Baseball Toaster The Griddle
Monthly archives: May 2008


Kevin Kouzmanoff's long black night of the soul
2008-05-31 08:23
by Bob Timmermann

Friday wasn't a night to remember for Padres third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff in San Francisco.


  • AB #1, 1st inning, 1st and 3rd, 2 out - Kouzmanoff flies out to center
  • AB #2, 3rd inning, runner on 2nd, 1 out - Kouzmanoff grounds out to third
  • AB #3, 6th inning, leadoff batter - Kouzmanoff flies out
  • AB #4, 8th inning, bases loaded 1st and 2nd, none out - Kouzmanoff grounds into a 5-4-3 triple play
  • AB #5, 11th inning, 1st and 2nd, no outs - Kouzmanoff grounds into a 4-6-3 douple play
  • AB #6, 13th inning, bases loaded, one out - Kouzmanoff pops out on the infield fly rule.

Kouzmanoff goes 0 for 6, leaves 9 runners, and makes 9 outs in 6 at bats. (The boxscore says 9, although I think the total should be 11 runners left on base, 2 on the first AB, 1 on the second AB, then two bases loaded outs (6 runners) and a DP with 2 runners on should count for two, but there are no rules for individual LOB.) It adds up now because Kouzmanoff didn't ground into bases loaded TP.

However, the Padres beat the Giants 7-3 in 13 innings.


The Quadruple Double
2008-05-30 14:00
by Bob Timmermann

Jeff Baker of the Rockies has tied a major league record with his fourth double of the game today against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

The feat has been peformed 48 times previously, with Albert Belle doing it twice in 1999.

Here's a list of the 22 players who had a four double game since 1956. Matt Murton of the Cubs was the last player to do it back on August 3, 2006.

Baker was removed from the game after the seventh so he did not get a chance for the quintuple double.

Weekly Puzzle #24
2008-05-30 06:00
by Bob Timmermann


And now he's Ironman?
2008-05-29 19:49
by Bob Timmermann

Delmon Young's MLB leading streak of 217 consecutive games played ended tonight as Twins manager Ron Gardenhire sat down his slumping (1 for his last 18) left fielder.

So the new Ironman is ...

I think...

Ryan Howard at 170 games.

There have already been four players with the Ironman title who have had their streaks snapped this year: Juan Pierre, Grady Sizemore, Jeff Francouer, and now Delmon Young.



If I knew Hebrew or Yiddish, there would be a clever headline
2008-05-29 15:59
by Bob Timmermann

The Jerusalem Post reports that the Israel Baseball League will not play in 2008 due to financial problems.

The much-hyped Israel Baseball League, which was slated to begin its second season June 22, has been cancelled for 2008 and its future is in jeopardy, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

"There will be no league in 2008," Haim Katz, president of the Israel Association of Baseball, told the Post on Thursday.

According to Katz, the league's problems stemmed largely from a number of Israeli creditors who, he said, had not been paid by the IBL.

"2008 is not happening, 2009 we're working on. Right now it's [nearly] the first of June, and there's no preparation. But there are many parties interested in reviving professional baseball [in Israel]."


30 parks, 27 days
2008-05-29 10:04
by Bob Timmermann

A group of five men are attempting to see a game in all 30 major leagues parks in just 27 days starting on June 16 with a Marlins-Mariners game at Safeco Field. They are hoping to raise money for the Jim Thorpe Little League in Hawthorne, CA.

They have three four days they plan to double up: June 21 (Dodgers in the afternoon, Padres at night), July 9 (Yankees by night day, Mets by night), July 10 (Phillies by day, Nationals by night), and July 11 (Cubs by day, Brewers by night)

The overnight trip they will have to take after the Padres game on June 21 to get to Denver for a day game at Coors Field will be tough, as the men are going to be driving the whole way. There is also a Kansas City-Detroit trip. And a Washington-Chicago trip.

The last park will be Milwaukee on July 11. And then they plan to stay in Milwaukee for two games.

Link via LAist.

Book review: Baseball Field Guide
2008-05-28 23:40
by Bob Timmermann

Untitled The rules of baseball don't change much and are relatively brief compared to other sports. And Major League Baseball has always had them online, although they exist in a fairly unwieldy pdf format now. However, they have not always been able to sort through.


Even with an index, (which baseball now calls Rule 11), it can be hard to find out just where to look for information on when a game is suspended and when it is terminated. Or what the rules for obstruction by a fielder are. Or what obstruction is as opposed to interference.

Dan Formosa and Paul Hamburger have tried, with a fair amount of success, to reorganize baseball's rules into a simpler form in Baseball Field Guide: An In-Depth Illustrated Guide to the Complete Rules of Baseball (Revised & Updated).

Continue reading...

How to Win Friends and Influence Teammates by Jose Guillen
2008-05-28 22:32
by Bob Timmermann

Wednesday night the Kansas City Royals led the Minnesota Twins 8-3 going to the 9th and appeared to be on their way to ending a 10-game losing streak.

