Sunday, December 29, 2013

Cha-Cha Cha-Chas Into the Hall of Fame 12/29/13

Hey baseball fans!

As some of you know, there are three Puerto Rican-born Hall of Famers in Cooperstown: Roberto Clemente, Roberto Alomar, and one other person. There are also three Hall of Fame position players who played for the 1962 San Francisco Giants pennant-winning squad: Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, and one other person. The "one other person" on both of these lists is one of the best there was: Orlando Cepeda!

Cepeda (who has one of the coolest nicknames in baseball history, the Baby Bull) played for the Giants, Braves, Cardinals, Royals, Red Sox, and Athletics from 1958-1974. He got his nickname because his father was called the Bull, so naturally, Orlando was the Baby Bull. Another important note is that the Bull, aka Pedro Cepeda, was an excellent slugger in Puerto Rico and was called the Babe Ruth of the Caribbean. Anyway, Cepeda, the seven-time All Star and Hall of Fame inductee in 1999 batted .312 in his rookie year and won the Rookie of the Year Award unanimously. Orlando went on to bat .297 in his career, with 379 hits out of the park and 1,365 RBIs. In 1967 with the Cardinals, Cha-Cha (another one of Cepeda's nicknames) won the MVP Award with a league-leading 111 RBIs en route to getting his first and only World Series ring. It was the first unanimous MVP selection since Carl Hubbell in '36. The first baseman and left fielder was also usually in the top ranks for being hit by pitches the most times, leading the league twice in this category. He is 75th on this list with being hit by a pitch 106 times during his amazing career, 15th among HoFers.

 

Isn't it coincidentally funny how the Baby Bull became aggressive when he saw the color red (i.e., he won the MVP while he was a Cardinal)? I personally think it's very funny.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Don't forget to watch me on Nickelodeon tomorrow, Monday, December 30 at 8PM Eastern and Pacific times on Nick News' Web Stars II edition to see me talk about what I love to do: write for you guys. Thanks for reading and check back in a few days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Terrific One 12/25/13

Hey baseball fans!

Considering I just watched Anchorman 2 on the big screen, here is a little something about a famous Met who was born in the same state that Ron Burgundy reported the news (California). Ladies and gentleman, the Fresno, California native, Tom Seaver!

George Thomas Seaver played with the Mets, Reds, White Sox, and Red Sox from 1967 to 1986. He was one of the excellent pitchers who helped revive a likable New York baseball team when he and the Mets won the 1969 World Series. Tom Terrific, as he was nicknamed, won an astounding 311 career games (18th on the all time list) and posted a 2.86 career ERA (125th all time). He won 106 more games than he lost! He is, however, number one on the all time list when it comes to career strikeouts in the National League, with 3,272.  The NL Rookie of the Year in 1967 and three-time Cy Young Award winner has the highest voting percentage to get into the Hall of Fame at 98.8% and also has the most Opening Day starts of any pitcher in baseball history at 16.


Well, those 1.2% of the voters who did not want Seaver in the Hall are probably angry with themselves now, seeing that Tom was such a terrific pitcher. Anyway, thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back in a few days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Saturday, December 21, 2013

ML"What would"B: What if Jeter Wasn't Drafted So Young? 12/21/13

Hey baseball fans!

I just put up another ML"what would"B post on More Than a Fan. In every ML"what would"B alternative history post, I discuss what would have happened if a famous event in baseball history had gone differently than it did in reality. For my latest post, I wrote what would have happened if Derek Jeter had been drafted later rather than right out of high school. If you want to know the answer, just click here.


Hope you enjoy the post and thanks for reading it. Check back in a couple of days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Nick News Update 12/19/13

Hey baseball fans!

I just wanted to let you know that I will be appearing on a segment of Nick News with Linda Ellerbee on December 30 at 8PM Eastern time (on the Nickelodeon channel). I will be discussing my blog.  The segment is all about kids who have done cool things on the Internet.  I hope you can check it out!

PS - That's me in the bottom left of the picture below.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

NJBM: Whitey Herzog 12/18/13

Hey baseball fans!

I just put up my latest post in the Kids' Hot Korner section of New Jersey Baseball Magazine. This one is about Whitey Herzog, one of the greatest managers in Missouri baseball history. If you want to read more about the man who invented Whiteyball, just click here.


I hope you enjoy the post. Check back in a few days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Matt's Anti-Dream Team 12/14/13

Hey baseball fans!

A while back, I wrote a post about my favorite players of all time at each position, my Dream Team. Recently, I've realized that a team is not a team without a rival. So, I've compiled a list of players that are rivals with one player specifically on my Dream Team at the same position. A rival does not have to be someone that the player hated. A rival in most of these cases is someone who played in the same time period at the same position and had roughly the same or better stats. Let's start behind the plate in my "Anti-Dream Team".

