Ten Reasons Why I Love Baseball

I’m currently on a road trip – helping my daughter and son-in-law move to Davis, California – so new posts are less frequent.  BBRT will be back in full swing in early December (or sooner). In the meantime, here’s an encore presentation of the first words I wrote for this page – a look at why I love baseball (and why BBRT exists). Hope you like it!


1.  Baseball comes along every spring,  accompanied by sunshine and optimism.

Baseball is the harbinger of better times.  It signifies the end of winter (not a small thing if you’re from Minnesota like BBRT) and the coming of spring, a season of rebirth, new life and abundant optimism.   Each season, you start with a clean slate.   Last year’s successes can still be savored, but last year’s failures can be set aside (although rival fans may try to refresh your memory), replaced by hope and anticipation.   On Opening Day, in our hearts, we can all be in contention.

 2.  The pace of the game invites contemplation.

Between innings, between batters or pitchers, and even between pitches, baseball leaves us time to contemplate what just occurred, speculate on what might happen next and even share those thoughts with nearby spectators.  Baseball is indeed a thinking person’s game.

3.  Baseball is timeless and, ultimately, fair in the offering of opportunity.

The clock doesn’t run out.  There is no coin flip to determine who gets the ball first in sudden death overtime.  No matter what the score, your team gets its 27 outs and an equal opportunity to secure victory.  What could be more fair?   And then there is the prospect of endless “extra” innings, bonus baseball for FREE.

4.  Plays and players are distinct (in space and time).

Baseball, while a game of inches, is also a game of considerable space.   The players are not gathered along an offensive line or elbow-to-elbow under a basket. They are widely spaced, each with his own area of responsibility and each acting (as part of a continuing play) in their own time frame.  (The first baseman can’t catch the ball, for example, until after the shortstop throws it.)   This enable fans to follow, understand  and analyze each play (maybe not always accurately) in detail.   And, baseball’s distinct spacing and timing makes it possible to see the game even when you are not there.  A lot of people grinned at President Gerald Ford’s comment that he “watched a lot of baseball on the radio.”  In my view, he was spot on.  You can see baseball on the radio – you can create a “visual” of the game in your mind with minimal description.    That’s why on summer nights, in parks, backyards and garages across the country, you’ll find radios tuned to the national past time.

 5. The scorecard.

Can there be anything more satisfying than keeping an accurate scorecard at the ball park?  It serves so many purposes.  The keeping of a scorecard ensures your attention to the happenings on the field.  Maintaining the score card also makes you, in a way understandable only to fellow fans, more a part of the game.   That magical combination of names, numbers and symbols also enables you to go back and check the progress of the game at any time.  “Oh, Johnson’s up next.  He’s walked and grounded out twice.”  It’s also a conversation starter, when the fan in the row behind you asks, “How many strikeouts does Ryan have today?”   And, it leaves you (if you choose to keep it) with a permanent record of the game, allowing you to replay it in your mind (or share it with others) at will.  Ultimately, a well-kept score card enhances the game experience and offers a true post-game sense of accomplishment.

6.  The long season.

Baseball, so many have pointed out, is a marathon rather than a sprint.  It’s a long season with ample opportunity to prove yourself and lots of chances to redeem yourself.  For fans, the long season also represents a test of your passion for the game.  Endurance is part of the nature of the true baseball fan.  And, and in the end, the rigors of a 162-game season prove your mettle and that of your team.   Not only that, but like a true friend … baseball is there for you every day.

 7.  Baseball invites, encourages, even demands , conversation.

Reason number two hinted at the importance of conversation, noting that the pace of the game offers time to contemplate the action (past and future) and share those thoughts with others.   I love that about the game, but I also love the fact that whenever baseball fans gather, their passion comes out in conversation – and they find plenty to talk about:

  •  Statistics,  statistics, statistics.  Baseball and its fans will count anything.  Did you know that Yankee Jim Bouton’s hat flew off 37 times in his 2-1, complete-game victory over the Cardinals in game three of the 1964 World Series?  More seriously, statistics are part of a common language and shared passion that bring baseball fans together in spirited conversation.  As best-selling author Pat Conroy observed “Baseball fans love numbers.  They love to swirl them around in their mouths like Bordeaux wine.”  I agree, to the fan, statistics are intoxicating.
  • Stories, stories, stories.  Baseball and its fans celebrate the game’s history.  And, I’m not talking just about statistics.  I’m talking about the stories that give this great game color, character and characters.  Ty Cobb sharpening his spikes on the dugout steps, Babe Ruth’s called shot, Louis Tiant’s wind-up, Willie Mays’ basket catch, Dock Ellis’s LSD-fueled no-hitter.
  • Trivia, trivia, trivia.  This may fall close to the “stories, stories , stories” category, but fans cherish the trivia that surrounds our national past time – whether that trivia is iconic or ironic.  For example, it’s ironic that the iconic Babe Ruth holds the best winning percentage against the Yankees of any pitcher with 15 or more decision against them (17-5, .773).

Basically, I took a long time to say I love the fact that baseball fans will talk with passion about something that happened in today’s game, yesterday’s game, over time or even in a game that took place on August 4, 1947.  And, as a bonus, all this conversation – all the statistics, stories and trivia – make the games, moments within the games and the characters of the game (heroes, goats and mere participants) as timeless as baseball itself.

 8.  The box score. 

BBRT editor’s  mother used to refer to an accordion as “an orchestra in a box.”  That’s how I view the daily box score – the symphony of a game recorded in a space one-column wide by four inches deep.   Some would say the box score reduces the game to statistics, I would say it elevates the game to history.  What do you want to know about the contest?   Who played where, when?  At bats, hits, stolen bases, strikeouts, errors, caught stealing, time, attendance, even the umpires’ names?   It’s all there and more – so much information, captured for baseball fans in a compact and orderly space.  I am, of course, dating myself here, but during baseball season, the morning newspaper, through its box scores, is a treasure trove of information for baseball fans.

 9. The irony of a team game made up of individual performances.

While baseball and baseball fans live for individual statistics and, while the spacing of the players drives individual accountability, the game is, ironically, deeply dependent on the concept of “team.”

Consider the offense.  Unlike other sports , where you can deliver victory by giving the ball or puck – time and time again (particularly as the clock runs down) –  to your best runner, skater, receiver or shooter, in baseball, your line-up determines who will be “on the spot” and at the plate when the game is on the line.  It may be your .220-hitting second basemen, rather than your .320-hitting outfielder.  Yet, even as the team depends on the hitter, he is totally alone in his individual battle with the pitcher.  And, achieving individual statistics that signify exceptional performance also demands a sense of team.  You don’t score 100 runs without a team mate to drive you in (although the statistic remains your measure of performance) …  and, you don’t drive in 100 runs if no one gets on base in front of you.   And, can you think of any other sport that keeps track of – and honors – the team-oriented “sacrifice.”

On defense, the story is the same.  A ground ball pitcher, for example, needs a good infield behind him to optimize his statistical presence in the “win” column.  And the six-four-three double play requires masterful teamwork as well as individual performance –  duly recorded in the record books as an assist for the shortstop, a putout and an assist for the second baseman and a put out for the first baseman.  Then there is the outfield assist – a perfect throw from a right fielder to nail a runner at third earns an assist – even if the third baseman drops the ball and earns an error.  Two individual results (one good / one bad) highlighted, but without the necessary team work – a good play on both ends – a negative outcome in terms of the game.

Ultimately, baseball is a game of individual accomplishments that must be connected by the thread of “team” to produce a positive outcome.

10. Baseball’s assault on the senses.  (Indoor ballparks fall a bit short here).

The sight of a blue sky and bright sun above the ballpark or a full moon over a black sky above a well-lit stadium.  The feel of the warm sun or a crisp evening breeze.  The scent of freshly mowed grass or steaming hot dogs.  The taste of cold beer and peanuts.  The sound of the crack of the bat, the cheers (or moans) of the crowd, the musical pitch of the vendors.  Baseball assaults all the senses ―  in  a good way.

Now, I could go on and on, there are lots more reasons to love this game: its combination of conformity (all infields are laid out the same) and individualism (outfield configurations not so much); its contributions to culture (literature and movies); its strategy (hit-and-run, run-and-hit, sacrifice bunts, infield / outfield positioning, pitching changes, etc.); triples; the 6-4-3 double play; knuckleballs; and more.  But to protect myself – and BBRT’s readers – I’ve limited myself to ten.   I probably could have saved a lot of time and words  had I just started with this so-perfect comment from sportscaster Bryant Gumbel, “The other sports are just sports.  Baseball is love.”  That says it all.

Do you have some reasons of your own for loving baseball?  Or something to add to these observations?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

photo by: jbrownell

Kershaw in Good Company – 22 Pitchers have Won MVPs

Clayton Kershaw - 22nd hurlr to win a league MVP Award.

Clayton Kershaw – 22nd hurlr to win a league MVP Award.

In Baseball we count everything, so – with Clayton Kershaw’s recent MVP recognition –  it’s appropriate to note that Kershaw set a new mark for the fewest games appeared in by a league MVP at 27. The previous mark was 30 games – by the Yankees’ Spud Chandler in 1943.  Like Kershaw, Chandler led his league in victories, earned run average, won/lost percentage and complete games.  (Chandler also led in shutouts.)

As always, there was some controversy over a pitcher winning the MVP – particularly a pitcher that (due to injury) started only 27 games.  There is however, plenty of precedence for a pitcher to be recognized as a league’s Most Valuable Player.  Kershaw, in fact, is the twenty-second pitcher to capture a league Most Valuable Player Award (denoted at different times as the MVP Award, League Award or Chalmers Award). With Walter Johnson (1913, 1924), Carl Hubbell (1933, 1936) and Hal Newhouser (1944, 1945) each winning the MVP award twice, a total of 25 MVP Awards have gone pitchers.

A complete list of pitchers earning the MVP follows, but here’s a few tidbits of info about pitchers and MVP Awards.

  • Of the 25 MVP awards won by pitchers, only four went to relievers: Jim Konstanty (Phillies, 1950); Rollie Fingers (Brewers, 1981); Willie Hernandez (Tigers, 1984); Dennis Eckersley (A’s, 1992).
  • The MVP has been awarded to a pitcher in the AL fourteen times and the NL eleven.
  • Sixteen of the twenty-five MVP winning seasons have been put up by right handers.
  • Nine of the 22 pitchers with MVP Awards are in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
  • Wins seem the most critical factors in a pitcher’s ability to capture an MVP Award. Nineteen of the award-winning seasons saw the honored hurler leading the league in victories. Factor out the four MVP Awards that went to relievers and 90 percent of the “starter-winners” led their league in victories. Next was ERA leadership (16), followed by strikeouts and winning percentage (both at 11).
  • The Tigers’ Hal Newhouser is the only pitcher to win consecutive MVP Awards (1944, 1945). His combined record for the two seasons was 54-18, with a 2.01 ERA, 54 complete games and fourteen shutouts. Over the two seasons, he appeared in 87 games (70 starts), pitched 625 2/3 innings and even threw in four saves.
  • The MVP winners in both leagues were pitchers in two seasons: 1924 (Walter Johnson, Senators and Dazzy Vance, Dodgers) and 1968 (Denny McLain, Tigers and Bob Gibson, Cardinals).
  • Pitchers captured at least one league MVP in four consecutive seasons from 1942-45.
  • The fewest appearances (as noted earlier) by a pitcher MVP winner is 27 (Clayton Kershaw, 2014). The most is 80 (The Tigers’ Willie Hernandez, 1984).

