MLB Fishing All Stars – Battery

The lineup needs a trio to share mound duty and a reliable, tough receiver who is willing to don gear referred to as “the tools of ignorance” as he takes his spot behind the plate. Well, you’ve come to the right place for that MLB Fishing All-Star battery.

Right Handed Pitcher – Dock Ellis

MLB Notes: A quality pitcher, most notably with the Pirates, Ellis had his share of demons as his interesting bio includes trying to hit every batter in the Reds lineup (got the first three, walked the fourth and pulled after a pair of pitches at Johnny Bench’s head), getting maced at the ballpark and alleging that he was under the influence of LSD when he pitched a no-hitter on June 12, 1970. How about those 60s and 70s, folks? No mention of how many one-hitters for Ellis though…
Fishing Notes: Indeed his given name is “Dock” so he qualifies for the squad. Shady cover on the lake often littered with a brushpile or two can be winners. Used to get run off of one at Lake Bracken by a homeowner back in the day. Don’t recall it being especially productive, just fished it more for the adrenaline rush and potential debate. Much younger in those days.
Topps Notes: I, for one, dig those old drab colored, perhaps even ugly, uniforms as that’s a part of my childhood. Back in the days when uniforms were, well, rather uniform and not particularly flashy, simply the work wear of my heroes. But what’s up with the glove on Dock’s throwing hand in the 75 card (on right above)?

Left Handed Pitcher – Steve Trout

MLB Notes: Southpaw pitchers can just be a different sort and Steve “Rainbow” Trout fit the bill but I suppose that’s to be expected when folks called your major league pitching father “Dizzy.” His contribution to the 1984 Cubs club that was so close to the elusive World Series appearance solidified the hurler as an endeared member of those who wore the Cubbie blue.
Fishing Notes: Never caught one, but a no-brainer for our squad, with the added allure of his species specific nickname. Maybe have to do another one of these pieces someday as there’s a darn good namesake tearing up the American League these days.
Topps Notes: Trout took the mound for both clubs in The Windy City with his stint on the South Side in the midst of some interesting uniform styles.  He was a couple years late for the odd Chisox shorts experiment of 1976 but was on the roster for another strange bit of baseball history, Disco Demolition Night on July 12, 1979 (Google that one sometime as well as Cleveland’s Ten Cent Beer Night).

Relief Pitcher – Lindy McDaniel

MLB Notes: McDaniel was one of those guys at the end of a lengthy career just as I was getting into all things baseball. As such, I didn’t appreciate him and the likes of Claude Osteen, Vada Pinson, Rico Carty and others being more in tune with the stars of the day. Kind of fun to look back at the achievements of those who were old-timers over 40 years ago.
Fishing Notes: In terms of legendary lures, the Lindy Rig certainly deserves consideration for the All-Star list. The setup that took the walleye world by storm in the late 60s is still a mainstay among anglers to this day.
Topps Notes: The 1971 card on left above is an outstanding game shot with McDaniel poised on the mound, getting the sign in advance of the delivery with old Yankee Stadium full of fans looming in the background. Flat out cool.  The 1974 (on right above) and 1976 sets also featured a supplemental series documenting noteworthy late season trades.  

C – Milt May

MLB Notes: May was a reliable backstop for a number of clubs and a World Series winner with the 1971 Pirates. I also learned while researching this post that May has the distinction of driving in run number 1,000,000 in MLB history via a 3-run homer on May 4, 1975 that plated Bob Watson with the milestone run.
Fishing Notes: Every once in a while I get to put my biology degree to work and today is one of those days. In order to produce new fish, roe (fish eggs) are fertilized with milt and give you fry (that was one of our coaches, remember).
Topps Notes: Gotta dig the catcher pose as the bookends of the cards above (1973 on left and 1978 on right). Elected not to go for the squatting sweep by including the 1975 batting pose in the middle which was nearly the same as found on May’s 1976 card.

