April 14, 2024

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The Vanishing Pinch-Hitter

March 30, 2024 · by · Leave a Comment 

Red Lucas Let’s start this essay with a FUN FACT: the Spanish term for pinch-hitter is bateador emergente, or emergency batter. Now there’s a phrase I’d like to see catch on in anglophone play-by-play accounts. It enhances the drama of the situation. I don’t think there are fewer emergencies in contemporary baseball than in ye olden times, but there are definitely fewer emergency batters. Once the National League adopted the designated hitter rule, it killed off the classic situation of a pinch-hitter coming to bat for a pitcher when a team needed offense. Now pinch-hitting is pretty much... [Read the full story]

General

Often Overlooked Johnny Mize Put Up Impressive Numbers

March 30, 2024 · by · Leave a Comment 

Ted Williams said, “Johnny Mize was one of baseball’s most outstanding hitters.” Indeed, Mize, a first baseman, was a feared slugger who clouted 369 homers and a compiled a career batting average of .312. He was the first player to knock 50 homers (51 in 1947) and strike out less than 50 times. The big, quiet Georgian led the National League in homers four times, batting average once, RBI three times and extra base hits four times. His .562 career slugging average is higher than that of Stan Musial, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle. He accomplished all this despite missing... [Read the full story]

Features

Gold Glove, Golden Memories: So long, Brooks

September 27, 2023 · by · Leave a Comment 

I have dreaded this day since I was old enough to truly appreciate the perspective that mortality brings. I just heard that Brooks Robinson has died. It must be true because something is gone inside of me. Maybe the last vestiges of childhood innocence that have hung around for these 66 years. Maybe the ultimate rejection of that fantasy that somehow Life will go back to the way it was, and once again we’ll be in the early morning of our hopes and dreams. Yes, this baseball player meant that much to a generation of Baltimoreans; a ballplayer about whom as Gordon Beard, a former AP sports writer... [Read the full story]

Hall of Fame

WAR and Win Shares and Charlie Blackmon

March 23, 2019 · by · 1 Comment 

It appears that WAR, in attempting to assign a single number to represent a player’s season, has a problem with fielding.   And the problem is not so much with the player’s defensive WAR score – but rather with trying to COMBINE this score with the offensive WAR.   A very good or very poor fielding score appears to seriously distort the player’s total WAR score. As an example, Matt Chapman had a great fielding season at third base in 2018 and his situation illustrates quite well why WAR does a relatively good job of evaluating his offensive value (oWAR) and his defensive value (dWAR)... [Read the full story]

Minors

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 league history was played nearly 61 years later at Principal Park on Saturday, June 14, 2008. With widespread flooding in central Iowa, the Iowa Cubs and Nashville Sounds played a Triple A Pacific Coast League game that drew an official attendance of zero. “The only other... [Read the full story]

General

Often Overlooked Johnny Mize Put Up Impressive Numbers

March 30, 2024 by

Ted Williams said, “Johnny Mize was one of baseball’s most outstanding hitters.” Indeed, Mize, a first baseman, was a feared slugger who clouted 369 homers and a compiled a career batting average of .312. He was the first player to knock 50 homers (51 in 1947) and strike out less than 50 times. The big, quiet Georgian led the National... Read more of this article


Walter Johnson’s Beanball Stymied Nemesis Home Run Baker

March 9, 2024 by

Frank “Home Run” Baker For nearly a decade, four-time home run champ Frank “Home Run” Baker and strikeout king Walter Johnson waged one of the most intense rivalries in the American League. From 1909 through 1913, the Philadelphia Athletics slugger dominated the Washington Senators fireballer. When Johnson was considered unhittable... Read more of this article


Uni-Cycling, Bi-Cycling, Tri-Cycling…And Beyond?

