Monday, January 29, 2018

Fun Facts About the 2018 Hall of Fame Inductees 1/29/18

Hey baseball fans!

After digesting the Hall of Fame vote from the 24th for almost a week now, congrats to all the players who got into Cooperstown (#EdgarGotRobbed)! To welcome Jim Thome, Chipper Jones, Trevor Hoffman, and Vladimir Guerrero into the Hall, here is a fun fact about each of them.

Jim Thome
Thome holds a very interesting MLB record: career walk-off home runs. His 13 career walk-off dingers are one ahead of Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Jimmie Foxx, Stan Musial, and Frank Robinson. In fact, Thome's 500th career homer was of the walk-off variety.

Chipper Jones
Jones was ambidextrous at the plate and among switch-hitters, his stats rank towards the top in many categories. Jones ranks third all-time in home runs (468), second in RBIs (1,623), and is the only switch-hitter in history to finish his career with a .300+ lifetime batting average (.303) and 400+ homers.

Trevor Hoffman
Surprisingly, Hoffman only led the league in saves on two occasions. His 46-save 2006 season was great, but his 53-save 1998 season was even better. At the time, those 53 single-season saves were a National League record; couple that with 1.48 ERA and Hoffman placed second in Cy Young voting and seventh in MVP voting for the NL in '98.

Vladimir Guerrero
This isn't really a fun fact, but one time, Guerrero hit a single on a ball that bounced in front of home plate! Now, that's what I call daredevil hitting.

Once again, congratulations to the four new members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

If I Had a Hall of Fame Ballot 2018 1/23/18

Hey baseball fans!

Hall of Fame elections are tomorrow, which means it's time for me to share my opinions on who should get into Cooperstown in 2018. I've done this type of post in the past and for this edition of "If I Had a Hall of Fame Ballot 20XX," I'm going to list the players who I think should get in this year along with the key reason for why they should get in. As much as I love the new advanced metrics revolution going on in baseball right now, it's time to get back to basics.

Name: Chipper Jones
# Time on Ballot: 1st
Main Reason for Election: King of Atlanta
Explanation: From 1993-2012, Chipper Jones was the cornerstone of the Atlanta Braves lineup. Sure, their dynastic years of the '90s was more pitching-centered and Atlanta had plenty of other formidable hitters on their teams to go along with Jones, but Chipper became a Braves fan favorite because he stayed down south for his entire career, and boy what a career it was: a .303 lifetime batting average as a switch hitter, 2,726 career hits, 468 career home runs, and eight All Star Games. He's first-ballot talent for sure.

Name: Jim Thome
# Time on Ballot: 1st
Main Reason for Election: Crazy power
Explanation: First-ballot Hall of Fame criteria for me in terms of power hitters is 500+ home runs and 1,500+ RBIs. Well, guess what? Thome hit 612 career long balls (which is good for eighth on the all-time list) and drove in 1,699 career runs (which is good for 26th on the all-time list). Enough said.

Name: Trevor Hoffman
# Time on Ballot: 3rd
Main Reason for Election: Saves machine
Explanation: Hoffman is the all-time NL leader in saves with 601 and is second in the category in MLB history only to Mariano Rivera. On top of this, the best reliever in the NL every year gets the "Trevor Hoffman NL Reliever of the Year Award." The fact that he wasn't a first-ballot Hall of Famer is seriously a travesty.

Name: Vladimir Guerrero
# Time on Ballot: 2nd
Main Reason for Election: One of the best all-around hitters of his generation
Explanation: Guerrero misses the first-ballot threshold in several typical categories of judgement, like hits and home runs, but then you realize he only played 16 seasons and you're just like "Wow." The nine-time All Star averaged 162 hits, 28 homers, and 94 RBIs a season. Oh, and did I mention he batted .318 lifetime, which makes him one of the top ten contact hitters in baseball since 1950?

Name: Edgar Martinez
# Time on Ballot: 9th
Main Reason for Election: The first great DH
Explanation: This is the guy for who I am the absolute strongest Hall of Fame advocate. Yes, he batted .312 lifetime and yes, he was a seven-time All Star. Both of those facts should already put him in Cooperstown, but sports analysts love to point out the fact that defensive statistics are important as well in Hall of Fame consideration and Martinez doesn't have those stats because he never played the field. But that's the thing: he was the first great DH, so the fact that anyone would even consider his fielding statistics to be an important piece of criteria for him getting into the Hall is straight up unfair. Much like Hoffman, the best DH in the MLB every year gets the "Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award" and the only hitter who's won the award more times than Martinez himself has (five times) is David Ortiz (seven times). If all of this isn't enough, Martinez, much like Chipper Jones, stayed with the Seattle Mariners for his entire career, becoming a shiny emerald in the Emerald City.

Who else should be in Cooperstown who's on the 2018 Hall of Fame ballot? Let me know in the comments section below. Also, quick shout out to my dad who is celebrating his birthday today. He's been checking over my blog posts and helping me grow Baseball with Matt ever since I started blogging, so happy birthday, Dad, and thank you for everything. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Game 6 of 2011 or Game 5 of 2017? 1/20/18

Hey baseball fans!

In case you don't remember, Game Five of the 2017 World Series, which saw the Astros top the Dodgers in Houston by a final score of 13-12, has been regarded by some as the best World Series game ever. Now, I am not one of those people, because I believe that Game Six of the 2011 World Series, which saw the Cardinals beat the Rangers in St. Louis by a final score of 10-9, is better than Game Five of '17 for one simple reason, which is...