With these fellas toeing the rubber and their counterpart behind the dish, I have completed my MLB Fishing All Star squad. I certainly had a good time and no doubt left many players off of the roster. In fact, I just turned up a few more when poring over some of the handful of pre-1970s cards in the collection including the 1953 card pictured below in my sort of MLB Fishing All Star parting shot.

MLB Fisheries Biology 101.

Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

Jim Junk keeps us afloat with another quality trio of Fulton County bass pushing his Top 5 total ever closer to the 20-pound mark.

Weight: 3-5
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: July 10
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Senko
Angler Comments: Had a pleasant change of pace this evening as the past few times out have been struggling for a bite or two. Granted, they were usually quality bites when they did bite. I was getting a little burnt out. Heat and minimal bites is a killer. Anyway, in a little over an hour, I landed 6 bass between 2 and 3-5. Also missed what felt to be quality fish.

Weight: 3-7
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: July 14
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Senko
Angler Comments: Had an excellent couple days. Lots of fish 1.5 to 3.5 range, biggest was 3-7.

Weight: 3-11
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: July 15
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Senko
Angler Comments: Fish are still cooperating, seems to coincide with the new moon. Managed a 3-11 to cull a few more ounces.
Top 5 Weight: 19-9 (4-5,4-1,3-14,3-11,3-10) culls a 3-7

Thanks, Jim, for another solid batch of summer bass. I, for one, am enjoying the countdown to 20-pounds and appreciate that the culls get a little tougher to come by when you are seeking a four-pounder. Kudos on getting it done from the bank, ain’t always easy to get at ‘em and can be a bit wild getting ‘em in once you find ‘em.

Anybody else out there, feel free to join the chase and take a little pressure off Jim for these Monday updates. Perhaps, even I will get a shot to cast my lures into the ring here soon as I haven’t been able to fish since Father’s Day. But first, tune in for the MLB Fishing All-Star finale tomorrow on All-Star game day as I wrap it up with our battery. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Stats

Several more early summer bass have joined the creel so it’s time for the monthly Top 5 Stat Update (including sample pics of the fish submitted for 2018).

2018 Totals (* = new record)
*January = 5 bass (old record 1 in 2017)
February = 5 bass
March = 0 bass
April = 12 bass
May = 24 bass
June = 10 bass
July = 4 bass

Top 5 Weight by Month (* = new record)
*January = 13-5 (3-15, 2-7, 2-6, 2-6, 2-3) previous record 2-11 in 2017
February = 7-3 (2-6,1-7,1-5,1-2,0-15)
March = no submissions
April = 14-15 (4-0,3-0,2-12,2-10,2-9)
May = 19-5 (4-11,4-8,3-10,3-7,3-1)
June = 18-10 (4-5,4-1,3-9,3-7,3-4)
July = 13-10 (3-14,3-7,3-5,3-0)

Boat vs. Bank
Boat = 25 bass
Bank = 35 bass

Boat vs. Bank Weight (* = new record)
Boat = 17-0 (4-0,3-15,3-9,3-0,2-8)
Bank = 21-0 (4-11,4-8,4-5,3-14,3-10)

Public vs. Private
Public = 48 bass
Private = 12 bass

Public vs. Private Top 5 Weight
Public = 19-13 (4-5,4-1,3-15,3-14,3-10)
Private = 19-4 (4-11,4-8,4-0,3-1,3-0)

The Baits (* = new record)
Plastic Worms = 31 bass (Top Bass 4-5 Jim Junk)
Crankbaits = 13 bass (Top Bass 3-15 Mark Balbinot)
Chatterbait = 4 bass (Top Bass 4-11 Chris Schwarz)
Spinnerbaits = 4 bass (Top Bass 2-8 Chris Schwarz)
Creature Baits = 3 bass (Top Bass 3-9 Paul Kessler)
Jigs = 2 bass (Top Bass 2-12 Brent Jackson)
Lipless Crankbaits = 2 bass (Top Bass 1-13 Troy Jackson)
Topwater Frog = 1 bass (Top Bass 3-7 Nick Tiska)

