May 5, 2016

Taking the Extra Base:  The Teams

May 4, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The following entry complements my preceding article, “Taking the Extra Base: The Players”. I will review my findings with respect to team baserunning outcomes. Inspired by the Texas Rangers chapter in the “Bill James Baseball Abstract 1984” entitled “Running The Bases” (pages 156-159), the following study uncovers the top base running teams in the past […]

Negro Leagues DB Update: 1940 NNL & NAL

April 25, 2016 by · 2 Comments 

After two years of relative stability, 1940 proved to be a difficult season for the Negro leagues, as the trickle of players defecting to Venezuela or (especially) Mexico became a flood. Many of black baseball’s biggest stars—Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell, Willard Brown, Leon Day—spent most or all of 1940 south of the border. Compounding […]

Knowing When You Have Reached the Promised Land

April 18, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

For forty years Washington Baseball wandered in the wilderness, maybe longer. Yet deliverance is upon us–the Washington Nationals have the best record in the early going of the 2016 season and the team as a whole is playing well. Are those who have suffered for so long ready for their own redemption? Rumors popped up in […]

Lazzari’s 2016 MLB Predictions

April 13, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Ahhh, yes, spring is in the air and it’s time for that annual crapshoot better known as baseball predictions. And if you ever come across a sportswriter/columnist who is EXTREMELY comfortable with his/her picks, then that scribe HASN’T been following the game long enough. Here’s how they MAY finish in 2016, my friends……… AL EAST […]

White Sox Opening Day: Snowflakes, Fistfights and Fault Lines

April 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The Chicago White Sox opened the 2016 season by winning three-of-four in Oakland due to great pitching, timely hitting, smart defense and a suspect opponent. The Sox then came home to Chicago’s South Side and were greeted by a winter blast which they only made worse with a woeful performance. The Sox looked cold in […]

When Past is Prologue and When it Ain’t

April 4, 2016 by · 2 Comments 

Watching the ESPN opening night game between the Royals and Mets, the conversation was understandably about whether the two teams would make the post-season again in 2016. The Mets have a great rotation, a lousy bullpen, and a lineup that is better than the one they began 2015 with. But was the second half of […]

Negro Leagues DB Update: 1939 NNL & NAL

March 21, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

This week we’re adding further results of our collaboration with the Negro League Researchers and Authors Group (Larry Lester and Wayne Stivers) with the unveiling of the 1939 Negro league season. We’ve got both leagues, the Negro National League and Negro American League, plus the postseason series. This represents the first NAL season we’ve done […]

Taking the Extra Base:  The Players

March 16, 2016 by · 3 Comments 

Stimulated by the Texas Rangers chapter in the “Bill James Baseball Abstract 1984” entitled “Running The Bases” (pages 156-159), the following study reveals the top base runners in the past 85 seasons (1930-2015) with respect to taking the extra base on a clean single.* I will post a companion article in the near future to […]

The Last Ride of Baseball’s Dalton Gang

March 11, 2016 by · 2 Comments 

According to history books, the outlaw Dalton Gang terrorized the old west for several years in the 1890s. Baseball had its own version of the Dalton Gang in the 1950s and early 1960s and–at least according to the oral legend passed down in dugouts, clubhouses and team buses–they were only slightly less terrorizing in their […]

Grapefruit League Tradition Shapes Florida Baseball History

March 3, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

One of the most popular annual rites of spring—watching big leaguers shake off the rust in spring training camps—is synonymous with Florida. Spring training in the Sunshine State can be traced back to a four-day camp held by the Washington Statesmen in Jacksonville in 1888, more than a century before major league teams came to […]

Saying Goodbye to Ian Desmond

February 29, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

When the news that Ian Desmond signed with Texas was announced in the Washington front office, there must have been cheering all round. He nets the Nationals a first round pick in the June Rule 4 draft, the nineteenth pick overall. There had been worry that Desmond might not sign until such date as it […]

Negro Leagues DB Update: 1918/19 Cuban League

February 17, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The 1918/19 Cuban winter season was the only time Tinti Molina’s Cuban Stars, normally a summertime traveling team in the United States, competed under that name for the regular Cuban League championship. (Molina would enter teams that were essentially his Cuban Stars in the league under different names: as the “White Sox” in 1916/17, and […]