Pitchers winning the BBWAA MVP Award (presented 1931-present)

*Denotes relief pitcher

2014 - Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Dodgers

21-3/1.77 ERA … Led NL in wins (21), ERA (1.77), W/L percentage (.875), complete games (6).

2011 – Justin Verlander, RHP, Tigers

24-5/2.40 ERA … Led AL in wins (24), W/L percentage (.828), ERA (2.40), games started (34), innings pitched (251), strikeouts (250).

1992 – Dennis Eckersley, RHP*, Athletics

7-1/51 saves/1.91 ERA … Led AL in saves (51). Allowed six walks versus 93 strikeouts in 80 innings.

1986 - Roger Clemens, RHP, Red Sox

24-4/2.48 ERA …. Led AL in wins (24), W/L percentage (.857), ERA (2.48).

1984 - Willie Hernandez, RHP*, Tigers

9-3/32 saves/1.92 ERA … Led AL in games pitched (80). Allowed eight walks versus 112 strikeouts in 140 1/3 innings.

1981 – Rollie Fingers, RHP*, Brewers

6-3/28 saves/1.04 ERA … Led AL in saves (28). Allowed five walks versus 61 strikeouts in 78 innings.

1971 – Vida Blue, LHP, Athletics

24-8/1.82 ERA … Led AL in ERA (1.82), shutouts (8).

1968

Denny McLain, RHP, Tigers

31-6, 1.96 ERA … Led AL in wins (31), starts (41), complete games (28), innings pitched (336).

Bob Gibson, RHP, Cardinals

22-9/1.12 ERA … Led NL in ERA (1.12), shutouts (13), strikeouts 268.

1963 – Sandy Koufax, LHP, Dodgers

25-5/1.88 ERA … Led NL in wins (25), ERA (1.88), shutouts (11), strikeouts (306).

1956 – Don Newcombe, RHP, Dodgers

27-7/3.06 … Led NL in wins (27), W/L percentage (.794).

1952 – Bobby Shantz, LHP, Athletics

24-7/2.48 ERA … Led AL in wins (24), W/L percentage (.774).

1950 – Jim Konstanty, RHP*, Phillies

16-7/2.66 ERA … Led NL in games (74), saves (22).

1945 – Hal Newhouser, LHP, Tigers

25-9/1.81 ERA … Led AL in wins (25), ERA (1.81), starts (36), complete games (29) shutouts (8), innings pitched 313 1/3, strikeouts (212).

1944 – Hal Newhouser, LHP, Tigers

29-9/2.22 ERA … Led AL in wins (29), strikeouts (187).

1943 - Spud Chandler, RHP, Yankees

20-4/1.64 ERA … Led AL in wins (20), W/L percentage (.833), ERA (1.64), complete games (20), shutouts (5).

1942 – Mort Cooper, RHP, Cardinals

22-7/1.78 ERA … Led NL in wins (22), ERA (1.78), shutouts (10).

1939 – Bucky Walters, RHP, Reds

27-11/2.29 ERA … Led NL in wins (27), ERA (2.29), starts (36), complete games (31), innings pitched (319), strikeouts (137).

1936 – Carl Hubbell, LHP, Giants

26-6/2.31 ERA … Led NL in wins (26), ERA (2.31), W/L percentage (.813).

1934 – Dizzy Dean, RHP, Cardinals

30-7/2.66 ERA… Led the NL in wins (30), W/L percentage (.811), strikeouts (195).

1933 - Carl Hubbell, LHP, Giants

23-12/1.66 ERA … Led the NL in wins (23), ERA (1.66), shutouts (10), innings pitched (308 2/3).

1931 – Lefty Grove, LHP, Athletics

31-4/2.06 ERA … Led AL in wins (31), ERA (2.06), W/L percentage (.886), complete games (27), shutouts (4), strikeouts (175).

League Award (presented 1922-29)

1924

Dazzy Vance, RHP, Dodgers

28-6/2.16 ERA … Led NL in (wins 28), ERA (2.16), complete games (30), strikeouts (262).

Walter Johnson, RHP, Senators

23-7/2.72 ERA … Led AL in wins (23), ERA (2.72), W/L percentage (.767), starts (38), shutouts (6), strikeouts (158).

 

Chalmers Award (presented1911-14)

1913 - Walter Johnson, RHP, Senators

36-7/1.14 ERA … Led the AL in wins (36), ERA (1.14), W/L percentage (.837), complete games (29), shutouts (11), innings pitched (346), strikeouts (243).

 

I tweet baseball @DavidBBRT

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MLB Players to Win a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger in the Same Season

Adrian Gonzalez - only player to earn a Gold Glove AND a Silver Slugger in 2014.

Adrian Gonzalez – only player to earn a Gold Glove AND a Silver Slugger in 2014.

The 2014 Rawlings Golden Glove and (Hillerich and Bradsby) Silver Slugger Awards – honoring the best defensive and offensive  players in each league at each position are on the books – and Dodgers’ first baseman Adrian Gonzalez was the only player to capture both a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger for this past season.  The 2014 season, in fact, marks the first time (since 1980, when the Silver Sluggers were first awarded) that only one player has earned both a Silver Slugger and Gold Glove in the same campaign. Note:  The Gold Glove award was established in 1957.

Since 1980, the combination of a Gold Glove/Silver Slugger has been achieved 169 times by 90 different players.  You’ll find a complete list of the players who have earned recognition as the offensive and defensive leader in their respective leagues at the end of this post. Since the Silver Slugger is awarded to three outfielders annually regardless of their position (LF, CF, RF), the lists in this post do not break outfielders out by position.  Before, we take a look at the full list, here are few SS/GG combination “factoids.”

 

  • Ivan Rodriguez (C), Ken Griffey, Jr. (OF) and Barry Bonds (OF) have each won the double (Silver Slugger/Gold Glove) crown in a season an MLB-record seven times.
  • Ivan Rodriguez won the SS/GG combo for his position a record six consecutive seasons (1995-1999).
  • Roberto Alomar (2B) is the only player to win the single-season Gold Glove/Silver Slugger combo with three different teams (Blue Jays-1992; Orioles-1996; Indians-1999, 2000)
  • Ivan Rodriguez has the longest time period between his first and last SS/GG double crown (11 seasons – 1994-2004).
  • Mike Hampton is the only pitcher to win the Silver Slugger and Gold Glove in the same season (Braves – 2003).
  • Scott Rolen (3B) is the only player to win the SS/GG combo in a season in which he played for two different teams (2002, Phillies/Cardinals). Rolen was traded from the Phillies to the Cardinals on July 29. He played 100 games for the Phillies and 55 for the Cardinals in his only SS/GG combo season.
  • Adrian Gonzalez (1B) and Matt Williams (3) are the only players to capture a SS/GG single-season combination in both the AL and NL. Gonzalez – Dodgers-2014; Red Sox-2011. Williams – Indians-1997; Giants-1993-1994.
  • 2014 saw the fewest SS/GG combination winners (1); 1994 saw the most (10).
  • Outfielders have achieved the SS/GG combo most often (65 times), but if you factor in the potential to achieve three combos each season, second baseman have been most successful, putting up 27 SS/GG seasons.
  • The only team to have three SS/GG winners in the same season is the 1993 Giants (Robby Thompson (2B), Matt Williams (3B), Barry Bonds (OF).
  • The top three teams in terms of SS/GG seasons are the Yankees (13); Rangers (12) and Mariners (11). The Cardinals lead the NL with nine. The White Sox and Marlins are the only teams to never have a player win a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger in the same season.
  • Eighteen players have captured a total of 22 MVP Awards in the same season they also won Silver Sluggers, led by Giants’ outfielder Barry Bonds, who achieved the MVP/SS/GG three times (1990, 1992, 1993). Two-time winners of the MVP/SS/GG include: Mike Schmidt (Phillies, 1981, 1986); Dale Murphy (Braves, 1982, 1983); Those accomplishing the MVP/SS/GG once are: Robin Yount (Brewers-1982); Ryne Sandberg (Cubs-1984); Willie McGee (Cardinals-1985);  Cal Ripken, Jr. (Orioles-1991);  Jeff Bagwell (Astros-1994); Barry Larkin (Reds-1995); Ken Caminiti (Padres-1996); Ken Griffey, Jr. (Mariners-1997); Larry Walker (Rockies-1997); Ivan Rodriguez (Rangers-1999); Ichiro Suzuki (Mariners-2001); Alex Rodriguez (Rangers-2003); Jimmy Rollins (Phillies-2007); Dustin Pedroia (Red Sox-2008); Joe Mauer (Twins-2009)

 

Ivan Rodriguez - did it behind the plate and at the plate.  King of the Silver Slugger/Gold Glove combination winners. Seven overall, six consecutive.

Ivan Rodriguez – did it behind the plate and at the plate. King of the Silver Slugger/Gold Glove combination winners. Seven overall, six consecutive.

Here are your single-season SS/GG combination winners by year (with position and team).

 

Gold Glove/Silver Slugger Winners by Season

2014

Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Dodgers

2013

Yadier Molina, C, Cardinals

Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Diamondbacks

J.J. Hardy, SS, Orioles

Adam Jones, OF, Orioles

2012

Adam LaRoche, 1B, Nationals

Robinson Cano, 2B, Yankees

Chase Headley, 3B, Padres

Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pirates

2011

Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Red Sox

Brandon Phillips, 2B, Reds

Adrian Beltre, 3B, Rangers

Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Rockies

Jacob Ellsbury, OF, Red Sox

Matt Kemp, OF, Dodgers

2010

Joe Mauer, C, Twins

Albert Pujols, 1B, Cardinals

Robinson Cano, 2B, Yankees

Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Rockies

Carl Crawford, OF, Rays

Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Rockies

2009

Joe Mauer, C, Twins

Mark Tiexeira, 1B, Yankees

Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, Nationals

Deterk Jeter, SS, Yankees

Matt Kemp, OF, Dodgers

Ichiro Suzuki, OF, Mariners

Torii Hunter, OF, Angels

2008

Joe Mauer, C, Twins

Dustin Perdroia, 2B, Red Sox

David Wrights, 3B, Mets

Grady Sizemore, OF, Indians

2007

Russell Martin, C, Dodgers

Placido Polanco, 2B, Tigers

David Wright, 3B, Mets

Jimmy Rollins, SS, Phillies

Carlos Beltran, OF, Mets

Ichiro Suzuki, OF, Mariners

2006

Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees

Carlos Beltran, OF, Mets

2005

Jason Veritek, C, Red Sox

Mark Tiexierea, 1B, Rangers

Derrek Lee, 1B, Cubs

Andruw Jones, OF, Braves

 

