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Found 135 results

  1. I was looking at some pictures of the Topps 1969 set of baseball cards, and it dawned on me that this may be the greatest year in history for quality of players: * This is Mantle's final card (and #500 in the set). The set also includes, among other Hall of Fame players from the 1950s: Mays, Aaron, Clemente, Frank and Brooks Robinson, Kaline, Killebrew, Banks, Yastrzemski, Drysdale, Mazeroski, Aparicio, Wilhelm, etc. * Players entering their primes include Rose, Gibson, Carlton, Marichal, Carew, Jenkins, Santo, Flood, Oliva, Brock, McCovey, Seaver, Stargell, Palmer, Reggie Jackson, etc. * Rookie cards include Johnny Bench and Nolan Ryan. * Ted Williams, Leo Durocher, Earl Weaver, and Walter Alston have cards as managers. To think I attended the All-Star game at RFK in 1969!
  2. Who has a better career W-L record, Mike Mussina, or Tom Seaver? <--- These are links to their stats. Surprise! Every pitcher who has over 100 more victories than losses is in the Hall of Fame ... except for Mike Mussina. I know, I know: "Most overrated statistic there is." I don't buy it. Expect Moose to be inducted this decade, preferably with an Orioles' cap. We miss you, Mike. Even here in Northern Virginia, we miss you. New York is a bigger audience, but between Baltimore and Atlanta, you were *it*.
  3. I suspect many of our readers have never heard of Zach Britton, despite him pitching up I-95 for the Baltimore Orioles. An equal number of readers may be wondering why I'm starting a thread on him. As it turns out, Britton is the owner of some fairly impressive feats: * He was an All-Star in 2015 and 2016 * He was the American League Saves leader in 2016, with 47. Upping the "Impressive" factor ... * He is the all-time American League record holder in Consecutive Saves with 60. Apr 15, 2017 - "Britton Ties AL Record with 54 Consecutive Saves" by Dhiren Mahiben on mlb.com * He is the only American League pitcher to hit a home run this decade. [Oops, I'm wrong about that]: Jul 21, 2015 - "Nathan Karns Hits First HR by American League Pitcher in 4 Years" by Eric Stephen on sbnation.com
  4. Albert Pujols might be one of those all time greats whose historical stats might take a "hit": specifically his batting average. Just checked him out. As of last year his career average is .302. For the Cards during his first 11 years his average was .320. Over the last 7 years for the Angels his average is .260 and it keeps trending downward. He is one of those few players over time that I like to watch from time to time. During his first decade his hitting exploits rivaled that of the greatest players in history. Injuries, age, and advanced defensive alignments are combining to turn him into one of the most overpaid, under performing players in the game. (Nevertheless I still like watching him) Check back on this in a year or two. Pujols might drop out of that impressive group of players.
  5. Only once in MLB history have both teams thrown nine-inning no-hitters: On May 2, 1917, Fred Tony and Hippo Vaughn dueled through 9 entire innings, with both pitchers completing the regulation game with no-hitters, and the score locked at 0-0. In the 10th inning, Vaughn threw a single, and then an error put runners on 2nd and 3rd. At-bat was none other than Jim Thorpe, who hit the ball back to Vaughn, and the play at home was botched (Vaughn didn't want to throw to 1st because "Thorpe ran like a racehorse.")
  6. This video of R. A. Dickey's knuckleball is mesmerizing. Afterwards, there's plenty of explanation of the physics behind the pitch. I've caught a knuckleball before, and it's a devil - you can have your mitt right where you think the ball is going to be, and then, at the last moment ... it's in a different place (notice where it ends up in the catcher's mitt in the video (the brief glimpse of the batter's face is also priceless)).
  7. A little backstory: When a post asked which MLB baseball players approached a .400 batting average since Ted Williams last accomplished that...I thought of George Brett. Brett did get close, finishing one magic season with a .390 BA. Brett of course was a great baseball player, a hall of famer and fun to watch and follow. Brett played for the Kansas City Royals during their best period from the mid 1970's to the mid 1980's when they were one of the best teams in the major leagues, played in many playoffs, and made and won a World Series. But wait...While Brett was the star of the team he had an excellent high quality teammate in a fellow named Willie Wilson. Do any of you recall him? Willie Wilson was the fastest player in MLB during those years, made some all star teams and had a long successful baseball career, primarily with the Royals. Before Willie Wilson made it to MLB he was one of the all-time storied athletes in New Jersey high school team sports. I knew of him because he competed in the little conference of teams my town played in: The Suburban Conference in Northern NJ. The members of this conference were smaller schools in Northern NJ. The high school classes probably had between 150-300 students each. These were small, suburban schools. They were not known as incubators for super star athletes. Willie Wilson was the exception. For two years running he was All-State in both football and baseball and was also a tremendous basketball player. He dominated that conference, let alone was a super star in the state from among high school athletes. Reportedly he was the most recruited high school football player in the nation that year. Wilson spurned college football, was a high draft choice with MLB and within a few years made it to the big leagues for a long career. Go back to Willie Wilson's high school career and you can find the following video of his football highlights. Catch the following video. Its precious. Do you recall Thanksgiving day football games with your town's biggest rival??? Not only is the video precious but the comments take you back to those hallowed high school days........