Ramon Ramirez was in to finish up, but he gave up a two-out RBI single to Mike Lamb. Two batters later, Carlos Gomez singled in another run to make it 8-5.

Exit Ramirez and enter Joel Peralta. Craig Monroe pinch hit and clobbered a game-tying three-run homer. The Twins then won it in the 10th on a Justin (on my fantasy team!) Morneau.

In the clubhouse after the game, loveable Jose Guillen was quoted by the AP:

“Too many babies here,” Guillen stormed while seated in front of his locker and spicing his language with obscenity. “They don’t know how to play the game and win the game right, the way it’s supposed to be played. And that’s the problem here. Now I know why this organization’s been losing for a while. Now I know.”

I'm awaiting a series of DVDs to marketed on ESPN with the Jose Guillen way to play baseball.

Disc one: The temper tantrum

Disc two: Blaming your teammates for your failings

Disc three: Blaming Mike Scioscia for your failings

Disc not yet completed: Learning the strike zone

You mean it's supposed to be just 90 feet between the bases? (UPDATED)
2008-05-28 14:54
by Bob Timmermann

The California Interscholastic Federation has upheld a protest by Viewpoint High School of Calabasas over its 8-7 loss in the Division VII playoffs to Avalon High.

As it turned out, the bases were 92 feet apart and the pitcher's rubber was 62 feet away from home plate. Perhaps Catalina Island warps tape measures.

The game will be replayed Thursday. In Long Beach, not Avalon.

The LA Times explains.

UPDATE - The Daily News explains that there was no intentional shenanigans in the layout of the field. The field had been hastily put together by a groundskeeper from a softball field after Avalon High's original field had been destroyed in a fire.

Both schools are satisfied with the decision to replay the game.

Batting for ... batting for ....
2008-05-28 06:00
by Bob Timmermann

On this day back in 1954, the Baltimore Orioles, playing their first season in Charm City after decamping from the Mound City as the Browns, set a then major-league record for pinch hitters used in a nine-inning game.

Baltimore manager Jimmie Dykes tried to pull out all the stops in the first game of a doubleheader at home against the White Sox by sending up eight different pinch hitters. However, it all went for naught as the White Sox won the game by an 11-6 mark. The White Sox compounded the misery by taking in the nightcap by a 14-8 margin. The doubleheader, billed as a "twi-light twi-light night doubleheader" finished at 1:06 am.

Continue reading...

Church's bells are still ringing
2008-05-27 22:44
by Bob Timmermann

New York Mets outfielder Ryan Church, who has suffered two concussions this year, and is trying to play through the aftereffects of the injury, something which neurologists say could be dangerous, according to a New York Times report by Alan Schwarz.

On Tuesday, after seeing a neurologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, Church complained of continued dizziness. Rather than report to Shea Stadium for the Mets’ game against the Florida Marlins, he stayed at his Manhattan apartment. Mets General Manager Omar Minaya said Church was day to day and would be evaluated at the ballpark Wednesday, and perhaps cleared to play in the series finale.

Several experts in sports-related concussions, however, said that Church — who has told reporters that he has had a headache and has felt dizzy and tired almost every day since his injury — should not have been allowed to play at all because his symptoms had not cleared.

The experts said common guidelines for concussion management require that athletes be free of symptoms — sometimes for several days — both before and after physical exertion before they can return to competition. They also said that because Church had sustained a more severe concussion in spring training that cost him a week, the risks for him were greater.

“That’s a situation that could be very dangerous,” said Dr. Mickey Collins, assistant director of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Sports Medicine’s concussion program. “I haven’t examined this player personally, but if there were a second trauma to a person still experiencing symptoms, the risk could be much higher to a player’s health because he hasn’t healed from the first concussion.”


Corey Koskie can testify to that. After sustaining a concussion in July 2006 while playing for the Brewers, Koskie attempted to come back despite symptoms including headaches, dizziness and nausea. He experienced far more severe symptoms for six months, and eventually had to retire.

“That’s pretty much the reason I’m here today — thinking I could play through it,” Koskie said in a telephone interview from his home in Minnesota.

Regarding Church, he added: “I think he’s nuts. He doesn’t want to get to the point where he’s not going to get better. Tell him to call me. It’s not worth it.”

Cleveland decides to steal three
2008-05-27 19:04
by Bob Timmermann

In tonight's White Sox-Indians game in Chicago, Cleveland pulled off the first triple steal since, I believe, 1987.

With the bases loaded in the sixth inning with David Dellucci on third, Grady Sizemore on second, and Jamey Carroll on first, Chicago reliever Ehren Wassermann faked a pickoff to third and threw to first. Carroll had broken away from the bag, but before the White Sox could put a tag on him, Dellucci broke for the plate and Paul Konerko's throw was not in time. Sizemore and Carroll moved up a base and all were credited with steals.

