Baseball

This week in baseball history

Featured image Fifty years ago, baseball was more entertaining than it is now, in my opinion. Walks, strikeouts, and home runs may (or may not) be baseball’s only “true outcomes,” but they are less fun to watch than fielding gems, triples, and the hit-and-run. Unfortunately, the analytics revolution has made the hit-and-run nearly extinct. And its emphasis on strikeouts and home runs means fewer balls in play, and thus less excitement on »

MLB’s favorability rating plummets

Featured image Major League Baseball has suffered a massive loss in popularity among Republicans due to its intervention on the side of Democrats in the political dispute over Georgia’s voting law. According to a poll by Morning Consult, MLB’s net favorability rating (the difference between the percentage of those who view the sport positively and those who view it negatively) among Republicans has dropped from 47 points to 12 points in the »

This day in baseball history — True Blue

Featured image On opening day of the 1971 baseball season, the Washington Senators chased young pitching phenom Vida Blue to the showers in the second inning. Blue’s next start, on April 9, was a different story. Blue faced the Kansas City Royals. His Oakland team, considered strong contenders in the AL West, had lost its first three games. Not to worry. Blue was almost unhittable on the day. He set the pattern »

Why did baseball capitulate?

Featured image Jim Geraghty wonders why Major League Baseball pulled its all-star game from Georgia, but major sporting events are still scheduled to take place in that state. He cites the Masters Golf Tournament, as well as all home games for professional Atlanta teams and Georgia’s collegiate athletic programs. In addition, the following events are still a go, as of now: The 2021 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games in Atlanta The 2021 SEC Championship »

This day in baseball history: Washington’s last opener of the century

Featured image April 5, 1971 was baseball’s Opening Day. As was the tradition back then, Washington played the only American League game of the day. Normally, the U.S. President threw the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day in D.C. Some years, the Vice President filled in. But on this day, former Vietnam prisoner of war Master Sergeant Daniel Lee Pitzer did the honors. Manager Ted Williams selected Dick Bosman to pitch for »

Down with Major League Baseball!

Featured image Major League Baseball has decided to punish Georgia for its new voting law by moving the 2021 all-star game from Atlanta. As John explained here, the new law isn’t racist, as critics complain. In fact, it actually increases access to the polls. But that’s not really the point. The point is that Major League Baseball’s executives should worry about fixing their broken game and leave decisions about voting and other »

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 »