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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

Batting Average

Four-Game Series

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

Five-Game Series

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

Six-Game Series

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

Seven-Game Series

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

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

 

Base Hits

Four-Game Series

10 – Yankees’ LF Babe Ruth (1928).

Five-Game Series

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

Six-Game Series

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

Seven-Game Series

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

 

Home Runs

Four-Game Series

4 – Yankees’ 1B Lou Gehrig (1928).

Five-Game Series

3 – Mets’ 1B Donn Clendenon (1969).

Six-Game Series

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

Seven-Game Series

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

 

RBI

Four-Game Series

9 – Yankees’ 1B Lou Gehrig (1928).

Five-Game Series

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

Six-Game Series

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

Seven-Game Series

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

 

Runs Scored

Four-Game Series

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

Five-Game Series

6 – Accomplished eight times.

Six-Game Series

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

Seven-Game Series

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

 

Total Bases

Four-Game Series

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

Five-Game Series

19 – Yankees’ SS Derek Jeter (2000).

Six-Game Series

25 – Yankees’ RF Reggie Jackson (1977).

Seven-Game Series

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

 

Walks

Four-Game Series

7 – Giants’ 3B Hank Thompson (1954).

Five-Game Series

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

Six-Game Series

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

Seven-Game Series

13 – Giants’ LF Barry Bonds (2002).

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

 

PITCHING RECORDS

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

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

 

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

 

Games Pitched

Four-Game Series

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

Five-Game Series

5 – Dodgers’ Mike Marshall (1974).

Six-Game Series

6 – Royals’ Dan Quisenberry (1980).

Seven-Game Series

7 – Athletics’ Darold Knowles (1973).

 

Games Won

Four-Game Series

2 – Many times.

Five-Game Series

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

Six-Game Series

3 – White Sox’ Red Faber (1917).

Seven-Game Series

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

 

Innings Pitched

Four-Game Series

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

Five-Game Series

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

Six-Game Series

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

Seven-Game Series

32 – Tigers’ George Mullin (1909).

 

Strikeouts

Four-Game Series

23 – Dodgers’ Sandy Koufax (1963).

Five-Game Series

18 – Giants’ Christy Mathewson (1905).

Six-Game Series

20 – Athletics’ Chief Bender (1911).

Seven-Game Series

35 – Cardinals’ Bob Gibson (1968).

 

Walks

Four-Game Series

8 – Indians’ Bob Lemon (1954).

Five-Game Series

14 – Athletics’ Jack Coombs (1910).

Six-Game Series

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

Seven-Game Series

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

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

 

I tweet baseball @DavidBBRT

BBRT September Wrap – Post-Season Predictions

September’s regular season games are on the books, the races are over and the post season lies ahead.  That means it’s time for BBRT monthly and season-ending wrap up. (You’ll also find BBRT’s post-season predictions along the way.)

 

MVP candidate Mike Trout helped Angels to MLB's best 2014 record.

MVP candidate Mike Trout helped Angels to MLB’s best 2014 record.

Most the MLB playoff teams showed their mettle in September. In the AL, the teams with the top-four September records (Orioles, Tigers, Royals and Angels) were all playoff bound.  The only exception was the A’s, who held on to a Wild Card spot despite September’s AL-worst record. In the NL, the story was much the same, the top-four September records went to the Nationals, Cardinals, Pirates and Dodgers – all headed to the post season.  The Giants, who complete the NL post-season lineup, finished September at 13-12.  Clearly, the teams that make up this year’s slate of post-season contenders are nearly all entering the playoffs with positive momentum.

Here are your playoff teams and a look at September performance (full results with won-lost records for the season and month are listed are the end of this post).

American League

Division Champions: Orioles, Tigers, Angels.  The Orioles continued to roll, putting up the AL’s best September record (17-10, .630 – following a 19-9 August and a 17-8 July), winning the AL East by 12 games. The Tigers won the Central Division title, finishing September with the AL’s second-best record (16-10, .615), topping the Royals by one game in the standings. The Royals tied the AL West champion Angels for the AL’s third-best September record at 15-11, .577.

Wild Cards: Royals, A’s.  The Royals made the playoffs and challenged for the AL Central title, finishing strong by playing .577 ball in September (after sharing August’s MLB-best record with the Orioles at 19-9). The A’s limped into the post-season – capturing the second AL Wild Card spot on the final day of the season, despite an AL- worst record for September (10-16, .385).

National League

Division Champions: Nationals, Cardinals, Dodgers. The Nationals had MLB’s best record in September (19-8, .704), lengthening their lead to 17 games over the second-place Braves (who went a dismal 7-18, .280) for the month, dropping to 79-83 and a second-place tie with the Mets. The Cardinals took the Central title with a 17-9, .654 month (tied with the Pirates for the third-best September in the NL). The strong finishes for St. Louis and Pittsburgh, coupled with a late-season slump by the Brewers (9-17 in September), pushed Milwaukee (which led the division most of the season) out of the post-season picture. The Dodgers finished strong, with the NL’s second-best record at 17-8, .680.  Arizona had MLB’s worst record for September (7-19, .269) and for the season (64-98, .395).

Wild Cards: Giants, Pirates. The Giants finished September 13-12 and took the final NL Wild Card spot.

The Early and Late of It

On September 15th, the Angels became the first team to clinch a 2014 play-off spot topping Seattle 8-1.  The win gave the Angels a 94-68, .627 record – one of only two MLB teams playing .600 ball through September 15 (the other was the Baltimore Orioles at 90-60, .600).  The following day, the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles became the first teams to clinch 2014 division titles (the Angels clinched at least a wild card berth the day before, but did not wrap up the AL West title until September 17).

The last team to clinch a post-season berth was the Oakland A’s, who didn’t wrap up their spot until their last game of the season, beating the Rangers 4-0 to keep their one-game lead over the Mariners (who also won, beating the Angels 4-1).

 

Despite a combination pf ppwer arms and power bats, The Tigers were the last team to clinch their division.

Despite a combination of power arms and power bats, The Tigers were the last team to clinch their division.

The last team to clinch their division was the Tigers. On the final day of the season, the Tigers topped the Twins 3-0, to maintain a one-game lead over the Royals, who beat the White Sox 6-4.   The NL Central was nearly as close, with the Cardinals going into the final day with a one-game edge over the Pirates.  The Pirates’ loss was on the books, assuring St. Louis the title, before the Redbirds shut out the Diamondbacks 1-0 to take the Division by two games.

On the Road Again

The Dodger finished with MLB’s best road record at 49-32, followed by the AL’s Royals (47-34.) The Orioles, Angels and Mariners round out the top five road teams, with 46 road wins each.

The Angels ran up the best home record at 52-29, followed by the Nationals, Cardinals and Pirates at 51-30. The Orioles were the only other team with 50 home wins (50-31).

Twenty-one of MLB’s 30 teams had winning records at home (nine in the AL, 12 in the NL); while ten teams had winning road records (seven in the AL, three in the NL).

Uniquely, every team in the NL Central had a winning home record and played below .500 on the road.

Season and September Batting Leaders

Five-foot-six Jose Altuve had MLB's loftiest batting average.

Five-foot-six Jose Altuve had MLB’s loftiest batting average.

Number one on the hit parade this season was Astros’ 2B Jose Altuve, whose 225 hits and .341 average led all of MLB. Over in the NL, Rockies’ 1B Justin Morneau captured the batting crown at .319 (the second ex-Twin in the past two seasons to win the NL title after moving to the Rockies).  The September batting leaders (minimum 50 plate appearances) were Dodgers’ LF Carl Crawford in the NL at .448, 30-for-67) and Indians’ LF Michael Brantley in the AL at .416 (42-for-101). They were the only two hitters to best .400 for the month.

