Ten Reasons to be Thankful for Baseball

DavidHappy Thanksgiving fellow baseball fans.  Just thought I’d share ten reasons why I am thankful for baseball (originally published here a few years ago under “Why I Love Baseball”).  Now, if a Thursday baseball game was only a Thanksgiving tradition (even if it had to be played in a domed stadium), turkey day would  be complete.  So, here are my ten reasons:

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 am also thankful for 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’m thankful 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 yourmeasure 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 is a treat for all 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 list lots more reasons I’m thankful for 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, the double-switch, etc.); triples; steals of home; the 6-4-3 double play; knuckleballs; Eddie Mathews (my boyhood hero); the 1957, ’65, ’87 and ’91 World Series; The Baseball Reliquary; hots dogs and cold beer; Twins’ Game 163 in 2009; The Society for American Baseball Research; 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.

I tweet baseball @DavidBBRT

Member: Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) ; The Baseball Reliquary; Baseball Bloggers Alliance.

BBRT Looks at the Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot

Baseball Hall of Fame - should see some new faces in 2016.

Baseball Hall of Fame – should see some new faces in 2016.

Last year, first-timers on the ballot dominated the voting – with newcomers Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz being elected, along with Craig Biggio (in his third year on the ballot). This year, two newcomers – Ken Griffey, Jr. and Trevor Hoffman –  seem likely first-ballot electees. A few other notable first-timers on the ballot include: Jim Edmonds; Billy Wagner; Troy Glaus; Mike Lowell; and Mike Sweeney – all with at least four All Star selections on their resumes. (A full list, with brief bios, of those on the ballot is included at the end of this post.)

If recent balloting is any indication, we can expect a significant number of writers will decline to vote for players having admitted to (or being highly suspected of) PED use, which seems a legitimate reason.  Others will hold back votes from first-timers to make a statement on “what it takes to be a first-ballot inductee” (which seems to me a less legitimate reason than the PED issue). Still others may hold send in blank ballots (for no apparent reason). However, recent voting patterns provide reason for optimism regarding 2016 inductions.

New Rules/New Attitudes/New Players

Whether it’s recent amendments to  Hall of Fame voting rules, a change in voters’ attitudes or an influx of Hall-worthy players, there is reason to be optimistic about inductions going forward.

  • In the two most recently completed HOF election years (for 2014 and 2015 inductions), seven players were elected through the regular BBWAA ballot and the voters supported an average of 8.40 players per ballot (up to ten votes allowed). Previous to the 2013 vote (for 2014 induction), the last year voters supported an average of eight or more players per ballot was 1983.
  • In the five years immediately preceding the past two, only six players were elected through the regular voting process, and voters selected an average of 5.75 players per ballot.
  • 2014-15 marked the first time since 1954-55 that three or more players were elected by the BBWAS to the Hall of Fame in consecutive years – and 2015 (voting in 2014) was the first time since 1955 that four players were elected by the BBWWA.
  • For induction years 1936 to 1995, only twice did voters support an average of less than six players per ballot. For induction years since 1935, the average number of players selected per ballot has dropped below 6.0 eleven times.

In this post, I’d like to give readers a quick look at how BBRT would vote (if I had a ballot), as well as my predictions for the actual BBWAA results and, finally, take a more detailed look at the players who would garner BBRT’s votes and a brief look at the additional nominees.


BBRT’s Hall of Fame Selections – if I had a vote – In Priority Order

First a quick list of BBRT’s selections, later a more detailed look at these ten players.

Group One – Should Be No Doubt

  1. Ken Griffey, Jr. – 22-year-MLB career; thirteen times an All Star; 1997 AL MVP; 630 career home runs (sixth all-time, four-times league leader); ten Gold Gloves; 1,662 runs scored; 1,836 RBI.
  2. Trevor Hoffman – 18-season MLB career; 1,035 appearances; 601 saves (second all-time); seven-time All Star; 2.87 career ERA; 1,133 strikeouts in 1,089 1/3 innings pitched.

Group Two – Debatable, But Clearly Deserving Support

  1. Lee Smith– 18-season MLB career; 478 saves (third all- time); seven-time All-Star; four-time league saves leader; 3.03 career ERA.
  1. Mike Piazza – 16-season MLB career; 12-time All Star; .308 career average; most home runs all time by a catcher.
  1. Mike Mussina – 18-season MLB career; five-time All Star; 270 wins; seven-time Gold Glove winner; 3.68 career ERA; 2,813 strikeouts.
  1. Jeff Kent – 17-year MLB career; five-time All Star; most home runs by a second baseman all time; drove 100+ runs eight times; 2000 NL MVP.

Group Three – More Debatable, But Would Still Get BBRT’s Vote

  1. Jeff Bagwell – 15-season MLB career; four-time All Star; 449 HRs; 202 steals; 1,529 RBI; 1991 NL Rookie of the Year; 1994 NL MVP; twice recorded seasons of 40 or more HRs and 30 or more steals.
  1. Tim Raines– 23-season MLB career; 808 stolen bases (fifth all time, led league four times); 2,605 hits (.294 career average); 1986 NL batting title; 1,571 runs scored.
  1. Jim Edmonds – 17-year MLB career; four-time All Star; eight-time Gold Glove winner; 393 home runs; .284 career average.
  1. Edgar Martinez – 18-season MLB career; seven-time All Star; .312 batting average (2,247 hits); two-time batting champion; defined Designated Hitter role.

BBRT Predictions as to Whom the Baseball Writers Will Vote In

BBRT projects that the BBWAA will elect (in order of likelihood):

Ken Griffey, Jr.

Trevor Hoffman

Mike Piazza

I also see two possible dark horse candidates, who should be helped by a shallower ballot than a year ago, but are likely to still fall short.

Jeff BagwellIt’s a bit leap from last year’s 55.7 percent, but a somewhat less crowded ballot may enable Bagwell to make the leap.

Mike Mussina – Those 270 wins look better with no 300-game winners joining the ballot this year.

Note: Last year, BBRT correctly predicted the elections of Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and Craig Biggio and listed John Smoltz (who was elected) as the number-one dark horse candidate. BBRT’s number-two dark horse, Mike Piazza, finished fifth with 69.9% out of the 75% needed for election.

Once again some very big names associated with the PED issue – they will not be named here, but the vote totals will tell you who they are – are likely to remain on the sidelines.



A More Detailed Look at BBRT’s Selections from This Year’s HOF Ballot


BBRT believes this first group of players should be locks for 2015 Hall of Fame induction.

"The Kid" should be a lock for the HOF.

“The Kid” should be a lock for the HOF.

Ken Griffey Jr. (Center Field, 1989-2010 – first time on ballot)

“The Kid” put up some undeniably Hall of Fame numbers – topped by 630 home runs (sixth all time); 1,836 RBI (15th all time); ten Gold Gloves; 13 All Star selections; and an AL MVP Award (1997). Griffey led his league in home runs four times (with a high of 56 in 1997 and 1998); drove in 100+ runs eight times (leading the AL with a high a 147 in 1997); scored 100 or more runs six times (leading the AL with 125 in 1997); and hit over .300 eight times. Griffey is also tied for the most consecutive MLB games hitting a home run (eight, tied with Don Mattingly and Dale Long). Griffey played for the Mariners (1989-1999 and 2009-2010), Reds (2000-2008) and White Sox (2008).

Ken Griffey, Jr.’s Best Season: In 1997, Griffey was selected the AL MVP after a season in which he played in 157 games and led the league in home runs (56), runs scored (125), RBI (147), total bases (393), slugging percentage (.646) and intentional walks (23), while also hitting .304, stealing 15 bases in 19 attempts and winning a Gold Glove.

Back-to-Back Jacks by George!

On September 14, 1990, with the Mariners facing the Angels in Anaheim, Ken Griffey, Sr. was playing in left field and batting second, while Ken Griffey, Jr. was beside him in center field batting third.  Seattle second baseman Harold Reynolds led off the game with a walk against Angels’ starter Kirk McKaskill – setting the stage for history.  The number-two hitter, Ken Griffey, Sr., hit a two-run home run to left-center (on an 0-2 pitch). The next batter, Ken Griffey, Jr., took advantage of a 3-0 offering to belt a home run over the left-center fence as well – making George Kenneth Griffey, Sr. and Jr. the first (still only) father and son to hit back-to-back major league home runs.


The Hall of Fame should "save" a place for Hoffman in 2016.

The Hall of Fame should “save” a place for Hoffman in 2016.

Trevor Hoffman (Relief Pitcher, 1993-2010 – first time on the ballot)

Hoffman is one of only two relievers to reach 600 saves – trailing only Mariano Rivera (652). Not only is he one of only two pitchers to reach 600 saves, he and Rivera are the only closers to reach 500 saves. (Note: Hoffman was also the first pitcher to reach the 500 and 600 save mark.) Hoffman led the NL in saves twice and reached 30 or more saves 14 times (with a high of 53 in 1998). He had a career record of 61-75, with a 2.87 ERA over 1,089 1/3 innings in 1,035 games – averaging 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings. Hoffman pitched for the Marlins (1993), Padres (1993-2008) and Brewers (2009-10).

Trevor Hoffman’s Best Season: In 1998, Hoffman appeared in 66 games for the Padres, converting 53 of 54 save opportunities.  On the season, he was 4-2 with a 1.48 ERA, striking out 86 hitters in 73 innings, while walking just 21. He was selected to the NL All Star team, finished second in the Cy Young Award voting and seventh in the MVP race.

Forty-one at Thirty-seven

Trevor Hoffman made his final All Star team in 2008 –  at age 41 – in a season in which he recorded 37 saves for the Brewers.


This next group of candidates consists of players whose entrance into the Hall of Fame might prompt some discussion and debate – but when the discussion is done, BBRT is convinced they should be seen as deserving of election.

Lee Smith (Relief Pitcher, 1980-97 – 14th year on the ballot)

I firmly believe Lee Smith has earned his place in the “Hall.” However, last year, Smith got only 30.2 percent of the vote – not much more than his 29.9 percent of the year before – and time is running out on his candidacy (one more year).

Smith’s 478 saves put him third on the all-time list (he was number-one when he retired after the 1997 season), but the presence of Trevor Hoffman (and his 601 saves) may cost Smith votes this year.   Why BBRT’s support?  Smith led his league in saves four times and made seven All Star teams, while recording ten seasons of 30 or more saves and two campaigns of 40-plus saves.  Smith reached 30 or more saves in a season for four different teams (Cubs, Cardinals, Orioles, Angels). He had a 3.03 lifetime ERA and 1,251 strikeouts in 1,289 innings pitched.  Smith also hold the NL career record for games finished (802) and is one of only three pitchers with more than 800 games finished lifetime (Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman are the others).  Couple all of this with the third most saves all time and Smith gets BBRT’s vote. Smith pitched for the Chicago Cubs (1980-87), Boston Red Sox (1988-90), St. Louis Cardinals (1990-93), New York Yankees (1993), Baltimore Orioles (1994), California Angels (1995-96), Cincinnati Reds (1996) and Montreal Expos (1997).

