Friday, July 13, 2018

Baseball with Matt's Top 50 Part 5: #35-30 7/13/18

Hey baseball fans!

I'm back and better than ever! I hope your summer is going quite swimmingly. Speaking of summer, let's talk some baseball, shall we? Specifically, let's talk about the fourth part in my ten-part countdown of the top 50 Hall of Fame hitters in baseball history.

#35: Ernie Banks
Arguably the most famous member of the Chicago Cubs in the franchise's storied history, "Mr. Cub" was an 11-time All Star on 19 pretty horrible Cubs teams from 1953-1971. One of the best hitters to never get even so much as a taste of postseason baseball, Banks is one of the most powerful shortstops in baseball history, slapping out 512 career long balls. The back-to-back NL MVP in 1958 and 1959 was elected into the Hall in 1977 in his first year of eligibility.

#34: Joe DiMaggio
It's Joltin' Joe! DiMaggio is distinguished by being the only Hall of Famer to make an All Star Game every single year he played (1936-1942, 1946-1951). The Yankee Clipper was a .325 lifetime hitter, a three-time MVP in 1939, 1941, and 1947, and averaged 118 RBIs a season! Oh yeah, and that 56-game consecutive hits streak or whatever.


#33: Reggie Jackson
Jackson wasn't always a fan favorite, but what he lacked in popularity, he made up for in power. Jackson smacked out 563 career home runs, which is good for 14th on the all-time list. He was a 14-time All Star, 1973 AL MVP with the A's, and 1973 and 1977 World Series MVP for the A's and Yankees, respectively. That latter year was when he hit four homers on four consecutive swings, just saying. Fun fact: Jackson is the only player in baseball history to win the World Series MVP for two different teams.

#32: Jackie Robinson
As I've said before on BwM, Robinson isn't in the Hall of Fame solely because he broke the color barrier. He was a darn good hitter as well. He batted .311 lifetime and made consecutive All Star Games from 1949-1954, winning the NL MVP in '49 while leading the league with a .342 batting average. He also led the league in stolen bases two times (1947, 1949).

#31: Harmon Killebrew
He was the premiere slugger of the AL during his career from 1954-1975 with mainly the Twins franchise (they moved from DC to Minnesota during his career, but it's the same franchise), hitting a whopping 573 career homers, which ranks 12th on the all-time list. The eleven-time All Star and 1969 AL MVP led his league in out-of-the-parkers on six occasions, topping 35 homers in a season on nine occasions.

We are nearing the halfway point of the list! Are you excited to see more hitters? Let me know your predictions for the rest of the list 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."

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Baseball with Matt's Top 50 Part 4: #40-36 6/27/18

Hey baseball fans!

Do you know what time it is?! It's time to talk about my 40th to 36th best Hall of Fame hitters in baseball history! Let's get on with the show, shall we?

#40: George Brett
Probably the greatest hitter in the history of the Royals, Brett collected 3,154 hits in 21 years in the bigs. He won the 1980 AL MVP, made 13 straight All Star games, and led KC to its first of two world championships in 1985. Fun fact: he's the only guy to get picked off after collecting his 3,000th career hit. Nonetheless, he was amazing.

#39: Paul Molitor
"The Ignitor" made seven All Star games with the Brewers and Blue Jays (and also batted .341 with the Twins in 1996 at the age of 39) and is tied with Pepper Martin for the highest lifetime World Series batting average at .418. The .306 regular season hitter broke the 3,000 hits barrier easily, finishing his career with 3,319 base knocks, good for tenth on the all-time list.


#38: Eddie Mathews
Despite being overshadowed by Hank Aaron for a majority of his career, Mathews was still one of the premier power hitters of his era. In just 17 years from 1952-1968, the Braves big bat smacked out 512 career home runs, good for an average of roughly 30 homers a season! He led the league twice in homers (47 in 1953 and 46 in 1959) and led the league in walks four times.

#37: Willie McCovey
McCovey had the same career as Mathews: lots of homers, but overshadowed by someone who will not appear on this countdown for another several weeks. McCovey is tied for 20th on the all-time home runs list with Ted Williams and Frank Thomas with 521 career dingers. McCovey led the league in homers and RBIs in back-to-back years in 1968 and 1969, winning the NL MVP in the later year. He also holds the record for the least amount of games played in a Rookie of the Year-winning campaign at only 52 games. But in those 52 games, he hit .354 with 13 homers.

#36: Jim Thome
One of the youngest and most underrated hitters on this list, Thome is the all-time leader in walk-off home runs at 13. In fact, the 500th home run of his career was a walk-off while playing for the White Sox. The all-time great with mainly the Indians collected a whopping 612 career home runs, good for eighth on the all-time list.

As always, let me know what you think of the list so far 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, June 17, 2018

Baseball with Matt's Top 50 Part 3: #45-41 6/17/18

Hey baseball fans!

It's time to reveal the 45th to 41st best Hall of Fame hitters in baseball history (in my humble opinion, of course)! Who's ready? Let's do it!

