number of whites also objected. Many major league players also objected. Most newspapers supported the move. Robinson's integration and subsequent high level of play was a major blow to segregation and caused racial barriers to fall in other areas. Robinson criticized hotels that did not allow him to stay with his teammates, and a number of hotels and restaurants that the Dodgers frequented integrated as a result.

During his first season with the Dodgers, Robinson encountered racism from fans and players, which included his own teammates. He anticipated that some pitchers would aim pitches at his head and that other players would try to hit, tackle, and even try to push him off the basepaths. Some Dodger players insinuated they would sit out rather than play alongside Robinson. The brewing mutiny ended when Dodger management took a stand for Robinson. Manager Leo Durocher informed the team, "I do not care if the guy is yellow or black, or if he has stripes like a fuckin' zebra. I'm the manager of this team, and I say he plays. What's more, I say he can make us all rich. And if any of you cannot use the money, I will see that you are all traded." When other teams, notably the St. Louis Cardinals, threatened to strike if Robinson played, National League President Ford Frick let it be known that they would be suspended.

Blacks were not the only minority discriminated against in baseball. Jewish baseball star Hank Greenberg also had to deal with racial epithets during his career. Greenberg and Robinson once collided at first base, and Greenberg whispered a few words into Robinson's ear. Asked by reporters what Greenberg said, Robinson replied "He gave me a few words of encouragement." Greenberg had advised him that the best way to combat the slurs from the opposing dugout was to beat them on the field. That year, he played in 151 games, hit .297, led the National League in stolen bases and won the first-ever Rookie of the Year Award. In the October 1948 issue of Sport magazine, Robinson said he did not expect to see baseball's color barrier fall in his lifetime. "I thought it would take another war," he said.

In 1948, Robinson moved to his natural position at second base and led the league in fielding. Robinson had a batting average of .296 and 22 stolen bases that year. He also hit for the cycle on August 29, 1948 against the St. Louis Cardinals in a 12–7 Dodger win; hitting a home run, a triple, a double, and a single. The Dodgers briefly moved into first place in the National League in late August 1948, but ultimately finished third as the Braves went on to win the league title and lose to the Cleveland Indians in the World Series.

The pressure on Robinson lessened in 1948 with a number of other black players now in the majors. Larry Doby and Satchel Paige played for the Cleveland Indians, and the Dodgers had three other black players besides Robinson. In February 1948 he signed a $12,500 contract with the Dodgers, which was less than he made in the off season from a Vaudeville tour, where he answered pre-set baseball questions, and a speaking tour of the South. Between the tours, he underwent a surgery on his right ankle. Due to his off-season activities, Robinson reported to training camp 30 pounds overweight. He lost the weight during training camp, but the dieting left him weak at the plate.

Robinson "exploded" in 1949, and won the Most Valuable Player award for the National League, leading the league with a .342 batting average and 37 stolen bases. That year a song about Jackie by Buddy Johnson, Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?, reached number 13 on the charts; Count Basie recorded a famous version. Ultimately, the Dodgers won the National League pennant but lost 4–1 to the New York Yankees in the World Series.

In the spring of 1949, Robinson turned to George Sisler for batting help. At Sisler's suggestion he spent hours at the batting tee learning to hit the ball to right field. Sisler had Jackie prepare for a fastball instead of a curveball based on his theory that it is easier to adjust to the slower curveball. "Sisler showed me how to stop lunging, how to check my swing until the last fraction of a second" Robinson said. He raised his batting average from .296 to .342 and was second in the league in doubles and triples.

Robinson led the National League in the most double plays made by a second baseman in 1950 with 133. By 1950 his salary was the highest amount paid to that point in Dodgers history: $35,000. His promised silence had also elapsed and by July 1949 Robinson was testifying against controversial statements made by the African American entertainer and activist Paul Robeson before the House Un-American Activities Committee, which pleased Americans worried about communism. The time became right for a film biography of his life, but two studios turned the project down when the film's promoters refused to include a white man teaching Robinson how to be a great player. In 1950, he appeared in a film biography, The Jackie Robinson Story in which he played himself. Actress Ruby Dee played Rachael "Rae" (Isum) Robinson. The New York Times wrote that Robinson was "doing that rare thing of playing himself in the picture's leading role, displays a calm assurance and composure that might be envied by many a Hollywood star." He finished the year with 99 runs, a .328 batting average, and 12 stolen bases.

Jackie Robinson struggled with his decision to testify before The House Committee on Un-American Activities regarding the widely misquoted declaration made by the famous entertainer Paul Robeson that African Americans would not support the United States in a war with the Soviet Union due to their continued second-class citizen status under law following World War II. Technically, Robinson was not required to testify, but he knew there would be repercussions if he did not.

Paul Robeson had done previous service on behalf of Jackie Robinson's entry into professional baseball. At their annual meeting in December of 1943, Robeson had addressed the baseball owners. As both a former athlete and a leading man on stage, he assured them that integrating baseball would not cause violence but would in fact propel the country closer to its ideals.Robeson was the first black man to speak before the owners on the subject and afterward they gave him a round of applause. After the meeting commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis remarked that there was no rule on the books denying blacks entry into the league. Just over four years later Robinson made his 1947 major league baseball debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

The reaction to Robinson's statement at the time in the white press was positive including an article by Eleanor Roosevelt in which she wrote, "Mr.Robeson does his people great harm in trying to line them up on the Communist side of political picture. Jackie Robinson helped them greatly by his forthright statements." Reaction in the Black press was mixed. The The New York Amsterdam News was supportive, saying that "Jackie Robinson had batted 1,000 percent in this game" but the Black newspaper 'New Age' remarked that "being Jim Crowed by Washington's infamous lily white hotels In 1963" Robinson had left the capital immediately after his testimony. and The Afro American Newspaper ran a disparaging cartoon depicting Jackie Robinson as a frightened little boy with a gun vainly attempting to "hunt" Robeson. In 1963, when Robinson criticized the Black Muslims, Malcolm X harshly alluded to Robinson's earlier and potentially damning testimony of Paul Robeson.

In 1951 Robinson led the National League in the most double plays made by a second baseman for the second year in a row with 137. He single-handedly kept the Dodgers in the race for the 1951 pennant. During the final game of the regular season against Philadelphia he made a season-saving defensive play in the 12th inning and then hit a game-winning home run in the 14th inning. This forced a three-game playoff against the Giants. Despite Robinson's regular season heroics the Dodgers lost the pennant on Bobby Thomson's home run in the last at bat of Game 3 of the playoff on October 3, 1951. He stood with hands on hips and watched Thomson's feet in case he failed to touch all of the bases. Dodgers sportscaster Vin Scully felt that showed "how much of a competitor Robinson was". He finished the season with 106 runs, a batting average of .335, and 25 stolen bases.

In 1953 Robinson had 109 runs, a .329 batting average, and 17 steals. He also served as the editor for Our Sports magazine. This short-lived periodical advertised its coverage of "famous Negro athletes in every field of endeavor" and "Negro athletes in your town among your own neighbors." Articles included "What White Big Leaguers Really Think of Negroes" and "My Toughest Fight," an article by boxer Joe Louis about golf course segregation.