Catcher
Original: Carlton Fisk  Rival: Johnny Bench
Why? Bench and Fisk are arguably the best catchers of the era in which they played. Bench's Reds took on Fisk's Red Sox in the 1975 World Series and both catchers are on MLB Network's countdown of the top nine catchers in baseball history. (Fisk is at eight, while Bench is at the top spot.)


First Base
Original: Lou Gehrig  Rival: Jimmie Foxx
Why? Foxx's A's and Gehrig's Yanks took home eight World Series championships when the two Hall of Famers' careers overlapped. Foxx also played for part of his career on the Red Sox, who rivaled the Yankees. Another reason for this rivalry was that, for the most part, Jimmie was overshadowed by Gehrig, even though the Beast has more career home runs than the Iron Horse (and more MVP awards, 3 versus 2).


Second Base
Original: Rogers Hornsby Rival: Eddie Collins
Why? When their careers overlapped in the 1910s and 1920s, they were two of the best hitters in the MLB. Both of them hit over .330 in their careers and both had over 3,000 hits. Both of them also won at least one MVP Award and participated in two Fall Classics.


Third Base
Original: Mike Schmidt  Rival: George Brett
Why? As the two third basemen that regularly represented their respective leagues in the All Star Game during the 1970s and 1980s, these two Hall of Famers are always mentioned in conversations when the phrase "hot corner" is said. Schmidt was arguably the best power hitter at the time and Brett was arguably the best contact hitter. They both won the MVP the same year their teams faced off in the World Series (Phillies vs. Royals in 1980). They were also key figures to their clubs' first World Series championships.


Shortstop
Original: Cal Ripken Jr.  Rival: Derek Jeter
Why? Although I stayed away from current players on my Dream Team, my Anti-Dream Team doesn't follow that rule. Jeter's Yankees and Cal's O's played in the same division during the time when these two great shortstops' careers overlapped (1996-2001). Both have over 3,000 hits and at least 13 All Star Game appearances. Both have won a World Series ring and are icons in the cities in which they played.


Left Field
Original: Stan Musial  Rival: Ted Williams
Why? Both of these Hall of Famers have at least 450 homers and a lifetime batting average over .330. Their teams (Red Sox and Cardinals) faced off in the 1946 World Series and each player played in at least 19 All Star Games. They are arguably two of the greatest hitters that America's pastime has ever seen and their nicknames are so simple, they are amazing: "Stan the Man" and "The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived."


Center Field
Original: Mickey Mantle Rival: Willie Mays
Why? These two center fielders are arguably two of the greatest and most dynamic hitters that America's pastime has ever seen. Both were rookies in 1951 and immediately were compared to some of the best. Both have over 500 homers and at least 20 All Star nods. Their teams (Yankees and Giants) faced off in the 1962 World Series and both of them won at least two MVP Awards. Throughout the '50s and '60s, these two Hall of Famers ruled baseball and were two of the best five-tool players anyone has ever witnessed.


Right Field
Original: Hank Aaron Rival: Roberto Clemente
Why? These two right fielders both have at least 15 All Star Game appearances and 3,000 hits. They've both won at least an MVP Award and although their teams did not play very well for most of their careers (Pirates and Braves), they both made it to two World Series. They were both overshadowed for a period of time during their careers, but as soon as Aaron was on the chase for the home run record and Clemente had one of the greatest World Series performances ever in 1971, all of baseball knew that they were looking at two great stars.


Left Handed Starting Pitcher
Original: Warren Spahn  Rival: Whitey Ford
Why? Both of these left handers are in the HoF with at least 10 All Star Game appearances. They've each won a Cy Young Award and their teams faced off against each other in the 1957 and 1958 Fall Classics. Their career ERAs are both below 3.10 and their career WHIPs are both below 1.22.


Right Handed Starting Pitcher
Original: Nolan Ryan  Rival: Jim Palmer
Why? They were two of the greatest pitchers of the 1960s, '70s, and '80s and faced off in the 1969 World Series. However, their career marks are very different. Ryan has more wins, strikeouts, and All Star Games under his belt, while Palmer has a better ERA, winning percentage, and more Cy Young Awards. Ryan also has more no-hitters, but Palmer has more 20-win seasons. Despite their stats being different, one thing is the same: they were both very intimidating on the mound and are both in the Hall of Fame.


Relief Pitcher
Original: Dennis Eckersley  Rival: Mariano Rivera
Why? These pitchers are the only players on this list where their careers didn't really overlap, except for about four years. However, Mo and Eck are very much rivals. Both are very intimidating closers and are considered two of the greatest pitchers of all time. Both have won at least two Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Awards and both have been MVP of a playoff series. They also both have at least 390 saves, but Mo has the edge in that category because he has the most saves ever. However, Eck was just as intimidating as Rivera was and they both put together great careers.