Lee Smith’s Best Season:  In 1991, as a Cardinal, Smith went 6-3, with a 2.34 ERA, 47 saves, 73 innings pitched, 67 strikeouts.

Flawless in the Field

Lee Smith holds the National League record for consecutive games without an error by a pitcher at 546.

Mike Piazza (C, 1992-2007 – fourth year on the ballot)

Mike Piazza’s stat sheet includes: a .308 career average; 427 home runs (an MLB-record 396 as a catcher); a Rookie of the Year Award; 12 All Star Selections; and ten Silver Slugger Awards as the best hitter at his position (most every by a catcher). Over his career, he collected 2,127 hits; 1,335 RBI; and scored 1,048 runs. Piazza topped 30 home runs in nine seasons, with a high of 40 in 1997 and 1999. He also topped 100 RBI six times.

Mike Piazza’s Best Season: In 1997, the Dodgers’ backstop hit .362, with 201 hits, 104 runs, 40 HR, 124 RBI.

Behind the Plate and At the Plate

In 1997, Mike Piazza became the first MLB catcher to record 200 or more hits in a season.

Mike Mussina (Starting Pitcher, 1991-2008 – third year on the ballot)

It may get a little easier for Mike Mussina this year.  In his first year on the ballot, he was overshadowed by fellow first-timers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine (both 300-game winners). Last year, Mussina had to contend with ballot newcomers Randy Johnson (another 300-game winner) and Pedro Martinez.  Mussina’s 270 wins should look better to voters this year, but he’s not likely to gain enough traction (24.5 percent of the votes last year) to reach the necessary 75 percent.  If BBRT had a vote, however, Mussina would get it.

Mussina built a 270-153 record, with a career 3.68 ERA and 2,813 strikeouts over 18 seasons. While only a 20-game winner once (in his final season, at age 39), Mussina won 18 or 19 games five times, leading the AL with 19 wins in 1995. He was a five-time All Star and a seven-time Gold Glove winner. Mussina also recorded a .650 or better winning percentage in nine seasons, with a career (and league-leading) high of .783 in 1992).While the lack of a Cy Young Award on his resume may hurt him, he finished his career 117 games over .500 – and history says 100 or more wins than losses should be good for a ticket to the Hall.  Mussina appeared in 23 post-season games, with a 7-8 record and a 3.42 ERA. Mussina pitched for the Orioles (1991-2000) and Yankees (2000-2008).

Mike Mussina’s Best Season:  Mussina may have saved his best for last.  In his final season (as a Yankee), at age 39, he recorded his first twenty-win campaign.  That year, Mussina went 20-9, 3.37 – and proved his durability by leading the AL in starts with 34 starts.

The 700 Club

In his first three full seasons  in the major leagues (1992-94), Mike Mussina put up a .700 or better winning percentage each year (.783, .700, .762). His record over that span – for the Orioles – was 48-16.

Jeff Kent (Second Base/Third Base/First Base, 1992-2008 – third year on the ballot)

Kent dropped from 15.2 percent of  the vote in 2013’s balloting to 14 percent a year ago.  However, a less daunting ballot may help him this year (but likely not enough to close the gap). BBRT believes Kent is a deserving candidate.  Kent holds the all-time MLB record for home runs by a second baseman (351 of his 377 career round trippers were hit while playing second base). He has a healthy .290 career batting average; his 1,518 RBI are 51st all time; and his 560 doubles 25th.  Kent was a five-time All Star and the 2000 NL MVP.  As primarily a middle infielder, he hit 20 or more home runs in 12 seasons (a high of 37 in 2007) and topped 100 RBI eight times. He hit .276, with nine home runs and 23 RBI in 49 post-season games. Kent has the credentials, but BBRT has a hunch the writers will make keep him on the bench – a couple of Gold Gloves, at this traditionally defense-oriented position, would have really helped his case.  Kent played for the Blue Jays (1992), Mets (1992-1996), Indians (1996), Giants (1997-2002), Astros (2003-2004) and Dodgers (2005-2008).

Jeff Kent’s Best Season: With the Giants in 2000, Kent put up these stats:  159 games; 196 hits; .334 average; 33 home runs; 125 RBI; 114 runs; 12 steals. His performance earned him the NL MVP Award.

Middle Infield RBI Machine

Kent has nine more career RBI than Mickey Mantle.


More debate is likely to swirl around this final group, but they would be on BBRT’s ten-vote ballot.

Jeff Bagwell (First Base, 1991-2005 – sixth year on the ballot)

Jeff Bagwell earned Hall of Fame consideration with a 15-year career that included 2,314 hits; 449 home runs; 202 stolen bases; and a .297 average – along with a Rookie of the Year Award (1991); a Most Valuable Player Award (1994); one Gold Glove; and four All Star selections.  He twice recorded seasons of 40 or more homers and 30 or more steals.

Bagwell drove in 100 or more runs in eight seasons, leading the league with 116 in 1994 and reaching a high of 135 in 1997. He also led the NL in runs scored three times, with a high of 152 in 2000. His .297 career average was bolstered by six seasons over .300. Bagwell’s chances are hurt a bit by the fact that first base has been manned by so many power hitters over time.  Bagwell played his entire career with the Houston Astros.  BBRT would vote for Bagwell, who picked up 55.7 percent of the vote last year and should improve this season.

Jeff Bagwell’s Best Season:  In 1994, Bagwell hit .368, with 39 homers and 15 stolen bases, while leading the NL in runs (104) and RBI (116) and earning a Gold Glove.  Bagwell also won the NL MVP Award despite playing just 110 of the Astros’ 144 games in the strike-shortened season.

He Came to Play Every Day

Jeff Bagwell was a durable player – playing in all 162 of the Astros’ regular season games in four of his fifteen seasons – and playing in at least 155 games ten times.

Tim Raines (Outfield, 1979-2001 –  ninth year on the ballot)

Tim Raines hit .294 over his 23-season MLB career, collecting 2,605 hits, 1,571 runs scored, 170 home runs, 980 RBI and 808 stolen bases (fifth  all time). He was a seven-time All Star; led the NL in stolen bases four consecutive years (1981-84); had a streak of six seasons with at least 70 steals; won the NL batting title in 1986 with a .334 average; led the league in runs scored twice and doubles once. In 34 post-season games, he hit .270 with one home run, six RBI, 18 runs scored and three steals. Raines played for the Expos (1979-1990 and 2001)), White Sox (1991-1995), Yankees (1996-1998), A’s (1999), Orioles (2001) and Marlins (2002).

Tim Raines’ Best Season: BBRT did not select Raines’ 1986 batting title year, but rather his 1983 season with the Expos – 156 games, 179 hits, .298 average, league-leading 133 runs scored, 11 homers, 71 RBI, league-leading 90 steals.

Raines Was a Runner

Tim “Rock” Raines was always running:  Over 23 seasons, Raines average 35 steals a year (and that included six seasons in which he played in less than half his team’s games).  Over his MLB career – from age 19 to 42 – Raines averaged 52 stolen bases for every 162 games played.

Jim Edmonds (Center Field. 1993-2010 – first year on the ballot)

Okay, I admit it.  I am swayed by players who flash lumber and leather.  Jim Edmonds falls into that category with 393 home runs and eight Gold gloves in a 17-season MLB career. He was a four-time All Star; hit 25 or more home runs in ten seasons (a high of 42 in 2000 and 2004); exceeded 100 RBI four times and 100 runs scored four times; and hit over .300 four times. He retired with a .284 average; 393 HRs; 1,199 RBI; and 1,251 runs scored – add the Gold Glove-caliber defense and BBRT sees a Hall of Famer.  Edmonds also hit .274 with 13 home runs and 42 RBI in 64 post season games. The fact that this highlight-reel defender never led the league in any of the traditional offensive categories will hurt his vote-garnering abilities (particularly for those stingy with first ballot votes) – however, Edmonds’ leather and lumber together make him an eventual Hall of Famer in BBRT’s book. Edmonds played for the Angels (1993-1999), Cardinals (2000-2007), Padres (2008) and Cubs (2008).

Jim Edmonds’ Best Season: With the Cardinals in 2004, Edmonds hit .301 with 42 home runs, 101 RBI, 102 runs scored – and, of course, earned a Gold Glove.

A Great Nickname Can’t Hurt Your Hall Chances

Cardinals’ Fans affectionately  refer to Jim  Edmonds as “Jimmy Baseball.”

Edgar Martinez (Designated Hitter/Third Base, 1987-2004 – fourth year on the ballot)

We’ve seen some prejudice against designated hitters in past voting, but Edgar Martinez clearly, and expertly, defined the DH role. In an 18-season MLB career, Martinez was named to seven All Star teams; won a pair of batting titles (hitting a high of .356 in 1995); topped 100 RBI in six seasons (leading the league with 145 in 2000); and scored 100 or more runs five times (leading the league with 121 in 1995). He finished his career with a .312 average; 2,247 hits; 1,219 runs; 1,261 RBI;  309 home runs; and 514 doubles.  Martinez played his entire career for the Mariners.

Edgar Martinez’ Best Season: One of two here:  In 1995, Martinez led the league in batting average (.356), runs scored (121) and doubles (52 doubles), adding  29 home runs and 113 RBI.  In 2005, Martinez put up a .324 average, 37 home runs, league-leading 145 RBI and 100 runs scored.

What An “Awarding” Accomplishment

In 2004, MLB renamed the Outstanding Designated Hitter Award the Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award.

So, there is how BBRT’s Hall of Fame Ballot would look (if I had one).  Now, here’s a brief look at the whole ballot (alphabetically) – with brief bios of those players not already discussed.

Anderson, Garret (Left Field, 1994-2010, first time on ballot)

Three-time All Star; twice led AL in doubles; .293 career average; 287 home runs.

Ausmus, Brad (Catcher, 1993-2010 – first time on ballot)

One-time All Star; three Gold gloves; one of eight MLB catchers ever with 1,500 hits (1,579) and 100 stolen bases (102).

