Baseball Toaster The Griddle
Monthly archives: August 2006


Twins pick up Nevin
2006-08-31 19:55
by Bob Timmermann

If you read the thread below, you would have seen the news that Phil Nevin is now a Twin.

Nevin is with his fourth team in two seasons: San Diego, Texas, the Cubs, and Minnesota.

Red Sox pick up pitcher to start improbable climb back to the top
2006-08-31 18:56
by Bob Timmermann

The Boston Red Sox made a waiver deal and acquired Kevin Jarvis from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Jarvis was 0-1 with an 11.91 ERA in five games in the majors this year.

In other Red Sox detritus news, the Padres have also picked up Rudy Seanez. This will be Seanez's fourth different stint with the Padres. He pitched for the Padres in 1993, 2003, and 2005.

Howard breaks Schmidt's record for homers
2006-08-31 17:10
by Bob Timmermann

Ryan Howard hit his 49th home run of the season in the 4th inning tonight against Pedro Astacio of Washington. Howard broke Mike Schmidt's old record of 48 home runs set in 1980.

Wells, going, going, going, going, ....
2006-08-31 16:03
by Bob Timmermann

And apparently gone to San Diego.

However, neither the Red Sox nor Padres have made an official announcement nor has any compensation for Wells been discussed.

The Padres in September (and October 1) will play:
3 vs. Cincinnati
3 vs. Colorado
3 at San Francisco
3 at Cincinnati
4 at Los Angeles
3 vs. Arizona
3 vs. Pittsburgh
3 at St. Louis
4 at Arizona

According to the transactions page, Wells was designated for assignment and Lenny DiNardo was called up. No announcement yet that he is officially bound for the large city south of Orange County and north of the Mexican border.

AP says Wells is a Padre.

Geography Alert - From the Sports Ticker story comes this, "A native of Torrance, California, Wells should feel right at home in nearby San Diego...." Perhaps they forgot that David Wells actually grew up in San Diego and went to the same high school (Point Loma) as Don Larsen.

Time for teams to start making postseason roster moves
2006-08-31 15:01
by Bob Timmermann

Since rosters are "frozen" on August 31 for postseason eligiblity (not the use of quotation marks there), teams are calling up players from the minors and sending down others (on paper) to ready their postseason roster.

Already today we've seen:

Florida Marlins
Optioned RHP Randy Messenger to Class-A Jupiter and recalled INF Robert Andino from Triple-A Albuquerque.

New York Mets:
Optioned pitcher Dave Williams to Triple-A Norfolk and recalled INF Anderson Hernandez from Norfolk.

Cincinnati Reds:
Optioned RHP Matt Belisle to Class A Sarasota and recalled INF Brendan Harris from Triple-A Louisville.

Oakland Athletics:
Recalled 1B Dan Johnson from Triple-A Sacramento and sent INF D'Angelo Jimenez outright to Sacramento.

Philadelphia Phillies:
Recalled C Carlos Ruiz from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre; Optioned LHP Matt Smith to Single-A Clearwater.

Yesterday there was:
Los Angeles Dodgers
Recalled LHP Hong-Chih Kuo from Triple-A Las Vegas and optioned LHP Tim Hamulack to Class A Vero Beach.

On August 29:

Cincinnati Reds:
Optioned LHP Chris Michalak to Class A Sarasota; Recalled OF Chris Denorfia from Triple-A Louisville.

Detroit Tigers:
Purchased the contract of OF Alexis Gomez from Triple-A Toledo; Designed OF Nook Logan for assignment and recalled INF Tony Giarratano and placed him on the 15-day disabled list.

There will likely be more today and I will try to add them up top when they happen.

Longtime Red Sox pitcher Wagner passes away at 93
2006-08-31 11:44
by Bob Timmermann

Charlie Wagner who pitched for the Red Sox from 1938 to 1946 (missing a few years because of World War II) passed away in Reading, Pennsylvania at age 93.

The last paragraph struck me:

Wagner was at a minor league game in Reading, Pennsylvania Wednesday night. As per his custom, he went to his car in the 7th inning. It was there he passed away from natural causes.

But Reading was playing a doubleheader yesterday? Did he leave after the first game or the second? Minor league doublheaders are seven innings for each game. Reading split the doublheader against New Britain and won the second game in nine innings, 3-2.

The baseball from Davy Jones' locker
2006-08-31 09:31
by Bob Timmermann

Dan Holmes of the Baseball Hall of Fame has an interesting tale of the last baseball used in the 1918 season.

It was in the possession of Davy Jones, the baseball player, not the Monkee, until his death in 1972.

Jones appeared in the last game of the 1918 season and played briefly in the game at age, despite having been retired since 1915. Jones actually was attending as a spectator when he was put into the game.

Let this be a lesson to all of you coming to late season games when your home team is out of the race. Bring your spikes.

Report says Lester tested for cancer
2006-08-31 08:57
by Bob Timmermann

The news in Boston does not get any better as the Boston Herald, according to this story reports that Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester was sent back to Boston after doctors discovered enlarged lymph nodes and decided to test him for cancer. There could be other causes as well that are less foreboding.

In better news, David Ortiz was released from the hospital Thursday.

Whose records are they?
2006-08-31 08:50
by Bob Timmermann

Alfonso Soriano of the Nationals has 43 home runs this season. If he gets to 45, he may or may not break a Nationals franchise record of 44 set by Vladimir Guerrero in Montreal in 2000.


Well, according to Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post, there is debate on just what a "Washington" record is. Some people argue that the Washington team records should include the Senators. ALL of the Senators teams. That would push the record up to 48, set by Frank Howard with Washington AL 2.0.

The article points out that the Texas Rangers (formerly Washington AL 2.0), doesn't include any marks set in Washington. However, the Minnesota Twins (formerly Washington AL 1.0) do.

The Baltimore Orioles pretend that the St. Louis Browns never existed. But what would you expect from the Orioles, baseball's most irrelevant franchise? They don't know that there have been far worse pitchers in their team's history than Russ Ortiz.

Thursday's tossups (August 31)
2006-08-31 05:00
by Bob Timmermann

Ten games on the docket today and none of them in the Pacific Time Zone, so let's all catch up on some sleep before the Labor Day Weekend.

The AL Central and East leaders play the last game of their three game series. Detroit will be at Yankee Stadium for a 10:05 am PT game (Jeremy Bonderman vs. Randy Johnson). The Yankees lead Boston by eight games and the Tigers lead the White Sox by 4 1/2 games.

In the West, Oakland leads the Angels by 7 1/2 games and both teams are off.

In the AL wild card, the White Sox stretched their lead over the Twins to 1 1/2 games. The Twins try to avoid a sweep at home to the Royals at 10:10 am PT (Jorge de la Rosa vs. Carlos Santana). The White Sox attempt to finish off a sweep of Tampa Bay, who have lost 12 straight on the road. They will play at 11:05 am PT (Jason Hammel vs. Javier Vazquez). The White Sox head to Kansas City for the weekend and the Twins will go to New York.

As for the National League, the Mets, now the owners of the best record in the majors, have a magic number of 16 to clinch the East. They lead the Phillies by 15 1/2 games. The Mets play the last game of the day at 6:05 pm PT at Colorado (Oliver Perez vs. Jeff Francis).

The Cardinals lead the Central by 4 1/2 games over Cincinnati. The Cardinals ended Florida's 9-game winning streak Wednesday and play the Marlins again at home at 5:10 pm PT (Dontrelle Willis vs. Jeff Suppan). If the Cardinals lose, they would drop to the #3 spot overall in the National League behind the idle Dodgers, who lead the Padres by three games in the West.

Philadelphia can catch idle San Diego for the wild card if the Phillies can beat the Nationals in Washington at 4:05 pm PT (Randy Wolf vs. Pedro Astacio). The Reds are now 1 1/2 games back in the wild card and the Marlins are 2 1/2 games back.

But if the Phillies and Padres continue their duel for the wild card, it will be time for me to dust off my long list of famous Philadelphia-San Diego playoff race battles. The teams are done with their season series, which the Padres won 4-2. The biggest problem with these two teams battling for a playoff spot is that they are two of the three teams (along with Toronto) that don't have their games shown on the MLB Extra Innings package. While this does keep people from having to listen to Matt Vasgersian unnecessarily on Padres broadcasts, it does keep people from watching Ryan Howard slam home runs for the Phillies. Howard's next home run will be a Phillies team record for a single season.

They will also play:
Toronto at Boston - Roy Halladay to face some guy in a Boston uniform who shows up
San Francisco at Atlanta - 13 years ago this would have been a lot more interesting
Baltimore at Texas - There is no way this could ever be interesting
Milwaukee at Houston - Six straight losses for the Brewers

Dayn Perry writes an idiotic article about the MLBPA
2006-08-30 18:55
by Bob Timmermann

And the Chicago Sports Review published it.

Perry wrote the linked article taking the Major League Baseball Players Associations to task for not acting like a "genuine trade union" and not supporting the umpires when they went on strike or organizing the minor leaguers.

First of all, the MLBPA is not a trade union. It's a company union. It's an entirely different animal. A trade union, such as the United Auto Workers, tries to get the best deal for all types of people doing various jobs in an industry. A company union, like the MLBPA, can only represent people who are employed by one entity, Major League Baseball. And all of those people have one job: they play baseball. This also means that MLBPA can't organize minor leaguers either. They're in the wrong company. If this were something like "The International Association of Baseball Players" then you might have a case. But it isn't.

Second of all, Perry tosses this line out "Genuine labor unions -- the ones fighting for the living wages and workplace safety of plumbers and stevedores-are fellow travelers with other unions, often marching in one another's picket lines."

Hmm, I'm a union member. I know I've crossed picket lines. I've known a lot of other members of my union who have crossed picket lines. Some people care about such matters. Others don't. We seem to get by OK.

Perry seems to think that labor unions are only groups of blue collar workers who work against gritty backdrops like in "On the Waterfront". But there are a lot of white collar unions. And there are still company unions, like MLBPA. And their aims are entirely different from what the AFL-CIO, SEIU or the Teamsters have.

Krivsky finds yet another pitcher
2006-08-30 16:16
by Bob Timmermann

Cincinnati Reds GM Wayne Krivsky signed yet another pitcher, Jason Johnson.

Johnson was given a minor league deal. He was 3-12 with a 6.35 ERA with Cleveland and Boston this year.

Another city that is losing its minor league team
2006-08-30 12:45
by Bob Timmermann

Battle Creek, Michigan bids adieu to its minor league team, the Southwest Michigan Devil Rays, an A level team in the Midwest League.

The team, which for a time was known as the Michigan Battle Cats, is being moved to Midland, Michigan.

Oh, they're not dead yet
2006-08-30 11:34
by Bob Timmermann

Despite a 13-8 loss to the Braves last night with ace pitcher Jason Schmidt getting shelled, John Donovan of thinks that the Giants are still in the race.

Manager Alou figured something positive was in store for the Giants when the Dodgers went on their good streak and the Giants weren't immediately buried.

"I wasn't concerned. You're winning all those games and you don't open up a 10-game lead?" Alou says. "Something's going on."

Well, for starters, the Dodgers were in last place before they went on their hot streak. And the Giants were near first place at the time.

Mulder, Edmonds out for season?
2006-08-30 11:30
by Bob Timmermann

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch via this AP report states that Cardinals center fielder Jim Edmonds and pitcher Mark Mulder are likely to miss the rest of the season.

Edmonds is not making progress in recovering from post-concussion syndrome.

Mulder has been rocked in three starts since coming off the DL with arm maladies. Mulder has a record of 6-7 with a 7.14 ERA, which is either Ruthian or Joe Fridayian.

The baseballization of cricket?
2006-08-30 09:38
by Bob Timmermann

A commentary by Roland Watson in the Times Online asks what an Australian baseball glove and the game Twenty20 have in common? Twenty20 is a special three-hour version of cricket.

The more interesting qualities that Twenty20 shares with its transatlantic cousin are subtle and rhythmic. Baseball is hugely watchable because the game changes after every pitch. When the ball leaves a pitcher's hand it is destined to be either a ball, a strike or a hit, and each has direct consequences.

Because Twenty20 has only 120 deliveries in an innings, (about the same number of pitches thrown in nine baseball innings), the import, and therefore the excitement, surrounding each is enhanced.

But the real similarity is La Russa's point. Baseball is a constantly snappy, aggressive, intense game. It does not meander. You play hard or you lose. The same now goes for cricket in all its forms, to the great benefit of spectators.

Why the Tigers struggle against good teams
2006-08-30 07:40
by Bob Timmermann

Todd Jones, Tigers reliever, knows why the Tigers can beat up on the Royals and Devil Rays, but struggle against the Yankees, White Sox, and Twins.

They don't walk.

Pitchers like me are always trying to make hitters put the ball in play as early in counts as we can. When playing the Yankees -- as well as the Red Sox and all good-hitting teams -- you want to stay away from hitters counts -- 2-0, 3-1, 3-2, 2-2. Give those counts to the Yankees and you're in for a long day. Also, when your counts get long, the games get long. Game 2 of the Yanks-Sox doubleheader set the major league record for longest 9-inning game (4 hours, 45 minutes). That kind of pace puts your defense to sleep and can result in someone getting a ball hit down his throat because he wasn't totally ready.

Contrast that to the Tigers. We have a weakness that sometimes is our strength: We love to swing. We're aggressive, and, as a result, we swing at a lot of borderline pitches. Against teams with bad pitching, that's OK because they make mistakes over the middle of the plate. But it's a problem against teams that know how to expand hitters' strike zones.

Take note of the pitch counts in today's Yankees-Tigers doublheader two games that just happen to be played on the same day.

Wednesday's what ifs (August 30)
2006-08-30 07:00
by Bob Timmermann

Because of a rainout in New York, there are 17 games scheduled today. The checkered jerseys in both leagues changed hands. In the AL, a good team took it over from a good team. In the NL, a mediocre team took it from a team that is more mediocre. But can you compare mediocre? Can you be more or less mediocre? Think about it.

First of all, in the AL, Central-leading Detroit and East-leading New York will play day-night doubleheader (which according to the Elias Sports Bureau really isn't a doubleheader so just ignore the fact that two games are scheduled on the same day). Detroit leads Chicago by five games and the Yankees are ahead of what's left of Boston by 7 1/2 games. The first game is scheduled for a 10:05 am PT start (Nate Robertson vs. Chien-Ming Wang). Then everybody files out of Yankee Stadium, goes and hangs out somewhere and comes back for a 4:05 pm PT game (Wilfredo Ledezma vs. Jaret Wright).

Oakland now leads the Angels in the West by 7 1/2 games and hosts Boston at 12:35 pm PT (Curt Schilling vs. Barry Zito). Boston is without Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz. Theo Epstein and Terry Francona are accepting applications for anyone who wishes to pitch or play first base.

Chicago leads Minnesota by 1/2 game for the wild card. The White Sox host Tampa Bay at 5:05 pm PT (Tim Corcoran vs. Jon Garland). Minnesota, shut out last night by the Royals and Mark Redman, go at it again in Minneapolis at 5:10 pm PT (Luke Hudson vs. Boof Bonser).

In the NL, the Reds dropped a 16-inning marathon and lost possession of the wild card spot and actually are now behind two teams. San Diego leads Philadelphia by 1/2 game and the Phillies lead Cincinnati by .0001 in the standings.

The Mets lead the Phillies by 15 1/2 games in the East and have a magic number of 17. The Mets are at Colorado at 6:05 pm PT (Dave Williams vs. Josh Fogg).

The Cardinals lead the Reds by 3 1/2 games in the Central. The Cardinals host Florida, winners of nine straight, at 5:10 pm PT (Ricky Nolasco vs. Jason Marquis).

The Dodgers lead San Diego by 3 in the West. They host the Reds at 7:10 pm PT (Aaron Harang vs. Greg Maddux). The Dodgers have won all five games this season against the Reds and go for a season sweep.

Wild card leading San Diego plays at Arizona at 3:40 pm PT (Mike Thompson vs. Claudio Vargas), a very strange time especially considering that both teams are off Thursday.

The Phillies can take over the wild card if they can win at Washington at 4:05 pm PT (Cole Hamels vs. Ramon Ortiz) and the Padres lose. The Reds can go back in to the lead for the wild card if they beat the Dodgers and the Padres and Phillies lose. If the Padres, Phillies, and Reds all lose, San Diego would still lead, but Florida would join the pack just a half game back.

They will also play:
Chicago at Pittsburgh - Cubs creeping closer to the worst record in the NL
Toronto at Cleveland - The Blue Jays have a better record than all but 3 NL teams and are irrelevant
San Francisco at Atlanta - The Giants could be considered contenders, but c'mon!
Baltimore at Texas - Thinking about the Orioles irritates me
Milwaukee at Houston - Willy Taveras tries to stretch his hitting streak to 1!
Los Angeles at Seattle - The Angels only play well against the Yankees

So long Ottawa, hello Allentown!
2006-08-29 21:04
by Bob Timmermann

Canada's last AAA team, the Ottawa Lynx will play their final season in Canada's capital in 2007 and then move to Allentown, Pennsylvania for the 2008 season. So the International League won't live up to its name anymore.

A small sketch of the proposed stadium in Allentown.

Billy Joel will now record a new version of an old hit of his and change the title to "Ottawa". It likely will be just as annoying as "Allentown."

Ottawa will become the Phillies AAA team in 2007. The Phillies present AAA team, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, will need to find a new major league parent. Presently, Ottawa is Baltimore's AAA affiliate.

Astros set to extend Oswalt for five years
2006-08-29 20:52
by Bob Timmermann

The Houston Chronicle reports that Roy Oswalt is going to receive a five-year contract extension from the Astros valued at $73 million.

The Astros website said there would be a postgame news conference announcing the news.

Your official Devils Ray newspaper
2006-08-29 18:01
by Bob Timmermann

The St. Petersburg Times has entered into "multi-year, exclusive sponsorship affiliation" with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

The newspaper will be the "presenting sponsor" for the Devil Rays website and there will be signs for the newspaper all throughout Tropicana Field.

The Devil Rays apparently did a market survey of all their season ticket holders about this and they both thought it would be OK.

Girardi misses Marlins game to look after pregnant wife
2006-08-29 16:56
by Bob Timmermann

Marlins manager Joe Girardi is not with his team in St. Louis as he has decided to stay back in Florida with his wife, Kim, who is pregnant with the couple's third child. Girardi was concerned about complications with Tropical Storm Ernesto. Gary Tuck is in charge of the team.

The rest of the Marlins players brought their families with them on the trip if they so chose.

The end of free agent compensation?
2006-08-29 12:25
by Bob Timmermann

This somewhat balky link from Maury Brown's site discusses the possible end of the use of draft picks for free agents.

Continuation of discussion that started here.

The 2006 Mariners meet the 1969 Expos
2006-08-29 12:04
by Bob Timmermann

According to the AP recap of Seattle's 2-0 win over the Angels, the Mariners tied a dubious mark also held by the 1969 Expos.

The Mariners had dropped 20 straight games to AL West opponents. The last win over an AL West team had been back on June 11, also against the Angels.

The Seattle lost three straight to Oakland (3). Then they went 8-4 against NL West teams. Then they lost three to Oakland (6). Then an 11-10 stretch against the AL East and Cleveland. Then three more losses to Oakland (9). Then a sweep of Tampa Bay. Then 11 straight losses to Texas, Oakland, and the Angels (20). The Mariners won 5 of 6 against the Yankees and Red Sox before their lightning fast win (1:51) against the Angels.

Monday's win was the quickest game at Safeco Field by one minute. The previous record was set on June 30 and I was there!.

When the Expos lost 20 straight games to the NL West, they did it in a much simpler way. They played all the games in a row. After beating the Reds on May 10, 1969, the Expos lost 20 in a row, two against Houston, two against Atlanta, three at Houston, three at Cincinnati, three versus Los Angeles, three versus San Diego, two versus San Francisco, and two at Los Angeles, before snapping the string at Dodger Stadium on June 8, 1969, 4-3. Jerry Robertson got the win and Elroy Face picked up the save. The Expos then won their next game against the NL West as well, winning at San Diego 7-4.

The 1969 Expos went 16-56 against the NL West en route to a 52-110 record. They lost all 12 games they played in Cincinnati and Houston.

Officially sanctioned MLB rumors
2006-08-29 11:51
by Bob Timmermann

OK,'s content (for the most part) is not subject to approval by the Powers That Be, but Jim Molony of has a piece on the possible last minute trades that teams could be working on.

I'd really like to see the Phillies pick up Juan Pierre because then Cub Town would have a celebratory column and Mike's Baseball Rants would implode on itself like the Kingdome's demolition.

Tuesday's tossups (August 29)
2006-08-29 07:00
by Bob Timmermann

The National League wild card races are officially a mess. There was a formal declaration of a mess issued by the Commissioner's Office. When such a declaration has been made, it's best to just wait until all the games are over at the end of the day and see who's ahead.

First of all, the divisional leaders have started to pull away again. The Mets lead the Phillies by 15 1/2 games in the East and have a magic number of 18 to make the playoffs. The Mets start a three-game series at Colorado at 6:05 pm PT (Steve Trachsel vs. Byung-Hyun Kim). The Mets are 19-7 against the NL West.

St. Louis which led Cincinnati by .0004 in the standings at the start of play Friday now lead the Reds by 3 1/2 games. The Cardinals host Florida, which has won eight straight, at 5:10 pm PT (Scott Olsen vs. Mark Mulder).

Los Angeles stretched its lead to three games in the West over San Diego. The Dodgers host the Reds at 7:10 pm PT (Eric Milton vs. Mark Hendrickson).

The Reds lead the Padres by a 1/2 game in the wild card. The Padres are at Arizona at 6:40 pm PT (Chris Young vs. Enrique Gonzalez). The Phillies are just one game back and play at Washington at 4:05 pm PT (Brett Myers vs. Tony Armas). If the Reds win, they hold on to the wild card lead. If the Reds lose and the Padres win, the Padres would lead the wild card by 1/2 game. If the Reds and Padres lose and the Phillies win, the Phillies would take over the lead in the wild card by a margin of .0001 (.5038 to .5037).

The Giants are just 1 1/2 games back of the Reds and the Giants will be in Atlanta at 4:35 pm PT (Jason Schmidt vs. Tim Hudson).

The AL is much tidier. Two divisions are seeing their leaders pull away from the pack. The Yankees lead the Red Sox by seven games. In the West, Oakland now leads the Angels by 6 1/2 games. Detroit leads Minnesota in the Central by five games.

Detroit opens up a three-game series at New York at 4:05 pm PT (Nate Robertson vs. Chien-Ming Wang). Oakland hosts Boston at 7:05 pm PT (Josh Beckett vs. Kirk Saarloos).

Minnesota leads Chicago in the wild card by 1/2 game and both teams are starting series against the bottom feeders of the AL. The White Sox host Tampa Bay at 5:05 pm PT (Casey Fossum vs. Freddie Garcia). The Twins host the Royals at 5:10 pm PT (Mark Redman vs. Matt Garza). Both Tampa Bay and Kansas City are 18-48 on the road this season. Tampa Bay has lost 10 straight road games and has not won on the road since they beat the Yankees 19-6 on July 29. The Royals will have a big effect on the winner of the Central as their last ten games are against the Tigers and Twins.

They will also play:
Chicago at Pittsburgh - Will the Cubs get a complete game this year?
Toronto at Cleveland
Baltimore at Texas
Milwaukee at Houston - Willy Taveras goes for 31 games in a row!
Los Angeles at Seattle - Jered Weaver faces Jarrod Washburn. Loser has to change the spelling of his first name.

Devil Rays call up Young
2006-08-28 21:53
by Bob Timmermann

Delmon Young was called up to the majors by Tampa Bay to replace disabled DH Jonny Gomes.

Young, who was suspended for 50 games earlier in the year in AAA for tossing a bat that hit an umpire, will join the Devil Rays in Chicago Tuesday. The Devil Rays do not play Detroit again this year, so Delmon will not get a chance to square off against his brother Dmitri.

USA goes to 3-0 at Olympic qualifier
2006-08-28 19:56
by Bob Timmermann

Team USA routed Mexico 15-3 in its third qualifying game in Havana.

The game featured a bench-clearing incident in the seventh after Mexico pitcher Adrian Manzano hit Jarrod Saltalamacchia with a pitch. However, no one was ejected.

Mexico was a last-minute replacement for Aruba.

Ernie Harwell, the man who would not eat a hot dog
2006-08-28 19:38
by Bob Timmermann

In his Detroit Free Press column, Tigers announcer emeritus Ernie Harwell writes about the hot dog and how he's never ate one after he went into broadcasting.

As a kid, I loved hot dogs (in Georgia we called them weenies). Once I became a baseball announcer, and they were so available, I vowed not to eat them. If I started, I'd have no restraint and end up weighing 500 pounds. I made one exception. At Milwaukee's County Stadium, I allowed myself one bratwurst per game.

Supposedly Americans average eating 60 hot dogs a year. I feel that somewhere someone must be eating well over 60 to make up for me because I rarely have more than 3 or 4 a year for the same reason that Mr. Harwell eschews them.

Of course, there is a semantic argument about whether or not a bratwurst is a hot dog.

Red Sox, Mariners place pitchers on DL
2006-08-28 18:58
by Bob Timmermann

Boston placed pitcher Jon Lester on the disabled with a bad back. First baseman Carlos Pena was called up to replace him. Manny Ramirez is expected to miss the series with Oakland.

The Mariners put Julio Mateo on the disabled list after he broke his hand while weightlifting. Mateo was put on the 60-day DL and Jon Huber was called up from Tacoma.

Hello, Columbus!
2006-08-28 17:16
by Bob Timmermann

The team from Columbus, Georgia won the 60th Little League World Series with a 2-1 win over Kawaguchi, Japan Monday.

The only other team from Georgia to win it all was the team from Marietta back in 1983.

Top price for World Series tickets hits $250
2006-08-28 16:14
by Bob Timmermann

The lords of MLB have decreed that the most expensive tickets for the World Series will be priced at $250. I assume that teams that have seats that already cost more than $250 apiece will be allowed to charge a commensurate increase, judging from this line "Premium seats, which include waiter service, cost even more."

At least when you're at Shea Stadium sitting through a 45-minute long half inning when Steve Trachsel is pitching, at least you can feel like you are getting your money's worth.

And if you pay $250 to be inside the park, you don't have to listen to Joe Buck and Tim McCarver or watch endless ads for some new Fox TV series. However, all of the new series on Fox will debut before the playoffs. So, I don't know what will be the most likely ad to become a catch phrase.

"His father is the district attorney!"
"What are you some kind of teacher?"
"You're risking a patient's life!"

If the "War at Home" is chosen as the series to publicize, I may just listen to the whole postseason on radio.

Reardon found not guilty because of insanity on armed robbery charge
2006-08-28 15:25
by Bob Timmermann

Jeff Reardon was found not guilty because of insanity on a charge of attempting to rob a jewelry store in Florida, reports Palm Beach Sun-Sentinel

Reardon, who played in two World Series, was taking a dozen medications that impaired his judgment. Attorneys said Reardon was distraught over the 2004 death of a son and had been taking anti-depressants and mood stabilizers.

Defense attorney Mitch Beers, who used a voluntary intoxication defense, said the robbery episode, with Reardon's "thank you" and "please" on the note, was like something out of a Woody Allen movie.


"I don't think I've ever had a speeding ticket before for crying out loud," Reardon said.

Pitching in the major leagues, he added, was easy. "This wasn't," he said.

Reardon is to return before Rapp in six months for a court-ordered review of his case.

Suggested by many others and link from BTF

Three Pirates going down with the ship
2006-08-28 13:39
by Bob Timmermann

Couldn't resist a nautical metaphor even though it's not quite accurate.

But Mike Gonzales and Tom Gorzelanny have gone on the disabled list for Pittsburgh. Gorzelanny is likely done for the season.

Britt Reames was designated for assignment.

The replacements are Marty McCleary, Brian Rogers, and Jonah Bayliss.

The Pirates play the Cubs today.

woo hoo

Time change in Williamsport
2006-08-28 13:20
by Bob Timmermann

The Little World Series championship game, originally scheduled to be played yesterday, but then postponed until today was originally slated to start at 5 pm PT, but it's now been moved up to 2 pm PT because of a threat of rain.

The final will match Kawaguchi, Japan versus Columbus, Georgia.

Brent Musburger and Joe Morgan to call the action on ESPN2!

They might be contenders?
2006-08-28 10:08
by Bob Timmermann

When writing up my daily previews of action, I've been trying to decide which teams are contenders for a playoff spot or worthy of mention.

At first, I thought it would just be teams were either in first or second place in a division or teams within five games of the wild card and above .500.

However, the National League has made it tough this year.

So, I'm thinking of using this definition.

Contenders are:
1) Teams in first place
2) Teams in second place until they are mathematically eliminated
3) Teams with a greater than 10% chance of making the playoffs according to the Baseball Prospectus playoff odds report.

So in the AL, there are just seven contenders:
New York, Detroit, and Oakland (qualifying under clause 1); Boston, Minnesota, and Los Angeles (qualifying under clause 2); and Chicago (clause 3).

In the NL, there are just seven contenders:
New York, St. Louis, and Los Angeles (qualifying under clause 1); Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and San Diego (clause 2); and San Francisco (clause 3).

If there are people who genuinely believe that Florida or Houston have a shot at the playoffs, I will listen to their cases, but you would have to be pretty persuasive.

Monday's melees (August 28)
2006-08-28 07:00
by Bob Timmermann

Just eight games on the schedule for Monday and one of them is a makeup for a rainout yesterday.

The Mets and Phillies were rained out yesterday and they'll go at it at Shea Stadium at 9:10 am PT (Jamie Moyer vs. John Maine). The Mets lead the Phillies by 14 1/2 games and have a magic number of 20 in order to clinch a playoff spot.

Central leading St. Louis is off. Cincinnati trails the Cardinals by three games and plays at West leading Los Angeles at 7:10 pm PT (Chris Michalak vs. Brad Penny).

The Padres trail the Dodgers by two games and will be at Arizona at 6:40 pm PT (Woody Williams vs. Brandon Webb). San Diego trails Cincinnati by 1/2 game for the wild card. The Phillies are one game back of the Reds. San Francisco is idle, but the 65-66 Giants are just two games in back of the Reds after winning three of four from Cincinnati over the weekend.

Oakland is the only division leader in the AL in action Monday. The Athletics host Boston at 7:05 pm (Kason Gabbard vs. Esteban Loaiza). Boston trails New York by 6 1/2 games in the East. Oakland leads Los Angeles by 5 1/2 games. The Angels are at Seattle at 7:05 pm (Kelvim Escobar vs. Felix Hernandez).

Detroit leads Minnesota (the wild card team) by five games and Chicago by 5 1/2 games. All three of those teams are off today. Detroit is heading to New York for three games. Minnesota will be hosting Kansas City for three and Chicago will be hosting Tampa Bay.

They will also play: Chicago at Pittsburgh, Milwaukee at Florida, Toronto at Cleveland.

Randomness trivia
2006-08-28 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

With the end of the Random Game Callbacks (which won't be back next year in this format as it will be too hard for me to get the game stories), I'd share some extraordinarily unimportant facts from the 136 RGCs.

First of all, there were more than 136 games. There were 143 games played. There were eight doubleheaders and one game that didn't come to an end because the teams were arrested before the game was official.

One game went 20 innings with Houston beating San Diego 3-1. The Padres lost in their other RGC appearance in 16 innings.

The longest AL game went 18 innings, a 0-0 tie between Washington and Detroit in 1909.

By dint of being around a long time and my having access to a lot of years of the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs had the most wins in RGCs. They won 12 games. They also lost 9 and had two ties. The Giants won 11 games. The Yankees led AL teams with 10 wins in RGCs.

The Cubs and Giants also led with nine losses. The Senators/Twins franchise led AL teams with eight losses. The Kansas City Royals appeared four times and lost each time. It wasn't a conscious decision, Royals fans.

I did manage to get all of the 30 present franchises covered, although the Brewers only showed up in their AL version. And they lost.

The Rangers and Blue Jays both went 3-0. The only undefeated existing NL team was Montreal/Washington which won in its only appearance on April 23, 1982.

USA wins its second game in Olympic qualifying
2006-08-27 23:46
by Bob Timmermann

Team USA got a game-ending home run in the 10th from Kurt Suzuki to beat Brazil, 8-7 in Olympic qualifying at Havana.

Brazilian baseball players use their full names.

