Post Season Predictions – Blue Jays/Dodgers World Series

Once again from my empty - often opaque - crystal ball.

Once again from my empty – often opaque – crystal ball.

Okay, the Wild Card Elimination (or Play-In) games are behind us.  Thank goodness.  I may be old school (well, there’s really no doubt about that), but I’m not a big Wild Card fan.  I’d prefer two leagues of two divisions (eight and seven teams), with the four first-place teams making the post-season.  But enough of my ranting, it’s time for BBRT’s second round of post-season predictions.  To look back at my Wild Card game predictions, click here.  By the way, I missed on the Yankees/Astros contest, but was on target on the Cubs/Pirates.  In this post, I’ll provide some detail on the teams within the Division Series predictions, but to avoid being repetitive, will be brief in my League Championship and World Series prognostications.






Rangers versus Blue Jays

BBRT Prediction: Blue Jays

Josh Donaldson leads MLB's most potent offense into the post-season.

Josh Donaldson leads MLB’s most potent offense into the post-season.

BBRT usually goes for pitching and defense, but it’s hard to pick against a Toronto offense that led all of MLB with 891 runs (127 runs ahead of the second-best Yankees and 140 runs ahead of the Rangers) and outscored their opponents by 221 runs. The Blue Jays – led by the trio of 3B Josh Donaldson (.297-41-123), RF Jose Bautista (.250-40-114) and DH Edwin Encarnacion (.277-39-111) – topped the AL in runs, homers, doubles, walks, on-base percentage and slugging. Further, even with all this power, they finished second in batting average (just .001 behind the Tigers) and had the league’s fifth-fewest strikeouts.  You just can’t pitch around this attack. Still, the Rangers offense appears to have gotten “hot” at the right time.  Shin-Shoo Choo was the AL Player of the Month for September (.387-6-23 for Sept./Oct.) and 3B Adrian Beltre hit .344, with five home runs and 38 RBI for Sept./Oct.  DH/1B Prince Fielder was also a vital piece of the Rangers’ attack, with a steady .305-23-98 comeback season. All that said, Toronto still has a major offensive edge.

Both teams boast deep starting pitching staffs.  The Jays likely have the advantage with 1-3 starters David Price (9-1, 2.30 in 11 starts after joining the Blue Jays); Marcus Stroman (4-0, 1.67 since returning from a torn ACL in mid-September); and Marco Estrada (13-8. 3.13). The Rangers can counter with Cole Hamels (7-1, 4.66 with Texas),  Yovani Gallardo (13-11, 3.42) and either Derek Holland (4-3, 4.91) or Colby Lewis (17-9, 4.66). On paper, the Jays also look to have a stronger bull pen, but their rookie closer Roberto Osuna had some problems late in the season.

Ultimately, the Blue Jays just have too much for the Rangers – particularly on offense.

Side note: The Blue Jays are looking to mid-season acquisition David Price (1-5, .4.50 in ten post-season appearances) to step up his post-season game. The Rangers’ mid-season pick-up, Cole Hamels, on the other hand, has a more positive  7-4, 3.09 record in 13 post-season appearances.  It will be interesting to see which team gets the biggest post-season dividend on their mid-season investment.


Royals versus Astros

BBRT Prediction:  Royals 

Mke Moustakas - a big part of a Royals offense that puts the ball in play.

Mke Moustakas – a big part of a Royals offense that puts the ball in play.

These teams look evenly matched.  The Astros scored the fifth-most runs in the AL at 729, the Royals were one spot and just five runs behind. The Astros led the AL in stolen bases with 121; the Royals were second at 104. The Astros had the AL’s lowest ERA at 3.57; the Royals were third at 3.73. Both teams showed sure-handed athleticism on defense – with the Astros fielding at a .986 clip and the Royals at .985.

Dig just a little deeper, however, and the differences are significant.  The Astros are a free-swinging, power-hitting ball club. They finished second in the AL to Toronto in home runs with 230 and first in batters’ strikeouts at 1,392.  The Astros, in fact, boast five 20+ HR hitters in their lineup: SS Carlos Correa, C/DH Evan Gattis, LF Colby Rasmus, 3B Luis Valbuena and 1B Chris Carter – along with hit machine 2B Jose Altuve (200 hits, .313 average) to set the table.  Just how much the Houston club counts on the long ball is reflected in the fact that Chris Carter got into 129 games – 24 HRs and 64 RBI – despite a .199 average and 151 strikeouts in 391 at bats.  The Royals are more of a “put-the-ball-in play” team – tying for second in batting average at .269 (the Astros hit .250 as a team), finishing second to last in home runs (139) and striking out the fewest times in all of MLB (with 973 strikeouts, the Royals were the only team to whiff less than 1,100 times). DH Kendrys Morales provides the offensive power (.290-22-106), but there is plenty of balance (five players with 70 or more RBI and five with 70 or more runs scored).  The averages may help tell the Royals’ story: DH Morales – .290; CF Lorenzo Cain – .307; 1B Eric Hosmer – .297; 3B Mike Moustakas – .284.  You get the idea.

The pitching match up seems to favor Houston slightly. The Royals lack a true “Ace” – relying on Yordano Ventura (13-8, 4.08), Johnny Cueto (whom the Royals hope can return to his past Cincinnati form) and Edinson Volquez (13-9. 3.55) to carry the load.  Fortunately for Kansas City, the Astros had to use 20-game winner Dallas Keuchel on short rest in the Wild Card game, which means the Royals should only have to face the Houston ace once in the series. Houston still has Collin McHugh (19-7. 3.89) for Game One. In the bull pen, Wade Davis’ hot hand and some late-season struggles for the Astros’ pen give the Royals the edge.

BBRT has to go with the Royals in a closely contested series for several reasons  1) The Royals have home field advantage and Kauffman Stadium will negate some of that Houston power (the Astros were 53-28 at home … 33-48 on the road); 2) the Royals’ 2014 post-season experience should leave them better prepared for the pressure of this series; 3) The Royals put-the-ball-in-play offense will create more opportunities, and more pressure, than the Astros’ free-swinging style.

Side Notes: For the Royals, DH Kendrys Morales has to hit in the clutch and SP Johnny Cueto needs to step up his game.  For the Astros, despite all their power, Jose Altuve must be a thorn in KC’s side at the plate and on the base paths if they are going to win this Series.



Mets versus Dodgers

BBRT Prediction: Dodgers in a series of close, low-scoring games.

Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw logged 301 strikeouts, with a 2.13 ERA. Kershaw and MLB ERA leader Zack Greinke (1.66) make up the post-season's most potent 1-2 mound punch.

Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw logged 301 strikeouts, with a 2.13 ERA. Kershaw and MLB ERA leader Zack Greinke (1.66) make up the post-season’s most potent 1-2 mound punch.

If I could pick one Division Series match up to attend, this is it.  Clayton Kershaw,  Zack Greinke and Brett Anderson versus Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey.  With Kershaw and Greinke the new Koufax and Drysdale, the smart money appears to be on the Dodgers. Still, there is Kershaw’s troublesome 1-5, 5.12 post-season record. On the other side of the coin, there is Harvey’s post-injury workload to consider.  Still, you have to give the Dodgers the edge in starting pitching.  The LA squad also has a slight edge in the bullpen.  Both teams have strong closers. The Mets, in fact, may have the better of it with Jeurys Familia (43 saves, 1.84 ERA) over the Dodgers’ Kenley Jansen (36 saves and a 2.41 ERA).  The Mets, however, lack a reliable left-hander out of the pen, and that works to LA’s advantage. Still, when you look at the staffs as a whole, you can expect a low-scoring series.  The Mets’ staff finished with a 3.43 ERA and 1,337 strikeouts – the Dodgers with a nearly identical 3.44 ERA and 1,396 strikeouts. Ultimately, BBRT thinks the pitchers will dominate this series – and the offense that finds a way to scratch out that extra run will carry the day.

Overall, the offenses match up evenly.  The Mets finished seventh in the NL in runs scored at 683, the Dodgers just one spot and 16 runs behind. The Dodgers may be  more able to generate instant offense – they led the NL in home runs at 187, but only ten more than the Mets. LA will rely heavily on 1B Adrian Gonzalez, who led the team in average (.275), home runs (28) and RBI (90). However, a key may be whether rookie SS Corey Seager (.337-4-17 in just 27 games) is ready for post-season pressure. The Mets have a more balanced attack, but their success may depend on mid-season acquisition Yoenis Cespedes, who hit .287 with 17 home runs in just 57 games for the Mets.

BBRT believes the Dodgers 1-2 punch of Kershaw and Greinke will prevail in a tight series of low-scoring games.

Side Note: This battle could come down to how the Dodgers handle Yeonis Cespedes and David Wright versus how the Mets handle Adrian Gonzalez and Corey Seager.


Cardinals versus Cubs

BBRT Prediction: Cubs

Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw logged 301 strikeouts, with a 2.13 ERA. Kershaw and MLB ERA leader Zack Greinke (1.66) make up the post-season's most potent 1-2 mound punch.

Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw logged 301 strikeouts, with a 2.13 ERA. Kershaw and MLB ERA leader Zack Greinke (1.66) make up the post-season’s most potent 1-2 mound punch.

The Cardinals had the best record in baseball (100-62) and the Cubs had to use their “Ace” Jake Arrieta in the Wild Card game – however, I am still going to go with the Cubs in this series.   The fact is, when you look a little deeper, the gap between the Cardinals and Cubs is pretty narrow.  The Cardinals did give up the fewest runs in MLB, but they also scored the fewest runs of any playoff team.  And, yes, the Cardinals were the only MLB team with 100 wins – but the Cubbies were third with 97.  The Cubs hold the edge over the Cardinals in runs scored 689-647, while the Cardinal have the advantage in runs allowed, giving up just 525 to the Cubbies’ 608.

Looking at the starting rotations (although the managers are being pretty tight on this so far), we know Game One will feature John Lackey (13-10, .277) on the mound for the Cardinals.  In addition to solid numbers for the 2015 regular season, Lackey brings a 7-5, 3.08 record in 21 post-season appearances – experience that should serve him well. The Redbirds can draw from some strong arms to fill out their NLDS rotation: Lance Lynn (12-11, 1.75), Jaime Garcia (10-6, 2.43), Michael Wacha (17-7, 3.38).  They also have a strong bull pen, led by closer Trevor Rosenthal (48 saves, 2.10).  Overall, in fact, the Redbirds were the only team with an ERA under 3.00 for the season, at 2.94.  The Cubs, however, were no slouches – third-best at 3.36.  And, the Cubs led all of MLB in pitcher strikeouts (1,431) and batting average against (.233). The Cards finished 11th and 8th in those two categories.  Still, the Cub’s rotation – particularly after Arrieta’s 113-pitch outing against the Pirates – is not as deep as the Cardinals. Game One will go to veteran  Jon Lester (11-12, 3.34) and Kyle Hendricks (8-7, 3.95) is likely to get a start. In addition to Arrieta (22-6, 1.77), the Cubs can look to veterans Jason Hammel and Dan Haren if needed.  Like the Cards, the Cubs have a strong bull pen, and both tams have lights out, experienced closers (the Cardinals’ already noted Trevor Rosenthal with 48 saves and a 2.10 ERA and the Cubs’ Hector Rondon with 30 saves and a 1.67 ERA.).

In the lineup, youth needs to be served if the Cubs are going to win. Consider the leaders of the 25-and-under cadre  in their lineup:  1B Anthony Rizzo (.278-31-101, 17 steals); 3B Kris Bryant (.275-26-99, 13 steals); C/OF Kyle Schwarber (.246-16-43 in 69 games). The Cardinals’ attack will be led by a more experienced group of hitters including: 3B Matt Carpenter (.272-28-84); SS Jhonny Peralta (.275-17-71); and CF Jayson Heyward (.293-13-60).

A good indicator of how this veterans versus youth match up is going might be to watch the performance of Cardinals’ veteran Matt Carpenter (.272-28-84 on the season)  versus Cubs’ rookie Kris Bryant (.275-26-99).

BBRT is picking the Cubs for a number of reasons: 1) The Cubs appear hungrier and healthier; 2) I like Lester over Lackey in Game One; 3) The Cubs appear to have the momentum, finishing the regular season 22-10 (Sept./Oct.) to the Cardinals 15-17.

Side note: A big question for the Cardinal is how much Yadier Molina (arguably the heart of this team) will play – and how well will he play while nursing a torn ligament in his left thumb. 



Blue Jays versus Royals

Prediction: Blue Jays

The Blue Jays offense – led by Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion and boosted by the return of Troy Tulowitski – coupled with David Price and Marcus Stroman at the top of the rotation – will just be too much for the Royals.


Dodgers Versus Cubs

Prediction: Dodgers

Veterans Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke end the Cubs’ 2015 run – but the youthful Cubbies will be back for another post-season shot in 2016.



Dodgers versus Blue Jays

Prediction: Jays

Home field advantage may decide this seven-game series, as the Jays vaunted offense comes up against the the best 1-2 pitching punch in baseball.  This could be a classic battle.  BBRT feels that the challenge the Dodger Duo will face up and down the Blue Jays lineup (after a season’s worth of wear and tear) will take its toll.  Casey Stengel once said, “Good pitching will always stop good hitting and vice-versa.” That quote is likely to come to life over the 2015 World Series.

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

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Wild Card Elimination Game Predictions

BBRT Crystal Ball for 2015 season appeared either empty or opaque.

BBRT Crystal Ball for 2015 season appeared either empty or opaque.

With the post-season about to start, it’s time for BBRT to get in my predictions.  These are not “take it to the bank” prognostications – as indicated by my lack of success in pre-season pennant race projections.

