2016 World Series Game Seven – A Century of Heartache is Over

Roller coaster photoIt’s over, the Chicago Cubs 108-year World Championship drought has come to an end – in a Game Seven that had more twists and turns than a carnival ride.  The Cubs topped the Cleveland Indians (whose own World Series Championship drought now stretches to 69 seasons) 8-7 in ten innings.  Was it a “classic” Game Seven?  No, I’ll leave that designation for games like Jack Morris’ ten-inning complete game shutout that brought the 1991 World Series crown to Minnesota.  Was it one of the most exciting Game Seven’s ever?  Definitely – even without its historic significance for both teams.  Let’s look at just a few unexpected developments in this contest:

  • In a Game (and Series) considered a showcase for MLB’s best young talent, three of the four Game Seven home runs were hit by players in their thirties, including one by a 39-year-old retiring catcher (Cubs’ David Ross).
  • Two runs scored on a single wild pitch – by 2016’s likely NL Cy Young Award winner Jon Lester.
  • Indians’ ace Corey Kluber, who averaged better than a strikeout per inning in both the regular season and post season (up to Game Seven), lasted just four innings, giving up four runs and failing to get a single strikeout.
  • Neither starting pitcher was on the mound at the end of the fifth inning.  (Kluber, of course, was pitching – again – on short rest.  Insert “insert second guess” here.)
  • The Cubs’ seemingly untouchable closer – Aroldis Chapman – came into the game and quickly gave up a double and game-tying home run – but got the win in his least effective post-season appearance.
  • There were a handful of sparkling defensive plays, as well as four errors (three by the Cubs), a hit batter, a costly wild pitch and a flubbed safety squeeze.
  • The Indians came back from a 5-1 deficit after 4 ½ innings, to tie the game 6-6 in the eighth.
  • There was a 17-minute rain delay.
  • Both teams scored in the tenth.
  • The eventual winning run was scored by a player who was intentionally walked.

2016 World Series MVP

Cubs’ LF Ben Zobrist, who drove in the go-ahead run with a double in the tenth inning of Game Seven took home World Series MVP honors. (The Cubs ended up needing the insurance run driven in by C Miguel Montero.)  For the Series, Zobrist hit .357 (10-for-28), with two doubles, a triple and two RBI.

Old Guys Rule

The game and the Series were considered to be a showcase for some of MLB’s best young talent: Francisco Lindor (22-years-old); Jose Ramirez (24); Kyle Schwarber (23); Kris Bryant (24); Addison Russell (22) – to name just a few of the twenty-something stars on the two rosters. In Game Seven, however, there were four home runs – three by players in their thirties.

  • Thirty-year-old CF Dexter Fowler got the Cubs off to a good start – and an immediate lead – with a booming lead-off home run in the first inning.
  • In the sixth inning, Cubs’ 39-year-old catcher David “Grandpa Rossy” Ross, playing in his last major league game, homered to left off Indians’ relief ace Andrew Miller – giving the Cubs a 6-3 lead and becoming the oldest player to homer in Game Seven of a World Series.
  • In the bottom of the eighth, the Indians’ 36-year-old CF Rajai Davis took Cubs’ closer Aroldis Chapman deep – tying the game 6-6 on a two-run shot.
  • One of the youngsters did appear in the long ball parade. The Cubs’ 23-year-old 2B Javier Baez hit a solo shot off Indians starter Corey Kluber in the fifth.

Hope You Remember this Performance

The Indians’ Brandon Guyer did not get into the game until the sixth innning; pinch-hitting and taking over righ field from Lonnie Chisenhall. (He would later move to LF.)  All Guyer did was record a single, double and walk, along with two runs scored and an RBI, in three plate appearancs.

Wild Thing, You Make My Heart Sing

Jon Lester cubs photo

Jon Lester – Wild pitch plated two runs, but he gave the Cubs three much-needed innings. Photo by apardavila

The Indians started the fifth with two quick outs against Cubs’ starter Kyle Hendricks, who appeared to be well in control.  Then DH Carlos Santana walked and Cubs’ Manager Joe Maddon – after just 63 pitches – pulled Hendricks in favor of 19-game winner and strong Cy Young Award candidate Jon Lester. (Before the game, Maddon had said he preferred to bring Lester in at the start of, rather than in the midst of, an inning.  Good place to second guess here.). Lester gave up a dribbling single toward the mound to Indians’ 2B Jason Kipnis. The ball was played by catcher David Ross, whose off target (error) throw to first let Kipnis move up to second and Santana to third. Then, with SS Francisco Lindor at the plate, Lester bounced a wild pitch in the dirt that allowed both Santana and Kipnis to come home – bringing the score to Cubs 5 – Indians 3. Lester got Lindor on a swinging strikeout and went on to pitch a scoreless sixth and the seventh.  He was replaced by closer Aroldis Chapman with two outs and one on in the eighth.

Turning Point

Hard to pick a turning point in a game with so many twists and turns, but I’ll take the 17-minute rain delay between the ninth and tenth innings.  The Cubs were reeling a bit.  The bottom of the eighth had seen the Indians rally to tie the game at six off Cubs’ (overworked) closer Aroldis Chapman (another chance to second guess), who came on with two outs and one on and gave up a run-scoring double to RF Brandon Guyer; a game-tying two-run homer to CF Rajai Davis; and a single to LF Ben Zobrist before striking out C Yan Gomes to end the inning.

Then, in the top of the ninth, with RF  Jason Heyward on third and one out, Cubs’ 2B Javier Baez fouled off a two-strike safety squeeze (bunt) attempt that could have scored the go-ahead run. CF Dexter Fowler followed with a short-to-first ground out and the scoring opportunity was lost.  Fortunately for the Cubs, Chapman settled down to record a 1-2-3 ninth – and then the rain delay gave the Cubs a chance to calm down, regroup (have a team meeting) and right the ship – sailing it into a two-run top of the tenth.

The game-tying home run given up by Aroldis Chapman in the eighth inning was the first round tripper he had surrendered since joining the Cubs on July 25.

Stars of the Game

Cubs’ CF Dexter Fowler started the game with a home run and collected three hits. Cubs’ DH Kyle Schwarber continued his remarkable comeback from surgey with three hits.  Despite initial difficulties, starter-turned-reliever Jon Lester gave the Cubs three solid – and much needed – innings; one run, on two hits and a walk, with four strikeouts. Kyle Hendricks gave up two runs (one earned) in 4 2.3 innings.

For the Indians, CF Rajai Davis had two hits – including a game-tying home run – and drove in three.  Brandon Guyer, who didn’t enter the game until the sixth inning, had a double, a single, a walk,  two runs scored and an RBI – in just three plate appearances. Cody Allen threw two scoreless innings – no hits, one walk, two strikeouts.

The Improbable Tenth –Both Teams Score

Cubs’ DH Kyle Schwarber led off the tenth (Bryan Shaw on the mound for the Indians) with a single to right – and was immediately replaced at first base by pinch runner Albert Almora. 3B Kris Bryant followed with a long drive to center caught by Rajia Davis.  Almora made a heads up running play – tagging and going to second to eliminate the force play. The Indians countered by walking 1B Anthony Rizzo intentionally.  Almora’s advance to second – which led to the Rizzo walk – would prove consequential. Next, LF Ben Zobrist cemented his World Series MVP Award with a run run-scoring double – Almora crossing the plate and Rizzo moving up to third. Shaw then intentionally walked SS Addison Russell to both set up the double play and get to Miguel Montero, the Cubs’ third catcher of the game.  Montero singled the intentionally walked Rizzo home with what would prove to be the winning run.  At this point, Trevor Bauer replaced Shaw and got RF Jason Heyward and 2B Javier Baez to end the inning. Cubs 8 – Indians 6.

The Indians, however, were not done yet.  Carl Edwards replaced Aroldis Chapman on the mound to start the tenth and got two quick outs (1B Mike Napoli on a swinging third strike and 3B Jose Ramirez on a groundout to short.) Victory seemed to be right there, but this ride wasn’t done spinning yet.  Brandon Guyer drew a walk and moved to second on defensive indifference.  He then scored on a single by CF Rajai Davis, cutting the lead to one.  At this point, Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon brought in Mike Montgomery, who got RF Micheal Martinez on a grounder – third to first.

Whew! It was finally over.


World Series Stats Leaders

Addison Russell cubs photo

Cubs’ SS Addison Russell drove in one-third (9 of 27) of the World Series runs scored by the Cubs. Photo by apardavila


Cubs: Anthony Rizzo – .360

Indians:  – Jose Ramirez – .310


Cubs: Ben Zobrist – 10

Indians: Jason Kipnis – 9


Cubs: Kris Bryant and Dexter Fowler – 2

Indians: Jason Kipnis and Roberto Perez – 2


Cubs: Anthony Russell – 9

Indians: Roberto Perez – 5


Cubs: Anthony Rizzo – 7

Indians: Jason Kipnis – 6


Cubs: Jason Heyward – 4

Indians: Rajai Davis – 3


Cubs: Jake Arrieta – 2

Indians: Corey Kluber  – 2


Cubs: Jon Lester – 16

Indians: Corey Kluber – 15

ERA (starters)

Cubs: Kyle Hendricks – 1.00

Indians: Corey Kluber – 2.81


Indians: Corey Kluber – 16.0

Cubs: Jon Lester – 14.2


Cubs: Aroldis Chapman and Mike Montgomery – 1

iNDIANS: Cody Allen – 1


I tweet baseball @David BBRT

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

2016 World Series Game Six – Next, It’s Heartbreak or Heaven

Game Six of the 2016 World Series was all Cubs – a 9-3 victory that fueled the anticipation of a Game Seven.  It seems appropriate, somehow, that two teams with a combined 176-year title drought would see the difference between continued heartbreak and hardball heaven go down to a Game Seven.  Game Six did have some highlights, mostly for the Cubs:

  • Cubs’ SS Addison Russell had a double and a home run (Grand Slam) in five at bats – tying a World Series Single-Game record with six RBI;
  • Cubs’ 3B Kris Bryant had four hits – including his second homer of the Series to start the Cubs’ scoring;
  • Cubs’ 1B Anthony Rizzo had three hits, including an “insurance” two-run home run in the top of the ninth;
  • Indians’ 2B Jason Kipnis had three hits, including his second home run of the Series; and.
  • Cubs’ starter Jake Arrieta went 5 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on three hits and three walks with nine strikeouts.

Looking to the Future

The Cubs’ starting offensive nine in Game Six included seven players under the age of 28. The Indians’ starting lineup had five players under 28.  Both teams seem to be looking toward a bright future,

Turning Point

Josh Tomlin Indians photo

Josh Tomlin was one pitch away from a 1-2-3 first. Photo by Keith Allison

The turning point in Game Six of the 2016 World Series came at a time that was both early and unexpected.  Indians’ starter Josh Tomlin got off to a good start, retiring Cubs’ CF Dexter Fowler on a liner to third, DH Kyle Schwarber on a grounder to second and then getting 3B Kris Bryant down no balls-two strikes.  Tomlin was one good pitch away from a 1-2-3 first.  He didn’t get it, as Bryant took the 0-2 offering deep to center to give the Cubs an early 1-0 lead.

But that wasn’t the turning point – one run was not likely to win this contest.  And, the Cubbies weren’t done.  1B Anthony Rizzo and LF Ben Zobrist followed with a pair of singles, putting runners on first and third (with Tomlin still one out away from a one-run inning).  Then – wait for it, wait for it – came the turning point.  SS Addison Russell hit what appeared to be an inning-ending soft fly ball to right center.  In an apparent bout of miscommunication, CF Tyler Naquin and RF Lonnie Chisenhall (both seemingly in hot pursuit) let the ball drop in between them for a two-run double. To add insult to injury, Russell took third base on a throwing error by 2B Jason Kipnis.  Cubs’ C Wilson Contreras then flied out to center to end the inning, but the damage was done: 3-0 Cubs and the Indians hadn’t batted.  That “turning point “ inning had several effects: It took the crowd out of the game; put the Indians “under pressure” in the field and at the plate; most likely dampened Cleveland’s aggressiveness on the bases; and impacted how Indians’ manager Terry Francona used his usually fierce bullpen.

Star of the Game

Addison Russell Cubs photo

Photo by apardavila

The star of Game Six was Cubs’ 22-year-old SS Addison Russell with a double, home run and World Series record (tying) six RBI.  Russell’s six runs driven in tied the Cardinals’ Albert Pujols (Game Three, 2011); Yankees’ Hideki Matsui (Game Six, 2009); and Yankees’ 2B Bobby Richardson (Game Three,1960).  Russell’s Grand Slam was the first by a shortstop in the World Series and made him the second-youngest player to hit a Grand Slam in the Fall Classic (only Mickey Mantle was younger).



Pitching Decisions Questioned

The depth of the Cubs’ rotation came into play as Cubs’ starter Jake Arrieta started on his usual rest (the Cubs used a four-man rotation in the Series), while Josh Tomlin (the Indians’ went with a three-man rotation) started on short rest (and gave up six runs in 2 1/3 innings).  The Indians’ Danny Salazar – who went 11-6, 3.87  in 25 starts, but came down with a right forearm strain late in the season – came in to pitch two scoreless innings (one hit and four strikeouts).  Salazar’s performance led to some speculation that a Salazar start and game-by-committee (given Cleveland’s sparkling relief corps) might have better served the Indians.  (Hindsight, however, is always 20/20 and Salazar was a big questins mark, while Tomlin has pitched well this post season.)  Now, the Indians have ace Corey Kluber going in Game Seven, like Tomlin, on short rest.

Still the Indians have the bull pen advantage, as Cleveland Manager Terry Francona did not use any of his “lights-out” bullpen trio of Andrew Miller, Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw in Game Six.  Five innings out of Kluber may be enough for the Tribe to take the finale.

Meanwhile, Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon surprised a lot of folks by using his two most trusted relievers – Mike Montgomery and closer Aroldis Chapman – in Game Six, despite a big lead.

The most engaging questions seem to be:  1) How effective will Kluber be pitching once again on short rest?  2) Has Maddon overused Chapman?.  One thing for sure, there will be some intrigue.

Game Seven Starters

Let’s look at the Game Seven starting pitchers.

Corey Kluber – Cleveland

Kluber has been the Indians’  “ace” all season and in the post season.  On the season he was 18-9, 3.14, with 227 strikeouts in 215 innings.  His home and away stats were relatively even:  10-5, 3.24 at home and 8-4, 3.03 on the road. In the post season, he is 4-1, 0.89. with 35 strikeouts in 30 1/3 innings.  And, while Kluber is going on short rest for the second straight start, he has a well-rested bullpen (Andrew Miller, Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw) behind him.  This post season, that trio has pitched 38 innings, giving up just four runs (0.95 ERA), while fanning 62.  Five quality innings from Kluber may be enough.  BBRT will be watching Kluber’s early pitch count closely.

Kyle Hendricks – Chicago

The Cubs’ Kyle Kendricks wnet 16-8, with MLB’s lowest ERA (2.13) this season.  During the regualr season, he fanned 170 batters in 190 innings.  He was 9-2 1.32 at Wrigley and a still good, but less impressive, 7-6 2.95 on the road. Backing up Hendricks are likely a combination of starter Jon Lester and relievers Mike Montgomery and Aroldis Chapman.  Lester, with a 1.93 ERA in five 2016  post-season starts could come in if Hendricks should falter early. Montgomery and Chapman – who both pitched yesterday – have made 22 appearances this postseason (28 1/3 innings), with a 2.86 ERA and 30 strikeouts.  The Cubs need Hendricks to go deep in this game.  If he could get into the seventh, it would make Maddon’s job a lot easier.


World Series Flashback – My Favorite Game Seven 1960

Game Seven of the 1960 World Series is my favorite World Series contest – which is saying a lot since I was in the park for Jack Morris’ 10-inniing shutout win in Game Seven of the 1991 Fall Classic.  To understand why this is my favorite, it helps to set the stage:

  • There were only 16 major league teams. If you didn’t finish with the most victories in your league, you went home.
  • No one had ever heard of the designated hitter, the wild card, WAR or even WHIP.  
  • Home Run Derby was on TV – in black and white, with power hitters pairing off at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles.
  • Ted Williams finished his career with a home run in his last at bat that season and Brooks Robinson won his first Gold Glove.
  • MLB held two All Star Games.
  • The 1960 White Sox became the first team to put players’ names on uniforms.
  • Warren Spahn threw his first no-hitter taht season  and won a league-leading 21 games – at age 39.
  • Juan Marichal threw a one-hitter in his major league debut at age 22.
  • Roger Maris won his first MVP Award in his first year as a Yankee (after being traded from the Kansas City Athletics).