This tournament consists of 12 teams playing in two six-team round robin pools. Teams that finish first and second in each pool automatically qualify for Beijing in 2008. Teams that finish third and fourth will play in another qualifying tournament in 2008.

Tigers bring up #1 pick Miller
2006-08-27 17:28
by Bob Timmermann

First place Detroit called up #1 pick Andrew Miller after pitching just five innings of Class A ball at Lakeland. Colby Lewis was optioned to Toledo.

Also, outfielder Brent Clevlen was optioned to Erie and Alexis Gomez was called up to replace him.

Futhermore, the Tigers announced that pitcher Mike Maroth will be activated after September 1 and be used out of the bullpen and Wilfredo Ledezma will take Zach Miner's turn in the rotation this week at New York.

Rainout in Williamsport
2006-08-27 15:19
by Bob Timmermann

The championship game of the Little League World Series in Williamsport was rained out Sunday.

The teams from Kawaguchi, Japan and Columbus, Georgia will try again Monday night at 5 pm PT. The game will be shown on ESPN2.

Phillies acquire Conine from Orioles
2006-08-27 14:44
by Bob Timmermann

The Phillies, hoping to catch some of the magic of the 2003 Marlins, have made a waiver deal to pick up Jeff Conine from Baltimore for a player to be named later.

In 2003, the Marlins acquired Conine from the Orioles on August 31, 2003.

Conine has had two separate stints with the Royals, Marlins, and Orioles in his 16-year career.

Royals are the first team eliminated, 21 more to go
2006-08-27 13:29
by Bob Timmermann

The Kansas City Royals became the first team to be eliminated from playoff contention with a 10-6 loss today in Toronto.

The Royals are 47-85 and had already been eliminated from the Central division title, but were eliminated from the wild card as well today.

The Twins lead in the wild card race with a 76-53 record and the White Sox are 76-54. So if the Royals were to win their last 30 games, they would end up with 77 wins. The Twins and White Sox still play each other three times, so one of them would have to finish with at least 78 wins.

Tampa Bay appears to be the next candidate for elimination, but that may not be for a couple of weeks.

USA wins first Olympic qualifier
2006-08-27 10:04
by Bob Timmermann

Team USA, which failed to qualify for the Olympics in Athens in 2004 under the generalship of Frank Robinson, has turned to Davey Johnson this time around.

The qualifier is being played in Havana and the USA won its opener 9-3 over Canada.

The USA takes on Brazil today. The Brazilians seem to boot a lot of grounders, but in an artful way.

Metro Area Battles
2006-08-27 09:57
by Bob Timmermann

I added five tables on the sidebar marking what I call "Metro Area Battles". It's just a place to track which team in a two-team market has the edge.

I have five of them listed: New York, Chicago, Balitmore/DC, Los Angeles/Orange County, SF/Oakland.

I think the White Sox and Athletics will be the kings of their sandboxes, but the other three races are wide open. I'm sure everyone will have a keen eye on the Orioles/Nationals race for supremacy!

Sunday's scene (August 27)
2006-08-27 07:00
by Bob Timmermann

The time has come when magic numbers are being banded about. now puts a (20) by the Mets. The Mets lead the second-place Phillies by 14 1/2 games. They play again today at Shea at 10:10 am PT (Jamie Moyer vs. John Maine).

In the Central, the Cardinals have gone ahead of the Reds by two games. The Reds finish up a four-game series in San Francisco at 1:05 pm PT (Kyle Lohse vs. Matt Cain). The Cardinals host the Cubs at 5:05 pm PT. Les Walrond faces Jeff Weaver in what should be a juicy matchup for ESPN.

Out West, the Dodgers hold on to a one-game lead over the Padres. San Diego is at Colorado at 12:05 pm PT with Jake Peavy facing Aaron Cook. The Dodgers will be at Arizona at 1:40 pm (Chad Billingsley vs. Livan Hernandez).

The Reds lead the Padres by a half-game in the wild card. If the Reds and Dodgers lose and the Padres win, the Reds would fall out of the wild card spot which would be shared by the Dodgers and Padres, who would also be tied for the NL West lead. If the Dodgers and Padres finished tied and would both qualify for the playoffs, the Padres would be the division champs as they have clinched the season series over the Dodgers already (11-3). The Phillies are 2 1/2 games behind the Reds in the wild card.

In the AL, the Twins stretched their lead in the wild card to 1 1/2 games over the White Sox. The Twins go for a sweep at Chicago at 11:05 am PT (Carlos Silva vs. Mark Buehrle). The Tigers now have the smallest lead of any division leader in the AL, just four games over Minnesota. Detroit is at Cleveland at 10:05 am PT (Kenny Rogers vs. Cliff Lee).

Oakland and New York each lead their divisions by 5 1/2 games. New York tries to avoid a sweep in Anaheim by the Angels, the second place team in the West, at 12:35 pm PT (Jeff Karstens vs. Joe Saunders). The second place team in the East, Boston tries to avoid a sweep in Seattle at 1:05 pm PT (Kyle Snyder vs. Cha Seung Baek). Oakland will play at Texas at 5:05 pm PT (Dan Haren vs. Vicente Padilla). The Rangers are nine games out.

They will also play: Milwaukee at Florida, Washington at Atlanta, Kansas City at Toronto (if the Royals lose they are eliminated from playoff contention), Houston at Pittsburgh (Willie Tavares goes for a 30-game hitting streak!), Tampa Bay at Baltimore.

Random Game Callback, August 27, 1930 - the end of randomness
2006-08-27 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

In one of the biggest years of offense in the 20th Century, the Brooklyn Dodgers used a Johnny Frederick home run and fourteen other hits to pound the crosstown rival New York Giants, 7-2, before a crowd of about 30,000 at the Polo Grounds.

The Dodgers, under the direction of manager Wilbert Robinson, started lefty Watty Clark. The Giants, managed by the estimable John McGraw, started a lefty of his own in Bill Walker.

Brooklyn and New York did not like each other much and tempers were high. In the second inning, Clark was ejected by home plate umpire Lou Jorda after tossing his glove to the ground in protest of a walk call to Giants first baseman Bill Terry. Jumbo Elliott relieved and pitched the rest of the game for Brooklyn.

The Giants scored the game's first run in the fourth when Terry doubled and scored on a single by catcher Bob O'Farrell. They would never lead again.

In the top of the fifth, second baseman Neal Finn singled, but catcher Al Lopez hit into a double play for Brooklyn. Elliott walked and then center fielder Frederick homered to give Brooklyn a 2-1 lead. The Giants tied the game in the bottom of the half of the inning on a sacrifice fly from center fielder Ethan Allen (the inventor of All-Star Baseball and a great American inventor on a par with Thomas Edison) to score left fielder Wally Roettger.

Brooklyn drove Walker from the hill in the sixth with four consecutive hits from shortstop Glenn Wright, first baseman Del Bissonette, left fielder Rube Bressler, and Finn to score two runs and put Brooklyn ahead 4-2. Hub Pruett relieved and got Lopez to hit into his second double play to get out of further trouble.

In the ninth, Brooklyn broke the game open against the Giants third pitcher, Joe Heving. Lopez singled and stole second. After Elliott struck out, Frederick, third baseman Wally Gilbert, right fielder Babe Herman, and Wright singled to score three runs.

With the win, Brooklyn moved just 1/2 game behind New York for second place in the NL. The defending champion Cubs were on top by 5 1/2 games. When the season ended, St. Louis would end up on top as the Cardinals went 21-4 in the last month of the season. The Cubs were just 13-13 in the final month and finished two games out. Chicago manager Joe McCarthy got fed up and quit the team with four games left and gave the job to Rogers Hornsby. The Giants would finish in third place and the Dodgers in fourth.

The National League would have its biggest offensive year of the 20th century in terms of batting average and on base percentage. The league batted .303 and had an on-base percentage of .360. The NL also slugged .448, the highest mark ever. Other highs set for an 8-team NL were set for runs, hits, doubles, total bases, extra base hits, and RBI.

Terry would lead the NL in batting average at .401, the last NL player to top .400. Herman finished second at .393. Hack Wilson of the Cubs set an NL record with 56 home runs and drove in a still-standing record 191 runs.

Perhaps the most amazing performance of 1930 was by a pitcher. Brooklyn's Dazzy Vance, at age 39, managed to post a 2.61 ERA (the league ERA was 4.92). The second best ERA among qualifiers was 3.87 by the Giants Carl Hubbell.

The Cardinals scored 1,004 runs, the most by any NL team in the 20th Century. No NL team has gone over 1,000 runs since then, although several AL teams have. The Phillies pitching staff gave up 1,199 runs and had an ERA of 6.72, the highest in major league history in both categories.

In 1931, offense in the NL dropped to more normal levels. Just what caused this one year offensive spike is still unclear, but many historians point to a livelier baseball used by the National League. Or maybe everybody was on Depression-era steroids.

Sources: New York Times, Retrosheet,

Georgia vs. Japan in LLWS Final
2006-08-26 19:45
by Bob Timmermann

The team from Columbus, Georgia beat the team from Beaverton, Oregon 7-3 in the U.S. final to advance to Sunday's championship game in the the Little League World Series.

The opponent will be the team from Kawaguchi, Japan which beat Matamoros, Mexico 3-0 in the International final.

The last Japanese champion was in 2003. The last champion from Georgia was in 1983.

Padres maneuvers in the dark
2006-08-26 16:20
by Bob Timmermann

The Padres sent Mike Thompson Ben Johnson back to Portland for what I believe is the sixth separate time. Thompson was sent down to make room for Russell Branyan.

Also Scott Williamson was put on the DL and Jon Adkins was called up from Portland. Adkins had been sent down last week so Tim Stauffer could make an emergency start in place of Chan Ho Park, who was later disabled so Thompson could be called back up after he had been sent down after he came up earlier to make an emergency start for Clay Hensley.

Meanwhile, Manny Alexander is in the majors with the Padres.

And the Padres could move into a tie for first tonight.

Here is the official sequence from's transactions.

8/1/06 Reinstated OF Ben Johnson from the 15-day disabled list and optioned OF Terrmel Sledge to Triple-A Portland; Released INF/OF Eric Young; Acquired nonroster LHP Matt Blank from the Marlins for nonroster RHP Jim Brower.

8/11/06 Reinstated RHP Chan Ho Park from the 15-day disabled list; Optioned RHP Mike Thompson to Triple-A Portland.

8/19/06 Recalled RHP Mike Thompson from Triple-A Portland and placed INF Khalil Greene on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 18

8/20/06 Purchased the contract of INF Manny Alexander and optioned RHP Mike Thompson to Triple-A Portland.

8/21/06 Recalled RHP Tim Stauffer from Triple-A Portland; optioned RHP Jon Adkins to Portland.

8/22/06 Placed RHP Chan Ho Park on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Aug. 21, with intestinal bleeding; recalled RHP Mike Thompson from Triple-A Portland.

8/23/06 Recalled RHP Brian Sweeney from Triple-A Portland and optioned RHP Tim Stauffer to Portland.

8/25/06 Acquired INF Russell Branyan from the Devil Rays in exchange for Minor League RHP Evan Meek and a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Today's transactions aren't on yet.

Kazmir put on DL again; Many Nationals move around
2006-08-26 09:57
by Bob Timmermann

The Tampa Devil Rays, taking no chances with their best pitcher, placed Scott Kazmir on the disabled list with a sore left shoulder. J.P. Howell was called up from the minors to take his spot in the rotation.

Also, the Washington Nationals lost Alex Escobar to a shoulder separation and pitcher Kevin Gryboski replaced him. Earlier, the always popular Robert Fick came off the DL and Damian Jackson was designated for assignment. Don't be surprised if Jackson ends up making stop #3 with the Padres, who seem intent on piling up mediocre infielders like the Reds are piling up mediocre relievers.

'Gandhi at the Bat' comes alive
2006-08-26 09:40
by Bob Timmermann

This story from the Indian website IBN live has a video clip from a film entitled "Gandhi at the Bat", which is based on a "New Yorker" humor piece from 1983 by Chet Williamson.

The short film hasn't been released yet and you will need to hit the film festival circuit to see it.

Link picked up from Baseball Think Factory.

Valuable lesson learned in court about pregame BBQs
2006-08-26 08:03
by Bob Timmermann

Michael Texeira, presumably no relation to Mark of the Rangers, lost a personal injury lawsuit he filed against the New Britian Rock Cats team after getting in the testicles by an errant baseball during a pregame barbecue at New Britain's stadium, which is called New Britain Stadium.

Judge Don Shaban of the New Britain Superior Court ruled against Texeira, according to this article from Thomas B. Scheffey in the Connecticut Law Tribune on the basis that the "limited duty rule" applied to Texeira even though he was at a pregame event that was more business than part of a game. The "limited duty rule" essentially means that teams have to offer seats that are either protected by screen or are exposed and it's up to the ticket buyer to beware of the location.

The moral of the story is: always wear a protective cup.


Even in the shower.

Saturday's scenarios (August 26)
2006-08-26 07:00
by Bob Timmermann

A playoff spot changed hands for the first in over a week as the Twins took over the checkered jersey and occupy the AL wild card spot now. The last time the Twins were in this spot, they lost the next day.

Game two of the series in Chicago will be at 4:05 pm PT with Johan Santana facing Jose Contreras.

In the East, the Yankees and Red Sox both lost Friday and the Yankees maintained their 5 1/2 game lead. The Yankees face their arch nemeses, the Angels, in Anaheim at 1:10 pm PT (Cory Lidle vs. Ervin Santana). The Red Sox will be at Seattle at 7:05 pm PT (David Wells vs. Gil Meche).

Oakland leads the Angels by 5 1/2 games in the West and plays at Texas at 5:05 pm PT (Joe Blanton vs. Adam Eaton). Detroit now has the smallest margin of any division leader, just five games over Minnesota. The Tigers are at Cleveland at 4:05 pm PT (Justin Verlander vs. Jake Westbrook).

The NL could have had some changes Friday night, but it only became muddled in a different way.

The Cardinals increased their lead over the Reds to one full game. The Cardinals host the Cubs at 10:20 am PT (Rich Hill vs. Chris Carpenter). The Reds will be at San Francisco at 1:05 pm PT (Bronson Arroyo vs. Noah Lowry). The Reds lead the Padres and Phillies by 1 1/2 games for the wild card.

The Dodgers still lead the Padres by one game after both teams lost Friday. San Diego starts first in a game at Colorado at 5:05 pm PT (Clay Hensley vs. Jason Jennings). The Dodgers are at Arizona at 6:40 pm PT (Derek Lowe vs. Miguel Batista). The DBacks are three games behind the Dodgers and the Giants are 3 1/2 games back.

The Mets lead the East by 13 1/2 games over the Phillies. The Mets play host to them at 4:10 pm PT with Jon Lieber facing Oliver Perez.

They will also play: Washington at Atlanta, Kansas City at Toronto, Tampa Bay at Baltimore, Milwaukee at Florida, Houston at Pittsburgh.

Random Game Callback, August 26, 1998 - Penultimate edition
2006-08-26 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

In a game that was scoreless for seven innings, the visiting Florida Marlins staged a miraculous comeback with six runs in the ninth inning, and defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, 7-6, in 10 innings before a crowd of 30,004 at Busch Stadium.

The defending World Series champions, managed by Jim Leyland, had been stripped of nearly all of its star players from the previous season as owner Wayne Huizenga opted to cut the team's payroll in anticipation of selling the team. Lefty Kirt Ojala started for the Marlins. The Cardinals, managed by Tony LaRussa, started another lefty, Darren Oliver, who had been acquired from Texas on August 9 with Fernando Tatis in exchange for Todd Stottlemyre and Royce Clayton.

Neither team had much chance of making the playoffs. The big story for the Cardinals was first baseman Mark McGwire's attempt to break Roger Maris's home run record. He came into the game with 53. In some bizarre way to get McGwire more at bats, or perhaps just some idea La Russa had that he thought would make him look really smart, La Russa put Oliver in the #8 slot in the lineup and batted catcher Eli Marrero in the #9 spot. McGwire batted third.

Ojala and Oliver each put up goose eggs in the first six innings. Ojala retired McGwire all three times he came up.

In the seventh, Florida loaded the bases but couldn't score. With one out, left fielder Cliff Floyd picked up an infield single and third baseman Kevin Orie had another. But Floyd was caught stealing third for the second out. Catcher Randy Knorr walked and second baseman Luis Castillo walked as well to load the bases. Leyland opted to let Ojala hit and he grounded into a force play.

St. Louis finally broke through in the bottom of the seventh. Left fielder Ron Gant led off with a double. Right fielder John Mabry attempted a sacrifice. Ojala pounced on the bunt and tried to throw out Gant at third, but made a bad throw and Gant scored and Mabry went to second. Justin Speier eventually came in to get the Marlins out of further trouble.

In the eighth, third baseman Tatis led off with a triple and then McGwire thrilled the crowd with a shot to left field that was measured at 509 feet. Speier's next pitch to center fielder Brian Jordan brushed him back and umpire Harry Wendlestedt warned both benches. Leyland came out to argue and was ejected. Jordan singled and Gant doubled him home. Mabry homered and it was 6-0 Cardinals. Donn Pall came in to get out of the inning.

John Frascatore, who had pitched a perfect eighth, was left in to try to pick up the save for Oliver. First baseman Derrek Lee led off with a home run. Then Floyd homered. Then Orie homered. La Russa interpreted this as a sign to get a new pitcher and Lance Painter came in from the pen. Knorr grounded out, but Castillo drew a walk. Pinch hitter Dave Berg singled to move Castillo to second.

Exit Painter and enter the Cardinal's nominal closer, Jeff Brantley. Brantley had saved 44 games for the Reds in 1996, but was slowed by injuries in 1997. The Cardinals took a chance on him in 1998. But Brantley was still hurt or ineffective most of the time. The first batter Brantley faced was pinch hitter Mark Kotsay, batting for John Cangelosi. Kotsay sent a Brantley pitch into the seats for a game-tying home run that left the crowd in St. Louis stunned.

The Cardinals couldn't score in the bottom of the ninth and the game went into extra innings. In the top of the tenth, Floyd had an infield hit and went to second when shortstop Luis Ordaz misplayed Orie's grounder. Knorr doubled in Floyd with what ended up as the winning run against reliever Juan Acevedo. Antonio Alfonseca pitched two innings for the win.

McGwire would end up breaking Maris's record and would hit 70 home runs. Sammy Sosa of the Cubs would hit 66 and win the MVP award. Four days before this game, a reporter looking into McGwire's locker noticed a bottle of androstendione. And the whole home run record chase had a much different resonance than people expected, although in the short term, the fans loved it. In retrospect, 1998 looks much different.

St. Louis finished third at 83-79, 19 games behind Houston. The Marlins were 54-108, the worst record in franchise history, 52 games in back of the Atlanta Braves. Castillo was the last player from the 1998 Marlins to stick with the team. Castillo was traded to the Twins after the 2005 season. Matt Morris was the last Cardinals from the 1998 team to leave. Morris signed as a free agent with San Francisco prior to the 2006 season.

Sources: Palm Beach Post, Retrosheet,

Extra! Extra! Jewish guy plays for Mets
2006-08-25 22:07
by Bob Timmermann

The New York Times has gotten on board the "Shawn Green is the next New York Jewish sports hero" train.

The story above is running not in the Sports section, but in News. On Page 1, no less. You can tell the story is "news" and not sports.

There are references to: Mr. Green, Mr. Cone, Mr. Koufax, and Mr. Danning.

Mr. Green went 0 for 4 Friday night against Mr. Wolf and Mr. Rhodes of the Philadelphia National League Baseball Team.

Little League adopts pitch limits for next year
2006-08-25 19:05
by Bob Timmermann

The Little League Board of Directors adopted a pitch limit for players in the Majors division (11 and 12 year olds) to be put into place for next year.

Pitchers will be limited to six innings per week or 85 pitches. If a pitcher throws more than 61 pitches, s/he must have three days of rest before pitching again.

In the recently ended National High School Baseball Tournament, pitcher Yuki Saito of the champion Waseda Jitsugyo school threw 948 pitches in seven games and threw four complete games in the last four days of the tournament, including a 15-inning tie.

But he still seemed fresh at the end.

Leadoff men
2006-08-25 16:27
by Bob Timmermann

In Cleveland, for the AL Central leaders Detroit, Neifi Perez is batting leadoff.

In St. Louis, for the NL Central leading Cardinals, Aaron Miles is batting leadoff.

In Pittsburgh, Willy Taveras of Houston has gotten a hit already to stretch his hitting streak to 28 games. This streak has raised his seasonal average to .281. And he has an OPS of .672.

Remember when the Orioles used to be good?
2006-08-25 15:43
by Bob Timmermann

The Baltimore Orioles, once the model AL franchise, has become, in my opinion, the most irrelevant franchise in baseball. I just look at the roster of players and say "These guys have no hope of making the playoffs in the next ten years." Maybe it's just that the presence of both Russ Ortiz and Bruce Chen on the roster has made me dizzy

Maybe, I'm wrong.

But now the Orioles are remembering their past and inducting two new members into the team's Hall of Fame:

Chris Hoiles and Doug DeCinces

Chris Hoiles?

Who's next? Wayne Krenchicki?

Royals lose more veteran presence
2006-08-25 15:13
by Bob Timmermann

Reggie Sanders is out for the rest of the season after having knee surgery.

Doug Mientkiewicz is also out for the rest of the year with back surgery.

St. Louis starts to get concerned
2006-08-25 09:50
by Bob Timmermann

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch discusses whether the Cardinals are underachieving or just the victim of high expectations.

Apparently, some in Redbird Land wanted the Cardinals to make a splashy deal and pick up Shawn Green. At least Walt Jocketty has some sense.

It's possible that the Cardinals could be out of one of the four NL playoff spots by the end of play Saturday.

Friday? A night of change? (August 25)
2006-08-25 07:00
by Bob Timmermann

By the time Friday's full slate of games are over, it's possible there could be a new leader in the NL Central, a tie in the NL West, and a new team in both league's wild card spots.

The Cardinals lead the Reds by a margin of .0004 in the NL Central because they have played two fewer games than the Reds.

Coming off a sweep in New York, the Cardinals return home to face their long time rivals and 2006 nemesis, the Cubs. The Cubs have won 11 of 16 games against the Cardinals. Over 20% of the Cubs wins this season have come against the Cardinals. They play at St. Louis at 5:10 pm PT (Juan Mateo vs. Jeff Suppan). The Reds will be at San Francisco at 7:15 pm PT (Aaron Harang vs. Matt Morris). If the Reds win and the Cardinals lose, the two teams will trade places as NL Central champs and wild card team.

In the West, the Dodgers lead the Padres by one game. The teams could be in a tie with a Dodgers loss and a Padres win. The Dodgers are at Arizona at 6:40 pm PT (Greg Maddux vs. Claudio Vargas). The Padres will be at Colorado at 6:05 pm PT (Mike Thompson vs. Jeff Francis). The Padres trail the Reds by 1 1/2 games for the NL wild card.

Philadelphia is now 2 1/2 games in back of Cincinnati for the wild card. The Phillies will play the team they trail in the East by 14 1/2 games, the Mets, at Shea Stadium at 4:10 pm PT (Randy Wolf vs. Brian Bannister).

In the American League, the White Sox stubbornly hold on to a 1/2 game lead on the wild card over Minnesota. The two teams start a three-game series at 5:35 pm PT in Chicago (Brad Radke vs. Javier Vazquez). The Twins lead the season series 7-6. The teams will meet again the last weekend of the regular season in Minnesota.

Detroit leads Chicago by 5 1/2 and Minnesota by 6 in the Central. The Tigers will be at Cleveland at 4:05 pm PT (Jeremy Bonderman vs. Jeremy Sowers).

The Yankees had their lead over Boston trimmed to 5 1/2 games Thursday. The Yankees will be at Anaheim to take on the Angels at 7:05 pm PT (Jaret Wright vs. John Lackey). The Red Sox will be at Seattle at 7:05 pm PT (Curt Schilling vs. Jake Woods).

Oakland, leading the Angels by 5 1/2 and the Rangers by 7, will be at Texas at 5:35 pm (Barry Zito vs. Edinson Volquez).

They also will play: Houston at Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay at Baltimore, Kansas City at Toronto, Milwaukee at Florida, Washington at Atlanta.

With their loss last night to Cleveland, Kansas City was mathematically elminated from winning the AL Central. They are still alive for the wild card. Actually, I think the Royals were mathematically eliminated in the Central a couple days ago, but I lost track.

Random Game Callback, August 25, 1889
2006-08-25 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

On a Sunday afternoon in Hamilton, Ohio, about 25 miles north of Cincinnati, the Brooklyn and Cincinnati teams of the American Association got together before a crowd of 5,000. But the game was never completed as the local authorities arrested all the participating players in the bottom of the fourth of the inning and ended the game.

The American Association's big selling point compared to the much more staid National League was that it offered Sunday play. Well, that and beer and cheaper admissions. But Sunday ball was a big selling point in an era when many people had six-day workweeks.

Cincinnati had played Sunday games at home earlier in the 1889 season and in many years before that. Cincinnati's first NL team was booted out of the league after the 1880 season for playing Sunday games as well as serving beer, which was pretty much a necessity for the large German population of the city.

But for reasons I'm not sure of, the city fathers of the Queen City decided not to allow the Reds (the ancestor of the current Cincinnati team) play at their usual home at League Park. So Brooklyn and Cincinnati decided to decamp for Hamilton.

Prior to the start of the game, a county magistrate arraigned Brooklyn manager Bill McGunnigle and Cincinnati manager Gus Schmelz for violating the Sunday law, but let the game go on.

McGunnigle started Bob Caruthers and Schmelz had Jesse Duryea pitching for him.

Cincinnati opted to bat first, but failed to score. In the bottom of the first, Brooklyn third baseman George Pinkney doubled to score second baseman Hub Collins and first baseman Dave Foutz. Pinkney would double in two more in the third.

In the top of the fourth, second baseman Bid McPhee singled and Tony Mullane walked. Hick Carpenter got an infield to load the bases. Outfielder George Tabeau hit a grounder to Collins who stepped on second for a force, but thew wildly in an attempt to get a double play but threw the ball away and McPhee and Mullane scored.

In the bottom of the fourth, with Caruthers at bat, a commotion at the gate of the stadium stopped play. Eighteen police officers, led by a Chief Lindley, stopped play. Each officer arrested a player and took him to Hamilton City Hall, where a Mayor Dirk arraigned them. The mayor fined each player $5 plus court costs and the bill came to $159.30. The Cincinnati team paid the fine and the players were released. Umpire Bob Ferguson, according to the Brooklyn Eagle story of the game, mingled in with the crowd to avoid arrest. The complaint was issued by a group called the Law and Order League of Hamilton. Presumably Hamilton has had no crime since this day in 1889.

Since Brooklyn had no more games schedule in Cincinnati, the game was replayed in its entirety and made up in Brooklyn in September.

At the time, Brooklyn trailed St. Louis by two games in the AA pennant race, but the Bridegrooms came on strong down the stretch winning 22 of 30 in September and October to beat out St. Louis by two games with a 93-44 record. Brooklyn picked up an important win on September 8, when St. Louis forfeited a game to Brooklyn because its team captain and manager, Charles Comiskey, feared that there would not be enough police protection at that game. That was one of three forfeits involving Brooklyn that year. They won two of them and lost the other.

Cincinnati finished in fourth place at 76-63, 18 games behind Brooklyn.

At the end of the season, Brooklyn agreed to play the NL champions, the New York Giants in a postseason series. The Giants won six of the nine games. The next season, Brooklyn would abandon the AA and join the National League. And Brooklyn would win the pennant again, the only time a franchise won consecutive pennants in two different leagues.

Sources: Brooklyn Eagle, Retrosheet,

Greenies? No. Espresso? Yes!
2006-08-24 23:21
by Bob Timmermann

Dave Sheinin writes in the Washington Post and about what has been going on with baseball's ban on amphetamines this year.

The conclusion by Sheinin (with a guest appearance by Will Carroll!) is that performance hasn't changed much one way or the other with regards to player's energy levels. And there seem to be a lot of espressos consumed in MLB clubhouses this year. And a lot of Red Bull consumed.

Japan finally resolves difference in playoff systems
2006-08-24 21:41
by Bob Timmermann

Japan's two major league, the Pacific and Central, finally settled on a plan that would guarantee that both leagues play the same number of regular season games and have the same playoff systems to determine their champion.

Starting in 2007, both leagues will play 144-game schedules and have the top three teams in each league advance to a playoff to decide the league champion.

This season, teams in the Central League play 146 regular season games. Teams in the Pacific League play 136 regular season games.

The Central League's representative in the Japan Series will be the regular season champ. Presently, the Chunichi Dragons have a big lead (9 games) over the second place Hanshin Tigers.

The Pacific League's representative in the Japan Series will be one of the teams that finish in the top three. Presently that would be the Seibu Lions, the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks, and the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters. If the season ended now, the second and third place teams (Softbank and Nippon Ham) would play a best of three playoff. The winner of that series would play Seibu in a FOUR game playoff, with Seibu being spotted one win. In other words, the winner of the first series would have to win three games before the champion wins two. I will be in Japan in time to see the second stage of the PL playoffs and I hope to be at the stadiums to see the games. Wherever they may be.

The number of interleague games is being reduced from 36 to 24 games for 2007. Presumably each team (there are six in each league) would play two game home-and-home series.

The last two Japan Series champions, Seibu in 2004 and Lotte in 2005, did not finish first in the regular season. But both benefited from playing a Central League champ in the Japan Series that hadn't played a game in over two weeks.

The Central League still has pitchers bat. The Pacific League uses the DH.

Mets make room for Green; ADDED INFO
2006-08-24 20:51
by Bob Timmermann

Shawn Green was activated by the Mets for tonight's game against the Cardinals.

To make room for him on the roster, Ricky Ledee was designated for assignment and Ramon Castro was moved to the 60-day DL as well.

Castro had been on a rehab assignment for a ribcage injury and he injured his knee.

Also Lastings Milledge was sent back down to Norfolk and pitcher Brian Bannister was recalled as Orlando Hernandez will be missing a start.

Padres acquire Branyan
2006-08-24 19:48
by Bob Timmermann

San Diego, desperate for infield help with Khalil Greene injured and Todd Walker fielding at third base like a 1978 Butch Hobson, acquired Russell Branyan from Tampa Bay in exchange for minor league pitcher Evan Meek and either another player to be named later or cash or perhaps a bunch of gift cards to be used at PETCO.

However, Branyan has played just five games at third base this season, spending most of his time in the outfield.

Frigtheningly, a transaction like this could actually swing the balance of power in the NL playoff race. Six teams in the NL have winning records and with the exception of the Mets, no team is more than six games over .500.

Semifinals set for Williamsport
2006-08-24 19:35
by Bob Timmermann

Kawaguchi, Japan downed Dharan, Saudi Arabia 4-1 to advance to the International Final of the Little League World Series. Kawaguchi will face the team from Matamoros, Mexico on Saturday.

Columbus, Georgia beat Portsmouth, New Hampshire 8-0 and will play Beaverton, Oregon in the U.S. Final on Saturday.

The championship game will be played Sunday.

Belle gets jail time
2006-08-24 17:37
by Bob Timmermann

Former player Albert Belle was sentenced to three months in jail and given five years of supervised probation for stalking an ex-girlfriend near his home in Scottsdale, Arizona. Belle had place a GPS transponder on the woman's car in an attempt to keep tabs on her.

The men who weren't there
2006-08-24 12:58
by Bob Timmermann

Yesterday in Cincinnati:

In the bottom of the seventh, Reds pitcher Todd Coffey throws ball three to Morgan Ensberg of Houston to make the count 3-1. Coffey dissents. Home plate umpire Wally Bell tells Coffey that he is dismissed. Reds manager Jerry Narron brings in Ryan Franklin, who throws one strike and one ball, and walks Ensberg.

Narron then replaced Franklin with Rheal Cormier.

According to Rule 10.18(g)(1):

(1) If, when pitchers are changed, the count is
2 balls, no strike,
2 balls, 1 strike,
3 balls, no strike,
3 balls, 1 strike,
3 balls, 2 strikes,
and the batter gets a base on balls, charge that batter and the base on balls to the preceding pitcher, not to the relief pitcher.

So, the walk was Coffey's. Franklin was credited with an appearance, but nothing else. He officially faced no batters.