The last triple steal I've turned up before this was back on October 1, 1987 by the Atlanta Braves in Houston. It came with Gerald Perry on third, Ken Oberkfell on second, and Jeff Blauser on first. Danny Darwin was on the mound for Houston. After a pitch, Perry broke for home as catcher Ronn Reynolds threw the ball back to Darwin. Darwin fired the ball back to Reynolds, but the catcher couldn't hang on and Perry scored with Oberkfell and Blauser moving up.

The strikeout king of St. Pete
2008-05-27 10:17
by Bob Timmermann

Scott Kazmir struck out 10 Rangers in Tampa Bay's 7-3 win over Texas last night. It was just the 28th time that a Tampa Bay pitcher had 10 or more strikeouts in a game. Kazmir is responsible for 15 of the games.

Arizona has another set that's skewed like this. The Diamondbacks have had 168 games where a pitcher picked up 10 strikeouts in a game and Randy Johnson accounts for 104 of them.

The stuff that bothers me
2008-05-26 21:09
by Bob Timmermann

From the AP recap of Tampa Bay's 7-3 win over Texas:


Tampa Bay is just the second team—joining the 1903 New York Giants—to have the best mark on Memorial Day after finishing with the worst record in the big leagues the previous season (66-96).

Today is indeed Memorial Day and the Rays do indeed have the best record in the majors at 31-20.


However, in 1903, Memorial Day was on May 30. The idea of moving holidays around to give people a three-day weekend likely hadn't been considered by anybody. Significant portions of the population had to work six days a week anyway.

And on May 30, 1903, which was Memorial Day, the best record in the majors belonged to the Chicago Cubs who were 27-11, one game better than the Giants who were 25-11.

If Memorial Day in 1903 had been moved to a Monday, the Giants still wouldn't have had the best record. The Cubs still did. However, on Tuesday, May 26, the Giants had the best record, although they were actually 1/2 game behind the Cubs in the standings.

Memorial Day wasn't moved to a Monday until 1968 and there is a group that wants the day moved back to May 30 to give the day more reverance as Veterans Day has. Veterans Day was celebrated on the final Monday in October for a few years in the 1970s until veterans groups complained about it.

(The St. Petersburg Times story and the story DID NOT make the same mistake.)

NCAA baseball field of 64 announced
2008-05-26 09:55
by Bob Timmermann

The NCAA announced its 64-team field (it's a link to a pdf, so look carefully) for the battle to go to Omaha for the College World Series.

There are 16 regional sites which will all be double elimination play. The 16 winners are then paired off into 8 super-regionals which are best of three. Those eight winners then move on to Omaha starting June 14. The eight teams are put into two four-team groups, which play a double elimination series and the winners of each group play a best of three for the championship.

The top eight seeds are (in order): Miami, North Carolina, Arizona State, Florida State, Cal State Fullerton, Rice, LSU, and Georgia. All eight of these schools are hosting a regional.

The other regional hosts are: Michigan (a #2 seed, a school in Tucson is #1), North Carolina State, Stanford, Oklahoma State, Coastal Carolina, Nebraska, Texas A&M, and Long Beach State.

Apparently my screed against UCLA inspired the Bruins to play better down the stretch and earn a postseason berth after all as the #2 team in the Fullerton bracket. It is the first time UCLA has made postseason play in baseball for three consecutive years.

Dallas Baptist became the first independent school to make the tournament since Cal State Northridge in 1992.

Geremi Gonzalez, 1975-2008
2008-05-26 09:29
by Bob Timmermann

Geremi Gonzalez, who had his promising pitching sidelined by arm injuries after an 11-win debut season with the Cubs in 1997, died Sunday in Venezuela after being struck by lightning.

Gonzalez last pitched in the majors in 2006 and pitched briefly in Japan this season.

Four strong winds that blow saves (UPDATED)
2008-05-25 21:48
by Bob Timmermann

During Sunday's 18-inning masterpiece between the Reds and Padres at Petco, which the Padres won 12-9 on an Adrian Gonzalez homer off of Edinson Volquez, the two teams combined for four blown saves.

David Weathers, Francisco Cordero, and Bill Bray all blew saves for the Reds and Cla Meredith contributed one for the Padres. Jeremy Affeldt and Josh Fogg had holds for the Reds and Brian Corey had a hold for the Padres.

I haven't found an easy to find other games that have had this many blown saves before, but I found a reference to one in Yahoo! Answers for a game between the White Sox and Tigers in Detroit on September 14, 1998 that also had four blown saves. Chicago won the game 17-16 in 12 innings with the White Sox blowing three saves (Carlos Castillo, Bryan Ward, and Bobby Ward) and the Tigers blowing one (Matt Anderson).

UPDATE - Commenter Travis08 turned up this 1995 game between the Cubs and Astros that featured four blown saves by the Astros. And two games that had a combined five blown saves, both of which were played at Coors Field.

