MLBbro All-Star Moments | Reggie Jackson’s Moon Shot Off The Light Tower In 1971 MLB All-Star Game

Fred McGriff Earned “The Crime Dog” Nickname One Underrated Blast At A Time

By Devon POV Mason | Contributor 

 

Former MLB player Fred McGriff played in the league for 19 years and enjoyed a successful, yet harshly underrated career.

Throughout his career, he won multiple individual awards, while making a deep impact on every team he played for. He also developed a nickname during his time in the league.  “The Crime Dog” would stick with him for the rest of his career.

McGriff initially signed with the New York Yankees after the team selected him in the ninth round of the 1981 MLB Draft. The next year he was dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays, and four years later, he would make his MLB debut with the Blue Jays.

 

 

He spent his first five MLB seasons with the Blue Jays and hit a respectable .278 during those years. In 1989, McGriff won his first Silver Slugger award batting .269 with 36 home runs and 92 RBIs.

Following his time up north he was traded to the San Diego Padres. In his second season with the Padres, he was named to his first All-Star team and won his second Silver Slugger award. McGriff continued to take his game to the next level. During the middle of his career, he joined his third team, the Atlanta Braves. The slugging first baseman joined a talented roster, that would go onto have a lot of success.

During the 1994 season, McGriff made his second all-star team, and he finished the season batting .318 while hitting 34 home runs. The next season the Braves won the 1995 World Series. McGriff hit .261 with two home runs and three RBIs in six games against the Cleveland Indians,

McGriff was a player that many people knew across the league. During the 1990s and 2000s, he appeared in multiple baseball instructional videos, which would get a lot of viewers. He teamed up with Tom Emanski a baseball coach who did a lot of instructional videos and lessons for players, to make those videos. McGriff and Emanski had a relationship before he made it to the majors, as Emanski helped the “Crime Dog” become just that by helping him with his swing early in his baseball career. Safe to say it paid off.

 

During those years McGriff had a lot of success, as he was good in the field and with his bat. He was already a World Series champion and had made numerous All-Star appearances. So seeing McGriff in those videos attracted a ton of positive feedback and attention.

As far as how the “Crime Dog” name came about?

ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman gave McGriff the nickname, as McGriff’s last name is similar to “McGruff “The Crime Dog’s name. McGruff was an animated dog that helped increase crime awareness and personal safety.

It was fitting that Berman gave McGriff that nickname because of his last name and it stuck with lanky power-hiter the rest of his underrated career.

 

These MLB Bros Should Be In Baseball Hall Of Fame

 

He finished his career with a .284 batting average, 2,490 hits, 493 home runs, and 1,550 RBIs. Many believe he needed those seven more home runs to reach the magic number of 500 and have a real shot at making it to Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame. But if guys like Jim Thome and Jeff Bagwell and Harold Baines are in the Hall, then McGriff’s omission is…well a Crime… Dawgs

MLBbro All-Star Moments | Reggie Jackson’s Moon Shot Off The Light Tower In 1971 MLB All-Star Game

Card Art Revolution Drives Josh Gibson MVP Award Movement

Jason Schwartz of Heavy J Studios is revolutionizing the world of baseball card collecting through clip art. Kids are learning about the legacy of Josh Gibson and the history of baseball while making their trading cards and embarking on a new hobby in creating their own collection and competing in a virtual tournament in cyberspace.

Mark Gray has the story which chronicles how this new hobby may land Gibson’s name on an MLB MVP Award.

 

 

Barry Larkin Elevated The Shortstop Position

Barry Larkin Elevated The Shortstop Position

By Devon POV Mason | Contributor 

Barry Larkin wanted to be a shortstop ever since he was a kid watching his idol, Ozzie Smith, on television. Growing up in the Cincinnati suburbs, Larkin wanted to play for the legendary Cincinnati Reds and replace Dave Concepcion at short.

He says his dream was to replace Concepcion and then become the greatest shortstop in Reds history.

Via baseballhall.org:

“Born April 28, 1964, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Larkin was an honor student and athletic star at Cincinnati’s Moeller High School and enrolled at the University of Michigan with the idea of playing both baseball and football.

But when legendary UM football coach Bo Schembechler advised Larkin to redshirt his freshman year, Larkin’s path to Cooperstown began.”

 

After college, Larkin played on the 1984 US Olympic Team. When he got to the Reds, he eventually replaced Concepcion.

Larkin also wanted to wear No.1 to honor his idol Ozzie, but the equipment manager told Larkin the number was retired and permanently reserved for Fred Hutchinson.

Larkin had no idea who Hutchinson was, but he asked for No.11 to reinforce how much he admired and idolized “The Wizard of Ozzie”

 

Barry eventually wrestled the Gold Glove away from Ozzie, won an MVP Award, and had his number retired by the Reds also.

Of the great shortstops, Larkin possibly has the best compilation of skills: He could run as fast as teammate Eric Davis, he possessed the strongest arm among the shortstops of his generation —  and only Ozzie was better with the web.

 

 

A multi-faceted batter, Larkin concentrated on hitting for average, stealing bases and setting the table. But he was capable of going deep when the situation called for it. He stole 51 bases in 141 games, while winning the NL MVP in 1995, but for some reason was criticized for not driving in enough runs, so he came back the following season and banged all his critics in the head with 33 home run and 36 steals at the age of 32.

The Injury Bug

It’s hard to discuss Larkin without mentioning his injury-riddled history. He was placed on the disabled list fourteen times in his career. He only had 6 seasons where he didn’t spend time on the DL.

Those injuries  (legs, thumbs, knee, shoulders, and even his toe), sidelined him for 450 career games. That alone probably cost him another 450-500 hits with his batting prowess. The talent was always evident, but despite his HOF swag, and championship pedigree, he always faced criticism, and was even referred to as “Mr. Glass.”

He had to continuously prove himself and relied on a strong will to overcome setbacks.

Cooperstown Worthy 

Larkin was a 12-time All-Star, including his final season when he was still a valuable player. Despite his frequent absence from the lineup, Larkin was always a great teammate and team leader.

He was selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012, following a career also garnered him an  MVP (1995), World Series Title (1990), three Gold Glove Awards and nine Silver Slugger Awards.

 

 

He was simply a stud up the middle and one of the finest examples of MLBbro excellence at the shortstop position.