Yesterday in Detroit:
In the top of the seventh, Chicago's Scott Podsednik bats against Detroit's Jamie Walker. White Sox manager order Podsednik to bunt and he gets two strikes on him. Detroit manager Jim Leyland decides to replace Lewis with Jamie Walker. Guillen matches Leyland and sends up Brian Anderson to bat for Podsednik. Walker blows strike three past Anderson.

Rule 10.18(h)(3)

(3) If, when pitchers are changed, the count is
2 balls, 2 strikes,
1 ball, 2 strikes,
1 ball, 1 strike,
1 ball, no strike,
no ball, 2 strikes,
no ball, 1 strike,
charge that batter and his actions to the relief pitcher.

So it's Walker's strikeout. But what about the batter?

Ahh, Rule 10.17(b)

When the batter leaves the game with two strikes against him, and the substitute batter completes a strikeout, charge the strikeout and the time at bat to the first batter. If the substitute batter completes the turn at bat in any other manner, including a base on balls, score the action as having been that of the substitute batter.

So Jamie Walker struck out Scott Podsednik without throwing one pitch to him. It really takes a batter with Podsednik's "unique" talents to do that.

The long year of Danys Baez
2006-08-24 10:45
by Bob Timmermann

Danys Baez who had a very small Marching and Chowder Society in Los Angeles has likely developed a similar small one in Atlanta and how has gone on the disabled list after having an appendectomy.

Pluto, your services are no longer required
2006-08-24 09:35
by Bob Timmermann

Pluto no longer gets to hang out with the cool planets.

Or even the hot ones.

Just the icy dwarves.

Thursday's throes (August 24)
2006-08-24 07:00
by Bob Timmermann

Only eleven games scheduled today, but one playoff spot is still subject to change: the AL wild card.

The White Sox still lead the Twins by 1/2 game for the wild card as they occupy second and third in the Central, 6 1/2 and 7 games in back of Detroit.

Chicago finishes a four-game series in Detroit at 10:05 am PT (Jon Garland vs. Nate Robertson). Minnesota will be at Baltimore at 4:05 pm PT (Boof Bonser vs. Kris Benson). Minnesota will be at Chicago for a three-game series over the weekend.

The Yankees lead the East by 6 1/2 games over Boston. New York will be at Seattle at 7:05 pm PT (Randy Johnson vs. Jarrod Washburn). Boston will be at Anaheim to play the Angels at 7:05 pm PT (Josh Beckett vs. Jered Weaver). The Athletics, who leads the Angels by five games in the West, are off.

In the National League Central, the Reds have a chance to pull within .0004 of the Cardinals. St. Louis will be at New York at 4:10 pm PT (Jason Marquis vs. Dave Williams). The Reds play the Giants for the first time this season in a 7:15 pm PT game at AT&T Park (Eric Milton vs. Brad Hennessey).

The Reds lead the wild card by one game over idle San Diego and by 1 1/2 games over Philadelphia. The Phillies are at Chicago in an 11:20 am PT game (Cole Hamels vs. Carlos Zambrano). Philadelphia trails New York by 13 1/2 games in the East. If the Cubs win, they tie the Nationals for the 14th best record in the NL!

West-leading Los Angeles is off. The Dodgers lead the Padres by one game.

They also will play: Colorado at Milwaukee, Houston at Pittsburgh, Texas at Tampa Bay, Cleveland at Kansas City.

Random Game Callback, August 24, 1947
2006-08-24 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

The New York Giants belted five home runs to set a new National League record for home runs in a season as they split a doubleheader at the Polo Grounds to the Cubs, winning the first game 4-0, and losing the second 8-3. 26,715 fans looked on.

The Giants ran their season total to 173 at the end of the day, breaking the previous NL best of 171 set by the Cubs back in 1930.

Giants manager Mel Ott started his rookie ace Larry Jansen in the first game and the interestingly named Hooks Iott in the nightcap. The Cubs, managed by Charlie Grimm, had Hank Borowy and Hank Wyse starting each game.

In the opener, Giants catcher Walker Cooper hit a 2-run homer and left fielder Sid Gordon hit a solo shot to bring the team total to 170. The Cubs had eight singles off of Jansen. The game was over in 1:48.

The second game was scoreless until the fifth. The Cubs pushed across a run and had the bases loaded with first baseman Eddie Waitkus at bat. Waitkus got hold off of an Iott offering a clobbered it to center where Bobby Thomson of the Giants tried to make a diving catch, but missed and the ball rolled behind him. The problem, of course, was that the center field fence at the Polo Grounds was over 480 feet away. Waitkus had no trouble circling the bases for an inside-the-park grand slam. And that was the end of Iott's day as Andy Hansen came in to relieve.

Catcher Ernie Lombardi hit the record-tying 171st home run when he homered off the left field foul pole in the sixth. Shortstop Buddy Kerr hit the record-breaking home run in the seventh into the upper deck in left field. First baseman Johnny Mize hit his 40th of the season in the eighth.

The Giants would go on to break the major league record for homers, 182 by the 1936 Yankees, later in the year and finish the season with 221 home runs. The Reds would tie the mark in 1956. The Yankees would reclaim the record with 240 home runs in 1961. The 1997 Mariners currently hold the record with 264 home runs and the 2000 Astros hold the NL record with 249.

The Giants had seven players with double digit marks in home runs. Mize tied with Ralph Kiner for the league lead with 51. Willard Marshall had 36, Cooper had 35, and Thomson had 29 to round out the NL top five in home runs.

It wasn't unusual that the Giants led the league in home runs as the Polo Grounds was not a hard place to hit the ball out of. The Giants led the NL in home runs in 1946, but they had just 121. Home runs spiked in 1947 for reasons that no one seems to know. The Giants would not top their 1947 total until 2000 when they hit 226. The team record is now 235 set in 2001.

Despite all the homers, the Giants finished in fourth place at 81-73, 13 games out of first place. The Brooklyn Dodgers, with rookie sensation Jackie Robinson, took the pennant and lost a seven-game World Series to the Yankees.

Although the Giants led the NL in scoring, the pitching staff was seventh in ERA at 4.44. Jansen went 21-5 with a 3.16 ERA, but the rest of the staff was awful. The rookie who was supposed to star for the Giants, Clint Hartung, made his debut and went 9-7 with a 4.57 ERA. He did bat .309, but he would never hit or pitch well again and was out of the majors after the 1952 season.

The best help for the Giants in 1948 would be coming from across town. Brooklyn manager Leo Durocher was suspended for a season for consorting with gamblers and other unsavory types. Durocher came back in 1948 to manage the Dodgers, but left in midseason and moved over to the Giants to replace Ott. Durocher would lead the Giants to a pennant in 1951 and a World Series win in 1954.

As for the Cubs, just two years after winning the pennant, they were in sixth place with a 69-85 record. The Cubs would not finish in the upper division of the NL again until 1967. When Leo Durocher was the manager.

Sources: New York Times, Retrosheet,

Presumably the Royals announcers drove home
2006-08-24 00:19
by Bob Timmermann

The Cleveland Indians spotted the Kansas City Royals ten runs in the first inning at Kauffman Stadium, but the Indians rallied to win in 10 innings, 15-13.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last team to lose a game after scoring 10 runs in the first inning was Pittsburgh on June 8, 1989 in Philadelphia.

That game gained fame when Pittsburgh broadcaster Jim Rooker told his audience that he would walk home if the Pirates lost the game.

Pirates and Phillies fans held Rooker to his word and after the season Rooker and a friend kept their end of the bargain and walked from Veterans Stadium to Three Rivers Stadium.

Green hopes to be New York's Jewish sports hero
2006-08-23 21:46
by Bob Timmermann

Newly acquired New York Mets outfielder Shawn Green says he is excited to be playing in front of New York's large Jewish population.

"I'm excited about it. It's something that has always intrigued me," Green said Wednesday during a conference call. "Playing in L.A., there's obviously a large population there, but New York is head and shoulders the largest in the country."

New York's Jewish population was about 1.75 million in the 2000 census, followed by Miami at roughly 535,000 and Los Angeles at approximately 490,000. The figures are for metropolitan areas.

See, I said he was excited.

Park has intestinal surgery, out four weeks
2006-08-23 19:56
by Bob Timmermann

Chan Ho Park of the Padres had surgery to correct an intestinal bleeding problem that put him on the disabled list for the second time this year.

Doctors said Park had a Meckel's diverticulum.

Park will be out at least four weeks and will likely miss the rest of the season. Mike Thompson was called up from Portland for the fifth time to fill Park's roster spot.

First two teams in to the Final Four at Williamsport
2006-08-23 17:09
by Bob Timmermann

The boys from Matamoros, Mexico moved on to the International Final of the Little League World Series with an 11-0, 4-inning mercy rule win over the team from Barquisimeto, Venezuela.

Matamoros will play the winner of tomorrow's game between Dharan, Saudi Arabia and Kawaguchi, Japan on Saturday.

Beaverton, Oregon beat Lemont, Illinois 4-3 to advance to the U.S. final against either Portsmouth, NH or Columbus, GA. Lemont had no hits in the game.

Various disablings and roster moves
2006-08-23 16:49
by Bob Timmermann

In no particular order:

Ryan O'Malley of the Cubs went on the DL with a forearm strain and Jae Kuk Ryu was called up. Ryu has pitched 2 1/3 innings for the Cubs earlier in the year. They haven't been pretty.

Mike Mussina went on the DL with a groin strain. Brian Bruney takes his place.

David Eckstein went on the DL for St. Louis with an oblique strain. Jose Vizcaino was signed to replace him.

Gustavo Chacin came off the DL and Dustin McGowan was optioned back to Syracuse

Jae Seo of Tampa Bay went on the DL with a groin strain. I hear his groin strain isn't as nice as Mussina's though. Jason Hammel will likely get the call to replace Seo.

The Orioles called up James Hoey from Bowie and sent Chris Britton down.

Another hitting streak to watch
2006-08-23 11:50
by Bob Timmermann

Mentioning this only because it's a team record, Willy Taveras of Houston stretched his hitting streak to 26 games today in Cincinnati, breaking the team record of 25 he shared with Jeff Kent.

Here's to the worst
2006-08-23 09:02
by Bob Timmermann

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News interviewed scouts who tried to identify players who are the worst at certain skills.

Under "Worst knowledge of strike zone", the "top" three are:

1. Angel Berroa
2. Pedro Feliz
3. The entire Tampa Bay Devil Rays lineup

Wednesday's what ifs (August 23)
2006-08-23 08:40
by Bob Timmermann

One playoff spot still has the potential to change hands today: the AL wild card. The White Sox lead the Twins by just 1/2 game. Both teams lost Tuesday.

Both play today at 4:05 pm PT. Minnesota is at Baltimore (Matt Garza vs. Rodrigo Lopez) and Chicago is at Detroit (Freddy Garcia vs. Zach Miner). Detroit leads the White Sox by 7 1/2 games and won its 81st game Tuesday, ending a stretch of 12 straight losing seasons.

West leading Oakland had its lead cut to four games over the Angels with Texas hanging around on the periphery at 6 1/2 games out.

Oakland is at Toronto at 4:07 pm PT (Esteban Loaiza vs. Gustavo Chacin). The Angels host Boston at 7:05 pm PT (Jon Lester vs. Kelvim Escobar) and Texas is at Tampa Bay at 4:15 pm PT (Kevin Millwood vs. Casey Fossum).

The Yankees lead Boston by 6 1/2 games in the East and play at Seattle tonight at 7:05 pm PT (Chien-Ming Wang vs. Felix Hernandez).

In the National League, the Cardinals lead over the Reds is down to just one game. The Reds start things off early this morning at 9:35 am hosting a game against sputtering Houston (Roy Oswalt vs. Chris Michalak). The Cardinals are at New York at 4:10 pm PT (Mark Mulder vs. Steve Trachsel).

If the Cardinals lose and Reds win, the Cardinals will lead the Central by a margin of .0005 (.528 to .5275). The Reds would still be the wild card team.

The Phillies are 2 1/2 games out of the wild card and have a winning record now to boot (63-62). The Phllies are at Chicago in a 5:05 pm PT game (Brett Myers vs. Angel Guzman).

In the West, the Dodgers lead over the Padres dropped to two games and the two teams meet again in San Diego tonight at 7:05 pm PT (Brad Penny vs. Woody Williams). San Diego is also two games back of the Reds in the wild card.

Arizona is four games out and San Francisco five games out and the DBacks are at San Francisco at 12:35 pm PT (Enrique Gonzalez vs. Jason Schmidt).

I picture the NL West standings as an accordion with it expanding and contracting and giving off a horrific wheeze and whine like a kid trying to learn play "Lady of Spain" and not succeeding.

They also will run: Washington at Florida, Pittsburgh at Atlanta, Colorado at Milwaukee, Cleveland at Kansas City.

Krivsky prepares grievance against Nationals
2006-08-23 07:44
by Bob Timmermann

John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Wayne Krivsky, Reds GM, along with the front office is preparing a grievance of some type against the Washington Nationals and their GM Jim Bowden for not informing them of possible shoulder problems with pitcher Gary Majewski.

Link via BTF

Pluto likely headed for demotion
2006-08-23 07:30
by Bob Timmermann

Pluto's planetary status looks to be headed the way of Andy Hawkins and Harvey Haddix's no-hitters. The International Astronomical Union appears to be changing its mind about keeping Pluto as a planet as well as promoting Ceres, Charon, and UB313 2003 ("Xena") to planetary status.

The new consensus, according to this New York Times report, is that Pluto would be classified as a "dwarf planet" and lumped in with "smaller solar system bodies" such as asteroids and comets.

"Orbitary dominance" is the new watchword. The IAU believes a "planet" should be big enough to clear other objects out of its orbital path.

Pluto flunks this test as its orbit intersects Neptune's.

Billy Crystal has announced plans to make a movie called "Pluto*" and has already scouted locations in the Duane Kuiper Belt to shoot it.

Random Game Callback, August 23, 2001
2006-08-23 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

The Boston Red Sox rallied to score four runs in the eighth inning and they pulled out a 7-6 victory over the Anaheim Angels before a crowd of 27,377 at Edison Field.

Joe Kerrigan, in his first week on the job as manager for the Red Sox after Jimy Williams's dismissal, started lefty Casey Fossum. Angels manager Mike Scioscia countered with struggling right-hander Pat Rapp, who was 5-10 coming into the game.

Former Red Sox farmhand David Eckstein, whom the Angels acquired on waivers in 2000 and installed at shortstop in 2001, got things started for the Angels. Eckstein drew a leadoff walk and went to third on a single by centerfielder Darin Erstad. Third baseman Troy Glaus doubled to right to score Eckstein. Left fielder Garret Anderson bounced to shortstop Nomar Garciaparra who threw out Glaus at the plate and catcher Doug Mirabelli gunned the ball to first to double up Anderson and end the threat.

The Angels scored again in the second thanks to the pesky Eckstein. Designated hitter Shawn Wooten led off with a single. One batter later, catcher Bengie Molina singled and Wooten went to second. After second baseman Benji Gil hit into a force play, Eckstein singled to bring home Wooten and make it 2-0 Anaheim.

Eckstein was in the middle of things again in the fourth. With one out, first baseman Scott Spiezio walked. Molina doubled to left (he was in the midst of a stretch of nine consecutive hits) and Spiezio scored. After Gil grounded out, Eckstein singled to right and the slow-moving Molina was able to score from second on the play. The Angels led 4-0 after four.

The Red Sox got into the action in the fifth. Right fielder Troy O'Leary singled to lead off and first baseman Shea Hillenbrand followed with one of his own. Third baseman Chris Stynes grounded to Eckstein who flipped to Gil at second for the force, except Gil missed the base and everyone was safe and the bases were loaded. Rapp then walked Mirabelli to force over Boston's first run of the game. Rapp compounded his problems by throwing a wild pitch to let a second run score. Center fielder Trot Nixon flied out to left but no runners could advance, but second baseman Mike Lansing was able to fly out to center deep enough to let Stynes score the third run.

The Angels pushed their lead up to 5-3 in the seventh when Anderson hit his 24th home run of the season, this one off of reliever Rich Garces.

Ben Weber was on the mound for the Angels to start the fateful eighth inning. Garciaparra led off with a single and designated hitter Carl Everett followed with another single. Left fielder Dante Bichette singled to load the bases. With the left-handed hitting O'Leary up, some people expected lefty Mike Holtz to get the call, but Scioscia decided to stick with Weber. O'Leary singled to score two runs to tie the game. Out of the dugout came Scioscia and in to face lefty batter Hillenbrand was not Holtz, but rather right hander Al Levine. And the strategy looked like it might work as Hillenbrand struck out, but Stynes came up with a single to score Bichette and O'Leary went to third. Mirabelli hit a sacrifice fly to bring home O'Leary to make it 7-5 Boston.

The Angels had a rally in the ninth against Boston closer Ugueth Urbina. With one out, Erstad singled and stole second. Glaus struck out, but Anderson followed with a double to score Erstad. Anderson stole third base, but right fielder Tim Salmon struck out to end the game.

2001 would not be a memorable year for either Boston or Anaheim. The Red Sox finished 82-79 and 13 1/2 games behind the Yankees. The Angels were an uninspiring 75-87 and finished 41 games behind Seattle, who tied a major league record with 116 wins (against 46 losses). The Yankees would win the AL pennant and then lose a dramatic World Series to Arizona in seven games with the tragedy of 9/11 constantly looming in the background.

The Red Sox season was slowed down from the outset when Garciaparra missed much of the season with a wrist injury. Pedro Martinez pitched in just 18 games. Bichette found out that he was both old, fat, and no longer playing at altitude. Only free agent acquisition Manny Ramirez performed up to expectations (or even exceeded them.)

The Angels players appeared to regress a bit after a respectable (82-80) season in 2000. Erstad, who had 240 hits while batting .355 in 2000, hit .258 with 163 hits in 2001. Glaus did hit 41 home runs, fourth most in the AL. Eckstein became a crowd favorite in Anaheim, although he really wasn't all that good in 2001 with a 712 OPS. As for Holtz, the lefty specialist whom Scioscia did not trust this day, lefties had an OPS of 890 against him in 2001 and he was far better against righthanders, who had an OPS of 672 against him. The Angels would get better in 2002.

Sources: Retrosheet,, Los Angeles Times

Red Sox call up Pedroia
2006-08-22 17:08
by Bob Timmermann

Boston, in need of some infield help with Alex Gonzalez likely headed to the DL with an oblique injury, are going to call up Dustin Pedroia and he should be activated for tonight's game against the Angels.

Kason Gabbard, a pitcher, is also supposed to be called up from the minors, and Javier Lopez, the pitching one, is supposed to head back to Pawtucket.

The Red Sox are now performing the equivalent of playing shuffleboard on the deck of the the Vasa.

Green heading to Mets pending MLB approval; Phillies pick up Hernandez
2006-08-22 15:22
by Bob Timmermann

The New York Mets have apparently acquired Arizona outfielder/first baseman Shawn Green in a waiver deal. All that is needed is approval from the Commissioner's Office. Green had to waive a limited no-trade clause first. MLB has to make sure that the dollars involved are appropriate.

The Phillies also acquired infielder Jose Hernandez from Pittsburgh in exchange for cash.

Albert vs. the Babe
2006-08-22 15:07
by Bob Timmermann

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis put Albert Pujols through a series of physical tests similar to those performed on Babe Ruth in 1921 at Columbia University, which is not in St. Louis.

The Popular Science article of 1921

Pujols study at Wash U.

The Wash U study contains a somewhat creepy video of Pujols's eye movement.

New home for the Marlins?
2006-08-22 13:44
by Bob Timmermann

According to a report in the Miami Herald, the Florida Marlins are seriously considering a new home for the team:


That is Downtown Miami instead of where they are now, which has a Miami address (2267 Dan Marino Bl., Miami, FL 33056), but is not in the city of Miami, but just Dade County.

Gibbons says he overreacted
2006-08-22 12:29
by Bob Timmermann

The dustup between Toronto manager John Gibbons and pitcher Ted Lilly has apparently blown over according to this Canadian Press report that appears in the Victoria Times Colonist.

Actually, several sources have run this story, but I liked the name of that paper the best.

Baek gets call tonight for Mariners
2006-08-22 10:01
by Bob Timmermann

Seattle, losers of 11 straight, will call up Cha Seung Baek from Tacoma to start tonight's game against the Yankees. The corresponding roster move has not been announced yet. Gil Meche was orginally the starter. Then it became TBA, although some sources had it as TBD.

I've found TBA to be all talk on the mound.

Report: Glavine to avoid surgery
2006-08-22 09:28
by Bob Timmermann is reporting that Tom Glavine won't need surgery for his vascular problem in his shoulder and he will be treated with blood thinners, which could just be baby aspirin.

I assume it comes in flavors other than orange now.

Rowand out for the season
2006-08-22 09:17
by Bob Timmermann

Philadelphia center Aaron Rowand will miss the rest of the season after suffering a broken ankle after colliding with teammate Chase Utley while Utley tried to catch a short fly ball off the bat of the Cubs John Mabry. (Mabry ended up with a triple.)

The Phillies are 62-62 and 2 1/2 games behind Cincinnati for the NL wild card.

Tuesday's transpirings (August 22 edition)
2006-08-22 07:00
by Bob Timmermann

One playoff spot could change Tuesday. AL wild card leader Chicago leads Minnesota by just a 1/2 game. The White Sox play the second game of their four-game series in Detroit at 4:05 pm PT (Mark Buerhle vs. Kenny Rogers). The Tigers lead the White Sox by 6 1/2 games. Minnesota goes to Baltimore to start a three-game series at 4:05 pm PT (Carlos Silva vs. Adam Loewen). The White Sox will host Minnesota over the weekend.

In the East, the Yankees have turned the divisional race into a stroll, blasting out to a 6 1/2 game lead on Boston. Both New York and Boston head to the West Coast. The Yankees are in Seattle in a game starting at 7:05 pm PT (Jeff Karstens vs. possibly Gil Meche). The Mariners have lost 11 straight games. The Red Sox will be in Anaheim to take on the Angels at 7:05 pm PT (Kyle Snyder vs. Joe Saunders).

Oakland leads the West by five games over the Angels and 6 1/2 over Texas. Oakland takes on Toronto again in Canada at 4:07 pm PT (Brad Halsey vs. A.J. Burnett). The Rangers are at Tampa Bay at 4:15 pm PT (Vicente Padilla vs. Scott Kazmir).

The National League's best, the Mets (who like the Yankees are 75-48) lead the Phillies by 13 1/2 in the East. New York hosts Central-leading St. Louis at 4:10 pm PT (Jeff Weaver vs. John Maine). The Cardinals lead Cincinnati by two games in the Central.

The Dodgers lead San Diego by three games in the West and play at San Diego at 7:05 pm PT (Mark Henrickson vs. Jake Peavy). Arizona is four games back and plays at San Francisco at 7:15 pm PT (Brandon Webb vs. Matt Cain).

The Reds, despite having to rely on the likes of Scott Schoeneweis to close out games, still lead teh wild card by two games over the Padres. The Reds host Houston at 4:10 pm PT (Jason Hirsh vs. Kyle Lohse). San Diego trails in the wild by two games. Philadelphia is 2 1/2 games back and plays at Chicago at 5:05 pm PT (Jamie Moyer, in his first Phillies start, vs Ryan O'Malley).

They will also run: Washington at Florida, Pittsburgh at Atlanta, Colorado at Milwaukee, Cleveland at Kansas City.

Random Game Callback, August 22, 1878
2006-08-22 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

Cincinnati jumped out to an early 3-1 lead and held on to win a home against Chicago at the Avenue Grounds in Cincinnati, 5-3.

There were just six teams in the National League in 1878: Chicago, Cincinnati, Boston, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, and Providence, and both Chicago and Cincinnati were close to being mathematically eliminated. Chicago captain, shortstop Bob Ferguson, sent out his usual lineup with Terry Larkin as his pitcher. Cincinnati, captained by third baseman Cal McVey, started his usual pitcher Will White.

The Chicago Tribune account of the day sounds like it was written by a man who either didn't want to be at the game in Cincinnati or was very frustrated by the uneven play of Chicago. Chicago entered the game at 28-20 and Cincinnati was 27-22.

Chicago second baseman Bill McClellan was singled out for the most vitriol. McClellan was described as "he couldn't stop a barrel." Also, "To illustrate: if [Joe] Gerhardt had been playing second for Chicago and McClellan for Cincinnati, the former would have won easily."

Overall, McClellan was charged with three errors in the game. Chicago made 10 errors overall. The defense was further hurt when catcher Bill Harbridge hurt his hand and had to move to the outfield and switched places with Cap Anson. Anson caught 105 games in his career, including 11 in 1897, when he was 45 years old. 1878 was Anson's eight in pro ball if you count his five in the National Association (which I do.) He would play in 26 seasons.

There isn't much detail about the game in the paper as the last sentence of the story indicates, "An analysis of the play is not interesting, and there was nothing much of merit in it."

I can tell you that McVey hit a home run, one of two he hit on the season, and only one of five Cincinnati hit all year. Left fielder Charley Jones hit the other three. Cincinnati also had rookie outfielder King Kelly playing in right field. Gerhardt hit a triple for Cincinnati. Cincinnati also played an outfielder named Buttercup Dickerson. I don't know why he had that nickname. I don't want to know.

The Tribune correspondent asked that McClellan be benched and 18-year old Bill Traffley start at second instead. Traffley would get into two games in 1878 and go 1 for 9. He didn't play in the majors again until 1883 with the American Association Cincinnati team. He batted .175 in his career.

As for the maligned McClellan, he batted .224 in the 1878 season, but his OBP was .232 and he slugged .263! He committed 35 errors in 42 games. Charlie Sweasy of Providence made 59 errors in 55 games at second base. Joe Quest of Indianapolis made 60 errors in 62 games, so McClellan wasn't all that bad in the field. McClellan would not return to Chicago in 1879, but would come back with Providence in 1881, where he hit .166. He spent another year around the minors and came back with Philadelphia in 1883 and batted .230. And the Phillies asked him back in 1884 and he batted .258. His best season at bat came in 1887 with Brooklyn of the AA when he batted .263. He played one more season in 1888 for Brooklyn and then Cleveland. McClellan passed away on July 3, 1929 at the age of 73.

Chicago finished the season at 30-30 in fourth place. Cincinnati was 37-23 and four games in back of first place Boston.

Sources: Retrosheet,, Chicago Tribune

Gordon put on DL
2006-08-21 23:08
by Bob Timmermann

The Phillies placed closer Tom Gordon on the disabled list with a shoulder strain. The move was retroactive to August 13.

Continuing to bore people with a cricket story
2006-08-21 22:49
by Bob Timmermann

Personally, I find the stories about Pakistan's forfeiture of a Test match against England fascinating.

Little did I realize, but tampering with the ball happens a lot. And it's not hard to do as the ball naturally gets scuffed up during a match because it gets bounced on the ground all the time. The BBC story linked above explains a lot about what happens when a cricket ball is tampered with. It's almost like a pitcher throwing a curve ball during a game that suddenly decided to break the other direction.

As I see it, if there's a ball and a bat, it's fair game for the Griddle.

Lilly and Gibbons scuffle in Toronto - UPDATED
2006-08-21 18:29
by Bob Timmermann

After being pulled from tonight's game in the third inning, Toronto pitcher Ted Lilly and his manager John Gibbons had an argument in the dugout and Gibbons somehow ended up with a bloody nose. It is not known whether punches were thrown or maybe the weather is just really dry in Toronto now.

Photo of Gibbons taking out Lilly.

A photo of a police officer that proves nothing!

From the AP recap:

Canadian Press photographer Aaron Harris, one of a handful of photographers to witness the skirmish, said Lilly was waiting for Gibbons in the tunnel leading to the clubhouse.

"Gibbons just went at him," Harris said. "It looked like Gibbons grabbed him and they disappeared. Then the whole dugout emptied back there. It was mayhem down in the tunnel."

Lilly says "No punches were thrown."

Let's bring back the song again! (Corey to the Red Sox)
2006-08-21 09:48
by Bob Timmermann

Wake up! Wake Up! Bryan Corey!
What makes you pitch so bad
Theo Epstein is coming
Bringing you to Beantown

Well the first time I see Bryan Corey
He was playing for a team in AZ
He gave up a homer in four innings
And immediately was sent packing

Go away! Go away! Bryan Corey
Quit hanging around triple-A
Your pitching arm is needed
Go pitch some innings at Fenway

Corey up, Hansen down for Boston.

More fallout from Pakistan's cricket forfeiture
2006-08-21 09:05
by Bob Timmermann

The International Cricket Council, which is headquartered in Dubai, is going to hear charges against Pakistan team captain Inzamam-ul-Haq for "bringing the game into disrepute" after his team walked off The Oval in London in protest over being charged five runs for ball tampering.

If found guilty of the disrepute charge Inzamam could be forced to sit out Pakistan's next four Test matches or eight one-day internationals.

Before you worry about this becoming too big of an international incident, keep in mind that Pakistan's coach, Bob Woolmer, is English.

Monday's mess of games (August 21)
2006-08-21 08:39
by Bob Timmermann

Ten games on the slate today and no playoff slots will change hands.

The Yankees have increased their lead over the Red Sox to 5 1/2 games after winning their fourth straight game over their rivals. The two of them keep playing, starting at 10:05 am PT (Cory Lidle vs. David Wells). Anyone from either team who is able to raise his arm above his head is eligible to pitch. Both teams head to the West Coast after the game.

The Central leaders, Detroit, lead the White Sox by 5 1/2 games and host the defending champs for a four-game series. It starts at 4:05 pm PT (Jose Contreras vs. Justin Verlander).

Oakland leads the West by 4 1/2 games and is at Toronto tonight. It's a 4:07 pm PT (Dan Haren vs. Ted Lilly). The second place Angels are off, but the third place Rangers, who are 5 1/2 out, play at Tampa Bay at 4:15 pm PT (Adam Eaton vs. James Shields).

The White Sox lead the Twins by one game in the wild card. The Twins are off and headed to Baltimore for a three-game set.

In the NL, the Mets swept Colorado at home and lead Philadelphia by 14 games. The Mets are off, but will be hosting Central leaders St. Louis starting Tuesday. St. Louis leads Cincinnati by 2 1/2 games.

The Dodgers lead the West by four games over Arizona and San Diego. The Padres host the Dodgers for three (their last home games against Los Angeles). Action gets underway at 7:05 pm PT (Chad Billingsley vs. Chan Ho Park). Arizona will be at San Francisco at 7:15 pm PT (Livan Hernandez vs. Noah Lowry).

Cincinnati, the leader in the wild card, hosts Houston at 4:10 pm PT (Andy Pettitte vs. Bronson Arroyo). The Phillies, who are 2 1/2 games out of the wild card are at Chicago at 5:05 pm PT (Jon Lieber vs. Rich Hill).

They also will run: Pittsburgh at Atlanta, Washington at Florida.

Random Game Callback, August 21, 1949
2006-08-21 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

The Phillies and Giants split a doubleheader that began placidly and ended in acrimony before a crowd of 19,742 at Shibe Park. The Phillies picked up a 4-0 win in the opener, but the Giants won the second game 4-2 in a game that was called in the top of the ninth when the umpires ordered the game forfeited to the Giants after the Philadelphia crowd bombarded the field with empty bottles.

Both teams were more than 10 games behind first place St. Louis and it wasn't expected to be a contentious day. Giants manager Leo Durocher started Sheldon Jones in the opener and Larry Jansen in the second game. Phillies manager Eddie Sawyer used Ken Heintzelman and 39-year old veteran Schoolboy Rowe, who was in his final season.

In the opener, Heintzelman limited the Giants to five hits, all singles. The Phillies got some help from the Giants outfield to score their four runs. Center fielder Bobby Thomson and left fielder Whitey Lockman both dropped fly balls that led to Phillies runs.

The Phillies led first in the nightcap. Second baseman Mike Goliat hit his first major league home run in the third innning and catcher Stan Lopata hit his sixth homer of the season in the fifth off of Jansen to put the Phillies up 2-0.

New York tied the game up in the seventh. Second baseman Hank Thompson (not to be confused with the outfielder who had no p in his name.) drew a walk from Rowe and Lockman and third baseman Sid Gordon followed with singles and Thompson scored. Right fielder Willard Marshall hit a grounder to third baseman Willie Jones who misplayed a potential double play ball and Lockman scored the tying run.

In the eighth, Thompson doubled and Lockman singled to score him and put the Giants ahead 3-2.