#45: Willie Stargell
This 21-year veteran for the Pirates was a key contributor to the Buccos' 1971 and 1979 World Series championships. The 1979 NL MVP and seven-time All Star hit 25+ homers in a season on ten occasions during his career and topped 100 RBIs in five seasons. In terms of best Pirates ever, the .282 lifetime hitter is right up there with another Pittsburgh legend who will appear on this list soon.

#44: Rickey Henderson
Yes, Henderson is the all-time steals leader, but did you know that he also has 3,055 career hits and the all-time record for runs scored at 2,295? The ten-time All Star and 1990 AL MVP led the league in stolen bases in twelve seasons, including in 1998, when at 39 years old, he stole 66 bases for the A's.

#43: Al Kaline
The all-time Tigers leader in hits made the All Star Game in 13 straight years from 1955-1967. The .297 lifetime hitter even won ten Gold Gloves as an outfielder. He finished his Hall of Fame career with 3,007 hits.

#42: Johnny Bench
17 big league seasons. 14 All Star nods. Eleven seasons of 20 or more home runs. NL MVP in 1970 and 1972. Two-time home run leader and three-time RBI leader. Back-to-back World Series champ in 1975 and 1976. Ten consecutive Gold Gloves as a catcher. Need I say more?

#41: Robin Yount
Yes, he only made three All Star teams for the AL during his 20-year career with the Brewers, but he did win the AL MVP twice in 1982 and 1989, collect 3,142 career hits, and bat .285 during his career.  And to top it all off, what a mustache this guy had!


#40-36 are coming up next, so get pumped! Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Baseball with Matt's Top 50 Part 2: #50-46 6/2/18

Hey baseball fans!

It's time for Part 2 of my list of the top 50 Hall of Fame hitters in baseball history (and the first part that actually includes part of the list)! Without further delay, here are the first five entries to BwM's Top 50:

#50: Kirby Puckett
We're kicking off the summer festivities with one of the two best contact hitters the Minnesota Twins have ever had on their roster. Spoiler alert: the other one will appear on this list in several posts. Anyway, Puckett made ten All Star appearances in his twelve years in the MLB, averaged 192 hits a season, and batted .318 lifetime. His Hall of Fame moment came in the 1991 World Series, when he hit a walk-off home run in Game Six to extend the series to a seventh game that the Twins would eventually win.


#49: Jeff Bagwell
Bagwell's 449 career home runs and 1,529 RBIs in just 15 MLB seasons should've punched his ticket into Cooperstown on the first ballot, but his election was delayed due to steroid speculators. Nonetheless, the 1994 NL MVP for the Astros batted .297 lifetime and had an on-base percentage above .400 in seven seasons.

#48: Craig Biggio
He's the second Astros HoFer on this list and the first member of the 3,000 hit club on this list. Biggio's 3,060 career knocks rank number one in the Astros organization and 24th on the all-time list. The seven-time All Star second baseman led the league in runs scored twice and doubles three times.

#47: Lou Brock
Larcenous Lou stole 938 bases during his career, which at the time of his retirement, was the best mark in history (and now stands second only to someone who will appear in the next blog post). But something you probably didn't know about Mr. Brock is that he is also a member of the 3,000 hits club with 3,023 career base hits. He posted 190+ hits in a season seven times throughout his career with the Cardinals and Cubs from 1961-1979 and even made six All Star Games.

#46: Chipper Jones
The face of the Braves franchise in the 1990s and 2000s batted .303 during his Hall of Fame career in Atlanta and even smacked 468 long balls out of the yard. From 1996-2003, he never collected less than 100 RBIs in a season and even won the 1999 NL MVP.

Next post will include #45-41, so get excited as we move along into the dog days of summer! Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Baseball with Matt's Top 50 Part 1: Introduction and Honorable Mentions 5/29/18

Hey baseball fans!

This summer here on Baseball with Matt will be devoted to ranking my top 50 Hall of Fame hitters of all time! I've always wanted to do a list like this because every time I read or watch a list of the top hitters in baseball history, I always have comments. Basically, the top 50 will consist of some of the greatest names of America's pastime, but you're going to have to stick around until mid-August to read the name "Ruth" (yes, he is in my top five). But to start off this series, this post is devoted to the top hitters who didn't crack the top 50. Trust me, these omissions were very tough, so these guys definitely deserve to be in my top 60. But the list is the top 50 Hall of Fame hitters in baseball history, so, in no particular order, here are the honorable mentions.

The Catchers: Carlton Fisk, Yogi Berra, and Roy Campanella
All Hall of Fame catchers. All with multiple All Star Games and seasonal awards. All regarded as some of the best ever from behind the plate. But all just missed the cut.

The Injury-Prone: Ralph Kiner and Hank Greenberg
Both of these sluggers could mash the baseball, but were both hampered by injuries that cut their careers short. But when your slugging percentage is more than double your batting average in multiple seasons, you deserve a shout out.


