Back in 1989 the Indians were in a dismal place. They had lost over 100 games in each of the previous 2 seasons, and were in the middle of what appeared to be another lost season. They were trailing the White Sox for the division lead by what seemed to be an insurmountable margin. Their owner, the much hated Rachel Phelps, had just inherited the team from her recently deceased father and was planning on relocating to Miami. Rachel Phelps in many respects was Jeffrey Loria with a nicer smile. The team was destined for failure, but somehow pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and won the pennant. Sadly the records from the day do not tell us if they went on to win the World Series. I believe in 1994 a hidden tape was revealed that released this information, but I am a man of principal and refuse to watch such rubbish. Through a minor miracle I have stumbled upon some old scouting reports of the players that made this season possible. Perhaps they can shed a light on what gave these ragamuffins the will to succeed against such long odds. Read the rest of this entry
Over the holidays, we too soon lost one of the outstanding defensive centerfielders in baseball history. Longtime Oriole Paul Blair passed away in Baltimore, aged only 69.
Among contemporary centerfielders, Blair’s 174 WAR fielding runs from 1964 to 1980 were more than the combined total of Garry Maddox (102) and Ken Berry (69) in second and third place. That 174 mark ranks 4th all-time among centerfielders, close behind Jim Piersall (175) and Willie Mays (183), with those three trailing only the phenomenal total of 236 WAR fielding runs posted by Andruw Jones.
After the jump, more on the career of Paul Blair.
The 2013 World Series champion Red Sox succeeded for a lot of reasons, including a league-leading batting average on balls in play (BABIP). Not only did Boston’s .329 BABIP lead the AL this past season, it was the highest BABIP for any team in more than 80 years, and third highest of all teams since 1916.
Undoubtedly, the Red Sox were a fine hitting team, so it shouldn’t be a great surprise that they produced a stellar BABIP. But, playing in an outstanding hitters’ ballpark shouldn’t be overlooked as a major contributor to good BABIP scores.
After the jump, more on team BABIP and the influences of home ballparks.
Last year’s Hall of Fame ballot was arguably the most stacked in our respective lifetimes. Legitimate cases could be made for over a dozen of last year’s candidates, and many of said cases were lucidly spelled out on blogs, television or other media. How did the BBWAA respond? By not voting a single player in.
This year, we’ve lost only Dale Murphy and Bernie Williams from the ballot, but have gained the likes of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Jeff Kent and Mike Mussina. Sean Casey too I suppose, but most voters don’t give a ton of credit for jovial jocularity, regardless how far it is above replacement.
Simply put, we’ve got an even stronger ballot this year, and there’s not a chance that the BBWAA completely blows it again. Much like last year, I’m going to be predicting percentages, analyzing players and hammering out my own ballot. This, and probably a bad joke or two, after the jump.
This post is for voting and discussion in the 42nd round of balloting for the Circle of Greats. This round adds to the ballot those players born in 1936. Rules and lists are after the jump. Read the rest of this entry
Brooks Robinson’s supporters fielded all concerns, defended their man, and gave Brooks enough votes to allow him to scoop up the designation as the 41st inductee in to the High Heat Stats Circle of Greats. More on Robinson and the voting after you cleanly handle the jump. Read the rest of this entry
Continuing my series on WAR in the wild card era, this post looks at team WAR, broken out among position players and pitchers. There’s a long preface here, dealing with terms and such; those in a hurry can scroll down to the first major heading, “WAR/pos and WAR/pitch.” (Just look for the charts.)
Announcement of the results of the Hall of Fame voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America is scheduled for this Wednesday, January 8. About 20% of the votes that will likely be cast by the writers have already been publicly disclosed. A running tally via Google spreadsheet (much like the Circle of Greats spreadsheets that we use here at HHS) is available that is recording all those publicly available ballots as they come in: Hall of Fame Publicly Available Ballots Spreadsheet . The spreadsheet shows, among other things, that Maddux has appeared on every one of the publicly disclosed ballots so far. Somewhat to my surprise, Glavine is doing almost as well on these ballots as Maddux. Frank Thomas also looks like a sure thing, based on this group of ballots. In short, it looks like a bunch of Circle of Greats inductees are on their way to Cooperstown induction, which is nice thing for them, albeit a less prestigious honor than the Circle. Read the rest of this entry
Jayson Stark’s “Strange But True feats of 2013” notes the August 24th 18-inning game in which Arizona’s Tuffy Gosewisch batted twice in the final frame and made outs against two different position players. The last player to do that, says Jayson, was Brian Milner, on June 26, 1978.
Now, I played a lot of Strat-O-Matic with the ’78 set, even the last-place Blue Jays; I still remember Doug Ault, Gary Woods, even Sam Ewing. But I didn’t recall Brian Milner, so I looked him up. Turns out, he’s no kin to John Milner (or his cousin, Eddie Milner), and his big-league career was gone in a heartbeat. But a few nuggets came from the search.
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