I was thirteen and an avid baseball fan.  The Game of the Week (in black and white), the radio – especially the radio – and an occasional trip to the ball park were my tickets to the national past time.

MIckey Mantle photo

Mickey Mantle and the Yankees were a baseball dynasty going into the 1960s. Photo by Tony Fischer Photography

At the time, the Yankees were baseball’s dynasty.  Since my birth in 1947, the Bronx Bombers had been to 11 World Series (including the 1960 Series, tied 3-3) and had won eight World Championships.  Fans from pretty much everywhere but New York had made Yankee-hating a tradition.  I was no exception.  Milwaukee-born, I was a steadfast Braves fan, still smarting from the Yankees’ 1958 World Series comeback, when they downed my Braves after trailing three games to one. 

The prognosticators had predicted a Yankee win in five or six games.  They pointed out that the Yankees, with a 97-57 record (the Pirates were 95-59-1) came into the Series with the momentum of a 15-game, season-closing winning streak, while the Pirates lost four of their final seven.  They also lauded the Yankees’ post-season experience and, they heralded the Yankees power (the Yankees led the AL with a record 193 home runs and 746 runs scored, while the Pirates led the NL with 734 runs scored, but only 120 round trippers) – the Yankees’ Game One starting lineup had belted 152 regular season homers to 98 for the Pirates’ starters.  When it came to mound work, things appeared more balanced, maybe even a shade in favor of the Pirates.  While the Yankees’ 3.52 ERA was the lowest in the AL, the Pirates’ NL third-best ERA (at 3.49) slightly bettered the Bomber mark.  The Pirates did have the clear advantage in strikeouts (811-712) and fewest walks allowed (an NL low of 386 to an AL worst 609 for the Yankees). They also boasted the Cy Young Award winner in Vernon Law (20-9, 3.08), backed up by Bob Friend (18-12, 3.00), while no Yankee starter had topped 15 wins.  The top relievers for the two teams were Elroy Face, with 24 saves for Pittsburgh and Bobby Shantz, who saved 11 for the Yanks.


To further set the stage, going into Game Seven (October 13 at Pittsburgh), the Series was tied 3-3, despite:

  • The Yankees outscoring the Pirates 46 to 17 over the first six games;
  • The Yankees out-hitting the Pirates 78 to 49 in the first six games; and
  • The Yankees out-homering  the Pirates eight to one in the first six games.

Still,  the Pirates were looking forward the  chance to win the Series at home behind Vernon Law (winner of Games One and Four.)  The Yankees countered with Bob Turley, who, despite winning Game Two, had given up 13 hits and three walks in 8 1/3 innings.  The Pirates also had their top left-handed hitter, Bob Skinner (injured in Game One), back at the number-three spot in the order, while the Yankees were missing Elston Howard (broken finger, Game Six).


The Yanks went meekly in the top of the first inning (liner, popup, foul out), and the Pirates, homerless since 2B Bill Mazeroski’s blast in Game One, got a two-run homer from 1B Rocky Nelson (whom Murtaugh chose to start at first base over regular Dick Stuart).

In the second, Law set the heart of the Yankees down in order –CF Mickey Mantle, fly to center; LF Yogi Berra, grounder to third; 1B Bill Skowron, grounder to short.  Pirates’ C  Smoky Burgess started the bottom  inning with a single and Yankee manager Casey Stengel immediately pulled starter Bob Turley in favor of the rookie Bill Stafford (who had stifled the Pirates for five innings in Game Five).  The move, second-guessed by many, did not pay off.  Stafford walked 3B  Don Hoak and Mazeroski beat out a bunt single.  Vernon Law was now at the plate (the Pirates’ pitcher was two for four, with a double, run scored and RBI in Games One and Four).  Law hit back to Stafford for a pitcher-to home-to first double play, but CF/lead-off hitter Bill Virdon followed with a two-run single and a 4-0 Pirates lead.  The Yankees were on the ropes.


Law handcuffed the Yankees through four innings, giving up only two singles.  In the fifth, YankeeS’ 1bMoose Skowron made the score 3-1 with a lead-off homer just inside the right field foul pole.  Law did not let the round tripper upset him, retiring C Johnny Blanchard, 3B Clete Boyer and P Bobby Shantz (who came on to pitch for New York in the third) in order.

The Yankees closed the gap – and then some – in the top of the sixth.  Pesky New York 2B Bobby Richardson (who already had nine hits in the series) led off with a single to center, and SS Tony Kubek followed with a walk.  With the Bombers appearing on the verge of a rally, Murtaugh replaced Law (who, it turns out had been pitching on a sore ankle throughout the Series) with his top reliever Elroy Face.   Face got RF Roger Maris on a foul pop to 3B Don Hoak, but Mickey Mantle followed with a “seeing eye” single up the middle, scoring Richardson. Yogi Berra followed with a upper deck home run (like Skowron’s just inside the right field foul pole) to give New York a 5-4 lead in what was shaping up to be a nail biter.  Veteran Bobby Shantz, meanwhile, was baffling the Pirates – giving up only a single and a walk from the third to the seventh innings.

In the top of the eighth, the Yankees appeared to put the game away – using a walk, two  singles and a double to produce two more runs and a 7-4 lead.   Notably, Stengel’s  pitching decisions again came into play.  He let Shantz bat with two out and runners at second and third (Boyer and Skowron) and a chance to extend the Yankee lead.  Shantz flied out and the living-room and press-box managers were quick to point out:  1) The lost scoring opportunity; 2) The fact that Stengel left Shantz in for a sixth inning of work, despite the fact that Shantz had not gone more than four innings in the regular season.


In the bottom of the eighth, things unraveled for the Yankees, thanks to a poorly placed pebble.  Gino Cimoli pinch hit for Face and stroked a single to right-center field.  Shantz, who had already induced two double plays appeared to have worked his magic again, as CF Bill Virdon hit a hard ground ball right at  Yankee SS, sure-handed Tony Kubek.  Just as Kubek was ready to field the ball, it appeared to hit a pebble (the Yankees had already been critical of the condition of the Forbes Field infield) and ricocheted into Kubek’s throat.  Kubek went down, gasping for air and spitting up blood, with his windpipe rapidly swelling (doctors on the scene at first thought an emergency tracheotomy might be necessary).  The end result?  Kubek sent to the hospital and replaced by Joe DeMaestri and the Pirates had two on and no outs, instead of none on and two outs.  (Read: Aha, the turning point.)

Pirates’ shortstop Dick Groat took advantage of Kubek’s mishap and lined singled to left, scoring Cimoli.  Stengel came to the mound and replaced Shantz with right-hander Jim Coates (despite the fact that lefty Bill Skinner was coming to the plate).  The righty-lefty matchup made little difference, as Skinner sacrificed the runners up one base.  Next was Rocky Nelson, who flied out to medium right, with the Pirates choosing not to test Roger Maris’ arm.   So, two outs, two on and the Yankees still in front 7-5.   That brought up the Pirates’ best hitter, RF Roberto Clemente, who had been held hitless in his first three at-bats. Coates made a good pitch, getting Clemente to hit a weak ground ball toward first.  A hustling Clemente beat both Coates and Skowron’s throw to the bag, while Virdon scored and Groat moved to third.  Now, 7-6 and the Pirates still had life. 

That brought up backup catcher Hall Smith (who had come into the game in the eighth after Joe Christopher ran for starting catcher Smoky Burgess in the bottom of the seventh).   Smith took a 2-2 Coates’ pitch over the left-field wall for a 9-7 Pittsburgh lead.  The Pirates, with only one round tripper in the first six games had homered twice for five runs in Game Seven.


To protect the lead  in the ninth (and with Elroy Face already out of the game), Pirate Manager Danny Murtaugh called on starter Bob Friend, who had lost Games Two and Six, giving up seven earned runs in six innings (and had pitched in relief only once all season).  Yankee lead-off hitter Bobby Richardson started off the ninth with a single to left.  Veteran and former-Pirate Dale Long, pinch hitting for Joe DeMaestri (who had replaced the injured Kubek) singled to right and Friend was gone, replaced by Game-Five starter Harvey Haddix.  Haddix got Roger Maris on a foul out, but Mickey Mantle drove in Richardson with a single to right center.   Yogi Berra followed with a ground ball down the first base line.  Rocky Nelson made a nice backhanded stop, but was out of position for a first-to second-to first, game-ending double play. Nelson took the sure out, stepping on the first base bag and retiring Berra, while Gil McDougald (pinch running for Long) headed toward home.  It was at this point that Nelson realized Mantle had not run to second.  Mantle, sizing up the situation, was returning to first (with the force at second now off). It was an unorthodox base-running move, but as Mantle dove head first back to the bag (avoiding Nelson’s desperate attempt to tag him), McDougald scored the tying run.  Skowron then grounded out to Mazeroski (forcing Mantle) to end the inning in a 9-9 tie. Still, Mantle’s heads up baserunning had kept the Yankees in the game.



Bill Mazeroski’s Series-winning home run has been immortalized in Pittsburgh. Photo by daveynin

Stengel, like Murtaugh, was now using starters in relief, bringing Game Four-loser Ralph Terry in to pitch the ninth.  Number-eight hitter Bill Mazeroski led off the inning.  Terry’s first pitch was a high and inside fastball.  The second pitch, another fastball, was in the strike zone and Mazeroski deposited it over the 406-foot marker in left center.  Not sure the ball would carry out in the deep part of the park, Mazeroski ran full speed with his head down to first and toward second, before seeing the umpire making the circular home run signal.  Mazeroski removed his helmet, waving his way to home plate where his team mates awaited the first player in major league history to end the World Series with a walk-off home run.

Trivia Tidbit:  The seventh game of the 1960 Series is the only World Series game in which neither team recorded a single strikeout.

FINAL: Pirates 10 – Yankees 9; Pirates 4 games – Yankees 3 Games. M

When the Series was over, Pirate pitching made the difference, but you could never tell from the stats line:

  • The Yankees scored a Series’ record 55 runs to 27 for the Pirates,
  • The Yankees collected a Series’ record 91 hits to 60 for the Pirates.
  • The Yankees hit a Series’ record .338 to .256 for the Pirates
  • The Yankees collected a Series’ record 27 extra base hits to 15 for the Pirates.
  • The Yankees out-homered the Pirates 10-4.
  • The Yankees’ pitchers put up a 3.54 ERA to 7.11 for the Pirates.
  • Bobby Richardson of the Yankees won the Series MVP award, hitting .367 with a Series’ record 12 RBI. The only player on a losing team to ever win the Series MVP Award.
  • The Yankees’ Whitey Ford was the Series’ most effective pitcher, throwing two complete game shutout in two starts.

I tweet baseball @DavidBBRT

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

2016 World Series Game Five – “High Anxiety” and Back to Cleveland

It’s back to Cleveland for Game Six – as the Cubs stayed alive with a classic 3-2 victory in Game Five at Wrigley field (and now trail the Indians three games-to-two). The tension-filled contest – described as “high anxiety” by Cubs’ first-sacker Anthony Rizzo had something for everyone:

  • 23 strikeouts for those who love power pitching;
  • Home runs by both teams’ third basemen – the Indians’ Jose Ramirez and Cubs’ Kris Bryant;
  • A measure of small ball – what proved to be the winning run moved to third on a bunt single and scored on a sacrifice fly;
  • A handful of great fielding plays (particularly on the Cubs’ side by David Ross, Anthony Rizzo, Jason Heyward and Kris Bryant);
  • Seven stolen bases;
  • Plenty of strategy – pitching changes, pinch hitters, double switches; and
  • Particularly rousing crowd renditions of Take Me Out to the Ball Game and Go, Cubs, Go!

Now it’s on to Cleveland, with the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta (18-8, 3.10 in the regular season) facing the Indians’ Josh Tomlin (13-9, 4.40).  Unfortunately for Chicago, even if they take Game Six, they still can’t win the Series without beating Cleveland ace Corey Kluber – slated to start Game Seven against NL Era champ Kyle Hendricks.  For now, it’s simply “Game on.”

Starting Pitchers Come Out Firing Bullets

Jon Lester cubs photo

Photo by apardavila

Jon Lester and Trevor Bauer were throwing bullet right from the start.  Lester struck out the side in order in the first inning, while Bauer fanned two in his 1-2-3 start.  In that first frame both starters threw 13 pitches, ten strikes.  Bauer ran low on ammo for a brief period in the bottom of the fourth, but it was a well-pitched game on both sides.  Lester’s final line in victory: six innings pitched, four hits, two runs, no walks and five strikeouts.





Turning Point

Kris Bryant Cubs photo

Kris Bryant hit a game-tying long ball to lead off the Cubs’ three-run inning. Photo by apardavila

Pretty easy call on the turning point in this one – the bottom of the fourth, when the Cubs finally put a few hits together and scored their only runs of the game. Down 1-0, Cub’s 3B Kris Bryant led off with a game-tying home run to left-center off Indians’ starter Trevor Howard. The second half of “Bryzzo” – 1B Anthony Rizzo – followed with a double off the ivy in right field. That hit seemed to rattle Bauer, who went to 3-0 on LF Ben Zobrist before giving up another single to right.  Then, with Rizzo on third and Zobrist on first, SS Addison Russell beat out a grounder to third, scoring Rizzo.  RF Jason Heyward then fanned (one of three strikeouts he would have on the day), before 2B Javier Baez loaded the bases with a bunt single. C David Ross (playing his last game ever at Wrigley – the 39-year-old is retiring after this season) then drove in what would prove to be the winning run with a sacrifice fly to left.  P Jon Lester, the eighth Cubs’ batter of the inning made the final out – and the Cubs led 3-1.

I would actually extend this turning point to the top of the fifth.  Once the Cubs put some runs on the board, it was important that they keep the momentum and hold the Indians at bay in the top of the fifth.  Cleveland LF Carlos Santana started the inning with a double off Lester and went to third on 3B Jose Ramirez’ groundout to short.  It looked like the Indians were going to come right back with a score. But Lester shut the door with a strikeout of RF Brandon Guyer and a ground out (short-to-first) buy C Roberto Perez.  That, to me, was a critical inning in this game.

Seven Stolen Bases

Rajai Davis photo

Rajai Davis- Three Steals. Photo by Keith Allison

Both teams brought their running game – totaling seven steals. AL regular-season stolen base leader (43 SB) CF Rajai Davis stole three bags, including second and third in the sixth (he would eventually score).  The Cubs stole four bases; one each by 3B Kris Bryant and CF Dexter Fowler and two by RF Jason Heyward (who nabbed second and third in the bottom of the eighth. Notably, the Indians’ sixth-inning rally was cut short when David Ross threw out Indians’ SS Francisco Lindor on an attempted steal of second.  






Both Managers All-In

Clearly both managers were all-in for this one – as both closers (Indians’ Cody Allen and Cubs’ Aroldis Chapman) were in the game by the seventh inning.  Allen struck out four in 1 2/3 scoreless innings, while Chapman fanned four in 2 2/3 innings for the save.  It was the first eight-out save of his career.

Cubs’ closer Aroldis Chapman three 42 pitches, 26 for strikes – including a World Series’ single-game record of 19 pitches of at least 100 mph,  During the regular season, Chapman (according to Statcast) threw MLB’s 30 fastest pitches – including one at 105.1 MPH.

David Ross’ Final Game at Wrigley

Thirty-Nine-Year-old Cubs’ catcher David Ross (Jon Lester’s designated catcher) – nicknamed “Grandpa Rossy” by the youngsters that man the Cubs lineup – is retiring after the Series (and after 15 MLB seasons, the last two with the Cubs).  In his last game at Wrigley, he drove in what proved to the winning run with a fourth inning sacrifice fly, called a great game for Jon Lester and cut short an Indians’ rally by throwing out the speedy Francisco Lindor on a steal attempt to end the sixth inning.  For his career, Ross played in 883 games, hitting .229 with 106 home runs and 314 RBI. For the Cubs this year, he hit .229-10-32 in 67 games.

