May 26, 2017

Hardball Retrospective – The Worst In-Season Trades Since 1950

October 21, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The in-season deal in modern baseball is typically proposed under the following circumstances: A team may wish to trade a potential free agent that will likely sign with another team in the upcoming off-season. The expected return is minor-league talent. Two teams wish to make a deal to upgrade at a specific position without weakening […]

A Big Deal for the 1945 Cubs (And the Rest of Those Guys)

October 19, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Just before the trade deadline this year, on July 25, the Cubs traded with the Yankees for fireballing relief ace Aroldis Chapman. Their lead in the NL Central standings at the time was 7 games. The deal was forward-looking to the post-season. Nearly exactly 71 years before trading for Chapman, on July 27, 1945, the […]

The Last Time They Were There: Cubs’ Road to the 1945 World Series

October 16, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

The Chicago Cubs are one flight of dugout steps to the playing field of their first World Series in 71 years. The last time they were there, in 1945, the Second World War had ended less than two months before the October 3 start of the World Series. And major league baseball had just played […]

2016 Postseason Rundown

October 13, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The MLB playoffs have been underway for nearly two weeks, and we are one game away from knowing the top two teams in each league. The postseason has already been filled with exciting finishes and the most important games have not even started yet. While nobody knows the team competing against the Chicago Cubs in […]

Disappointing Finish for Astros in September

October 11, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

For the second straight year, the Houston Astros faltered in the final month of the season. The team had four straight winning months before logging a 13-16 record in September (and the first two days of October.) They didn’t come close to challenging the Texas Rangers for the West Division lead in September, finishing 11 […]

A Tale of Two Cities

October 9, 2016 by · 2 Comments 

In the 1930’s two adolescent boys worked the score board at old Griffith Stadium: Bowie Kuhn and Ted Lerner.  Both grew up in the Washington, DC suburbs and both came up watching the slow demise of the old Washington Nationals as they went from perennial contender to the goats of baseball for thirty years.  Kuhn […]

Hardball Retrospective – 1916 Season Replay

September 19, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

In “Hardball Retrospective: Evaluating Scouting and Development Outcomes for the Modern-Era Franchises”, I placed every ballplayer in the modern era (from 1901-present) on their original team. Therefore, Stan Coveleski is listed on the Athletics roster for the duration of his career while the White Sox claim Happy Felsch and the Yankees declare Urban Shocker. I […]

Boston Red Sox Ending 2016 Regular Season on Many High Notes

September 18, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The Boston Red Sox have put their fans in a glass case of emotions this year. The time is quickly counting down on the illustrious career of beloved slugger David Ortiz. Additionally, even though they are currently in first place in the American League East, the team is still fighting for their playoff spot with […]

Planting the Flag

September 15, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The Washington Nationals have all but clinched their third National League East title.  Their 1-0 win at Nationals Park last night over the Mets planted a flag square among the throng of New Yorkers there for the game. With a scant 16 games left to play in the 2016 season, the Nats have a 10 […]

What Might Have Been: The Short, Brilliant Career of Charlie Ferguson

September 12, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The Spring 2016 Baseball Research Journal featured an excellent article by Jerrold Casway entitled, “Bacteria Beat the Phillies which covered the careers and early deaths of Charlie Ferguson and Jimmy Fogarty due to typhoid fever and tuberculosis, respectively. Ferguson especially piqued my interest since he was born, lived, and is buried in Charlottesville, Virginia, just […]

Why the Mets Signing Tebow Pisses on the Idea of Fairness in Baseball

September 9, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

One of the best reads in baseball is not a sports article but a 1975 law review article entitled “Common Law Origins of the Infield Fly Rule” by William S. Stevens.  He connects the dots between common law and morality to baseball’s evolutionary attempts to be fair, evidenced with the 1890 infield fly rule preventing […]

Astros Remain in Wild Card Contention in August

September 3, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The Houston Astros compiled a record of 16-13 in August bringing the season total to 71-62.  They have the 8th best record in the American League, 8 ½ games behind the Division Leading Texas Rangers and one game behind the Detroit Tigers and the Baltimore Orioles for the second wild card slot.  They have virtually […]

