Ballpark Tours – Bleacher Bums XXXIV – Baseball Heaven (on many levels)

 

ballpark tours

Bleacher Bums XXXIV – Tennessee Three Step

(August 12-21, 2016)

Ten Games – Seven cities – Ten Days

Independent – A- AA- AAA-  & Major League

There is really nothing like a Ballpark Tours trek. It is the perfect way to enjoy the national pastime – good times with good friends (old and new) who share a passion for baseball and adventure.  It’s would not be an exaggeration to say that once you get on a Ballpark Tours bus, every mile is a memory.

Note:  This is an unsolicited BBRT endorsement/recommendation.  I’ve been on 27 Ballpark Tours trips, and on every one I’ve made some great friends, had some great times and seen some great baseball.  I highly recommend the 2016 trek and, later in this post, there is a link that will take you directly to Ballpark Tours site.

This year’s jaunt, leaving out of Saint Paul, Minnesota promises to be a true southern adventure.   August 12-21, trekkers will enjoy ten games in seven cities in ten days.  And, if you’ve ever wanted to compare the quality of play at various levels (as well as culture of the game and the towns and cities in which it is played), this trip is for you. It includes professional baseball at almost every level – from the Independent Leagues through the Major Leagues. You’ll not only see the Minnesota Twins and defending World Champion Kansas City Royals, but some of the top minor league prospects of the Twins, Diamondbacks, Mariners, A’s, Cardinals, Rays and Astros.

BPT Kauff

In addition, you’ll be able to enjoy the culture, cuisine, history and arts of the cities along the way, including two nights each in Memphis, Nashville and Kansas City – talk about the opportunity for Blues, Brews, Barbeque and Baseball, not to mention a little Country and Bluegrass thrown in. As always with Ballpark Tours, you can expect good hotels, well-located – and all the usual high spirits, hi-jinx and BPT hoopla. For a look at some of BPT’s past trips, there are BBRT’s Ballpark Tours Daily Roundups, just click here.  To learn more (like pricing), just click here to go right to Ballpark Tours website.  Really anxious to sign up, here’s a downloadable order form – click here.

BallPark Tour Show Me State Ramble group - and our home on the road.

For those who want more detail – here are the teams featured on this year’s trek.

Independent- Frontier League

Gateway Grizzlies at Southern Illinois (Marion) Miners

Class A – Midwest League

Quad Cities River Bandits at the Peoria Chiefs

Double A – Southern League

Montgomery Biscuits at Chattanooga Lookouts

Triple A Pacific Coast league

Tacoma Raniers at Memphis Redbirds

Reno Aces at Nashville Sounds

Major League – American

Minnesota Twins at Kansas City Royals

I tweet baseball @DavidBBRT

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

BBRT “Second 99” Baseball Trivia Kwiz

Play Ball!One of the earliest Baseball Roundtable posts drew upon more than two decades of serving as the St. Paul, Minnesota-based Ballpark Tours “Kwizmaster.” That post featured BBRT’s 99 favorite trivia “kwuestions” – all fan-tested by Ballpark Tours participants over numerous bus rides, beverages and baseball games. Over the years, the annual K-Kwizzes have featured more than 2,500 major and minor league questions (not to mention special Kwizzes on baseball movies and literature). In this post, BBRT is going to the bench for its “Second 99” – another round of trivia to help fans survive the off-season.  Note: For BBRT’s “First 99” baseball trivia Kwiz, click here.  (BBRT suggests taking the first Kwiz first – kind makes sense.)

As in the “First 99,” the questions in the new Kwiz represent important milestones or events that committed baseball fans should be aware of; insights into some of baseball biggest stars and most unusual characters; or unique (iconic or ironic) facts that BBRT feels need to be shared.  And, as with the first 99, the answers often contain additional tidbits about the players or events which BBRT found of interest.  Just a few examples from this second quiz – a look at players who have collected three hits in a single inning, stole a base in four different decades,  pitched 300 innings in a season without giving up a home run, made their first major league appearance in the World Series, thrown five shutouts in their first seven starts, hit two home runs in a game in which they also pitched a no-hitter, homered in eight straight games, played in a major league outfield alongside their Dad (not just the Griffeys), hit for the home run cycle (a solo, two-run, three-run and Grand Slam in the same game) and been knocked off the mound by lightening, but stayed on to complete the game.

To got to the the “Second 99” Trivia Quiz, click here. There is a link to the answers at the end of the quiz, or if you want to go directly to the answers, click here.   Enjoy.

I tweet baseball at @DavidBBRT

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

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A Different Look at Griffey and Piazza

Ken Griffey, Jr. - top Hall of Fame vote-getter ever (%).

Ken Griffey, Jr. – top Hall of Fame vote-getter ever (%) – with a 630-HR swing.

Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza this week were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame  – and much was made of their respective places at the far ends of the MLB draft spectrum. Griffey is the earliest draft pick – the first “first overall”  pick (1987) elected to the Hall – while Piazza is the latest draft pick ever elected (62nd round of the 1988 draft, the 1,390th player picked).  In this post, BBRT will look at some other Griffey and Piazza firsts and lasts, as well as a few similarities between the two.  For example, both doubled to center in their first MLB at bats, both were replaced by pinch runners in their final MLB games, both made their first All Star teams in their second seasons, both had (arguably) their best seasons in 1997, and both can look back on one-run games book-ending their MLB careers (Piazza a pair of one-run victories, Griffey two one-run losses.) Note: For a look at BBRT’s comments on the All Star ballot (November post), click here.

  • Griffey played his first major league game on April 3, 1989 – and it was a one-run affair, as Griffey’s Mariners lost to the A’s in Oakland by a score of 3-2. The 19-year-old started in CF (batting second) and went one-for-three with a walk. In his first at bat (and first plate appearance), Griffey doubled to center on an 0-1 pitch from Oakland’s Dave Stewart. He later scored his first major league run, after walking (off Steward) in the sixth. Griffey stayed with the Mariners for the entire season, playing in 127 games and going .264-16-61, with 16 steals. He finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting.
  • Piazza played his first major league game on September 1, 1992 – and it was a one-run contest, as Piazza’s Dodgers beat the Cubs 5-4 (13 innings) in Chicago. Like Griffey, the 23-year-old Piazza doubled to center (left-center by some accounts) in his first official MLB at bat (on the first pitch from Cubs’ starter Mike Harkey in the fourth). It was not, however, Piazza’a first plate appearance. Starting at catcher and batting sixth, Piazza’s first plate appearance was a five-pitch walk off Harkey in the top of the second. For the game, Piazza went three-for-three (plus the walk), but neither scored nor drove in a run. Piazza got into only 21 games after his call-up (.232-1-7), preserving his rookie status. In 1993, he went .318-35-112 and was the NL Rookie of the Year.
  • Griffey played his final MLB game on May 31, 2010 – another one-run affair, with Griffey’s Mariners losing to the Twins 5-4 in Seattle. In his last MLB at bat, Griffey (then 40) pinch hit for Mariners’ catcher Rob Johnson in the bottom of the ninth with the Mariners trailing 5-4 and Seattle shortstop Josh Wilson on first base. Griffey grounded to shortstop (on an 0-1 pitch from Twins’ reliever Jon Rauch) and reached first on a fielder’s choice (the Twins forcing Wilson at second). In his last MLB appearance, Griffey was replaced by a pinch runner (Michael Saunders).
  • Piazza’s final at bat came on September 30, 2007 – and, yes, it was a one-run game, with Piazza’s Athletics topping the Angels 3-2 in Oakland. Piazza (then 39) started the game at DH batting fifth. He went 1-for-4, getting a single to right on a 1-0 pitch from Angels’ reliever Chris Bootcheck leading off the ninth inning of a 2-2 game. It was Piazza’s final major league at bat and, like Griffey, in that final appearance, he was lifted for a pinch runner (Shannon Stewart, who scored the game-winning run).
  • Both Griffey and Piazza made their first All Star team in their second major league season – Griffey in 1990, Piazza in 1993.
  • Both Griffey and Piazza were All Star Game MVPs – Griffey in 1992, Piazza in 1996.
  • Griffey and Piazza each had six post-season home runs –Griffey in 18 games, Piazza in 32.

By the numbers:

Home runs:  Griffey – 630, sixth-most all time, with four league HR titles;  Piazza 427, 396 as a catcher (most for the position).

All Star Selections: Griffey – 13; Piazza – 12.

Silver Slugger Awards: Griffey – 7; Piazza – 10.

Gold Gloves: Griffey – 10.