  8. I know "the world turns" and all that, but this is fundamentally disturbing to me. "The Brewers Are Moving towards Positionless Baseball" by Emma Baccellieri on si.com If these keeps up, Rod Carew could come out of retirement, and be the MVP.
  9. In our Sports Forum, we have a thread on your rookie quarterback, Deshaun Watson. I've followed Watson carefully for the past four years, and have watched every single moment, of every single game, that he has played for the past two years. If you're concerned that Watson can't be an "NFL-style," pocket quarterback, well, I think that's a legitimate concern, but I also think that Watson - even though he can scamper - has a pocket-quarterback mentality in his head. The scrambling quarterback works best in college; the pocket passer works best in the NFL, and I honestly believe that Watson has the tools and the discipline to be both. Here in Washington, DC, we suffered through the agony of watching Robert Griffin III, who won the Heisman Trophy for Baylor, and for whom the Washington Redskins gave up a *fortune*. RGIII was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, and *deserved* it, producing one of the greatest seasons in NFL history by a rookie quarterback. However, RGIII was never taught to be a pocket passer, and the Redskins allowed him to be a sitting duck for the NFL's monster linebackers, who used him as a tackling dummy. The Redskins didn't take him out when he became visibly injured (it was very, very hard to watch), and just like that, RGIII's career was over (or, at least, it's probably over). Don't think for a moment that Deshaun Watson isn't acutely aware of the sad tale of RGIII. All he needs is to be taught how to transition from college to the NFL, and you just may have yourself an All-Pro-caliber QB for the next decade. I'm going to be pulling for the Texans, and for the great Deshaun Watson - I only hope that he has someone down there who can teach him properly; otherwise, all bets are off. One thing you shouldn't worry about is all these articles about Watson's interceptions. The articles fed off themselves; I actually *watched* every play Watson made for the past two seasons, and he threw a total of about five lousy interceptions; the rest of them came with a large dose of sheer bad luck, irrelevant situations (an 80-yard, Hail Mary with 2-seconds left in the half, for example) or missed patterns by his receivers - the interception tally wouldn't worry me in the least. You've got yourself a champion on your hands, and at least one person up here in Washington, DC who will be pulling for him. Cheers, Rocks
  10. *** SPOILERS FOLLOW *** Sometime in the late 1960s, we were visiting my Aunt Kitty and Uncle Ben in Detroit, and were out for a walk. We walked past a park, and Uncle Ben (who knew I was a baseball savant) asked me to guess who the park was named after - I immediately said "Ty Cobb,: and he (in his 70s at the time) said, "No, no, no! Ty Cobb wasn't loved here in Detroit - this park is named for Harry Heilmann!" (With his accent, I thought he had said "Harry Hahmann," and I never got the name right for the next twenty years). Uncle Ben had lived in Detroit for decades, and remembered both players very well - he said how much Heilmann was loved by the residents of Detroit - little did I know that Heilmann was also arguably the greatest right-handed hitter of all-time (apologies to Rogers Hornsby). He's the only player ever to be in the .400 / 40 club (with 40 Doubles) - I may be wrong about this: Someone please let me know if I am. If you're unfamiliar with Heilmann, look at his batting statistics in the 1920s! Maybe the greatest hitter you've never heard of? Nobody has ever hit .400 in four seasons, but people say that if Heilmann - whose nickname was "slug" - wasn't so slow afoot, he'd be the one who had done it: He was a total of 8 hits away - 8 infield hits away - from accomplishing the feat, had he hit them judiciously in 1921, 1925, and 1927.