2004

Ivan Rodriguez, C, Tigers

Jim Edmonds, OF, Cardinals

2003

Brett Boone, 2B, Mariners

Edgar Renteria, SS, Cardinals

Alex Rodriguez, SS, Rangers

Mike Hampton, P, Braves

2002

Todd Helton, 1B, Rockies

Scott Rolen, 3B, Cardinals/Phillies

Eric Chavez, 3B, A’s

Edgar Renteria, SS, Cardinals

Alex Rodriguez, SS, Rangers

2001

Todd Helton, 1B, Rockies

Ichiro Suzuki, OF, Mariners

2000

Roberto Alomar, 2B, Indians

Darin Erstad, OF, Angels

1999

Ivan Rodriguez, C, Rangers

Robert Alomar, 2B, Indians

Larry Walker, OF, Rockies

Ken Griffey, Jr., OF, Mariners

Shawn Green, OF, Blue Jays

1998

Ivan Rodriguez, C, Rangers

Rafael Palmeiro, 1B, Rangers

Ken Griffey, Jr. OF, Mariners

1997

Ivan Rodriguez, C, Rangers

Craig Biggio, 2B, Astros

Chuck Knoblauch, 2B, Twins

Matt Williams, 3B, Indians

Larry Walker, OF, Rockies

Barry Bonds, OF, Giants

Ken Griffey, Jr, OF, Mariners

1996

Ivan Rodriguez, C, Rangers

Roberto Alomar, 2B, Orioles

Ken Caminiti, 3B, Padres

Barry Larkin, SS, Reds

Barry Bonds, OF, Giants

Ken Griffey, Jr. OF, Mariners

1995

Ivan Rodriguez, C, Rangers

Craig, Biggio, 2B, Astros

Barry Larkin, SS, Reds

1994

Ivan Rodriguez, C, Rangers

Jeff Bagwell, 1B, Astros

Craig Biggio, 2B, Astros

Matt Williams, 3B, Giants

Wade Boggs, 3B, Yankees

Barry Bonds, OF, Giants

Ken Griffey, Jr., OF, Mariners

1993

Robby Thompson, 2B, Giants

Matt Williams, 3B, Giants

Jay Bell, SS, Pirates

Barry Bonds, OF, Giants

Ken Griffey, Jr, OF, Mariners

1992

Roberto Alomar, 2B, Blue Jays

Larry Walker, OF, Expos

Andy Van Slyke, OF, Pirates

Barry Bonds, OF, Pirates

Kirby Puckett, OF, Twins

1991

Will Clark, 1B, Giants

Ryne Sandberg, 2B, Cubs

Cal Ripken, Jr., SS, Orioles

Barry Bonds, OF, Pirates

Ken Griffey, Jr., OF, Mariners

1990

Benito Santiago, C, Padres

Ryne Sandberg, 2B, Cubs

Kelly Gruber, 3B, Blue Jays

Barry Bonds, OF, Pirates

Ellis Burks, OF, Red Sox

1989

Ryne Sandberg, 2B, Cubs

Eric Davis, OF, Reds

Kirby Puckett, OF, Twins

Tony Gwynn, OF, Padres

1988

Benito Santiago, C, Padres

Ryne Sandberg, 2B, Cubs

Andy Van Slyke, OF, Pirates

Kirby Puckett, OF, Twins

1987

Don Mattingly, 1B, Yankees

Ozzie Smith, SS, Cardinals

Tony Gwynn, OF, Padres

Eric Davis, OF, Reds

Kirby Puckett, OF, Twins

Andre Dawson, OF, Cubs

1986

Don Mattingly, 1B, Yankees

Frank White, 2B, Royals

Mike Schmidt, 3B, Phillies

Tony Gwynn, OF, Padres

Kirby Puckett, OF, Twins

1985

Don Mattingly, 1B, Yankees

Ryne Sandberg, 2B, Cubs

Lou Whitaker, 2B, Tigers

Tim Wallach, 3B, Expos

George Brett, 3B, Royals

Willie McGee, OF, Cardinals

Dale Murphy, OF, Braves

Dave Winfield, OF, Yankees

1984

Lance Parrish, C, Tigers

Keith Hernandez, 1B, Mets

Eddie Murray, 1B, Orioles

Ryne Sandberg, 2B, Cubs

Lou Whitaker, 2B, Tigers

Mike Schmidt, 3B, Phillies

Buddy Bell, 3B, Rangers

Dave Winfield, OF, Yankees

Dale Murphy, OF, Braves

1983

Lance Parrish, C, Tigers

Eddie Murray, 1B, Orioles

Lou Whitaker, 2B, Tigers

Mike Schmidt, 3B, Phillies

Dale Murphy, OF, Braves

Dave Winfield, OF, Yankees

Andre Dawson, OF, Expos

1982

Gary Carter, C, Expos

Mike Schmidt, 3B, Phillies

Robin Yount, SS, Brewers

Dale Murphy, OF, Braves

Dave Winfield, OF, Yankees

1981

Gary Carter, C, Expos

Manny Trillo, 2B, Phillies

Mike Schmidt, 3B, Phillies

Andre Dawson, OF, Expos

Rickey Henderson, OF, A’s

Dwight Evans, OF, Red Sox

Dusty Baker, OF, Dodgers

1980

Keith Hernandez, 1B, Cardinals

Cecil Cooper, 1B, Brewers

Andre Dawson, OF, Expos

Willie Wilson, OF, Royals

 

Your  Gold Glove/Silver Slugger combo winners listed alphabetically:

 Alomar, Roberto … 1992; 1996; 1999; 2000

Baker, Dusty … 1981

Bagwell, Jeff … 1994

Bell, Buddy … 1984

Bell, Jay … 1993

Beltre, Adrian … 2011

Beltran, Carlos … 2006; 2007

Biggio, Craig … 1994; 1995; 1997

Boggs, Wade … 1994

Bonds, Barry … 1990; 1991; 1992; 1993; 1994; 1996; 1997

Boone, Brett … 2003

Brett, George … 1985

Burks, Ellis … 1990

Caminiti, Ken … 1996

Cano, Robinson … 2010; 2012

Carter, Gary … 1981; 1982

Chavez, Eric … 2002

Clark, Will … 1991

Cooper, Cecil …1980

Crawford, Carl … 2010

Dawson, Andre … 1980; 1981; 1983; 1987

Davis, Eric … 1987; 1989

Edmonds, Jim … 2004

Ellsbury, Jacob … 2011

Erstad, Darin … 2000

Evans, Dwight … 1981

Gonzalez, Adrian … 2011; 2014

Gonzalez, Carlos … 2010

Green, Shawn … 1999

Griffey, Ken Jr. … 1991; 1993; 1994; 1996; 1997; 1998; 1999

Gruber, Kelly … 1990

Gwynn, Tony … 1986; 1987; 1989

Hampton, Mike … 2003

Hardy, J.J. … 2013

Headley, Chase … 2012

Helton, Todd … 2002

Henderson, Rickey … 1981

Hernandez, Keith … 1980; 1984

Hunter, Torii … 2009

Jeter, Derek … 2006; 2009

Jones, Adam … 2013

Jones, Andruw … 2005

Kemp, Matt … 2009; 2011

Knoblauch, Chuck … 1997

Larkin, Barry … 1995; 1996

LaRoche, Adam  … 2012

Lee, Derrek … 2005

Martin, Russell … 2008

Mattingly, Don … 1985; 1986; 1987

Mauer, Joe … 2008; 2009; 2010

McCutchen, Andrew … 2012

McGee, Willie … 1985

Molina, Yadier … 2013

Murphy, Dale … 1982; 1083; 1984; 1985

Murray, Eddie … 1983; 1984

Palanco, Placido … 2007

Palmeiro, Rafael … 1998

Parrish, Lance … 1983; 1984

Pedroia, Dustin … 2008

Phillips, Brandon … 2011

Puckett, Kirby … 1986; 1987; 1988; 1989; 1992

Pujols, Albert … 2010

Renteria, Edgar … 2002

Ripken, Cal, Jr. … 1991

Rodriguez, Alex … 2002; 2003

Rodriguez, Ivan … 1994; 1995; 1996; 1997; 1998; 1999; 2004

Rolen, Scott … 2002

Rollins, Jimmy … 2007

Sandberg, Ryne … 1984; 1985; 1988; 1989; 1990; 1991

Santiago, Benito … 1988; 1990

Schmidt, Mike … 1981; 1982; 1983; 1984; 1986

Sizemore, Grady … 2008

Smith, Ozzie … 1987

Suzuki, Ichiro … 2001; 2007; 2009

Thompson, Robby … 1993

Tiexeira, Mark … 2005, 2009

Trillo, Manny … 1981

Tulowitzki, Troy … 2010; 2011

Van Slyke, Andy … 1988; 1992

Varitek, Jason … 2005

Walker, Larry … 1992; 1997; 1999

Wallach, Tim … 1985

White, Frank … 1986

Whitaker, Lou … 1983; 1984; 1985

Williams, Matt … 1993; 1994; 1997

Wilson, Willie … 1980

Winfield, Dave … 1982; 1983; 1984; 1985

Wright, David … 2007; 2008

Yount, Robin … 1982

Ryan Zimmerman … 2009

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MLB Awards Season – Defensive Excellence

Honoring MLB's best gloves.

Honoring MLB’s best gloves.

The World Series is over and “The Awards Season” is upon us.  MLB, along with sponsoring organizations, has already begun recognizing the best in hitting, fielding and pitching – witness the recent Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards.  In the near future, we’ll see such recognitions as MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year.  (The Baseball Bloggers Alliance has also announced its honorees in those major categories, which you will find by clicking here.)

In this post, BBRT will focus on the least glamorous, most often overlooked (or undervalued) segment of the regular season awards – those honoring defensive excellence. Why start with defensive recognition?  Several reasons:

1) The awards for defense are already out there.

2) With my favorite ballpark experience being a tightly played 1-0, 2-1 or 3-2 game, defense has always been a personal passion.

3) Defense counts. (Consider:  The Orioles and Royals each had an MLB-best three Gold Glovers and were the last two teams standing in the AL – The Cardinals and Royals led their leagues in Defensive Runs Saved and both made the “final four.”)  

4) As a Twins’ fan, I miss those days when the Twins were dominating the AL Central and Baseball Tonight’s Web Gems.

So, let get on with a look at the 2014 awards for defensive excellence.  The three most significant defensive recognitions are:

  • Rawlings Gold Glove … This is the most senior (and most recognized and publicized) defensive award, established in 1957. It is also considered the most subjective, with 75 percent of the results dependent on a vote of MLB managers and coaches and 25 percent on statistical defensive metrics (provided by MLB and the Society for American Baseball Research – SABR). The Gold Glove is awarded to one player at each position in each league.
  • The Fielding Bible Awards … Established in 2006, the Fielding Bible Awards are considered to be less subjective than the Gold Gloves. These awards are voted on by a panel of “sabermetrically” inclined and experienced journalists (and bloggers) – including such respected observers and reporters on the national pastime as Bill James, Peter Gammons and Joe Posnanski. The Fieldeing Bible Award is given to one player at each position.
  • Wilson Defensive Player(s) of the Year … Established in 2012, this recognition is based on scouting reports, traditional defensive statistics and sabermetric measures like Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), Defensive Wins Above Replacement (dWAR) and other less self-explanatory statistics. The Wilson DPOY Award is given to one player at each position.

In addition, each year SABR honors the best defensive player in each league (any position) with the Platinum Glove Award – based on sabermetrics and a fan vote. Wilson also selects an overall Defensive Player of the Year – based on traditional and advanced fielding metrics.

If all of this seems clumsily complex or overly metric, that is not without reason.  The increased use of metrics in the awards process is intended to add accuracy and prevent occurrences like Texas Ranger Rafael Palmeiro’s 1999 Gold Glove at first base.

