Sunday, December 23, 2012

Every Decade, Baseball Deals With Problems, Scandals

While I believe this Steroids Scandal to be a huge problem in baseball, it's not like there has not been problems before. And in each case, baseball moved on:

1900s: As the World Series began in 1903, this was supposed to be an annual affair, but just one year after baseball had taken then right step in becoming the national pastime, it took a huge step back as the New York Giants did not want to compete against a "Minor League" opponent in an "Exhibition Series". Fortunately, the World Series became an annual affair starting the next year. Nevertheless, I wonder how fans of the Boston Americans (as they were called) were to view this "exhibition" after 1918?

1910s: An certainly, this was no exhibition in 1919, when the Series was thrown, or earlier when a third league, the Federal League, openly competed. Fortunately, that league lasted just 2 years, and 8 White Sox players, were thrown out of baseball for life. Too bad, for two of them, Buck Weaver and Shoeless Joe Jackson, had little to do with it.

1920s: The very next year, Ray Chapman was killed by a pitch ball, which cried out for the use of batting helmets. They didn't actually become mandatory until the the late 1950s. Nonetheless, baseball had suffered a black eye

1930s: Spitballs were actually a problem, because they were legal, and dangerous. The above occurrence, sans the fatality, was becoming far to common, and the spitball just made it worst. Fortunately, the league abolished it in 1920. But the reason it is here was, those that threw it, were allowed to continue to use it, until Burleigh Grimes retired in 1934. So from 1934 on, there were NO legal spitballs thrown. Or were allowed without punishment, unless you found a way.

Also in this decade, the use of night baseball, which no doubt raised the issue of the realism of baseball. Not until 1971, however, would the World Series be played under the lights!

1940s: World War 2, obviously made baseball seem irrelevant, but when blacks were not allowed to play until 1947, it cost baseball fans the likes of a prime Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson. Along came Jackie Robinson in 1947. And then Larry Doby to the American League the next year. Baseball was for everyone.

Although, having said that, the forming of the Mexican League, cost MLB some of its better players, several of whom tried to return, and were banned for almost  the rest of the decade, including my favourite, Sal Maglie.

1950s: Baseball wasn't really coast to coast, but soon MLB was on the move, to Baltimore, to Milwaukee, to Kansas City, and finally, sadly for many, to the west coast, costing New York two of it's teams. But at least the National League was everywhere now. With the expansion Los Angeles Angels in 1961, the American League was now a coast to coast affair.

1960s: Baseball was an outdoor sport, until the Houston Colt .45s opened the Astrodome, and changed their names to the Houston Astos in 1965. The game would no longer be just an outdoor affair. Also, the game would now be played on artificial surfaces, such as Astroturf, something Tug McGraw said he had never smoked before and wasn't sure he liked.

MLB also adapted a draft in 1965. Suddenly, the Yankees, Dodgers and Mets would no longer have an advantage over everyone.

Also, a very turbulent decade, as United States lost both Kennedys and Martin Luther King. Baseball was declining in attendance.

Marvin Miller was appointed the very first Executive Director Of The Major League Baseball Players Association.

1970s: With the advent of the Designated hitter by the American League in 1973, baseball was now almost two different sports, rather than two different leagues.

Curt Flood took baseball to court in 1970. And while he lost his case, others would soon take up the challenge. The reserve clause, which had been in effect since the dawn of big league hardball, would soon be abolished.

After the Reds beat the Red Sox in the 1975 World Series (and an exciting one at that), two pitchers, Dave McNally and Andy Messersmith, filed for a hearing, having played a season without a contract. McNally and Messersmith won their case, and the dawn of free agency began.

1980s: Carlton Fisk tested the free agent market after the 1985 season, but received no offers. The same happened to Andre Dawson the next year and Jack Morris in 1987.

It was soon found that that there was a collusion among owners to keep contracts down during those three years. The owners were forced to pay the players 280 million.

Pete Rose was investigated as having gambled on his own team. While he did fight the case, he agreed to a lifetime suspension. Then in 2004, Rose admitted that he did, indeed, gamble on his own team. Whether or not Rose will ever make the Hall Of Fame is unknown.

1990s: The World Series was not played in 1994 due to a players strike, which was not settled until early in the 1995 season. The season had already been reduced to 144 games, but the real players returned that season, avoiding replacement players, who were slated to step in.

2000s: Jose Canseco retired in 2002, and told Fox Sports Net. that 85 percent of major league baseball players used steroids. "There would be not baseball left if they drug tested everybody today.", he said.

Then two years later, he released his book, Juiced, where he admitted that he took steroids, along with sluggers, Mark McGwire, Jason Giambi  Rafael Palmerio,  Juan Gonzalez and Ivan Rodriguez.

Palmerio would fail a drug test in 2005, while McGwire would admit to steriod use in 2010. Earlier in 2002, Ken Caminitti would admit to steroid use in 1996. In 2004, Caminitti died of a drug overdose.

Baseball instituted a random drug test in 2003 to see how bad the problem was. Over 100 major leaguers tested positive. Then in 2007, a 409 page report (The Mitchell Report) investigating the use of performance enhancing drugs, named 89 major leaguers.

Today, major league players are tested twice a year. A player failing one test is suspended 50 games.  If twice, 100 games. Three times and your out, lifetime suspension.

2010s: Hall Of Fame Debate. With so many of the games legends, in recent years, linked to steroids, it bears the question, if it was legal to do at the time, should they be allowed in the Hall Of Fame. And just how close, or not close, would the players be to Hall Of Fame caliber if they hadn't taken PEDs. This is one subject the has no right or wrong answer.
Who knows what other scandals baseball will experience in the coming decades to come? Rest assured though, MLB will once again reassert itself on us fans, as always, with it's integrity never questioned!

Monday, December 17, 2012

2013 BBWAA, Part 3: The Problem With NOT Voting For Bonds

Barry Bonds has us in a predicament.

If we don't vote for him or Clemens, how do we know for sure the guy we are voting for is Hall Of Fame material?

Or the guy could not be first ballot Hall Of Fame, but he gets in, on his year on the ballot! Hey, even Roberto Alomar didn't make it his first year, and he didn't takes PEDs!

That's a scenario that could very well play itself out, not only this year, but over the course of the next coming years.

See, take some of the names I think should be in:

Morris

Wells

Schilling

Okay, like I said, they all had great postseason success, which does seem to be an edge.

But take Morris and Wells, who had high ERAs, or Schilling, who won only 216 games. Schilling's ERA was pretty high (3.46), too. Should Schilling go in his first year on the ballot? Should Morris or Wells go in at all?

Now, none of them cheated.

And while I think they should be in, that doesn't mean you think they should be in.

It's strange, you know. Some guys might make it because they're numbers fall short.

I even expect Dale Murphy to get a high number of votes this year. It's his last year on the ballot. He was Mr Nice Guy To All.

He won't get enough to get in. But when we are talking about whose better, years down the road, you will all say he was better than Bonds. Just as you all say that Roger Maris was better than Bonds.

I have to laugh at that. I'm here to tell you (and I like both Roger Maris and Dale Murphy), neither of them is better than Bonds.

Not even close.

Not even in the same sentence.

Know how painful that is to say?

Not so painful as knowing they were better people than Bonds.

But that is not what the Hall Of Fame is all about here, people. It's about greatness, domination.

And you could argue that Mattingly and Trammell, two of my favs, are also not Hall Of Fame material. But, you know what, I think one of them might make it if no one votes for Clemens, Bonds, Sosa and other PEDs who will be added to the ballot next year.
.
I mean, Griffey is better than Bonds, I think. It's so sad to look how his numbers went down the last few years. Why? Because he didn't cheat.

Part of me wishes he had cheated. He was a nice guy, he was well liked, and he was better than Bonds. Better than Sosa, McGwire, A-Rod, Palmerio, Gonzalez and these other sluggers who we know cheated.

But years from now, look at their stats. Griffey looks not as good as Bonds, A-Rod. And not that much better than Sosa, Palmerio, Gonzalez, etc

And part of me thinks that is not right!

I want to be able, years from now, to walk into a bar and say how happy I am that (insert non-cheater HOF here) made the baseball Hall Of Fame. And not hear, out of the corner of my ear, "He only made it because they didn't vote for Bonds", and have to nod my head in reluctant agreement!


References


Kalb, Elliott. Who's Better, Who's Best in Baseball: Mr. Stats Sets the Record Straight on the Top 75 Players of All Time. McGraw-Hill, 2005. Print.

Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 17 Dec. 2012.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

2013 BBWAA Ballot, Part 2: Bonds

This won't be the only time I mention Bonds.

So, it's time for all of us to get back at him! For all the years he lied to us, was rude to us, and showed us Barry's three favourite people in the world: Me, Myself and I! (Bonds would want me to capitalize all three, so there!)

And guess what, he took steroids.

So, now, let's keep him out of the Hall Of Fame.

And keep Gaylord Perry, Ty Cobb and others in, never to be questioned.

Or have their character questioned.

But with Bonds their is always controversy. And whether he makes it in or not, there will still be controversy.

Before we go into anything, let's also remember: the voters have to vote for someone. Anyone, maybe even someone who isn't qualified numbers-wise. See where I'm going?

It is ironic that Bonds first year on the ballot will also be Dale Murphy's last. The difference between the two could be like night and day.

It's kinda of sad that a guy so colourful, sometimes grand, and spectacular will probably not make it. I guess that it what happens when you don't cheat. You lose.

Then you cheat and lose.

Your stats can take a nosedive if you don't cheat (as Murphy's did after 1987), when he had 310 homeruns and a .279 batting average. If he had started cheating in 1988 like Jose Canseco (who was in his 3rd year of juicing and about to go 40-40), you can bet he would have finished with more than 398 homeruns and a .265 batting average.

The thing is, you can condemn Barry Bonds all you want! But by the end of the 1998 season, he had become the first player to hit 400 homeruns and steal 400 bases. That is Hall Of Fame material.

So too, was Barry's then .411 OBP, more than 400 doubles, 3 MVPs (plus many say he should have won it in 1991. This was one of the ways the writers punished him), EIGHT gold gloves...

That's all Hall Of Fame calibre.

And by the way, he was in the top 10 in stolen bases 9 times, including his rookie year, where he appeared in only 113 games and stole 36 bases.

And now for something interesting: Barry Bonds didn't start juicing until 1999!

See, the point I am trying to make, he is a Hall Of Famer. Yes, before Barry started to cheat. Even Clemens, I'll don't think, quite had his foot in the Cooperstown door before he started juicing.

And you know what? Bonds was, and probably still is, a jerk. A self-absorbed , and has no time for you, me or anyone else. Happy I said that. That's what you wanted to hear. Guess I should have put that in the first paragraph. It was that obvious.

But Barry Bonds is still a Hall Of Famer. And I don't think the same thing of McGwire, Sosa and Canseco. Clemens, I'll leave that up to you. And get, this, I think's he's better than Aaron!

And Barry did lead the league in home runs, in 1993, when he was still clean. And, of course, no one else he was competing against was cheating, right? So what does that say? He beat the guys whose low he would stoop to 6 years later!


References


Kalb, Elliott. Who's Better, Who's Best in Baseball: Mr. Stats Sets the Record Straight on the Top 75 Players of All Time. McGraw-Hill, 2005. Print.

Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 12 Dec. 2012.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Aaron VS Downing: Much More Than That April Night Of 1974

I guess if not Bonds, then we go to Aaron, because A-Rod is a confirmed PED so it doesn't count in your minds.

I was thinking back to the clip of #715 against poor Al Downing, and thinking how you hate to have your name there.

If you're Al Downing.

But then again, that's what happens when you face a batter whose number is 44, and your number is also 44!

