Category Archives: baseball history

RULE 5 IS GOOD, BUT……….

At the Winter Meetings following the World Series, major league teams must decide on the 40 players they want to protect in a special draft that is commonly referred to as the Rule Five Draft.

The rule is basically a good idea as it prevents teamsimages (25) from stockpiling players in their farm systems and it gives hope to minor league players who may be languishing behind a all star major leaguer playing the same position. Depending on age when they signed, players become eligible after three or four years

Historically, players such as Roberto Clemente (above) who as we know turned into the steal of the Century for the Pirates, R A Dickey (left),download (9) Dan Uggla, and Jose Bautista (below) revitalized their careers after being taken in this draft. Last year, the Rangers caught lightning in a bottle when they selected images (26)Delino Deshields who became the Texas Rookie Of The Year. For major league teams, the price of a selection is a mere $50,000…….but there’s a catch……
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TWO MORE AND DONE – HOF THIS YEAR

There are two more players on the Hall Of Fame ballot (in addition to Ken Griffey Jr – see previous post  I think should be elected making it a trio of inductees as we saw last year (see the full list of candidates here). The first is a relief pitcher who held the record for career saves until someone named Rivera came along and the second is a catcher who hit the most home runs ever for a player at that position. Continue reading

MENTAL ILLNESS AND MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

What do Zach Greinke (below), Dontrelle Willis, Joey Votto (left), and download (2)Milton Bradley have in common with each other, other than the fact that they are successful Major League ballplayers? According to a article that first appearedimages (3) in 2011 and Published by Bleacher Report, each has spent significant time on the DL for mental health issues. Much like leprosy in a earlier time, today mental health issues are swept under the rug, and that probably accounts for you (and me too) not knowing this fact about any of these players.

They are not alone in today’s America. According to the National Institute Of Health, more than one-fourth of our adult population suffersdownload from some aspect of mental illness. Thousands, of course, remain undiagnosed and therefore go untreated which often manifests itself in outrageous acts of violence that shatter our faith and culture. In recent years, Major League Baseball has taken a proactive stance on a player’s mental health. In fact, most teams employ a Mental Health Coach (same title as a pitching Coach). More light is shed on this development in an article that appeared in The New York Times. Continue reading

JOE TORRE – A QUIET YET VERY EFFECTIVE LEADER

When you look up a profile of Joe Torre, you quickly realize that he has been successful in every facet JOE TORREof his career, and never has that been true more than in his current position as MLB’s Chief Baseball Officer. As a player, he finished a distinguished career withi (1) a .297 batting average, appeared in nine All Star Games, and won a NL Batting Title in 1971. Then, as a manager he won four Championships more than 2,300 games. Culminating his career as a manager, he was rewarded with a plaque in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium. (left) Oh, and by the way, he’s also a member of the Baseball Hall Of Fame.

And from the looks of things, he’s just getting warmed up. Since 2011 (his first year as a baseball executive), joe-torre-jpghe has presided over the introduction and refinement of instant replay, the creation of the “Buster Posey Rule” for collisions at home plate, the adoption of the 20 second rule designed to speed up games, and is now poised to lead the way with the adoption of a “Chase Utley Rule” requiring a runner to be sliding directly at second base when attempting to break up a double play. 
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MONEY FOR NOTHING – TITLES FOR FREE

For those who follow baseball, an intriguing question images (6)continues to be…….what role does money play in the game today….and does $$$ automatically equate to winning, and especially winning World Championships?

Off the top of your head, you might say – look at the success MLBtrophyTampa Bay has had in recent years in a devalued market and shrinking revenue, and that is true. But overall, what is the true value of money spent? I thought I’d take a look at this from a pure mathematical standpoint. Here are the results of this study…… Continue reading

A TRIBUTE TO PLAYERS WHO SERVED

On the day we honor Veterans who served in the American Armed Forces, I thought it would be time well downloadspent and interesting to do some research on Major and Minor League players who have served their country. The sheer number is startling – 336 during the Korean War (view list here)  for example according to Baseball Reference, my go-to source for anything about baseball.

Some of the names we are familiar with and a few such as Ted Williams (above) deservedly gainedWhiteyFord-Korea-044-1307011627_4_3 renown for their efforts. Williams (view MLB’s tribute here), a distinguished fighter pilot for the Marines forfeited three prime baseball years to serve. Hall of Famers Whitey Ford  (above right) and Willie Mays WillyMays-Korea-033-1307011639_4_3( right with another Veteran, Don Newcombe) also served in the Korea struggle in the early 1950′ s.  Other names are not as much of note, but count players like Jerry Coleman, who appeared in six World Series for the New York Yankees,  Roger Craig, a 20 game loser for the first New York Mets team in 196 , Don Larsen (no introduction needed), Billy Martin, a journeyman player but a dynamic manager, and Frank Torre, the brother of Joe hit .273 in seven big league seasons, among those who served too. Continue reading

TODAY’S HISTORY AND MATH LESSON

Okay, real quick now……..how many times has a team come back from a 3-1 deficit to capture a World Championship?

I didn’t know either and had to look it up. It’s only been done four times. In 1925, the Pirates beat the Senators. images-1More than thirty years later in 1958, the Yankees beat the (then) Milwaukee Braves winning the final two games on the road. In 1968, the Tigers beat the Cardinals (Mickey Lolich!) also winning the last two games in St. Louis. And finally, the Royals came back and bested the Cardinals in 1985.

For our math lesson, what this means is that the Mets have less than a 4% chance (there have been 111 World Series) of coming back to beat the Royals. Or, to put it another way, the odds are 25 to 1 against them to accomplish this feat. Improbable, but not impossible you might say.

