August 28, 2016

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 […]

Quit Blowing the Smoke and Fan the Flames

August 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s a funny game. The Washington Nationals are on pace to have one of their best seasons since baseball returned in 2005 and yet attendance is down.  Announcer J.P. Santangelo went off on the fans the other night for their complaints about the team. How can fans be so equivocal in their support for a […]

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 […]

What Happens with the DC Strangler in Rehab

June 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

On Sunday the Washington Nationals were behind to the Phillies 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning. The bases were loaded for Jayson Werth with two out and two strikes when he singled to center field to plate two runs for the walk-off win. Talking to MASN commentator Dan Kolko about what it had […]

Rule 4 Draft and Baseball on Television

June 11, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

One of my favorite MLB, Inc. events is the Rule 4 Amateur Draft and it is getting better all the time. There are no ratings for the 2016 event that I could find, but personally, I watched much more of the proceedings than any year previously–in case anyone is listening. The first round talent seemed […]

The Curious Case of Clay Buchholz

June 8, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Last week it was announced that longtime Red Sox mainstay and two-time all-star Clay Buchholz would move to the bullpen after a dreadful start to the 2016 season. While Buchholz will likely be a frontrunner to fill the rotation spot left after the demotion of fellow struggling starter Joe Kelly, the move should be a […]

Getting a ‘Bum’ Rap

June 6, 2016 by · 2 Comments 

In 2014, Madison Bumgarner piqued the interest of baseball fans when he told reporters he wanted to participate in the Home Run Derby. In baseball’s greatest spectacle of power, the idea of letting a pitcher participate may seem like a novelty. But Bumgarner has compiled a legitimately impressive power resume, and if the time has […]

How Many 20-Game Winners will there be in 2016?

June 5, 2016 by · 2 Comments 

Much has been said in recent weeks about Clayton Kershaw’s impressive start in 2016. And deservedly so, as he has an 8-1 record, 1.46 ERA, 0.65 WHIP, and 109 strikeouts and only 6 walks in 92.7 IP. But beyond Kershaw, there seem to be a lot of pitchers having outstanding seasons so far. As we […]

Astros Show Some Life in Late May

June 5, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

After treading water for most of May with a 10-11 record, The Houston Astros came to life by winning 7 of 8 games for the rest of the month. The streak was kicked off by a 3-game sweep in Houston against the Baltimore Orioles when the Astro pitchers struck out a record 52 batters in […]

The Pirates Can Contend in 2016, but Only If…

May 30, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The Pittsburgh Pirates, the team I chose as my favorite when I was a six-year old in 1979, have finally become a consistently good team these past few years. They’ve not been able to get to the World Series, and 2016 could be more of the same — since the National League has no shortage […]

Reviewing the Pete Rose Literature

May 25, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Pete Rose frequently said that he wrote more books than he read and that is probably true. He has had more major release books published than any baseball player of his era. With Cincinnati fans looking forward to the return of their prodigal son–for induction into the team’s Hall of Fame–this summer, I thought this […]

Strasburg’s Emergence Worth the Wait?

May 22, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

There were a half dozen TV trucks outside the Altoona Curve’s stadium, all aiming their signal at the stars. The stands were packed and all the attention was focused on the first of the “Once in a Lifetime” talents the Washington Nationals signed after wandering in the desert for three seasons. Stephen Strasburg was hyped […]

A-Hunting We Did Go

May 18, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

It was a cold, gray Saturday afternoon on the South Side, not a good day for a ballgame, and that was just as well because the White Sox were in New York. The game was being shown on the TVs scattered about the picnic area beneath the outfield of U.S. Cellular Field as Sox fans […]

Lazzari’s Vault: Remembering “Rapid Robert”

May 16, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The numbers are staggering: 266 victories, over 3,800 innings pitched, 279 complete games, twelve one-hitters—all while missing nearly four seasons due to military service. Oh, he was also a World War II hero (gun captain on the USS Alabama), World Series champion, and an eventual baseball Hall of Famer. When I first heard about the […]

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