Downing, though, need make no apologies.

As the first black who pitched for the Yankees, forming a black battery with Elston Howard, Downing was more than just the "Guy who gave up 715." Take a look:

Called up July 19th 1961, he pitched, struggled, but got to see Mantle hit homerun #36 of Dick Donavan.

He pitched just 4 more times, but got to see Maris hit #57 off Frank Lary on September 19th. He stayed with the team the rest of the season and saw Maris hit #61.

He joined the Yankees as a regular in 1963 and proceeded to win, 13, 13, 12, 10 and 14 games on Yankee teams that were below .500 for those last three win numbers.

He was 10th in the AL with those 14 wins, and second in the NL in 1971 with 20 wins.

Downing also pitched in the 1967 All Star Game. Later that season, August 11th, he struck out the side against Cleveland in the second inning, on just 9 pitches.

He was 5th in the AL in ERA in 1963 (2.56), 8th in 1967 (2.63) and 7th in the NL in 1971 (2.68).

Being a flamethrower early in his career, he was 8th in the AL with 171 K's in 1963. Then he topped all AL hurlers in K's the next season with 217. He was good enough for 5th next year with 179.

Shutout-wise, Downing threw 4 in 1963, good enough for 3rd in the AL. He threw 4 more in '67 for 9th places among AL hurlers. Once he moved to the NL in 1971, he tossed 5 more for tops in the league. The next year, Downing added 4 more for 6th.

But he had never faced Aaron who was with the Braves in Milwaukee from 1954 until 1965. The franchise, which had moved from Boston to Milwaukee in 1953, made another shift to Atlanta in 1966.

But Downing was stuck in the American League until 1971.

In that season, the two would cross paths for the first time on September 19th, 1971. Downing had been firing on all cylinders coming in (18-8). It was the first game of a doubleheader.

Aaron could do little against him on this night.

A night that saw him start the game at first base.

Phil Niekro was on the mound for Atlanta. He lasted less than four innings and gave up six earned runs.

Aaron flied out in the top of the first with Felix Milan on first and one out. In the top of the fourth, he lined out to left.

With Ralph Garr (the first player to score a run against my boys, the Toronto Blue Jays) on first and one out, Aaron grounded to third, getting thrown out at first. The Braves were behind 6-0 at this point.

The lead swelled to 9-0 in the 7th as Aaron left the game and was replaced by his brother, Tommy.

Tommy, by the way, flied out in the top of the ninth with the Braves now down, 12-0. He was the second last batter of the game.

The final score was 12-0, as Downing had his 19th win and 4th shutout on the campaign. He had surrendered just 3 hits on the day.

The nesxt time out was a little better, Aaron and his mates again being shutout, but only 2-0, 5 days later. It was also better for Niekro, who this time fired a fine 4 hitter, 0 walks. Cecil Upshaw picked him up in the top of the eight and threw two shutout innings, giving up 2 hits.

Aaron flied out in the bottom of the 1st, lined out to center in the 3rd, then grounded out in the bottom of the 6th. Finally in the eight, with Felix Millan on 2nd, an Aaron single and then a walk to Earl Williams loaded the bases. Alas, Mike Lum hit into an inning ending, liner, double play.

Downing had his 5th shutout (in his next start, his team lost 11-0) on an 8 hitter with just 1 walk. But he had faced just 35 batters on the night.

So Aaron is 1-7 against Downing with no RBIs or walks, but also no K's for 1971.

In 1972, they met just once, on June 23rd. What I find incredible, I mean what are the odds, is Downing's mound opponent this night Phil Niekro.

The Dodgers scored 2 again, but this time, the Braves got one. Did Aaron have anything to do with it? Each pitcher finished with a fine, 5 hitter.

Aaron grounded out in the top of the first. Downing then K'd Aaron for the first time ever in the 4th. With Niekro on 2nd and 2 out in the top of the 6th of a still scoreless deadlock, Aaron popped out to second.

After Frank Robinson smacked a 2-run dinger in the bottom of the frame, the Braves finally got a run of Al in the top of the next inning as Sonny Jackson hit into a double play.

Downing entered the 9th and faced three tough hitters: Aaron, Rico Carty and Orlando Cepeda

Aaron grounded out, Carty gounded out, Cepeda popped out foul to first.

Aaron is 1-11 off his future record setting victim. But right now, in 1972, it is Aaron who is the victim, time and time again.

So 1973 marked a change.

Aaron and Downing would meet up on April 15, 1973, sans a week, almost exactly a year before the real matchup.

Anyways, the Dodgers won again, 6-2. And this time, it was Gary Gentry (Met's 1969 World Series Game 3 starter!) pitching on the Braves. Aaron?

Aaron batted with two outs in the top of the first, and flied out. In the top of the 4th, Hank coaxed a walk. Dusty Baker ended the inning by fanning.

Aaron led off the 7th with a groundout. But the Braves finally got the first run as Darrell Evans doubled home Baker.

The Dodgers answered the Braves 1 tally with 6 of their own in the bottom of the frame. Downing himself singled, but was thrown out at home to end the inning.

Al gave up a double in the top of the eight, but K'd two more to bring his total to 7 on the day. Aaron would lead off the top of the ninth.

And he took Downing deep.

And that's how the game ended, 6-2.

May 20th, 1973, the nightcap between Atlanta and LA, Downing was in fine form. Gentry, his mound opponent again, lasted just 2.1 innings and gave up 8 hits and 5 runs, all earned.

Downing threw another 3 hitter, although the Braves also got three runs off him. Another complete game gem.

Aaron though, didn't play!

Downing also started a game on June 20th of that year against Atlanta. The Dodgers won 6-5 in the 11th inning. But again, no Hammerin' Hank!

June 29th, 1973, was a wild night in Atlanta.

The Braves already had one in the bottom of the 1st, but Aaron grounded out to third to end the frame.

The Dodgers build a 4-1 lead as Downing faced Aaron in the bottom of the frame with two out. He got under it and flied out to centerfielder Willie Davis.

The Braves themselves scored 4 more runs by the bottom of the 5th to go ahead 5-4, and in the 6th, after Darrell Evans reached on an Downing, Hank sent Al to test the showers with a 2-run shot. The Dodgers, though, came back to win this game 12-9.

Al and Hank would not meet again until after the all star game, and even then it was all the way to September 20th, 1973, 12 years to the day that Al's teammate, Roger Maris, had hit homerun #58 of 1961.

Aaron came into this game with 38 homeruns on the season and 711 on the career.

Downing would not let him hit another on this day.

A flyball to center. Another flyball to center. Finally in the top of the 6th, Aaron came up with 2 on, 2 out, and the Braves down by 2.

Boom! A double to left to tie the game. The Braves scored again as Baker singled Aaron home!

But the Dodgers came back with another tally in the bottom of the frame to tie it at 3. It came on Willie Crawford's second homerun on the day.

In his final plate appearance of the game against Downing, Aaron singled with one out, but was stranded on first as Dusty Baker and Davey Johnson (the last out of the 1969 World Series) both flied out to left.

Downing got through the ninth without another run scored.

Charlie Hough came in to pitch the top of the 10th and walked Aaron. But the Braves failed to score. In the top of the 12th, Aaron hit his second double of the game, but it didn't score a run and Hank was again stranded. The Dodgers won the game in the bottom of the frame on a Davy Lopez homerun.

Aaron had hit another homerun on the 22nd of the month, to give him 39. Could he reach 40, 4 days later?

Downing looked lost on this day. The Braves scored first in the bottom of the first as he hit a flyball for a sacrifice fly. The Braves scored again before the inning was over.

Then in the second, with the score now tied 2-2, Aaron put the Braves ahead again with a single to left. Dusty Baker plated the 4th Braves run with a single of his own. Weather report: Early showers for AD. The Braves lost the game 9-8 as Aaron went 0-3 with a walk the rest of the game.

Aaron would hit his 40th homerun of Jerry Reuss. Darrell Evans trumped Aaron by hitting his 41st on the year in the same game. Amazingly enough, the Braves had a third player, Davey Johnson, join the 40+ homerun party by hitting a team leading 43 homeruns.

But Aaron now had 713 homeruns at the conclusion of the 1973 season.

He was also now 6-22 lifetime against Downing. 2HR, 7RBI, 1BB, 1K

It was a long winter for Aaron, but the Braves opening game of the 1974 season in Cincinnati, Hank faced Jack Billingham with Ralph Garr on second and Mike Lum on first.

He connected for homerun #714, tying Babe Ruth.

On April 6th, with Phil Niekro back on the hill, but facing someone other than Al Downing for a change, the Braves beat the Reds 5-3, for their first win on the season. Our man, Hank, was 0-3 with 2 K's against Clay Kirby, before leaving the game in the 7th for Rowland Office.

So one the 9th of April 8th, 1974, Downing made his first start of the season, on the road against Atlanta. Henry Louis Aaron needed just one more homerun to pass Ruth.

Aaron's lifetimes stats after the Cincinnati game: 2966 GP, 714 HR, 2136 RBI, .311BA, .378OBA

So it was game #2967 for Aaron, and 334 for Al Downing.

Downing faced Aaron in the bottom of the second, and walked him. 53, 775 fans didn't like that.

But they must have liked the face that Dusty Baker doubled to left, scoring Aaron.

Then the Dodgers came back and put a "3" on the scoreboard in the top of the 3rd, as Downing himself scored Steve Garvey with a single. Soon, it would be Jim Wynn who scored Downing and Davey Lopes.

Aaron would bat again in the bottom of the 4th. Darrell Evans led off the inning by reaching on an error. There was no place to put Aaron.

Downing, perhaps a little shaken with Evans on first, threw a high rising fastball.

But it didn't rise fast enough, and it didn't have enough zip from the mound to the plate.

Aaron turned those fast wrists of his on the ball and sent it to left.

What happened next is hard to describe. Time seemed to stand still. The ball made it over the wall in left of Atlanta's Stadium, which would eventually have name change, Atlanta Fulton County Stadium.

Aaron had done it. A wild celebration ensued.


And Downing was even more shaken.

Dusty Baker walked. Davey Johnson walked. Downing was done for the night, but knew, no matter how long he lived, this night, would be his most memorable.

The Dodgers ended up losing the game 7-4 as Downing took the loss.

Was there more, you ask? That's what makes baseball the great sport it is. There is always more.

So on May 17th of that season, it was the Braves making a trip out west to face the Dodgers.

Aaron faced Downing with 2 outs and Marty Perez on first. This time, all Hank could do was hit into an inning ending force out.

Perez then walked to open the first, with the Dodgers up 1-0. Aaron flied out.

In the top of the 6th, with the Braves having gone up 3-2, Aaron coaxed a walk off Downing. But he was thrown out trying to go from 1st to 3rd on Davey Johnson's single.

Downing left after the 7th, not having faced Aaron again. The Dodgers came back to tie the game, but lost in extra innings.

There would be one last meeting between the two on July 27th, 1974. Phil Niekro started again. This is becoming all too common here, eh?

Anyways, Aaron's first inning single scored a run, and the Braves were up 2 at the end of the frame. Al then K'd Hank in the bottom of the 3rd. Dusty Baker then hit a solo homerun off Downing.

Two more runs in the bottom of the 4th finished Downing and the Dodgers, who would go on to lose the game, 10-0.

Al Downing pitched 8 more times that season, but would never face the Braves again that season.

The Braves missed the postseason, but the Dodgers made it all the way to the World Series, losing to Oakland, 4-1.

Downing carried on pitching for the Dodgers until LA released him in the summer of 1977, so he was not there that fall when the faced Al's old team the Yankees.