Bagwell, Jeff  (First Base, 1991-2005 – sixth time on ballot; last year 55.7%)

Bonds, Barry  (Left Field, 1986-2007 – fourth time on ballot; last year 36.8%)

All-Time MLB leader in home runs (762); 14-time All Star; holds single-season home run mark (73);  seven-time MVP; two-time batting champion (.298 career); two-time HR leader; one-time leader in RBI (1,996 career RBI);  514 career stolen bases (high of 52 in 1990); 2,227 career runs scored.

Castillo, Luis (Second Base, 1996-2010 – first time on ballot)

Three-time All Star; three-time Gold Glover; .290 career average; 370 steals (twice lead league).

Clemens, Roger  (Starting Pitcher, 1984-2007 – fourth time on ballot; last year 37.5%)

Ninth all time in career victories (354); 11-time All Star; seven-time Cy Young Award winner; 1986 AL MVP; six seasons with 20 or more wins – led league in ERA seven times; strikeouts five times (third all-time in career strikeouts at 4,672); shutouts six times.

Eckstein, David (Shortstop/Second Base, 2001-2010 – first time on ballot)

Two-time All Star; 2006 World Series MVP; .280 career average; led NL second baseman in fielding percentage twice and AL shortstops in fielding percentage twice.

Jim Edmonds (Center Field, 1993-2010 – first year on ballot)

Garciaparra, Nomar (Shortstop, 1996-2009 – second year on ballot; last year 5.5%)

Six-time All Star; two-time batting champion; career .313 hitter (eight seasons .300+, high of .372 in 2000); 1997 Rookie of the Year – lead league one-time each in hits, doubles, triples and intentional walks.

Glaus, Troy (Third Base/First Base, 1998-2010 – first year on ballot)

Four-time All Star; 2002 World Series MVP;  320 career home runs (led league with 47 in 2000); hit 30 or more HRs in five seasons; topped 100 RBI four times.

Griffey, Jr., Ken (Center Field, 1989-2010 – first year on ballot)

Grudzielanek, Mark (Second Base/Shortstop, 1995-2010 – first year on ballot)

1996 All Star; 2006 Gold Glover; .289 career average (hit .300 or better four times); led NL with 54 doubles in 1997; topped 200 hits (201) in 1996.

Hampton, Mike (Starting Pitcher, 1993-2010 – first year on ballot)

Two-time All Star; led NL in wins and winning percentage in 1999 (22-4, .846); 148 career victories; solid hitting pitcher (five consecutive Silver Slugger Awards); 2003 Gold Glove Winner; 2000 NLCS MVP.

Hoffman, Trevor (Relief Pitcher,. 1993-2010 – first year on ballot)

Kendall, Jason (Catcher,  1996-2010- first year on ballot)

Three-time All Star; .288 career average (topped .300 six times); fourth in career hits among catchers (2,195); led league in games caught eight times; 189 career stolen bases (high of 26 in 1998).

Kent, Jeff (Second Base, 1992-2008 – third year on ballot; last year 14.0%)

Lowell, Mike  (Third Base, 1998-2010  – first year on ballot)

Four-time All Star; Gold Glove in 2005; .279 career average; 223 career home runs;  MVP of 2007 World Series.

Martinez, Edgar (Third Base/Designated Hitter, 1987-204 –  seventh year on ballot; last year 27.0%)

McGriff, Fred (First Base, 1986-2004 – seventh year on ballot; last year 12.9%)

Five-time All Star; 493 career home runs (led league twice, hit 30 or more  home runs in a season ten times); topped 100 RBI eight times (career total 1,550);  .284 career average.

McGwire, Mark  (First Base, 1986-2001 – tenth year on ballot; last year 10.0%)

Twelve-time All Star; 583 career home runs (led league four times, with a high of 70 in 1998); topped 30 HRs eleven times; collected 100 or more RBI in seven seasons (led NL  in 1999 with 147);  1987 AL Rookie of the Year; 1990 Gold Glove winner.

Mussina, Mike (Starting Pitcher, 1991-2008 – third year on the ballot; last year 24.6%)

Piazza, Mike (Catcher, 1992-2007 – fourth year on ballot; last year 69.9%)

Raines, Tim (Left Field, 1979-2002 – ninth year on the ballot; last year 55.0%)

Schilling, Curt (Starting Pitcher, 1998-2007 – fourth year on ballot; last year 38.2%)

Six-time All Star; 216 career wins (three seasons of 20 or more wins); fifth all time in strikeouts at 3, 116 (three season of 300 or more whiffs); 2001 World Series co-MVP – led league in wins twice, complete games four times, strikeouts twice, winning percentage once.

Sheffield, Gary (Outfield/Third Base, 1988-2009 – second year on ballot; last year 11.7%)

Nine-time All Star; 509 career home runs (topped 30 home runs in a season eight times, with a high of 43 in 2000); .292 career average (hit .300+ in eight seasons); won 1992 NL batting title; topped 100 RBI eight times; topped 100 runs scored seven times.

Smith, Lee (Relief Pitcher, 1980-1997 – fourteenth year on the ballot; last year 30.2%)

Sosa, Sammy (Right Field, 1989-2007 – fourth year on ballot; last year 6.6%)

Seven-time All Star; 609 career home runs (hit 30+ home runs in a season eleven times, 40 or more seven times, 50 or more four times, 60+ three times); collected 100 or more RBI in nine seasons (high of 160 in 2001); scored 100 or more runs in five seasons;  1998 NL MVP. Sosa led the league in home runs twice, RBI twice, runs scored three times, total bases three times, games played three times.

Sweeney. Mike (First Base/Catcher/Designated Hitter, 1995-2010 – first year on ballot)

Five-time All Star; .297 career average (five seasons at .300 or better); 215 career home runs (hit 20 or more six times); topped 100 RBI twice (high of 144 in 2000).

Trammel, Alan (Shortstop, 1977-1996 – fifteenth year on ballot; last year 25.1%)

Six-time All Star;  four-time Gold Glove winner; .285 career average (seven .300+ seasons); 236 stolen bases (high of 28 in 1987); three times scored 100+ runs in a season; 1984 World Series MVP.

Wagner, Billy (Relief Pitcher, 1995-2010 – first time on ballot)

Seven-time All Star; 422 saves (fifth all- time), with nine seasons of 30 or more; career ERA of 2.31; 1,196 career strikeouts in 903 innings; 47-40 won-lost record.

Walker, Larry  (Right Field/First Base, 1989-2005 – sixth year on ballot; last year 11.8%)

Five-time All Star; seven-time Gold Glove winner; three-time batting champion (career .313 average and nine season of .300 or better); 383 home runs (career high of 49 to lead the NL in 1997); 1997 NL MVP.

Winn, Randy (Outfield, 1998-2010 – first year on ballot)

2002 All Star; .284 career average (hit .300 or better three times); 215 stolen bases (topped 20 steals five times); in 2009, played 146 games in the outfield (all three positions) without an error.

So, there’s  BBRT’s regular Hall of Fame “selections.”

BBRT invites your comments on the upcoming Hall of Fame election.

I tweet baseball @DavidBBRT

Member:  Society for American Baseball Research (SABR); The Baseball Reliquary; Baseball Bloggers Alliance.

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Unanimous MVPs – Voters Dig the Long Ball

Bryce Harper - powering his way to a unanimous MVP selection.

Bryce Harper – powering his way to a unanimous MVP selection.

In recently capturing all thirty first-place NL MVP votes, Nationals’ right fielder Bryce Harper became the fourth youngest MVP in MLB history, the youngest-ever unanimous MVP choice – and just the 18th unanimous MVP selection.

Despite the fact that the Nationals did not make the playoffs (all three NL MVP finalists came from teams that did not make the post season), Harper delivered the kind of season that has been expected from him since he won the NL Rookie of the Year Award (as teenager)  back in 2012. Harper led the league in such traditional categories as runs scored, home runs, on base percentage and slugging percentage – as well as in such new metrics as Wins Above Replacement, Offensive Win Percentage and Runs Created. He was also in the NL’s top five in batting average, total bases, doubles, runs batted in and walks.

There are solid indications that, if you want to earn a unanimous MVP selection, the power game is a good place to start. The 18 unanimous MVP selections include the most league leaders in home runs, RBI and slugging percentage (ten each); followed by runs scored and total bases (eight league leaders each) – as opposed to four leaders in on base percentage and three batting champions.

In this post, BBRT will provide a brief snapshot of MLB’s 18 unanimous MVP’s – but first a few facts about those who have earned that honor:

  • There have been ten unanimous MVP choices in the AL; eight in the NL.
  • First base is the most popular position with five unanimous MVPs; followed by right field (four); center field and third base (three each); pitcher (two); left field (one).
  • 14 unanimous MVPs came from first-place teams, the other four from second-place finishers.  (The Nationals .512 winning percentage was the lowest ever for a team boasting a unanimous MVP.)
  • While Bryce Harper was the youngest-ever unanimous MVP, the Giants’ Barry Bonds was the oldest ever – at age 37 (at the start of the 2002 season).
  • The average age of unanimous MVP winners (at start of their MVP seasons) is 29. The most popular age is 24, with five of the eighteen unanimous MVP winners starting their award-winning season at age 24.
  • The fourth MLB season seems to be the charm. It is the earliest point in a career that any player has earned a unanimous MVP selection – and more players have achieved unanimous MVP status in their fourth season (six of the eighteen) than any other career point. BBRT note: Hank Greenberg – counted among these six, essentially earned his unanimous MVP in three seasons. His first season included just one September plate appearance.
  • Only four players have earned unanimous MVP status in their tenth season or later – Orlando Cepeda (10th); Ken Caminti (10th); Frank Robinson (11th); Barry Bonds (17th).
  • Eight of the 18 unanimous MVP winners have won multiple MVP awards: Barry Bonds (seven); Albert Pujols, Mickey Mantle, Mike Schmidt (three each); Hank Greenberg, Carl Hubbell, Frank Robinson; Frank Thomas (two each).
  • Only two position players have earned 100 percent of the first place MVP votes without leading their league in any traditional offensive categories: Frank Thomas (AL, 1993) and Ken Caminiti (NL, 1996).
  • The two pitchers to earn unanimous MVP selection both led their league in wins and winning percentage – Carl Hubbell, 1936 and Denny McLain, 1938.
  • Three teams have had multiple unanimous MVP winners: The Tigers (Hank Greenberg, 1935 and Denny McLain, 1968); Giants (Carl Hubbell, 1936 and Barry Bonds, 2002); and the Cardinals (Orlando Cepeda, 1967 and Albert Pujols, 2009).