In March, I did accurately project the Saint Louis Cardinals and LA Dodgers as Division winners, and even got the Pirates’ Wild Card slot correct.  I wasn’t too far off in the AL East – I had the Nationals finishing first and (what some people have called “The Surprising”) Mets, second.  The two finished 1-2 in the Division, but in reverse order.  I really missed the boat on the Padres, predicting that their off-season moves would earn them A Wild Card spot.  Ooops – Padres finished fourth! Still, three-for-five in predicting post-season berths – and two of three for Division titles (with my only miss finishing second) was not too bad.

Aah, but then came the AL, home to my Minnesota Twins. Apparently, familiarity is not a good thing.  I got only one AL one post-season team correct in my March projections.  I had the Blue Jays finishing second and capturing a Wild Card slot – and, of course, they won the AL East.  The second-place and Wild Card Yankees?  I had them fourth, with the Red Sox (last in the East) taking the Division. Again, I was fooled by aggressive off-season activity. In the AL Central, I don’t know what I was thinking, picking the White Sox for the top spot and the Division-winning Royals in third.  I was even worse when it came to pegging the AL West – predicting the third-place Angels to lead the Division and the fourth-place Mariners to grab a Wild Card spot. Congrats to the Division Champion Rangers and the Wild Card Astros for proving me oh, so wrong.

So, with that less-than-sterling record, I am fully prepared to make my predictions for the upcoming post-season.  I’ll start with the two Wild Card elimination games in this post – and, once the field is reduced to eight teams, make my predictions for the rest of the playoffs.

AL Wild Card – Astros at Yankees

Carlos Beltran - BBRT "pick to click" in AL Wild Card Elimination game.

Carlos Beltran – BBRT “pick to click” in AL Wild Card Elimination game.

The youthful Astros take on the veteran Yankees – with the Astros’ Dallas Keuchel (20-8, 2.48 on the season, but 5-8, 3.77 on the road) starting opposite Masahiro Tanaka (12-7, 3.51).  If this were a three- five, or seven-game series, I’d have to go with the Astros. They just seem to have the better overall squad.  But for this one game – with Keuchel going on short rest (and on the road) and the Yankees able to look to Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller for the last two innings – I expect Tanaka to go a strong six (or, ideally, seven) innings and the Yankees to win a close one. Out-of-left field prediction: The Yankees’ Carlos Beltran will provide key offensive fire power as the Bronx Bombers prevail 5-3.


NL Wild Card – Chicago Cubs at Pirates

Jake Arrieta should lead Cubs to victory.

Wow! Here we have a match up of two exciting teams, with well-rested “Aces” on the mound.  For the Pirates, it’s Gerrit Cole (19-8, 2.45), while the Cubs send Jake Arrieta (22-6, 1.77) to the mound.  BBRT is going to go with the hot hand (and attached arm) in this one – and that  is Arrieta, who has gone 11-0, with a 0.41 ERA in 12 starts since August 1.  The fact is, with Cole and Arrieta on the mound, a lot of pretty good hitters could be made to look pretty bad.  BBRT looks for the Cubs and Arrieta to emerge with a 3-1 victory. Out-of-left-field predictions: Arrieta gives up just three hits during his time on the hill, and Kyle Schwarber strikes the key offensive blow for the Cubbies.


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

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Welcome to Whiff City – 35 Punch Outs in Scherzer No-Hitter

Max Scherzer - Fans 17 in second no-hitter, 18 Nationals also go down on strikes.

Max Scherzer – Fans 17 in second no-hitter, 18 Nationals also go down on strikes.

Yesterday (October 3, 2015), Nationals’ right-hander Max Scherzer (the 2013 Cy Young Award winner – while with the Tigers) threw his second no-hitter of the 2015 season – beating the Mets 2-0 (second game of a double header) in New York. Which game it was doesn’t matter, but I seldom get a chance to use the phrase “double header” these days.  Scherzer is on one of just five pitchers to throw two no-hitters in the same regular season, joining Johnny Vander Meer (Reds-1938), Allie Reynolds (Yankees-1951), Virgil Trucks (Tigers-1952), and Nolan Ryan (Angels-1973), In addition, Roy Halladay threw a regular-season and post-season (NL Division Series) no-hitter for the Phillies in 2010. BBRT Note: Vander Meer’s no-hitters came in consecutive starts, the only consecutive no-hitters by a pitcher in MLB history.

In both of his 2015 no-hitters, Scherzer was just one mistake away from a perfect game. On June 20, Scherzer had a 6-0 lead and a perfect game with two outs in the ninth against the Pirates. He got within one strike of perfection, running up a 2-2 count on pinch hitter Jose Tabata. Tabata then fouled off three pitches before Scherzer hit him on the elbow with a breaking ball. Mad Max retired the next hitter (2B Josh Harrison) to preserve the no-hitter, but that perfect game was oh, so close. There wasn’t as much tension in yesterday’s missed “perfecto.”  The only base runner came on a throwing error by National’s 3B Yunel Escobar in the sixth inning. For more from BBRT on near perfect games, click here. 

Here are a few other stats from Scherzer’s no-hitter against the Mets.

  • Scherzer fanned 17 batters in the game, tying Nolan Ryan for the most strikeouts in a no-no. Ryan walked four in his 17-strikeout no-hitter on July 15, 1973; which also happened to be Ryan’s second no-hitter of the season.
  • Scherzer’s 17 strikeouts were the most ever in a no-hitter without a walk. The record had been held by the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, who fanned 15 in a June 18, 2014, no-hitter. The only opposition base runner to reach in Kershaw’s game came on an error by Dodgers’ SS Hanley Ramirez.
  • Strikeouts were the name of the game in Scherzer’s no-no. In addition to Scherzer’s 17 punch outs, four Mets’ hurlers combined to whiff 18 Nationals’ batters – setting a new combined MLB record of 35 strikeouts in a nine-inning game.
  • Scherzer went one-for-three at the plate (just more on why I hate the DH).
  • Scherzer struck out every member of the Mets’ starting nine at least once – except for pitcher Matt Harvey (who only batted once).
  • Scherzer struck out at least one hitter every inning, and appeared to get stronger as the game went on. He fanned nine over the first six innings – and eight over the final three. (Scherzer threw 109 pitches, 80 for strikes.)

Scherzer’s masterpiece was the seventh no-hitter of 2015, one short of the MLB record of eight, set in in 1884 (four in the American Association, two in the Union Association, two in the National League). This season’s seven no-hitters ties the modern era (post-1900) record – reached in 1990, 1991 and 2012.

No Hitters in Both Leagues

Five pitchers have thrown no-hitters in both the NL and AL – and five catchers have caught no-hitters in both leagues.

The Pitchers:

Nolan Ryan: Seven total no-hitters: AL … California Angels (4) and Texas Rangers (2); NL …  Houston Astros (1)

Cy Young: Three total no-hitters; AL …  Boston Americans/Red Sox (2); NL … Cleveland Spiders (NL).

Jim Bunning: NL … Philadelphia Phillies; AL … Detroit Tigers.

Hideo Nomo: NL … Los Angeles Dodgers; AL … Boston Red Sox.

Randy Johnson:  AL … Seattle Mariners; NL … Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Catchers

Gus Triandos:  AL … Baltimore Orioles (Hoyt Wilhelm, 1958); NL … Philadelphia Phillies (Jim Bunning, 1964).

Jeff Torborg: NL … Los Angeles Dodgers (Sandy Koufax, 1965); AL … California Angels (Nolan Ryan, 1973).

Darrell Porter: AL … Kansas City Royals (Jim Colborn, 1977); NL … St. Louis Cardinals (Bob Forsch, 1983).

Ron Hassey: AL … Cleveland Indians (Len Barker, 1981); NL … Montreal Expos (Dennis Martinez, 1991). BBRT Note: Both of these were perfect games, making Hassey the only player to catch two MLB perfect games.

Drew Butera: AL  …Minnesota Twins (Francisco Liriano, 2011); NL … Los Angeles Dodgers (Josh Beckett 2014).


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Member: Society for American Baseball Research (SABR); The Baseball Rliquary; Baseball Bloggers Allliance.

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September – Inside the Park Grand Slams … Inside the Park Births … and More

The September stretch run is complete – but there is still meaningful baseball to be played in the first few days of October – particularly in the AL, where Houston is within striking distance of the Rangers (2 ½ games behind) for the West Division title and the Angels and Twins are hot on the heels of the Astros for the final Wild Card spot.

Cubs won more than any other team in September.

Cubs won more than any other team in September.

Baseball’s hottest team in September was the surging Cubs, who went an MLB-best 19-9 (.657). The Cubs did it with pitching – sporting MLB’s lowest ERA (2.73 for the month), led by Jake Arrieta, who went 4-0, with a minuscule 0.45 September ERA.  The Cubs gave up the fewest runs in baseball in September (92), while scoring the fifth-most (141). Other teams with strong Septembers were the Angels and Blue Jays (each at 18-9), and the Rangers (18-10). The worst September won-lost marks went to the Oakland A’s in the AL (8-19) and the San Diego Padres in the NL (9-18). The Padres did, however, record the highest number of in-stadium births (more to come on that).  BBRT will look a bit deeper into September team performance later in this monthly update, but first let’s consider where things stood as of “the end of business” on September 30 – and touch on a few September events that caught BBRT’s eye.

If the Season Ended September 30 …

There are still a few post season spots to be determined, but if the end of September marked the end of the regular season, here’s how the playoffs would look:

  • AL … Division Champions: Blue Jays; Royals; Rangers. Wild Cards: Yankees, Astros. Note: The Angels are just ½ game behind the Astros in the race for the final Wild Card spot – with the Twins 1 ½ games back of Houston.
  • NL … Division Champions: Mets; Cardinals; Dodgers. Wild Cards: Pirates, Cubs.

You will find full end-of-September standings at the end of this post.

 A Few September “Events” That Caught BBRT’s Attention

 The Three R’s – Reds’ Rookie Rotation

On September 11, when Reds’ rookie pitcher Michel Lorenzen took the mound against the Cardinals in Cincinnati, it marked the 42nd consecutive game in which the Reds started a rookie hurler (an MLB record). The previous high of 41 was set by the 1902 Cardinals.  Lorenzen, by the way, went just five innings, giving up two runs on ten hits – but got the win.

The Reds have boasted (if that’s the right word) an all-rookie rotation since trading veteran starters Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake before the July 31 trading deadline.  The last non-rookie to start for the Reds was Leake on July 28.  At the close of September, the Reds had expanded their record to 60 consecutive rookie starts (19 wins, 41 losses over that time), and should reach 64 by season’s end.

David Ortiz Joins 500 Club

Newest member of the 500 Home Run Club.

Newest member of the 500 Home Run Club.

On September 12, as the Red Sox pasted the Tampa Bay Rays 10-4, David Ortiz bashed a pair of round trippers – the 499th and 500th of his career (33rd and 34th of 2015).

Ortiz is 27th player to reach the 500-home run mark and the fourth player to collect number 500 in a multi-homer game – joining Harmon Killebrew, Mark McGwire and Albert Pujols.  For more on Ortiz and the other 500 Club members click here.

 Send the Lefty to Right

We’ve read a lot about position players taking the mound this season. In the September 15th Rockies/Dodgers contest (won by the Rockies 5-4 in 16-innings), we learned that “turnabout is fair play,” as Rockies’ southpaw hurler Jason Gurka was called on to finish the game in right field after a Carlos Gonzalez injury. The real story here, however, is the “everyone gets to play” records that were tied or broken.

  • The Rockies’ used 30 players in the game (only in September), tying the MLB single-game record.
  • The Rockies’ set an MLB single-game record using 13 pitchers;
  • The teams used a combined 58 players and 24 pitchers – both MLB single-game records.

The five-hour and 23-minute game also featured 11 pinch-hitters and three pinch-runners, 24 hits, nine walks and four errors.

I’m just thankful I wasn’t keeping score.

Making an Entrance

Young Levi Stiles knows how to make a grand entrance. Levi was born on Thursday, September 24, during the Padres/Giants game at Petco Park.  Key words here AT PETCO PARK. For those of you who track such things (and we do track everything in baseball), Levi came into the world:

  • At 6-pounds-14-ounces, 20.5 inches;
  • In the bottom of the third inning, with the Padres leading 3-2;
  • On a gurney near the team store in Petco’s Palm Court Plaza.

San Diego eventually won the game 5-4 on a pinch-hit RBI single by Alexi Amarista in the bottom of the ninth (Levi had left early.).  The announced attendance of 31,137 was reported to be off by one – paid attendance could be on the money.  Levi Stiles is now the youngest fan ever to attend a MLB game, a record that could be tied, but will never be broken.

A-Rod Continues His “Comeback” Season

A-Rod ... another step up the stat ladder.

A-Rod … another step up the stat ladder.

On the same night (September 24) that Levi Stiles was born at Petco Park, Yankee DH Alex Rodriguez walked in the third inning and came around to score on a Carlos Beltran home run. The run – part of a 3-2 Yankee home win over the White Sox – made A-Rod  just the eighth MLB player to reach 2,000 runs, as well as just the second player (Hank Aaron was the first) to reach 3,000 hits, 2,000 RBIs and 2,000 runs scored in their career.

Notably, Rodriguez reached all three landmarks … 2,000-runs, 2,000-RBI and 3,000-hits … this season – his 21st MLB campaign.

KC Grabs First Division Title Since 1985

When the Royals topped the Mariners 10-4 on September 24th, they clinched their first division title since 1985.  Why does BBRT put that here?  So I can add the fact that the Royals were the first expansion team to capture a Division Title (1976); League Pennant (1980); and World Series Championship (1985) – all in different seasons.

