March 20, 2019

The Promising Life and Tragic Death of Austin McHenry

March 17, 2019 by · 17 Comments 

(Editor’s Note: The following was originally posted on November 30, 2008.) By the time he was 25 years old, St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Austin McHenry was considered one of baseball’s best outfielders and hitters, especially after enjoying a 1921 season that saw him finish with a .350 batting average, second only to teammate and future […]

The BBWAA “Report Card” for the 21st Century

March 8, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

The CAWS Career Gauge (CCG) has ranked all of the outstanding players of the modern era (since 1920) according to the numbers that they produced on the field.  (CAWS is an acronym for Career Assessment/Win Shares.)   In addition, the CCG has also created a series of benchmarks to determine whether a player seems to have […]

How Has Bryce Harper’s Contract Impacted Mookie Betts’ Quest for a New Deal?

March 2, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

The recent signing of free-agent outfielder Bryce Harper to a record-breaking 13-year, $330 million contract by the Philadelphia Phillies sent shock waves across baseball. Although the star slugger will continue making his home in the National League, the deal may have a surprising impact on the Boston Red Sox—specifically in their pursuit to retain their […]

ESTIMATING PARK FACTORS FOR THE NEGRO LEAGUES

February 28, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Most serious baseball fans understand that ballparks can have a large impact on statistical performance. However, trying to measure that exact impact often proves difficult. In work we’ve done on Major League ballparks at Seamheads.com, it takes about three full years of data, regressed by about one additional season worth of games, to get a […]

How a Runaway Taxi Temporarily Saved Casey Stengel’s Managing Job

February 25, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Before he became the legendary skipper of the New York Yankees, winning 10 pennants and seven World Series, Casey Stengel was a pretty good outfielder for 14 big league seasons and a second division manager for the Brooklyn Dodgers and Boston Braves. So uninspiring was his leadership of the Braves, that in 1943 he missed more than […]

The “technically …not” Hall of Fame

February 14, 2019 by · 5 Comments 

In 2006, a Baseball Hall of Fame Special Committee on Negro Leagues, made up primarily of expert blackball scholars, elected 17 Negro Leaguers to the Hall of Fame, almost doubling the total number of players and executives whose careers were primarily in the Negro Leagues from 18 to 35. If we use Sol White and […]

Koufax and Kershaw and the Hall of Fame

February 12, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Consider a pitcher who recorded the following distinctions during his career: Won the Cy Young Award three times Won the ERA title five times Was an All Star seven times Was voted MVP (Most Valuable Player) Sandy Koufax did all of these things in twelve seasons in the major leagues with the Dodgers.   And, of […]

THE BALLPARK CHRONICLES

February 7, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Soon a new version of the classic ballpark book “Green Cathedrals” will be issued by SABR (Society for American Baseball Research). After having researched over 400 specific Blackball parks for the updated book, here are a few interesting ballpark facts I discovered. Philadelphia Mysteries Pencoyd Park was the home of the 1928 Philadelphia Tigers of […]

Baseball Hall of Fame Voting Peculiarities of the Past

February 3, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

The 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame election results were recently announced, with Mariano Rivera, Mike Mussina and Edgar Martinez all receiving the requisite number of votes. In particular, Rivera gained national headlines by becoming the first person to be named on 100 percent of the ballots that were cast. While he was a wonderful pitcher and completely deserving of the honor it […]

Chalmer “Bill” Cissell: The $123,000 Lemon

January 14, 2019 by · 5 Comments 

(Editor’s Note: The following first appeared on this site on October 27, 2009 and an abridged version appears in Baseball’s Untold History: The People) Twenty-four-year-old shortstop Chalmer “Bill” Cissell was so highly regarded by scout Danny Long in 1927 that he convinced White Sox owner Charles Comiskey to send what was estimated to be a […]

Negro League DB Update: 1927 Eastern Colored League

December 23, 2018 by · 2 Comments 

Having brought our coverage of Negro league statistics forward to 1948, we are now going back to fill in the missing seasons from the late 1920s and early 1930s. First up is the 1927 Eastern Colored League, along with the Negro League World Series that year. The 1927 ECL opened with the same seven teams […]

