Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Fun Facts About the 2019 BBWAA Hall of Fame Inductees 1/23/19

Hey baseball fans!

I literally could not be happier with how the Hall of Fame announcement went yesterday, so congratulations to all the 2019 BBWAA inductees! To welcome Mariano Rivera, Edgar Martinez, Roy Halladay, and Mike Mussina into the Hall, here is a fun fact about each of them:

Mariano Rivera
I've shared the "less postseason earned runs than moon-walkers" fact plenty of times before and the fact that he was the first unanimous selection is not obscure enough for me, but did you know this? Mo is the first Hall of Famer who played a majority of his career with the Yankees and received higher than 90% on the BBWAA ballot since Babe Ruth in 1936. Lou Gehrig got in via a special election, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle only got above 80%, and Reggie Jackson played a majority of his career with the A's.

Edgar Martinez
FINALLY! Thank goodness Edgar got in. Speaking of which, one of the reasons I've said for years that Martinez is a Hall of Famer is because the best DH every year gets the "Edgar Martínez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award." But did you know that Martinez won his own award when it wasn't named after him? Yes, besides David Ortiz, Martinez has the most Edgar Martinez Awards with five, while Ortiz leads all DHs in the category with eight. Also, Martinez is the only recipient of the award to win the batting title in the same season; in 1995, Martinez won his first ever Edgar Martinez Award while leading the league with a .356 batting average.

Roy Halladay
In 2010, in his first postseason start, Roy Halladay pitched a no-hitter. Not only was this the first postseason no-hitter since Don Larsen's perfect game in Game Five of the 1956 World Series, but it was also the first National League postseason no-hitter and the first no-hitter in Citizen's Bank Park, the home of Halladay's Phillies.

Mike Mussina
I'll keep this one short and sweet. Mussina is the only pitcher to have fifteen straight ten-win seasons while pitching in the American League and was the first pitcher to retire after a 20-game season since Sandy Koufax. Great stuff, Moose!

What do you think of this year's Hall of Fame class? 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."

Sunday, January 13, 2019

If I Had A Hall of Fame Ballot 2019 1/13/19

Hey baseball fans!

The 2019 Hall of Fame class will be announced in less than 10 days! As is customary on Baseball with Matt, in this post I will try to predict the members of this year's Hall of Fame class. My ballot would include the full ten hitters and pitchers allowed on any BBWAA ballot, but this post is just a prediction of who will get in this year. As a bonus, I will try to predict the percentages that each of the following players will get.

Player: Mariano Rivera
Percentage: 95%
Why? I talked about Mo in my last post, but there's no point in not mentioning him twice. Rivera is the all-time MLB leader in saves, totaling 652 saves during his career that was entirely with the Yankees. The Sandman made 13 All Star Games in 19 years and his 2.21 career ERA is not too shabby, either.

Player: Roy Halladay
Percentage: 83%
Why? Halladay was always been known as one of the hardest-working pitchers in the business, which can be attested to by many of his Blue Jays and Phillies teammates, coaches, and tons of other personalities in the baseball world. In that aspect, he definitely appeals to the BBWAA writers who vote. And his stats are pretty darn good, too. He's a two-time Cy Young Award recipient and an eight-time All Star. Oh, and did I mention that in his first ever career playoff start, he pitched a no-hitter?

Player: Edgar Martinez
Percentage: 77%
Why? It's a shame he won't get a larger percentage, but it's about time Edgar Martinez makes it into the Hall of Fame. And considering it's his last year on the BBWAA ballot, I think the voters will agree. Martinez was a seven-time All Star and five-time Silver Slugger during his 18-year career with the Seattle Mariners. He's a .312 lifetime batter, leading the league in batting average twice. But the main reason Martinez is deserving of the Hall of Fame is his pioneering as a DH. Only David Ortiz has matched the pure hitting skill from the DH spot in the lineup since Martinez's retirement and the award for the best DH every year is called the Edgar Martinez Award.