Well, that's my Anti-Dream Team. If you like my list or disagree with it, send me a comment about what you think. Thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back in a few days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

An Interview with Graig Nettles 12/11/13

Hey baseball fans!

I have another interview today. This one is with All Star third baseman, Graig Nettles! But, before we get to the interview, let me tell you a little bit about one of the most familiar faces to Yankee fans from the 1970s.

A native of San Diego, California, Nettles was a power-hitting third baseman from 1967-1988 with the Yankees, Twins, Padres, Indians, Braves, and Expos. He hit 390 career home runs, the most ever by an AL third baseman. The six-time All Star could also do it with the glove, winning two Gold Gloves in 1977 and '78. In the 1978 World Series against the Dodgers, Graig put on a fielding clinic, saving numerous runs in Game Three, propelling the Yankees to win that game and the next three after being down 2-0 in the Series. Nettles also made a World Series appearance in 1984 with his hometown Padres. Although they lost the Series to Detroit, Nettles loved playing in front of his home crowd. Now, without further ado, let's get to the interview.

Matt: Did you ever face your brother (Jim) in a game?
Graig: I played against him a couple times. One time, I was playing for the Yankees and he was playing with the Tigers and we both hit home runs.

Matt: Which of your 390 career homers is the most memorable in your opinion?
Graig: Probably my first home run of my career. It was off Denny McLain when he got his 28th win of the 1968 season. Last guy ever to this day to win more than 30 games in a season.

Matt: In the 1978 World Series, you had a couple of great fielding plays at third base. Did you have the mindset before that series that you were not going to allow those Dodger hitters to get a ball past you? 
Graig: I tried to catch any ball that came my way and it was just one of those series that I got to put on a fielding show.


Matt: What was your favorite experience on the 1984 pennant-winning San Diego Padres?
Graig: I would say coming from behind from two games to nothing in the NLCS against Chicago. And to do it in my home town made it even more fun.


Matt: What do you like to do in your spare time?
Graig: I play golf three to four times a week and I also raise my grandkids.

Well, that's the interview. Thanks to Graig for answering my questions. I hope you enjoyed it and thanks for reading it. Check back in a few days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Monday, December 9, 2013

Arguably the Greatest Single Game Performance by a Player in MLB History 12/9/13

Hey baseball fans!

Like I said in my post about pitchers who can hit, pitchers can smack the long ball. But was there ever a pitcher who hit a homer and pitched a no-hitter in the same game? The answer is yes, there were actually three, but only one pitcher pitched a no-hitter and hit two homers in the same game. Ladies and gentleman: Rick Wise!

Rick Wise played for 18 seasons in the MLB with the Phillies, Red Sox, Padres, Cardinals, and Indians. He had 188 career wins and an ERA of 3.69. He also pitched a no-hitter on June 23, 1971. However, this was not a normal no-hitter. Not by a long shot. On this day, when Wise was almost immaculate while pitching for the Phillies at Cincinnati, Wise hit two homers! He went 2-4 for the game, but don't forget the fact that he pitched a no-hitter with only a single walk (that was to Dave Concepcion)! The ending score was 4-0, Phillies, with Wise driving in three runs! Rick's performance that night was arguably the greatest single game performance by a player in baseball history!

Well, it just goes to show you that sometimes pitchers have to help themselves get wins, because there teammates aren't driving in runs. Anyway, thanks to MLB Network's "Prime 9" countdown of the top nine coolest in-game feats for inspiring me to do this post. I hope you liked it and thanks for reading it. Check back in a few days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."


Thursday, December 5, 2013

An Interview with the Mayor of Cooperstown 12/5/13

Hey baseball fans!

I have another interview for you today! This interview is with someone who is very close to baseball, but does not currently have a job involving America's pastime. Ladies and gentlemen: an interview with Cooperstown, New York Mayor Jeff Katz! But before I get to the interview, let me tell you a little bit about him first.


Katz has been the Mayor of Cooperstown since April of 2012. He is a member of SABR, just like me and graduated from my mom's alma mater, Binghamton University. He has written a book called "The Kansas City A's and the Wrong Half of the Yankees" and he has written numerous baseball articles on numerous websites. He's also been a trader and a music editor during his career. Well, now that you know a little bit about him, let's get to the interview.


Matt: What sports did you play/watch as a kid?
Mayor Katz: I only played little league baseball for one year. I went to a huge junior high/high school in Long Island (Sachem) and I tried out for the basketball team, but never made it, though I got through a few cuts. I also played street hockey for one year. I used to watch every sport, all the time. By my mid-20’s, it was baseball only, with Knicks games in the off-season.

