This post is for voting and discussion in the 99th round of balloting for the Circle of Greats (COG). This round adds to the list of candidates eligible to receive your votes those players born in 1891 or 1892. Rules and lists are after the jump.
The youngest player in the AL this season is Toronto’s setup reliever Roberto Osuna, born in Mexico on Feb 7, 1995. While the 20 year-old is young in years, this is his 5th season as a professional (though he has been used quite sparingly in the minors with just 128.2 IP in four minor league campaigns). Why am I writing about a rookie relief pitcher not even halfway into the season? Well, there’s this:
Those numbers will attract attention on any pitcher’s resume, never mind for a 20 year-old rookie. More on Osuna after the jump.
Among a number of meanings for the German word “heil” is safe. Thus, Tiger great Harry Heilmann is safe at home in the COG, after a first ballot election to the Circle of Greats. Heilmann debuted with Detroit in 1914 and established himself as a solid and consistent contributor. But, his true star caliber only became evident with the advent of the live ball era in the 1920s. Heilmann’s .380 BA over 7 seasons (1921-27) was the top figure in the AL, a full 16 points higher than teammate Ty Cobb and 21 points better than a certain Yankee outfielder who was last week’s COG honoree.
More on Heilmann after the jump.
The players in this quiz share a particular pitching accomplishment that no others have achieved since 1914. What is it?
- Don Sutton
- Gary Nolan
- Lowell Palmer
- Bert Blyleven
- Lynn McGlothen
- John Candelaria
- Al Leiter
- Bill Pulsipher
- Dontrelle Willis
- Noah Syndergaard
Congratulations to Dr. Doom! He identified that only these pitchers started each of the first 7 games of their careers before their 23rd birthdays while pitching 40 innings with 40 hits allowed and 40 strikeouts. More on the 40/40/40 group after the jump.
Barring injury, A.J. Burnett will later this year join an elite group of only 7 pitchers with career totals of 2500 IP, 2500 strikeouts, a 2.0 SO/BB ratio, and more strikeouts than hits allowed. But, that’s where the similarity ends as all the pitchers in that group have more than 60 WAR and 35 WAA while Burnett is only half-way to that WAR threshold and has only 20% of that WAA. Sort of the Alfonso Soriano of pitchers, if you will.
More on Burnett’s curious career after the jump.
In a no-doubt vote, Babe Ruth far outdistanced all competitors to earn induction to the Circle of Greats with the highest ballot share yet recorded. Ruth achieved mythical stature in baseball and as a cultural icon to a degree that none before or since have approached. Ruth’s impact on the game was immense and permanent, ushering in the live ball era with feats of power hitting never before imagined.
More on Ruth after the jump.
Rogers Hornsby wins election to the Circle of Greats in the 95th round of COG balloting. In his first ballot appearance, Hornsby was the clear favorite among a host of creditable holdover candidates. Hornsby made an immediate impact in his 1916 rookie season with 4.9 WAR and 151 OPS+, totals for a rookie third baseman that have since been matched only by Dick Allen. Hornsby then moved to shortstop, posting 4.0 oWAR and 2.0 dWAR in consecutive seasons. Quiz: who is the only player since with those oWAR and dWAR totals in his first two seasons at shortstop?
More on Hornsby after the jump.