The “In’s” and “Out’s” of the Power Game

On September 25, Phillies’ rookie LF Aaron Altherr had quite a game – going 4-for-5, with two runs scored and five driven in. He added to the excitement with a pair of home runs – one of the traditional “it’s outta here” mode and one (a Grand Slam) of the “run-like the wind” inside-the-park variety.  The Phillies rode Altherr’s big game to an 8-2 win over the Nationals in Washington.  Altherr’s 11 total bases in the game, incidentally, matched the Nationals’ team total. 

Home Cookin’

Dallas Keuchel - unbeatable at home this year.

Dallas Keuchel – unbeatable at home this year.

Here’s a couple of examples of sweet home cooking. Astros’ ace southpaw Dallas Keuchel topped the Rangers (in Houston) 4-2 on September 27, going seven innings and giving  up just two hits and one run, while fanning ten Texas hitters. In the process, Keuchel set a record for the most home victories without a loss in an MLB season.  Keuchel, 19-8 on the season, is 15-0 at home this year.  Through September, the Cy Young Award candidate’s home record is 15-0, with a 1.46 ERA and 139 strikeouts in 129 1/3 innings pitched. Away from Minute Maid Park, Keuchel is 4-8, 3.82, with 74 strikeouts in 92 2/3 innings. If Houston makes the post-season, look for Keuchel to start at home.

Jose Fernandez - The King of Marlins Park

Jose Fernandez – The King of Marlins Park

On September 25, the Marlins topped the Braves (at Marlins Park) by a score of 12-11. Miami starting pitcher Jose Fernandez gave up six runs on nine hits in just five innings – but still made a bit of pitching history. Fernandez got the victory (running his record to 6-0 on the season). On a more historic note, the 22-year-old right-hander earned his 17th  career home victory – without a home loss – becoming the first MLB pitcher to win his first 17 home decisions.  Fernandez has made 26 career starts at Marlins Park, where he has a 1.40 ERA.  In 21 road starts, Fernandez is 5-9, 3.78.

STATS TIME (or time to stop reading if stats don’t grab you)  

A Few Team Observations

As of the end of play on September 30, the Cardinals (.629) and Pirates (.604) were the only teams playing .600 or better ball – and only the Cardinals had 100 victories (100-59). The best record in the AL belonged to the Blue Jays (92-66, .582). Only two teams played under .400 ball through September: The Phillies (61-97, .386) and the Reds (63-95, .399). The worst winning percentage in the AL belonged to the A’s (66-93, .415).

A sampling of team stats through- and in-September:

  • The Blue Jays continued to lead all of MLB in runs scored with 873 – 122 ahead of the closest challenger (the Yankees at 751). The Jays were also September’s top scoring team with 153 runs in the month, two ahead of the Red Sox and Rangers. The top scoring team in the NL through September was the Cubs (713 runs), while the Mets led the NL in September tallies with 148. The Braves were MLB’s lowest-scoring team through September (561 runs), as well as in September (just 85 runs, the only team under 100). In the AL, The White Sox scored the fewest runs through September at 612, while Detroit scored the fewest in September at 112.
  • The Cardinals gave up the fewest runs through September (513), and had MLB’s lowest ERA (2.91, the only team under 3.00). In the AL, the Astros had the lowest total runs allowed and best ERA at 606 and 3.57, respectively. The leaders for the month of September were a bit surprising. The Cubs at 2.73 and the Mariners at 3.47 had the NL’s and AL’s lowest September ERAs.
  • Through September, only the Rockies carried an ERA above 5.00 (5.05). The Tigers had the AL’s worst ERA at 4.69.
  • Toronto led all of MLB in home runs through September at 227.  Notably (thanks DH), all four teams with 200+ homers through September were in the AL (Blue Jays, Astros, Orioles, Yankees). The Dodgers led the NL with 183 round trippers. Least power?  The Braves were the only team with less than 100 long balls, 96. The White Sox trailed in the AL with 136 homers.  The Astros topped all teams in September HRs with 44, while the Mets led the NL with 42. The Braves (13) and the Tigers (18) were the only teams with less than 20 September dingers.

Now, here are your month-of-September and through-September batting and pitching leaders:

Month-of-September Batting Leaders

In September, only the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo topped .400 (.404 for the month), and he turned those hits into tallies, tying for the MLB lead in September runs scored.  If I had to pick my hitters of the month. I’d go for a two-way tie in each league.  In the NL, the Nationals’ Bryce Harper (.341-10-19) and Rockies’ Nolan Arenado (.339-11-32). In the AL, the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre (.327-4-29) and the surprising Chris Davis (for his average) of the Orioles (.295-10-20). Harper, Arenado and Davis were the only players with double-digit home runs in September; Arenado and Beltre were 1&2 in RBI for the month; and Harper led the NL in runs scored.

There were some unexpected names on the September leader board: Martin Prado (.395 average); Greg Bird (8 HR); Justin Bour (25 RBI).

Here’s the list of in-September batting leaders.

AVERAGE (minimum 75 plate appearances)


Shin-Soo Choo, RF ,  Rangers – .404

Mookie Betts, CF, Red Sox – .389

Adam Eaton, CF, White Sox – .373


Martin Prado, 3B, Marlins – .395

Yunel Escobar, 3B, Nationals – .365

Dee Gordon, 2B, Marlins – .343



Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies – 11

Bryce Harper, RF, Nationals – 10

Four with nine


Chris Davis, 1B, Orioles – 10

Joe Bautista, RF, Blue Jays – 9

Mike Trout, CF, Angels – 8

Greg Bird, 1B, Yankees – 8



Adrian Beltre, 3B, Rangers – 29

David Ortiz, DH, Red Sox – 25

Jose Bautista, RF, Blue Jays – 25

Prince Fielder, DH, Rangers – 25


Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies – 32

Justin Bour, 1B, Marlins – 25

Carlos Gonzalez, RF, Rockies – 24



Sin-Soo Choo, RF, Rangers – 26

Mookie Betts, CF, Red Sox – 26

Xander Bogaerts,SS, Red Sox – 23


Bryce Harper, RF, Nationals – 25

Matt Carpenter, 3B, Cardinals – 22

Christian Yelich, LF, Marlins – 22



Dee Gordon, 2B, Marlins – 11

Ender Inciarte, RF, D-backs – 8

Angel Pagan, CF, Giants – 6

Charlie Blackmon, CF, Rockies – 6


Kevin Pillar, CF, Blue Jays – 8

Elvis Andrus, SS, Rangers – 7

Ben Revere, LF, Blue Jays – 6

Month-of-September Pitching Leaders

We saw three five-game winners in September: David Price (Blue Jays) and Cody Anderson (Indians) in the AL and, of course, Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers) in the senior circuit.  Still the mound star of the month had to be the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta, who became the first pitcher to 20 wins this season and went 4-0 for September with a 0.45 ERA, giving up just 2 earned runs in 40 innings and notching 39 strikeouts versus just four walks.  Arrieta is just continuing on from his sterling August, when he went 6-0 with a 0.43 ERA.  He has, in fact, given up just four runs in 82 1/3 innings over his last 11 starts.



Cody Anderson, Indians – 5-0, 1.38 ERA

David Price, Blue Jays – 5-0, 2.32

Five with four victories


Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers – 5-1, 1.84 ERA

Jake Arrieta, Cubs – 4-0, 0.45

Zack Grienke, Dodgers – 4-0, 2.04

Gerrit Cole, Pirates – 4-1, 3.29

ERA (minimum 20 innings pitched in the month)


Rich Hill, Red Sox – 1.17

Cody Anderson, Indians – 1.38

Jose Quintana, White Sox – 1.50


Jake Arrieta, Cubs – 0.45

Stephen Strasburg, Nationals – 1.48

John Lackey, Cardinals – 1.78



Rick Porcello, Red Sox – 45 (43 1/3 IP)

Drew Smyly, Rays – 45 (36 IP)

Carlos Carrasco, Indian – 43 (25 2/3)


Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers – 58 (44 IP)

Max Scherzer, Nationals – 50 (41 2/3)

Stephen Strasburg, Nationals – 50 (30 1/3)



Houston Street, Angels – 9

Andrew Miller, Yankees – 8

Brad Boxberger, Rays – 7


Mark Melancon, Pirates – 8

Francisco Rodriguez, Brewers – 7

Kenley Jansen, Dodgers – 7

John Axford, Rockies – 7

A.J. Ramos, Marlins – 7


And now the MLB Leaders Through September



Bryce Harper, RF, Nationals – .331

Dee Gordon, 2B, Marlins – .331

Buster Posey, C, Giants – .321


Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Tigers – .334

Xander Bogaerts, SS. Red Sox – .323

Jose Altuve, 2B, Astros – .310



Chris Davis, 1B, Orioles – 45

Nelson Cruz  RF, Mariners – 44

Josh Donaldson, 3B, Blue Jays – 41

Mike Trout, CF, Angels – 41


Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies – 41

Bryce Harper, RF, Nationals – 41

Carlos Gonzalez RF, Rockies – 40



Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies – 127

Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, D-backs – 106

Matt Kemp, RF, Padres – 100


Josh Donaldson, 3B, Blue Jays – 123

Jose Bautista, RF. Blue Jays – 113

Chris Davis, 1B. Orioles – 112 



Josh Donaldson, 3B. Blue Jays – 122

Jose Bautista, RF, Blue Jays – 107

Brian Dozier, 2B, Twins – 101

Mike Trout, CF, Angels – 101


Bryce Harper, CF, Nationals – 117

A.J. Pollock, CF, D-backs – 107

Matt Carpenter, 3B, Cardinals – 101



Billy Hamilton, CF, Reds  – 57

Dee Gordon, 2B, Marlins – 56

Charlie Blackmon, CF, Rockies – 42


Jose Altuve, 2B, Astros – 38

Lorenzo Cain, CF, Royals – 28

Billy Burns, CF, A’s – 26

Jarrod Dyson, RF, Royals – 26

Through September Pitching Leaders



Jake Arrieta, Cubs – 21-6 (1.83 ERA)

Gerrit Cole, Pirates – 19-8 (2.60)

Zack Greinke, Dodgers – 18-3 (1.68)

Madison Bumgarner, Giants – 18-9 (2.93)


Dallas Keuchel, Astros – 19-8 (2.47)

Felix Hernandez, Mariners – 18-9 (3.53)

David Price, Tigers/Blue Jays – 18-5 (2.45)

Collin McHugh, Astros – 18-7 (3.98)



Zack Greinke, Dodgers – 1.68

Jake Arrieta, Cubs – 1.82

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers – 2.16


David Price, Tigers/Blue Jays – 2.45

Dallas Keuchel, Astros – 2.47

Sonny Gray, A’s – 2.73



Chris Sale, White Sox – 267 (201 2/3 IP)

Chris Archer, Rays – 248 (207 IP)

Corey Kluber, Indians – 236 (214 IP)


Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers – 294 (229 IP)

Max Scherzer, Nationals – 259 (219 2/3 IP)

Madison Bumgarner, Giants – 234 (218 1/3 IP)



Brad Boxberger, Rays – 40

Huston Street, Angels – 40

Andrew Miller, Yankees – 36


Mark Melancon, Pirates – 51

Trevor Rosenthal, Cardinals – 48

Jeurys Familia, Mets – 42




To close, here are the MLB standing as of September 30



Blue Jays         92-66   .582

Yankees           86-72   .544     6.0

Red Sox           78-80   .494     14.0

Orioles             77-81   .487     15.0

Rays                77-81   .487     15.0


Royals             91-67   .576

Twins              82-76   .519     9.0

Indians            78-79   .497     12.5

White Sox       74-84   .468     17.0

Tigers               73-85   .471     18.0


Rangers           86-72   .544

Astros              84-75   .528     2.5

Angels             83-75   .525     3.0

Mariners          75-84   .472     11.5

A’s                  66-93   .415     20.5


Mets                89-69   .563

Nationals         80-78   .506    9.0

Marlins            69-89   .437    20.0

Braves             64-94   .405     25.0

Phillies            61-97   .386     28.0


Cardinals         100-59 .629

Pirates             93-63   .604     4.0

Cubs                93-65   .589     6.5

Brewers            68-90   .430     31.5

Reds                63-95   .399     36.5


Dodgers            88-70   .557

Giants              83-75   .525     5.0

D-backs           77-81   .487     11.0

Padres             73-85   .462     15.0

Rockies             66-92   .418     22.0


I tweet baseball @DavidBBRT

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

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Satchel Paige – His Last MLB Innings – Fifty Years Ago Today



Fifty years ago today (September 25, 1965), a true baseball legend did something truly legendary. Leroy “Satchel” Paige took the mound in a regular season major league game for the last time – at the (conservatively reported) age of 59.

It was the final day of the season and the Kansas City Athletics and Boston Red Sox were playing a relatively meaningless game in Kansas City.  A’s owner Charles Finley decided that Paige – who had not pitched in the majors since 1953 – might be just the “ticket” to boost attendance for the final contest.  (Finley had contacted Paige a few days earlier and Satchel had agreed to make an appearance – which would earn the popular Paige the title of the oldest player ever to appear in an MLB game.)

Paige had, of course made a name for himself, long before he ever made it to the big leagues.  (Paige became baseball’s oldest-ever rookie in 1948 – the year after Jackie Robinson broke through MLB’s color line – signing with the Cleveland Indians and going 6-1, with a 2.47 ERA at the age of 42.)

He started his professional career with the Chattanooga Black Lookouts in the Negro Southern League in 1926 and went on to pitch for the Birmingham Black Barons, Baltimore Black Sox, Nashville Elite Giants , Cleveland Cubs, Pittsburgh Crawfords and Kansas City Monarchs – as well as in Mexico, Cuba and the Dominica Republic and with a mixed-race team in Bismarck, North Dakota. When he wasn’t pitching for those teams, he caught on with or led “barnstorming” teams – often playing against, and defeating, teams boasting some of major league baseball’s best players.

