July 24, 2016

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, […]

Biggest Snubs from the 2016 All-Star Game

July 11, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

After the fans decided to elect Michael Saunders and Brandon Belt in the All-Star Final Vote, the American League and National League All-Star rosters were set. Saunders and Belt beat out four candidates from their respective leagues, but it’s safe to say the other Final Vote candidates were deserving of chances to play in the Midsummer […]

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 […]

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, […]

Bullpen Barbie Dolls

June 22, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The Washington Nationals pitching staff reminds me eerily of my daughters’ doll collections when they were very young.  They were lucky enough to have a collection of American Girl dolls.  Each one had a special place of reverence in their bedroom. Those were the starters. American Girl dolls came with distinctive names and back stories. […]

Fun Facts About Inside-the-Park Home Runs

June 8, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

One of the most exciting plays in baseball is the inside-the-park home run. The ITPHR is a rare event in today’s game due, primarily due to smaller field dimensions. It can involve a diving attempt at a fly ball that comes up just short, a collision between fielders, a ball that ricochets off the fence […]

Old Dogs and New Tricks in DC

June 5, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The season flies past like a train gathering speed as it leaves the station. The cold spring days are a memory and the ball is starting to carry in the early summer heat. Mookie Betts and Cory Seager are etching their names into the list of young sluggers to be taken seriously, but in Washington […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Strasburg Signing is a Twofer

May 12, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The recent road trip for the Washington Nationals is a microcosm of their season so far. They played ten games in three cities against teams that want to be in the playoff picture come late September. They won five and lost five, sweeping the Cardinals in St. Louis, beating the World Champion Royals in Kansas […]

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 · 5 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 […]

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