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    A Major Week for Major League Baseball

     

     

    Last week was a busy week in the world of baseball history. First off, Hank Aaron was named number three on MLB’s list of the top ten most iconic home runs in Major League history. For a while, Babe Ruth was the king of baseball, no doubt about it! If there was a record for home runs, chances are The Babe had it in the bag. Then along comes Hammerin’ Hank Aaron on April 8, 1974, in a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers to hit his 715th home run, beating The Babe’s record and becoming the new home run champion!

    Next up, we have the 50th anniversary of the St. Louis Cardinals 1967 World Series win against the Boston Red Sox. To commemorate the occasion, the Cardinals capped the pregame ceremony with a first pitch from Bob Gibson to Tim McCarver. In 1967, Gibson was a very key player in the Cardinals World Series win. After having been off with a broken leg just months prior, Gibson would start and win game seven against the Boston Red Sox.

     

     

    And to top off a spectacular week, we have Albert Pujols of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who hit a first-pitch sinker down the third baseline against the White Sox at Angel Stadium. The hit increased his career RBI total to 1,846, breaking his tie with legend Carl Yastrzemski and giving Pujols possession of 11th place on the all-time RBI list.

    Who wouldn’t want to remember these moments for decades to come? And with our amazing Hank Aaron, Bob Gibson and Carl Yastrzemski canvas prints in store, you can easily give Dad (or yourself) a piece of sports history. Come on down to our Vintage Sports Images showroom and receive 10% off these prints for Father’s Day or browse the rest of our awesome Father’s Day Collection and give Dad the gift of a moment in history.

    If you think you can throw like Gibson or hit like Aaron or Yaz, then come to our store at 1089 Marine Drive in North Vancouver on June 3rd. From 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. we will be holding a competition to win a baseball print.

     

    LeBron and Jordan

    LeBron and Jordan

    Below is another Chris Mizzoni blog post on LeBron James and Michael Jordan. I will bet that Chris is watching some sporting event at this very moment… This sports junkie really knows his stuff.

    - Blair

    Since the Cleveland Cavaliers swept the Toronto Raptors in the second round of the 2017 NBA playoffs, LeBron James has taken his team to the Eastern Conference Finals for an amazing, seven straight seasons. In fact, James has led his Miami Heat and Cavaliers to six consecutive NBA Finals and may do the same this season to make it a lucky seven finals in a row. Even the great Michael Jordan could only take his Chicago Bulls to five straight Conference Finals before his first retirement in 1993.

    Coincidentally, MJ is the only player to have more total playoff points in his career than LeBron. After two rounds of the 2017 playoffs, James sits with 5,847 points over 207 career playoff games. Jordan is first with 5,987 in 179 games. James should pass “His Airness” by the end of the next round.

    Interestingly, this season, LeBron James is 32 and has a shot at winning his fourth NBA Championship. If he accomplishes this, he will match Michael Jordan, who won his fourth title with the Bulls in 1996, at age 32. What makes Jordan so special though is the fact that he also helped the Chicago Bulls to the next two titles in ’97 and ’98, bringing his total to six Championships, as well as six Finals MVP Awards. James is currently tied for second most all-time with three Finals MVPs. His chase to equal another of Air Jordan’s records could very well continue with another title this season.

    Vintage Sports Images has several historical Michael Jordan images and many NBA legends images available.

    What do you think? When it’s all said and done and LeBron retires (hopefully many, many years from now), who will we say was the best NBA player of all time?

    Vancouver Canucks vs. Detroit Red Wings 1971 and 2017

    Vancouver Canucks vs. Detroit Red Wings 1971 and 2017

    Chris Mizzoni is at it again. If I've said it once, I've said it a million times, this guy knows his stuff! Below is his blog post on how he figured out the year and the players in this Vancouver Canucks vs. Detroit Red Wings scrum.

    Great work Chris!

    - Blair

    It’s time to identify another unique Vintage Sports Images old hockey photo. This one came to me as is, with no information whatsoever. Luckily, this one was fairly easy to narrow down to a specific season.

    The Vancouver Canucks began playing in the NHL in the 1970/71 season; this was also the last NHL season (for a while) for Gordie Howe. Gordie is seen in the middle of this melee, so the photo is from the 1970/71 campaign. The game was obviously in Detroit, what with the Red Wings logo on the ice on the right side of the photo.


    Another way to help pinpoint an old Canucks photo is by looking for the "V" on the sleeve stripe. Thanks to the great NHL Uniform Database website, we know that Vancouver had this style of jersey for only their first two seasons of existence. Below is a close-up of one of the Canucks in the photo.

    Using the Society for International Hockey Research website, it's easy to identify most of the players in the historical image:

    • Detroit – #15 Rene Leclerc, #12 Tom Miller, #9 Gordie Howe, #11 Don Luce, #16 Ron Harris and #5 Serge Lajeunesse
    • Vancouver – #9 Ed Hatoum, #15 Rosaire Paiement, #5 Darryl Sly, (helmeted) Wayne Maki, #16 Ted Taylor, #12 Mike Corrigan and #3 Pat Quinn

    This game was most likely from March 25, 1971, at Detroit Olympia – as Detroit’s #12, Tom Miller, had been acquired from the New York Rangers on February 2nd of that year. This is the only #12 listed on Detroit's roster for the entire season. The Red Wings won this game 4-3.

    Move forward in time to another debacle for the Canucks: April 29, 2017 and the NHL Draft Lottery. For Canucks fans, this day was a huge disappointment. Even though this year's crop of players isn't as strong as recent drafts (there isn't a definite number one like Auston Matthews or Connor McDavid), as a favourite to get a top-two pick, the Canucks dropped to fifth overall.