The Miscellaneous Cubs Hall of Famers: Andre Dawson and Billy Williams
Both of these guys were great hitters, don't get me wrong, but just didn't have the stuff for the top 50. However, with that being said, don't let their absences on my list detract from their Cooperstown worthiness.

I would just like to point out a common theme you'll see throughout the top 50 that you might've seen in these honorable mentions as well. I will not be playing the "what if" game, meaning that in the construction of this list, I never said "well, if blank happened, he would've had better stats." Just keep that in mind as you read the list (and specifically Ted Williams's name on said list). Anyway, who's excited for #50-46? I know I am. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Thursday, May 24, 2018

A Postseason for the History Books (literally) 5/24/18

Hey baseball fans!

The 2018 MLB season is still in its infancy, but it's still fun thinking ahead to October. Rather than give a playoff prediction, though, here is a playoff scenario. What if the teams with the most World Series championships made the playoffs this year? How would the playoff bracket look and, ultimately, who would win the 2018 World Series? Here are my two cents on the subject:


First off, before we get to my predictions for this playoff scenario, here are the participating teams:

AL East champion: New York Yankees (27 championships)
AL Central champion: Detroit Tigers (4 championships)
AL West champion: Oakland Athletics (9 championships)
AL Wild Cards: Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox (8 and 3 championships, respectively)*
*The Twins and Orioles also have three Fall Classic trophies, but the ChiSox have a better winning percentage than both of them in the World Series (60% compared to 50% and 42.9%, respectively)

NL East champion: Atlanta Braves (3 championships)
NL Central champion: St. Louis Cardinals (11 championships)
NL West champion: San Francisco Giants (8 championships)
NL Wild Cards: Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates (6 and 5 championships, respectively)*
*The Reds also have five Fall Classic trophies, but the Pirates have a better winning percentage than Cinci in the World Series (71.4% compared to 55.6%)

Ok, now here are my predictions:

AL Wild Card Round: White Sox vs. Red Sox
Winner: Red Sox. The best team in baseball would absolutely annihilate their footwear brethren and, honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if the run differential was in the double-digits for this game.

NL Wild Card Round: Dodgers vs. Pirates
Winner: Pirates. As much as their season is surprising me right now, Pittsburgh is doing much better than I thought and the Dodgers are doing much worse. Sorry LA, but you're not getting World Series redemption in this scenario if the season ended today.

ALDS 1: Red Sox vs. Yankees
Winner: Yankees. This one would go five games, for sure, but New York has an unbelievable lineup right now.

ALDS 1: Tigers vs. Athletics
Winner: Athletics. The A's have an interesting team this year and could make a surprising run at the AL Wild Card in real life, but in this scenario, considering they're facing one of the worst teams in the AL, this series isn't going longer than four games.

NLDS 1: Pirates vs. Cardinals
Winner: Cardinals. It seems that the Cards' eerie 2017 is over and the Cards are playing up to the hype. I think this series would be close, but St. Louis would take it. Pittsburgh being good still doesn't make a whole lot of sense for me right now.

NLDS 2: Braves vs. Giants
Winner: Braves. It's an even year, yes, but the geriatric Giants would be no match for the upstart and young Atlanta squad. Braves take it in four or maybe even a sweep.

ALCS: Athletics vs. Yankees
Winner: Yankees. The A's, to be frank, will slow down eventually in 2018, while the Yankees will only continue to soar.

NLCS: Braves vs. Cardinals
Winner: Cardinals, for basically the same reasons as the ALCS outcome. The Braves' luck will run out and St. Louis will, literally, only rise (get it? Birds) in the wins column.

World Series: Cardinals vs. Yankees
Winner: Cardinals. This Fall Classic would be extremely close, but the Baby Bombers just don't have the high-pressure experiences that the Cardiac Cards don't even need to win. Just look at the past Cardinals championship squads: all underdogs.

Obviously, the Tigers and White Sox will not be playing October baseball in 2018, but this was a fun little experiment. What other playoff scenarios would you like to see me analyze? Leave your thoughts 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, May 12, 2018

Derek Jeter's Season that Wasn't Really a Season 5/12/18

Hey baseball fans!

So I recently learned that Derek Jeter holds the record for the most postseason games played at 158. This number is pretty interesting because there are 162 games in a season, so it's almost as if Jeter played an entire season over many Octobers (and Novembers). This got me thinking: how well did Jeter do in his postseason-season, if you will? Well, I have your answer and it turns out, he did pretty well, as he did in most of his actual MLB seasons.

In 158 games, Jeter batted .308 with 200 hits on the dot, 20 home runs, and 111 runs scored. To put those numbers into perspective, thinking about Jeter's 158 postseason games as a full season, the .308 batting average would be the twelfth-best single-season batting average of his career, the 200 hits would be his ninth-best seasonal hits total, the 20 home runs would rank fourth, and the 111 runs scored would be tied for eighth. So, in conclusion, I'd say Jeter was just as consistent in the last months of the season as he was in the first several. No wonder the Yanks won so many World Series championships during his career (five, to be exact).


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