Ah, America’s Pastime. It would be a mistake for today’s under-35 baseball fans to believe that baseball before 1973 (the first year of the Designated Hitter,) was baseball in the stone age. That attitude does exist when comparing the stars of yesteryear to those of the present day. Before let’s say 1980, most players had a fair amount of ‘seasoning’ before reaching the major leagues. This practice was expected to deliver more experienced players who had learned the tricks of the trade. Hitting and bunting, baserunning, fielding and throwing.
Veteran baseball fans complain that money ‘changed that game’ and that…
This is also a podcast featuring former MLB pitcher Willie Blair that I do with my son. It can be found here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1066072/8190084
The sound of the crack of the bat. It’s a sound like no other in sports. When winter turns to spring it’s one of the harbingers of the summer game in the United States and wherever baseball is played around the world! Yet sometimes the crack of the bat can result in a terrible even catastrophic injury to the originator of the play — the pitcher. Statistically there is a less than 0.001 percent chance a pitcher…
Last week MLB Network’s NY Met beat writer (and a very good one I might add) @AnthonyDiComo posted on Twitter that after a Met spring training victory:
The Mets beat the Cardinals this afternoon, 8–5. They are now 8–7–1 in Grapefruit League play, which does not matter because these games don’t count.
It was clearly tongue-in-cheek with a twinkle of the eye because, well he’s entirely correct. In reply, I posed this question as a Tweet:
Which always begs the question why publish practice game records in the first place? And for those that bet the games (that there are…
Good story Andrew. Regarding Sallee's 'saves'. Those credited saves were done retroactively as saves did not become an official statistic until 1969. From MLB: The term save was used by general managers in the 1950s, without specific parameters. It simply referred to a pitcher who entered the game with a lead and finished off a win -- regardless of score. Writer Jerome Holtzman was the first to give specific criteria to saves in the early 1960s. But saves didn't become an official stat until 1969.
From 1980–1988 MLB recorded a statistic called the Game-Winning-Run-Batted-In (GWRBI). The criteria in crediting a batter with a GWRBI was simple. The batter must drive in the run (RBI), that gave your team the lead that it never relinquished. Sounds simple enough and one might think a player’s clutch-ness might be revealed in part due to such a statistic. Example: think tie game in the bottom of the 8th inning, runner on 2nd with 2 out. The clutch hitter bangs a single through the hole to give his team a 3–2 lead. The closer comes on to retire the side…
Good story on Johnny Evers. All three of the famous trio are in the HOF. Evers interestingly won 2 WS with the Cubs and then as player manager after hitting .285 in 1913 was traded to the Boston Braves in 1914 after turning down a $100K offer from the Federal League, and then led them to become the Miracle Braves if 1914.
It isn’t easy to gain entrance into the BBWAA. Since my son and I host a podcast at AlmostCooperstown.com, we dream about what it would be like if one or both of us were in the BBWAA and were able to vote on players Hall of Fame worthiness. From what we’ve seen in recent years, more writers in the BBWAA are disavowing their votes entirely in protest of what they feel are unfair biases — one way or the other.
The Wikipedia entry describing the BBWAA is of a reasonable length. Below are excerpts:
Over the weekend it was announced (finally) that the Cleveland Indians would retire their nickname. To all those that follow Major League Baseball closely it did not come as a big surprise. In 2019 the Indians retired the image of and references to Chief Wahoo which had been around since spring training in 1947. Just for reference Jackie Robinson played his first MLB game with the Brooklyn Dodgers April 15, 1947 — only a couple of months after the unveiling of Chief Wahoo.
The Cleveland Spiders (cool name hint! hint!), were a professional baseball team from 1887–1899 in both the…
You may have missed it last week as on November 16 the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWA) announced https://www.mlb.com/news/2021-hall-of-fame-ballot-announced the 14 players on the 2021 ballot. In order to be voted into Cooperstown, a player needs to be named on 75% of submitted ballots. A recently retired player can remain on the ballot for 10 years as long has the player garners at least 5% of voter support.
NAME, # of times nominated (2020 vote total, percentage)
Curt Schilling, 9x(278, 70.0%)
Roger Clemens, 9x (242, 61.0%)
Barry Bonds, 9x (241, 60.7%)
Omar Vizquel, 4x (209, 52.6%)
Scott Rolen, 4x(140, 35.3%)
Billy Wagner, 6x (126, 31.7%)
In the history of modern baseball (since 1900) there have been some storied team stretch runs that led teams not only to the playoffs and pennant, but all the way to a World Series victory.
With that as the premise the ‘Miracle Braves’ of 1914 are still well remembered 116 years hence. In fact, the Braves who started 26–40 and were in last place, streaked with a 68–19 record to win the NL pennant by 10 games. Those then Boston Braves then went on to win the 1914 World Series vs. …