Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The National League's Babe Ruth 12/30/14

Hey baseball fans!

Unlike a lot of people, I tend to root for many underrated players in baseball history. I'm sure not a lot of people say that their favorite player ever is Mike Schmidt and I'm also sure not a lot of people say that one of their favorite current MLB players is Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles. Now, although the person I am about to blog about wasn't on my top five most underrated hall of famers in baseball history, he is one of the most underrated ballplayers ever and one of my personal favorites. Ladies and gentleman, Mel Ott!

Melvin Thomas Ott played his entire 22-year career with the New York Giants from 1926-1947 and was one of the most feared sluggers in the National League. Master Melvin, as he was nicknamed, was loved by Giants fans and for good reason. The eleven-time All Star hit 25 or more home runs in 14 seasons and led the league in out-of-the-parkers six times. But how does a five feet nine, 170 pound man hit so many home runs? Simple: he was a lefty pull hitter who, with his unique batting stance (see pic below), took advantage of the right field wall at the Polo Grounds, which was a mere 257 feet from home plate. Ott hit 323 of his then-NL record 511 homers at the Polo Grounds. By the way, he became the first National Leaguer ever to hit 500+ homers and his 511 career dingers currently stand at 24 on the all-time list.

Besides his incredible power, Ott was an excellent hitter and run producer. He drove in 100+ runs in 10 seasons (seven of them consecutive) and finished his career with 1,708 runs batted in. He batted .304 lifetime and collected 2,876 career base hits. However, despite these incredible statistics, the stat that jumps out at me is his 1,859 runs scored, which is 14th on the all-time runs scored list!

Although he only won a single World Series with the Giants, Mel Ott made the most of the 1933 five-game Fall Classic versus the Washington Senators: two home runs, four RBIs, a .389 batting average, and a slugging percentage of .722. No wonder he was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1951 with 87.2% of the vote: his hitting was off the charts!

Anyway, 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 25, 2014

Baseball Events that Happened on Christmas 12/25/14

Hey baseball fans!

Happy Holidays! I hope you all enjoy your winter breaks, if you have one. In honor of the holidays, I'm going to talk about some interesting events in baseball history that occurred on December 25th.

Event Number One: Three Hall of Famers' birthdays
Explanation: This is actually a combination of a few events, but on Christmas Day 1856, 1927, and 1958, Hall of Famers Pud Galvin, Nellie Fox, and Rickey Henderson, respectively, were born. It's pretty funny how they all were famous for different things; Galvin was one of the best pitchers of his time and won over 300 games, Fox was one of the best defenders of his era and was the first American League second baseman to receive the award, and Henderson has the all-time record for both career steals and runs scored.

Event Number Two: Former New York Yankee Billy Martin dies in a car crash
Explanation: On December 25, 1989, longtime Yankees player and manager Billy Martin passed away in a car crash at the end of his driveway in the middle of an ice storm. Martin played in the MLB from 1950-1961 and managed in the MLB in several stints from 1969-1988. The All Star won a total of six World Series during his career. His number one is retired by the Yankees and he has a plaque in Monument Park in Yankee Stadium.

Event Number Three: Hideki "Godzilla" Matsui becomes the highest-paid player in Japanese baseball history
Explanation: Hideki Matsui agreed to a one-year, $4.7 million contract with the Yomiuri Giants on Christmas Day of 2001. His $4.7 million contract surpassed Ichiro Suzuki's $4 million agreement with the Orix Blue Wave in 2000 as the biggest contract in Japanese baseball history. In 2002, the only year of his contract with the Giants, Matsui had one of his best years ever, batting .334 with 50 home runs and 107 RBIs, winning the league's MVP. His Giants also went on to win the 2002 Japan Series (the Japanese equivalent of the World Series) in a four-game sweep of the Saitama Seibu Lions. Godzilla signed with the New York Yankees the next season and eventually helped them win a World Series in 2009.

I hope you enjoyed my list of some of baseball's most interesting moments that occurred on Christmas. Thanks for reading this post and check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Saturday, December 20, 2014

My Top Five Favorite Ballplayers Who Never Won an MVP Award 12/20/14

Hey baseball fans!

The player with the most MVP Awards ever is Barry Bonds with seven, but even some of the all-time greats never won an MVP Award. So, today I'm counting down my top five favorite baseball players in baseball history who never won an MVP. Note: I have one rule for this list: they had to have started their careers after 1931 (when the award was first given out), so someone like Cy Young will not be on the list.

Number Five: Gary Carter, Catcher
Years Played: 1974-1992
Why? Carter went to eleven All Star Games and even won a World Series with the Mets. The Kid's best MVP-worthy year was 1980, when he hit 29 homers and drove in 101 RBIs. Who won the 1980 NL MVP? Mike Schmidt.