Doug Glanville's vendettas exposed to the world
2008-05-24 23:05
by Bob Timmermann

Former big leaguer Doug Glanville had an another installment in his New York Times series about life in baseball. His latest subject was retaliation in baseball and fights.

The major leagues also had its share of comedy. Take the fight I was in with the Atlanta Braves, when I was a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. Over the course of a week, my teammate Paul Byrd, a pitcher, had unintentionally hit Braves catcher Eddie Perez not once but twice in the back.

Perez and Byrd had once been teammates (and Bible study partners), but Perez had apparently left forgiveness at the door. When Byrd stepped up to the plate for his next at-bat, Perez hit him and then jumped him. Since I was on-deck and the closest player to the fray, I ran over to pry them apart.

The next thing I knew, I was at the bottom of a pile of players, my legs trapped, spikes barely missing my various body parts. The Braves’ Ozzie Guillen evidently decided that the best way to get out of the pile was to pull me out by the head. I had a stiff neck for three days.

What I found interesting was that instead of Perez and Byrd ripping each other’s hair out, they were locked together in a protective embrace, apologizing and praying to get out of this mass of humanity. Everyone within earshot was wondering why we all risked physical harm for a séance.


There are a lot of unwritten rules in the game of baseball that you tacitly accept when you put on the uniform. When one of those is broken, there is yet another unwritten rule of retaliation. If you steal a base when you’re ahead by a lot of runs late in the game, one of your teammates will get drilled by a pitch in the back. If you take too much time to enjoy a home run you hit, either you or a teammate will get drilled by a pitch in the back. If you make too hard a slide into a base and almost hurt your opponent, a teammate may get drilled by a pitch in the back. If you dare do anything to hurt the opposing team’s pitcher, with or without intent, you might as well break out the boxing gloves. And if he is “the ace” of their team — Armageddon. Because the pitcher has the right to act as instigator, enforcer or retaliator, he is the key to how the sentencing is brought down. Therefore the little, stitched white ball in his hand delivers the verdict on behalf of judge, jury and executioner.

These rules, and others (they too numerous to list), when broken, eventually result in a brawl. It may not happen that same day, because the grudge-holding nature of the game has no statute of limitations. According to my unfinished business archive, I still owe Hideki Irabu for hitting me in the back with the first pitch of the game in Yankee Stadium nine years ago. Since we are both retired I may have to exact revenge in some Best Buy parking lot.

Actually Irabu hit Glanville in the back close to 10 years ago.

An inning that went from bad to worse in order
2008-05-24 16:09
by Bob Timmermann

Tampa Bay bats in the bottom of the second at Tropicana Field against Steve Trachsel of the Orioles. The Rays already lead 4-1.

  • Eric Hinske strikes out
  • Jason Bartlett flies out to center.
  • Akinori Iwamura walks.
  • Carl Crawford singles Iwamura to third.
  • B.J. Upton doubles to score Iwamura and Crawford
  • Carlos Pena triples to score Upton
  • Evan Longoria homers to make it 9-1 Rays.
  • Trachsel is taken out of the game.


Film Review: The Zen of Bobby V
2008-05-24 12:17
by Bob Timmermann

Although ESPN aired this documentary, produced by its ESPN Films division and directed by Andrew Jenks and Jonah Quickmire Pettigrew, I finally got around to watching it this weekend. I had put it off mainly because I didn't expect much from it.

I have always viewed the subject of this film, Bobby Valentine, as a self-promoting blowhard in the image of his mentor, Tommy Lasorda. I felt that the filmmakers would just go over many of the traditions of Japanese baseball that Americans find strange, such as the organized rooting sections and the occasional tie games. However, I found the 86-minute film to be a very well-done look at both Valentine and the challenges faced by Japanese baseball today, all framed by the 2007 season of the Chiba Lotte Marines.

The film does not use a voiceover narrator. Most of the story is told directly by Valentine or by subtitles imposed over Japanese speakers or game action. Valentine comes across as a passionate advocate for preserving Japanese baseball and helping the game grow there and prevent it from being knocked off the top of the Japanese sports pyramid by soccer.

Valentine, unlike other Americans who have managed in Japan such as Trey Hillman and Terry Collins (both of whom are now back in the U.S.), has embraced Japanese culture. He has developed a working knowledge of Japanese and claims to speak at about a sixth grade level. He eats Japanese food and rides a bike to get around Chiba.

There is no doubt that Valentine is quite popular in Japan. He has a hamburger and a beer named after him. People on the streets recognize him and want pictures and autographs. It's safe to say that Valentine is far more popular in Japan than he was in New York.

The filmmakers interview Valentine's wife, his friends, and his players (both Americans and Japanese players), and all speak of his passion for the game, especially the Japanese game.

Valentine probably isn't the person who will singlehandedly save Japanese baseball from its doldrums (a sport can only go so far with incredibly poor management), but Valentine wants to try. He wants the challenge. He already took one of Japan's traditional baseball doormats and won a Japan Series with them and came within one game of going back to the Japan Series in 2007. (The Marines are off to a slow 22-30 start this year.) But to take on the entire Japanese baseball structure will be a challenge that may finally be too much for Bobby V.

