Chase resident a true Tiger fan

CHASE — Chase’s Dale Hosler could be called a true Detroit Tiger baseball fan.

How true is he?

He didn’t miss a game last season and kept score of every play for all 162 regular-season games. He also has more than 100 scrapbooks of Tiger clippings dating from the 1940s. Some are so old that they have a slight smell.

That’s how true.

Hosler and his wife have lived in rural Chase since 1989. He’s been retired 34 years from a meat packing house in Defiance, Ohio. He’s originally from Ohio but has been a Tiger fan from 1945. When he lived there, it was just a two-hour drive to Detroit.

“I was always a Tiger fan,” he said.

But Hosler can’t exactly remember how that happened.

“In 1941 to 1945, we lived in Michigan when my dad went up to farm,” he said. “I wasn’t really a fan until 1945 when the Tigers beat the Cubs in the World Series. Ever since then, I hardly missed a game, even though I was working. I’ve been retired. Now I don’t miss a game.”

Hosler says just ask his wife: he watches every game from start to finish on his 46-inch flat screen TV. He also has a 42-inch set in the bedroom.

“Since I’ve been retired, not every game was on TV and I listened to them on radio,” he said. “I’ve kept score ever since I was a kid in 1945. When they were on radio, I’d listen from start to finish. Now they’re on TV, I watch other games too on Direct TV.”

He has clippings from the 1945 and 1968 World Series.

Hosler used to buy his scoresheets, but now keeps his own system with just about every stat imaginable. He figures in the last 10 years, Hosler guesses he may have missed one or two games each season for certain reasons.

The regular season starts next week, but Hosler has also been following the Tigers during the preseason.

“I don’t keep score in preseason because there’s too many players,” Hosler said. “This year, I’ve probably missed two or three innings of a couple of games on radio. When they’re on TV, I don’t miss them. My wife has a schedule, She knows if there’s a ballgame on, I’m not going to be doing anything.”

His devotion to the Tigers was tested a few years back when he was in Findlay, Ohio, for a family function when Detroit was in the World Series. He was being teased that he wouldn’t make the game, but left and got back in time to watch it.

Hosler has many favorite memories. Ned Garver was a former Tiger who played in the early 1950s and signed a book that he authored. Before coming to Detroit, Garver In 1951, had a 20-12 record even though his team, the St. Louis Browns, lost 102 games that year.

“If I wanted to go to a (Tiger) game, I’d call his wife and she’d tell Ned, and he had them waiting for me at the stadium,” Hosler said.

Garver made arrangements for Hosler to visit the clubhouse one day and saw pitcher Dizzy Trout, plus a young Al Kaline and Johnny Pesky. Van Patrick and Trout were Tiger radio announcers in the 1950s. Patrick also teamed with Mel Ott and George Kell on the air and Hosler listened to them all. Hosler remembers listening to former Tiger great Harry Heilmann in the 1940s and 1950s.

Hosler, who will soon be 82, in the past would take a fan bus to a game from Mount Pleasant.

“Over the years, when I was young and lived in Ohio, it was only a two-hour drive, I might get up on a Sunday morning and say, ‘let’s go to a ballgame.’ Back then, they played a lot of doubleheaders,” he said. “I might go to 15 to 20 a year. The last one I went to was probably 2014. I went to the 2006 World Series, the second game.”

He still has the World Series ticket stub.

“Can you imagine, $225 for me sitting clearly out in left center field?” Hosler said. “When I first started going to a game, box seats were $2.50. But I had never been to a World Series game. We were trying to get tickets. My son-in-law came up with it and I was able to go to that game.”

Provided he has no health issues, Hosler hopes to watch every game again this season.

“I’m just a baseball nut,” he said. “Even when I was working, I worked nights and would go in at 8 o’clock. I had a transistor radio and would put the plug in my ear and listen to the game. Even my working day, I didn’t miss them.”

Among the top admirers of Hosler’s devotion to the Tigers are members of his coffee group at Bernie’s Place in Big Rapids. Keith White, of Big Rapids, is among Hosler’s coffee friends and said everyone is amazed by their friend’s devotion to the Tigers.

Hosler said he makes the drive to Bernie’s Place for coffee about three times a week in early afternoon, Mondays, Tuesday and Thursdays... but not if the Tigers are playing. He comes to Big Rapids for rehab at the hospital.

Hosler also likes watching the Lions, Pistons and Michigan Wolverines. But it doesn’t compare to his devotion to the Tigers.