Then the game got interesting, with one out in the top of the ninth, Marshall was on second and first baseman Joe Lafata (replacing Johnny Mize who had been benched by Durocher as the team was in a slump and then traded to the Yankees the next day) was at bat. Lafata lined a ball to center. Phillies center fielder Richie Ashburn attempted a diving catch, but umpire George Barr ruled that the ball was a trap and Marshall scored and Lafata went to second.

Ashburn immediately jumped to his feet and argued with Barr that he had made the catch. Rowe ran out to argue as well, claiming that another umpire, Lee Ballanfant had called Lafata out, but Barr did not change his call. And soon everybody got in on the act, including the Phillies fans who started to throw empty pop bottles on the field. One of the bottles hit Ballanfant in the leg and another fan managed to hit home plate umpire Al Barlick in the leg with a tomato. This of course raises the question: who would go to a baseball game with a whole tomato?

The umpires told the public address announcer that the game would be forfeited if the barrage of bottles did not stop, but after 15 minutes, the umpires realized it was a lost cause and the game was declared a forfeit. Under the scoring rules of the team, all of the stats counted, but no winning or losing pitcher was named. Under rules in place today, Jansen would have been given a win and Rowe a loss.

The forfeit was the first one in the majors since September 26, 1942 when the Giants had to forfeit a home game to the Boston Braves. The game ended in the eighth when children in the crowd stormed the field. Complicating this matter was the fact that the kids were admitted to the stadium for bringing in a piece of scrap metal for the war effort. This turned out to be a bad idea. The last forfeit in the majors was on August 10, 1995 when a Dodgers-Cardinals game was called with one out in the bottom of the ninth when fans started throwing souvenir baseballs on the field to protest a series of questionable calls and the ejections of Raul Mondesi and manager Tommy Lasorda. There have been only eight forfeits in the majors since World War II ended.

At the end of the season, the Dodgers won the NL with a 97-57 record, one game better than the Cardinals. The Phillies finished in third place at 81-73, 16 games out. They had not finished that high in the standings since 1917. The Phillies would win the NL in 1950. The Giants finished in fifth place at 73-81. The Giants would improve to third in 1950 and then win the pennant in 1951.

Sources: New York Times, Retrosheet,

Mulder to return Wednesday
2006-08-20 23:58
by Bob Timmermann

The Cardinals are hoping to get some pitching help with the return of Mark Mulder from the DL to start against the Mets Wednesday.

What sort of help a 6-5 pitcher with a 6.09 ERA will provide is still to be determined.

It's a do-over at the Koshien final
2006-08-20 19:33
by Bob Timmermann

Japan's national high school baseball championship, commonly referred to as "Koshien" for the name of the stadium where it is played in Nishinomiya, a city outside Osaka, is headed for a replay Monday afternoon after Waseda Jitsugyo (outside Tokyo) and Komadai Tomakomai (from southern Hokkaido) played a 15-inning 1-1 tie. This will be only the second replay in the tournament since 1969 when two teams played an 18-inning scoreless tie.

Waseda's Yuki Saito threw his third complete game in three days and threw 178 pitches!. Komadai Tomakomai's Masahiro Tanaka didn't enter the game until the third and threw 12 2/3 and 165 pitches.

If Komadai Tomakomai can win Monday, they will win their third straight Koshien tournament and be the first school to pull off that feat since Chukyo Shogyo of the city of Aichi did so from 1931-33.

You can watch it live from the linked site. You can chat about it here with people who will know what's going on.

The game starts at 9 pm PST, midnight EST.

Update - Saito is starting again. Tanaka came in to relieve in the first after Waseda took a 1-0 lead.

Update - Waseda leads 3-1 after 6 1/2

Update - Going to the ninth, 4-1 Waseda. They don't waste time in high school ball in Japan. Saito, with the exception of one home run, has been tough to hit.

Update - Single and homer to start the ninth for Komodai. They trail 4-3. No one out.

Update - All over. Saito goes the distance again. Waseda, alma mater of Sadaharu Oh, wins 4-3!

Scuff the ball, lose the Test?
2006-08-20 17:27
by Bob Timmermann

Pakistan forfeited the fourth Test against England at The Oval in London after officials determined that Pakistani bowlers were deliberately scuffing the ball. A scheduled fifth Test was called off.

At one point during the Test, the officials, Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove, noticed that the ball began to reverse-swing and decided to examine it. They ruled that the ball had been scuffed and awarded England five penalty runs.

After the tea interval, Pakistan refused to come out and the match was declared forfeited after a lengthy debate. The Pakistani team captain insisted that the ball was scuffed naturally during the course of play.

Pakistan's captain, Inzamam-ul-Haq, probably shouldn't have been asking Joe Niekro and Gaylord Perry for bowling tips.

The linked BBC article describes this incident in great detail and links to many other opinions about the incident.

To be precise, the forfeiture was not because of the scuffing accusation but because the Pakistan team objected to the penalty applied. Scuffing does not equal an automatic forfeit.

More bad insurance picked up: Mota to the Mets
2006-08-20 14:39
by Bob Timmermann

The New York Mets acquired Guillermo Mota, who had been designated for assignment, from Cleveland for a player to be named later.

Mota gave up 9 home runs in 37 2/3 innings of "relief" for Cleveland before the Indians decided to cut their losses.

"Our scouts have seen him, feel that the velocity is good. He's healthy," Mets general manager Omar Minaya said. "Hopefully a change of scenery, change of leagues can hopefully produce better results."

Sure, Omar.

Tigers doom magic season, acquire Neifi
2006-08-20 13:09
by Bob Timmermann

With Placido Polanco out with a separated shoulder, the Tigers picked up some infield insurance in the form of Neifi Perez.

I'm going to get a similar insurance policy for myself. I will pay AFLAC $10,000 a year and I will get $1,000 paid out to my heirs when I die.

Thanks to King of the Hobos for the tip.

Javy Lopezes for everybody!
2006-08-20 11:54
by Bob Timmermann

The Red Sox, unable to defeat the Yankees using their talent, are now resorting to mind games.

Yes, the Red Sox will now have TWO players named Javier Lopez on the roster as the Red Sox called up the lefty from Pawtucket and sent Jermaine Van Buren back down.

The pitcher is Javier Alfonso Lopez.
The catcher is Javier Lopez Torres.

Both are Puerto Rican.

The Red Sox are not attempting to get this Alex Gonzalez to come out of retirement.

Van Buren is demanding a trade to Washington so he can play everyday.

Two closers to the DL
2006-08-20 11:13
by Bob Timmermann

1. Huston Street went on the DL for Oakland with a groin injury. Ron Flores replaces him.

2. Eddie Guardado went on the DL for Cincinnati with tendinitis in his forearm. Matt Belisle took his spot. Chris Michalak is on bereavement leave and outfielder Norris Hopper fills until Michalak returns from the funeral for his 102-year old grandmother.

Sunday, the end of the pennant races? (August 20)
2006-08-20 07:00
by Bob Timmermann

That's it. It's over. There's no point in waiting for October. Let's just declare the winners and get out.

The closest divisional race in baseball is in the NL Central where the Cardinals lead the Reds by 2 1/2 games. And the Reds have no games left with the Cardinals. But the Reds do lead in the wild card race by 2 games over Arizona.

In the American League, the closest divisions are the East and West where the Yankees and Athletics lead the Red Sox and Angels by 4 1/2 games. Somehow you get the feeling that Oakland could be caught, but the only way the Yankees could lose would be by taking pity on the Red Sox and just laying down for them. In other words, it won't happen. The White Sox lead the Twins by two games for the AL wild card.

A lot of teams think they can win the NL Wild Card. Probably because the Reds have an unimpressive 63-60 record and are picking up guys like Scott Schoeneweis for pitching help. But even teams like the Phillies, who are 2 1/2 games out at 60-62 go and do things like trade for a 43-year old junkballer to "bolster" their rotation.


Anyway games by contenders (the definition of which is something I maintain in my head and is quite fluid) in order that they start:

Texas at Detroit - 10:05 am PT - John Koronka vs. Jeremy Bonderman
Colorado at Mets - 10:10 am PT - Jason Jennings vs. Orlando Hernandez
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati - 10:15 am PT - Victor Santos vs. Aaron Harang
Washington at Philadelphia - 10:35 am PT - Pedro Astacio vs. Randy Wolf
White Sox at Minnesota - 11:10 am PT - Javier Vazquez vs. Johan Santana
Oakland at Kansas City - 11:10 am PT - Kirk Saarloos vs. Runelvys Hernandez
St. Louis at Cubs - 11:20 am PT - Chris Carpenter vs. Juan Mateo
Seattle at Angels - 12:35 pm PT - Jake Woods vs. Ervin Santana
Arizona at San Diego - 1:05 pm PT - Jose Batista vs. Chris Young
Dodgers at San Francisco - 1:05 pm PT - Derek Lowe vs. Matt Morris
Yankees at Boston - 5:05 pm PT - Mike Mussina vs. Curt Schilling

Random Game Callback, August 20, 1946
2006-08-20 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

Nick Strincevich of Pittsburgh threw a four hit shutout as the last place Pirates routed the first place Brooklyn Dodgers, 10-0, before a crowd of 31,106 fans at Forbes Field.

Manager Frankie Frisch got a lot of work writing in the names of his starting pitchers in 1946. Besides Strincevich, the Pirates also had Fritz Ostermueller and Ken Heintzelman. Rip Sewell and Ed Bahr gave Frisch some relief in the handwriting department. Brooklyn manager Leo Durocher started Vic Lombardi, a 5'7" lefthander.

Lombardi wasn't around long. He retired just one batter and the Pirates scored three times off of him and then once more off of Hank Behrman. Behrman gave up three more runs in the fourth and left for Rex Barney. Barney and Ed Head would give up three more runs.

The Pirates picked up just 10 hits and only one home run, a 3-run shot by first baseman Elbie Fletcher in the fourth. Brooklyn pitchers combined to walk nine batters and the Dodgers also made two errors. The Dodgers managed just four singles off of Strincevich.

In the fifth inning, Durocher emptied his bench and put in little-used reserves like Bob Ramazzotti, Joe Tepsic, Dick Whitman, Gene Hermanski (a rookie in 1946), Stan Rojek, and Ferrell Anderson.

Brooklyn's lead in the NL was just 1/2 game over St. Louis and the two teams would jockey back and forth down the stretch and finish the season tied at 96-58, necessitating the first tiebreaker playoff in major league history. The Cardinals beat the Dodgers in two straight games to advance to the World Series.

1946 might be better remembered for other matters for both franchises. Prior to the 1946 season, Dodgers president Branch Rickey signed former UCLA multisport star Jackie Robinson to a contract and Robinson spent the 1946 playing for Montreal of the International League. Robinson would get called up to the Dodgers in the 1947 season.

The Pirates had off-field drama of a different kind. Robert Murphy, a Boston attorney, attempted to organize a union for baseball players called the American Baseball Guild. The Pirates voted 20-16 to go on strike before a game against the Giants in June, but a strike vote required a 2/3 vote. (By whose rules, I don't know.) Murphy was eventually able to force a vote by the Pirates players to see if they would accept the Guild as its collective bargaining agent, but on the same day as this game, the Pirates voted 15-3 against accepting the Guild. Numerous players obviously abstained. The momentum for unionization among the players was delayed. Murphy did succeed in getting the player spring training allowances increased and those payments are still referred to as "Murphy Money."

On the field, the Pirates stayed out of the cellar by two games with a 63-91 record, two games better than the New York Giants. Pirates rookie outfielder Ralph Kiner led the NL in home runs with 23. The National League hit just 562 home runs all of 1946. But in 1947, home runs went up to 886. Kiner would lead the NL in home runs in each of his first seven seasons, a mark unmatched in major league history. Babe Ruth's longest streak was six seasons.

Frisch would lose his job toward the end of the year and Spud Davis managed the last three games. Billy Herman took over as a player-manager in 1947 and he was gone at the end of the year too. Strincevich would pitch until 1948. The shutout this day over the Dodgers was the fourth and final one of his career.

Sources: New York Times,, Retrosheet

Seanez gone, Van Buren up
2006-08-19 09:37
by Bob Timmermann

The Red Sox after their marathon doubleheader debacle against the Yankees Friday, have shed another pitcher, Rudy Seanez was designated for assignment and Jermaine Van Buren called up to replace him.

Between games of the doubleheader, the Red Sox gave Jason Johnson the DFA tag and activated Keith Foulke from the DL.

Meanwhile, Theo Epstein plans to take on Wayne Krivsky in a game of rock/paper/scissors for the next mediocre middle reliever who wanders across the waiver wire.

"Hey, Wayne, look over there, it's Chad Poronto!"

In his major league career, Seanez started with Cleveland and then went to San Diego to Los Angeles to Atlanta back to San Diego back to Atlanta to Texas to Boston to Kansas City to Florida back to San Diego for a third time and then back to Boston.

Will Seanez be the next middle reliever caught by Wayne Krivsky's press gang?

DBacks call up Young
2006-08-19 08:39
by Bob Timmermann

Amidst all the doings transpiring in Boston between the Yankees and the Red Sox, I skipped over Arizona calling up yet another prospect from the minors: outfielder Chris Young. Arizona wanted to give Young a shot in center field and also to back up with Jeff Da Vanon's recovery taking longer than expected.

Young started Friday in Arizona's loss to San Diego and went 1 for 3.

The NL West, see tomorrow's prospects today! Unless you go to a Giants game and Matt Cain isn't starting.

Saturday's scenarios (August 19)
2006-08-19 07:00
by Bob Timmermann

So, after Friday's events, it's time to get at it again. Pennant races wait for no one.

Yesterday, the Red Sox had a chance to take over first in the AL East if they could sweep a pair from the Yankees. Well, that didn't work and now they're 3 1/2 games out. They start again bright and early at 10:20 am PT at Fenway (Randy Johnson vs. Josh Beckett).

Starting at the same time is the great Midwestern rivalry of the Cardinals at Cubs taking place at Wrigley Field (Jeff Suppan vs. Carlos Zambrano). The Cardinals lead Cincinnati by 3 1/2 games in the Central. The Cubs are the lone team in the majors without a complete game.

AL West leader Oakland slipped up and got swept in Kansas City and saw their lead shrink to 4 games over the Angels. Oakland plays the Royals again at 4:10 pm PT (Barry Zito vs. Mark Redman). The Angels host the Mariners, who have lost nine straight, at 7:05 pm PT (Jarrod Washburn vs. John Lackey).

The Tigers still have the best record in the majors and lead the White Sox by 6 1/2 in the Central. Detroit hosts Texas at 4:05 pm PT (Robinson Tejeda vs. Nate Robertson). The White Sox, who lead the Twins by just one game in the wild card, are at Minnesota (Jon Garland vs. Brad Radke 4:10 pm PT).

The National League's best team, the Mets, lead the Phillies by 14 games. The Mets host Colorado at 4:35 pm PT, although a pregame ceremony honoring the 1986 Mets may delay the start as many of the old Mets will have to come in from rehab or be let out on parole. (Jeff Francis vs. Dave Williams).

The Dodgers lead the West by three games over San Diego and Arizona and will be at resurgent San Francisco at 6:05 pm PT (Greg Maddux vs. Brad Hennessey).

The Reds still lead the wild card by one game over the Padres and Diamondbacks.

Cincinnati will be at Pittsburgh at 3:10 pm PT (Eric Milton vs. Paul Maholm). Arizona is at San Diego at 1:05 pm PT (Claudio Vargas vs. Clay Hensley).

Random Game Callback, August 19, 1984
2006-08-19 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

Thad Bosley hit a pinch-hit 3-run homer in the fifth inning as the Chicago Cubs used a pair of big innings to beat the Cincinnati Reds 9-6 before a crowd of 38,404 at Riverfront Stadium.

The first place Cubs, managed by Jim Frey, started Scott Sanderson on the mound. The Reds, in just their third game under player-manager Pete Rose, had Jeff Russell on the mound. Rose had taken over for Vern Rapp.

Chicago got right to work. Center fielder Bob Dernier led off with a single and stole second. Second baseman Ryne Sandberg followed with a walk. Russell struck out left fielder Gary Matthews and first baseman Leon Durham flied out to left. Right fielder Keith Moreland singled to score Dernier and then third baseman Ron Cey blasted a 3-run homer and the Cubs were up 4-0.

The Reds scored a run in the bottom of the first when left fielder Cesar Cedeno singled home Rose, who had singled and moved up on a wild pitch.

In the fourth, the Reds offense opened up. Cedeno led off with a single and one out later third baseman Dave Concepcion singled. After second baseman Ron Oester flied out, shortstop Tom Foley walked to load the bases. Russell came up and cleared the bases with a double. Center fielder Gary Redus followed with a double to bring home Russell and send Sanderson to the showers. Warren Brusstar came in to relieve and Rose greeted him with a single and the inning ended when Rose was thrown out at second trying to advance. It was now 6-4 Cincinnati

Russell didn't enjoy his lead long. Matthews led off the fifth with a double and Durham walked. Moreland singled to bring home Matthews. Cey popped out to second. Catcher Jody Davis grounded to Oester who stepped on second, but threw wildly to first and Durham scored the tying run and Davis went to second. Shortstop Larry Bowa walked. Frey then called on Bosley to bat for Brusstar. Rose had lefty Bob Owchinko warming up, but felt that Frey would counter with right handed batter Gary Woods and liked the Russell-Bosley matchup better.

Bosley got a fastball down and in and drilled it to right for a three-run homer that put the Cubs ahead 9-6. After this, Rose finally pulled Russell in favor of Owchinko.

George Frazier came in to relieve for the Cubs and he pitched the final five innings, giving up four hits and no runs to get the win. Russell's record fell to 5-14. He would finish the season 6-18.

The win improved the Cubs lead in the NL East to three games. They would win the division with a 96-65 record, 6 1/2 games better than the New York Mets. The Cubs would make their first postseason appearance since the 1945 World Series, but would lose in the NLCS to the Padres in five games.

Rick Sutcliffe, a midseason acquisition from Cleveland, went 16-1 for the Cubs with a 2.69 ERA and won the Cy Young Award. Lee Smith saved 33 games for the Cubs. Sandberg won the MVP with a .314 batting average and a .520 slugging percentage.

The Reds finished in fifth place at 70-92, 22 games behind the Padres. Rose would manage the Reds through the middle of the 1989 when he stepped down for unexplained reasons. I've looked, but I can't seem to find anything about why Rose stepped down. If you know, please send me an e-mail.

Russell would be traded to Texas in the middle of the 1985 season for Buddy Bell. The Rangers would eventually convert Russell into a reliever and saved as many as 38 games in a season. In 1992, the Rangers would trade him to Oakland along with Ruben Sierra and Bobby Witt for Jose Canseco.

As for the Cubs heroes of this day, Bosley would finish out his career as a part-time player and pinch-hitter for three more teams: Kansas City, California (whom he broke in with), and Texas. Frazier, who had been acquired with Sutcliffe, would pitch until 1987 and earn a World Series ring with the Minnesota Twins.

Sources: Chicago Tribune, Retrosheet,

All the day and all of the night
2006-08-18 22:28
by Bob Timmermann

They weren't content to be play the games in the daytime;
Yanks, they want to play with you all of the time;
The only time they feel all right is this time;
Sox, they want to play with you all of the time;
All the day and the all of the night;
All the day and the all of the night;
All the day and the all of the night!

The Yankees and Red Sox played a day/night and/or early dawn doubleheader in Fenway Friday and Saturday with the Yankees winning both games.

The Yankees won the first game, 12-4 in a brisk 3 hours and 55 minutes.

The teams broke for dinner and reconvened for the second game. The Yankees won that one too 14-11 in an amazing 4 hours and 45 minutes.

4:45 is a new record for a nine-inning game in the majors. And not by a little. The Yankees and Red Sox broke the old record of 4:27 set on October 5, 2001 when the Dodgers beat the Giants in San Francisco, 11-10. The length of the game is in part explained by the number next to the name "Bonds" in the home run section.

The previous record for an American League was 4:22 on September 5, 1997 when the Orioles beat the Yankees 13-9 at Yankee Stadium. Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada played in that game as well as the second game Saturday. Jesse Orosco pitched in the 1997 game for the Orioles and the 2001 Dodgers game. Cliff points out that Alex Cora played in the longest games (2001 for the Dodgers and 2006 for the Red Sox) and Derek Jeter played in the two longest AL games.

In addition, the record for the longest doubleheader (both games being nine innings) was shattered as well. The previous record was 7 hours, 39 minutes by the Rangers and White Sox at Comiskey Park. That took place on May 24, 1995. The White Sox won the first game 10-8 in 4:01 and Texas won the second game 13-6 in 3:38.

The Yankees and Red Sox took 8 hours and 40 minutes.

I haven't checked to see what the Elias Sports Bureau has ruled, but in the past, day/night doubleheaders weren't considered "doubleheaders." However, the Sporting News decided to consider day/night affairs as "doubleheaders."

Jon points out in the comments that Elias said it is was not a doubleheader. This is very much like Lewis Carroll. Elias is likely using the definition of "double header" (two words!) in Rule 2.00 "A DOUBLE HEADER is two regularly scheduled or rescheduled games, played in immediate succession."

Run slowly and carry a big head
2006-08-18 16:52
by Bob Timmermann

Howard Fenderich of the Associated Press writes about his race against three other men while wearing an oversized costume head representing Theodore Roosevelt.

The four competitors in the races are Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. A running Franklin Roosevelt would be interesting, but would likely be in poor taste.

YouTube clip of a race

Late breaking headline on
2006-08-18 13:42
by Bob Timmermann

Yanks-Sox rivalry showcased on FOX

Whew! I would have hated to think that it wouldn't have been covered by some electronic media outlet.

A proud day for Chamorros
2006-08-18 12:41
by Bob Timmermann

John Hattig was called up to the Toronto Blue Jays to take the spot of Eric Hinske. Hattig will be the first Guamanian to play in the majors.

I may be rethinking the checkered jersey idea
2006-08-18 10:58
by Bob Timmermann

The Croatian fans here did not exactly do anyone proud.

Reuters story.

Cardinals sign Wilson
2006-08-18 10:23
by Bob Timmermann

With Jim Edmonds status shaky (both literally and metaphorically) with post-concussion syndrome, the Cardinals signed Preston Wilson to help out in the outfield.

The Cardinals start a three game series at Wrigley Field against the Cubs today.

Thanks to DXMachina for the pointer.

Friday's bonus action (August 18)
2006-08-18 07:00
by Bob Timmermann

There are 17 games scheduled today in the majors as there are a pair of doubleheaders on the agenda.

And one of the doubleheaders could see the yellow jersey change hands in the AL East. The Yankees and Red Sox will play a day-night doubleheader at Fenway to start a five-game series. The first game is at 10:05 am PT and Chien-Ming Wang will face Jason Johnson. The second game will be at 5:05 pm PT and Sidney Ponson will face Jon Lester. I have a slight suspicion that Cliff and Alex will have some info on these games at Bronx Banter. I think the Red Sox are going to be suiting up Junior Seau.

Elsewhere in the AL, another rivalry, albeit a relatively new one, gets underway with a three-game series in Minneapolis between the wild card leader, the White Sox, and the Twins, who are two games behind. They play at 5:10 pm PT with Freddy Garcia facing Boof Bonser.

Oakland leads Los Angeles by six games in the AL West. Oakland will be playing a doubleheader (an old-fashioned two games for the price of one!) in Kansas City starting at 2:10 pm PT. Game 1 is scheduled to match Joe Blanton and Luke (11 runs given up in 1/3 IP last time out) Hudson. Game 2 will match Esteban Loiaza and Jorge de la Rosa. The Angels will be at home against the free-falling Mariners at 7:10 pm PT (Felix Hernandez vs. Jered Weaver, in a battle of pheeeeeeeenoms. The game deserves extra vowels.)

In the NL, the Mets avoided a four-game sweep at the hands of the Phillies Thursday and have a 13-game lead. The Mets host the Rockies for three games starting at 4:10 pm PT (Byung-Hyun Kim vs. Steve Trachsel).

In the Central, the Cardinals beat the Reds 2-1 Thursday to run their lead back to 2 1/2 games over Cincinnati. The Cardinals will be at Wrigley to face the Cubs at 11:20 am PT (Jason Marquis vs. Carlos Marmol). The Cubs have beaten their archrivals, 10 of 13 times this season. The Reds will host the Pirates at 4:10 pm PT (Ian Snell vs. Chris Michalak).

In the West, the Dodgers lead Arizona by three games. The Dodgers, in yet another rivalry matchup this weekend, are in San Francisco. They will play at 7:15 pm (Brad Penny vs. Jason Schmidt).

Arizona, who can catch the Reds in the wild card with a win over the slumping Padres in San Diego (7:10 pm PT Enrique Gonzalez vs. Woody Williams) and a Reds loss. The Padres have lost four straight, all at home to the last place Giants, and have fallen under .500 (60-61) and are 28-35 in the unfriendly confines of PETCO Park.

Don't forget this weekend's "Playing out the string" special: Cleveland at Tampa Bay. They meet at Tropicana Field at 4:15 pm (C.C. Sabathia vs. Casey Fossum).

Random Game Callback, August 18, 1904
2006-08-18 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

Joe McGinnity held the defending champion Pittsburgh Pirates to just five hits as the New York Giants won an easy 6-0 shutout at the Polo Grounds.

McGinnity, who had his best season in 1904, was one of two aces that Giants manager John McGraw was able to use. Christy Mathewson, was just the "#2 guy" in 1904. The Pirates, led by player-manager Fred Clarke, started Deacon Phillippe.

The Giants scored twice in the second inning. Shortstop Bill Dahlen led off with an infield single. Third baseman Art Devlin hit a grounder that Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner made an error on to put runners at first and second. Second baseman Billy Gilbert attempted a sacrifice, but that was foiled when the Pirates put on a wheel play and third baseman Tommy Leach threw to Wagner at third for a force. Catcher John Warner blooped one to short left field to score Devlin and Gilbert came around to score when Leach threw away the relay.

Dan McGann got things going for the GIants in the third when he got hit by a pitch with one out. Left fielder Sam Mertes tripled to score McGann. Mertes would score New York's fourth run on an RBI double by Devlin.

McGann scored another run in the fifth when center fielder Ginger Beaumont dropped his fly ball and let it get behind him as McGann circled the bases. The Giants scored their final run in the eighth on an error, a sacrifice, and a scoring fly ball.

The Pirates could manage just five singles and the only time they hit the ball hard was in the first inning when Beaumont lined a ball off of McGinnity, who still managed to pick it up and throw him out. McGinnity struck out two and walked three.

The Giants ran away with the NL pennant in 1904 with a 106-47 record, 13 games ahead of Chicago. The margin could have been bigger had not McGraw started to play more reserves and let off the accelerator. The Pirates finished in fourth place at 87-66.

Although the Pirates had played Boston in a World Series in 1903, the Giants refused to take on the AL champs, again Boston, in 1904. The reasons for this are not exactly clear, but one thing to keep in mind is that in 1904, the AL Highlanders were in a close race with Boston for the pennant and it's very likely that the Giants didn't want to have to face the AL upstarts in a potentially embarrassing postseason series. Other reasons for the Giants refusal to play the World Series were that McGraw and owner John Brush were just jerks and they didn't like AL president Ban Johnson at all. Nevertheless, McGraw would bill the Giants as "World Champions" in 1905.

McGinnity would pitch 408 innings, win 35 games, lose just 8, strike out 144, post 38 complete games, 9 shutouts, and have an ERA of 1.61. Teammate Mathewson was 33-12 with 212 strikeouts and a 2.03 ERA. McGinnity, nicknamed "Iron Man" because he worked in a foundry, pitched just 10 seasons in the majors, but played pro ball until he was 54. He didn't make his debut in the majors until he was 28.

Wagner led the NL in batting average at . 349, as well as OBP (.423), slugging (.520), total bases (255), doubles (44), and stolen bases (53).

Sources: New York Times,, Retrosheet

Little League World Series gets started in Williamsport
2006-08-17 20:19
by Bob Timmermann

The 60th Little League World Series starts Friday in Williamsport. The first game is at 1 pm PT and matches Porstmouth, NH and Beaverton, OR.

The other U.S. participants are: Staten Island, NY; Lemont, IL; Phoenix, AZ; Columbus, GA; Columbia, MO; Lake Charles, LA.

The international participants are: Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands; Barquisimeto, Venezuela; Surrey, BC; Dharan, Saudi Arabia; Matamors, Tamaulipas; Kawaguchi City, Japan; Moscow, Russia; Willemstad, Curacao. Curacao won in 2004 and lost in the championship game in 2005.

The championship game is scheduled for Sunday, August 27 at 12:30 pm PT with Brent Musburger and Joe Morgan calling the action! Can't wait.

Full schedule

Last year, the kids from Ewa Beach, HI, beat the kids from Curacao 7-6 in seven innings on a walkoff homer by Michael Memea in one of the most exciting baseball games I've ever seen.

No, I'm not exaggerating.

Angels and Rangers get suspensions
2006-08-17 16:02
by Bob Timmermann

The Commissioner's Office handed out a boatload of suspensions from Wednesday's scuffle between the Angels and Rangers in Arlington.

For the Angels:

  • Brendan Donnelly - four games
  • Kevin Gregg - four games
  • Adam Kennedy - four games
  • Coach Ron Roenicke - one game
  • Manager Mike Scioscia - three games

For the Rangers:

  • Scott Feldman - six games
  • Vicente Padilla - five games
  • Manager Buck Showalter - four games

Juan Rivera and John Lackey of the Angels also received fines of an undisclosed amount.

Scioscia and Showalter start their suspensions tonight. Roenicke will sit out Sunday's game.

The players can all appeal. If more than one player is suspended from a team at a time, it's like the NHL when you have more than two players sent off with minor penalties, i.e., the suspension doesn't start until the other player is finished with his.

Correction - Kennedy and Gregg both opted not to appeal their suspensions and both are sitting out this weekend's four-game series with Seattle.

Padres Top 10 Saves, 1970-79
2006-08-17 12:00
by Bob Timmermann

1. Rollie Fingers - 95
2T. Butch Metzger - 16
2T. Vicente Romo - 16
4T. John D'Acquisto - 13
4T. Bill Greif - 13
6T. Mike Caldwell - 12
6T. Bob Shirley - 12
8. Tom Dukes - 10
9T. Mike Corkins - 9
9T. Danny Frisella - 9
9T. Ron Herbel - 9
9T. Al Severinsen - 9

Hinske joins Red Sox
2006-08-17 08:43
by Bob Timmermann

The Toronto Blue Jays sent 2002 AL Rookie of the Year Eric Hinske to the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named later.

Hinske is expected to spell Mike Lowell and Kevin Youkilis and serve as a late inning pinch hitter.

It's Thursday, take in a matinee
2006-08-17 07:00
by Bob Timmermann

Twelve games in the majors and eight of them are ones that will be played under the light of the sun. The numbers eight and twelve are appropriate since we know that the sun has eight classical planets and four "other" planets orbiting around it.

The American League Wild Card could potentially be tied at the end of the day as the White Sox have seen their lead cut to just one game over the Twins.

Minnesota plays first at 10:10 am PT against Cleveland (Paul Byrd vs. Matt Garza, who was rocked in his first major league start by Toronto.) Chicago hosts Kansas City at 11:05 am PT (Odalis Perez vs. Mark Buehrle, in a battle of quick working lefties).

The Yankees saw their lead in the East cut to two games over Boston. The Yankees host Baltimore at 10:05 am PT (Rodrigo Lopez vs. Jaret Wright). The Red Sox are off. Oakland, which leads Texas and Los Angeles by 6 1/2 in the West, is off as well.

In the National League, the Phillies have won three straight at home from the Mets to pull themseles to within one game of .500 and 2 1/2 games behind wild card leader Cincinnati. The Mets lead by 12. John Maine of the Mets faces Scott Mathieson of the Phillies at 10:05 am PT.

In the Central, the Reds have crept to within 1 1/2 games of division leading St. Louis. The two teams face each other for the last time in the regular season (barring a tiebreaker playoff) at 11:10 am PT in St. Louis with Kyle Lohse taking on Jeff Weaver. Hmmmm....

The Dodgers saw their lead in the West cut to 2 1/2 games over Arizona. The Padres lost their third straight to the Giants to stay 3 1/2 games out. The two teams finish their four game series in San Diego at 12:35 pm PT (Matt Cain vs. Jake Peavy). Arizona plays at Colorado at 12:05 pm PT (Brandon Webb vs. Josh Fogg).

