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".

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.

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, 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."