MLB Seasons:  Griffey – 22; Piazza – 16.

Career Batting Average: Griffey – .284; Piazza – .308.

RBI: Griffey – 1,836; Piazza – 1,335.

On Base and Slugging Percentage:  Griffey –  .370, .538; Piazza  .377, .545.

Griffey’s Best Season: 1997 Mariners, 157 games, .304, 56 home runs, 147 RBI, 15 steals.

Piazza’s Best Season: 1997 Dodgers, 152 games, .362, 40 home runs, 124 RBI, 5 steals.

 I tweet baseball @DavidBBRT

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

 

 

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Finding the Middle Ground – MLBers Known by Their Middle Names

In my last post, I took a look at some of baseball’s best and worse nicknames. (Click here to see that post.) A baseball name search can be both interesting and addictive.  For example, while researching nicknames, I found that Ken “The Kid” Griffey, Jr. and Tom “Tom Terrific” Seaver shared the given name “George,” but were known in baseball circles by their middle names.  I also reaffirmed that Lou “Iron Man” or “Bisuit Pants” Gehrig, who made both the best and worse nickname lineups, was actually named Henry Luis Gehrig.  So, in this post, I’d like to examine players who are known to fans not by their given names, but rather by their middle name.

I made the middle-namers’ lineup a little tougher to fill, selecting only players I have seen play for the starting nine. The additional players listed were selected because I expect most BBRT readers will be familiar with their names and accomplishments.

 

By GEORGE - those Griffey's could play! Photo: Jody Cloutier Photography

By GEORGE – those Griffey’s could play!
Photo: Jody Cloutier Photography

Pitcher: Tom Seaver … George Thomas Seaver

Seaver, a Hall of Famer, spent 20 seasons on the major league mound (1967-1986: Mets, Reds, White Sox, Red Sox). He was a 12-time All Star and three-time Cy Young Award winner.  Seaver, who won 311 games, was a 20-game winner five times and led his league in wins three times, ERA three times, strikeouts five times, and shutouts twice.

A few other middle-name pitchers: Lew Burdette (Selva Lewis Burdette); Bert Blyleven (Rik Aalbert Blyleven); Dean Chance (Wilmer Dean Chance); Roger Clemens (William Roger Clemens); Nolan Ryan (Lynn Nolan Ryan).

Catcher  – Tim  McCarver … James Timothy McCarver

McCarver had a 21-season MLB career (1959-80: Cardinals, Phillies, Expos, Red Sox,) – hitting .271, with 97 home runs and 645 RBI.  The two-time All Star has gone on to a successful career as a baseball broadcaster, earning three Emmy Awards.

Additional middle-name backstops:  Rick Dempsey (John Rikard Dempsey); Randy Hundley (Cecil Randolph Hundley); Sherm Lollar (John Sherman Lollar).

First Base – Wes Parker … Maurice Wesley Parker III

Parker had a nine-year MLB career (1964-72, all with the Dodgers).  An excellent fielder, Parker won six consecutive Gold Gloves.  At the plate, he had a career .267 average, with 64 home runs and 470 RBI.

Additional middle-name first basemen:  Chris Chambliss (Carroll Christopher Chambliss); Dale Long (Richard Dale Long).

Second Base – Nellie Fox … Jacob Nelson Fox

Jacob ... err, Nelie ... Fox.

Jacob … err, Nelie … Fox.

Fox, The a Hall of Famer had a 19-season MLB career (1947-65: Athletics, White Sox, Astros). He was an All Star in 12 seasons, won three Gold Gloves and was the 1959 AL MVP. He retired with a .288 career average, 35 home runs, 790 RBI and 1,279 runs scored.

Additional middle-name keystone sackers: Julian Javier (Manuel Julian Javier); Chuck Knoblauch (Edward Charles Knoblauch).

Third Base – Bob Horner … James Robert Horner

Horner had a ten-year MLB career (1978-88: Braves, Cardinals). He was the 1978 Rookie of the Year, hitting .266 with 23 home runs in 89 games for the Braves.  His career average was .277, with 218 home runs and 685 RBI; and he topped 25 home runs in a season four times. He was an All Star in 1982.

Additional middle-name third basemen: Max Alvis (Roy Maxwell Alvis); Ray Knight (Charles Ray Knight); Mike Shannon (Thomas Michael Shannon).

Shortstop – Travis Fryman … David Travis Fryman

Frynan had a 13-year MLB career (1990-2002: Tigers, Indians) at shortstop and third base.  He was a five-time All Star and one-time Gold Glove winner. His career stat line was .274-223-1,022.

Other middle-name shortstops: Wayne Causey (James Wayne Causey); Dal Maxvill (Charles Dallan Maxvill).

Left Field – Ken Griffey, Sr. …George Kenneth Griffey, Sr.

Griffey, Sr. had a 19-season MLB career (1973-91:  Reds, Yankees, Braves, Mariners) – during which the three-time All Star hit .296, with 152 home runs, 859 RBI, 1,129 runs scored and 200 stolen bases.

Center Field – Ken Griffey, Jr. … George Kenneth Griffey, Jr.

Griffey Jr. played in the major leagues from 1989 through 2010, earning 13 All Star selections, ten Gold Gloves and the 1997 AL MVP Award. He led his league in home runs four times (reaching a high of 56 twice), runs scored once and RBI once.  His career line was .284-630-1,836, with 184 stolen bases.

Right Field – Tommy Davis … Herman Tommy Davis

Tommy_Davis_1963Davis had an 18-season MLB career (1959-76: Dodgers, Mets, White Sox, Pilots, Astros, Athletics, Cubs, Orioles, Angels, Royals). He was a two-time All Star and two-time batting champion (1962 and 1963 with the Dodgers). He had a career batting average of .294, with 153 home runs and 1,052 RBI.

Additional middle-name outfielders: Dante Bichette (Alphonse Dante Bichette); Reggie Smith (Carl Reginald Smith); Gorman Thomas (James Gorman Thomas).

 

 

 

I tweet baseball @DavidBBRT

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

From “Biscuit Pants” to “Death to Flying Things” – MLB Nicknames Tell a Story

From "Iron Man" to "Biscuit Pants," Lou Gherig was on of the kings of baseball nicknames.

From “Iron Man” to “Biscuit Pants,” Lou Gherig was one of the kings of baseball nicknames.

Nicknames have always been a part of our national pastime – some complimentary (Joe “The Yankee Clipper” DiMaggio); some less so (Fred “Bootnose” Hoffman). In this post, BBRT will present two purely subjective nickname-based lineups – one focused on baseball’s best nicknames, the other on some of the national pastime’s worst. Lou Gehrig, by the way, is the only player to make both line-ups – by virtue of a pair of nicknames that followed him during his career: Iron Man and Biscuit Pants.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself.  Let get to the lists, leading off with some of MLB’s worst nicknames – often cruel, but always descriptive and almost always interesting.

P – Hugh “Losing Pitcher” Mulcahy … Ouch! Mulcahy “enjoyed” a nine-season major league career (1935-47, minus five WWII years), during which he earned his nickname. He ran up a career record of 45-89, with a 4.49 ERA (all with the Phillies), leading the NL in losses twice, hits allowed once, earned runs allowed twice, walks allowed once, hit batsmen twice and wild pitches once. Notably, he made one MLB All Star squad; in 1944, when he led the NL with 22 losses (versus 13 wins), despite a respectable 3.60 ERA.

C – Gabby “Old Tomato Face” Hartnett … The Hall of Fame catcher reportedly picked up his nickname as he gained weight and developed a ruddy complexion. Notably, even “Gabby” was a nickname (real name Charles Leo Hartnett) – reflecting Hartnett’s career-long shyness and reluctance to speak to anyone, particularly reporters. Harnett played 20 MLB seasons (1922-41, all but the last season with the Cubs), hitting .297, with 236 home runs and 1,179 RBI. He was a six-time All Star and the 1935 NL MVP.

1B – Lou “Biscuit Pants” Gehrig  Great player with multiple nicknames –ranging from Biscuit Pants on the low end to Buster in the middle to Iron Man on the high side.  The Biscuit Pants monitor acknowledged Gehrig’s baggy uniform pants, thick legs and sturdy derriere. A Hall of Famer, Gehrig played 17 seasons with the Yankees (1923-39), producing a .340 career average, with 493 home runs, 1,995 RBI and 1,888 runs scored. He was a seven-time All Star, two-time AL MVP, won one batting, title, led the AL in home runs three times, RBI five times, runs scored four times, doubles three times and triples once.