Monthly Top Bass (* = new record)
3-15 Mark Balbinot (old record 2-11 Mark Balbinot 2016)
2-6 Troy Jackson
No submissions
4-0 Chris Schwarz
4-11 Chris Schwarz
4-5 Jim Junk
3-14 Jim Junk

Top 10 Bass (* = new Top 10 all-time)
4-11 Chris Schwarz 5/26
4-8 Chris Schwarz 5/26
4-5 Jim Junk 6/27
4-1 Jim Junk 6/30
4-0 Chris Schwarz 4/28
3-15 Mark Balbinot 1/27
3-14 Jim Junk 7/4
3-10 Jim Junk 5/22
3-9 Paul Kessler 6/16
3-7 Jim Junk 5/31
3-7 Nick Tiska 6/25
3-7 Jim Junk 7/7

Angler Weights (* = new Top 5 record, old mark 32-13)
Jim Junk 19-5 (4-5,4-1,3-14,3-10,3-7)
Chris Schwarz 18-12 (4-11,4-8,4-0,3-1,2-8)
Mark Balbinot 13-5 (3-15, 2-7, 2-6, 2-6, 2-3)
Troy Jackson 12-2 (3-0,2-9,2-6,2-3,2-0)
Brent Jackson 8-13 (2-12,2-10,1-14,1-9)
John Kirkemo 8-2 (2-7,2-0,1-9,1-2,1-0)
Jayce Jackson 7-8 (2-5,1-13,1-5,1-4,0-13)
Paul Kessler 5-9 (3-9,2-0)
Nick Tiska 3-7 (3-7)

Other Species

Muskie Length Totals
70+” John Kirkemo (40”, 30+”)

Channel Catfish Totals
8-2 (25”) Chris Schwarz

While our present total of 60 bass doesn’t match up to the submissions of the first several years, it’s certainly been an enjoyable batch of bass thus far for 2018.  I find it fun that public water leads private water and that bank catches outnumber boat catches.  The latter would be the first time that bank catches have bested boat bass.  And don’t forget that we’ve got a couple guys within one more decent cull of the coveted 20-pound mark.  Here’s hoping their spots continue to cooperate and push them past the limit by our next stat update.  As always, thanks to all for taking the time to share your catches and keep ‘em coming.  Latest Top 5 Update tomorrow and final All-Star post on Tuesday.  Hope you’ll tune in and talk to you later.  Troy

MLB Fishing All Stars – OF & DH

Back at it with the three guys who roam the outfield and one guy who doesn’t even have to play the field. In regard to that last “position”, I’m still not a fan of the Designated Hitter, an American League job title since 1973. And these days it also creeps into the National League thanks to inter-league play. Not a fan of that either.

Okay, enough of the old school, old fan rant on how baseball goes about its business these days. On to a quartet that predate regular season inter-league matchups and three of these fellas even made their debuts before the DH.

LF – Ralph Garr

MLB Notes: The interesting combination of free swinging contact hitter and good speed not only made Garr entertaining at the plate but also won him a National League batting title in 1974 (.353 average) and a runner-up finish in 1971 (.343).
Fishing Notes: Just as some baseball purists look down their noses at those free swingers, Garr’s piscatorial namesake is generally derided and shown little respect. I for one, admire the gar as it is a survivor that was around long before we were and I suspect will have the last laugh long after we’re gone.
Topps Cards Notes: I don’t know the scoop but the Garr Braves cards above come from 1974 and 1975 (left to right) and are the exact same photo. A strange quirk considering it wasn’t like Garr was some obscure, mediocre, part-time, platoon player. Nope, he was coming off an NL batting title and All-Star game appearance. Just weird…

