Friday, September 23, 2016

An Intentional Scheduling Mishap 9/23/16

Hey baseball fans!

Did you know that in 1961, American League teams played 162 games while National League teams played just 154? Crazy, right? Yes, but let me explain.

Before 1961, there were eight teams in each league in the MLB. However, the MLB decided to expand in ’61 to compete with the newly proposed Continental League that would actually fold in 1960. The expansion teams of that year were the Washington Senators (the present-day Texas Rangers) and the LA Angels. As great as it was that the MLB was getting larger, there was now a scheduling issue in the American League. Prior to the additions, each team played each other 22 times a season, but with the additions, that number would be way too much. So, it was decided that each AL team would play each other 18 times a season for a total of 162 games played.

There was still one problem: what about the NL teams? Well, they actually stuck with the 154-game season in 1961. The only reason that worked is because AL and NL teams didn’t play each other in the regular season until 1997. Once the National League added the Astros and Mets in 1962, they adopted the 162-game season. Now the argument for why Roger Maris’s single-season home run record was illegitimate in 1961 gets a little more interesting.

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

Saturday, September 17, 2016

My Birth Year's World Series Winners: The 1999 Yankees 9/15/16

Hey baseball fans!

I was born on February 21, 1999, which means I was born in the same year that the Yankees won the World Series! I think this is really cool because the Yanks are my favorite team and it's almost as if I was destined to root for them. With that in mind, here is a quick synopsis about my birth year World Series winners: the 1999 New York Yankees.

The '99 Yankees came into the season with some big expectations, having won 114 games the previous season, an AL record at the time. They didn't have a lot to improve on in the offseason, considering the team was loaded with stars, but the one key transaction the Bronx Bombers made was trading for Roger Clemens in a four-player trade that most notably sent Yankee fan favorite David Wells to the Blue Jays. Clemens was the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner and although he had a down year for his standards, the rest of the Yankee pitchers were solid. They averaged 4.13 runs allowed per game, which was good for second in the American League. Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez led the starting staff with 17 wins, David Cone pitched a perfect game on July 18, and Mariano Rivera collected a league-leading 45 saves.

The Yankee hitting was good as always, placing in the top ten as a team in runs scored, hits, and batting average. Derek Jeter, Tino Martinez, Paul O'Neill, and Bernie Williams all had over 100 RBIs and Jeter and Williams each batted over .340. Other notable hitters in the lineup included Chuck Knoblauch, who kept up his larcenous ways by stealing 28 bases, and Chili Davis who hit 19 home runs and drove in 78 runs. By season's end, New York ended up with the best record in the American League with 98 wins. The Yanks would sweep the Rangers in the ALDS, beat the Red Sox in the ALCS in five games, and sweep the NL champion Braves in the World Series to extend their World Series winning streak to twelve straight games.

It wasn't as awesome as the 1998 season, but the '99 squad was still scary good. What MLB team won the World Series in your birth year? Leave your comments in the comments 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."

Saturday, September 10, 2016

How Well Did Jackie Robinson Do on April 15th? 9/10/16

Hey baseball fans!

April 15th is one of the most important days of the baseball season, because it is on that date in 1947 that Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. It was such a momentous occasion in not only baseball history, but also in sports and American history. But how well did Jackie Robinson actually do at the plate on Jackie Robinson Day? Thanks to some rummaging through the Dodgers' schedules and box scores of the late '40s and early '50s, I have an answer.

Including the day that he broke the color barrier, Robinson actually didn't do as well as some would think on April 15th throughout his career. He only played in five games on that date during his career, because MLB seasons back then sometimes started after April 15th. In those five April 15 games in which Jackie played, he only went 2-12 for a batting average of .167. However, there are some bright spots in his stat line on Jackie Robinson Days. For example, he walked on average once a game, which means that for every game he played on April 15, he was on base at least once. He hit his only Jackie Robinson Day home run on April 15, 1954 against the Pirates, which also plated home Pee Wee Reese. He only struck out once in those five games, which came in 1955 against the Giants. Lastly, and this is probably the coolest statistic, every time the Dodgers played on April 15 with Jackie in the lineup, they won!! So maybe Jackie could've done better on his day personally, but the Dodgers as a team did really well.

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

Monday, September 5, 2016

How is a .435 Winning Percentage Good?! 9/5/16

Hey baseball fans!

Catcher Gary Sanchez of the New York Yankees has just finished one of the greatest months for a rookie in MLB history. I mean, seriously, hitting 11 home runs is impressive even for a ten-year veteran! In honor of Gary Sanchez's historic rookie month in the Bronx, here is a look at one of the most historic inaugural campaigns for a franchise in MLB history.

The Los Angeles Angels and Washington Senators entered the American League in 1961. It was the first year of the new 162-game season format, so naturally everyone expected both expansion franchises to lose at least 100 games each, which actually didn't end up being true for both franchises. The Senators fulfilled the predictions by many by losing exactly 100 games in their first season as a team. However, the Angels ended up with a 70-91 record (they weren't in contention for the postseason, so one of their games wasn't rescheduled) and that .435 winning percentage is the best winning percentage for any expansion franchise in their first season in the World Series era. The ironic thing about the Angels is that they would have to wait another 40 years before they won their first World Series, while the Mets, who finished 40-120 in their first season in 1962, won their first championship in 1969. Sorry Angels, but just remember that good things come to those who wait.

Do you think an expansion team in today's MLB could finish with a record better than the 1961 Angels? Leave your thoughts in the comments 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."

Thursday, September 1, 2016

My Top Five Cities for Future MLB Franchises 8/31/16

Hey baseball fans!

With other professional sports leagues expanding and some even becoming more international, like the NHL and NFL, respectively, here is my list of the top five cities in the U.S. and abroad where future MLB franchises should play:

Number Five: Mexico City, Mexico
Why? Like I said before: going international is trending in sports right now and baseball is one of Mexico's most popular sports. Mexico City has a population of around 20 million people, a little bit more than twice that of New York City and it's also the capital of Mexico, meaning that putting an MLB team there will only increase the MLB's popularity around the world.

Number Four: Oklahoma City
Why? OKC only has one professional American sports team right now and, in my opinion, its best years are behind it. Sorry Thunder fans. Additionally, arguably one of the biggest rivalries in baseball right now is between the Rangers and Astros, two Texas teams that have never won a World Series title. Throw another southwestern team into the mix, and you've got yourself a very exciting three-team war.

Number Three: New Orleans
Why? There are plenty of great Hall of Famers from the South, like Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and a multitude of others. I'm sure the New Orleans Superdome would sell out for many New Orleans baseball games and one of the Big Easy's most famous characteristics is the same as that of baseball players: being very superstitious.

Number Two: Las Vegas
Why? Prior to the announcement of the new NHL team, there was no professional American sports teams in Sin City and native Las Vegans like Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant have really put the Nevada city on the MLB map. Putting an expansion franchise there would only make the Vegas night life even more exciting, as long as you're not busy gambling.

Number One: Montreal, Canada
Why? You should've seen this coming. Ever since the Expos left Montreal for Washington, D.C., everyone has wanted to see another franchise in the French Canadian city. I mean seriously, the Blue Jays had a packed house at two Spring Training games at Olympic Stadium this past spring. If that doesn't scream "We deserve an MLB team," then I don't know what does.

Do you agree with my picks? Let me know in the comments 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."

By the way, if you liked my post, maybe you'd also be interested in checking out my book on baseball history, Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers. I'm even giving all of the money to four baseball-related charities.