So tonight becomes yet another opportunity for Matt Harvey to show up and demonstrate that he is trulyimages-32 the ace of this young staff. I have my doubts about that but if he can get the ball to DeGrom, the true ace, well then you never know. Especially with Noah Syndegaardimage (1) waiting in the wings. It will be all hands on deck tonight and don’t be surprised if you see Syndegaard come in for a inning or two if the situation presents itself.

No doubt, if you are a Mets fan you will hold on to the late Tug McGraw’s refrain……”Ya gotta believe” and hope against the odds that you don’t have to say around midnight……”Wait till next year”.

 

IT FEELS LIKE CHRISTMAS EVE….

Baseball’s Showcase or Fall Classic as it has been historically termed,  comes to life beginning tomorrow night. After 162 regular seasonFB_IMG_1445889516448 games and two playoff series, only two teams remain standing. The World Series is also, in many ways, baseball’s last stand before the NFL seizes the attention of sports fans until next February when the cycle renews itself and 30 teams arrive in Florida or Arizona with the sole purpose of being one of the two teams here in 2016.

For fans like myself, it usually doesn’t matter whose playing. MLBtrophyBut this year, it feels like Christmas Eve now because we can anticipate a series of gifts that may leave us gasping for breath – as was the case last year when the Royals took the Giants to the final out of the seventh game with a final score of 1-0.

The first gift I want to see opened is the contest between the Met strike out pitching and the put the ball in play Royals. Remember, the Royals don’t walk a lot – but they also don’t strike out a lot either. In fact, the Royals struck out the fewest number of times of any team in baseball ( beating the next closest team by almost 300 fewer whiffs). 

The other gift I can’t wait to see opened is the one with the image (1)fans wrapped inside. These are two great baseball cities and the players are excited about performing in front of them. You may not realize it but Kansas City is an integral part of baseball history and their fans know it. The Monarchs were the vanguard team in the (then) Negro Leagues. And there is a must stop visit to the Negro Baseball Museum in Kansas City that is a must for all fans. And the Mets, of course, have New York City as their backdrop. And judging by the newspapers and the amount of ink being used around here, this is BIG!

Indeed, Christmas comes early for fans of baseball……….

CENTER STAGE TODAY – THE CUBS AND WRIGLEY FIELD

With no disrespect to the New York Mets and what promises to be an electric Citi Field,  the centerj of the baseball universe today has to be Wrigley Field and the Chicago Cubs. Opened in 1914, this venue (along with Fenway Park and the old Yankee Stadium) stands as a Mecca for baseball fans – including myself in 2009 – across America. Even today, after the “lights came on” few years ago, a Friday afternoon game at Wrigley is reason to leave work early and bask in the bleachers Sun on Addison Street.

For Cubs fans, today is also a day to bask in the setting sun of a 96 game winning season (the third best in baseball) and to welcome home a team that carries with them a hope and a prayer that this just might be the season when all doubts spanning numerous decades are cast aside – and a long awaited Championship comes to the Southside of Chicago.

Excitement and drama of this kind draws itself from a long history that dates back to 1876 when the Cubs became an original franchise of the National League. Interestingly, they were known in those days as the Chicago White Stockings (not to be confused with the White Sox), not taking the name of the Cubs until 1902. And yes, the last World Series won by the Cubs was in 1945 – a drought long enough to span the years of the team’s oldest fans.

But today, all that changes or it at least moves to the back of everyone’s mind as Jake Arietta takes the ball  to face the St. Louis Cardinals, a team much different from the Cubs. For while the Cubs field a team stacked with very young home grown talent, the Cardinals present a team of veterans who have a storied history behind them with the second most Championships (only the Yankees have more) to face the hottest pitcher in baseball today. 

It doesn’t get better than this. The steel beams erected more than a century ago will be rocking and shaking at Wrigley today. You couldn’t tell a better baseball story than the the one being played out in Chicago this afternoon.

 

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“NOBODY ASKED ME BUT” – IN MEMORY OF JIMMY CANNON

Back in the day when newspapers were read as voraciously as we check our email today, a-siegel-deadlineJimmy Cannon wrote a weekly column that appeared every Sunday and was read across America by his avid fans. His favorite sport to write about was baseball, but occasionally he delved into other areas if it suited him. He called his column “Nobody Asked Me But……….”. What follows is a attempt to create a piece (hopefully) similar to what he might write if he were with us today……..

Where does Adam Wainwright (now that he’s back) fit the in the Cardinals post season pitching plans…….

Rookie or not, big stage so what……..The Yankees should pitch Luis Severino over their announced starter Tanaka. He’s less known to hitters and exudes nothing but confidence on the mound.

Regardless of what happens in the down to the wire final Wild Card chase in the American League, the Minnesota Twins deserve a round of applause for their effort with a team most everyone wrote off in March.

The Mets without Matz if injury shuts him down – or at least out of the starting rotation is a big blow to the team – not to mention what happens with Cespedes after last night’s hand injury. But they’ve bounced back from adversity all year so who knows…..

It’s just not right that two of the best teams in baseball have to face each other in a do or die one game playoff. The Pirates and Cubs deserve better than that. It’s easy to fix……just shorten the season by four games and make it a best of three (at least).

You may or may not like the cup of tea Donald Trump is pouring, but you have to admit it certainly tastes different. Question is how many of  us prefer our regular tea……

Having the home field advantage in the Playoffs is overrated. Besides, the weather promises to be far more pleasant on the West Coast than it does in New York next week. Calm down Met fans.

Yogi Berra deserves some kind of a Humanitarian Award for his service to country and baseball. Your move, Mr. President.

The Washington Nationals and the Detroit Tigers are competing for a spot on the T.V. Show “Extreme Makeovers”.