Lazzari’s Vault: So Long, Mr. Harwell

August 19, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The Detroit Tigers happened to be out of town this past May 4th–playing at the new Target Field in Minnesota. Soon came the seventh-inning stretch and a picture of a smiling Ernie Harwell graced the stadium’s bright, new big screen. The news was then announced–though many fans were already privy to the inevitable: the Hall […]

The Turbulent Life and High Times of Hank Thompson, Major League Baseball’s Third Black Player

August 17, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

We real cool. We Left school. We Lurk late. We Strike straight. We Sing sin. We Thin gin. We Jazz June. We Die soon. Few players in baseball history ever embodied Gwendolyn Brooks’ classic poem–every single line– the way Hank “Machine Gun” Thompson did. Thompson was a talented ballplayer and a pioneer, the third black […]

Regarding Prince and Cecil

August 13, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

In the latest of a flurry of retirement announcements, we’ve learned that Prince Fielder can no longer physically play major league baseball: he has had two spinal fusions, and that is the Doctor’s advice (ESPN story). Given his physique (5’11”, 275 pounds), I think most fans knew he wouldn’t play until he was 40 (Bartolo […]

Milt Pappas: It Wasn’t His Fault

August 10, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Milt Pappas: It Wasn’t His Fault Before we discuss anything else about Milt Pappas, know this: it wasn’t his fault. He couldn’t help that the man for whom he was traded went on to hit 49 home runs, win the Triple Crown and MVP and lead his team to the World Championship–the very year of […]

“Minor League: The Road to the Show” and Our 10-year Journey to Nowhere

August 10, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s been brewing for a long time but I think it was this last email I received a couple of weeks ago from a very nice man who works in the office of Minor League Baseball that was the last straw. We met for about an hour and he really was perfectly cordial and attentive. […]

Alex Rodriguez Denied Entry To The 700 Home Run Club

August 10, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

There have only been three players in MLB history who have hit over 700 home runs in their careers: Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (756) and Babe Ruth (714). The next man up on that list is 41 year-old Alex Rodriguez, who will most likely be denied membership. All signs pointed to Alex Rodriguez and […]

Negro Leagues DB Update: 1941 NNL & NAL

August 6, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

For the second year in a row, the Negro Leagues’ best player, Josh Gibson, played in the Mexican League instead of with the Homestead Grays. For the standings at least, it didn’t matter as Homestead finished first for the fifth consecutive year. The Grays were a very veteran team by 1941. Thirty-three year old first […]

Astros Finish July on a Low Note

August 3, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

When the Astros wrapped up a 3-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels with a 13-3 win on Sunday, July 24, I decided that if they could take 2 games out of 3 from the Yankees, the headline on my monthly report would read, “Have the Astros Ever Had a Better Month?”  They had cut […]

Lazzari’s Vault: Remembering “The Bird”

July 23, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The year was 1976; “Frampton Comes Alive” was gaining in music popularity, a former football player was still patrolling the White House, and yours truly had just received a driver’s license. Baseball season started with my next-door-neighbor, Al–a HUGE Detroit fan–telling me about this eccentric, young kid who had made the Tigers’ pitching staff. “They […]

The Best Pitchers Who Never Threw A No-Hitter

July 21, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

The no-hitter remains one of the rarest feats in Major League Baseball as only 237 complete game no-hitters have been hurled since 1901 (roughly 1.5 no-hitters per year). Let’s examine a group of pitchers who have never twirled a no-no despite possessing excellent hits-to-innings pitched ratios. The register includes pitchers with Hall of Fame credentials, […]

Big Papi and the Iron Horse—Best World Series Performers Ever?

July 14, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

In 2016, David Ortiz may end up with the best season anyone has ever had as a 40-year old.  Papi is hitting .332 with 34 doubles, 22 home runs, and 72 RBIs.  His .426 OBP and .682 slugging percentage means that he has an OPS  of 1.107, which not only is the best in baseball, […]

Potential MLB Awards Names?

