This post is for voting and discussion in the 124th round of balloting for the Circle of Greats (COG). This is the last of three rounds adding to the list of candidates eligible to receive your votes those players born in 1972. Rules and lists are after the jump. Continue reading
This quiz involves eight players, all but one of which were active in the past 30 years. Yet they are only players in majors history to retire with a certain career accomplishment. What is it?
Seems I’ve managed to stump the HHS panel. The quiz answer is that only these players recorded a 3000 PA career having 45% of hits go for extra bases, and with doubles comprising 45% of extra-base hits. More after the jump. Continue reading
This time, we examine the National League of 1986. I’ll get to the pennant race (which I normally start with) in a moment, but I want to begin by saying something about the MVP voting of 1986. This was the year of the aging player. The vast majority of the players who show up here were stars already in the late-1970s, yet hung around long enough to still be in play in 1986. And, to their good fortune, when some of them had a resurgence, the NL was weak enough that their good-but-not-great performances were enough to stand out.
The second-place teams in each league won 86 in ’86, which I guess would’ve been fine if the division winners hadn’t won 96 and 108 games. There was no race to speak of in either division, with the Astros pulling away in late July and the Mets having the division sewn up by May Day, by which point they already had a 5-game lead after having taken over first place for good on April 22nd. The Mets finished the season with 108 wins – matching the ’75 Reds with a number that hadn’t been seen in the NL since the 1909 Pirates! To this day, only those Pirates and the 1906 Cubs have won more games in the National League than the 1986 Mets. Continue reading
Remember how I seemed obsessed with the National League in the 1960s? Well, the American League in the 1980s was undoubtedly even more confusing. Today’s target is 1985.
1985 featured a rarity – two good division races in one league. Following a three-game sweep on the road to the Tigers, Toronto led the AL East by 3 with three to play… against the 2nd place Yankees. The Yanks took the first, and a Yankee sweep would win the division. Of course, Toronto won game #161 to wrap things up, but that’s nearly down to the wire. In the West, with seven to play, the Royals trailed the Angels by a game, but were ready to face the division leaders in a four-gamer in Kansas City. The Royals took three out of four to go up two games, entering a weekend homestand against Oakland. Simply taking two games from the A’s would win the division… which they promptly did, wrapping everything up in game #161. But hey – both divisions were in play on the penultimate day of the season, so that’s not so bad.
Major League Baseball players born on the day a U.S. President was inaugurated:
–The first major leaguer born on an Inauguration Day was born on March 4, 1861, the day Abraham Lincoln was sworn in (until the mid-20th century, scheduled inaugurations usually took place on March 4). The player born that day was apparently the child of patriotic parents because they named their brand new baby after the brand new president. Abraham Lincoln Wolstenholme was born in Philadelphia, cradle of the nation. Abe Westenholme grew up to play in three games in 1883 for the brand new National League franchise in Philadelphia, which eventually became the Phillies but was then known as the Quakers. The other MLB players born on the day a U.S.president was sworn into office were: Continue reading
Followers of the game will be aware that baseball today is awash in young talent, including the group below, showing their career totals through their age 22 seasons.
In fact, the players above all compiled 10 or more WAR by age 22. What may surprise you to learn, though, is that these 7 players from just the current decade represent fully one-sixth of all such everyday players since 1901. But, will they continue to produce handsome WAR dividends for their teams as their careers progress? To answer in a few words, for most of them, it’s very, very likely.
After the jump, more on being very good when very young, and projecting that success over a career.
You’re going to notice a pattern here: whenever a reliever wins an MVP, I’m going to give it the sideways eyes and have us re-examine, because… I’m just not sure I buy relievers being that valuable.
So that leads us to 1984. I feel like every time I look at one of these years, the BIG story in baseball is something going on in the other league. We looked at the AL in 1981, when the NL was the real mess. We looked at the NL in 1967, when the greatest pennant race in history was in the AL. Finally, with 1984, we rectify that trend.
As we await this month’s HoF balloting, here’s a little diversion in a bit different format from most of my quizzes. Here are the clues:
- I pitched primarily in relief in a career of more than both 10 seasons and 500 innings
- I never pitched in the post-season, but was twice traded in mid-season from teams that made the playoffs
- I pitched in both leagues, but played in the AL only for expansion teams
Congratulations to Jim! He knew that our mystery player was none other than Frank DiPino, (mostly) an NL reliever from the 1980s and early 1990s. More on DiPino after the jump.