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."

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The All-Royants Team: The Best Players Who Played for the Royals and Giants 10/23/14

Hey baseball fans!

When I was looking up players who played for both the Royals and the Giants for my Vida Blue post, I didn't realize how many good players played for both teams. So, here is All-Royants team, featuring the best of the best who played for both the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants.

Catcher: Benito Santiago
Year(s) with KC: 2004
Year(s) with SF: 2001-2003
Why? A great offensive catcher, the Puerto Rican All Star was one of the big reasons for the Giants' trip to the World Series in 2002.

First Baseman: Orlando Cepeda
Year(s) with KC: 1974
Year(s) with SF: 1958-1966
Why? Cha Cha and Willie Mays teared up Candlestick Park in San Fran for the first part of the sixties and Cepeda made six of his seven All Star Games with the Giants.

Second Baseman: Rey Sanchez
Year(s) with KC: 1999-2001
Year(s) with SF: 1998
Why? Although he wasn't the most powerful hitter, Sanchez was a very good fielder and always made the tough plays that very few fielders can make.

Third Baseman: Jeff Keppinger
Year(s) with KC: 2006
Year(s) with SF: 2011
Why? Keppinger is just a solid ballplayer. His batting average is very good (.282) and he has scored a lot of runs for the amount of games he has appeared in (324 runs in 818 games).

Shortstop: Miguel Tejada
Year(s) with KC: 2013
Year(s) with SF: 2011
Why? This slugger from the Dominican Republic had a knack for home runs, hitting 307 of them in 16 seasons. The six-time All Star won the 2002 AL MVP with Oakland, hitting 34 home runs, driving in 131 runs, and batting .308.

Outfielder: Melky Cabrera
Year(s) with KC: 2011
Year(s) with SF: 2012
Why? The Melk Man delivers! As a Yankee fan, I loved Melky because he would constantly get walk-off hits. He was a big help for New York in their 2009 championship season and also aided the Giants in their trek to the Fall Classic in 2012.

Outfielder: Carlos Beltran
Year(s) with KC: 1998-2004
Year(s) with SF: 2011
Why? Beltran was a star with the Royals in the early stage of his career, but he got even better when he was brought over to the Mets. With the Amazins, Carlos hit 149 homers and collected 559 RBIs in 839 games.

Outfielder: Reggie Sanders
Year(s) with KC: 2006-2007
Year(s) with SF: 2002
Why? Sanders hit 307 home runs in 17 years, which is a great accomplishment on its own. But what's even cooler about him is that he went to three World Series in four years...with three different teams! He went to the Fall Classic in 2001 with the Diamondbacks (and got a ring), went to the 2002 World Series with Benito Santiago and the Giants, and then helped the Cardinals win the 2004 National League pennant! How lucky was Reggie Sanders!

Starting Pitcher: Gaylord Perry
Year(s) with KC: 1983
Year(s) with SF: 1962-1971
Why? Perhaps the best player on this team, Perry was an outstanding pitcher during his time, winning 314 games, 17th on the all-time list! The Hall of Famer and five-time All Star led the league in wins three times and had a career ERA of 3.11.

Relief Pitcher: Dan Quisenberry
Year(s) with KC: 1979-1988
Year(s) with SF: 1990
Why? Quiz was one of the best relievers of the 1980s and helped the Royals to three AL West division titles and a World Series win in 1985 versus the Cardinals. Q led the league in saves five times, four of them consecutive, and had a great career ERA: 2.76.

Well, there's my All-Royants team. Who else do you think belongs on this list? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post. Thanks for reading it, make sure you watch the World Series featuring the Royals and Giants, and check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Who Will Win the 2014 World Series? 10/19/14

Hey baseball fans!

The World Series is upon us! But who will win the 2014 Fall Classic, the Kansas City Royals or the San Francisco Giants? Only time will tell, but for now, click here to watch the video in which I predict who will be the champions of baseball for the 2014 campaign.

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

Friday, October 17, 2014

Vida Blue? But He Had No Reason to be Sad 10/17/14

Hey baseball fans!

The Royals and Giants will be playing in the 2014 World Series! In honor of this, I'm going to talk about a very famous pitcher who pitched for both Kansas City and San Francisco: Vida Blue!

