As the title of our blog suggests, our blog is about one thing: our family’s baseball adventures. I don’t write about trades or trade rumors, MVP debates, player values, or Hall of Fame elections. I have strong feelings about all of those things. But I’m not a sportswriter. It’s not my job to tell people what I think they should think about the current happenings in our great sport. There are hordes of paid sportswriters for that. I’m here to document my family’s personal baseball history, and that’s about it.
This makes the offseason pretty quiet around here.
But there is baseball and baseball stuff going on in the Cook household year round. I recently wrote about Tim’s first winter clinic for his little league. There will be another clinic in a couple weeks, and we’re eagerly looking forward to it.
In my downtime, I’m still working away updating our Baseball Logs (which I get behind on during the season) and our online Baseball Museum, and planning our 2013 season (fyi, be on the lookout for three generations of Cook boys in the Lone Star state in 2013). But lately, there are two additional baseball items taking up some of my time and, since they fall in line with the concept of documenting our personal baseball history, I thought I’d do a short update about them.
Spike Owen was my original all-time favorite baseball player. I have two distinct “where was I when” memories about Spike. I was standing right here…
…at my elementary school (there used to be a baseball field there) when my assistant baseball coach explained that Spike Owen played short stop for the Mariners (fyi, I played short stop for the Sherwood Eagles!) and he wore number 7 (fyi, I also wore number 7!). From that very moment, Spike was instantly my favorite player. Several years later (1986), I was in the basement of my family home (sitting on a cabinet/desk thingy to be exact), when my buddy, Dan Mosely, called to tell me the unthinkable: Spike Owen was traded to the Boston Red Sox! By this time, I was already a huge Mariners fan, but had never paid any attention to the postseason. As a result of Spike’s traded to the Red Sox, I watched the World Series for the first time ever and REALLLLLY wanted Boston to win.
After 1986 (with no internet), it became pretty hard to follow Spike Owen, particularly during his years in Montreal. Basically, all I could do was read box scores in the newpaper (people used to do that in the 1980s).
While Spike became my absentee-favorite ballplayer, over the next several years, I never officially announced a new favorite Mariner. In retrospect, it was clearly Harold Reynolds. That is, it was Harold Reynolds until 1989, when Ken Griffey, Jr. showed up on the scene. Since 1989, Griff has held the title of my all-time favorite player and, unless Tim and/or Kellen make the pros, I assume he always will be my favorite baseball player.
So, why am I spending time thinking about Spike and Harold all of these years later? Let’s start with Spike.
I have been a member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) for a number of years now (4 or 5 years, I guess). But I’ve never been an active participant in SABR. However, recently I have been chatting with another local SABR member who is active in the SABR BioProject. Through the BioProject, SABR is trying to have its members write 1,500+ word biographies of EVERY MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYER EVER!!! (plus, managers, umpires, owners, etc., etc.) They have a loooooooooooooong way to go to reach that goal. So, I decided to get involved.
When I first considered getting involved, I quickly realized that the only way it would interest me is if I could have my participation in the BioProject compliment my efforts to document our family’s personal baseball history. My first assignment of choice became clear: I would volunteer to write the BioProject biography of the man who played a foundational role in my life-long love of baseball and the Mariners, Spike Owen.
Shortly after putting in the request, I was officially assigned the Spike Owen biography by the BioProject Committee. Lately, I have been researching Spike’s career (and life) via the internet and I have learned a whole lot of stuff I never knew about Spike. I thought I would share a few interesting things I have uncovered. My favorite old article I have found (from shortly before Spike’s call up to the Mariners) highlights the relationship between Spike and his minor league roommate and double play partner, Harold Reynolds:
Two other interesting notes, (i) Spike was the short stop for the Expos during Dennis “El Presidente” Martinez’s perfect game in 1991 and (ii) Spike was the Captain of the 1982 Texas Longhorns baseball team where his teammates included his future 1986 Red Sox teammates, Roger Clemens and Calvin Schiraldi.
Spike’s relationship with Harold Reynolds extended beyond the minors. Spike was called up to the Mariners before Harold. Spike played about 60 games for the Mariners in 1983 before Harold was called up and played his first game on September 2, 1983. Interestingly, Harold made his Major League debut as a pinch runner for Ken Phelps following an at-bat when Phelps pinch hit for Spike. Three days later, Harold started his first game for the Mariners. Spike hit lead off with Harold in the nine-hole, meaning that Spike was on deck when Harold had his first career at-bat in the Major Leagues. Twelve years later, Harold played his final game in the Major Leagues as the starting second basemen for the California Angels. His teammate and starting third basemen for the Angels that day: Spike Owen.
Let’s talk some Harold Reynolds.
Harold played almost his entire career for the Mariners. He was awesome. People in Seattle loved him (at least that was my perception at the time, I certainly loved the guy). He collected over 1,000 career hits for the Mariners, he was a 2-time All-Star and 3-time Gold Glove winner for the M’s. Plus, he won the 1991 Roberto Clemente Award for his charitable efforts.
It has never made sense to me that Harold has never been inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame. He is an obvious choice to me.
So, last year, I created a Twitter account called @HR4MarinersHOF with the intent of posting pro-Harold tidbits as a sort of grassroots campaign to get Harold enshrined in the Mariners Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, almost immediately after I created the account and started posting a few Harold factoids, the Mariners announced that Randy Johnson and Dan Wilson (both great choices, as well) would be enshrined as new Marines Hall of Famers during the summer of 2012. So, I decided to put @HR4MarinersHOF on hold until the 2013 Major League campaign.
Now is the time. If you’re a Mariners fan and appreciate what Harold did for the Mariners, please give @HR4MarinersHOF a follow, a tweet, a retweet, or whatever you want to do to voice your feelings about Harold Reynolds and the Mariners Hall of Fame.
Happy New Year and we’ll see you in 2013!