“There’s a Long Drive…”: the Biggest Regular Season Play for Every Franchise

Last September, Baseball Reference added the Championship Win Probability Added (cWPA) statistic to their website. The stat, developed by Dan Hirsch, assesses the impact of each play in improving a team’s chances of winning a championship. It’s an intuitive concept: a go-ahead home run in a World Series is more impactful than one in mid-August. Consequently almost all of the biggest single plays by cWPA have come in October.

But what of the humble regular season? Less consequential than the playoffs, for sure, but still full of dramatic moments that can pave the way for postseason success. Here, then, are the plays that have had the biggest positive effect on each team’s chances of winning the World Series, going in order from the least to the most pivotal.

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Everything is overrated

Everything in baseball is rated. Players are rated according to their abilities, but also by their contract value. Managers are rated by their tactical nous, and also by their handsomeness. Ballparks are rated by their beauty, but also by the level of traffic encountered when leaving them.

Of course, no one agrees on these ratings. Thus almost everything is ripe for being under-, over-, or massively overrated. Fans, players, coaches, writers; everyone has an opinion, and we have over a century’s worth of evidence documenting that fact.

Here, then, is an examination of the many things that have been overrated in the world of baseball. I looked through the pages of The Sporting News from 1920 to 2000, and found approximately 150 instances of something or someone being overrated. Let’s get to the highlights: long preambles are overrated.

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Positional Mount Rushmore – Introduction & Sorting Players

So that not all of my posts are “A Look Back,” this is a new feature I thought of. I thought it might be fun to relive one of our most popular features (from a long time ago) – but with a twist. We’ve done Mount Rushmore posts for individual teams. But, in order to give us something else to do (especially in light of no Circle of Greats election, due to a Hall of Fame shutout by the BBWAA), I thought we could vote on a Mount Rushmore for each position.

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Circle of Greats 1976 Balloting

This post is for voting and discussion in the 135th round of balloting for the Circle of Greats (COG).  The Baseball Writers of America threw us a curve this year, with no players elected to the Hall of Fame. So we will do likewise, and not elect anyone to the Circle of Greats. But, we will still have an election to fill the ballot for next year’s Circle of Greats election. Rules and lists are after the jump.

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Remembering Hank Aaron (1934-2021)

The baseball world was saddened by the news of Hank Aaron‘s passing, two weeks shy of his 87th birthday. Regarded with Willie Mays as one of the two greatest right-handed hitters in major league history, Aaron will forever be remembered for being the first to surpass Babe Ruth‘s career home run total, long thought to be an unbreakable record. After the jump, more on the career of Hank Aaron.

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2020 Hall of Fame Remembrance – Part 1

The year just ended will long be remembered precisely because it was one we would like to forget. Baseball also took its lumps last year with a severely truncated season, experimental rules and a novel playoff format. The year 2020 was also a forgettable year for its toll on living Hall of Famers. No fewer than 7 Hall of Fame players passed away last year, several of them inner circle members of Cooperstown. After the jump, a tribute to those we lost last year.

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MLB: A Time for Change

Hello, everyone! Long time, no write. Sorry about that; I’d like to make a complaint about being busy, but, A.) aren’t we all? and B.) so’s everyone else, so I’m sure there’s little sympathy for that. So let’s get to it.

This is a post about baseball. But it’s not a post about games or players. It is a post about teams, but probably not in the way you’re thinking. I want to talk about how many teams there are, and how many teams there should be in Major League baseball.

With this bizarre season wrapped up, I figure it’s probably a pretty good time to talk about all of this, while there’s nothing else going on. So here we go!

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2020 World Series

Welcome to our post of the World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays. We’ll start with a preview of the series, and then we can continue the conversation in the comments throughout the week.

As per most of my previews, unlike Doug’s which are interesting and relevant, this is just a pile of random information on baseball history. So I hope you enjoy.

I posted this in the comments of the last thread, but this year was the fifth time in history the two LCS series have both gone the distance, joining 2004, 2003, 1973, and 1972. The latter two were best-of-5 series, so this is just the third time with two best-of-7 series both going the distance. In both ’72 (A’s over Reds) and ’73 (A’s over Mets), the World Series also went the limit. That did not happen in either ’03 (Marlins over Yankees in 6) or ’04 (Red Sox sweep Cardinals). So if this goes 7 games, we’ll have our first ever 21-game postseason wrap-up. 2003 was 20 (a 6-game World Series). So were the first two years of the best-of-7 LCS format: 1985 and 1986 featured a 6-game NLCS, a 7-game ALCS, and a 7-game World Series.

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