Now, here’s a “snap shot” of each of the eighteen unanimously selected MVPs. *=Hall of Famer

Hank Greenberg*, 1B, Tigers – 1935

Age (at start of MVP season): 24

MLB Season (in which the unanimous MVP was won): Fourth

Team Finish: First Place (93-58, .616)

MVP Awards: 1935, 1940

States … Games: 152    Avg.: .328    Hits: 203    Doubles: 46    Triples: 16    HRs: 36    Runs: 120    RBI: 168   Steals: 4

Led league in Home Runs (36); RBI (168); Total Bases (389)


Carl Hubbell*, SP, Giants – 1936

Age: 32

MLB Season: Ninth

Team Finish: First Place (92-62, .597)

MVP Awards: 1933, 1936

Stat … W-L: 26-6 .813    ERA: 2:31    Innings Pitched: 304    Strikeouts: 123

Led League in: Wins (26); Winning Percentage. (813); ERA (2.31)


Al Rosen, 3B, Indians – 1953

Age: 24

MLB Season: Seventh

Team Finish: Second Place (92-62, .597)

MVP Awards: 1953

Stats … Games: 155    Avg.:  .336    Hits: 201    Doubles: 27    Triples: 5    HRs: 43    Runs: 115    RBI: 145   Steals: 8

Led league in: Home Runs (43); Runs (115); RBI (145); Total Bases (367); Slugging Percentage (.613)


Mickey Mantle*, Center Field, Yankees – 1956

Age: 24

MLB Season: Sixth

Team Finish: First Place (97-57, .630)

MVP Awards: 1956, 1957, 1962

Stats … Games: 150     Avg.: .353    Hits: 188    Doubles: 22    Triples: 5   HRs: 52    Runs: 132    RBI: 130   Steals: 10

Led league in: Average (.353); Home Runs (52); Runs (132); RBI (130); Total Bases (376); Slugging Percentage (.705)


Frank Robinson*, Orioles – 1966

Age: 30

MLB Season: Eleventh

Team Finish: First Place (97-63, .606)

MVP Awards:  1961, 1966

Stats … Games: 155    Avg.:  .316    Hits: 182    Doubles: 34    Triples: 2    HRs: 49    Runs: 122    RBI: 122   Steals: 8

Led league in: Average (.316); Home Runs (49); Runs (122); RBI (122); Total Bases (367); On Base Percentage (.410); Slugging Percentage (.637)


Orlando Cepeda*, First Base, Cardinals – 1967

Age: 29

MLB Season: Tenth

Team Finish: First Place (101-60, .627)

MVP Awards: 1967

Stats … Games: 151    Avg.: .325    Hits: 183    Doubles: 37    Triples: 0    HRs: 525    Runs: 91    RBI: 111   Steals: 11

Led league in: RBI (111); HBP (12)


Denny McLain, SP, Tigers – 1968

Age: 24

MLB Season: Sixth

Team Finish: First Place (103-59, .636)

MVP Awards: 1968

Stats … W-L: 31-6, .838    ERA: 1.96    Innings Pitched: 336    Strikeouts:  280

Led league in: Wins (31); Winning Percentage. (.838); Innings Pitched (336); Starts (41); CG (28)


Reggie Jackson*, RF, A’s – 1973

Age: 26

MLB Season: Seventh

Team Finish: First Place (94-68, .580)

MVP Awards: 1973

Stats … Games: 151    Avg.:  .293    Hits: 158    Doubles: 28    Triples: 2    HRs: 32    Runs: 99    RBI: 117   Steals: 22

Led league in: Home Runs (32); Runs (99); RBI (117); Slugging Percentage (.531)


Mike Schmidt*, 3B. Phillies – 1980

Age: 30

MLB Season: Ninth

Team Finish: First Place (91-71, .562)

MVP Awards: 1980, 1981, 1986

Stats .. Games: 150   Avg.: .286    Hits: 157    Doubles: 25    Triples: 8    HRs: 48    Runs: 104    RBI: 21   Steals: 12

Led league in: Home Runs (48); RBI (121); Total Bases (342); Slugging Percentage (.624); Gold Glove


Jose Canseco, Right Field, A’s  1988

Age: 23

MLB Season: Fourth

Team Finish: First Place (104-58, .642)

MVP Awards: 1988

Stats … Games: 158   Avg.:  .307    Hits: 187    Doubles: 34    Triples: 0    HRs: 42    Runs: 120    RBI: 124   Steals: 40

Led league in: Home Runs (42); RBI (124); Slugging. Percentage (.569)


Frank Thomas*, First Base, White Sox – 1993

Age: 24

Major League Season: Fourth

Team Finish: First Place (94-68, .580)

MVP Awards: 1993, 1994

Stats … Games: 153    Avg.:  .317    Hits: 174    Doubles: 36    Triples: 0  HRs: 41    Runs: 106    RBI: 128   Steals: 4

Led league in: No  traditional offensive categories.


Jeff Bagwell, First Base, Astros – 1994

Age: 26

MLB Season: Fourth

Team Finish: Second Place (66-49, .574)

MVP Awards: 1994

Stats … Games: 110    Avg.: .368    Hits: 147    Doubles: 32    Triples: 2    HRs: 39    Runs: 104    RBI: 116   Steals: 15

Led league in: Runs (104); RBI (116); Total Bases (300); Slugging Percentage (.750); Gold Glove


Ken Caminiti, Third Base, Padres – 1996

Age: 32

MLB Season: Tenth

Team Finish: First Place (91-71, .562)

MVP Awards: 1996

Stats … Games: 146    Avg.:  .326   Hits: 178   Doubles: 37    Triples: 2    HRs: 40    Runs: 109    RBI: 130  Steals: 11

Led league in: No traditional  offensive categories; Gold Glove


Ken Griffey, Jr., Center Field, Mariners – 1997

Age: 27

MLB Season: Ninth

Team Finish: First Place (90-72, .556)

MVP Awards: 1997

Stats … Games: 157    Avg.:  .304    Hits: 185    Doubles: 34    Triples: 3    HRs: 56    Runs: 99    RBI: 147   Steals: 15

Led league in: Home Runs (56); Runs (125); RBI (147); Total Bases (393); Slugging Percentage (.646); Gold Glove


Barry Bonds, Left Field, Giants – 2002

Age: 37

MLB Season: Seventeenth

Team Finish: Second Place (95-66, .590)

MVP Awards: 1990, 1992, 1993, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004

Stats … Games: 143    Avg.: .370    Hits: 149    Doubles: 31    Triples: 2    HRs: 46    Runs: 117  RBI: 110   Steals: 9

Led league in: Average (.370); On Base Percentage (.582); Slugging Percentage (.799)


Albert Pujols, First Base, Cardinals – 2009

Age: 29

MLB Season: Ninth

Team Finish: First Place (91-71, .562)

MVP Awards: 2005, 2008, 2009

Stats … Games: 160    Avg.:  .327    Hits: 186    Doubles: 45    Triples: 1    HRs: 47    Runs: 124    RBI: 135   Steals: 16

Led league in: Home Runs (47); Runs (124); On Base Percentage (.443); Slugging Percentage (.658); Total Bases (374)


Mike Trout, Center Field, Angels – 2014

Age: 22

MLB Season: Fourth

Team Finish: First Place (98-64, .605)

MVP Awards:  2014

Stats … Games: 157    Avg.:  .287    Hits: 173    Doubles: 39    Triples: 9    HRs: 36    Runs: 115     RBI: 111   Steals: 33

Led league in: Runs (115); RBI (111); Total Bases (338)


Bryce Harper, Right Field, Nationals – 2015

Age: 22

MLB Season (in which MVP earned): Fourth

Team Finish: Second Place (83-79, .512)

MVP Awards: 2015

Stats … Games: 153   Avg.: .330   Hits: 172   Doubles: 38    Triples: 1    HRs: 42   Runs: 118    RBI: 99   Steals: 6

Led league in: Home runs (42); Runs (118); On Base Percentage (.460); Slugging Percentage (.649)

I tweet baseball @DavidBBRT

Member: Society for American Baseball Research (SABR); The Baseball Reliquary; Baseball Bloggers Alliance

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MLB Awards Season – BBRT Choices and Predictions

TrophiesIt’s MLB’s award season and – in the near future  – we’ll find out the winners of major awards like Rookie of the Year, Cy Young Award, Most Valuable Player and Manager of the Year.  And, there are some interesting races.  In this post, I’ll share BBRT’s picks for those awards, as well as my predictions as to how those who actually have a vote will see them.

First, however, a few observations on this year’s “fields of finalists.”


In the AL MVP field, two of the three finalists come from Division-winning teams and all three came from teams that played at least .525 ball (and finished a combined 60 games over .500). Over in the NL, the three MVP finalists include ZERO players from teams that made the post season. In fact, the teams featuring NL MVP finalists finished a combined 34 games under .500.

Rookie of the Year

The three finalists for AL Rookie of the Year all made their major league debuts after June 1 and none played in as many as 100 MLB games during the 2015 season. The NL ROY field features one finalist who played his first MLB game in 2014, and two others who debuted this April.  The three NL ROY finalists averaged 142 games played in 2015.

Cy Young Award

The AL Cy Young finalists have won one CYA in the past and have a combined total of 178 MLB wins, while the NL group of finalists can boast four past CYAs and 312 MLB wins.

Manager of the Year

The Manager of the Year races feature three American League managers with a total of two seasons of major league managing experience (and 89 victories) among them – opposed to an NL MOY race in which the three finalists have a combined  27 seasons of major league managing experience (and 2,067 victories).

Now, let’s look at the finalists and the BBRT choices and predictions.




Josh Donaldson - BBRT pick for AL MVP

Josh Donaldson – BBRT pick for AL MVP

Lorenzo Cain, Outfield, Royals

Cain was a real catalyst for the World Champion Royals  – hitting .307, scoring 101 runs and swiping 28 bags.  His full line, in 140 games:  .307; 169 hits; 101 runs; 16 HRs; 72 RBI; 28 steals.

Josh Donaldon, Third Base, Blue Jays

Donaldson  not only led the Blue Jays to the post season – he led the AL in runs scored and runs driven in.  He final stat line (in 158 games played): .297; 184 hits; 122 runs; 41 HRs; 123 RBI; six steals.

Mike Trout, Centerfield, Angels

Trout, 2014’s AL MVP, continues to put himself in the MVP picture with five-tool performance. In 2015, he played in 159 games, hitting .299 with a career-high 41 home runs. Trout lead the AL in both Slugging Percentage and On Base Percentage. His line (in 159 games): .299; 172 hits; 104 runs; 41 HRs; 90 RBI; 11 steals.

BBRT Choice: Josh Donaldson

Donaldson and Trout put up the most impressive numbers and, ultimately, BBRT feels were more essential to their teams’ success than Cain (World Championship not withstanding). For me, Donaldson put up the best overall numbers – and (matched against Trout) took his team the farthest.

