COG Round 89 Results: it’s a lock for Cochrane

The 89th round of voting for the Circle of Greats inducts Hall of Famer Mickey Cochrane, winning election in only his third round on the COG ballot. After solid support in his first two ballot appearances, it was only a matter of time before voters gave the nod to Cochrane, who edged out teammate Al Simmons in a runoff election following a tie vote on the main ballot. Cochrane backstopped the Athletics and Tigers to consecutive pennants, earning a World Series ring and league MVP honors for both franchises.

More on Cochrane after the jump.

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Player substitution and winning: is less still more?

For decades in major league baseball, a predictable inverse relationship existed between the number of substitutions made during a game and the likelihood of winning that game. Teams that didn’t make substitutions were more likely to win than teams that did, with that winning percentage declining with each additional substitution made.

In today’s game, with at least three pitchers (starter, setup man, closer) in every team’s game plan everyday, the expanded pitching staffs necessary to sustain that approach have reduced bench size and, presumably, limited opportunities to use tactical substitutions on offense. Or, have they?

After the jump, more on the relationship between player substitution and winning.

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Miami’s young outfield: is it a pennant predictor?

Which team had the best outfield corps in 2014? Based on consistent WAR performance at each outfield position, the answer is Miami’s trio of Giancarlo StantonChristian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna, each recording over 3.5 WAR (Baseball-Reference version) last season, a claim no other team can make.

What makes this development particularly encouraging for the Marlins is that Stanton, still only 25 as he starts his 6th major league season this year, was the old man of that group. How unusual are a trio of under 25 outfielders contributing at that level? You’ll find out after the jump.

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The 1935 Cubs (Six Prime 40-WAR Players, Part 5)

Welcome to part five of my series on teams that had six 40-WAR players, age 30 or younger, with at least 1.0 WAR that year. (Series recap at bottom.) You might have thought I’d curb the verbiage for the 1935 Cubs, the fulcrum of a might-have-been dynasty that couldn’t even win one lousy title. But I have to clear my historical decks to get ready for live action again. And aren’t the final-stage shortfalls more interesting than the happy winners? So put on your waders, climb into the data dump, and see what’s worth salvaging!

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Quiz – Journeymen and a HOFer (stumped)

It’s been like forever since I made a Quiz post. So, here’s one to sharpen your sleuthing skills as we head into a new season. I’ve characterized the pitchers in this quiz as journeymen in the best sense of the term – those who recorded solid workloads near league average performance for extended periods. But, these players are also the only pitchers to play their entire careers since 1946 and record a certain career accomplishment. What is it?

Hint: there were 77 pitchers who accomplished this feat while playing all or part of their careers from 1901 to 1945.

Seems I’ve managed to stump our esteemed panel. The solution is after the jump.

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COG Round 88 Results: Voters don’t linger over Gehringer

The 88th round of voting for the Circle of Greats inducts Hall of Famer Charlie Gehringer, winning election in only his second round on the COG ballot. The “Mechanical Man” was a mainstay in the Tiger infield for 16 seasons during which Detroit won three pennants, including a World Series championship in 1935.

More on Gehringer after the jump.

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The 1971 Athletics (Six Prime 40-WAR Players, Part 4)

Welcome to part four of my series on teams that had six 40-WAR players, age 30 or younger, with at least 1.0 WAR that year. (Series recap at bottom.) Our subject is the first flower of what would grow into one of baseball’s true dynasties — one of four teams ever to win three straight World Series, and the only one of those not named “Yankees.” Enjoy the ride!

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