Baltimore DH Nelson Cruz was the only MLB hitter to reach 40 home runs, topping the AL. Over in the senior circuit, Marlins’ RF Giancarlo Stanton (despite missing considerable time) was the league leader with 37 dingers. September’s HR leaders, for the most part, helped propel their teams to the play offs.  Leading all hitters was Dodgers’ LF Matt Kemp with nine September round trippers. Following up with eight were Dodgers’ 1B Adrian Gonzalez, Tigers’ 1B Miguel Cabrera and Yankees’ C Brian McCann.

The Dodgers’ Adrian Gonzalez was the NL RBI leader for the season at 116 – and also tied teammate Matt Kemp for the highest September total at 25.  In the AL, Angels’ CF Mike Trout led with 111 RBI on the season, with teammate 1B Albert Pujols topping the AL for September with 22 runs driven in.

In the speed department, Dodgers’ 2B Dee Gordon led the NL with 64 swipes (19 caught stealing); while Astros’ 2B Jose Altuve topped the AL with 56 steals in 65 attempts. Two players (one in each league) reached nine steals in September: Phillies’ CF Ben Revere (9-for-12) and Rangers’ CF Leonys Martin (9-for-11).

Pitching Leaders Season and September

Clayton Kershaw - most wins, lowest ERA - missed a month.

Clayton Kershaw – most wins, lowest ERA – missed a month.

Despite missing about a month of the season, Dodgers’ left Clayton Kershaw led all of MLB in victories at 21 (versus 3 losses) and ERA 1.77 (becoming the first pitcher to lead his league in ERA four consecutive years). There were two other 20-game winners, both in the NL, both right-handers and both at 20-9:  the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright and Reds’ Johnny Cueto   Wainwright and Kershaw shared the NL (and MLB) lead in September wins, both running up five wins against no losses. The NL ERA leader for September (at least 20 innings pitched) was Cubs’ right-hander Jake Arrietta, with a 0.95 ERA in four starts.  He was the only MLBer with an ERA under 1.00 for the month.

There was a three-way tie (all right-handers) for most wins in the AL: the Tigers’ Max Scherzer (18-5); Angels’  Jered Weaver (18-9); and Indians’ Corey Kluber (18-9). Seattle righty Felix Hernandez captured the AL ERA crown at 2.14, edging White Sox southpaw Chris Sale (2.17).  For September, Kluber was the only Al pitcher to reach five wins (versus one loss), while the ERA leader for the month was Rangers’ left-hander Derek Holland at 1.46.

Tigers (and Rays) left-hander David Price led MLB in strikeouts with 271 in 248 1/3 innings, holding of the Indians’ Corey Kluber (269 Ks in 235 2/3 innings).  There was a tie for the strikeout crown in the NL, with right-handers Johnny Cueto of the Reds (243 2/3 innings) and Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals (215 innings) each reaching 242 K’s.  Kershaw, with seven fewer starts than the two leaders, fanned 239 (198 1/3 innings).

The Mariners’ Fernando Rodney led all closers with 48 saves (three blown saves), while Atlanta’s Craig Kimbrel led the NL with 47 saves (four blown saves). The runners-up in each league came from post-season qualifiers: the Royals Greg Holland (46 saves, two blown saves) and the Cardinals’ Trevor Rosenthal (45 saves, six blown saves). The Nationals’ Drew Storen was the only closer to reach 10 saves for the month of September (two blown saves), while Seattle’s Fernando Rodney topped the AL with nine September saves (no blown saves).

The Other Side of Leadership

No hitter struck out more times than Phillies’ 1B Ryan Howard this season (190 K’s in 569 at bats) – to go with a .223-23-95 line. The AL strikeout leader might surprise you – Angels’ star CF Mike Trout (184 K’s in 602 at bats). Even with all those whiffs, Trout hit .287, scored 115 runs, drove in 111, hit 36 homers, swiped 16 bases and is considered an MVP candidate. The September strikeout leader was Cubs’ 2B Javier Baez, who hit .149 for the final month, fanning 46 times in 101 at bats. Again, the AL leader in K’s for September might come as a surprise:  Tigers’ outfielder J.D. Martinez, who fanned 34 times in 96 at bats, but still managed a .354 average for the month.

Nobody walked more hitters than Phillies’ righty A.J. Burnett (96 walks in 213 2/3 IP – but also 190 K’s). The AL leader in free passes was the Angels’ lefty C.J. Wilson (85 walks in 175 2/3 IP). Notably, the two hurlers had similar ERA’s (4.59 for Burnett, 4.51 for Wilson), but Burnett ended the season 8-18, while Wilson won 13 and lost 10.  Burnett’s 18 losses led all of MLB, while the AL loss leader was Rangers’ righty Colby Lewis 10-14,  Eight hurlers lost four games in September, with three teams having two four-game losers: Atlanta’s Mike Minor and Julio Teheran; San Francisco’s Tim Hudson and Ryan Vogelsong; Milwaukee’s Yovani Gallardo and Jimmy Nelson; Detroit’s Rick Porcello; Miami’s Nathan Eovaldi.

 

Before we look at a few September “tid bits” BBRT found interesting – here’s my post-season predictions.

 

AL Wild Card play-in.  A’s  reverse their September course behind Lester and knock off the Royals.

ALDS:  Angels too strong for A’s.   Tigers edge Orioles.

ALCS: Detroit starting pitching the difference as Tigers move on to World Series.

 

NL Wild Card play-in: Giants over Pirates.

NLDS: Nationals too much for Giants.  Dodgers’ pitching shuts down Cardinals’ offense.

NLCS:  Kershaw/Grienke the difference as Dodgers go to World Series.

 

World Series:  Tigers in seven, good pitching both sides. LA pitches around Miguel Cabrera, but Victor and J.D. Martinez light up Tiger offense.  

 

 A Few September Tid Bits

 Where Have All the Starters Gone?

Jordan Zimmerman put an exclamation point on the Nationals NL-East leading 2014 season, tossing a no-hitter on the season’s final day.  Zimmerman walked just one and struck out ten in the 1-0 victory over the Marlins. The no-hitter was saved by a spectacular leaping catch (with two out in the ninth) by Nats’ LF Steven Souza, Jr., who had come into the game as a defensive replacement for Ryan Zimmerman. In fact, all seven Nationals’ fair-territory fielders when the game ended were defensive replacements – only Zimmerman and catcher Wilson Ramos remained in place from the original lineup. ELIAS indicated this is the first time that has happened in an MLB no-no.

Here are a few other tid bits about the no-hitter:  It was the fifth no-hitter thrown on the final day of an MLB season; the fifth no-hitter of the 2014 season (all in the NL); and the fifth no-hitter in the history of the Expos/Nationals.

Under Control

One September 24, Twins’ hurler Phil Hughes beat the Arizona Diamondback 2-1 in Minneapolis – giving up one run on five hits in eight innings pitched. It gave Hughes a 16-10 record and 3.52 ERA for a Twins team that ended the season 70-92.  In his final start of the 2014 campaign, Hughes did not walk a batter, while striking out five – and that proved significant.  On the season, Hughes pitched 209 2/3 innings (more on that later), striking out 186 versus only 16 walks.  That gave Hughes a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 11.63 on the year – the highest single-season strikeout-to-walk ratio (among pitchers with qualifying innings) in MLB history. Bret Saberhagen had the previous record at 11.00 in 1994. That 209 2/3 innings pitched is also significant.  Hughes needed to log 210 innings to earn a $500,000 bonus (he had already earned bonuses at two previous IP levels, but left the game 1/3 inning short of the next bonus level following a one-hour- plus rain delay).  The Twins did offer Hughes a chance to pitch in relief in the final days of the season, but he declined, indicating it was more important to protect his health for 2015.  And, no whining, either.  Class act!

A Walk-Off Walk-Off

Derek Jeter - had to inclede a picture of the captain.

Derek Jeter – had to inclede a picture of the captain.

One September 25, Derek Jeter played his last game in Yankee Stadium – and he put a typical Jeter touch on his final at bat there – hitting a game-winning, walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth (giving New York a 6-5 win).