In 1954 Robinson had 62 runs, a .311 batting average, and seven steals. His best day at the plate was on June 17, when he hit two home runs and two doubles. He also succeeded in getting the five-star Chase Park Hotel in St. Louis integrated. He and Don Newcombe approached the hotel's manager and asked why blacks were not allowed. The manager said, "It's the swimming pool . . . a place where everybody socializes." Newcombe explained that they were ballplayers, not swimmers, and the manager relented. That season black players had their meals delivered to their rooms and were not allowed to use the Chase's dining room, but the next season the dining room was fully integrated.

Robinson then won his only championship when the Dodgers beat the New York Yankees in the 1955 World Series, after what was ironically the worst year of his career. He hit .256 and stole only 12 bases in 1955. He was 37 years old, missed 49 games, and did not play in Game 7 of the World Series. Robinson missed the game because manager Walter Alston decided to play Jim Gilliam at second and Don Hoak at third base. His body had thickened and he had lost his speed. The Dodgers tried Robinson in the outfield and at third base, partly because of his diminishing abilities and partly because Gilliam, a black player, had staked a claim on second base. Also that season, Dodgers pitcher Don Newcombe would be the first black pitcher to win 20 games in one year.

In 1956 Jackie had 61 runs, a .275 batting average, and 12 steals. After the 1956 season Robinson was traded by the Dodgers to the archrival New York Giants for Dick Littlefield and $35,000 cash. Although this is frequently cited as the reason for Robinson's retirement, the situation was more complicated. Before the trade he had already agreed with the president of Chock full o'Nuts to quit baseball and become a top executive with the company. This, and a disagreement between his friend Rickey and team owner Walter O'Malley, led to Robinson announcing his retirement through Look magazine instead of through the Dodgers.

Robinson retired from baseball on January 5, 1957. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, his first year of eligibility, and became the first African-American so honored. In 1965, Robinson served as an analyst for ABC's Major League Baseball Game of the Week telecasts, the first black person to do so. On June 4, 1972, the Dodgers retired his uniform number 42 alongside Roy Campanella (39) and Sandy Koufax (32). From 1957 to 1964 Robinson was the vice president for personnel at Chock full o'Nuts; he was the first black person to serve as vice president of a major American corporation. He chaired the NAACP's million-dollar Freedom Fund Drive in 1957, and served on their board until 1967. In 1964 he became one of six national directors for Nelson Rockefeller's Republican presidential campaign and later became special assistant for community affairs when Rockefeller was re-elected governor of New York in 1966. In 1970, Robinson established the Jackie Robinson Construction Company to build housing for families with low incomes.

Robinson made his final public appearance on October 14, 1972 before Game 2 of the World Series. He used this chance to express his wish for a black manager to be hired by a Major League Baseball team. This wish was granted two years later following the 1974 season when the Cleveland Indians gave their managerial post to Frank Robinson (no relation), a Hall of Fame bound player who later managed several other teams. Despite the success of these two Robinsons and other black players, as of 2007 the number of African-Americans in the major league has been on the decline for decades. This is due to an increased emphasis on the recruitment of players from Latin America.

Robinson's body, which had served him well as an athlete, failed early. Heart disease complications and diabetes weakened him and made him almost blind by middle age. On October 24, 1972, he died of a heart attack at home in Stamford, Connecticut, aged 53. Jackie Robinson is interred at Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY. His grave is located about half a mile south of the Jackie Robinson Parkway, which bisects the cemetery.

Robinson's widow, Rachel Robinson, has had a extremely successful career in the academic nursing field, including holding an Assistant Professorship at Yale School of Nursing and the position of Director of Nursing at the Connecticut Mental Health Center. Robinson's eldest son Jackie, Jr. served in Vietnam, struggled with drug problems and was working as a Daytop Village counselor, died in an automobile accident in 1971. He died one year before his father.

Robinson's daughter Sharon became a midwife, educator, a director of educational programming for Major League Baseball and author of a book about her father. Youngest son David became a Tanzanian coffee grower and social activist. He is a father of ten children.

Robinson's contributions have been recognized in a number of ways. He ranks highly in a number of polls and lists, has received several awards, and has had buildings and events named in his honor. According to a poll conducted in 1947, Robinson was the second most popular man in the country, behind Bing Crosby, and was the embodiement of "Black Pride" long before the popular movement. In 1999, he was named by Time magazine on its list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. Also in 1999, he ranked number 44 on The Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team as the top vote getter for second basemen. Baseball writer Bill James, in the "The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract", ranked Robinson as the 32nd greatest player of all time based strictly on his performance on the field, noting that he was one of the top players in the league throughout his career.

Major League Baseball has honored Robinson several times since his death. In 1987, the Rookie of the Year Award was renamed the Jackie Robinson Award in honor of its first winner. On April 15, 1997, Robinson's #42 was retired by Major League Baseball, which means that no future player on any major league team can wear it. The number was retired in ceremonies at Shea Stadium to mark the 50th anniversary of Robinson's first game with the Dodgers. A handful of players who wore #42 as a salute to Robinson, such as the Mets' Butch Huskey and Boston's Mo Vaughn, were allowed to continue to use the number. The Yankees' Mariano Rivera will be the last player in the major leagues to wear # 42.

Robinson has also been recognized outside of baseball. In December 1956 the NAACP recognized him with the Spingarn Medal, which it awards annually for the highest achievement by an African-American. President Ronald Reagan posthumously awarded Robinson the 1985 Presidential Medal of Freedom, and on October 29, 2003, the United States Congress posthumously awarded him the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award the Congress can bestow. Robinson's widow accepted the award in a ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda on March 2, 2005. Robinson is only the second baseball player to receive the Congressional Gold Medal; Roberto Clemente is the other baseball player who has earned the medal. On August 20, 2007 California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver announced that he would be inducted into the California Hall of Fame on December 5, 2007, located at The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts in Sacramento.

Robinson has had a number of buildings named in his honor. The UCLA Bruins baseball team plays in the Jackie Robinson Stadium. In addition, City Island Ballpark, the baseball field in Daytona Beach that became the Dodgers' de facto spring training site in 1947, was renamed Jackie Robinson Ballpark in his honor. The New York Public School system has named a middle school after Robinson, and Dorsey High School in Los Angeles named their football stadium after him.

In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante listed Jackie Robinson on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans.

At the November 2006 ground-breaking for a new ballpark for the New York Mets, Citi Field (scheduled to open in 2009), it was announced that the main entrance, modeled on the one in Brooklyn's old Ebbets Field, will be called the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. Additionally, Mets owner Fred Wilpon said that the club and Citigroup would work with the Jackie Robinson Foundation to create a Jackie Robinson Museum and Learning Center in lower Manhattan and would fund scholarships for "young people who live by and embody Jackie's ideals". In 1976, his home in Brooklyn, the Jackie Robinson House, was declared a National Historic Landmark.

