Exciting news for those of you who have a certain fascination with Memphis history and collectibles. The first 2,500 fans to May 29th’s Memphis Redbirds game against the Iowa Cubs will receive a Tim McCarver Stadium replica.
Erected in the early 1950s, Tim McCarver Stadium was originally built as a part of a multi-field complex on the Mid-South Fairgrounds. The park was unique with its grass outfield, turf infield and high-school-like fencing behind home plate. The small field gradually grew, adding a covered grandstand and press boxes, readying itself to be called the home of Memphis’ first professional baseball team since 1960. The Memphis Blues won their debut game at Tim McCarver Stadium on April 16, 1968 in front of a capacity crowd of 5,447.
Over the years, the park had been known as Fairgrounds #3, Blues Stadium and Chicks Park before donning the name of Memphis’ own baseball ambassador, Tim McCarver, in 1978.
McCarver’s baseball history stretches back to when he used to work the concession stands during Memphis Chicks baseball games. He played college ball for Christian Brothers University and later played for the Chicks in 1960, where he hit .347, a year after debuting in the majors for the Cardinals. At the conclusion of his 21-year major league career, McCarver took up broadcasting, which he still enjoys today alongside Joe Buck with FOX’s coverage of the MLB.
Tim McCarver Stadium was dismantled in the spring of 2005 and currently is a vacant grass lot. Though the stadium is gone, Memphis will always have the memories of the Blues winning the Texas League championship in 1969 and 1973, the Chicks winning the Southern League championship in 1990 and hosting the inaugural season of the Memphis Redbirds.
One of the most nationally-remembered moments in Chicks history can be found here. Go straight to page 48 for the full story. Interesting how AutoShack (AutoZone’s old moniker) is mentioned.
It’s our last day in Tacoma with the ‘Birds going for a series split with the Rainiers and the weather could not have been better all weekend. The weather has been sunny and in the 70s all four days we’ve been here. All the stories you hear about it raining here all the time have not been true during this visit.
The Cardinals activated Rick Ankiel from the DL today which meant somebody had to come back to Memphis. That somebody was Tyler Greene, who was hitting .257 in 11 games with the Cardinals in his first big league time.In 19 games with the Redbirds Greene was hitting .296 with two homers and nine RBI.
Memphis will travel to Portland after today’s game and open a four-game series with the Beavers tomorrow afternoon at PGE Park. The ‘Birds and Beavers split their four-game set in Memphis last season. The series could be a low scoring one with both teams being the top two pitching teams in the PCL and the worst two hitting teams in the league. The Redbirds pitchers have a 3.54 ERA compared to the Beavers 3.67 team ERA. Memphis is hitting .241 and Portland is hitting .240 on the year. If you like pitcher’s duels this might be the series for you.
After finishing up in Portland the ‘Birds are back home on Friday, May 29 to play six games in four days against Iowa. Memphis and Iowa will play two seven-inning games on Saturday, May 30 with the first game beginning at 4:05 p.m. and fireworks following the second game. On Sunday, May 31 the two teams will pick up the suspended game from May 3 with the I-Cubs already leading 2-0 in the fourth. A seven-inning game will follow the suspended game. No rest for the weary because after the game on June 1 the ‘Birds head back out on the road to Oklahoma City. Memphis is definitely in a tough strech of games over the next couple of weeks with games, opponents and travel.
The team is leaving for Tacoma and Portland tonight and with them goes our boss, KP, on a rare journey to the mighty northwest. For Ben and Alex, this means one thing: press-box office chair races are back!
Early odds have Alex as the 4-1 favorite, seeing as how Ben has a troubled history with races and I haven’t been able to locate my conscience since the late 1990s. And for the first time in a long time, there has been some talk of allowing a female intern to race with the boys. It’s still early though and the race is only a three-chair contest which may fill before then, leaving the girls a-watching.
In all seriousness though, the world’s not ready for mixed-gender chair racing.
Over the next week we expect a few good blogs from KP, as he explores the far-and-away lands, and a few awesome posts from us! So stay tuned.