Eight Straight and Then the Pitcher

On September 15, New York Mets’ rookie Jacob deGrom got off to a blazing start – striking out the first eight Miami Marlins he faced and tying the MLB modern-day record for strikeouts to start a game.  Ironically, the string of whiffs was broken on a base hit by the opposing pitcher Jarred Cosart – just another reason I don’t like the DH.  DeGrom went seven innings, giving up three runs on six hits, while striking out one and fanning thirteen.

For the Tie and the Win

On September 8, the Chicago White Sox were down to their last strike, trailing the Oakland A’s 4-3 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and a 2-2 count on C Tyler Flowers.  Flowers, however, delivered a home run down the left field line, sending the game into extra innings.  Flowers was not done yet. In his next at bat, in the bottom of the twelfth inning, he hit the first pitch to him from reliever Jesse Chavez for a walk-off, game-winning round tripper.

The Hit (By Pitch) Parade

On September 12, Marlins’ right fielder Giancarlo Stanton was leading the NL in home runs (37) and RBI (105), when he came to the plate in the top of the fifth inning (facing Brewers’ right-handed pitcher Mike Fiers) with two outs and runners on the corners.  On an 0-1 count, Fiers threw an 88- mile-per-hour fastball that ran up and in as Stanton turned toward the pitch.  The pitch struck Stanton below the left eye, resulting in a bloody laceration, multiple fractures and dental damage.

First-base umpire D.J. Reyburn ruled that Stanton was swinging at the pitch, so – after Stanton was carried from the field  – pinch hitter Reed Johnson came to the plate with an 0-2 count.  That’s when things got even more intense – and strange.  Fiers first pitch to Johnson hit him on the right hand and the umpires again ruled that the hitter (Johnson) was swinging – resulting in a strikeout (logged against Stanton’s record).  The benches cleared, warnings were issued and a couple of ejections (Marlins’ Manager Mike Redmond and 3B Casey McGehee) ensued.  Meanwhile, what looked on the surface like a pair of hit batsman went into the record books as a strikeout for Fiers.

In the sixth inning, tempers remained hot and Marlins’ acting manager Rob Leary and pitcher Anthony DeSclafini were ejected after DeSclafani hit the Brewers’ Carlos Gomez with a pitch (left elbow).

September 12 turned out to be a pretty “wild” day on the mound and in the batters’ box across major league baseball – with 15 hit batsmen in 11 games (and, remember, Stanton and Johnson did not go in the books as “hit by pitch”). Here’s a little wrap up of the HBPs for the day:

  • Carlos Gomez hit by Anthony Desclafini after the Stanton injury.
  • The Mets’ Bartolo Colon hit the Nationals’ Ian Desmond (the first batter after Colon gave up a first-inning home run to Adam LaRoche. Then, in the fourth inning, Colon hit Jayson Werth with a pitch after giving up a home run to Anthony Rendon.  (Colon and Mets’ manager Terry Collins were ejected.) In the eighth inning, the Nationals’ Matt Thornton hit the Mets’ Daniel Murphy.
  • The Rangers’ Nick Martinez hit Mike Trout with pitches in the third and fifth innings of   the Angels 7-3 win in Texas. Angels’ reliever Joe Smith hit the Rangers’ Tomas Telis with a pitch to lead off the  bottom of the ninth, resulting in a warning to both benches.
  • The Royals’ Liam Hendriks hit the Red Sox’ Yoenis Cespedes in the top of third inning of Boston’s 6-3 win. The Red Sox’ Clay Buchholz hit Royals’ outfielder Josh Willingham in the back leading off the sixth inning of the same game.
  • The Rays’ Brad Boxberger hit the Yankees’ Derek Jeter on the elbow in the eighth inning of the Rays’ 5-4 loss to NY. In the ninth, the Rays’ Jake McGee hit Yankee 3B Chase Headley.
  • The Indians’ T.J. House hit the Twins’ 2B Brian Dozier in the top of the sixth inning of the Indians’ 2-0 win in the second game of a double header.
  • The Reds’ Johnny Cueto plunked the Cardinals’ Jon Jay in the top of the first in the Reds’ 1-0 home win.
  • The Giants’ Javier Lopez hit the Diamondbacks’ Cliff Pennington in the top of the eighth, as SF topped Arizona 6-2.
  • The Phillies’ A.J. Burnett hit the Pirates’ Stirling Marte in the second inning of the Pirates 4-1 victory.

 Thanks, Dad

On September 14, Giants’ manager (and former major league catcher) Bruce Bochy became the first manager to call in his own son from the bullpen.  It came in the sixth inning, and Bochy showed no favoritism to his son Brett – bringing him in for his major league debut with the bases loaded.  Brett, who ran up a record of 14-8,with a 3.03 ERA in four minor league seasons, walked in a run before logging the final out of the inning, and then allowed a two-run home run to Scott Van Slyke (also the son of a former major leaguer – Andy Van Slyke) in the seventh.  The first-place Dodgers trounced Bochy’s second-place Giants 17-0.

Whiff City

The Cleveland Indians’ pitching staff missed a lot of bats this season, fanning an MLB record 1,450 hitters– helping MLB pitchers set a season strikeout record of 37,441.

Hmm?

The Saint Louis Cardinals’ pitching staff led all of baseball with 23 shutouts in 2014 – yet their league-leading complete game total was just eight. Tampa Bay which had an AL leading 22 shutouts, had only three complete games.  #HowTheGameHasChanged

Some other team leaders.

Batting Average: AL – Tigers .277          NL – Rockies .276

Runs Scored:  AL – Angels 773            NL Rockies 755

HRs: AL – Orioles 211            NL – Rockies 186

Stolen Bases: AL – Royals 153             NL – Dodgers 138

ERA: AL – Mariners 3.17            NL – Nationals 3.03

 

 Final Standings and September Records

 

TEAM                W        L          PCT     GB       (Sept/)

AL East

Baltimore          96        66        .593                 (17-10)

NY Yankees      84        78        .519     12.0     (14-13)

Toronto              83        79        .512     13.0     (14-12)

Tampa Bay       77        85        .475     19.0     (11-14)

Boston               71        91        .438     25.0     (11-15)

AL Central

Detroit              90        72         .556                (16-10)

Kansas City      89        73        .549     1.0       (15-11)

Cleveland         85        77        .525     5.0       (14-13)

Chicago WS     73        89        .451     17.0     (11-14)

Minnesota        70        92        .432     20.0     (11-14)

AL West

LA Angels        98        64        .605                 (15-11)

Oakland           88        74        .543     10.0     (10-16)

Seattle              87        75        .537     11.0     (14-13)

Houston           70        92        .432     28.0     (11-13)

Texas               67        95        .414     31.0     (14-12)

 

NL East

Washington      96        66        .593                 (19-9)

Atlanta             79        83        .488     17.0     (7-18)

NY Mets          79       83        .488      17.0     (15-10)

Miami               77        85        .475     19.0     (11-16)

Philadelphia     73        89        .451     23.0     (11-15)

NL Central

St. Louis           90        72        .556                 (17-9)

Pittsburgh        88        74        .543      2.0       (17-9)

Milwaukee         82        80        .506     8.0       (9-17)

Cincinnati          76        86        .469     14.0     (10-15)

Chicago Cubs    73        89        .451     17.0     (12-13)

NL West

LA Dodgers      94        68        .580                 (17-8)

San Francisco  88        74        .543      6.0     (13-12)

San Diego        77        85        .475      17.0      (13-14)

Colorado          66        96        .407      28.0     (12-13)

Arizona            64        98        .395      30.0     (7-19)

 

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Ed Reulbach Day – How the Game has Changed

On this date (September 26) in 1908, Chicago Cubs’ right-handed hurler Ed Reulbach did something that is (and, undoubtedly will remain) unique in MLB history.  On that date, Reulbach (known for his high-kicking delivery and sharp-breaking curveball) started both games of a double header (versus Brooklyn) for the Cubs.  And, starting both games of a double header is not what’s unique – it’s been done more often than you’d think and as recently as 1973.  There’s also been an instance of both teams starting the same pitcher in both games of a double bill and a major league hurler who started both ends of a double header three times in one month.  More on all of that later, let’s get back to Ed Reulbach. It is, after all, his day.