How good was Satchel Paige?  Here’s what a few major league Hall of Famers had to say about him.

Joe DiMaggio called him “the best and fastest pitcher I ever faced” … and said that once he got a hit off Paige he knew he was ready for the major leagues.

Casey Stengel said “He threw the ball as far from the bat and as close to the plate as possible”

Dizzy Dean was pretty impressed as well  … “My fastball looks like a change of pace alongside that little pistol bullet Satchel shoots up to the plate.”

Hack Wilson agreed with Dean’s assessment of the Paige heater, saying “It starts out like a baseball and, when it gets to the plate, it looks like a marble.”

And HOFers like Bob Feller and Ted Williams simply labeled Paige one of, if not the, greatest pitchers in the game.

How popular was Paige? He had been one of the greatest draws in the Negro Leagues and on the barnstorming circuit and his first start in Cleveland drew 72,434 fans (more than double the Indians’ average attendance of 33,598 for the season).

Between 1948 and 1953 Paige played in five MLB seasons – for the Indians and Saint Louis Browns – primarily as a relief pitcher, making the All Star team in 1952 and 1953. Although he played professionally (Negro Leagues and Minor Leagues) and returned to barnstorming after 1953, Paige did not play in another MLB game until his start for the Athletics in 1965.

And just how did that historic appearance go?   Off the diamond, comically, with Paige (always the showman) spending the pre-game time in a rocking chair being attended to by a nurse.  On the field, he may not have thrown as hard, but witnesses say the pinpoint control was still there.  Paige pitched three scoreless innings, just 28 pitches, and gave up just one hit – a double to Carl Yastrzemski. For you trivia buffs, Yaz got the final hit off of Paige and the opposing pitcher Bill Monboquette was Paige’s final MLB strikeout victim (in the third inning).

You could fill books with Paige’s  philosophical quotes.  One of my favorites is “Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.”  Well, fifty years ago today, age didn’t matter to Satchel Paige.

Paige took the mound – fifty-nine years young.

Then he limbered his arm – and got the job done.

Yaz may have doubled, but no one else did much.

As Ol’ Satch proved to them all that he still had the touch.


I tweet baseball @DavidBBRT.

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

Seaver and Cone – Good Timing in the Big Apple

Timing may not be everything, but it can really “be something special.” In this post, BBRT looks at a couple of very well timed pitching performances – Tom Seaver’s 19-strikeout effort in 1970 and David Cone’s 1999 perfect game.

April 22, 1970 – Shea Stadium – Tom Terrific for the Record


On April 22, 1970, before an Astros/Padres game at Shea Stadium, Mets’ starting pitcher (and future Hall of Famer) Tom Seaver was officially presented with his 1969 Cy Young Award (his first of three CYAs).  In 1969, Seaver’s third major league season, he had gone 25-7, with a 2.21 ERA and 208 strikeout in 273 1/3 innings pitched. BBRT note: Seaver would go on to win 311 MLB games (20 seasons) versus 205 losses, win twenty or more in a season five times, post a career 2.86 ERA and strike out 3,640 batters in 4,783 innings pitched. He would lead his league in wins three times, winning percentage once, ERA three times, strikeouts five times, complete games once and shutouts three times – while being selected to a dozen All Star squads (as well as 1967 NL Rookie of the Year).

On April 22, 1970, however, the timing was right for the 25-year-old right-hander not only to receive his 1969 Cy Young Award, but to prove the previous campaign was no fluke – and he did just that, in style.

It was Seaver’s fourth start of the young season and he came into the game with a 2-0 record, a 2.55 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 24 2/3 innings pitched. Opposing Seaver on the mound was Padres’ righty Mike Corkins – 0-1, with a 6.23 ERA.

The contest proved to be a true pitchers’ duel.  After five innings, the Met’s held a 2-1 lead (the eventual final score). Seaver had given up just two hits and one run (on a second-inning home run by Padres’ LF Al Ferrara). Seaver had fanned nine hitters in just five innings – but the best was yet to come.  Corkins, by the way, was also pitching a solid game – working his way into and out of trouble.  Through five innings, he had given up two runs on four hits and three walks (one intentional), while fanning two. (He would end up going seven innings and giving up just two runs.)

In the bottom of the sixth, Seaver got the first hitter on a foul pop up and the second (CF Cito Gaston) on a fly out to right.  That would be the last Padres’ hitter to put a ball in play.  Seaver recorded the third out in the sixth by fanning Al Ferrara (he of the second inning homer) on a called third strike. Seaver then went on to strike out the side in order in the seventh, eighth and ninth – with the final out and strikeout of the game being, appropriately, Ferrara.

So, on the day he was presented his Cy Young Award, Seaver got a win, threw a complete game two-hitter, tied the MLB nine-inning game strikeout record at 19 (later surpassed by Roger Clemens and Kerry Wood) and set the single-game consecutive strikeout record (which still stands) at ten.  Good timing, Tom Terrific.

July 18, 1999 – Yankee Stadium – David Cone’s “Perfect” Timing


On July 18, 1999, the New York Yankees held Yogi Berra Day.  As part of the pre-game festivities, the fans were treated to former Yankee Don Larsen throwing out the ceremonial first pitch to Berra – reuniting the battery for the most famous (and only World Series) perfect game ever pitched (October 8, 1956).  The 41,390 fans in attendance had no idea of the treat that was yet to come.

On the mound for the Yankees that day was right-hander David Cone, who came into the contest with a  9-4 record and a 2.86 ERA.  Opposing Cone was the Montreal Expos’ Javier Vazquez (2-4, 6.63).

The game started out routinely enough.  The Expos went down in order in the top of the first inning (strikeout, fly out, fly out). The Yankees went scoreless in the bottom of the inning (leadoff hitter Chuck Knoblauch hit by pitch, followed by a fly out and two infield ground outs). The Expos went quietly again in the second (strikeout, groundout, groundout), but the Yankees exploded for five runs in the bottom of the inning  – a frame which included home runs by LF Rickey Ledee and SS Derek Jeter.  After that it was clearly “game on” for Cone, as he struck out the side (in order) on 12 pitches in the top of the third.

The rest, as they say, is history.  The Yankees won 6-0 and Cone pitched a perfect game (still the only one in  an interleague contest) – on the day when Don Larsen (who tossed the only World Series perfecto) tossed out the first pitch.  Cone used just 88 pitches to record his 27 outs, throwing 68 for strikes (he fanned ten Expos).  Cone’s 88 pitches are the second-fewest ever in a perfect game (Addie Joss had a 74-pitch perfect outing in 1908.)

BBRT note:  Cone’s perfecto almost didn’t make it into the books – the game was delayed for 33 minutes by rain in the bottom of the third inning.

Cone ended the 1999 season – the 36-year-old’s 14th MLB campaign – 12-9, with a 3.44 ERA. His career stats were 194-126, 3.46, with 2,668 strikeouts in 2,898 2/3 innings pitched. In his career, he was a two-time 20-game winner, won the 1994 Cy Young Award (while with the Royals), led his league in wins once, winning percentage once and strikeouts twice. In 1992, he led MLB in strikeouts with 261, without leading either league (214 for the Mets, 47 for the Blue Jays). Cone was a five-time All Star.

Clearly, in 1999, he picked a “perfect” day to put it all together – with Berra and Larsen “in the building.”

I tweet baseball @DavidBBRT

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

The 500-HR Club – Fun Facts & Stats

David Ortiz - newest member of 500-HR Club

David Ortiz – newest member of 500-HR Club

On September 3, Boston Red Sox DH David Ortiz became just the 27th MLB player to collect 500 home runs – leading off the fifth inning of a game at Tampa Bay with a 432-foot solo shot to right-center off the Rays’ Matt Moore. It was the 39-year-old Ortiz’ second home run of the game, making him one of just four players to collect number 500 in a multi-homer effort (joining Harmon Killebrew, Mark McGwire and Albert Pujols). Ortiz also had a three-run homer and a single in the game (before being lifted for a pinch runner in the seventh), and is one of just three players to collect three hits in their 500th home run game (joining Harmon Killebrew and Alex Rodriguez).  Ortiz’ landmark long ball got BBRT thinking about (and researching) the 500-HR Club and its elite membership.  Here’s are the highlights of what I found – followed by a brief look at each of the 500-HR Club’s 27 members – the day they hit number 500, their career stats and a few facts that make each of them unique.

  • Among the 500-HR Club’s 27 members, 15 hit right-handed, ten hit left handed and two were switch-hitters.
  • The Club had only one member (Babe Ruth, who hit his 500th in 1929) until the 1940s. By decade here’s how many players reached the 500 mark: 1940s – 2; 1960s – 5; 1970s – 4; 1980s – 2; 1990s – 2; 2000s – 9; 2010-15 – 2.
  • The 500-HR Club members captured a total of 87 league HR titles, with Babe Ruth leading the way with twelve.
  • Rafael Palmeiro, Frank Thomas and Gary Sheffield are the only members to never lead their league in homers.
  • The 27 Club members were selected as All Stars in a cumulative 292 seasons. (Hank Aaron is at the top with 21 All Star seasons – Babe Ruth had the fewest at two, but the All Star Game wasn’t established until 1933, in the 20th of Ruth’s 22 MLB seasons).
  • Two-thirds (18) of the Club members won at least one league MVP Award, and they won a cumulative 39 MVP recognitions. (Barry Bonds is on top with seven, withthree each for Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, Mike Schmidt, Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols.)
  • Ted Williams was the oldest upon reaching 500 HRs, at age 41 years, 291 days. (Remember, Williams lost nearly four full seasons to military service – WW II and Korea).
  • The youngest player to reach 500 HRs is Alex Rodriguez (32 years, 8 days)
  • Mark McGwire reached 500 home runs in the fewest at bats of any player – 5,487. The only other player to reach that mark in less than 6,000 at bats is Babe Ruth (5,801).
  • Eddie Murray took the most at bats to reach 500 dingers – 11,095.
  • Eddie Murray is the only member of the 500-HR Club to never hit 40 homers in a season (career-high of 33 in 1983).


Basics for Baseball The 500-HR Club is not only about power hitting. Twenty-four of the 27 members of the 500-HR Club were active after the Rawlings Gold Glove Award was established – and more than half (13) were honored with a Gold Glove for their fielding.  Those 13 player earned a combined 57 Gold Gloves – led by Willie Mays with 12.  Here’s a list of players with 500 or more homers and at least three Gold Gloves.

                        Willie Mays … 12 GG

                        Mike Schmidt … 10

                        Ken Griffey, Jr. … 10

                        Barry Bonds … 8

                        Hank Aaron … 3

                        Eddie Murray … 3

                        Rafael Palmeiro … 3


  • First base was the most popular position at the time of the 500th – with nine players starting the landmark game at first. (Some, like Mickey Mantle, Eddie Mathews and Ernie Banks made their reputations at other spots – CF, 3B, SS.)
  • While no player has hit number 500 while at the second base or shortstop position, Mike Schmidt did move from 3B to shortstop in his 500th home run game. He started the game at 3B, hit number 500 in the top of the ninth and moved to shortstop in the bottom of the inning.
  • Five players hit their 500th from the Designated Hitter position.
  • Gary Sheffield is the only player to hit number 500 as a pinch-hitter.
  • Jim Thome is the only player whose 500th home run was a game-winning, walk-off blast.
  • Only four players nailed number 500 in a multi-homer game (Harmon Killebrew, Mark McGwire, Albert Pujols, David Ortiz.)
  • No one has ever hit a Grand Slam for HR number 500. Fifteen of the 27 historic dingers were solo shots; five were two-run homers; seven were worth three tallies.
  • Fourteen number 500s were hit in home games, 13 on the road.
  • The team that boasted the newest 500-HR Club member won the game 18 times (nine losses).
  • The season count at the time of the 500th HR achievement ranges from the 14th season (four players) to the 22cnd (One). The 16th season seemed to be the charm, with the most players (eight) reaching 500 in their sixteenth campaign.
  • Ten of the 27 club members were either 34- or 35-years-old when they hit number 500.
  • Barry Bonds hit the most home runs in the season he reached 500 with 73 (.328-73-137). The fewest HRs in the season when a player reached 500 is tenGary Sheffield (.276-10-43) and Eddie Murray. (.357-10-34).
  • Barry Bonds is the only player to belong to the 500-HR Club and the 500-Stolen Base Club.
  • Babe Ruth is the only member of the 500-HR Club who is also a twenty-game winner as a pitcher – 23-12 in 1916, 24-13 in 1917.
  • Nine members of the 500-HR Club have career average of .300 or better: Ted Williams (.344); Babe Ruth (.342); Jimmie Foxx (.325); Manny Ramirez (.312); Hank Aaron (.305); Mel Ott (.304); Willie Mays (.302); Frank Thomas (.301).

Now, here’s a closer look at the 500-HR Club members, in the order they joined.


Babe Ruth, New York Yankees – August 11, 1929

Babe Ruth hit his 500th long ball as his Yankees lost to the Cleveland Indians (in Cleveland). The 34-year-old Ruth started in RF that day, batting fourth.  He went two-for-four scoring twice – hitting a single and a solo home run.  Ruth was in his 16th MLB season.  He would play six more years in the majors.

Babe Ruth’s  stats in 1929:  .345-46-154 (the 46 HRs led the AL). Career stats: 342-714-2,214.  Ruth was a twelve-time league leader in HRs, who led AL with as few as 11 (1918) and as many as his career-high 60 (1927). He was a two-time All Star (the first AS game was in 1933) and one-time MVP.