Number Four: Kirby Puckett
Years Played: 1984-1995
Why? The well-liked, roly poly Puckett won two World Series with the Minnesota Twins and collected over 2,000 hits in just twelve years in the MLB. However, he never put up eye-popping stats, but instead did a little bit of everything, which is probably why he never won the AL MVP.

Number Three: Ralph Kiner
Years Played: 1946-1955
Why? Kiner led the league in homers in seven consecutive seasons and went to six consecutive All Star Games. One problem: the team that he won all those home run titles with, the Pittsburgh Pirates, did not win a single pennant while he was there and, usually, the player who wins the MVP plays on one of the best teams or the best team in baseball.

Number Two: Eddie Murray
Years Played: 1977-1997
Why? Steady Eddie was very consistent throughout his career and is only one of four hitters with 500+ home runs and 3,000+ hits. However, just like Puckett, Murray always did a little bit of everything and never had huge stats. In fact, he never had over 35 homers in a season and never had more than 200 hits in a season. 

Number One: Derek Jeter
Years Played: 1995-2014
Why? One of my favorite hitters to ever play the game, Jeter retired as the player with the sixth-most amount of hits in baseball history. He batted .310 lifetime and also scored 1,923 runs. So why did he never win the MVP Award? I think it's for two reasons. One, on the pennant-winning teams that he played with on the Yankees, it was always a group effort; he wasn't the only one with monstrous stats. Two, contact hitters don't usually win the MVP Award and Jeter hit over 20 home runs in just 3 seasons.

Do you agree with my list? Write your thoughts down in the comments section. Anyway, 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 14, 2014

The Rally Monkey: IT'S RALLY TIME!!! 12/14/14

Hey baseball fans!

Happy Monkey Day! Look it up, it's real. In honor of this "widely-celebrated" day, I'm going to talk about the rally monkey, the unofficial mascot of the LA Angels.

The rally monkey debuted on June 6, 2000 in Los Angeles' Edison International Field of Anaheim. LA was trailing the San Francisco Giants 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth inning, when two video board operators, Dean Fraulino and Jaysen Humes, hatched a comical yet helpful idea. On the scoreboard, the two put a clip from the 1994 movie Ace Ventura: Pet Detective of a monkey jumping up and down. On the scoreboard, it read "RALLY MONKEY!!!" in huge letters. The Angels proceeded to score two more runs and thus, won the game.

Since then, the rally monkey, a white-haired capuchin monkey who is trained by the Angels organization, has been the staple for all Angels comebacks. In Game Six of the 2002 World Series (coincidentally against the Giants), LA trailed 5-0 entering the bottom of the seventh inning, but then, the rally monkey appeared on the scoreboard. Immediately, Edison International Field of Anaheim turned into a frenzy! The stadium was electric, the monkey was bouncing, and the Angels scored six unanswered runs that won them the game (here's the video link). The Angels went on to win the Series the very next day, but they would not have that championship, the franchise's only one, without the rally monkey.

Today, the rally monkey appears on the scoreboard every time the Angels are losing by a relatively close margin at home in the late innings. On the jumbotron, the monkey jumps around to the House of Pain song, "Jump Around," and even sometimes holds up a sign that says "RALLY TIME!"

Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Make sure to not only buy as many pieces of rally monkey merchandise as you can if you are an Angels fan, but also to check back here on Baseball with Matt very soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

An Interview with Sports Orthopaedic Surgeon, Dr. James Andrews! 12/10/14

Hey baseball fans!

I recently had the chance to speak over the phone with acclaimed sports orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. James Andrews! The interview is posted on my YouTube channel, but before I give you the link, here is a quick bio on Dr. Andrews.

Andrews grew up in rural Louisiana. He attended Louisiana State University and Tulane Medical School to complete his residency. He is known for his treatments on knee, shoulder and elbow-related injuries, and he has treated many famous athletes in a variety of sports. Dr. Andrews is a founding partner and medical director at the Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine in Gulf Breeze, Florida. He has written numerous books on orthopaedics, his most recent one being "Any Given Monday," a book about sports injuries and how athletes in any sport can prevent them. Previously, Dr. Andrews was part of the Sports Medicine Committee for the United States Olympic Committee and is currently the Tampa Bay Rays' Orthopaedic Medical Director.

Now that you know a little bit about him, please click here to listen to my interview with Dr. James Andrews. You can also learn more about Dr. Andrews here and the Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine here. Anyway, thanks for listening to the interview and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Big Unit to Washington State: Smart Move by the Expos? 12/7/14

Hey baseball fans!

In the spirit of Hall of Fame voting season almost arriving, let's talk about yet another lopsided trade that affected both teams involved very much. I'm talking about the Big Unit going from the Expos to the Mariners.

Trade: Randy Johnson, Brian Holman, and Gene Harris of the Expos for Mark Langston and Mike Campbell of the Mariners
When? 1989
Who was Who? Johnson, Holman, and Harris were all rookie or sophomore pitchers for Montreal who didn't have much experience. Mark Langston had just come off a 15-11 pitching season for Seattle in 1988 and Mike Campbell was a young pitcher in his third year in the league who had just come off a 6-10 1988 season for the Mariners.
Immediate Impact: The pitchers traded to Seattle went a combined 16-23 and the Mariners won just 73 games, finishing the 1989 season 26 games back of the first place Athletics in the AL West. The Expos, meanwhile finished at a respectable 81-81 record. Campbell didn't pitch a single game for them, but Langston strung together a decent 12-9 record with a 2.39 ERA.
What Happened Next? Brain Holman, Gene Harris, and Mike Campbell were all retired by 1996. Mark Langston continued pitching in the MLB until 1999. He finished his career with a record of 179-158, but Randy "The Big Unit" Johnson would go on to have one of the best careers for a lefty pitcher in baseball history. The five-time Cy Young Award winner won 303 games with an ERA of 3.29 in his 22-year career. He won the 2001 World Series co-MVP (along with Curt Schilling) with the Diamondbacks and struck out 4,875 batters, second on the all-time list for career strikeouts.
Who Won? The Mariners, but only because of Johnson.

The Winners:

Would you have gone through with this trade if you knew how good Randy Johnson was going to be? Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below. Thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Andersen-Bagwell Trade: Who Got the Best Deal? 12/4/14

Hey baseball fans!

Big moves are being made all across baseball! Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval are heading to Boston, while the Jays just signed Russell Martin and traded for Josh Donaldson. However, I'm not going to talk about those transactions. Instead, let's discuss one of the the most lopsided trades in baseball history.

Trade: Jeff Bagwell of the Red Sox for Larry Andersen of the Astros
When? 1990
What Happened? Andersen was a decent right-handed veteran relief pitcher for the Houston Astros. Bagwell was a star on the rise in Boston who was drafted by the Red Sox in the fourth round of the 1989 draft. The Red Sox needed a relief pitcher down the stretch, so they got Larry in exchange for Jeff.
Immediate Impact: Andersen would go on to pitch for the Sox for one month down the stretch in 1990, recording a 1.35 ERA in 15 games. The Sox won the AL East on the last day of the season, but got swept in the ALCS by the Athletics. Meanwhile, Bagwell was playing in the minors and didn't move up into the Major Leagues until 1991.
What Happened Next: Andersen actually left the Red Sox after the 1990 season due to free agency and was signed by the Padres. He played two years in San Diego, then two more years with the Phillies before retiring in 1994. He actually recorded some nice stats in his last five years of his career with the Red Sox, Padres, and Phils, but it was nothing compared to what Jeff Bagwell did for the Astros. He hit over 400 home runs and drove in 1,529 RBIs in his should-be Hall of Fame career from 1991 to 2005. The 1994 MVP batted .297 lifetime and the first baseman's number five has been retired by the Astros organization.
Who Won? The Astros, hands down.

The Winner 

I  hope you liked this new kind of post. Thanks for reading it. Do you agree that the Astros came up on top? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Saturday, November 29, 2014

My Top Five Favorite World Series MVP Performances 11/29/14

Hey baseball fans!

Madison Bumgarner had an amazing World Series for the San Francisco Giants in 2014 and he just so happens to come in at number five on my list of my top five favorite World Series MVP performances. If you want to know who's 1-4, continue reading. (Note: The World Series MVP Award was first given out in 1955.)

Number Five: Madison Bumgarner, Pitcher, San Francisco Giants
Year: 2014
Why? Mad Bum appeared in three games and recorded two wins, one of them being a shutout, and a save, which is unbelievable. But he also pitched 21 innings and allowed just a single earned run! That's an ERA of 0.43!

Number Four: Reggie Jackson, Right Fielder, New York Yankees
Year: 1977
Why? Jackson's '77 Fall Classic was probably his best World Series performance. He batted .450 with five home runs and eight RBIs. Oh yeah, and four of those five home runs came on consecutive swings. That's why he's called "Mr. October."

Number Three: Roberto Clemente, Right Fielder, Pittsburgh Pirates
Year: 1971
Why? Clemente shined all over the field; he made numerous great catches and throws out in right field and batted .414 at the dish. His two home runs and four RBIs helped the Buccos pull off a stunning upset against the heavily-favored Baltimore Orioles.

Number Two: Paul Molitor, DH and Third Baseman, Toronto Blue Jays
Year: 1993
Why? Statistically, Molitor's '93 World Series is one of the best World Series MVP performances ever. He collected 12 base hits, scored ten runs (the most ever in a World Series) and batted .500. He also drove in eight runs and was on base when Joe Carter hit his walk-off World Series-winning home run.

Number One: Sandy Koufax, Pitcher, Los Angeles Dodgers
Year: 1965
Why? Bob Gibson had an ERA of 1.00 in the 1967 World Series and Madison Bumgarner had an ERA of 0.43 in the 2014 World Series, but Koufax had an ERA even smaller than both of them in the 1965 Fall Classic against the Twins: 0.38! The Left Arm of God also started three games for LA and won two of them... both with complete game shutouts! He also struck out 29 over 24 innings pitched. He was easily the number one pitcher on that Dodgers team in that Series and he is also the number one World Series MVP on my list.

Honorable Mentions: 
Bob Gibson-1967
Brooks Robinson-1970
Lew Burdette-1957

Do you agree with my list? Write your thoughts in the comment 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."

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Duck had all the Luck 11/24/14

Hey baseball fans!

Today is Hall of Famer Joe Medwick's birthday! To celebrate, I'm going to blog about him.

Joe "Ducky" Medwick played for the Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants, and Braves from 1932-1948. One of the most potent National League hitters of the thirties, Medwick dominated hitting statistics. In his career, he batted .324 (43rd all time) with 2,471 hits. Undoubtedly, his best year was 1937, when he led the league in homers (31), RBIs (154), and batting average (.374), making him the eighth Triple Crown winner in the World Series era. He also led the league that year in runs, hits, at bats, total bases, slugging percentage and doubles! The ten-time All Star only has a single World Series ring, but boy did he do well in the '34 Fall Classic with the Cards. In seven games against the Tigers, Ducky batted .379 and drove in five runs en route to the Cardinals' third championship. The excellent outfielder batted over .300 15 times during his career and never struck out more than 100 times a season. He was eventually voted into the Hall of Fame in 1968, receiving 84.8% of the vote.

Here's a fun fact about Medwick: he is one of three New Jersey-born Hall of Famers and one of five HoFers who went to high school in the state. When Derek Jeter gets into the HOF, that'll make it four Jersey guys in the Hall.  Anyway, thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Godzilla: Japanese Star in the Movies and on the Baseball Field 11/20/14

Hey baseball fans!

Being a Yankees fan, I loved the 2009 World Series-winning Yanks. They had some great hitters, like Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, and Nick Swisher. But perhaps my favorite hitter on that team was the one who contributed the most for New York in that '09 Fall Classic: Hideki Matsui.

Hideki "Godzilla" Matsui was born in Ishikawa, Japan and started his baseball career in Nippon Professional Baseball. He was drafted by the Yomiuri Giants in the first round of the 1992 Draft and appeared for the Giants the next season. His ten-year career in Japanese baseball was amazing: he went to nine All Star Games, won the league MVP three times, was a member of a Japan Series-winning team three times (the Japan Series is the World Series but in NPB), and won the Best Nine Award eight times (it's basically the award given to the best player at each position in each league). His stats with Yomiuri are also astounding, hitting 332 home runs and driving in 889 runs. After the 2002 NPB season, Matsui signed with the MLB's New York Yankees and he ended up having a great career in pinstripes.

In his rookie season in American baseball in 2003, Matsui made the All Star Game and came in second for Rookie of the Year voting. In 2004, he again made the All Star Game and for the second straight year, played in all 162 games of the season. One of his best years was 2007 with New York, when he hit 25 home runs, collected 103 RBIs, and batted .285, but his best year in the MLB was 2009. In the Yankees championship season, Godzilla smashed out 28 dingers and drove in 90 runs, but his best work in '09 was yet to come. The Yankees eventually made it to the World Series to face the defending champions, the Philadelphia Phillies. The Bronx Bombers ended up winning the Series in six and it was mostly because of Matsui. He recorded eight hits, three home runs, eight RBIs, and a batting average of .615! He got six of his eight RBIs in a Game Six performance that tied the World Series single-game record for runs batted in with fellow former Yankee Bobby Richardson, who drove in six runs of his own in Game Three of the 1960 World Series. Matsui's amazing Fall Classic spectacular earned him 2009 World Series MVP honors, becoming the first Japanese player to ever do so.

Matsui ended up playing three more years in baseball after 2009 with the Angels, A's, and Rays. In his entire MLB career, he cracked 175 home runs and drove in 760 RBIs. He was such a fan favorite in Yankee Stadium that I will never forget his great hitting. 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, November 16, 2014

My Interview with Yankees Radio Color Commentator Suzyn Waldman!! 11/16/14

Hey baseball fans!

I recently had the chance to interview Yankees radio color commentator, Suzyn Waldman! I actually got to interview her live with my recorder, but before I give you the link to the interview on my YouTube channel, here's a quick bio on Waldman.

Suzyn Waldman grew up in Newton, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, and was a Red Sox fan and season ticket holder. She graduated from Simmons College with a degree in economics, but got her career started as a Broadway actress and singer. She is arguably most famous for her role as Dulcinea in  the acclaimed Broadway show, Man of La Mancha. Waldman was hired by the newly-formed WFAN in 1987 and was the first ever person to report on the radio show at 3:00 PM on July 1st, 1987. On WFAN, she covered the New York Yankees and the New York Knicks and co-hosted the daily mid-day sports talk show. She eventually joined John Sterling in 2005 on WCBS radio as the color commentator for Yankees radio broadcasts, becoming just the third woman in baseball history to be a color commentator. She and Sterling will be the Yankees radio broadcasters for the 2015 season, which will be their 11th year together in the booth.

Now that you know a little bit more about Waldman, click here to listen to the interview. Thanks for listening to the interview and I hope you enjoy it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

15 World Series Fun Facts11/12/14

Hey baseball fans!

Think fast! Here's 15 fun facts about the World Series!

1. Out of the 110 World Series that have been played, 63 of them have been won by American League teams and 47 by National League teams.
2. The New York Yankees have represented the AL in the World Series 36.36% of the time.
3. The state that has the most World Series championships (if you exclude New York) is California. The Dodgers, Giants, A's, and Angels have won a combined 14 Fall Classics. Cali would have more World Series rings, but the A's, Dodgers, and Giants won most of their championships in Philadelphia, Brooklyn, and New York, respectively.
4. Since 1967, when the Cy Young Award was given to a pitcher in both leagues, 10 Cy Young Award winners also received World Series rings in the same year. Some of those pitchers include Greg Maddux in 1995 with the Braves, Randy Johnson in 2001 with the Diamondbacks, and Ron Guidry in 1978 with the Yankees.
5. There are only two teams who have never reached the Fall Classic: the Seattle Mariners and Washington Nationals. However, both teams have made league championship series.
6. Only one team has at least one World Series championship without ever winning their division: the Florida Marlins. Although they have won two World Series in their history, 1997 and 2003, they have not yet captured an NL East title.
7. Former Yankee managers Casey Stengel and Joe McCarthy are tied for the most World Series won by a manager with seven, but Stengel has won the most World Series games with 37, compared to McCarthy's 30.
8. The Cubs have not won a World Series in 106 years, the longest World Series draught ever. Their last World Series championship came in 1908.
9. The player with the most World Series rings is Yogi Berra. In his career with the Yankees, he was part of ten World Series-winning teams.
10. The most World Series won by one team in consecutive years is the New York Yankees with five, from 1949-1953.
11. The batter with the best batting average in a single World Series is Billy Hatcher. In 1990 with the Cincinnati Reds, Hatcher batted .750 in a four-game sweep of the Athletics.
12. The quickest expansion team to win a World Series is the Arizona Diamondbacks. They played their first game in 1998 and won their first World Series in 2001.
13. 13 Hall of Famers have won World Series MVP. Three of them have won the award twice: Reggie Jackson, Sandy Koufax, and Bob Gibson.
14. Only one World Series has ended with a walk-off out. In the 1912 World Series, the Boston Red Sox won their second Fall Classic in franchise history with a walk-off sacrifice fly by Larry Gardner in the bottom of the tenth inning of Game Eight against the Giants. (Game Two was called a tie due to darkness. Otherwise, the 1912 Series would have been a regular seven-game World Series.)
15. Three teams have been to the World Series in the same year that the city that they play in also hosted the Super Bowl: the 1998 San Diego Padres, the 2006 Detroit Tigers, and the 2011 Texas Rangers.

Now that you read all of these facts, impress your friends with them. You're welcome. 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, November 9, 2014

My 2014 MLB Awards Prediction Video 11/9/14

Hey baseball fans!

Since the 2014 season is officially over, it's time for the two weeks where everyone is debating on who is going to win which award. If you want to know who I think will win each award, click here to see my predictions on who will win the Manager of the Year Award, Rookie of the Year Award, the Cy Young Award, and the MVP Award in the American and National Leagues.

Thanks so much for watching the video and I hope you enjoy it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Reggie! Reggie! Reggie! 11/6/14

Hey baseball fans!

The offseason is officially here and I can already sense some great free agent deals in the future. But in today's post, I want to talk about one of the first huge free agents in baseball history. And when I say huge, I mean New York huge.

Reggie Jackson played for the A's, Orioles, Yankees, and Angels in a Hall of Fame career from 1967 to 1987. In his 21 years in baseball, Jackson swung one of the best bats in baseball. The 14-time All Star outfielder hit 563 career long balls, 13th on the all time list. He started his career with the A's (in Kansas City) and won three consecutive World Series championships with the club, from 1972-1974. Jackson won MVP of the '73 Fall Classic against the Mets, hitting .310 in the Series. After playing in Baltimore for 1976, Reginald was granted free agency, which meant that he could sign any team that was willing to sign him. Luckily for Yankee fans, Reggie was interested in playing in the Bronx and signed with the Yankees on November 29, 1976. The reason I'm mentioning this is because free agency was a very new concept back then in the MLB and Jackson was really the first big name player to be signed by another team like that.

Jackson would go on to have a great career in pinstripes. In fact, he had such a great career for the Yanks that he actually went into the Hall of Fame as a Yankee. Anyway, Reggie led New York to the 1977 World Series and made history. In Game Six against the Dodgers, he hit three home runs...on three consecutive swings! The first two were great line drive dingers, but the third one was a magnificent, booming shot to straight away centerfield off of a knuckleball thrown by Dodger reliever, Charlie Hough. All the Yankee fans at Yankee Stadium that night were screaming their heads off, shouting "Reggie! Reggie! Reggie!" Reggie's five homers in the Series earned him WS MVP and an awesome nickname: Mr. October. Jackson won another ring with the Yankees in 1978, but never won another Series after that. I mean, five World Series rings isn't too bad, right?

Although he is the all-time leader in strikeouts with 2,597, Jackson is still known as one of the best. The the A's and Yankees have retired the number that he wore when playing for each franchise (9 for the A's and 44 for NY). The four-time home run champion was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, 1993, with 93.6% of the vote. 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, November 2, 2014

A Baseball Interview with President George H.W. Bush!!! 11/2/14

Hey baseball fans!

It's time for another interview! This one is very special. Here are a few hints about the interviewee: he is a very famous political figure in American history, he played college baseball for Yale in the first two College World Series, and I've interviewed his son, George W., who held the same political office. Well, if you haven't guessed it yet, it's none other than President George H. W. Bush! I am so honored and privileged to have interviewed (by email) such a legendary politician and I would like to thank President Bush for answering my questions. However, before I get to the interview, here is a short bio on the 41st President of the United States of America.


George Herbert Walker Bush was born on June 12, 1924 in Milton, Massachusetts to Prescott Sheldon Bush and Dorothy Walker Bush. Mr. Bush graduated high school from Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. After high school, he decided to join the Navy to help the US in World War II and he became an official naval aviator at the age of 18. In 1944, after being promoted to Lieutenant, Mr. Bush flew a special airplane that was meant to bomb the Japanese troops. While on a mission on September 2, 1944, Mr. Bush's aircraft was hit by Japanese anti-aircraft fire. The plane's engine caught on fire, but Mr. Bush was still able to complete his mission of dropping bombs onto the Japanese. However, following the bombing, Mr. Bush and his crew had to jump out of the plane. They were eventually picked up by a submarine after being stranded on a raft for four hours.

After his days in the Navy, Mr. Bush married Barbara Pierce and together they had six children, one of them being George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States. George H. W. Bush attended Yale University on an accelerated two and a half year program, and he captained the school's baseball team as a first baseman, leading the Bulldogs to the first two College World Series. He even got to meet the legendary Babe Ruth before one of his games as a Bulldog in his senior year. The captain graduated from Yale in 1948.

After working in the oil business, Mr. Bush eventually went into politics. The Republican became a Representative of Texas for the House of Representatives in 1966. In 1971, he was named Ambassador to the United Nations and did this for two years. In 1973, he was named Chairman of the Republican National Committee. In 1976, he became the Director of the CIA. In 1980, Ronald Reagan selected Mr. Bush to be his Vice Presidential nominee. Mr. Reagan won the 1980 Presidential election and stayed in the White House for two terms, from 1981-1989. Mr. Bush was the former actor's Vice President for all of those eight years. (Pic below: Reagan, left, Bush, right)

Mr. Bush ran for President in the 1988 election and ultimately beat Democrat Michael Dukakis, becoming the 41st President of the United States. He served for one term, 1989-1993, and accomplished many important things, including signing the Americans with Disabilities Act and leading the coalition during the Gulf War. Mr. Bush 41 was succeeded by President Bill Clinton, who was then succeeded by George H. W. Bush's son, President George W. Bush. Today, George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, split their time between living in Houston, Texas and Kennebunkport, Maine. He also does charitable work, including with his son President George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton. (Pics below: President Bush being sworn into office, 1989; Presidents George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton)

Now that you know a little bit about him, here is my interview with the 41st President of the United States, President George H. W. Bush.

Matt: What was your favorite team growing up?
President Bush: The Red Sox. I liked Ted Williams the best.