All of this prelude to the weekend: Yankees-Red Sox, Cardinals-Cubs, White Sox-Twins, Dodgers-Giants, and, of course, Indians-Devil Rays.

Random Game Callback, August 17, 2002
2006-08-17 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

Odalis Perez retired the first 19 New York Mets hitters before giving up a walk and then a home run as the Los Angeles Dodgers won at Shea Stadium 10-4 before a crowd of 50,763.

Perez had been acquired from the Atlanta Braves in an offseason trade along with Brian Jordan in exchange for Gary Sheffield. Manager Jim Tracy found Perez to be one of his most reliable starters in 2002. Mets manager Bobby Valentine had former Dodger Pedro Astacio starting.

Tracy had a patchwork lineup of sorts due to injuries and slumps. Third baseman Adrian Beltre was out with an injury, so Dave Hansen got a start at third. Regular first baseman Eric Karros was 1 for 14 in his career against Astacio, so Mike Kinkade got a start.

The Mets had lost six straight games and the Shea Stadium crowd got angry quickly when the Dodgers exploded for five runs in the third. Right fielder Shawn Green had an RBI single, Hansen had an RBI double, Kinkade scored two of his own on a double, and even Perez got into the act with an RBI single.

In the fourth, Green smashed a 3-run homer, his 36th of the season and after catcher Paul Lo Duca singled, Valentine pulled Astacio to a cacophony of boos and chants of "Go on strike!" (Fortunately, a strike was averted at the last minute on August 30.) Jeff D'Amico came in to relieve. D'Amico was acquired from Milwaukee prior to the season as part of a 3-team, 11-player trade by the Mets, Rockies, and Brewers. None of the players involved are with any of the three teams involved today.

The Dodgers piled on two more runs in the seventh against reliever Jamie Cerda. Kinkade led off getting hit by a pitch (Kinkade got hit by a pitch 22 times in 125 games with the Dodgers over two seasons.). Shortstop Alex Cora singled Kinkade to second. After Perez popped out, center fielder Dave Roberts tripled to right to score Kinkade and Cora and the Dodgers had a 10-0 lead.

In the bottom of the seventh, Perez retired his 19th straight batter when he got left fielder Roger Cedeno to ground out to first. Up next was shortstop Rey Ordonez, one of the league's weakest hitters both for average and slugging. Perez ran the count to 3-2. On the next pitch, Ordonez appeared to swing, but home plate umpire Brian O'Nora and first base umpire Gary Cederstrom ruled "no swing" and Ordonez broke the spell with a walk.

Obviously upset over losing the perfect game, Perez tried to throw the next pitch past Mets catcher Mike Piazza, but the left pitch out over the plate and Piazza sent the ball an estimated 455 feet to left for a 2-run homer. No-hitter and shutout gone.

Kevin Beirne and Paul Shuey each pitched an inning and gave up a run in the eighth and ninth innings in relief of Perez. The 10-4 win by the Dodgers stretched their lead in the wild card race to three games over the Giants. The Mets would stretch their losing streak to eleven games.

Perez had flirted with a no-hitter twice before in the 2002 season. On April 26 in Chicago, Perez gave up just an infield hit to Corey Patterson and faced just 27 batters. And on June 25, Perez took a no-hitter into the sixth, before Bobby Estalella of Colorado got a single.

The Dodgers would finish the 2002 season at 92-70, but lost out on a playoff spot when the Giants got hot in September and edged out their archrivals by 3 1/2 games. The Mets would finish in last in the NL East at 75-86 and Valentine would be fired at the end of the season.

Reliever Eric Gagne would be one of the big stories for the Dodgers in 2002. In his first season as a reliever, Gagne set a team record with 52 saves and struck out 114 batters in just 82 1/3 innings. Green, who had set a franchise record with 49 homers in 2001, followed up that season with a 42 homer season.

The Mets season was derailed by subpar performances by high-salaried players like first baseman Mo Vaughn (who play in just 27 games in 2003 before his career ended because of injuries and weight problems) and second baseman Roberto Alomar. Right fielder Jeromy Burnitz got into 154 games despite batting .215 with a .311 OBP.

Players on the rosters of the 2002 Dodgers and Mets who have played for both franchises include: Piazza, Burnitz, Cedeno, Lo Duca, Astacio, Kinkade, Hideo Nomo, Kazuhisa Ishii, Jesse Orosco, Dennis Springer, Jason Phillips, McKay Christensen, and Mark Guthrie.

Sources: Los Angeles Times, Retrosheet,

The 1962 Mets are safe for another year
2006-08-16 19:53
by Bob Timmermann

The 120 loss season of the 1962 New York Mets, the most losses by any team in the 162 game era, is safe for another year. The Kansas City Royals became the last team in the majors to cross the 43-win barrier with a 10-4 victory over the White Sox.

Ed Kranepool is partying tonight!

Pedro Martinez back to the DL
2006-08-16 13:32
by Bob Timmermann

After his bad outing Monday against the Phillies, Pedro Martinez went back on the disabled list with a injury to his right calf. Heath Bell was called up to take his spot on the roster.

Krivsky says 'Bring me more middle relievers'
2006-08-16 10:14
by Bob Timmermann

Apparently, Reds GM Wayne Krivsky is part of a small cult that survives on sacrifices of blood of middle relievers.

Why do I say this?

Because the Reds went and picked up another middle reliever: Scott Schoeneweis. The Reds will send a player to be named later to Toronto in exchange for the lefty.

Presumably, Schoeneweis will take over Kent Mercker's role. Mercker is out for the season and needs elbow surgery. Brian Shackelford has been up and down and also in jail, but Shackelford was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Polanco disabled, Cubs get emergency pitcher
2006-08-16 09:35
by Bob Timmermann

The Tigers had to place Placido Polanco on the disabled list with a separated shoulder. After Polanco left after the injury last night in Boston, Ivan Rodriguez and then Brandon Inge finished up at second. Omar Infante will likely get most of the playing time. Ramon Santiago was called up from Toledo.

The Cubs, on the heels of using everybody last night in their 8-6, 18-inning win over the Astros, including today's scheduled starter, Rich Hill, called up Ryan O'Malley from Iowa. Scott Eyre was put on the disabled list with a hamstring injury.

Pluto lives!
2006-08-16 08:44
by Bob Timmermann

Part I of our story.

The International Astronomical Union, meeting in Prague, has decided to keep Pluto as a planet.

For the time being. The general membership could change the decision.

To be a planet, IAU says:

Q: What is the exact wording of the official IAU proposed definition of "planet" in "Resolution 5 for GA-XXVI"?


"A planet is a celestial body that (a) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (b) is in orbit around a star, and is neither a star nor a satellite of a planet."

In addition to Pluto, three other objects have now been upgraded to planetarty status: Ceres, an asteroid between Mars and Jupiter; Charon, a moon of Pluto; and UB313, which is nicknamed "Xena", but will now get a more fitting name.

Charon qualifies as a planet because its center of gravity is between it and Pluto. The Earth's moon has its center of gravity inside the Earth.

Please debate this politely.

IAU press release explaining the proposal more completely.

Wednesday's happenings (August 16)
2006-08-16 07:00
by Bob Timmermann

So Tuesday saw a pair of 18-inning games with the road teams winning both games. The Cubs beat Houston 8-6 and the Diamondbacks beat Colorado, 2-1.

Meanwhile in the AL, the Yankees stretched their lead over the Red Sox to three games. The Tigers picked up a game on the White Sox in the Central and lead now by 6 1/2. The A's lead the Angels by 5 1/2.

In the AL Wild Card, the White Sox lead the Twins by two games and the Red Sox by 2 1/2.

In the NL, the Mets got clobbered again by the Phillies, but still lead by 13 games. The Dodgers improved their lead in the West to 3 1/2 games over the Padres and Diamondbacks. The Cardinals lead the Reds by 2 1/2 in the Central. In the wild card, the Reds lead the Padres and Diamondbacks by one.

So, the only change in a playoff spot could be the NL Wild Card.

The relevant games:
Cincinnati at St. Louis - 5:10 pm PT - Bronson Arroyo vs. Anthony Reyes
Arizona at Colorado - 6:05 pm PT - Livan Hernandez vs. Aaron Cook
San Francisco at San Diego - 7:05 pm PT - Noah Lowry vs. Chan Ho Park

Random Game Callback, August 16, 1871
2006-08-16 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

The Chicago White Stockings won a seesaw affair at its home field, Lake Front Park, defeating the Olympic Club of Washington, 12-11, before a crowd estimated between 5,000 and 6,000 people.

1871 marked the first year of play in baseball's first organized professional baseball league, the National Association. And while the game was baseball, it might have been hard to recognize it, with no players wearing gloves, pitchers standing 45 feet away and throwing underhand, and batters calling for high or low pitches. Even more confusing would be determining who was ahead in the standings (more on that later).

The Olympics, led by captain Nick Young (who would later become president of the National League from 1885 to 1902), had Asa Brainard starting at pitcher for him and batting cleanup. Brainard was the star pitcher for the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings team, baseball's first openly all-professional team. Second baseman Jimmy Wood captained Chicago and had George Zettlein pitching.

Washington scored three runs in both the first and second innings and led Chicago 6-2 after just two innings. And then 7-3 after four innings. But in this era, deficits were not hard to overcome. And in the fifth, Chicago tied the game with four runs, scored in a manner which I still haven't been able to decipher from the game story in the Chicago Tribune.

In the sixth, Brainard got wild and walked a batter, third baseman George Pinkham. Brainard was credited with just 14 called balls all game, but he likely threw many more as many pitches were just ruled "no pitch" if they weren't in the right zone. This bit of wildness would eventually lead to three runs for Chicago and a 10-7 lead after six.

The Olympics took advantage of some Chicago errors (they committed 10) and pushed across a run in the seventh to cut the deficit to 10-8. But Chicago matched it to make it 11-8

In the eighth, Washington got runs from third baseman Fred Waterman and Brainard to pull within 11-10. Chicago catcher Charlie Hodes made two errors to lead to the runs.

Chicago tallied another run in the bottom of the eighth and Washington came up in the ninth needing to make up two runs, trailing 12-10.

Washington right fielder John Glenn put a ball into orbit, but it was straight up and caught by Chicago first baseman Bub McAtee. Glenn had actually made the last out of the eighth, but he led off the ninth because his last out in the eighth was a force out at second. Under the rules of the time (in place until 1878), the batter who led off the next inning would be the man who batted after the last player who was put out on the bases. Left fielder Tommy Beals (listed in the boxscore as Thomas) reached on an infield single. Shortstop Davy Force singled to center to move Beals up a base. Second baseman Andy Leonard forced out Force at second. Waterman reached on an error by Ed Duffy to allow Thomas to score. But Brainard grounded out on a squibber to the catcher and Chicago held on for a 12-11 win. Chicago still batted in the bottom of the ninth but went down in order.

The big news in the Tribune story was that Chicago had won the season series from the Olympics, three games to two. At the time, some teams thought that the championship of the league would be determined by which team won the most season series (best of five). This was the only one decided at this point for Chicago, who had won 15 games and lost five overall. The Philadelphia team had won 16 games and lost just 4.

Just who would win the pennant would be influenced by two things: 1) just what system was going to be used to determine the winner, overall wins or series wins and 2) would Chicago be able to play any more games after October 9, 1871, the date of the Great Chicago Fire, which destroyed the White Stockings Park.

As it turned out, Chicago could not complete its schedule, failing to finish one of its series, that one against the Troy Haymakers. Chicago finished 19-9 overall and won four series overall. They lost one to Philadelphia. The series against Cleveland and Fort Wayne also couldn't get finished although Chicago had the edge in those.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia and Boston both won six series. So when the season was over, the teams got together to decide who would be declared the winner. With two teams winning the same number of series, the Association decided to award the pennant to the team with the most wins. And Philadelphia won 21 to Boston's 20. Or at least that's what I've been able to piece together. Starting in 1872, the series idea was dropped and the NA gave the pennant to the team that won the most games. And from 1872-1875, that would be Boston each time. Chicago sat out the 1872 and 1873 seasons as the city tried to rebuild. Boston's franchise is the lineal ancestor of today's Atlanta Braves and the White Stockings are the ancestor of today's Chicago Cubs. The Olympics finished 15-15 in 1871, with three series wins.

Even more confusing than trying to figure out the sequence of events in this game and who won the pennant at the end of the year, is trying to decipher the box score. These letters identified columns: A, O, R, B, T, L, F, G, C, M, P, H, and E. Do you know what they stood for? Some are hitting and some are fielding and I listed them in the order they appeared. You can find the answer here if you're interested. And if you've read this far, you're very brave.

Yes, it was baseball. And these were some of the best players around. Pro baseball had to start sometime, even if it was far from organized.

Sources: Chicago Tribune, Wikipedia (sorry, I had to!),, Retrosheet, This site helped too

In Houston, everybody gets to play for the Cubs
2006-08-15 22:43
by Bob Timmermann

In the 18th inning tonight at Minute Maid Park, Matt Murton of the Cubs grounded a single to right to score two runs that held up for an 8-6 win over the Astros in which the Cubs manager Dusty Baker used all 25 players on his roster.

The Cubs missed out on tying the NL record for most players used in an extra inning game. That's 27, which has happened four times, and not surprisingly, they all happened after September 1 when rosters expand.

  1. September 13, 1974 by the Cardinals at Philadelphia.
  2. September 21, 1978 by the Cubs at home against Pittsburgh.
  3. September 2 and 3, 1986 by the Cubs at home against Houston in a game that was suspended after the 14th inning and resumed the next day.
  4. September 28, 1986 by the Dodgers at San Francisco.

The all time record for players used in an extra inning game is 30 by Oakland on September 19, 1972.

Special credit should be given to the Kansas City Royals who used 27 players in a 9-inning game on September 10, 1969 against the Angels.

I don't believe a team has used all 25 players on its roster during a time when rosters were not expanded. The Dodgers used all 25 players on August 17 and 18, 1982 against the Cubs in a 21 inning game. The Cardinals used 25 players in a game at Los Angeles on April 16, 1959, but at that time, teams carried 28 players from Opening Day until 30 days in to the season. The Cubs used 25 players in this game against the Pirates that started on April 20, 1986 at Wrigley Field, which was suspended after 14 innings and resumed later. Much later. As on August 11. And some of the players in the game in April weren't around in August and under baseball's rules, you can replace them with new players.

Furthermore, the Cubs used 10 pitchers:

  1. Juan Mateo
  2. Will Ohman
  3. Michael Wuertz
  4. David Aardsma
  5. Scott Eyre
  6. Bobby Howry
  7. Roberto Novoa
  8. Angel Guzman
  9. Ryan Dempster
  10. Rich Hill

The Astros used eight pitchers and the combined total of 18 pitchers tied a major league mark that had been set four times before, all of them in September, most recently on September 11, 2004 by the Phillies and Mets. But this mark was set in August!

By my count, there were 542 pitches thrown in the game.

Oh, and to finish our story, Arizona beat Colorado 2-1 in 18 innings. Just 15 pitcher used in that game. 21 Diamondbacks played and 20 Rockies got in to the game.

And Dusty Baker did not want to make the mistake that this Vermont Little League coach did.

Completeness revisited
2006-08-15 18:06
by Bob Timmermann

Last week, I mentioned that only two teams in the majors did not have a complete game: Washington and the Chicago Cubs.

But after Tuesday night, it's down to just the Cubs.

Pedro Astacio of Washington threw a 2-hit shutout as the Nats beat the Braves 5-0 in DC.

I wonder if Jack Warden was on this jury
2006-08-15 15:47
by Bob Timmermann

From the KNBC website comes the story of a judge on the Riverside County Superior Court, Paul E. Zellerbach, who was issued a public admonishment by the State of California's Commission on Judicial Performance for delaying hearing a verdict in a murder case in 2004 so he could go attend an Angels playoff game.

A jury in Riverside had reached a verdict in a double-murder case involving a drunk driver who had killed his girlfriend and unborn child in an auto accident.

Zellerbach left the courthourse early on October 5, 2004 to go to Game 1 of the Division Series between the Angels and Red Sox at Angel Stadium of Anaheim (it was a day game).

Reached by phone by his clerk, Zellerbach could have had another judge hear the verdict, but opted to order all the principals back to his courtroom the next day to hear it in person.

Zellerbach acknowledged to the panel that in hindsight he should have let another judge take the verdict.

"The commission appreciates that Judge Zellerbach has reevaluated the situation," the commission's order states. "There was a serious dereliction of judicial duty, nonetheless, by which Judge Zellerbach jeopardized the verdict in a double homicide case and imposed hardship and additional stress on jurors, the families of the victim and the defendant, and on counsel and the defendant."

DBacks, Grimsley settle salary dispute
2006-08-15 15:26
by Bob Timmermann

The Arizona Diamondbacks and retired pitcher Jason Grimsley reached a settlement over what to do with the balance of his unpaid salary for this season: $504,000.'s Mike Fish reports

According to [Grimsley's agent Joe] Bick, the approximate $225,500 that Grimsley would have lost during the 50-day suspension will be given to Drug-Free Arizona and the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation. The remaining $278,500 is earmarked for Garth Brooks' Teammates for Kids Foundation and Grimsley's church, Christ Community Church in Leawood, Kan.

Grimsley retired after admitting to Federal agents that he had use human growth hormone during his career. Grimsley has not been formally charged with any crimes however.

1000 in a row for Kanemoto
2006-08-15 14:12
by Bob Timmermann

Hanshin Tigers outfielder Tomoaki Kanemoto played in his 1000th consecutive complete game (i.e. all the innings of the game) on Tuesday. Cal Ripken played in 903 straight games in which he played every inning.

One thing that helps Kanemoto stay in the lineup, besides being healthy, is that he's pretty good. Through August 15, he was batting .302, slugging .469, and had an OBP of .397. He has 15 home runs, tied for the team lead.

However, Hanshin is in second place in the Central League, 7 1/2 games behind first place Chunichi.

The fifth place Yomiuri Giants started out 10-2 and 32-20 and then went 4-28 in one stretch and they're 18 1/2 games out.

Jose Vizcaino, the life of a utility infielder
2006-08-15 12:13
by Bob Timmermann

On Monday, the San Francisco Giants cut loose utility infielder Jose Vizcaino. His last at bat with the Giants was when he bunted into a fielder's choice against the Dodgers Sunday night.

Vizcaino didn't seem too upset when he spoke with Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle

"I was talking to my wife a half an hour ago and I told her I wouldn't mind if they did that," the 38-year-old utilityman said. "I'm not playing here. I've never been on a team where I went two weeks without playing. I'm glad this happened. I was not happy here.

Vizcaino broke in with the Dodgers on September 10, 1989 in a 14-4 Dodgers rout over the Padres in San Diego. Two other Dodgers made their major league debuts: catcher Darrin Fletcher and pitcher Mike Hartley.

Continue reading...

Almost better than Bip Roberts
2006-08-15 09:49
by Bob Timmermann

Atlanta outfielders Matt Diaz had hits in his first four trips to the plate at home against Washington running his streak of consecutive hits to ten. Diaz tied the NL record, last reached by Bip Roberts, then of Cincinnati, from September 19-23, 1992.

The alltime record is 12 by Pinky Higgins of Boston in 1938 and Walt Dropo of Detroit in 1952.

Diaz's streak was snapped by Chris Schroder of the Nationals, who got Diaz to ground out in the ninth inning.

Tuesday's transpirings (August 15 edition)
2006-08-15 07:00
by Bob Timmermann

The tragicomic National League is the scene of the most intrigue Tuesday.

Surprisingly, the closest divisional race is now in the Central, where the Cardinals lead has been cut to 1 1/2 game over the Reds, who also hold the edge in the wild card race. The Reds start a three game series in St. Louis tonight at 5:10 pm PT (Aaron Harang vs. Chris Carpenter, aka the good pitchers on each team).

San Diego blew a chance to tie the Reds for the wild card and instead fell a full game behind them and 2 1/2 games behind West-leading Los Angeles. The Padres host the Giants at 7:05 pm PT (Matt Morris vs. Chris Young). On Monday night, the Giants used six pitchers to record a 1-0 win.

The Dodgers host the Marlins at 7:10 pm PT (Anibal Sanchez vs. Chad Billingsley). The Mets, whose lead was cut to 14 games over the Phillies after a 13-0 loss to them, take on the Phillies again at Citizens Bank Park at 4:05 pm PT (Orlando Hernandez vs. Randy Wolf).

The AL saw a little more separation as the Yankees stretched their lead in the East over Boston to two games with a win over the Angels while the Red Sox lost at home to Detroit.

The Yankees open a three-game series with the Orioles at home at 4:05 pm PT (Erik Bedard vs. Mike Mussina). The Red Sox host the Tigers at the same time (Jeremy Bonderman vs. Curt Schilling).

The White Sox, who lead the Twins and Red Sox by three games in the wild card, continue their series at home against Kansas City at 5:05 pm PT (Runelvys Hernandez vs. Javier Vazquez).

Oakland leads the AL West by 5 1/2 games over Los Angeles and Texas. The Athletics have won 9 of their last 10.

Random Game Callback, August 15, 1980
2006-08-15 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

Ozzie Smith and Jerry Mumphrey both committed errors in the top of the 20th inning as the Houston Astros stayed tied for first with a 3-1 marathon win over the San Diego Padres at San Diego Stadium in a game that at one point had 14,177 fans in attendance.

Houston manager Bill Virdon started right-hander Gordie Pladson, who had missed his last start when his cat scratched the index finger of his pitching hand before the game. San Diego was managed by Jerry Coleman in 1980, in an ill-fated one year experiment of moving the team's broadcaster down to the field. Coleman tabbed Rick Wise as his starter.

There wasn't much action during the game. The Padres scored their only run in the second inning. First baseman Willie Montanez led off with a double and moved to third on a groundout by right fielder Dave Winfield. Catcher Craig Stimac singled to score Montanez.

Houston tied the game up in the fourth. With one out, left fielder Jose Cruz singled. Center fielder Cesar Cedeno singled and Cruz went to third. First baseman Denny Walling hit into a force play and Cruz scored to make it 1-1.

The Astros had something cooking in the seventh when Walling led off with a single and one batter later went to third on a double by shortstop Craig Reynolds. Danny Heep pinch hit for Pladson and walked to load the bases. Coleman brought in lefty Gary Lucas to face Houston's leadoff man, second baseman Joe Morgan and got him to strike out. Coleman then brought in Rollie Fingers to face third baseman Enos Cabell. On strike two, a foul tip hit Cabell in the hand and he had to leave the game for pinch hitter Dave Bergman, who finished the strike out.

In the bottom of the seventh, Joaquin Andujar came into relieve and got Winfield to ground out. Third baseman Barry Evans struck out and was ejected by home plate umpire Jerry Crawford. Stimac moved to third and Gene Tenace finished up behind the plate. Little did Tenace know that his night off was not going to turn out as he expected.

In the bottom of the eighth, Broderick Perkins battted for Fingers and singled. Luis Salazar made his major league debut and pinch ran. Left fielder Gene Richards sacrificed Salazar to second. But Smith and Mumphrey grounded out to end the inning.

The Padres got two on in the ninth on a single by Montanez and a walk by Tenace, but Stimac lined out and pinch hitter Bill Fahey fouled out.

And the game ground on. In the bottom of the 11th, against Joe Sambito, the Padres loaded the bases with two outs on a Montanez single, a Winfield walk, and an infield hit by Stimac. However, second baseman Tim Flannery struck out against Frank Lacorte, who had come in for Sambito.

And the game ground on. Lacorte pitched 4 2/3 innings of relief and eventually gave way to rookie Dave Smith, who pitched the last five innings, the longest outing of his career. Smith also struck out eight, which was another career best.

In the top of the 20th, against Eric Rasmussen, catcher Luis Pujols (who had taken over for Alan Ashby in the 11th) hit a grounder to Smith, that he couldn't handle and Pujols reached on the error. Third baseman Art Howe laid down a sacrifice attempt and the Padres tried to get the slow-footed Pujols at second, but were too late and the Astros had first and second with no outs. Morgan popped out to Montanez in foul territory. Shortstop Rafael Landestoy (who had replaced Reynolds) flied out to center and Pujols tagged and went to third. Right fielder then hit a fly ball to right center that Mumphrey and Winfield converged. Mumphrey was going to left Winfield catch it, but Winfield backed away at the last second and the ball hit off Mumphrey's glove for an error and Pujols and Howe scored.

In the bottom of the 20th, Smith set down the Padres in order including pinch hitter John Curtis, a pitcher, who was batting for Rasmussen.

The game started at 7 pm and lasted 6 hours and 17 minutes and finished at 1:17 am (more or less). The teams actually had the next day off as the San Diego Chargers were going to use the stadium for a preseason game. The teams concluded their four-game series with a doubleheader on Sunday, which the Astros swept.

The game was the longest in time for both franchises at the time. The Astros would later break the time record on on June 3, 1989 in a 5-4 win over the Dodgers that lasted 7:14 and 21 innings. The Astros longest game by innings was on April 15, 1968 when the Astros beat the Mets 1-0 in 24 innings at the Astrodome. The Padres had already played two 21-inning games, but they have never surpassed 6:17 for the time of a game.

As for the rest of the season, te Astros won an incredibly dramatic NL West pennant race in a one-game playoff over the Dodgers and then lost an even more dramatic NLCS in five games to the Phillies. The Padres finished in last place at 73-89 and sent Coleman back to the broadcast booth and brought in Frank Howard to manage. Winfield left after 1980 to join the Yankees as a free agent. Smith would be traded to the Cardinals in 1982.

Sources: Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune,, Retrosheet

ESPN acknowledges existence of Tigers
2006-08-14 21:52
by Bob Timmermann

The Detroit Tigers will play host to a Sunday night ESPN game for the first time since May 27, 2001. The game between the Angels and Tigers has had its start time moved back from 1:05 pm ET to 8:05 pm ET.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Tigers, they play in Detroit, a large city in the state of Michigan. Michigan is north of Indiana.

The Tigers wear white and blue uniforms at home with an Old English "D" on them.

The DFA All-stars
2006-08-14 16:21
by Bob Timmermann

Jim Molony of highlights the players who have been designated for assignment and which teams might want to take a chance on them.

Preston Wilson, cut loose by the Astros, is apparently not the subject of a lot of interest. The Rockies don't seem to want him.

But other players ripe for the picking include: Randy Choate, William Bergolla, Luis Terrero, Guillermo Mota, Ramon Vazquez, Mike Koplove, Eli Marrero, and many more.

OK, perhaps the use of "All-star" was not entirely accurate.

You can go home again: Castilla signs deal with Rockies
2006-08-14 13:45
by Bob Timmermann

Vinny Castilla, whom you cannot kill and he will not die, has signed a minor league deal with the Colorado Rockies and is expected to be called up in September.

Monday's montage (August 14)
2006-08-14 08:32
by Bob Timmermann

Over the weekend, the leaders in the AL Central and East stumbled as the Tigers were swept in Chicago and the Yankees dropped two of three to the Angels in The Bronx. While this was going on, the Red Sox righted the ship with a sweep over the Orioles.

The Tigers lead is still a comfy 5 1/2 games over the White Sox, but the Yankees lead was slashed to one game over the Red Sox. Oakland leads the West by 4 1/2 games. The White Sox lead the Red Sox by two games in the wild card and the Twins by 2 1/2.

Boston could move to within .001 of New York in the standings if they can beat Detroit at home in a 4:05 pm PT game (Nate Robertson vs. Josh Beckett). The Yankees have one game left with the Angels and it will start at 4:05 pm PT as well (John Lackey vs. Randy Johnson). The White Sox host the Royals at 5:05 pm PT (Mark Redman vs. Jon Garland).

The NL has become a little less wacky. The Mets continue to roll, leading the NL East by 15 games, but the leads in the other two divisions is 1 1/2 games. For the West-leading Dodgers, who have won 15 of 16, this represents a great accomplishment. For the Central-leading Cardinals, this represents a downward spiral as the Cardinals were swept over the weekend by the Pirates.

The Reds lead the wild card and trail the Cardinals by 1 1/2 games in the Central. The Padres trail the Dodgers by 1 1/2 games.

The Reds and Cardinals are off today and start a three game series in St. Louis Tuesday.

The Padres can move into a tie for the wild card then with a win tonight with a win at home against the Giants in a 7:05 pm PT (Brad Hennessey vs. Clay Hensley).

The Dodgers can move to within .0005 of the Cardinals for the #2 spot if they win at home against Florida at 7:10 pm PT (Dontrelle Willis vs. Derek Lowe).

Random Game Callback, August 14, 1933
2006-08-14 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

Philadelphia first baseman Jimmie Foxx hit for the cycle and drove in an AL-record nine runs as the Athletics routed Cleveland 11-5 at Cleveland Municipal Stadium.

Athletics owner-manager Connie Mack started Roy Mahaffey. Cleveland manager Walter Johnson hoped that Willis Hudlin would be able to do the job for him on the mound.

Foxx didn't waste any time driving in a pair of runs in the first with a triple that scored center fielder Roger Cramer and catcher Mickey Cochrane. In the second, Foxx belted a grand slam off of Hudlin and the score was 7-0 A's after just two innings. Hudlin was gone after that and Johnson used Belve Bean as a mopup man for the rest of the game.

The next time up for Foxx was in the fourth and he doubled home Cochrane for his third hit and seventh RBI. By this time, it was 9-0 Philadelphia.

In the sixth, Foxx had a single to score second baseman Eric McNair and Cramer to give him his cycle and his eighth and ninth RBI. McNair also homered in the game for the A's.

Mahaffey was touched up for five runs on seven hits and four walks to go the distance to get the win.

Foxx's nine RBI were still three short of Jim Bottomley's major league record set in 1924 for the Cardinals. Mark Whiten would match that total for the Cardinals on September 7, 1993. Foxx's record for the AL would last only until May 24, 1936 when Tony Lazzeri drove in 11 runs in a 25-2 win by the Yankees over the A's in Philadelphia. Lazzeri hit three home runs and a triple in that game and two of the homers were grand slams.

1933 was a great year for Foxx as he won the Triple Crown with a .356 batting average, 48 home runs, and 163 RBI. He had an OPS of 1.153 and a league adjusted OPS+ of 200. Foxx beat out Washington player-manager Joe Cronin for the MVP award. Washington won the pennant with a 99-53 record. The Athletics finished third at 79-72. Cleveland finished fourth at 75-76.

The A's had won three straight AL pennants from 1929-1931, but finished 13 games behind the Yankees in 1932. After a disappointing finish in 1933 and a worsening economic condition because of the Great Depression, Mack started to get rid of his higher-salaried players. Cochrane was traded to Detroit in the offseason. Lefty Grove and Max Bishop were traded to Boston.

Cleveland would remain in the first division for much of the 1930s, but was never good enough to overcome the powerhouse Tigers or Yankees squads. Johnson would manage the Indians to a third place finish in 1934, but would be fired midway through the 1935 season.

Foxx would stay with the A's through the 1935 season when Mack dealt him to Boston, where he would win a second AL MVP in 1938 when he hit 50 home runs. Injuries and constant battles with alcohol would curtail his career and he was through as an effective player at age 33, although he would hang on during the war years before finally retiring after the 1945 season. Foxx would finish his career with 534 home runs. He would be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1951 and passed away in 1967 after choking on food. In a sign of the times, Foxx was sometimes called "The Beast" because of his size. His listed playing weight was 195 lbs and he stood just six feet tall.

Sources: Chicago Tribune, Retrosheet,

Feeding the Monster reviewed in the NYT
2006-08-13 21:27
by Bob Timmermann

Charles McGrath reviewed Seth Mnookin's Feeding the Green Monster (Illustrated. 433 pp. Simon & Schuster. $26.) in the New York Times Book Review.

McGrath, like a lot of us, wonders just how much we have to read about the Red Sox.

Not the least of the many trials inflicted upon the Boston Red Sox has been a torrent of verbiage. Surely no team in recent memory has been so scrutinized, complained about and then elegized. At least since the 1950's, the Sox have received a daily ration of scolding, hand-wringing and second guessing from the Knights of the Keyboard, as Ted Williams dubbed the scribes at the Boston papers. Thanks to John Cheever, who once said that "all literary men are Red Sox fans," the team has also inspired reams of gaseous memoirs from authors eager to recount their first visit to Fenway....