But Downing would never face Aaron again. In the 1974 offseason, they traded Aaron, who hit 20 homeruns that season to bring his career homerun total to 733. He would hit 20 more in two seasons with the AL Milwaukee Brewers, who amazingly enough, would join the National League in 1998.

But for Hank Aaron and Al Downing, it was so much more than that one crisp night in April 1974.

Oh, and for you stat lovers like me, here are the head to head totals, Aaron VS Downing

PA: 31

AB:27

R: 8

2B: 1

3B: 0

HR: 3

RBI: 10

BB: 3

K: 2

BA: .296

OBP: .355

SH: 1

SF: 0

IBB: 0

HBP: 0

GIDP: 0

References

http://www.baseball-reference.com/

Monday, December 3, 2012

2013 BBWAA Ballot, Part 1: The Jays Players

So here we go in what is unquestionally going to be the most memorable Hall Of Fame induction. One that I am sure is going to pave the way, one way or another for what we are all going to do with all the PED users.

But for now I digress and choose to look at some of the players on this years ballot who wore the Blue and White Toronto Blue Jays:

Name: Royce Clayton

Years on Ballot: 0 (First Year, and probably Last Year)

Blue Jay From: 2007

To: 2007 (69 Games)

Hall Of Fame Chances: Pretty much none, although he was one of best fielding shortstops of his time as he was consistantly among the leaders in Range Factor Per Game and Range Factor Per 9 Innings. He didn't hit for much of an average (.258 BA and .312 OBA) and little power (110 homeruns).

Name: Roger Clemens

Years on Ballot: 0 (First Year)

From: 1997

To: 1998

Hall Of Fame Chances: Oh, here we go. I'd say I would stay clear of this, but...

Anyways, the minute I bring up his lifetime stats, you say, "Yeah, you want to know how get got those..."

There really is no point with the stats. It is thought that Clemens started using PEDs in 1998, although, just to satisfy you haters, I'm going to go a little further than this and say, 1997.

The reason I say this, is Clemens came to the Jays that year. And here is a breakdown of his career up until his last four seasons in Boston:

Seasons: 9

G: 273

GS: 272 (His one relief stint you ask? July 18th, 1984 vs Oakland)

W: 152

L: 72

W%: .679

ERA: 2.80

IP: 2031.0

H: 1703

K: 1873

BB: 552

OBA: .226

OOBP: .282

Then came 4 bad years (1993-1996)

Seasons: 4

G: 110

GS: 110

W: 40

L: 39

W%: .506

ERA: 3.77

SHO: 4

IP: 745.0

H: 656

K: 717

BB: 304

OBA: .236

OOBP: .316

So the totals of the Rocket in Boston are:

Seasons: 13

G: 383

GS: 382

W: 192

L: 111

W%: .634

ERA: 3.06

SHO: 38

IP: 2776.0

H: 2359

K: 2590

BB: 856

OBA: .229

OOBP: .292

So he turned it around in '97 with the Jays in '97 going 21-7 with a 2.05 ERA. The Jays won only 76 games that year. They then improved to 88 wins next year, the most games won by a Jays team in a single season since they last won it all in '93 (Clemens had never had a losing season up 'til that point, but he went 11-14 that season).

Clemens started out slow that 1998 year, though. By the end of May, he was 5-6 and his ERA was 3.50!

Then something clicked.

Roger went 15-0 from there until the end of the season, 22 starts. His ERA was 2.29 for that stretch and batters hit .201 against him. He fanned 201 batters in 165.1 inning. That's an average of almost 11 K's per nine innings!

I'm guessing, this is the PEDs kicking in for sure. This is someone 36 years old, leading the league in ERA for the second straight year (2.65), winning 20 games and fanning 271 batters!

From there, it's off to New York for David Wells, and then to Houston, where in 2005, at the age of 43(!) he compiles a 13-8 record and an ERA of 1.87!

Oh, wait a minute, the above doesn't count, now does it?

Seems to me like Clemens was on pace for the Hall of Fame before 1993, dipped to "win one, lose one" for the next 4 seasons, really came back in '97, and was almost as good in '98.

So odd that he has that great year in 1997 with no PEDs, though. I gotta think he was doing something with them in '97, else how do you explain how he does so well with a sub .500 team?

Clemens finished with 354 wins, 3.12 ERA and 4672 Ks. Opponents batted just .229 against him lifetime.

But, let me guess, the PEDs did all that.

I think Clemens could have finished his career with around 250-275 wins. Lotta Ks and and a low batting average against. He would have made the Hall of Fame eventually with those numbers, although, perhaps not first ballot.

At any rate, he's going in.

And on this coming year, 2013.

Name: Shawn Green

Years on Ballot: 0 (First Year)

From: 1993

To: 1999 (716 games)

Hall Of Fame Chances: Green came up to Toronto in '93, was okay for a few years, then suddenly caught fire in 1998, and went on to finish his career with 328 homeruns, more than 1000 RBIs and more than 1100 runs scored. His lifetime batting average was just .283, but he did have a .355 on base percentage.

I also though he was a very, very good fielder.

But his numbers fall short. He might stay on the ballot for a few years, but that's all you can expect

Name: Fred McGriff

Years on Ballot: 3 (Fourth Year)

From: 1986

To: 1990 (578 games)

Hall Of Fame Chances: The Jays needed someone to replace George Bell in left, so they made a trade with San Diego that sent McGriff and Tony Fernandez for Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar.

McGriff went from there to Altanta to Tampa Bay to the Cubs to the Dodgers and finally back to the Rays.

Everywhere he went, he hit.

And he basically contended (although he never won) for the triple crown each year.

He finished his career with 493 homeruns, 1550 RBIs, .284 BA and a .377 OBP.

These totals are good. And there has never been any steriod accusations, which helps him even more. I think he'll make it, but he might have to wait 5-7 years.

Name: Jack Morris

Years on Ballot: 13 (14th Year)

From: 1992

To: 1993 (61 games)

Hall Of Fame Chances: Morris is an interesting case. He did win 254 games, which brings considerable consideration (Just remember, I invented that saying!) to the Hall. He also won a World Series with the Tigers in '84, the Twins in '91 and the Jays in '92. And he did have a lot to do with all three. Let's not forget, prior to Morris coming to the Jays, no Toronto pitcher had won 20 games. Morris did that and 1 better.

Now, the knock against Morris is that his ERA is high (3.90). And it had nothing to do with Tiger Stadium:

Morris Home ERA Lifetime: 3.90 in 288 games

Morris Away ERA Lifetime: 3.90 in 269 games

Morris Tiger Stadium ERA Lifetime: 3.80 in 224 games

See, it was actually lower at Tiger Stadium than at other ballparks.

But still, Morris brought the right attitude to clubhouse. He never made excuses, never pointed at teammates. To the Jays he brought a swagger, an arrogance, that I really think helped the team. And this rubbed off on Toronto, even on days Jack wasn't pitching. The Jays were missing these things.

For a while, I would have said no to Morris. Consider me, if I was a voter to vote.

Vote for Morris.

Name: David Wells

Years On Ballot: 0 (First Year)

1st Tour Of Duty With Jays

From: 1987

To: 1992 (237 Games)

2nd Tour Of Duty

From: 1999

To: 2000 (69 games)

Hall Of Fame Chances: If it was what he looked like, Wells would have a difficult time explaining what he was doing in a baseball uniform, much less the Hall Of Fame for baseball.

Seriously though, Wells looked to me like a guy who was inconsistant, season to season and even start to start. But he got it together in the Bronx, came back to Toronto and won every game he pitched, then pretty much went wherever he wanted and won everything.

What's impressive to me about Boomer is, all those teams he played for, he'd give up hits, have a high ERA and he'd just win, win, win, no matter how good or bad the team was. That's how he did it with teams like New York and Boston, but also in teams like Toronto and Detroit.

He finished his career with 239 wins and only .604 W%. And no PEDs, although good thing Wells didn't take them. Might have done, god only knows to him.

Anyways, he pitched in the postseason for, ready?

Toronto

Cincinatti

Baltimore

New York

Boston

San Diego

See, winning just followed this guy around! And he was 10-5 (That's a .667 W%) in the postseason.

Wells is up against Clemens, Morris and Curt Schilling. Only Clemens has a better  W%, and that's under a cloud according to you.

Morris was 7-4 in the postseason (.636)

Schilling was 11-2 in the postseason (.846)

Clemens was 12-8 in the postseason (.600)

So Wells is right there with wins in the postseason and W% in the postseason.

So he gets my vote, because Wells wins everywhere, everytime, April to November!

Plus, baseball players come in all shapes and sizes. Gotta have someone in the Bronx that looks a litte different. Perfect for the Hall!

Name: Woody Williams

Years on Ballot: 0 (First Year and probably Last Year )

From: 1993

To: 1998 (166 games)

Hall Of Fame Chances: I still remember thinking about Woody as the 4th or 5th starter on the Jays. But as Toronto declined from 1994 on, he moved on up and became a "good 3rd or 4th starter". Once he got out of Toronto, he went from San Diego to St Louis back to San Diego and finally to Houston in 2007, where he retired.

Actually, he was better than I remember. The guy actually won 132 games, led the NL in winning % back in 2006 at the age of 39 (?!) and had seasons of 18, 15, 12 (x2), 11, 10 (x2).

Great enough for a #3 or #4 starter. Too bad there is isn't a "#3 or #4 starter Hall Of Fame, because my favs Claude Osteen, Mike Cuellar, Mike Garcia and Johnny Podres would get in.

Alas, none of these guys or Williams will ever get in!


References


Sports Reference LLC.  Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 3 Dec. 2012.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Found: Things The 1962 Mets Did That WERE Positive

So, the 1962 Mets are the worst team of all time! Marv Throneberry couldn't catch a ball at first, or bat, Ellio Chacon kept running into Richie Ashburn, and Roger Craig just lost, lost, lost. Finally, Harry Chiti was the first baseball player to be traded for himself.

Anything I missed? Yeah, but why keep bringing it up?

Truth is, I've always had a special feeling for this team. And let's not forget about what they did seven years later, right?

Before I start, what team lead the National league in walks in 1962?

Yeah, that's right, the Mets. In all of MLB that year, only the ChiSox (620), Twins (649) and Tigers (651) drew more walks than the Mets (616).

Funny how it works, eh?

Let's start with my fav, Marv Throneberry.

Really now, is there any point in looking up his stats for 1962. I mean he's god-awful, right?

The funny thing is, he didn't even start the '62 campaign in the National League.

Actually, he over in the AL, where he started his career back in 1955 with the Yankees.

So he joined the Mets after being god-awful for the Orioles in 1962.

Here's his stat line: 9AB, 1R, 0H, 0HR, 0RBI, 6K, 4BB

A perfect start for a future 1962 Met!

So he joined New York on May 9th of that season for a player to be named later, who turned out to be Hobie Landrith.

Landrith, by the way, shares a few things with Marv: he was out of the bigs after 1963, he batted, lifetime .23x, he played for the Mets and O's, of course.

So he got into his first game 2 days later with his first hit on the season, a walk, and even a run scored.

And he raised his average from .000 to .083

But it took him 24 games and 62 at bats to hit his first homerun, and even then his average was only .258!

From June 17th to June 23rd, he played 8 games, drove in 10 runs, hit another dinger and batted .250. The Mets by the way, were 3-5 in those eight games. They're moving on up!

But what I'll be remember about Marv in this most difficult of seasons, was a July 7th doubleheader against St Louis.

The first game entered the bottom of the ninth, with the Mets down 4-3 and looking at their 58th loss in 80 games.

Curt Simmons entered the that inning and gave up a leadoff single to Joe Christopher. Ernie Borglio came in an surrendered a single to Gil Hodges. It was time for Elio Chacon to bat.