Pearl Jam Front Man Salutes David Ross

Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder was called on to lead the seventh-inning rendition of Take Me Out to the Ball Game – and he dedicated his efforts to popular (and retiring) 39-year-old Cubs’ catcher David Ross.  “There’s one guy in particular I want to sing my *** off for. He’s number three.  He’s behind the plate. He may retire, but he’ll never quit.  Mr. David Ross, I’d like to belt this one out for you.  It’s his last game at Wrigley, let’s sing it for him.”


World Series Flashback

knowlesIn the 1973 World Series, as the Oakland A’s topped the New York Mets four games to three, Oakland reliever Darold Knowles set a record that can be tied, but will never be topped.  Knowles pitched in all seven games of the Series, picking up a pair of saves.

GAME ONE – Knowles came on in the top of the ninth with one on and one out and the A’s up 2-1. He retired PH Jim Beauchamp and 3B Wayne Garrett on fly outs for the save.

GAME TWO – Knowles took the mound in the top of the sixth with the bases loaded one out and the Mets up 4-3. Knowles got PH Jim Beauchamp to ground to the mound, but Knowles threw wildly to the plate, with two runs scoring on the error. He then struck out lead-off hitter 3B Wayne Garrett, intentionally walked 2B Felix Millan and got RF Rusty Staub on a fly out. (Staub hit .423 for the Series, with 11 hits in seven games.)  Knowles stayed in and pitched a scoreless seventh. The A’s eventually lost 10-7 in 12 innings.

GAME THREE – Knowles came in for Catfish Hunter in the seventh inning, with Oakland down 2-1. He pitched two scoreless innings in a game Oakland won 3-2 in 11 innings.

GAME FOUR – Knowles came on in the bottom of the fourth with two on, none out, and New York up 3-1. He struck out P Jon Matlack, then hit 3B Wayne Garrett with a pitch loading the bases. Then 2B Dick Green’s error allowed Mets’ 2B Felix Millan to reach, scoring CF Don Hahn. RF  Rusty Staub followed with a two-run singls and LF Cleon Jone walked before Knowles got 1B John Milner to hit into a 1-2-3 double play. The A’s eventually lost 6-1.

GAME FIVE – Knowles came in with two outs in the sixth inning, the A’s down 2-0, and a runner on third. He intentionally walked number-eight hitter SS Bud Harrelson and fanned P Jerry Koosman. The Mets won this one 2-0.

GAME SIX – Knowles took the mound with one out in the eighth, a runner on first and the A’s up 2-0. He gave up singles to 3B Wayne Garrett and 2B Felix Millan (scoring a run), before fanning RF Rustu Staub.  Rollile fingers then came in to get the last out of the inning. The A’s won 3-1.

GAME SEVEN – Knowles came in with two outs in the top of ninth, the A’s up 5-2, runners on first and third, and the top of the Mets’ batting order coming up.  He got 3B Wayne Garrett to pop up, ending the inning, giving the A’s the Series and earning the save.

For the Series, Knowles pitched in seven games – giving up four hits and five walks in 6 1/3 innings – but only one unearned run – while fanning five.  (ERA 0.00).  On the season, Knowles appeared in 52 games (five starts), going 6-8 with nine saves and a 3.09 ERA.

Side Note:  Willie Mays, then with the Mets, got his final at bat in the major leagues in the Series – grouding into a force out to end the tenth inning of Game Three.  Mays went two-for-seven in the Series, with one run and one RBI.  


I tweet baseball @DavidBBRT

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



Ieball Bloggers Alliance.

2016 World Series Game Four – Indians Dominate Cubs and More

Cleveland dominated all phases of Game Four – winning 7-2, while out-hitting the Cubs 10-7; out-homering the Cubs 2-1; playing error-free ball to the Cubs’ two errors; getting six innings (just one earned run) out of their starter versus five innings (two earned runs) for the Cubs’ starter; and winning the battle of the bullpens.

The Cubs, now down three games-to-one face some tough, but not unsurmountable, odds.

Since the World Series took its AL/NL format in 1903, 45 teams have taken a 3-1 advantage in the Series and 39 of them have emerged as champions.  Still as a long-time Braves’ fan, I can remember when my Braves (who won the Series in 1957) took a three games-to-one lead in 1958 and the Yankees bounced back to take the Series 4-3. (It is still a painful memory.)


         1903 Boston Pilgrims (over Pittsburgh Pirates – best of nine)

          1925 Pirates (topped Washington Senators)

        1958 Yankees (beat the Braves)

         1968 Tigers (beat the Cardinals)

         1979 Pirates (beat the Orioles)

         1985 Royals (topped the Cardinals)

Turning Point

Carlos Santana MLB photo

Carlos Santana – got the Indians’ offense going. Photo by Keith Allison

There are those who will point to Cleveland 2B Jason Kipnis’ three-run homer in the top of the seventh (that put the game out of reach at 7-1) as the turning point.  I think it came much earlier – in the top of the second inning. The inning started with the Cubs’ John Lackey giving up a home run to 1B Carlos Santana. After 3B Jose Ramirez grounded out to first, RF Lonnie Chisenhall reached on a throwing error by Cubs’ third-sacker – and 2016 NL MVP candidate – Kris Bryant. C Roberto Perez then grounded out (Lackey to 1B Anthony Rizzo), with Chisenhall moving to second. The Cubs chose to intentionally walk CF  Tyler Naquin to get to pitcher Corey Kluber.  Kluber topped a high-hopper to Kris Bryant. The Cleveland pitcher beat Bryant’s throw (for a single). Bryant’s hurried toss went wide (for his second error of the inning), allowing Chisenahll to score.  LF Rajai Davis ended the inning by grounding out to second.  Still, Cleveland took the lead 2-1 in an inning that included a home run (into a stiff wind), a hit by an AL pitcher and two Cubs’ errors.  The mood was set.

 Kluber Continues to Shine

Staff ace Corey Kluber has been the key to the Indians’ post season and he continued to shine.  Kluber, pitching on three-days rest, went six innings – giving up five hits and one earned run, while fanning six. He threw only 81 pitches in winning his second game of the Series and should be ready if a Game Seven is needed.  In this post season, Kluber (18-9, 3.14 in the regular season) is 4-1, with an 0.89 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 30 1/3 innings pitched.

Relievers of the Year – Zach Britton and Kenley Jansen

MLB yesterday announced the winners of the  Mariano Rivera AL Reliever of the Year Award and the Trevor Hoffman NL Reliever of the Year Award – Zach Britton and Kenley Jansen.

Britton saved 47 games in 47 opportunities for the Orioles.  He also won two games (versus one loss) and struck out 74 batter in 67 innings (69 appearances), finishing with a 0.54 ERA.

Jansen saved 47 games (in 53 opportunities) for the Dodgers.  He fanned 104 hitters (versus just 11 walks) in 68 2/3 innings (71 appearances) and put up a 1.83 ERA.

Francona Strikes Again

Terry Francona photo

Photo by Keith Allison

Meeting the challenge of managing without the DH, Terry Francona once again (as I noted in the Game Three Wrap Up) pulled all the right levers.  In Game Three, he started the Indians’ usual DH Carlos Santana in LF.  Yesterday, he moved Santana to 1B, benching the popular Mike Napoli.  The result?  Santana delivered three hits in four at bats, including a second-inning home run that tied the game.





Tiny, Tiny Criticism

I’m still left wondering why Cleveland Manager Terry Francona brought Andrew Miller in to pitch with a 7-1 lead in the seventh (after using him for 1 1/3 innings the day before).  I expected he would “save” him for a closer game (perhaps in Game Five.).  Francona did give closer Cody Allen the night off, calling on Dan Otero to pitch the ninth.  Francona said he would feel confident using Miller in Game Five (even if it meant putting him out there three days in a row).  This post season, Miller has appeared in nine games, pitching 17 innings, picking up two wins and a save, giving up just one run (0.53 ERA) and fanning 29 hitters (a record for a reliever in a single post season.)

Stars of the Game

Cleveland 2B Jason Kipnis went three-for-five, with a double and a home run, driving in three and scoring two to lead the Indians’ offense, while Corey Kluber pitched another gem – just one run over six innings.  Cubs’ CF Dexter Fowler was a bright spot for Chicago, with a double and a home run in four at bats (two runs scored and one RBI).

World Series Flashback

Roger Peckinpaugh photo

Roger Peckinpaugh -1925 AL MVP committed a WS-record eight errors for the Senators. Photo by The Library of Congress

The first team to come back from a three games–to-one World Series deficit was the 1925 Pirates, who topped the Washington Senators. In that Series, Washington won Game One 4-1, behind Walter Johnson’s five-hit, ten-strikeout complete game. Pittsburgh came back to win Game two 3-2, with a pair of errors by the usually steady fielding Washington SS Roger Peckinpaugh (the 1925 AL MVP) contributing to a two-run eighth inning that broke open a 1-1 tie game.  Game Three was also close, with Washington winning 4-3 and Game Four saw Walter Johnson in peak form again, tossing a six-hit shutout as the Senators topped the Pirates 4-0, scoring all their runs on two home runs in the third inning (a three-run shot by LF Goose Goslin and a solo homer by RF  Joe Harris).The Pirate started their comeback with a 6-3 win in Game Five – in which every Pirate except pitcher Nick Aldredge had at least one hit and Senators’ SS Roger Peckinpaugh made his fifth error of the Series. Game Six went to Pittsburgh 3-2, with another Peckinpaugh error contributing to a two-run third inning for the Pirates. Pittsburgh’s Ray Kremer pitched a nifty six-hitter in that contest.  Game Seven also went to the Pirates.  Pittsburgh was down 6-3 after four innings, but came back to win by a 9-7 score. A dropped popup (by Peckinpaugh) contributed to a two-run Pittsburgh rally in the seventh, and a throwing error by Peckinpaugh contributed to two unearned runs in a three-run Pittsburgh eighth.If there was a goat in this historic comeback, it was Peckinpaugh.  The 1925 season MVP (who hit .294-4-69 in the regular season and made just 28 errors in 126 games) hit .250 for the Series and made a World Series record eight errors. The Senator committed only one other error in the Series.  (Note:  Weather did play a factor. The Series was postponed twice due to weather and Game Seven was played in the rain and fog.  Still, no other player, on either team, committed more than two errors.)

I tweet baseball @DavidBBRT

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

2016 World Series Game Three – And More

Corey Kluber Cleveland Indians photo

Cubs now must beat Corey Kluber at least once to win the Series. Photo by apardavila

Game Three of the World Series is in the books – a nail-biting 1-0 victory for the Indians that, once again, illustrated Cleveland Manager Terry Francona’s ability to “pull all the right levers.”  The Indians now lead the Series two games to one, which means the Cubs will have to beat Cleveland “ace” Corey Kluber at least once to claim the title.  In Game Three, Francona:

  • successfully dealt with the absence of the DH, starting Carlos Santana in LF for the first time this year and using three players in LF, two in CF, two behind the plate, one pinch hitter and one pinch runner;
  • adeptly used his bullpen (a WIN for Andrew Miller, a HOLD for Bryan Shaw and a SAVE for Cody Allen) after squeezing 4 2/3 scoreless innings out of starter Josh Tomlin; and
  • got the game-winning hit out of pinch-hitter Coco Crisp (hitting just .211 for the post season, but with key hits along the way, including two home runs).

Read on for some BBRT observations on Game Three.

Apologies for Timing of this Post – and a Look at One of Baseball’s Greats

Peter Gorton tells the John Donaldson story.

Peter Gorton tells the John Donaldson story.

Baseball Roundtable’s World Series Game Three wrap is coming out a little later in the day than usual, but for good reason.  I spent the top half of the day at the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) Halsey Hall Chapter Meeting – where we listened to former Twins’ player, manager and broadcaster Frank Quilici and heard presentations on baseball behind bars, in France and in “Dodgerland.”  

We also head from Pete Gorton of the Donaldson Network on efforts to shine additional light on the career of John Donaldson – the African-American pitcher (early 1900s-1940) who amassed at least 399 documented wins and 4,995 strikeouts, while pitching in more than 500 cities.  Donaldson was, indeed, Satchel Paige before Satchel Paige.    As Baseball Hall of Famer Buck O’Neill said “John Donaldson showed Satchel Paige the way.”

BBRT will feature a post on Donaldson in the near future, but in the meantime, here’s a link to the Donaldson Network  (click here)  and one to a film of Donaldson in action (click here).

Real Relief. Win. Hold. Save.

Just one run scored in Game Three, by the Indians, on a Coco Crisp pinch hit bloop single in the top of the seventh.  The 1-0 win was Cleveland’s record-breaking fifth shutout of the 2016 post-season.  All five blankings were team efforts.  Yesterday, Cleveland got 4 2/3 scoreless innings from starter Josh Tomlin.  Then Andrew Miller came on for 1 1/3 innings (and the WIN); Bryan Shaw followed with 1 2/3 scoreless innings (for the HOLD); and Cody Allen tossed the last 1 1/3 (for the SAVE).  Win. Hold. Save. Game. Set. Match.

Note:  Staff ace Corey Kluber started three of the remaining four shutouts – going 7, 6 1/3 and 6 innings in those contests.  The fifth whitewashing was started by Ryan Merritt, who went 4 1/3 – followed by Shaw (1 inning for the WIN), Miller (2 2/3 for the HOLD) and Allen (1 inning for the SAVE).

Bryzzo versus Millallen

The Cubs are looking to Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo (affectionately referred to as Bryzzo) to provide the offense.  One the other side of the coin, Cleveland has the Millallen combination – relievers Andrew Miller and Cody Allen – who have thrown a combined 25 scoreless innings this post season, with 45 strikeouts, seven saves, six holds and two wins.


Sporting News Player of the Year – Astros’ 2B Jose Altuve

Jose Altuve photo

Photo by apardavila

Houston Astros’ 2B Jose Altuve – in a player vote – was selected as the Sporting News MLB Player of the Year. The 26-year-old Altuve, with six MLB seasons already under his belt, led the AL with a .338 batting average and 216 hits. He also hit 24 home runs, drove in 96 runs, scored 108 and stole 30 bases. 2016 marked Altuve’s second batting title, fourth All Star Selection, third consecutive season of 200 or more hits and fifth consecutive season of at least 30 stolen bases. Each of the past ten Player of the Year winners has also won his league’s MVP Award.  This season, Altuve’s competition for that honor is likely to come from Mookie Betts and David Ortiz of the Red Sox.  We’ll see if Altuve can keep the streak going.

On the Wild Side

Chicago fans not only filled Wrigley Field, but also filled the streets and bars in Wrigleyville, celebrating the first Cubs’ World Series game in 71 years. Meanwhile, more than 20,000 Cleveland fans were going wild watching the game on the video board in Cleveland’s Progressive Field.

World Series Flashback

1908 – Cubs versus Tigers

The 1908 World Series featured a rematch of 1907 – Tigers versus Cubs.  The Cubs were the defending World Champions (they had topped the Tigers in a sweep in 1907) and were in the Fall Classic for the third straight year (they lost to the White Sox in 1906, after a season in which the Cubs won a record 116 games). Cubs’ fans – after three straight World Series appearances – probably did not expect their next World Championship was at least 108 years away. 

The Cubs took the Series four games-to-one, but it was not without its “moments.” In Game One (at Detroit) Chicago trailed 6-5 going into the ninth,  but put five runs on the board in the top of the final inning to steal the victory (the inning included a double steal by CF Solly Hofman and 1B Frank Chance – Yes, the Chance of Tinker to Evers to Chance). The Cubs’ ninth-inning rally included six consecutive one-out singles, two stolen bases and a sacrifice.