I can't say I'm going to run out to get this one. I'm still waiting for an in-depth look at the trials and tribulations of a team like the Tampa Devil Rays or the Texas Rangers.

Pluto in danger
2006-08-13 19:18
by Bob Timmermann

The International Astronomical Union is meeting in Prague to decide, among other things, just what is a planet and whether or not Pluto still qualifies as one.

I'd rather Pluto lose its status as a planet because I've found it very hard to visit there as the connecting flights are a real bear and since you can't take liquids on the flights now because of the terrorism threats, I get dehydrated on those flights.

If the IAU has time, they will ask some of the radio telescope folks if they can identify any trace evidence of a clutch hitter in the outer reaches of the galaxy.

St. Louis since the All-Star Break
2006-08-13 13:53
by Bob Timmermann

The Cardinals went into the All-Star Break with a 48-39 record. Since then, they have gone 14-16 with seven of the wins coming against the Dodgers in a span of 11 days. They've also lost eight straight at one point and have been swept in series by the Cubs, Phillies, and Pirates.

The Cardinals are off Monday before returning home to start a 3-game series against the Reds.

This saying must be so old, that's it's non existent
2006-08-13 12:32
by Bob Timmermann

Cincinnati manager Jerry Narron speaking of Chris Michalak after the Reds 9-7 win in Philadelphia Saturday night as said to the Cincinnati Enquirer

"There's an old saying in baseball," Reds manager Jerry Narron said, "never overlook an orchid looking for a rose.

That just doesn't make any sense, Jerry!

Besides, where do roses and orchids grow in proximity to each other besides a greenhouse?

I expect more out of botanical allusions made by baseball managers.

Hafner ties grand slam record
2006-08-13 11:27
by Bob Timmermann

Travis Hafner of Cleveland hit his sixth grand slam home run of the season this year in the first inning at home against Luke Hudson of the Royals. It was part of an 11-run first inning:

- G. Sizemore walked
- J. Michaels singled to right, G. Sizemore to second
- T. Hafner walked, G. Sizemore to third, J. Michaels to second
- V. Martinez singled to right, J. Michaels and G. Sizemore scored, T. Hafner to second
- S. Choo doubled to left, T. Hafner and V. Martinez scored
- R. Garko singled to left, S. Choo to third
- J. Peralta reached on fielder's choice, S. Choo scored, R. Garko to second on A. Berroa's fielding error
- J. Inglett singled to left, R. Garko to third, J. Peralta to second
- A. Marte walked, R. Garko scored, J. Peralta to third, J. Inglett to second
- G. Sizemore singled to second, J. Peralta scored, J. Inglett to third, A. Marte to second
- J. Michaels struck out swinging
- T. Hafner homered to deep right, J. Inglett, A. Marte and G. Sizemore scored
- V. Martinez doubled to left
- T. Wellemeyer relieved L. Hudson
- S. Choo grounded out to second, V. Martinez to third
- R. Garko flied out to left center

But one of the 11 runs Hudson gave up was unearned.

Don Mattingly hit six grand slams for the Yankees during the 1987 season.

Prior likely done for the year
2006-08-13 10:24
by Bob Timmermann

Remember Mark Prior? He was going to be big! Real big! We're talking Steve and Eydie live at the Sands big.

Prior will likely be out for the rest of the year after Cubs trainers decided to shut him down because of shoulder tendinitis.

Sunday's scene (August 13 edition)
2006-08-13 07:00
by Bob Timmermann

After a week of Boston, Minnesota, and Chicago all taking turns leading the AL wild card race, the White Sox have strung together three straight wins, while the Twins have lost three straight, and the Red Sox only were able to pull out of their tailspin thanks to the timely arrival of the Orioles in Baltimore.

The White Sox now lead the Red Sox by two games in the wild card and the Twins by three games. Further more, Chicago has crept within 6 1/2 games of the Tigers.

The Red Sox are also just two back of the East leading Yankees. Oakland is now 4 1/2 games ahead of the Angels.

The game of the day in the AL should be in New York where the Angels and Yankees hook up at 10:05 am PT with Jered Weaver (7-0) facing Chien-Ming Wang (13-4).

In the NL, one day after the three principals in the wild race (Cincinnati, San Diego, and Arizona) all lost, all three teams won Saturday. The Reds (60-57) hold a 1/2 game edge on the Padres and Diamondbacks.

Relevant games:
Cincinnati at Philadelphia - 10:35 pm PT - Eric Milton vs. Brett Myers
San Diego at Houston - 11:05 pm PT - Woody Williams vs. Brandon Backe - First team to bring in a non-alliterative pitcher loses!
Florida at Arizona - 1:40 pm PT - Ricky Nolasco vs. Enrique Gonzalez

The Mets lead the East by 14 games. St. Louis is 2 1/2 games better than Cincinnati in Central and Los Angeles has a 1 1/2 game lead over San Diego and Arizona.

Houston and Colorado are both 2 1/2 games behind Cincinnati in the wild card. Philadelphia is 3 1/2 games back in the wild card.

Random Game Callback, August 13, 1997
2006-08-13 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

Jeff Conine's run-scoring single in the eighth inning sparked the Florida Marlins' second comeback of the game as they beat the Astros, 8-6 before a crowd of 22,543 at the Astrodome.

The Marlins, under new manager Jim Leyland, were making a push for their ever playoff spot and assembled a formidable lineup. One of them was free agent pitcher Alex Fernandez, who started this game on his 28th birthday. The Astros were managed by a newcomer to the job, Larry Dierker. Shane Reynolds made the start for Houston.

The Astros grabbed the lead in the first. Second baseman Craig Biggio led off with a double and right fielder Derek Bell walked. First baseman Jeff Bagwell struck out while Biggio and Bell pulled off a double steal. Left fielder Luis Gonzalez popped out to third. Third baseman Sean Berry walked to load the bases. Catcher Brad Ausmus then hit a grounder to Florida second baseman Craig Counsell, who kicked it to let Biggio and Bell score.

Biggio's speed got the Astros another run in the second. With one out, Biggio singled to left and Bell followed with a single to center that Moises Alou could not throw back to the infield soon enough to keep Biggio from scoring all the way from first.

The Marlins bats finally came to life in the sixth. Left fielder Jim Eisenreich led off with a single. Shortstop Edgar Renteria followed with another single to move Eisenreich to second. Alou singled to score Eisenreich and send Renteria to third. Alou moved up to second on an error by Houston center fielder Chuck Carr. Third baseman Bobby Bonilla struck out, but right fielder Darren Daulton brought home the second run with a ground out to first. Left fielder Conine singled to score Alou with the tying run and catcher Greg Zaun got an infield hit to move Conine to second. Counsell atoned for his error with an RBI single to score Alou and give the Marlins a 4-3 lead. Carr made his second error of the inning on the play to let Counsell move up a base. Mike Magnante came in to relieve and he struck out Hernandez to end the innning.

The Astros retook the lead in the seventh and did it quickly when Bell and Bagwell hit back-to-back home runs.

In the eighth, Jose Lima was in his second inning of work for the Astros. Bonilla walked to lead off the inning. Daulton doubled and Bonilla stopped at third. That was enough for Lima and Russ Springer relieved. Conine singled to score Bonilla and Daulton to put the Marlins back on top 6-5. Zaun followed with another single and Dierker opted to bring in lefty Tom Martin to face Counsell. But Leyland decided to pinch hit with Gary Sheffield, whom Leyland was trying to rest. Sheffield singled to score Conine. Kurt Abbott came up to pinch hit for Fernandez and he singled to score Zaun. Martin struck out Eisenreich and then got Renteria to ground into a double play to finally end the inning.

Houston managed to get one run in the ninth off of Florida closer Robb Nen on an RBI double by Bill Spiers to score Gonzalez. The Astros left runners on first and third to end the game.

The Astros would win the weak NL Central with an 84-78, five games better than Pittsburgh. The Marlins won the wild card with a 92-70 record, nine games behind the Braves. The Astros were eliminated in three straight games in the Division Series by the Braves and the Marlins disposed of the Giants in three straight as well. The Marlins then went on to surprise the Braves in six games in the NLCS and won its first World Series in seven games over Cleveland, scoring a run in the ninth to tie the game and then winning in the 11th on an RBI single by Renteria to score Counsell.

The joy in Florida over the Marlins win was short-lived as owner Wayne Huizenga decided to slash the team payroll. Nearly every star was sent packing. Sheffield, Bonilla, and Eisenreich were sent to the Dodgers in exchange for Mike Piazza and Todd Zeile early in 1998 and Piazza was then sent off to the Mets and Zeile to Texas. Alou was traded to Houston. Devon White was traded to Arizona. Conine was traded to Kansas City. Kevin Brown was dealt to the Padres. Al Leiter was sent to the Mets. Nen was traded to the Giants. Hernandez hurt his shoulder in NLCS in 1997 and never pitched effectively in the majors again. The 1998 Marlins would go 54-108.

As for the Astros, they would win the NL Central four times in Dierker's five years as manager, but they never advanced past the Division Series, losing to the Braves three times and the Padres once. The Astros lost their first seven postseason series until they defeated the Braves in the 2004 Division Series. They won their first NL pennant in 2005, but were swept by the White Sox in the World Series.

Sources: Palm Beach Post, Retrosheet,

Tom Mastny, International Man of Mystery - UPDATED
2006-08-12 16:55
by Bob Timmermann

From Paul Hagen of the Philadelphia Daily News (via the San Jose Mercury News site) comes this bit.

Strange week in Cleveland: Rookie closer Fausto Carmona blew the first three save opportunities of his career, all on walkoff hits. Victor Martinez stepped to the plate in first inning Saturday, tapped his bat on the plate... and watched it break. And it was discovered that the media guide lists Indiana-born reliever Tom Mastny as being from Indonesia.

Emphasis mine.

Mastny was actually born in Zionsville, Indiana. Which I hear is reminscent of Jakarta on some days.

As of Saturday night, the Indians website still had Mastny as being a native of Indonesia.

UPDATE The Indians PR staff confirmed today with Mastny's parents that he was indeed born in Indonesia. In East Bontang, Indonesia, to be precise. It's on the island of Borneo.

Astros DFA Preston Wilson
2006-08-12 14:51
by Bob Timmermann

The headline pretty much sums it up. Preston Wilson was designated for assignment by the Astros to make room for rookie pitcher Jason Hirsh.

Wilson was traded from the Mets to Florida in 1998 for Mike Piazza.

In 2002, Wilson was traded to Colorado in a deal that involved Juan Pierre and Mike Hampton (who got sent off to Atlanta)

In 2005, Wilson was traded to Washington for the likes of Zach Day.

Now, the Astros have 10 days to decide what to do with him.

Thanks to King of the Hobos for the tip.

More Cincinnati relief madness
2006-08-12 12:35
by Bob Timmermann

Kent Mercker went back on the DL with for the Reds with a sore elbow. The Reds GM, Wayne Krivsky, dipped down into their giant bag of relievers and pulled out a ... Chris Michalak!

The Reds could make the playoffs you know...

Reds relievers have an ERA of 4.94 this season, 25th highest in the majors. The Devil Rays have the worst overall at 5.24. The Brewers are the worst in the National League at 5.01.

Saturday - Separation anxiety?
2006-08-12 07:00
by Bob Timmermann

After a turbulent week of teams changing playoff positions, only one playoff spot can change Saturday and that's the NL wild card.

The White Sox moved 1 1/2 games ahead of the Twins in the AL wild card race and the Dodgers opened up a 1 1/2 game in the NL West, so those spots are set.

But in the NL, the Reds (59-57) lead the Padres and Diamondbacks (both 58-57) by a half game in the wild race. Or wild card retreat. Uneasy rests the team with the checkered jersey in the NL.

The relevant action in the National League won't start until later in the afternoon.

4:05 pm PT - Cincinnati at Philadelphia - Elizardo Ramirez (who lost in relief Friday) against Scott Mathieson. Much hilarity will ensue. Philadelphia is just two games behind Cincinnati.

4:05 pm PT - San Diego at Houston - Jake Peavy faces Jason Hirsh, making his first major league start. And the Astros are just 1 1/2 games behind Cincinnati as well.

6:40 pm PT - Florida at Arizona - Scott Olsen against Brandon Webb, who missed his last start.

Kansas City and Cleveland are playing a day-night doubleheader. That should be compelling viewing. If the Royals can sweep, they would have 43 wins, ensuring that the 1962 Mets mark of 120 losses in a 162 game season, would remain safe for another year.

If Oakland can beat Tampa Bay by two runs or more in a 6:05 pm PT game in Oakland (Casey Fossum vs. Joe Blanton), the Athletics will go back to having more runs scored than runs allowed.

Random Game Callback, August 12, 1929
2006-08-12 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

Brooklyn center fielder Johnny Frederick blasted a two-run homer in the 10th inning to give the Dodgers a 4-2 win over Pittsburgh before a crowd of about 5,000 at Ebbets Field.

Pittsburgh manager Donie Bush started Erv Brame on the mound. Brooklyn manager Wilbert Robinson had Clise Dudley pitching.

The second place Pirates scored in the first. Center fielder Lloyd Waner had a one out single and his brother, right fielder Paul Waner, singled Lloyd to third. Third baseman Pie Traynor then grounded out to short to score the younger Waner (23 at the time to Paul's 26).

In the fourth inning, Brooklyn right fielder Babe Herman sent a Brame offering far over the right field fence. First baseman Del Bissonette had tripled in the second and was thrown out at the plate trying for an inside-the-park homer.

Pittsburgh shortstop Sparky Adams led off with a walk in the seventh and stole second. Adams scored two batters later on a single by Lloyd Waner. In the bottom of the seventh, Bissonette hit his second triple of the game and scored on a single by shortstop Eddie Moore.

The game went to extra inning. In the top of the tenth, Paul Waner led off with a double and Robinson relieved Dudley with Johnny Morrison. Traynor sacrificed to move Waner to third. Morrison intentionally walked left fielder Adam Comorosky and pinch hitter Fred Brickell to load the bases with one out. With the infield in, Pittsburgh first baseman George Grantham shot a grounder at third baseman Wally Gilbert who threw home to force Waner at the plate. Adams then grounded out to second baseman Jake Flowers to end the threat.

In the bottom of the tenth, the fourth Pirates pitcher, Carmen Hill was on the mound. With two outs, Gilbert singled and then Frederick lashed his 17th homer of the season to give Brooklyn the win.

Bush would step down as Pittsburgh manager at the end of August and would be replaced by Jewel Ens. The Pirates would finish in second place in the NL, 10 1/2 games behind the champion Cubs. Brooklyn finished in sixth, 28 1/2 games back.

1929 was Frederick's rookie season and he had a tremendous freshman season. He batted .328 and slugged .545 with a league-leading 52 doubles as well as 24 home runs. However, chronic injuries cut short his career and he played just five big league seasons. Herman batted .381 for the Dodgers.

The Waners batted .353 (Lloyd) and .336 (Paul), but neither one finished in the top five. Lloyd led the NL in triples with 20. Lefty O'Doul of the Giants led the NL at .398. Rogers Hornsby of the Cubs won the MVP award batting .380 with 39 home runs and 149 RBI.

The Pirates had four future Hall of Famers on their squad in the Waner brothers, Traynor, and pitcher Burleigh Grimes. The Dodgers had three in shortstop Dave Bancroft, outfielder Max Carey (who played just 19 games) and pitcher Dazzy Vance.

Neither franchise had a bright future. The Pirates won the pennant in 1927, but would not win another one until 1960 although they came close in 1938. The Dodgers won the pennant in 1920 and would not win another until 1941.

Sources: New York Times, Retrosheet,

But he doesn't have a problem
2006-08-12 01:21
by Bob Timmermann

The New York Daily News (thanks to Baseball Think Factory for the tip) reports on more of the perhaps not non-existent gambling problem of Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca. The story by T.J. Quinn states that on two occasions bookies have sent people to "ask" Lo Duca make good on his gambling debts.

I'm assuming people in this profession ask differently than I would.

Even the Gray Lady is reporting on the story now.

All this story needs now is Rick Tocchet and Janet Jones Gretzky.

Baerga's retirement official
2006-08-11 15:18
by Bob Timmermann

Carlos Baerga announced today that his retirement is official. But he hasn't played this year. And I've heard him call games on ESPN Deportes.

And who would have wanted him anyway?

I am going to hold a press conference to announce that I have officially graduated from college. Never mind that that it happened in 1987. I just thought everyone should know.

Time to drag the warning track, not the infield
2006-08-11 09:52
by Bob Timmermann

Curt Schilling of Boston (did you know he was on Boston, just wanted everyone to be on the same page here) tied an American League record by surrendering 10 extra base hits in a game as the Red Sox lost to Kansas City, 5-4. Schilling gave up nine doubles, three of them to Reggie Sanders, and one home run, to Emil Brown.

The last pitcher in the AL to give up 10 extra base hits in a game was Luis Tiant for Cleveland at Fenway Park against Boston on April 18, 1969. In that game, Tiant gave up six doubles and four home runs.

Dale Gear of Washington also gave up 10 extra base hits in a game in 1901, although I don't readily have the date. If you click on Gear's career record, you can see that he didn't really have a fixed position.

And if you want to go way back for the all-time record, George Derby of Buffalo gave up 16 extra base hits in a game in 1883. The Chicago Tribune box score of the game, which took place on July 3, 1883 (Chicago beating Buffalo 31-7) shows Chicago with 14 doubles and two triples in that game. Abner Dalrymple and Cap Anson each had four doubles.

One of Derby's teammates in 1883 was named Tony Suck. The man actually changed his last name to Suck from Zuck. That probably wouldn't happen today.

Derby never pitched in the majors again.

Update - SABR member Trent McCotter believes that Washington's Earl Whitehill gave up 11 extra base hits (10 doubles and a homer) to the Tigers in a game on July 10, 1935.

Liriano possibly out for season
2006-08-11 08:07
by Bob Timmermann

Francisco Liriano has been diagnosed with a mild chronic sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament and weakness and stiffness in his left shoulder that is causing forearm pain.

What does this mean? Ummm.... Beats me.

Twins pitching prospect du jour Matt Garza starts tonight against the Blue Jays.

Friday's possibilities
2006-08-11 07:00
by Bob Timmermann

Thursday saw a few changes in the standings and playoff placements. Minnesota lost to Toronto, 5-0, while Chicago parlayed some mistakes into the Yankees into a 5-4 win. This moved the White Sox back ahead of the Twins in the AL wild card race. The Red Sox continued their slide, losing their fifth straight, falling 5-4 to the Royals in Kansas City.

On Friday, the Twins host the Blue Jays again at 5:10 pm PT (A.J. Burnett vs. Matt Garza in his first major league start). The White Sox host the first place Tigers at 5:35 pm PT (Justin Verlander vs. Jose Contreras).

The Yankees face their nemesis in the Angels at home at 4:05 pm PT (Joe Saunders vs. Cory Lidle). The Red Sox will try to get straightened out at Fenway against Baltimore at 4:05 pm PT (Adam Loewen vs. David Wells).

AL West leading Oakland hosts Tampa Bay at 7:05 pm PT (Scott Kazmir vs. Dan Haren).

In the NL, the Dodgers started the day tied for second, then were tied for first for a few hours, and after defeating Colorado 4-3, Los Angeles moved into first place by a half game over San Diego and Arizona. The wild card leader, Cincinnati, lost to St. Louis 6-1, and have an identical 59-56 record.

The Mets lead the NL East by 14 games and the Cardinals lead the Reds in the Central by 3 1/2 games.

The relevant games in the NL tomorrow:
Cincinnati at Philadelphia, 4:05 pm PT - Kyle Lohse vs. Jon Lieber
San Diego at Houston, 5:05 pm PT - Chan Ho Park vs. Andy Pettite
Florida at Arizona, 6:40 pm PT - Josh Johnson vs. Livan Hernandez (1st start for Arizona)
San Francisco at Los Angeles, 7:40 pm PT - Noah Lowry vs. Mark Hendrickson.

If the Dodgers and Reds win, the playoff slots remain the same as they are now.

Other permutations:
Dodgers, Padres, Diamondbacks win, Reds lose - LA leads West, San Diego and Arizona tie for wild card
Dodgers, Padres win, Diamondbacks and Reds lose - LA leads West, San Diego is the wild card
Padres, Diamondbacks, and Reds win, Dodgers lose - San Diego and Arizona tie for West lead, Cincinnati is wild card
Padres and Diamondbacks win, Reds and Dodgers lose - San Diego and Arizona would share West lead and wild card lead. Arizona leads the season series 5-1.
Padres win, Diamondbacks, Reds, and Dodgers lose - San Diego leads West, LA and Cincinnati are tied for wild card.
Diamondbacks win, Padres, Dodgers, and Reds lose - Arizona leads West, LA and Cincinnati are tied for wild card.
All four teams lose - You do the math.

I don't think I can keep doing this for two months. Somebody go on a winning streak! Oh wait, somebody did. Never mind. Somebody go on a losing streak. Oh wait, they're all doing that.

Random Game Callback, August 11, 1877
2006-08-11 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

The Louisville Grays appeared to be on their way to winning the National League pennant after taking advantage of 12 errors by defending champion Chicago in a 7-5 win at Chicago's 23rd Street Park. But it could have been 7-6. But it was probably 7-5. Trust me on this.

It wasn't hard in this era to pick starting pitchers. The league had just six teams and played a 60-game schedule. Louisville, managed by Jack Chapman, used the same starter for every game, Jim Devlin. Chicago was led by player-manager Al Spalding, who was in the process of getting out of onfield action and no longer pitched. Spalding played second base this day and used George Bradley at pitcher.

The game was quiet for the first seven innings with Chicago scoring the only run during that time in the sixth on a double by third baseman Cap Anson and then an error by Louisville third baseman Bill Hague. Then the game got a little weird.

Chicago had opted to bat first, which was not unusual for this era, and in the top of the eighth, Chicago scored one run, although the Chicago Tribune box score lists two runs as being scored. The game story says there was just one and only five individual runs show up in the box score.

But in the bottom of the eighth, Louisville strung together four hits and then two errors and a passed ball and scored five times to go up 5-2. Or maybe 5-3.

It was probably 5-2 as the Tribune story now reports that Chicago needed three runs to tie. With two outs and no one, Spalding, center fielder Dave Eggler, and Bradley all singled to load the bases for first baseman John Glenn. Glenn got a hold of a Devlin pitch and doubled to right center to clear the bases and tie the game at 5-5. Or maybe put Chicago up 6-5.

In the bottom of the ninth, with one out, Devlin and right fielder Orator Shafer both reached on errors. Second baseman Joe Gerhardt singled to scored Devlin and shortstop singled to score Shafer to make the final score 7-5. Or was it 7-6. Because why would Louisville had to have scored twice in the ninth if the game was tied? Well, Louisville scored twice because in 1877, you kept playing until all nine innings were over. It didn't matter if the team batting last was already ahead. You played the game until it was over. So Chicago had to stay out there to try to get the last out even though they had already lost. Try selling that to the public now.

The unnamed Tribune correspondent was not a happy man to begin with. He found people who weren't members of the press in the reporters stand. He was unhappy. These interlopers were openly rooting against Louisville.

One of these men, when Snyder was hit in the face by a ball, sang out quite loudly "I'm glad of it," and then added with an oath, "it serves him right." ----- a sentiment too brutal and low-lived to pass without rebuke. If the TRIBUNE reporter knew the man's name, he would print it.

So, there is your challenge. Find out the name of this guy from 129 years ago. Tell the Chicago Tribune. Have this man's family name dragged through the mud! Justice must be served!

The Tribune also speculated that Louisville's four-game lead in the NL over Boston with 21 games left would easily hold up. The pennant was bound for Kentucky.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the pennant. After playing one more game in Chicago, Louisville went on an East Coast trip to play Boston and Hartford (which really played in Brooklyn). And Louisville lost eight straight games. Then Louisville had a five game series against last place Cincinnati with three on the road and two at home. And Cincinnati won three of the five. Boston would lose just one game down the stretch and won the pennant by seven games.

As it turned out, Louisville didn't go in to a slide because they didn't like the East Coast. It turned out that much of the team was on the take. Devlin, Al Nichols, George Hall, and Bill Craver were all found guilty of throwing games and suspended for life. Louisville was booted out of the NL as well.

Chicago, which won the pennant in 1876, finished in fifth place with a 26-33 record. Ross Barnes, who had led the NL in batting average in 1876 at .429, played in just 22 games as he was slowed by illness and a change in the rules. Barnes was a practitioner of the "fair-foul" hit. Under the rules in place in 1876, a batted ball was fair if it first hit the ground in fair territory. Barnes was able to chop down on the ball and get it to hit in front of the plate and then spin wildly out of play. The rule was changed the following year to more closely resemble today's rules. Barnes sat out the 1878 and 1880 seasons and retired after playing for Boston in 1881.

Although Spalding couldn't manage Chicago to a pennant, he would leave the field and go into business and become really, really, really, really, really rich.

Sources: Retrosheet,, Chicago Tribune

2006-08-10 15:15
by Bob Timmermann

In this Washington Times, reader Sam DC points out this passage:

With 49 games to go, no National has pitched a complete game. Neither have the Chicago Cubs' pitchers. No team in major league history has gone through an entire season without one.

And the Cubs didn't have a complete game either today.

There have been five teams that had just one complete game and it's been one team in each of the last five seasons.

2001 - Tampa Bay - Albie Lopez had a 2-0 shutout against Baltimore on April 13.

2002 - Colorado - Denny Neagle went 8 innings, but the Rockies lost in San Diego, 2-0 on August 30.

2003 - Houston - Wade Miller threw a 2-hitter in a 9-1 win at Chicago on May 30.

2004 - New York Yankees - Mike Mussina went 8 innings in a 4-3 loss to the White Sox in Chicago on April 22. Despite the lack of complete games, the 2004 Yankees still managed to scrape out 101 wins.

2005 - Tampa Bay - Mark Hendrickson on the penultimate day of the season, October 1, lost a 4-3 decision to the Orioles at home.

Cleveland leads the majors in complete games with 8. Arizona and Cincinnati lead the NL with 6. Five teams have just one complete game: Boston, Kansas City, Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburgh, and Minnesota.

What makes up a memory?
2006-08-10 07:00
by Bob Timmermann

Although it doesn't seem like it was a long time ago to me, back in October of 1977, I experienced a bitter disappointment. The Dodgers had made it to the World Series. I was excited beyond belief. Even though the Dodgers had been in the World Series in 1974, for some reason, I really wanted to go to this one in person.

The tickets were going to be sold through one of the predecessors of Ticketmaster, an outlet called Ticketron. People wanting tickets had to go line up outside a Ticketron facility on a Sunday and then come back the next day to purchase the seats. I'm not quite sure how the whole process was supposed to work, but I always figured that there was a healthy amount of graft involved. One of my mom's friends drove my brother Tom and I down to a May Company store at the Topanga Plaza mall, where we got in to a queue of sorts and wrote down our names to put us on a waiting list. Except that I wasn't going to be there on Monday to buy the tickets since I had to go to school, but I had arranged people to get them for me the next day.

After school that Monday, I tore home to find out which tickets had been purchased for me. But as it turned out, there were no tickets to be had. All the available seats for the three scheduled games were sold out before our names were called.

I was beside myself. I wanted to go to the World Series so badly. Why was it so hard to get a ticket? Why did the Dodgers make it nearly impossible to get a seat? These questions weren't easy to answer for an 11-year old.

My mom took me aside and told me a story that night. It was about her World Series experience. It was 33 years earlier.

Continue reading...

Thursday's doings
2006-08-10 06:00
by Bob Timmermann

The Twins took over the checkered jersey, emblematic of wild card supremacy. Or perhaps wild card adequacy.

The Twins have a half-game edge on the White Sox and 1 1/2 games on the Red Sox.

Minnesota plays at home against Toronto at 5:10 pm PT (Ted Lilly vs. Carlos Silva). The White Sox host the Yankees at 5:05 pm PT (Mike Mussina vs. Javier Vazquez). The Red Sox, who have lost four straight games against Tampa Bay and Kansas City, play at Kansas City again at 5:10 pm PT (Curt Schilling vs. Runelvys Hernandez).

Ahh, the NL. It's so much fun. The Cardinals have seen their edge in the division against current wild card leader Cincinnati shrink to 2 1/2 games. The two teams finish a four game series at 9:35 am PT in Cincinnati (Anthony Reyes vs. Bronson Arroyo).

The Padres lead the Dodgers and Diamondbacks by a 1/2 game in the West. The Padres finish a three-game series in New York at 9:10 am PT (Chris Young vs. Orlando Hernandez). The Dodgers, who saw their 11-game winning streak snapped Wednesday, finish up a four game set against the Rockies at 7:10 pm PT (Jason Jennings vs. Chad Billingsley). The Diamondbacks have the day off.

So at the end of the day Thursday, Arizona could be tied for first. Or tied for second. Or in second by themselves. The Dodgers could be in first place in the West. Or tied with the Reds for the wild card. Or they could be in third place. The NL is likely to stay this way until the end of the season.

Random Game Callback, August 10, 1924
2006-08-10 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

The Washington Senators finished up a 17-game road trip with a 7-10 record after beating the Chicago White Sox 4-2 before a crowd of about 20,000 at Comiskey Park. The normally woebegone Senators were in third place two games behind Detroit and New York who were in a virtual tie for first.

Washington was being managed by shortstop Bucky Harris, who was a mere 27 years old in 1924. Harris started George Mogridge. The White Sox were under the direction of Johnny Evers, who was managing the team for the second time in the season. Frank Chance originally was supposed to manage the team, but he never took over because of poor health and he would pass away during the season. Evers started as acting manager, then he gave way to Ed Walsh and then to Eddie Collins, before taking over again on June 19. Mike Cvengros was the starting pitcher for the White Sox.

The game marked the debut of center fielder Earl McNeely, whom the Senators had just picked up from Sacramento of the PCL. Washigton owner Clark Griffith sent popular outfielder Wid Matthews to Sacramento as compensation. This move would not sit well with Washington fans at the time, although it would be forgotten in time as we shall see.

Both teams scored in the first inning. With one out, Harris tripled and scored on a double by right fielder Sam Rice. Chicago got a run back in the bottom of the inning. Center fielder Johnny Mostil led off with a double to right. Right fielder Harry Hooper sacrificed Mostil over. Collins drew a walk and then Mostil scored when Mogridge couldn't turn first baseman Earl Sheely's grounder into a double play.

In the fourth, Harris led off with a walk, but was doubled off when Hooper made a running catch of a long drive by Rice. McNeely came through with a double and scored on a single by first baseman Joe Judge.

Washington had a chance to add to the lead in the fifth, when catcher Muddy Ruel doubled and went to third on a sacrifice. With Mogridge batting, Harris called for a 2-strike squeeze play. But Mogridge missed the pitch and struck out and Ruel was caught stealing.

In the ninth, Chicago brought in Sarge Connally to pitch. Judge greeted him with a double and the Connally followed with a wild pitch that went all the way into the stands and Judge scored. Second baseman Ossie Bluege walked, stole second, moved to third on a ground out and then scored on an infield hit by Mogridge.

Chicago had a rally in the bottom of the ninth. Hooper singled and scored on a triple by Collins. Sheely drew a walk, but Mogridge got the next two batters to end the game.

Washington would spend much of September on the road, but on the later trips they played well and managed to win their first ever AL pennant with a 92-62 record, two games better than the Yankees. The Senators would defeat the Giants in a thrilling seven-game World Series, winning the final game in 12 innings when McNeely hit a bad hop double over the head of Giants third baseman to score Ruel with the championship run.

Because they played in cavernous Griffith Stadium, the Senators managed to hit just 22 home runs all season. But they hit five in the World Series, thanks in part to some temporary stands installed for the World Series. Left fielder Goose Goslin led the team with 12 home runs. Babe Ruth led the AL with 46.

Although Harris received a good share of the plaudits for leading Washington to the title, nearly everyone felt happy for Washington's long time pitching ace, Walter Johnson. The 36-year old right hander was in his 18th season and he sported a 23-7 record with a 2.72 ERA with 158 strikeouts, all of which led the AL. Washington also had one of baseball's first relief aces, Firpo Marberry. He appeared in 50 games, but only 15 as a starter and he went 11-12 with a 3.09 ERA and was retroactively credited with 15 saves.

The White Sox would finish in last place at 66-87, one half game behind Boston who played an extra game. Collins would take over as manager in 1925 and make the team respectable for two seasons, but would rejoin his old boss Connie Mack in Philadelphia in 1927.