  11. I wasn't sure what to think about "Cobb" going into it: It was a box office flop, that was mildly acclaimed by critics, which is generally right up my alley; in this case, I think I knew *too* much about baseball to enjoy it as a "regular" film critic would - it was just not a good film. The film focuses on Ty Cobb's final year of life, during which a famous sportswriter (Al Stump) is writing a biography of him. After the film, I still don't know what to believe about Cobb: Was he *that* much of a hateful man, or was this overplayed? I don't know, but if this story was true, then Cobb was simply despicable. Nothing about "Cobb" moved me - I didn't like the interplay between Cobb and Stump, and that's pretty much all there was in the entire film. I'd be very curious to hear from some other film lovers and baseball fans, as to what this film meant to them. I didn't "hate" it so much as I didn't "like" it, and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, not an art-house film lover, and not a baseball fanatic. What else is left? I *do* like the fact that they took a very small slice of Cobb's life (his final slice) and spent a great deal of time exploring this, rather than doing a "cradle-to-grave" biography of him. Is that a compliment? I think it is.
  12. Saying "Alexander Cartwright invented baseball" is a little like saying "Christopher Columbus discovered America." Well, it isn't *that* bad, but there were precedents before Cartwright codified the "Knickerbocker Rules" in 1845. I grew up believing it was Abner Doubleday at Cooperstown, NY, in 1839, but that has been largely debunked. This particular thread is for discussion about the game in general - rules, various leagues around the world, etc., and probably won't get much play since most discussion is more specific, but it's here if anyone needs it.
  13. I think after yesterday's performance, Mad Max merits his own thread. "Max Scherzer Flirts with Perfection, Striking Out 16 Along the Way" on nytimes.com "Max Scherzer Pitched One of the All-Time Games Today" by Rohan Nadkarni on deadspin.com "Max Scherzer Allows Hit to Carlos Gomez in 7th to Loser Perfect Game" on espn.go.com
  14. The Keys. Boy you can sit close. Highest priced seating about $15. Of course you can also go up to the club for the finest dining available at the Keys stadium courtesy of those well known providers of the most exquisite dining experiences in the region: Mattress Discounters!!! Lotta hot dogs at Keys stadium (I forget the real name), unless you opt for the mattress discounter cuisine prepared by your chef..............................uh...I didn't get his/her name. I like minor league ball!!!!!! You are so close and its so relaxed.
  15. Oh my, Yogi Berra, an all-time great catcher in the big leagues, and an all-American icon for his many quotes and advertisements that featured him. Seeing comments here referencing that .... really depressed me. Yogi is an iconic American sports star, a beloved character, and what hit hardest on a personal level, was that Yogi has lived most of his life since he got to the Yankees in a Northern NJ town, near where I grew up. There was a fair bit of news about Yogi in my neck of the woods, and all of it was positive and beloved. Yogi's achievements in baseball are legendary and formidable. He ranks with the best of the best. The Yog played in 14 World Series and was on the winning side 10 times!!! That could be a personal record that might not be beat. Yogi was part of Yankee dynasties that helped him get there, but his presence on those teams helped the Yankees win so often. Here are some astonishing nuggets: He led the Yankees in RBI's 7 years in a row through 1955. Those were teams with Joe Dimaggio and Mickey Mantle, He was league MVP 3 times, and received MVP votes 14 years in a row, tied for 2nd behind all time leader Hank Aaron. He was a great player and had tremendous longevity. Yogi caught the famous perfect game in the 1956 World Series. He was a great contact hitter, and a notorious bad ball hitter all the same, being able to connect at pitches above his head, and being capable of golfing a ball thrown at his feet. When you review the reams of detailed statistics about his career there is a column of detail about his annual baseball salary each year. Yogi maxed out at $65,000/year in his playing career. Today the highest paid catchers make around $12-17/million/year, which comes to more per game than he earned in his highest salaried year. Not withstanding the way sports salaries have escalated I doubt baseball's best catchers today could hold Yogi's jock. He was excellent at both offense and defense. He is amazingly beloved in the NY region and among Yankee fans. Growing up his sons were noted athletes, two of whom made it into professional baseball and the NFL. One of my closest friends played on a noted regional Legion baseball team against one of Yogi's sons. As a kid that is simply thrilling. For such a lifelong humble guy he has that "Brooks Robinson" combination of baseball stardom and entirely admirable personal qualities. I truly hope he sticks around for quite a few more years. Here's to you, Yogi. "It ain't over till its over!!"
