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Found 13 results

  1. 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*.
  2. There are several nice pieces about readers favorite ballplayers. Mine was "the Mick". Mickey Mantle. I know I share that memory and perspective with many many of a certain age and time. In fact Bob Costas who gave the "official" eulogy at Mickey Mantles funeral used these words: You can read the eulogy here You can see it on video here: In the late 1950's and early '60's television had been around for a while but the volume of sports broadcasting was limited, sports broadcasts were simply rare, but living in the New York area we got to watch the Yankees and we got to watch the Mick. Nobody ever filled out a uniform so well, took a more powerful swing, and crushed more tape measure home runs than the Mick. At those moments when the meat of the bat hit the center of the pitch it was bye bye baseball!!! He looked damn good doing it: the All American boy. Mickey played at a time with phenomenal outfielders: Mantle and Mays in Center Field. Frank Robinson, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, and Al Kaline in Right Field; all of them were sublime outfielders who were awesome 5 skill players. They are the ones that come to my mind. You might suggest others. As the 60's evolved and more baseball hit TV one got to watch more of them. Each was spectacular. Mantle always looked the best doing the same things as all of them. He was naturally strong and incredibly fast. He was timed at 3.1 seconds batting lefty from Home to First, still considered the fastest time in baseball. He did that with injured legs. And he crushed home runs. Crushed them. If you search on the web for "who hit the longest home runs" you'll find two articles referencing 10 long home runs. One is exclusively about Mantle's 10 longest. The other is a Sports Illustrated article featuring long home runs by a variety of players. Mantle is first on that list...and they reference two of his mighty shots. He could club them. Mantle's career was annually short circuited by injuries. He was injured in his rookie year in '51, and it is suggested he played with a torn ACL ever after. He was timed at 3.1 seconds to first after that injury and other leg injuries. Recently Mickey Mantle came to mind for me on several fronts. Albert Pujols just passed Mickey on the all time home run list. Pujols now has 540. Mantle has 536. Pujols is 16th on the list of all time home runs and Mantle now 17th. Above them are at least 6 cheaters who are tied to steroids. On a list of who hit the most home runs per at bat. Mantle is tied for 15 at one every 15.11 at bats. Above him are ranked at least 5 known steroid cheaters. Besides Pujols passing Mick, a short while before my old town classmates had a reunion. It was fun and relaxing. Among the "jockish" guys I heard more than once, phrases such as this" "crushing the ball like the Mick". One guy had posted a nice FB picture of him hitting a golf shot. Responses included...."you look like the Mick". Mickey Mantle and making the perfect swing go hand in hand and is deeply imprinted in a generation's mind. Mickey Mantle was beyond sports. He was truly mythological. I suppose he ranks with the first TV Superman; The Adventures of Superman. It ran from '52 to '58. That roughly coincides with the start of Mantle's and Mays' careers. What wonderful synchrocity At the start of that show Superman would be described: Faster than a speeding bullet (I reference 3.1 seconds to first one more time ). More powerful than a locomotive (I think of that as more of a football basketball analogy: Jim Brown, Earl Campbell in football and Charles Barkley come to mind). Able to Leap tall buildings in a single bound (Mickey Mantle could put baseballs at the top or over huge stadiums.) Mickey Mantle was the living sports analogy to Superman. Now we learned way later in life that Mick was a drunk, a philanderer and womanizer, he was not great with his wife and kids, and had flaws up the kazoo. Regardless as a child and a teenager Mick was a one and only idol...for myself and I suppose millions. Here is to you Mick. Take another swing at a pitch....the greatest swing in the history of baseball.
  3. 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!!"