Like the first game, Game Two (in Chicago) was close late – tied 0-0 until the eighth, when the Cubs scored six times to cement a 6-1 win. The major blow was a two-run home run by Cubs’ SS Joe Tinker – the only round tripper of the Series. Detroit rallied for an 8-3 win in Game Three and then the Cubs’ pitching took over. Chicago’s Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown (29-9, 1.47 in the regular season) shut out Detroit 3-0 on a complete game four-hitter in Game Four and Orvall Overall (15-11, 1.92)  pitched even more masterfully in Game Five, tossing a complete-game, three-hit shutout with ten strikeouts. Note: Overall fanned a World Series (and MLB) record four batters in the first inning of Game Five, in an inning that went: walk to Tigers’ LF Matty McIntyre; strike out of SS Charley O’Leary; single by 3B Bill Coughlin; strikeout of RF Ty Cobb; strikeout of 1B Claude Rossman, who reached on a wild pitch; strikeout of 2B Germany Schaefer.   The final game drew a crowd of only 6,210 – the smallest in World Series’ history.

Cubs stars’ of the Series were Overall (who won two games for the Cubs and gave up just two runs in 18 1/3 innings); 1B Chance (who hit .421 and stole five bases); Cubs’ SS Tinker (who drove in four); and CF Hofman (who hit .316 and also drove in four). Detroit was led by CF Ty Cobb, who hit .368 for the Series.

The Cubs have since gone to the World Series seven times (not including this season) – 1910, 1918, 1929, 1932, 1935, 1938 and 1945 – losing each time.

I tweet baseball @David BBRT

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

2016 World Series Game Two – Random Thoughts and On to Wrigleyville

Game Two of the 2016 World Series is behind us and the Indians and Cubs move on to Wrigley Field tied at a game apiece – should be one heckuva weekend in Wrigleyville!

Jake Arrieta cubs photo

Jake Arrieta – Game Two winner. Photo by apardavila

Yesterday’s game saw the Cubs tie the Series with a 5-1 win, finishing just ahead of the weather thanks to a one-hour early start.  If you had to pick a “hero” or two, they would be: 1) Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta, who got the win after taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning, giving up just one run on two hits, while striking out 6 in 5 2/3 innings; and 2) Cubs’ DH Kyle Schwarber – back after a six-month post-surgery layoff – who continued to surprise nearly everyone by collecting two hits and a walk, scoring once and droving in a pair. His role at Wrigley (he has not yet been cleared to play in the field) remains to be seen.



Here are a few random observations about Game Two.

A Rough Start for Both Pitchers

The way Game Two started out, it looked like a long night all around. The Cubs scored off Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer (who had ten stitches in his pinky finger nine days ago) just three batters into the game. After CF Dexter Fowler grounded out pitcher to first, 3B Kris Bryant singled to center and 1B Anthony Rizzo doubled him home. The Cubs’ first run of the Series came courtesy of (as they say in the Windy City) Brizzo. No more damage was done, but Bauer needed 29 pitches to get out of the inning.

Cubs’ starter Jake Arrieta pitched a scoreless bottom of the inning, but seemed to have trouble locating his pitches in the 43-degree weather. Arrieta gave up a pair of walks and threw just 10 strikes in 23 pitches. Early on, it looked like a short night for both starters.

How Do You Spell Relief?

There was plenty of work for the bullpens, as both starters ran up the pitch counts early, Cleveland starter Trevor  Bauer (12-8, 4.26 in the regular season) lasted only 3 2/3 innings –  giving up two runs on six hits and throwing 53 strikes in 87 pitches. Cleveland Manager Terry Francona then used six relievers to finish the contest, and they gave up three runs, two earned – on three hits and five walks – over the final 5 1/3 innings.

Jake Arrieta, the 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner (18-8, 3.10 this season) settled down after a rocky, two-walk, 23-pitch first inning.  He took a no-hitter into the sixth and exited after 5 2/3 innings (one run on two hits and three walks, with six strikeouts).  The Cubs’ pen (Mike Montgomery and Aroldis Chapman) outpitched the Indians’ relievers – giving up no runs on two hits and two walks, with four strikeouts over the final 3 1/3 innings.  Notably, both Montgomery and Chapman were in-season acquisitions – Montgomery from the Mariners and Chapman from the Yankees.


MLB yesterday announced the winners of the 2016 Hank Aaron Award for the best offensive player in each league.  Your worthy pair of winners? The Red Sox’ David Ortiz in the AL and the Cubs’ Kris Bryant in the NL.

David ortiz photo

Big Papi – big bat and big smile in his final season. Photo by Keith Allison

Ortiz, in his final MLB season, had a tremendous season.  As the Red Sox’ DH, he hit .315, with 38 home runs and an AL-leading 127 RBI. He also led all of MLB in slugging percentage (.620) and doubles (48), collected 80 walks and recorded a .401 on-base percentage. In the process, he set the single-season records for a player 40-years-old or older in home runs, RBI, doubles and extra base hits (Elias Sports Bureau). The Hank Aaron Award is a pretty nice – and well-deserved – retirement gift; and a great way to top a 2-yedar MLB career.

Over in the NL, the Cubs’ versatile (3B/of) Kris Bryant earned the Aaron Award. The 24-year-old Bryant, in just his second MLB season, hit .292, with 39 home runs, 102 RBI and a league-leading 121 runs scored (and threw in eight stolen bases).

A final thought/rant.:  I believe MLB should add to the stature and visibility of the Hank Aaron Award by moving the announcement to after the World Series. Consider the time frame for Rookie of the Year (November 14); Manager of the Year (November 15); Cy Young Award (November 16); and MVP (November 17).  I would like to see the Offensive Player of the Year (Hank Aaron Award) in that same time frame – when it would not have to compete with World Series’ hoopla and coverage.

Game Two Turning Point

There are those who may point to the Cubs’ three-run fifth as the turning point in this contest.  I think that came in the top of the third after Indians’ starter Trevor Bauer, trailing 1-0, had retired Dexter Fowler and Kris Bryant and had Anthony Rizzo down no balls-two strikes. He was just a pitch away from a 1-2-3 inning. Bauer ended up walking Rizzo; LF Ben Zobrist followed with a single to center (sending Rizzo to second) and DH Kyle Schwarber slapped a single up the middle to plate Rizzo and give the Cubs a 2-0 lead. 2B Javier Baez then fanned to end the inning. What did that mean in the game?

  • It ran up Bauer’s pitch count, getting the Cubs that much closer to the Indians’ pen.
  • It provided Arrieta a little breathing room and a chance to settle down after early command issues.
  • It gave the Cubs an emotional lift, especially since the runs was driven in by the 2016 post-season surprise player – Kyle Schwarber.

Z is for Zobrist

Veteran Ben Zobrist, who collected three hits in Game One, added a single, triple and walk in five plate appearances. He is now five-for-eight (.625), with a double and a triple in the Series. During the regular season, the 35-year-old Zobrtist hit .276, with 18 home runs, 76 RBI and 94 runs scored.

World Series Flashback

burdetteIn the 1957 World Series – the first I ever attended – Milwaukee Braves’ right-hander Lew Burdette started Games Two, Five and Seven. Three starts in eight days versus a highly-favored Yankee squad that included the likes of Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Elston Howard and Moose Skowron. Burdette tossed three complete games – winning all three (including shutouts in Games Five and Seven), giving up only two runs in 27 innings (0.67 ERA) Note: It appears the Indian’s Corey Kluber could pitch Games One, Four and Seven if this Series goes that far.


I tweet baseball @DavidBBRT

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

Top 2016 Regular Season Award Candidates – And a Bit of History

First, a disclaimer.  Baseball Roundtable has never claimed to be the best prognosticator – although this year I did get seven of the ten playoffs teams correct in a February 8 post. I missed the Indians and Orioles in the AL (had the Astros and Tigers) and the Nationals in the NL (had the Cardinals).  My predictions for the post season, made October 3, were less accurate – although I still have a chance to be right on the World Series winner.  I have the Cubs winning the Series (just against the Red Sox). Surprises for me?  After an offensive slump in September/October, I did not expect the Blue Jays to get past the Rangers. (Note: the Jays scored the fewest runs in the AL after Aguste 31.) I also underestimated Terry Francona’s ability to manage a pitching staff.

So now, I intend to sit back and enjoy the rest of the post-season – and root for a Cubs/Indians World Series – and (in this post) present BBRT’s selections (and predictions) for MLB’s major 2016 regular season awards.


National League ROY – Corey Seager, SS, Dodgers

Corey Seager photo

Photo by apardavila

The competition for NL Rookie of the Year comes down to a pair of young, power-hitting shortstops – Corey Seager of the Dodgers and Trevor Story of the Rockies.  Seager gets the edge, largely because Story’s season was interrupted by injury.

Seager, the Dodgers’ 22-year-old shortstop was a 2015 September call up and – while not getting enough playing time to lose his rookie status – hit .337, with four home runs and 17 RBI in 27 games.  (In four minor league seasons, Seager put up a stat line of .312-62-278 in 390 games.)  In 2016, Seager proved his late-season 2015 performance was no fluke, playing in 157 games, and hitting .308, with 26 home runs, 105 runs scored, and 72 RBI. He made the 2016 NL All Star team and played a key role in getting the Dodgers to the post-season. He is the real deal.

Seager’s main competition for the ROY Award comes from the early-season rookie “story” of the year – Colorado’s 23-year-old shortstop Trevor Story. After hitting .340 in Spring Training, Story started the season with a bang (several bangs, in fact).  He homered in his first four regular season games (six home runs in those four contests).  Story went on to tie the MLB record for rookie home runs in April with ten long balls – finishing the month with a .261 average, ten homers, 19 runs scored and  20 RBI in 22 games. Unfortunately, in early August, Story suffered a thumb injury that required season-ending surgery. He ended 2016 with a .272 average, 27 home runs, 72 RBI and eight steals in just 97 games.

BBRT Selection:  Corey Seager    

BBRT Prediction:  Corey Seager

Brotherly Love (of the long ball)

The Elias Sports Bureau reports that Dodgers’ SS Corey Seager and Mariners’ 3B Kyle Seager are the first brothers to hit 25 or more home runs in the same MLB season. Corey finished 2016 with 26 round trippers, Kyle with 30.      

American League ROY – Gary Sanchez, C, Yankees

Gary Sanchez Yankees photo

Photo by apardavila

Timing may prove to be everything when the votes are counted for AL Rookie of the Year.  BBRT expects a very close vote and gives the nod to Yankees’ 23-year-old catcher Gary Sanchez – although the fact that he played in only 53 games may work against him. The stats, however, back up his candidacy: a .299 average, 20 home runs, 34 runs scored, 42 RBI and 24 walks drawn (again, in just 53 games) – with virtually all of the damage done after August 1.  Couple that with his praiseworthy work behind the plate and you have a deserving Rookie of the Year candidate. Before his August call up, Sanchez hit .282-10-50 in 71 games at AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.  BBRT side note: Sanchez was called up to the Yankees late in 2015 – made his major league debut on October 3 –  and (few fans may realize) was included on the Yankees’ 2015 post-season roster.

The fewest games ever played by a non-pitcher in a Rookie of the Year season is 52 by Giants’ 1B Willie McCovey in 1959. He played his first game on July 30 and went to post a .354 average, with 13 home runs and 38 RBI.

BBRT sees Sanchez’ main competition coming from Tigers’ RHP Michael Fulmer (acquired by the Tigers from the Mets in the July 2015 trade for Yeonis Cespedes). The 23-year-old Fulmer went 11-7 (26 starts – 159 innings), with a 3.06 ERA.  Timing may be important here. Fulmer, who got his first start April 29, was 9-2, with a 2.50 ERA at the end of July. In August and September, Fulmer went 2-5, 3.59. Fulmer needs to hope the voters remember his May performance – when he went 3-1 with a 0.61 ERA (two earned runs in 29 2/3 innings).

BBRT Selection:  Gary Sanchez    

BBRT Prediction:  Gary Sanchez (in a very close vote)

From 1992 through 1996, the LA Dodgers had a record five consecutive Rookie of the Year Award winners: 1B Eric Karros (1992); C Mike Piazza (1993); OF Raul Mondesi (1994); SP Hideo Nomo (1995); OF Todd Hollandsworth (1996).  



American League MVP – Mookie Betts, RF, Red Sox

Mookie Betts photo

Photo by Keith Allison

This is a tough one to call – Mookie Betts, David Ortiz, Jose Altuve, Mike Trout and, perhaps, Josh Donaldson can all make a good case.  However, there is a need to narrow it down.  As BBRT considers these candidates, I remind myself that this is not the award for best player of the season – but, rather (by its own definition) for most valuable player (to his team).  So, despite another stellar season by the Angels’ CF Mike Trout (.315-29-100, with 30 steals), the Angels’ fourth-place finish becomes a factor.  Then there is David Ortiz’ unbelievable season – in which he pretty much demolished the record book for accomplishments at age 40 or over with a .315-38-127 line. Big Papi slips a bit on my ballot because of his role as DH, but he is likely to get an emotional boost in the actual balloting based on his career, age and attitude.  His leadership – on and off the field – has long meant a lot to this team. Then there is Josh Donaldson, a key element in Toronto’s 2016 success, who put up a .284-37-99 line, with 122 runs.  Still, BBRT sees his impact a bit short of either of the two players on my list I haven’t touched upon yet – Mookie Betts and Jose Altuve.

Altuve led the AL in batting average at .338 and base hits at 216, while also smacking 24 home runs, scoring 108 runs, driving in 96 and stealing 30 bases – all the time serving as the spark plug for the Astros’ offense. Just 26-years-old, the 5’6”, 165-pound Astros’ 2B already has two batting crowns, two stolen base titles, three consecutive 200-hit seasons, a Gold Glove and four All Star selections – and he seems to just keep getting better.  What he doesn’t have is an MVP Award – and I don’t think it’s coming this year. (It might have, if the Astros had made the playoffs.)  BBRT’s choice for AL MVP is Red Sox’ RF Mookie Betts – who did a little bit (a lot, actually) of everything. Betts hit .318 on the season, launched 31 home runs, scored 122, drove in 113 and stole 26 bases.  How does all that flesh out?  He was second in the AL in average, runs scored and base hits; third in doubles, fourth in RBI, sixth in stolen bases.  Betts is just 24-years-old and, like Altuve, just seems to keep improving.  Betts would get BBRT’s vote (if I had one) for AL MVP.  If he doesn’t win it, I expect it will end up as a career-topping tribute to the performance and presence of David Ortiz.

BBRT Selection:  Mookie Betts   

BBRT Prediction: David Ortiz

 You could make a pretty good All Star team of players who have won two or more consecutive MVP Awards:

        C –    Yogi Berra, Yankees (1954-55)

        1B – Albert Pujols (2008-09)

        2B – Joe Morgan, Reds (1975-76)

        3B – Mike Schmidt, Phillies (1980-81)

         SS – Ernie Banks, Cubs (1958-59)

         OF – Barry Bonds/ Pirates (1992), Giants (1993); Giants (2001-04)

         OF – Mickey Mantle, Yankees (1956-57)

         OF – Dale Murphy, Braves (1982-83)

           P –    Hal Newhouser, Tigers (1944-45)

           Bench:    Roger Maris, OF, Yankees (1960-61)

                             Miguel Cabrera, 3B, Tigers (2012- 13)

National League MVP – Kris Bryant, 3B-plus, Cubs

Kris Bryant photo

Photo by apardavila

Really not much of a race here.  Yes, there will be votes cast for Nationals’ 2B Daniel Murphy (.347-25-104), Dodgers’ SS Corey Seager (although the votes cast for Rookie of the Year may work against him) and Rockies’ master of leather and lumber 3B Nolan Arenado (who led the NL in home runs and RBI for the second straight season and is likely to pick up his fourth Gold Glove).  However, Kris Bryant should win the NL MVP Award hands down – he was the most valuable player on MLB’s winningest team.  The 24-year-old Bryant, the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year, played in 155 games, hitting .292, with a league-leading 121 runs scored, 39 home runs and 102 RBI (not to mention eight steals).  In the process, he started games at 3B, LF, RF, 1B and SS. Bryant’s contributions – at the plate and all around the diamond – pretty much define the term “MVP”.  His presence made manager Joe Maddon’s job a whole lot easier.