Matt: You played first base for Yale in the first two College World Series in 1947 and 1948, and you were team captain. Was Yankees captain and first baseman, Lou Gehrig (who played from 1923-1939), a hero of yours?
President Bush: Yes, he was one of my all-time favorites.

Matt: When you met the great Babe Ruth (see pic below) before a college game at Yale in your senior year, what did you talk about with him?
President Bush: Meeting Babe Ruth on Yale field was a thrill that stays with me ‘til this day. He was cancer-riddled. His voice was more of a croak than a normal voice, but he radiated greatness and I was privileged to have been asked to go out to home plate with him to receive his papers that he donated to Yale.

Matt: What was going through your mind when your plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire in mid-flight during World War II?
President Bush: A fear that I’d wind up as someone’s hors d’oeuvres.

Matt: What's the greatest moment in baseball history that you witnessed live?
President Bush: Being able to see my home team, the Astros, play in the World Series.

Matt: Since you're quite knowledgeable about your fellow Presidents and baseball, which Presidents do you think would have done well in their athletic primes on the Yale College World Series teams?
President Bush: Abe Lincoln, because of his ability to swing an axe. Abe was also known to be an honest man, so you wouldn’t have to worry about him arguing with the umpire.

I would like to thank President Bush for taking the time to answer my questions. I wish him all the best. And I also would like to thank his son, Marvin, for helping to arrange the interview. I am so honored to have interviewed both Presidents Bush. I've now interviewed all of the Republican Presidents that I can, so now it's time to focus on interviewing the Democrats  -- so if anyone has any ideas, please let me know. Anyway, thanks so much for reading this very special interview. I hope you enjoyed it and check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

And, if you’re looking to read up more on Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth or just general baseball history, please check out my newly published e-book, Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers, which is now available to buy on the Amazon Kindle, the Nook and iTunes. All of my book proceeds are being donated to four baseball-related charities: the ALS Association, Turn 2, the Jackie Robinson Foundation and the Hall of Fame.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Revolutionary Robinson 11/1/14

Hey baseball fans!

The color barrier was always a big deal in baseball back in the 1940s and ‘50s. Back then, African-Americans had their own baseball league, the Negro Leagues, and they were basically not allowed to play in Major League Baseball. No one broke this rule until Dodgers executive Branch Rickey brought Jackie Robinson to the Brooklyn Dodgers from the Negro League’s Kansas City Monarchs. On April 15, 1947, Robinson became the first African-American to play in the MLB, breaking the color barrier and African-Americans have been playing in Major League Baseball ever since. But why is Jackie so heralded, just for breaking the color barrier, you ask? Well, he was very brave for standing up to all the bigotry, and he was an awesome player.

Jackie Robinson played for the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1947-1959. As a 28-year old rookie in 1947, Robinson played phenomenally, batting .297 with 175 hits and leading the league in stolen bases with 29. He became the first ever winner of the Rookie of the Year Award, which was eventually renamed in honor of him. In 1949, Jackie went to his first of six consecutive All Star Games and won the NL MVP Award, leading the league in batting average (.342) and steals (37) and also driving in 124 runs.

Robinson’s Dodgers were always very good, but they could never win the World Series because they were always facing the juggernaut Yankees. However, that all changed in the 1955 Fall Classic versus New York. In Game One, Jackie stole home on a controversial play at the plate. As soon as the umpire called Robinson safe, Yankee catcher Yogi Berra turned around and started screaming at the umpire. That was all the Dodgers needed. Although the event wasn’t the turning point of the Series, it sure was important, as the Dodgers won the Series in seven games, giving Brooklyn its first and only baseball championship.

Although Jackie got just one World Series ring, his career numbers are astounding for having only played for ten years: 1,518 hits, 947 runs scored, 734 RBIs, 197 stolen bases, a .311 batting average, and an on-base percentage of .409. These great stats helped him get into the Hall of Fame in 1962 with 77.5% of the vote. And to think: he performed this well while being heckled because of the color of his skin for almost his entire career. Simply amazing. Anyway, thanks for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed it and check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

And, if you’re looking to read up on more about Jackie and all of baseball history, please check out my newly published e-book, Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers, which is now available to buy on the Amazon Kindle, the Nook and iTunes. By the way, all of my book proceeds are being donated to four baseball-related charities: the ALS Association, Turn 2, the Jackie Robinson Foundation and the Hall of Fame.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

If Cy Has an Award, Then Why Doesn't Matty? At Least He Has a Stat 10/30/14

Hey baseball fans!

The San Francisco Giants have won the 2014 World Series! This was greatly because of the excellent pitching of Giants starter, Madison Bumgarner, who won World Series MVP. You know who Bumgarner reminds me of? A pitcher who won over 370 career games and who had a great World Series pitching performance himself for the Giants in 1905: Christy Mathewson!