No, actually, it was for a pinch hitter. Our man.

And Marv won the game with a dramatic 2 run pinch hit homerun.

Marv was not done as the night cap came around. The Mets entered this game 23-57 instead of 22-58!

The Mets trailed 2-1 going into the bottom of the 7th against Ray Washburn.

But leading off, Throneberry tied the game with solo blast.

Alas, Stan Musial won the game in the top of the eight with a homerun of his own.

A month later, in an ugly 9-4 loss against the Phillies, Throneberry went deep twice, as did Frank Thomas, but it was not enough as no one was on base for any of the 4 blasts!

Throneberry added another homerun the next game against Cincy and even another on the August 4th doubleheader (first game) for 4 homeruns in 4 games.

He also nailed the Reds later on that month for 2 homeruns in 2 games, Aug 10, 11.

Another dramatic pinch hit homerun came on August 21st against Pittsburgh. First game of a doubleheader.

With the Mets losing and heading towards a 30-96 record, Marv came up as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the ninth.

Funny to see Harvey Haddix (does this guy have any luck?) enter the ninth with a 4-1 lead.

But Richie Ashburn did a little pinch hitting of his own, as he batted for one of the two Bob Millers (Ah, what better way to say, "It wasn't me, it was someone else!) on the team and singled.

After a Christopher walk, Elroy Face came in for the save. No problem, right?

Certainly it looked that way as Charlie Neal fanned. The Felix Mantilla, who broke up the perfect game against Haddix three years earlier (by reaching on an error in the bottom of the 13th) singled to score a run.

Frank Thomas flied out.

One out to go.

The batter was Jim Hickman.

But, no, it was Marv Throneberry.

4-2, 2 outs, here we go.

Homerun, game over, 5-4 Mets!

How about a homerun off the great Don Drysdale. Yes, August 24th in a 6-3 Met win.

Quite a month for Marv 9 homeruns, 19 RBIs in 30 games. But he batted just .219.

In September he faded, hitting .250, but hitting just 2 homeruns.

But they were hit in back to back games (September 15th and 16th).

And they were hit against Cincinnati.

Throneberry ended up playing just 116 games, but he hit 16 homeruns. Only three of them were hit with his team ahead. Seven of them came against The Reds. Seven of them also came with the score tied or the Mets trailing by a run or two. Two of them came with the score tied 0-0.

But he knocked in just 49 runs and batted just .238

And there was the time on June 17th when he hit a triple but was called out for failing to touch second base. Casey Stengel, the lovable manager came out to argue, only to be told Marv had missed first base, too!

Or how about not being given a birthday cake on Stengel's birthday, because everyone was affraid he'd drop it.

Having Marv Throneberry play on your team, said Jimmy Breslin, is like having Willie Sutton work for your bank.

But what about Thomas, who lead the team with a more than respectable 34 homeruns? Or Ashburn, who batted .306 in his last season?

Thomas homered twice on August 1st of that years VS the Philies, then added two more the next day for four against Philly. Amazingly, he hit two more on the 3rd against Cincinatti's Joey Jay for 6 homeruns in 3 games, setting a record.

Thomas also did something else incredible against Philadelphia that year. In an 8-0 Met win on April 29th, the first game of a doubleheader, Thomas was hit by a pitch with the Phillies up 1-0 in the bottom of the 4th. Thomas had hit a homerun earlier that gave the Mets all the offence they would need.

But in that inning, by the time Thomas batted again, the Mets had pushed across 7 more runs.

Then Thomas was hit again.

Once again, Thomas had set an NL record, this time for most times hit by a pitcher (actually, two different Philly pitchers, Art Mchaffey and Frank Sullivan) in one inning.

On August 15th, in the second game of a doubleheader, the Mets trailed 6-1 in the bottom of the 6th inning against the Phillies.

But a triple by Chris Cannizzaro scored Mantilla, and Choo-Choo Coleman batted for pitcher Craig Anderson.

So Coleman goes downtown, cutting the lead to 2, 6-4. The Phillies would add a run in the 8th, then it was Coleman's turn to be pinch hit for in the bottom of the frame.

The batter was Jim Hickman. 2 on, 1 out.

And Hickman goes yard to tie the game!

But this is the 1962 Mets, so they ended up losing the game anyway.

Still, two pinch hit homeruns in the same game, by the same team? Wow.

The Mets of 1962 would hit 11 pinch hit homeruns in total, 2 each by Throneberry, Coleman and Ed Bouchee.

Gus Bell, right fielder, joined the team for the start of the season and got the first ever Met hit, off the Phillies Larry Jackson on April 11th, in the bottom of the second. Mantilla would draw the first ever walk.

He did something amazing in that opening game.

In the bottom of the 3rd, with runners on the corners, Philadelphia's Stan Musial doubled to right, scoring Julian Javier.

Bill White, on first, also was thinking home. But Bell's throw to Charlie Neal was on the mark, and Neal fired home to get White.

Ken Boyer grounded out (out # 2), Minnie Minoso singled to right to score Musial from second. But when the fleet footed Minnie headed towards second, Bell fired to first basemen Gil Hodges, and Minoso was eventually caught in a rundown and putout.

Two outfield assist in one inning by Bell, to set a National League record.

Bell wasn't done yet, either. In the bottom of the 6th, the Cardinals were up 10-4 with two out.

The Cardinals had plated 4 runs that inning, and a Musial single to right kept the ball going.

But Musial had thoughts of second, and Bell made the throw again, this time to shortstop Mantilla, and Stan The Man was out at second. The Mets would lose the game 11-4.

Quite a start one way or another, eh?

Pitching wise, you did have Craig, who lost 24, but also won 10 and got 3 saves. There was Al Jackson, who despite going just 8-20, pitched 3 shutouts.

But reliever Ken MacKenzie went 5-4 with a save, finished 16 games.

There was Bob Miller and Bob Miller. No that's not a missprint. They both batted right handed and were each 6'1 and roomates on the road!

Galen Cisco, who pitched just 4 times after coming over in a trade with the Red Sox was on the hill on September 21, 1962.

Against the Cubs in the top of the fourth, George Altman pinch hit for Moe Thachker.

Cisco struck him out.

The next batter, was another pinch hitter, Bob Will (hitting for pitcher Don Cardwell).

Cisco struck him out.

In the top of the 6th, Don Landrum batted for pitcher Glen Hobbie.

Cisco struck him out.

In the 8th, Cuno Barragen hit for Dick Bertell.

Cisco threw a wild pitch, allowing Alex Grammas, who was on first, to got to second.

Cisco then struck out Barragen.

4 pinch hitters struck out in one game by a pitcher. Again, another National League record was sent.

By the way, Billy Ott then pinch hit for pitcher Don Elston.

Cisco didn't strike him out, but fielded him comebacker and threw hit out at first.

Cisco went on to win the game 4-1 as Cisco finished with a fine 4 hit, 5 walk, 8 K performance. And the Mets won the game 4-1.

That dropped the Cubs to 56-99.

And improved the Mets to 38-115.

The Mets went 2-5 in their next 7 games.

The Cubs themselves beat the Mets on September 30th to hand them their 120 loss.

Joe Pignatano batted in the bottom of the 8th inning of that game with Sammy Drake and Richie Ashburn on with nobody out.

Pignatano lined to second for out #1. Ken Hubbs, who caught the ball, fired to Ernie Banks at first to nail Ashburn, who had left the bag. Banks fired to Andre Rogers, the shortstop covering second, to get Drake, who had also left too soon.

Triple play.

Pignatano's last at-bat of his career.

I just had to finish with a negative, eh? The real story of the '62 Mets!


References


Neft, David S., Richard M. Cohen, and Michael L. Neft. The Sports Encyclopedia: Baseball, 1992. 12th ed. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992. Print.

Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 01 Dec. 2012.

Thorn, John, and Pete Palmer. Total Baseball. Vers. 1994. Portland, OR: Creative Multimedia Corp., 1994. Computer software. CD-ROM.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Reaching 100 Post, I Need More!

So Wilt was happy to reach 100 points in a game, and Phil Esposito set that standard in hockey (and 52 more in 70/71), plus we got 138 in one college game! Oh yeah, 100th Grey Cup!

But in all honesty, 100 posts on my blog, while it is a great milestone, I need more!

For the simple reason, I dawned on me the other day (okay, and several times before that) when looking at my blog, that I lacked any football, very little golf, and even not that much tennis.

Just from the time I was a little kid in the 1980s, when the explosion of sports on (cable) television dawned, when Magic and Larry returned basketball to front and center, sports has been prevalent to me.

And I don't see that changing.

The truth is that I always hungered for more. More knowledge. And perhaps had the Internet never come around, I could have realized that their is only so much you can do.

When I was at one of my favourite book stores the other day, I came across the book Rudy. Having seen the 90s movie with Sean Austin, I was tempted to buy it.

But then I realized I don't know jack about football.

And then I realized, my sports blog needs more football.

Irony is, ask me to name the most famous sports call ever, it's Joe Starkey, "The Play". Or how about the most lopsided score in any sport, gotta be Georgia Tech's 222-0 win over Cumberland in 1916.

But at 100 post, I can afford to wait.

Wait till I memorize!

Oh, by the way, I'm now officially at 101!

Take that Wilt!

I'll see you at the free throw line on that one!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

My Favourite Stanley Cup Finals

Well, there might not be any in 2012-13, but here are my All Time Top Ten

10) 1958: Montreal And Boston

This was the only Final Series that the 5 in a row gang played that went longer than 5 games. The Bruins stayed right in there, winning games 2 and 4 to keep the Series tied. Game 5 was also tied going into OT, but that's were YOU-KNOW-WHO scored his sixth career playoff OT goal. In game 6, back home, Boston trailed 4-1 going into the third, with Maurice Richard notching his 11th marker of the playoffs. But goals by Johnson and Regan got the Bruins to within one, before Harvey scored an empty netter with exactly 1 minute left.


9) 1965: Montreal And Chicago

This one was almost as good as 1971, but three of the games were blowouts. Actually, it was John Ferguson's drubbing of Eric Nestrenko in game 5, that stands out. Nesterenko actually got the extra two in this bout! The Habs won this game 6-0 to go up 3-2 in the Series, but the Hawks down 1-0 after two in game 6, scored twice to send this Series to the limit. But any hope a Chicago Stanley Cup were dashed when Jean Beliveau scored the game winning goal just 14 seconds into game 7. Less than 5 minutes later, he set up Dick Duff for another tally and the route was on. Beliveau was named the first winner of the Conn Smythe award, for the playoffs Most Valuable Player.


8) 1980: New York and Philadelphia

This one only went six games, but it ended with some controversy. The first game of the Series went to overtime and Dennis Potvin won it with a power play goal. Hey, they're not supposed to call penalties in OT, right? The next four games were actually quite one-sided, but game 6, will never be forgotten. First, there was Potvin's goal, that tied the game at 1. He batted the puck in on a waist high pass from Mike Bossy that the Flyers thought should have been a high stick. Then there was the game's very next goal, by Duane Sutter, was at least 1, but more like 3, feet offside. The Flyers tied the game at the end of the period, but were down 2 as they entered the third period down two. But Bob Dailey and John Paddock tied the game and sent it into OT, where John Tonelli fed Bob Nystrom a beaut of a pass that he redirected past Pete Peters for the Stanley Cup winning goal. This was the first of four straight Stanley Cups for the Islanders, and also the last NHL game broadcast by CBS.