Babe Ruth factoid: Babe Ruth is the only member of the 500-HR club who was also a twenty-game winner as a pitcher (23-12 in 1916 and 24-13 in 1917, both for the Red Sox).


Jimmie Foxx,   Boston Red Sox, September 24, 1940

Foxx, who spent most of his 20-year major league career with the Athletics and Red Sox, was in his 16th season when he hit number 500. It came in a 16-8 Boston win at Philadelphia (first game of a doubleheader). The 32-year-old Foxx started at 1B (batting fourth). He went two-for-five in the game, lacing a single and a solo homer.  He ended the contest with two runs scored and one RBI. Foxx was a four-time league HR leader, with a high of 58 in 1932.

Jimmie Foxx’ 1950 stats: .297-36-119.  Career stats: .325-534-1,922. Fox was an All Star in nine seasons and a league MVP three times.

Jimmie Foxx factoid: Foxx won the Triple Crown as a Philadelphia Athletic in 1933 – going .356-48-163.  It was the only year that featured a Triple Crown  winner in both leagues – and both players played in Philadelphia.  The Phillies’ Chuck Klein won the NL Triple Crown at .368-28-120.

Mel Ott, New York Giants, August 1, 1945

Mel Ott, starting in RF and batting third, went two-for-four with a single and his 500th career home run (two runs scored, two RBI) – a solo shot – as the Giants topped the Braves 9-2 in New York. Ott, 36-years-old at the time, was in the 20th of 22 MLB seasons.  Ott was a six-time league HR leader, with a high of 42 in 1929.

Mel Ott’s 1945 stats: .308-21-79. Career stats: .304-511-1,860. Ott was an All Star in 11 of 22 seasons.

Mel Ott factoid:  Ott was the first NL player to reach 500 home runs.


Ted Williams, Boston Red Sox – June 17, 1960

Teddy Ballgame would have gotten to 500 a lot sooner if he hadn’t lost three seasons to military service (1943-45). As it was, he popped number 500 in his last (and 19th season) at age 41.  Williams hit his landmark shot against the Cleveland Indians (in Cleveland). The third-inning, two –run blast gave the Red Sox a 3-1 lead, and was the final scoring of the game.  Williams, who started in LF and batted third, went one-for-three with one run scored and two RBI. Williams was lifted for a pinch runner in the seventh.  Williams was a four-time league leader in HRs, and hit his career-high of 43 in 1949.

Ted Williams’ 1960 stats: .316-29-72.  Career stats: .344-521-1,839.  He was an All Star in 17 of his 19 seasons and a two-time AL MVP.

Ted Williams factoid: Ted Williams is one of only 45 player to homer in their final MLB at bat – and the only member of the 500 club to do so.

Willie Mays, SF Giants – September 13, 1965

The Say Hey Kid rapped home run number 500 against the Houston Astros (in Houston), as the Giants topped the Texas team 5-1. The solo shot was Mays’ 47th of the season, and he went one-for-four before being lifted in the bottom of the ninth. Mays started the game in CF, batting third.  The 500th dinger came in the 35-year-old Mays’ 14th season and he went onto play 22 years in the majors. Mays was a four-time league leader in HRs, and hit a high of 52 in 1965.

Willie Mays’ 1965 stats: 317-52-112 (the 52 HRs lead the league). Career stats: 302-660-1,903.   Mays was an All Star in 20 seasons, and NL MVP twice.

Willie Mays factoid: Willie Mays flashed leather as well as lumber, winning 12 consecutive Gold Gloves (1957-68).

Mickey Mantle, New York Yankees – May 14. 1967

The 35-year-old Mantle was in his 17th  (and second to last) MLB season when he cracked his 500th home run (hitting left-handed) – as his Yankees topped the Orioles 6-5 in New York. Mantle started at 1B and batted third. His home run was a seventh inning solo shot and he finished the game two-for-four (he also had a single), with two runs scored and one RBI.  Mantle was a four-time league HR leader, with a high of 54 HRs in 1961 (when Roger Maris led the AL with 61 HRs).

Mickey Mantle’s 1967 stats: .245-22-55.  Career stats: .298-536-1,509. Mantle was an All Star in 16 seasons and a three-time AL MVP.

Mickey Mantle factoid: Mantle hit 372 regular season home runs left-handed and 164 right-handed. 

Eddie Mathews, Houston Astros – July 14, 1967

35-year-old Eddie Mathews, who built a reputation as the Braves’ 3B, was starting at 1B for the Houston Astros (batting fifth) when he hit his 500th career long ball. It was a three-run shot in the Astros’ 8-6 victory over the Giants in San Francisco. Mathews also had a single in the game – gong two-for-four with one run scored and three RBI. Number 500 came in Mathews’ 16th of 17 MLB seasons.  Mathews was a two-time league HR leader, and hit a career-high 47 dingers in 1953.

Eddie Mathews’ 1967 stats: .236-16-57. Career stats: .271-512-1,453. Mathews was an All Star in nine of his 17 seasons.

Eddie Mathews factoid:  Mathews was the only player to play for the Braves in Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta.

Hank Aaron, Atlanta Braves – July 14, 1968

“The Hammer” hit his 500th as the Braves topped the Giants 4-2 in Atlanta.  Aaron started the game in RF, batting third and went two-for-three (three-run home run and single) in four at bats, scoring once and driving in three. Aaron’s was 34-years-old and in his 15th MLB season when he hit number 500. He played eight more seasons, finishing his career with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1976.  Aaron was a four-time league HR leader, and hit a career high 45 HRs in 1962.

Hank Aaron’s 1968 stats: 287-29-86.  Career stats: 305-755-2,297. Aaron was an All Star in 21 of his 23 seasons and the NL MVP in 1957.

Hank Aaron factoid: Hank Aaron and Braves’ 3B Eddie Mathews (another member of the 500-HR Club) hit more home runs while teammate (863) than any other pair of MLB teammates – edging the Babe Ruth/Lou Gehrig combination by four round trippers.


Ernie Banks, Chicago Cubs – May 12, 1970

Ernie Banks rapped his 500th home run, fittingly, in a Cubs victory (4-3 over the Braves) at Wrigley Field. Banks, the prototype power-hitting shortstop for most of his career was 39-years-old and playing 1B (batting sixth). His home run was a two-run shot and his only hit in the game (one-for-three, one run, two RBI). Banks led the NL in home runs twice, and hit a high of 47 in 1958. He was in his 18th of 19 MLB seasons when he hit number 500.

Ernie Banks’ 1970 stats: .252-12-44.  Career Stats: .275-512-1,636.  Banks was an All Star in 11 of 19 seasons and a two-time NL MVP.

Ernie Banks factoid(s): Banks was the first NL player to win back-to-back MVP Awards (1958-59) – despite playing for a losing Cubs’ team in both seasons. Despite earning his reputation as a shortstop, Banks played more games at 1B (1,259) than short (1,125).

Harmon Killebrew, Twins – August 10, 1971

Harmon Killebrew drove in all the Twins’ runs in a 4-3 loss to the Orioles in Minnesota – banging out his 500th and 501st round trippers.  Batting third and playing first base, Killebrew hit number 500 (a solo shot) in the bottom of the first. He added a two-run shot in the sixth and a single in the eighth – finishing the game three-for-four with two runs scored and three RBI. The 35-year-old Killebrew was in his 18th (of 22) MLB seasons. Killebrew was a six-time league HR leader, and hit a career-high 49 round trippers in 1964.

Harmon Killebrew’s 1971 stats: .254-28-119. Career stats: .256-573-1,584.  Killebrew was an All Star in 11 seasons and the 1969 AL MVP.

Harmon Killebrew factoid: In 1968, Killebrew became the first player to be named an MLB All Star at three different positions in his career – 1B, 3B, LF.  (Pete Rose later surpassed “Killer,” playing 1B, 2B, 3B, LF and RF in All Star competition.)

Frank Robinson, Orioles – September 13, 1971

Frank Robinson started in RF (batting fourth) for the Orioles in the game that saw his 500th round tripper – a 9-1 win over the Tigers in Baltimore. The 36-year-old Robinson went two-for-four in the game (a three-run homer and a single), scoring twice and collecting three RBI.  Robinson was in his 16th of 21 MLB seasons.  Robinson won one league HR title, when he hit his career-high 49 HRs in 1966. That same season he won the AL Triple Crown and MVP Award.

Frank Robinson’s 1971 stats: 281-28-99.  Career stats: .294-586-1,812.  Robinson was an All Star in 12 seasons and a two –time MVP (once in each league).

Frank Robinson factoid: Frank Robinson captured just about every MLB award possible: NL Rookie of the Year (1956); NL MVP (1961): AL MVP (1966); World Series MVP (1966); All Star Game MVP (1971); AL Manager of the Year (1989). He was also a Triple Crown (Average-HRs-RBI) winner (1966) and Gold Glover (1958).

 Willie McCovey, San Francisco Giants – June 30, 1978

The forty-year-old McCovey hit number 500 in the second game of a doubleheader against the Braves in Atlanta.  McCovey went two-for-two (a double and a solo homer) before being lifted for a pinch runner in the fourth inning.  He started the game at 1B, batting cleanup. The Braves eventually won the game 10-9. McCovey scored once and drove in one.  Big Mac was a three-time league HR leader, and hit a high of 45 in 1969.  McCovey’s 500th came in his 20th of 22 MLB seasons.

Willie McCovey’s 1978 stats: .228-12-64.  Career stats: .270-521-1,555. McCovey was an All Star in six seasons and the 1969 NL MVP.

Willie McCovey factoid:  Despite playing only 52 games in his  rookie season (1959), McCovey won the Rookie of the Year Award (hitting .354 with 13 homers and 38 RBI in just 192 at bats).


Reggie Jackson, California Angels – September 17, 1984

Reggie Jackson hit his 500th HR in a 10-1 loss to the Royals in Anaheim. Jackson started at DH and batted sixth – going one for three with a solo home run, his 22nd round tripper of the season. The 38-year old Jackson was in his 18th season when he hit number 500. He played three more campaigns. Jackson was a four-time league HR leader, and hit a high of 47 in 1969.

Reggie Jackson’s 1984 stats: .223-25-81. Career stats: .263-563-1,702. Jackson was an All Star in 14 seasons and the 1973 AL MVP

Reggie Jackson factoid. Jackson holds the MLB record for strikeouts, 2,597..

Mike Schmidt, Phillies – April 18, 1987

Mike Schmidt notched his 500th round tripper in an 8-6 Phillies’ win over the Pirates (in Pittsburgh). The 37-year-old Schmidt started the game at 3B (batting cleanup) and finished at shortstop. His three-run home run in the top of the ninth gave the Phillies (who were trailing 6-5) their eventual two-run victory. Schmidt went one-for-four in the game, scoring twice and driving in three.  2008 was Schmidt’s 16th MLB season, and he went on to play two more years.  Schmidt was an eight-time league leader in home runs, and hit a high of 48 in 1980.

Mike Schmidt’s 1987 stats: .293-35-113. Career stats: .267-548-1,595. Schmidt was an All Star in 12 seasons and a three-time NL MVP.

Mike Schmidt factoid:  An eight-time NL home run leader, Mike Schmidt also won ten Gold Gloves – and won a Gold Glove in six of his HR-leading campaigns.


Eddie Murray, Baltimore Orioles – September 6, 1996

Switch-hitting Eddie Murray was DH-ing and batting second for the Orioles when he hit number 500 – a solo shot (in a one-for-four day) against the Tigers in a 5-4 home loss. It was fitting that Murray, who spent the best seasons of his 21-year MLB career with the Orioles hit it as an “O” in Baltimore – but that was not a sure thing.  The forty-year-old Murray has started the season with the Indians, but was traded to Baltimore on July 21 (for pitcher Kent Mercker).  Murray was in his 20th MLB season when he stroked number 500. Murray led league in home runs once (22 in the strike-shortened 1981 season), and hit career high 33 home runs in 1983.

Eddie Murray’s 1996 stats: .257-10-34.  Career stats: .287-504-1,917.  Murray was an All Star in eight seasons.

Eddie Murray factoid:  Murray is the only member of the 500-HR Club to never reach 40 homers in a season (high of 33).

Mark McGwire, Cardinals – August 5, 1999

On August 5, 1999, the Saint Louis Cardinals lost to Padres 10-3 in Saint Louis, but the home town fans did get to see Mark McGwire’s 500th (and 501st) MLB home run(s). Both were solo shots, number 500 in the third inning and 501 in the eighth. The 35-year-old McGwire started at 1B, batting third.  The two homers were his only hits in four at bats.  They were his 43rd and 44th of a season in which he would hit 65 round trippers – after pounding 70 in 1998.  HR number 500 came in McGwire’s 14th (of 16) MLB seasons. McGwire was a four-time league HR leader, with a high of 70 in 1998.

Mark McGwire’s 1999 stats: .278-65-147 (leading the league in home runs and RBI).  Career stats: .263-583-1,414. McGwire was an All Star in 12 seasons.

Mark McGwire factoid; No one reached 500 home runs in fewer at bats than McGwire (5,487).


Barry Bonds. SF Giants – April 17, 2001

Bonds hit number 500 (a two-run shot) in a 3-2 win over the Dodgers in San Francisco.  Bonds started in LF, batting third. He went 1-for-4 that day, with one run and two RBI. It was the 36-year-old Bonds’ 16th MLB season – and he went on to play six more campaigns. His 500th was Bonds’ sixth home run in a season when he would hit an MLB-record 73 round trippers. Bonds was a two-time league HR leader, with a high of 73 (MLB single-season record) in 2001.

Barry Bonds’ 2001 stats: .328-73-137. Career stats: .298-762-1,996.  Bonds was an All Star in 13 seasons and the NL MVP a record seven times.