Reulbach won both games of that September 26, 1908 doubleheader and – as was expected at the time – went the distance in both contests.  But that still is not what makes Reulbach’s afternoon of work unique.  In MLB history, 35 different pitchers have accounted for two complete game victories in one day a total of 40 times.  Note: If you count only instances in which both games went at least nine innings, the total drops to 34 pitchers and 30 occasions.

Ed Reulbach - two shutouts in one day.

Ed Reulbach – two shutouts in one day.

What makes Reulbach’s accomplishment unique is that he is the only MLB pitcher to throw two complete game SHUTOUTS on the same day. The Cubs were involved in a heated pennant race and the pitching staff was reportedly growing arm weary.  So, Cubs’ player-manager Frank Chance called on Reulbach to toe the rubber in both ends of a double header against the Brooklyn Superbas (Dodgers). Reulbach responded by shutting down the Brooklyn squad 5-0 in game one and 3-0 in game two – giving up just eight hits in 18 innings on the day.  The extra work didn’t seem to bother the right-hander, as he came back after four days rest to shut out the Reds in his next start.  Just how critical were Reulbach’s two September 26 wins? The Cubs won the 1908 pennant with a 99-55 record – one game ahead of both the Pirates and the Giants.

Reulbach’s accomplishment should not have been a surprise.  “Big Ed” was on the way to a 24-7, 2.03 season in which he would lead the NL in winning percentage for the third consecutive year.  Reulbach’s final major league tally, over 13 seasons, was 182 wins, 106 losses and a 2.28 ERA. His MLB accomplishments also include a 17-game winning streak, a 44-inning scoreless streak and a World Series one-hitter (1906).

Now, a few other facts about pitchers who started both ends of a double bill.

Knuckleballer Wilbur Wood was the last pitcher to start both ends of a twin bill – although (unlike with Reulbach) that was not the original plan. On July 20, 1973, Wood started the first game of a double header for the White Sox (against the Yankees).  He got off to a good start, whiffing Yankee lead-off hitter 2B Horace Clarke on a wicked knuckler. Unfortunately, the pitch also fooled catcher Ed Hermann and Clarke reached first on a passed ball – which proved the highlight of Wood’s game.  In order, he followed up with: a walk to RF Matty Alou; a two-run double to LF Ron White; a run-scoring single to CF Bobby Murcer; an RBI single to catcher Thurmon Munson; a run-scoring single to 3B Graig Nettles; and an early exit in an eventual 12-2 loss. Given Wood’s short stint on the mound (reported at less than 30 pitches) and the lack of stress placed on a knuckleballer’s arm, Sox manager Chuck Tanner sent Wood back to the mound to start game two. The results were marginally better.  Wood lasted 4 1/3 innings, giving up seven hits and five runs, earning his second loss of the day as the Yankees triumphed 7-0.  Workhorse Wood, by the way, ended the 1973 season with 24 wins and 20 losses, the last American Leaguer to win and lose 20 games in the same season (Phil Niekro did it in the NL in 1979).

Joe McGinnity started, and completed, both end of a double header three times in a single  month- and won all six games.

Joe McGinnity started, and completed, both end of a double header three times in a single month- and won all six games.

Then there is Joe McGinnity, who started both ends of a double header a record five times in his career, and three times in a single month.  Notably, in August 1903, McGinnity not only started both ends of a double header three times, he also won all six games and completed all six.

Pitching for the New York Giants, on August 1, 1903, McGinnity won the first game of a double header against the Braves 4-1 and came back to win the second game 5-2. Just a week later (August 8), he repeated the feat, beating Brooklyn by scores of 6-1 and 4-3. Then on August 31, he topped the Phillies 4-1 and 9-2.  McGinnity finished the season 31-20, 2.43 and recorded 246 wins, 142 losses and a 2.66 ERA in ten MLB seasons, during which he led the NL in wins five times.

Then there is Bob Newsom, who started both ends of a double header four times (1934, 1937, 1938, 1945) for three different teams (Browns, Red Sox, Athletics) in his 20-year MLB career. (Newsom went 211-222, 3.98 for nine teams from 1929-53. He was a four-time All Star and a three-time 20-game winner, as well as a three-time twenty-game loser.)

The Newsom double-header/double-start that attracted my attention came on September 14, 1934 – mostly for the total between-game turnaround by Newsom.  Pitching for the St. Louis Browns, Newsom started the first game of a double header against the Athletics – and walked the first four hitters before being pulled.  Brooklyn Manager Rogers Hornsby (for some reason) sent Newsom back out to start game two.  This time, he totally reversed his fortunes, striking out the first four hitters and picking up a complete game 5-2 win.  Newsom’s other instances of starting both ends of a double header were more traditional – and resulted in two wins and three losses.

When the Braves and Phillies faced off in a double header on August 12, 1921, they collaborated to make MLB history – with both teams sending the same starting pitcher to the mound in both games for the only time ever.  George Smith was the Phillies’ double-starter, while Jack Scott did the same for the Braves. Scott was the losing hurler in both games, while Smith tossed a 12-hit shutout to win game two.  (Both pitchers were knocked out of game one by the third inning, Scott taking the loss, Smith getting a no-decision.) Smith, by the way, was on course for a 4-20, 4.76 season, while Scott would finish the year 15-13, 3.70.  Both hurlers had career records under .500.

To end, here are a few other hurlers who started both ends of a doubleheader: Cy Young, Old Hoss Radbourn, Grover Alexander, Babe Ruth, Don Newcombe, and Rube Waddell – as well as Hippo Vaughn, Mule Watson and Happy Finneran.

 

With that, let me just say – Happy Ed Reulbach Day.

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“Courtesy” Runners, Fielders and Hitters – How the Game Has Changed

Those BBRT readers who play softball – particularly if you play in a senior (over-60) league like I do – are pretty familiar with the concept of a “courtesy” runner, fielder or even hitter.  You may not be aware, however, that it wasn’t so long ago (well, at least it was in my lifetime) that courtesy players were allowed in the major leagues.  The last “legal” courtesy player (more on that distinction later) was deployed in 1949.  Following that season, MLB instituted rule 3.04:

“A player whose name is on his team’s batting order may not become a substitute runner for another member of his team.  

Rule 3.04 Comment: This rule is intended to eliminate the practice of using so-called courtesy runners. No player in the game shall be permitted to act as a courtesy runner for a teammate. No player who has been in the game and has been taken out for a substitute shall return as a courtesy runner. Any player not in the lineup, if used as a runner, shall be considered as a substitute player.”

In this post, BBRT would like to take a look at a few instances involving courtesy players – as well as circumstances surrounding those situations how they reflect changes in the way the national pastime is played.

Jim Hegan - last legal courtesy player.

Jim Hegan – last legal courtesy player.

The last legal use of a courtesy player came on July 2, 1949.  With one out, in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Saint Louis Browns (there’s a change right there) were leading the Cleveland Indians 4-0, when Indians’ SS Ray Boone was hit by a pitch and unable to continue. Indians’ manager Lou Boudreau (who also started the game at 3B for the Tribe – a player-manager, there’s another change) brought in Jim Hegan (who had started the game – and was still in – at catcher) as a courtesy runner for Boone. Boudreau needed the permission of Browns’ manager Zach Taylor to make the switch, which is why the slow-footed Hegan was used.  Note: Given the need for approval from the opposing manager, courtesy players – particularly runners – were often chosen from among the less fleet-footed players available.  Hegan scored on a sacrifice fly as the Indians closed the gap to 4-2. Since the courtesy substitution came in the bottom of the ninth, neither Hegan nor Boone returned to their position.  Note: Most instances (more than half) of courtesy players, particularly runners, have followed a hit by pitch – although base running injuries (spikings, sprains, collisions) and to a lesser extent equipment changes (damaged shoes) have also contributed.