The Strangest Ever Gold Glove Recognition

In 1999, the Texas Rangers’ Rafael Palmeiro had a tremendous offensive year, hitting .324, with 47 home runs and 148 RBI.  He was an All Star and well-deserving of his Silver Slugger Award as the league’s best offensive first baseman. To further add to his reputation, Palmeiro also won his third-consecutive Gold Glove as the AL’s top defensive first baseman.  That recognition, voted by managers and coaches, came despite the fact that Palmeiro was primarily a designated hitter in 1999. He won his Gold Glove while starting just 28 games in the field and handling just 275 chances (with one error). In contrast, Gold Glove contender Tino Martinez (Yankees) handled 1,414 chances with seven errors (.995 percentage) and slick fielding Twins’ first sacker Doug Mientkiewicz recorded 930 chances with just three errors (.997 percentage).  Maybe they just didn’t want to spend all that time and money engraving Mientkiewicz’ name on the award.

Even with the added metrics, there is still controversy and there is not always agreement on the top defender – even among the three award programs.  The chart below shows the 2014 winners for each Award. Following the chart is BBRT’s take on MLB’s top defender at each position.  Note:  Unless otherwise noted, the metric rankings are for each position and include only players with at least 100 games at that position.

fldg chart

Now let’s look at the 2014 award winners.

Catcher

No agreement among the three awards here – with the Cardinals’ Yadier Molina, Royals’ Salvador Perez and Pirates’ Russell Martin all claiming a share of the honors.  In the NL, the Gold Glove at backstop went to the Molina, his seventh consecutive such honor. (Molina also has won six Fielding Bible and two Wilson DPOY Awards.) Molina finished tied for fourth in Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) with eight, despite missing seven weeks due to injury. He finished fifth in dWAR (1.5). He also threw out 47.7 percent of attempted base stealers and achieved a 3.20 Catcher’s ERA, both best among players starting at least 100 games behind the plate.  In the AL, the Gold Glove went to the Perez, his second consecutive GG (in his second full MLB season). Perez led all MLB catchers in games started behind the plate (143) and in Defensive Wins Above Replacement (dWAR) at 2.1. He tied Molina for fourth in DRS at eight; threw out 30.5 percent of attempted base stealers and had MLB’s fourth-best full-time Catcher’s ERA (3.26).  The Fielding Bible Award winner was Jonathon Lucroy, who finished second in DRS (11) and tied for second in dWAR (2.0).  The Wilson DPOY went to Russell Martin of the Pirates, who finished number-one in DRS (12), despite starting only 106 games behind the plate.  Martin also threw out 38.5 percent of attempted base stealers and tied for second in dWAR at 2.0.  Martin won a Wilson DPOY Award in 2013.

Yadier Molina

Yadier Molina

BBRT’s Choice:  Yadier Molina.  It was a close contest between Gold Glovers Molina and Perez – both adept at calling a game, blocking errant pitches, “framing” a pitch and stopping base stealers.  Three factors swung my choice: Molina had the same number of Defensive Runs Saved as Perez in fewer games; Molina’s had a significant edge in throwing out potential base stealers; In eleven season, Molina has thrown out more than 40 percent of potential base stealers nine times – averaging 45 percent, with a high of 64 percent in 2005; while, in four season, Perez has thrown out an average of 33 percent of potential base stealers, with a high of 42 percent in 2012 – and his percentage has dropped in each of the past two seasons.

Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina and Royals left fielder Alex Gordon were honored with the Platinum Glove Awards as the top defensive players in their respective leagues. The award, presented by the Society for American Baseball Research, is based on a combination of sabrmetrics and a fan vote.

 First Base

Adrian Gonzalez

Adrian Gonzalez

Dodgers’ first sacker Adrian Gonzalez captured the NL Gold Glove, the Fielding Bible Award and the Wilson DPOY recognition.  It was Gonzalez’ fourth Gold Glove and first Fielding Bible and Wilson DPOY Awards, Gonzalez topped all first baseman with 12 Defensive Runs Saved and finished second overall and led NL first baseman in dWAR (0.2).  Gonzalez also showed good range, leading all of MLB first baseman with 1,442 total chances (six errors).  The Royals’ Eric Hosmer picked up the AL Gold Glove, his second. Hosmer finished sixteenth in DRS among first basemen (3).

BBRT Choice:  Adrian Gonzalez.

 

Dodgers’ first baseman Adrian Gonzalez was the only player to win both a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger Award in 2014.

 

Second Base

Ian Kinsler

Ian Kinsler

Boston’s Dustin Pedroia took two honors here – The AL Gold Glove and Fielding Bible Award.  It was Pedroia’s fourth Gold Glove and third Fielding Bible Award. Pedroia has also won two Wilson DPOY Awards. Pedroia finished second among second basemen in DRS at 17 and dWAR at 2.5  He committed  just two errors in 654 chances – an MLB best .997 fielding percentage at the keystone sack. The Rockies’ DJ LeMahieu was the NL Gold Glover, finishing third in DSR (16) and dWAR (2.2).  LeMahieu committed six errors in 676 chances for a .991 fielding percentage. LeMahieu won a Wilson DPOT Award in 2013. Detroit’s Ian Kinsler earned the Wilson DPOY honor and topped all MLB second baseman with 20 DRS, as well as in dWAR (2.0). He also was first in MLB among second baseman in total chances (766) and second in assists (467).

 

BBRT Choice:  Tough call, but BBRT gives a slight edge to Kinsler over Pedroia, thanks to Kinsler edge in DRS, dWAR and total chances.

Third Base

Kyle Seager

Kyle Seager

Another major split among the defensive awards – four possible winners, four different choices.  The Gold Gloves went to the Rockies’ Nolan Arenado in the NL and the Mariners’ Kyle Seager in the AL.  Arenado finished third in DRS (16) and fourth in dWAR (1.9).  Seager finished seventh in DRS (10), fifth in dWar (1.7) He also made only eight errors in 422 chances, leading all MLB third sackers in fielding percentage at .987.  The Fielding Bible recognition went to the A’s Josh Donaldson, who led all of MLB third baseman in DRS with 20 and dWAR with 2.7. Donaldson did make 23 errors, but he also handled the most chances (482) of any third baseman (outdistancing Seager by 60 chances, while playing seven fewer games). The Wilson DPOY honoree at third base was Juan Uribe – who also won Wilson recognition in 2013. Uribe finished second among third basemen in DSR (17) and dWAR (2.0), despite playing only 102 games (starting 98) at third base.

BBRT Choice: Kyle Seager – on the basis of sure hands and top fielding percentage.  Could easily have gone to Josh Donaldson on the basis of range or Uribe on the basis of impact in only 102 games.

Shortstop

Andrelton Simmons - top the backhand.

Andrelton Simmons – top the backhand.

A sweep here, as the Braves’ Andrelton Simmons outran the field, winning the NL Gold Glove, Fielding Bible Award and Wilson DPOY honors. It his first two full seasons, Simmons has captured two Gold Gloves, two Fielding Bible Awards and two Wilson DPOY recognitions. Simmons finished first in all of MLB among shortstops with 28 defensive runs saved, first in dWAR at 3.9. The Orioles’ J.J. Hardy earned his third-consecutive AL Gold Glove, finishing fourth overall – and first in the AL – in DRS (10) at the shortstop position.  Similarly, he finished fifth overall and first in the AL in dWAR (2.1).

BBRT Choice: Andrelton Simmons.

Left Field

Alex Gordon as top left fielder - as clear as black and white.

Alex Gordon as top left fielder – as clear as black and white.

The Royals’ Alex Gordon won the AL Gold Glove, Fielding Bible Award and Wilson DPOY.  For Gordon, who switched to the outfield in 2010, after three seasons primarily at third base, it was his fourth-consecutive Gold Glove and third-consecutive Fielding Bible Award. How good was Gordon?  His 27 defensive runs saved were more than double nearest competitor – NL Gold Glove Winner Christian Yelich of the Marlins (13 DRS). Gordon also finished fourth in OF assists (8) and first in total chances (351). Yelich was no slouch finishing (a distant) fourth in dWAR (0.4), second in DRS and third in total chances (262).

BBRT Choice:  Alex Gordon is the top fly chaser in left field.

Center Field

Lorenzo Cain - covers a LOT of ground.

Lorenzo Cain – covers a LOT of ground.

The Mets’ Juan Lagares captured the NL Gold Glove and Fielding Bible Award.  The speedy, far-ranging Lagares notched an MLB CF-leading 28 Defensive Runs Saved – 13 more than his closest competitor (13 DRS each for the Diamondbacks’ Ender Inciarte and Rangers’ Leonys Martin). Lagares also was the MLB CF  leader in dWAR (3.4).  It was the first Gold Glove and second Wilson DPOY Award for Lagares, in just his second MLB season. The Royals’ Lorenzo Cain captured the Wilson DPOY Award (his third) and might have picked up the Fielding Bible honors if he hadn’t split time between LF and CF. Cain had 14 DRS in CF and 10 more DRS in right field.  (As the chart shows, Cain did win a Fielding Bible Award for multi-position player.) The Orioles’ Adam Jones won the AL Gold Glove, but lagged in DRS (2.0) and dWAR (0.8). Despite those metrics, Jones is known for sure hands and a strong arm. Note: Jones selection has been criticized by some analysts, but he did finish among the AL’s top-five center fielders in putouts, assists and double plays – and his reputation and past record may have boosted his support.  Jones led all AL CFs in putouts and assists in 2010, 2012, 2013.  The 2014 Gold Glove was Jones’ third-consecutive and fourth overall.   BBRT note: Keep an eye on Boston’s Jackie Bradley Jr. in the future.  In 2014, he led MLB centerfielder in assists with 13 – in just 113 games – and made just one error in 307 chances.

BBRT Choice: Lorenzo Cain – I know he split time between center and right, but given the choice, he’s the player I’d put in the center of my outfield garden.

Right Field

Jason Heyward - number-one in Defensive Runs Saved.

Jason Heyward – number-one in Defensive Runs Saved.

The Braves’ Jason Heyward led all of MLB defenders (any position) with 32 Defensive Runs Saved and captured the NL Gold Glove, Fielding Bible Award and Wilson DPOT Award. It was Heyward’s second Gold Glove and second Fielding Bible Award. Heyward also finished first in dWAR (2.8). He led all RFs in total chances (375) – while making just one error. The Orioles’ Nick Markakis earned his second AL Gold Glove. Like Adam Jones, Markakis’ advanced metrics aren’t flashy – just one Defensive Run Saved and a dWAR of -0.5.  However, Markakis led all right fielders with 11 assists, finished fifth in total chances (206) – and did not make a single error.  Markakis, in fact, is on a 328-game errorless streak – going back to August 10, 2012.

BBRT’s Choice:  Jason Heyward.

Braves’ right fielder Jason Heyward was selected as the Wilson (overall) Defensive Player of the Year.

Pitcher

Dallas Keuchel

Dallas Keuchel

The Astros’ Dallas Keuchel took the AL Gold Glove and Fielding Bible Award, leading all pitchers with ten Defensive Runs Saved (the only pitcher in double digits). Keuchel led all MLB hurlers in total chances (66) and assists (47).  Zach Grienke of the Dodgers took the NL Gold Glove, notching five DRS and the Reds’ Johnny Cueto won the Wilson DPOY at the pitcher spot (six DRS).

BBRT Choice: Dallas Keuchel

 

Coming Soon – A look at the Silver Slugger Awards – and players that have won a Sliver Slugger and Gold Glove in the same season..