2B – Charlie “Piano Legs” Hickman …  At 5’9” and 215-pounds, it’s easy to imagine the source of Hickman’s nickname. Hickman played 1B, 2B and OF during his 12-year MLB career (1897-1908), delivering a .295 career average, with 50 home runs and 614 RBI. Hickman led the AL in hits and total bases in 1902, when he split time between Boston and Cleveland.

3B – Gary “The Rat” Gaetti … Despite a nickname reportedly driven by his facial features, Gary Gaetti was anything but a rat on the field. Also known as G-Man, Gaetti had a 20-season MLB career (1981-2000 with the Twins, Angels, Royals, Cardinals, Cubs and Red Sox). He was a career .255 hitter, with 360 home runs and 1,341 RBI.  Gaetti was a two-time All Star, four-time Gold Glover at third base and the 1987 American League Championship Series MVP.

SS – Bill “Wagon Tongue” Keister … Unlike Gabby Hartnett (see the catcher on this list), Bill Keister just wouldn’t shut up.  In a seven-season MLB career (1896-1903), Keister played for Brooklyn, Boston, Saint Louis, and Philadelphia in the NL and Baltimore and Washington in the AL.  He hit .312, with 18 home runs, 400 RBI and 131 stolen bases – spending time at shortstop, third base and second base.   In the field, Wagon Tongue did not put his money where his mouth was.  In 1901, he set the all-time MLB low for fielding average by a shortstop (.851) – making 97 errors in 112 games (650 total chances).

LF – Johnny “Ugly” Dickshot … Not the best looking of men, it’s reported that Dickshot granted himself the title of the ugliest man in baseball.  Clearly, the combination of his nickname and actual name earns  Dickshot a spot on this list of worst baseball nicknames.  In six major league seasons (spread over 1936-45), he played in 322 games (Pirates, Giants, White Sox), hitting .276, with seven home runs and 116 RBI. More than half his career offensive production came in his final season (1945, White Sox), when he hit .302, with seven home runs and 58 RBI.

CF – Hunter “Captain Underpants” Pence … I hadn’t heard this one before, but as I searched for nicknames from a variety of sources, this came up for Pence. The story has it that, during a minor league game, an aggressive heckler thought that (on the minor league PA system) “Hunter Pence” sounded a lot like “Under Pants” and proceeded to taunt him with the Underpants chant, which  apparently had more staying power when teammates promoted Mr. Underpants to “Captain .”  In nine MLB seasons (2007-15; Astros, Phillies, Giants), the still-active Pence has put up a .284-194-729 line, with 136 steals.  He is a three-time All Star – and has also hit .265, with two home runs and 16 RBI in 38 post-season games.  Primarily a right fielder, Pence has started 95 games in the center of the garden.

RF – “Bucketfoot” Al Simmons … Another Hall of Famer on this list, Simmons’ nickname (which he disliked) was drawn from his batting stance.  The bucketfoot stance seemed to work for him. In 20 MLB seasons (1924-1944; Athletics, White Sox, Tigers, Senators, Braves, Reds, Red Sox), Simmons hit .334, with 307 home runs and 1,828 RBI. He led his league in batting average, hits and total bases twice each and RBI once.

So, there is BBRT’s worst nickname lineup. If I had a bench, it would be manned by such notables as: Fred “Bootnose” Hoffman; Walt “No Neck” Williams; Jeff “Penitentiary Face” Leonard; Bill “Dummy” Hoy; Ernie “Schnozz” Lombardi; Harry “Stinky”Davis; Don “The Gerbil” Zimmer;  Mike “The Human Rain Delay” Hargrove; Dick “Dr. Strangeglove” Stuart, and Bris “The Human Eyeball” Lord.

Now, here’s the BBRT lineup based on a very subjective judgment of the  best baseball nicknames.  As you will note, solid performance often results in a solid (and memorable) nickname.

P – “Sudden” Same McDowell … Yes, there are some Hall of Fame Pitchers with great nicknames. “Walter “Big Train” Johnson, “Rapid Robert” Feller are  just two. However, that  “Sudden” nickname is my favorite.  McDowell – whose blazing heater could be past you with amazing suddenness – was a six-time All Star and five-time league strikeout leader. In a 15-year MLB career (1961-75 with the Indians, Giants, Yankees and Pirates), McDowell went 141-134, 3.17 and fanned 2,453 hitters in 2, 492 1/3 innings.

C – Johnny “Little General” Bench … Catchers are supposed to take charge on the field and this nickname fits Hall of Famer Johnny Bench both behind and at the plate. Bench was a leader for the Reds for 17 seasons (1967-83). He was a 14-time All Star, ten-time Gold Glover, two-time league HR leader, two-time league MVP, 1968 Rookie of the Year and 1976 World Series MVP

1B – Lou “Iron Man” Gehrig … Hall of Fame slugger Lou Gehrig (see his career achievements in the worst nickname lineup under Biscuit Pants) earned this nickname for his combination of power and durability (until it was broken by Cal Ripken, Jr. in 1995, Gehrig held the record for consecutive games played at 2,130).

2B – Felix “The Cat” Millan … Tbe Cat earned his nickname for his slick fielding around the keystone sack.  In 12 MLB seasons (1966-77, with the Brave s and Mets), Millan was a three-time All Star and two-time Gold Glover. He put up respectable offensive numbers with a career line of .279-22-403, with 699 runs scored.

3B – Pete “Charlie Hustle” Rose … BBRT could have put the ultimate hustler in at nearly any place on the diamond, but I like his aggressive play at the hot corner – where Rose started 627 games in his career. MLB’s all-time hits leader (4,256), Rose played 24 seasons in the majors (1963-86) – with the Reds (19), Phillies and Expos. Known for his hustle and aggressive play, Rose was a 17-time All Star, three-time batting champion and two-time Gold Glover, as well as the 1963 NL Rookie of the Year and 1973 NL MVP. He led the NL in games played five times, hits seven times, double five times, and runs scored four times.

SS – Ozzie “The Wizard of Oz” Smith … In his 19 MLB seasons (1978-96) Padres, Cardinals), Hall of Famer Smith’s defensive wizardry earned him 13 Gold Gloves. The 15-time All Star had a career average of .262, with 28 home runs, 793 RBI, and 1,257 runs scored.

Ted Williams collected nicknames like he collected base hit - The Splendid Splinter, The Kid and Teddy Ballgame among them.

Ted Williams collected nicknames like he collected base hit – The Splendid Splinter, The Kid and Teddy Ballgame among them.

LF – Ted “The Splendid Splinter” Williams Williams’ nickname – the Splendid Splinter – reflects his lanky, splinter-like build and his splendid skills.  Notably, Williams’ play earned him a team’s worth of nicknames – The Kid, Teddy Ballgame and The Thumper also among them.  Williams’ career on base percentage of .482 is the best in baseball history.  Think about it – reaching base, basically, one of every two trips to the plate. Williams was a 19-time All Star, two-time MVP and two-time Triple Crown winner.  In 19 seasons with the Red Sox (1939-60, time lost for service in WWII and the Korean Conflict), Williams won six batting titles, and lead the AL in runs six times, RBI four times, home runs four times, doubles twice, walks eight times and total bases six times. He retired with a .344-521-1,839 stat line – and is the last MLBer to hit .400 for a season (.406 in 1941).

CF – Franklin “Death to Flying Things” Gutierrez … Now a lot of people probably expected to see Joe “The Yankee Clipper” DiMaggio or Ty “The Georgia Peach” Cobb in this spot.  However, based on the quality of the nickname, far-ranging outfielder Frank “Death to Flying Things” Gutierrez belongs here. In ten big league seasons (2005-15, Indians and Mariners), Gutierrez has one Gold Glove to his credit, a .258-82-314 stat line and one awesome nickname.  Note: two players from the 1800s – Jack Chapman and Bob Ferguson also  were honored with this nickname.

RF – Stan “The Man” Musial … Hall of Famer Musial (who started more than 1,800 of his 3,026 game played in the outfield) was indeed “The Man” – and not just in Saint Louis (where he played from 1941-63).  He was respected for his bat and his attitude around baseball.  Musial was a seven-time batting champ and three-time MVP, who also led the NL in hits six times, runs scored five-times, doubles eight times, triples five times, and RBI twice. He retired with a .331 average, 3,630 hits 1,946 runs scored and 1,951 RBI.