7) 1954: Detroit and Montreal

The Habs looked ready to win this. But, in overtime in game 7, Tony Leswick took a harmless shot that Doug Harvey tried to swat away and it ended up going in off him. The Habs were so mad they skated off the ice without shaking hands. Marguerite Norris became the first woman to get her name on the Stanley Cup. And the two teams met again the next two years, each winning one. Detroit and Montreal, one fierce rivalry!


6) 1945: Toronto and Detroit

Detroit couldn't buy a goal in the first 3 games as rookie goalie Frank McCool, whose career lasted just two seasons, shut 'em out. Then, winning 5-3 in game 4, it was Detroit and goalie Harry Lumley (a future Leaf, might I add) added two shutouts of his own. The Leafs suddenly found themselves looking at a reverse of 1942: On the wrong end of a blown 3-0 Series lead. Babe Pratt would notch the winner in game 7 (on Detroit ice) to avoid that. McCool would never play another playoff game.

5) 2009: Pittsburgh and Detroit

Detroit was up 2-0 and 3-2 in the Series, only to have the Pens, with a young Crosby and Malkin, come back both times. In game 7, it was the Red Wings who were down 2-0 in the third, but then Ericsson got one, Crosby got hurt and the Wings, "Turned It On", and threw everything but the kitchen sink at Pens goalie Mark Andre Fleury. The Pens got 1 shot on goal in the entire third period. But, aided but a crossbar hitting shot, nothing more got into the Penguins cage, including Nick Lindstrom's last minute final flail!

4) 1964 Toronto and Detroit

The Leafs were down 3-2 in the Series, and down a man, as Bob Baun broke his anke. But he came back on the ice in OT to win the game for the Leafs. Johnny Bower then blanked the Red Wings 4-0 to deny his old fishing pal, Gordie Howe, his best chance to win a Cup in the 60s.

3) 1951: Toronto and Montreal

This one was an easy one to call, game goes into overtime all five games. Although the Habs won only one, it was the immortal Richard who notched the winner. The Habs looked like they were going to send it back to Montreal in game 5, but the Leafs pulled their goalie and Sid Smith tied it. An then, in the extra frame, Bill Barilko's dramatic goal gave the Leafs the Stanley Cup.

Four months later, Barilko would die in a plane crash.

2) 1994: New York and Vancouver

The Rangers, seeking their first Stanley Cup in 54 years, went up 3-1 and it all seemed over. But then Kirk McLean, who battled Mike Richter to a stand still in this series, took over and got Vancouver back to a 7th game. The Rangers then took a 2-0 lead, only to see Trevor Linden tally one shorthanded. A goal by Messier should have ended the tension, but Linden again answered the call. Vancouver kept coming, but then time, the only thing that could stop the Canucks, ran out!

1) 1971: Montreal and Chicago

Such a shame that little to no television exists of this finals. You had it all, great goaltending from Dryden and Esposito (who would both go on to represent Canada in 1972), amazing clutch goals, from Jimmy Pappin in OT in game one, to Henri Richard scoring the tying and winning goal in game 7. You had a penalty shot. And you had the final game of the peerless Jean Beliveau!



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Things I'd Like To See (IF And) When The NHL Comes Back


So, nothing doing in November for the NHL. Like, you, I starve for a return, but with certain stipulations

1) A Lighter Schedule

Seriously, the season starts with such half heart into games, then just lags at the end, so it's time to put some life into it by shortening up the schedule. Here's my formula:

4 games against the 4 teams in your division for a total of 16
3 games against the other 10 teams in your conference for a total of 30
Finally, 2 games against the 15 teams in the other conference for another 30

So there you have it. A nice 76 game schedule. Don't worry, I've already got an idea to fill in the six missing action nights. BTW, the NHL had a 76 game schedule from 1967/68 to 1969/70.

2) Some Exhibition Games With The KHL

I actually kind of like that league, and I'd better love it now! So why not bring some teams over here for some exhibition games with NHL teams at various points in the schedule. It could replace the midseason all-star game, but don't worry, I got better spot for that!

3) All-Star Game Moved To The Start Of The Season

Again, this was something they used to do, prior to 1967. I think it would be a good way to kick of the season on a larger scale. Also, it would mean more to make the team. You make the All-Star Team (for the All-Star Game) for a half year's worth. Why not make it for a full season's worth? Plus, you could start the team (like they did before) with The First Team All-Stars starting 6 VS The Second All-Stars starting six. The rest could be voted in, thus giving some consolation (taking into effect the FULL previous season) to those who weren't name first or second!

4) Fix The Points Awarded For Wins And Losses

Look, I got no problem with the shootout, other than I'm no longer excited when a penalty shot is awarded because I see 15 times a set of 3 each season by each team. The problem I have is that there is a different between winning decisevly in a 60 minute game, and ducking it for 60 minutes plus 5 minutes of OT.

Why not 3 points for a win in 60- 65 minutes, but only 2 points for a win in a shootout. Or even only two points for a win in OT (Artificial situation 4 on 4 is, I saw!). Keep the 1 point for a OT or SO loss. But don't give a team that pulls it out in a SO the same amount for points another team would get for winning 6-0!

5) No Hitting Close To The Boards And More Charging Penalites

The NHL deserves some credit for clamping down on concussion problems, such as no head shots. They should also look more at rule 42 in hockey: charging! Honestly, I remember back in the day when it was two or three deliberate strides in the direction of a player and then contact, and you're in the box.

Really, that above would cut down on so many concussions. But they never call charging. Honest. I rarely if ever see that imposed. We'd see less head shots if it was illegal to take more than 1 stride in the direction of a skater, or goalie.

And while we're at it, lets stop with the hitting into the boards. Heck, this would not only greatly reduce concussions, it would also reduce injuries to the arms, legs, hips.

I mean, I aways shuttered when a player goes hard into the boards, even if it's not the head that hits it. A lot of broken arms and legs, we see this too much.

So I came up with an idea. Basically, there should be a red line that goes in a circle around the rink, seven feet out from the boards on either boards, then joining up with the goal line behind each of the cages. The deal is, no hitting in the direction of the boards when a player is inside this line. And that includes the end boards as well. You can hit the player parallel to the boards in this area, but not into the boards.

6) No Touch Icing

As with above, there would be less injuries, and that includes concussions. I mean, how many times have you seen a player chase for the puck, come up second best in the grand chase, and end up injured? And yes, I know it would slow down the pace of the game, but aren't we thinking about protecting the players here?

7) A team in Quebec

I mentioned this before in a previous blog!

8) Any More Suggestions YOU would like?

9) " " " " " "

10) " " " " "

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Kid Gleason: How He Beat Ruth From The Mound To The Plate

A lot you out there know how Babe Ruth switched from pitching to the outfield, or from great pitcher to positioned player.

And sometimes, Ruth is thought to be the fist to do that.

Actually, he is not.

Kid Gleason, a pitcher in the late 1880s and early 1890s did the switch from the mound to second sacker in 1895. The good old Philadelphia Philles could only imagine his hidden talent!

Gleason is probably most remembered for being the managed of the ill-fated 1919 Chicago Black Sox. Incidenlty, that season also marked Babe Ruth's first real permanent shift towards the outfield from the mound. It had been teased the previous season when, in just 95 games played, but of those only 20 on the mound. Ruth would lead the league in homeruns that year with 11. In 1919, Ruth played 130 games, but just 17 of them were on the mound. For the second straight season, The Bambino lead the league in 4 baggers with 29. Ruth would pitch just 5 more games in the next 16 seasons.

Although he stay on the mound was not that long, Gleason racked up 138 wins (Ruth won 94) before the switch. And unlike Ruth, he never returned to the mound.

In 1890, his 38 wins was second in the National LEague. And he did lead the league in saves that year, albeit with only 2.

At the time of his switch, Kid Gleason was just a .240 hitter, which is a lot worse than it looks. Remember, it was the dead ball era where everyone swung for singles.

After the switch, his batting went up a little, .265 the rest of his career.

But his fielding got better as his career went on.

He led the American League in errors in 1901, as he made 64 as a member of the Tigers. He would finish in the top ten in errors ten times and lead the league 4 times. And it was twice leading the AL and twice leading the NL.

But Kid also was among the leaders in putouts as a second basemen. Nine times he was in the top 10 in putouts as a second basemen, and three times the outright leader. Amazingly, in 1892, Kid Gleason was the National League leader in putouts among pitchers

Ten times Gleason was among the leader in assists as well. And again, he lead the league three times. He was also the 4th in the NL in assists as a pitcher in 1890.

Was Kid a bad fielder as a pitcher? Well, he was 4th in the National League in errors in 1893.

But 8 straight years from 1898 to 1905, he was among the league leader in range factor per game as a second basemen, and even lead the league in 1899.

As a pitcher, Gleason was 5th in range factor per nine innings in 1892. He was second in range factor per game that year.


References

Nemec, David et all. 20th Century Baseball Chronicle: A Year-by-year History of Major League Baseball. Collector's Edition. Lincolnwood, Ill: Publications International, 1993. Print.

Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 31 Oct. 2012.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

McLain: How He Didn't Pitch So Bad In Game 1!

Well, Detroit got swept!

But I was kinda pulling for a St Louis- Detroit World Seres.

Because game 1 of the 1968 World Series is one of my all time favourite games to watch. Gibson's 17 strikeouts.

Now the losing pitcher in that game was Denny McLain. McLain 31-6 / 1.96 / 280.

But there was the matter of Big Bob Gibson. He somehow managed to lose 9 games, but won 22 and posted an ERA of 1.12, lowest in the NL. Luis Tiant led the AL with 1.67, McLain's being good enough for 4th place among hurlers.

So the two were set the square off in game 1 of the 1968 World Series between The Detroit Tigers and The St. Louis Cardinals. McLain, it should be noted, wore numer 17. How appropriate!

Gibson started off fast in the top of the 1st. Dick McAuliffe struck out. Mickey Stanley singled, but was caught stealing. Al Kaline then became Gibson's second K. A message to McLain: Top that.

McLain couldn't in the bottom of the 1st.

Lou Brock grounded out to Stanley, who playing shortstop instead of centerfield! Mickey had played just 9 games at shortstop that season but was inserted in the lineup for more offence. Stanley got 2 hits on the day. Curt Flood and Roger Maris both flied out to Kaline in right.

But Gibson was just warming up. In the top of the 2nd, Norm Cash fanned, Willie Horton looked at strike three. Jim Northrup also whiffed. 5 strikeouts in two innings for Gibson.

After Orlando Cepeda flied out to Northrup in center to open the bottom of the second, Tim McCarver hit a tremendous triple to centerfield. McLain didn't give in. After getting ahead 2-1, Mike Shannon fanned on a high fastball. Then Stan Javier went to 3-2 before McLain got him to take a high one for strike three!

That's what I love about baseball: Pitcher gets himself into a jam, then goes into "god" mode. That's a term in video games, where your character you control touches an item (or uses a cheat) to 'power up" and you can't be touched.

What McLain just did.

However, it's Gibson who is the real god.

Or maybe it's god desguised as Bob Gibson!

Bill Freehan fanned to open the third inning. Don Wert singled for the Tigers' second hit off Gibson. Then it was McLain's turn to bat. McLain led the AL in sacrific bunts (SH) that season with 16. And he got 13 more the next season for the loop leader again.

And yes, there is one out. But go with the percentages among pitchers batting. McLain's average was just .162 in the regular season. And he hadn't faced Bob Gibson in any of those games.

Opponent's Batting Average off Bob Gibson in 1968? .184!

As he tried to bunt on and 0-2 pitch (which I admit is dumb) McLain fouled it back for strike 3.

McAuliffe grounded out to Cepeda at first, who made the putout himself.

Del Maxvill drew a walk off McLain to lead off the bottom of the frame. McLain never found the strike zone in that encounter. Then Gibson showed McLain how it's done in a World Series by taking a ball and then sac bunting Max to second.

