Sunday, October 23, 2016

What was the MLB like back in 1945?

Hey baseball fans!

Here are five MLB-related fun facts about 1945, the last year the Chicago Cubs won the NL pennant before 2016.

Fact #1: Hal Newhouser, the Hall of Fame pitcher who played for the Detroit Tigers, took home AL MVP honors that year after leading all AL pitchers in wins (25), ERA (1.81), and strikeouts (212).

Fact #2: Cubs All Star first baseman and outfielder, Phil Cavarretta, after leading the NL with a .355 batting average, won the NL MVP.

Fact #3: Ten people were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945: Jim O'Rourke, King Kelly, Hughie Jennings, Hugh Duffy, Ed Delahanty (plaque pictured below), Jimmy Collins, Fred Clarke, Dan Brouthers, Roger Bresnahan, and Wilbert Robinson.

Fact #4: There were only 16 teams in the MLB during the '45 season. The Cubs ended up with the best record in baseball that year, going 98-56.

Fact #5: The Yankees finished the 1945 MLB campaign with a record of 81-71. That was the third of four times that they didn't finish with over 90 wins in a season in the 1940s.

1945 sure was a long time ago, but congratulations to the Cubs for finally making it back to the World Series! Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Eight Fun Facts About Connie Mack 10/18/16

Hey baseball fans!

It has been 66 years to the day since Connie Mack retired as a baseball manager. The former manager of the Pirates (1894-1896) and A's (1901-1950) is considered one of the greatest managers of all time. To honor him, here are eight fun Connie Mack facts.

Fact #1: Mack's full birth name is Cornelius McGillicuddy, but he is always referred to as Connie Mack.

Fact #2: He had a playing career before he was a manager. From 1886-1896 with the original Washington Nationals, Buffalo Bisons of the Players' League, and the Pittsburgh Pirates, he batted .245 with 659 base hits.

Fact #3: He is the Cy Young of managers. He has the most wins (3,731), losses (3,948), and games managed (7,755) out of any manager in baseball history. He also had 76 ties. If only he could've won more games than he lost.

Fact #4: Mack is a five-time World Series champion, which is third on the all-time list. In 1910, 1911, 1913, 1929, and 1930, he led the Athletics to Fall Classic victories.

Fact #5: Connie Mack was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937, when he was still managing the A's.

Fact #6: The legendary A's manager coached 20 Hall of Famers during his 50-year stint with the team, including Jimmie Foxx, Eddie Collins, and Lefty Grove.

Fact #7: Connie Mack wanted to coach good people in addition to good players. With that in mind, he created a code of conduct in 1916 that all of the players he managed had to abide by:
  • I will always play the game to the best of my ability.
  • I will always play to win, but if I lose, I will not look for an excuse to detract from my opponent's victory.
  • I will never take an unfair advantage in order to win.
  • I will always abide by the rules of the game—on the diamond as well as in my daily life.
  • I will always conduct myself as a true sportsman—on and off the playing field. I will always strive for the good of the entire team rather than for my own glory.
  • I will never gloat in victory or pity myself in defeat. I will do my utmost to keep myself clean—physically, mentally, and morally.
  • I will always judge a teammate or an opponent as an individual and never on the basis of race or religion.
Fact #8: Mack's strategy for keeping a team good was youth and aggressiveness. He always preferred younger players over veterans and always favored slugging percentage over batting average. He also hardly issued intentional walks, no matter who the batter was. 

What a manager Connie Mack was. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

My Top Five Favorite Toronto Blue Jays of All Time 10/11/16

Hey baseball fans!

The Blue Jays are on to the ALCS! So yes, I may have messed up that prediction. Nonetheless, congrats to the city of Toronto on being one step closer to getting to the World Series. With that in mind, here are my top five favorite Toronto Blue Jays of all time:

Number Five: Jose Bautista
Why? Joey Bats actually follows me on Twitter, and has been one of the most prominent sluggers on the Blue Jays' super-slugging teams of the last few seasons. Bautista has made the All Star Game six out of the eight years he's played above the border and has averaged 33 homers a season during those years.