Each year on April 15, Jackie Robinson Day is celebrated, commemorating and honoring the day Robinson made his major league debut. Jackie Robinson Day was initiated in 2004 and has been celebrated every year since. On April 15, 2007, the 60th anniversary of Robinson's major league debut, Major League Baseball invited players to wear the number 42 just for that day to commemorate Robinson. The gesture was the idea of Cincinnati Reds outfielder Ken Griffey, Jr., who first sought Rachel Robinson's permission, and, after receiving it, asked Commissioner Bud Selig for permission. Selig extended the invitation to all major league teams. Ultimately, more than 200 players wore number 42, including the entire rosters of the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers, and Pittsburgh Pirates. The tribute was continued in 2008, when, during the April 15 games, all members of the New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals, Washington Nationals, and Tampa Bay Rays wore Robinson's # 42.

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Francis Richter

Francis Richter (January 26, 1854 - February 12, 1926) was an American journalist who served as founder and editor of Sporting Life from its inception to its demise, and editor of the Reach Guide from its inception in 1901. Richter died the day after completing the 1926 edition of the Reach Guide. As a writer and associate of baseball officials, he was influential in the early development of the game.

Born in Philadelphia, Richter was a journalist from his youth. His early career as an amateur baseball player was an invaluable tool, which provided him with a rich supply of insight into the game and players' lives (Reach Guide, 1926).

In 1872 he began his career with the Philadelphia Day, and when that paper folded eight years later, he had already established his reputation as a successful managing editor in the journalistic world. He began writing for the Sunday World and started the nation's first newspaper sports department of the era while working at the Public Ledger. Richter helped form the original American Association of baseball in 1882 and to place the Philadelphia Athletics in it. The next year, becoming disgusted with the "Beer and Whiskey League" and its Sunday baseball, he helped organize the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League.

In 1883 Richter founded the Sporting Life, a weekly magazine devoted to coverage of all sports, with an emphasis on baseball. Richter hired correspondents from around the country. He was the first editor of the journal, which became the mouthpiece of baseball and a great force in the national pastime. Within a year circulation had grown to 20,000, and by 1886 it was at 40,000. Initially each issue had 16 pages and sold for ten cents.

On December 12, 1887, Richter and other baseball journalists formed the Base Ball Reporters Association of America, also referred to as the National Base Ball Reporters' Association, at Cincinnati, Ohio.

In 1902 Richter jumped ship to join with the American League's founders. He was a World Series official for many years, and wrote a history of baseball.

He warned of the potential problems of corruption in Sporting Life until 1917, when its doors were forever closed due the outbreak of World War I.

By the end of the first quarter of the 20th century, Richter had acquired a reputation as one of baseball's most influential personalities. In fact, he had acquired so much renown that in 1907 the National League offered him the presidency of the league. Richter declined the offer, wanting instead to promote baseball “by lift(ing) the game up to the heights” of a national pastime (Reach Guide, 1926, p. 351).

Richter succeeded in lifting the game to these heights, seeing the sport through its darkest scandal in 1920 after the Black Sox Scandal. He continued his prestigious writing career, always seeking to improve the national sport, until the day before his death.

Richter had roles in the promotion of baseball and sportsmanship, as a player's advocate in salary wars, as a force in the amalgamation of the National and American Association into a twelve-team National League in 1892, in the formation of a new National Agreement (where, however, he opposed the reserve clause as adopted), in prestigious rules committees, and as a mouthpiece against gambling. He had prominent roles in areas such as promotion, record-keeping and shaping of public opinion. He was a financial backer of the 1884 Union Association and its Philadelphia team. He declared the new league "the emancipator of enslaved players and the enemy of the reserve clause" (Voigt, 1966, p. 130).

After the failure of the Players League in 1890, Richter changed his allegiance, writing in the Sporting News that “Amidst all this noise and confusion the star ball player is the only one who can't lose, no matter which side wins" (Shaw, 2003).

He was the author of History and Records of Baseball: the American Nation's Chief Sport (Philadelphia: Sporting Life Publishing Co., 1914).

Richter died in his Philadelphia home on February 12, 1926 at the age of 71, the day after completing the 1926 edition of the Reach Official Guide. The cause of death was bronchial pneumonia. He was survived by his wife Helen and their two children, and was buried without fanfare.

Mr. Richter founded Sporting Life and was one of the best informed men in the world in regard to the game of Base Ball. He advocated changes in rules from time to time, assisted in the amalgamation of the American Association and the National League in 1891, and at one time was offered the presidency of the National League. For many years Mr. Richter edited Reach's American League Guide and was an advocate always of the higher ethics of professional sport. He was for clean Base Ball through and through, and the best policies for the game as a national pastime had no stronger supporter in all the coterie of great Base Ball writers who flourished when Base Ball was beginning to get away from its minor surroundings to its present position in sport.

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Al Helfer

Al Helfer was a Major League Baseball radio announcer for 17 years. He was known by the nick name "Mr. Radio Baseball" He worked six World Series, ten All-Star Games and regular broadcasts for several teams, among them the New York Yankees, Brooklyn Dodgers and Oakland Athletics. He worked the "Game of the Week" along with Dizzy Dean in the early fifties, though they often argued and never got along . He also did the broadcast of the Army–Navy Game during the 1940s and 1950s and several Rose Bowl games.

Helfer played football and basketball at Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania and he took his first job as a sports reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after graduation, also working the football games of the Pittsburgh Panthers team for radio station WWSW. He started working on broadcasting recreations of baseball games in 1933 for Pittsburgh Pirates games.

He joined Red Barber as the regular broadcast team of the Cincinnati Reds in 1935. He left Cincinnati to join CBS in 1937, working a few baseball games and a lot of football games. He was reunited with Barber on the Brooklyn Dodgers broadcasts in 1939. They worked together until 1941, when Helfer joined the Navy during World War II.

When he returned the Dodgers job was no longer available, so he started doing the "Game of the Week" broadcasts. He did eventually rejoin the Dodgers for their last years in Brooklyn, calling their final home game and introducing the players to the crowd for the final time.

He worked a number of teams after that, including the Houston Colt 45s first season and the Oakland Athletics first season on the west coast.

He was married to a vaudeville performer known as "Ramona" and remarried to a woman named Margret in Sacramento, California his last 3 years of his life. He retired around 1969 and died on May 16, 1975.

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Detroit Tigers

Tiger Stadium, home of the Detroit Tigers from 1895-1999 at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull in the Corktown district of Detroit.

The Detroit Tigers are a Major League Baseball team based in Detroit, Michigan. One of the American League's eight charter franchises, the club was founded in Detroit in 1894.

The Tigers constructed Bennett Park at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Trumbull Avenue and began playing there in 1896.

In 1912, the team moved into Navin Field, which was built on the same location. In 1938, a substantially-improved facility, Briggs Stadium, was built, and it was renamed Tiger Stadium, in 1961. The Tigers last won the World Series in 1984. From 2000 to the present, the Tigers have played in Comerica Park.

The club is a charter member of the American League, one of four clubs (with the Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians) still located in its founding city. Detroit is also the only member of the Western League, the AL's minor league predecessor, that remains in its original city. It was established as a charter member in 1894.

Detroit's first major league entry was the Detroit Wolverines, a member of the National League from 1881 through 1888. The nickname, now associated with the University of Michigan, came from Michigan's nickname, "The Wolverine State".