BBRT Selection; Kris Bryant   

BBRT Prediction:  Kris Bryant


Here’s a BBRT rant you have heard before, but BBRT is nothing if not consistent.  I believe we need another major award in MLB – recognizing each season’s best position player (to include the DH position).  Pitchers have the Cy Young Award – recognizing each season’s best pitcher.  There is, however, no equivalent award reserved for the best performance by a position player. While some would argue the MVP Award serves that purpose, the fact that numerous pitchers have won the MVP over the years argues against that contention. I believe we need a position player award equivalent to the Cy Young, as well as the MVP Award (based on contributions to team success).



National League Cy Young Award – Max Scherzer, RHP, Nationals

Max Scherzer photo

Photo by apardavila

BBRT sees the NL Cy Young race as Max Scherzer, followed by “Pick a Cub,” the Marlins’ Jose Fernandez, and a pair of Giants (Johnny Cueto and Madison Bumgarner). Why separates Scherzer from this very talented pack? The Nationals’ righty:

  • Led the NL in wins (20 – the league’s only 20-game winner);
  • Led all of MLB in strikeouts with 284 (30 ahead of Justin Verlander’s second-best total) and WHIP (0.97);
  • Topped the NL in innings pitched (228 1/3); and
  • Turned in a 2.96 ERA – one of just eight qualifying hurlers to come in under 3.00.

That combination is enough to give Scherzer the edge in a very tough Cy Young Awqrd race.

For a list of contenders, look first to the Cubs’ staff.  You have Kyle Hendricks (16-8, with MLB’s lowest ERA at 2.13); Jon Lester (19-4, 2.44, with 197 strikeouts in 202 2/3 innings); and Jake Arrieta (18-8, 3.10). Then there’s the Marlins’ young star Jose Fernandez (who died in a tragic late September boating accident) at 16-8, 2.86, with 253 strikeouts in just 182 1/3 innings.  Finally, you have Giants Johnny Cueto, who had an all-around solid season at 18-5, 2.79, and Madison Bumgarner (15-9, 2.74, with 251 K’s in 222 2/3 innings).   There’s lots of talent here, but I think Scherzer’s numbers stand out from the small crowd at the top of the NL.

BBRT Selection:  Max Scherzer   

BBRT Prediction: Max Scherzer

A few Cy Young Award “firsts:”

      – First winner – Don Newcombe, Dodgers (1956)

      – First southpaw winner – Warren Spahn, Braves, 1957

      – First relief pitcher winner – Mike Marshall, Dodgers, 1974

      – First rookie to win the CYA – Fernando Valenzuela, Dodgers (1981)

       – First to win CYA and MVP in same season – Don Newcombe,                         Dodgers (1956)  

       –  First shared (tied) CYA – Denny McLain, Tigers & Mike Cueller,                  Orioles (1969)

        – First pitcher to win the CYA in both leagues – Gaylord Perry,                         Indians (1972)/Padres (1978)

American League Cy Young Award – Rick Porcello, RHP. Red Sox

Rick Porcello Red sox photo

Photo by Keith Allison

Rick Porcello of the Red Sox is an imposing presence on the mound at 6’ 5” and 205 pounds.  Well, the big guy had a big year in 2016 – leading all of MLB with 22 victories (against only four losses). In his 33 starts, Porcello recorded a 3.15 ERA (fifth-best in the AL), 1.01 WHIP (second-best in the AL) and fanned 189 batters (AL’s eighth-most) in 223 innings pitched (AL’s fourth-highest).  Also in the mix are the Indians’ Corey Kluber (18-9, 3.14, with 222 strikeouts in 215 innings); the Tigers’ Justin Verlander (16-9, 3.04, with a league-leading 254 K’s in 227 2/3 innings); the Blue Jays’ J.A. Happ (20-5, 3.18), and Orioles’ closer Zach Britton (47-for-47 in save opportunities. with a miniscule 0.54 ERA in 67 innings). BBRT has to go with Porcello’s 22 victories and .846 winning percentage.  The most likely pitchers to sneak past Porcello would be Britton and his perfect record in saves or Verlander (those 250+ strikeouts will garner a few votes).  As an aside, 2016 saw Porcello (in his eighth MLB season) record his highest-ever numbers in wins, winning percentage, innings pitched and strikeouts – and his lowest-ever season ERA.

BBRT Selection: Rick Porcello  

BBRT Prediction: Rick Porcello

In 2016, eight MLB pitchers qualifying for the ERA title finished the season under 3.00 – and all eight were in the National League (with the two lowest ERAs belonging to Cubs’ hurlers Kyle Hendricks at 2.13 and Jon Lester at 2.44).  The lowest qualifying American ERA went to the Blue Jays’ Aaron Sanchez at 3.00.



American League Manager of the Year– Terry Francona, Indians

Terry Francona photo

Photo by Keith Allison

Okay, John Farrell did take the Red Sox from worst to first and Rangers’ Manager Jeff Bannister overcame lost time by Yu Darvish, Derek Holland and Colby Lewis (not to mention Prince Fielder’s injury-forced retirement), but BBRT leans toward the Indians’ Terry Francona for AL Manager of the Year. Francona led the Tribe to the top of the AL Central (BBRT didn’t even pick the Tribe to make the post season) with a 94-67 record.  Francona pushed the Indians to the top despite a series of injuries (Michael Brantley, Danny Salazar, Carlos Carrasco, Yan Gomes). In the process, he earned continued praise as a manager who effectively handles a pitching staff under stress and uses position-player platooning to adjust for injuries, balance playing time and put winning combinations on the field.  I expect the voting will be close, but Francona should edge Bannister for the recognition. (Side note: Jeff Bannister was the 2015 AL Manager of the Year and only once has a manager received this recognition in consecutive seasons: Bobby Cox, Braves, 2004 & 2005).

BBRT: Selection: Terry Francona

BBRT Prediction: Terry Francona

National League Manager of the Year  – Dave Roberts, Los Angeles Dodgers

Dave roberts dodgers photo

Photo by Malingering

This looks like a three-way race between the Dodgers’ Dave Roberts, Nationals’ Dusty Baker and Cubs’ Joe Maddon.  All three managers had plenty of talent on the roster – and were expected to make the post-season.  BBRT gives Roberts the edge here for a couple of reasons.  First, Joe Maddon and Dusty Baker were already proven commodities. Maddon and Baker are both three-time Manager of the Year Award winners, while Roberts came into the season with one game of managerial experience. (Roberts filled in when the Padres fired manager Bud Black in June of last year.  He managed one game – a 9-1 loss to Oakland – before Pat Murphy was hired as manager and Roberts returned to the coaching staff.)   As a Rookie manager, Roberts led the Dodgers to a 91-71 record and the NL West title.  Not only that, he did it despite placing an MLB-record 28 players on the disabled list during the season – including staff Ace Clayton Kershaw (who, at one point, went 75 days between starts).  Bringing the Dodgers home in first place, despite an ever-changing lineup, bench and pitching staff (LA used 31 pitchers, including 15 different starters) give this rookie manager BBRT’s vote.

BBRT Selection:  Dave Roberts    

BBRT Prediction: Dave Roberts


Established in 1983, the Manager of the Year Award has gone to 44 different managers.  Here are a few tidbits:

     – La-La Land: The first ever Manager of the Year Awards (1983) went to Tony La Russa (White Sox) and Tommy Lasorda (Dodgers).

     – The most MOY Awards (four each) have gone to Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa. Cox won his awards with the Blue Jays (1985) and Braves (1991, 2004, 2005). La Russa won with the White Sox (1983), A’s (1988, 1992) and Cardinals (2002).

     – The first manager to win the award in both leagues was Bobby Cox (see above bullet).

     – Bobby Cox is the only manager to win the award in consecutive seasons

     – 47 MOY Awards have gone to first-place finishers; 15 to second-place finishers; four to third-place finishers; and one to a fourth-place finisher.

     – The only manager to win the MOY Award with a team that finished under .500 was Joe Girardi, who managed the 2006 Florida Marlins to a 78-84 fourth-place finish. (BBRT note: Girardi was fired after the season, despite winning Manager of the Year.)

Coming Soon – A look at the Baseball Hall of Fame 2017 Today’s Game Era ballot.


I tweet baseball @DavidBBRT

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

September Wrap Up – Pennant Races, Pinch Hit Homers, and a Host of Hounds

The 2016 regular season is behind us, and that means it’s time for another BBRT monthly wrap up.  So, in this very lo-o-o-ong post, we’ll look at September records, stats and happenings; season-ending stats and observations; September monthly BBRT honors; and post-season predictions. Note: I normally post the wrap up on the first of the next month, but this time I decided to wait until October 2 (to include the end-of-season stats.)

September gave us plenty to look at, with such occurrences as:

  • The Cardinals setting a new MLB season record for pinch-hit home runs;
  • The White Sox setting a new record for dogs attending a sporting event; and
  • The Indians using a record nine pitchers to deliver a shutout.

We also saw some full-season accomplishments like:

  • David Ortiz, in his final season, setting new major league records for doubles, home runs and RBI in a season at age 40 or over (his final numbers: .315-48-127, with 48 doubles);
  • Zach Britton going 47-for-47 save in converting save opportunities – and setting an MLB record for the lowest ERA for a pitcher with at least 50 innings pitched;
  • The Twins matching an MLB record by having four players with double-digit home runs;
  • The Cardinals hitting a record 17 pinch-hit home runs;
  • Three players appearing in all 162 games.

This post will cover these occurrences and more, but first a look at the upcoming post-season.

Post Season Participants

'Cubs Win! Cubs Win!' -- 10:41 am CDT April 13, 2012, Wrigley Field Chicago (IL)There were no tight Divisional races as September came to a close. Your Division champs were the Indians, Red Sox, Rangers, Nationals, Cubs and Dodgers – and, as of September 30, all had leads of at least five games (Red Sox over Orioles), with the Cubs having the largest margin at 18 ½ games over the second-place Cardinals.

The Wild Card races were still to be decided as September came to a close.  In the AL the Orioles held a one game edge over the Blue Jays, with the Tigers ½-game behind the Jays and the Mariners one game out of the final spot. Over the final weekend, Detroit and Seattle both went 0-2, dropping out of the Wild Card competition.  Over in the NL, three teams were competing for two Wild Card spots, with the Mets one game up on the Giants and the Cardinals trailing San Francisco by one game for the final WC spot. The Mets split their final two contests, while the Cardinals and Giants both went 2-0 – knocking the Cardinals out of the post season.  You can find full standings and won-lost records (full season and September) at the end of this post.  

Your Final Playoff Teams:

AL: Division Champions: Red Sox, Indians, Rangers.  Wild Cards:  Orioles, Blue Jays.

NL: Division Champions: Nationals, Cubs, Dodgers. Wild Cards: Mets, Giants.

—–Baseball Roundtable Quick Picks for the Playoffs—–

Wild Card Play In

ORIOLES over Blue Jays: Two power-focused, high-scoring offenses, but pitching gives the Orioles the edge.

GIANTS over the Mets: Noah Syndergaard versus Madison Bumgarner – a great matchup.  BBRT goes with MadBum’s post-season experience.  Off-the-wall prediction … MadBum gets an RBI double in this one.


ORIOLES over Rangers: A tough series, with both teams facing late-season issues with starting pitching.  BBRT thinks Orioles’ bullpen will be the difference maker.

RED SOX over Indians:  The BoSox have a balanced attack – a veteran presence – and enough pitching to keep David Ortiz on the field for at least another series.  Still, if David Price falters, the Indians could sneak by. 


CUBS over Giants: MadBum can’t pitch every day and the Cubs have a solid offense – plus Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks to start and Aroldis Chapman to close the door. Having to use Madison Bumgarner in the Wild Card game will hurt the Giants. For the Giants to win, Johnny Cueto has to pitch like a stud and Buster Posey has to hit like an MVP.  I just don’t think they have the horses.

 DODGERS over the Nationals.  The Dodgers will ride solid pitching to a series’ win.  Off-the-wall prediction: Clayton Kershaw, 2-6, 4.59 in 13 post-season games, will go 2-0, with an ERA under two in this series; and Kenta Maeda will shine.


RED SOX over Orioles: The Red Sox just have too much for the O’s – and Big Papi wants to go out with a bang. Hanley Ramirez has been hot, Mookie Betts could be the ALCS MVP.  Off-the-wall prediction: Zach Britton blows his first save of 2016 in this series.


CUBS over the Dodgers: See the NLDS, the Cubs have a young powerful offense (led by Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo), stellar pitching and destiny on their side. Off-the-wall prediction: Ben Zobrist hits a pair of key home runs in this series.


Two revered franchises. Seven games. A classic. Who wins?  Toss up, but I give the CUBS the edge. (It’s a long and tiring season and they have youth on their side.  I also like Kyle Hendriks and Jon Lester to win two games each. David Price may be the key for the Red Sox – along, of course, with the impact of Big Papi leading the emotional charge. Still, I see – Cubs Win! Cubs Win!


Fenway Park photo

Photo by Trace Meek

September’s winningest team was the Red Sox, who secured the Division title with a 19-8 month. Over in the NL, the Dodgers and Cubs both went 17-10 to lead the senior circuit in September wins. Other teams with at least 16 victories in the month were the Mariners (18-9); Mets (17-10); Orioles (16-11); Indians (16-11) – and the surprising Braves (16-10).

The Red Sox earned those 19 victories at the plate, on the mound and in the field – giving up the fewest September runs in MLB (85), while scoring MLB’s most runs for the month with 150.  In the process, they achieved the AL’s second-lowest September 2016 ERA at 3.05 (only Baltimore was better at 2.90) and the league’s third-highest batting average at .275.

The worst September performance?  The Twins at 8-19, the only team to record less than ten wins. (The Twins finished the season an MLB-worst 59-103.) In the NL, the worst September record belonged to the Phillies at 10-17.  The Twins were almost the mirror image of the Red Sox. Minnesota gave up the most runs in the AL (154) in September, while scoring the league’s third-fewest (107).

Before we get into details, highlights and stats for September, let’s look at BBRT’s Honor Roll for the month.

—–Baseball Roundtable September Honors—–

AL Player of the Month – Miguel Cabrera 1B, Tigers

Cabrera put up solid offensive numbers across the board in September: a .347 average (fifth in the AL among players with at least 75 plate appearances); 10 home runs (second in the AL); 27 RBI (second in the AL); and 20 runs scored (fourth in the AL).  Among the other players high on BBRT’s September list were Royals’ DH Kendrys Morales, with an MLB-leading 30 RBI, to go along with a .333 September average and eight home runs; and Tigers’ LF Justin Upton (.307-12-27 for the month). Red Sox’ DH David Ortiz (a sentimental favorite) was also in the running at .33-7-25.  A close call, but Miggy gets the nod.

NL Player of the Month – Freddie Freeman, 1B, Braves

Freddie freeman photo

Photo by Neon Tommy

When Braves first-sacker Freddie Freeman went hitless in four at bats on September 29, it was his first hitless game in the month of September – and it ended 2016’s longest MLB hitting streak (which began on August 24) at 30 games. During the streak, Freeman hit .384 with seven home runs, 26 runs scored and 27 RBI, raising his batting average from .288 to .308.  For the month of September – during which the Braves  surprised baseball by going 16-10,  hitting .292 as a team and leading the NL in runs scored – Freeman hit .385 (tied for best in the NL), with six home runs, 22 runs scored (tied for third in the NL) and 22 RBI (tied for second in the NL). Freeman also drew 18 walks – contributing to an MLB-best .486 on base percentage. Freeman’s primary competition for BBRT Player of the Month for September was his teammate, LF Matt Kemp. Kemp hit .337 in September, with nine home runs, while matching Freeman in runs scored (22) and RBI (22). Freeman’s streak and on-base-percentage (102 points higher than Kemp’s) gave him the edge.

AL Pitcher of the Month – Rick Porcello, RHP, Red Sox

Rick porcello red sox photo

Photo by Keith Allison

Five AL hurlers picked up four victories in September and, among those five, Rick Porcello (4-1, 2.70) was second in ERA  (2.70), second in WHIP (0.88), first in innings pitched (he led the league with 43 1/3 innings) and third in strikeouts (37). Couple that with the fact that Porcello’s fourth September win was his 22nd of the season – against just four losses – and he earns BBRT Pitcher of the Month (and a likely a favorite’s position in the AL Cy Young balloting).  The key competition came from resurgent Tigers’ RHP Justin Verlander, who – despite going just 2-1 in five starts – put up the AL’s third-best ERA for the month at 1.93 (behind only the 1.44 of A’s RHP Jharel Cotton and the 1.85 of Angels’ RHP Rickey Nolasco). Verlander also led the league (and all of MLB) in strikeouts for the month, with 48 in 32 2/3 innings.  