Barry Bonds factoid: Barry Bonds is the only player with 500+ home runs (762) and 500+ steals (514).

Sammy Sosa, Cubs – April 4, 2003

Sammy Sosa hit his 500th on the road, as his Cubs lost to the Reds 10-9.The solo shot was his only hit in four at bats (one run, one RBI). The 500th HR came in the 34-year-old Sosa’s 15th season and he played three more campaigns. Sosa played RF and batted third in the contest. Sosa twice led his league in HRs, and hit a career-high 66 in 1998.

Sammy Sosa’s 2003 stats: .279-40-103. Career stats: .273-609-1,667. Sosa was an All Star in seven seasons and the 1998 NL MVP.

Sammy Sosa factoid: Sosa twice topped 60 home runs in a season – but did not lead his league in either year – 66 in 1998 (Mark McGwire hit 70) and 63 in 1999 (McGwire hit 65).

Rafael Palmeiro, Texas Rangers, May 11, 2003

The Rangers scored big at home on the day Rafael Palmeiro hit number 500 – topping the Indians 17-10. Palmeiro’s home run was a a three-run shot. Palmeiro, playing first base and hitting fourth, also had a double in his five at bats (two runs scored, three RBI).  Palmeiro was 38-years-old and in his 18th of 20 MLB seasons when he connected for number 500. He never led his league in HRs, and hit a high of 47 in 1999 and 2001.

Rafael Palmeiro’s 2003 stats: .260-38-112.  Career stats:  .288-569-1,835. Palmeiro was a four-time All Star.

Rafael Palmeiro factoid: Rafeal Palmeiro has the most career home runs of any player without a HR title to his credit.

Ken Griffey, Jr., Seattle Mariners – June 20, 2004

Ken Griffey, Jr. hit his 500th home run against the Cardinals – as his Reds topped the Redbirds 6-0 in Saint Louis. The 34-year-old Griffey started the game in CF, batting clean-up. He went one-for-three (solo home run), scoring one and driving in two. The 500th HR came in Griffey’s 16th MLB season, and he played a total of 22 years in the major leagues. Griffey was a four-time league HR leader, and hit a high of 56 in 1997 and 1998.

Ken Griffey, Jr.’s 2004 stats:.253-20-60. Career stats:  .284-630-1,836.  Griffey was an All Star in 13 seasons and the 1997 AL MVP.

Ken Griffey, Jr. factoid.  On September 14, 1990, the Seattle Mariners faced off against the Angels in Anaheim, with the Mariners’ Ken Griffey in LF and Ken Griffey, Jr, in RF.  The father-son combination was batting two and three in the order.  In the first inning, they made history, becoming the only father-son combination to his back-to-back home runs in an MLB game.  A “by the way” piece of trivia.  The Griffey’s shared first name is George – George Kenneth Griffey, Sr. & Jr.

Frank Thomas, Toronto Blue Jays, June 28, 2007

The Big Hurt, who gained fame with the White Sox (winning consecutive AL MVP Awards in 1993-94), hit home run number 500 as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays.  It came in an 8-5 Toronto loss to the Twins in Minnesota. Thomas was the Jays’ DH in the game (batting fifth). The 39-year-old slugger (in his 18th of 19 MLB seasons) went two-for-four (double and three-run homer). Thomas never led his league in HRs, and hit a career-high 43 in 2000.

Frank Thomas’ 2007 stats: .277-26-95. Career stats: .301-521-1,704. Frank Thomas was an All Star in five seasons and a two-time AL MVP.

Frank Thomas factoid: Thomas is one of only three players with 500+ homers  to never lead his league in round trippers. Rafeal Palmeiro and Gary Sheffield are the others.

Alex Rodriguez, Yankees – August 4, 2007

Alex Rodriguez hit number 500 as the Yankees topped the Kansas City Royals 16-2 in New York.  The 32-year-old A-Rod started at 3B, hitting fourth.  He was three-for-four (two singles and a three-run homer) when he was replaced in the top of the eighth inning. His scored three and drove in three in the game.  The landmark round tripper came in Rodriguez’ 14th MLB season. He is still active in 2015. A-Rod has led his league in home runs five times, and hit a career-high 57 in 2002.

Alex Rodriguez’ 2007 stats: .314-54-156. Career stats (through September 16, 2015):  .297-686-2,052.  Rodriguez has been an All Star in 14 seasons and is a three-time AL MVP.

Alex Rodriguez factoid:  August 4 is a good day for A-Rod. On August 4, 2007, he became the youngest player to reach 500 home runs (32 years, 8 days). On August 4, 2010, he became the youngest to reach 600 home runs. (35 years 8 days).  

Jim Thome, White Sox – September 16, 2007

Jim Thome, starting at DH for the White Sox (in Chicago), hit number 500 in a 9-7 win over the Angels.  The 37-year-old Thome was in his 17th  season of a 22-year MLB career. Thome went one-for-five in the game (a two-run homer).  His 500th long ball may have been the most dramatic on this list – a walk-off two-run shot in the bottom of the ninth that capped a White Sox comeback from a 6-0 deficit. Thome won one league HR crown, and hit a high of 52 HRs in 2002.

Jim Thome’s 2007 stats: 275-35-96.  Career stats:  .276-612-1,699. Thome was an All Star in five seasons.

Jim Thome factoid; Jim Thome is one of only two players with two post-season Grand Slam homers (Shane Victorino is the other).

Manny Ramirez, Boston Red Sox  – May 31, 2008

The Red Sox were on the road (at Baltimore) when Manny Ramirez hit number 500 (in a 6-3 Red Sox victory). The 36-year-old Ramirez (he celebrated his birthday the day before) started in LF and went one for five (solo home run) with one run scored and one RBI. Ramirez was in his 16th of 19 MLB seasons at the time. Ramirez won one HR title, and had a high of 45 round trippers in 1998.

Manny Ramirez’ 2008 stats: .332-37-121. Career stats: .312-555-1,831. Ramirez was a 12-time All Star.

Manny Ramirez Factoid:  Ramirez is one of only two players to be traded in the same season he joined the 500-HR club  – going to the Dodgers in a three-way deal on July 31, 2008. (The other is Eddie Murray.) 

Gary Sheffield, New York Mets, April 17, 2009

Like Ted Williams, Sheffield launched home run number 500 in his final (22nd) MLB season. Sheffield was 40-years-old at the time and playing for the Mets (his eighth MLB team). Sheffield’s home run came as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the seventh inning in a Mets’ home game against the Brewers.  His solo shot tied the game (eventually won by the Mets) at four.  It was Sheffield’s first home run for the Mets. Sheffield never led his league in home runs. He hit a career high 43 in 2000.

Gary Sheffield’s 2009 stats: .276-10-43. Career stats: .292-509-1,676. Sheffield was an All Star in nine seasons.

Gary Sheffield factoid:  Sheffield is the only player to hit home run number 500 as a pinch hitter. A “by the way” piece of trivia.  Sheffield was release by the Tigers in March of 2009 – while sitting on 499 career homers – and signed by the Mets.  


Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels – April 22, 2014

At age 34, Albert Pujols – playing 1B and batting third – hit his 499th and 500th home runs as his Angels beat the Nationals 7-2 in Washington. He got started early, with a three-run shot in the first inning for number 499 and added a two-run homer in the fifth for the historic number 500. He ended the day two-for-four with two runs scored and five RBI.  Pujols has twice led his league in HRs, and hit a high of 49 in 2006.

Albert Pujols’ 2014 stats: .272-28-105. Career stats (through September 16, 2015): .312-555-1,686. Pujols has been an All Star ten times and is a three-time NL MVP.

Pujols’ factoid:  In his second season with the Cardinals (2002), Pujols played first base, third base, shortstop, left field, right field and DH.

David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox – September 12, 2015

Boston’s “Big Papi” David Ortiz hit his 500th career long ball against the Tampa Bay Rays – as his Red Sox topped the Rays 10-4 in Tampa. The 39-year-old (in his 19th MLB season) started at DH, batting sixth – and collected two home runs in the game (his 499th and 500th). Number 499 was a three-run shot in the first inning, while number 500 was a solo shot in the fifth.  Ortiz is a one-time league HR leader, and hit a career high 54 in 2006.

David Ortiz’ 2015 stats (through September 16): .273-35-97. Career stats (through September 16): .284-501-1,630. Ortiz has been an All Star in nine seasons.

David Ortiz’ factoid: David Ortiz (as of September 16, 2015) has 443 homers as a DH (the most all-time at the position),


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Two Grand Slams in an Inning – Almost Always A Win

History made here yesterday as O's rap two Grad Slams in one inning - for second time.

History made here yesterday as O’s rap two Grad Slams in one inning – for second time.

Yesterday (September 11, 2015), in the eighth inning of a 14-8 win over Kansas City at Baltimore, the Orioles became the first team in MLB history to hit two grand slams in an inning twice. (Six other teams have accomplished the feat one time.)   The long ball hitters were an unlikely pair – LF Nolan Reimond and C Steve Clevenger.  It was the first-ever Grand Slam for each player.  Reimond has shown some power in the past, with a seven-season stat line of .250-48-152 (.239-4-13 in 44 games in 2015) and a season high of 15 home runs in his 2009 rookie season.  Clevenger is in his fifth MLB season (.227-3-39 in 136 total games.) The Grand Slam was his second home run in 2015 (18 games played).  The Orioles scored ten times in the eighth on six hits, a walk, a hit by pitch and an error.

In this post, BBRT will take a look at some facts from the eight two Grand Slam innings – and provide a few details on the first seven double-GS innings.

  • The Orioles are the only team to hit two Grand Slams in an inning twice – yesterday and on August 6, 1986.


  • The Orioles are the only team to hit two Grand Slams in an inning – and still lose.  (August 6, 1986 … a 13-11 loss to the Rangers.)


  • The Cardinals’ Fernando Tatis is the only player to hit two Grand Slams in an inning. (August 23, 1999). 


  • The Mets and Cubs are the only teams to both hit two Grand Slams in an inning and give up two Grand Slams in an inning.


  • Five of the eight Two-Grand Slam innings were achieved by the home team.


  • Eleven is the most popular number of runs scored in a two-GS inning – four times (nine runs twice and 13 and ten once each).


  • There has never been an extra inning with two Grand Slams.


  • There has been one instance of two Grand Slams in an inning in every inning (one-through-nine) except the seventh.


Now some details.

 August 16, 1890

The first team to have a two-Grand Slam inning was the 1890 Chicago Colts (Cubs), who accomplished feat while scoring 13 runs in the fifth inning of an 18-5 win over the Pirates at Chicago.  The home runs were hit by rookie catcher Malachi Kittridge, who ended the season at .201-3-35; had a career stat line of .219-17-391 in 16 seasons; and never topped three home runs in a campaign.  The other Grand Slam was hit by 3B Tom Burns, who had his best season (of 13 MLB campaigns) in 1890, going .277-5-86.  His career line was .266-39-683.

July 18, 1962

It would take 72 seasons before a second team achieved a two-grand-slam inning.  On July 18, 1962, the Minnesota Twins, playing Cleveland in Minnesota, got the game off to a running start with an 11-run first inning – featuring Grand Slams by two prominent sluggers: LF and future Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew and RF Bob Allison.  Killebrew was on his way to an AL-leading 48-home run, 126-RBI season; while Allison would finish the season with 29 long balls and 102 RBI.  Final score: 14-3.

Killebrew’s career stat line (22 seasons) was .256-573-1,584 and he led the AL in home runs six times and RBI three times.  Allison topped 20 home runs six times in 13 MLB seasons, with a high of 35 in 1963.  His career stat line – .255-256-796.

 July 30, 1969

On July 30, 1969, the Astros went into the top of the ninth (of the first game of a double header) leading the home town New York Mets by the narrow margin of 5-3 – three outs, seven hits, four walks, one passed ball, 11 runs and two Grand Slams later it was a rout (final 16-3). Astros’ SS Denis (yes, one “n”) Menke and CF Jimmy Wynn (known as the Toy Cannon) provided the power.  Menke would finish the season .269-10-90 and would hit 101 homers in 13 MLB seasons.  Wynn would go .269-33-87 for the season. Over 15 MLB campaigns, the 5’ 10’, 160-pound outfielder would hit 291 home runs (20 or more eight times) and steal 225 bases.  Overall, it was a bad day for the Mets, who also dropped the second game – by an 11-5 score.

April 12, 1980

The Brewers jumped all over the Red Sox 18-1 in Milwaukee on August 12, 1980 – thanks in good part to a nine-run, two-Grand Slam bottom of the second. The dingers came off the bats of the Brewers’ corner infielders – 1B Cecil Cooper and 3B Don Money.  It was the first homer of the young season for Cooper the second for Money. Cooper would go on to hit .352 in 1980, swatting 25 homers and leading the AL with 122 RBI. His career stat line (17 seasons) would be .298-241-1,125. Money ended 1980 at .256-17-46 in just 86 games – and would hit 176 round trippers in 16 MLB seasons.

 August 6, 1986

In August of 1986, The Baltimore Orioles actually managed to hit two Grand Slams in one inning – in a losing cause.  Trailing the Rangers 6-0 going into the bottom fourth, the Orioles treated their home fans to a nine-run, two-Grand Slam inning.  They had plenty of help from the Rangers.  The inning went like this: walk; walk; walk; Grand Slam; single; walk; fly ball out; fly ball out; walk; error; Grand Slam; ground out. Despite the big inning, the Orioles lost the game 13-11, as the Rangers plated five runs in the second, one in the third, six in the eighth and one in the ninth. Notably, the Orioles got their 11 runs on just seven hits.