BBRT Prediction: Josh Donaldson




Bryce Harper, Rightfield, Nationals

This is the Bryce Harper the Nationals have been waiting for (Hey, he’s only 23-years-old.) since his 2012 Rookie of the Year campaign. Harper carried the Nationals’ offense and led the league in home runs and runs scored – as well as both Slugging Percentage and On Base Percentage.  His 2015 line (in 153 games): .330; 172 hits; 118 runs scored; 42 HRs; 99 RBI; six steals.

Paul Goldschmidt, First Base, Diamondbacks

Goldschmidt had arguably his best season ever for the D-backs (and that says a lot), setting or tying his career highs in games played, average, hits, runs and stolen bases. His line in 159 games: .321; 182 hits; 103 runs; 32 HRs; 110 RBI; 21 stolen  bases – and a Gold Glove.

Joey Votto, First Base, Reds

Votto, the 2010 MVP, was one of the few bright spots for the Reds this season. The lack of support he had in the rest of the lineup is reflected in his league-leading 143 walks. (Votto has led the NL in walks in four of the past five seasons.) In 158 games, Votto delivered: .314 average; 171 hits, 95 runs; 29 HRs; 80 RBI; and 11 stolen bases.

BBRT Choice: Paul Goldschnidt

Power, speed, average – and Glold Glove  defense – Goldschmidt should be solid gold in this year’s NL MVP race.

BBRT Prediction: Bryce Harper. 

The Harper hype may sway voters and put Goldschmidt in second place.




Carlos Correa, Shortstop, Astros

The 21-year-old Correa made his MLB debut on June 8 and, in 99 games, delivered: .279 average; 108 hits; 52 runs; 22 HRs; 68 RBI; 14 steals.

Francisco Lindor, Shortstop, Indians

Lindor, who turned 22 in November, made his MLB debut on June 14. He played 99 games for the season, with a line of: .313; 122 hits; 50 runs; 12 HRs; 51 RBI; 12 steals.

Miguel Sano, Third Base/DH, Twins

The 22-year-old Sano made his debut on July 2. He played in 80 games, putting up the following stat line: .269 average; 75 hits; 46 runs; 18 home runs; 52 RBI; one stolen base.

For BBRT, this one comes down to Correa versus Lindor – and, ultimately, Correa’s power (22 home runs in just 99 games) versus Lindor’s glove (his ten defensive runs saved – in just 99 games – led all AL shortstops).

BBRT Choice: Francisco Lindor

I always like players who combine “leather and lumber” and Lindor is a future Gold Glover (with more games played he might have won one this year), with offensive numbers that match up well with Correa.

BBRT Prediction: Carlos Correa

I think voters will be swayed by Correa’s power and the fact that his Astros made the post season.




Kris Bryant - BBRT choice for NL Rookie of the Year

Kris Bryant – BBRT choice for NL Rookie of the Year

Kris Bryant, Third Base, Cubs

The 23-year-old Bryant made his MLB debut on April 17 and put up some powerful rookie numbers (in 151 games played): .275 average; 154 hits; 87 runs; 26 HRs; 99 RBI; 13 stolen bases.

Matt Duffy, Infield, Giants

The versatile 24-year-old Duffy actually made his MLB debut in August of 2014, but did not play enough that season to lose his rookie status for 2015. In 149 games this past season, Duffy’s numbers were: .295; 169 hits; 77 runs; 12 HRs; 77 RBI; 12 steals.

Jung Ho Kang, Third Base/Shortstop, Pirates

The oldest of the ROY candidates, the 28-year-old Kang made his MLB debut on April 8 (after several seasons in the KBO – Korean Baseball Organization – where he was a five-time all star.). In 126 games, Kang’s stat line was: .287 average; 121 hits; 60 runs; 15 home runs; 58 RBI; 5 stolen bases’

BBRT Choice:  Kris Bryant

Bryant’s offensive numbers are too strong for voters to ignore – or for Duffy and Kang to overcome.  Bryant, notably, broke Hall of Famer Billy Williams’ Cubs’ rookie record for both home runs and RBI. Further, he proved a true “team” player – taking a turn at all three outfield position, as well as first base. Only caution – his 199 strikeouts led the NL.

BBRT Prediction: Kris Bryant




Jeff Banister, Rangers

2015 Rangers’ season: 88-74 – First Place, AL West

2014 Rangers’ season: 67-95 – Fifth Place, AL West

A.J. Hinch, Astros

2015 Astros’ season: 86-76 – Second Place, AL West (Wild Card)

2014 Astros’ season: 70-92 – Fourth Place, AL West

Paul Molitor, Twins

2015 Twins’ season: 83-79 – Second Place, AL Central

2014 Twins’ season: 70-92 – Fifth Place, AL Central

BBRT Choice: Jeff Bannister

Any of these three would be deserving candidates, as they all outperformed pre-season predictions. Bannister gets the edge for two reasons: 1) He brought home a Division title; 2) He had the largest improvement in games won.

BBRT Prediction: Jeff Banister




Terry Collins, Mets

2015 Mets’ season: 90-72 – First Place, NL East

2014 Mets’ season: 79-83 – Second Place, NL East

Joe Maddon, Cubs

2015 Cubs’ Season: 97-65 – Third Place, NL Central (Wild Card)

2014 Cubs’ Season: 73-89 – Fifth Place, NL Central

Mike Matheny, Cardinals

2015 Cardinals’ season: 100-62 – First Place, NL Central

2014 Cardinals; season: 90-72 – First Place, NL Central

BBRT Choice: Joe Maddon

Maddon came to the Cubs with 11-years managerial experience and a proven record of leadership and results.  He continued to deliver those qualities, leading a young Cubs’ squad to a 24-game improvement and a post-season (Wild Card) berth.

BBRT Prediction: Joe Maddon




Dallas Keuchel BBRT choice for AL Cy Young Award

Dallas Keuchel BBRT choice for AL Cy Young Award

Sonny Gray, A’s

Gray went 14-7 in 31 starts for a struggling A’s team. His line: 14-7, .667; 2.73 ERA; three complete games; two shutouts (tied for AL lead); 208 innings pitched; 169 strikeouts.

Dallas Keuchel, Astros

Keuchel started 33 games for the Astros in 2015 and led the AL in wins, shutouts and innings pitched. His stats: 20-8, .714; 2.48 ERA; three complete games (33 starts); two shutouts; 232 innings pitched; 216 strikeouts.

David Price, Tigers/Blue Jays

Price won 18 this season (nine each for the Tigers and Blue Jays) against five losses, while also winning the AL ERA title at 2.45. His line: 18-5; .783; 2.45 ERA; three complete games; one shutout; 220 1/3 innings pitched; 225 strikeouts.

BBRT Choice: Dallas Keuchel

Keuchel’s 20 wins give him the edge over Price. Looking at overall stats: Keuchel was in the AL’s top three in wins (first); ERA (second); WHIP (first); innings (first); starts (second); complete games (third) – and he won a Gold Glove.  He gets my vote.

BBRT Prediction: Dallas Keuchel



Jake Arrieta, Cubs

Arrieta came into the 2015 season with a  five-season MLB record of 34-32, just one complete game (25 starts) and a 4.48 ERA. He proceeded to turn heads across the MLB – leading the league in wins, starts, complete games, and shutouts.  His line for the season: 22-6, .786; 1.77 ERA; 33 starts; four complete games; three shutouts; 229 innings pitched; 236 strikeouts.

Zack Greinke, Dodgers

Nobody was stingier on the mound in 2015 than Zack Grienke, who logged an MLB-lowest 1.66 ERA. Greink’se 2015 stats: 19-3, 1.66 ERA; 32 starts; one complete game; 222 2/3 innings pitched; 200 strikeouts.

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers

Kershaw,  already a three-time CYA winner, is in the running again, after winning 16 games and leading all of MLB with 301 strikeouts. He also tied for the league lead in starts, complete games, shutouts and innings pitched. His stats: 16-7, .696; 2.13 ERA; 232 2/3 innings pitched, 301 strikeouts.

BBRT Choice: Jake Arrieta

Arrieta simply put it ALL together in 2015 and that should be enough to hold off Grienke’s MLB-best 1.66 ERA and Kershaw’s MLB-best 301 whiffs.

BBRT Prediction:  Jake Arrieta

I tweet baseball @DavidBBRT

Member: Society for American Baseball Research (SABR); The Baseball Reliquary; Baseball Bloggers Alliance


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Baseball’s “Heavy Metal” Double Play – a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger in the Same Season

Baseball’s “heavy metal” double play – The 2015 Rawlings Gold Glove and Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Awards – honoring the best defensive and offensive  players in each league at each position are on the books – and a handful (four fingers and a thumb) of players were honored for their excellence both at the plate and in the field.  The five players who captured both a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger for the 2015 season were: Astros’ second baseman Jose Altuve; Diamondbacks’ first baseman Paul Goldschmidt; Marlins’ second baseman Dee Gordon; Giants’ shortstop Brandon Crawford; and Rockies’ third baseman Nolan Arenado.  This year’s Sliver Slugger and Gold Glove winners’ lists each included nine first-time honorees. So, it’s no surprise that all five double-winners captured a Gold Glove and a Sliver Slugger in the same year for the first time.

Paul Goldschmidt – heavy metal hero – a 2015 Gold Glove and Silver Slugger; and he even threw in 21 stolen bases.



Since 1980, the combination of a Gold Glove/Silver Slugger has been achieved 174 times by 95 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. (I’m also including lists of 2015’s individual Silver Slugger and Gold Glove winners). Since the Silver Slugger is awarded to three outfielders annually regardless of their position (LF, CF, RF), the Sliver Slugger and GG/SS combo lists in this post do not break outfielders out by position.  Before, we take a look at the full lists, here are few bits of SS/GG combination trivia.

  • The fewest GG/SS combo winners in a single season is one – Dodgers’ 1B Adrian Gonzalez in 2014.
  • The most players to achieve the GG/SS combo in a season is nine – back in 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.
  • 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 (3B) 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.
  • 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).
  • 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)
  • Outfielders have achieved the SS/GG combo most often (65 times), but if you factor in the potential to outfielders to achieve three combos each season, second baseman have been most successful, putting up 29 SS/GG seasons.
  • The top team in terms of SS/GG seasons is the Yankees (13)
  • The White Sox are the only teams to never have a player win a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger in the same season.