Matt: What is your favorite exhibit in the Baseball Hall of Fame?
Mayor Katz: It’s such a fabulous place, world class all the way, that I find it difficult to pinpoint one thing. I enjoy the new records room immensely. The Hall did a fabulous job in reworking that section to tell the story of the records and their evolution. (My favorite single artifact is Joe Morgan’s very tiny second baseman’s mitt).

Matt: Do you visit the Hall of Fame often?
Mayor Katz: I’m at the Hall many times each year. Lately, as Mayor, I find myself in the offices more than the museum. Hall President Jeff Idelson and I are good friends and have a great working relationship. The book I’m writing, "Split Season", about the 1981 baseball season and strike, brought me to the Hall’s library quite often this year to do research. I’m our local SABR president and we have our meetings in the Bullpen Theater. I’m actually planning to go to the Hall in the next week or so to just look around. There’s a new photo exhibit I want to see.

Matt: Who is your favorite Hall of Famer of all time?
Mayor Katz: Tom Seaver was my favorite player growing up and still has a real hold on me. I also love Sandy Koufax, though I missed him by a little. (I was born in 1962).


Matt: In your opinion, how important is the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum to Cooperstown?
Mayor Katz: Very important. The Hall drives the vast majority of summer tourism. The youth baseball fields that are outside Cooperstown pack them in because of the Cooperstown name and the Hall of Fame. The Main St. businesses depends on a very good tourist season, since the village is very small year round (a little over 1,800 people). Plus, people associate the name Cooperstown with excellence and that is because the Hall is here.

Matt: Who do you think should be elected into the Hall of Fame this coming January?
Mayor Katz: I think you know, since you retweeted my “ballot.” I lived in Chicago for 16 years and had Cubs and, for one season, White Sox, season tickets, so Greg Maddux and Frank Thomas are big favorites. I have my own interpretation of the PED controversy and I’m a Barry Bonds supporter. He should get in too, as should Roger Clemens. I’d like to see Mike Piazza in as well. If I had a vote I’d also go for Tom Glavine, Jeff Bagwell, Jeff Kent, Tim Raines and Craig Biggio.

Matt: If you were to sit down with Babe Ruth for lunch at the local diner and you could only ask him one question, what would you ask him?
Mayor Katz: Tough one. I’d probably ask him what it was like to be King of the World during the Roaring ‘20’s.


Matt: What is your favorite World Series game of all time?
Mayor Katz: I’ve been to a bunch and my favorite is one I was lucky to be at – Game 7 of the 2001 Series. After Alfonso Soriano hit his homer in the 8th inning and Rivera came in, I told my friend there was no way that that Series, which had so many incredible moments, would end so predictably, with Mariano Rivera shutting down the Diamondbacks. And he didn’t.

Well, thanks the interview. Thanks a lot to Mayor Jeff Katz for answering my questions. I hope you liked this interview and thanks for reading it. Check back in a couple of days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Monday, December 2, 2013

If I Had a Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot 2014 12/2/13

Hey baseball fans!

The 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot is now announced with a lot of stars' names on the list for the first time. However, there are only five players on the list for the first time that I think deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. So, without further ado, let me tell you who I think should be elected first ballot for the 2014 Hall of Fame election. (Note: the list is in no particular order of who's better.)

Number One: Mike Mussina
Why? Mussina won 270 games for the Yanks and Orioles, which are more wins than Hall of Famers Jim Palmer, Carl Hubbell, and Bob Gibson had. The five-time All Star finished in the top six for the Cy Young vote nine times.


Number Two: Greg Maddux
Why? To put it in simple terms, according to baseball-reference.com, Maddux is the fifth greatest pitcher of all time. The 355-game winner and eight-time All Star for mainly the Cubs and Braves also has the most Gold Gloves won by any player in baseball history at 18. Did I mention that he won four consecutive Cy Young Awards, the first pitcher to ever accomplish this?


Number Three: Jeff Kent
Why? The five-time All Star and 2000 NL MVP hit .290 for his career along with 377 home runs. This doesn't seem that great, right? Well, you must not know that he was a second baseman, a position not at all known for average and power. So, not only do I think Kent should be a HoFer, but he is also one of the best second baseman of all time.


Number Four: Tom Glavine
Why? The ten-time All Star for the Braves and Mets is one of only 24 pitchers to have at least 300 wins. The two-time Cy Young Award winner also played in five Fall Classics and finished with a career ERA in the World Series of 2.16.


Number Five: Frank Thomas
Why? Out of all the players on the ballot for the first time, the Big Hurt is the only one with 500+ home runs. The five-time All Star for mainly the White Sox also regularly batted over .300 during each of his seasons and finished his career with a .301 clip.


