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    Boog Powell – Amazing Athlete & Great Guy

    Boog Powell – Amazing Athlete & Great Guy

    I am beyond excited that the MLB season is almost here. For those who know me, you are probably aware that I love baseball and am a huge Baltimore Orioles fan! I recently came across this shot of my meeting with John “Boog” Powell from my visit to Oriole Park at Camden Yards a few years ago. I was a big fan of Boog because of my older brother, Terry. He used to make me watch Orioles games as a kid – and I am thankful, every day, that he did!

    Boog was a power-hitting first baseman who played for the Orioles (1961–74), Cleveland Indians (1975–76) and Los Angeles Dodgers (1977). He was with the Orioles’ World Series Champion teams in 1966 and 1970, the American League Champion teams in 1966, 1969, 1970 and 1971, and the American League East Division Champion teams in 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973 and 1974. The four-time All-Star posted a .606 slugging percentage to lead the American League in 1964. He batted left-handed and threw right-handed, playing first base, outfield and designated hitter.

    In 1966, Powell, along with Frank Robinson and Brooks Robinson, led the Orioles to the 1966 World Series, where they surprised the baseball world by sweeping the Los Angeles Dodgers in four games to become the MLB world champions.

    Before the 1968 season, Powell lamented, "Once, just once, I'd like to go through a whole season without an injury." He did just that, playing over 150 games in each of the next three seasons. In 1969, he hit a career-high .304, with 37 home runs and 121 runs batted in. In 1970, he was the American League Most Valuable Player, hitting 35 home runs, with 114 RBIs, and narrowly missing a .300 average during the last week of the season. In that year’s World Series, Powell homered in the first two games, as the Orioles defeated the Cincinnati Reds in five games. Prior to the 1971 season, Powell appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated for the 1971 baseball preview issue. Powell helped Baltimore to a third straight World Series that year, blasting a pair of home runs in game two of the 1971 American League Championship Series against the up-and-coming Oakland Athletics. Unfortunately, he hit only .111 in the 1971 World Series, as Baltimore lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates in seven games.

    Most importantly to me, Boog was a real character and a heck of a nice guy from all reports, which was confirmed when I met him! We chatted for a while and he was kind enough to sign my ticket stub. As a huge Orioles fan from Canada, he was surprised at how much I knew and seemed to enjoy reminiscing with me. And, on a plus, if you ever get to Camden Yards, his BBQ is outstanding (and the beer was pretty good too).

    Check out this great shot from our archives below! Like all our other famous athlete images, we think this one is a "home run."

    Canadians on the PGA Tour

    Canadians on the PGA Tour

    Being a big golf fan, I was thrilled when Blair Peters, owner of Vintage Sports Images, asked me for periodic blog posts on golf. I also enjoyed the conversation with my wife: “Umm, honey, I have to watch more golf...” I am sure she understands. After all, it’s for work.

    The 2017 Professional Golf Association season is here. It’s great to watch the golfers play in places that are warm and sunny, with beautifully manicured green grass – especially when here in Canada we are facing cold, snow or rain (depending on where you live).

    For regular followers of the PGA, you know that there really isn’t a break during the year. CBS and NBC take a break (just in time for the NFL season), but golf tournaments continue around the world. I love golf and I can’t do without the Golf Channel to help fill in the winter weekends.

    If you haven’t been following the PGA this year, Canadians certainly have had a lot to cheer about. For example, in November, rookie Mackenzie Hughes (from Dundas, ON) won the RSM Classic in Georgia. In fact, Hughes already has two top 10 finishes and has made over $1.5 million in prize money so far.

    Abbotsford’s Adam Hadwin is the first Canadian and the eighth player in PGA Tour history to shoot a 59. Watching the last hour of Hadwin’s round made me anxious. It was a nail biter – especially with his wayward tee shot on 18 and a muttered obscenity picked up by the Golf Channel’s microphone. I yelled with excitement when he finally made his par putt after 10 agonizing minutes. (My dogs weren’t too happy that I woke them from their afternoon naps…)

    For fans of Mike Weir, you probably remember the famous playoff where he ended up wining the 2003 Masters. Along with that, his seven PGA Tour wins make him Canada’s top performer on the Tour. I look forward to seeing Weir at the Masters again this year.

    It used to be that Canadians didn’t get much coverage by the U.S. networks with the likes of Tiger, Rory, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and others getting all the live looks. I think that is about to change as Hadwin, Hughes, Graham DeLaet, and Nick Taylor are all playing well and are about to break through.

    Don’t forget to give the LPGA a watch this year. Canada’s Brooke Henderson has won $1.8 million in prize money, with three victories and 16 top 10 finishes. She won a major last year – the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship – and she had a hole-in-one that won her a car during the tournament.

    Vintage Sports Images has some great golf images. Check out what we have here.

    I wake up on Thursday mornings with a smile, knowing that there are four days of golf to watch – again! Sorry, honey – it’s time to go to work!

    Nostalgia in My Hometown

    Nostalgia in My Hometown

    I was back in my hometown of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario over the holidays and got a chance to see a Soo Greyhounds game. It was so great to see some Junior hockey, up close. The pace was fast, the scoring chances many, and the intensity fierce – just like the World Juniors I had been watching on TV.

    It brought back so many memories as a kid growing up here, going to see the games with my family or my hockey buddies. It was the ticket in town – always packed to the rafters. Though the arena is in the same place, it is much nicer now, with extensive renovations done over the last few years.

    I was lucky enough to see “The Great One” – Wayne Gretzky – play there, along with other ex-NHL stars like Paul Coffey, Craig Hartsburg, Doug Shedden, Jack Valiquette, Ted Nolan and Ron Francis. My list of favorites that I saw as a kid goes on to include others that did not make it to the NHL – but were amazing players – and a lot of Greyhounds that made it for just a “cup of coffee.” It got me thinking of how many great players never made it to the “show.” How so many kids around the country work so hard to realize their dreams, but never make the NHL. It is a tough road, I am sure, and makes you appreciate the talent of those who do make it.

    The next day, I went for a drive to run an errand and found myself next door to the arena that I played at as a kid – the Sault Pee Wee Arena! It looked just the same as I remembered – no renovations here. The smell of stale popcorn was the same, as was the cold rink, the lights and the stands where I could remember my mom and her friends watching us scatter around the ice as Squirts or Pee Wees. It was great to see the kids coming out of the dressing rooms with smiles on their faces. It reminded me of how great the game can be and how much fun I had playing.

    It also reminded me of how much fun I have now, looking at all of my favorite NHL heroes, as the owner of Vintage Sports Images!