2015 Silver Slugger Award Winners


Brian McCann, Yankees

Buster Posey, Giants

First Base

Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks

Second Base

Jose Altuve, Astros

Dee Gordon, Marlins

Third Base

Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays

Nolan Arenado, Rockies


Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox

Brandon Crawford, Giants


Mike Trout, Angels

Nelson Cruz, Mariners

J.D. Martinez, Tigers

Andrew McCutchen, Pirates

Bryce Harper, Nationals

Carlos Gomez, Rockies


Madison Bumgarner, Giants


Kendrys Morales, Royals


2015 Awards Recognizing Fielding 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 Fielding Bible Award … 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 twelve sabermetrically-inclined and experienced journalists (and bloggers).

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.



Full List of Same Year Gold Glove/Silver Slugger Winners by Season



Jose Altuve, 2B, Astros

Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Diamondbacks

Dee Gordon, 2B, Marlins

Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies

Brandon Crawford, SS, Giants.


Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Dodgers


Yadier Molina, C, Cardinals

Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Diamondbacks

J.J. Hardy, SS, Orioles

Adam Jones, OF, Orioles


Adam LaRoche, 1B, Nationals

Robinson Cano, 2B, Yankees

Chase Headley, 3B, Padres

Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pirates


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


Joe Mauer, C, Twins

Albert Pujols, 1B, Cardinals

Robinson Cano, 2B, Yankees

Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Rockies

Carl Crawford, OF, Rays

Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Rockies


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


Joe Mauer, C, Twins

Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Red Sox

David Wright, 3B, Mets

Grady Sizemore, OF, Indians


Russell Martin, C, Dodgers

Placido Polanco, 2B, Tigers

David Wright, 3B, Mets

Jimmy Rollins, SS, Phillies

Carlos Beltran, OF, Mets

Ichiro Suzuki, OF, Mariners


Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees

Carlos Beltran, OF, Mets


Jason Veritek, C, Red Sox

Mark Tiexierea, 1B, Rangers

Derrek Lee, 1B, Cubs

Andruw Jones, OF, Braves


Ivan Rodriguez, C, Tigers

Jim Edmonds, OF, Cardinals


Brett Boone, 2B, Mariners

Edgar Renteria, SS, Cardinals

Alex Rodriguez, SS, Rangers

Mike Hampton, P, Braves


Todd Helton, 1B, Rockies

Scott Rolen, 3B, Cardinals/Phillies

Eric Chavez, 3B, A’s

Edgar Renteria, SS, Cardinals

Alex Rodriguez, SS, Rangers


Todd Helton, 1B, Rockies

Ichiro Suzuki, OF, Mariners


Roberto Alomar, 2B, Indians

Darin Erstad, OF, Angels


Ivan Rodriguez, C, Rangers

Robert Alomar, 2B, Indians

Larry Walker, OF, Rockies

Ken Griffey, Jr., OF, Mariners

Shawn Green, OF, Blue Jays


Ivan Rodriguez, C, Rangers

Rafael Palmeiro, 1B, Rangers

Ken Griffey, Jr. OF, Mariners


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


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


Ivan Rodriguez, C, Rangers

Craig, Biggio, 2B, Astros

Barry Larkin, SS, Reds


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


Robby Thompson, 2B, Giants

Matt Williams, 3B, Giants

Jay Bell, SS, Pirates

Barry Bonds, OF, Giants

Ken Griffey, Jr, OF, Mariners


Roberto Alomar, 2B, Blue Jays

Larry Walker, OF, Expos

Andy Van Slyke, OF, Pirates

Barry Bonds, OF, Pirates

Kirby Puckett, OF, Twins


Will Clark, 1B, Giants

Ryne Sandberg, 2B, Cubs

Cal Ripken, Jr., SS, Orioles

Barry Bonds, OF, Pirates

Ken Griffey, Jr., OF, Mariners


Benito Santiago, C, Padres

Ryne Sandberg, 2B, Cubs

Kelly Gruber, 3B, Blue Jays

Barry Bonds, OF, Pirates

Ellis Burks, OF, Red Sox


Ryne Sandberg, 2B, Cubs

Eric Davis, OF, Reds

Kirby Puckett, OF, Twins

Tony Gwynn, OF, Padres


Benito Santiago, C, Padres

Ryne Sandberg, 2B, Cubs

Andy Van Slyke, OF, Pirates

Kirby Puckett, OF, Twins


Don Mattingly, 1B, Yankees

Ozzie Smith, SS, Cardinals

Tony Gwynn, OF, Padres

Eric Davis, OF, Reds

Kirby Puckett, OF, Twins

Andre Dawson, OF, Cubs


Don Mattingly, 1B, Yankees

Frank White, 2B, Royals

Mike Schmidt, 3B, Phillies

Tony Gwynn, OF, Padres

Kirby Puckett, OF, Twins


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


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


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


Gary Carter, C, Expos

Mike Schmidt, 3B, Phillies

Robin Yount, SS, Brewers

Dale Murphy, OF, Braves

Dave Winfield, OF, Yankees


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


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

Altuve, Jose … 2015

Arenado, Nolan … 2015

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, Brandon … 2015

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

Goldschmidt, Paul … 2015

Gonzalez, Adrian … 2011; 2014

Gonzalez, Carlos … 2010

Gordon, Dee … 2015

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

I tweet baseball @DavidBBRT

Member: Society for American Baseball Research (SABR); The Baseball Reliquary; Baseball Bloggers Alliance.

Some 2015 Post-Season Observations

Alcides Escobar - Spark plug helped lead Royals to Championship with record setting 15-game post-season hitting streak.

Alcides Escobar – Spark plug helped lead Royals to Championship with record setting 15-game post-season hitting streak.

The 2015 MLB post season is behind us (sad face here) and the Kansas City Royals are the World Series Champions – thanks primarily to a strong bullpen and an offense that put the ball in play and kept the pressure on the opposition.   The Royals not only scored often, they scored often LATE.  That made for some pretty exciting baseball.  Here are just a few things about the 2015 post-season that caught BBRT’s eye:

  • The Royals’ Alcides Escobar started the 2015 post-season with a zero-for-four day in the Royals’ 5-2 loss to the Astros (October 8). That was the last time he would be held without a hit in 2015, as the KC spark plug ran off a single-post-season record 15-game hitting streak. Escobar hit .329 for the 2015 post-season and led all players with 23 base hits.
  • The Royals’ Ben Zobrist rapped eight doubles in the 2015 post season, tying the Cardinals’ Albert Pujols and David Freese for the most doubles in a single post season. (Pujols and Freese both hit eight doubles in the 2011 post season.) Zobrist also led the 2015 post season with 15 runs scored.
  • The Mets’ Daniel Murphy set an MLB record by hitting a home run in six consecutive post-season games. As the World Series began, Murphy had seven home runs in the 2015 post season, one shy of the single post-season record. Murphy, however, had only three singles in 20 World Series at bats. For more on Murphy, click here.
  • The Royals’ Raul A. Mondesi became the first player ever to make his major league debut in the World Series. His father, Raul R. Mondesi played in more than 1,500 major league games and never made it to the World Series. For more on the Mondesi’s, click here.
  • The World Champion Royals picked up eight come from behind post-season wins in 2015 – seven after trailing by two or more runs.

Don’t Look Back …

As Satchel Paige once said, “Don’t look back, something might be gaining on you.”  In the 2015 post season, it was probably the Royals. 

  • The Royals were late-inning monsters – scoring 40 of their 90 post-season runs from the eighth inning on (and giving up only six runs over those same innings). The remaining nine post-season teams scored a combined 26 runs (out of 314) after the seventh inning. Little wonder KC had a single-post-season record eight bullpen victories. Note: In the World Series, the Royals outscored the Mets 15-1 from the eighth inning on. 

Now, here’s a look at the individual 2015 World Series and overall post-season leaders.

2015 World Series Batting Leaders

Batting Average (minimum 10 at bats) – .364 … Salvador Perez, Royals (Record for a five-game World Series – .529, Sean Casey, Tigers, 2006.)

Home Runs – 3 … Curtis Granderson, Mets (Ties record for five-game WS with Don Clendenon, Mets, 1969.  Note: The Yankees Lou Gehrig hit four home runs in a four-game WS, 1928.)

RBI – 6 … Eric Hosmer, Royals (Record for a five-game WS – 9 … Danny Murphy, Athletics, 1910.)

Run Scored – 6 … Curtis Granderson, Mets (Ties record for five-game WS … eight other players.)

Base Hits – 8 … Sean Perez, Royals (Record for a five-game WS – 9 … by 11 players.)

Doubles – 4 … Ben Zobrist, Royals (Ties record for a five-game WS … Eddie Collins, Athletics, 1910 and Rick Dempsey, Orioles, 1983.)

Triples – 1 …. Alcides Escobar, Royals (Record for a five-game WS – 2 … Eddie Collins, Athletics, 1913; Bobby Brown, Yankees, 1949;  Paul O’Neill, Yankees, 2000. )

World Series’ Pitching Records – Look to Christy Mathewson

Looking to the record book, you won’t find a better World Series’ pitching performance than Christy Mathewson’s mound heroics for the 1905 New York Giants.  In that five-game World Series, Mathewson started three games in six days (October 9, 12, 14).  Mathewson won all three games – giving him a share of the record – not just for a five-game series, but for a series of any length.  He also threw three complete games – and all three were shutouts – as he beat the Philadelphia Athletics 3-0, 9-0 and 2-0. Overall, Mathewson pitched 27 innings – giving up just 13 hits and one walk, while fanning 18. Of course, it should have been no surprise. During the season, Matty had led the NL in wins (31 versus 9 losses), ERA (1.28) and shutouts (8).

2015 World Series Pitching Leaders

ERA (minimum 5 innings) – 0.00 … Kelvin Herrera, Royals (5 IP), Luke Hochevar, Royals (5 IP) (Ties Record for five-game World Series … held by many.)

Wins – 1 … Five players (Record for a five-game World Series – 3 … Christy Mathewson, Giants, 1905; Jack Coombs, Athletics, 1910.)

Strikeouts – 11 … Matt Harvey, Mets (Record for a five-game WS – 18 Christy Mathewson, Giants, 1905.  Note: Sandy Koufax struck out 23 in a four-game World Series, Dodgers, 1963.)

Innings Pitched – 14 … Matt Harvey, Mets (Record for a five-game WS – 27 … Christy Mathewson, Giants, 1905; Jack Coombs, Athletics, 1910.)

Complete Games – 1 … Johnny Cueto, Royals (Record for a five-game World Series – 3 … Christy Mathewson, Giants, 1905; Jack Coombs, Athletics, 1910.)

Saves -1 … Wade Davis, Royals (Record for a five-game WS – 2 … by five players.  Note: Three relievers have notched three saves in a four-game WS … Mariano Rivera, Yankees, 1998; Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox, 2004; Sergio Romo, Giants, 2012. 

