Tyler Stubblefield

Tyler Stubblefield

On This Date: Photo taken 8/15/2011

Fort Wayne third baseman Stubblefield’s making the play against the Lansing Lugnuts at Lansing’s ballyard.

The Tincaps (a Johnny Appleseed reference) beat the Lugnuts (an auto industry reference, sort of) by a 6-5 score.


Number of pix taken on various August 15ths: 1531
Year of oldest photo: 2005

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 0!
  • 2 Stars: 63
  • 3 Stars: 1263
  • 4 Stars: 194
  • 5 Stars: 11

Keeping Score

Keeping Score

On This Date: Photo taken 8/5/2005

Some people can’t watch a ballgame without a scorecard.

My brother and I were at Toronto’s Skydome (yeah, I know: Rogers Centre) with a few hundred other members of the Society for American Baseball Research. We were there for SABR’s convention, where we attended workshops and meetings, socialized, watched this ballgame, and had an all-around good time.

Not sure whose scorecard this was, but I kept score, too. I generally do. I’m quite capable of shooting hundreds of photographs and scoring a ballgame…..


So many choices for today’s photo!

A Milwaukee Harbor tour. The SABR convention mentioned above, and a walking tour of downtown Toronto. Mine and power plant tours in Minnesota, with locomotives. Flowers (lots of flowers, in bright colors). Michillimackinac, and Mackinac Point lighthouse, and The Bridge. Finches at feeders. A couple ballgames. Foggy landscapes. And two years’ bluegrass festivals at Milan.

A wealth of photographs. And I stick you with a stupid scorecard.

Number of pix taken on various August 5ths: 1715
Year of oldest photo: 1992

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 14 (same mistake, 13 times)
  • 2 Stars: 156
  • 3 Stars: 1126
  • 4 Stars: 383
  • 5 Stars: 36

Matt Esparza

Matt Esparza

On This Date: Photo taken 8/3/2013

Northwoods League “action”–well, warmups–at Battle Creek’s CO Brown Stadium.

Matt, then a student at Tennessee though he’d later transfer to UC-Irvine, was playing for the Green Bay Bulldogs that summer. Something’s gotten his attention across the diamond.

Esparza’s now playing in the Indians system, at Akron.


I generally get to the ballpark early, and wander around a bit before the game. Sometimes my best pics are taken during warmups.

Number of pix taken on various August 3rds: 1004
Year of oldest photo: 2005

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 3
  • 2 Stars: 81
  • 3 Stars: 781
  • 4 Stars: 128
  • 5 Stars: 11

Pat MacKenzie

Pat MacKenzie

On This Date: Photo taken 8/1/2013

I often go to baseball games on August 1.

MacKenzie, batting for the Waterloo Bucks, is watching a pitch from Todd Eaton of the Battle Creek Bombers. Northwoods League action from my seat behind home plate at Battle Creek’s CO Brown Stadium.

A couple days back I mentioned that my baseball photography kit usually includes my rather old Nikon Nikkor 300 mm f/4.0 lens. This is why. The long lens makes an enormous difference.


MacKenzie attended Central Michigan University, and is the collegiate player I’ve seen most often while playing only for opposition teams. I’ve seen him play against both Michigan State and Western Michigan. I’ve seen him at CMU’s Theunissen Stadium, at MSU’s McLane Stadium, and at WMU’s Bobb Stadium. And here, of course, playing summer ball against Battle Creek’s team.

In 2014 MacKenzie returned to the Bucks and had an exceptional season. He was drafted by the Tigers in 2015, and played well in the low minors. But that career lasted only one season.

Number of pix taken on various August 1sts: 1505
Year of oldest photo: 2003

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 3
  • 2 Stars: 94
  • 3 Stars: 1220
  • 4 Stars: 178
  • 5 Stars: 10

Revision History:

Head First into First

Head First into First

On This Date: Photo taken 7/29/2004

Midwest League action: Wisconsin Timber Rattlers vs Battle Creek Yankees at BC’s CO Brown Stadium.

The Yank’s batter/runner is Enrique Cruz, with pitcher Paul Thorp (#38) in the coaching box. The Rattlers in the picture are first baseman Bryan LaHair, second baseman Mike Cox, shortstop Adam Jones, and (probably) pitcher Austin Bilke. Not sure who that umpire is.

Here’s the box score, courtesy of the MWL Archives website. My thanks to David Malamut.


Shot this with my Nikon N90s and the 28-105 mm lens I mentioned a few days back, and scanned it from a negative. I’d eventually figure out that a longer lens was desirable for ballpark photography. By April of 2005 my usual game kit included my then-new D70 and my 300 mm optic.

That lens was already several years old; I purchased it in 1998. I still take it to ballparks.

Number of pix taken on various July 29ths: 291
Year of oldest photo: 2004

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 1
  • 2 Stars: 27
  • 3 Stars: 168
  • 4 Stars: 80
  • 5 Stars: 15

Watch the Sky

The Sky

On This Date: Photo taken 7/12/2007

Went to see the Whitecaps host the Beloit Snappers in (suburban) Grand Rapids a decade ago.

Watched a storm blow in….


