The Michigan Legends Series Wraps Up Season One
Loons fans have been very fortunate this season. They have seen four of the Dodgers top nine prospects come through Midland. The No. 2 prospect, Corey Seager, and the No. 4, Julio Urias, have played most of their home games in 2013 at Dow Diamond. Both may end up being All-Stars at the Major League level. Seager is one of the biggest (both literally and figuratively) shortstop prospects to come along in quite some time, while Urias took Minor League Baseball by storm when, at just 16 years old, he made his professional debut at Dow Diamond in late May.
The Dodgers also sent their top three draft picks from the 2013 draft – Chris Anderson, Tom Windle and Brandon Dixon – to Midland to hone their craft in their first seasons as professional baseball players. Anderson and Windle, both starting pitchers, are now ranked No. 7 and No. 9 on MLBPipeline.com’s top 20 Dodgers prospects. They both debuted against South Bend on June 25 at Dow Diamond and in that game, they both threw two scoreless innings in a 10-1 victory over the Silver Hawks. Both have a sub-2.50 ERA as of August 20 and could find themselves playing their home games at Dodger Stadium in the next couple years.
Along with some pretty great on-field memories from the 2013 season, like when Corey Seager had two home runs and six RBI in one of his last games at Dow Diamond (Seager capped the night with a 420-foot grand slam that landed in the parking lot), there have been a few great off-the-field memories as well.
The Michigan Legends Series, presented by MidMichigan Health, has provided a few classic moments at Dow Diamond in 2013.
The series of promotions, a spin-off of the successful Red Wings Legends Series, kicked off on June 12 and has featured four games already this season, with two more on the docket.
On June 12, 10-time MLB All-Star and LA Dodgers legend Steve Garvey visited Dow Diamond. He spent time talking with CrunchTime host Jared Sandler, tossed out a first pitch and signed a boatload of autographs. He also managed to get Loons manager Razor Shines to laugh a little. Here’s the full Facebook album.
After the Loons turned back the clock and gave away some sa-weet retro jerseys on July 2, four-time Stanley Cup Champion and Davison, Mich., native Ken Morrow graced Dow Diamond with his presence on July 10 in the third installment of the Series. Morrow was also a member of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” U.S. Olympic ice hockey team that won a gold medal in Lake Placid. Click here for the full Facebook album.
Morrow did a lot of the same stuff that Garvey did: talked with the media, threw out a first pitch and signed a lot of autographs. But he also brought his gold medal from the Lake Placid Games with him, an artifact that he usually keeps in a bank. Morrow let fans, media members and even bloggers take pictures with the gold medal.
The fourth installment of the Series was on July 24, when the Loons gave away 1,000 Dow Diamond replicas. There are two installments left. One is on August 28, when the first 1,000 fans through the gates will receive a Tiger Stadium Replica. The other is an appearance by Michigan State legends Greg Kelser and Jud Heathcote on August 21 (tomorrow as of if this blog post).
Kelser, a forward and key contributor on the Spartans 1979 NCAA championship team, was drafted fourth overall in the 1979 NBA Draft. The Florida native played seven seasons in the NBA and is now an analyst on basketball broadcasts for Fox Sports Detroit and the Big Ten Network.
Heathcote was the head coach at MSU for 19 seasons and finished his career with a 339-221 record, a .605 winning percentage, including the 1979 championship season.
Loons fans have had a special 2013 season and there are still a few memories left out there, including a possible playoff run, but more on that later. For Loons fans, Wednesday night is a chance to meet two men that made a lasting impact on the sports landscape in the state of Michigan and for Spartan fans of my father’s generation, it is a chance to meet two people that played a huge role in bringing MSU their first national championship in basketball. If you want that chance, click here.