The fourth inning Grand Slams were delivered by DH Jim Dwyer and LF Larry Sheets. Dwyer finished the season with a .244 average, eight home runs and 31 RBI in 94 games (and hit 77 home runs in 18 MLB seasons). Sheets wrapped up 1986 with a .272 average, 18 home runs and 60 RBI (112 games) and then hit a career-high 31 long balls the following season.  He had a total of 94 home runs in eight MLB seasons.

April 23, 1999

Fernando Tatis - only player with two Grand Slams in one inning.

Fernando Tatis – only player with two Grand Slams in one inning.

The Cardinals’ 12-5 victory over the Dodgers (in LA) on April 23, 1999, was truly historic.  In that game’s 11-run top of the third, not only did the Cardinals hit two Grand slams, Cardinals’ 3B Fernando Tatis became the first (still only) player to hit two Grand Slams in one inning – both off  LA starter Chan Ho Park. They were Tatis’ fifth and sixth homers in the Cardinals’ first 15 games of the season – and gave him 19 RBI.  1999 was Tatis’ best MLB season (of 11) ever, He reached ultimate career highs in hits (160), average (.298), doubles (31),  home runs (34), RBI (107), runs scored (104) and SB (21). Tatis’ career line was .265-113-448.

July 16, 2006

The Mets topped the Cubs in Chicago on July 16, 2006, by a 13-7 score. Trailing 5-2 going into the top of the sixth, the Mets rallied to score 11 times – including eight runs on Grand Slams by CF Carlos Beltran and LF Cliff Floyd. The inning featured  eight hits (three HRs), three walks and an error.

The sixth inning Grand slam was Floyd’s ninth home run of the season and second of the game (he hit a solo shot the previous inning), while Beltran’s round tripper was his 26th of the year. Beltran finished 2006 at .275, with career highs in home runs (41) and RBI (116).  Going into the 2015 season (still active), Beltran had topped 20 home runs in 12 seasons and exceeded 100 RBI eight times.  As of this September 12, his 2015 stat line was .278-15-53.  Floyd hit .244, with 11 home runs and 44 RBI in 2006 and .278-233-865 in 17 MLB seasons.


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The Dog Days – BBRT August Wrap

Edwin Encarnacion - got the Blue Jays going in August.

Edwin Encarnacion – got the Blue Jays going in August.

August Belonged to the Blue Jays

The Dog Days of August are behind us and, by pretty much any measure, the month belonged to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays won a major-league-best 21 games – against only six losses (a .778 percentage) – moving from third place in the AL East (6 games behind) at the end of July to first place (with a 1 1/2 game edge over the Yankees) at the end of August. In the process, they were totally dominant – scoring MLB’s most runs for the month (170) and giving up MLB’s fewest tallies (83).  Middle of the line-up offense was the key to the surge.  DH Edwin Encarnacion hit .407 in August with 11 home runs and 35 RBI – those totals ranked first, second and first in all of MLB.  Also contributing to the Blue Jays’ rush to first place were: 3B Josh Donaldson, who matched Encarnacion’s 11 homers and 35 RBI, while hitting .324 for the month; and RF Jose Bautista (.286-10-20).

The Blue Jays weren’t the only team to make a move in August. The Mets had MLB’s second-best record at 20-8 (.714), moving from second place in the NL East at the end of July (two games back) to first place (with a 6 ½ cushion over the Nationals).  Four teams recorded 19 wins in August – the Pirates at 19-8 and the Royals, Cardinals and surging Cubs (all at 19-9). Two teams played under .300 ball for the month – the Reds (8-21, .276) and Braves (8-20, .286). Over in the AL, the Angels had August’s worst results at 10-19 (.345)

If the Season Ended August 31 …   

Let’s start with a look at who is where.  Who would be in the playoffs if the season ended at the end of business on August 31?

  • AL … Division Champions: Blue Jays; Royals; Astros. Wild Cards: Yankees, Rangers. Note: The Twins are just one game behind the Rangers in the WC race.
  • NL … Division Champions: Mets; Cardinals; Dodgers. Wild Cards: Pirates, Cubs. Note: The closest to the Cubs in the WC race are the Giants – 5 ½ back.

 You will find full August 31 standings at the end of this post.  

A Few Team Observations

Home to the team holding 2015's best won-lost record.

Home to the team holding 2015’s best won-lost record.

As of the end of play on August 31, the Cardinals (.649), Royals (.615) and Pirates (.612) were the only teams playing .600 or better ball, while only the Phillies were playing under .400 ball (.395). The biggest Division edge belonged to the Royals with a 13-game lead over the Twins in the AL Central, while the closest race was in the AL East, where the Jays lead the Yankees by just 1 ½ games. While they didn’t have MLB’s worst won-loss record, the Reds were the furthest behind in any Division race – trailing the Cardinals by 30 ½ games (however, they were only one game behind the fourth-place Brewers).

A sampling of team stats through August:

  • The Blue Jays led all of MLB in runs scored with 720 – 90 ahead of the closest challenger (the Yankees at 630). The top scoring team in the AL was the Diamond backs at 588 runs. The Braves were MLB’s lowest-scoring team through August at just 475 tallies, while the Rays had the lowest AL total (489). MLB Average – 548 runs scored.
  • The Cardinals gave up the fewest runs through August (392), while the Rockies were the most generous (Thank you, Coors Field) at 682 runs. In the AL, the Astros allowed the fewest tallies at 469, while Detroit allowed the most opposing runners to reach the plate (640). MLB Average – 548 runs allowed.
  • Only Saint Louis had a team earned run average under three (2.65 through August 31), while only Colorado had a team ERA over five (5.10). MLB Average – 3.92
  • Toronto also led all of MLB in home runs through August at 184. The Dodgers lead the NL with 155. Least power? The Braves and Marlins were the only teams with less than 100 long balls, 83 and 97, respectively. Surprisingly, the Royals – with the AL’s best record – had the fewest home runs in the junior circuit at 102. The Royals were, however, sixth in the AL in runs scored (569) and second (trailing only the Tigers) in batting average (.270).  MLB Averages – 129 HRs, .254 average.
  • If you are looking for speed, Cincinnati is the place to go (Thanks, Billy Hamilton). The Reds led MLB with 116 steals through August, but the Diamondbacks were on their heels with 110. In the AL, Houston led in steals with 99. Meanwhile, no one stayed put on base more than the Orioles and Dodgers, with 36 and 39 steals, respectively, each. MLB Average – 69.
  • Laying off the bad pitch. No team drew more walks through August than the Blue Jays (448) – maybe it’s all the power. The Cubs drew the most free passes in the NL at 444. The Royals were the only team to draw fewer than 300 walks through August (295). Surprisingly, despite leading all of MLB in walks, the Blue Jays drew the fewest intentional passes through August (eight). The Cardinals led all of MLB with 43 intentional walks through August 31. MLB Averages – 370 walks, 26 intentional passes.
  • The Cubs led MLB in strikeouts (as hitters) at 1,208, while the Astros’ 1,158 led the AL. The Royals got the bat on the ball most consistently, with MLB’s lowest strikeout total through August at 741. MLB Average – 997.
  • When it comes to power pitching, the Indians’ staff led MLB in strikeouts with 1,163, with the Cubs atop the NL with 1,128. Twins’ pitchers have recorded the fewest whiffs, just 804.  MLB Average 997.

 Before getting into individual statistics for August and through August here are …


The Tri-Cycle Club

Adrian Beltre - hitting for the cycle can be habit-forming.

Adrian Beltre – hitting for the cycle can be habit-forming.

On August 3, Texas Rangers’ 3B Adrian Beltre – a four-time All Star, four-time Gold Glover and four-time Silver Slugger honoree – joined a very elite group of MLB hitters. As the Rangers topped the Astros 12-9 in Arlington, Beltre became just the fourth MLB player to hit for the cycle three times in his career (joining John Reilly, Babe Herman and Bob Meusel). Beltre didn’t keep the home town fans in suspense for long, completing his cycle in just five innings (triple in the first, double in the second, single in the third, home run in the fifth).

All three of Beltre’s cycles have come at Arlington (but not all for the Rangers). He hit for his first cycle on Sept. 1, 2008, against the Rangers (as a Mariner). His second cycle came as a Ranger on Aug. 24, 2012, against the Twins. For trivia buffs, Beltre is the only person to hit for the cycle in the same ball park for more than one team.

Making that First One Count

On August 12 and August 21, Mariners’ RHP Hisashi Iwakuma and Astros’ RHP Mike Fiers, respectively, each threw their first-ever MLB complete game. Iwakuma beat the Orioles 3-0 (in Seattle) and Fiers topped the Dodgers by the same score (in LA). The nine-inning outings were not only each player’s first complete game, they were the fourth and fifth no-hitters of the 2015 MLB season.

Going the Distance – In Style

On April 21, 2012, Philip Humber of the White Sox pitched his first MLB complete game – and did it in style – pitching a perfect game against the Mariners in Seattle. He threw 96 pitches in the perfecto – 67 for strikes – in which he fanned nine. The perfect game was the only complete game of Humber’s eight-year MLB career.

Number-Nine … Number-Nine … Number-Nine

No one likes to bat in that number-nine slot, but it was pretty good to Red Sox’ right fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. on August 15.  Coming into the game hitting .203 with just two home runs (after hitting .198 with one home run in 127 games in 2014), Bradley went five-for-six, with three doubles, two home runs, five runs scored and seven RBI – as the Red Sox topped the Mariners 22-10 in Boston. Bradley’s five extra-base hits in a game were a Red Sox’ franchise record (and some pretty good hitters have graced the Fenway batter’s box).

How Do You Spell Relief?

On August 16, Oakland 1B Ike Davis took the mound for the second time this season.  Davis came on to open the bottom of the eighth with Oakland trailing Baltimore 18-2. Davis retired the first hitter he faced (number-two hitter CF Gerardo Parra) on a fly to left. Then, Orioles’ 3B Jimmy Paredes doubled.   That’s when it got interesting. The Orioles had moved starting DH Steve Clevenger to 1B when they brought in reliever Jason Garcia in the top of the eighth, thus losing the DH position.  That meant relief pitcher Jason Garcia would come to the plate, hitting in the clean-up spot (which had been occupied by starting 1B Chris Davis). So, here – in the DH-embracing American League – we had a position player pitching to a pitcher (batting clean-up). Garcia drew a four-pitch walk, after which Davis struck out Jonathan Schoop and got starting DH/now 1B Clevenger on a fly to left. Davis was the A’s most effective pitcher of the game, which saw the Orioles score 18 runs on 26 hits and three walks,

Davis may come by his penchant for taking the mound naturally.  He is the son of former MLB reliever Ron Davis – who notched 130 saves in 11 big league seasons.

I Think That One Cleared the Van Down by the River

On August 19, Tigers’ southpaw Daniel Norris was slated to start against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. It was his fourth appearance since being traded to the Tigers (by the Blue Jays) on July 30 – and his first in an NL park. Consequently, the day would mark Norris’s first-ever professional plate appearance.  The free-spirited (more on that in a minute) lefty gave a hint of things to come when he damaged the Cubs’ new right field video board with a long smash during batting practice. Then, during the game, he hit a two-run home run in his first major league plate appearance – the first Tiger hurler ever to do so. The Tigers, by the way, beat the Cubs 15-8, but Norris left after 4 1/3 innings due to an oblique strain.

Oh, about that free-spirit, this is the same Daniel Norris who – despite signing for a $2- million bonus – lived in a 1978 Volkswagen van behind a Wal-Mart in Spring Training.

August A Month For Rookies

According the Elias Sports Bureau, 56 rookies went deep in the month of August – hitting 155 home runs, the most ever hit by rookies in a single MLB month.  Leading the rookie home run parade were Twins’ 3B/DH Miguel Sano and Cubs’ C/OF Kyle Schwarber, who each hit nine August round trippers.  Sano went .278-9-26 for the month, while Schwarber went .221-9-24.

Cespedes Paying Dividends for Mets

On August 21, Yeonis Cespedes had a night to remember as his Mets topped the Rockies 14-9 in Colorado. Cespedes collected five hits in six at bats – including three home runs, a double and a single.  He also scored five times and drove in seven – and added a stolen base for good measure.  In the process, he missed a cycle (single, double, triple, homer in one game) by just the triple – and was just a three-run blast short of a “Home Run Cycle” (solo, two-run, three-run and Grand Slam homer all in the same game).  Cespedes hit a Grand Slam in the second inning, a solo shot in the fourth and a two-run homer in the sixth. For the story of professional baseball’s only Home Run Cycle, click here. Since the Mets traded for Cespedes on July 31, he has given them all they wanted and more. In 28 games as a Met, he has hit .275-8-23.

Double Your Pleasure … Double Your Fun

Cano - a doubles machine.

Cano – a doubles machine.

On August 25, Seattle 2B Robinson Cano banged his way into the MLB record books by taking second base on a bloop hit to left field. It was Cano’s 30th double of the season, making him the first MLB player to hit thirty or more doubles in each of his first 11 big league seasons. Cano’s historic two-bagger came with one out and no one on in the bottom of the seventh inning of the Mariners’ 6-5 home win over the A’s.  (The Mariners were leading 6-5 at the time, and Cano did not come around to score.)

In his first ten seasons, the six-time All Star, five-time Silver Slugger winner and two-time Gold Glover averaged 41 doubles per year (a low of 34 in his 2005 rookie and a high of 48 for the Yankees in 2009 and 2012).  Cano is now one of just six players – joining Stan Musial, Honus Wagner, Tris Speaker, Joe Medwick and Ed Delahanty – to collect 30 or more doubles in 11 straight seasons.