“Rooftop Ruppert” Jones and His 12-Year Ride in Major League Baseball

December 11, 2018 by · 1 Comment 

Ruppert Jones has one of the coolest nicknames in baseball history; “Rooftop Ruppert.” This was due to his proclivity in hitting tape measure home runs in Tiger Stadium during his lone season with the Detroit Tigers in 1984. However, this is just one part of a greater 12-year major league career enjoyed by the former outfielder. […]

Negro Leagues Database Update: East-West All-Star Games Added

November 28, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

We have now added 22 new games to the Negro Leagues Database – the 16 East-West All-Star games played annually at Comiskey Park in Chicago from 1933 through 1948, plus 6 ‘second all-star games’ that were played at various eastern ballparks (two at the Polo Grounds, two at Yankee Stadium, one at Griffith Stadium and […]

“Field of Dreams” is Still a Heavenly Movie…Even if Isn’t Always Faithful to Its Source Material

November 24, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Okay, so you know the real “Shoeless” Joe Jackson batted lefty and threw righty, but that Ray Liotta bats right-handed and throws with his left in Field of Dreams. And that he was semi-illiterate, rather than the raconteur Liotta played him as. Okay, so you know that the real Archie “Moonlight” Graham died in 1965—making […]

Vance Law Discusses His Life In Baseball

November 14, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Vance Law had access to big league baseball that most kids can only dream about. His father Vern had a 16-year major league career as a star pitcher. Not surprisingly, Vance went into the family business and his in the midst of a 40-year (and still going) baseball career. Vance has an 11-year career (1980-1991) playing in the […]

Negro Leagues DB Update: 1948 NAL & NNL

October 17, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

The latest addition to the Seamheads Negro Leagues DB encompasses the 1948 Negro American League, Negro National League, and World Series. This was the last season for the NNL, which ceased operations in 1949 as the Homestead Grays and Black Yankees dropped out, and the four remaining teams joined the Negro American League. It was […]

Lenny DiNardo: Memorable Boston Red Sox Pitcher Recalls His Career

October 8, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Making it to the major leagues is tough enough on its own. Breaking through to baseball’s highest level and becoming part of a historically memorable team is even rarer. Left-handed pitcher Lenny DiNardo had a 94-game big league career, but he stretched it out over the course of six seasons. He also played a pivotal role on […]

Negro Leagues DB Update: 1901 Cuban League

September 25, 2018 by · 1 Comment 

Our newest addition to the DB is the 1901 Cuban League. This is another product of our collaboration with Negroleagueshistory.com, based on research in 1899-1901 Cuban sports newspapers from the collections of Jay Caldwell and Ryan Christoff. The 1901 season was the second year of integrated pro baseball in Cuba. After San Francisco’s shock pennant […]

Help Select a Negro Leagues Centennial Team!

September 16, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

From my friend Jay Caldwell at NegroLeaguesHistory.com: The Centennial of the founding of the Negro National League will be upon us before you know it—February 13, 2020. Among the ways we are planning to commemorate this occasion is by honoring a Negro Leagues Centennial Team with a BOBBLEHEAD of each player. You can help us. […]

Greg Litton: Baseball’s Mr. Versatile

September 14, 2018 by · 1 Comment 

When discussing baseball prospects, versatility is not a skill that rises to the top. People want to know how fast someone can throw or how much powers they have more than whether they can do a lot of little things. However, this ability has served some players well and allowed them to have productive careers in […]

From the Archives: “The Mysterious Floating Sensation”

August 12, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

The following was originally posted on October 6, 2008 and an abridged version appears in Baseball’s Untold History: The Wild Side published by Summer Game Books in 2017. Did he or didn’t he? That’s the question. Eddie Cicotte is widely recognized as the inventor of the knuckleball, earning his nickname “Knuckles” around 1908, his first […]

Negro Leagues DB Update: 1900 Cuban League

July 30, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

This week, as part of our collaboration with Jay Caldwell and Negroleagueshistory.com, we present statistics gleaned from box scores printed in Cuban baseball newspapers (supplied both by Jay and by Ryan Christoff) for the historic 1900 Cuban baseball season. This includes: 1) The Cuban X-Giants’ tour in Cuba in the spring of 1900, during which […]

Baseball Pioneers: True Stories of Guts and Glory as Told by Pioneering Men and Women of the Game- A Review

July 23, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Baseball history hounds can never satiate their appetite for digging in deep and uncovering myriad layers of the game that fascinates them much like an Indiana Jones treasure hunt. The stories, the perspectives and the connections are endless… Endlessly fascinating. Another volume that has weighed in with some additional work is The Sweet Spot Presents […]