If I were to fill out an entire ballot, I would also include Todd Helton, Mike Mussina, Miguel Tejada, Fred McGriff, Jeff Kent, Michael Young, and Billy Wagner, but that's only because I get ten spots. Rivera, Halladay, and Martinez are the real deserving players for the 2019 Hall of Fame class. But what do you think? Who do you think is getting into the Hall this year? Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Sunday, January 6, 2019

A Preview of the 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot 1/6/19

Hey baseball fans!

The members of the 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame class will be announced on January 22 and I couldn't be more excited to see who gets in. This post will be an overview of the most interesting names on the ballot, while my next post will be a prediction of who gets in this year.

The Shoe-In
We've seen some previews of some of the ballots that have already been filled out, so although Mariano Rivera won't get in unanimously, he's going to set some records for Hall of Fame percentages. The all-time leader in saves appears on the ballot for the first time in 2019 and there is no doubt in my mind that he won't get at least 90%. Say what you want about closers, but here's my favorite Mariano Rivera stat: more people have walked on the moon then have scored on an earned run given up by the Sandman in the postseason. That, right there, is dominance.

The Maybe's
Cooperstown is always the most selective of the major sports' Hall of Fames, so this class won't be as big as some people would maybe like to see, but that doesn't mean that the 2019 class will be restricted to just Rivera. Roy Halladay made eight All Star Games and won two Cy Young awards during his 16-year career with the Blue Jays and Phillies, Todd Helton is arguably the most well-liked member of the Colorado Rockies in the team's short history and batted .316 lifetime, and Lance Berkman's mix of power and contact puts him in a great spot ahead of January 22.

The Rest of the First-Timers
Roy Oswalt, Miguel Tejada, and Michael Young didn't play long enough, Andy Pettitte took performance-enhancing drugs and admitted to it, and Rick Ankiel was going to be one of the best pitchers in baseball until he pulled a Ruth and switched to a hitter. Other first-timers include Kevin Youkilis, Vernon Wells, Jason Bay, and Travis Hafner.

Edgar Martinez
It's his last year on the ballot, for Pete's sake! Put him in already!

Mike Mussina
I have never been the biggest Mike Mussina Hall of Fame advocate, mostly because of his 3.68 career ERA, but playing in an always-tough AL East and winning 270 career games certainly helps his case. He got 63.5% of the vote in 2018, so maybe he'll get pushed over the required 75% in 2019.

As for Sosa, Bonds, and Clemens...
We'll have to wait and see.

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

Thursday, December 27, 2018

The Dramatic Final Out of the 1962 World Series 12/27/18

Hey baseball fans!

In the new movie, "Green Book," which takes place in 1962, there is a scene where Bronx natives are watching a Yankees game. One of the people watching the game says something along the lines of, "I hope this doesn't go to a seventh game." This is actually not an anachronism; the Yankees did actually play in the 1962 World Series against the San Francisco Giants and the Series did go seven games. In fact, that seventh game features one of the most exciting final moments of any World Series ever, so let's talk about it.

The 1962 World Series went back and forth for the first six games, with the Yankees taking the odd-numbered games and the Giants taking the even-numbered ones. Game Seven seemed to be going in a similar fashion, as the Yanks were up 1-0 over the Giants entering the bottom of the ninth at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Ralph Terry was on the mound for New York, even though he had given up the walk-off, World Series-winning home run to Bill Mazeroski of the Pirates just two years before. Nonetheless, Terry had pitched scoreless ball since the sixth, so Yankees manager Ralph Houk kept the big righty in the game.