Mathewson pitched for the New York Giants and Cincinnati Reds from 1900-1916. Christy's power and poise made him one of the best pitchers of his generation, winning a then record 373 games (currently tied for third all-time) and only losing 188 in 636 games pitched. He led the league in wins four times. Mathewson also led the league in ERA five times and had an amazing career ERA of 2.13, which is tied for eighth on the all-time list.

The inventor of the "fadeaway" pitch (aka the screwball), Christy was even better in the World Series than he was in the regular season. In eleven career World Series games, he had an ERA of 0.97! That's better than Mariano Rivera! But his best World Series was in 1905 against the Athletics. He started three games, won them all, and didn't give up a single earned run. That's right; he had an ERA of 0.00 in the '05 Fall Classic! His heavenly pitching performances in four World Series just inspired the New York Times to invent a new stat for World Series pitching called the Matty Score. It is the amount of innings pitched minus three times the amount of earned runs allowed in a World Series career. The stat is supposed to measure the quantity of how many innings a pitcher pitches and how well he pitches. Mathewson's Matty Score is 69, the best Matty score in baseball history. Sandy Koufax's, the pitcher in second, is 39. Wow!!

Christy Mathewson was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1936, becoming part of the first Hall of Fame class (which included Matty, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson, and Honus Wagner). Sadly, Mathewson could not witness his induction because he died of tuberculosis in 1925. However, despite his untimely demise, the memory of his awesome pitching will never be forgotten. 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, October 26, 2014

Muscular, Magical, Maris 10/26/14

Hey baseball fans!

One of the most prestigious records in the MLB is the single-season home run record. The record holder is currently Barry Bonds, who hit 73 home runs in 2001 with the Giants. Before him, Mark McGwire, who hit 70 homers in 1998 with the St. Louis Cardinals, held the record. But the person who I want to talk about is the batter who broke Babe Ruth’s home run record of 60 homers in 1961 with the New York Yankees: Roger Maris.

Maris played with the Yankees, Cardinals, A’s, and Indians in a 12-year career from 1957-1968. He started his career with the Indians, but didn’t really break out into a star until 1959 with the A’s (when they were in Kansas City). That year was the first season that he made the All Star Game and would make it another six times during his career. The next year, he went to play in New York and, boy, did he have some great years with the Bronx Bombers. In 1960, he led the league in RBIs with 112 and slugging percentage at .581 and won the AL MVP, helping the Yankees reach the World Series. But undoubtedly, the best year of his career was 1961.

All season long, Maris and Hall of Fame teammate Mickey Mantle were fighting to see who could break Babe Ruth’s home run record. Mantle went down with an injury late in September, so the task was given fully to Roger. He had 60 home runs before the last game of the season, but on the final game of the ’61 campaign against the Red Sox in Yankee Stadium, Maris hit home run number 61 in front of 23,154 joyous Yankee fans, thus breaking the record. Not to mention, Roger also led the league in RBIs (141) and runs scored (132) en route to his second consecutive AL MVP Award.

Sadly, Maris never experienced the same single-season success for the rest of his career, but his overall stats are very good: 275 home runs, 850 RBIs, a .260 batting average, and 1,325 hits. He eventually had his number nine retired by the Yankees, but never got enough votes for the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Anyway, thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

And, if you’re looking to read up on more baseball history, please check out my newly published e-book, Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers, which is now available to buy on the Amazon Kindle, the Nook and iTunes. By the way, all of my book proceeds are being donated to four baseball-related charities: the ALS Association, Turn 2, the Jackie Robinson Foundation and the Hall of Fame.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

So, How's My Book Doing? 10/25/14

Hey baseball fans,

As a lot of you know, I've written an A-Z baseball history introduction book called Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers, which is being published by Summer Game Books, and for which Hall of Famer, Jim Palmer, wrote the foreword. I'm donating all of my book proceeds to four baseball-related foundations: ALS, Turn 2, Jackie Robinson and the Hall of Fame. Anyway, right now the book is available to buy on Amazon Kindle, the Nook and iTunes. A lot of people have asked me how the book is doing?

Well, first of all, the book is selling very well. Second, I got the official word from my publisher that a paperback version will be coming out around spring training, and I actually got some printer proof copies already which look awesome (see the picture below).

Finally, the book has gotten some really good reviews, for which I'm very excited, including from More Than a Fan, and just recently, from Cuban baseball magazine, Universo Beisbol. The coolest part about the UB review is that it's all in Spanish and is seen all over Cuba, which means that maybe Fidel Castro (a very big baseball fan and former player) will see it and buy a copy of my book! You never know. Here's the screenshot below of the UB review.

Anyway, thanks for reading. Lots of big things in the works, including a super-surprise interview to be published right after the World Series.  So keep on reading, and check back again soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."