ESPN analyst and former big leaguer Eduardo Perez passes along the sad news of Mitchell Page’s sudden passing.
Born Mitchell Otis Page, he played eight years in the majors — seven for the A’s and one for the Pirates, serving mostly as a designated hitter and outfielder. He retired after the 1984 season with a .266/.346/.429 career batting line, 560 career hits and 72 career home runs in 2,104 total at-bats.
Page served as a hitting coach for the Cardinals from 2002-2004 under manager Tony La Russa and had been operating as a roving minor league hitting instructor for the Nationals.
He went to the World Series with St. Louis in 2004 and played a small part in the development of modern baseball’s best hitter: Albert Pujols.
Doctors say Page died in his sleep Saturday night. He was 59 years old.
Fox Sports Detroit has named Matt Shepard their new full-time play-by-play guy for Tigers games. Shepard will work with analysts Jack Morris and Kirk Gibson, who will split time.
This is the move in response to former longtime announcers Mario Impemba and Rod Allen getting suspended and later fired following an in-booth altercation in Chicago last September. The two of them, who weren’t exactly friends, reportedly fought over a chair, with conflicting reports of how serious the fight was. An anonymous witness said Allen put Impemba in a choke hold. Allen recently gave an interview in which he denied that and said it was only some pushing and shoving. Either way, it ended their 16-year team-up for Tigers games.
Shepard has worked for Fox Sports Detroit for nearly 20 years, doing fill-in play-by-play for the Tigers — he replaced Impemba for the last few weeks of last season — and for Detroit Pistons games. Gibson has been a part time analyst for the network for the past couple of seasons, splitting time with Allen. Morris has done Tigers, Blue Jays and Twins games over the years, sometimes even splitting time between the Twins and Tigers, which is rather unusual.
Shepard is pretty good at his job. While Tigers fans liked and were familiar with Impemba, there won’t be a falloff in quality. Gibson makes some good analytical points and has a surprisingly sharp and biting sense of humor about him, but his gruff and monotone delivery is not everyone’s cup of tea. You get used to it. Morris is not my cup of tea — he tends to do a lot of the “back in my day” stuff former players often do — but I’m pretty sure he could recite the dictionary on TV in Detroit and a lot of Tigers fans would tune in. Such is life.