 For more on World Series all-time leaders, click here.


2015 Overall Post Season Leaders

Batting Average – .527 … Justin Turner, Dodgers

Home Runs – 7 …Daniel Murphy, Mets

RBI – 14 … Eric Hosmer, Royals

Runs Scored – 15 … Ben Zobrist, Royals

Base Hits – 23 … Alcides Escobar, Royals

Stolen Bases – 6 … Lorenzo Cain, Royals

Doubles – 8 … Ben Zobrist, Royals

Triples – 3 … Alcides Escobar, Royals


ERA (minimum 10 innings pitched) – 0.00…. Wade Davis, Royals (10 2/3 innings)

Wins – 3 … Jason deGrom, Mets

Strikeouts – 29 … Jason deGrom, Mets (25 IP)

Saves – 5 … Jeurys Familia, Mets

CG – 1 …Jake Arrieta, Cubs; Johnny Cueto, Royals


I tweet baseball @DavidBBRT


Member Society for American Baseball Research; The Baseball  Reliquary; Baseball Bloggers Alliance.

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An Inauspicious, Yet Auspicious, Beginning … Royals’ Rookie Makes History

NCA_2921The Kansas City Royals called on rookie Raul Adalberto Mondesi to pinch hit for reliever Danny Duffy in the fifth inning of last night’s 9-3 loss to the Mets. The 20-year-old Mondesi went down swinging and, in the process, became a trivia star.  It was not only Mondesi’s first World Series’ appearance, it was his first major league appearance – making him the first player ever to make his major league debut in the modern version of the World Series.  Mondesi was added to the Royals’ World Series roster on the basis of his versatility (a middle infielder who can also play outfield) and speed (19 stolen bases in 81 games at Double A in 2015) – attributes that could be assets, particularly when playing under NL rules (no-DH) in New York.

For “deep trivia” buffs, Mondesi replaced outfielder Terrance Gore on the post-season roster and pitcher Joba Chamberlain was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.  

While Mondesi has never played above Double A, he was rated the Royals’ number-one prospect and MLB’s 33rd-best prospect by MLBPipleine.com.  In 2015, he hit .243 with six home runs and 33 RBI at Northwest Arkansas. He also had 11 doubles, five triples and 19 stolen bases. In four minor league seasons (366 games), Mondesi has hit .246, with 24 home runs and 143 RBI. He’s also collected 26 triples and 71 stolen bases (in 93 attempts).  Mondesi was signed by the Royals, at the age of 16 (for $2 million) and made his minor league debut (as a 16-year-old) with Rookie League  Idaho Falls – where he hit .290, with three home runs, 30 RBI and 11 steals (in 13 attempts) in 50 games.

Mondesi comes by his prospect status naturally.  He is the son of former MLB outfielder Raul Roman Mondesi, who played 13 MLB seasons for the Dodgers, Blue Jays, Yankees, Diamondbacks, Pirates, Angels and Braves. The elder Mondesi was the 1994 NL Rookie of the Year, an All Star in 1995 and a Gold Glover in 1995 and 1997. Mondesi’s best year was 1997, when he had a 30-30 season – hitting .310 with 30 home runs, 32 stolen bases and 87 RBI for the Dodgers. He retired in 2005 with a .273 average, 271 home runs, 960 RBI and 229 stolen bases. The elder Mondesi, however, never played in a World Series. Another of Mondesi’s sons – Raul Ramon Mondesi, Jr. –  (Raul Adalberto’s older brother) played minor league ball in the Rays and Brewers systems.

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Member Society for American Baseball research (SABR); The Baseball Reliquary; Baseball Bloggers Alliance.

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A Look at the World Series’ Longest Games

Alcides Escobar - Toured the bases for an inside-the-park home run in the first (of 14) inning(s).

Alcides Escobar – Toured the bases for an inside-the-park home run in the first (of 14) inning(s).

Last night, the Mets and Royals gave baseball fans a real treat – a 14-inning Game One of the World Series (won by the Royals 5-4). A lot has been written about that contest:

  • Tied for the most innings in World Series history.
  • Second-longest WS game by time at five hours and nine minutes.
  • Longest Game One in terms of innings and time.
  • Alcides Escobar hitting just the 12th inside-the-park homer in World Series history.
  • The Mets’ Bartolo Colon becoming the oldest pitcher to lose a WS game (42 years and 157 days)
  • Two critical errors (Royals’ 1B Eric Hosmer and Mets’ 3B David Wright), both made by players with multiple Gold Gloves on their MLB resumes.
  • Mets’ OF Mike Conforto becoming just the third player to play in the Little League, College and MLB World Series – and the first to drive in a run in all three.

I could go on, but I will leave that to other observers.  In this post, BBRT would like to focus on the three 14-inning games in World Series history – and how different they were.

Those three contests were:

  • Game Two of the 1916 World Series (Dodgers/Red Sox) on October 9, 1916.
  • Game Three of the 2005 World Series (White Sox/Astros) on October 25, 2005.
  • Game One of the 2015 World Series (Mets/Royals) on October 28, 2015.

Here’s a teaser to entice you to read on:  The number of pitchers used in each game ranged from just two to 17; the time of each game ranged 5:41 to 2:32; two of the games featured first-inning, inside-the-park home runs; and the winning team in each game went on to win the Series. Interested?  If so, read on.

Pitchers Used … 2-17-13

Babe Ruth went the distance in 14-inning, 2-1 Series win. 

In the Red Sox’ 1916 win, the teams used a combined TWO pitchers.  Boston ace Babe Ruth (who had been 23-12 for the Red Sox with a league-low 1.75 ERA in the regular season) went the distance in a 2-1 victory, setting the record for most innings pitched in a single World Series game (14). Ruth gave up just six hits and one run, walking three and fanning four. The Dodgers’ Sherry Smith (14-10, 2.34 in the regular season) also went the distance (13 1/3 innings completed when the winning tally scored), giving up two runs on seven hits and six walks, while fanning two.

In the 2005 White Sox’ win (by a score of 7-5), 17 pitchers were used – nine by the White Sox and eight by the Astros. Last night, the Mets and Royals combined to use 13 hurlers – seven by the Royals, six by the Mets.

Players Used … 43-22-21

In the White Sox/Astros’ contest, a WS single-game record 43 players were used – including five pinch hitters and two pinch runners. In the Mets/Royals’ game, 22 players took the field (just one pinch hitter and one pinch runner).  The Dodgers and Red Sox used only 21 players (the Dodgers the minimum nine), with two pinch hitters and one pinch runner.

Time of Game

The White Sox/Astros’ tilt was the longest game in World Series’ history in terms of time at 5 hours and 41 minutes.  Last night’s Mets/Royals’ game was the second-longest at five hours and nine minutes.  The Dodgers and Red Sox took only two hours and 32 minutes to complete their 14-inning matchup. (My how the game has changed.)

Inside-the-Park Home Runs

The Dodger/Red Sox’ and Mets/Royals’ contests each featured an inside-the-park home run – and both came in the first inning (Dodger’ CF Hi Meyers and Royals’ SS Alcides Escobar). Total long balls: The Mets/Royals and White/Sox Astros each featured three home runs; the Dodger/Red Sox just one.

Walks and Whiffs

The Mets/Royals featured nine walks and 22 strikeouts; with the Royals being most efficient at three free passes and 15 strikeouts.  The White Sox/Astros’ game saw a whopping 21 walks in 14 innings, with 25 strikeouts. The Astros’ staff walked nine and whiffed 11, while the Sox walked 12 and struck out 14. The Dodgers/Red Sox put the ball in play – a total of only nine walks and six strikeouts combined.

Attendance – Pretty Darn Close

Mets/Royals … 40,320

White Sox/Astros … 42,848

Dodgers/Red Sox … 47,373

Total Hits, Runs and Errors

Last night’s Mets/Royals’ contest featured 22 hits, nine runs and two errors. The White Sox/Astros combined for 22 hits, 12 runs and four errors.  The Dodgers/Red Sox were stingier at 13 hits, three runs and three errors.

Who Won the Series?

Omen? Who knows. In the 1916 and 2005 World Series, the teams that won the 14-inning contests went on to win the Series.

How the Games Ended

Mets/Royals … With the Mets’ Bartolo Colon on the mound in the bottom of the 14th, Royals’ SS Alcides Escobar led off by reaching third base on an error by NY third baseman David Wright. 2B Ben Zobrist singled to put runners on first and third.  CF Lorenzo Cain was walked to load the bases and 1B Eric Hosmer hit a “walk-0ff” sacrifice fly to right to end the game – on an unearned run. Colon, the Mets’ sixth pitcher got the loss. Chris Young, the Astros’ seventh pitcher got the win (three innings of hitless, scoreless relief – one walk, four strikeouts).

Dodgers/Red Sox … With starter Sherry Smith still on the mound for the Dodgers, Red Sox’ 1B Dick Hoblitzell led off the bottom of the fourteenth with a walk. LF Duffy Lewis bunted him to second. At this point, the Red Sox brought in Mike McNally to run for Hoblitzell and Del Gainer to pinch hit for 3B Larry Gardner (zero-for-five at that point). The moves worked, Gainer singled to left, bringing home McNally with the winning run – in what we would now term “walk-off” fashion.

White Sox/Astros … Unlike the Dodgers/Red Sox and Mets/Royals, this game did not end in a walk-off.  The White Sox scored the winning run(s) in the TOP of the fourteenth.

The two teams went into the fourteenth tied at 5. The Astros pulled a double switch – bringing Ezequiel Astacio in to pitch (and bat sixth), pulling 2B Craig Biggio and putting Jose Vizcaino (who had pinch hit in the bottom of the 13th) in at 2B.  White Sox RF Jermaine Dye led off with a single to right field, but 1B Paul Konerko hit into a 5-4-3 double play.  So, two outs and no one on base. That’s when things got ugly.  ChiSox 2B Geoff Blum (the sixth player to hold the number-five spot in the batting order), who had come into the game defensively in the 13th, homered to give the Sox the lead.  BBRT note:  It would be Blum’s only at bat in the Series.

Next came a single by CF Aaron Rowand, a single by 3B Joe Crede and a walk to SS Juan Uribe to load the bases. Astacio then walked C Chris Widger to force in an insurance run – and was replaced on the mound by Wandy Rodriguez, who fanned LF Scott Podsednik to end the inning.  In the bottom of the inning, Damasco Marte and Mark Buehrle combined to hold the Astros scoreless – although, thanks to a walk and an error, the tying runs were  on  base when Buehrle got Houston SS Adam Everett to pop out to end the game. Marte, the Sox’ eighth pitcher got the win, Buehrle the save. Astacio, the Astros’ seventh hurler, took the loss.