If I had a bench for this squad, you might find such players as: Joe “The Yankee Clipper” DiMaggio;  “Rapid Robert” Feller; Babe “The Sultan of Swat” Ruth; Jimmy “The Beast” Foxx;  Don “Donnie Baseball” Mattingly; Roger “The Rocket” Clemens, Reggie “Mr. October” Jackson; Al “The Mad Hungarian” Hrabosky; Frank “The Big Hurt” Thomas; and Dwight “Dr. K” Gooden.

Again, all these choices are subjective.  BBRT would love to hear from readers on some of your favorite MLB nicknames.

By the way, this nickname search can be addictive.  Coming soon, a lineup of players better known by their middle names than their first names. A teaser, my outfield includes a noteworthy father/son combo – George Kenneth Griffey (Senior and Junior) in center and right.

I tweet baseball @DavidBBRT

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

MLB Rule Five Draft – 2015, 2014, All Time

Suitcase Simpson – The Legend … Joey Bats – The Reality

Suitcase Simpson - his nickname was more about shoes than suitcases.

Suitcase Simpson – his nickname was more about shoes than suitcases.

Harry “Suitcase” Simpson began his professional baseball career with the Philadelphia Stars of the Negro National League in 1946 – and by 1951 was playing in the outfield for the Cleveland Indians. Legend has it that Simpson earned his nickname because he played for so many teams, he never really unpacked his suitcase.  Legend, however, does not mirror reality. Simpson actually picked up the “Suitcase” moniker during his time the Philadelphia Stars based on his size-13 feet – which reminded a sportswriter of a cartoon character (from the comic strip Toonerville Folks) named Suitcase Simpson and known for feet the size of suitcases. Harry Simpson actually played for only ten teams in his 14-year professional career (Negro Leagues, Major Leagues, minor leagues, Mexican League). In the major leagues, the one-time All Star (1956 Kansas City Athletics) played for just five teams in eight seasons. BBRT Note:  Over his MLB career, Simpson hit .266, with 73 home runs and 381 RBI. He did lead the AL in triples twice – and his best year was 1956, when he hit .293, with 22 doubles, a league-leading eleven triples, 21 home runs and 105 RBI.

Jose Bautista - Rule Five Draftee Joey Bats lived up to the "Suitcase" Simspon legend in 2004.

Jose Bautista – Rule Five Draftee Joey Bats lived up to the “Suitcase” Simspon legend in 2004.

Why is BBRT looking back on the Suitcase Simpson “legend.” Because for Blue Jays’ All Star Jose Bautista, reality does mirror legend. In his  first season in the major leagues, Bautista was on the roster of as many major league teams as Simpson was in his entire career – and this all ties back ot the ultimate topic of this post:  MLB’s Rule Five Draft. Here’s “Joey Bats” (yes, that’s Bautista’s nickname) story. In 2000, a 19-year-old Jose Baustista was drafted by the Pirates in the 20th round of the 2000 MLB draft. He  played in the Pirate’s minor league system until 2003. In those three seasons,  he played in 349 games, hitting .287, with 24 home runs and 100 RBI – never rising above High A ball. The Pirates left Bautista unprotected in the 2003 Rule Five Draft  – and thus began perhaps the Rule Five Draft’s strangest odyssey. Drafted by the Orioles, Bautista started the season on the Baltimore roster, but seldom left the bench. In fact, by early June, he had only 11 at bats – and the Orioles placed him on waivers.  Bautista was claimed by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on June 3, but got only 12 at bats between then and June 28, when his contract was purchased by the Kansas City Royals. Within a month (and 25 at bats), the Royals traded Bautista to the Mets, who put him on their major league roster and then (on the same day) included him in a trade with the Pirates (Remember them – Bautista’s original team).  The Pirates kept him on the major league roster for the remainder of the season (40 more at bats) – making Bautista the first (and still only) player to be on five different Major League rosters in one season. How did Joey Bats do in his post Rule Five Draft season – five major league rosters, four major league teams played for, 64 games, 88 at bats, a .205 average, zero home runs and two RBI.  From that highly traveled start, this Rule Five draftee grew up to be a Blue Jay and one of the AL’s most feared power hitters.  It didn’t happen overnight, but since 2010, Bautista has made six All Star teams and led the AL in home runs twice (hitting 54 long balls in 2010). In the  past six seasons, he has hit .268, with 227 (of his career 286) home runs and driven in 582 (of his career 793) runs.  That earns Jose Bautista BBRT’s rating as the third most successful (career-wise) Rule Five draftee ever. (The top five are listed later in this post.)  Now, here’s the segue – MLB’s Rule Five Draft is what this post is all about. Read on if you are interested past and present Rule Five Draft results.

 

The MLB Rule Five Draft

On December 10, Major League Baseball held its annual Rule Five Draft.  BBRT will take a look at the specific rules for the draft later in this post, but basically the Rule Five Draft is designed to open the door to advancement to minor leaguer players/prospects who might otherwise find their opportunity to reach the major leagues delayed by logjams within their current organizations.  This post will focus the results of the Rule Five Draft in a five-by-five format. BBRT will look briefly at:

  • The top (first) five players taken in the 2015 Rule 5 Draft – who range from: a third baseman turned outfielder who reached career highs in average, home runs and RBI at AA in 2015 to a left-handed pitcher, with a hard to spell name, who walked 21 and struck out 82 in 61 2/3 innings this past season.
  • The five most successful players taken in the 2014 Rule Five Draft (based on 2015 major league performance) – including, right at the top, a pair of middle infielders converted to middle outfielders.
  • The five most successful (career-wise) players ever taken in the Rule Five Draft – including a member of the 3,000-hit club (who won four batting titles); and a two-time Cy Young Award winner (who was an ERA leader in both the AL and NL).

Let’s start with a look at the first five players (in the order picked) taken in this December’s Rule Five Draft.

  1. Tyler Goeddel, outfield – taken by the Phillies (from the Rays)

Goeddel was originally drafted in the first round of the 2011 draft by the Rays. The 6’4”, 186-pound, right-handed hitter spent 2012-14 as a third baseman, but was converted to a corner outfielder for 2015. He spent last season with the Southern League (Double A) Montgomery Biscuits, where he showed a combination of power and speed (as well as a strong outfield arm).  At Montgomery, Goeddel reached career highs in games (123); average (.279); hits (132); home runs (12); RBI (72); and Runs (68); while also stealing 28 bases. In four minor league seasons, he has put up a .262-31-244 line, with 108 steals. The Phillies, who led the majors with 99 losses last season, are in rebuilding mode. Couple that with the 23-year-old Goeddel’s solid 2015 season and the success of Philllies’ 2014 Rule Five pick Odubel Herrera and my money is on Goedell sticking with Philadelphia. Goeddel is the younger brother of Mets’ reliever Erik Goeddel.

  1. Jake Cave, outfield – taken by the Reds (from the Yankees)

The now 23-year-old Cave taken originally was taken by the Yankees in the sixth round of the 2011 Major League Draft.  Cave’s career was set back when he suffered a fractured knee cap in his first minor league game.  He ended up missing the 2011 and 2012 seasons, but came back to perform well at A, High A and Double A in 2013-14.   In 2015, Cave split time between the Double A Trenton Thunder (Eastern League) and Triple A Scranton Wilkes-Barre Raiders (International League). He had a solid year, showing good speed, but little power (.279-2-35, with 17 steals in 132 games). Cave has a .285 average over four minor league seasons. Does a lot of small things well, and has a chance to stick as a fourth outfielder.  At 6’, 200-pounds, the Reds likely are hoping Cave begins to show at least modest power.

  1. Evan Rutckyj , pitcher – taken by the Braves (from the Yankees)

The 6’5”, 213-lb. Rutckyj (pronounced RUT-ski) was taken in the 16th round of the 2010 draft.  Since that time, he has shown potential as a power pitcher. In 2015 – playing for the High A Tampa Yankees and Double A Trenton Thunder – Rutckyj went 3-2, 2.63, with one save in 36 relief appearances. In 61 2/3 innings, Rutckyj fanned 82 batters, walking just 21. Rutckyj began his professional career primarily as a starter and, for four seasons in that role, put up a 4.53 ERA, with 7.62 strikeouts per nine innings. In two seasons as a reliever, the 23-year-old southpaw has recorded a 3.15 ERA with 11.31 whiffs per nine innings.  With Atlanta’s bullpen needs and the rarity of power lefties, BBRT figures major league announcers will spend the full 2015 season mispronouncing Rutckyj’s name. 