    The talk in Detroit isn't fairing much better. Although it looked like the Red Wings would most likely secure the seventh pick, they ended up falling to ninth. Only time will tell which team will "win" at this year's NHL Draft. In lieu of selecting a Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier, the Canucks will have to dig a bit deeper to fill their needs at the centre position.

    The ’89 Jays Made the Post Season – Can They in 2017?

    The ’89 Jays Made the Post Season – Can They in 2017?

    Chris Mizzoni is a good friend of mine, works with Vintage Sports Images, and really knows his stuff. Below is a blog post on the Blue Jays and their amazing comeback to make the post season in 1989.

     

    This season’s Toronto Blue Jays are a disappointment, to say the very least. After reaching the post season in each of the last two years, another playoff appearance was expected in 2017. However, as of this writing, that seems like an extreme long shot. Through April, after 25 games, the Jays have won only 8. There is, however, some precedence for the Blue Jays to turn it around and make a push for the playoffs. It happened in 1989, after a similar start to the season.

     

    Formed in 1977, the Jays first made the playoffs in 1985 (back when finishing first in your division was the only way – there were no wildcard spots). In 1987 and 1988, they finished each season two games behind the leader – and then came 1989. Under manager Jimy Williams, the Jays got out of the gates to a pathetic 12-24 record. The low point was a Sunday afternoon game, on May 14, that turned out to be a 13-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins. It also proved to be the last Jays game managed by Jimy Williams, as he was replaced by Cito Gaston soon after the game.

     

    Gaston had been Toronto’s hitting instructor since 1982, before reluctantly assuming the manager’s responsibilities. Despite their 12-24 record, the Jays sat only six games behind A.L. East leaders, Boston and Cleveland. Gaston immediately led them to five wins in his first six games.

     

    On Sunday, June 4, Toronto won a game in Boston that may have been the turning point of the season. They were behind by a score of 10-0 entering the 7th inning, but tied the game in the bottom of the 9th on a grand slam by catcher Ernie Whitt. The Jays won the game on a two-run homerun in the 12th inning by rookie Junior Felix to cap the improbable comeback. The win raised Gaston’s record to 11-7, but the Jays had still slipped to eight games behind the suddenly hot Baltimore Orioles.

     

    The very next day, June 5, the Blue Jays opened the brand new SkyDome (a game I attended). Although they lost the first two games at the state-of-the-art facility, buoyed by 48,000 fans every night, the Jays finally climbed back to the .500 mark on June 23. After going 12-24 under Williams, they had now gone 24-12 under Gaston.

     

    It took the Jays until the very last day of August to finally reach first place; a 5-1 win over the White Sox lifted them to a 72-62 mark and they tied with Baltimore for top spot. At this point, they were in the midst of a 22-5 run that pretty much locked up the division title. Toronto ended up winning the American League East by two games over Baltimore and would lose to the powerhouse Oakland A’s in the A.L. Championship Series.

     

    So, as the current Blue Jays sit, mired in the poorest start in franchise history, can they replicate the comeback of 1989? A few large factors are much different now than they were 28 years ago. Firstly, the Jays do not have a brand new stadium to move into, midway through the year. I firmly believe this helped to turn around their fortunes. After starting the year 7-10 at Exhibition Stadium, the Jays went 39-25 at SkyDome. Secondly, the deficit the Jays have this time around is larger. As of May 1, Toronto sits 8.5 games behind division-leading New York. The one saving grace may be the Wild Card spot, which did not exist those many years ago. The Blue Jays sit 6 games out of the second Wild Card – the exact same amount they were out of first, in 1989. Could they possibly do it again?

     

    Father’s Day is fast approaching. Check out our unique Blue Jays images for Dad. We also have historical MLB images and wooden signs.

    The 1972 Summit Series & Phil Esposito Signed Jersey

    The 1972 Summit Series & Phil Esposito Signed Jersey

    I can remember the historic 1972 Summit Series like it was yesterday. I was at Sister Mary Clare Elementary School in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Our teacher wheeled in a very tall (or at least it seemed so at the time) TV stand with a tiny monitor on top – showing game one, from Montreal. What a treat – and what a testament to the fact that this series was a big deal! I have spoken to numerous people in all walks of life who said they remember watching it at school too. 


    Unfortunately, we lost that first game badly 7-3. It was a big shock to us all. Especially since Phil Esposito opened the scoring 30 seconds into the game, followed quickly with another by Paul Henderson. But the Russians scored four unanswered goals that Canada never recovered from. On to Toronto next, where Esposito opened the scoring again – this time in the second period. Canada won that one 4-1. We tied the next one in Winnipeg (I always thought that tie was weird). But it was what happened in Vancouver that prompted me to write this blog post.


    You see, we just added a new treat to our image gallery – signed NHL greats jerseys! And the first one I saw when I opened the box was a signed Team Canada Summit Series jersey by my hometown boy, Phil Esposito. It was his speech at the end of the game four loss in my new hometown of Vancouver that I really remember.

    It was a heartfelt speech that I think helped to galvanize the team for their trip to Russia. They lost the first game but won the next three close games and – of course – the series with Paul Henderson’s epic goal in the final seconds. That is also etched into all of our memories!

    I should add that Esposito scored two more goals in that game and was probably one of Canada’s most important players in that series.


    Come down and check out his signed jersey and those of other NHL legends like Bobby Orr, Dave Keon, Dale Hawerchuk and Pavel Bure, among others. We also have a Connor McDavid signed jersey as well.