The Wolverines' best year was 1887. They won the National League pennant and an exhibition World Series, defeating the American Association champion St. Louis Browns, 10 games to 5. All fifteen scheduled games of the series were played, as the clubs toured ten different cities.

The leading players were Hardy Richardson, Jack Rowe, Deacon White, pitcher Charlie Getzein and Hall of Famers "Big Sam" Thompson and Dan Brouthers. Thompson won the 1887 NL batting championship, making him the only NL batting winner from the traditionally AL city.

Despite the championship, the team did not draw enough fans to stay solvent at the major league level, as Detroit was at the time one of the smallest cities in the National League and its rapid industry-fueled growth was still several years in the future. Hall of Fame manager Ned Hanlon played all eight seasons in center field but there was high turnover otherwise. After the 1888 season, the team disbanded and the city was relegated to minor league status. One new club formed and joined the International League in 1889, and promptly won the league championship. Their fans' joy came to an abrupt end when the league temporarily disbanded in mid-1890 and took the team with it. An attempt was made to revive the old Northwestern League in 1891, but it also collapsed in mid-season, and Detroit professional baseball took a short hiatus.

When the Western renamed itself the American League for 1900, it was still a minor league, but next year it broke with the National Agreement and declared itself major, openly competing with the National League for players, and for fans in three contested cities. For a few years there were rumors of abandoning Detroit to compete for Cincinnati or Pittsburgh but the two leagues made peace in 1903 after similar moves into St. Louis and New York.

The Tigers played their first game as a major league team at home against the Milwaukee Brewers on April 25, 1901, with 10,000 fans at Bennett Park. (Richard Bak, A Place for Summer: A Narrative History of Tiger Stadium, 1998, pp.73-74) After entering the ninth inning behind 13-4, the team staged a dramatic comeback to win 14-13. That team finished third in the eight-team league.

Detroit's blue laws prevented baseball from being played at Bennett Park on Sundays. Owner James D. Burns built a ballpark on his own property named Burns Park where the Tigers played their Sunday home games for the 1901 and 1902 seasons.

Eleven years later, an elegant stadium was constructed on the site of Bennett Park and named Navin Field for owner Frank Navin. In 1938 it was improved and named Briggs Stadium and renamed "Tiger Stadium" in 1961. Tiger Stadium was used by the Tigers until the end of the 1999 season; from 2000 they have played in Comerica Park.

There are various legends about how the Tigers got their nickname. One involves the orange stripes they wore on their black stockings. Tigers manager George Stallings took credit for the name; however, the name appeared in newspapers before Stallings was manager. Another legend concerns a sportswriter equating the 1901 team's opening day victory with the ferocity of his alma mater, the Princeton Tigers.

Richard Bak, in his 1998 book, A Place for Summer: A Narrative History of Tiger Stadium, pp.46-49, explains that the name originated from the Detroit Light Guard military unit, who were known as "The Tigers". They had played significant roles in certain Civil War battles and in the 1898 Spanish-American War. The baseball team was still informally called both "Wolverines" and "Tigers" in the news. The earliest known use of the name "Tigers" in the media was in the Detroit Free Press on April 16, 1895. Upon entry into the majors the ballclub sought and received formal permission from the Light Guard to use its trademark and from that day forth it is officially the Tigers.

In 1905, the team acquired Ty Cobb, a fearless player with a mean streak, who came to be regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. The addition of Cobb to an already talented team that included Sam Crawford, Hughie Jennings, Bill Donovan and George Mullin quickly yielded results, as the Tigers won their first American League pennant in 1907.

Cobb and the Tigers lost in the 1907 Fall Classic against the Chicago Cubs. With the exception of Game 1, which ended in a rare tie, the Tigers failed to score more than one run in any game and lost four straight. The Cubs would deny Detroit the title again in '08, holding Detroit to a .209 batting average for the series, which the Cubs again won in five games. It was hoped that a new opponent in the 1909 Series, Pittsburgh, would yield different results, but the Tigers were blown out 8-0 in the decisive seventh game at Bennett Park.

In 1915, the Tigers won a then-club record 100 games but narrowly lost the American League pennant to the Boston Red Sox who won 101 games. The 1915 Tigers were led by an outfield consisting of Ty Cobb, Sam Crawford, and Bobby Veach that finished #1, #2, and #3 in RBIs and total bases. Cobb also set a stolen base record with 96 steals in 1915 that stood until 1962. Baseball historian Bill James has ranked the 1915 Tigers outfield as the greatest in the history of major league baseball. The only team in Tigers' history with a better winning percentage than the 1915 squad was the 1934 team that lost the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals.

In the teens and twenties, Cobb remained the marquee player on many Tigers teams that would remain mired in the middle of the American League. Cobb himself took over managerial duties in 1921, but during six years at the helm, his Tigers never had a record better than 86–68.

In 1921, the Tigers amassed 1724 hits and a team batting average of .316 -- the highest team hit total and batting average in American League history. (The Elias Book of Baseball Records, 2008, p.88) That year, outfielders Harry Heilmann and Ty Cobb finished #1 and #2 in the American League batting race with batting averages of .394 and .389. As early proof of the baseball adage that good pitching beats good hitting, the downfall of the 1921 Tigers was the absence of good pitching. The team ERA was 4.40, and they allowed nine or more runs 28 times. Without pitching to support the offense, the 1921 Tigers finished in sixth place in the American League, 27 games behind the Yankees with a record of 71-82.

The Tiger teams of the 1930s were consistently among the league's best with "Black Mike" Mickey Cochrane behind the plate, slugger Hank Greenberg at first, and consistent Charlie Gehringer, "The Mechanical Man", at second.

They would lose again in the 1934 World Series in seven games to the Gashouse Gang St. Louis Cardinals. Again, when the chips were down in the deciding game, Detroit folded, giving up seven third-inning runs and losing Game Seven 11–0 at Navin Field (Tiger Stadium). The game was marred by an ugly incident. After spiking Tiger third baseman Marv Owen in the sixth inning, the Cardinals' Joe "Ducky" Medwick had to be removed from the game for his own safety by Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis after being pelted with fruit and garbage from angry fans in the large temporary bleacher section in left field.

The Tigers eventually won the World Series the following year, defeating the Cubs 4 games to 2 to win the 1935 World Series, which concluded with Goose Goslin's dramatic game-ending single, scoring Cochrane to seal the victory. See 1935 Detroit Tigers season.

The Tigers returned to the middle of the American League in the late 30s except in 1940 when they again won the pennant but lost the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds.

With the end of World War II and the timely return of Hank Greenberg and others from the military, the Tigers took the 1945 American League pennant. With Virgil Trucks, Hal Newhouser and Dizzy Trout on the mound and Greenberg leading the Tiger bats, Detroit responded in a Game 7 for the first time, staking Newhouser to a 5–0 lead before he threw a pitch en route to a 9–3 victory over the Cubs. Because many baseball stars had not yet returned from the military, some baseball scholars have deemed the '45 Series to be among the worst-played contests in Series history. For example, prior to the Series, Chicago sportswriter Warren Brown was asked who he liked, and he answered, "I don't think either one of them can win it!" (The Chicago Cubs, by Warren Brown, 1946) But the Cubs had no answer to Greenberg, and the Series went Detroit's way.