I tweet baseball @DavidBBRT


Member:  Society for American Baseball Research (SABR); The Baseball Reliquary; Baseball Bloggers Alliance.

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World Series’ Futility – Getting There and Playing There

The New York Yankees have lost more World Series than any other team (13). Of course, they've won more as well (27).

The New York Yankees have lost more World Series than any other team (13). Of course, they’ve won more as well (27).

As the Mets and Royals face off in the 2015 World Series, we can be assured that a World Championship drought of at least 28 years will be broken. The Royals last won MLB’s Fall Classic in 1985, the Mets in 1986.  Still, neither is close to the Cubs’ run of futility – Chicago’s NL entry last won a World Series 107 seasons ago (1908).  And, among non-expansion teams, the Cubs’ have the worst won-lost record – having won the title just twice in ten trips to the Series. Further – again among non-expansion teams – the Cubs have gone the longest since last appearing in the World Series – all the way back to 1945.

Among expansion teams,we have the Nationals/Expos and Mariners, who have never been to the World Series – and the Rays, Rockies, Padres, Brewers, Astros and Rangers, who have never won a Series title.  

In this post, BBRT would like to look at some of the World Series’ records for futility – both in terms of reaching the Fall Classic and performance on the big stage. For the more positive side of the record book, you can get a look at World Series’ single-game records, by clicking here.  For even more on the World Series’ records, click here. 

Long Careers Without Reaching the World Series

 Phil Niekro – A Man for Many Seasons

Phil Niekro - earned a statue and a plaque (Hall of Fame), but never got a chance to earn a win in the Fall Classic.

Phil Niekro – earned a statue and a plaque (Hall of Fame), but never got a chance to earn a win in the Fall Classic.

No player took the field for more seasons without playing in the World Series than hurler Phil Niekro (24 seasons; 1964-87). The Hall of Fame knuckleballer also holds the record for the most wins for any pitcher never appearing in the Fall Classic at 318 (versus 274 losses). During his career, Niekro pitched for the Braves (in Milwaukee and Atlanta); Yankees; and Blue Jays.  He was a five-time All Star, two-time 20–game winner (leading the NL in wins in 1974 and 1979), led the NL in winning percentage (17-4, .810) in 1982 and even won five Gold Gloves. On the other side of the coin, Niekro also led the NL in losses for four consecutive seasons (1977-1980), when he went a cumulative 71-76.  Notably, Phil’s brother Joe nearly matched his World Series’ drought. Joe Niekro pitched 22 years in the big leagues – and didn’t make his first World Series appearance until his 21st season (1987, with the Twins).

The only other pitcher to win 300 games and not appear in the World Series is Gaylord Perry (314-265 over 22 seasons). BBRT note: Phil Niekro and Gaylord Perry are both part of MLB’s winningest brother combinations.  Phil and Joe Niekro rank first (a combined 539 MLB wins) and Gaylord and Jim Perry rank second (529 wins).

Among position players, the most seasons played without appearing in a World Series is 23 (Julio Franco; 1982-94, 1996-97; 1999; 2001-07).

Phil Niekro – 20/20 Vision

Phil Niekro, who went 21-20 for the Atlanta Braves in 1979, is the last MLB pitcher to lead his league in wins and losses in the same season – and the last MLBer to win and lose 20 or more games in the same season. That same season, Phil’s brother Joe went 21-11 for the Houston Astros, marking the only season in which  two brothers have tied for the league lead in victories.

Rafael Palmeiro – Stretching for October

Rafael Palmeiro played the most regular-season games without making it to baseball’s finals 2,831 from 1986-2005. Palmeiro also has the most at bats without playing in a World Series (10,472) and is one of only two players with at least 3,000 hits not to make it to the Fall Classic .(Palmeiro retired with 3,020 hits; Rod Carew amassed 3,053 hits without ever making it to the Series.) With 569 career homers, Palmeiro has the third-most of any player not to appear in the World Series (Ken Griffey, Jr. is number-one at 630, followed by Sammy Sosa at 609. The only other member of the 500+ HR Club not to play in the World Series is Ernie Banks at 512.)

Rafeal Palmeiro – The No-So-Golden Glove

In 1999, Rafael Palmeiro won his third-consecutive Gold Glove at first base – in a season in which he started only 25 games at the position (and played first base in only 28 games) – while starting 128 games as a Designated Hitter.


Of course, getting to the World Series is only half the battle.

World Series’ Futility – On the Playing Field

Whitey Ford – Leading in Losses (not to mention starts and wins)

Whitey Ford holds the record for most career World Series losses at eight, but that came in 22 starts and was accompanied by an MLB-best 10 World Series wins.


Four by Four: No WS Wins – Four Losses

The most career WS losses without a win is four:

Charlie Liebrandt … 0-4, 4.84 in five WS starts – Royals in 1985, and Braves 1991 and 1992.

Don Newcombe … 0-4, 8.59 in five WS starts – Dodgers in 1949, 1955 and 1956.

Bill Sherdel … 0-4, 3.26 in four WS starts – Cardinals in 1926 and 1928.

Ed Summers … 0-4, 5.73 in four WS starts – Tigers  in 1908 and 1909.


Three Losses in a Single Series

The record for the most losses in a single World Series belongs to George Frazier of the Yankees, who went 0-3, with a 17.18 ERA versus the Dodgers in 1981. Frazier appeared in three games, giving up seven runs in 3 2/3 innings.


An 0-For World Series Career at the Plate

As you might expect, the record for World Series’ futility at the plate belongs to a player who earned his keep on the mound. Philadelphia Athletics’ pitcher George Earnshaw holds the record for most career World Series at bats without a hit at 22 – accumulated over eight games in three Fall Classics (1929, 1930, 1931).  As a pitcher, Earnshaw went 4-3, 1.58, with five complete games in his eight WS starts. Note: Earnshaw was a 20-game winner in all three of his WS seasons – winning 66 games and losing just 28 from 1929-31.

Among position players, catcher Bill Sullivan (Senior) holds the record for most World Series at bats without a hit.  Sullivan went 0-for-21 for the White Sox in the 1906 Series and never made it back to October baseball.


Worst Single Series

In 1968, Cardinals’ shortstop Dal Maxvill, who hit a career-high .253 and won a Gold glove in the regular season, went 0-for-22 as the Cardinals lost the World Series (in seven games) to the Tigers. In the process, Maxvill set the record for the most at bats in a single series without a safety. Dodger Gil Hodges had gone 0-for-21 in the 1952 Series. Maxvill played in four World Series over his career, hitting .115 (7-for-61). The slick fielding infielder hit .217 over a 14-year MLH career.


I tweet baseball @DavidBBRT

Member:  Society for American Baseball Research (SABR); The Baseball Reliquary; Baseball Bloggers Alliance.

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A Tale of Two Murphys – A Hero and A Goat


Daniel Murphy - THE HERO.

Daniel Murphy – THE HERO.

Yesterday, the Mets ended the Cubs 2015 post-season run in a four-game sweep, winning the NLCS and punching their ticket to the World series behind some powerful arms and the bat of a hero named Murphy. Mets’ second baseman Daniel Murphy went 4-for-5 (two runs and two RBI) in the New Yorkers’ 8-3 Game Four victory. Murphy went 9-for-17 (.529) with four home runs, six RBI and six runs scored in the NL Championship Series. He homered in all four games, in the process setting a new MLB record by going yard in six consecutive post-season contests.  His performance earned Murphy the NLCS 2015 Most Valuable Player Award.

Through yesterday’s game, Murphy’s 2015 post-season stat line reads, .421-7-11 (with 11 runs scored). He stands just one home run shy of the HR record for a single post season.  For a look at the single and career post-season records, click here.

The 30-year-old Murphy’s power surge is a bit of surprise. In his seven MLB seasons, he has accumulated a regular-season batting average of .288 and hit just 62 home runs (about one HR every 14.5 games) and collected 402 RBI (one every 2.1 games). Still in 2015, he did enjoy perhaps his best season at the plate, going .281-14-73.

That a player named Murphy should doom the Cubs, however, is no surprise. Read on.


Chicago Cubs on way to reversing the curse - behind the arm of Jake Arrieta.

Chicago Cubs on way to reversing the curse – behind the arm of Jake Arrieta.

On October 6th,1945, with the Cubs up two games to one in the World Series (having beaten the Tigers two out of three at Detroit’s Briggs Stadium), happy Cubbies’ fans were lined up to get into Wrigley Field. One of those fans was Greek William “Billy Goat” Sianis, owner of the Billy Goat Tavern. Sianis purchased two tickets to the game – one for him and one for his “lucky” pet goat – named Murphy. As he moved to enter Wrigley – this well-documented legend has it – Murphy was turned away and Sianis was informed that animals were not allowed in the ball park.

Sianis reportedly appealed the usher’s ruling all the way up to Cubs’ owner P.K. Wrigley, who reportedly told the tavern owner the goat could not be let in because of its less than appealing odor (only in stronger terms). As the popular and oft-told story goes, Sianis put a curse on the Cubs – vowing they would not win another World Series until Murphy was allowed in the ballpark. The Cubs, without Murphy in the stands, lost game four (4-1) and the Series (four games to three). After the Series, Sianis sent Wrigley a telegram reading “Who stinks now?”  Sianis’ curse appears to have worked long and well – as, over the years, the Cubs have become affectionately known as the “Loveable Losers” – and have not captured another World Series title.

A side note:  How seriously is the curse taken in some quarters? On the Fourth of July, 1973 – with the Cubs in first place (six games up on second-place Saint Louis) –  William Sianis’ nephew (and new Billy Goat Tavern owner) Sam Sianis and Chicago Tribune columnist Dave Condon arranged to bring one of Murphy’s descendants (a goat name Socrates)  to Wrigley in an attempt to lift the curse. The goat arrived at Wrigley Field in a limousine accompanied by Sianis and a sign that read “All is forgiven. Let me lead you to the pennant. Your Friend, Billy Goat.”  Well, not all lessons are easily leaned.  Like Murphy before him, Socrates was denied entrance to the Wrigley.  The Cubs?  They faded to fifth place- five games out.  Over the years, Murphy’s descendant has been allowed on the Wrigley Field more than once and even made a pennant race road trip (to Houston) in attempts to break the curse.

Second side note; The Billy Goat Tavern reportedly was the inspiration for the Saturday Night Live’s Olympia Cafe – “Cheezeborger – No fries. Cheeps – No Coke. Pepsi.” 


I tweet baseball @DavidBBRT


Member: Society for American Baseball Research; The Baseball Reliquary; Baseball Bloggers Alliance.

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