Well, those are my picks for the players who are on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time who should be elected into the Hall of Fame. But remember: there are other people who I think should be in the Hall who are not on the ballot for the first time. If you want to check those players out, click here. Anyway, thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back in a few days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Turkey Stearnes Should Not Be Eaten on Thanksgiving 11/28/13

Hey baseball fans!

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all have an amazing holiday. Anyway, I was looking at the nicknames for Hall of Famers and I found that one HoFer has the nickname (wouldn't you know it): Turkey. So, without further ado, here is a little bit about Norman Thomas "Turkey" Stearnes!

Norman acquired his unusual nickname at a young age because of his awkward running style, but still had a productive career that eventually ended with his Hall of Fame induction in 2000 via the Veterans Committee. He played with an abundance of Negro League teams from 1923-1940, but he most notably played for the Detroit Stars. Stearnes was one of the best sluggers in the Negro Leagues and had a lifetime .345 batting average. He led the Negro National League in homers six times and was said to have hit 183 career round-trippers. The five-time Negro League All Star was certainly one of the best and definitely belongs in the Hall of Fame.

Considering it is Thanksgiving, I want to thank all of my viewers for reading my stuff over the past year and a half. Without all of you, I would definitely not be the same person. Anyway, thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back in a few days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."


Monday, November 25, 2013

An Allegorical Name to Remember 11/25/13


Hey baseball fans!

There are only 24 pitchers with at least 300 career wins, but there are only two who have won exactly 300. However, I will not be talking about Lefty Grove. Instead, I will be talking about the other exactly 300-game winner: Early Wynn!

Just like his name states (and it is the name that was given to him by his parents), Early Wynn won a lot in the early days of baseball, going 300-244 from 1939-1963 with the Senators, White Sox, and Indians. Early has the record for most seasons played as an American League pitcher with 23. He was known to be very competitive on the mound and treated every game he played as a war. In his career, the belligerent Wynn had five 20-win seasons and 49 career shutouts, 21st on the all-time list. The seven-time All Star won the 1959 Cy Young Award at the age of 39, helping the White Sox win the AL pennant for their first World Series appearance since the Black Sox Scandal. Although the White Sox lost that Series to LA, Wynn was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1972.



Did you know that Early Wynn was also a switch hitter at the plate and is one of the only pitchers ever to have hit a grand slam? That just proves that Wynn was one of the greats. Anyway, thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back in a few days for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Pitchers Who Can Hit? WHAAAAAAATTTTTT? 11/20/13

Hey baseball fans!

Most pitchers in baseball history are meant for pitching (obviously). However, before the creation of the designated hitter rule in 1973, every single team in the MLB had to have a pitcher somewhere in the lineup. Even though every American League team has to have a DH in the lineup today, there are still pitchers who are in the lineups of National League teams as well as AL teams playing interleague games in NL ballparks. The reason I'm telling you all of this is because I want to share with you that some pitchers were actually able to hit. With that, let me tell you a couple of names and their stats.

Carlos Zambrano can really swing the bat, which isn't always a good thing, especially during his outbursts. However, he usually uses his skill for good. In his career, he has batted .242 with 22 home runs, the most home runs in a career by an active pitcher. When Yankee fans hear the name Don Larsen, it is music to their ears because of his perfect game in Game Five of the '56 Series, but he also could swing the bat, hitting .242 lifetime with 14 homers. In 1958, he hit four homers and 13 RBIs with a .306 batting average. 208-game winner Carl Mays hit a career best .343 in 1921 with the Yankees with 22 RBIs.

Now, don't think Hall of Fame pitchers couldn't also swing the bat. Red Ruffing leads all pitchers in hitting WAR with 13.7 with a whopping 36 career homers. Bob Gibson hit 24 career homers in St. Louis along with 144 RBIs. However Early Wynn did a little bit better when it came to RBIs, driving in 173 runs. Don Newcombe batted .271 lifetime with 238 hits, while Bob Lemon had 274 career hits. Warren Spahn hit 35 career dingers and Walter Johnson batted .433 in 107 plate appearances at the age of 37 in 1925!! It is the best single-season batting average for anyone with at least 107 plate appearances in a season.


So, as you can see, most pitchers back in the day weren't that bad at hitting. It's too bad that they were better known for their work on the mound than at the plate. Anyway, thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back in a couple of days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz".

Sunday, November 17, 2013

An Interview with Shoeless Joe Jackson (Sort of) 11/17/13

Hey baseball fans!

I'm back with another interview! This time, it is with Shoeless Joe Jackson! I know what you are thinking: "How could you have gotten in touch with a ballplayer who died in 1951?" Well, my answer to you all is this: just like my Babe Ruth interview, a few days ago I sent in questions to Peter Alter, a historian at the Chicago History Museum in Chicago, Illinois. They're experts on Shoeless Joe. I asked him if he could answer my interview questions the way that Shoeless Joe would answer them if he were alive today using all his expressions and language, and the results couldn't have been better! But before we get to the interview with one of the greatest hitters in baseball history, let me tell you a little bit about him first.