The previous use of a courtesy player (July 2, 1949) also involved Boudreau’s Indians and, while it is less significant (not being the last legal use), it does serve to illustrate more about how the game has changed. Instead of the ninth inning, this switch came in the first.  This time, the Indians were playing the Red Sox in Boston.  Sox starter Joe Dobson got into trouble quickly: single by SS Ray Boone; walk to LF Allie Clark; double by 3B Ken Keltner (bringing home Boone); intentional walk to CF Larry Doby (loading the bases); Grand Slam by 2B Joe Gordon.  The next batter (here’s another of those changes), as was the often and accepted practice following a home run, was hit by a pitch.  That hitter was player-manager Lou Boudreau (starting at 1B that day).  Keltner, who had batted earlier in the inning, came in as a courtesy runner for Boudreau and scored (here’s another change, at least for AL fans) on a hit by Indians’ starting pitcher Bob Feller.  When the Indians took the field in the bottom of the inning Keltner was at third base and Boudreau back at first.

These two examples represent the final two “legal” uses of courtesy players.  On August 10, 1952, Pittsburgh fans witnessed the illegal use of a courtesy fielder.  It came in game two of a double header against the visiting Cubs.  In the top of the ninth of a 4-3 game (Cubs leading), Pirates’ catcher Clyde McCullough was injured.  The Pirates, however, had used their two remaining catchers as pinch hitters – Ed Fitz Gerald in the sixth inning and Joe Garagiola in the eighth. Cubs’ manager Phil Caverretta (a player-manager, by the way) agreed to let Pirates’ skipper Billy Meyer bring Fitz Gerald in to catch. The umpires mistakenly allowed the switch, which was was no longer legal under rule 3.04.

heffnerCourtesy fielders are much less common than courtesy runners in MLB history. The last documented legal courtesy fielder came into play on July 24, 1934.  It happened in the bottom of first inning in a game between the Bronx Bombers and the Saint Louis Browns.  Yankees’ 2B Tony Lazzeri got something in his eye and had to leave the field to have it attended to.  Don Heffner came off the bench to replace Lazzeri and finish the inning at second base.  Lazzeri’s spot in the batting order came up in the top of the second and he took his turn at the plate and then returned to second base in the bottom of the inning.

Even rarer are courtesy batters.  The only documented occasion being on July 12, 1915 in a game between the Senators and White Sox (in Chicago). With one out in the top of the third and the White Sox up 3-2, Senators’ 1B Chick Gandil wrenched his knee swinging at a pitch and could not continue the at bat.  Sox manager Pants Rowland (don’t hear nicknames like that anymore) agreed to let Senators’ manager Clark Griffith bring in Rip Williams to finish the plate appearance (Williams grounded out).  Gandil’s knee was popped back into place in the dugout and he took his position at first base in the bottom of the inning – finishing the game one-for-three, with a double, run scored and RBI.

Note:  The information used here was obtained free of charge from and is copyrighted by Retrosheet.  Interested parties may contact Retrosheet at www.retrosheet.org

 

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Combined No-Hitters – Some Unique Moments

Cole Hamels - started MLB's most recent combined no-hitter.

Cole Hamels – started MLB’s most recent combined no-hitter.

On September 1, the Phillies used four pitchers to no-hit the Braves 7-0 in Atlanta.  It was the fourth no-hitter of the season, 2014’s first combined no-hitter and the eleventh combined no-hitter in MLB history. The pitchers involved were Cole Hamels, who started and went six innings (issuing five walks versus seven strikeouts); Jake Diekman (one inning, two strikeouts); Ken Giles (one inning, three strikeouts); and Jonathan Papelbon (one inning, no strikeouts).  The news of the combined no-hitter gave BBRT cause to reflect on past no-hitters involving more than one pitcher.  Here’s a look at those games and what made some of them unique.

The first-ever combine no-hitter took place on June 23, 1917 – with the Red Sox topping the Senators 4-0 in Boston. This game is special for several reasons: it was the first MLB combined no-hitter; Babe Ruth was involved;  it involved the most meager contribution by the starting pitcher (zero innings pitched); and, finally, it is arguably the most “perfect” combined no-hitter ever.

Babe Ruth, at that time plying his trade as a left-handed starting pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, opened the game by walking Washington’s lead-off hitter Roy Morgan.  Ruth, and his catcher Pinch Thomas, took issue with umpire Brick Owens’ strike zone and, during the argument, Ruth made contact with the umpire (a glancing blow, it was reported).  The ultimate result of the confrontation was the ejection of both Ruth and Thomas (with Ruth earning a $100 fine and ten-game suspension).  Red Sox pitcher Ernie Shore was called in to replace Ruth and Slam Agnew to take Thomas’ spot behind the plate (Pinch Thomas replacing Slam Agnew – weren’t those old nicknames great?).  Morgan decided to test Agnew’s arm and was thrown out stealing, after which Shore retired the next 26 hitters in order – completing the first combined no-hitter and facing the minimum 27 batters.

Given the past propensity for pitchers finishing what they started, MLB’s second combined no-hitter came 50 seasons and 70 no-hitters later – on April 30, 1967, with the Tigers defeating the Orioles 2-1 in Baltimore.  This combined no-hitter is unique because it was not a “no- no” (no hits – no runs), the team that threw the no-hitter lost (the only combined no-hitter loss) and it involved the briefest contribution by the relief staff (one pitcher/one-third inning pitched).

Orioles’ starter Steve Barber and was effectively wild, walking ten hitters and hitting two in 8 2/3 innings. The opposing hurler was Detroit’s Earl Wilson – who matched goose eggs with Barber for seven innings. In the eighth, Baltimore pushed across a run on three walks and a sacrifice fly (Wilson gave up only two hits and four walks in his eight innings of work) and victory was there if Barber could take it. He didn’t.  Barber walked Tiger 1B Norm Cash to start the ninth. He then walked SS Ray Oyler. Earl Wilson, a good-hitting pitcher, bunted the runners to second and third, before Barber got the second out of the inning, inducing PH Willie Horton to pop up to the catcher.  Now, just one out away from a 1-0, no-hit win, Barber uncorked a wild pitch that brought the tying run home. He then walked CF Mickey Stanley, ending his day on the mound. Stu Miller came in to get the final out, but not until an error allowed the go-ahead run to score.

Combined no-hitter number three came on September 28, 1975, with the A’s topping the Angels 5-0 in Oakland.  This game was unique in that it is one of only three no-hitters thrown on the final day of an MLB season – and it made starting pitcher Vida Blue the first hurler to take part in both a solo and combined no-hitter. (Blue had thrown a solo no-hitter on September 21, 1970.) Blue went five innings and was followed by Glenn Abbott (one inning), Paul Lindblad (one inning) and Rollie Fingers (2 innings). This was also the first time more than two pitchers were involved in a combined no-hitter.  Note: Blue has been joined by Kevin Millwood, Kent Mercker and Mike Witt as pitchers with both solo and combined no-hitters.)

The next combined no-hitter went back to the two-pitcher formula, as Blue Moon Odom (5 innings) and Francisco Barrios (4 innings) of the White Sox topped the A’s 2-1 in Oakland.  In the July 28, 1976 game, Blue walked five and gave up one run in his five frames, and Barrios added two walks in his four.

Combined no-hitter number-five came on April 11, 1990 (again just two pitchers), with the Angels topping the Mariners 1-0 in Anaheim.  Mark Langston started the game and went seven, and Mike Witt (the only pitcher to throw a perfect game – September 30, 1984 – and take part in a combined no-hitter ) threw the final two.

1991 saw seven MLB no-hitters including two combined no-nos. On July 13, the Orioles no-hit the A’s 2-0 in Oakland behind Bob Milacki (five innings), Mike Flanagan (one IP), Mark Williamson (one IP) and Gregg Olson (one IP). Then, on September 11, the Braves no-hit the Padres 1-0 in Atlanta, led by Kent Mercker (six innings), Mark Wohlers (two innings) and Alejandro Pena (one inning).