  1. Luis Perdermo, pitcher – taken by the Rockies (from the Cardinals)

Perdomo was taken in the Rule Five Draft by the Rockies (not a positive prospect for any hurler), but was quickly traded to the Padres (who offer a more pitcher-friendly ballpark). The 22-year-old, 6’2”, 160-pound Dominican was originally selected by the Cardinals as an International Free Agent in 2010. In 2015, Perdomo pitched for the Class A Peoria Chiefs (Midwest League) and High A Palm Beach Cardinals (Florida League) – going a combined 6-12, 3.98 in 22 starts, fanning 118 and walking 37 in 126 2/3 innings. He’s shown good stuff in five minor league seasons, including a mid-90s fastball and tight slider.  Still, he’s never pitched above High A, so a jump to a full season at the major league level does not seem likely. If the Padres do keep the righty, they’ll be betting on the future and likely start him out in the bullpen (see Johan Santana in the section on the best Rule Five picks ever) – a full season at the major league level seems a bit of a stretch.

  1. Colin Walsh, outfield/second base/ third base – taken by the Brewers (from the A’s)

The now 26-year-old Walsh was signed by the Cardinals (out of Stanford University) as a 13th round pick in the 2010 major league draft.  After four seasons in the Cardinals’ organization (Rookie League through AA and Fall League), he was released and signed with the A’s for 2014.  While in the Cardinals’ organization, Walsh hit .267, with 31 home runs, 172 RBI and 31 steals – while playing six different positions. Walsh upped his game after signing with the A’s.  In 2014 – at High A, Double A and Triple A – he hit a combined .290, with four home runs and 32 RBI.  Last season, at Double A Midland (Texas League), the switch-hitting Walsh hit .302-13-49 with seven steals. Versatility may be Walsh’s ticket to a 2016 stay with the Brewers – a switch hitter who plays multiple positions can be a handy asset on the bench. It will all depend on how well he hits this coming spring.

A few other Rule Five draftees BBRT thinks have a decent chance to stick in the major leagues this coming year:

Josh Martin, right-handed pitcher – taken by the Padres (from the Indians)

At 6’5”, 230-pounds, Martin is an imposing presence on the hill – and the past couple of season he has lived upped to that presence. At Double A Akron last season, Martin (in 44 games) went 8-1, 2.27, fanning 80 and walking just 19 in 67 1/3 innings.  The Padres need bullpen help and a good spring could earn Martin a spot in the pen.

Joey Rickard, outfield  – taken by the Orioles (from the Rays)

The Orioles are looking for outfield help and Rickard has solid credentials.  In 2015, he hit .321, with 23 steals at High A, Double A and Triple A.  Lacking in power, just two home runs last season, he still brings plenty to the table as a spare outfielder.

Dan Stumpf, left-handed pitcher – taken by the Phillies (from the Royals)

In four minor league seasons, Stumpf  has gone 20-23, with a solid 3.21 ERA and 306 strikeouts in 311 1/3 innings.  As noted earlier, the Phillies are rebuilding and the 24-year-old Stumpf could be a fit.

How the Rule 5 Draft Works

The rules have changed over the years, but the current format gives good idea of how the draft works to open major league doors to players who might otherwise have been stuck in the minors.

Which players eligible to be drafted?  Players not on their parent team’s 40-man major league roster who were: signed when they were 19 or older and have played professionally for four years; or signed at 18, who have played for five years. (Players placed on a team’s 40-man major league roster are protected from the draft.)

Which teams can draft players?  Any team with an opening on their 40-man major league roster can draft a player or players. Teams draft in the reverse order of their place in the standings the previous season.

What does it cost? The team that selects a player in the Rule Five Draft pays $50,000 to the team from which he was selected.

What happens to the player? The drafted the player must remain on his new team’s 25-man major league roster for the entire next season, and must be “active” (not on the disabled list) for at least 90 days. If these conditions are not met the player must be offered back to the team from which he was drafted for $25,000.

Can a drafted player be traded?  Yes.  However, the new team must still abide by the Draft terms (kept on major league roster, active at least 90 days).

Now, how about a look at the 2014 Rule Five Draft’s top five 2015 “success” stories – based on their 2015 seasons. 

Keep in mind, the Rule Five Draft consists of players whose parent franchises chose not to protect on their 40-man rosters. Baseball America reports that about one-in-four Rule Five picks stay with their new team for the season immediately following their pick. Given those odds, just staying in the majors for the full year has the potential to put a player on this top five list (fourteen players were chosen in the 2014 Rule Five draft). Here are the top five 2014 Draftees – again, not in draft order, but in terms of 2015 performance.

  1. Odubel Herrera, outfield – taken with the eighth pick by the Phillies (from the Rangers)

Herrera was a middle infielder (2B-SS) for his six minor league seasons – starting just 11 games in the outfield (405 at second base/132 at shortstop). He showed a solid bat (.297 minor league average) and speed (128 steals). In 2014, at High A and Double A, he hit a combined .315 with 21 steals.  The Phillies liked that speed, picking up Herrera in the 2014 Rule Five Draft and converting him to a full-time centerfielder. He responded by playing 147 games, defending capably and putting up a .297 average, unexpected power (eight home runs) and expected speed (16 steals). Herrera’s 2015 performance makes him the real deal and the real steal of the 2014 Rule Five Draft.

  1. Delino DeShields, Jr., outfield – taken with the third pick by the Rangers (from the Astros)

DeShields, son of 13-year major leaguer Delino DeShields, was a first-round pick (number eight overall) of the Astros in the 2010 MLB draft. In six minor league seasons, he hit .268 with 37 home runs and 241 steals. He played about 75 percent of his minor league games at second base, but the Rangers converted him to a full-time outfielder.  In 2015, he started 85 games in center field and 25 in left field for Texas.  He hit .261 with two home runs, 37 RBI and 25 steals.

  1. Mark Canha, first base/outfield taken with the second pick by the Rockies (from the Marlins) and traded to the A’s

Mark Canha was drafted by the Marlins (out of the University of California Berkeley) in the seventh round of the 2010 MLB draft. He showed offensive potential in five minor league seasons – hitting .285, with 68 home runs and 303 RBI in 496 games. With the A’s in 2015, Canha played 124 games and hit .254 with 16 home runs and 70 RBI. Any time you can get 70 RBI out of a Rule Five pick, you can expect to see his name on this list. Oh, and Canha even tossed in seven steals (equaling his minor league high) in nine attempts.

  1. Sean Gilmartin, left-handed pitcher – taken with tenth pick by the Mets (from the Twins)

Gilmartin was drafted by the Braves (out of Florida State University, where he was an All American) in the first round (28th overall) of the 2011 MLB Draft. In three minor league seasons (Rookie to Triple A and Fall League) for the Braves, Gilmartin went 14-21, with a 4.24 ERA  in 314 1/3 innings (with 249 strikeouts and 82 walks). After the 2013 season, Gilmartin was traded to the Minnesota Twins. In 2014, he went 9-7, 3.71 in 26 starts at Double A and Triple A – posting a 3.71 ERA.  Gilmartin pitched even better as a reliever for the Mets. In 2015, the 25-year-old appeared in 50 games, going 3-2, with a 2.67 ERA, walking just 18 and striking out 54 in 57 1/3 innings.

  1. J.R. Graham – taken with fifth pick by the Twins (from the Braves)

Graham was drafted in the fourth round of the 2011 MLB draft (out of Santa Clara University) by the Atlanta Braves. He pitched three seasons in the Braves’ minor League system – moving from Rookie League to AA, compiling a 19-12 record and 3.37 ERA, striking out 240 and walking 83 in 312 1/3 innings. For the Twins, in 2015, he went 1-5, with a 5.58 ERA in 27 games (19 starts).

Okay, so we’ve seen that you don’t have to be a star to be counted among the Rule Five success stories.

Now let’s look at some players who were left unprotected – and became not only Rule Five draftees, but also went on to career greatness. 

As you will see, their success was not necessarily immediate.  Finding (and developing) true “gems” through the Rule Five Draft demands perspective (the ability to recognize potential), perseverance and patience. (A little blind luck probably helps as well.) So, here are  BBRT’s top five players all time who went unprotected – and changed teams – in the Rule Five Draft.