Principal Park: Despite City’s Size, Ballpark Has Big Impact

June 30, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Minor league baseball a Des Moines, Iowa, staple at same location since 1947 Submitted by Steve Dunn Located at the confluence of the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers in Des Moines, Iowa, Principal Park and its two predecessors have hosted professional baseball since Friday, June 20, 1947. One of the more unique games in minor […]

Negro Leagues DB Update: 1947 NNL & NAL

June 17, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

We’re pleased to announce the addition of the 1947 Negro leagues to the DB. In that year history continued to bear down on the NNL & NAL. Josh Gibson tragically died in January. Jackie Robinson debuted for the Dodgers in April, and by mid-season other big league clubs were sniffing around the Negro leagues for […]

Former Pitcher Russ Ortiz Recalls His Baseball Career

June 15, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Pitching is one of the most difficult endeavors in baseball. It was particularly daunting in the early 2000s, as offenses were operating at high-octane levels. That makes the career of Russ Ortiz all the more impressive, as the right-hander won 99 games in one six-year stretch on his way to a wildly successful 12-year major […]

Negro Leagues DB Update: 1938 Negro American League

June 4, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

We’ve added the 1938 Negro American League to the database, meaning that we now have every major Negro league from 1933 through 1946—with 1947 coming soon. In 1938 the NAL’s center of gravity moved decisively to the South. The Cincinnati Tigers, St. Louis Stars, and Detroit Stars all folded—while two new clubs in the South […]

Jacob deGrom’s Record-Pace Bad Luck

May 31, 2018 by · 2 Comments 

Any Mets fan can tell you what a brutal season Jacob deGrom has had, though it might appear quite unlikely to the outsider. Look at his stats, after all: a 4-0 record, 1.52 ERA, 85 strikeouts and just 47 hits in 65 1/3 innings. That should put him on a pace to contend for the […]

Bill Sampen: Pitcher Recalls Successful Career with Montreal Expos

May 28, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Although major league baseball has been gone from Montreal for over a decade now, the legacy of the game remains vibrant there. Fans have to rely on memories instead of being able to root for a team able to make new ones. Fortunately, there are ample fond recollections and players from  the past. Among them […]

Long-Term Battery Combinations

April 24, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Submitted by Howard Johnson The most comforting words that can be heard by any hard-core fan of professional baseball is the annual mid-winter pronouncement that “Pitchers and catchers will report on ….” Given those are the two positions involved on every pitch of every game, each performs within the confines of a space rigorously defined […]

Staking a Claim To Failure

April 9, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Any baseball person concedes that you can’t tell much from the first ten days of the season. You do spot some things, like the starting lineups and pitching rotations, a few notable debuts, some happy returns, but nothing terribly conclusive. Every player is “on a pace” to do something miraculously spectacular or spectacularly horrible, and […]

Chance Sisco’s Violation of One of Baseball’s Dumbest (Unwritten) Rules

April 2, 2018 by · 4 Comments 

The 2018 major league baseball season is not even a week old and there is already a strong candidate for the dumbest story of the year. With his team trailing 7-0 in the ninth inning on April 1st, Baltimore Orioles’ rookie catcher Chance Sisco laid down a bunt for a single against a shift employed by the […]

The Party No One Came To

March 15, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Tom Boswell had a fascinating column in this morning’s Washington Post examining whether Bryce Harper will get his $400 million, 10-year contract that has been the talk of baseball punditry for the past few years. The gist of it is that the current parameters of MLB contracts are exerting a downward pressure on salaries. Ask […]

Jackie Robinson: Revisiting an Interview With a Baseball and Civil Rights Legend

March 2, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

The age of the internet is a blessing in that it allows for the preservation of so many primary sources—the collection of video, audio and written materials from our past. This is particularly important to baseball history, where there is so much to keep track of. On April 14, 1957, legendary player and civil rights […]

History of a St. Louis Baseball Franchise: The St. Louis Stars

February 27, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

St. Louis Stars The St. Louis Stars were born when Richard William Kent, Sam Sheppard, Dr. J. W. “George” McClelland and Dr. G. B. Keys purchased the NNL St. Louis Giants franchise after the 1921 season. Dick Kent was a very successful businessman, who went from being a shoe shine boy to a real estate […]

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