Baseball

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 »

Thoughts on the 2020 baseball season so far, Part One [With Comment by John]

Featured image Baseball wraps up its regular season today. On Tuesday, the playoffs will commence with 16 of MLB’s 30 teams participating. The most important thing about this year’s season is that it happened. Baseball didn’t go dark in the year of the pandemic, despite the entreaties of so many nay-sayers, including plenty of sportswriters. Baseball pulled off the season. Two teams had to shut down for extended periods. However, it looks »

This day in baseball history: The Pirates take charge of the NL East

Featured image In 1970, the only tight baseball race occurred in the NL East. It involved three teams: the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Chicago Cubs, and the defending champion New York Mets. The Pirates began the month of September with a 1.5 game lead over the Mets and a 2 game lead over the Cubs. As of September 24, they had extended that lead slightly to 2.5 games over both clubs. On Friday, »

Fathers and sons

Featured image Which father-son pitching major league duo holds the record for most combined wins? I believe the answer is Mel and Todd Stottlemyre with 302, followed by Dizzy and Steve Trout with 258. Which combo holds the record for most wins plus saves? The answer is still the Stottlemyres with 304, I think. For second place, though, the answer changes. It’s Dick “Turk” Farrell and Richard Dotson with 300. But Farrell »

On being run out of town, Part Two

Featured image Last week, I described how, 50 years ago, Philadelphia Phillies fans basically ran the team’s star player, Dick Allen, out of town. Today, I’ll discuss how the great Tom Seaver, who died last week, was run out of New York. Mets fans adored Seaver. They didn’t run him out town. A sportswriter did. Seaver was the best pitcher of the 1970s. For my money, he’s one of the ten best »

On being run out of town, Part One

Featured image Two baseball stars of the 1960s and 1970s are in the news this week. First the good news. Dick Allen was honored by the Philadelphia Phillies. Now, the sad news. Tom Seaver passed away. There’s a common thread between these two legends. Both were run out of the town where they made their names, albeit under very different circumstances. This post is about Allen’s woes in Philadelphia. This weekend, I’ll »

This day in baseball history: The NL East race tightens

Featured image 1970 was not a great year for baseball races. The Cincinnati Reds and the Baltimore Orioles were the two best teams that year and both locked up their races by late August. In the AL West, the California Angels were still within striking distance of the first place Minnesota Twins. But the Twins were a much better team than the Angels (the Oakland As were better, too, but out of »