Number One – Roberto Clemente, outfield

clementeIdentifying the most successful Rule Five draftee ever was easy – the Baseball Hall of Fame did it form me back in 1973. Roberto Clemente was picked up by the Pirates (from the Dodgers) in the 1954 Rule Five Draft. Clemente was 20 at the time, coming off a .257-2-13 season (in 87 games) at Triple A Montreal (International League). In his first season with the Pirates, Clemente had modest success – .255-5-47 over 124 games. Long-term, he proved a pretty good bargain. Clemente was an All Star in 12 of 18 seasons, all with the Pirates. He compiled a .317 average, 3,000 hits, 240 home runs, 1,305 RBIs – as well as four batting titles, 12 Gold Gloves, the 1966 NL MVP Award and the 1971 World Series MVP Award.

 

Number Two – Johan Santana, left-handed pitcher

Johan SantanaJohan Santana takes the second spot on this list. Signed as a free agent by the Astros in 1995, Santana spent three seasons in the Astros’ minor league system (Rookie League to A level).  As an Astros’ farmhand, Santana, still a teenager, went 15-18 with a 5.05 ERA. Left unprotected in the 1999 Rule Five Draft, Santana was picked up by the Minnesota Twins – in a deal that still seems a bit mystifying.  The Twins had the first pick that year and drafted pitcher Jared Camp, while the Marlins (with the second pick) took Santana.  Then, per an earlier agreement, the Twins sent Camp to the Marlins in return for Santana and $50,000 cash (which covered the cost of the Santana pick). In his first season with the Twins, Santana (working primarily in relief) suffered through a 2-3 record, with a 6.49 ERA – walking 54 and striking out 64 in 86 innings. Santana, in fact, didn’t transition to full-time starter until well into the 2003 season.  He ended 2003 with a 12-3 record (3.07 ERA) and his career rising fast (he was the AL 2004 Cy Young Award winner).  In Santana’s 12-year MLB career he has been an All Star four times, won two Cy Young Awards, and led his league in ERA and strikeouts three times each. Santana, who has not pitched in the major leagues since 2012 due to injuries, has indicted he will attempt a comeback (he is currently in the Blue Jays’ system) in 2016.

Number Three – Jose Bautista, outfield/third base

See the Bautista story at the top of this post.

Number Four – Darrell Evans, third base

Evans signed with the Kansas City Athletics in 1967 and showed promise in the minor leagues until a shoulder injury hindered both his hitting and throwing. The Athletics, grooming Sal Bando for third base, left Evans unprotected  in the 1968 Rule Five Draft and he was claimed by the Braves (who have proven pretty adept at putting quality players at the hot corner … Eddie Mathews, Chipper Jones, Clete Boyer, Terry Pendleton).  That first season with the Braves, Evans played in only 19 games – hitting just .231 with no home runs and one RBI. Evans, in fact, didn’t became an everyday player for the Braves until 1972 (Remember – perspective, perseverance, patience).  In a 21-season career (Braves, Giants, Tigers), Evans went on to hit .248 with 414 home runs (49th all time) and 1,354 RBI. He also drew 1,605 career walks, twelfth-most  all time. A few other notable facts about Evans:  In 1973, Evans hit 41 home runs – joining Braves’ teammates Hank Aaron (40 HRs) and Dave Johnson (43 HRs) as the first trio of teammates to top 40 long balls; in 1985 (as a Tiger), Evans led the AL in home runs (40) at age 38; Evans’ MLB career lasted from 1969-1989 and he was an All Star in each year that ended in a three (1973, 1983 – his only two All Star appearances).

Number Five – Bobby Bonilla, outfield

The final spot on this list of the five most successful Rule Five draftees of all time was a tough (and admittedly very debatable) decision – among the contenders (in alphabetical order) were George Bell, Paul Blair,  Bobby Bonilla, Josh Hamilton and Shane Victorino. A close call, but BBRT gives the final spot to Bonilla. Bonilla signed out of high school (as an amateur free agent) with the Pirates. The year was 1981 and Bonilla stayed in the Pirates’ system until the 1985 Rule Five Draft (he had suffered a broken leg in an on-field collision in Spring Training that year). The White Sox drafted Bonilla and he hit .269-2-26 in 75 games for the Sox in 1986.  In mid-season, the Sox traded Bonilla back to Pittsburgh  – and he finished the season  at .256-3-43.  He went on to a 16-year-career that included six All Star selections, a .279 average, 287 home runs and 1,173 RBI.

So, there is a look at the Rule Five Draft by the “fives” – five  from this year, five from last year  and five all-time.

I tweet baseball @DavidBBRT

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

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HOFer Richie Ashburn Leads Expansion Mets – Yellow Tango, Indeed!

 “To be voted the most valuable player on the worst team in the history of major league baseball is a dubious honor for sure.  But I was awarded a 24-boat with a galley and sleeping facilities for six. After the season ended, I docked the boat in Ocean City, New Jersey, and it sank.

            Richie Ashburn – 1962 NY Mets (40 wins-120 losses) MVP

On this date (December 8) in 1961, the expansion New York Mets acquired future Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn from the Chicago Cubs. The 34-year-old outfielder was nearing the end of his MLB career (in fact, his 1962 season with the Mets would be his last in the major leagues), but he brought significant credentials – the slick fielding centerfielder was a four-time All Star, two-time batting champion and had led the NL in walks four times, on-base-percentage four times, hits three times, triples twice and stolen bases once. BBRT note:  Ashburn was noted for his speed, rather than his power. In his fifteen-year MLB career (12 with the Philllies), he achieved a .308 average and collected 2,574 hits (2,119 singles), but only 29 home runs. On the speed side, he stole 234 bases (topping 25 in three seasons) and legged out 109 triples.

For the Mets, Ashburn proved a valuable pick-up – literally, since after the season, Ashburn was chosen as the MVP of the 40-120 Mets (who finished tenth, 60 1/2 games behind the Giants).   In his final season, Ashburn was also the Mets’ only All Star team selection. He finished the year with a .306 average in 135 games, collected 119 hits (102 singles) and 81 walks (for a .424 on base percentage) and surprised a lot of people with a career-high seven home runs. The 1962 season was, in fact, the only year in which Ashburn didn’t hit more triples than round trippers.

But all of that (not to mention Ashburn’s 3 ½ decades as a Phillies’ broadcaster), is not why BBRT is featuring him in this column.  Rather, it’s because Ashburn’s career is “rich” in unique baseball stories.   Here are just a few Ashburn stories and statistics that BBRT found of interest.

  • Ashburn began his minor league career (at the age of 18) as a catcher with the Utica Blue Sox of the Class A Eastern League. Ashburn’s father had groomed the youngster as a backstop, figuring that position offered the fastest path to the major leagues. Only Ashburn was too “fast” for that path. The story has it that on one groundball hit to the right side, Ashburn tossed off his mask, came out from behind the plate and didn’t just back up the play at first base, but beat the runner there and took the throw for the putout. It wasn’t long thereafter that Ashburn was the team’s centerfielder.
  • Ashburn made it to the Phillies as a 21-year-old in 1948 and was the only rookie on the NL All Star team. Ashburn hit lead-off, collected two hits (singles, of course), stole a base and scored a run in the NL’s 5-2 loss.  Ashburn hit .333 in 117 games his rookie campaign (a broken finger cut into his playing time), collected 154 hits (131 singles), played outstanding outfield defense  and led the NL with 32 stolen bases.
  • On August 17, 1957, as the Phillies took on the Giants in Philadelphia, Ashburn lined a foul ball into the Press Box behind third base – hitting Alice Roth (wife of the Philadelphia Bulletin’s sports editor Earl Roth) in the face, breaking her nose. The game was stopped momentarily as Mrs. Roth was attended to – and eventually taken from her seat on a stretcher. Play resumed and on the very next pitch, Ashburn hit another foul ball – which again hit the now prone, stretcher-bound Alice Roth in the leg.
  • Between 1949 and 1958, Ashburn led the NL in outfield put outs nine-times (tying the Pirates’ Max Carey for the most times leading the league in that category).
  • Ashburn collected more hits (1,875) in the decade of the 1950’s than any other player.

Yellow Tango, Indeed

In his final MLB season (as a Met), Ashburn found himself playing in center field, often behind second baseman/shortstop Elio Chacon, who did not speak English. Both were aggressive fielders and despite Ashburn’s calls of “I got it.  I got it.”, there were times when Chacon would range into center field, precipitating a collision.  Finally, Ashburn picked up the phrase “Yo la tengo.” – the Spanish equivalent of “I got it.”  The problem appeared solved – that is until a game in which a fly ball was headed for the no-man’s land in short left-center.  Ashburn rushed in, pounded his glove and confidently declared, “Yo la tengo.” As expected, Chacon pulled up. Unfortunately, left fielder Frank Thomas continued charging in, colliding with Ashburn, while the ball fell in between them. As they got to their feet, the story goes, the non-Spanish-speaking Thomas asked “What the *** is Yellow Tango?”, while Mets’ manager Casey Stengel just shook his head in the dugout.  BBRT note:  The story is credited as being the inspiration for the name of the alternative rock band Yo La Tengo – originally established by long-time Mets’ fan Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley.