 

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Bumgarner’s Performance – In Perspective

On the surface, the 2014 World Series wasn’t a fall “classic” –  the average margin of victory was five runs.  Still, it had a tight and tense Game Seven, plenty of dazzling (at times game-changing) defensive plays, some outstanding bullpen work, Pablo Sandoval looking like Pablo Picasso at the plate (12 hits in seven games) and Hunter Pence cashing in a dozen safeties as well.  But most of all, it had a truly classic performance by Giants’ “ace” Madison Bumgarner – and that made this a Series for the age.

Madison Bumgarner - historic performance by Series MVP.

Madison Bumgarner – historic performance by Series MVP.

Madison Bumgarner claimed his place in MLB World Series’ annals with 21 innings pitched (two starts and a relief appearance in Game Seven) and only one run allowed (0.43 ERA).  His two victories and a save earned Bumgarner World Series MVP honors.  (The scorer at first gave Bumgarner the win in Game Seven – which would have enabled him to tie the MLB record for victories in a single Fall Classic, but later changed that to a save.) The superlatives were flowing freely during the game coverage and still continue in the traditional and social media.  And, rightfully so.  The Series MVP started Game One and threw seven innings of three-hit, one-run ball; followed up with a three-hit complete-game shutout in Game Five; and wrapped it up by coming on in relief in Game Seven to toss five innings of two-hit ball in the Giants’ 3-2 victory. Over his twenty-one innings of work, Bumgarner allowed just one run, nine hits and one walk, while striking out seventeen.  For the Giants: No doubt, no Bumgarner, no Series title.

It was clearly a performance for the ages.  In fact, it may have been the best World Series pitching performance ever (particularly given the futility of the rest of the Giants’ pitching staff and Bumgarner’s short-rest Game Seven shutdown of the Royals).

All the talk about Bumgarner got BBRT to thinking about past World Series pitching performances – the likes of which we’ll likely never see again.   I’m talking about achievements like:

  • Starting five games in a single World Series (best-of-nine Series) in just 13 days – completing them all.
  • Throwing three complete-game shutouts – in a five-game series.
  • Notching three complete-game wins in a single World Series – as a rookie.

Why aren’t we likely to see these kinds of numbers in the future?  First, “going the distance” is no longer a priority, seven innings is considered going deep; second, the increasing adherence to pitch counts; third, “closers gotta close,” setting up your designated 7th, 8th and 9th inning hurlers has become integral game strategy; and, fourth, the extended post-season means starting pitchers have thrown a considerable number of high-pressure playoff innings by the time they get to the World Series.  (Bumgarner had started four 2014 post-season games before Game One of the World Series; going 2-1, 1.42 in 31 2/2 postseason innings before throwing his first World Series pitch.)  Applause and thanks to Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy for ignoring all these factors – and to Madison Bumgarner for rewarding his confidence.

Given all that, BBRT decided to look back on those World Series’ performances in which a pitcher not only notched three victories in a single Series, but also limiting the review to those instances in which all three wins were complete games.

Despite Bumgarner’s magnificent 2014 achievements, BBRT’s vote for the number-one World Series pitching performance ever still belongs to:

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1905 – Christy Mathewson  – Three complete-game shutouts in six days

In 1905, the great Christy “Big Six” Mathewson tossed a record three complete-game shutouts in a single World Series – and he did it in a five-game Series.  In just six days, the future Hall of Famer started and finished Games 1, 3 and 5 – tossing 27 innings, giving up just 13 hits and one walk, while fanning 18.

On October 9, in Game One, Mathewson tossed a four-hitter, never allowing more than one base runner in an inning (singles in the fourth and sixth innings, ground-rule doubles in the eighth and ninth), as the Giants prevailed over the Athletics 3-0.  Mathewson allowed no walks and fanned six.

On October 12, Mathewson tossed a second four-hit shutout in an easier 9-0 victory.  In this game, all four hits were singles and Mathewson also hit one batter and walked one (while fanning eight).

Then, on October 14, Big Six tossed a five-hitter (four singles and a double) in a 2-0 win. In this game, he logged no walks and four strikeouts.

Mathewson’s dominance was no surprise.  In his prime – and on the way to 373 MLB wins – he was coming off a league-leading 31 wins (9 losses), NL-best eight shutouts, league-high 206 strikeouts and league-low 1.28 regular season ERA. Just how good was Mathewson?  In 17 MLB seasons, he logged four seasons of 30+ wins and another nine campaigns of 20+ victories – while leading the his league in victories four times, ERA five times, and strikeouts four times.

Now, here’s a look – in chronological order – at all the other hurlers to log three complete-game victories in a single World Series.  Hall of Famers are first referenced in Bold Face/Red/Italics.

1903 World Series – Bill Dinneen AND Deacon Phillippe

Considered the first official AL/NL World Series, the 1903 Boston Americans/Pittsburgh Pirates match-up was a “best five-of-nine” that went eight games (and saw two pitchers win three World Series games).

The hero of the 1903 World Series was Boston Americans’ right-hander Bill Dinneen, who picked up three victories in four starts  – tossing four complete games in the process.  That the 27-year-old Dinneen was the Americans’ pitching star came as a bit of a surprise, since the Boston staff was led by righty Cy Young – who had just rung up a league-leading 28 regular season victories (nine losses), the 36-year-old veteran’s fifth time leading the league in wins. Of course, Dinneen was no slouch, having gone 21-13, 2.26 in the regular season (after a 21-21 record in 1902). The Americans’ staff boasted a third 20-game winner in Tom Hughes, who finished 20-7, 2.57 (his only twenty-win campaign). Young did have a good post-season 2-1, 1.85 in three starts and one relief appearance – while Hughes lasted only 2 innings in his only start.

It was Dinneen, however, who brought the World Championship to Boston, starting games 2, 4, 6 and 8 and picking up three wins versus one loss (Game Four, 5-4). His efforts included four complete games, as well as two shutouts (Game two and the Game Eight clincher). Dinneen gave up just eight earned runs in his four starts (2.06 ERA), pitching 35 innings – with 29 hits, eight walks and 28 strikeouts. The 1903 World Series was pretty much the highlight of the hard-throwing Dinneen’s 12-year MLB career, in which he went 170-177, 3.01 and made it to the post-season just the one time.  He did, however, win 20 or more games four times.

On the Pittsburgh Pirates’ side of the field, right-hander Deacon Phillippe did all he could to bring the first World Championship to Pittsburgh – starting, and completing, a still Series-record five games in 13 days (October 1 – October 13). Phillippe was truly the Pirates’ ace. He had gone 25-9, 2.43 in the regular season – his fifth straight twenty-win campaign. In the Series, he started Games 1, 3, 5, 7, and 8 (when he came up against the hot hand of Dinneen). Phillippe won his first three starts, but lost the final two.  Phillippe finished the Series 3-2, 3.07, tossing 44 innings, giving up 38 hits, 15 earned runs, three walks, and striking out 22. While Phillippe would have only one more twenty-win season after 1903, he did finish his 13-year MLB career with a 189-109, 2.59 record and led the NL in winning percentage (14-2, .875) in 1910 (at the age of 38).

1909 World Series – Babe Adams, the rookie

Although he had the proverbial “cup of coffee” in the major leagues in 1906-07 (appearing in five games), Charles “Babe” Adams still qualified as a rookie when he went 12-3, 1.11 for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1909.  The rookie right-hander went on to pitch three complete-game victories for Pittsburgh (over Detroit) in the World Series, including a six-hit shutout in the final game (an 8-0 Pirates’ win). For the Series, Adams gave up just four earned runs, with 18 hits, six walks and 11 strikeouts. Adams went 194-140, 2.76 in 19 MLB seasons – walking only 430 hitters in 2,995 1/3 innings.  On July 17, 1914, Adams pitched a 21-inning complete game without issuing a single walk, which remains the longest game without a walk in MLB history.

1910 World Series – Jack Coombs, three wins in six days

Philadelphia Athletics’ Jack Coombs matched Christy Mathewson’s three complete-game victories in a five-game Series in 1910, as the Athletics topped the Cubs.  Coombs pitched Games 2, 3 and 5 giving up ten earned runs in his 27 innings of work (24 hits, 14 walks, 17 strikeouts). Like Mathewson, Coombs was coming off a spectacular regular season (his 31-9 mark was identical to Mathewson’s 1905 stats and he led the AL in wins). Coombs also had a minuscule 1.30 regular-season ERA. The 27-year-old rightly led the AL in wins again in 1911 with 28 and won 158 games in a 15-season MLB career.

1920 World Series – Stan Coveleski and three five-hitters

In 1920, the Cleveland Indians topped the Brooklyn Robins four games to three, with Stan Coveleski throwing three, complete-game five-hitters – winning Game Two 3-1, Game Four 5-1, and Game Seven 3-0.  The thirty-year-old Coveleski went 24-14, 2.49 in 1920 – the third of four consecutive twenty-win seasons.  He had perhaps his best season in 1925 (age 35), going 20-5 for Washington, leading the AL in winning percentage (.800) and ERA (2.84).  In 14 MLB seasons, he went 215-142, 2.89

1957 World Series – Lew Burdette leads underdog Braves

The 1957 Milwaukee Braves surprised the heavily favored Yankees behind the fidgety right-arm of Lew Burdette (who pitched in his first MLB game as a Yankee). Burdette started and completed Games 2, 5 and 7 of the Series.  In Game Two, he gave up seven hits and two runs, as the Braves won 4-2. He followed up with a pair of seven-hit shutouts (1-0, 5-0).  Burdette seemed an unlikely World Series “ace.”  At 17-9, 3.72, he was actually third on the Braves’ staff in regular season wins behind lefty Warren Spahn (21-11, 2.69) and righty Bob Buhl (18-7, 2.74) and fourth among starters in ERA (Gene Conley’s ERA was 3.16).   Burdette went 203-144, 3.66 in 18 MLB seasons – winning twenty or more games twice.

1967 World Series – Bob Gibson brings the heat

Cardinals’ ace Bob Gibson notched three complete-game victories over the Red Sox in the 1967 World Series (Games 1, 4 and 7), including a Game Four shutout.  For the Series, Gibson threw 27 innings, giving up just three runs on 14 hit and five walks, with 26 strikeouts.  In 1967, Gibson went 13-7, 2.98 – a mid-season leg injury limited him to 24 starts.   In the 1968 Series, while “only” going 2-1 in three starts, Gibson set the record for  strikeouts in a single World Series (35) and for a World Series game (17 in Game One). In a 17-year MLB career, Gibson went 251-174, 2.91 – with 3,117 strikeouts.

1968 World Series – Mickey Lolich on the big stage

In 1968, Detroit Tigers’ Mickey Lolich took a back seat to teammate Denny McLain – who went 31-6, 1.96 in the “Year of the Pitcher.”  Lolich, who had a solid season at 17-9, 3.19, however, stole the spotlight with three complete-game victories in the World Series.  Lolich’s 16-season MLB totals were 217-191, 3.44, including a 25-14, 2.92 season in 1971.

Very honorable mention in this post goes to four pitchers who earned three victories (just not complete-game victories) in a single World Series:  Joe Wood (1912 Red Sox/eight-game Series); Red Faber (1917 White Sox); Harry Brecheen (St. Louis Cardinals, 1946); and Randy Johnson (2001, Diamondbacks).

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Baseball Bloggers Alliance 2014 Player Awards

 

GAME ONE:  Giants Find Missing “Sock” – use extra base hits to down Royals in K.C.

