Let’s play two! – Remembering Ernie Banks

Ernie-BanksBaseball mourns the passing over the weekend of Ernie Banks, a week shy of his 84th birthday. The career Cub was famous for never playing a post-season game, but more famous for his Hall of Fame career that began in 1950 with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro American League. Banks then entered military service, though he somehow found time to “moonlight” with the Harlem Globetrotters! After his discharge, Banks skipped the minors and went straight to the show, debuting in September 1953 as the Cubs’ first black player. That debut was also auspicious for multi-hit games in two of Banks’ first three contests, including his first home run off Gerry Staley of the Cardinals. A week later, Banks would again victimize Staley who had been enjoying an 18-win All-Star campaign. The St. Louis right-hander would soon have company among the many NL hurlers to be burned by Chicago’s young slugger.

After the jump, more on the career of Ernie Banks.

Continue reading

The Three Larry Walkers

Is any other great baseball player’s Hall of Fame case met with less objective thought than Larry Walker’s?

In 1997, Walker hit .366/.452/.720.  He hit 49 home runs and 46 doubles, stole 33 bases, played his typical stellar rightfield defense, and, for good measure, was hit by 14 pitches.  Five other times, Walker’s on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) topped 1.000, something no player in either league accomplished in 2014.

Continue reading

Raising Cain: Giant expectation or reasonable hope?

Matt Cain, ace of the Giants’ world championship teams in 2010 and 2012, saw his performance fall off sharply in 2013 and was a non-factor in 2014, pitching ineffectively through the first half of a season that was cut short by a wonky elbow. After surgery, Cain is said to be feeling fine and raring to go for 2015.

But, is there a reasonable expectation that Cain can regain the elite form he displayed prior to 2013? I’ll look at that question after the jump.

Continue reading

Fun with fielding (Part 1): 2014 Team Fielding Results

Defensive metrics, while still controversial, have come a long way from the raw fielding percentages and error counts that once were all that was commonly available. In Part 1, this post presents a view of team defensive statistics from 2014, using two of the advanced defensive metrics in use today. Part 2 will focus on individual players, identifying the best and worst fielders at each position.

More after the jump.

Continue reading

COG 1970 Results: Early Spring As Voters Advance Thome Day Celebration

Jim Thome was never a mass-market superstar, and wasn’t one to attract controversy — he had a reputation as one of the nice guys in baseball. Neither was his COG support controversial, as the voters embraced him strongly in his first round of eligibility, quickly making him the 82nd inductee into the High Heat Stats Circle of Greats. More on Jim and the voting after the jump. Continue reading