Combined no-hitter number eight came on July 12, 1997 – with the Pirates topping the Astros 3-0 in Pittsburgh.  It was unique in that it was the only extra-inning combined “no-no.” Francisco Cordova started and went nine hitless frames (two walks, ten whiffs) and Ricardo Rincon threw one hitless inning in relief (for the win).

The next combined no hitter was a record breaker – as the Astros used a record six pitchers (since tied) to no-hit the Yankees 8-0 in an inter-league game at Yankee Stadium (the last no-hitter at Old Yankee Stadium). Roy Oswalt started, but succumbed to a groin injury after just one completed inning. Joining in the no-hitter were: Pete Munro (2 2/3 IP); Kirk Saarlos (1 1/3 IP); Brad Lidge (2 IP); Octavio Dotel (1 IP); and Billy Wagner (1 IP). Notably, the no-hitter also broke up the Yankee’s record streak of 6,980 games without being held hitless. They had not been held without a safety since September 20, 1958.

The very next combined no-hitter – another interleague game – saw the six-pitcher record tied, as the Mariners topped the Dodgers 1-0 in Seattle. Kevin Millwood started that one (six innings), followed by Charlie Furbush (2/3 IP), Stephen Pryor (1/3 IP), Lucas Luetge (1/3 IP), Brandon League (2/3 IP) and TomWilhemson (one IP).

And that bring us up to the Phillies’ four-hurler, Labor Day 2014 gem.

 

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Longest Winning Streak – 29 Games to Celebrate Independence

Cooperstown - home to 1987 Salt Lake City Trappers memorabilia.

Cooperstown – home to 1987 Salt Lake City Trappers memorabilia.

When the Single A (Rookie) Pioneer League Salt Lake City Trappers topped the Pocatello Giants 12-6 on June 25, 1987, no one – including the Trappers themselves – could have predicted it would be more than a month before they would taste defeat.  The Trappers would, in fact, go on to win a total of 29 consecutive games – in a winning streak that ran from June 25 through July 26 and remains the longest unbeaten streak in professional baseball.

The Trappers – an independent team in a rookie league that featured teams affiliated with the Reds, Dodgers, Brewers, Blue Jays, Braves and Giants – were made up of players who went undrafted or unsigned by baseball’s major league franchises.  Despite the fact that major league franchises had the inside track on signing the best players (deeper pockets, advanced scouting, more opportunity) and in spite of the support from their major league parent clubs enjoyed by most of the Trappers’ competition, the Salt Lake City team enjoyed considerable  success and, in 1987,  were on their way to a third consecutive Pioneer League championship.

The team stocked its roster through relatively open tryouts, but there seemed to be an emphasis on former college players who felt they had something to prove to the MLB franchises that had “rejected” them in the draft or during the signing period.  (Some argued that the Trappers, despite going unsigned, were older and more experienced than many of their developing competitors.  However, the team’s average age was only about eight months older than the overall Pioneer League average.) While 13 members of the 1987 Trappers’ squad eventually signed with major league organizations, none made it to the major leagues.

During the 29-game winning streak, the Trappers outscored the opposition 255-122.  The streak included 15 road and 14 home games, three extra-inning contests, four one-run victories and a doubleheader sweep.  Notably, the Trappers went on to record a 49-21 season, finish first in their division and beat the Helena Brewers in the League Championship Series.

The Trappers relied on their bats to carry the day, scoring the most runs in the eight-team league (543, with their nearest rival – the Helena Brewers – trailing by 92), while giving up the fifth-most runs.  The Trappers’ .320 team batting average led the Pioneer League, while their 4.65 team ERA was fourth (the Great Falls Dodgers had the league’s lowest ERA at 3.48).

Here’s a bit of background on some of the 1987 Trappers’ key players:

Adam Casillas (OF) … Casillas played in 60 of the Trappers’ 70 games in 1987, putting up a .385-1-44 (avg.-HR-RBI) line. Signed by Reds after playing with the Trappers (also later played in Royals’ system and the Mexican League), Casillas had the longest professional career among the 1987 Trappers. In nine minor league seasons, he got as high as AAA. He hit over .300 in five seasons, including .307 for the AAA Omaha Royals (89 games) in 1992.  Notably, his minor-league resume includes three batting titles:  1989, Midwest League – .327 for the Cedar Rapids Reds; 1990, Southern League – .336 for the Chattanooga Lookouts; 1994, Mexican League – .367 for Monterrey Industriales.  In 4,109 minor league at bats, Casillas struck out only 190 times.

Frank Colston (1B) … Hit .397-1-46 in 52 games for the 1987 Trappers. Signed by the Mariners, Colston lasted two seasons, never playing above Class A. He hit .209 in 67 games for the Wausau Timbers (Mariners’ affiliate) in the Midwest League in 1988. He finished his pro playing career in 1989 with the unaffiliated Miami Miracle.  Colston played college ball (1985-86) for Louisiana Tech, where he was an All Southland Conference player both seasons and was later selected to the 1980’s Southland Conference All Decade Team.  He went .352-20-98 in 105 games for Louisiana Tech.

Jim Ferguson (SS) … Hit .327-3-40, while holding down SS position in 65 games for the 1987 Trappers. Ferguson then signed with the Cardinals, where he reached High A, hitting .251, with one homer and 30 RBIs in 126 games (1989) for A-Level Savannah Cardinals. His  last professional season was 1990.  Ferguson was an All New England player for University of New Haven (1983-86).

Eddie Citronelli (OF-C) … Citronelli hit .303-10-57 in 67 games for 1987 Trappers, in what was his only professional season.

Mike Malinak (OF) … Malinak played 69 games for the 1987 Trappers, hitting .321-12-57 (the 12 home runs led the league). Signed by the Reds, Malinak hit .232-17-66 in two seasons in their system, both for the Class A Cedar Rapids Reds (Midwest League).His last pro season was 1989.  Before joining the Trappers, Malinak had been a star for Baylor University and his career record for hits was broken in 1996.

Mathis Huff (OF) … Huff hit a Pioneer League-leading .417 (48 games) for the 1987 Trappers, with 7 home runs and 37 RBI. The six-foot-seven, Samoan-born Huff played one more season – for the unaffiliated Miami Miracle (A level), hitting .239-4-31.

Kent Hetrick (RHP) … Hetrick went 9-2, 4.84 for 1987 Trappers (26 walks/63 strikeouts in 70 2/3 innings). Signed by the Reds, Hetrick played two seasons in their system, getting as high as the AA El Paso Diablos of the Texas League.   Hetrick went 11-14, 3.71 in those two seasons in the Reds’ system.

Tim Peters (RHP) … Reliever Peters appeared in 38 of the 1987 Trappers’ 70 games, going 9-3, 2.10 with 11 saves (29 walks/83 strikeouts in 87 innings). Signed by the Expos (also played in Indians’ system), Peters went 11-9, 2.15 with 37 saves in three seasons with MLB affiliates.  1990 was his final professional season.

Michael Humphrey (RHP) … In 1987, went 5-2, 3.29 for the Trappers (after a 5-3, 4.17, Trapper season in 1986).  1987 was his last pro season. Humphrey played his college ball at Indiana University, leading the team in victories (10) in 1985 and still holding the IU career record for complete games (22 …1982-85).

While the players from the 1987 Salt Lake City Trappers may not have made it all the way to the show, they did make it to the Baseball Hall of Fame – which includes memorabilia from that 1987 29-game winning streak.

 

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30-30 Club … Bobby and Barry “Bonding” at the Top

With approximately 30 games left in the 2014 season (give or take a game or two depending on the team), it appears 2014 will not see any new members of the 30-30 (HRs-SBs) Club.  At this point, the player with the best chance at 30-30 is the Brewers’ Carlos Gomez (.286, with 21 home runs and 28 steals). Only one other player is even at the 20-20 mark – Twins’ second baseman Brian Dozier (.236, with 20 homers and 20 steals).  MLB’s last 30-30 seasons were achieved in 2012 by Brewers’ outfielder Ryan Braun and Angels’ outfielder Mike Trout.