March 9, 2024 by

Bobby Veach At some point during the 2024 season, you might hear your hometown play-by-play announcer say, “He’s only a (single/double/triple/homer) away from the cycle.”  More than likely, it will be a triple, since that it is the least likely result of any plate appearance that results in a hit. If said hitter does complete the cycle, you can... Read more of this article


Magical History Tour: Of Beatles And Ballparks

February 3, 2024 by

A common Seamhead quest is to see a ballgame at every major league ballpark. Some attempt to do it in one season; others (myself included) take their time. And some aficionados sign up for those bus tours that promise eight ballparks in eight days; in other words, if it’s Tuesday, this must be Detroit. That’s a good way to check of a lot of boxes... Read more of this article


The 400 K Club

December 31, 2023 by

At the end of the 1965 season, Sandy Koufax, though just one year away from retirement, was riding high.  He led the National League in wins (26), ERA (2.04), and complete games (27) while setting a major league record with 382 strikeouts.  Less than a decade later (1973), Nolan Ryan astounded the baseball world by striking out 383 batters on his... Read more of this article


Major Managers in Minor League History

December 16, 2023 by

Every now and then we read about a scout, coach, or manager who is described as a baseball “lifer.”  Well, that word also applies to someone serving a life sentence in prison.  Read into that what you will. Being a lifer is better than being on death row, I guess.  Of course, organized baseball does not have a literal death sentence.  Nine men... Read more of this article


Texas League Spitballin’

November 21, 2023 by

James Patrick “Snipe” Conley Chances are you knew about spitballs long before you learned about baseball history.  Somewhere in elementary school – or maybe in preschool if you were a prodigy – you learned how to chew up wads of paper into soggy little balls which you could throw at someone else or the blackboard.  Eventually, you... Read more of this article


MLB Works to Incorporate Negro League Stats Into Record

November 7, 2023 by

“A committee of researchers and historians is working to ensure more than 3,400 Negro Leagues players from the relevant years and leagues receives that recognition in the official MLB statistical database maintained by the Elias Sports Bureau. It’s a detailed, demanding and difficult process — but one that recently received the organization... Read more of this article


The Grand Strand

October 9, 2023 by

Paul Strand went 6-2 with a 2.44 ERA for the Braves in 1914. Centennial years are a big deal.  When I was a teenager, they made a big deal about the Civil War Centennial.  The same was true several years ago when World War I “celebrated” its centennial.  And if we make it to 2041, I have no doubts that the 100th anniversary of Pearl Harbor will... Read more of this article


Gold Glove, Golden Memories: So long, Brooks

September 27, 2023 by

I have dreaded this day since I was old enough to truly appreciate the perspective that mortality brings. I just heard that Brooks Robinson has died. It must be true because something is gone inside of me. Maybe the last vestiges of childhood innocence that have hung around for these 66 years. Maybe the ultimate rejection of that fantasy that somehow... Read more of this article


More Posts From General

Features

Gold Glove, Golden Memories: So long, Brooks

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I have dreaded this day since I was old enough to truly appreciate the perspective... 


Cheap and Ugly in the Capitol

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Calvin Griffith (AP Photo/John Duricka )   Upon Googling: “Cheapest Baseball... 


Making the Game Fun Again

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As the season loomed large in the late winter months, a friend who had prepared a... 


Stories Over Stats

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While on our way to breakfast Saturday morning, the subject of former Oriole, now... 


Aaron Judge in a Nationals Uniform?

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No, I did not predict Josh Bell going to San Diego, but who did? In my defense, just... 


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Hall of Fame

WAR and Win Shares and Charlie Blackmon

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It appears that WAR, in attempting to assign a single number to represent a player’s... 


The BBWAA “Report Card” for the 21st Century

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The CAWS Career Gauge (CCG) has ranked all of the outstanding players of the modern... 


WAR and JAWS – Exaggerating Fielding Value

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In an earlier post, I pointed out that Matt Chapman’s WAR value for 2018 (8.2)... 


A Problem with WAR = Defensive Value

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My primary research interest has always been determining which players had the best... 


The Four CAWS HOF Benchmarks for Pitchers

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In a previous post re Koufax and Kershaw, I mentioned one of the benchmarks created... 


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Minors

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

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Minor league baseball a Des Moines, Iowa, staple at same location since 1947 Submitted... 


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

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Scouting is an integral part of professional baseball. Teams employ and send out... 


Suns’ First Pitch Thrown By Suns’ First Pitcher

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The Hagerstown Suns of the South Atlantic League asked the retiring sheriff of nearby... 


An Interview with Boston Red Sox Prospect Nick Longhi

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Growing up rooting for a baseball team, and striving to get into position to one... 


Carroll enjoys staying on his grind

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ROCHESTER, NY – More than a decade has passed since Brett Carroll roamed... 


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