CF – Johnny Grubb

MLB Notes: Grubb is one of those ballplayers who must have just had that something extra as he deserves a shout out for a 16-year career that didn’t really feature any sort of attention getting numbers. But kudos to anyone who played at that level for any amount of time and Grubb also gets a thumbs up for a 1974 All-Star Game appearance as a Padre and a 1984 World Series ring as a Tiger.
Fishing Notes: Just like the ball player, the lure simply gets it done. I don’t know about anybody else but I suspect that I am not alone in cutting my fishing teeth on this category of lure. Takes me back to the 80s with Gapen Fishies, Beetle Spins, puddle jumpers, Mister Twister curly tails…
Topps Cards Notes: Now this is a fun bit of baseball and baseball card history. For 1974, Topps ran with a print of cards designated Washington Nat’l League as the San Diego Padres were slated to move to the nation’s capital and did not yet have a new team name. But, the relocation fell through, the team remained the Padres, remained in San Diego and packs containing printed Washington Nat’l League cards hit the market. This confused seven-year old collector wound up with a few, one of which is the Grubb card above.

RF – Bombo Rivera

MLB Notes: Easily the shortest term of service among the members of our squad with a total of 335 MLB games played between 1975-1982 with 213 of them during the 1978-1979 seasons. A cool name that just sticks with you and one of those you can hear in your head over an imaginary PA system.
Fishing Notes: Looked it up and found that the surname “Rivera” derives from the Spanish word for “riverbank.” A classic locale for anglers and one that my family needs to visit as we are only minutes from the banks of one of the world’s mightiest rivers.
Topps Cards Notes:
There’s something about opening a pack of baseball cards and finding a fellow named Bombo staring back at you, kind of sticks. Also fascinating looking back and wondering how Topps decided on who to include among the 660 card 1977 set. In the case of Rivera’s lone Expos card above, it was a rookie with 185 at bats during the 1976 sea

DH – Kurt BevAcQUA

MLB Notes: So, how’s this, as Bevacqua outdoes Grubb above with a 15-year career with some really head scratching numbers making you wonder? And even weirder is a pair 1984 World Series homers that Bevacqua hit for the Padres as they fell to Grubb’s Tigers. Those dingers from a guy who had 24 career homers since 1971 prior to his World Series performance and only three seasons where he hit more than two longballs all year (career high 6 in 1978).
Fishing Notes: Okay, maybe a stretch on this one and already caught some ribbing on my Bill RIGney manager selection but I’m having a good time entertaining myself and taking a trip back in time. Plus, how could I pass up a shot at including the iconic 1976 Topps card featuring BevAcQUA and described below.
Topps Cards Notes: Did you know that Bevacqua won the Joe Garagiola Bazooka Bubble Gum Bubble Blowing Championship as pictured on the 1976 Topps card above? Actually, did you know such an event ever occurred? As for the 1977 Mariners card, the airbrushing leaves much to be desired, Topps could’ve used some help from Hugh Hefner’s crew as I seem to recall some fine work back in the day. And oh, by the way, Bevacqua never made an appearance with the 1977 expansion Seattle Mariner club.

This one took some work on a few different levels to convey all that potentially useless information. But a labor of love that is right up my alley on a few different levels as well. Hope you’ve still got it in you to tune in for the battery which is headed your way next. Talk to you later. Troy


Friday Flashback – July 8, 2013

Today’s Flashback features an original blog posting in its entirety that was submitted on a previous blogging gig on July 12, 2013. The report gives the lowdown on a trip that Dad and I took to The Emiquon Preserve, a Fulton County, IL fishing hole that was the most amazing public fishery I have ever fished. The place was full of hard fighting, quality bass and always made for some sort of interesting fish story.

Five years later, it sounds like all of that has changed as those charged with the care of the fishery have elected to destroy it. Funny, in a not so funny way, that the first two lines in the old report below take on a whole different meaning nowadays.

6:29am First Bass 14.5” 1-6 Red Eye Shad (sexy shad)

The not so old destination has a whole new look.

Emiquon has changed.

I’d been wondering how my first trip to the fishing hole would shake out in light of the wet spring and the pictures on the internet showing several streams of floodwater flowing over the levees. Well, there was definitely more water, some puzzling stuff with the residents, an irritating (although relatively minor) bit of technical difficulty and a welcome new look in the johnboat.