Washington would win pennants again in 1925 and 1933, but would never win the World Series again. The franchise went without a World Series title until the Minnesota Twins won the 1987 World Series.

Sources: Washington Post, Retrosheet,

Floyd goes on DL, Liriano officially does Thursday
2006-08-09 22:40
by Bob Timmermann

Cliff Floyd has gone on the DL for the 10th time in his career. When you go on the DL 12 times, you get a choice of a free sandwich at Subway or a Frappucino at Starbucks. The Mets have resurrected the body of Michael Tucker to take his spot.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Tuesday that he was "99.99% certain" that Francisco Liriano would go on the DL. The Twins will use that .01% Thursday and put Liriano on the DL and recalled Boof Bonser to take Liriano's roster spot.

Tejada's consecutive game streak in jeopardy?
2006-08-09 12:20
by Bob Timmermann

No, Tejada isn't hurt, but after striking out in the 8th inning today in Toronto, Tejada gave a "special" salute to some hecklers in the Rogers Centre crowd. Tejada was able to perform this task by extending one finger and curling back three others.

It really doesn't take much dexterity.

Wayne Krivsky continues to pick up spare parts off the scrap heap
2006-08-09 10:57
by Bob Timmermann

Fresh on the heels of picking up Ryan Franklin from the Phillies, the Reds have acquired Todd Hollandsworth from Cleveland.

Franklin Gutierrez was called up from AAA to take Hollandsworth's spot on the roster for Cleveland.

The confluence of great events
2006-08-09 10:35
by Bob Timmermann

August 10, 1971: Sixteen baseball historians gather in Cooperstown and form the Society for American Baseball Research (better known as SABR today).

Meanwhile in Chicago, the Fasano family welcomes baby Salvatore Frank into the family.

Coincidence? I think not.

According to SABR executive director John Zajc, there are 7,040 members of SABR today. And now Sal Fasano wears Yankee pinstripes.

What a country!

Hirsh to get callup for Astros Saturday
2006-08-09 09:57
by Bob Timmermann

Jason Hirsh, a 6'8", 250 lb righthander who has been dominating in AAA, will start for Houston Saturday against San Diego.

At AAA Round Rock, Hirsh has gone 13-2 with a 2.13 ERA. He has struck out 116 in 135 1/3 innings.

The Astros are presently 54-58, which puts them 3 1/2 games behind the Dodgers and Reds for the wild card. The Astros don't play the Dodgers again, but have six games left against the Reds.

Wednesday's battles for playoff spots
2006-08-09 09:11
by Bob Timmermann

The AL wild card spot is still a three-way battle, but the order of the participants has changed as the Twins (66-46) have moved a half game up on the Red Sox (65-46) and a half game behind the White Sox (66-45).

The Twins play first at Detroit (4:10 pm PT Johan Santana vs. Jeremy Bonderman). The White Sox start at 5:05 pm PT at Kansas City (Randy Johnson vs. the pride of John F. Kennedy High, Jon Garland). The Red Sox, who have dropped four of their last five to the likes of Cleveland, Tampa Bay, and Kansas City will give it another shot at 5:10 pm PT. (Josh Beckett vs. All-star Mark Redman).

The NL could see a new leader in the NL West and a new team in the wild card spot. Or the same teams. Or a slightly different combination.

The Padres (58-54) lead the Dodgers (58-55) by a half game in the NL West. The Reds are tied for the Dodgers for the wild card at 58-55.

The Padres and Reds both start at the same time. San Diego will be at NL East leader New York in a 4:10 pm PT game (Clay Hensley vs. Pedro Martinez). NL Central leader St. Louis will be at Cincinnati in another 4:10 pm PT game (Chris Carpenter vs. Aaron Harang). The Dodgers will host the Rockies at 7:10 pm PT in hopes of winning their 12th straight game (Jeff Francis vs. Derek Lowe).

The Dodgers have not won 12 straight games since April 24-May 7, 1976. That stretch brought their record from 3-9 to 15-9.

And to complete the tour of division leaders, the team with the longest winning streak in the AL, Oakland, six games, leads the West by 3 games over the Angels. Oakland will host a matinee (12:35 pm PT) against the Rangers with Barry Zito facing Vicente Padilla. Oakland's 7-6 win last night ended on the rare 2 UDP as Mark DeRosa struck out and interfered with catcher Jason Kendall trying to throw out Jerry Hairston, who was trying to steal. Under scoring rules, that's not counted as caught stealing, but rather an unassisted putout for the catcher. For a runner, who is standing about 127 feet away.

Federal court rules in favor of fantasy leagues against MLB
2006-08-09 08:57
by Bob Timmermann

U.S. District Court Judge Mary Ann Meidler of St. Louis ruled that fantasy leagues do have the right to use the names and statistics of actual players without a licensing agreement. Judge Meidler ruled that the names and statistics are not the intellectual property of Major League Baseball.

Link to full text of opinion at Maury Brown's site.

Thanks to several people who suggested I post this story or one like it.

Random Game Callback, August 9, 1879
2006-08-09 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

Chicago committed 13 errors and gave up 15 hits as they dropped an 11-6 decision to Cincinnati before a crowd of about 1,000 people at Cincinnati's Avenue Grounds.

Cap Anson had taken over as player-manager of Chicago in the 1879, although he sat out this game. Terry Larkin was Chicago's starting pitcher. Cincinnati was piloted by first baseman Cal McVey, who had replaced Deacon White as the team captain (and essentially manager) earlier in the season. Will White, who started all but four of Cincinnati's game, started this one too.

Chicago's defensive problems all started when catcher Silver Flint hurt his thumb in the second inning and could not continue behind the plate. But without free substitution, Anson had to move around his players. So Flint went to center field and third baseman Ned Williamson went into catch. Right fielder Orator Shafer moved to third base. Center fielder George Gore moved to right field. As it ended up, nobody seemed comfortable in their new positions as every Chicago player, but one, Flint, made an error. Shaffer and Williamson each made three. Shaffer only handled one ball cleanly that was hit to him all game.

In the fourth inning, Chicago first baseman Jack Remsen and shortstop John Peters made errors and that would lead to six runs for Cincinnati and a 7-0 lead and the game was never in doubt after that.

An embarrassing moment for Chicago (unlike the 13 errors) came in the eighth. Cincinnati third baseman King Kelly hit a ball into the gap and tried for a double. The throw in to Chicago's Joe Quest appeared to be in time and Kelly took a wide path to the base to avoid the tag. The umpire ruled Kelly safe although Chicago argued that Kelly was out of the basepaths. However, no one called time while Chicago was arguing so Kelly ran the remaining 180 feet around the bases. Chicago had a play at home, but Larkin, the only man awake on the play, dropped the throw and Kelly scored.

On this day, Chicago still held a 2 1/2 game lead on Providence and was hoping to notch its second NL pennant to go along with the win in 1876. But Anson was not able to finish out the season as he we felled by a liver ailment. Then Larkin hurt his arm and Chicago fell apart down the stretch, going 8-9 in August and 4-12 in September. Providence would win its first NL pennant with a 59-25 record, five games better than Boston. Chicago finished in fourth, 10 1/2 games out, although under the convention of the time, Chicago would have tied for third since it had an equal number of wins as third place Buffalo. Cincinnati finished fifth at 43-37.

Kelly, a brash 21-year old, had a breakout season in his second year. He batted .348, third best in the league and slugged .493, third best also. Kelly would go on to play 16 seasons and is, along with Anson, one of the few recognizable names from the 19th Century for fans of baseball today. In 1880, Kelly would leave Cincinnati and join Chicago and lead them to the pennant.

There were two Whites on the Cincinnati team. In addition to Will, there was catcher Deacon White, who finished fifth in the league in batting average at .330. The pitcher White set a major league record by pitching 680 innings of ball in one season.

Sources: Retrosheet,, Chicago Tribune

The Majewski Affair, oh what a tangled web we weave ...
2006-08-08 21:15
by Bob Timmermann

The Reds had to put newly acquired reliever Gary Majewski on the disabled list with a sore shoulder. But now Reds GM Wayne Krivsky is looking into the possiblility that there may have been shenanigans on the part of Washignton GM Jim Bowden.

Here's a summary of the events from Capitol Punishment.

I really think that the Reds should have been suspicious when Majewski came to Cincinnati with a Mike Sirotka model glove.

A Mets catcher tradition
2006-08-08 18:28
by Bob Timmermann

Like Mike Piazza holding a press conference to announce that he wasn't gay, Paul Lo Duca had to hold one to say that he didn't have a gambling problem.

I remember when Jerry Grote once held a press conference to announce that he didn't shoot a man in Reno just to watch him die.

Duffy Dyer held a press conference once to announce that he wasn't a member of the Symbionese Liberation Army.

Ron Hodges held a press conference to announce that he was not going to be a candidate for president in 1984.

Get your Royals playoff tickets now!
2006-08-08 17:11
by Bob Timmermann

Mike Sweeney has been activated from the 60-day DL!

"Mike is back," manager Buddy Bell said. "It is nice. I haven't been able to write him in the lineup for a while."

Bell said he plans to give Sweeney a day or two off now and then to rest him.

Sunday, Schmunday says Little League
2006-08-08 14:44
by Bob Timmermann

Via LA Observed, comes the story of the Snow Canyon Little League team of Utah that has had to forfeit an upcoming game in the Western Regional of the Little League World Series beceause the predominantly Mormon team would not play a game on Sunday.

"This is consistent with what Little League always does,'' Western Regional director Jim Gerstenslager said. "The problem with (accommodating Utah) is that it opens up a can of worms, where maybe you have a team with Seventh-Day Adventists and they can't play on Saturday or another religion can't play some other day. We have to draw the line somewhere.''

Liriano ailing, Garza called up
2006-08-08 12:14
by Bob Timmermann

Twins pitching senstation Francisco Liriano was not yet put on the 15-day Disabled List with an undiagnosed problem with his left elbow.

The Twins #1 pick in 2005, righthander Matt Garza, has been called up from AAA Rochester.

At Rochester, Garza was 3-1 with a 1.85 ERA and 33 strikeouts in five starts. In his minor league career, Garza is 18-8 with a 2.73 ERA.

The Twins are 1/2 game behind both Chicago and Boston in the AL wild card standings.

Mike Smith was sent down to the minors

Headline and story have been corrected.

More Elden Auker remembrances
2006-08-08 11:37
by Bob Timmermann

Elden Auker, who passed away last Friday at age 95, will be buried Wednesday in Vero Beach, Florida.

The Detroit Free Press has an excerpt of one of the last interviews Auker gave, from earlier in the year.

There's also a remembrance of him in Florida Today.

Auker pitched in two World Series, 1934 and 1935, going head-to-head with the likes of legends such as Dizzy Dean. The first time Ronald Reagan broadcast a World Series baseball game, he interviewed Auker before and afterward, a tidbit Auker had forgotten until he saw Reagan years later, when Reagan was California's governor.

The men met at a function, and Auker was taken aback at how excited the future president was to see him.

"Elden Auker, my God, boy am I glad to see you," Reagan said. "You probably don't remember me, but I remember you."

Reagan then described every detail of a 1935 World Series game Auker pitched in, asking Auker if he remembered the young reporter who interviewed him.

"Not particularly," Auker told him.

"I was the guy," Reagan said. "The Chicago Cubs selected me as their official announcer for the World Series. It was my first big break, and a few years later I ended up in Hollywood."

Tuesday's scenarios (August 8 edition)
2006-08-08 07:00
by Bob Timmermann

Two extra sets of checkered jerseys were passed out last night as the Dodgers caught the Reds for the NL Wild card spot at 57-55, while the Red Sox caught up to the White Sox by simpling watching Chicago lose at home to the Angels. The Red/White Sox are 65-45.

Minnesota had a chance to take over the wild card lead, but lost in Detroit, 9-3. The Twins could take over the spot if they can beat the Tigers in Detroit (4:05 pm PT Brad Radke vs. Nate Robertson) and if the Red Sox lose in Kansas City (5:10 pm PT John Lester vs. Luke Hudson) and the White Sox lose at home to the Yankees (5:05 pm PT Chien-Ming Wang vs. Freddy Garcia).

In the NL, the Dodgers and Reds, as well as the Diamondbacks could all be tied for the wild card at the end of the day.

The Reds host the Cardinals (4:10 pm PT Jason Marquis vs. Eric Milton), the Diamondbacks host the Giants (6:40 pm PT Jamey Wright vs. Juan Cruz), and the Dodgers host the Rockies (7:10 pm PT Greg Maddux vs. Byung-Hyun Kim). The Diamondbacks are a game behind the Reds and Dodgers.

Random Game Callback, August 8, 1884
2006-08-08 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

In a sight that would be bizarre by today's standards, Boston and New York of the National League played to an 8-8 before 2,000 fans at the Polo Grounds in a game that was called after eight innings for reasons that don't seem particularly clear.

Boston and New York were making up an earlier rainout and were playing just a single game, not a series. The National League office forgot to schedule an umpire for this game, so, under the rules of the day, the visiting team was allowed to choose the umpire for the game. And Boston captain Jack Burdock, filling in for John Morrill who was at his father's funeral, and who was also the team's second baseman, chose his backup catcher, Tom Gunning, a 22-year old rookie. New York captain John Ward wasn't pleased with the choice, but he had no recourse.

Both teams had their ace pitchers going, although in this era, teams didn't carry many pitchers anyway. Boston started Charlie Buffinton and New York started Mickey Welch.

New York led 1-0 after one, but in the third, the New York Times account indicated that Gunning was starting to give Boston favorable calls and this allowed Boston to tie the score. Nevertheless, New York scored two in the fourth to lead 3-1.

In the sixth, New York scored three more times against Buffinton and took a commanding 6-1 lead. Then the game started to get weird.

In the top of the seventh, Gunning started to squeeze the strike zone on Welch and forced him to come over the plate with everything and Boston was able to score three runs. Oddly, Welch did not walk anyone. The Times account said that Gunning was feeling pressure from his teammate Burdock, who was "in the worst humor possible, and he pranced around the field and yelled in a manner to believe he was a fit subject for a lunatic asylum..."

But in the bottom of the seventh, New York pushed across two more and Burdock decided to remove Buffinton as pitcher. However, he couldn't take him off the mound, so Buffinton moved over to first base. Shortstop Sam Wise came in to catch, right fielder Bill Crowley moved to short, catcher Mert Hackett went to went to right fielder, and first baseman Mike Hornung came in to pitch. Or did he? Hornung has no record of ever pitching a game in 1884 according to the sources I checked.

Then in the top of the eighth, Boston's bats came through for four more runs to tie the game. And in the bottom of the eighth, New York went out in order.

At this point, according to the Times account, Burdock yelled at Gunning to call the game because of darkness. And so Gunning did. However, there still seemed to plenty of light to play for an inning or two more. The fans at the game stormed the field and went after Gunning. The police were able to get Gunning away, but not before a New York fan slugged him. Ward thought the game was called because New York had the heart of its order coming up in the ninth.

Regardless, the decision stood, an 8-8 tie. The game would have to be replayed. And it was on August 15 and Boston won 3-1.

Boston was just one game out of first behind Providence on this day, but Boston would not repeat its pennant of 1883 and Providence, behind Charley Radbourn's 59-win season, won the pennant by 10 1/2 games. New York finished in fourth place. Providence went 37-9 from August 1 on. Radbourn started 18 consecutive games at one point.

Sources: Retrosheet,, New York Times

More streakiness
2006-08-07 21:59
by Bob Timmermann

Two SABR members, W. Madison McEntire and John Rickert, put together a nice spreadsheet of all teams in the majors that had winning or losing streaks of at least 10 games from 1900 through 2004.

Some of the highlights pointed out to me by Madison were:

  • The Braves never had a 10-game winning steak while in Boston note, from 1900 on

  • The 1999 San Diego Padres have the longest winning streak by a sub-.500 team (14 games!).

  • The 1951 New York Giants are the only team to lose 10+ in a row and even PLAY in the World Series.

  • The 1906 Chicago Cubs are the only team to have four 10+ game winning streaks in one year.

Other things I noticed from the list.

You would expect a team that wins the World Series to have had a 10-game winning streak. But how many have had more than one?

  1. The 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates, 16 and 14 games, the Pirates were 110-42 that season.
  2. The 1939 New York Yankees, 12 and 10 games, the Yankees were 106-45.
  3. The 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers, 10 and 11 games, the Dodgers were 98-55.
  4. The 1969 New York Mets, 11 and 10 games, the Mets were 100-62 and had never won 10 straight before.

The Dodgers, current owners of a 10-game winnning streak, have their first one since May 14-24, 2003. During that stretch, the Dodgers never scored more than 6 runs nor gave up more than 4. They gave up one run seven times during the streak.

Tigers minor leaguer has four homer game
2006-08-07 21:21
by Bob Timmermann

Alexis Gomez of the Toledo Mud Hens (and earlier of the Detroit Tigers) hit four home runs in his team's 15-8 win at Columbus.

Gomez hit two home runs off of Tommy Phelps, one off of Colter Bean, and his fourth came against Jesus Colome.

How waivers really works
2006-08-07 15:29
by Bob Timmermann

Linkmeister passes this along which he found at Baseball Musings.

It should shed some light on any dealings during the month of August.

Livan Hernandez to Arizona
2006-08-07 10:12
by Bob Timmermann

The Diamondbacks acquired pitcher Livan Hernandez from Washington in exchange for minor leaguers Garrett Mock and Matt Chico.

The acquisition of Hernandez restores the "Cuban Defector Named Hernandez" spot on the Arizona pitching staff. Orlando Hernandez was traded to the Mets from Arizona earlier in the year.

Monday's mise en scène
2006-08-07 07:00
by Bob Timmermann

The playoff situation could change again.

The AL Wild Card could see a few changes. The White Sox lead Boston and Minnesota by a half game. Boston has the day off, but Chicago is playing a makeup game against the Angels at home at 4:05 pm PT. Kelvim Escobar will be going for the Angels and Mark Buerhle for the White Sox.

The Twins welcome Francisco Liriano back into the rotation in a game at Detroit starting at 4:05 pm PT. Zach Miner starts for the Tigers.

The NL Wild Card could be in a three-way tie if the Reds lose while the Dodgers and Diamondbacks win. The Reds host the Cardinals in a 4:10 pm PT game with Jeff Weaver facing Elizardo Ramirez. Arizona will be at home against the Giants starting at 6:40 pm PT with Jason Schmidt pitching for the Giants and Enrique Gonzalez for Arizona.

The Dodgers, winners of nine straight, take on Colorado at 7:10 pm PT. Josh Fogg pitches for the Rockies and Brad Penny for the Dodgers.

Kip Wells was scratched from his start for the Rangers in Oakland (7:05 pm PT) and Edinson Volquez will get the start against Esteban Loiaza. Last year, Volquez went by the first name of Edison, but, like all men of sophistication, he found his extra n.

Random Game Callback, August 7, 1905
2006-08-07 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

Cubs pitcher Ed Reulbach threw a 3-hit shutout against the New York Giants as Chicago won 4-0 before a Monday afternoon crowd of 6000 people at Chicago's West Side Grounds.

The fourth place Cubs were under the guidance of player-manager Frank Chance, who had taken over for Frank Selee in July after Selee stepped down because of poor health. The Giants were in first place under manager John McGraw, who had turned around the Giants after taking over the manager's job midway through 1902. The Giants finished in second in 1903 and won the pennant in 1904 with 106 wins. McGraw started Joe McGinnity, aka "The Iron Man."

Center fielder Jimmy Slagle led off the bottom of the first for the Cubs with an infield hit. Right fielder Billy Maloney tried to sacrifice, but McGinnity threw to second in time for the force. Chance, who was the starting first baseman, walked to put two on with one out. Left fielder Jack McCarthy lined a McGinnity pitch down the right field line to score Maloney and Chance went to third and McCarthy had an RBI double. Shortstop Joe Tinker followed with a sacrifice fly to score Chance. Cubs 2, Giants 0 after 1.

In the fourth, Tinker hit a deep drive to center that Mike Donlin of the Giants couldn't flag down. Donlin relayed the ball to shorstop Bill Dahlen who rifled it home in attempt to get Tinker, but his throw was just a fraction of a second too late and Tinker had a home run. Chicago got its other run when second baseman Solly Hoffman doubled and came around to score on a pair of outs in the fourth.

McGinnity did not live up to his nickname in this game as McGraw pinch hit for him in the fifth with Sammy Strang. Hooks Wiltse finished up for the Giants. McGinnity did finish 26 of his 38 starts in 1905 and pitched 338 2/3 innings.

Reulbach baffled the Giants all game, allowing just three hits, one a double by Giants catcher Frank Bowerman. Reulbach also got help from his defense when Tinker started an unusual 6-4-6 double play to get out of a jam caused in part because of an earlier error by Tinker. Just how a 6-4-6 DP was turned is something I'm not sure of. I'm guessing it was a knocked down line drive.

The Giants would still win the NL pennant in 1905 by 9 games over the Pirates. The Giants went 105-48. The Cubs were third at 92-61, 13 games out. The Giants would win the World Series over the Philadelphia A's in five games, with all four wins by the Giants being shutouts. Christy Mathewson had three of them and McGinnity had the other.

Other notable players on the Giants in 1905 were catcher Roger Bresnahan, who would later make it to the Hall of Fame. Also appearing in one game on June 29 was Moonlight Graham, a young medical student from North Carolina who would later move to Minnesota.

The Cubs were missing a few pieces from turning into a contender in 1905. Second baseman Johnny Evers was injured and got in to just 99 games. The Cubs would also acquire outfielder Jimmy Sheckard from Brooklyn in the offseason and he would help the offense. Reulback won 18 games in 1905 with a 1.42 ERA. But Mathewson led the league at 1.28 in addition to having 31 wins and striking out 206.

From 1901-1913, the NL pennant was won by either the Giants, Cubs, or Pirates and in most years, one team won handily except in 1908 when the Cubs edged out the Giants and Pirates by one game in the best pennant race of the 20th Century.

Sources: Chicago Tribune, Retrosheet,

Yes, they call it The Streak!
2006-08-06 22:08
by Bob Timmermann

The Elias Sports Bureau finally figured out which teams, like the Dodgers, have had an eight-game losing streak followed immediately by a winning streak of eight games or more.

The teams are:

1) The 1931 Cubs - Nine game losing streak from 8/30 to 9/7 and then an eight game winning streak from 9/10 to 9/17.

2) The 1949 Red Sox - Eight game losing streak from 6/28 to 7/4 followed by eight game winning streak from 7/5 through 7/14.

3) The 1965 Pirates - Eight game losing streak from 5/12 to 5/20 and then a 12-game winning streak from 5/21 to 6/1.

4) The 1985 Twins - Nine game losing streak from 4/11 through 4/20 then a 10-game winning streak from 4/21 to 5/1.

5) The 2001 Cubs - Eight game losing streak from 5/10 to 5/18 and then a 12-game winning streak from 5/19 to 6/2.

Besides these streaks, these teams all shared one other fate. None of them made the playoffs.

Thanks to John Hill for the tip.

Wright reups with the Mets
2006-08-06 18:27
by Bob Timmermann

The Mets gave third baseman David Wright a 6-year, $55 million contract extension that includes a club option in 2013.

Earlier, the Mets had extended the contract of shortstop Jose Reyes for four years and $23.25 million.

Sunday's scene
2006-08-06 07:39
by Bob Timmermann

There will be only one playoff spot that can change hands Sunday and that will be the AL Wild Card spot. The White Sox reclaimed that spot Saturday from the Red Sox with a win over Toronto while Boston lost at Tampa Bay. The same matchups hold true today. Jose Contreras faces A.J. Burnett at 10:07 am PT in Toronto. The Blue Jays have not won since I saw them play last Friday in Oakland. Since then they've dropped two to the A's, three to the Yankees, and two straight to Chicago and have pretty much fallen out of any playoff contention.

Boston will be at Tropicana Field in a game starting at 10:15 am PT. That will match up Jason Johnson and J.P. Howell. Expect the relievers to get the decision.

The Twins are 1 1/2 games behind the White Sox and will attempt to sweep a four game series in Kansas City and win their eighth consecutive road game. Mike Smith faces Odalis Perez in an 11:10 am PT game.

The Padres have a 2-game edge on the field in the NL West and the Reds have the same lead in the Wild Card race. In each case, Arizona and the Dodgers are the trailing teams with 55-55 records. Starting play Sunday, only four teams in the NL have winning records and they would be the teams in the playoffs. Fortunately, since there aren't any interleague games left, there should end up being a few more winning teams in the NL.

The Cardinals snapped an eight game losing streak Saturday with a 4-3 win over Milwaukee and lead the Reds by 2 1/2 games.

Detroit leads the AL Central by eight and the Mets lead the NL East by twelve. Oakland has quietly crept out to a three-game edge in the AL West.

Random Game Callback, August 6, 1962
2006-08-06 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

The first place New York Yankees saw their lead trimmed to just four games as the upstart Minnesota Twins edged the Bronx Bombers 5-4 before a crowd of 25,282 at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees had won the 1961 pennant with 109 wins under manager Ralph Houk. But in 1962, center fielder Mickey Mantle was troubled by injuries and right fielder Roger Maris dropped from 61 to 33 home runs. Rollie Sheldon got the start for the Yankees. Minnesota, in its first year after moving from Washington went 70-90 under Cookie Lavagetto. Sam Mele took over in 1962. Lefthander Dick Stigman started for the Twins.

Minnesota knocked out Sheldon in the first. With one out, first baseman Vic Power singled. Third baseman Rich Rollins singled Power to second. Left fielder Harmon Killebrew singled to score Power and moved up a base when Mantle misplayed the ball in center. After a walk to right fielder Bob Allison, Houk had seen enough and brought in Bob Turley. Catcher Earl Battey hit a sacrifice fly to score Rollins. Minnesota led 2-0.

The Twins added a run in the second on an RBI ground out by Power, but Yankees catcher Elston Howard picked off Twins center fielder Lenny Green to end the inning.

The Yankees cut the lead to 3-2 in the second when first baseman Bill Skowron homered to left fielder Hector Lopez. The Yankees got two more runners on, but Stigman struck out Maris to end the inning.

Minnesota lengthened its lead in the sixth. Allison led off with a triple and scored on a single by Battey. Second baseman Bernie Allen moved up Battey on a ground out. Shortstop Zoilo Versalles singled and Battey moved up to third. Stigman singled in Battey to make it 5-2 Twins.

The Yankees mounted a rally in the eighth. With one out, Maris homered, his 25th of the season. Mantle followed with a double. Jack Reed pinch ran for the sore-kneed Mantle. Howard doubled to score Reed and it was now 5-4 Twins. Frank Sullivan came in to relieve and he got Lopez to ground out and pinch hitter Yogi Berra to fly out.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Yankees got a runner on when pinch hitter John Blanchard walked, but Sullivan retired shortstop Tom Tresh and second baseman Bobby Richardson to end the game.

Although the Yankees weren't quite as dominant in 1962 as they were the season before, they still won the pennant with a 96-66 record, five games better than the Twins who did improve by 71 games.

Although Mantle played in just 123 games, he still won the MVP award. He finished second in batting average at .321 (Pete Runnels of Boston led at .326). He led in OBP at .486 and slugging at .605. Tresh won the Rookie of the Year award. The Yankees went on to win a taut seven-game World Series over San Francisco, winning Game 7, 1-0.

As for the Twins, Killebrew led the AL in home runs with 48, nine more than second place Norm Cash of Detroit. Killebrew also led in RBI with 126. Twins pitcher Camilo Pascual led the AL in strikeouts with 206. The Twins would finish in third in 1963 and to sixth in 1964, before winning their first pennant in 32 years in 1965.

The Twins big improvement from 1961 to 1962 was due in part to an improved offense. The team OBP and slugging both were among the best in the AL. Eight Twins hitters reached double figures in home runs. The pitching staff's ERA dropped from 4.28 to 3.89. Young lefty Jim Kaat went from 9-17 and 3.90 in 1961 to 18-14 and 3.10 in 1962.

Sources: New York Times, Retrosheet,

Walking, yes indeed the Twins were walking
2006-08-05 19:23
by Bob Timmermann

Tonight in Kansas City, the Minnesota Twins drew 14 walks in their 14-3 win over the Royals.

The 14 walks received by the Twins matched a team record (Minnesota only) for a 9-inning game. The Twins drew 14 walks on May 29, 1963 against Washington and again on September 10, 1976 against the Royals.

The Royals walked 14 batters in a 9 inning game for the third time. In addition to the 1976 game against the Twins and tonight, they also walked 14 Yankees on May 14, 1980.

The major league record for most walks in a 9-inning game is 19 by Louisville against Cleveland on September 21, 1887. That was in the American Association.

The American League record is 18 by Detroit against Philadelphia on May 9, 1916 and by Cleveland against Boston on May 20, 1948.

The National League record is 17 and has been done three times, in 1887, 1903, and 1944.

The most walks received in a game of any length is 20 by Boston against Detroit on September 12, 1920 in a 12 inning game.

Fausto Carmona is having a bad week
2006-08-05 18:45
by Bob Timmermann

Cleveland reliever Fausto Carmona needs to be kept away from sharp objects.

July 31: Carmona comes in to try to close out a win for Cleveland at Fenway Park. But,
- A. Cora singled to left
- K. Youkilis walked, A. Cora to second
- M. Loretta popped out to shortstop
- D. Ortiz homered to deep center, A. Cora and K. Youkilis scored
Final: Boston 9, Cleveland 8

August 2: Eric Wedge tries Carmona again in Boston in the 9th. But,
- W. Pena struck out swinging
- C. Crisp struck out swinging
- D. Mirabelli hit by pitch
- G. Kapler ran for D. Mirabelli
- A. Gonzalez hit by pitch, G. Kapler to second
- K. Youkilis walked, G. Kapler to third, A. Gonzalez to second
- M. Loretta doubled to left, G. Kapler and A. Gonzalez scored, K. Youkilis to third
Final: Boston 6, Cleveland 5

August 5: Wedge sends Carmona out for the 9th in Detroit. But,
- B. Inge reached on bunt single to first
- C. Granderson struck out swinging
- P. Polanco grounded into fielder's choice, B. Inge out at second
- I. Rodriguez homered to deep left, P. Polanco scored
Final: Detroit 4, Cleveland 3

Followup: The Indians were saying the right things after the game about Carmona.

"We just have to take a look at everything," Wedge said. "We still feel like Fausto's got closer's stuff."

Afterward, Carmona said he felt he had been on track but picked a bad time to fall off course.

"I just missed that pitch," Carmona said. "I was feeling good, I was throwing the ball well. I just missed that pitch."

Cleveland's latest setback spoiled starter Paul Byrd's 6 2/3 innings in which he allowed two runs -- one earned -- and picked up his third consecutive no-decision. Byrd last won a 7-6 decision over the Angels on July 19.

Byrd did not blame Carmona, however. After all, Byrd surrendered seven runs on 10 hits in the three innings he pitched on July 25.

"[Carmona's] been pitching great for what three months now?" Byrd said. "There's not a lot of 22-year-olds that pitch up here but he is. I've been around for over 10 years and played since '91 and my [previous] two outings [were] disastrous. You gotta pick yourself up."

Because Byrd has been in similar circumstances, he had an idea how to reassure the Indians closer.

"I told Fausto that he's going to be fine," Byrd said. "If you can't deal with failure in this game, you don't stick around very long so you give it your best, you hold your head high and just wake up in the morning and come back to work."

Based on Carmona's overall performance this season, Byrd believes good things are still to come for the closer.

"He's going to be fine," Byrd said. "He has too good of stuff and is too good of a competitor to not be able to get guys out over the long haul. I like his aggressiveness too. He goes right after it."

Guerrero's Texas hitting streak ends
2006-08-05 16:50
by Bob Timmermann

Vladimir Guerrero, who had a hit in each of the first 44 games he had played against the Texas Rangers, went hitless today in the Angels 10-3 win over the Rangers in Anaheim today.

Guerrero walked his first four times up, three times intentionally, and then flied out in his final at bat.

Starting in center field for Atlanta today ...
2006-08-05 10:14
by Bob Timmermann

Is Andruw Jones.

Gameday lineup.

So, he isn't going anywhere. Sorry fans of the Cubs/Astros/White Sox/Twins/Red Sox.

Tigers sign Miller, aim for September callup
2006-08-05 10:08
by Bob Timmermann

The Detroit Tigers, presently eight games ahead of the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central, signed first round draft pick Andrew Miller of North Carolina.

Miller reportedly received a signing bonus of $5.4 million and a four year, $7 million contract.

The Tigers hope to get Miller ready to be a September callup.

The biggest contract signed by a drafted player this year was not by Miller or #1 pick Luke Hochevar of the Royals. The Cubs signed Notre Dame's Jeff Samardzija to a four year, $7.25 million contract.

"Samardzija" is a Polish name meaning "use cut and paste."

Saturday's scenarios
2006-08-05 07:00
by Bob Timmermann

The National League continues to be a mess. But an interesting one.

San Diego leads Arizona by one game in the NL West. They could tie at 56-54, although the DBacks will be starting Dustin Nippert, filling for an injured Brandon Webb, against Roger Clemens. That game is scheduled to start at 6:40 pm PT. The Padres play Washington at 7:05 pm PT with Mike Thompson going for San Diego against the Nats' Pedro Astacio.

Cincinnati has the wild card to itself right now and faces the Braves at 10:20 am PT. Jason Shiell vs. Bronson Arroyo.

The NL Central leading Cardinals have lost eight straight and will hope that Anthony Reyes can stop the downward spiral against Milwaukee's Ben Sheets. That game is scheduled to start at 4:15 pm PT.

Here is the Cardinals pattern of wins and losses since the All-Star Break:

This is the Dodgers pattern over the same stretch:

And don't forget the streaky Giants too:
During this stretch, the Giants were actually in first place on July 22. They are now in fifth.

As for the league where teams are actually good, the American League, there are three teams at .600 or better: Detroit, New York, and Boston. Chicago is at .598.

The Yankees will still be ahead in the AL East, win or lose Saturday. The Red Sox will need to win a pitching battle of the ages against Tampa Bay to hold on to the wild card spot as David Wells will be taking on Casey Fossum at 4:15 pm PT. The White Sox are in Toronto for a 1:07 pm PT game featuring Javier Vazquez and Francisco Rosario.

Random Game Callback, August 5, 1969
2006-08-05 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

The New York Mets started a pair of pitchers who would end up in the Hall of Fame, Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan, in a doubleheader against the Cincinnati Reds before 31,062 fans at Crosley Field, but all they got was a split, losing the opener 8-5 as Seaver left early with shoulder pain, but winning the nightcap, 10-1.

The split left the surprsing Mets eight games out of first place behind the Cubs. The Reds fell out of first and fell all the way to third as San Francisco swept a doubleheader in Philadelphia. Atlanta moved up from third to second in the tight NL West where the top five teams were separated by four games. The Braves swept a doubleheader in Montreal.

Seaver, who said after the game that he had been troubled by pain in his right shoulder for about a month was in a stretch where he would lose four out of his five starts, although his ERA would hold fairly steady.

The Reds needed just two batters to take the lead. Right fielder Pete Rose led off with a single and center fielder Bobby Tolan homered to give the Reds a 2-0 lead.

Rose homered in the third to make it 3-0 and Tolan scored another run after singling, stealing second, and coming home on a double by third baseman Tony Perez.

Right fielder Art Shamsky got the Mets close with a 2-run homer in the fourth, but Seaver could not answer the bell in the bottom of the fourth as his shoulder hurt too much and Cal Koonce relieved.

Rose caused more troubles for the Mets in the fifth when he led off with a double. Tolan doubled to score Rose and then came around to score on a single from right fielder Alex Johnson.

In the seventh, Tolan doubled to left and scored on a Perez homer off of Jack DiLauro to make it 8-2 Reds.

The Mets made a rally against Cincinnati starting pitcher Gary Nolan in the eighth. Third baseman Bobby Pfeil doubled and left fielder Cleon Jones drove him home with a single. Shamsky followed with a single and Jones went to third. Reds manager Dave Bristol brought in Clay Carroll. Second baseman Wayne Garrett greeted him with a hit that scored two, but that would be all the scoring in the first game.

In the nightcap, Mets manager Gil Hodges turned to his young fireballer Ryan who was going to be leaving the team soon to serve a two-week stint in the Texas National Guard. Tolan was serving in the National Guard in Pennsylvania, but he was given leave to play fairly frequently. Gerry Arrigo would start Game 2 for the Reds.

The Mets didn't waste much time putting one way. The Mets scored a run in the second when catcher Jerry Grote singled to score first baseman Donn Clendenon. The Mets then scored eight times in the third against Arrigo and reliever Pedro Ramos. Clendenon hit a 3-run homer and right fielder Ron Swoboda, third baseman Ed Charles, and Pfeil (at second base in this game) all had doubles.

An RBI double by Perez in the fourth was Cincinnati's only run. Center fielder Tommie Agee homered for the final run of the game in the fifth.

The Mets rallied to win the NL East by 8 games over the Cubs as the Mets surged and the Cubs swan dived. Seaver's shoulder would stop aching and he won the Cy Young Award with a 25-7 record, 2.21 ERA and 208 strikeouts.

The Reds finished third in the NL West, four games behind the Braves. Each team in the NL West, with the exception of expansion team San Diego, took a turn at the top and the Braves were able to put together a final surge to win the division. The Mets would go on to beat the Braves in three games to win the NLCS and then the Mets would upset the Orioles in five games to win the World Series.

The young Mets, with stars like Seaver, Ryan, and Jerry Koosman, looked they could string together several more titles, but 1969 turned out to be a mirage and the Mets would would manage to make just one more trip to the World Series with most of this team, and that was in 1973 when the Mets won just 82 games.

The Reds, on the other hand, fired Bristol at the end of the year and hired San Diego's third base coach, Sparky Anderson as manager. And under Anderson, Cincinnati turned into the Big Red Machine and would dominate the NL through 1976.

When their careers ended, Ryan and Seaver would have a combined 635 wins and 9354 strikeouts.

Sources: New York Times, Retrosheet,

Just in time for the pennant race, Nats TV!
2006-08-04 19:34
by Bob Timmermann

Comcast has finally agreed to show Nationals game in the D.C. area starting in September.

In the Washington D.C. area, September is normally devoted to people worrying about what Joe Gibbs is up to. But I'm sure that the allure of watching the Nationals duke it out with the Braves for fourth place in the NL East will keeps fan glued to their TVs.

And it's all over for Utley
2006-08-04 19:29
by Bob Timmermann

The hitting streak ends at 35 games for Chase Utley tonight at Shea Stadium.

1st inning - Strike out against Orlando Hernandez
3rd inning - Fly out to center
5th inning - Fly out to center
7th inning - Ground out to second against Darren Oliver
9th inning - Strike out against Pedro Feliciano

The Phillies won the game 5-3. They have won 8 of their last 9 games.

At last! He finally gets his little ball
2006-08-04 19:25
by Bob Timmermann

ABC announced that Joe Morgan will call the championship game of the Little League World Series along with Brent Musburger.

"You see, you need a pitcher who can give you seven strong innings, Brent."
"But Joe, the game is just six innings long."
"Well, in my day, the good pitchers went nine."
"But they stop after six."
"Anyway, these kids know how to play the game right. They can hit the ball the other way. They can steal bases."
"Well, actually they really can't steal bases that easily because you can't take a lead off in Little League..."

Elden Auker, 1910-2006
2006-08-04 18:45
by Bob Timmermann

Elden Auker, the last man alive who had pitched to Babe Ruth, passed away today in Vero Beach, Florida, at age 95.

Auker pitched 10 seasons in the majors for the Tigers, Red Sox, and Browns.

The 6'2" righthander threw with a submarine delivery that was hard for many batters to pick up. Auker developed the delivery after suffering an arm injury playing football at Kansas State University.

I heard Auker speak at the 2000 SABR Convention at West Palm Beach. I was impressed that a man nearing 90 years of age at the time was in such great shape. He looked like he had just walked off of a golf course and had shot under his age.

Auker is survived by his wife Mildred, to whom he was married to for 73 years, and a son, Jim.

Who should pay for a stadium? Hiroshima style
2006-08-04 12:00
by Bob Timmermann

The Washington Post's David Nakamura has a story about the troubles in Hiroshima in building a new baseball stadium for the hometown Carp.

Presently, the Carp play in a small (32,000 seats) bandbox (foul lines are shorter than 300') right across the street from "Ground Zero", called the Peace Park. It's not one of the nicer stadiums in Japan and the Carp struggle for fans because the team tends to be lousy. However, those that show up are fanatically loyal.

Hiroshima is presently in fourth place in the Central League with a 41-49-5 record, 14 1/2 games behind the first place Chunichi Dragons, who place in the immaculately clean Nagoya Dome.

This was my look at Hiroshima's stadium back in 2003.

You can compare it to the the Nagoya Dome.

When I spoke to a Carp official in 2003, he said that the team liked PNC Park as a model of a stadium. While I love PNC Park, it would look odd in Japan in my opinion. But I think the Carp deserve a good stadium.

This is my trip to Koshien Stadium which is the oldest stadium in use among the 12 major league teams in Japan. It's the only one that predates World War II.

Thanks to Sam DC for the pointer.

Is Andruw on the move?
2006-08-04 11:39
by Bob Timmermann

Buster Olney reports on that one team has been awarded a waiver claim on Braves outfielder Andruw Jones.

The Braves can still pull back Jones if they feel the mystery team would not compensate them sufficiently. Jones becomes a "5-and-10" player on August 15 and would then have an automatic no-trade clause in his contract.

Something will happen by Saturday. Or nothing will happen. Although the nothing could be something.

Scenarios for August 4
2006-08-04 09:00
by Bob Timmermann

For the fourth straight day, the Padres, Reds, and Diamondbacks all have the chance to end up with the same record. If San Diego loses at home to Washington, while Cincinnati defeats Atlanta at home and Arizona beats Houston in Phoenix, then all three teams will have 56-53 records.

Despite losing seven straight, the Cardinals still lead the Reds in the Central by 3 1/2 games.

In the AL, the Yankees have pulled ahead of the Red Sox by a game. If the Yankees were to lose at Baltimore while Boston wins at Tampa Bay, then the Yankees lead would go back down to .002.

If the Red Sox lose and the White Sox win at Toronto, the White Sox would move ahead in the wild card race by a half game.

And in hitting streak action, the Phillies and Chase Utley will be in Flushing to take on the Mets. Utley's streak is at 35 games. Orlando Hernandez will be starting for the Mets. Utley is 1 for 2 against him in his career.

Random Game Callback, August 4, 1901
2006-08-04 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

Whether you called them the Cubs, the Orphans, or the Remnants, the Chicago NL team lost this day at its home field, the West Side Grounds, 4-3, to the St. Louis Cardinals, as the Mound City team tallied a pair of runs in the ninth for the win.

By 1901, the once proud Chicago franchise, which had been identified for years with its player-manager Cap Anson, had sunk to the bottom of the NL. Anson was fired after the 1897 season and Tom Burns managed the team for two unsuccessful years and Tom Loftus took over in 1900. Loftus was in the middle of an awful year with Chicago in last place at 35-57. Loftus started his young and erratic lefthander Rube Waddell. The Cardinals, who finished fifth in 1900 for their best NL finish ever, were in third place under manager Patsy Donovan. Righthander Willie Sudhoff started for the Redbirds.

The game was scoreless until the third. With two outs, St. Louis second baseman Dick Padden walked. First baseman Dan McGann then hit a fly ball that landed in between center fielder Danny Green and right fielder Frank Chance and rolled through for a triple to score Padden. Donovan, playing in right field for St. Louis, followed with a double to plate McGann and make it 2-0.

Chicago did all of its scoring in the fifth. With one out, left fielder Topsy Hartsel tripled. Green, Chance, and first baseman Jack Doyle all singled and it was 3-2 Chicago after five innings.

The Cardinals had a chance to tie it in the eighth when Donovan reached third with two outs and catcher Art Nichols up. Donovan, sensing that the lefty Waddell didn't see him (newspaper accounts say Waddell was staring at the seams in the ball), broke for the plate, but Waddell's pitch was outside and it was easy enough for Chicago catcher Mike Kahoe to tag him out to end the inning.

In the ninth, Nichols led off with a walk and Jack Ryan sacrificed him over. What position Ryan played is a mystery as they left him out of the boxscore. It was either catcher or center. This brought up Sudhoff. And since this was 1901, it was not manly to use a pinch hitter. So the .176 hitting Sudhoff dug in to face one of baseball's hardest throwers. But Sudhoff singled to center and Nichols moved up to third. Left fielder Jesse Burkett followed with a single to score Nichols. Then singles by Padden and McGann scored Sudhoff and the Cardinals led 4-3. Sudhoff got the win despite striking out no batters. Waddell struck out six.

Loftus said after the game that he would get Chicago out of last place. And he was a man of his word. Chicago finished 53-86 and in sixth place in the NL, .001 ahead of New York and one game better than last place Cincinnati. St. Louis had their best finish in the NL ever with a 76-64 record and in fourth place, 14 1/2 games behind first place Pittsburgh. Burkett led the NL in batting average at .376 and got on base at a league best .440.

After the 1901 season, Loftus would be replaced by Frank Selee who led Boston to five titles in the 19th Century and he would improve the Cubs and turn them into one of the best teams in the league before retiring because of health reason and allowing Chance to garner the glory for managing the Cubs to three straight NL titles. The Cardinals would regress in the coming seasons and not win an NL flag for 25 seasons.

Of course, no recap of the 1901 season can fail to mention the biggest change to the game: the American League. After opearting as a "minor" league in 1900, the AL went toe to toe with the NL in 1901, including invading NL territory in Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago. In 1902, the AL would move its Milwaukee franchise to St. Louis and in 1903, Baltimore would move to New York. It was time to play ball!

Waddell, after pitching just one year in Chicago, was swooped up by Philadelphia's Connie Mack and he would lead the AL in strikeouts for six straight seasons, including a season with 349 in 1904. Waddell, who likely had some psychiatric or developmental problem, was able to be kept in check by Mack until 1908 when he was sold to the St. Louis Browns. Waddell would pass away in 1914 at the age of 37. For more on the life of Rube Waddell, you can visit

Sources: Chicago Tribune, Retrosheet,

Padilla arrested for DUI
2006-08-03 23:37
by Bob Timmermann

Except it was on July 7.

But the Rangers and their management didn't learn about it until Monday.

Rangers GM Jon Daniels is "reserving judgment."

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department denied any coverup since the arrest took place in Texas.

The Cardinals since the All-Star Break
2006-08-03 20:12
by Bob Timmermann

Against Los Angeles
7 wins
0 losses
35 runs scored
8 runs allowed

Against teams not named Los Angeles
3 wins
10 losses
49 runs scored
90 runs allowed

35 in a row for Utley
2006-08-03 17:25
by Bob Timmermann

Chase Utley had a single in the first inning in St. Louis to extend his hitting streak to 35 games.

What a difference .002 makes, Red Sox pick up Lopez to catch
2006-08-03 15:13
by Bob Timmermann is reporting (from an ESPN Radio station in Boston) that the Red Sox have acquired Javy Lopez on waivers from Baltimore.

The Red Sox will be without Jason Varitek for the next 4-6 weeks.

Waiver claims are made in reverse order of the standings and starting today, the Yankees were .002 ahead of the Red Sox, so they could not block the deal if they wanted to.

Then again, I don't know which day they go by.

But it makes for a nice headline doesn't it?

And the Red Sox already have a pitcher named Javier Lopez.

Hochevar signs with Royals - UPDATE
2006-08-03 12:57
by Bob Timmermann

The #1 pick in the 2006 Free Agent Draft, Luke Hochevar, agreed to terms with the Kansas City Royals.

Hochevar signed a four-year major league contract. Financial details were not immediately available.

The former University of Tennessee pitcher could not reach an agreement with the Dodgers after the 2005 season and was pitching for the Fort Worth Cats.

Update - Reader Craig Brown said that financial details are here and here.

$3.5 million signing bonus. $5.3 million guaranteed. $7 million in incentives.

Just what are waivers?
2006-08-03 11:26
by Bob Timmermann

Keith Law explains the world of waivers for all of us at Baseball Analysts.

Today's scenarios
2006-08-03 09:11
by Bob Timmermann

In the NL, if Arizona and Chicago split their doubleheader and both Cincinnati (against Los Angeles) and San Diego (against Houston) lose OR if Arizona sweeps and Cincinnati and San Diego win, then all three teams will be either: 55-53 or 56-52.

Under the current tiebreaking rule, there would be playoffs to decide all the spots. In the past, the Reds would have been automatically in the playoffs as the division tiebreaker between San Diego and Arizona would have taken preference. Then somebody must have thought, "Why should a team that finished in second place get an advantage over a team that finished first?"

So, now the loser of the divisional playoff would play the team out of the division to decide the wild card. Yes, it wouldn't add up right overall, but it would likely be more fair.

Meanwhile, in the AL East, the Yankees play Toronto while Boston faces Cleveland with the Yankees needing a win to maintain their .002 lead in the division. Although if the Yankees and Red Sox both win, the Yankees lead would increase to .003 with rounding (.60952 to .60747)

Remember, it's hot out there
2006-08-03 09:04
by Bob Timmermann

For those of you venturing out to games in the Midwest and East, watch out for the heat (as if you can't ignore it). This sad story from Boston shows what can happen.

Matheny out for the year
2006-08-03 08:55
by Bob Timmermann

Giants catcher Mike Matheny has not made enough of a recovery from a series of concussions and he will sit out the rest of the season.

"We've gotten enough back to know it's the right decision," Matheny told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "These games wear me out. They wear me out on TV. I get foggy."

And so does even the lightest of physical activity, such as household chores. The Giants thought Matheny might have only inner-ear damage, but tests quickly showed it was a more severe problem.

"This does not mean his career is over," trainer Stan Conte said. "It means we need more time for the symptoms to subside. Every time we have tried to increase his activity, the symptoms have come back. We're not going to put him at risk."

Random Game Callback, August 3, 1979
2006-08-03 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

Most of the attention in baseball this day was on New York, where the Yankees were playing the Orioles one day after the death of Thurman Munson in a plane crash in Ohio. I could have chosen to write about that game, a 1-0 Orioles win, but I don't feel that I could do it justice. If you'd like to read more about Thurman Munson, here is a good place to check.

Instead, I turn to a game that was less emotional, a 4-1 win by the Twins over the Angels at Metropolitan Stadium before a crowd of 30,563.

Jim Fregosi, the manager of the Angels, had his team in first place, but was troubled by injuries to Nolan Ryan (who had a sore elbow) and a case of tonsilitis that forced first baseman Rod Carew to the bench for a few games. Jim Barr was starting for the Angels on the mound. The Twins, managed by Gene Mauch, were just four games out and had veteran lefty Jerry Koosman starting.

The Twins started out well, scoring twice in the first inning. Second baseman Rob Wilfong and center fielder Ken Landreaux singled with one out. Designated hitter Danny Goodwin (the only person to be the #1 pick in the draft twice) doubled to score both men.

In the third, right fielder Hosken Powell tripled to right to lead off. Wilfong then hit a sacrifice fly to score Powell and the Twins led 3-0. Shortstop Roy Smalley homered in the seventh to make it 4-0.

California wasted an opportunity in the second. Left fielder Don Baylor singled and catcher Brian Downing walked. First baseman Joe Rudi reached on an infield hit to load the bases with no outs. But Koosman got second baseman Bobby Grich to strike out and then did the same to DH Merv Rettenmund. Shortstop Jim Anderson flied out to right.

The Angels offense came to life in the eighth. Third baseman Carney Lansford led off with a triple to center and scored on a ground out by right fielder Dan Ford. Baylor and Downing each singled and Mike Marshall came into relieve and got Rudi to ground into a 5-4-3 DP.

In the ninth, Grich got a leadoff single. Carew came up to pinch hit and struck out and pinch hitter Willie Aikens grounded into a double play to end the game.

The Angels were in a stretch where they had lost 10 of 15 games and they would go 11-17 in August. But a 16-11 September would be enough for the Angels to win their first division title. They won just 88 games, but that was three better than Kansas City. The Angels lost to Baltimore in the ALCS in four games. The Twins finished in fourth at 82-80.

Baylor won the MVP award with a .296 average, 36 homers, and 139 RBI. Despite his injury, Ryan still led the AL in strikeouts with 223.

The Twins, who had traded Carew to the Angels in the offseason, had improved by nine wins. Marshall led the AL in saves with 32.

Numerous players in this game played for both the Angels and Twins. In addition to Carew, there was Landreaux, Butch Wynegar, Ron Jackson, Wilfong, Goodwin, Dave Goltz, Geoff Zahn, Ken Brett, Ford, and Brian Harper. Harper made his major league debut in 1979 at age 19. Also, Minnesota manager Gene Mauch would later manage the Angels.

Sources: Retrosheet, Los Angeles Times,

Does baseball need to be straight out of Compton?
2006-08-02 23:44
by Bob Timmermann

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports profiles the Urban Youth Academy established by Major League Baseball in Compton, California.

It's generally a well-written piece except for a few passages.

Passan describes Compton as "hardscrabble." While the city is not wealthy (median family income was around $35,000 in the last Census), Compton is not as much destitute as it is has problems with crime, poor schools, and a city government that is often ethically challenged.

I think this sentence: "Baseball's history in Los Angeles is as big as its current state is bleak." could have been phrased a bit better. The Los Angeles area is producing a lot of great baseball talent. After all, it has a lot of people and has good facilities. It's just that few of those facilities are in Compton or South Los Angeles. In the suburban areas of Los Angeles, baseball is still quite popular.

I wonder what will happen to this academy as time goes on and the area, like much of Metropolitan Los Angeles, becomes increasingly Latino. Will there be the same commitment made to it then?

Oh released from hospital
2006-08-02 21:17
by Bob Timmermann

Japanese home run king and the manager of the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks, Sadaharu Oh, was released from Keio University Hospital after having his stomach removed as part of a cancer operation.

In the linked story from the Mainichi Daily News, Oh mentions that he has lost about 8 kilograms (about 17 1/2 lbs) and is down to 74 kgs (about 163 lbs).

Yes, you can live without a stomach.

Oh is unsure if he will return to managing the Hawks this season. The Hawks are .002 behind the Seibu Lions in the Pacific League. Hiroshi Moriwaki is the acting manager.

Utley reaches 34
2006-08-02 19:59
by Bob Timmermann

Chase Utley beat out a grounder to the pitcher in the 8th inning in St. Louis to extend his hitting streak to 34 games.

But now ... the official scorer is thinking about calling it an error.

And now ... it looks like it will stay a hit.

Japanese players lose another battle in court
2006-08-02 13:47
by Bob Timmermann

One of Marvin Miller's first victories as head of the Major League Players Association was to negotiate a contract that would pay the players a bit of money by having their own licensing system where the players (and the MLBPA) could make some money off of the player's likenesses.

However, in Japan, that's not the case. And the players were denied in court the right to market their own likenesses on baseball cards and other souvenirs.

At issue was a provision in the 1951 unified contract that all professional ballplayers must sign when joining their respective clubs. The provision states that the right to players' likenesses and copyrights belong to the club and that the athletes will file no objections regarding how those rights are used in advertising.

Cirillo says Coors baseballs are all wet
2006-08-02 09:19
by Bob Timmermann

Before Tuesday's game in Denver, Brewers infielder Jeff Cirillo accused the Rockies of using illegally waterlogged baseballs.

"The thing is, it can lead to some shady stuff going on, like two sets of baseballs," he said Tuesday morning during his weekly segment on ESPN Radio's Milwaukee affiliate. "You know, say their team is down late in the game, you know, here are some new baseballs. (Because) the team is the one that governs the baseballs. ... Say their team is down late in the game, well, here is the next batch of baseballs coming in and they're not that ones that were in the humidor."

MLB executive Jimmie Lee Solomon denied that there were any shenanigans.

"There are no shenanigans..."

There have been 11 shutouts at Coors Field this year, the most of any park. The Brewers beat the Rockies in Denver last night, 1-0.

Chorizo back in the freezer
2006-08-02 08:42
by Bob Timmermann

MLB has told the Milwaukee Brewers that they can't use the "Chrorizo" in their nightly sausage races, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

The Chorizo must wait 12 to 18 months to be approved by MLB's marketing division. The Chorizo was given a special dispensantion to appear in last Saturday's "Cervezeceros" promotion.

Somewhere in this world, someone has a job approving the use of a human being running around as a giant chorizo and to make sure it meets proper specifications.

I'm not sure what you need to put on your resume for that.

Random Game Callback, August 2, 1989
2006-08-02 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

John Cerutti, pitched the best game of his career, a 2-hit shutout, as the Toronto Blue Jays routed the Kansas City Royals, 8-0 before a crowd of 48,675 at SkyDome.

The Blue Jays, in third at the time behind Baltimore and Boston, were managed by Cito Gaston, who took over from Jimy Williams on May 15. Kansas City was managed by John Wathan and had Mark Gubicza starting on the mound.

Cerutti's sinker was working almost perfectly as the Royals kept hitting grounder after grounder. Toronto first baseman Fred McGriff had 16 putouts at first and Cerutti struck out just three. The Royals had just five fly outs to the outfield. Cerutti had a no-hitter until there was one out in the seventh when Kansas City first baseman George Brett doubled. Center fielder Willie Wilson also had a double in the ninth.

McGriff supplied the only run Cerutti would need in the fourth when McGriff homered. The Blue Jays had five hits good for five runs in the fifth to knock out Gubicza for reliever Steve Crawford.

The Blue Jays added another run in the seventh when right fielder Lee Mazzilli homered off of Rick Luecken. Designated hitter Rance Mulliniks drove in the final run in the eighth off of Steve Farr on an RBI single to score left fielder George Bell.

Toronto had 15 hits and all nine starters got hits. Mazzilli would go 3 for 3 and four other players would have two hits.

The Blue Jays and Orioles would have a close race for first in the AL East all season. The Blue Jays would clinch the pennant on the second to last day of the season with a 4-3 win over the Orioles in Toronto. The Blue Jays would lose the ALCS to Oakland in five games.

Mazzilli, along with center fielder Mookie Wilson, were late season acquistions from the New York Mets to supplement the Blue Jays outfield. Wilson would bat .298 in the final month and help pick up the offensive slack for the slumping Lloyd Moseby. Mazzilli, in his final season in the majors, batted just .227.

McGriff led the AL in home runs with 36 and finished in sixth in the MVP voting. Surprisingly, Bell finished in fourth despite having a worse season, hitting just 18 homers and having an OPS 140 points less than McGriff's (.924) which led the AL.

The Royals finished in second place in the AL West at 92-70, seven games behind Oakland. The Royals have finished second just once since then, in 1995 in the AL Central and they went 70-74 and were 30 games behind first place Cleveland.

Cerutti would post an 11-11 record in 1989 with a 3.07 ERA. He would pitch just two more seasons before injuries cut short his career. Cerutti passed away on October 3, 2004 in Toronto of a heart attack at the age of 44.

Sources: Toronto Star,, Retrosheet

Everybody changes jerseys tonight it seems
2006-08-01 22:15
by Bob Timmermann

The Yankees win 5-1 over Toronto The Red Sox lose 6-3 to Cleveland

So the Yankees take over the yellow jersey in the AL East by .002.

Meanwhile, the White Sox win 7-5 over Kansas City to move into a tie with the Red Sox for the Wild Card checkered jersey.

That leaves the unusual playoff scenarios listed on the sidebar.

The NL could have been been in a similar mess as the Padres and Reds both lost, but Arizona lost as well and failed to create a three-way tie among the NL West leaders and the wild card.

The Giants took over the NL West lead on July 22 and since then have lost nine straight.

The NL West is a divisional race that is best experienced while wearing a green shirt, a catcher's mask, and dancing the can-can.

Steroid days
2006-08-01 21:41
by Bob Timmermann

First of all, seven minor leaguers were suspended from 50 to 100 games for flunking drug tests, including the interestingly named Kengshill Pujols of the Dodgers organization.

Also, Scott Wolf of the Daily News (thanks to LA Sports Observed) reports that USC safety Brandon Ting, who said he was quitting football to concentrate on getting in to medical school, actually left the team because he tested positive for steroids. Brandon Ting, and his twin brother Ryan, both quit the USC football team. Their father is Dr. Arthur Ting, who is a prominent Bay Area doctor, who treated, among others, Barry Bonds.

Utley makes it to 33
2006-08-01 17:22
by Bob Timmermann

Chase Utley of the Phillies singled in the first inning at St. Louis to extend his hitting streak to 33.

I believe that a lot of Cardinals fans, knowing that the suspense was over, decided to leave then as there was nothing else to see.

Varitek out 4-6 weeks ... or more
2006-08-01 17:14
by Bob Timmermann

The Boston Red Sox had to put catcher Jason Varitek on the disabled list today with a knee problem that may or may not require arthroscopic surgery.

Ken Huckaby was recalled from Pawtucket and was instructed to attack Derek Jeter's shoulder if the situation arises again.

As Rick Sutcliffe pointed out yesterday on ESPN, the key to the Red Sox winning the AL East is for them to win a lot of games.

The Red Sox made a lot of other moves too including designating Hee-Seop Choi for assignment.

Random Game Callback, August 1, 1911
2006-08-01 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

One of the worst pitching staffs in the history of the major league had another long day as the Boston Rustlers dropped a 10-2 game to the Pittsburgh Pirates before 1254 people who happened to wander past Forbes Field.

Boston player/manager Fred Tenney (he played first base) tried righthander Al Mattern as his starting pitcher. The Pirates managed by player/manager Fred Clarke (who played left field) had Jack Ferry pitching.

The Pirates got right to work on Mattern in the first. With one out, center fielder Tommy Leach beat out a grounder to short. Leach was picked off first, but went to second and then on to third when Tenney threw away the throw to second. Shortstop Honus Wagner reached when Boston shortstop Harry Spratt made a wild throw and Leach scored.

Boston tied the game in the third. Catcher Johnny Kling doubled and went to third on a sacrifice by Mattern. Ferry threw a wild pitch to score Kling. The game went downhill after that for Boston.

In the bottom of the third, Ferry led off with a single. Third baseman Bobby Byrne tripled to score Ferry. Leach drew a walk. Left fielder Max Carey hit a sacrifice fly to left to score Byrne. After Wagner struck out, Leach stole second and went to third on an error by Kling. Second baseman Dots Miller singled to score Leach. First baseman Bill McKechnie tripled to score Miller and right fielder Owen Wilson doubled in McKechnie. Pittsburgh led 6-1. (Wilson hit 34 doubles and 12 triples in 1911, but in 1912 he would set a major league record with 36 triples while hitting just 19 doubles. Apparently, he ran faster in 1912.)

In the fifth, Carey led off with an inside the park home run to make it 7-1 Pirates. Carey tripled in two more runs in the sixth and scored on a sacrifice fly by Miller in the sixth to make it 10-1 Pirates.

Boston got its final run when center fielder Doc Miller hit a sacrifice fly to score Tenney.

The name Rustlers would last for just one season. The team picked up the name after owner William Russell, but in 1912, New York City politician James Gaffney bought the team and changed the nickname to Braves, as a homage to his Tammany Hall connections. Members of the famed New York City political machine used faux Native American terminology to identify themselves.

Boston pitchers gave up a franchise record 1,021 runs. This was 276 more runs than the next worst team in the NL, St. Louis, which gave up 745. The worst team in the AL, also the St. Louis team, gave up 812. Boston gave up an average of 6.54 runs per game although the staff ERA was just 5.08. Not surprisingly, Boston finished a distant eighth place with a 44-107 record, 54 games behind first place New York.

One of the pitchers for Boston that year was 44-year old Cy Young, who was picked up in July off of waivers from Cleveland. Young had a 3.71 ERA in his final games in the majors. The only other pitcher on the team with an ERA under 4.00 was Ed Donnelly who had a 2.45 ERA in 36 2/3 innings. Mattern, the starter on August 1, would go 4-15 with a 4.97 ERA. Only one pitcher, Lefty Tyler, would still be on the staff when Boston won the NL pennant three years later in 1914.

The offense wasn't all that bad, finishing fourth in the league in scoring with 699 runs. The luckiest Rustler was shortstop Buck Herzog who was traded to New York in July for catcher Hank Gowdy and shortstop Al Bridwell. Herzog would play in four World Series for the Giants.

The Pirates finished in third place at 85-69, 14 1/2 games behind the Giants. Wagner led the NL in batting average at .334. The Pirates had won 110 games and the World Series in 1909, but they would not win another NL pennant until 1925.

Sources: Retrosheet,, Boston Daily Globe

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