 

I tweet baseball @DavidBBRT

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

Cleveland Indians’ Duster Mails – He Promised … He Delivered

Duster_MailsJohn Walter “Duster” Mails did not have what one might call a distinguished major league career.  In seven seasons, between 1915 and 1926, he went 32-25 with a 4.10 earned run average.  However, late in the 1920 season, Mails was one of the best pitchers in baseball – literally unbeatable as he helped the Cleveland Indians to the AL pennant and the franchise’s first World Series championship.

Duster, in fact, was so  “hot” in 1920 that, when told he would start Game Six of the World Series versus the Brooklyn club (Mail’s original major league team), he announced “Brooklyn will be lucky to get a foul tip off me today. If Spoke (the Indians’ star outfielder and manager Tris Speaker) and the boys will give me one run, Cleveland will win.”  Did Duster deliver?  More on that in a bit.  First, let’s take a look at how Duster Mails got into the spotlight on MLB’s biggest stage.

Mails signed with the Class B Northwestern League’s (NWL) Seattle Giants in 1914 (out of Saint Mary’s College, where he played both baseball and basketball). The 19-year-old southpaw split four decisions in his first NWL season, but in his second campaign for Seattle, Mails blossomed – going 24-18 before earning a late-September major league look from the NL’s Brooklyn Robins.  Mails pitched just five innings for Brooklyn – going 0-1 with a 3.60 ERA.  In those five innings, he gave up six hits (two home runs) and five walks, while fanning three.  The following season, again with the Robins, Mails went 0-1, 3.63 (all in relief) – giving up 15 hits and nine walks in just 17 1/3 innings (although he did fan 13 batters). After the season, the Robins designated Mails for assignment and he was claimed by the Pirates. He never took the mound for Pittsburgh, but spent the 1917 with the Pacific Coast League (Double A) Portland Beavers.

After taking off the 1918 season, Mails came back to the Pacific Coast League (pitching for the Seattle Rainiers and Sacramento Senators).  He seemed to have found his control – going a combined 19-17, 2.14 – with only 99 walks in 301 innings.  He continued this positive performance with Sacramento the following season – when he was 18-17, with a 3.23 ERA in 292 2/3 innings before the Indians purchased his contract on August 21st.  (At the time the Indians were 72-43, in second place, just 1 ½ games behind the White Sox.)

Mails made his first start for the Indians on September 1, and the rest is history. Between September 1 and October 1 – in the heat of the pennant race – Mails pitched in nine games (eight starts). He went 7-0, with a 1.85 ERA, six complete games and two shutouts – as the Indians edged the White Sox (two games back) and Yankees (three games out) for the pennant. Needless to say, but I’ll still say it, “They couldn’t have done it without him.”

Then came the World Series, against the team that had given up on Mails – the Brooklyn Robins.  The two teams split the first two games and Mails did not make an appearance.  He was called upon in relief in Game Three, as Indians’ starter Ray Caldwell gave up two runs, while recording only one out in the first inning.  Mails continued his regular season form, blanking the Robins for 6 2/3 innings. Brooklyn won Game Three 2-1 despite Mails’ performance.  Cleveland then took Games Four and Five – which brings us to Mails’ start (and that shutout he so brashly promised) in Game Six. Did he deliver? Indeed. He asked for one run – and that’s all his Indians game him.  Mails got the win 1-0, going the distance with a three-hitter.  (The Indians would go on to win Game Seven – and take the best-of-nine World Series five games to two.)

Now, I’d like to say that the 25-year-old Duster Mails went on to a long and brilliant major league career.  That, however, was not to be.  In 1921, he went 14-8, 3.94 with Cleveland, but found himself back in the bullpen. In 1922, he slipped to 4-7, 5.28. In 1923, Mails was back in the Pacific Coast League, where he would spend most of the next 14 seasons. (Mails pitched a total of 18 minor league seasons, winning 226 games, versus 210 losses). He did resurface in the major leagues in 1925, going 7-7, 4.60 for the Cardinals and again in 1926, pitching in one game for those same Cardinals.

So, there we have the MLB playing career of Duster Mails, who – for just over a month in 1920 – was one of the best pitchers ever to take the mound.  And, who had the audacity to promise a shutout in the World Series – and delivered.

I tweet baseball @DavidBBRT

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

Longest Home Run of 2015? Still Debatable.

Longest HR of 2015 - Kris Bryant? Could be.

Longest HR of 2015 – Kris Bryant? Could be.

One of the great things about baseball is that it has always been “highly debatable.” Within the game – safe or out on a close play; ball or strike on a close pitch; fair or foul (over the bag or by the fair pole); clean catch or trap. You get the idea. Our national pastime has also stirred conversation (and controversy) on a broader scale. Who hit the longest home run? Who had the best fastball? Best outfield arm? Widest range at shortstop? And, on and on.  Well now it seems that technology may be taking some of the oh-so-sweet uncertainty out of the game.  Or is it?

Or maybe it was Giancarlo Stanton.

Or maybe it was Giancarlo Stanton.

Consider the first question listed: Who hit the longest home run?  Not so many years ago, long ball distances were estimates that seemed to come down magically  from somewhere in the boxes on the second deck – stirring plenty of debate.  (My dad and I spent some time discussing whether Harmon Killebrew or Bobby Darwin hit the longest left-field, second-decker at the Twins’ old Metropolitan Stadium.) Now technology definitively tells us not only distance each home run would have traveled if unimpeded, but also pitch speed, bat speed, velocity off the bat and more.  Or does it?

I am happy to say, debate lives on.  In 2015, home run distance was “measured” (using high technology) by both MLB.com’s Statcast and ESPN’s Home Run Tracker.  According to Statcast, the regular season’s longest home run would have traveled 495 feet – and it was hit by Cubs’ third baseman Kris Bryant off D-backs’ right-hander Rubby De La Rosa on September 6. Over at ESPN (Home Run Tracker), the longest of the long balls is credited to the Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton, who stroked home runs projected at 484 feet on June 6 and June 23.  Bryant’s smash comes in at 467 feet – and at number 20 –  on the ESPN list.  Stanton does a little better on the Statcast ranking.  His Home Run Tracker-leading blasts come in eighth on Statcast list. One area of agreement, Stanton is the only player to appear among the top ten of 2015’s longest home runs multiple times on both lists – 8,9,10 on the Statcast ranking and 1, 2, 9 and 10 (tie) on Home Run Tracker.

Here are the top ten long-distance blasts for each tracking system.

MLB.com Statcast

Kris Bryant, Cubs                    495.3 feet        September 6

Michael Taylor, Nationals         492.8               August 20

Jonathan Schoop, Orioles         484.5               August 26

Nelson Cruz, Mariners               482.7               April 29

Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays        481.2               April 23

Hanley Ramirez, Red Sox          480.5               June 21

Pedro Alvarez, Pirates               478.9               October 4

Giancarlo, Stanton, Marlins         478.8               June 23

Giancarlo, Stanton, Marlins         478.4               May 16

Giancarlo, Stanton, Marlins         478.4               June 5

 

ESPN Home Run Tracker

Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins           484 feet            June 23

Giancarlo, Stanton, Marlins          484                   June 6

Paul Goldschmidt, D-backs          482                  August 26

Joc Pederson, Dodgers                480                  June 2

Michael Taylor, Nationals             479                  August 20

Alex Rodriguez, Yankees             477                  April 17

Jung Ho Kang, Pirates                476                  September 8

Brett Lawrie, A’s                         476                  August 28

Giancarlo, Stanton                      475                  May 16, 2015

Jarrett Parker, Giants                  474                  September 25

Giancarlo, Stanton, Marlins         474                  May 15

                                 Aroldis Chapman Brings the Heat.