NL Pitcher of the Month, Jon Lester, LHP Cubs

Easy pick here. Cubs’ southpaw John Lester was the only MLB pitcher to earn five wins in September (5-0 in five starts) and had MLB’s lowest ERA for the month at 0.48. Lester gave up just two earned runs in 37 2/3 innings pitched. For the month, opposing batters hit just .171 against Lester. In his five starts, he averaged just over 7 1/3 innings pitched, 4.4 hits, 0.8 walks, 6.2 strikeouts and 0.4 earned runs.  Lester finished the season 19-4, 2.28 – having won his last ten decisions (in 14 starts). His last loss came on July 3.

AL Team of the Month – Boston Red Sox, 19-8

The Red Sox finished August 74-59, two games behind the Blue Jays in the AL East.  They then went 19-8 in September to take control of the East, clinching the Division title on September 28. The Red Sox used a combination of pitching and hitting to earn Team of the Month recognition – giving up the fewest runs in the AL (85) and scoring the league’s most (150). Leading the Red Sox to a 3.05 ERA for the month (second-best in the AL) were starter Rick Porcello (4-1, 2.70) and Eduardo Rodriguez (1-1, 2.89). David Price added four wins (versus one loss), but did post a 4.35 ERA.  In the bullpen, closer Brad Ziegler was ten-for-ten in save opportunities, and did not give up a single earned run in 12 appearances. Bullpen mates Koji Uehara (11 appearances) and Junichi Tazawa (five appearances) also boasted ERA’s of 0.00 for the month, and Joe Kelly gave up just one earned run in 10 appearances (0.75 ERA for the month.)

On offense, 1B Hanley Ramirez (.313-10-26) and DH David Ortiz (.333-7-25) provided the bulk of the power, with plenty of help from the likes of RF Mookie Betts (.314 with 17 runs scored and five steals) and 2B Dustin Pedroia (.315 with 18 runs scored).

NL Team of the Month – Atlanta Braves, 16-10

The Braves entered September with a dismal 50-83 record and then surprised everyone with a 16-10 September – built primarily around their offense.  For the month, the Braves logged the ninth-best (or seventh-worst) ERA at 4.50, but led the NL (and all of MLB) in batting average at .292.  They gave up the eighth-most runs in the league (123), but plated the most tallies (143).  Leading the offensive surge for the Braves were: LF Matt Kemp (.337-9-22 for September) and 1B Freddie Freeman (.385-6-22) – with notable contributions from CF Ender Inciarte (.324 with an NL-leading 23 runs scored), 3B Adonis Garcia (.277-3-17, with 19 runs scored) and SS Danby Swanson (.313-3-13, with 14 runs scored).

Now, how about September team stats?




AL:  Orioles – 2.90; Red Sox – 3.05; Mariners – 3.22

NL:  Dodgers – 3.00; Cubs – 3.08; Brewers – 3.28

Five MLB teams had ERA’s over 5.00 for the month of September: Royals – 5.37; Twins – 5.13; Phillies – 5.12; D-backs – 5.05; Rockies – 5.02.

Fewest Runs Allowed

AL: Red Sox – 85: Orioles – 89; Mariners – 103

NL: Dodgers – 89; Cubs – 95; Mets – 95

Four teams gave up 150 or more runs in September: Rockies – 165; Pirates – 159; Twins – 154; Phillies – 153; Royals – 150.

Earned Runs Allowed

AL: Orioles – 78; Red Sox – 81; Mariners – 88

NL: Dodgers – 80; Cubs – 85; Brewers – 86

Only two MLB teams gave up 140+ earned runs in September: Royals – 143; Twins -141. The Phillies gave up the most earned runs in the NL (137).


AL: Indians – 240; Red Sox – 238; Tigers – 237

NL: Dodgers – 268; Mets – 250; Giants; 248; Cubs – 248

The Dodgers led all of MLB in strikeouts per nine innings in September at 10.06. Other teams reaching at least nine K’s per nine innings for the month were: Tigers (9.34); Nationals (9.13); Mets (9.12); Indians (9.04); Cubs (9.00).

Fewest Walks Allowed

AL:  A’s – 65; Red Sox – 68; Indians – 71

NL: Brewers – 70; Dodgers – 71; Cubs – 73

No team walked more batters than the Reds, who handed out 113 free passes in September. The Yankees’ staff walked the most hitters in the AL for the month at 102.  Coincidentally (or perhaps  not), the Reds also gave up the most September home runs in the NL (41), while the Yankees gave up the most long balls in the AL (39).


AL:  Rangers – 10; Red Sox – 9; Yankees – 9

NL: Mets – 9; Padres – 9; Marlins – 9.

Only two teams completed September without a blown save during the month: the Cubs and Indians (each with six saves). The Phillies had the worst save percentage for the month, with just five saves in 13 opportunities (38.5%).

Batting Average (hitters)

AL: White Sox – .286; Tigers – .278; Red Sox – .275

NL: Braves – .292; Reds – .286; Rockies – .273

The Padres had MLB’s lowest September batting average at .230, while the Twins were at the bottom of the AL at .231.

Runs Scored

Al: Red Sox – 150; White Sox – 148; Mariners – 147

NL: Braves – 143; Mets – 141; D-backs – 134

Only the Marlins scored fewer than 100 runs in September (99); while the usually high-scoring Blue Jays plated the fewest runners in the AL (100).

Home Runs

AL: Mariners – 42; Orioles – 41; Twins – 41

NL: Brewers – 42; Mets – 39; D-backs – 39

Just two teams launched fewer than 20 long balls in September; the Marlins (17) and the Indians (19). 

Stolen Bases

AL: Royals – 31; Indians – 26; Angels 23

NL: Brewer – 31; Nationals – 25; Phillies – 24

Seattle had the best stolen base percentage for September, safely swiping 14 bags in 15 attempts (93.3%). The Tigers were the only team to be thrown out in more than half their steal attempts, being gunned down seven times in 13 attempts.


—–Now let’s look at some intriguing happenings from September—–

Not Exactly a Perfect time to go to the Pen

On September 10, Dodgers’ southpaw Rich Hill was definitely on his game. In fact, after seven innings – and 89 pitches – Hill was pitching a perfect game against the Marlins, boasting a 5-0 lead and nine strikeouts. It was at that time that Dodger Manager Dave Roberts decided to replace Hill (who had earlier spent time on the disabled list with blister issues) with reliever Joe Blanton (who retired the first two batters in the eighth before LF Jeff Francoeur hit a single). The Marlins ended up with two hits, the Dodgers ended up with a 5-0 win – and Hill ended up with a victory, but no “perfecto.”  BBRT note: There has never been a combined perfect game in MLB. Second BBRT note: At least they were playing in Miami, imagine the uproar it they had been at home.  Third BBRT note: If that had been Jack Morris on the mound, Roberts would have needed the Fire Department and the “Jaws of Life” to pry the ball out of his hands.

Complete Games – We Don’t need Not Stinkin’ Complete Games

On September 17, Carlos Carrasco started on the mound (against the Tigers) for the Indians in Cleveland. Carrasco gave up a leadoff single to Tigers’ 2B Ian Kinsler – a line shot off Carrasco’s right hand that broke a finger and knocked him out of the game (and the rest of the season).  What followed was a bit of baseball history, as eight Indians’ relievers held the Tigers scoreless in a 10-inning 1-0 Cleveland victory.  The Elias Sports Bureau reports that it is the most pitchers ever used in a complete-game shutout.  The cast of characters? Carrasco; Jeff Manship (1 1/3 innings pitched); Kyle Crockett (2/3); Cody Anderson (two IP); Zach McCallister, Perci Garner, Bryan Shaw, Cody Allen (one inning each); Andrew Miller (two innings for the win.) Final line:  10 innings, four hits, three walks, ten strikeouts, no runs.

Shut Outs – Usually a Team Effort These Days

In 2016, MLB teams shut out their opponents 276 times – only 11.6 percent of those (32) were complete game shut outs (by a single pitcher). Clayton Kershaw led MLB with three complete game shutouts.

 Put Me In Coach, I’m Ready to Play

On October 2, Alcides Escobar started at SS for the Royals, Jonathan Schoop started at 2B for the Orioles and George Springer started in RF for the Astros.  They had one thing in common, they were each playing in their 162nd game of the 162 -game season – the only three players to do so in 2016.

Off to a Roaring Start  

Gary Sanchez Yankees photo

Photo by apardavila

On September 27, Yankee rookie catcher Gary Sanchez hit his 20th major league home run – in just his 51st major league game. The long ball tied Sanchez with Wally Berger of the Boston Braves (1930) for the fastest track (fewest games) to reach 50 home runs at the start of a career.  Sanchez, who got two at bats in a late 2015 call-up (no hits) and had a zero-for-four game performance for the Yankees in a one-game call up in Mid-May of this season, has been a solid performer since returning to the Yankees on August 3.  The 23-year-old finished the season at .299-20-42 in 53 games – earning mention as a rookie of the year candidate.

Save the Last Dance for Me

On September 28, the Orioles’ Zach Britton picked up the save in a 3-2 Orioles victory in Toronto.  It was his 47th save in 47 2016 opportunities. He appeared in one more game – on October 2 in a non-save situation – pitching 1 2/3 innings without giving up an earned run and setting an MLB record for the lowest ERA for a pitcher with at least 50 innings pitched. Britton gave up just four earned runs in 65 1/3 innings for a 0.54 ERA. His stellar work as a closer helped the Orioles each post-season, where he hopes to notch additional saves in the ‘big dance.”  BBRT note: Britton has a career ERA of 4.86 in 250 innings as a starter and 1.36 in 212 innings of relief.

Keeping he Pressure On

On September 12, the White Sox became the second team to score in every inning of a game this season, as they topped the Indians 11-4 in Chicago. The White Sox became just the 20th team in MLB history to score in every inning of a ball game (Note: Just last month, on August 11th, the Milwaukee Brewers scored in every inning of an 11-3 win over the Braves.)

That’ll do in a Pinch – Or Going to the Matt

On September 6, Matt Carpenter came to the plate as a pinch hitter (with two out in the top of the ninth inning and the Cardinals trailing the Pirates 6-5) in Pittsburgh. Carpenter homered to tie the game – and the Cardinals went on to win 9-7.   The homer not only tied the contest, it gave the Redbirds the record for the most pinch hit home runs a season at 15. The Cardinals extended that record to 17 pinch-hit homers with long balls in that role by Matt Adams on September 27 and Matt Holliday on September 30.

Another Dose of Dozier

Brian Dozier photo

Photo by rtclauss

On September 22 – as the Twins lost to the Tigers 9-2 – Brian Dozier connected for his 42nd home run of the year.  It was his 40th while playing second base (two came as DH), setting a new AL record for home runs hit in a season by a second baseman. It came as Dozier led off the first inning, his 19th career leadoff blast. The MLB record for homers in a season while playing second base (42)  belongs to the Cardinals’ Rogers Hornsby (1922) and the Braves’ Davey Johnson (1973 … Johnson hit 43 that season).


A Doggone Good Performance

On September 13, Chicago White Sox fans turned in a doggone god performance – as the White Sox took on the Indians (at U.S. Cellular Field) on “Bark in the Park” day.  According to the folks at the Guinness Book of World Records, 1,122 dogs attended the game – a world record for dogs attending a sporting event. The honor seems appropriate as the White Sox were the first team to sponsor a day for dogs in the park – a decade ago.  Oh yeah, and the Sox gave the pooches something to howl about, winning the game 8-1.

The Shakespeare of Baseball Retires

On October 2, Vin Scully announced his last game for the Dodgers – ending a 67-year relationship with the team (the longest tenure any announcer has had with a sports team).  Scully’s final game in the broadcast booth was a 7-1 Dodgers’ loss to the rival Giants in San Francisco.  His final call at home, however, was much more appropriate. On September 25, Scully called his last Dodger home game – and it ended with Dodgers’ 2B Charlie Culberson hitting a two-out, extra-inning (11th), walk-off, division-title-clinching home run. The round tripper was, by the way, Culberson’s only home run for the season.

Scully – who won just about every sports broadcasting award available during his career – “called” more than 9,000 Dodger games.  Among key “calls” in Scully’s career were:

  • Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series;
  • Perfect games by Sandy Koufax (1965) and Dennis Martinez (1991), along with 18 no-hitters;
  • Hank Aaron’s 715th homer run;
  • Kirk Gibson’s pinch-hit, walk-off home run in Game One of the 1988 World Series;
  • Three World Series (1984, 1986, 1988); four NL Championship Series (1983, 1985, 1987, 1989); and
  • Four All Star games (1983, 1985, 1987, 1989).

Vin Scully – Bits of Trivia

      – Ironically, despite spending a career as a Dodgers’ broadcaster, Scully’s first baseball love was the rival Giants – who played at the Polo Grounds near his childhood home.

      – Known for his smooth harmonious broadcast voice – some referred to it as dulcet – Scully sang in a barbershop quartet during his college years.

      – On June 3, 1989 (a Saturday), Scully did the NBC Game of the Week play-by-play for a 10-inning Cardinals’ win over the Cubs in St. Louis. After the game, Scully flew to Houston, where his Dodgers were playing the Astros. (Scully was to broadcast the Sunday game.) The Saturday game went into extra innings and, rather than go directly to his hotel, Scully went to the ball park – and ended up calling the final 12 innings of that 22-inning contest. Two games, two cities, 23 innings – quite a busy day

Lucky Number Eleven

On September 25, Red Sox pitchers set a major league record by fanning 11 batters in a row – from the second out of the fourth inning to the final out of the seventh – as the Red Sox topped the Rays 3-2 in Tampa. The first six strikeouts (five swinging) went to starter Eduardo Rodriguez, while the last five (four swinging) were notched by reliever Heath Hembree.  Overall, five Red Sox pitchers fanned 23 Rays’ batters in the ten inning contest: 13 by Rodriguez in 5 1/3 innings; five by Hembree in 1 2/3 IP; one by Matt Barnes in 1/3 IP; none by Fernando Abad (who faced one batter and gave up a hit); and four by Joe Kelly in 2 2/3 IP.  And, how lucky was number eleven that day?  It was also the Red Sox’ eleventh consecutive victory.

Tom Terrific

Tom Seaver mets photo

Photo by slgckgc

When Red Sox’ pitchers Eduardo Rodriguez and Heath Hembree set an MLB record by striking out eleven consecutive hitters in a September 25th game against the Rays, they were teaming up to top a “one-man show.”  The previous record of ten straight batters fanned was set on April 22, 1970, by the Mets’ Tom Seaver – who fanned the last ten batters he faced while tossing a complete game and beating the Padres 2-1 in New York.  Seaver’s line for the day: nine innings pitched, two hits, two walks, one earned run and 19 strikeouts.



Not So Lucky Number Eleven

On the final day of the 2016 regular season, Twins’ CF Byron Buxton led off a game against the White Sox (an eventual 6-3 Twins’ win) with an inside-the-park home run. The blast enabled the Twins to tie a major league record – having eleven players on the roster hit double digits (10 or more) in home runs in a single season.  The power display did not pay off in the won-lost column, as the Twins finished the season with MLB’s worst record at 59-103, 35 ½ games out of first place in the AL Central.  The team whose record the Twins tied was the 2004 Tigers – who finished that campaign 70-92, 20 games out of first.



Average (minimum 75 plate appearances)

AL:  Ian Kinsler, Tigers – .386; Elvis Andrus, Rangers – .363; Jarrod Dyson, Royals – .362

NL: Joey Votto, Reds – .385; Freddie Freeman, Braves – .385; Yadier Molina, Cardinals – .371

Among players with at least 75 plate appearances, no one fared worse than Cardinals’ 1B Brandon Moss, who went 7-for-83 in September – a .084 average. In the AL, the lowest average (minimum 75 plate appearances) went to the Twins’ infielder Eduardo Escobar (9-for-85) at .129.