After their 1945 Series win, the Tigers sank back to the middle of the pack in the American League for most of the 1950s. Notwithstanding Detroit's fall in the standings, the decade saw the debut of outfielder Al Kaline. He would hit over .300 eight times in his career, and featured one of the league's best arms in right field. But the Tigers suffered on the field because they were the 15th of the then-16 MLB teams to field an African-American player – in the Tigers' case, an Afro-Caribbean player, Ozzie Virgil, Sr., who integrated the Tigers in 1958. Only the Boston Red Sox trailed the Tigers in integrating their roster.

However, Detroit began its slow ascent back to success with an outstanding 1961 campaign, which saw them win 101 games. They still finished eight games behind the Yankees, one of the few times a team had failed to reach the postseason despite winning over 100 games. First baseman Norm Cash had the best batting average in the American League, a remarkably high .361. He never hit over .286 before or after the '61 season. The 1961 club featured two nonwhite starters, Jake Wood and Bill Bruton, and later in the 1960s, black players such as Willie Horton, Earl Wilson, and Gates Brown would contribute to Detroit's rise in the standings. Pitchers Mickey Lolich and Denny McLain also entered the rotation during the middle of the decade.

As this winning nucleus developed, Detroit repeatedly posted winning records throughout the 1960s. The team even managed a third-place finish during a bizarre 1966 season, in which manager Chuck Dressen and acting manager Bob Swift were both forced to resign their posts because of health problems. Both men died during the year – Dressen in August because of a kidney infection, Swift in October due to cancer. Thereafter, Frank Skaff took over the managerial reins until the end of the season. Skaff was replaced by Mayo Smith in 1967, perhaps the last step before World Series contention. Indeed, in 1967 the Tigers were involved in one of the closest pennant races in history. They needed to sweep a doubleheader from the California Angels on the last day of the season to force a one-game playoff with the Boston Red Sox. They won the first game but lost the second, giving the Red Sox the flag with no playoff. Detroit finished the season at 91-71, a single game behind Boston.

The Tigers again reached the World Series in 1968. The team grabbed first place away from the Baltimore Orioles on May 10 and would not relinquish the position, clinching the pennant on September 17 and finishing with a 103-59 record. In a year that was marked by dominant pitching, starter Denny McLain went 31-6, the first time a pitcher had won 30 or more games in a season since the St. Louis Cardinals' Dizzy Dean accomplished the feat in 1934; no pitcher has accomplished it since. McLain was unanimously voted American League Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Award winner for his efforts.

In the 1968 World Series, the Tigers met the defending World champion St. Louis Cardinals, led by starter Bob Gibson (who had posted a record 1.12 ERA during the regular season) and speedy outfielder Lou Brock. In Game 1, Gibson completely shut down the Detroit lineup, striking out 17 batters, still a World Series record. However, due in no small part to pitcher Mickey Lolich's victories in Games 2 and 5, the Tigers climbed back into the Series and forced a seventh game. Many fans believe the turning point in the Series came in Game 5, when Willie Horton threw out Lou Brock from left field, and catcher Bill Freehan blocked the plate. The Tigers, who had been behind, came back to win that game. In Game 7 at Busch Memorial Stadium, Lolich faced Gibson on just two days' rest, and both men pitched brilliantly, putting zeros up on the scoreboard for much of the game. However, in the top of the seventh, an exhausted Gibson finally cracked, giving up singles to Norm Cash and Willie Horton. Jim Northrup then struck the decisive blow, lashing a triple to center field that scored both Cash and Horton; Northrup himself was then brought home by a Bill Freehan double. Detroit added an insurance run in the ninth, and a home run by Mike Shannon was all the Cardinals could muster against Lolich as the Tigers took the game, 4–1, and the Series, 4–3. For his three victories that propelled the Tigers to the World championship, Lolich was named the World Series Most Valuable Player.

1969 saw both leagues realign into two divisions, and the Tigers were placed in the American League East. That year, Detroit failed to defend its '68 title, finishing second in the division to a very strong Baltimore team which had won 109 games. Smith was let go after the 1970 season, to be replaced by Billy Martin. After another second-place finish in 1971, the Tigers captured their first AL East title in 1972. Oddities of the schedule due to an early-season strike allowed the Tigers to win the division by just ½ game, just as they had in 1908.

In the 1972 American League Championship Series, Detroit faced the American League West division champion Oakland Athletics, who had become steadily competitive ever since the 1969 realignment. In Game 1 of the ALCS in Oakland, Lolich, the hero of '68, took the hill and went nine innings. Al Kaline hit a solo homer to break a 1-1 tie in the 11th inning, only to be charged with an error on Gonzalo Marquez's game-tying single that allowed Gene Tenace to score the winning run. Blue Moon Odom shut down Detroit 5-0 in Game 2. As the series returned to Detroit, the Tigers caught their stride. Joe Coleman held the A's scoreless on seven hits in Game 3, a 3–0 Tiger victory. In Game 4, Oakland scored two runs in the top of the 10th and put the Tigers down to their last three outs. Detroit pushed two runs across the plate to tie the game before Jim Northrup came through in the clutch again. His single off Dave Hamilton scored Gates Brown and evened the series at 2 games apiece. A first-inning run on a Gene Tenace passed ball gave Detroit an early lead in the deciding fifth and final game in Detroit but Reggie Jackson's steal of home in the 2nd tied it up. A Gene Tenace single to left field gave Oakland a 2–1 lead in the fourth inning, and thanks to four innings of scoreless relief from Vida Blue they took it all the way to the World Series.

Martin did not survive the 1973 season as manager and the Tigers spent much of the next decade in the middle or lower ranks of the AL East. In 1974, Ralph Houk, who managed the dominant Yankee teams of the early 1960s, was named manager of the Tigers. "The Major" served in that capacity for five full seasons, through the end of the 1978 season. The roster of players who played under Houk were mostly aging veterans from the 1960s, whose performance had slipped from their peak years. Perhaps the biggest signal of decline for the Tigers was the retirement of Kaline following the 1974 season, after he notched his 3000th career hit. Kaline finished with 3007 hits and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1980.

Tiger fans were provided a glimmer of hope when rookie Mark Fidrych made his debut in 1976. Fidrych, known as "the Bird", was a colorful character known for talking to the baseball and other eccentricities. During a game against the Yankees, Graig Nettles responded to Fidrych's antics by talking to his bat. After making an out, he later lamented that his Japanese-made bat didn't understand him. Fidrych was the starting pitcher for the American League in the All Star Game played that year in Philadelphia to celebrate the American Bicentennial. He finished the season with a record of 19-9 and an American League-leading ERA of 2.34. Fidrych was the lone bright spot that year, with those Tigers finishing next to last in the AL East in 1976.

The first major news of the 1984 season actually came in late 1983, when broadcasting magnate John Fetzer, who had owned the club since 1957, sold the team to Domino's Pizza founder and CEO Tom Monaghan. (Richard Bak, A Place for Summer, 1998, p.332) The sale of the franchise caught everyone by surprise, as the negotiations culminating in the sale of the franchise were conducted in total secrecy. There were no rumors or even speculation that Fetzer had put the franchise up for sale.