Number Four: Joe Carter
Why? Joe Carter's walk-off, come-from-behind, World Series-winning home run that won the Jays their second straight championship in 1993 is definitely the main reason why he's on the list, but Carter was a fan favorite in Toronto for other reasons. He made five All Star Games in seven seasons with the Blue Jays and averaged over 100 RBIs a season with the team.

Number Three: Roy Halladay
Why? As a Yankee fan, I hated him, but as a baseball historian, he's awesome. He won almost two thirds of his games as a Blue Jay and even won a Cy Young Award with the club in 2003. Seven of his twelve years in Canada ended with double-digit wins and four of those years ended with an ERA below 3.00.

Number Two: Roberto Alomar
Why? He was an All Star and Gold Glover at second base every year he played in the SkyDome and was also a key contributor to the Blue Jays' two World Series championships in '92 and '93. His .307 batting average with Toronto wasn't too shabby, either.

Number One: Paul Molitor
Why? This choice might be a little controversial, but it is definitely justified. Molitor played three seasons with the Blue Jays from 1993-1995 and in two of them, 1993 and 1994, he posted his second and third-best single season batting averages in his entire career at .332 and .341, respectively. He placed second in AL MVP voting in 1993, but did win the 1993 World Series MVP after batting .500 with 8 RBIs in the six-game Series against the Phillies. His career north of the border was short, but it was extremely saturated with productivity.

Do you agree with my picks? Let me know in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Sunday, October 2, 2016

My Five MLB Playoff Predictions 10/2/16

Hey baseball fans!

It's the last day of the MLB season, which means the MLB playoffs are fast approaching. So, here are five predictions for what will happen during the 2016 Major League Baseball postseason.

Prediction #1: David Ortiz goes into a slump against the Indians
David Ortiz's final year in baseball sure was a great one. He'll end the year with 35+ home runs and a .300+ batting average. He batted .295 against the Indians in the 2007 ALCS, but the 2016 Indians are a different team. The team's combined ERA this season is 20 points better than the '07 Tribe and one can argue that the current Indians' starting pitching staff is a lot more complete than it was nine years ago. Ortiz definitely has a slight chance of batting okay against the Cleveland starters, but I just really can't see him doing well in the upcoming series.

Prediction #2: San Francisco doesn't win the World Series
Whether it be losing the Wild Card Game or not making the playoffs at all, the Giants are not making it past the first round of the 2016 postseason. I say this because of their third-worst post-All Star Break record among all teams in the MLB. Frankly, the team has not been the same since mid-July and it's tough to say that they'll have the momentum entering the postseason to win even just one game. Even though it's an even-numbered year, don't expect to see another World Series banner in AT&T Park.

Prediction #3: The Rangers win the AL Wild Card Game
The Blue Jays and the Orioles came into the 2016 season with high expectations. The O's shopped heavily in the offseason and improved their team a lot, while the Jays kept all of the important pieces that helped them win the AL East in 2015. With that in mind, I don't think either of these teams have lived up to the hype. They each should've won 90+ games this season, but inconsistencies across the board prevented that from happening. Even if the Tigers do manage to snatch up one of the Wild Card spots, none of the potential AL Wild Card teams is really ready to face the Rangers.

Prediction #4: D.C. finally gets to see an NLCS
The Nationals have been a good team for a long time, but they honestly did a lot better than I thought they would in 2016. I thought they would finish with around 85 wins and maybe a second Wild Card spot, but apparently not. With that being said, statistically, the Nats are better at pitching and hitting than the Dodgers. That's all the reasoning I need to make this prediction.

Prediction #5: The Cubs make the World Series
I'm not going to say that the Cubs will win the World Series, because their could be some AL surprises that I can't confidently predict, but I can definitely say that the Cubs will win the NL pennant. With multiple Cy Young award candidates in the starting pitching staff and a couple of MVP candidates in the batting order as well, it's virtually impossible to say that this juggernaut NL squad will not be in the 2016 Fall Classic.

Do you agree with my predictions? Let me know in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Friday, September 23, 2016

An Intentional Scheduling Mishap 9/23/16

Hey baseball fans!

