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Circle of Greats: 1931 Part 2 Balloting

This post is for voting and discussion in the 49th round of balloting for the Circle of Greats (COG).  This round completes the addition of players born in 1931.  Rules and lists are after the jump. Read the rest of this entry

Circle of Greats 1931 Part 1 Results: COG Mantle for the Mick

An array of worthy challengers was no impediment for Mickey Mantle, who led wire-to-wire for a first ballot win and enshrinement in the Circle of Greats. Mantle was mentioned on over 85% of ballots with runner-up Eddie Mathews, also on the COG ballot for the first time, exceeding 60%. Jim Bunning and all of the holdovers in their last round of eligibility managed to attract sufficient support to remain on the ballot.

A much-heralded phenom from Oklahoma, Mantle had a tough time as a 19 year-old rookie in the Big Apple. Some tough love from his father in a famous phone call back home set the Mick straight, and onto his path to stardom as one of the outstanding center-fielders in major-league history. At his retirement after 18 seasons, Mantle’s 109.7 career WAR (15th all-time) was 4th among center-fielders, trailing only HOFers Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker, and contemporary Willie Mays (who also debuted in the 1951 season). Forty-five seasons later, those four still hold down the same top 4 spots with no player since coming within 25 WAR of Mantle.

More on the Commerce Comet after the jump.

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Quiz – What links *these* five? (Solved)

OK, I’m a little late with the Olympic imagery. Anyway … What feat has been achieved by only these five pitchers? No one in this century has even had an opportunity to do it.

Congratulations to Richard Chester! These five are the only pitchers with two World Series shutouts against the same team in different seasons. No one’s had a chance to do it this century because no pitcher has faced the same team in more than one Series; last year saw the first rematch of the century, but no pitcher from 2004 was on the same side in 2013. And of course, there hasn’t been an individual WS shutout since Josh Beckett’s 2003 clincher.

Quiz – Who Am I ? (solved)

Our mystery player is a 20th century pitcher. Among other accomplishments, he:

  • led his league in ERA, ERA+, Complete Games and Shutouts, but each only once in his career
  • had back-to-back 20 win seasons, but never led his league in Wins
  • ranks 3rd in career W-L% for his franchise (min. 1000 IP)
  • over his 4 year peak, made top 5 in his league in ERA, ERA+, WHIP, Complete Games, Shutouts and HR/9 (min. 750 IP)
  • allowed 5 hits or less in over 25% of complete games over his career
  • was unbeaten in multiple World Series starts

Congratulations to James Smyth! He correctly identified our mystery pitcher as none other than Babe Ruth. I chose the Babe as the subject of this quiz to alert our readers that the good people at and have been busy, and have now updated their databases and search engines to include complete box scores and game logs back to 1914, Ruth’s debut season.

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I am aware of the problem with comments and am working to resolve it.

Big Apple Turnover

After the jump is a list of the eight guys who started the most games for the Yankees at each of the eight fielding positions for the Yankees in 2013: Read the rest of this entry

Quiz: What links these five? (Solved)

What seasonal feat is shared by only these five players in MLB history? Small hints: (1) You can tell from the basic stats on their main B-R pages that they meet the two criteria. (2) Positions played are irrelevant. (3) The list will not grow this year, but a Yankee could make it in two years.

Congratulations to Insert Name Here!  These are the only five MLB players with 15 or more seasons and 100+ games in every season. The implied hints were:

(a) The lack of a catcher — They rarely have long streaks of 100+ games, due to the physical toll of the job. Only Ivan Rodriguez, Carlton Fisk and Bob Boone had 15+ years of 100+ games; all three had several years with less than 100 games, and at least two of those in mid-career. I believe Brad Ausmus is the only catcher with 14 straight years of 100+ games played (not necessarily 100 at catcher); Jason Kendall did it in 14 of his 15 years. Also, most catchers end their careers as backups; out of 666 retired players with 100+ games in their last season, just 20 were catchers.

(b) Clemente and Daubert both died after a season of 100+ games; neither had planned to retire.

Ichiro Suzuki is the active player closest to joining this list, with at least 146 games in all 13 MLB seasons.


Just by chance, we have a SS, a CF, a RF, a 1B and a 2B, for the start of a pretty good lineup — especially with Ashburn on hand to keep Little Louie out of the leadoff spot. You might glean a clue to the feat from one of the positions not covered. And there’s at least one other natural lead to deducing the feat, which applies to two of the five.

Circle of Greats: 1931 Part 1 Balloting

This post is for voting and discussion in the 48th round of balloting for the Circle of Greats (COG).  This is the first of two rounds of voting for players born in 1931.  Rules and lists are after the jump.

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Circle of Greats 1932 Results: COG Beeline for Kaline

After runner-up finishes in the previous two rounds of voting, Al Kaline swamped the field as the voters’ resounding choice to become the next inductee into the Circle of Greats. A mainstay in the Tiger outfield for more than two decades, Kaline was an outstanding player in all facets of the game, retiring in 1974 as the all-time AL career leader for right-fielders in WAR, Offensive WAR, Defensive WAR and WAR Baserunning Runs.

More on Al Kaline after the jump.

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Quiz: Homer & the Chief — SOLVED

In the wake of Homer Bailey‘s big contract … Since 1916, what feat is shared by only Bailey and Allie Reynolds?

(My quizzes have often given too much info up front. Not this time!)

Congratulations to Bix and Jim! Both correctly answered that Allie Reynolds and Homer Bailey are the only pitchers from 1916-2013 with at least two no-hitters in which the opposing starting pitcher had already thrown a no-hitter or would do so in the future.

In fact, Reynolds and Bailey both had one of each:

  • On July 12, 1951, Reynolds defeated Bob Feller, 1-0, behind Gene Woodling’s 7th-inning home run. Feller had already thrown all three of his no-hitters, including the previous one in the majors, just 11 days earlier. (In the nightcap of that Feller no-no, Bob Chakales held Detroit to 4 hits for his only career shutout.)
  • Then, on Sept. 28, 1951, Reynolds held the Red Sox hitless and bested Mel Parnell, as the Yankees clinched a share of their third straight pennant (they’d lock it up in the nightcap). Parnell got his no-hitter about five years later, in his final season.
  • On September 28, 2012, Bailey no-hit Pittsburgh, nursing a 1-0 lead all the way from the top of the 1st inning to beat A.J. Burnett. It was the first no-hitter against the Bucs since Bob Gibson in 1971, and it sealed their 20th straight non-winning season. Eleven years earlier, Burnett had no-hit the Padres, setting a searchable record of 9 walks in a regulation-no-hitter (he also hit a man).
  • Then, on July 2, 2013, Bailey turned the trick on San Francisco and Tim Lincecum. Eleven days later, The Freak flung 148 pitches and no-hit the Padres.

Incidentally, none of the seven pitchers whom Nolan Ryan defeated in his no-hitters ever threw one themselves.

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