Here are few facts about the 30-30 club.

Bobby Bonds notched an MLB-record five 30-30 seasons - matched only by his son Barry.

Bobby Bonds notched an MLB-record five 30-30 seasons – matched only by his son Barry.

In MLB history, there have been sixty 30-30 seasons – achieved by 38 players (13 players have recorded multiple 30-30 seasons).  Of those 38 Club members, 26 have been outfielders, four have been shortstops, three second baseman, three third baseman, two first baseman and zero catchers.  This count is not precise, as Alfonso Soriano is counted among the second baseman, although he achieved 30-30 as both a second baseman (three times) and as an outfielder (once). In addition, Joe Carter is listed among first baseman – having played the majority of his 1987 30-30 season at that position (84 games), while also logging 62 games in the outfield.

The 30-30 Club includes 26 right-handed hitters, eight who hit from the left side and four switch hitters.  

Saint Louis Browns’ left-handed hitting outfielder Ken Williams became the first-ever member of the 30-30 Club in 1922 (at age 32, in his seventh MLB season), when he hit .332 with 39 home runs and 37 steals – while also leading the AL in RBI with 155 (still the most RBI ever in a 30-30 campaign). Williams struck out only 31 times that season, which remains the lowest strikeout total ever in a 30-30 season.

In 1956, New York Giants’ center fielder Willie Mays became the second member of the 30-30 Club (.296, with 36 homers and 40 steals) and the first right-handed hitter to have a 30-30 season.  Mays also became the first player to log consecutive 30-30 seasons – with a .333, 35-home run, 38-steal campaign in 1957.  The current record for consecutive 30-30 seasons is three (Barry Bonds, 1995, 1996, 1997).  Other players with two consecutive 30-30 seasons are: Ron Gant (1990, 1991), Vladimir Guerrero (2001, 2002), Alfonso Soriano (2002, 2003 and 2005, 2006) and Ryan Braun (2011, 2012).

Bobby Bonds broke into the 30-30 Club in 1969, his first full major league season (he had been called up by the Giants in late June of 1968). In 1969, Bonds put up 32 homers, 45 steals and a .259 average.  Bonds went on to set the record of five 30-30 seasons (1969, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1978).  The record was later tied by his son, Barry Bonds, who notched 30-30 seasons in 1990, 1992, 1995, 1996 and 1997. Currently active, Alfonso Soriano has four 30-30 campaigns (2002, 2003, 2005, 2006).  Next on the list with three 30-30 seasons is Howard Johnson (1987, 1989 and 1991).

Bobby Bonds also achieved 30-30 seasons with more different teams than any other player: The Giants (1969 & 1973), the Yankees (1975), the Angels (1977) and the White Sox/Rangers (1978). In the process, he became the first player to log a 30-30 season in both the NL and the AL (later to be joined by his son Barry and Alfonso Soriano with that distinction), as well as the first player to log a 30-30 campaign while playing with two teams. In 2004, Carlos Beltran became the first player to log a 30-30 season while playing in both leagues (69 games with the Royals and 90 with the Astros).

In 1970, Tommy Harper recorded MLB’s sixth 30-30 season and the first by a non-outfielder (Harper played 128 games at third base, 22 at second and 13 in the outfield).

The first season to see more than one 30-30 player was 1987, when Joe Carter, Eric Davis, Howard Johnson and Daryl Strawberry all reached the milestone. Johnson and Strawberry, both with the Mets, also became the first teammates to achieve 30-30 status in the same season.  Ellis Burks and Dante Bichette of the 1996 Colorado Rockies are the only other teammates to put together 30-30 seasons in the same campaign.  Four remains the single-season high for 30-30 players, accomplished in: 1996 (Dante Bichette, Ellis Burks, Eric Davis, Barry Larkin); 1997 (Jeff Bagwell, Barry Bonds, Raul Mondesi, Larry Walker) and 2011 (Ryan Braun, Jacob Ellsbury, Matt Kemp, Ian Kinsler).

Jose Canseco - first member of the 40-40 Club.

Jose Canseco – first member of the 40-40 Club.

In 1988, Oakland A’s outfielder Jose Canseco started a new, even more exclusive, club – the 40-40 Club – when he hit .307, with 42 homers and 40 steals.  Giants’ outfielder Barry Bonds joined Canseco at 40-40 in 1996, with a .306 season, featuring 42 home runs and 40 steals. Alex Rodriguez (then handling shortstop for the Seattle Mariners) went 40-40 in 1998 (.310, with 42 homers and 46 stolen bases).  The most recent member of the 40-40 club is Alfonso Soriano (Washington Nationals, outfielder), who hit .277, with 46 home runs and 41 steals in 2006. Notably, Soriano earlier joined the 30-30 club as a second baseman (2002, 2003, 2005).  Note: In 2011, Dodgers’ outfield Matt Kemp made a run at the 40-40 club, finishing with 40 steals and 39 home runs.

In 1996, Barry Larkin become the first shortstop to log a 30-30 season, with a .298, 33-home run, 36-steal year.  (Note:  Howard Johnson, primarily a third baseman, did play 30+ games at shortstop in both his 1987 and 1989 30-30 seasons.)

Before we get to a list of 30-30 seasons, here are a few more factoids:

  •  Fewest at bats in a 30-30 season:  437 – Barry Bonds (1992)
  •  Highest average in a 30-30 season: .366 – Larry Walker (1997)
  • Lowest average in a 30-30 season: .251 – Ron Gant (1991)
  • Most HRs in a 30-30 season: 49 – Larry Walker (1997)
  • Most steals in a 30-30 season: 52 – Barry Bonds (1990)
  • Most RBI in a 30-30 season: 155 – Ken Williams (1922)
  • Fewest RBI in a 30-30 season: 67 – Hanley Ramirez (2008)
  • Most runs scored in a 30-30 season: 143 – Larry Walker (1997), Jeff Bagwell (1999)
  • Fewest runs scored in a 30-30 season: 83 – Joe Carter (1987)
  • Most strikeouts in a 30-30 season: 187 – Bobby Bonds 1969), Preston Wilson (2000)
  • Fewest strikeouts in a 30-30 season: 31 – Ken Williams (1922)

 