Runs Scored

AL: Mike Trout, Angels – 21; Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox – 21; Adam Eaton, White Sox – 21

NL: Curtis Granderson, Mets – 23; Ender Inciarte, Braves – 23; Freddie Freeman, Braves – 22; Matt Kemp, Padres/Braves – 22

Home Runs

AL: Justin Upton, Tigers – 12; Miguel Cabrera, Tigers – 10; Hanley Ramirez Boston, 10

NL: Chris Carter, Brewers – 10; Matt Kemp, Braves – 9; Curtis Granderson, Mets – 8


AL: Kendrys Morales, Royals – 30; Miguel Cabrera, Tigers – 27; Justin Upton, Tigers – 27

NL: Anthony Rendon, Nationals – 23; Matt Kemp, Braves – 22; Chris Carter, Brewers – 22; Freddie Freeman, Braves – 22

Stolen Bases

AL: Mike Trout, Angels – 8; Kevin Kiermaier, Rays – 8; two with 7

NL: Dee Gordon, Marlins – 14; Trea Turner, Nationals – 13; Jonathan Villar, Brewers – 10.

Walks Drawn

AL: Joe Baustista, Blue Jays – 23; Mike Trout, Angels – 23; two with 22

NL: Cesar Hernandez, Phillies – 22; Ben Zobrist, Cubs -22; Brandon Belt, Giants – 19

Swing and Miss – Nationals’ shortstop Danny Espinosa led MLB in September strikeouts – fanning 40 times in just 85 at bats (.106 batting average for the month). In the AL, Brian Dozier led the way with 38 whiffs in 111 at bats – but fared better than Espinoza overall, hitting .270 with 10 home runs and 18 RBI for the month.

Earned Run Aveage (minimum 25 innings pitched)

AL: Jharel Cotton, A’s – 1.44; Ricky Nolasco, Angels – 1.85; Justin Verlander, Tigers – 1.93

NL: John Lester, Cubs – 0.48;  Kyle Hendricks, Cubs – 1.38; Johnny Cueto, Giants – 1.78

Looking at pitches with a least four September starts, The Astro’s Doug Pfister had MLB’s worst ERA for the month at 11.74 (30 earned runs in 23 innings over six starts). In the NL, the worst ERA goes to the Pirates’ Ryan Vogelsong (8.72 over 21 2/3 innings in five starts).


AL: Ariel Miranda (Mariners (4-1, 2.62); Rick Porcello, Red Sox (4-1, 2.70); David Price Boston (4-1, 4.35); Taijuan Walker, Mariners (4-2, 4.31); Carlos Rodon, White Sox *4-2, 4.50)

NL: John Lester, Cubs (5-0, 0.48); Johnny Cueto, Giants (4-0, 1.78); Max Scherzer, Nationals (4-0, 2,43); Dan Straily, Reds (4-1, 3.13); Carlos Martinez, cardinals (4-2, 2.92) Adam Wainwright, Cardinals (4-1, 5.46)

The Cardinals scored 41 runs in Adam Wainwright’s five September starts, enabling him to go 4-1, despite a 5.46 ERA for the month. In contrast, fellow Cardinals’ pitcher Mike Leake also had five September starts, with an almost identical 5.47 ERA.  The Cardinals scored just eight runs in Leake’s starts – resulting in a 0-3 record for the month.


AL:  Justin Verlander, Tigers – 48 (32 2/3IP); Carlos Rodon, White Sox – 44 (36 IP); Yu Darvish, Rangers – 42 (28 2/3 IP); Chris Sale, White Sox – 42 (36 IP)

NL: Madison Bumgarner, Giants – 44 (39 IP); Jeff Samardzija, Giants – 42 (36 2/3 IP); Max Scherzer, Nationals – 39 (33 1/3 IP)


AL: Zach Britton, Orioles – 8; Sam Dyson, Rangers – 8; five players with seven

NL: Nark Melancon, Nationals – 8; A.J. Ramos, Marlins – 8; three players with seven


Finally, a look at full year stats– Team and Individuals

—–TEAM Stats 2016—–

Runs Scored

Al: Red Sox – 878; Indians – 777; Mariners – 768

NL: Rockies – 845; Cubs – 808; Cardinals – 779

Batting Average

AL: Red Sox – .282; Tigers – .267; Rangers/Indians – .262

NL: Rockies – .275; Marlins – .263; D-backs – .261

Home Runs

AL: Orioles – 253; Mariners – 223; Blue Jays – 221

NL: Cardinals – 225; Mets – 218; Rockies – 204.

Nobody scored fewer runs in 2016 than the Phillies (610). In the AL, Oakland had the most anemic offense, with just 653 runs. The worst team batting average belonged to the Padres at .235, while the Tampa Bay Rays were at the bottom of the AL (.243). In the power department, Atlanta notched the fewest home runs with 122, while the Royals were at the bottom of the AL with 147.

Stolen Bases

AL: Indians – 134; Royals – 121; Astros – 102

NL: Brewers – 181; Reds – 139; D-backs – 137

The Baltimore Orioles swiped only 19 bags in 2016 (in just 32 attempts). They were the only team in MLB with fewer than 35 steals and fewer than 60 attempts.


AL: Blue Jays – 3.78; Indians  – 3.84; Mariners/Red Sox – 4.00

NL: Cubs – 3.15; Nationals – 3.51; Mets – 3.58

Only two teams in MLB had ERA’s of 5.00+ in 2016:  The D-backs at 5.09 and the Twins at 5.08.


AL: Indians- 1,398; Astros – 1,396; Yankees – 1,393

NL: Dodgers – 1,510; Nationals – 1,476; Cubs -1,441


AL: Rangers – 56; Orioles – 54; Mariners – 49

NL: Mets – 55; Miami – 55; Pirates – 51.

When it comes to converting saves, no team topped the Orioles, who converted 79.4 percent of their 2016 save opportunities. The Mets led the NL at 77.5 percent. At the bottom of the save percentage standings were the Reds (52.8%) and the Twins (56.5%).

Batting Average

AL Jose Altuve, Astros – .338; Mookie Betts, Red Sox – .318; Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox – .318

NL: DJ LeMahieu, Rockies – .348; Daniel Murphy, Nationals – .347; Joey Votto, Reds – .326

Home Runs

AL: Mark Trumbo, Orioles – 47; Nelson Cruz, Mariners – 43; three with 42

NL: Nolan Arenado, Rockies – 41; Chris Carter, Brewers – 41, Kris Bryant, Cubs- 39

Run Scored

AL: Mike Trout, Angels – 123; Mookie Betts, Red Sox – 122; Josh Donaldsn, Blue Jays – 122

NL: Kris Bryant, Cubs – 121; Nolan Arenado, Rockies – 116; Charlie Blackmon, Rockies – 111


AL: Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays – 127; David Ortiz, Red Sox – 127; Albert Pujols, Angels – 119

NL: Nolan Arenado, Rockies – 133; Anthony Rizzo, Cubs – 109; Matt Kemp, Braves – 108

The lowest batting average among players with a minimum of 500 plate appearances goes to the Nationals’ Danny Espinosa at .209 (108-for-516).  In the AL, the lowest qualifying average goes to the Royals’ Alex Gordon at .220 (98-for-445). Your 2016 strikeout leaders were both named Chris:  Chris Davis, Orioles, with 219 whiffs (.221-38-84 line) and the Brewers’ Chris Carter with 206 strikeouts (.222-41-95). 

Stolen Bases

AL: Rajai Davis, Indians – 43; three with 30

NL: Villar, Brewers – 62; Billy Hamilton, Reds – 58; Starlings Marte, Pirates – 47




                             Won      Lost      Pct.       GB        Sept.         Oct.


Boston                    93         68         .5xx      …        (19-8)        (0-2)

Baltimore                 88         73         .5xx      2.0       (16-11)      (1-1)

Toronto                    88         73         .5xx      4.0        (11-16)      (2-0)

New York                 84         77         .5xx       6.5       (14-11)      (1-1)

Tampa Bay              67          94         .4xx      19.5     (10-18)      (2-0)


Cleveland               93           67          .5xx       …      (16-11)        (2-0)

Detroit                    86           74          .5xx      4.5      (14-12)        (0-2)

Kansas City            81            80         .5xx       7.5      (12-15)       (0-2)

Chicago                  78            83         .4xx     13.0      (15-13)       (0-2)

Minnesota               58          103         .3xx     27.5      (8-19)         (2-0)


Texas                      95           66           .5xx      …       (15-11)       (0-2)

Seattle                     86           75           .5xx      8.5      (18-9)        (0-2)

Houston                   84           77           .5xx     11.5      (12-15)      (1-1)

Los Angeles             73           88           .4xx      20.5    (14-13)       (1-1)

Oakland                   68           93           .4xx     22.5     (10-17)       (2-0)

AL Tops NL in Interleague Play

The American League had the edge in interleague play this past season – winning 139 interleague contests to 121 for the National League.  Overall, eight AL teams had winning interleague records, five had losing records and two split thier 20 internleague contests.  In the NL, five  teams had positive interleague records, nine were under .500 and one produced a split.  The Cubs were the most successful in interleague competition – going 15-5. The Reds and D-backs had the worst interleague records at 5-15.  



Washington           94            67          .5xx         …       (15-12)        (2-0)

New York              87            74          .5xx        9.0       (17-10)        (1-1)

Miami                   79            81          .4xx        11.0       (12-15)       (0-2)

Philadelphia          70             91         .4xx        18.0       (10-17)       (1-1)

Atlanta                  67             93        .3xx         28.0      (16-10)       (2-0)


Chicago                 102            58          .6xx       …        (17-10)       (1-1)

St. Louis                 85              76        .5xx     15.0       (14-14)        (2-0)

Pittsburgh               78              82        .4xx     17.5       (11-17)        (0-2)

Milwaukee              72               69       .4xx      28.5       (14-13)        (2-0)

Cincinnati               68               93       .4xx       30.0      (12-16)        (1-1)


Los Angeles           91               70         .5xx        …        (17-10)       (0-2)

San Francisco        86               75         .5xx       1.5        (13-15)       (2-0)

Colorado                 75               86         .4xx      10.0       (11-16)       (0-2)

Arizona                   68               93        .4xx      18.0        (11-16)       (2-0)

San Diego               68                93       .4xx        18.5      (13-15)       (0-2)


I tweet baseball @DavidBBRT

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

Tebow’s Targets – Some of Baseball’s Multi-Sport Heroes

Tim Tebow photo

Tim Tebow – going from a football helmet to a batting helmet. Photo by sportiqe

Wednesday, (September 28, 2016), former Heisman Trophy Winner (2007) and NFL quarterback (2010-12) Tim Tebow had his first official at bat as a professional baseball player – and he made the most of it.   The 29-year-old, signed in early September by the Mets, is playing on the Mets’ Florida instructional league squad.  In his first game action, Tebow took the first pitch he saw – a high fastball –  deep to left field for his first professional home run. While Tebow went one-for-six in the game, he did make contact in every at bat, a good start to his attempt at a multi-sport career.

Tebow’s first game appearance seem like a good reason (excuse?) to revisit and update Baseball Roundtable list of favorite multi-sport MLB players (first noted here in 2013). There have been more than you might think:

  • Braves’ pitcher Gene Conley is the only person to play on both a World Series winner and an NBA championship team;
  • Bo Jackson was an MLB All Star and an NFL Pro Bowler;
  • Deon Sanders is the only athlete to suit up for a Major League Baseball and National Football League game on the same day;
  • Carroll Hardy (the only player ever to pinch hit for Ted Williams) had a season in which he hit eight home runs for the Red Sox and another in which he scored four touchdowns for the San Francisco 49ers;
  • Hall of Fame hurlers Bob Gibson and Fergie Jenkins both played for the Harlem Globetrotters;
  • Famed Olympian Jim Thorpe – thought by many to be the greatest athlete of the 20th century – played for the MLB New York Giants and NFL New York Giants.
  • Matt Kinzler is the only person to play for both the Detroit Tigers (pitcher) and Detroit Lions (punter) – appearing in one game for each team.

There have been others who choose to concentrate on baseball, but showed the potential to be stars in other sports. Hall of Famer Tom Glavine (a 305-game winner and two-time Cy Young Award recipient) was drafted in the fourth round of the 1984 National Hockey League draft — two rounds ahead of future National Hockey League Hall of Famer Brett Hull.   (Glavine scored 232 points and had 111 goals as a high school hockey player).  Another Baseball Hall of Famer – outfielder Dave Winfield – was drafted coming out of college by the San Diego Padres (MLB); Atlantic Hawks (NBA); Utah Stars (ABA); and Minnesota Vikings (NFL).   MLB Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn was drafted by the NBA’s San Diego Clippers and the NL’s San Diego Padres – on the same day (June 10, 1981).  And the list goes on.  In this post, BBRT would like to look at MLB players who also played another sport at the highest professional level.  Here are BBRT’s favorites in this category:

  1. Deion Sanders (MLB/NFL)

sandersWith his nine-year MLB career and 14-year NFL career (all between 1989-2005), Sanders tops this list on the basis of some unique accomplishments:

– Only person to play in the Super Bowl (for the victorious San Francisco 49ers, 1995, and the winning Dallas Cowboys, 1996) and the World Series (for the losing Atlanta Braves, 1992);

– Only person to hit a major league home run and score an NFL touchdown in the same week;

– Only person to suit up for an MLB and NFL game on the same day. On October 11, 1992, Sanders played for the Atlanta Falcons in an NFL day game against the Miami Dolphins and then flew to Pittsburgh to suit up for the Atlanta Braves’ League Championship Series game against the Pirates that night. (He did not, however, get into the game).

As a MLB player (1989-1995, 1997, 2001) for the New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants, Sanders played in 641 regular season games, compiling a .263 average with 39 Home runs, 168 RBI and 186 stolen bases.  His best year was 1992, when he played in 97 games for the Braves – going .304, with a league-leading 14 triples, along with eight home runs, 28 RBI, 54 runs scored and 26 stolen bases.  He followed that up by hitting .533 (8 for 17), with four runs scored, one RBI and five stolen bases in the World Series.

During his NFL career, Sanders earned his way into the Pro Football Hall of Fame  – intercepting  53 passes, returning nine for touchdowns;  returning 155 kickoffs for 3,523 yards and three TDs; returning 212 punts for 2,199 yards and six TDs; catching 60 passes for 784 yards and three TDs; and recovering four fumbles (one for a TD). He was an eight-time Pro-Bowler and the NFL’s 1994 Defensive Player of the Year. Sanders squeaks into the top spot on the list by virtue of his Football Hall of Fame selection.

Deon Sanders Trivia:  Sanders, a Florida State University alum, is credited with bringing the “Tomahawk Chop” to the Braves’ fans.

  1. Gene Conley (MLB/NBA)

conleygeneThe 6’ 8” right-handed pitcher excelled at baseball and basketball and holds the distinction of being the only person to play on an NBA Championship squad (Boston Celtics in 1959, 60 & 61) and a World Series Champion (Milwaukee Braves, 1957).

His MLB career spanned 11 seasons:  Boston Braves (1952); Milwaukee Braves (1954-58); Philadelphia Phillies (1959-60); Boston Red Sox (1961-63). Conley pitched in 276 games (214 starts), winning 91 and losing 96 with an ERA of 3.82.  He was a three-time All Star and the winning pitcher in the 1955 All Star Game.  His best year was 1954 when he went 14-9 with a 2.96 ERA.  He pitched in just one game in the 1957 World Series, giving up 2 runs in 1.2 innings of relief (the starts for Milwaukee went to Warren Spahn, Lew Burdette and Bob Buhl).

Conley’s NBA career was as strong as his MLB run.   At forward and center  –  playing for the Boston Celtics (1952-61) and New York Knicks (1962-64) – he came off the bench to score 2,069 points, grab 2,212 rebounds and dish out 201 assists.  He averaged 16.5 minutes, 5.9 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.  In 33 playoff games, he averaged 14.6 minutes, 6.7 points and 5.1 rebounds.

Gene Conley Trivia:  Conley is the only athlete to play for the Boston Braves, Celtics and Red Sox.