The 1984 team started out at a record 35-5 pace (including Jack Morris throwing a no-hitter early in the season against Chicago en route to the Tigers' 9-0 start) and cruised to a franchise-record 104 victories. They featured the great double play combination of shortstop Alan Trammell and second baseman Lou Whitaker; the duo would play together a record 19 seasons. The team also included Darrell Evans, Dave Bergman, Kirk Gibson, Chet Lemon, Tom Brookens, Larry Herndon, Morris, Dan Petry, Dave Rozema, Johnny Grubb, Aurelio Lopez ("Señor Smoke") and relief ace Willie Hernandez, who won the 1984 American League Cy Young Award and Most Valuable Player just one year after pitching on the Philadelphia Phillies' National League championship club.

In the NLCS, a San Diego rally from 2-0 down prevented a fifth Cubs-Tigers series and meant the Tigers would open the 1984 World Series against the San Diego Padres in Trammell's home town (had the Cubs won the NLCS, Detroit would have been awarded home-field advantage in the World Series, as NBC insisted on all midweek games starting at night, something that would have been impossible at the time at Wrigley Field).

In Game 1, Larry Herndon hit a two-run home run that gave the Tigers a 3-2 lead. Morris pitched a complete game with 2 runs on 8 hits, and Detroit took first blood. The Padres evened the series the next night despite pitcher Ed Whitson being chased after two-thirds of an inning after giving up three runs on five Tiger hits. Tiger starter Dan Petry exited the game after four and one-third innings when Kurt Bevacqua's three-run homer gave San Diego a 5-3 lead they would hold onto.

When the series returned to the Motor City, the Tigers took charge. In Game 3, a two-out rally in the second inning led to four runs and the yanking of Padre starter Tim Lollar after one and two-thirds innings. The Padres, plagued by poor starting pitching throughout the series, never recovered and lost 5-2. Eric Show continued the parade of bad outings in Game 4, getting bounced after two and two-thirds innings after giving up home runs to Series MVP Trammell in his first two at-bats. Trammell's homers held up with the help of another Morris complete game, and the Tigers held a commanding lead.

In Game 5, Gibson's two-run shot in the first inning would be the beginning of another early end for the Padres' starter Mark Thurmond. Though the Padres would pull back even, chasing Dan Petry in the fourth inning in the process, the Tigers retook the lead on a Rusty Kuntz sacrifice fly, and doubled it on a solo homer by Parrish.

A "Sounds of the Game" video was made during the Series by MLB Productions and played on TV a number of times since then. When Kirk Gibson came to bat in the eighth inning, in a situation that might call for San Diego reliever Goose Gossage to pitch around him, Anderson was seen and heard yelling to Gibson, "He don't want to walk you!" and making a swing-the-bat gesture. As Anderson had suspected, Gossage threw a fastball inside, and Gibson was ready. He "swung from the heels", and launched it into Tiger Stadium's right field upper deck, effectively clinching the series.

Tony Gwynn flied out to Larry Herndon to end the game and send Detroit into a wild victory celebration.

The team led its division wire-to-wire, from opening day and every day thereafter, culminating in the World Series championship. This had not been done since the 1927 New York Yankees.

After a pair of third-place finishes in 1985 and 1986, the 1987 Tigers faced lowered expectations - which seemed to be confirmed by an 11–19 start to the season. The team hit its stride thereafter and gradually gained ground on its AL East rivals. This charge was fueled in part by the acquisition of pitcher Doyle Alexander from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for minor league pitcher John Smoltz. Alexander started 11 games for the Tigers, posting 9 wins without a loss and a 1.53 ERA. Smoltz, a Lansing, Michigan native, went on to have a long and still productive career with the Braves, winning the Cy Young Award in 1996.

Despite their improvement, they entered September neck-and-neck with the Toronto Blue Jays. The two teams would square off in seven hard-fought games during the final two weeks of the season. All seven games were decided by one run, and in the first six of the seven games, the winning run was scored in the final inning of play. At Exhibition Stadium, the Tigers dropped three in a row to the Blue Jays before winning a dramatic extra-inning showdown.

The Tigers entered the final week of the 1987 season 3.5 games behind. After a series against the Baltimore Orioles, the Tigers returned home trailing by a game and swept the Blue Jays. Detroit clinched the division in a 1-0 victory over Toronto in front of 51,005 fans at Tiger Stadium on Sunday afternoon, October 4. Frank Tanana went all nine innings for the complete game shutout, and outfielder Larry Herndon gave the Tigers their lone run on a second-inning home run. Detroit finished the season a Major League-best 98-64, two games ahead of Toronto.

In what would prove to be their last postseason appearance until 2006, the Tigers lost the 1987 American League Championship Series to the Minnesota Twins (who in turn won the World Series that year) four games to one. The Twins won the Series at Tiger Stadium 9-5.

Despite their 1987 division title victory, the Tigers proved unable to build on their success. In 1988, the team spent much of the season in first place in the AL East, only to slump late in the season and finish second at 88-74, one game behind division-winning Boston. In 1989 the team collapsed to a 59-103 record, worst in the majors. The franchise then attempted to rebuild using a power-hitting approach, with sluggers Cecil Fielder, Rob Deer and Mickey Tettleton joining Trammell and Whitaker in the lineup (fitting for the team with the most 200+ home run seasons in baseball history). In 1990, Fielder led the American League with 51 home runs (becoming the first player to hit 50 since George Foster in 1977), and finished second in the voting for AL Most Valuable Player. He hit 44 home runs in 1991, and would hit at least 28 in the next four seasons. Behind the hitting of Fielder and others, the Tigers improved, posting winning records in 1991 (84-78) and 1993 (85-77). However, the team lacked quality pitching (despite Bill Gullickson's 20 wins in 1991), and its core of key players began to age, setting the franchise up for decline. Their minor league system was largely barren of talent, as well, producing only a few everyday players (Travis Fryman, Bobby Higginson) during the 1990s. In 1992, the franchise was sold to Mike Ilitch, who also owns the Detroit Red Wings and is President and CEO of Little Caesars Pizza.

From 1994 to 2005, the Tigers did not post a winning record. This was by far the longest sub-.500 stretch in franchise history; prior to this, the team had not gone more than four consecutive seasons without a winning record. The team's best record over that time was 79-83, recorded in 1997 and 2000. In 1996, the Tigers lost a then-team record 109 games. In 2003, the Tigers shattered that mark, losing an American League-record 119 games, eclipsing the previous record of 116 losses set by the 1916 Philadelphia Athletics. On August 30, 2003, the Tigers' defeat at the hands of the Chicago White Sox caused them to join the 1962 New York Mets as the only modern MLB teams to lose 100 games before September. They avoided tying the 1962 Mets' modern MLB record for losses (120) only by winning five of their last six games of the season, including three out of four against the Minnesota Twins (who had already clinched the Central Division, into which the Tigers had moved in 1998, and were resting their stars).

The collapse of the franchise was blamed by many on then-general manager Randy Smith. Under Smith, the franchise's minor-league system struggled, providing little help to the major-league club. Smith and then-manager Phil Garner were fired by the club on the same day in 2002, only six games into the season, all of which were Tiger losses.