Shoeless Joe Jackson played for the Philadelphia A's, Cleveland Naps and Chicago White Sox during his 13-year career from 1908-1920. Jackson got his nickname, Shoeless Joe, during an exhibition game in Greenville, South Carolina. Jackson had blisters on his feet because of new cleats and had to take them off when he played. During the game, a fan saw Jackson running to third with just his socks on his feet. The heckler shouted "You shoeless son of a gun, you!" From that day onward, the nickname Shoeless Joe stuck to him like glue and he was never able to live it down.

Shoeless Joe spent '08 and '09 with Connie Mack and the A's, but didn't play very much in the majors. He joined the Cleveland Naps at the end of the 1910 season after playing in the minors for most of the 1910 campaign. In 1911, his first full season, the left fielder hit .408, the sixth-highest single-season average since 1901. His average that year also set the record for batting average in a single season by a rookie. He was so good that year that the great Babe Ruth was said to have tried to copy Joe's hitting style. During the 1915 season, Jackson went to Chicago, where he consistently batted very well for the team and even helped bring them to multiple World Series, first in 1917, a win over the Giants, and then in 1919, where they faced the Reds. In the 1919 Series, he batted .375 with a record-tying 12 hits, but the Chi Sox lost the Series, five games to three.

Sadly, in 1920, Jackson and seven other players were accused of "throwing" the 1919 World Series for money. Although Jackson regretted accepting the $5,000, he was banned by Major League Baseball at the order of Commissioner Landis. He couldn't play again and he could never be elected into the Hall of Fame. Nonetheless, he is still one of the greatest players of all time, with the third highest career batting average at .356. In fact, in 1999, Jackson was a finalist for the All-Century Team and was voted the 12th best outfielder in baseball history by the fans.


Now that you know a little bit about Joe, let's get to the questions.

Matt: You batted .408 in 1911. If you had those same skills playing today, what do you think your batting average would be?
Shoeless Joe: I would hope my average would stay the same, but it’s hard to say. I hear they change the ball a lot now durin’ the game. In my day, we used the same ball ‘til the thing fell apart and it was hard to hit. Hurlers these days are pretty good too, they really can do all kinds of things.

Matt: In your opinion, what's more important: playing small ball or swinging for the fences?
Shoeless Joe: For me it's doin’ whatever the team needs to win. If we need a sacrifice, I’d give it to ‘em, same thing for a big hit. Though if my stats tell you anythin’ I’m a big fan of the long ball, helped make me some extra money when I played in the mill leagues.

Matt: Why was it so hard for you to stay in the majors with Connie Mack and the A's (see pic below)?
Shoeless Joe: Philadelphia was a big city; I got a bit nervous comin’ up there from my rural hometown in Greenville. It affected my playin’ a bit so I ended up movin’ to the minors for a while in New Orleans.


Matt: Did you like the nickname "Shoeless Joe" or did you find it insulting?
Shoeless Joe: I was never a big fan of the name. I felt like people were callin’ me dumb. It stuck though, and there wasn’t much I could do about it.

Matt: Who was the toughest pitcher you ever faced? If you played today, who would you like to hit against?
Shoeless Joe: Hod Eller is a pitcher that comes to mind, went against him in the ’19 Series. I may have hit a home run off of him, but it didn’t matter, he got two wins in the Series. Tough to say who I would want to hit against today, though I think it would be fun to go against these current Sox to see if they are as good as my old teammates.

Matt: Can you tell us your side of the story relating to the 1919 Black Sox scandal?
Shoeless Joe: I never said I would help with the fix, but I did take money cause they said they were gonna do it with or without me. My wife Katie got real upset with me about that. I played to win all those games though, and I regret acceptin’ that five grand.

Matt: Why did Sox owner Charles Comiskey (see pic below) refuse to meet with you before the 1919 Series when you tried to tell him about the fix?
Shoeless Joe: I was goin’ to see him a day or two before the Series started. By then there were actually a lot of rumors goin’ ‘round. I was goin’ to ask him to let me sit, but he didn’t want that, not if there was a chance of winnin’. So he wouldn’t hear me out at all.


Matt: If you had to do it all over again, how would you have handled the Black Sox scandal differently  (see newspaper headline below)?
Shoeless Joe: Maybe I would have gone to the boss a lot sooner I think, maybe would have tried to stop them. Hard to say really, I didn’t really have many choices in front of me.


Matt: Can you tell me something that most people don't know about you?
Shoeless Joe: I actually acted in vaudeville for a while. It was a lot of fun, and I wanted to keep doin’ that instead of playin’ ball. My wife threatened me with a divorce though so I went back to baseball instead.