Lou Brock was the hitter. He fouled the first pitch off and cracked his bat. McLain missed with his next pitch, but then, 1-1, Brock grounded to McLain, who makes a great play. No, the grounder wasn't tough.

But Mclain looked at second first to see if Maxvill was running. It amazes me how many times I see a pitcher just pick up the ball in situations like that and throw to first.

Maxvill took a few strides towards third. McLain fired to second to Stanley and they nailed him. Stan Man is looking good at shortstop!

With Flood up, you just know what Brock is going to do. Pitchout, Brock stays. Next pitch, Brock goes. Ball 2, anyways.

And when catcher Bill Freehan's throw goes into centerfield, Brock is on third with two outs. So much for McLain's nice play on Maxvill.

But Curt Flood, the fleet centerfielder, tried to bunt for a hit and fouled it off. Then McLain fires a fastball that Flood misses, 2-2.

Ball 3.

Flood pops up to Stanley.

The 4th starts out with Stanley flying out to Roger Maris in right. Kaline again strikes out, this time looking. Cash flies out to Northrup.

The wheels came off the chariot for McLain in the bottom of the 4th.

Maris walks on four pitches, Cepeada, ahead in the count at one point 2-0 and then 3-1, pops out to Cash at first. But then, McCarver walks. Mike Shannon, the third basemen, singles to left, after McLain almost hit him with the second pitch. It should be noted, McLain did get ahead 1-2 and forced Shannon to foul off a pitch to stay alive. But Denny missed the next pitch, and then Shannon hit his single.

Maris scored, and when Willie Horton, in left, overran the ball, McCarver made it to third and Shannon made it to second. They both scored as Javier singled to left. It was suddenly 3-0. And then Javier stole second with Maxvill up.

McLain, shaken a bit, got Maxvill to fly out to Horton. Gibson then fanned for McLain's third K.

Horton led off the top of the 5th by popping out to Javier at second. Northrup was then out on a liner to Del at short. Freehan drew Gibson's only walk of the afternoon. Wert then looked at strike three, Gibby's ninth K!

McLain got Brock to ground out to Wert at third to start the bottom of the frame. Flood popped out to second. Maris prolonged the inning by reaching on Cash's error, the ball going right through Norm's legs. Cepeda ended the inning by flying out to Horton in left, who was actually forced to make a nice play.

That actually ended McLain's night as Tommy Matchick pich hit for him to lead off the top of the 6th. Although he grounded out, McAuliffe singled to right. After Gibson notched his 10th K of the day on Stanley, Al Kaline got hit first World Series hit, a double to left. McAuliffe had to hold at this. Norm Cash then became Gibby's 11th K.

It was the closest the Tigers would come to scoring, as they managed just one more hit the rest of the way. Gibson, of course, finished with 17 strikeouts, a shutout, just 5 hits and 1 walk against.

McLain's numbers for the game don't seem so bad:

5IP, 3(2 Earned)R, 3H, 3BB, 3K.

So it was a game of threes for McLain, although only 2 of the runs he permitted were earned.

And continuing on this games of threes, the Tigers made 3 errors behind McLain, and the Cardinals stole a total of 3 bases, but only 2 off McLain.

The Tigers ended up giving up 6 total hits (3 x 2) and 4 runs total. They weren't gonna beat Gibson with mistakes like that.

I should give them some credit, because after McLain left, the kept Brock off the bases. I mean, when a guy hits a homerun, like Lou did in the 7th off Pat Dobson, he can't steal a base, can he?


McLain returned to the hill in game 4. This time he was shelled, and the Tigers scored just 1 run off Gibson. But in game 6, with the Tigers facing elimination, Denny beat the Cards 13-1,

McLain gave up 9 hits in the game, but was just 1 out away from a shutout, when Julian Javier's single scored Roger Maris. Maxvill struck out to end the game, and Detroit went on to win game 7 behind Mickey Lolich's third W of the Series.

Perhaps it was fitting, 34 years later, when this blogger ran into Jon Warden at an oldtimers game, I asked him how they came back from 3-1 down against the Cards to win.

"We had Lolich and McLain, didn't we?"

I liked the McLain part!


References

MLBClassics, and NBC. "1968 World Series, Game 1: Tigers @ Cardinals." YouTube, uploaded by MLBClassics, 04 Oct. 2010. Web. 30 Oct. 2012. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gR7mFvbd1XM>. NBC broadcast which aired October 2nd, 1968.

Neft, David S., Richard M. Cohen, and Michael L. Neft. The Sports Encyclopedia: Baseball, 1992. 12th ed. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992. Print.

Thorn, John, and Pete Palmer. Total Baseball. Vers. 1994. Portland, OR: Creative Multimedia Corp., 1994. Computer software. CD-ROM.

World Series Of 1968. Dir. Dick Winik. Perf. Curty Gowdy, Bob Gibson and Mickey Lolich. Major League Baseball Promotion Corp., 1968. DVD. Narrated by Curt Gowdy.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sal Maglie's Three Moments For Others In October

Although I was born far to late to see Sal Maglie pitch, it's hard to ignore all the baseball history he was a part of.

And to some, his contributions to each of his three most memorable moments has been forgotten

In 1951, he was a key member of the Giants team, that came back to win the pennant.

On August 5 of that year, he got the save in a Giant 8-4 win over the Cardinals that pushed New York's record to 59-47.

Alas. they were 9 1/2 games back of the Brooklyn (who suddenly in 2015 is THE place to play sports. Who would've thought we'd be saying that after 1957?) even with the win.

Worse still, the Giants lost their next four games to fall 13 games back of the Dodgers. And there was only 48 games to go for the Dodgers, 44 to go for the Giants.

But Maglie would not let them lose. The very next day, Maglie beat the Phillies, 3-2, to stop the slide and begin the roll.

The Giants won their next 4 games for good measure, and Maglie kept the ball rolling and made it 6 straight wins by beating Don Newcombe, 2-1. The Giants were 9.5 games back with 38 games to go. Maglie himself had tossed a fine 4 hitter and upped his record on the season to 17-5.

The Giants continued to roll, and the streak went to 16 games in a row won. The lead of Brooklyn, was down to just 6 games.

And there was still 27 games to go.

The Giants finally lost to Pittsburgh on August 29th, but when Maglie beat the Boston Braves on September 5th (second game of a doubleheader), the lead was 5 1/2 games, althouth the Giants were running out of time.

Maglie beat Ralph Branca (Hey, not like it's the last time they'd meet this season!) and the Dodgers, 2-1 on September 9th to again drop the Dodgers lead to 5.5 games. But now there were only 16 left in the season.

But The Barber's record was now 20-5.

Maglie would make it 21 with a win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on September 16. Again it was the second game of a doubleheader. The lead was now down to 4.5 games, but there was only 9 games to go.

But another win over Boston by Maglie on September 23 gave the right-hander 22 wins, and dropped the Dodgers' lead to 3 games with 6 left.

They would finally catch the Dodgers on the second last game of the season, when Maglie (now 23-6) beat Warren Spahn (himself 22-14) 3-0 on a fine 5 hit shutout of the Braves, 3-0.

The Dodgers and Giants both won game number 154 to set up a best of three playoffs.

The Giants then put the Dodgers on the brink with a big win in the first game, 3-1. But the Dodgers stayed alive with an easy win, 10-0 in the second act.

So it was all down to game number 157. October 3, 1951.

And Maglie was on the hill.

Maglie gave up a run in the top of the first when Sal's arch enemy, Jackie Robinson, singled home a run.

And the Giants stayed down as Don Newcombe continued his strong pitching (20-9 so far, plus a 1.90 ERA in his last 19.2 innings) and held the Giants scoreless through 6 innings.

Bobby Thompson's sacrifice fly tied the game, but rookie (really?) Willie Mays (Say, "HEY!") hit into a double play.

With runners on the corners, Robinson, who always loved situations like this, and relishing the chance to get even with Maglie (who frequently knocked Jackie down at the plate), coaxed a wild pitch from Sal.

Sal had no choice. He walked Robinson intentionally.

But Andy Pafko singled, scoring a run and moving Robinson to third. Jackie came home with the 4th Giants run on Billy Cox's single.

The other Thompson, Hank, pinch-hit for Maglie in the bottom of the 8th. But the Giants couldn't do a thing with Big Don.

But what does it matter, we all know what happened in the bottom of the 9th.

Indeed, after scoring a run of Newcombe, the Giants had runners on second and third with only one out.

But they were two outs away from losing the pennant when Bobby Thompson hit THE 3 run home run.

And...THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT.

But they wouldn't have without Sal.

But they failed to win the World Series, which was won by the Yankees. It was Joe DiMaggio's goodbye and Mickey Mantle's hello.

Maglie started game 4, but lost it 6-2. DiMaggio hit his last homerun ever off Sal.

Three years later the Giants DID win the World Series.

Maglie started game 1 of that Series. But in the top of the first, Vic Wertz of the opposing Giants, tripled of the Giants righthander to score two.

The Giants answered with 2 in the bottom of the 3rd, the second run scoring on a single by Hank Thompson.

The game stayed tied for a long time, and Maglie was having all sorts of troubles with Wertz.

In the 4th, Vic singled to lead off the inning and was stranded at second.

In the 6th, Wertz again lead of the inning with a single, and made it all the way to third before again being stranded.

Maglie survived both, and got through the 7th in order.

But in the top of the 8th, Larry Doby walked. Al Rosen singled. Maglie was through for the day, because Wertz, 3-3 was coming to the plate.

And the Giants were in a World Series of trouble!

Don Little, a lefthander, came in to pitch.

Wertz launched one towards centerfield...

Where Mays chased after it

But the ball is way back, back...

...It is caught by Willie Mays!

Dolby advanced to third on the catch.

I feel compelled to say what happened next.

Hank Majeski, who was a right hander, came in to pinch hit for Dave Philley, who was a switch-hitter, and Marv Grisson came in to pitch.

But as Leo Durocher took the ball from Liddle, Don said, "Well, I got my man!"

Actually, Don, MAYS got your man.

Anways, Majeski, never made it to the first pitch from Marv.

Dale  Mitchell (He's here, too?) a left-hander, came in to actually take the plate appearance. Grissom walked him.

Now the bases were loaded.

Then, still another pinch-hitter, and again a left hander, Dave Pope, batted for George Strickland and fanned.

Jim Hegan then flied out.

Anyways, the Giants eventually won the game in the bottom of the 10th, but not before Wertz hit another double, to fall a homerun short of the cycle. So Mays robbed him of hitting for the cycle in his first World Series game.

Wertz left for a pinch runner.

In the bottom of the frame, Mays walked, stole second, and Hank Thompson was walked intentionally. Dusty Rhodes, as we all know, won the game with a homerun.

Now we are in 1956, and it's game 5.

Not only was Maglie 13-5 since joining the Dodgers, pitching for the first time on May 24th, he was also 6-1 in his last 8 games with a 1.89 ERA, plus a no-hitter on September 25 against Philadelphia.

And Sal had won game 1 of the World Series with a 10 strikeout performance.

In game 5, the Yankees couldn't touch him for 3 innings. Then with 2 out in bottom of the 4th. Mickey Mantle, the 1956 triple crown winner, and AL MVP, hit a homerun off him that was fair by a few feet. It was the first hit off Maglie. Duke Snider then robbed Yogi Berra of a double and the Dodgers were out of the inning.

In the bottom of the 5th, Enos Slaughter walked, the first walk of Maglie. Billy Martin then tried to bunt, but Maglie fielded the ball cleanly, and tossed to Pee Wee Reese at second.