The 30–30 Club – 40-40 seasons in red

Year                 Name                                       HR       SB

1922                Ken Williams,   Browns             39        37

1956                Willie Mays, Giants                   36        40

1957                Willie Mays, Giants                   35        38

1963                Hank Aaron, Braves                 44        31

1969                Bobby Bonds, Giants               32        45

1970                Tommy Harper, Brewers          31        38

1973                Bobby Bonds, Giants               39        43

1975                Bobby Bonds, Yankees            32        30

1977                Bobby Bonds, Angels               37        41

1978                Bobby Bonds, CWS/Texas        31        43

1983                Dale Murphy, Braves                36        30

1987                Joe Carter, Indians                   32        31

1987                Eric Davis, Reds                       37        50

1987                Howard Johnson, Mets             36        32

1987                Darryl Strawberry, Mets           39        36

1988                José Canseco, A’s                    42        40

1989                Howard Johnson, Mets             36        41

1990                Barry Bonds, Pirates                 33        52

1990                Ron Gant, Braves                     32        33

1991                Ron Gant, Braves                     32        34

1991                Howard Johnson, Mets             38        30

1992                Barry Bonds, Pirates                 34        39

1993                Sammy Sosa, Cubs                  33        36

1995                Barry Bonds, Giants                 33        31

1995                Sammy Sosa, Cubs                  36        34

1996                Dante Bichette, Rockies           31        31

1996                Barry Bonds, Giants                 42        40

1996                Ellis Burks, Rockies                  40        32

1996                Barry Larkin, Reds                   33        36

1997                Jeff Bagwell, Astros                  43        31

1997                Barry Bonds, Giants                 40        37

1997                Raúl Mondesí,  Dodgers           30        32

1997                Larry Walker, Rockies              49        33

1998                Shawn Green, Blue Jays           35        35

1998                Alex Rodriguez, Mariners         42        46

1999                Jeff Bagwell, Astros                  42        30

1999                Raúl Mondesí, Dodgers            33        36

2000                Preston Wilson, Marlins            31        36

2001                Bobby Abreu, Phillies               31        36

2001                José Cruz, Jr., Blue Jays          34        32

2001                Vladimir Guerrero, Expos         34        37

2002                Vladimir Guerrero, Expos         39        40

2002                Alfonso Soriano, Yankees        39        41

2003                Alfonso Soriano, Yankees        38        35

2004                Bobby Abreu, Phillies               30        40

2004                Carlos Beltrán, KC/Hous          38        42

2005                Alfonso Soriano, Rangers         36        30

2006                Alfonso Soriano, Nationals       46        41

2007                David Wright, Mets                  30        34

2007                Jimmy Rollins, Phillies              30        41

2007                Brandon Phillips, Reds             30        32

2008                Grady Sizemore, Indians           33        38

2008                Hanley Ramírez, Marlins           33        35

2009                Ian Kinsler, Rangers                 31        30

2011                Matt Kemp, Dodgers                 39        40

2011                Ryan Braun, Brewers                33        33

2011                Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox         32        39

2011                Ian Kinsler, Rangers                 32        30

2012                Ryan Braun, Brewers                41        30

2012                Mike Trout, Angels                   30        49

 

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MLB’s Most Oddly “Even” Game

On this date (August 13) in 1910, major league baseball saw one of its most “oddly even” games ever.  It was part of a double header played in Brooklyn between the Superbas (Dodgers) and the Pittsburgh Pirates.  The first game of the double tilt had been a close contest, with the Pirates emerging with a 13-inning, 3-2 victory.   The last half of the double header, however, would prove an even tighter contest – and the time used in completing game one’s 13 innings would come into play.

First, here is the line score of Game 2, August 13, 1910

Pittsburgh         0 1 1    0 5 1   0 0 0      8   13   2

Brooklyn           0 0 0   3 3 0   0 2 0      8   13   2

The two-hour and five-minute game ended in an 8-8 tie, called due to darkness.  As you look at the line score, you’ll notice it was pretty even.  Each team scored eight runs on 13 hits and each squad made two errors.  But, when it came to an “evenly” played game, that was just the tip of the iceberg.  Each team recorded 27 putouts (that’s, of course, pretty much a given for a complete nine innings).  Each team, however, also recorded: 13 assists; three walks; five strikeouts; one hit batsman; and one passed ball.  Further, the hitters collected their 13 safeties apiece on an identical 38 at bats and were awarded an identical five RBI per team. In addition, the pitchers on each team not only gave up eight runs for the game, each set of hurlers gave up seven earned runs over the nine innings.   So, we end up with two teams with identical totals for: runs scored; earned runs; putouts, assists; errors; at bats; hits; runs batted in; walks; strikeouts; hit batsmen; and passed balls.

Pirates' right fielder John Owen "Chief" Wilson hit the only home run in, arguably, MLB's most evenly contested game. Wilson hold the MLB record for triples in a season (36 in 1912).

Pirates’ right fielder John Owen “Chief” Wilson hit the only home run in, arguably, MLB’s most evenly contested game. Wilson holds the MLB record for triples in a season (36 in 1912).

Each team also collected one double – and each started a future Hall of Famer in LF (Fred Clarke for the Pirates and Zack Wheat for the Superbas).  Pittsburgh, however, had three additional extra base hits (two triples and a home run), while Brooklyn’s only additional extra base hit was a triple. In addition, the Pirates had a second future HOFer in the lineup (Honus Wagner at SS). As an aside, Nap Rucker, the starting pitcher for Brooklyn ended his career with 134 wins and, of course, 134 losses.

 

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Joel Youngblood – A Tale of Two Cities MLB-Style

Joel Youngblood - two hits, two teams, two cities, two Hall of Fame pitchers - all in a day's work.

Joel Youngblood – two hits, two teams, two cities, two Hall of Fame pitchers – all in a day’s work.

On this day (August 4) in 1982, outfielder Joel Youngblood made MLB history by becoming the only player to collect a base hit for two different major league teams in two different cities – on the same day.

He started the day with the Mets, playing an afternoon game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Youngblood opened the game in center field, batting third in the order.  After striking out in the first inning, Youngblood drove in two runs with a single in the top of the third.

Youngblood was then replaced in centerfield by Mookie Wilson in the bottom of the fourth – told by Mets’ manager George Bamberger that he had been traded to the Expos (for a player to be named later), who were scheduled to play in Philadelphia in Philadelphia that night.  Youngblood set off for Philadelphia, where the Expos were playing that night.

Youngblood immediately set out to join his own team – catching a 6:05 flight to Philadelphia – eventually arriving at Veterans Stadium with the game in progress. To his surprise, there was an Expos uniform, with his name already sewn on the back, waiting for him.  And, the Expos wasted no time getting there newest player into the game. Manager Jim Fanning sent Youngblood into right field and the number-two spot in the batting order (replacing Jerry White) in the sixth inning. In the top of the seventh, Youngblood singled in his first Expos’ at bat.

Two hits, for two different teams in two different cities in one day – an historic accomplishment.  Youngblood’s day was even more amazing when you consider the pitchers he touched for his two safeties. In Chicago, it was future Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins, while in Philadelphia, it was future Hall of Famer Steve Carlton.

Youngblood, by the way, was a true utility player, manning every position except pitcher over his 14-season MLB career (right field – 455 games; left field – 237; third base – 218, second base – 173; center field 107; first base – 7; shortstop – 3, catcher – 1). In 1,408 games, he hit .265, with 80 home runs, 422 RBI and 60 stolen bases.  He made one All Star team (in an injury-plagued and strike-shortened 1981 season, when he hit .350 in 43 games for the Mets).  He best season was 1983, when he hit .292, with 17 homers and 53 RBI in 124 games (at four positions) for the San Francisco Giants.)

Coming soon, the monthly BBRT MLB review for July.  (Been a little busy here.)

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One final note, for BBRT’s Minnesota followers; Current Twins manager Ron Gardenhire played in the August 4 game for the Mets – coming in as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning – after Youngblood head already “left the building.”

Ed Linke – Getting a Head Start on his Best Season

April 15, 2006: BaseballWhen Ed “Babe” Linke took the mound for the Washington Senators on this day (July 26) in 1935, he had no idea he was soon to start a unique double play – with his head.  In the bottom of the second, with one out, Yankee lead-off hitter and left fielder Jesse Hill smashed a line drive off Linke’s forehead.  The ball hit the right-handed hurler with such force it ricocheted back to Senators’ catcher Jack Redmond, who caught it on the fly and fired to Senators’ shortstop Red Kress, catching a surprised Ben Chapman (Yankee center fielder) off the bag for a 1-2-6 double play – completed as Linke lay semi-conscious on the mound.  Linke was carried off the field on a stretcher and spent two days in the hospital before returning to the Senators – to begin the most successful pitching streak of his six-year MLB career.

At the time of the beaning – including that game – Linke’s record on the season was 3-6, with a 7.52 ERA. (He would complete his MLB career at 22-22, 5.61.) However, for the remainder of 1935, after being felled by the Hill liner, Linke went 8-1, 3.03 in 11 starts and three relief appearances.  During that time, he also threw seven of his 13 career complete games – including a ten-inning, two-run (one earned) performance against the Indians on August 18 and a twelve-inning, three-run (two earned) outing against the Tigers on September 11.

The 23-year-old Linke finished up the season 11-7, 5.01. (The following year he would go 1-5, 7.10; and would be out of the major leagues by age 27.) The knock on the noggin’ didn’t seem to hurt Linke’s batting eye either, Hitting .259 at the time of the injury, Linke finished the season at .294, with one home run and nine RBI.  Clearly, Linke got a head start on his best season on this date 79 years ago.

 

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