You think I'm going to reveal my one reason for deciding the fate of a World Series game on my "Tope World Series Games Ever" list at the beginning of a blog post? Well, think again. First, let's talk about what makes both of these games so great and then we'll get into what sets the 2011 matchup apart from the 2017 one.

The Run-Scoring
So as you read in my intro paragraph, both of these games were not pitching duels, but all-out slugfests. The Astros and Dodgers combined for 25 runs in their clash in Minute Maid Park, while the Rangers and Cardinals totaled 19 runs on a chilly night in Busch Stadium. The Texas matchup featured seven home runs, while the game in Missouri featured six and both games saw 28 hits.

The Scoring Changes
Both games went back and forth until the end. In St. Louis, the Cardinals and Rangers exchanged leads seven times (counting the times that one team took the lead after a tie game) and the Astros and Dodgers switched leads five times. The only reason the game in Houston didn't feature more scoring changes is because the runs were scored in bunches; Houston and LA combined for six half-innings where three or more runs were scored.

The Dramatic Walk-Off
Alex Bregman walked off for Houston in the bottom of the tenth with a single that scored pinch-runner Derek Fisher to give the Astros the W, while David Freese of the Cardinals sent the St. Louis fans home happy with a miraculous walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 11th.

So obviously these games had plenty of drama to go around, but why is Game Six of 2011 so much better than Game Five of 2017? Well, I've got one word for you: magnitude.

Ok, so Game Five of 2017 saw the Astros beat the Dodgers, giving Houston a 3-2 lead in the Series, but it wasn't a must-win game for the Astros. However, the Cardinals came into Game Six of the 2011 Fall Classic down 3-2 in the Series and were one strike away from losing the World Series altogether on two (yes, two) separate occasions! In the ninth, the eventual hero Freese hit a two-run triple on a two-strike count with two outs to tie the game at seven and send it to extras and in the tenth, again on a two-strike count with two outs, Lance Berkman came up with a game-tying single. Not to belittle Game Five of 2017, but had I not told you that the game that ended in an Alex Bregman walk-off single was the fifth game of the 2017 World Series, would you have known that? Probably not. But did you know that David Freese hit a walk-off homer in Game Six of the 2011 World Series? Probably.

It's simple math, really. Six is greater than and, in this case, better than five. Sorry, Astros fans, but your former NL Central rivals have defeated you yet again. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Friday, January 12, 2018

Baseball History on the 12th of January 1/12/18

Hey baseball fans!

January is almost halfway done, which means that we are almost halfway through one of the most inconsequential months of the year in terms of baseball-related activity. However, some (but not a lot) of baseball's most influential moments have come during the first month of the year and here is a list of some of those highlights that have occurred on this date, January 12th, throughout baseball history.

1961: Charlie Grimm and Verlon Walker were named to the Chicago Cubs' "College of Coaches." Basically, Cubs owner Philip Wrigley came up with the idea to hire a bunch of coaches who would take turns either being the team's manager or a coaching assistant and the coaches would rotate jobs throughout the season. The Cubs were managed by four different coaches throughout the season. None of them finished with a winning record individually and the Cubbies finished the '61 campaign at 64-90, a solid 29 games back of the first place Cincinnati Reds.

1983: "The Human Vacuum Cleaner," otherwise known as Brooks Robinson (pictured below), becomes the 14th player in baseball history to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Juan Marichal, the winningest Latin American pitcher in MLB history, with 243 career victories, was the other ballplayer of the 1983 Hall of Fame class.

1999: Mark McGwire's historic 70th home run ball from his 1998 season is auctioned off and bought by an anonymous bidder for a "measly" $3.05 million.

2009: In a historic Hall of Fame election, Rickey "Man of Steal" Henderson gets into the Hall on his first year on the ballot, while Red Sox legend Jim Rice (pictured below) gets in on his last possible and 15th year on the ballot.

Although this stuff is pretty cool, I'm sorry that January is such a dull month for baseball. But at least there's only a couple more weeks until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training! Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Last Time That the Mariners Were in the Playoffs... 1/2/17

Hey baseball fans!

The Buffalo Bills have snapped their 17-year playoff drought, which means the Seattle Mariners now own the longest playoff drought out of all the professional American sports teams. Seattle's most recent playoff appearance came in 2001, a year in which they set the record for the most wins in a single season by an AL team with 116, but then lost the ALCS to the Yankees. Going back to the last time that the Mariners were in the playoffs...

1. The Astros were still in the National League.
2. The Red Sox hadn't broken the Curse of the Bambino.
3. Hank Aaron was still the all-time home run king.
4. "Moneyball" was just a compound word and had no association with the A's
5. The Pirates, Reds, Phillies, Padres, Cardinals, Nationals, Mets, Yankees, Twins, Marlins, and Braves were all playing in different ballparks than they do now.
6. Albert Pujols was just a rookie.
7. Ichiro Suzuki was a rookie as well.
8. Rickey Henderson was still playing.
9. There were two Canadian teams.
10. It was the middle of the Steroid Era.

Sorry Mariners' fans, but your team needs to play in October soon or we're all going to lose it. But anyway, thanks for reading this post, I hope you enjoyed it, and happy new year! Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."