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.
One game to go on the schedule, and the contestants for both wild card games are still to be determined. The only certainty is the St. Louis Cardinals will be the visiting team in the NL contest. All the combinations and permutations are after the jump.
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.
Richard Chester is a regular contributor to the HHS blog and the HHS Twitter feed. Many of the unusual factoids he comes up with are gleaned from his own homegrown game log database (think of it as Play Index or Stathead on steroids). For your enjoyment, here are some statistical nuggets he has recently unearthed.
I have to say how little the subject matter of this post matters to me. As I’ve said before, batting average doesn’t super matter; we all know this. 1983 is before I was born. I have no emotional attachment or interest in any of the subjects of this post. And this took a tremendous amount of research.
But… all of that goes to show you that a good baseball story, is a good baseball story. Because I’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning more about this race, a batting title chase for the ages among four players: Bill Madlock of Pittsburgh, Jose Cruz of Houston, and teammates Lonnie Smith and George Hendrick of St. Louis. (To be clear, I started this post the day before MLB.com decided to feature an article about the Cruz family; it’s just a happy coincidence that there’s something fun there to link while I was writing about the eldest in the family.)
This post concludes our voting to select the best 25 man team of this decade. We started with infielders in the first post, chose outfielders and a DH in the second post, and will choose pitchers, catchers and the rest in this final installment. More after the jump.
This post continues our voting to select the best 25 man team of this decade. We started with infielders in the previous post, will choose outfielders and a DH in this post, and pitchers, catchers and the rest in a final installment. More after the jump.
The eyes of the baseball world briefly turned to the Dominican Summer League (DSL) yesterday, where the DSL Yankees trounced the DSL Twins by a score of 38-2. After a scoreless first inning the Yankees tallied in every subsequent frame.
The scoreline was reportedly record-breaking. MilB.com wrote that the DSL Yankees “are believed to have broken the all-time Minor League record for runs in a game, set by Rookie Advanced Ogden in a 33-10 Pioneer League romp over Helena on Aug. 27, 1995.”
I can tell you of at least one game that featured more runs than that.
Before Coors and humidors, JAWS and WAR, Larry Walker was just a late-season call-up hoping to make a difference for his team. Walker’s career as it pertains to the Hall of Fame has been well-covered, but what was the conversation like 30 years ago when the young Canadian first appeared for the Montreal Expos?