Baseball

The hell with the Hall of Fame

Featured image The National Baseball Hall of Fame voters have decided, collectively, not to elect anyone to the Hall this year. Curt Schilling came the closest to obtaining the required 75 percent of the votes. He collected 71.1 percent, falling 16 votes short. Schilling’s exclusion is a travesty. He clearly had a Hall of Fame caliber career. As I wrote last year around this time: Schilling’s career WAR (wins above replacement player) »

Remembering Hank Aaron

Featured image Hank Aaron died yesterday at the age of 86. Aaron is second on the all-time home run list behind only Barry Bonds, who used steroids. Aaron is baseball’s all-time leader in total bases, far ahead of Stan Musial, who is second place. In terms of WAR (a measure of player value that estimates wins above a hypothetical replacement player), Aaron ranks seventh. The only players ahead of him are Babe »

Remembering Don Sutton

Featured image Don Sutton, the Hall of Fame pitcher, has died at the age of 75 after a long fight against cancer. Sutton was a mainstay of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitching staff, but nearly began his career with Charlie Finley’s Oakland As. Imagine an As staff with Sutton plus Catfish Hunter, Vida Blue, Ken Holtzman, Blue Moon Odom, and Rollie Fingers. How did Oakland miss out on Sutton? The story, from »

This day in baseball history: A Minor deal

Featured image On December 22, 2000, the Baltimore Orioles traded Ryan Minor to the Montreal Expos for Jorge Julio. Minor has a place in baseball history. He’s the man who started for the Orioles at third base on September 20, 1998, the day Cal Ripken voluntarily ended his 2,632 consecutive game streak. Minor went 1-4. The Minor-Julio deal turned out to be a very good one for the Orioles. Julio was a »

MLB sticks it to the minor leagues

Featured image The greedy bastards who run major league baseball have executed a hostile takeover of minor league baseball. As a result, at least 40 minor league teams are being deprived of affiliation with a major league team, while the remaining 120 will be forced to sign an unfavorable agreement with MLB if they wish to continue as affiliates. The upshot is (1) a significant contraction of the minors and (2) MLB »

Remembering Dick Allen

Featured image Dick Allen, the outstanding slugger, died on Monday. His obituary in the Philadelphia Inquirer is here. Fortunately, the Philadelphia Phillies finally got around to honoring their former superstar during a game this September, just in time. After that event, I wrote this appreciation of Allen: Allen, who yesterday became the first Phillie not in the Hall of Fame to have his number retired by the team, was an immense talent »

Is Tony La Russa woke enough to manage the White Sox? [UPDATED]

Featured image When the Chicago White Sox named Tony La Russa as their manager last month, it seemed like a good hire. Only two managers in baseball history have won more games than La Russa, and Connie Mack and John McGraw were not available for hire. La Russa, a member of the Hall of Fame, has managed three teams — the White Sox, the Oakland Athletics, and the St. Louis Cardinals. All »

The perils of managing by formula

Featured image I long railed on Power Line against the formulaic use of relief pitchers that was followed pretty much universally when we started our blog in 2002, and for many years thereafter. The formula was that the team’s “closer” would be used only in the ninth inning of games in which his team had a lead of one to three runs. The closer would always start the ninth inning; he would »

Craziest World Series game ever?

Featured image I watched my first World Series game in 1956 at a friend’s house and have watched at least part of almost every Series game since 1958, when my parents broke down and bought a television set. The best Series game I’ve ever seen was Game 6 in 1975, between Boston and Cincinnati. The most dramatic was Game 7 in 1960, between Pittsburgh and the New York Yankees. Yesterday’s Game 4 »

This week in baseball history: Brooks, Orioles put ’69 Series behind them

Featured image In 1970, baseball’s post-season consisted of a best of five playoff series in both leagues plus the World Series. Thus, the minimum number of post-season games was ten. The 1970 playoffs were completed in one game over that minimum number. The Baltimore Orioles, smarting from their upset loss to the New York Mets in the 1969 World Series, swept aside the Minnesota Twins in three straight. The combined score of »

Remembering Joe Morgan

Featured image Pete Rose liked to boast that winning teams seemed to “follow him around.” But Bill James (I believe) countered that winning teams were even more attracted to Joe Morgan. It’s true. The Cincinnati Reds did a fair amount of winning before Morgan arrived from Houston in 1972. But only after that did they become a great, championship team. Morgan returned to Houston in 1980. That year, the Astros won their »

Baseball playoffs or home run derby?

Featured image After the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the New York Yankees in the deciding game of the American League divisional playoff, the Rays’ manager, baseball lifer Kevin Cash, called it the most exciting game he has ever been a part of. To the neutral, the game was suspenseful and dramatic. The Rays won it 2-1 on a solo home run by Mike Brosseau in the eighth inning off of Aroldis Chapman, »

Remembering Whitey Ford

Featured image Whitey Ford, the most successful pitcher ever to play for baseball’s most successful franchise, died on Thursday at the age of 91. Ford was the mainstay of the New York Yankees’ pitching staffs for almost the entirety of the team’s post-war dynasty (though he missed 1951 and 1952 due to military service). The Yankees called up Ford from the minor leagues during the 1950 pennant race. He responded by winning »

Remembering Bob Gibson

Featured image Bob Gibson died this week at the age of 84. Major League baseball’s website has posted a fine tribute to this great pitcher, one of the 20 best starters of all time for my money. With his seven World Series game wins across three Series, his record-breaking performances in 1968 (after which the pitchers’ mound was lowered), and his unforgettable intimidating presence, Gibson was arguably the most important major leaguer »

What we can say to Carlos Correa

Featured image This week, the Houston Astros defeated the Minnesota Twins two games to zero in an American League wild card series. Afterwards, Carlos Correa, the Astros’ shortstop, asked, “What are they going to say now?” Correa was referring to the criticism, and in some cases hatred, directed at his team for cheating during the 2017 season (and quite possibly at times thereafter). Correa seems to think that the two-game sweep of »

Navigating baseball’s wild card scramble, two case studies

Featured image In previewing MLB’s wild card scramble, I noted that, due to injuries, the Atlanta Braves were down to, at most, two reliable starters — Max Fried, a star, and Ian Anderson, a rookie who pitched very well in six regular season starts. After that, the Braves had only the collection that contributed to a 5.50 ERA for the team’s starters collectively (and a higher ERA than that if one factors »

Thoughts on the 2020 baseball season so far, Part Two

Featured image MLB’s playoffs start this afternoon. They feature 16 teams out of MLB’s 30. The playoffs should be limited to eight teams, in my opinion, and certainly to no more than the 10 that compete in a normal season. But 2020 is not an ordinary season, and we might as well enjoy the mad scramble that is about to ensue. This year’s champion would not be widely considered fully legitimate under »