6:31am Dad First Bass 1-6 Strike King Square Bill Crankbait (sexy shad)

Date: July 8, 2013
Location: Emiquon
Time: 6:10am-11:40am
Weather: Overcast with rain/windy (south)
Air Temp: 77-80F
Water Temp: 74F
Totals: 30 bass (combined total with partner)
Lures: Booyah/Strike King spinnerbait (white or salt & pepper) – 10 bass, Senko/Stik-O wacky rig (watermelon with black flake or candy corn) – 9 bass, Yum Crawdad/BPS River Bug – 5 bass, Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 4 bass, Strike King Square Bill crankbait (sexy shad) – 1 bass, Mann’s baby 1- crankbait – 1 bass
Top Bass: 2-6 (two bass) Yum Crawdad and Booyah Spinnerbait
Top 5 Weight: 11 lbs 6 oz (2-6,2-6,2-5,2-4,2-1)

Original log entry from the outing

Notes & Nonsense

Tag Team – Up until this trip my entire twenty five hours of bass fishing this year were flying solo. Thus it was a welcome change of pace to have Dad decide to team up for another Emiquon adventure. Life gets pretty hectic with my four kids and he and Mom spending time with eight grandkids so it wasn’t overly surprising (although unfortunate) that we’d not had the opportunity to fish together yet this year. He’s been my top fishing partner over the years and it’s always good to have another angler along for ideas, conversation, picture taking and another lure in the water. It doesn’t hurt when that fellow angler also has a nicer truck, a Bass Tracker (outlawed on Emiquon due to a gas motor), is often good for a soda and some chips on the way home and has a friend who lends us an “Emiquon boat.” I got it made.

9:09am Dad 1-8 Strike King Spinnerbait (white)

Running Blind – The high water had many of my landmarks submerged making the vast expanse of water all look pretty much the same. Not having a portable depthfinder also made for some head scratching and relatively aimless casting with a few random bass to start our day. However, we do know a thing or two about the area after thirteen visits and several hundred bass beginning back on April 23, 2009. We do alright but it sure got me wishing that I’d picked up the portable depthfinder I’d checked out in Peoria the previous week. Instead, I decided to feed the family for a few days rather than drop the $120 but maybe next time, the kids all look pretty healthy anyway.

8:46am Top Bass (tie) 16.5 ” 2-6 Booyah Counterstrike Spinnerbait (salt & pepper)

Carp Flotilla – The lake was literally littered with carp carcasses in varying stages of decay. Everywhere you looked there were bloated floating brown and white fish of the common carp variety. For my money, any dead carp is a good carp on this relatively new restoration project so I can’t say it hurt my feelings. Unfortunately, the frequent splashing and thrashing meant that there were still plenty more of the lake wreckers still swimming. I will say that I do enjoy catching and fighting carp but overall they are just bad news in terms of lake health. Luckily there was some wind and the temperature was not typical July as I’m sure the place would have been really ripe. I’m not sure what to make of the whole situation but it was certainly a new look.

8:48am 15.5” 2-1 Booyah Counterstrike Spinnerbait (salt & pepper)

Hungry Bass – Good things can happen for an angler whose lure encounters a hungry bass. But some of those we found looked like they were downright starving. Now I realize that 30 bass is not much for a sample size but there was a noticeable difference in the length to weight ratio in this year’s catch. This is also a new look as the bulk of the hundreds of bass we’ve previously fooled down there set a new standard for quality compared to anywhere else we have ever fished. I will give them credit for fight though as several had me fooled into thinking they were larger than the result. The initial Emiquon seemed to be chock full of stout bass but I now wonder if they have begun to eat themselves out of house and home. Who knows, just an amateur observation.

9:47am Gaunt Bass 16” 1-14 (should’ve weighed a lot more at Emiquon)

Weather – One thing that wasn’t too different was the wind, even in July. We did have a brief calm spot or two but those were typically around one of the half dozen rain showers that greeted us. Luckily there was no lightning so we rode it out and with temps in the upper 70’s it wasn’t particularly uncomfortable. It also didn’t take too long to dry out, usually right before it rained again.