Hurry up! Time's wasting! But let's take another look!
2008-05-24 09:16
by Bob Timmermann

Back on Wednesday, MLB sent out a directive to umpires and players telling them that they wanted the games sped up. And they had rules they wanted enforced.


Umpires should urge batters to approach home plate from the on-deck circle and enter the batter’s box faster, and to enforce rules such as issuing an automatic strike to batters who linger outside the box.


— In bases-empty situations, pitchers should be warned if they don’t pitch within a 12-second time limit. Pitchers will be called for a ball for each subsequent violation.

In addition to those existing rules, conferences on the pitcher’s mound will be broken up more quickly, and teams will be asked to have a reserve player or coach ready to catch warmup pitches if a catcher isn’t ready.

Teams will also be fined for repeated violations of league rules for in-game entertainment, public address announcements and music and video presentations, such as running too long.

J.D. Drew of the Red Sox got caught up in the slow pace snare last night in Oakland, when umpire Tim Tschida would not allow Drew to leave the batter's box to go back to put more pine tar on his bat. Boston coach Dave Magadan disputed this and got kicked out of the game.


There was also another disputed home run call last night. This one was in Cleveland and it appeared that Indians outfielder Ben Francisco missed out on a home run that ended up a double. With four different disputed home run calls this past week, reports are that baseball might experiment with instant replay in the Arizona Fall League.

All batters in the Arizona Fall League will be required to hit one very high fly ball down one of the foul lines to help judge the system's effectiveness. Players failing to do so will be fined.

Weekly Puzzle #23
2008-05-23 17:48
by Bob Timmermann
Book Review: But Didn't We Have Fun
2008-05-23 06:00
by Bob Timmermann

Untitled Peter Morris, who has been publishing baseball history works at a fairly good rate in past years, (Game of Inches and Level Playing Fields), has another entry this year in But Didn't We Have Fun: An Informal History of Baseball's Pioneer Era, 1843-1870.

In this book, we get a look at baseball back when the game's rules were just being established. The game was becoming a sport. It was transforming itself from a recreational event to a competition. But the change in players' attitudes about how baseball should be played didn't happen overnight. Instead, there was a gradual transformation of the game to the game that we know today.

Continue reading...

The end of boxcores? Is it Pfxible?
2008-05-22 21:28
by Bob Timmermann

Darren Everson of the Wall Street Journal thinks that the baseball boxscore as we know it is obsolete. Instead, it will be a brave new world of pFx and radar guns.

Everson attended a Pitch f/x "summit" in San Francisco last month as rolled it out in every park this year.

Since sportswriter Henry Chadwick ushered in the modern age of scorekeeping in the 1860s, the chief tool baseball analysts have used is the naked eye. Statistics in the box score cover only what can be observed: the number of runs the pitcher allowed, for example, or the doubles a hitter collected. Even the advanced "Moneyball" statistics developed in recent years also rely on what can be seen and recorded by hand.

Pitch f/x starts baseball down the path of learning how players do things -- which batter hits the ball the hardest, which shortstop has the quickest reflexes, what pitcher has the nastiest slider. It showed, for instance, that St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright had one of baseball's most violent curve balls in 2007, with up to nine inches of vertical drop and more than seven inches of horizontal movement. Perhaps consequently, Mr. Wainwright had an unusually high rate of swings-and-misses against his curve (38% versus a league average of a little more than 25%), according to a sampling of data by Harry Pavlidis, a baseball analyst who writes a prominent blog about the Chicago Cubs.

Nearly everyone at the conference believed such advancements in measuring fundamentals could finally bring a "why" to the "what" of box scores and stat sheets. The same technology will spread to hitting and fielding, they say, and could be applied to other sports.

"Instead of saying, 'There's a hard smash to third base' we could say, 'That ball was hit 106 mph and the third baseman had a third of a second to react.' " says Peter Jensen, a statistician and summit attendee who has written for the Hardball Times, a baseball analysis site. "That adds some context that's been lacking so far."

Marvin Miller tells the Hall of Fame 'Thanks, but ....'
2008-05-22 10:09
by Bob Timmermann

Former executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association has written the National Baseball Hall of Fame and asked not to be considered on any future ballots by the Veterans Committee.

"Paradoxically, I'm writing to thank you and your associates for your part in nominating me for Hall of Fame consideration, and, at the same time, to ask that you not do this again," Miller said in a letter sent to the Baseball Writers Association of America, which has only partial input on this particular election. "The anti-union bias of the powers who control the Hall has consistently prevented recognition of the historic significance of the changes to baseball brought about by collective bargaining.