They got the game in. I notice that the box score describes the weather as “Cloudy.”

Number of pix taken on various July 12ths: 783
Year of oldest photo: 2005

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 4
  • 2 Stars: 64
  • 3 Stars: 548
  • 4 Stars: 145
  • 5 Stars: 22

Gibby bunts

Gibby bunts

On This Date: Photo taken 7/8/2013

Cam Gibson–Kirk’s son–putting the ball in play for the Battle Creek Bombers against the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters. I’m pretty sure the WR pitcher’s Brandon Schmidt.

This was a Northwoods League game; these are college players using wooden bats and playing mostly in what used to be professional facilities. For some players it’s a summer lark; for others its preparation for the minor leagues.

The bunt worked, by the way; he got a single.


Cam’s among the most exciting baseball players I’ve ever seen. In some ways he’s a slightly smaller version of his dad–but I think he’s even faster, and he lacks Kirk’s astonishing power. The Tigers drafted him a couple years ago, and he’s working his way through the Detroit farm system.

Gibby played baseball for Michigan State for three years, at Battle Creek for one summer, and for West Michigan (Grand Rapids) in 2016 and 2017. So I’ve seen him play quite a few games. He’s worth watching. But he’s not the instant star his father was; that’s really asking too much of any youngster.

Cam was promoted to Lakeland a couple weeks back, when Detroit did their annual mid-June minor league player shuffle. Perhaps we’ll see him at Comerica in two or three years.

Number of pix taken on various July 8ths: 734
Year of oldest photo: 2005

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 0!
  • 2 Stars: 36
  • 3 Stars: 624
  • 4 Stars: 67
  • 5 Stars: 7

Revision History:

Brandon Mann

Brandon Mann

On This Date: Photo taken 6/28/2005

Midwest League action. Brandon’s pitching for the Southwest Michigan Devil Rays (a Rays affiliate, of course) against the Lansing Lugnuts (Blue Jays) in Lansing’s Oldsmobile Park. That’s Chris Nowak, out of focus beyond Mann, covering first base.


Posting two pix again today, because I’ve two photos I want to share.

Number of pix taken on various June 28ths: 720 [includes 3 by my father]
Year of oldest photo: 2003 [Dad’s are dated 1978]

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 1
  • 2 Stars: 47
  • 3 Stars: 538
  • 4 Stars: 112
  • 5 Stars: 22

Revision History:

Ankiel in Orange

Ankiel in Orange

On This Date: Photo taken 6/6/2005

Do I need to explain Rick Ankiel’s career?

Ankiel was signed out of high school in 1997 and was pitching for the major league Cardinals soon after his twentieth birthday in 1999. In 2000 he pitched brilliantly, finishing second in the Rookie of the Year voting and finding himself compared to Lefty Carlton and Sandy Koufax.

Then it all came apart. On October 3, in a playoff game, he lost it. And it never came back. He pitched a few games for the Cards the next year, and a few more in 2004, with poor results.

So he became an outfielder. He returned to the Cards in 2007, and played in the majors through the 2013 season, mostly as a center fielder, mostly as a spare part, with six different franchises.

Not the career we imagined for him in 2000. But a respectable, and truly interesting, adjustment to circumstances.


Ankiel had two stints in the Midwest League. He pitched in 7 games for Peoria in 1998, with a 3-0 won/lost record, a 2.06 ERA, and 41 Ks in 35 innings. This earned him a promotion to Prince William, where he went 9-6.

In 2005 he was playing for Quad Cities when I saw him at West Michigan’s ballpark, and took this photo. He had two plate appearances in that game, then left the game after a minor injury.

Rick’s recently written a book about his baseball career, The Phenomenon. Haven’t read it yet, but the reviews I’ve seen are quite positive.

Number of pix taken on various June 6ths: 569
Year of oldest photo: 2003

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 6
  • 2 Stars: 62
  • 3 Stars: 358
  • 4 Stars: 128
  • 5 Stars: 15

Jeff Housman to Rudy Guillen

Jeff Housman to Rudy Guillen

On This Date: Photo taken 5/26/2003

Here’s a Midwest League game between the Beloit Snappers (a Brewers affiliate at the time) and the Battle Creek Yankees. Beloit won, 6-0.

Beloit’s Prince Fielder would have the best major league career of those who appeared in this contest. I strongly recommend that you not watch minor league baseball with that question in mind, however. Just enjoy the darned game.


2003 was the first year I systematically photographed baseball. Most of the photographs were taken from my seat using my Olympus Camedia C-50; those usually looked pretty much like this. On days I brought the Nikon I tended to move around, and got more interesting photographs.

I was writing what amounted to a blog about the BC Yanks’ season (it’s no longer on line), and used the photographs to illustrate my commentary. But Mom passed away on April 30 and I lost the energy for regular updates, which ceased on May 20.

By this time I was in the habit of photographing baseball games. I’d continue to do that all summer. And beyond.

Number of pix taken on various May 26ths: 513
Year of oldest photo: 2003

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 1
  • 2 Stars: 54
  • 3 Stars: 339
  • 4 Stars: 90
  • 5 Stars: 29

Revision History: