Saturday, May 31, 2014

My Trip to the Chasing Dreams Exhibit at the National Museum of American Jewish History 5/31/14

Hey baseball fans!

I recently visited the new baseball exhibit at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Chasing Dreams exhibit, and I was able to vlog at the Museum. So, if you want to see the video of my trip, just click here.

Thanks for watching the video. I hope you enjoyed it and check back in a few days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

My Favorite Moment in Baseball History 5/28/14

Hey baseball fans!

I don't know if I've ever shared this on Baseball with Matt yet, but I do have a favorite moment in baseball history. If you know what my favorite World Series of all time is, that should give you a clue. My favorite moment in baseball history is...Joe Carter's walk-off World Series-winning homer in the bottom of the ninth of Game Six of the 1993 World Series! Let me tell you all the details of this amazing moment in baseball history.

Entering the bottom of the ninth inning of Game Six of the '93 Fall Classic in the SkyDome in Toronto, the Philadelphia Phillies were up over the Toronto Blue Jays, 6-5. Now, it's very important to note that the Jays were up in the Series three games to two, so a Philly win would have sent it to a Game Seven.

The pitcher for the Phillies was Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams, an experienced reliever and a current studio analyst on MLB Network (and no, I did not see him when I went to the MLB Network). The first batter, Rickey Henderson, walked. After a flyout by Devon White, Paul Molitor singled, sending Henderson to second. Now, with two men on and one out, all Joe Carter needed was a single to tie the game and a double to win the game by one, but as I told you before, none of the above happened.

Carter stepped up to the plate and got the count to 2-2, two balls and two strikes. The next pitch from Williams was inside and Carter pulled it to left field. In fact, he hit it so hard to left that it went over the left field fence for a home run! World Series over! Blue Jays win, 8-6! "Touch 'em all Joe, you'll never hit a bigger home run in your life!"said Blue Jays announcer Tom Cheek as Carter ran around the bases. It was true: that was definitely the biggest home run Joe Carter ever hit during his career.

What I love so much about the home run is that it is the only World Series-winning home run to come with the home run hitter's team trailing. Also, the other World Series-winning home run, Bill Mazeroski's in 1960 with the Pirates, came against the Yankees. Anyway, thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Sunday, May 25, 2014

My Top Five Pittsburgh Pirates Hall of Famers 5/25/14

Hey baseball fans!

Previously, I've counted down my top five Hall of Famers from certain teams. So far, I've done the Red Sox and then the Cardinals. Today, I am continuing my trend of counting down my top Hall of Famers of a team as I count down my top five Pittsburgh Pirates Hall of Famers.

Number Five: Paul Waner 
Why? Waner played with the Pirates for three fourths of his career and shined with them. Looking at his career, in 20 years in the MLB, he batted .333 and collected 3,152 base hits, 17th on the all time list. Big Poison finished his career with 191 triples (tenth all time), 605 doubles (tied for eleventh all time), and 1,309 RBIs.

Number Four: Willie Stargell
Why? A member of one of my favorite World Series-winning teams (1979), Pops was a fan favorite in Pittsburgh during the 21 years that he wore the black and gold. Willie smacked 475 hits out of the park during his career and batted .282. The seven-time All Star and 1979 NL MVP was a very intimidating batter from the left side of the plate and was notorious to other teams for crushing many tape-measure home runs during the '60s and '70s.

Number Three: Honus Wagner
Why? Perhaps the greatest shortstop in baseball history, Wagner played with the Pirates for 18 of his 21 seasons in the Bigs from 1900-1917. During his entire career, The Flying Dutchman won the batting title a whopping eight times and batted .328. Wagner collected 3,420 hits during his heralded career, seventh on the all time list, along with 1,733 RBIs, 21st on the all time list.

Number Two: Ralph Kiner
Why? Probably the most shocking pick I made in the creation of this list, Kiner played eight of his ten seasons in the MLB with the Pirates. With Pittsburgh, he averaged 38 home runs a year and hit at least 50 dingers in a season twice! The six-time All Star led the league in home runs in seven consecutive seasons from 1946-1952. Had he not suffered from back problems that cut his career short, he could have been one of the greatest that baseball has ever seen.

Number One: Roberto Clemente
Why? Clemente, one of the most popular Pirates of all time, played in the black and gold for his entire 18-year career from 1955-1972. The benevolent Roberto is the only ballplayer in baseball history with exactly 3,000 hits, putting him in 28th place on the all time hits list. Arriba, as he was nicknamed, was a two-time World Series champion (1960, 1971), twelve-time All Star, 1966 NL MVP, and 1971 World Series MVP. The man who batted .317 during his career was one of the nicest men one could ever meet and although he passed away on New Year's Eve of 1972, the memory of his amazing baseball career on and off the field will never be forgotten.

Do you agree with my list? Should someone be on it that isn't? If you have anything to say about this list, write a comment in the comment section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back in a few days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Friday, May 23, 2014

I Was in Sports Illustrated!!!!!! 5/23/14

Hey baseball fans!

So, as some of you know already, I was in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated (May 26, 2014 edition, pg. 20)! I just want to say thank you so much to all of you for reading my blog and getting me to where I am now. It's so awesome to know that I have people who really enjoy what I do and I thank you all. Anyway, I have a copy of the article down below, so if you want to check it out, just read below:

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

Sunday, May 18, 2014

A Book Review of Battery Brothers by Steven Carman 5/18/14

Hey baseball fans!

I have a book review in store for you today! So, I don't always read fiction baseball novels, but Battery Brothers (see pic of cover below) by Steven Carman seemed like an interesting book to review as soon as I read the short summary on the back cover. Battery Brothers (published by Elephant's Bookshelf Press) focuses on high school senior Andy Lembo, who dreams of becoming the starting catcher for his high school baseball team. His brother, Daniel, meanwhile, is a junior at the same school and already has baseball scouts watching his every pitch because of his incredible performances on the mound. However, Andy faces many obstacles when trying to become a starter, including an abusive father who favors Daniel more, and an absent mother, who scarred half of Andy's face as a kid with an iron. In fact, Andy even loses one of his greatest supporters along the way to his goal of not only becoming the starting catcher, but also winning the state championship.

Can Andy find the will to keep on moving towards his goal and escape adversity? Will he ever be as close with his father as Daniel? I know the answers to these questions, but I won't tell you them. Instead, I suggest buying this novel as soon as you can because this book was amazing. The dialogue was intense, the plot was great, and the story flowed very smoothly. You can really get to know Andy Lembo in great detail because of how well Steven Carman (see pic below) pulls the reader into the story. The book tells the tale of a young kid who is just trying to get ahead in life, something I think to which we can all relate. It almost seems like Battery Brothers is happening in reality rather than in the fictitious world that can only exist in books. Overall, Carman's first novel, Battery Brothers, is amazing and I recommend you purchase it right away. If that's not enough, all proceeds from the sale of the book are being donated to the Sunshine Foundation, a charity that answers the dreams of ill and abused children.

I really hope that you go out and buy this book because it's really amazing. I also hoped that you enjoyed this book review and thanks for reading it. Check back in a few days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Winningest Manager in Red Sox History 5/14/14

Hey baseball fans!

In my last post, I talked about the winningest manager in Yankee history, Joe McCarthy. So, in order to placate all the Bostonians, today I will be talking about the winningest manager in Red Sox history: Hall of Famer Joe Cronin.

Cronin played for the Pirates, Red Sox, and Washington Senators from 1926-1945 and was a manager for the Senators and Sox from 1933-1947. If you do the math, this means he was a player-manager from 1933-1945!! Cronin batted .301 lifetime and batted over the .300 mark in ten seasons. Joe also had eight seasons in which he collected over 100 RBIs, finishing his career with 1,424 runs batted in. He was a member of the first ever AL All Star team and competed in six more All Star Games after the first. Aside from his hitting skills, he won the 1933 pennant with Washington as a rookie manager in DC and eventually led Ted Williams and the Red Sox to a World Series in 1946, their first World Series appearance in over 25 years (which they lost). Cronin finished with 1,236 wins as a skipper, of which 1,071 of those wins was with the Red Sox. He was eventually elected into the Hall of Fame in 1956 for his years as a great baseball player.

Cronin was a great manager and ballplayer and perhaps the best player-manager of all time. 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."

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Best Yankee Manager in Yankee History 5/11/14

Hey baseball fans!

The New York Yankees are not only famous for their great players and teams, but they also have had a slew of great managers. Some include Miller Huggins, Joe McCarthy, Casey Stengel, Ralph Houk, Billy Martin, and Joe Torre. However, today I want to talk about the Hall of Fame Yankee manager who won the most games among Yankee managers: Mr. Joseph Vincent McCarthy.

McCarthy didn't really play in the Bigs as a player (he had a 15-year minor league career), but his years as manager of the Cubs, Red Sox, and most famously the Yankees were astounding, which eventually led to his Hall of Fame induction in 1957. In total, he won 2,125 games as skipper from 1926-1950, eighth on the all-time list. However, he is first on the all-time list of managerial winning percentage at .615. Marse Joe led his teams to nine World Series, winning eight. All those World Series wins came with the Yankees, including four straight from 1936-1939. (By the way, the word "marse" is a way that Americans in the South used to say "master". So McCarthy's real nickname is Master Joe.) As I mentioned before, he is the winningest Yankee manager in the franchise's history with 1,460 wins and led his teams to 15 90+ win seasons.

McCarthy managed the Yankees during their trip to the 1932 World Series and he faced his former team, the Cubs! Good thing his Yanks swept the Cubbies. 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, May 8, 2014

The Idea of a Quality Start 5/8/14

Hey baseball fans!

I was talking to my Social Studies teacher about what defines a quality start and I wanted to see what you think of my opinion.

In my opinion, a quality start for a starting pitcher is seven innings, two to three earned runs, no walks, and five to seven strikeouts. Anything worse than this in my opinion is not the quintessential start. However, what if the pitcher's team doesn't score enough runs to win the game? It doesn't matter if the pitcher wins the game or not. All that matters is that he doesn't give up a lot of runs.

For a team focused on offense, giving up four earned runs may be fine and it may be a quality start, but it really isn't the best a pitcher can do for his team. Yes, the best case scenario would be a perfect game, but no pitcher can pitch a perfect game every time he steps onto the mound. The reason that giving up four earned runs isn't considered a quality start is because not every team can score four runs every single game. In the more recent years, the home run numbers have in fact skyrocketed, but some teams still do play a bit of small ball.

And then there is the concept of the strikeout. Many of the game's greatest starters are either ground ball pitchers, fly ball pitchers, or strikeout pitchers. One hardly sees a pitcher who can induce strikeouts, ground balls, and fly balls at will and even Cy Young, the winningest pitcher of all time, was not known for strikeouts. But, I think that in seven innings, a pitcher should be able to strike out five to seven batters. Some starters average eight or nine strikeouts per seven innings and their team wins by a good three to five runs. But as long as one strikes out five to seven batters and doesn't give up more than two runs, the start should be considered exemplary.

Well, I hope you enjoyed my opinions on the definition of a quality start. If you have your own opinions, put your thoughts in the comment section below. Thanks for reading this post and check back in a few days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Monday, May 5, 2014

An Interview with Mets Legend, Mookie Wilson! 5/5/14

Hey baseball fans!

On Saturday, I had the honor of talking with New York Mets' 1986 World Series hero, Mookie Wilson, at a book store in Maplewood, New Jersey called Words (click here to go to the website for the store)! I only had the chance to ask him a few questions, because he was signing his book, Mookie: Life, Baseball, and the '86 Mets, and there was a very big line, but it was still an exciting live interview that I wanted to share with you. But before I get to the interview, let me tell you a bit about Mookie.

William Hayward "Mookie" Wilson played from 1980-1991 with the Mets and Blue Jays. A .274 lifetime hitter, Wilson collected 1,397 career base hits. He is a member of the Mets Hall of Fame and is one of the nicest baseball players I have ever met. He hit 3 homers in the strike-shortened 1981 season, two of them having won the game for the Mets. Why is this impressive? 66% of his home runs won Mets games during the 1981 season. Babe Ruth would have had to hit 40 game-winning homers for the Yankees in his 1927 season in order to match that feat. However, undoubtedly Mookie's greatest MLB moment was when he came up in the bottom of the tenth inning of Game Six of the 1986 World Series at Shea Stadium in New York with the Mets down by one. After a wild pitch tied the game, Mookie hit a slow grounder to Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner...and Buckner didn't field it! Ray Knight scored from second, Wilson was safe at first, and the Mets tied the Series at three games apiece. The Mets would go on to win the Fall Classic, all thanks to Mookie Wilson. [Note from Matt: This famous World Series play is actually discussed in my upcoming book, Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers: An Introduction to Baseball History, and my book was written about in the New York Post yesterday!!]

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for, an interview with Mookie Wilson!

Matt: How'd you get the nickname Mookie?
Mookie: I have no idea.

Matt: Are you good friends with Bill Buckner?
Mookie: Yeah. Really good friends. I actually spoke to him yesterday over the phone.

Matt: How many times have you watched Game Six of the '86 Series?
Mookie: I think only once.

Matt: How many times have you watched the replay of Buckner's error (click here to see the famous error)?
Mookie: Probably over 200 times.

Well, I know it was a pretty short interview, but it was definitely worth it to wait in a long line to get to speak to him. Thanks again to Mookie for not only answering my questions, but for also signing his book for me (see pic below). 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."

Sunday, May 4, 2014

This Pitching Amos Isn't Too Famous 5/4/14

Hey baseball fans!

Many Hall of Famers are unknown to most baseball fans because they either played in a completely different time period or they didn't play on a popular team. One of these types is Hall of Fame pitcher Amos Rusie, a pitcher from the 1890s to the early 1900s who, for a part of his career, didn't even play on team that still exists today.

From 1889-1895, 1897-1898, and 1901 with the National League's Giants, Reds, and Indianapolis Hoosiers (yes, like the college), Rusie used a blazing fastball that helped him lead the league in strikeouts five times during his career. The Hoosier Thunderbolt, in just ten seasons, won a staggering 246 games, an average of just over 24 wins a season! He topped the 30-win mark in four consecutive seasons and won 20 or more games in eight consecutive seasons. He led the NL in ERA twice, finishing his career with an ERA of 3.07. He even won the pitching triple crown in 1984, leading baseball in wins, ERA and strikeouts. Although he lost an average of 17 games a season, he still was elected into the Hall of Fame via the Veterans Committee in 1977.

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."