"As former executive director [retired since 1983] of the players' union that negotiated these changes, I find myself unwilling to contemplate one more rigged Veterans Committee whose members are handpicked to reach a particular outcome while offering a pretense of a democratic vote. It is an insult to baseball fans, historians, sports writers and especially to those baseball players who sacrificed and brought the game into the 21st century. At the age of 91 I can do without a farce."

Strategy night in the Bronx 46 years ago
2008-05-22 06:00
by Bob Timmermann

It was on this day in 1962, the Los Angeles Angels and New York Yankees got together and played likely maddeningly frustrating innings full of more managerial moves than actions by players on the field. In the end, the Yankees would win the game 2-1 in 12 innings, but it ended up being one for the record books.

Angels manager Bill Rigney sent 20-year old Dean Chance into Yankee Stadium to face 33-year old Yankee ace Whitey Ford. The Yankees would be without the services of center fielder Mickey Mantle, who was starting what would be an MVP campaign. Roger Maris, who was considered by most keen baseball observers of the era to be really good (I think it was the two MVPs and the 61 homer season), shifted from right to center. Rookie Joe Pepitone started in left and John Blanchard got the call in right.

Continue reading...

Batted around from the outset
2008-05-21 17:23
by Bob Timmermann

Detroit knocked around Seattle starter Jarrod Washburn for 9 runs and 12 hits in just 2 1/3 innings pitched tonight at Comerica Park.

Since 1956, only three other starters had given up that many hits in such a short period of time. And two of those games were at Coors Field. The third was actually at Dodger Stadium in 1963.

Washburn has a game score of -1 (or at least I think it is, I tend to add them up wrong). Justin Germano of the Padres is the only other starter to have a negative game score this year.

Mark Redman, who gave up a 10 run inning in the first to the Dodgers back on April 26, actually hung around long enough to push his game score to 14.


Extra, extra, extra (repeat)
2008-05-21 06:00
by Bob Timmermann

On this day 12 years ago, Larry Walker of the Colorado Rockies started what would become a National League record by getting an extra-base hit in six straight at bats.

The Rockies were playing host to Pittsburgh on May 21, 1996 and it was a stereotypical Coors Field game.

In the bottom of the fifth, the game was tied 4-4 and Walker batted against Matt Ruebel. Walker had homered in the first against Ruebel, but lined out in the third inning. Walker lined the second pitch from Ruebel into left-center for a double.

Walker came up again in the sixth, but now the Rockies were down 7-5 and Jason Christiansen was on the mound. Ellis Burks was on third and Dante Bichette on first with none out. Walker tripled to center field to tie the game. (Note: Red alert for the cycle! Red alert!)

In the bottom of the seventh, Walker comes up again to bat against Christiansen. The Rockies are ahead 9-7 with Eric Young on third and two outs. Walker belted his second home run of the game to make 11-7. The Rockies would hold on for a 12-10 win. (Note: Cycle alert canceled. Stand down.)

The next day Walker faces Zane Smith in the first inning and doubles, running the XBH streak to four.

Walker bats again in the fourth and triples to lead off the inning. It proves to be a big inning and the Rockies are up 6-1 and Smith is pulled after the inning.

In the fifth, Walker bats again, against reliever Jon Lieber. And Walker slams another triple, although he doesn't score. In the seventh, Pirates reliever Marc Wilkins wises up and gives Walker a walk.

Walker gets a chance to tie the major league record of seven the next day (May 23, 1996) against the Reds. With nobody out, the Rockies have runners on first and third and Walker faces Mark Portugal. And it's a double ...


And so Walker ended up just one extra base hit short of the alltime record for consecutive extra base hits, held by two AL player: Elmer Smith of Cleveland on September 4 and 5, 1921 (3 doubles and 4 homers, along with two walks in three games as there was a doubleheader on 9/5) and Earl Sheely of the White Sox who had six doubles, one homer, AND A SACRIFICE on May 20 and 21, 1926. In the May 20, 1926 game, Sheely had one of FIVE sacrifices for the White Sox in a 13-4 win over Boston.


And he's Ironman?
2008-05-20 21:20
by Bob Timmermann

Jeff Francouer's consecutive game streak ended tonight in the second game of the Braves doubleheader against the Mets tonight in Atlanta. Francouer had played in 370 consecutive games, but manager Bobby Cox held the slumping Francouer out of the lineup to give him a rest.

The new challenger to Cal Ripken? It's Delmon Young of the Twins. He's played in 210 straight games including tonight.

Herb Hash, 1911-2008
2008-05-20 17:43
by Bob Timmermann

Herb Hash, who was the oldest living former pitcher on the Red Sox, passed away Tuesday in Culpeper, Virginia, at the age of 97.

Hash was a star at the University of Richmond and then played in parts of the 1940 and 1941 season for Boston.

Bill Werber, who is 99, is the oldest living former Red Sox position player. And Werber probably has that distinction for the Yankees, Athletics, Reds, and Giants too.