Matt: Were you buddies with any players who remained close with you after the Black Sox scandal?
Shoeless Joe: I played ball with some of the guys in outlaw leagues for a bit, but I was never particularly close with anyone of ‘em. I just wanted to move on from the scandal mostly.

Matt: What should MLB be doing about getting fans more interested in baseball history?
Shoeless Joe: Best thing they could do is talk about it more. You don’t see much history talk these days. This is a great sport with a great past, more folks should get to hear it.

Well, that's the interview. A special thanks to Peter Alter of the Chicago History Museum for answering my questions as if he were the great Joe Jackson. Anyway, thanks for reading this interview. I hope you enjoyed it and check back in a couple of days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Virtual World of Duke Snider III Part 2 11/15/13

Hey baseball fans!

Today is a special day in Baseball with Matt's history: post number 200! So in honor of the amazing occasion, I decided to blog about Duke Snider III, my virtual and fictional player that I control in MLB 13 The Show for the Play Station 3. By the way, all the stats in this post are the true stats generated by me for Duke while playing the game. When I get to the end of the post, you will see why I chose this topic to blog about for post number 200.

The last time I talked about Snider III, Duke had just won the World Series MVP for the Boston Red Sox, who beat the Brew Crew in the 2021 World Series. In 2022, Duke hits .359 with 46 homers and 160 RBIs. The Sox made the playoffs, but lost in the Wild Card Round to the Astros. I know it seems weird but the Astros became really good in Duke's later years in the MLB. In 2023, Duke has one of his greatest years in terms of home runs, hitting a then career high 60, while also leading the league in slugging percentage. Along with those stats, Duke won the MVP, Hank Aaron Award, Silver Slugger Award, and Gold Glove Award, but the Sox missed the playoffs. Spoiler alert: Boston becomes very bad after this season (much to the chagrin of their owner at the time, renowned former lawyer Jack Rigney).

2024 was all the same for Duke, slapping out a new career high 62 dingers, while winning the same awards as he did the year prior. In other words, Duke basically becomes the modern-day Ernie Banks: great player, but his team did not do very well in general. When 2025 rolls around, Snider is fed up with the Sox having been bad for so long. Thankfully, it's the last year of his contract. Nonetheless, Snider has a typical season for him, 60 homers, a .376 batting average, 243 hits, and 190 RBIs, as well as all of the awards from the year 2023. However, like I mentioned in my spoiler alert, the Sox do not do well. So, Snider does not re-sign with them. Instead, he goes to the San Diego Padres, who won the 2025 World Series. With a new team, Snider basically has the best season ever for any hitter in baseball history: a .332 batting average, 161 runs scored, 221 hits, 12 triples, 59 homers, 14 stolen bases, an on-base percentage of .405, and a record 200 RBIs (see what I did there?). The Padres, meanwhile, win the NL Wild Card with 95 wins and go on to the World Series to face none other than.... the Boston Red Sox. Really? Anyway, the Padres sweep them en route to their second straight title. Snider is awarded the MVP, Hank Aaron Award, and the Silver Slugger Award, but his contract is up with the Pads. So, Snider sadly retires, leaving the Padres and the rest of baseball.

After 13 years in the MLB, Snider retires at age 38 and posts astronomical numbers for his career: a .337 career batting average, 2,356 hits, 644 home runs (sixth all time), 1,905 RBIs (tenth all time), .402 career OBP (third all time to Babe Ruth and Ted Williams), and a slugging percentage of .686 (second all time to the Babe). He was also tied with Joe DiMaggio on the all time games played list. Anyway, Snider III gets elected into the Hall of Fame and baseball historians could only wonder: what if he played longer? Nonetheless, he is still considered one of the greatest players of all time.


Well, thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed post number 200 and check back in a couple of days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

ML"what would"B: What if Sandy Koufax Was Never Plagued With Arthritis? 11/12/13

Hey baseball fans!

I just put up another ML"what would"B post on More Than a Fan. In every ML"what would"B alternative history post, I discuss what would have happened if a famous event in baseball history had gone differently than it did in reality. For my latest post, I wrote about what would have happened if Sandy Koufax never had arthritis. If you want to know the answer, just click here.


I hope you enjoy my alternate universe of baseball. Thanks for reading about it and check back in a couple of days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Hitting Version of Sandy Koufax 11/11/13

Hey baseball fans!

There were many stars in baseball in the 1940s and '50s that came out of the Giants, Cardinals, Braves, Yankees, Red Sox and Tigers. But this post is about a very underrated Hall of Famer who played mainly on the Pirates. He had a very short career, but is considered one of the best to have ever played the game: Ralph Kiner!

Kiner only played 10 years in the MLB because of back issues, but those years with the Pirates, Cubs, and Indians were some of the most productive years this game has ever seen. The left fielder and third baseman hit 369 home runs during his career and led the NL in homers in his first seven seasons. Kiner also averaged more than 100 RBIs a season, finishing his career with 1,015 RBIs. The six-time All Star led the NL in slugging percentage three times, but he could also hit for average. A career .279 hitter, Ralph collected 1,451 career hits. Had he played another 10 years, he might have been the home run king, not Hank Aaron. In fact, Kiner could be compared to Sandy Koufax; both players had short and unbelievable careers cut short by physical ailments (Kiner had a bad back and Koufax had arthritis). Besides being compared with one of the greatest pitchers of all time, Ralph married tennis star Nancy Chaffee, the first unseeded woman ever to reach the semifinals of the U.S. Open. Their kids must have been unbelievable athletes!

Well, as you can clearly see, Ralph clearly belongs in the Hall, which is where his plaque has resided since 1975. It's sad that he only played 10 years, but those 10 years were absolutely amazing. Anyway, thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back in a couple of days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The 2013 Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum Inductees 11/6/13

Hey baseball fans!

I recently realized that I never did a post about the 2013 National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum inductees. Now these inductees are not people who you probably recognize. Why? Well, for the first time since 1996, no one got into the Hall of Fame via the Baseball Writers' Association of America. However, three people were elected in via the Veterans' Committee, which is the committee that elects people into the HoF that never got in via the BBWAA. But the VC only elects people who they think are worthy to get into Cooperstown. So, without further ado, let me introduce you to the 2013 Hall of Fame inductees.

Jacob Ruppert
Owner (and Congressman) Jacob Ruppert turned the New York Yankees from a laughingstock into the greatest franchise in baseball history. Over a few short years, he assembled an excellent group of people, including manager Miller Huggins and slugger Babe Ruth. The Bronx Bombers won 10 pennants and the first seven World Series championships in the Yankees' history during Ruppert’s tenure, which ended abruptly due to his death in 1939.


Deacon White
James Laurie White was one of the top hitters in the 1870s. He collected 2,067 hits in just 1,560 games and ended his career with a .312 lifetime batting average. He was considered one of the greatest catchers in the bare-handed era and even had a successful change to third base. In two decades of playing with nine franchises,  Deacon contributed to six teams that won it all.


Hank O'Day
The highly-heralded umpire was almost unable to be argued with, which was probably why he was so respected. He became a full time National League umpire in 1897 and had the privilege of being the umpire behind the plate in the first ever World Series in 1903. He umpired in nine more Fall Classics and was never afraid of making a bad call against the home team at their home stadium.


Well, although the names don't seem that prominent, they aren't in the Hall of Fame for nothing. Anyway, thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back in a couple of days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Mad Dash 11/3/13

Hey baseball fans!

As most of you probably know, the Boston Red Sox just won the World Series, beating the St. Louis Cardinals in six games. However, did you know that the Sox and Cards have squared off before in the World Series? Out of the 13 times the Sox have been to the Fall Classic, four of those times have been against St. Louis. However, for this post, I want to focus on the first encounter between these two teams in 1946, but, to be more specific, I want to focus on a play in the eighth inning of Game Seven of the '46 Fall Classic: Enos Slaughter's Mad Dash.

The 1946 Series was all tied up at three games apiece entering Game Seven. Entering the bottom of the eighth, the score was all tied at three in St. Louis' Sportman's Park. Sox center fielder Dom DiMaggio tore a hamstring after driving in two runs in the top of the eighth and was replaced by Leon Culberson in center. The inning started with a single by future Cardinals Hall of Fame right fielder Enos "Country" Slaughter. With a 2-1 count on outfielder Harry Walker, the Cards called for a hit and run. Slaughter ran on the pitch and Walker laced a single into (where else) center field. Culberson fielded the ball and threw to shortstop Johnny Pesky. For some reason, when he received the ball, Pesky froze for a moment, not realizing that Slaughter was racing home because he ignored the sign of third base coach Mike Gonz├ílez to stop at third. Because of a weak and rushed throw by Pesky, Slaughter scored, making the score 4-3 Cardinals. St. Louis would go on to win the championship, their sixth Fall Classic victory.


But the question remains: why did Pesky pause before he threw the ball? Some claim that Pesky checked Walker at first base instead of firing home right away, while others argue that Pesky was so flabbergasted to see Slaughter going around third towards home that he had a mental lapse, which caused a delayed throw. Whatever the reason, the Sox kept the Curse of the Bambino alive, while all of Missouri rejoiced because of Enos "dashing madly" around the bases.

Well,  as you can see, the Sox and Cards have a very heated rivalry in the Fall Classic. Hopefully, the teams keep on going back to the World Series, therefore providing an exciting Series for all of the baseball fans across the globe. Anyway, thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back in a couple of days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."