  16. I was just introduced to the Bases Fallacy, and it took me all of five seconds to say, out loud in a room all by myself, "This is bullshit." The central concept of the "Bases Fallacy" is that certain statistics (let's use Tom Boswell's "Total Average" as an example) are fallacious because (and I'll quote directly from baseballreference.com) - "Unfortunately, players are not trying to accumulate bases. The point of baseball is to score runs, not gather bases." which, itself, is a fallacy: If you read the Bases Fallacy link, it implies that "Total Average" assumes "bases" is the atomic unit of baseball. (A walk is as good as a hit.) But using that same logic, the "Bases Fallacy" assumes "runs" is the atomic unit of baseball. (It doesn't matter how many hits you get if you don't score.) Yet, I can walk this forward multiple levels. I hereby coin: The "Runs Fallacy," which assumes "games won" is the atomic unit of baseball. (It doesn't matter if you win 4-3, or 19-0). The "Games Won Fallacy," which assumes "playoff appearances" is the atomic unit of baseball. (It doesn't matter if you win games if you don't make the postseason.) It's obvious that you could continue with a "Playoff Appearances Fallacy," and then go even further with a "Pennant Fallacy," which assumes "World Series Titles" is the atomic unit of baseball. (Refer to the "Curse of the Bambino.") If you're going to use the term "fallacy," then you need to think about "Reductio ad Absurdum." At some point, my ever-larger atomic units will turn into, not Reductio ad Absurdum, but "Expandio ad Absurdum." Needless to say, this can apply to nearly any sport, and probably most other aspects of life. So what is the atomic unit of baseball? I'm thinking "Games Won," and not "Runs Scored." Does it really matter if your team is down 15-0, and a player hits a solo home run? Or perhaps, "Duration of Happiness." When an event occurs, whether it's a ball, strike, walk, hit, run, win, or World Series Championship, how long does your joy last? There can also be PlayDoH (Player-Adjusted Duration of Happiness (e.g., Aaron 715 vis-a-vis Bonds 756)), which actually rhymes with Plato, but I'm not going there.
  17. Brooks Robinson plays Ding Dong Ditch: Nov 27, 2012 - "Marvin Miller Spoke Truth to Power, Changed Sports Forever" by Thomas Boswell on washingtonpost.com
  18. Eddie Gaedal is one of the few players in MLB history with a 1.000 OBP, having walked in his only major-league at-bat. A slash line of .300/.400/.500 (Batting Average / On-Base Percentage (OBP) / Slugging Percentage) represents a superb season; an OPS (On-Base Percentage + Slugging Percentage) of 1.000 represents a Hall of Fame-caliber season. Gaedal had both an OBP of 1.000, and an OPS of 1.000, both Hall of Fame-level numbers, had he been able to maintain them for a career. He also holds (or shares) the all-time Walks / Appearances mark of 1.000, and I believe him to be a legitimate Hall of Fame candidate.
  19. In case you ever get the urge: Aug 29, 2014 - "Best Batting Cages in the Washington, DC Area" by Folashade Oyegbola on washington.cbslocal.com Closer to home for you, there's also one in Upton Hill Regional Park on Wilson Blvd.
  20. I was getting ready to make an argument that Len Barker pitched the single-greatest game in Major League history: On May 15, 1981, Barker pitched a Perfect Game - one of 23 in Major League history; one of 21 since the "modern era" of 1900. So what made me think Barker's was *The* Greatest ever pitched? Two things - two *huge* things: 1) Not once did a batter have more than 2 Balls in the pitching count. Think about that - not once! 2) All 10 of Barker's strikeouts were swinging strikeouts! Holy hell! But there's a problem with deifying Barker's game: * Don Larsen did it in a World Series (while only allowing one batter to obtain three Balls), and ... There's this "myth," that a "Perfect Game" is "no runs, no hits, no walks, no errors," which is completely untrue. It's the "no errors" part that's untrue - if an error is committed while the ball isn't in play (dropping a pop-up in foul territory, or, worse, making a Wild Pitch), it doesn't affect the Perfect Game. Did Barker throw any Wild Pitches? I don't know. But I do know that about 50% of all Perfect Games since Don Larsen's in the 1956 World Series have involved one-or-more errors - not only did Larsen throw a Perfect Game in the World Series, he did it with ZERO errors. In fact, I found two Perfect Games thrown - including Barker's - that had 3 errors in the box score (this might account for Barker's 10 strikeouts-while-swinging). So, who threw the greatest game in baseball history? I have no idea I remember that, in 2017, people here were saying Max Scherzer had the best 1-2 games in MLB history, and I could see why they were saying so - I don't remember the specifics, but they were *ridiculous*. Heck, why *not* throw that into the mix? It's all for the lore of baseball.
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