Lester no-hits Royals
2008-05-19 18:36
by Bob Timmermann

Jon Lester of the Boston Red Sox threw a no-hitter at Fenway Park against the Kansas City Royals. The Red Sox won the game 7-0. Lester threw 130 pitches.

Lester is the first lefty to throw a no-hitter for the Red Sox since Mel Parnell back on July 14, 1956.

The great ones heads don't bobble
2008-05-19 08:53
by Bob Timmermann

St. Louis Cardinals fans Sunday got a replica statue of Stan Musial before the game against Tampa Bay.

It was a replica of this statue. (There are Musial bobbleheads you can buy on eBay.)

Except it didn't have people sitting in front of it and presumably was small enough for people to carry with them. And probably not in bronze either.

Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had a chance to interview Musial.

The statue of Musial placed outside the previous Busch Stadium in 1968 — the fans had that replica Sunday — never was particularly a favorite of his.

"I would have had them change the face, the legs were too thick and they didn't have my stance," he said.

But, over the years, he has grown accustomed to it. And four other smaller statues of Musial have been made.

"There's one down in Springfield, Ill., and one in Springfield, Mo., and there's one here in St. Louis," he said.

Then Musial laughed that playful "tee-hee-hee" laugh and said, "I've got more statues than Lincoln."

The day could come, maybe 10 years from now, when Musial might have to share the torch with Albert Pujols, the modern-day equivalent of Musial. Asked if Pujols, an avowed fan of Musial's career, could break his records, Musial said, "He has a chance to. He loves baseball, he's a good first baseman. ... You know the first time I saw Albert Pujols? He gave me a big hug and kissed me on the forehead."

Not many players have a nine-foot statue and a plaza and street named after them. When it was suggested that Musial shouldn't drive too fast now on his own street, Cardinals vice chairman Fred Hanser smiled and said, softly, "Oh, yes, he can."


Interleague Day 3
2008-05-18 23:50
by Bob Timmermann

14 games

6 wins for the AL, 8 wins for the NL

AL leads overall 22-19

NL Designated Hitters - 5 for 22 (2 hits by Lance Berkman, 1 each by Juan Pierre, Tony Clark, and Moises Alou). Overall 9 for 50 12 for 64 (.180 .188).

AL Pitchers - 2 for 14 (both by Zack Greinke). Overall 10 for 48 (.208)

K + E2, H-3
2008-05-18 10:10
by Bob Timmermann

The headline is the scoring notation that would describe Angels shortstop Erick Aybar's strikeout against Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda that ended up with Aybar at third base after Dodgers catcher Gary Bennett made a bad throw for the ages.

The Angels announcers assumed that it never had happened.

Well, it has. And not that long ago. And more than once.

Researcher Mike Emeigh using Retrosheet data and another set of data he has licensed from Pete Palmer and Gary Gillette has found FOUR instances of a batter reaching third after a dropped third strike.

From newest to oldest:

September 2, 2002, 2nd game of doubleheader between Cubs and Brewers - In the fourth inning, Bill Hall of the Brewers strikes out against Kerry Wood, but Todd Hundley makes a bad throw and Hall ends up at third. Wood would strike out the next batter, Ryan Thompson, and then Paul Bako would fan. But Bako would reach on a wild pitch, but Hall didn't score. Pitcher Andrew Lorraine would finally strike out (the fourth of the inning) to get Wood out of the jam. The Cubs won 17-4.

August 24, 1999, Boston at Minnesota - Pedro Martinez strikes out Jacque Jones, but Jason Varitek's wild throw sends Jones all the way to thid. The Red Sox win 7-1 as Pedro fans 15.

August 28, 1998, Atlanta at St. Louis - Kent Mercker of the Cardinals strikes out Andres Galaragga, but the pitch isn't held by Eli Marrero who throws the ball away and the 37-year old Big Cat lumbers all the way to third, where he scores on a ground out by Andruw Jones. Mercker records only one strikeout in the game. The Braves win the game late by a 5-4 margin.

August 24, 1973, St. Louis at Cincinnati - In the top of the sixth, the Reds have two runners and two outs with Andy Kosco at bat against Alan Foster. Kosco strikes out, but Simmons makes an error throwing out Kosco. Larry Stahl and Johnny Bench, who were on base, score and Kosco ends up a third. The Cardinals 4-1 lead is cut to 4-3, but the Redbirds prevail 5-4 in 11 innings.


Interleague Day 2
2008-05-17 21:37
by Bob Timmermann

15 games today

6 wins for the NL, 9 for the AL.

Overall AL leads 16-11

NL designated hitters: 4 for 28 (two hits by Prince Fielders, one each by Dmitri Young and Tony Clark). Overall NL DHs are 7 for 43 (.163)

AL pitchers: 4 for 17 (hits by Mark Buehrle, Livan Hernandez, Rich Harden, and Brian Bannister). Overall AL pitchers are 8 for 30 (.267)

The Unwritten Book of Rules
2008-05-17 08:43
by Bob Timmermann

Jerry Crasnick of wrote a piece on showmanship or just plain showing up in baseball. It's nothing that most of us don't remember with stories of Barry Bonds, Al Hrabosky, and Lastings Milledge (something new, you know, for kids).

