Remembering Willie Mays (1931-2024)

Willie Mays‘ passing last month serves to remind baseball fans of his spectacular and singular career. Widely regarded as baseball’s most complete player, Mays excelled at all facets of the game, playing at a high level for almost the entirety of a career spanning 23 years. His passing also reduces to a very slender thread our connection with those still living who graced major league ballparks in the 1950s. More on Willie and 1950s baseball are after the jump.

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2024 Season to Date: Offensive Decline Returns

One third of the way into the current season and it is the pitchers who have held the upper hand, with OPS declining by over 4% from the same period a year ago. Of course, one year ago everyone was trying to adjust to the new timing rules, and it was the batters who evidently had the easier time doing so, pushing up OPS for the first third of the 2023 season by over 4% from the same period the year before. More on offensive trends and adjustments to rule changes are after the jump.

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Starting Fast: Baseball’s Best Hitters Out of the Gate

Pitchers tend to hold the upper hand to start the season, with batters warming up with the weather. But, some batters buck that trend and are hot to start the season, including some who do so on a regular basis. So, who are April’s heroes? Spoiler alert: they’re also the heroes in the other months of the season. More after the jump.

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Blanco Blanks Blue Jays

Ronel Blanco lived up to his name, turning in the young season’s first no-hit game as the Astros romped 10-0 over Toronto. Blanco walked the first batter of the game and the next-to-last (both former Astro George Springer) but retired everyone else, as no Blue Jay reached second base. It was the 13th no-hit game by an Astro pitcher (11th at home), and the second time Houston has no-hit Toronto. More after the jump.

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Best Rookie Audition Seasons UPDATED

September means pennant chases but, until recently, it also meant greatly expanded rosters and the chance for teams not in the post-season hunt (or even some that were) to take a look at some of their top minor league prospects. That is the topic of this post, looking at those players who made the most of a short rookie audition. More after the jump.

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All-Star Break Diversion

To tide us over for the next couple of days, here’s a quick quiz. Not very hard, but some of the names may surprise you. So, what accomplishment can be claimed only by these players?