Pinch hitter Matty Alou started off the inning with a bunt single. After two strikeouts, Hall of Famer Willie Mays laced a double down the right field line, but Alou had to stop at third. Now, with two outs and runners on second and third, fellow Hall of Famer Willie McCovey stepped to the plate. Because yet another Hall of Famer, Orlando Cepeda, was on deck, McCovey was not intentionally walked. On the second pitch of the at-bat, Terry threw a fastball on the inside part of the plate. McCovey, a lefty, adjusted to the location of the pitch and pulled the pitch on a rope. The laser of a hit looked to be zipping over second baseman Bobby Richardson for a walk-off hit, but because of the ball's topspin, Richardson just had to range to his left to make the catch, which he did. In what could've been a disastrous moment for Terry, the Yankees won their 20th World Series and their last one of their dominant 40-year run. Funnily enough, Terry was named World Series MVP.

I love this play so much because no one really remembers it and it was so star-studded. Not only do you have three Hall of Famers involved, but one of baseball's biggest families (the Alous) as well. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Sunday, December 16, 2018

My Thoughts on Harold Baines 12/16/18

Hey baseball fans!

The Veteran's Committee recently voted in two guys into the Baseball Hall of Fame. One of them, Lee Smith, definitely deserved it. The other one, Harold Baines, possibly didn't. Here's why.

Baines played for 22 seasons from 1980-2001, most famously with the White Sox and Orioles. During that 22-year span, Baines batted .289 with 384 home runs and 1,628 RBIs. To some, these numbers might be worthy of the Hall of Fame, but to most people, this is not the case. My personal problem with Baines being in the Hall of Fame is his seasonal averages. He played for 22 years, so for a guy with a .289 lifetime batting average, one would expect him to have over 3,000 career hits. However, he only averaged about 130 hits per season, which is way lower than the 150 hits per 20 years that are required for 3,000 career hits. 384 homers and 1,628 RBIs over 22 years comes out to only 17 home runs and 74 RBIs a season. The 74 RBIs are Baines's most respectable per-year statistic, which isn't saying much. Baines's Hall of Fame case is a close call, for sure, and I'm not denying him being a great player, but even the BBWAA didn't think he was a Hall of Famer; he never reached a double-digit voting percentage while on the BBWAA ballot.

Many people, including myself, are claiming that with Baines's induction into the Hall of Fame, Hall of Fame standards will have to be lowered. The reason why this is a problem is that out of the four major professional American sports' halls of fame, Cooperstown is the hardest to get into. Some people might view Hall of Fame voting as completely arbitrary and that it doesn't really matter for baseball. But those people have to understand that a tough Hall of Fame gives its sport more credibility and in an age when baseball isn't the most popular American sport anymore, that credibility is more important now than it was ever before.

I highly recommend you read some articles on what BBWAA voters are saying about the Baines' election, because my opinion is shared with quite a number of people. This is a very big deal for the Hall of Fame and will change a lot of voters' opinions about future elections. The only thing to do now is to see how this all unfolds in a few years and watch as new arguments erupt about Hall of Fame elections that had previously been dormant for decades. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Friday, December 7, 2018

The All-Time Top Five Rookie of the Year Combos 12/7/18

Hey baseball fans!

I am in love with the youth of baseball right now, especially the 2018 AL and NL Rookie of the Year award winners, Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuna. But this got me thinking: which Rookie of the Year combination of the past is the best of all time? Below is the answer to that question in the form of a top five list. While making it, however, I had one rule: one RoY winner can't be the sole reason for the combo's inclusion, so Willie Mays and Gil McDougald, the 1951 winners of the award, will not appear below. Also, this list looks at the careers of former Rookie of the Year winners, not their rookie seasons. Now, without further ado, let's begin!

Honorable Mention: 2012
AL winner: Mike Trout
NL winner: Bryce Harper
Why? These two are absolute studs, but they're both so young. If I remake this list in seven years and these two MVPs remain elite, then they'll definitely jump the #5 combo on this list. Speaking of which...