  1. Bo Jackson (MLB/NFL)

boBo Jackson (6’1”, 227 lbs.) had an eight-season career as an MLB outfielder:  Kansas City Royals (1986-90); Chicago White Sox (1991, 1993); California Angels (1994), He also was a running back for the Los Angeles Raiders for four seasons (1987-90).  In 1989, he was selected as a MLB All Star (and MVP of the 1989 All Star Game) and as an NFL Pro-Bowler.

His best year in MLB was 1989, when he hit .256, with 32 home runs, 105 RBI and 26 stolen bases for the Kansas City Royals.  That same year, he notched 950 yards rushing (5.5 yards per carry) and four rushing touchdowns for the Raiders.  That season he also caught nine passes for 69 yards.

In his MLB career, Jackson played in 694 games, hitting .250 with 141 home runs, 415 RBI and 82 stolen bases.

In his four seasons in the NFL, Jackson rushed for 2,782 yards (5.4 years per carry) and 16 touchdowns.  He also caught 40 passes for 352 yards and two touchdowns.  Plenty of fans would place Jackson at number one on this list (and I’d have little arguement with that ).

  1. Brian Jordan (MLB/NFL)

brianJordan patrolled considerable territory in his 15 seasons as an MLB outfielder (1992-2006) and three seasons as an NFL safety.  Jordan’s baseball career included time with the St. Louis Cardinals (1992-98); Atlanta Braves (1999-2001, 2005-06); LA Dodgers (2002-03); and Texas Rangers (2004).  He played in 1,456 games, hitting .282 with 184 home runs and 821 RBI.  He was an All Star in 1999, when he hit .282, with 23 home runs, 115 RBI and 13 stolen bases.

His brief NFL career, all with the Atlanta Falcons, included five interceptions and four quarterback sacks in 36 games.




  1. Kevin “Chuck” Connors (MLB/NBA/Hollywood)

chuckSix-foot-five with athletic skills and rugged good looks, Connors played for MLB’s Brooklyn Dodgers and Chicago Cubs and the NBA’s Boston Celtics (and was also drafted by the NFL Chicago Bears) before going on to play before even larger audiences as the star of the hit television series “The Rifleman.”   He makes this list more on the basis of his acting career, which also included appearances in more than 40  movies, including a starring role in the now classic “Old Yeller,” and guest appearances on dozens of television shows.

His MLB career included one at bat with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1949 and 66 games as a first baseman/pinch hitter for the Chicago Cubs in 1951.  He chalked up a .239 career average with two home runs and 18 RBIs.  In 1946-48, Connors played forward for the Boston Celtics, averaging 4.5 points per game in 53 games played.


Chuck Connors Trivia:  Connors is credited with shattering the first professional backboard ever, during a November 1946 Celtics’ pregame warm-up.


Here are some others who reached the highest level in baseball and at least one other sport. This list is not all inclusive (there have been more than five dozen players to appear in both an MLB and NFL uniform alone). No judgments here – alphabetical order:

Danny Ainge (NBA/MLB)

Ainge broke into the major leagues at age 20 (in 1979) with the Toronto Blue Jays.  He played just three seasons in the majors – 211 games, with a .220 average, two home runs and 37 RBI.  Primarily a second baseman, Ainge also saw time at third base, shortstop and all three outfield positions.  Notably, Ainge’s MLB career overlapped his college basketball career – Brigham University, 1977-81 – where he ran up average of 20.9 points, 4.6 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game and was the 1981 Collegiate Basketball Player of the Year.

Ainge’s NBA career began at age 22 and stretched over 14 seasons (1981-95) with the Boston Celtics, Sacramento Kings, Portland Trailblazer and Phoenix Suns.  The 6’ 4”, 175-pound guard totaled 11,964 points, 1,133 steals, 4,199 assists, 2,769 rebounds.    Ainge played in 193 NBA playoff games, averaging 26.1 minutes, 9.9 points, 3.4 assists and 2.3 rebounds.  He was a member of the Celtics 1984 and 1986 NBA Championship teams and a 1988 NBA All Star.

Danny Ainge Trivia:  Ainge is the only athlete selected as a first team High School All-American in baseball, basketball and football.

Frank Baumholtz (MLB/BAA)

Frank Baumholtz enjoyed a ten-season MLB career (1947-49, 1951-57) as an outfielder with the Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies.  He played in 1,019 games, finishing with a .290 average, 25 home runs, 272 RBI, 450 runs scored and 20 stolen bases.  His best season was his 1947 rookie year, when he played in 151 games, led the league with 711 plate appearances and hit .289 with five home runs, 45 RBI and 96 runs scored.

Baumholtz played one season of professional basketball (1946-47), as a guard for the Cleveland Rebels of the Basketball Association of America, forerunner of the NBA. He appeared in 45 games, averaging 14.0 points per game.

Dave DeBusschere (NBA/MLB)

The best basketball player to ever play major league baseball,  DeBusschere played 12 seasons in the NBA (1962-74, Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks), was an eight-time NBA All Star, six-time NBA All-Defensive Player and played on the Knicks’ 1970 and 1973 NBA Championship teams.  DeBusschere is a member of the National Basketball Hall of Fame.  Over his career (875 games), the 6’6” forward/guard averaged 35.7 minutes, 16.1 points, 2.9 assists and 11 rebounds per game.

DeBusschere’s MLB career was considerably shorter than his basketball tenure.  He joined the Chicago White Sox at age 22 in 1962 and pitched in the 1962 and 1963 seasons, logging 36 appearances (10 starts), a 3-4 record and a 2.90 ERA. His brief major league career did include one complete-game shutout.

Dave DeBusschere Trivia:  In the 1964-1965 season, DeBusschere, just 24-years-old, was appointed player-coach of the Detroit Pistons.  From 1964-67, he coached the Pistons to a 79-143 record before going back to a player-only position.  He remains the youngest coach in NBA history.

Sammy Byrd (PGA/MLB)

Sammy Byrd had an eight-season MLB career (1929-34, Yankees and 1935-36 Reds), during which the outfielder hit .274 with 38 home runs and 220 RBI in 745 games. After leaving baseball, at the age of 29, to pursue a professional golf career, Byrd won six events on the PGA tour between 1942 and 1946.

Sammy Byrd Trivia:   Sammy Byrd is the only person to play in both MLB’s World Series and the PGA Masters Tournament.

Dick Groat (MLB/NBA)

Groat had a 14-career as an MLB shortstop (1952, 1955-67) with the Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants.  He was a five-time All Star and won the 1960 NL Most Valuable Player Award, while helping the Pirates earn the NL Crown (and win the World Series).  That season, he led the NL in batting at .325.  Groat was a career .286 hitter, with 2,138 hits, 39 home runs and 707 RBI.   He was on two World Series winners:  the 1960 Pirates and the 1964 Cardinals.

Groat also played one season (1952-53) for the NBA’s Fort Wayne Pistons, averaging 25.5 minutes, 11.9 points, 2.7 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game.

Dick Groat Trivia:  While at Duke University, Groat was a two-time All American in both baseball and basketball.  He was the first person selected to both the College Baseball and Basketball Halls of Fame.


George Halas (NFL/MLB)

While Football Hall of Famer George Halas may have been “Mr. Everything” in professional football for some six decades – player, coach, owner, promoter, innovator and pioneer – his MLB career was shorter and less noteworthy.  Halas played in 12 games (22 at bats, .091 average) as an outfielder for the 1919 Yankees.

During his a pro-football playing career (1919-1928), Halas played defensive end and wide receiver for the Hammond All Stars, Decator/Chicago Staleys and Chicago Bears.  A Bears’ owner from 1920 until his death in 1983, Halas coached the Chicago Bears (and their predecessor Staleys) for 40 seasons (1920-29, 1933-42, 1946-55. 1958-67).  Under his leadership, the Bears won nine Divisional titles, six NFL Championships and only six times finished with a losing record.

George Halas Trivia: Halas is credited with developing football’s  T-formation.

Steve Hamilton (MLB/NBA)

The 6’6” left-handed reliever enjoyed a 12-year (1961-72) career with the Cleveland Indians, Washington Senators, New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox, New York Giants and Chicago Cubs – going 40-31 with 42 saves and a career ERA of 3.05.

Hamilton also played two seasons as a forward for the NBA Minneapolis Lakers (1958-60) – averaging 13.3 minutes, 4.5 points and 3.4 rebounds in 82 games.

Carroll Hardy (MLB/NFL)

Hardy was a multi-sport talent for the University of Colorado in the early 1950s, lettering in football, baseball and track – earning All-Conference honors in football and baseball.  Immediately out of college, Hardy signed on as a receiver with the NFL San Francisco 49ers.  In 1955, he caught 12 passes for 338 yards and four touchdowns, and returned three punts for  65 yards.  Hardy then chose to concentrate on baseball and played eight seasons (1957-64, 1967) as a major league outfielder, getting into 433 games for the Indians, Red Sox, Astros and Twins.  His career average was .225, with 17 home runs and 113 RBI.

Carroll Hardy Trivia:  Hardy is the only player to pinch hit for Ted William, as well as the only player to pinch hit for Williams’ replacement, Carl Yastzremski.  He also hit his first MLB home run while pinch hitting for Roger Maris.

Mark Hendrickson  (MLB/NBA)

Hendrickson, a 6’9” left-handed hurler, recorded 10 MLB seasons (328 appearances, 166 starts) with a 58-74 record and a 5.03 ERA.  Between, 2002-2011, he pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers and Baltimore Orioles.  His best MLB season was 2009, when he went 6-5 with a 4.37 ERA for the Orioles.

Hendrickson also played four seasons (1996-2000) as a power forward in the NBA for the Philadelphia 76ers, Sacramento Kings, New Jersey Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers.  In 114 games, he averaged 13.2 minutes, 3.3 points and 2.8 rebounds per game.

Drew Henson (MLB/NFL)

The 6’5″, 225-pounder played quarterback for the Lions (2008), Cowboys (2004-05) and Vikings (2006).  He also appeared in eight games for the 2002-03 Yankees, going one-for-nine.  His NFL career consisted of just nine games played, and he completed a total of 11 of 20 passes with one TD and one interception.  Despite these less than sterling numbers, he can lay claim to reaching the highest professional level in two sports – and to throwing and NFL Touchdown and collecting an MLB base hit.

Vic Janowicz (MLB/NFL)

Janciwicz got in 22 games as a halfback for the Washington Redskins (1954-55), gaining 410 yards on 99 carries with four touchdowns.  He also played 83 games at catcher and third base for the Pittsburgh Pirates over the 1953 and 1954 seasons – hitting .214 with two home runs and ten RBI.

Cotton Nash (MLB/NBA)

Nash had brief careers at the top level of pro basketball (NBA/ABA) and baseball (Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins).   In baseball, the OF/1B got in 13 games (White Sox, 1967 and Twins, 1969-70) with a .188 average and two RBI in 16 at bats.  In basketball, the 6’5”, 215-pound Nash played forward for the LA Lakers and San Francisco Warriors  of the NBA and the Kentucky Colonels of the ABA between 1964-68.  He averaged 13.6 minutes, 5.6 points and 3.3 rebounds in 84 games.

Ernie Nevers (NFL/MLB)

Ernie Nevers is a member of both the College and Pro Football Hall of Fame. As a pro, he played for the NFL’s Duluth Eskimos and Chicago Cardinals for five seasons between 1926 and 1931 – earning All-NFL recognition at running back in each of those campaigns. Nevers also pitched for three seasons  (1926-28) for the AL Saint Louis Browns, going 6-12, with a 4.44 ERA in 44 games (12 starts).

Ernie Nevers Trivia:  On November 28, 1929, Chicago Cardinals’ fullback Ernie Nevers scored six touchdowns and kicked four extra points, accounting for all the Cardinals’ scoring in a 40-6   victory over the Chicago Bears.  The forty points scored in a single game is still the individual NFL record.

Clarence “Ace” Parker (MLB/NFL)

Clarence Parker got his MLB career off with a bang, homering in his first at bat for the 1937 Philadelphia Athletics.  It was downhill from there, as Parker played in just 94 games in 1937 and 1938 (SS-3B-OF) hitting .179 with two home runs and 25 RBI.

Parker proved more adept at football, making the Hall of Fame as a multiple threat player.  Playing from 1937 to 1946 for Brooklyn, Boston and New York (and winning the NFL MVP Award in 1940), he completed 335 of 718 passing attempts for 30 touchdowns, rushed 498 times for 1,292 yards and 13 TDs, had eight pass receptions for 229 yards and three TDs, returned 24 punts for 238 yards and one TD, returned five kickoffs for 98 yards, made 25 of 30 point-after-touchdown kicks (but only 1 of 5 field goal attempts) and punted 150 times for a 38.4 yard average.

Ron Reed (MLB/NBA)

The 6’6”, 217-pound, right-handed pitcher enjoyed a 19-year career as an MLB starter and reliever (Atlanta Braves, 1966-75; St. Louis Cardinals, 1975; Philadelphia Phillies, 1976-83; and Chicago White Sox, 1984).  Reed’s MLB career record was 146-140, 103 saves, a 3.46 ERA and 1,481 strikeouts in 2,477 2/3 innings pitched.  His best season was 1969, when he went 18-10, 3.47 in 33 starts for the Braves.

Reed also played forward for two seasons for the NBA Detroit Pistons (1965-66, 1966-67), averaging 18.9 minutes, 8.0 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.

Dick Ricketts (MLB/NBA)

Ricketts, a 6’7”, 216-pound right hander, had just one MLB season, going 1-6 with a 5.82 ERA for the 1959 Saint Louis Cardinals.  He played  in the NBA from 1955-59, scoring 1,974 points and grabbing 1,337 rebounds – for a per game average of 26.8 minutes, 12.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists.

Howie Schultz (MLB/NBA)

Schultz played major league baseball for six seasons (1943-48), spending time at first base with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds.  He played 470 games, hitting .241, with 24 home runs and 208 RBI.

In 1949, the 6’6” Schultz switched to basketball, beginning a three-year stint as an NBA center/forward.  He played for the NBA’s Anderson Packers, Fort Wayne Pistons and Minneapolis Lakers, averaging 5.3 points per game.

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

Making Contact – 115 Consecutive Games Without Striking Out

Old dirty baseball photo

Photo by kelly.sikkema

On this date in 1929, Cleveland Indians’ SS Joe Sewell notched his 115th consecutive game without striking out  (the MLB modern record) – a streak that went from May 19-September 19 (the following day, Sewell notched his third strikeout of the season.)  During his 115-game streak, Sewell racked up 436 at bats and 143 hits (.328), with 27 doubles, two triples, seven HR and 56 RBI.   On the season, Sewell fanned just four times in 578 at bats – and it wasn’t even his best campaign in terms of at bats/per whiff.   That would be 1932, when Sewell struck out just three times in 503 at bats – or once each 167.7 at bats (the post-1900 MLB record). For his career, Sewell fanned 114 times in 7,132 at bats – or once each 62.6 at bats. That, by the way, puts Sewell second on the career list (among players who played after 1900) to Wee Willie Keeler who fanned just once every 63.2 at bats in 19 MLB seasons )1892-1910).

Through September 18, 69 players have struck out more times in this season than Joe Sewell did in his entire 14-season career. 

By the way, if you are looking for the leader among active players – at the top of the list would be Nationals’ outfielder Ben Revere with 10.11 at bats per strikeout (as of September 18, 2016) – the only active player with more than ten at bats per whiff.

Active Players with the Most At Bats Per Strikeout (as of September 18, 2016)

          Ben Revere … 10.11

         Yadier Molina … 9.59

          Ichiro Suzuki … 9.36

          Dustin Pedroia … 9.26

         Casey Kotchman … 9.08

Note: Pre-1900 at bat/per strikeout ratios are off the charts. In 1871, for example, catcher Mike McGeary of the National Association’s Troy Haymakers went an entire season (just 148 at bats, however) without a whiff.  Later, in 1875, McGeary (with the NA’s Philadelphia Whites) had a season in which he fanned just once in 310 at bats.  If you look only at the NL and AL, Wee Willie Keeler holds the record with just two strikeouts in 570 at bats (one K per 285 at bats) for Brooklyn’s 1899 NL squad – a year in which he hit .379, with one home run and 61 RBI.


I tweet baseball @DavidBBRT

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