The throw was a little high, but Reese, the shortstop, made a fine catch to force Slaughter. Gil McDougald then rocketed a drive that is going to left center and is a sure double as Martin takes off.

But Reece, jumps up, snares it, comes down, and stops the ball which has come out of his glove, and fires to first to double up Martin.

Andy Carey started the Yankees sixth with a single, which was hit above Maglie's head to center field. Maglie's opponent on the hill that day, Don Larsen, receives an ovation for his pitching performance up till that point (more on that later) and lays down a sacrifice that advances Carey to second.

Hank Bauer's single scored Carey, and when Joe Collins singled, the Yankees, with only one out, had men on first and third.

And Mantle back up.

Mantle had also homered in the opening game of this best of seven tilt, but the Yankees had scored just three runs to the Dodgers six in that game. Here, Mickey had a chance, with one swing of the bat, to put the Yankees up by 5!

With the count 1-1, Mantle, the switch-hitter batting left, hits a scorcher down the first base line. Gil Hodges, at first, make the putout unassisted, then fires the ball home to Roy Campanella, the catcher.

Bauer is trapped, and a rundown ensues, which ends as Hodges, Campanella and Jackie Robinson made him a dead duck. Jackie himself applied the putout.

In the bottom of the 7th, Yogi Berra popped out foul to Robinson. Slaughter flied out to Sandy Amoros in left.

But Billy Martin hit a ball no one could stop for the sixth (and final) hit off Maglie. McDougald then drew Maglie's second and final walk of the game when Sal missed with all four pitches.

Two on, two outs, and Carey at bat.

Sal decided to keep him honest with a pitch so inside that Carey asks Babe Pinelli for a call. Perhaps he'd been nicked by The Barber? Pinelli has the final saying in this matter: The ball did not hit Carey!

In any event, Carey ends up hitting it sharply to Jim Gilliam, the shortstop, who fires to Reece to get Gil McDougald at second.

The Dodgers didn't have to worry about making another fielding play that game.

Maglie is in a slump, strikeout-wise. Sal hasn't whiffed a batter since he fanned Collins for the second out of the 4th inning. After which, Mickey hit the homerun that has broken a 0-0 tie. It is now 2-0 for New York. His other strikeout has been Billy Martin in the bottom of the 2nd to end the inning.

To be fair, Don Larsen hasn't fanned anyone since he k'd Maglie to end the 6th. But Maglie made him earn it: It took Don seven pitches (3 missed swings, 2 fouls, and 2 balls) to do it. Larsen has struck out 6 Dodgers in 8 innings, but only (Maglie, of course) since the top of the 4th.

That is all about to change as Larsen gets a standing ovation as he comes to the plate.

And fans.

Bauer comes to the plate.

And fans.

Collins, with Mantle on deck, comes to the plate.

And fans.

In the top of the ninth, Carl Furillo flies out to Bauer in right field on the sixth pitch. Campanella grounds out to Billy Martin, the second basemen. Then, Dale Mitchell is sent up to bat for Maglie.

And fans on a 1-2 pitch for Larsen's seventh strikeout of the game and 2-0 Yankees win. Don needed just 97 pitches to get that!

The Yankees are now up 3-2 in the 1956 World Series, which they will win in 7 as Maglie never returns to the hill for the Dodgers in this Series.

Now for what you have all been wondering about all this time:

Don Larsen just became the only man, as of game 2 of the 2012 World Series, to toss a perfect game in the Fall Classic! Sal Maglie, meanwhile, had to be content with a fine 5-hitter. Only once before has a World Series game had such few hits between two teams over nine innings.


References

Anderson, Dave.  "The Giants' 37-7 Finish." Pennant Races: Baseball At Its Best. New York: Doubleday, 1994. Print, pp. 210-254.

Golenbock, Peter. Dynasty: The New York Yankees, 1949-1964. Lincolnwood, IL: Contemporary, 2000. Print, pp. 263-267.

Baseball's Greatest Moments. Prod. Major League Baseball Home Video. Perf. Warner Fusselle. Major League Baseball , 1991. Videocassette. Narrated by Warner Fusselle.

Neft, David S., Richard M. Cohen, and Michael L. Neft. The Sports Encyclopedia: Baseball, 1992. 12th ed. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992. Print.

Neft, David S., and Richard M. Cohen. The World Series: Complete Play-by-play of Every Game, 1903-1989. 4th ed. New York: St. Martin's, 1990. Print, pp. 262.

Nemec, David et all. 20th Century Baseball Chronicle: A Year-by-year History of Major League Baseball. Collector's Edition. Lincolnwood, Ill: Publications International, 1993. Print.

Paper, Lewis J. Perfect: Don Larsen's Miraculous World Series Game And The Men Who Made It Happen. New York, NY: New American Library, 2009. Print.

Seaver, Tom, and Martin Appel. Great Moments in Baseball. New York, NY: Carol Pub. Group, 1992. Print.

Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 27 Oct. 2012.

World Series Of 1956. Dir. Lew Fonseca. Prod. Chicago Film Studios and Major League Baseball. Perf. New York Yankees, Brooklyn Dodgers, Lew Fonseca. Major League Baseball Productions, 1956. DVD. Narrated by Lew Fonseca.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

1992 World Series Game 6


VS.


So the Jays' second crack at immortality has David Cone returning for a matchup against Steve Avery.

Cone was trying to atone for his short outing (4.1 IP) in game two where he gave up four runs (3 earned).

Candy Maldonado was in left, Dave Winfield was in right, with Joe Carter one first for John Olerud. Sans Avery, there is no lineup changes for the Braves.

Devon White led off the first with a single, stole, second and made it to third on Alomar grounder.

Joe Carter then did what he did best. He got ahead in the count, 3-1, then hit a fly to Justice that White tagged on.

Justice only got a piece of the ball and then dropped it, which by the way is still an RBI. Better still Winfield walked on four straight pitches. The Braves big three were being exposed, here. 4 BBs in game 4, 4 in game 5, and already one here in game 6.

Anyway, Avery beared down and got Candy Maldonado to hit to Jeff Blauser to force Winfield. Then Kelly Gruber makes it 1 for 31 (.033) since game 2 of the 1992 ALCS by grounding to Blauser as well, to force Candy out at second.

Cone took the hill and quickly got Nixon on a grounder to Manuel Lee. Deion Sanders grounded out to Carter at first, making the play unassisted.

Terry Pendleton continued his hot hitting by getting his third hit in six at bats to prolong the agony. Cone then got Dave Justice to pop up to Lee.

Pat Borders was officially out of his slump (0 for his last 2) with a single to start the second for the Jays. Borders was now at .471 batting average (8-17).

But Lee flew out to Justice in right. Cone, batting 1.000 (2-2) saw his average drop all the way to .667 by hitting the ball to Lemke for a 4-5-3 double play. And I was just beginning to think Cone could hit in the American League!

Sid Bream greeted Cones return to the mound in the bottom of the second by walking after falling behind 0-2, taking three balls, fouling off two more, then looking at ball four. Blauser, still dangerous despite just hitting just .158 (3-19), singles to left. Damon Berryhill flies to White in center, but Bream tagged and made it to third. Mark Lemke also flew out to White, but this time, no one advanced. When Avery fanned, the inning was over.

Avery then took the hill in the third and absolutly owned White, fanning him on three pitches. But Alomar singled, and then showed Avery what would have happened anyway had he remained on the hill in the 9th inning of game 3: he stole second. Carter's groundout moved Alomar to third. But Winfield flied out to Justice. Oh yeah, he caught this one.

After Nixon grounded to Lee, Sanders continued his Cone ownage with a double (8-14 lifetime, now). Sanders was now hitting .571 lifetime against Cone.

Sanders wasn't through against Cone, as he stole third. Then he scored on Pendleton sacrifice to White. Justice made it to a full count, and looked at a third strike!

Maldonado, just 1-14 so far in this Series led off the 4th with a blast that sailed out to left and out of here for homerun. I remember pumping my fist and saying, "Way to go Maldonado!"

The Jays weren't finished, Gruber made it 1-32 (Can it keep going on?) with a grounder to Blauser, but Pat Borders doubled to left, upping his average in the Series to .500 again (9-18). After Lee fanned, Cone walked. White then lashed a single to left, upping his average to .261 (6-23). But Borders tried to score and Sanders nailed him at the plate. Jays are sure leaving a lotta men on base, eh?

Cone, though needed just 7 pitches to get rid of Bream, Blauser and Berryhill in the bottom of the frame. But Blauser hit the ball deep in the hole at second, were Alomar made an unbelivable dive, stopped it, and threw Jeff out at first on a one hopper! Berryhill (1-16 since his game 1 homerun) then fanned for the third K of the game by Cone.

Pete Smith took over on the hill in the top of the 5th for Atlanta. This was his first appearance in World Series ever, having gone 3.2 inning in his only appearance in the NLCS (2.45 ERA in that outing, but an impressive 7-0 with a 2.05 ERA in the regular season).

Quickly, he got Alomar to ground out, but then Carter hit a over Pendleton's head.

Smith settled down and got Winfield to line to Nixon in left center. Maldonado ended the inning by grounding out the Blauser.

For those keeping track, the Jays have left 6 men on base, 4 of them in scoring position. This game could have been a blowout by now!

In the bottom of the 5th, Mark Lemke drew Cone's second walk, and Bobby Cox let Pete Smith hit for himself. With the count 1-1, he tried a bunt but it went foul. Cone then tried once, twice to pick off Lemke. Smith bunted four for Cone's 4th strikeout. Nixon pops up behind Gruber but Lee snags it for the second out, but Sanders singles Lemke to third.

Sanders now has an average of .600 against Cone (9-15). The two will never face each other again on the diamond. I'm sure Cone doesn't mind that one bit!

Sanders then steals second, with Cone never bothering to try and pick him off. Pendleton goes 3-1, before Cone gets him to foul the next pitch off. Then he goes with the devastating slider that just drops and Terry gets a piece off.

But Borders gets all of it. K number 5 for Cone.

To be fair, the Braves have left 5 men on base so far. 3 in scoring position.

Smith starts the 6th by getting Gruber to fly out and then Borders to pop up.

Lee, the last out of the 5th game and mired in an .067 (1-15) slump, hits a single. Pete then forces him at second. 8 men left on base.

Justice is out on a liner to Winfield, but Bream coaxes Cone's 3rd walk on the night. Blauser goes to 2-2, fouls off two pitches, and then goes down swinging for Cone's 6th K. Berryhill flied out to White in short center.

After White flied out to start the 7th inning, Alomar got his second hit of the game, making his average a little better. He was 2-18 entering this game, but now 4-21 with that hit.

Alomar was forced at second by Carter however, and then Winfield popped out to Nixon. Winfield is starting to slump as his average is now just .200 (4-20) in this 1992 World Series.

And he still does not have an extra base hit in this Series. He had none in 1981.

And 8 men left on base for the Jays in 7 innings. Something needs to be done.

And despite the hit by Alomar, Smith needed just 8 pitches to get rid of the Jays.

Cone's night is over. It's a big improvement over his game 2 outing:

6IP, 1 (Earned)R, 4H, 3BB, 6K, 2SBA Pitching

0-2, 1BB, Batting

Here's his game 2 outing

4 1/3, 4R (3 Earned), 5H, 5BB, 2K, 4SBA Pitching

2-2, 1RBI, 0BB Batting

Lemke leads of the bottom half of the 7th against Todd Stottlemyre, who I am surprised is pitching after that near disaster in the 9th inning the previous game.

Todd fans him, however. And that's no easy task, as Lemke, despite what his stats say .222 (4-18) at this point, has been hitting the ball well this Series.

