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Most Homers In a Season Vs. One Opposing Team

It’s not a particularly well-known record, but Lou Gehrig’s 14 home runs against the Cleveland Indians in 1936 is the most by a major leaguer against one opposing team during a regular season.  Baseball-reference’s Play Index (PI) shows only four times that a player has managed 13 homers in a regular season against one team: Jimmie Foxx against the Tigers in 1932, Hank Sauer against the Pirates in 1954, Joe Adcock against the Dodgers in 1956 and Roger Maris against the White Sox in his historic 1961 season.

Using the PI, I also found 13 seasons in which a player hit 12 homers against one opposing team, so that’s a total of 18 seasons in which a hitter slugged 12 or more home runs off of one team.  A table listing all 18 of those seasons is after the jump.  For each season, the table shows the year, the hitter, the opponent, and the number of homers, games played and plate appearances the player had against that opponent during that season. Read the rest of this entry

This is the first in a series of looks at the distribution of position-player WAR on teams in the wild-card era (1995-2013). All team wins mentioned are Pythagorean wins. All figures are pro rated to 162 team games.

There are 564 team-years in the era. This post compares the top 160 teams (28%) in WAR from position-players, split into three tiers:

  • Tier 1: 35+ WAR from position players. These 20 teams averaged 38.0 WAR and 96 wins.
  • Tier 2: 30 to 34.9 WAR/pos. These 39 teams averaged 31.7 WAR and 91 wins.
  • Tier 3: 25 to 29.9 WAR/pos. These 101 teams averaged 27.3 WAR and 88 wins.

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Circle of Greats: 1937 Part 2 Balloting

This post is for voting and discussion in the 41st round of balloting for the Circle of Greats (COG).  This round completes the addition of those players born in 1937.  Rules and lists are after the jump. Read the rest of this entry

Circle of Greats Round 40 Results: The Cy of Relief

If Cy Young is the eponymous epitome of pitching primacy, then surely Mariano Rivera is the equivalent role model of relief royalty.  Mo ultimately triumphed in a thrilling three-way battle among memorable hurlers, and becomes the 40th inductee into the High Heat Stats Circle of Greats.  More on Mariano and the voting after the jump.   Read the rest of this entry

Pennant Impact of Big WAR Years

When rating careers, most folks will favor a high peak over a steady rate of accrual. They say that a fixed sum of value — like, 50 WAR over 10 years — tends to have more pennant impact if it’s unevenly distributed (say, five years of 7 WAR and five years of 3 WAR), rather than doled out as 5 WAR each year.

That view has intuitive backing. Whereas WAR is gauged against a replacement-level player, the average player is a more relevant value if you’re trying to build a contending team. If you swap Mike Trout’s 2013 value for that of Jay Bruce and Ben Zobrist, you gain WAR (10.2 to 9.2), but you lose Wins Above Average (5.8 to 7.0) — and you have one less lineup spot from which to build back that WAA.

I can’t quite refute that position, but I do have a soft spot for steady, Lou Whitaker types. (You noticed?) So I wonder how far that intuitive logic is borne out empirically, by actual pennants and championships.

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Quiz: Junior-sized All-Star (stumped)

Ken Griffey Jr. a first ballot inductee last week into the Circle of Greats, is the only player of the past 35 years (since 1979) with four consecutive seasons (1996-99) of 40 HR, 120 Runs and 120 RBI (actually, Babe Ruth, with 7 consecutive seasons from 1926 to 1932, is the only other player to do this).

But, another Junior, rather less well-known, is the subject of today’s quiz. Like Griffey, Junior Spivey was an All-Star who also was the only retired position player active in the past 35 years to accomplish a certain feat. What is it?

Hint: among retired position players to play their entire careers since 1901, Spivey is the 13th to accomplish this feat.

Doesn’t happen often, but looks like I’ve stumped our HHS readers. The secret to this quiz was in noticing that Junior Spivey compiled a pretty fair WAR total of 8.2 in only 457 career games. That is the most since 1978 for retired players with careers of 500 or fewer games, and only the 13th time with WAR over 8 since 1901. Those careers are after the jump.
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The Lou Whitaker All-Star Teams

For years, I’ve used the term “Lou Whitaker All-Stars” for players who had many good seasons, but no great ones. Now I’ve chosen two such teams, on the basis of Wins Above Replacement.

Since Whitaker’s best seasons rated 6.7 WAR, I set the main cutoff at “no 7-WAR seasons.” I started with the top 200 in career WAR among retired position players, then eliminated all those with any 7-WAR years, leaving 66 players. Since I’m dividing the teams by Hall of Fame status, I excluded the six who have not yet appeared on the ballot. Of the remaining 60 players, 27 are HOFers, 33 are not.

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Circle of Greats: 1937 Part 1 Balloting

This post is for voting and discussion in the 40th round of balloting for the Circle of Greats (COG).  This round begins to add those players born in 1937.  Rules and lists are after the jump. Read the rest of this entry

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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