  4. Thanks for the reference @Kibbee Nayee Ron Guidry brings back memories, connecting all the way back to my youth. My closest friend, going all the way back to kindergarten turned into a high school baseball star; a pitcher who was Guidry sized--(very skinny) not tall, but who also had tremendous velocity a good curve and great control. He won all-conference, all county and all state honors along with a baseball scholarship to a division one college. But unfortunately his career peaked in college. Didn't go any further. Anyway we were sort of one another's "wing men" long before that phrase became popular, and practiced that starting in elementary school When Guidry burst onto the scene in the mid 70's we both realized this pitching star was the same size and dimensions as my ole bud, Don. They pitched alike albeit Guidry a bit, or more likely quantum levels better--but alike, nonetheless. Once Guidry became known we used to go to Memorial Stadium to see Guidry pitch, even springing for close up expensive seats. Ole Don grudgingly admitted: "Guidry's better". We saw Guidry pitch in Baltimore probably 7 years. Every year we'd schedule a visit: "Lets go see Guidry ." Guidry was a phenomena. Probably shorter than virtually all ball players and way way skinnier, but he had excellent velocity and had a dominating career for a number of years. Its not the kind of thing I ever whine about, but I felt a strong connection to Guidry...and damn yes. He should have won the MVP in '78. That was an epic pitching performance, one of the best in history. Damn that reference gave me a flood of memories. From elementary school on till our late 30's at least, we might have competed in some sport, some game, even checkers and chess. I estimate my record against that sucker might be an inglorious 20-480 or thereabouts. Ha ha. Cripes, I recalled, being his wing man, racing out of first or second gradel right after class, racing toward his house and neighborhood and hiding in some bushes. When some big galoot came by we both jumped out of the bushes and pounded him to a pulp. I didn't even know why. (guess he had previously punched out ole Don). That is a wing man for you. I don't believe I've ever strongly felt "this guy deserves the MVP" in any sport in any year. I still think that way for Guidry and 1978. What a flood of memories.
  5. As a prerequisite to this thread, please read the first post in The World Series thread. I would recommend not reading any further until you do. --- Assuming you've read that post, I'd now like to make a case for the *wrong* Second Baseman having been given the 1960 World Series MVP Award. The award was given to Bobby Richardson of the New York Yankees. The MVP Award didn't exist until 1955, and every year before 1960, it had been given to a pitcher; this was the first year (and the only year in history) it would go to a second baseman - the question is: *Which* second baseman? There is no doubt that Richardson had a tremendous World Series, batting .367, with 12 RBIs and a Grand Slam in the seven-game series. However, Richardson is the only player from a losing team ever to win the award, and I would argue that he was only the *second*-most-valuable second baseman playing in this series: Bill Mazeroski deserved the award. Mazeroski wasn't some little-known player like Rick Dempsey (in 1983) who had a fantastic World Series (no disrespect meant towards Dempsey, who was a better-than-average major leaguer); no, Mazeroski was a 10-time all-star (in 7 different seasons), an 8-time Gold Glove winner, and is in the Hall of Fame, primarily for his defense. All baseball fans know about "the most famous home run ever hit" - along with the 1993 shot by Joe Carter, the only walk-off home run ever to end an entire *season* (and still the only one in Game 7), giving the Pirates their first World Series championship since 1925! But what the average fan doesn't know is that Mazeroski batted .320 that series, and in Game 1, hit *another* game-winning home run: This one wasn't a walk-off home run; in fact, it happened in the 4th inning, but it provided the winning run in the game - that makes 2-out-of-4 games that Mazeroski won for the Pirates with home runs. The three games the Yankees won were blow-outs, by scores of 16-3, 10-0, and 12-0. They didn't *need* Richardson's RBIs; the Pirates, on the other hand, couldn't have won the series without Mazeroski - their four wins happened by scores of 6-4, 3-2, 5-2, and in the deciding game, 10-9: Both of Mazeroski's homers were indispensable, and Pittsburgh would have lost without them. I guess the New York publicity machine won the award for Richardson, but the real MVP of the 1960 World Series was Bill Mazeroski. If there's any doubt remaining, Richardson's OPS was 1.054 for the series; Mazeroski's was .960 - yes, Richardson's was stronger, but it wasn't *that* much stronger (Mazeroski got hits in 6 out of the 7 games). More importantly: Richardson committed errors in each of the first two games; Mazeroski didn't commit an error the entire series.
  6. People don't remember how great Don Mattingly was for awhile - I was actually going to make an investment, and buy about 50 of his rookie cards (I am glad I didn't make that mistake, since the baseball card market completely collapsed). Without looking at any statistics, I have a vague recollection of him having a ton of RBIs, and I remember a good friend of mine commenting on how he always led the league in doubles, too. What happened to him? I guess I could read his Wikipedia entry, but he seemed like a sure-fire Hall of Fame player, and then ... fizzle. I did see that he had *six* Grand Slams in one season (1987), and took note that Willie Randolph was on first base every single time. --- ETA - I couldn't help but see some statistics as I was tagging this post, and he has a .307 career batting average - why isn't he in the Hall? I see that the Yankees won the World Series the year before his rookie season, and the year after he retired, but never during his career - is this why?
