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Circle of Greats 1969 Results: Junior Prom-ptly Inducted

It was billed as a battle of the titans between two players who just turned old enough to join the High Heat Stats Circle of Greats (COG), Ken Griffey, Jr. and Mariano Rivera.  But Griffey proved strongest from early in the voting and becomes the 39th inductee in the COG.  More on Junior, and the voting, is available for you, but only if you prove that you want to read the rest of this entry by, well, clicking on “Read the rest of this entry”. Read the rest of this entry

The “last to play for” All-Star Team

For the most part, major league baseball baseball in the 20th century was very stable, with franchises remaining in the same cities for stretches of 50 consecutive seasons (1903-52) and 29 more (1972-2000) to round out the century. And, the franchise relocations in the 20 intervening years were mainly in response to societal changes, chiefly the westward population movement.

The 19th century, though, was a different matter entirely, with numerous franchise shifts, failed franchises and new leagues starting up and folding. Of the 8 teams in the National League’s inaugural 1876 season, only the Chicago and Boston franchises have remained in operation continuously to the present day. The present-day Cardinals, Reds and Pirates all started in 1882, the Phillies and Giants in 1883 and the Dodgers in 1884. All of the 8 teams of the inaugural American League season in 1901 have remained in operation to the present day.

We don’t often talk about the 19th century game so, just for fun, here’s a look at some of the players and teams of that era. After the jump, an All-Star team composed exclusively of players who were the last to appear in the major leagues among those who played for a defunct or relocated franchise in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

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Quiz – Champions with a difference (solved)

This quiz concerns league champion teams with an unusual formula for success. Since 1901, these are the only championship teams with a particular characteristic. What is it?

Rk ▴ Year Lg Tm
1 2012 AL Detroit Tigers
2 2008 AL Tampa Bay Rays
3 2003 NL Florida Marlins
4 1995 NL Atlanta Braves
5 1985 AL Kansas City Royals
6 1984 NL San Diego Padres
7 1972 NL Cincinnati Reds
8 1971 NL Pittsburgh Pirates
9 1906 AL Chicago White Sox
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/17/2013.

Congratulations to RJ! He correctly identified these teams as the only pennant winners with every game started by a pitcher in his age 29 season or younger. More after the jump.

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Seth Smith and the (almost) lost art of pinch-hitting

This past season, the Athletics’ Seth Smith passed career milestones for 2000 total PAs and 200 PAs as a pinch-hitter. Among all players meeting both those criteria since 1950, Smith is easily the majors’ most proficient pinch-hitter. Which is ironic, considering that pinch-hitting has declined to record lows, in terms of both frequency of use and the effectiveness of the strategy.

More on the decline of pinch-hitting after the jump.

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30 Under 30

To qualify for these lists, a player must have been born in 1984 or later (“Under 30″):

Under 30, Most Career Regular Season Plate Appearances:
1. Prince Fielder 5,612
2. Jeff Francoeur 4,959
3. Ryan Zimmerman 4,943
4. B.J. Upton 4,509
5. Brian McCann 4,354
6. Melky Cabrera 4,236
7. Billy Butler 4,208
8. James Loney 4,082
9. Delmon Young 3,936
10. Matt Kemp 3,897

After the jump, two more Top Tens for the “Under 30″ set, but more quality than quantity based. Read the rest of this entry

World Series Hosts

In an article in this past Saturday’s New York Times, Tyler Kepner mentioned that Seattle is the only current major league city that has not hosted a World Series game.  One might get technical and argue that the city of Miami, where the Marlins now play, has also  never hosted a Series game, because all of the Marlins’ World Series home games to date have been played in their old park located in the suburban community of  Miami Gardens.  Yes, yes, we know what Tyler meant.  But the reference sent me back to look at which cities have hosted now many World Series games over the years.  The table after the jump lists all 28 cities or towns that have been the location of at least one World Series game.   Read the rest of this entry

Quiz – Journeymen and a HOFer (solved)

What does a HOFer have in common with a bunch of journeymen? (Okay, maybe a few are more than just journeymen).

That’s the question for this quiz involving the only players since 1901 with a particular career quirk. Can you spot it?

Our HHS readers were all over this one. Kudos to Artie Z for being first to articulate the basic idea that the quiz players had all played st least twice on teams in their final season in a city before relocating. The additional criterion which the group expressed in various ways is that only these players have also played for at least 3 different franchises.

More on our peripatetic pros after the jump.

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The Doctor is out – Roy Halladay calls it a career

Roy Halladay retired yesterday after signing a one-day contract with his long-time team, the Toronto Blue Jays. A classy touch by a classy pro.

More on the good Doctor after the jump.

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Circle of Greats: 1969 Balloting

This post is for voting and discussion in the 39th round of balloting for the High Heat Stats Circle of Greats (COG).  One year ago, in December, 2012, we started the Circle of Greats voting by selecting our first inductee from among the players born in 1968.  Since then we’ve moved backwards in time with the birth years we’ve added, and as of now we’ve reached the 1938 birth year.  But with a full twelve months of voting now complete since we began, we can add a later birth year, while remaining within the original parameter of inducting only players 44 years old or older.  So this round, in honor of the first anniversary of the beginning of the COG voting, adds to the ballot those players born in 1969. Rules and lists are, as usual, after the jump. Read the rest of this entry

COG 1938 Results: Voters Get Their Phil

Two of the longest-enduring star pitchers of modern times led the voting this round, with Phil Niekro winning out over Gaylord Perry to become the 38th inductee into the High Heat Stats Circle of Greats.  More on Niekro and the voting after the jump. Read the rest of this entry

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