GAME TWO: How Do You Spell Relief ?   Not G-I-A-N-T-S – as Royals “Lorde” it over SF’s Relief Corps.

We now interrupt the World Series for this important announcement regarding the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA) 2014 Awards.

After each season, members of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (an organization of 200+ bloggers dedicated to the national pastime) vote on a series of awards for each league.  Those recognitions, announced in increments during the month of October, include:

  • Willie Mays Award (top rookie)
  • Walter Johnson Award (top starting pitcher)
  • Stan Musial Award (top player)
  • Goose Gossage Award (top relief pitcher)
  • Connie Mack Award (top manager)

The results for all the awards are now in and, in this post, BBRT will share the winners – and top five finishers – in each of the BBA categories, as well as  few comments on areas where the full BBA results differed from BBRT’s early-October ballot.  For a detailed look at BBRT’s entire ballot, click here. 

 

WILLIE MAYS AWARD – top rookie

Jose Abreu dominated BBA rookie balloting, but did not top BBRT's ballot.

Jose Abreu dominated BBA rookie balloting, but did not top BBRT’s ballot.

Chicago White Sox’ first baseman Jose Abreu was an overwhelming selection for the BBA Willie Mays Award for top rookie in the American League.  Abreu hit 36 home runs and drove in 107, while putting up a .317/.383/.964 line and an OPS+ of 169.

Note: OPS+ is a player’s On Base Percentage plus his Slugging Percentage adjusted for the park and the league in which he played. An OPS+ of 100 equals the league average. The higher the OPS+, the stronger the performance.

In the National League, New York Mets’ pitcher Jacob deGrom outdistanced runner-up Cincinnati Reds’ outfielder Billy Hamilton in the BBA balloting.  DeGrom went 9-6, 2.69, with better than a strikeout per inning in twenty-two 2014 starts.

While BBRT’s NL vote went to deGrom, my choice in the AL did not even make the BBA’s top five. My selection for top AL rookie was Los Angeles Angels’ pitcher Matt Shoemaker, who turned in a 16-4 record, with a 3.04 ERA (20 starts, seven relief appearances). Shoemaker moved passed Abreu (and others) on the BBRT ballot thanks to his performance under the pressure of the pennant race.  From August 1 to season’s end, Shoemaker went 8-1, with a 1.66 ERA.

The top five in the BBA Willie Mays Award voting:

American League

  1. Jose Abreu, White Sox
  2. Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees
  3. Collin McHugh, Astros
  4. Dellin Betances, Yankees
  5. Mookie Betts, Red Sox

National League

  1. Jacob deGrom, Mets
  2. Billy Hamilton, Reds
  3. Ender Inciarte, Diamondbacks
  4. David Peralta, Diamondbacks
  5. Ken Giles, Phillies

For the complete 2014 BBA top rookie voting, click here.  It may take a second click to reach the article. 

Prior BBA Willie Mays Award winners:

  • 2013: Wil Myers, Tampa Bay; Jose Fernandez, Miami
  • 2012: Mike Trout, Los Angeles of Anaheim; Bryce Harper, Washington
  • 2011: Eric Hosmer, Kansas City and Jeremy Hellickson, Tampa Bay; Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta
  • 2010: Neftali Feliz, Texas; Buster Posey, San Francisco
  • 2009: Andrew Bailey, Oakland; Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh

 

WALTER JOHNSON AWARD – top pitcher

Clayton Kershaw captured his fourth BBA top pitcher recognition.

Clayton Kershaw captured his fourth BBA top pitcher recognition.

The BBA vote for top pitcher in the AL was a close one, with the Indians’ Corey Kluber barely outpointing the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez (2010 Walter Johnson Award winner).  Kluber, who went 18-9 with a 2.44 ERA (152 ERA+), finished among the leaders in ERA (third), complete games (second, tie), strikeouts (second) and innings pitched (third).

Note: ERA+ adjusts a pitcher’s earned run average (ERA) according to the pitcher’s ballpark (whether the ballpark favors batters or pitchers) and the ERA of the pitcher’s league. Average ERA+ equals 100; a score above 100 indicates that the pitcher performed better than average, below 100 indicates worse than average.

It was a much different story in the National League, as Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers won his third Walter Johnson Award in four years – more than doubling the voting total of the runner-up, the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright. Kershaw missed a month of starts and still led the NL in wins (21), ERA (1.77 – his fourth consecutive ERA title) and complete games (6), while finishing third in strikeouts.

Kershaw was a shoe-in for the NL top pitcher on BBRT’s ballot as well, but I went “outside-the-box” with my top AL vote.  The BBA’s number-one and number-two choices did finish near the top of my ballot (second and third), but my number-one vote went to the Twins’ Phil Hughes.  Now, I am from Minnesota, but this is just not a “homer” vote. Hughes won 16 games for a team that went 70-92. Only three players in the AL won more games (they each had 18 victories), and all three pitched for teams with winning records.  Hughes, who went 16-10, 3.52, also set a new MLB record for strikeouts to walks ratio (11.63) and recorded the fewest walks ever for any hurler to reach 200 innings pitched in a season.

The top five in the BBA Walter Johnson Award vote:

American League

  1. Corey Kluber, Cleveland
  2. Felix Hernandez, Seattle
  3. Jon Lester, Boston/Oakland
  4. Chris Sale, Chicago
  5. David Price, Tampa Bay/Detroit

National League

  1. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles
  2. Adam Wainwright, St. Louis
  3. Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati
  4. Jordan Zimmerman, Washington
  5. Cole Hamels, Philadelphia

For the complete 2014 BBA top pitcher voting,click here.    It may take a second click to reach the article. 

Prior Walter Johnson Award winners:

  • 2013: Max Scherzer, Detroit; Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles
  • 2012: Justin Verlander, Detroit; R.A. Dickey, New York
  • 2011: Justin Verlander, Detroit; Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles
  • 2010: Felix Hernandez, Seattle; Roy Halladay, Philadelphia
  • 2009: Zack Greinke, Kansas City; Tim Lincecum, San Francisco

 

STAN MUSIAL AWARD – top player

Mike Trout, five-tool player, now a three-time Stan Musial award winner.

Mike Trout, five-tool player, now a three-time Stan Musial award winner.

Los Angeles Angels centerfielder Mike Trout easily captured his third straight BBA American League Stan Musial Award, finishing far ahead of runner-up Cleveland outfielder Michael Brantley.  Trout, who hit .287, finished in the top five in the AL in runs scored (115, first), RBI (111, first), home runs (36, third), slugging percentage (.561, third), walks (83, fourth) and triples (nine, third). He also added 16 steals in 18 tries and showed Gold Glove defensive skills.

In the National League, the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw executed a BBA double steal this year, taking both the Walter Johnson Award and Stan Musial Award (see the Walter Johnson Award text above for Kershaw’s statistics).  The race was closer than in the AL, with the NL’s second-place finish going to Pirates’ centerfielder Andrew McCuthchen.

BBRT’s ballot had Trout at the top of the AL, but listed the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen ahead of Kershaw in the NL.  Explanation? In past award announcements, the Baseball Bloggers Alliance has referred to this award as recognizing the “top” or “premier” player in each league (as opposed to the Most Valuable Player). That distinction, coupled with the fact that the BBA has an award for the top pitcher (named after a pitcher) and this award for top player is named after a position player, swayed my vote.  (If the award had been labeled MVP, I would have gone with Kershaw.  This same controversy, by the way, influences MLB’s MVP and the Sporting News Player of the Year Awards.) Like Trout, McCutchen exhibits Gold Glove skills in the field, along with power and speed on offense. He finished 2014 (146 games) with a .314 average, 25 home runs, 83 RBI and 18 steals (in 21 attempts).

The Top five in the BBA Stan Musial Award vote:

American League

  1. Mike Trout, Los Angeles
  2. Michael Brantley, Cleveland
  3. Jose Bautista, Toronto
  4. Corey Kluber, Cleveland
  5. Victor Martinez, Detroit

National League

  1. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles
  2. Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh
  3. Giancarlo Stanton, Miami
  4. Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee
  5. Anthony Rendon, Washington

For the complete 2014 BBA top player voting click here.   It may take a second click to reach the article. 

Prior Stan Musial award winners:

  • 2013: Mike Trout, Los Angeles; Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh
  • 2012: Mike Trout, Los Angeles; Buster Posey, San Francisco
  • 2011: Jose Bautista, Toronto; Matt Kemp, Los Angeles
  • 2010: Josh Hamilton, Texas; Joey Votto, Cincinnati
  • 2009: Joe Mauer, Minnesota; Albert Pujols, St. Louis

GOOSE GOSSAGE  AWARD – top reliever

Craig Kimbrel - four straight Goose Gossage Awards.

Craig Kimbrel – four straight Goose Gossage Awards.

Atlanta Braves’ Craig Kimbrel continued his run as the BBA’s top National  League reliever, capturing his fourth-consecutive Goose Gossage Award – although this season he did get a bit of a challenge from Cincinnati Reds’ triple-digit closer Aroldis Chapman.  Kimbrel, who led the NL in saves for the fourth-consecutive year, finished 0-3, 1.61, with league-leading 47 saves and 95 strikeouts in 61 2/3 innings.  To show how dominating Kimbrel has been, BBA reports that his sparkling 227 ERA+ was actually significantly lower than his ERA+ in the two previous seasons (399 and 311, respectively). ERA+ explained in the Walter Johnson Award section of this post. 

In the American League, Yankees’ rookie reliever Dellin Betances edged out Kansas City reliever Wade Davis for Goose Gossage Award honors.  Betances, appeared in 70 games for the Yankees, putting up a 1.40 ERA (and a 277 ERA+), while striking out 135 in 90 innings.

BBRT’s ballot listed Kimbrel as the NL’s top reliever, but opted for the Royals’ Greg Holland – who went 1-3, with 46 saves, a 1.44 ERA and 90 strikeouts in 62 1/3 innings pitched – in the AL.

The top five in the BBA Goose Gossage Award vote:

American League

  1. Dellin Betances, New York
  2. Wade Davis, Kansas City
  3. Greg Holland, Kansas City
  4. Zach Britton, Baltimore
  5. Sean Doolittle, Oakland

National League

  1. Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta
  2. Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati
  3. Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles
  4. Mark Melancon, Pittsburgh
  5. Jonathan Papelbon, Philadelphia

For the complete 2014 BBA top reliever voting click here.   It may take a second click to reach the article. 

Prior Goose Gossage Award winners:

  • 2013: Koji Uehara, Boston; Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta
  • 2012: Fernando Rodney, Tampa Bay; Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta
  • 2011: Jose Valverde, Detroit; Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta
  • 2010: Rafael Soriano, Tampa Bay; Brian Wilson, San Francisco

 

CONNIE MACK AWARD – top manager

Pirates' Manager Clint Hurdle - a second consecutive post-season berth and a second consecutive Connie Mack Award.

Pirates’ Manager Clint Hurdle – a second consecutive post-season berth and a second consecutive Connie Mack Award.

Baltimore Orioles’ manager Buck Showalter and Pittsburgh Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle were named the 2014 Connie Mack Award winners, recognized as MLB’s top managers by the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.

This is the second straight year Hurdle has taken home the BBA’s top manager recognition in the NL.  After breaking the Pirates’ two-decade playoff drought in 2013, Hurdle again led Pittsburgh into the post season, securing a wild-card berth and finishing just two games shy of the Central Division Champion Cardinals.