For you World Series buffs, here's something interesting about Mark: In the 1991 World Series, game 4, he tripled and scored the winning run to tie the Series at 2. Then in the next game, he hit two more triples to put Atlanta up 3-2 with a 14-5 win. Lemke, I believe, is the only player ever to hit 3 total triples in 2 games of a World Series. Two back to back games, I should say. But don't read that wrong, he hit 3 triples, not 6. Overall, Lemke .417 in that 1991 Series.

So here's a guy who knows how to get it done.

But so it Todd Stottlemyre, who fans him. Borders drops the ball, however, and has to throw him out at first. Boy, even when you strike them out they cause problems!

Jeff Treadway, who hit just .222 in the regular season, but .667 (2-3) in the NLCS, bats for Smith and grounds out to Alomar, a play not as hard as the play he made of Blauser in the 4th, but a little trouble.

Nixon ends the euphoria by lashing a single to left.

Now the Jays had to A) Deal with Nixon on the bases and B) Deal with Sanders at bat.

One solution: David Wells

Cox sends up Ron Gant to pinch hit. Lefty vs righty.

Boomer holds Nixon close, then with the count 1-2, Nixon takes off and Borders guns him out!

Another step towards MVP honours, Pat! I stand Pat with Borders behind the plate or at the plate in the postseason.

And I would say the same thing, relative to on the mound, with Mike Stanton, who takes over in the top of the 8th.

Here are his number, NLCS and World Series combined to this point:

8GP, 7.2IP, 1(Unearned)R 3H, 3BB, 6K, 0.00 ERA.

Guess John Olerud won't be coming in the game anytime soon.

Coming off a great performance in game 5, the odds of the Jays scoring just went down. Thank god, no DH. The Braves will have to pinch hit for him, eventually.

Maldonado, despite his homerun, is only 2-16 (That's a buck twenty-five) greets Stanton with a single, however, and the Jays are on the move again.

But is it to even third or past it?

Gruber, I guess deciding a hit is out of the question, does the next best thing, SH (Sac Bunt, the H is for hit). Gruber is still 1-33 in the Series.

But Maldonado is 90 feet from...third.

But Borders is up.

Stanton does the hands-down smartest play in the Series.

Intentional walk.

Hey, after three hitters, the Jays are batting 1.00 against Stanton this game!

But Lee does what he did last time against Stanton. The old popup to first in foul territory.

In what will be his last at bat as a Jay, Derek Bell hits for Wells and grounds out.

LOB by the Jays: 10, including 6 in scoring position. I would have gladly offered my service to the Jays as a pinch hitter at this point!

Gant now faces the other "W" pitcher for the Jays, Duan Ward. Appearance number 4 for Ward. 2-0 in 2.1 inning over those three appearances. A pitcher who throws strikes. 5 K's and 0 walks.

But Gant launches one to right, where a 41 year old Dave Winfield is stationed.

Oh, no, White can't exactly come over and help can he? It looks like a triple, and a sure tied game.

Winfield stretches out, tumbles, AND MAKES THE CATCH!

Wow.

The Jays didn't exactly get Winfield for his glove. The Jays didn't exactly get Morris for his regular season pitching.

It was hitting and postseason for Winfield, while Morris it was his postseason pitching.

Neither has turned out this World Series. But Morris gave the Jays 21 wins in the regular season (the first Jay to ever win 20 games in a season) and Winfield might have just saved the Series for the Jays, right there.

Where was I again?

Ward fanned Pendleton after Terry fouled off 2 pitches, but Justice walked. Bream flew out to Maldonado.

And now their was one thought as the Jays entered the ninth inning.

THREE MORE OUTS!

But first the Jays had to bat.

White lined out to Lemke and Alomar lined out to Nixon.

But Carter doubled for his third hit on the day.

Enter Mark Wohlers from the Braves pen.

Come on Dave.

Nope, he grounds on on a chopper to Blauser. 11 LOB, 7 in scoring position

Who better to nail it down then Tom Henke?

Hey, Jays don't have Calvin Schiraldi, now do they?

Oh, no, don't think that.

But Blauser (see I told you he was a tough out) singled. Berryhill got the bunt down right, this time.

Lonnie Smith, whose grand slam ended the hopes of the Jays in game 5 come to back to hit for Lemke.

And then Henke walked him.

What is happening?

Francisco Cabrera come to bat for Wohlers.

Henke gets the count to 2-2, then Cabrera fouls off three pitches.

Then he sends a liner that is over Maldonado's head. Game over.

Wait a minute, Maldonado leaps and SPEARS IT!

Cabrera misses by inches from being the hero of the NLCS and The World Series.

Otis Nixon is all that seperates Toronto from immortality.

He swung and misses at the first pitch.

He took a called strike 2.

One pitch away.

Just like the Red Sox 6 years ago.

Come on Henke, bear down.

At this point everyone remembers the song The Ballard Of Tom Henke, that I still have on tape.

Long after they've turned on the lights in Wrigley Field
Long after The Jays have moved into their dome
They'll be talking about the guy by the name of Henke
Brought the World Series to our home

Perfect prophecy!

Henke fires one...

...and Nixon hits it between Lee and Gruber, Maldonado's throw home is way high.

Blauser has scored, Smith has made it to third, and Nixon to second.

What a disaster!

But wait, Henke gets behind Gant 3-1, then induces the left fielder to fly out to White.

Well, at least the Jays are still alive.

But so are the Braves.

But in the 10th, an unwelcoming sight: Charlie Leibrandt enters the game.

That's the guy who was the winning pitcher in game 7 of the Jays 1985 ALCS loss.

Rafael Belliard also is in the game, at short.

Kelly Gruber, who was actually with the Jays in '85 (for all of 5 games), singles after Maldonado flies out. I knew it, just when we all had given up on him, like in the bottom of the eighth inning of game 3.

Better still, we got The Guy Who Does Hit, Borders up. 2-3 with a walk tonight, 9-19 in the Series so far!

But Borders goes out to left, dropping his average to only .450. Then Pat Tabler comes to the plate for the last time in his career, to hit for Lee.

While he hit just .252 in the regular season, I had actually been quite impressed with him that year. He had batted .320 in his last 9 games in the regular season. And he had helped the with some clutch hits. He got 3 RBIs May 2nd against Milwaukee and 3 more in an 15-11 win over the Tigers. He was 3-4 on May 8th vs The Angels and also 3-5 on the last day of the season vs The Tigers.

He was just 0-1 in th World Series, not having played since game 1, and not playing at all in the ALCS.

He took a good cut, but all he could do is line it back to Leibrandt on a 1-1 count for the third out. 12 men left on base

Alfredo Griffin came in to play shortstop in the bottom of the 10th.

Henke got Pendleton to ground out to Carter, who made the play himself.

But that was the last pitch Henke would ever throw in a Blue Jay uniform.

Jimmy Key, who would also be gone from the Jays after this season, entered the game and enduced a groundout by Justice to Griffin. Then Jimmy covered first as Sid Justice hit a grounder to Carter.

In the top of the 11th, it was Key who was forced to bat for himself.

Quickly he got behind 0-2, as one 1985 ALCS pitcher faced another. Then he worked the count to 2-2, before popping up to Sid Bream in foul territory.

But then White, who became a Jay in 1991, got hit with a pitch with the count 1-2. White rarely walked, so there was no way he was going to get on base, unless Charlie hit him.

Then Roberto Alomar, who also joined the Jays in 1991, and whose motto should be, "I WON'T LET THE JAYS LOSE!", singled White to second.

The man who came over in the Alomar trade from San Diego trade (for Tony Fernandez and Fred McGriff), Joe Carter, flied out to Nixon for out number 2.

But Dave Winfield (4-21 so far) on the payoff pitch, doubled to left to score both White and Alomar. 4-2 Jays!

Winfield's first extra base hit in a World Series. Couldn't have come at a better time.

Maybe earlier in the game, perhaps?

Like in the 3rd, 5th, 7th or 9th inning?

Oh, that was then, just like Winfield's 1-22 performance in the 1981 World Series.

It was all behind us.

Surely there was nothing to stand in the Jays way, now!

Maldonado, like Key, fell behind 0-2, worked it to 2-2, then popped uo to Belliard. This was the last Jays batter this game.

And Maldonado's last at bat in a Jays uniform until 1995.

I really missed him. He could have wined and sulked when he was put on the back burner as the season opened. It was supposed to be Derek Bell's turn in left field.

Bell got a hit in four trips to the plate in the opener of '92, then got a hit in his first at bat 2 days later.

And then he cracked his hand, missed 29 games, and lost his spot to The Candy Man.

And did Maldonado come through: 20 homeruns, 66 RBI, 64 Runs Scored in all of 137 games

And in 114 of those games, he batted in the 6th spot or lower.

His fielding might not have been great, but it was no George Bell, either.

And that doesn't include his 2 homeruns and 6 RBIs in the ALCS.

Almost forgot, LOB by Toronto, 13, including 8 in scoring position.

Anyways, it took 2 pitches to feel bad in the bottom of the 11th.

Blauser makes it 3-5 with a clean single to left to start another Brave uprising. Confidence level has got to be at an alltime high when you swing on the first pitch.

And that ups Jeff's average to .250 (6-24) in the Series. But .385 (5-13) in the last three games. These guys just help you win.

Damon Berryhill, who has certainly had his troubles at the plate, hits a double play ball to Griffin on the next pitch!

But the ball takes a bad hop and goes to center field. Blauser makes it all the way to third.

John Smoltz comes into the game. No, not to pitch, but rather to pinch-run for Berryhill.

Belliard gets the tying run into scoring position with a bunt that Key fields.

Brian Hunter, who hit .239 in the regular season, but also 14 homeruns in only 102 games, is sent up to hit for Leibrandt. He hit only .200 in the NLCS and is 1-4 in this Series with an RBI in game 2.

He grounds to Carter, who makes the putout himself as Blauser scores. 4-3 Toronto

The tying run is at this.

Two outs.

Otis Nixon at bat.

Deja vu all over again, as Yogi Berra would say.

Did I mention all this drama in this half inning has taken 6 pitches. Really!

But Jimmy Key, who has thrown all six pitches this inning and only 14 in the game, is done for the night.

Now why, this doesn't make since with Nixon a switch hitter, and Mike Timlin, the new Jays pitcher, a righty.

Timlin, as mentioned, has had a bit of a rough season. 0-2 with a 4.12 ERA. He had started the year on the DL, and didn't throw his first pitch until June 13th. After 13 appearances, his ERA was pretty good, 2.57.

But it rose to 3.91 at the end of July when he was rocked for 4 runs in only 2  innings of work against KC.

Then it rose to 5.06 after giving up 5 earned runs in 3.2 innings his next outing.

Yet, over the course of his last 11 games (17 innings) he posted a tidy 2.65 ERA, and got the save (his only on the season) on the very last day of the regular season.

He was back to his surprsing rookie form of 1991 when he was 11-6 with a 3.16 ERA.

Mike had struggled against Oakland (6.75 ERA in only 1.1 innings), but that last outing against Atlanta was good, wasn't it? a perfect 1-2-3 inning and only 9 pitches.

But Nixon is 2-5 today and 8-26 in the Series for a .308 batting average.

The Jays have a huddle on the mound.

Just as it's ending, Joe Carter, reminds everyone that Nixon might try and bunt.

Timlin goes to work. Nixon fouls off a pitch.

Then, just as Carter had warned, Nixon BUNTS!

Timlin gets it, fires to Carter!

IT IS OVER.

The Toronto Blue Jays win the real World Series of 1992.

So much for Blow Jays, post season pantsies, and all that other nonesence. Toronto is the Champion!

World Champs, eh?