In 2000, the team left Tiger Stadium, then tied with Fenway Park as the oldest active baseball stadium, in favor of the new Comerica Park. This capped an argument lasting more than a decade about whether or not a new stadium was needed to keep the club competitive.

Soon after it opened, Comerica Park drew criticism for its deep dimensions, which made it difficult to hit home runs; the distance to left-center field (395 ft), in particular, was seen as unfair to hitters. This led to the nickname "Comerica National Park." In 2003, the franchise largely quieted the criticism by moving in the left-center fence to 370 feet, taking the flagpole in that area out of play, a feature carried over from Tiger Stadium. In 2005, the team moved the bullpens to the vacant area beyond the left-field fence and filled the previous location with seats.

In late 2001, Dave Dombrowski, former general manager of the 1997 World Series champion Florida Marlins, was hired as team president. In 2002, the Tigers started the season 0-6, prompting Dombrowski to fire the unpopular Smith, as well as manager Phil Garner. Dombrowski then took over as general manager and named bench coach Luis Pujols to finish the season as interim manager. The team finished 55-106. After the season was over, Pujols was let go.

Dombrowski hired popular former shortstop Alan Trammell to manage the team in 2003. With fellow '84 teammates Kirk Gibson and Lance Parrish on the coaching staff, the rebuilding process began. The 2003 season was a complete morass; Dombrowski gave Trammell another chance the following season. The Tigers came within one loss of tying the 1962 New York Mets for the most losses in modern major league history. For this reason, they have been described as possibly "the worst team of all time without a good excuse." Mike Maroth went 9-21 for the 2003 Tigers and became the first pitcher to lose 20 games in more than 20 years. Tigers' pitchers Maroth, Jeremy Bonderman (6-19), and Nate Cornejo (6-17) were #1, #2, and #3 in the major leagues in losses for 2003 -- the only time in major league history that one team has had the top three losers.

Designated hitter/left fielder Dmitri Young is the one member of the 2003 Tigers to have a truly good year, with a .297 batting average, 29 home runs, and .537 slugging percentage. According to Win Shares, the Tigers would have had about six fewer wins without him.

While the 2003 Tigers rank as the third worst team in major league history based on loss total, they fare slightly better based on winning percentage.

Under Dombrowski, the Tigers demonstrated a willingness to sign marquee free agents. In 2004, the team signed or traded for several talented but high-risk veterans, such as Iván Rodríguez, Ugueth Urbina, Rondell White and Carlos Guillén, and the gamble paid off. The 2004 Tigers finished 72-90, a 29-game improvement over the previous season, and the largest improvement in the American League since Baltimore's 33-game improvement from 1988 to 1989. However, the team was still sub-.500.

Prior to the 2005 season, the Tigers spent a large sum for two prized free agents, Magglio Ordóñez and Troy Percival. On June 8, 2005, the Tigers traded pitcher Ugueth Urbina and infielder Ramon Martinez to the Philadelphia Phillies for Plácido Polanco (and later signed him for 4 years). The Tigers stayed on the fringes of contention for the American League wild card for the first four months of the season, but then faded badly, finishing 71-91. The collapse was perceived as being due both to injuries and to a lack of player unity; Rodriguez in particular was disgruntled, taking a leave of absence during the season to deal with a difficult divorce. Trammell, though popular with the fans, took part of the blame for the poor clubhouse atmosphere and lack of continued improvement, and he was fired at the end of the season.

A highlight of the 2005 campaign was Detroit's hosting of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, its first since 1971. In the Home Run Derby, Rodriguez finished second, losing to the Phillies' Bobby Abreu.

In October 2005, Jim Leyland, who managed Dombrowski's 1997 World Series-winning Marlins club, replaced Trammell as manager; two months later, in response to Troy Percival's '05 arm problems, closer Todd Jones, who had spent five seasons in Detroit (1997-2001), signed a two-year deal with the Tigers. Veteran left-hander Kenny Rogers also joined the Tigers from Texas in late 2005. These offseason additions set the stage for the resurgence of "Tiger Fever" in Detroit and its environs the following year.

After years of futility, the 2006 season showed signs of hope. After an early season tirade by Jim Leyland, the team exploded and quickly rose to the top of the AL Central. The team reached a high point when they were 40 games over .500, but a second half swoon started to raise questions about the team's staying power. On August 27, a 7–1 victory over the Cleveland Indians gave the Tigers their 82nd victory and their first winning season since 1993. On September 24, the Tigers beat the Kansas City Royals 11–4 to clinch their first playoff berth since 1987. A division title seemed inevitable. All that was required was one win in the final five games of the season, which included three games against the Royals, whom the Tigers had manhandled much of the season. Unfortunately, the Tigers lost all five games and the division title went to the Minnesota Twins. The Tigers were the AL wild card winner, the first time a team from the AL Central had won the honor. The playoffs saw the Tigers beat the heavily favored New York Yankees 3 games to 1 in the ALDS and sweep the Oakland Athletics to advance to the World Series before losing to the St. Louis Cardinals.

In the offseason, the Tigers traded for outfielder Gary Sheffield, who had been a part of the 1997 Marlins team managed by Jim Leyland, and signed third baseman Brandon Inge, starting pitcher Jeremy Bonderman and shortstop Carlos Guillén to four-year contracts. The Tigers returned 22 of 25 players from their World Series roster.

In addition to free-agent acquisitions, Dombrowski has developed a productive farm system, Justin Verlander and Joel Zumaya being the most notable rookie contributors to the 2006 team. Andrew Miller, who was drafted in 2006, was called up early in the 2007 campaign and pitched in the starting rotation, and minor-leaguer Cameron Maybin, an athletic five-tool outfielder, was ranked #6 in Baseball America's 2007 Top-100 Prospects.

The Tigers suffered from injuries in the 2007 season, especially to their pitching staff. Kenny Rogers did not start until late June because of a blood-clot removal in his throwing arm. Other pitchers who were injured included Tim Byrdak, Edward Campusano, Fernando Rodney, Jair Jurrjens,and Joel Zumaya. Early in April, the Tigers also lost their backup catcher, Vance Wilson, for the season. Wilfredo Ledezma and Mike Maroth were traded to Atlanta and St. Louis, respectively.

On June 12, Justin Verlander pitched a no-hitter against the Milwaukee Brewers. It was the first Tiger no-hitter since Jack Morris in 1984 against the Chicago White Sox on the year the Tigers won the 1984 World Series, and the first no-hitter at home by a Tiger since Virgil Trucks did it in 1952. It was also the first in Comerica Park history.

Five players represented Detroit in the 2007 MLB All-Star Game. Carlos Guillén, Magglio Ordóñez, Plácido Polanco, Iván Rodríguez and Justin Verlander joined American League manager Jim Leyland in the All-Star game.

As of July 18, the Tigers had sold 2,712,393 tickets at Comerica Park for the 2007 season, setting a new single-season home attendance record for the team. The previous record had been 2,704,794 customers at Tiger Stadium in 1984. The team would draw 3,047,133 customers over the entire season, the third-highest attendance in the American League for 2007. The Tigers were officially eliminated from playoff competition on September 26, 2007, when the New York Yankees clinched a playoff berth for the 13th consecutive year.