Over in the American League, Showalter led the unheralded Orioles to their first American League East divisional title since 1997, winning the division by 12 games over the second-place New York Yankees. Baltimore won 96 games this season, despite injuries to key players (Matt Weiters and Manny Machado) and the sub-par season and later suspension for 2013 star Chris Davis.

BBRT’s vote went to Showalter in the AL, but I differed from my BBA peers in the NL, where my top selection was Bruce Bochy of the Giants. Bochy led his squad to an 88-74 record (and Wild Card spot), despite the difficulties facing Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum and injuries to Brandon Belt and Angel Pagan.  Counting on youngsters like Joe Panik and Andrew Susac, Bochy San Francisco on track.

The top five in the BBA Connie Mack Award vote:

American League

  1. Buck Showalter, Baltimore
  2. Ned Yost, Kansas City
  3. Mike Scioscia, Los Angeles
  4. Lloyd McClendon, Seattle
  5. Bob Melvin, Oakland

National League

  1. Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh
  2. Bruce Bochy, San Francisco
  3. Matt Williams, Washington
  4. Don Mattingly, Los Angeles
  5. Mike Matheny, St. Louis

For the complete 2014 BBA top manager voting click here.   It may take a second click to reach the article. 

Prior Connie Mack Award winners:

  • 2013: John Farrell, Boston; Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh
  • 2012: Bob Melvin, Oakland; Davey Johnson, Washington
  • 2011: Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay; Kirk Gibson, Arizona
  • 2010: Ron Washington, Texas; Bud Black, San Diego
  • 2009: Mike Scioscia, Los Angeles of Anaheim; Jim Tracy, Colorado

 

BaseballBloggersAlliance-thumb-200x155-12545The Baseball Bloggers Alliance was formed in the fall of 2009 to encourage cooperation and collaboration between baseball bloggers of all major league teams, as well as those that follow baseball more generally. As of the awards voting, the organization consists of 215 blogs spanning most of the 30 major league squads, as well as general baseball writing.

The BBA is organized under a similar structure as the Baseball Writers of America, where blogs that follow the same team are combined into “chapters” and only two votes from the chapter on an award are counted. The blog chapters that are focused on general baseball were allowed two votes as well, which they could use both on the same league or split between the two leagues.

Chapters generally followed one of two methods when casting their ballot.  Either representatives of the chapter were given the ballots for voting or a “group ballot” was posted, accounting for both of their votes.  Notably, though the BBA’s awards come out well before their official counterparts, the BBA selections have matched those of the Baseball Writers of America in many instances over the past five years.

 

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More World Series’ Marks to Consider as the 2014 Fall Classic Opens

In my previous post, BBRT looked at some single-game World Series’ records that may be on players’ radar as the 2014 World Series gets under way click here for that post.  As promised, In this post, we’ll look at some overall World Series records.

 

Bobby Richardson - added a surprising bat to a polished glove in the post season.

Bobby Richardson – added a surprising bat to a polished glove in the post season.

We’ll start with the hitting marks.  As BBRT looked at the Fall Classic’s top accomplishments at the plate, one name really jumped out – Yankees’ 2B Bobby Richardson. Richardson drove in a World Series’ record 12 runs in 1960 (seven games).  This is particularly surprising in light of the fact that Richardson drove in only 26 runs in the entire 1960 regular season and never reached 60 RBI in a season in his career. Richardson also showed his post-season mettle in 1964, when the career .266 hitter (with a .267 average in 1964) banged out a record 13 World Series hits (later tied), averaging .406 for the seven games.

Here’s a look at some World Series hitting records.

 

 

Batting Average

Four-Game Series

.750 – Reds’ CF Bill Hatcher (1990, 9-for-12).

Five-Game Series

.529 – Tigers’ 1B/DH Sean Casey (2006, 9-for-17).

Six-Game Series

.688 – Red Sox’ 1B/DH David Ortiz (2013, 11-for-16).

Seven-Game Series

.500 – Cardinals’ CF Pepper Martin (1931, 12-for-24).

.500 – Pirates’ 2B Phil Garner (1979, 12-for-24).

 

Base Hits

Four-Game Series

10 – Yankees’ LF Babe Ruth (1928).

Five-Game Series

9 – by many players, only Phillies’ 3B Frank Baker notched two nine-hit, five-game Series (1910, 1913).

Six-Game Series

12 – Accomplished four times: First by Yankees’ 2B Billy Martin (1953).  Forty years later (1993), two players on the same team tied the six-game Series hits record: Blue Jays’ 2B Roberto Alomar and DH/3B/1B Paul Molitor. In 1996, Braves’ CF Marquis Grissom also enjoyed a six-game, 12-hit World Series.

Seven-Game Series

13 – Three players have managed 13 hits in a seven-game World Series: Yankees 2B Bobby Richardson (1964); Cardinals’ LF Lou Brock (1968); Red Sox’ 2B Marty Barrett (1986).

 

Home Runs

Four-Game Series

4 – Yankees’ 1B Lou Gehrig (1928).

Five-Game Series

3 – Mets’ 1B Donn Clendenon (1969).

Six-Game Series

5 – Yankees’ RF Reggie Jackson (1977); Phillies’ 2B Chase Utley (2009).

Seven-Game Series

4 – Achieved six times. Dodgers’ CF Duke Snider is the only player to reach four homers in a seven-game World Series twice (1952, 1955). Others on this list: Yankees’ LF/RF Babe Ruth (1926); Yankees’ RF Hank Bauer (1958); Athletics’ C/1B Gene Tenace (1972); Giants’ LF Barry Bonds (2002).

 

RBI

Four-Game Series

9 – Yankees’ 1B Lou Gehrig (1928).

Five-Game Series

8 – Athletics’ RF Danny Murphy (1910); Reds’ 1B Lee May (1970).

Six-Game Series

10 – White Sox’ 1B Ted Kluszewski (1959).

Seven-Game Series

12 – Yankees’ 2B Bobby Richardson (1960).

 

Runs Scored

Four-Game Series

9 – Yankees’ RF/LF Babe Ruth (1928); Yankees’ 1B Lou Gehrig (1932).

Five-Game Series

6 – Accomplished eight times.

Six-Game Series

10 – Blue Jays’ DH/1B/3B Paul Molitor (1993); Yankees’ RF Reggie Jackson (1977).

Seven-Game Series

8 – Accomplished eleven times.  Only Yankees’ CF Mickey Mantle had two eight-run, seven-game World Series (1960, 1964).

 

Total Bases

Four-Game Series

22 – Yankees’  RF/LF Babe Ruth (1928).

Five-Game Series

19 – Yankees’ SS Derek Jeter (2000).

Six-Game Series

25 – Yankees’ RF Reggie Jackson (1977).

Seven-Game Series

25 – Pirates’ 1B Willie Stargell  (1979).

 

Walks

Four-Game Series

7 – Giants’ 3B Hank Thompson (1954).

Five-Game Series

7 – Cubs’ LF Jimmy Sheckard (1910); Athletics’ C Mickey Cochrane (1929); Yankees’ 2B Joe Gordon (1941).

Six-Game Series

9 – Yankees’ 2B Willie Randolph (1981).

Seven-Game Series

13 – Giants’ LF Barry Bonds (2002).

A few others records of note: Phillies’ 1B Ryan Howard holds the record for strikeouts in a World Series (of any length), with 13 whiffs in 2009; Pirates’ CF Max Carey holds the World Series’ (any length) record for being hit by pitches at three (1925); and, while the record for triples in a 4-, 5- or 6-game Series is two, two players have hit three triples in a seven-game World Series (Yankees’ 3B Billy Johnson in 1947 and Braves’ 2B Mark Lemke in 1991). Lemke, by the way, did not play in Game One of that 1991 World Series

 

PITCHING RECORDS

The pitching records listed do not include the 1903 best-of-nine World Series between Boston and Pittsburgh (which went eight games).  In that match-up, Pittsburgh’s Deacon Phillipes set records for a World Series of any length in games pitched (5); innings pitched (44); hits allowed (38); and runs allowed (19) – while winning three, losing two and putting up a 2.86 ERA.

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As BBRT looked at pitching records, Braves’ right-hander Lew Burdette’s (photo above) numbers (good and bad) stood out.  In the 1957 World Series (against the favored Yankees), Burdette tied the single World Series mark for games won (3) and complete-game shutouts (2) – tossing three complete games and giving up just two runs (for a 0.67 ERA) and one home run.  The very next World Series (1958), against a nearly identical Yankee squad, Burdette set the World Series’ records for runs allowed (17) and home runs allowed (5) – going 1-2, 5.64 in three starts.

 

Here’s a look at a few World Series pitching records.

 

Games Pitched

Four-Game Series

4 – Yankees’ Jeff Nelson (1999); Red Sox’ Keith Foulke (2004).

Five-Game Series

5 – Dodgers’ Mike Marshall (1974).

Six-Game Series

6 – Royals’ Dan Quisenberry (1980).

Seven-Game Series

7 – Athletics’ Darold Knowles (1973).

 

Games Won

Four-Game Series

2 – Many times.

Five-Game Series

3 – Athletics’ Jack Combs (1910); Giants’ Christy Mathewson (1905).

Six-Game Series

3 – White Sox’ Red Faber (1917).

Seven-Game Series

3 – Pirates’ Babe Adams (1909); Indians’ Stan Coveleski (1920); Cardinals’ Harry Brecheen (1946); Braves’ Lew Burdette (1957); Cardinals’ Bob Gibson (1967); Tigers’ Mickey Lolich (1968); Diamondbacks’ Randy Johnson (2001).

 

Innings Pitched

Four-Game Series

18 – Braves’ Dick Rudolph (1914); Yankees’ Waite Hoyt (1928); Yankees’ Red Ruffing (1938); Dodgers’ Sandy Koufax (1963).

Five-Game Series

27 – Giants’ Christy Mathewson (1905); Athletics’ Jack Coombs (1910).

Six-Game Series

27 – Giants’ Christy Mathewson (1911); White Sox’ Red Faber (1917); Cubs’ Hippo Vaughn (1918).

Seven-Game Series

32 – Tigers’ George Mullin (1909).

 

Strikeouts

Four-Game Series

23 – Dodgers’ Sandy Koufax (1963).

Five-Game Series

18 – Giants’ Christy Mathewson (1905).

Six-Game Series

20 – Athletics’ Chief Bender (1911).

Seven-Game Series

35 – Cardinals’ Bob Gibson (1968).

 

Walks

Four-Game Series

8 – Indians’ Bob Lemon (1954).

Five-Game Series

14 – Athletics’ Jack Coombs (1910).

Six-Game Series

11 – Cubs’ Lefty Tyler (1918); Yankees’ Lefty Gomez (1936); Yankees’ Allie Reynolds (1951).

Seven-Game Series

11 – Senators’ Walter Johnson (1924); Yankees’ Bill Bevens (1947).

Other records of note : The record for hit batters in a World Series (any length) is three by the Tigers’ Wild Bill Donovan (1907) and the  Pirates’ Bruce Kison (1971); the Giants’ Christy Mathewson threw a single World Series’ record three complete-game shutouts in 1905 –  pitchers with two complete game shutouts in a single World Series include the Red Sox’ Bill Dineen (1903); Braves’ Lew Burdette (1957); Yankees’ Whitey Ford (1960); Dodgers’ Sandy Koufax (1965); Dodgers’ Orel Hershiser (1988); and Diamondbacks’ Randy Johnson (2001).

