Game 3 of the 1941 World Series featured a World Series “first” — something that wouldn’t happen again for 50 years, and only once more since then. What was it? It has to do with the performance of one player in each game.
Dave Gallagher played 9 years in the major leagues, including as the starting center fielder for the 1989 White Sox. He also played with the Indians, Orioles, Angels, Mets, Braves, and Phillies. He had great bat control in the minors and found the same skill in the majors, walking more than he struck out in the second half of his career.
We were lucky enough to (virtually) sit down with Gallagher and ask him some questions about his career and his stats.
Andy at High Heat Stats: First of all–growing up in central NJ: were you a fan of the Mets, Yankees, or Phillies?
Dave Gallagher: As a kid my favorite team was The Giants. My father told me stories of Willie Mays playing at the Polo Grounds. I imitated the Mays catch over and over and learned the line up for wiffle ball. McCovey, Mays, Dietz, Lanier, Hart, Brown, Fuentes, Marichal, Alou.
MLB’s quadrennial miniseries in the Tokyo Dome ushered in another championship season and ended the soul-crushing 5-month box-score drought. When Brandon McCarthy put the first pitch over, and Chone Figgins bounced out to short on the next offering, we felt at once the comfort that baseball was back, same as it ever was.
How often have Juan Pierre and Jimmy Rollins had outs in a season totalling 75% of their PAs? You might be surprised to know that neither of them has ever done this, though a number of other players have, some more than once. As PAs are, aside from pinch-running, a prerequisite to making an out, let’s see who the players are who do this most frequently.
We thank Richard Chester, who wrote and sent in this post.
The Yankees have a long string of players who are well-known to the baseball world. There are the superstars such as Ruth, Gehrig, et al., and lots of lesser stars such as Rolfe, Selkirk, Bauer, McDougald et al. But there is a small group of players who have contributed significantly to the Yankees success, however brief, but are utterly forgotten. Read the rest of this entry
Here’s a bit of an oddity that I stumbled across tonight. Although it has a very limited coverage, the Baseball-Reference PI game finder does have the option of limiting searches by weather condition. Out of curiosity I used the tool to find the players who hit the most home runs in the snow. Strangely enough, one of the guys at the top of the list is none other than Chris Snopek himself.
|1||Chris Snopek||2||Ind. Games||10||7||3||0||0||2||2||3||0||.429||.600||1.286||1.886|
|2||Andres Galarraga||2||Ind. Games||9||9||5||0||0||2||4||0||2||.556||.556||1.222||1.778|
|3||Carlos Baerga||2||Ind. Games||6||6||4||0||0||2||2||0||0||.667||.667||1.667||2.333|
|4||Dave Winfield||1||Ind. Games||5||5||3||0||0||2||5||0||0||.600||.600||1.800||2.400|
|5||Albert Belle||1||Ind. Games||4||4||2||0||0||2||2||0||0||.500||.500||2.000||2.500|
|6||Doug Ault||1||Ind. Games||5||4||3||0||0||2||4||1||0||.750||.800||2.250||3.050|
The last player to appear in a major league game before his 19th birthday was Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod debuted for the Mariners on July 8, 1994, 19 days before turning 19. Since then, just a handful of 19 year-olds have appeared, including such notables as Andruw Jones, Edgar Renteria, Adrian Beltre and Felix Hernandez. The Upton brothers, Justin and B.J., also both debuted just prior to turning 20 (does anyone know if any other brothers have debuted as teenagers?)
But, teenagers weren’t always so scarce. During World War II, and in the bonus baby days of the 1950s and 1960s, there was a relative abundance of teenagers in the majors, with some teams sporting several on their rosters. And, it wasn’t just 19 year-olds - Joe Nuxhall famously debuted as a 15 year-old and a number of 16, 17 and 18 year-old players have also had major league playing time.
With that preamble, I’m following up an earlier post on the oldest batter vs. pitcher matchups with this post, highlighting the youngest such matchups.
Banzai Babe Ruth: Baseball, Espionage, and Assassination during the 1934 Tour of Japan is a new book by Robert. K. Fitts released earlier this month. I was fortunate enough to receive a copy for review from the publisher.
This book was tough to put down, mainly because of the subtitle: unlike most other baseball books, this one is a narrative that provides a detailed account of the complex political situation in the years before and after the tour of a major-league All-Star team in Japan in 1934. As tensions between Japan and western powers had grown in the 1920s and 30s, many hoped this series of exhibition games would serve to lower the barrier between Japan and the U.S. While many felt after the fact this goal had been achieved, by the 1940s it was clear that peace had not been achieved. We now know that the bombing of Pearl Harbor nevertheless occurred in 1941, leading to a prolonged world war and the devastation of Japan.
Bobby Valentine is near the top of the list of guys who have managed the most major league games without ever finishing in first place. Could Valentine eventually climb to the very top of the list? It’s hard to imagine his being allowed to manage the additional five full seasons he would need without finishing first at least once. Unless he wins a World Series as a wild card, which is certainly within the realm of possibility. Bobby will presumably pass Frank Robinson for number 2 on this list around the end of May of this upcoming season, and with Jack McKeon and Jim Riggleman out of the current managing ranks, Bobby will have that #2 spot to himself for a long time — unless he can get off the list entirely with an AL East championship. The “leaders” in this category are listed after the jump. Read the rest of this entry
Mel Ott, along with Bobby Orr, Ernie Els and Brian Eno, is a core member of the Hall of Fame of Crossword Puzzle Answers. The Polo Grounds had one of the most evocative names for a ballpark in all of baseball history. Together, Ott and the Polo Grounds (which was a ten- or fifteen-minute walk from Yankee Stadium) produced the greatest combination of home run hitter and home park that the major leagues has ever seen. The stats to prove it are after the jump. Read the rest of this entry