Author Archive

Quiz – Sultans of Something (solved)

Here is an unusual collection of players who share the distinction of a certain batting achievement. What season batting feat have only these players accomplished in the live ball era (since 1920) ?

Congratulations to Richard Chester! He correctly identified (with a little help) that these players are the only batters with a post-1920 season of 10 or more home runs all hit on the road. The first searchable player to do this was Babe Ruth in 1918, before he was known as the Sultan of Swat.

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2013 Rookie Roundup and Best Rookies by Franchise

After the historical emergence of two stellar rookies in 2012, the surprising Mike Trout and the much-anticipated Bryce Harper, it would be normal to expect 2013, in comparison, to be something of a letdown in terms of rookie stars. Happily, that hasn’t been the case.

This season has produced 6 rookies, 3 pitchers and 3 position players, each achieving more than 3 WAR. That’s about a normal number for recent years. What’s notable, though, is that 4 of those 6 rookies (and one other) have made the top 3 for their franchise’s best rookie WAR.

More on this year’s rookie crop and each franchise’s best all-time rookies after the jump.

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New Kids on the WAR Block

With just two weeks left in the season, Mike Trout will repeat as AL WAR champion and Andrew McCutchen, last year’s NL WAR runner-up, looks like the senior circuit’s champ. In second place are Josh Donaldson in the AL and Carlos Gomez in the NL.

Come again, you say? You’re forgiven if those two runners-up weren’t the names you were expecting to hear. Both of these players are new to baseball’s leader boards. After the jump, more on the new kids on the WAR block.

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Quiz – Baseball Oracle (solved)

Last season, Omar Vizquel retired after a 24-year major league career and many notable achievements. But, probably one you weren’t aware of is this – Vizquel is the only player to bat against both Jerry Reuss and Yu Darvish.

The search for such morsels of obscurity can be aided by consulting the Oracle of Baseball, one of the tools available on B-R in its “Frivolities” section. The tool lets you find linkages across baseball history from one player to another, based on common teammates. Thus, if you were to ask the Oracle to link Deacon White with Buster Posey, you could get an answer like:

Deacon White	played with	Frank Scheibeck	for the 1888 Detroit Wolverines	  
Frank Scheibeck	played with	Charley O'Leary	for the 1906 Detroit Tigers	  
Charley O'Leary	played with	Bruce Campbell	for the 1934 St. Louis Browns	  
Bruce Campbell	played with	Lou Boudreau	for the 1938 Cleveland Indians	  
Lou Boudreau	played with	Minnie Minoso	for the 1949 Cleveland Indians	  
Minnie Minoso	played with	Rich Gossage	for the 1976 Chicago White Sox	  
Rich Gossage	played with	Randy Johnson	for the 1994 Seattle Mariners	  
Randy Johnson	played with	Buster Posey	for the 2009 San Francisco Giants

This quiz is something like playing the Baseball Oracle. With a few wrinkles. Audience participation is required. Lots of answers (at least twenty-one) for you to shout out as you find them.

Thanks to our readers for identifying twenty-four correct answers to the quiz, and congratulations to RJ for finding the most correct answers. Answers are after the jump.

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Alfonso Soriano: enigmatized

Alfonso SorianoSome of our regular readers were commenting recently on the uniqueness of Alphonso Soriano. Their view was that it is difficult to really describe the type of player that he is since there are so few similar players to compare him to.

That got me thinking about how that uniqueness might best be described. As our commenters knew so well, it’s not easy. Soriano’s like a lot of players, in certain ways, but quite unlike them in others.

After the jump, some thoughts on the enigma that is Alfonso.

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Quiz – Speed and Power (solved)

These are all speedy players (at least 130 career stolen bases, and 25 or more at least twice), And, they have a bit of pop in their bats (at least 90 career HR, and double digits at least twice). But, these are the only players since 1901 with a particular season batting feat.

What is this unusual batting accomplishment?

Congratulations to bells! He identified that these are the only players with a season of more than 60 extra-base hits, but at least 10 fewer RBI (alternatively, a season of 50+ RBI and at least 10 more XBH produces the same result).

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2013 Milestone Musings – Pitchers’ Edition

A follow-up to the Batters’ edition post from last week, here are the pitchers who have reached significant career milestones this season.

Some you will know, but there will be some surprises too. More after the jump.

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Quiz – Baffling Batters (solved)

Here’s a seemingly random assortment of batters. Yet, these are the only players with a post-war season (since 1946) achieving a particular batting feat. What is it?

Hint: the fact that these players were all outfielders is not germane to the answer.

Congratulations to Richard Chester and Gary Bateman! They teamed up to identify that these are the only players to qualify for the league batting title in their rookies seasons, while batting .300 with 150 or fewer hits and 10 or more home runs.

More on precocious batters after the jump.

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2013 Milestone Musings – Batters’ Edition

How is your favorite veteran ballplayer doing? He may have passed a notable career milestone and you missed it. To find out, or if you just have a fascination for round numbers, here’s a review of this year’s milestone moments and a look ahead to those still to come.

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Quiz – Pitching Potpourri (solved)

Here is an oddball assortment of pitchers, including a HOFer and an All-Star caliber pitcher, but mainly journeymen and the truly obscure. Yet, all of them share a common career accomplishment. What is the peculiar career feat that only these live-ball era (since 1920) pitchers can boast of?

 Player
Eddie Rommel
Dave Koslo
Bill Swift
Elam Vangilder
Paul Hartzell
Vito Tamulis
Dizzy Dean
Ralph Birkofer
Rosy Ryan
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/21/2013.
Congratulations to koma! He/she identified these players as the only pitchers since 1920 to record 3 consecutive seasons with 12 or more starts and also 12 or more games finished. Paul Hartzell was the last to do this, for the Angels in 1976-78. Since then, Tom Gordon came closest to matching this feat, with the Royals in 1991-93. with 3 consecutive seasons of 11+ starts and 11+ games finished. Gordon also has the only season since 1937 with 25 starts and 15 games finished, with Boston in 1997.
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