Critiquing the 2016 Projections for the Washington Nationals

February 12, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

We are more than six weeks from the first official games of the 2016 season. Then, the day to day performance of players in the long grind of the season will determine what of these hot stove fantasies has any meaning whatsoever. No disrespect intended, but FanGraph’s “ZiPS” and “Steamer” projections are very handy to […]

Negro Leagues DB Update: 1925 ECL & NNL

February 3, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

In 1925 the Hilldale Club got its revenge on the Kansas City Monarchs, with the help of a toddler wielding a sewing needle. The year before, the Monarchs had ridden their luck to a thrilling 5 games to 4 victory in the first Colored World Series. In 1925 Hilldale won the ECL after a close […]

Baseball Greatness Was Forged on Sandlot Fields in Alabama

January 29, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The narrative of baseball’s origins centers on distant fields in New York and New Jersey, mythical tales of an army officer inspired to innovate in Cooperstown and other hard to pinpoint half-truths. But it seems baseball really came alive in the sandlot fields of Mobile and the unheralded mill towns around Birmingham, where determined boys […]

Negro Leagues DB Update: 1938 Negro National League

January 25, 2016 by · 2 Comments 

In 1938 the Homestead Grays solidified their dominance of the Negro National League. Winning both halves at a trot, Cumberland Posey’s powerhouse team had essentially killed off interest in the league by September. At the end of the season a playoff scheme involving the top four teams was introduced, but the Grays pulled their team […]

Monte Made a Mark: The Late, Great Monte Irvin and the Chance Occurrences That Make History

January 22, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

On Monday, January 11, Monford “Monte” Irvin, Negro League star, major league baseball pioneer, mentor to Willie Mays, and all-around class act, died at the age of 96. Monte lived a full life.  He was born in the South during the time of the “Great Migration” of more than a million African-Americans to the North, […]

Baseball’s Early Days Trace Back to New York

January 16, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

No state can claim a bigger share of baseball history than New York, starting with the belief that the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club of New York was the first organized baseball team. Fittingly, a player named Austin Knickerbocker (born in Bangall, N.Y.) made it to the majors, although he played just 21 games. Alexander Cartwright, […]

When Is Too Much Scott Boras, Too Much?

January 6, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

When the Washington Nationals sign Stephen Drew officially as their utility infielder, it will mean they currently have seven Scott Boras clients on their likely 25-man roster. That is 28 percent of all players or slightly more than one-in-four. Is it too much? For purposes of comparison, of the two World Series teams in 2015, […]

Rating the 2016 Hall of Fame Candidates Based on Win Shares

January 3, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

One of the first items of business in baseball each year is the announcement of players elected to the Hall of Fame.  This leads to lots of speculation and a little analysis prior to the announcement which is scheduled for January 6, 2016. Many systems exist for evaluating player performance.  One such system, the Win […]

5 Big Questions and Predictions for the 2016 Boston Red Sox

January 1, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

As the last notes of Auld Lang Syne evaporate into the atmosphere, and 2016 stretches its wings for the first time, the realization that spring training is mere weeks away starts to settle in. Although the Boston Red Sox made a significant splash this offseason to upgrade their roster after consecutive disappointing seasons, they are […]

Max Watt: The Boston Red Sox’s Power Pitching Prospect

December 27, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Scouting is an integral part of professional baseball. Teams employ and send out hundreds of employees tasked with finding the next great players. Although they monitor first-round draft talent, their bread and butter is trying to decipher the future of players who may not have quite as much polish. As a result, some come to […]

Selecting the All-Time Best Pitchers from Texas

December 18, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

When I set out to write a book that outlined all-time teams by player’s state of birth, I encountered a number of tough challenges. For example, who was the best Texas-born second baseman, Joe Morgan or Rogers Hornsby? I went back and forth a hundred times on that selection and ended up picking Morgan. I’d […]

The Sunday Notes: Frank Robinson Traded

December 13, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

As Major League Baseball clubs spend and trade this holiday season, preparing for 2016, this edition of the Notes looks back on a trade propelling the Baltimore Orioles to a championship and reviews something this week that never happened before. Although the Chicago Cubs backed up a bank vault for outfielder Jason Heyward, other teams wheeled […]