  7. Happy Super Bowl Sunday, folks, I think this is one of the most interesting, and certainly one of the most "quick-thinking" defensive plays I've ever seen. Here's the setup: The Yankees' Orlando Hernandez ("El Duque") is pitching to the Mets' Rey Ordóñez. Ordóñez hits a very routine grounder back to the pitcher's mound, but the ball gets stuck inside of Hernandez's mitt - he can't pull it out - and Hernandez has about 1-2 seconds to decide what to do. Does he keep trying to pull the ball out, or ... ? Given the high-risk nature of what Hernandez did, I don't know if it was the correct thing to do, but once he made his decision (and I emphasize, he had perhaps one second to make it), both he and the first baseman, Tino Martinez, displayed extraordinary moments of athleticism, calm-under-pressure, and hand-eye coordination. Jun 6, 1999 - "Sports of the Times; A Play Maybe Nobody Had Ever Seen Before" by Dave Anderson on nytimes.com
  8. Quoted entirely from Scott Ham of The Bronx View for his original research.... The New York Yankees uniform is one of the most icon uniforms in all of sports. Ever wonder where the Yankee insignia came from? I did. So I did a little research. The famous interlocking NY that resides on the current Yankee uniforms dates back to 1877. It was created by Louis B. Tiffany for a medal presented to the first New York City police officer to be shot in the line of duty. In 1907, the symbol was adopted for the then called New York Highlanders by owner Bill Devery. Devery, as it turned out, was a former New York City police chief (here's hoping he actually paid for the rights!). The Highlanders adopted the symbol and added it to their plain white uniforms. In 1912, another radical shift happened. The plain white uniforms were adorned with dark blue pinstripes. The look didn't stick however and was abandoned at the end of the season. Two years later, though, the pinstripes returned and became a fixture of the uniform and would remain for the next one hundred years. There was still some tinkering though. In 1917, it was decided to take the interlocking NY off of the uniform and just leave it on the cap. The cap had gone through many a design change, including pinstripes on the hat itself, until 1922 when they finally settled on the navy blue with an interlocking NY. It wasn't until 1936 that the interlocking NY insignia finally returned to the uniform where it would remain for good. Today, the uniform is largely unchanged. And just like in the early 1900s, the uniforms today are made in the USA. Early uniforms were made of wool rather than cotton. Cotton would have been less expensive and probably more comfortable for the players but was mostly used and associated with work clothing. Baseball teams instead decided to make their uniforms out of wool which would supposedly elevate the teams above the working class and into a higher status. Today, all of the uniforms are made out of polyester, which is even more breathable than cotton. They are manufactured in the USA by Majestic Athletic, who in addition to making their official on-field jerseys, also produce replicas, and custom name jerseys that can be purchased by fans so they can dress just like their favorite stars.
  9. Refer also to "Parity in Baseball: A Blessing or a Curse?" Not to mention the splitting of the leagues into divisions in 1969, which means that the best team in the league was no longer guaranteed of going to the World Series. I was recently doing some research about Al Kaline and Harmon Killebrew vis-a-vis Mickey Mantle to see whether or not there was some merit to the hypothesis that those two players would have gotten Mantle-like fame had they played for the Yankees (I believe they would have, if they had comparable stats) - but I didn't get far enough into my research, because I read that in 1961, Al Kaline finished 2nd in the American League batting race, losing to his teammate Norm Cash. Norm Cash won the batting title? Really? So I did some more digging, and found out that Kaline batted a fine.324 that year, but Cash batted an *unbelievable* .361. Are you kidding me? .361? That is the highest single-season batting average that *any* major-league player hit in the 1960s! And he hit 41 home runs and 132 RBIs! That's a better year than Bryce Harper had in 2015, without question. When Norm Cash retired, he was in 4th place all-time for most home runs ever by an American League left-handed hitter, behind Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, and Lou Gehrig. That's some pretty sweet competition. And the 1961 Detroit Tigers won 101 games! That's a record of 101-61! But because *The Best Team* won the pennant every year through 1968 (without any of this playoff nonsense), the 1961 Yankees, with Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris hitting a combined 115 home runs, won 109 games (109-53!), and won the pennant by 8 full games. Kind of takes the excitement out of it, doesn't it? Having a "real" pennant race perhaps once only every decade? But what it *also* does is ensure that the best teams win, year in, and year out, and that's why the Yankees always won - because over the course of 154 (or in this case 162) games, they were almost *always* the best team.
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