Aroldis ChapmanDoes Aroldis Chapman bring more heat than Steve Dalkowski?  We’ll never know, but he’s clearly the fastest pitcher out there today. In 2015, according the MLB.com’s Statcast, there were 32 pitches of 103 mph or more thrown during the regular MLB season – and all 32 were thrown by Chapman. In fact, the Reds’ fireballer (who, in 2010, threw the fastest pitch ever recorded at 105.1 mph) threw the 62 fastest pitches of the 2015 regular season.  The first non-Chapman pitch on the velocity list (and the fastest pitch thrown in the AL) belonged to the Yankee’s Nathan Eovaldi (102.35 mph).  Ironically, both hurlers saved their best for Twins’ All Star second baseman Brian Dozier.  Dozier took that 102 mph fastball from Eovaldi for a ball (August 19 at Yankee Stadium), and he fouled off Chapman’s fastest offering of the season (103.92 MPH) on June 29 at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park.  What kind of results did Chapman’s heater produce? His 2015 stat line: 4-4, 1.63 ERA, 33 saves, 116 strikeouts in 66 1/3 innings (15.7 whiffs per nine innings).  Chapman’s strikeouts per nine innings were down from 2014 – when he fanned 17.7 batters per nine.

 

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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

Catcher

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

Shortstop

Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox

Brandon Crawford, Giants

Outfield

Mike Trout, Angels

Nelson Cruz, Mariners

J.D. Martinez, Tigers

Andrew McCutchen, Pirates

Bryce Harper, Nationals

Carlos Gomez, Rockies

Pitcher

Madison Bumgarner, Giants

DH

Kendrys Morales, Royals

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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.

2015FieldingChart

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

 

2015

Jose Altuve, 2B, Astros

Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Diamondbacks

Dee Gordon, 2B, Marlins

Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies

Brandon Crawford, SS, Giants.

2014

Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Dodgers

2013

Yadier Molina, C, Cardinals

Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Diamondbacks

J.J. Hardy, SS, Orioles

Adam Jones, OF, Orioles

2012

Adam LaRoche, 1B, Nationals

Robinson Cano, 2B, Yankees

Chase Headley, 3B, Padres

Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pirates

2011

Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Red Sox

Brandon Phillips, 2B, Reds

Adrian Beltre, 3B, Rangers

Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Rockies

Jacob Ellsbury, OF, Red Sox

Matt Kemp, OF, Dodgers

2010

Joe Mauer, C, Twins

Albert Pujols, 1B, Cardinals

Robinson Cano, 2B, Yankees

Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Rockies

Carl Crawford, OF, Rays

Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Rockies

2009

Joe Mauer, C, Twins

Mark Tiexeira, 1B, Yankees

Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, Nationals

Deterk Jeter, SS, Yankees

Matt Kemp, OF, Dodgers

Ichiro Suzuki, OF, Mariners

Torii Hunter, OF, Angels

2008

Joe Mauer, C, Twins

Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Red Sox

David Wright, 3B, Mets

Grady Sizemore, OF, Indians

2007

Russell Martin, C, Dodgers

Placido Polanco, 2B, Tigers

David Wright, 3B, Mets

Jimmy Rollins, SS, Phillies

Carlos Beltran, OF, Mets

Ichiro Suzuki, OF, Mariners

2006

Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees

Carlos Beltran, OF, Mets

2005

Jason Veritek, C, Red Sox

Mark Tiexierea, 1B, Rangers

Derrek Lee, 1B, Cubs

Andruw Jones, OF, Braves

2004

Ivan Rodriguez, C, Tigers

Jim Edmonds, OF, Cardinals

2003

Brett Boone, 2B, Mariners

Edgar Renteria, SS, Cardinals

Alex Rodriguez, SS, Rangers

Mike Hampton, P, Braves

2002

Todd Helton, 1B, Rockies

Scott Rolen, 3B, Cardinals/Phillies

Eric Chavez, 3B, A’s

Edgar Renteria, SS, Cardinals

Alex Rodriguez, SS, Rangers

2001

Todd Helton, 1B, Rockies

Ichiro Suzuki, OF, Mariners

2000

Roberto Alomar, 2B, Indians

Darin Erstad, OF, Angels

1999

Ivan Rodriguez, C, Rangers

Robert Alomar, 2B, Indians

Larry Walker, OF, Rockies

Ken Griffey, Jr., OF, Mariners

Shawn Green, OF, Blue Jays

1998

Ivan Rodriguez, C, Rangers

Rafael Palmeiro, 1B, Rangers

Ken Griffey, Jr. OF, Mariners

1997

Ivan Rodriguez, C, Rangers

Craig Biggio, 2B, Astros

Chuck Knoblauch, 2B, Twins

Matt Williams, 3B, Indians

Larry Walker, OF, Rockies

Barry Bonds, OF, Giants

Ken Griffey, Jr, OF, Mariners

1996

Ivan Rodriguez, C, Rangers

Roberto Alomar, 2B, Orioles

Ken Caminiti, 3B, Padres

Barry Larkin, SS, Reds

Barry Bonds, OF, Giants

Ken Griffey, Jr. OF, Mariners

1995

Ivan Rodriguez, C, Rangers

Craig, Biggio, 2B, Astros

Barry Larkin, SS, Reds

1994

Ivan Rodriguez, C, Rangers

Jeff Bagwell, 1B, Astros

Craig Biggio, 2B, Astros

Matt Williams, 3B, Giants

Wade Boggs, 3B, Yankees

Barry Bonds, OF, Giants

Ken Griffey, Jr., OF, Mariners

1993

Robby Thompson, 2B, Giants

Matt Williams, 3B, Giants

Jay Bell, SS, Pirates

Barry Bonds, OF, Giants

Ken Griffey, Jr, OF, Mariners

1992

Roberto Alomar, 2B, Blue Jays

Larry Walker, OF, Expos

Andy Van Slyke, OF, Pirates

Barry Bonds, OF, Pirates

Kirby Puckett, OF, Twins

1991

Will Clark, 1B, Giants

Ryne Sandberg, 2B, Cubs

Cal Ripken, Jr., SS, Orioles

Barry Bonds, OF, Pirates

Ken Griffey, Jr., OF, Mariners

1990

Benito Santiago, C, Padres

Ryne Sandberg, 2B, Cubs

Kelly Gruber, 3B, Blue Jays

Barry Bonds, OF, Pirates

Ellis Burks, OF, Red Sox

1989

Ryne Sandberg, 2B, Cubs

Eric Davis, OF, Reds

Kirby Puckett, OF, Twins

Tony Gwynn, OF, Padres

1988

Benito Santiago, C, Padres

Ryne Sandberg, 2B, Cubs

Andy Van Slyke, OF, Pirates

Kirby Puckett, OF, Twins

1987

Don Mattingly, 1B, Yankees

Ozzie Smith, SS, Cardinals

Tony Gwynn, OF, Padres

Eric Davis, OF, Reds

Kirby Puckett, OF, Twins

Andre Dawson, OF, Cubs

1986

Don Mattingly, 1B, Yankees

Frank White, 2B, Royals

Mike Schmidt, 3B, Phillies

Tony Gwynn, OF, Padres

Kirby Puckett, OF, Twins

1985

Don Mattingly, 1B, Yankees

Ryne Sandberg, 2B, Cubs

Lou Whitaker, 2B, Tigers

Tim Wallach, 3B, Expos

George Brett, 3B, Royals

Willie McGee, OF, Cardinals

Dale Murphy, OF, Braves

Dave Winfield, OF, Yankees

1984

Lance Parrish, C, Tigers

Keith Hernandez, 1B, Mets

Eddie Murray, 1B, Orioles

Ryne Sandberg, 2B, Cubs

Lou Whitaker, 2B, Tigers

Mike Schmidt, 3B, Phillies

Buddy Bell, 3B, Rangers

Dave Winfield, OF, Yankees

Dale Murphy, OF, Braves

1983

Lance Parrish, C, Tigers

Eddie Murray, 1B, Orioles

Lou Whitaker, 2B, Tigers

Mike Schmidt, 3B, Phillies

Dale Murphy, OF, Braves

Dave Winfield, OF, Yankees

Andre Dawson, OF, Expos

1982

Gary Carter, C, Expos

Mike Schmidt, 3B, Phillies

Robin Yount, SS, Brewers

Dale Murphy, OF, Braves

Dave Winfield, OF, Yankees

1981

Gary Carter, C, Expos

Manny Trillo, 2B, Phillies

Mike Schmidt, 3B, Phillies

Andre Dawson, OF, Expos

Rickey Henderson, OF, A’s

Dwight Evans, OF, Red Sox

Dusty Baker, OF, Dodgers

1980

Keith Hernandez, 1B, Cardinals

Cecil Cooper, 1B, Brewers

Andre Dawson, OF, Expos

Willie Wilson, OF, Royals

Your  Gold Glove/Silver Slugger combo winners listed alphabetically:

Alomar, Roberto … 1992; 1996; 1999; 2000

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.