The most important single figure in American sports history was also one of the greatest ever at playing the game of baseball. “Faster than you can say Jack Robinson” (a phrase dating back to the 18th century), Jackie Robinson becomes the 65th inductee into the High Heat Stats Circle of Greats. More on Robinson and the voting, after the jump. Read the rest of this entry
I’m sticking with this format for now — a division-based look at series featuring contenders. Once again, mixed matchups are classified by the better team or series winner; and as always, I gloss over my teams’ losses.
A divisional look at this week’s opening series, with mixed matchups classified by best team or who won the set.
A busy back-to-baseball weekend tightened four division races, while the others stood pat. All three NL quintets are tied, while three AL runners-up moved within two games of Seattle’s wild-card seat, and the cellar-dwelling Rays & Red Sox found some reasons to believe. A look at the series that were:
This post is for voting and discussion in the 65th round of balloting for the Circle of Greats (COG). This round completes the addition of those players born in 1919. Rules and lists are after the jump. Read the rest of this entry
Willie (“Stretch”) McCovey was elected to the Cooperstown Hall of Fame by the baseball writers in his first appearance on their ballot. It took McCovey a bit longer under our COG system, but in this his 27th round on the our ballot, Willie becomes the 64th inductee in the High Heat Stats Circle of Greats. More on McCovey and the voting, after the jump. Read the rest of this entry
Most of the first-half reviews that I saw made a point like this one:
“Pitchers continue to dominate. We enter the break with 21 qualified starters holding an ERA under 3.00 … Kershaw (11-2, 1.78 ERA), Adam Wainwright (12-4, 1.83) and Felix Hernandez (11-2, 2.12) highlight a season with many top pitching performers … Kershaw had a 15-strikeout no-hitter with no walks, perfect other than a fielding error behind him. Wainwright hasn’t allowed a run in nine of his 19 starts. Brilliance.”
The players in this quiz are mostly from yesteryear, with a couple of exceptions. What is the seasonal batting feat that distinguishes this group among players active since 1901?
Bonus: name the player who is on pace in 2014 to join this group.
Congratulations to John Autin, with some help from Richard Chester and others. They teamed up to identify the quiz players as those with seasons of 50 stolen bases and 25 doubles, with doubles at least as numerous as strikeouts. That combination of speed, contact hitting and a little pop has become very rare with only two such post-war seasons, though Jose Altuve is currently on pace to join this group if he can keep his doubles total level with his strikeouts. More after the jump.
Today’s All-Star game is the third in Minnesota, and the third in a different stadium. Today’s game will be the first in Minnesota without Pete Rose in the lineup, after Charlie Hustle started the 1965 game and appeared as a pinch-hitter in 1985, the latter appearance at age 44 making Rose the oldest NL All-Star (Satchel Paige was the oldest AL All-Star at age 47 in 1953) . Today’s game will also be the first in Minnesota with the DH, as that innovation made a delayed All-Star appearance only in 1989.
More on Minnesota’s all-star history after the jump.
There’s been discussion here and elsewhere about the decline in run scoring across the majors this season and in recent seasons. Yes, across the majors the average runs scored per game is currently at 4.14 so far in 2014, down slightly from 4.17 for the full 2013 season, and from 4.32 for the full 2012 season. OPS (On Base Percentage plus Slugging Percentage) across the majors as a whole is down from .724 in 2012, to .714 last season, to .707 so far this season. But the decline in hitting performance has not been uniform across the batting order, and in this post I want to focus on the particularly dramatic drop in the average performance of clean-up hitters in the majors. Read the rest of this entry