#5: 1993
AL winner: Tim Salmon
NL winner: Mike Piazza
Why? Piazza, in my opinion, is the greatest hitting catcher in baseball history. His 427 career home runs rank first among all-time catchers and his .308 lifetime batting average is unheard of for catchers of the modern era. Salmon, even though he never made an All Star Game and is the only player on this list who is either not in the Hall of Fame or probably never will be, was a fan favorite on the Angels, helping them to their first and only World Series championship in team history in 2002. During the best ten-year stretch of his 14-year career from 1992-2006 (he missed 2005 due to injury), he averaged 26 homers and 87 RBIs a season.

#4: 1977
AL winner: Eddie Murray
NL winner: Andre Dawson
Why? Steady Eddie was one of the most consistent hitters in baseball history and is probably the most underrated hitter in the 500-3,000 club (500 homers and 3,000 hits). Dawson made a name for himself as both a member of the Expos and the Cubs, averaging 132 hits, 21 home runs, and 76 RBIs a season.

#3: 1956
AL winner: Luis Aparicio
NL winner: Frank Robinson
Why? Aparicio started off his career by winning nine straight AL stolen base titles and totaled 506 during his time in baseball. The nine-time Gold Glover and ten-time All Star shortstop is the only Venezuelan in the Hall of Fame. Robinson is one of the more unsung sluggers of the 1950s and 1960s, totaling 586 homers and 1,812 RBIs during his 21-year career. He was the first hitter in baseball history to win the MVP in both leagues, winning it in 1961 with the pennant-winning Reds and in 1966 with the Orioles, a year in which he won the AL hitting Triple Crown.

#2: 2001
AL winner: Ichiro Suzuki
NL winner: Albert Pujols
Why? You could consider this pick biased, but you also really can't. Ichiro was the second hitter in baseball history to win the Rookie of the Year and MVP awards in the same season and is the single-season hits champion, collecting a record 262 hits in 2004. Pujols is one of only nine hitters in baseball history with 600+ home runs and his 633 career dingers put him in sixth place on the all-time list. The three-time MVP is also one of my personal childhood heroes, so maybe I'm a little biased, but again, who wouldn't be?

#1: 1967
AL winner: Rod Carew
NL winner: Tom Seaver
Why? Carew is the greatest contact hitter in the history of two separate franchises. During his career with the Twins and Angels, he made the All Star Game every single year except for his last and sits at 27th on the all-time hits list with 3,053 career base knocks. Seaver, plain and simple, was one of the greatest pitchers of his generation. The 12-time All Star and three-time Cy Young Award winner has a lifetime ERA of 2.86 and his 311 career wins aren't that bad, either.

What do you think of this list? 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."

Friday, November 30, 2018

What the Heck is a Hold? 11/30/18

Hey baseball fans!

Relievers don't get enough love. Closers have their own statistic, the save, but what do relievers in general have? Ladies and gentleman, I present to you one of the more under-the-radar statistics that isn't even an official MLB stat: the hold.

So, what the heck is a hold? A hold is when a pitcher comes into the game in relief with their team winning and keeps it that way. That's the simplest definition of a hold, but there are a couple of technicalities. A reliever is only eligible for a hold if he comes into the game in a save situation; he must record at least one out; and he has to leave the game before it ends and keeps his team's lead. This stat was not regularly used until 1999, so great relievers like Jesse Orosco aren't credited with all of the holds they ever recorded.

But let's improve on the hold because it definitely has its faults as a statistic. First of all, a big proponent of the hold is that it's calculated by appearance and not by inning. This should be reversed, for sure. Second of all, why does it matter if a reliever comes in during a save situation, let alone with his team winning? Teams make wild comebacks all the time, which could make holds seem meaningless or a non-hold situation very meaningful. And lastly, for this new stat, a reliever has to pitch a scoreless appearance because no reliever should be awarded anything for giving up two runs while only recording one out. That's an in-game ERA of 54.00, but it could still be a situation in which a reliever is credited with a hold. How absurd!

What do you think of this improved hold? Should it have a different name? 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."