9:47am Top Bass (tie) 17” 2-6 Yum Crawdad

Guesstimation – My old trusty scale was dying during my 7/4 outing so I grabbed a new one at a local store. Being on the water without a scale for a meticulous data collector is akin to losing my favorite crankbait and not having a backup. Frustratingly, the new model weighed only a handful of our Emiquon bass while going haywire. Therefore, several of the weights noted with this report are best guesses from me and Dad. The way I look at it though is that we’ve seen enough bass over the years that we’re just as calibrated as the devices that claim accuracy within an ounce or two.

10:28am Dad wielding an entertaining and effective Stik-O color, Candy Corn

Yet again, Emiquon provided plenty to ramble about, wouldn’t have figured it any other way. I’ve probably written more about that four year old fishing hole than I have about places I’ve fished for twenty five or thirty years, it’s just that kind of place. It’s been a boon to the record book and the photo album as well. And how much better does it get than being able to create those memories with your dad?

Those were the days but we may only have the old stories as it seems headed towards a ruined mud hole with no new fish stories to tell. Such a shame as the management direction makes no sense to me. Talk to you later. Troy

MLB Fishing All Stars – Infield

Back to some baseball, slightly disguised as some fishing, as we go around the horn for our All-Star infield.

1B – Rod Carew

MLB Notes: Just such a cool contact hitter as seven batting titles convey, including the exciting pursuit of .400 in 1977, winding up at .388. And how about 7 steals of home in 1970 and 17 for his career? Oh yeah, Rookie of the Year (1967) and AL MVP (1977), just a flat out exciting ballplayer.
Fishing Notes: I had a chance to hear and speak with fishing legend, Hank Parker, this winter and his observation was that the usage of the terms “rod” or “pole” depended on the region of the country. Guess I’m in the middle, so I use both and both are included on the squad (see Dick Pole, Pitching Coach).
Topps Card Notes: The card samples above show that Carew was All-Star caliber at two positions as his career was split roughly down the middle beginning at second base and finishing at first (also with the California Angels).

2B – Roy Smalley

MLB Notes: Kinda weird but I’ve long recalled watching Smalley hit a grand slam against the White Sox back in the 70s when televised games were more of a rare treat.  Fast forward 40 years and with a little help from something called a search engine, I’m pretty certain that this blast truly did occur at Old Comiskey Park on June 25, 1978.
Fishing Notes: While I am much more familiar and a bigger fan of the bass with the bigger mouth, I just couldn’t pass this one up, made me feel clever.
Topps Card Notes: Much more renowned as a shortstop, Smalley did at least appear in 58 of his over 1600 games as a second sacker (had to make a concession for my shortstop, you’ll understand as you read on).

3B – Brooks Robinson

MLB Notes: A perennial Gold Glover and All-Star, Robinson’s glove work was most notably on display during the Baltimore Orioles 1970 World Series victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
Fishing Notes: While I am a fan of what is called creek (rhymes with stick) fishing, some of the more sophisticated persuasion perhaps would do their casting in a stream or brook.
Topps Card Notes: No need to choose which team to represent for Robinson’s career when selecting the cards above. A 23-year career, all with one team, not going to happen anymore both in terms of longevity or loyalty.

SS – Ernie Banks

MLB Notes: “Mr. Cub” was a member of the 500 home run club back in the days when it was quite exclusive and featured some heavy hitters like Ruth, Aaron, Williams and Foxx. As a lifelong Cub, he also holds the record for most games played without a playoff appearance at 2,528.
Fishing Notes: Banks represents a shout out to those who take their lumps and catch their fish with boots on the ground rather than boats on the water.
Topps Card Notes: The bookends on the sample cards above come from 1975 and celebrated 25 years of Topps cards with a flashback of the league MVPs from 1951-1974. Banks is among those who went back to back (1958-59) and he did so on a pair of sub .500 clubs.