July 13, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Hey baseball fans! Yesterday, during the pre-game ceremonies of the 87th annual MLB All Star Game, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred officially announced that the AL and NL batting titles have been renamed after Rod Carew and Tony Gwynn, respectively, two of the best hitters in baseball history. This got me thinking: what other awards could […]

Offensive Production in the Major Leagues Continues to Increase

July 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Offensive production in major league baseball steadily declined after peaking in 2000.  It reached a low point in 2014 and showed an increase in 2015 followed by an even bigger increase in 2016. The numbers below illustrate key hitting and pitching statistics for the peak year of 2000 and the most recent four years.  The 2016 […]

Lazzari’s Vault: “All-Independence Day/All-Patriotic” Team

July 4, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

As we celebrate another year of our country’s independence this coming week, it’s time to present baseball’s all-time “All-Independence Day/All-Patriotic” team. I know, folks–TOO much time on my hands! 1B- Derek “Robert E.” Lee, Boog “General Colin” Powell, George “Boomer” Scott, Mike “Ezekiel” Jacobs, Dick “Ethan” Allen, Joe “Alexander” Hague 2B- John Kennedy, Ron Washington […]

What the First Half is Saying About the Second

July 3, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The first half is in the books. Can it be trusted? It has great legs and whispers sweet words to us, but is it telling us the truth about what will happen in the second half? The Washington Nationals have been down this road before as have we all. Best first half in team history […]

Astros Move Into Wild Card Contention in June

July 3, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The Houston Astros had their best month of the 2016 season in June with a record of 18-8, moving past the .500 mark into second place in the AL West Division.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that they lost ground to the first place Texas Rangers, falling 8 ½ games behind after […]

Ike Futch on Life in the 1960s Minor Leagues

July 2, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Two years ago, I interviewed Ike Futch, who played second base, mostly, for a variety of Yankee minor league teams from 1959 through 1964, about his experiences as a minor leaguer in the Yankee organization at the tail end of its long dynasty. Ike, after graduating high school in Louisiana, always hit .300+ while playing […]

When a Rain Delay Becomes Something Special

June 29, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

According to Marlins Man’s tweet at 2:08 a.m., there were 65 fans left at Yankee Stadium after last night’s rain delay.  Maybe because they dried out for three hours (the double meaning counts), but when Kirby Yates took the mound at 2:15 a.m. against the Rangers, the tired and true gathered behind the dugout and […]

Most Deserving All-Star Candidate From Each American League Team

June 28, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Most Deserving All-Star Candidate From Each Team: AL Edition   Baltimore: Manny Machado While Mark Trumbo is enjoying a bounce back season and currently leading the American League in homers, Manny Machado has been one of the best players in the MLB this season. He’s hitting .325, good for fourth in the American League, and […]

Lazzari’s Vault: Remembering Phil Rizzuto

June 27, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

Looking back, I’d have to say that Phil Rizzuto was the “voice” of my youth. It was the “Scooter’s” unmistakable, high-pitched voice that would be resounding throughout the steamy living room during those summers in the late 60’s when I first started following America’s pastime. Whether it was his trademark “Holy Cow!” (which, at times, […]

Who Is Adam Duvall, and Why Is He Suddenly a Big Deal?

June 22, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The trade deadline swap between the Reds and Giants last summer featured Mike Leake as the centerpiece, but it’s another player involved in the trade that ended up making it significant. Adam Duvall is tied for second in the Majors with 20 home runs and has been one of the lone bright spots on the […]

Forty Years Ago The Bird Had His Coming Out Party on a Monday Night

June 22, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Forty years. Does it seem that long? Not to those who witnessed it. They can remember the emotion–and fun–just like it was yesterday. June 28, 1976 Mark Fidrych, aka The Bird, had the biggest coming out party in the history of Monday Night Baseball. Fidrych was a local phenom in Detroit, but the rest of […]

Hardball Retrospective – 1915 Season Replay 

June 17, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

In “Hardball Retrospective: Evaluating Scouting and Development Outcomes for the Modern-Era Franchises”, I placed every ballplayer in the modern era (from 1901-present) on their original team. Therefore, Babe Ruth is listed on the Red Sox roster for the duration of his career while the Indians claim Ray Chapman and the Browns declare George Sisler. I […]

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