The Tigers' rivalries with other baseball franchises have changed throughout the years, with no one rivalry standing out. Some rivalries are with nearby teams, including the Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals ,and Toronto Blue Jays - the latter a holdover from when the Tigers competed in the AL East. There are numerous Tigers fans in Ontario, as evidenced by Detroit's proximity to Windsor and the fact that the Tigers once had a minor league team in London. Sarnia, Ontario also has a large Detroit Tigers fanbase. Some are rivalries for first place during the regular season, with all American League teams until 1969, with American League East teams from 1969 to 1997, and with American League Central teams from 1998 until the present. Finally, some are rivalries with National League teams the Tigers have faced repeatedly in the World Series, the Chicago Cubs (four times) and St. Louis Cardinals (three times). Had the Cubs beat the Padres in the 1984 NLCS, they would have faced the Tigers for a fifth time in the World Series. In recent years the Tigers had rivalries with American League Central teams. In the early 2000s, the Tigers had many altercations with the Kansas City Royals. Many games against Kansas City had bench clearing brawls. In 2007, the Tigers were bested by the Cleveland Indians for the division title.

During the 1968 season, the team was cheered on by the phrase, "Go Get 'Em Tigers." The previous year, "Sock It To 'Em, Tigers!" was also popular in the city as the Tigers' close pennant race with Boston coincided with the release of the single "Sock It To Me, Baby!" by Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels.

During the 1984 World Championship Run, the team was cheered on to the well known cry, "Bless You Boys," a phrase coined (in sarcasm) by Al Ackerman, a Detroit sports anchor legend.

For the 2006 season, with the team going into July with the best record in baseball, the phrase "Restore the Roar" (a phrase first introduced in 1990 by then-Detroit Lions Head Coach Wayne Fontes) began to catch on, referring to the fact that the Tigers had not had a winning season since 1993 and seem to be returning to their former glory. Another 2006 phrase found in several Detroit commercials was "Who's your Tiger?". A popular rally cry for the Detroit Pistons has also been adapted for the Tigers, resulting in "Deee-troit Base-ball!".

A second rally cry has also now begun to catch on in the Tigers' dugout. In a June game vs. the New York Yankees, Tigers pitcher Nate Robertson was featured on FSN Detroit's "Sounds of the Game", in which the TV station will mic a player on the bench or a coach. To appease the fans, Nate began to stuff Big League Chew bubble gum into his mouth, hoping to spark a late-inning rally. The trend has caught on, with Jeremy Bonderman, Zach Miner and Justin Verlander all chewing from time to time. The Tigers came back to tie the game, and the phrase "It's Gum Time" has become a new "Rally-cap" for all of Tigertown.

Additionally, the chant of a local panhandler who patrols the streets around Comerica Park yelling out "Eat 'Em Up Tigers! Eat 'Em Up!", has begun to make its way into the park. The chant originated in 1968 when the Tigers won their third World Series, "Eat 'em Up" referring to the St. Louis Cardinals. People have even been seen wearing homemade shirts with the cheer written on the back as far away as Miller Park in Milwaukee.

During the 2006 playoffs the phrase "Team of Destiny" appeared on several home made signs, and became a rallying cry for the post season. The signs featured the blackletter "D" in place of the standard "D" in destiny.

The Tigers have worn essentially the same home uniform since 1934 - solid white jersey with navy piping down the front and a blackletter (Old English) "D" on the left chest, white pants, navy hat with white Old English "D". When they play away, the D on their hats is orange, and the pin on top is orange as well, with the word "DETROIT" across the shirt. A version of the team's Old English D was first seen on Tigers uniforms in 1904, after using a simple block D in 1903. The Old English D appeared frequently after that until being established in 1934. In 1960, the Tigers changed their uniform to read "Tigers", but the change only lasted one season before the traditional uniform was reinstated.

In 1995, the Tigers introduced an alternate jersey, solid navy with the team's alternate logo (a tiger stepping through the "D") on the chest. It was worn a few times and then abandoned.

The Tigers are the only team in Major League Baseball to have a color on their road uniforms that is not on their home uniforms (orange).

The Tigers use slightly different versions of the initial logo on the cap and jersey.

Players with retired numbers (and Ty Cobb) also have statues of themselves that sit behind their names, which are painted on the left-center field wall.

National Avenue, which runs behind the third-base stands at the Tigers' previous home Tiger Stadium, was renamed Cochrane Avenue for Mickey Cochrane. Cherry Street, which runs behind the left-field stands at Tiger Stadium, was renamed Kaline Drive for Al Kaline.

Cochrane's number 3 has not been retired for him nor has it been retired for Dick McAuliffe or Alan Trammell. The number 3 was taken out of circulation after Alan Trammell's retirement, and again after his dismissal as manager, but Gary Sheffield began wearing #3 with Trammell's public approval upon joining the team before the 2007 season (Sheffield had previously worn the numbers 1, 5, 10, and 11). The number 1, last worn by Lou Whitaker, has also not been retired nor has it been issued since Whitaker retired in 1995. The Number 47, last worn by Jack Morris, has also not been retired, nor has it been issued since Morris left the Tigers after the 1990 season. Number 11, last worn by former manager Sparky Anderson, has not been retired nor reissued since his 1995 retirement.

The Tigers' current flagship radio stations are Detroit sister stations WXYT-AM (1270 AM) and WXYT-FM (97.1 FM). Dan Dickerson does play-by-play and former Tigers catcher Jim Price does color commentary. Games are carried on both stations unless a conflict with Detroit Lions or Detroit Red Wings coverage arises, in which case only WXYT-AM serves as the Tigers' flagship.

The Tigers' current local television rights holder is Fox Sports Detroit. Mario Impemba does play-by-play and Rod Allen does color commentary.

From 1964–2000, the Tigers' flagship station was Detroit's WJR, a maximum power clear channel station that can be heard in the entire Great Lakes region and much of the Midwest.

Former Tigers telecasters include WJBK-TV, WKBD-TV, WWJ-TV, WDIV-TV and the defunct channels PASS Sports and ON-TV affiliate WXON-TV (as well as its current incarnation WMYD-TV).

Until the end of the 2007 season, Fox Sports Detroit shared rights with several Detroit stations, most recently WJBK-TV, which simulcasted games on a small network of broadcast stations across Michigan and Northwestern Ohio.

Past Tigers broadcasters include Ty Tyson, Harry Heilmann, Paul Williams, Van Patrick, Dizzy Trout, Mel Ott, George Kell, Bob Scheffing, Ray Lane, Larry Osterman, Paul Carey and Don Kremer, Al Kaline, Joe Pelligrino, Mike Barry, Larry Adderly, Norm Cash, Hank Aguirre, Bill Freehan, Jim Northrup, Rick Rizzs, Bob Rathbun, Fred McLeod, Frank Beckmann, Lary Sorensen, Josh Lewin, Kirk Gibson, Lance Parrish, and Hall of Famer Ernie Harwell, who called Tiger baseball from 1960-1991, then 1993-2002.

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Source : Wikipedia