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Ferguson: Interesting names on this year's Jays Caravan

Scott Ferguson
12/24/2013 1:34:59 PM
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This could mean something or it could mean absolutely nothing.

There are nine Blue Jays scheduled to take part in the club's 4th Annual Winter Caravan, running from January 9-18. I say 4th Annual because the Caravan was an annual event in the club's early years but was abandoned for a time, only to be revived in 2011.

Skipper John Gibbons and the players will be making stops in six spots around Ontario, including Oshawa, Kingston, Peterborough, St. Catharines, London and Mississauga to drum up interest in the team and the upcoming season. The Blue Jays have done this from coast to coast over the years, and for some fans it's their only chance to meet the players up close.

But the point is that the players involved, you would think, will have a role with the 2014 squad - or at least in the beginning. In other words, the odds of them being dealt between now and January 9 would appear to lessen.

The nine include pitchers Brandon Morrow, Todd Redmond and Dustin McGowan and reliever Steve Delabar, along with catcher Justin Thole, outfielders Colby Rasmus and Anthony Gose and 1B/DH Adam Lind.

Of that group, Rasmus and Lind have both been mentioned in trade talk. However, if Alex Anthopoulos is still trying to move them now, you'd have to wonder why they are on this list that's being publicized the way it is.

Rasmus, Gose and Lind are actually repeaters from last year's Caravan. The other who took part last year included Drew Hutchison, Jose Bautista, Brett Cecil, Aaron Loup and  J.P Arencibia. None of those players were moved , save for J.P. who was cut loose a few weeks ago and then signed on with Texas.

The Caravan doesn't guarantee all these players will open the season as Blue Jays, it just show a degree of commitment from both sides at least for now.

The other day, former "Big League" catcher Ed Herrman passed away. He spent 11 years in the Majors and is best known for his time with the Chicago White Sox. He actually finished his career in 1978 as the backup to Hall of Famer Gary Carter.

Ed "Hoggy" Herrman, besides being tough as nails, was known for his ability to catch knuckleballers. In 1972, he made some history by catching all 49 starts of lefty knuckler Wilber Wood. Yes, that was 49 starts, when today a good durable pitcher starts between 32 and 35 per season.

Well, those 49 appearances working together by Herrman and Wood were the most of any battery since Hardie Henderson and catcher Sam Trott of the old  Baltimore Orioles in the American Association, who were together for 52 back in 1884.  I can't see anyone touching that modern day mark put together by Herrman and Wood.

One more note on Ed Herrman. His grandfather Marty "Lefty" Herrman pitched in the Majors - one game to be exact. He pitched one shutout inning of relief for the Brooklyn Robins on July 10 of 1918.
 
When we talk about the Angels' Mike  Trout and the Nationals' Bryce Harper and how good they are at such a young age, it brings me back to Tigers' Hall of Fame legend Al Kaline. In 1955 at the age of 20, Kaline won the American League batting  title with a .340  average. He slugged 27 homers, drove in 102 runs and had 200 hits on the nose for the only time in his career. Al Kaline, one of the Tigers' all-time greats, turned 79 years old on December 19.




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