One final note regarding “Mr. Cub” before I sign off. You could very well be reading the Ernie Banks Jackson Outdoors blog as my Dad is a pretty big Cubs and Banks fan. Similarly, I tossed out the possibility of naming one of our kids Henry Aaron Jackson but I didn’t get the nod either. All good though, just like our All-Star crew. The guys who roam the outfield are up next and even though I am still not a fan of the 1973 institution known as the Designated Hitter, I did employ the roster spot to work in another fishing name. Hope you’ll stop by again. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

Some more public, bank fishing bass join the ledger and I certainly dig that description.  Takes some work, limited access can be frustrating and the odds can be stacked against you in terms of landing your bites but it’s an approach that many can relate to, myself included.

Weight: 3-14
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: July 4
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Senko
Angler Comments: Thought I had another four pounder, turned out to be 3-14 and about ten pounds of weeds. Glad I recently respooled with 20-pound fireline. Definitely worth the investment o
ut here.

Weight: 3-0
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: July 7
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Senko

Weight: 3-7
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: July 7
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Senko
Top 5 Weight: 19-5 (4-5,4-1,3-14,3-10,3-7) culls 3-4

Thanks, Jim, for keeping the update streak alive at a lucky 13 weeks and best of luck as you are within spitting distance of the coveted 20-pound mark.  Here’s to an 11-ounce cull (or better), looking forward to it.  Talk to you later.  Troy

Happy Birthday, Carly

The July birthday parade continues with birthday wishes to our daughter, Carly, who turns 12 today.

This favorite flashback pic comes from the summer of 2010 and was shot in our backyard shortly after returning from a weekend camping trip.

And yep, that four-year old little girl is indeed asleep.

Always loved this pic as it speaks volumes for the value of some good old fresh air and the wonderful world of being a kid.

Happy Birthday, Miss Carly, and love you. Talk to you later. Dad

MLB Fishing All Stars – Coaches

Kicking off my MLB Fishing All-Star roster are the fellas who call the shots from the bench, the coaching boxes and the bullpen.

Manager – Bill RIGney

MLB notes: Rigney spent 18 seasons at the helm of three different clubs, the Giants, Angels and Twins. His most successful season and only playoff appearance occurred in 1970 as he guided the Twins to a West Division title. However, his club was swept in the A.L. Championship by the Orioles who would go on to win the World Series title.
Fishing Notes: Would have been cool if Rigney hailed from Texas, Carolina or Alabama as those various rigs are legendary bass fooling setups. But alas, the late Rigney called California “home.”
Topps Card Notes: Left to tight these cards are 1970 through 1972. I always thought these guys looked old when flipping through cards as a kid and doing the math on the 1970 card puts Rigney at 52 years of age. Nowadays I look at these cards and think, “No way do I look that old” but a lot can happen in a year for some guy a couple weeks away from turning 51.

Bench Coach: Jim Frey

MLB notes: For us Cubs fans, Frey is remembered as the guy who had his club one win away from that elusive World Series appearance back in 1984. But not meant to be and still hard to take. In fact, I could have included a fellow by the name of Steve GARvey on my squad but no way after he darn near singlehandedly brought the Padres back from the brink. Yes, I do hold a grudge.
Fishing Notes: For those not familiar, Frey rhymes with sky, hence the term for newly hatched fish or what you do with them when they get grown up.
Topps Card Notes: The Royals team card comes from 1980 when Frey lead the Kansas City club to the World Series where they would fall to the Philadelphia Phillies in six games.

First Base Coach – Sandy Alomar

MLB notes: As a player, Alomar put together a 15-year career with half a dozen clubs where his defensive skills easily out shadowed his performance at the plate. He would later go on to coach with several teams including the Cubs from 2000-2002.
Fishing Notes: Some places you’ll get run off for fishing near the beach but there’s something about those sandy areas that are a winner. I also used to do pretty decent on a spot at an old fishing hole, Lake Bracken, that was known as Sandy Point.
Topps Card Notes: The middle card above is from 1973, one of the early 70s sets that featured a lot of really cool action shots such as this one as opposed to some of the cheesy, staged spring training poses.