Did you know that in 1961, American League teams played 162 games while National League teams played just 154? Crazy, right? Yes, but let me explain.

Before 1961, there were eight teams in each league in the MLB. However, the MLB decided to expand in ’61 to compete with the newly proposed Continental League that would actually fold in 1960. The expansion teams of that year were the Washington Senators (the present-day Texas Rangers) and the LA Angels. As great as it was that the MLB was getting larger, there was now a scheduling issue in the American League. Prior to the additions, each team played each other 22 times a season, but with the additions, that number would be way too much. So, it was decided that each AL team would play each other 18 times a season for a total of 162 games played.

There was still one problem: what about the NL teams? Well, they actually stuck with the 154-game season in 1961. The only reason that worked is because AL and NL teams didn’t play each other in the regular season until 1997. Once the National League added the Astros and Mets in 1962, they adopted the 162-game season. Now the argument for why Roger Maris’s single-season home run record was illegitimate in 1961 gets a little more interesting.

Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

Saturday, September 17, 2016

My Birth Year's World Series Winners: The 1999 Yankees 9/15/16

Hey baseball fans!

I was born on February 21, 1999, which means I was born in the same year that the Yankees won the World Series! I think this is really cool because the Yanks are my favorite team and it's almost as if I was destined to root for them. With that in mind, here is a quick synopsis about my birth year World Series winners: the 1999 New York Yankees.

The '99 Yankees came into the season with some big expectations, having won 114 games the previous season, an AL record at the time. They didn't have a lot to improve on in the offseason, considering the team was loaded with stars, but the one key transaction the Bronx Bombers made was trading for Roger Clemens in a four-player trade that most notably sent Yankee fan favorite David Wells to the Blue Jays. Clemens was the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner and although he had a down year for his standards, the rest of the Yankee pitchers were solid. They averaged 4.13 runs allowed per game, which was good for second in the American League. Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez led the starting staff with 17 wins, David Cone pitched a perfect game on July 18, and Mariano Rivera collected a league-leading 45 saves.

The Yankee hitting was good as always, placing in the top ten as a team in runs scored, hits, and batting average. Derek Jeter, Tino Martinez, Paul O'Neill, and Bernie Williams all had over 100 RBIs and Jeter and Williams each batted over .340. Other notable hitters in the lineup included Chuck Knoblauch, who kept up his larcenous ways by stealing 28 bases, and Chili Davis who hit 19 home runs and drove in 78 runs. By season's end, New York ended up with the best record in the American League with 98 wins. The Yanks would sweep the Rangers in the ALDS, beat the Red Sox in the ALCS in five games, and sweep the NL champion Braves in the World Series to extend their World Series winning streak to twelve straight games.

It wasn't as awesome as the 1998 season, but the '99 squad was still scary good. What MLB team won the World Series in your birth year? Leave your comments in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Saturday, September 10, 2016

How Well Did Jackie Robinson Do on April 15th? 9/10/16

Hey baseball fans!

April 15th is one of the most important days of the baseball season, because it is on that date in 1947 that Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. It was such a momentous occasion in not only baseball history, but also in sports and American history. But how well did Jackie Robinson actually do at the plate on Jackie Robinson Day? Thanks to some rummaging through the Dodgers' schedules and box scores of the late '40s and early '50s, I have an answer.

Including the day that he broke the color barrier, Robinson actually didn't do as well as some would think on April 15th throughout his career. He only played in five games on that date during his career, because MLB seasons back then sometimes started after April 15th. In those five April 15 games in which Jackie played, he only went 2-12 for a batting average of .167. However, there are some bright spots in his stat line on Jackie Robinson Days. For example, he walked on average once a game, which means that for every game he played on April 15, he was on base at least once. He hit his only Jackie Robinson Day home run on April 15, 1954 against the Pirates, which also plated home Pee Wee Reese. He only struck out once in those five games, which came in 1955 against the Giants. Lastly, and this is probably the coolest statistic, every time the Dodgers played on April 15 with Jackie in the lineup, they won!! So maybe Jackie could've done better on his day personally, but the Dodgers as a team did really well.

Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."