Vida Blue pitched for the A's, Giants, and Royals from 1969-1983, 1985-1986. In his 17 years in the MLB, he recorded 209 wins and 161 losses, along with an ERA of 3.27. Vida is known for his constant attacking of the strike zone. He had a great curveball and change up, but his best pitch was his blazing fastball, which regularly reached speeds of 100 miles an hour. With the help of these pitches, Blue recorded a lifetime 1.23 WHIP and 37 career shutouts. The six-time All Star's best year came in 1971 with the Athletics, when he went 24-8 with a league-leading 1.82 earned run average. That year, he was the starter for the American League in the All Star Game and won the AL Cy Young Award and MVP, but Oakland failed to win the pennant. However, over the next three years, '72-'74, the A's didn't just win the pennant, they won the World Series and Blue played a big role on those championship teams.

In 1978, his first year with the Giants, Blue again started in the All Star Game, this time in the NL, thus becoming the first pitcher ever to start the All Star Game with the American and National League. His Giant career was very good: a record of 72-58 over six years with an ERA of 3.52. In the midst of his time with the Giants, however, Vida played with KC for two years, winning 13 games and losing 17, while posting an ERA of 4.49. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that Vida pitched a no-hitter with the A's on September 21st, 1970 against the Twins, striking out nine in only his second year in the MLB. What an accomplishment!

One of the most charitable athletes you will ever meet, Vida was inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in 1995 and still does charity work for the Bay Area. 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, now available on the Kindle, Nook and iTunes.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The History of the New York Mets 10/14/14

Hey baseball fans!

As many of you already know, I am a Yankees fan, but that does't mean that I can't root for the Mets if they just happen to be on TV. Yes, I do feel sorry for Mets fans (and Yankees fans alike), but the Mets have a pretty good history.

The New York Mets were created in 1962 in order to replace the former New York National League teams, the Giants and Dodgers, who moved to California a few years before. The Mets played their first games in the Polo Grounds, but then moved to Shea Stadium in 1964. Like most expansion teams, the Mets didn't start off well. In fact, they finished either last or second to last in their first seven years of existence. But then came the magical year of 1969. With the help of future Hall of Fame pitchers Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan along with All Star Jerry Koosman and manager Gil Hodges, the Mets barely beat the Chicago Cubs to win the NL East, then were victorious over the Braves in the NLCS, then destroyed the heavily favored Orioles in the World Series in five games. It was the first World Series won by a New York team in seven years and it would not be the last time the Mets won it all.

New York, after acquiring Willie Mays, went to its second World Series in franchise history in 1973, this time under the wing of the legendary Yogi Berra as manager. That Mets team was one of the worst teams to get to the Fall Classic, having gone 82-79 in the regular season. Despite this seemingly dismal record, the Mets gave the defending champion A's a run for their money, but Oakland won the Series in seven. Entering the 1980s, the Mets had not won a World Series since '69. Then came another magical year in Mets history: 1986.

The '86 Mets were full of stars, like Gary Carter, Lee Mazzilli, Darryl Strawberry and Keith Hernandez on offense and Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez, Bob Ojeda, and Jesse Orosco on the pitching staff. The team won an astounding 108 games and the NL pennant and faced the Boston Red Sox in the World Series. The Red Sox went up in the Series three games to two and were leading after ten innings in Game Six at Shea, 5-3. The Mets proceeded to come from behind and win in walk-off fashion with the help of an untimely error by Red Sox first baseman, Bill Buckner, on a Mookie Wilson grounder with two outs in the bottom of the tenth. The Amazins then won Game Seven and were crowned champions of the baseball world for only the second time in the team's history. But it would be a year that no Mets fan would forget, as the fans in Queens, New York never stop talking about Buckner's blunder.

New York has gone to only one more World Series since 1986 and it was against the Yankees in 2000. In the first Subway Series since 1956, the Yanks whipped the Mets in five games. Sorry Mets fans, but the Bronx Bombers were in the midst of a dynasty. Actually the Mets almost got to another World Series in 2006, but lost to the Cardinals in the NLCS.

The Amazins moved to Citi Field prior to the 2009 season, but have yet to make the playoffs in the new stadium. Hopefully, they can accomplish this task in the coming years. Anyway, thanks so much for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Human Tanglefoot Flypaper 10/9/14

Hey baseball fans!