Ten Players Go Yard in One Game

On August 24), the Mets hit eight home runs while trouncing the Phillies 16-7 (in Philadelphia). The game featured a total of eleven round trippers (tying the NL record for combined long balls in a game).  The two teams also set a new MLB record for the most players hitting a home run in a game at ten – seven Mets and three Phillies. The eleven home runs were just one short of the MLB record for a game – accomplished twice, both times in a White Sox/Tigers contest. For more on the Mets/Phillies and other home run records, click here.

Arrieta’s No-No

On August 30, the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta threw a no-hitter in Los Angeles, beating the Dodgers 2-0. Arietta walked one and fanned twelve in the outing, throwing 80 of 11 pitches for strikes. Arrieta, by the way, finished his no-no in style, striking out the side in the ninth. It was the sixth no-hitter this season – one short of the modern record for an MLB season (seven in 1990, 1991, 2012).  There were eight no-hitters thrown in the 1884 American Association (considered a major league) season. The no-hitter was Arrieta’s sixth win in August and 17th on the season – MLB 2015 highs for August and through August.



Now, here are your Month-of-August and Through-August batting and pitching leaders:

 Month-of-August Batting Leaders

 A look at August’s batting leaders gives a pretty good indication as to why the Blue Jays finished with the month’s best won-lost record. As I noted earlier, the Jays’ 3B Josh Donaldson, RF Jose Bautista and DH Edwin Encarnacion made up the month’s most devastating offensive trio.  Encarnacion was clearly August’s top offensive performer – with a .407-11-35 line.

For August, three hitters with at least 75 plate appearances managed a .400 batting average; Encarnacion; Indians’ left fielder Michael Brantley (.406); and Indian’ 3B Lonnie Chisenhall (.403).   D-Backs CF A.J. Pollock led NL hitters with a .377 average for August.

August was a good month to be named “Khris” or” Chris” Davis – as both players reached 10 home runs and 20+ RBI for the month.  Brewers LF Khris went .228-10-24, while Orioles’ 1B Chris’ August line read .257-10-22.

Nobody apparently wanted anything to do with Reds’ slugging 1B Joey Votto. Votto led MLB with 38 walks in August – the Nationals’ Bryce Harper was second with just 24.

Here’s a look at the Month-of-August batting leaders.

AVERAGE (minimum 75 plate appearances)


Edwin Encarnacion, DH , Blue Jays – .407

Michael Brantley, LF, Indians – .406

Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B, Indians – .403


A.J. Pollock, CF, D-backs – .377

David Peralta, LF, D-backs – .375

Andrew Mccutchen, CF, Pirates – .348



Carlos Gonzalez, RF, Rockies – 10

Khris Davis, LF, Brewers – 10

Kyle Schwarber, C, Cubs – 9


Nelson Cruz, RF, Seattle – 12

Edwin Encarnacion, DH, Mariners – 11

Josh Donaldson, 3B, Blue Jays – 11



Edwin Encarnacion, DH Blue Jays – 35

Josh Donaldson, 3B, Blue Jays – 35

Miguel Sano, 3B, Twins – 26  


Ryan Zimmerman, 1B, Nationals – 28

Matt Kemp, RF, Padres – 25

Khris Davis, LF, Brewers – 24

Kyle Schwarber, C/OF, Cubs – 24



Josh Donaldson, 3B, Blue Jays – 29

Jose Bautista, RF, Blue Jays – 26

Nelson Cruz, RF, Mariners – 24


Kyle Schwarber, C/OF, Cubs – 26

A.J. Pollock, CF, D-backs – 24

Bryce Harper, RF, Nationals 24



Dee Gordon, 2B, Marlins – 11

A.J. Pollock, CF, D-backs – 10

Charlie Blackmon, CF, Rockies – 9


Jose Altuve, 2B, Astros – 8

Lorenzo Cain, CF, Royals – 7

Four with Six

Month-of-July Pitching Leaders

Jake Arrieta was clearly the pitcher of the month in August with an MLB-leading six victories, an 0.43 ERA for the month (second only to the Mets’ Matt Harvey among pitchers with 20 or more innings) and a no-hitter in his last August outing. Boston’s Joe Kelly matched Arrieta’s six wins in the AL, going 6-0, 2.68. The Giants’ Madison Bumgarner was the only five game winner (5-0, 1.43).

The Importance of Run Support

The AL ERA leaders illustrated just how important run support can be. The Astros’ Scott Feldman, Indians’ Carlos Carrasco and Tigers’ Justin Verlander finished 1-2-3 in ERA for the month – and had a combined ERA of 1.44 in 13 starts. Yet each won only one game, and they totaled four losses.



Joe Kelly, Red Sox – 6-0, 2.68 ERA

Seven with four victories.


Jake Arrietta, Cubs – 6-0, 0.43

Madison Bumgarner, Giants – 5-0, 1.43

Three with four victories

ERA (minimum 20 innings pitched in the month)


Scott Feldman, Astrsa – 1.33

Carlos Carrasco, Indians– 1.47

Justin Verlander, Tigers  – 1.50


Matt Harvey, Mets – 0.33

Jake Arrieta, Cubs – 0.43

Michael Wacha, Cardinals – 1.13



Chris Sale, White Sox – 52 (33 2/3 innings)

David Price, Blue Jays – 50 (43 1/3 IP)

Chris Archer, Rays – 50 (39 1/3 IP)


Madison Bumgarner, Giants – 53 (37 2/3 innings)

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers – 51 (45 IP)

Raisel Iglesias, Reds – 45 (39 2/3 IP)



Shawn Tolleson, Rangers – 10

Roberto Osuna, Blue Jays – 10

Brad Boxberger, Rays – 8


Trevor Rosenthal, Cardinals – 11

Mark Melancon, Pirates – 10

Four with nine



Batting Leaders Through-August



Bryce Harper, RF, Nationals – .329

Dee Gordon, 2B, Marlins – .329

Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, D-backs – .325


Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Tigers – .358

Michael Brantley, LF, Indians – .322

Jason Kipnis, 2B, Indians – .319



Nelson Cruz  RF, Mariners – 39

Josh Donaldson, 3B. Blue Jays – 36

Chris Davis, 1B, Orioles – 35


Bryce Harper, RF, Nationals – 31

Carlos Gonzalez RF, Rockies – 31

Todd Frazier, 3B, Reds – 30

Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies – 30



Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, D-backs – 96

Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies – 95

Andrew McCutchen, CF, Pirates – 85


Josh Donaldson, 3B, Blue Jays – 108

Chris Davis, 1B, Orioles – 92

Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, Blue Jays – 91



Josh Donaldson, 3B. Blue Jays – 101

Brian Dozier, 2B, Twins – 90

Jose Bautista, RF, Blue Jays – 89


Bryce Harper, CF, Nationals – 92

A.J. Pollock, CF, D-backs – 91

Dexter Fowler, CF, Cubs – 85



Billy Hamilton, CF, Reds  – 54

Dee Gordon, 2B, Marlins – 45

Charlie Blackmon, CF, Rockies – 36


Jose Altuve, 2B, Astros – 35

Lorenzo Cain, CF, Royals – 26

Billy Burns, CF, A’s – 25

Ben Revere, LF, Blue Jays – 25

Pitching Leaders Through-August



Kale Arrieta, Cubs – 17-6 (2.11)

Madison Bumgarner, Giants – 16-6 (2.97)

Michael Wacha, Cardinals – 15-4 (2.69)

Gerrit Cole, Pirates – 15-7 (2.44)


Dallas Keuchel, Astros – 16-6 (2.24)

Felix Hernandez, Mariners – 15-8 (3.66)

Four with 14



Zack Greinke, Dodgers – 1.61

Jake Arrieta, Cubs – 2.11

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers – 2.24


Sonny Gray, A’s – 2.13

Dallas Keuchel, Astros – 2.24

Scott Kazmir, Astros – 2.45



Chris Sale, White Sox – 229 (171 1/3 IP)

Chris Archer, Rays – 223 (181 IP)

Corey Kluber, Indians – 219 (200 1/3 IP)


Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers – 236 (185 IP)

Max Scherzer, Nationals – 209 (178 IP)

Madison Bumgarner, Giants – 192 (175 2/3 IP)



Brad Boxberger, Rays – 33 (37 opportunities)

Glen Perkins, Twins – 31 (33 opps)

Huston Street, Angels – 31 (35 opps)


Mark Melancon, Pirates – 43 (45 opportunities)

Trevor Rosenthal, Cardinals – 42 (44 opps)

Jeurys Familia, Mets – 36 (41 opps)


To close, here are the MLB standing as of August 31


AL East

Blue Jays        74-57   .565

Yankees          72-58   .554     1.5

Rays                65-66   .496     9.0

Orioles             63-68   .481     11.0

Red Sox           61-70   .466     13.0

AL Central

Royals            80-50   .615

Twins              67-63   .515     13.0

Indians           64-66   .492     16.0

White Sox       61-68   .473     18.5

Indians            48-54   .471     13.0

AL West

Astros              73-59   .553

Rangers           68-62   .523     4.0

Angels             65-66   .496     7.5

Mariners          61-71   .462     12.0

A’s                  58-74   .433     15.0


NL East

Mets               73-58   .557

Nationals          66-64   .508    6.5

Braves             54-77   .412    19.0

Marlins            53-79   .402     20.5

Phillies             52-80   .394     21.5

NL Central

Cardinals          85-46   .649

Pirates             79-50   .612     5.0

Cubs                74-56   .569     10.5

Brewers            55-75   .423     29.5

Reds                54-76   .415     30.5

NL West

Dodgers            73-57   .562

Giants              69-62   .527     4.5

Padres             64-67   .489     9.5

D-backs           63-68   .481     10.5

Rockies           53-76   .411     19.5

I tweet baseball @DavidBBRT

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Little League Big Game Legends

Williamsport – where Little Leaguers Play Big Games


Spurred by ESPN’s excellent and ongoing coverage of the 2015 Little League World Series (LLWS), BBRT thought it would be appropriate to revisit some past “legendary” LLWS performances.  So, here’s my top three (although there are as many as a dozen great candidates).

1. Lloyd McClendon – 1971

How can you not put a player who earned the nickname “Legendary Lloyd” at the top of your Little League World Series legends list? Back in 1971, 12-year-old Lloyd McClendon (current manager of the Seattle Mariners) earned the title “Legendary Lloyd” for his LLWS performance for the Gary, Indiana team.  McClendon helped lead his team to the finals – the first all African-American team to make it to the final LLWS game.  He had ten plate appearances (three games) and swung the bat just five times.  Each of those swings produced a home run.  In all of his other trips to the batter’s box, Lloyd was intentionally walked.  Before the championship game, the opposing coach (Taiwan provided the opposition) reportedly vowed to challenge (and not intentionally walk) McClendon.  Lloyd, however, poled a three-run homer on the first pitch of his first bat – and then drew  intentional walks in his remaining plate appearances. The three tallies were the Gary team’s only runs of the contest, which McClendon started on the mound.  As a pitcher that day, Legendary Lloyd held the favored team from Taiwan to three runs, while striking out a dozen, over the first eight innings –  before the wheels came off and Taiwan captured the title in the ninth.

McClendon went on to attend Roosevelt High School in Gary (earning All State recognition and a baseball scholarship to Valparaiso University).  He earned All Conference (Indiana Collegiate Conference) honors for Valparaiso in 1979 and 1980 (with a .330 average and 18 home runs in his college career). McClendon was drafted by the Mets in 1980 (eighth round), made it to the majors in 1987 – and hit .244 with 35 home runs and 154 RBI over eight seasons (1987-94, with the Reds, Cubs, Pirates). His best year was 1989, when he went .286-12-40 for the Cubs, spending time at catcher, 3B, 1B and outfield. He made the post season three times (1989 Cubs, 1991-92 Pirates) and hit .625 (10-for-16) with one home run and four RBI in 11 NLCS games. He served as a Pirates’ coach (1997-2000) and manager (2001-05), Tigers’coach (2006-2013) and Mariners manager (2014-15).

2. Sean Burroughs – 1993

Little Leaguer Sean Burroughs had some big shoes to fill.  His father, Jeff Burroughs enjoyed a 16-season MLB career and was the 1974 AL MVP.  Sean, playing for Long Beach, California, made it to the finals in 1992 and 1993. The 1992 team lost the championship game to the Philippines, but was later declared the title winner after the Philippines team was found to have used ineligible players. It was in 1993 that Sean earned his spot on this list. Long Beach won the LLWS title in more traditional fashion that year; with Burroughs throwing a pair of no-hitters, fanning 32 batters, and going 9-16 (.562) at the plate, with three home runs and five RBI.  Burroughs was a 1998 first-round draft pick (ninth overall) by the Padres.  Burroughs was MVP of the 2000  Futures Game and the Pacific Coast League (AAA) Rookie of the Year in 2001, when he hit .322 in 104 games. Burroughs hit .278 in seven MLB seasons (2002-06, 2011-12; Padres, Diamondbacks, Twins) – primarily as a third baseman. His best season was 2003, when he hit .286 with seven home runs, 58 RBI and seven steal in 146 games for the Padres. He is currently on the roster of the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League.

3. Chin-Hsiung Hseih – 1996

Chin-Hsiung Hseih was a virtual hitting machine for Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) in 1996 – he went 12-for 17 (.706)  with LLWS record-highs in home runs (7), runs scored (13) and RBI (16) as his Tainan, Chinese Taipei team won the title.

Honorable mentions: Angel Macias, who pitched a perfect game for Monterrey, Mexico, in the 1957 championship game (making Monterrey the first non-U.S. team to win the title); Cody Webster, Kirkland, Washington, who shut out Taiwan 6-0 in the 1982 title game – stopping Taiwan’s streak of consecutive championships at five  – and also hit .500 for the series; and Kyle Carter, who earned four pitching victories (three complete games) as Columbus, Georgia, won the 2006 title.