Third Base Coach – Danny Ozark

MLB notes: Ozark was at the helm of some darn good Phillies teams during his tenure with the club from 1973 through 1979. His three N.L. Championship appearances all ended in defeat, once at the hands of the formidable Big Red Machine and twice to the solid Dodgers clubs of the 70s.
Fishing Notes: Once upon a time, back in 1988, I fished the famed Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri and honestly found myself rather intimidated by the vast expanse. I eked out a handful of mid-summer fish and while a cool achievement, nothing to write home about.
Topps Card Notes: Tons of info on the back of these cards to keep a kid or a grownup busy and find something new. Looking at the 40-year-old cards I just discovered a fish species related note, Ozark was born in Buffalo.

Pitching Coach – Dick Pole

MLB notes: Not much to report on the statistical front but worth noting that Pole was an original member of the Seattle Mariners when MLB expanded in 1977. For Cubs fans, you may recall that he served as pitching coach from 1988 through 1991 when he assisted a young hurler by the name of Greg Maddux.
Fishing Notes: Every angler knows that you can never have too many poles and with a name like this fellow, well, too hard to pass up. Oh yeah, he was born in Trout Creek, Michigan for an added bonus.
Topps Card Notes: Lots of memories looking back through these cards and the 1977 Mariner card of Pole still makes me cringe a bit. Airbrushing was implemented for the players picked up by Seattle and Toronto in the expansion draft and just not a good look.

Roster part one is in the books and hopefully not too lengthy to keep your attention. But cut me some slack here as I am combining a couple favorite topics, both prone to rambling. Good thing I didn’t find a way to work in some tunes, huh? More to come next week after a special Monday post and a Top 5 Update pushed back until Tuesday. Talk to you later. Troy

MLB Fishing All-Star Team Intro

Okay, let’s goof off a bit.

As Major League Baseball poises to announce the 2018 All-Star roster tomorrow in advance of the July 17 All-Star Game, I’ve got a project of my own to introduce.

Interspersed with the regular, weekly hijinks here on the website, I’m going with a baseball All-Star team of my own. In this case, it’s my retro, fishing related MLB All-Star squad. Which means that the players must not only possess a fishing related name but also must appear among my baseball card collection in order to be included. Thus we’ve got a team of greats, pretty goods and still infinitely better than the rest of us ball players who graced the diamond somewhere between 1970 and the early 1980s.

Studs and cool cards but these fellas miss out on my All-Star squad, even that A’s hurler (cool nickname but not real name)

As a result of this criteria, we’ve got no Warren Spahn or Johnny Sain as they were before my time (note: see what I’m up to here Spahn = spawn, Sain = seine, perhaps it’s better if I don’t explain). On the other end of the spectrum, there’s no Mike Trout or Matt CARPenter as such ball players appear way beyond my card collecting days.

Nope, legends but don’t make the cut.

If you’re still here, you may ask, why would I do such a project?

Reason One is when you have your own blog there’s nobody to tell you what you can and can’t do. The flipside, however, is that there is also no one paying you to not write stuff like this and stick to the outdoor straight and narrow.

Reason Two is even better and goes back to the days when I first caught the baseball bug. As a kid in the 70s, the MLB All Star Game was a summertime highlight featuring names like Aaron, Rose, Yount, Rice, Bench, Schmidt, Brock, Ryan, Seaver, Stargell, Brett, Campy, Reggie, Yaz, Catfish…the heroes of my youth (and none of whom make this squad).

Talk about favorites, oh man, these guys are keepers but just don’t qualify and must be released.

The “old days” are always a fun place to revisit and when I get the itch to bring baseball into an outdoor blog, well, I make the stretch (see the “Pops” Stargell card above, loved those landscape cards in some early 70s Topps sets).

Gonna have to milk this one out though as a little too lengthy of a ramble to include in just one post, thus the 10 day head start leading the real All-Star game. The reveal begins tomorrow with a look at the coaching staff. Talk to you later. Troy