Unusual Names from the Baseball World

December 7, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

As Abbott and Costello would say, they sure give baseball players peculiar names nowadays. As I researched my book, Baseball State by State over a five-year period, I kept coming across players with unusual names. So I included many of them in the book, which devotes a chapter to each state and includes all-time teams […]

The Boston Red Sox: The Frugal Shopper’s Guide to Rebuilding the Rest of Their Bullpen

November 29, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The Boston Red Sox made an early splash this offseason, acquiring high-octane closer Craig Kimbrel from the San Diego Padres to anchor their bullpen. With the team coming off a last-place finish in the American League East, and a relief corps whose 4.24 ERA ranked 13th out of 15 teams, it’s a good bet there […]

Revisiting the Four Greatest Living: Are They Really the Greatest?

November 11, 2015 by · 8 Comments 

I’ll admit that I’m a sappy sentimentalist when it comes to seeing baseball’s old timers. Who could forget Ted Williams’ appearance at the 1999 All Star Game? And so I was looking forward to Major League Baseball’s presentation at this year’s All-Star Game of the Four Greatest Living Baseball players. Initially  I thought, “Great, we […]

Bob Lazzari’s 2015 MLB Awards

November 2, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Yes, it’s that time of the year, folks. As the Royals celebrate their championship and players head for their yachts and/or the golf course, let’s give out some MLB awards based on the 2015 regular season: *The FRANK SINATRA “ALL OR NOTHING AT ALL” Award: Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles. The man struck out […]

Baseball Monuments Unveiled for Rockford’s Forest City Team and Peaches Team and League

October 21, 2015 by · 1 Comment 

August 29, 2015 Rockford, Illinois celebrated the grand re-opening of Beyer Stadium Park, which was the home of the Rockford Peaches of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League from 1943 to 1954. But on this day, two of Rockford’s teams were honored, with hundreds in attendance. Mike Garrigan, an evening anchor at WIFR in Rockford […]

Pudge- The Biography of Carlton Fisk: A Review

October 18, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The number of baseball players who are synonymous with a play so famous that there is immediate recognition upon hearing their name is restricted to an elite group. All fans know Willie Mays’ catch or Babe Ruth’s called home run. However, it’s hard to argue there are any more well known than Carlton Fisk’s extra […]

An Open Letter to Jose Bautista

October 15, 2015 by · 14 Comments 

Dear Jose Bautista, Congratulations. No one has ever sullied a glorious moment faster than you did yesterday. You hurled that bat in the clincher over Texas as if someone had smeared it with pig waste, and then stared at Sam Dyson as if he was the one who did it. Oh, that was a monumental […]

Posnanski Plays Race Card in His Criticism of Baseball Hall of Fame’s Pre-Integration Committee

October 9, 2015 by · 2 Comments 

I have a daily Google Alert setup to receive emails on the phrase “hall of fame.” I get all kinds of hits. There are articles on the National Toy Hall of Fame, National Bobblehead Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, college and high school hall of fames as well as the major […]

Rob Manfred, Studied Contrast to Selig and “Smartest Man in Baseball”

September 29, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The sitting Baseball Commissioner, Rob Manfred, was the guest of Marvin Kalb at the National Press Club last night for the live airing of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) program, “The Kalb Report.” It was a fascinating fifty-five minutes of back-and-forth between the two men, and a lively Q&A followed. It was difficult not to […]

Reflections on Bud Selig, Competitive Balance, and How to Build the Best 21st Century Baseball Team

September 25, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Listening to Bud Selig is difficult and my heart goes out to the University of Wisconsin students who take his Baseball History class at Madison. Selig spoke last night on a program sponsored by the Smithsonian Museum Associates and organized by former Washington Senators and Redskins Announcer, Phil Hochberg. Listening to Selig was like watching […]

Yogi

September 23, 2015 by · 3 Comments 

September 23, 2015 Yogi Yogi Berra was not a baseball player.  He was an American treasure. Lawrence Peter Berra grew up in St. Louis, served in World War II, played on some of the best baseball teams of all time in the 1940s, 50s and 60s and was not just a Hall of Famer but […]

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