By the way, were you aware we have a twitter account? Follow us!
Saturday, May 16, 6:05 PM – Memphis Redbirds (18-15) vs. Reno Aces (14-21)
- The night’s line-up is as follows:
1. Jon Jay – CF
2. Casey Rowlett – 2B
3. Brett Wallace – 3B
4. Allen Craig – LF
5. Javier Brito – 1B
6. Mark Shorey – RF
7. Brandon Yarbrough – C
8. Donovan Solano – SS
9. P.J. Walters – P
- A lot has changed in the Redbirds line-up over the past 15 days, losing Tyler Greene, Brad Thompson, Shane Robinson and Nick Stavinoha to St. Louis. Also Jarrett Hoffpauir, Joe Mather and David Freese were placed on the DL. What you see above is a new flock of ‘Birds to cheer for.
- Brett Wallace, the Cardinals number one draft pick of 2008, transferred from Springfield today and lands in the three-spot for his Triple-A debut.
- The ‘Birds are 7-2 in series openers this season. The Reno Aces make their debut at AZP.
Born February 8, 1973 in Yokosuka, Japan
Drafted by St. Louis in the 24th round of the 1994 draft
McDonald spent eight seasons in the Cardinals system and many of those as a Redbird. At 6’2″, 215, he was considered big for a catcher, thus earning him the nickname ‘Fat Kid’ hung on him by Memphis Redbird fan-favorite Stubby Clapp.
In his 355 games as a Redbird, McDonald had an average of .276 (317-for-1149), 150 runs, 304 RBI and 40 home runs.
He made his MLB debut with St. Louis on July 4, 2000; where he hit a home run in each of his first two at-bats. He hit a third homer later that year and finished the season hitting .429 (3-for-7), making him the only player in MLB history to have more than one home run in a career, with no other hits.
Now that his professional career is over, McDonald puts 100% of his focus on his L.A. Lakers. Probably a natural habit for any longtime SoCal boy who attended college at Pepperdine University and spent his off-seasons in Yorba Linda, California.
Pictured above is the Keith McDonald bobblehead (the second of the 2009 collection) that will be given away to the first 1500 fans through the gates on May 12, when the Redbirds host the Las Vegas 51s.
This isn’t the first time McDonald has been immortalized on a bobblehead though. In 2001, Redbirds pitcher Fred Rath was given creative control over the season’s bobblehead collection. He painted all seven as he saw fit, giving ‘Fat Kid’ the appropriate Hawaiian shirt and beach sandals. Thanks to Allison Rhoades for digging these pictures out of the archives.
Tom Rath with his 2001 Bobblehead Series.
Keith McDonald with his bobblehead. See the resemblance?
So come on out to AZP Tuesday May 12 and take home a part of Memphis Redbirds history.
As men in our early twenties, we can certainly appreciate the good ole days. A happier time filled with fanny packs, flannel shirts and blue jean shorts, greasers and socias, Celine Dion’s Titanic song. Heck, we even remember lunches at the Max with Zach and the gang while we were living in San Francisco with our uncles Jesse and Joey, all while being pestered by our outrageous, though well-intentioned neighbor, Steve Urkel.
The pleasantries that used to be the highlights of our days, like mailing letters and sending regards, are things this Y2K generation will never understand. We only blog to stay relevant. But that’s not to say that people don’t come to us for wisdom which someone in their early twenties could only know. Plant a seed, watch it grow.
Trips down memory lane are important to dudes like us. Let’s face it, aside from a fresh bag of Doritos, there might not be anything we value more. That’s why tonight’s Nostalgia Man Bobblehead give-away is of particular importance. Baseball is an awesome way to forget about the new-fangled problems of the present and just have a good time.
There’s no better representative of that good time than the Redbirds own Nostalgia Man. He graces our logo and stands guard over the park making, and tonight he can be yours. Join us tonight at the ballpark and pickup your own Nostalgia Man, complete with bobbling head.
Let’s remember together.