The division series are over and now the MLB postseason moves to the championship series. The state of Missouri is represented in both leagues' series, actually, in the Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals. Speaking of Missouri, did you know that there are ten baseball Hall of Famers from the Show Me State? Some of them you know, like Yogi Berra, Casey Stengel, Earl Weaver, and even Carl Hubbell. But do you know who Dodgers Hall of Famer Zack Wheat is?

Wheat, a native of Hamilton, Missouri, played in the MLB for 19 years with the Brooklyn Dodgers (for 18 years) and the A's from 1909-1927. Buck, as he was nicknamed, batted over .300 16 times in his career and won the batting title in 1918 with a .335 batting average. His career batting average of .317 ranks 47th out of all Hall of Fame hitters. Wheat collected 2,884 career base hits, 1,248 RBIs, and scored 1,289 runs, but was known more for his fielding than his hitting. As a left fielder, he was known as being very graceful, like Joe DiMaggio, but also had a cannon for an arm, like Roberto Clemente. Although he fielded and batted like the star he was, the Brooklyn teams he was on never did too spectacularly. Wheat made it to the World Series twice with the Dodgers, in 1916 and 1920, but lost in both Series. But it didn't matter,  as Zack was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1959 via the Veterans Committee.

Here's a fun fact about the Dodger Hall of Famer: In 1916, the outfield wall at Brooklyn's Ebbets Field had the following advertisement for Tanglefoot flypaper: "In 1915, Wheat, Brooklyn, caught 345 flies. Tanglefoot caught 50,000,000,000 flies." What a funny yet brilliant ad. 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 5, 2014

The 300th Post on Baseball with Matt!!!!!!!!!! 10/5/14

Hey baseball fans!

This is my 300th post on Baseball with Matt! I'm so happy that I've done so many fun things in my blogging career and it's all thanks to you: the viewers.

To celebrate number 300, I put up a vlog on YouTube in which I talk about the blog, my book that just came out (which is now available as an e-book on the Kindle, the Nook and iTunes) and the MLB playoffs. If you want to watch it, just click here.

Thanks so much for reading my posts over the last couple of years. I hope you enjoy the video and check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Postseason and How It Works 10/2/14

Hey baseball fans!

With the MLB postseason already here (and two teams already eliminated), I want to teach you about how the postseason works because, over the years, a lot has changed about it.

From 1903 (the first World Series) to 1968, there was only one division per league. So, back then, the best team in the American League faced off against the best National League team in the World Series. Starting in 1969, the playoffs became two rounds: a round to decide the winner of each league and the World Series. This playoff format was needed because the leagues were getting too big for one division. In the first year that this kind of postseason was implemented, the '69 Mets won it all.

The two-round playoff format stood until 1981, a season that was split into two halves due to a mid-season strike. Major League Baseball decided that for that year, there would be an extra round to start the playoffs. This extra first round featured the division winners from the first half of the season against the division winners from the second half. From there, the playoffs were the same. Although the MLB went back to the two-round postseason the next year, the three-round postseason would come up again in the near future.

By 1994, there were too many expansion teams for just two divisions per league, so the MLB created three of them per league: the East, Central, and West. This caused a problem with the playoff format because you need an even number of teams per league in the playoffs. Thus, the Wild Card team was implemented into the postseason. The Wild Card is the team with the best record in each league that did not win a division. For example, the first AL team to win the Wild Card was the Yankees in 1995 (1994 was cut short due to another strike and the '94 playoffs were cancelled). They didn't win the AL East, but they did win 79 games, the most of any team that didn't win a division in the American League. (79 games does seem like a low win total, I know, but the first part of the '95 campaign was cut off because of the strike that started in 1994.)

So we've gone from just a World Series to a League Championship Series and a World Series to a Division Series, League Championship Series, and a World Series. Would you believe that there has been another round added to the MLB postseason? In 2012, the Wild Card playoff was added to the postseason. The Wild Card playoff features the two best teams in each league that didn't win their respective division in a one-game round that decides which team will go on to face the team with the best record in each league. The San Francisco Giants just won the 2014 NL Wild Card playoff against the Pittsburgh Pirates, so they will face the Washington Nationals, the team with the best record in the National League, in the National League Division Series.

So, just to reiterate, the 2014 playoffs have four rounds: a one-game Wild Card playoff (which has already happened), a best-of-five Division Series, a best-of-seven League Championship Series, and a best-of-seven World Series. Anyway, I hope I didn't confuse you with the postseason format and thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."