HHS Awards – 2021 NL MVP

Hello, HHS friends!

Here’s our obligatory comment: I’ve been more-or-less totally MIA in 2021. I apologize for that. There’s no excuse, no fancy reasoning. Life is just hard. Hoping you did read my review of Joe Posnanski’s The Baseball 100. And now, with only lockout news to “comfort” us baseball fans, let’s try to keep things positive. It’s awards season! We need something to vote on before the COG elections in January, am I right?

In 2020, I did not run an awards post. The season was too short, things crept up too fast… it just didn’t happen. But I don’t want that to continue in 2021.

Look, I’m going to be the first to acknowledge: I think the vote-for-pitchers, don’t-vote-for-pitchers debate really muddied the waters in some of our last few discussions; I was thinking that, this year, we would switch from a mixed vote to separate awards for the pitchers and position players. But then, along came a player who screwed the whole thing up. So this year, my initial plan was to do separate awards for pitchers and hitters. Unfortunately, there’s one big reason we just can’t do that. So I’m not going to ask us to do so this year. Okay; without further ado, I believe we should start on the senior circuit this year, as well. So who are our candidates? (As always, description after the jump; rules at the bottom of the post.)

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Book Review: The Baseball 100

The Baseball 100 by Joe Posnanski

I’m going to start with melancholy. On the antepenultimate page of The Baseball 100, I started feeling a profound sadness. Now, you don’t get 820-odd pages into a book if you don’t like it; it wasn’t a sadness of disappointment. It was a feeling that has accompanied me a handful of times in my life (near the end of the Harry Potter books, during the movie Black Panther, right near the end of Pride & Prejudice, the end of Ron Chernow’s Hamilton biography… surely there’ve been others, though) when I start to mourn the loss of a thing that’s not yet over. I was reading those words about the #1 ranked player, and I was sad to leave the world of the book. I didn’t want to stop reading Posnanski’s prose. I didn’t want to stop hearing the stories of ballgames and childhoods and the way the game has changed and the ways it’s remained the same. I wanted just to be in the moment… which took me, rather profoundly, out of the moment.

But, damn it all, I couldn’t help myself. I couldn’t shut the book to let it drag out. Posnanski’s writing is just too good.

OK, so all the mea culpas here – I’ve been pretty absent from the site for a few months. Life is busy, what can I say? Sometime after the World Series, I will get some season-end awards vote posts up. But first, I want to share my review of this book with you all.

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The Incredible Shrinking Pitching Start

With the advent of “openers”, “bullpen days”, and avoidance of the dreaded “third time through the order”, recent seasons have seen a quickening of the already rapid decline in the average length of a pitcher’s start. Perhaps, though, there is reason to surmise that starts may begin lengthening soon. Find out why after the jump.

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Almost Perfect: John Means no-hits the Mariners UPDATED AGAIN

Oriole left-hander John Means no-hit the Mariners, facing the minimum 27 batters, with the only baserunner reaching on a strikeout on a wild pitch (he was erased attempting to steal). An “imperfect” complete game, with 9 IP, exactly 27 batters faced, and no hits, walks or hit batsmen, had been achieved only once previously, by Terry Mulholland for the Phillies against the Giants on August 15th, 1990, with the only batter reaching on an error and erased by a double play. More after the jump.

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200 Game Batteries UPDATED

With Baseball-Reference.com gamelogs now mostly complete back to 1901, I’ve gone back to look at posts published previously, when there were no game level data prior to 1914. This post was originally published in 2016, but in its reprised version, nine new batteries with 200 starts together are identified (there was a lot more matching of catchers to elite pitchers in the early years of the modern era). More on long-term batteries is after the jump.

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The One Start, One Shutout Wonders

How many pitchers in MLB history have thrown a shutout in the only game they ever started? I might have guessed that the answer was none. If a pitcher threw a shutout on his debut start, why would you not give that player a second opportunity?

I was wrong. The answer is four. Four players have started one MLB game, and thrown one MLB shutout. Here are their stories:

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