On This Date In History: Catfish and Sweet Billy Arrive in Cooperstown

On July 26, 1987, two of our favorite ball players were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

James Augustus Hunter, or "Catfish" as he is more readily known, spent 14 years in the majors.  He started out with the Kansas City Athletics in 1965 and remained an Athletic when they moved to Oakland in 1968.  It was that year, 1968, when he pitched a perfect game against the Twins.  In 1974 Hunter won both the Sproting News Player of the Year Award and the American League Cy Young Award. 

In 1975 George Steinbrenner made Hunter the highest paid pitcher in baseball when he signed him to play for the Yankees.  In his first year in the Bronx Catfish led the league with 23 wins.  He played in three consecutive pennants for the Yankees, from 1976 - 78.  Hunter retired from the game in 1979.

Did you know that Hunter's nickname was completely made up by Charlie Finley?  Finley simply thought that his pitching ace needed a nickname and chose "Catfish".  Finley even created a fictional story that the nickname originated from Hunter's childhood when he caught a large catfish while fishing.

Look for that 1968 vest that is pictured above on our site in a couple of weeks.

 

Along with Huner, Billy Williams entered the Hall of Fame in July of 1987.  The six time All Star played the majority of his career in a Cubs uniform, with the exception of his final two seasons which were spent in Oaklnad.  In 1961 Williams was named the Rookie of the Year.  He received the Sporting News Player of the Year Award in 1972, which was statistically his best season.  He led the league with a .333 batting average and hit 37 home runs and knocked in 122 RBI's.  

With the Athletics Williams was a designated hitter and helped them to the 1975 AL West Championship.  He retired the following year.

Williams was known to have one of the purest and sweetest swings in baseball, which is why he was often called "Sweet Billy" or "Sweet Williams".  On September 7th of this year the Cubs will honor their legendary outfielder by unveiling a statue of him outside of Wrigley Field.

 

July 26, 2010 | E-mail | Comments (1) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

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November 17, 1944

"I would like to be a great artist. I would quit pitching if I could paint like Monet or Rousseau. But I can't. What I can do is pitch, and I can do that very well." - Tom Seaver (Biography, IMDB.com)

George Thomas Seaver was born to Betty Lee Cline and Charles Henry Seaver on November 17, 1944 in Fresno, California. He attended Fresno High School where he played baseball and basketball. He was an All-City basketball player and showed great control on the mound. He lacked in size and strength with his pitching, but hoped to one day play baseball in college. After high school Seaver United States Marine Corps Reserves in June 1962 and after six months of active duty he enrolled in Fresno City College.

Seaver had grown stronger and now threw with speed and still maintained that same control he had shown in previous years. He was being recruited by Trojan coach Rod Dedeaux for the University of Southern California (USC). In 1964 the coach was still unsure of whether or not he was deserving of a scholarship, Tom was sent to pitch for the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks, Alaska. After an amazing season he was on his way to USC with his scholarship in hand. In his Sophmore year he had a 10-2 record and was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in June 1965. Seaver asked for $70,000 and the Dodgers passed. Then, in 1966 he was drafted number one by the Atlanta Braves, but the contract was voided by Baseball Commisioner William Eckert on the grounds that his college team had already played two games, although Seaver did not play in either. Seaver then looked to finish his college baseball season out, but was deamed ineligible by the NCAA because he had signed a pro contract.

Nolan Ryan & Tom Seaver in Mitchell & Ness Wool Jackets


 

 

Mitchell & Ness 1969 Authentic Wool Jacket
pictured above on Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver

  

 

 

 

 Seaver's father complained about the unfairness of the situation and threatened Eckert with a law suit. Eckert then ruled that other teams would have the opportunity to match the Braves offer. Three teams were willing to match the offer that the Braves had put on the table: the Mets, Phillies and Indians. The Mets won the lottery and were awarded the contract with Seaver.

Former Mets players Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza greet fans before throwing out the first pitch during opening day at Citi Field on April 13, 2009
(Former Mets Mike Piazza and Tom Seaver throw out the first pitch at Citi Field
which replaced Shea Stadium as the home of the Mets)

July 23, 2010 | E-mail | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

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This Just In

Just in time for those hot New York summer days and nights, it's the 1991 - 92 road Knicks jerseys.

The 1991 - 92 season was Pat Riley's first year as head coach of the Knicks.  It began a bit of a heyday for the Knicks as their rivalries with the Pistons and Bulls evolved into legendary status.  Riley led the Knicks to a 51 - 31 record in 91 - 92 and a first place Atlantic Division finish.  In the first round of the playoffs the Knicks faced off against the Chuck Daly led Detroit Pistons and took the series 3 games to 2.


Next up were the Chicago Bulls.  In an intense and extremely physical Eastern Conference Finals the Knicks gave the Bulls all they could handle.  The series went to seven games with the reigning champs holding on for the game seven victory and a 4 - 3 series win. 

But this Knicks team will be forever loved and revered in New York for their grit and passion.  We are happy to bring you the jerseys of four of those gritty and passionate 1991 - 92 Knicks.

 

July 23, 2010 | E-mail | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

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Keith Hernandez

Fast facts about Keith Hernandez

  • He was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 42nd round of the Major league Baseball Draft
  • Post baseball he wrote three books
  • In 1987 he was named the first team captain in franchise history
  • He won 11 Gold Glove Awards and 2 Silver Slugger Awards
  • He guest starred on an episode and appeared in the final episode of Seinfeld
  • Hernendez won two 2010 New York Emmys: an individual award for Sports Analyst and as part of the SNY Mets broadcast team which won the "Live Sports Event: Series 2009 Mets: The Inaugural Year of Citi Field" award
  • Hernandez and Walt Frazier have appeared in numerous television commercials for Just for Men, a men's hair-coloring product.

 

July 22, 2010 | E-mail | Comments (1) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

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Coming This Fall...

This fall/holiday, Mitchell & Ness will be introducing Vintage Team Duffle Bags, constructed out of soft, brushed canvas, with distressed team and league logos, cotton (detachable) shoulder strap and antique brass zippers. 

For $40 (no, that's not a typo), you will be able to grab one of these awesome bags for your favorite NFL, MLB and NHL teams!

Vintage Team Duffle Bags will be hitting the Mitchell & Ness Flagship store, mitchellandness.com and authorized retailers nationwide in November. 

July 22, 2010 | E-mail | Comments (2) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

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