 

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World Series – Individual Single-Game Records

With the World Series opening tomorrow, BBRT would like to take a look at some of the individual records that the Royals and Giants players may find themselves shooting for – or trying to avoid. We’ll start with World Series single-game hitting records – where, by the way, Albert Pujols holds a least a share of the record for hits, home runs, RBI, runs and total bases.

 

Albert Pujols has a piece of the World Series single-game records for hits, runs, RBI, home runs and total bases.

Albert Pujols has a piece of the World Series single-game records for hits, runs, RBI, home runs and total bases.

Most Hits in a Single World Series Game – Five

There have been only two five-hit games in World Series’ history.  The first was by Milwaukee Brewers’ lead-off  hitter and third baseman Paul Molitor, who hit five singles in six at bats as the Brewers (then in the AL) beat the Cardinals 10-0 on October 12, 1982. Molitor’s five safeties were matched on October 22, 2011, by Cardinals’ 1B Albert Pujols – who also went five-for-six, and slugged three home runs – as the Cardinals blasted the Rangers 16-7.

Most Home Runs in a Single World Series Game – Three

There have been five-three homer World Series games. We’ve already noted Albert Pujols’ three-HR effort (see the above section on most hits in a single World Series game).  The most recent three-homer World Series’ contest was by a player who will be taking the field for the 2014 Fall Classic.  San Francisco 3B Pablo Sandoval popped three round trippers as the Giants topped the Tigers 8-3 in Game One of the 2012 Series (October 24).  “Panda” went 4-4 and homered in the first, third and fifth innings – collecting four RBI. In the 2014 Series, he will have a chance to tie the only player to have two three-homer World Series games – Babe Ruth.  Ruth accomplished the powerful feat on October 6, 1926, as the Yankees beat the Cardinals 10-5. He victimized the Redbirds again on October 10, 1928 in a 7-3 New York win.  The Bambino started in LF in both those games.  The remaining three-homer World Series game belongs to Yankees’ RF Reggie Jackson (October 18, 1977).

Most RBI – Six

Three players have driven in six runs in a single World Series game – and, as you might expect – the Cardinals’ 1B Albert Pujols is one of them.  Pujols collected six RBI in his five-hit/three-homer game of October 22, 2011. The other six-RBI games belong to a pair of Yankees, although not the ones you might expect:  2B Bobby Richardson (October 8, 1960) and DH Hideki Matsui (November 4, 2009).

Most Runs Scored – Four

There have been ten World Series games in which a player has scored four runs – including, of course, that October 22, 2011 Albert Pujols’ game that keeps showing up here.  The others in chronological order: Yankees’ SS Frank Crosetti (October 2, 1926); Yankees’ LF Babe Ruth (October 6, 1926); Yankees’ CF Earl Combs (October 2, 1932); Cardinals’ RF Enos Slaughter (October 10, 1946); Yankees’ RF Reggie Jackson (October 18, 1977);  Twins’ CF Kirby Puckett (October 24, 1987); Athletics’ 3B Carney Lansford (October 27, 1989); Phillies’ CF Lenny Dykstra (October 20, 1993); and Giants’ 2B Jeff Kent (October 24, 2002).

Most Total Bases – 14

Short list here – Albert Pujols – again that October 22, 2011 game in which he collected three home runs and two singles.

Doubles – Four

Another short list. Chicago White Sox 2B Frank Isbell rapped four doubles on October 13, 1906, as the Sox beat the crosstown Cubs 8-6.  No other player has matched his four two-bagger performance.

Triples – two

A half dozen players have logged two triples in a World Series game, most recently on October 24, 1991, when Braves’ 2B Mark Lemke contributed a pair of three-baggers to Atlanta’s 14-5 trouncing of the Twins.  Others with a two-triple World Series game: Pirates’ 3B Tommy Leach (two triples in a four-hit game on October 1, 1903); Boston Americans’ (AL) LF Patsy Dougherty (October 7, 1903); Reds’ PITCHER Dutch Reuther, who also threw a complete game, six-hitter – one run, unearned – on the day he got his two World Series triples (October 1, 1919); Yankees’ 2B Bobby Richardson (October 12, 1960); and Dodgers’ LF Tommy Davis (October 3, 1963).

Most Stolen Bases – Three

Three bases have been stolen in a World Series game four times, by three different players. Pirates’ SS Honus Wagner stole second base three times (in four attempts) in an October 11. 1909, 8-6 WS win over the Tigers; and Dodgers’ CF Willie Davis stole second base three times in a 7-0 win over the Twins on October 11, 1965.  Cardinals’ LF Lou Brock stole second base twice and third base once in an October 12, 1967 Game Seven win over Boston and stole second base three times in an October 5, 1968 win over the Tigers.

Most Strikeouts – Five

Back on October 1, 1932, New York Yankee George Pipgras came to the plate five-times in a World Series game and whiffed on each and every trip. He also, however, was the winning pitcher, giving up four earned runs in New York’s 7-5 win over the Cubs.

Most Walks – Four (Intentional Walks – Three)

This one’s been done a half dozen times, although not since 1979.  Of more interest may be the October 23, 2002 World Series game in which Giants’ LF Barry Bonds was intentionally walked a World Series single-game record three times.

 

World Series Single Game Pitching Records

 

Fewest hits, Fewest Base runners – Zero

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Okay, Yankee Don Larsen’s October 8, 1956 perfect game set World Series single-game pitching records that can at best be tied. As a result, much of what is listed here will focus more on futility than accomplishment.

Most Strikeouts – 17

 

On October 2, 1968, the Cardinals’ Bob Gibson whiffed 17 Tigers on his way to a 4-0 win (five hits, one walk).

As an aside, Gibson and the White Sox’ Ed Walsh are the only pitchers to hurl a World Series complete game and strikeout at least one hitter every inning.  (On October 11, 1906, Walsh beat the Cubs 3-0; giving up two hits and one walk, while whiffing 12.

 

Most Hits Allowed – 15

On October 15, 1925, Washington Senators’ great Walter Johnson gave up 15 hits (nine runs, five earned) in a 9-7 complete game loss to the Pirates.

Innings Pitched – 14

Babe Ruth is the only player on both the World Series hitting and pitching single-game record sheet. On October 9, 1916, Ruth – then a southpaw hurler for the Red Sox – pitched a 14-inning complete game, giving up just 6 hits in beating Brooklyn 2-1.

Walks – ten

On October 3, 1947, the Yankees’ Bill Bevens gave up just one hit (8 2/3 innings) in a 3-2 loss to the Dodgers. Bevens, unfortunately, walked a World Series single-game record ten batters (one intentional), and free passes contributed to all the scoring.

Runs Given Up – Ten

Bill “Brickyard” Kennedy gave up a World Series single-game record ten runs on October 7, 1903, as his Pirates lost to the Boston Americans (AL) 11-2. Kennedy was matched up in a scoreless duel with Cy Young through five innings, before giving up six runs – all unearned – on three hits and three errors in the sixth and another four runs (all earned) in the seventh.

Earned Runs Given Up – Eight

Twice hurlers have given up eight earned runs in a World Series game. On October 5, 1928, Grover Cleveland Alexander (16-9, 3.36 in the regular season) lasted only 2 1/3 innings against the Yankees – giving up eight runs on six hits (one home run) and four walks. On November 3, 2001, Yankees’ reliever Jay Witasick came on in the third inning against the Diamondbacks, who already had roughed up starter Andy Pettitte for six runs (on seven hits and two walks) in just two innings. Witasick gave up a record-tying eight earned runs (plus one unearned) in 1 1/3 innings. While he gave up ten hits, Witasick walked none and recorded all four of his outs on strikeouts. Arizona scored 15 runs in the first four innings of a 15-2 win.

So, there’s a look at some World Series single-game records.  Watch for a post on records for a full series in the next day or two.

 

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American Association Rules Change – Is It April Fools Day?

Take your base - it's free!

Take your base – it’s free!

The American Association (independent league) recently announced a new “extra-inning tiebreaker rule” – to go into effect in the 2015 season. The basics of the rule are that, after 10 innings, each half inning will start with the team at bat having a base runner at second base (apparently this rule is already in place in the International Baseball Federation and Can-Am League).  The player placed on second will be the player in the line-up immediately before the scheduled lead-off hitter for that half inning.  If the player starting the inning on second base comes around to score, the tally will count (statistically) as a run for the player and (if appropriate under normal rules) an RBI for the batter who drove him in, but it will NOT count towards the pitcher’s earned-run average.

Maybe BBRT is just too “old school,” but I actually checked to make sure this change wasn’t announced on April first.  This is a short rant, but let me just say, “No-o-o-o!”  (Note: As a fan of the American Association’s Saint Paul Saints. I take a special interest in this rule change.)

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2014 Post Season – Ya Gotta Love This Game

A basket of memories waiting to be made.

A basket of memories waiting to be made.

The 2014 MLB post-season continues to give fans all-the-more reason(s) to love the national pastime.

Consider, as of this morning (October 13):

  • More than half – eleven of 20 – of 2014’s post-season games thus far have been decided by a single run – and two of the games decided by more than one run were extra-inning contests. (With plenty of action left, the record of thirteen one-run contests in a post-season is easily within reach.)
  • There have been five extra-inning games in the 2014 post-season, with the surprising Kansas City Royals winning in extra frames four times.
  • The Giants and Nationals, in Game 2 of the NLDS, went 18 innings (and a post-season record six hours and 23 minutes), with the Giants capturing a classic 2-1 win on Brandon Belt’s HR in the top of the final frame. The pitching staffs got plenty of post-season experience, with the Nationals using nine hurlers and the Giants eight.
  • 2014’s “winningest” regular season team (98 victories), the Angels, is out of the play-offs, while San Francisco – tied for the fewest wins of any team to make the post-season (88) is still in.  In fact, two of the four teams still standing made it to the playoffs as Wild Cards (Giants and Royals)
  • The two teams with the fewest regular seasons home runs (Royals and Cardinals) are still in the hunt and both have out-homered their opponents (Royals 8-7, Cardinals 11-3).
  • NL Cy Young favorite Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers – who led all of MLB with 21 wins and a 1.77 ERA in the regular season – went 0-2, with a 7.82 ERA in 12 2/3 post-season innings.
  • The winning run in Game Four of the NLDS (Giants 3-2 over Nats) scored on a bases-loaded wild pitch.
  • In the Giants’ Wild Card play-on game win over the Pirates, San Francisco’s Brandon Crawford hit the first-ever Grand Slam HR by a shortstop in post-season play.
  • In the AL Wild Card game, Kansas City (which led MLB in stolen bases in the regular seasons) had a post-season record seven different players steal a base in a 9-8, twelve-inning win over Oakland. One KC runner was tossed out on an attempted steal – Eric Hosmer on an attempted steal of home.
  • Game One of the ALCS saw the Royals (who had MLB’s most stolen bases and fewest home runs) facing the Orioles (who had MLB’s most home runs, but fewest steals).  The Royals hit the game’s only home runs (three), while the Orioles stole the game’s only bases (two).
  • In Game Two of the NLCS, Giants pinch runner Matt Duffy scored from second base on a wild pitch with two out in the top of the ninth, tying the game at four. A Kolten Wong homer leading off the Cardinals half of the ninth gave St. Louis the win.

For More on Why I Love Baseball click here.

 

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