But I loved the Dave Parker anecdote:

Parker took a wide turn toward the opposing dugout that one Pittsburgh columnist labeled "The Detour" and ran with a finger-wagging motion that others likened to a dance step. A West Coast writer said "tumbleweeds roll uphill faster'' than Parker covered 360 feet. And columnist Mike Littwin said the trot was so slow, "should it rain, Parker would be rusted solid by the time he reached third base.''

During the 1989 American League Championship Series, Toronto third baseman Kelly Gruber judged Parker, then playing for Oakland, guilty of violating baseball etiquette and showing up the Blue Jays by making such a show of things. Parker, never one to shy away from verbal repartee, didn't appear to place much stock in Gruber's opinion. "Is there some kind of school of baseball etiquette, or is Kelly Gruber starting one?" Parker said. "And if there is one, have there been any graduates?"
Buster finds that E1 X 4 = L
2008-05-17 06:00
by Bob Timmermann

Eighty-two years ago today, Boston Red Sox lefty pitcher Buster Ross had a bad day in St. Louis. Very bad.

Ross set an American League record by committing four errors in an 11-6 loss by the Red Sox at Sportsman's Park to the Browns. The Browns picked up just four hits during the game, but one of them was by George Sisler, which extended his hitting streak to 32 games. It would end at 34 and it was just the second longest one of his career. Sisler had a 41-game hitting streak in 1922.

The final damages for Ross in the game included giving up three hits, eight walks, one hit batter, and three strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings pitched.

Ross wouldn't have a distinguished career. He played in just parts of three seasons for the Red Sox and was 7-12 with an ERA of 5.01. He walked 74 batters and struck out just 31.

The 1925 Red Sox had a lot of problems as they finished the season with a 47-105 record, 49 1/2 games behind first place Washington and 21 games behind seventh place New York. The season likely could have been worse if the Red Sox hadn't picked up three wins at the end of the season against the Senators, who had already clinched the pennant and were resting their regulars.

Oddly, Ross made just five errors in his major league career. He apparently just needed to get it out of his system.

And there was one pitcher who did Ross one better. Ed Doheny of the New York Giants committed FIVE errors in a game against Louisville on August 15, 1899. Doheny, like Ross, was a lefty who had issues with the strike zone.

Interleague Day 1
2008-05-16 22:23
by Bob Timmermann

14 games, 2 postponed.

AL - 7 wins

NL - 5 wins

NL designated hitters: 3 for 15 (Dmitri Young, Lance Berkman, Andruw Jones, Tony Clark)

AL pitchers: 4 for 13 (two hits by Andy Sonnanstine, one each by Dana Eveland and Nick Blackburn)

White Sox fire three scouts in wake of D.R. investigation
2008-05-16 20:24
by Bob Timmermann

For reasons that are not entirely clear, the Chicago White Sox fired director of player personnel David Wilder and two other scouts in the Dominican Republic “for actions in Latin America that were violations of club policy and standards." 

[Chicago General Manager Kenny]mWilliams said he could not comment further on what wrongdoing led to the firings. Wilder is a longtime baseball man. In 2005, he interviewed for Boston’s general manager job before Theo Epstein returned to the Red Sox.

“This is an investigation we brought to Major League Baseball as part of our reorganization in the Dominican Republic,” Williams said. “We now have a new facility, complete with state-of-the art equipment and facilities. We’re trying to achieve greater results down there. We wanted to be sure our operations were consistent with what we stand for. Obviously, they were not in this investigation and we’ve made some changes accordingly.

“As to the what and the why, I’m not at liberty to expound on that.”

Chacon continues record streak of indecision
2008-05-16 19:02
by Bob Timmermann

Shawn Chacon of the Astros has run his streak of starts at the beginning of the season without a decision to nine games.

Chacon gave up eight runs, including three home runs (two by Josh Hamilton and one by Jarrod Saltalamacchia) and left after 3 1/3 innings trailing 8-2.

But the Astros scored five times in the fifth off of Sidney Ponson and had the potential tying run thrown out at the plate to end the inning. In the sixth, Hideki Kazuo Matsui had a two-out single to score Michael Bourn to tie the game.

The last pitcher in the majors to make nine straight starts without a decision was Al Downing of the Dodgers who had a streak that went on and off, interspersed with relief appearances, from the end of 1974 to the end of 1976.

John D'Acquisto and Dick Stigman had streaks of 10 starts without a no-decision. Randy Lerch is the only pitcher that I could find with a streak of 10 straight starts without an intervening relief appearance with a no-decision. You can see the streaks here.

Change at the top for the Giants
2008-05-16 13:19
by Bob Timmermann

And I mean the top. Managing general partner and president Peter Magowan is stepping down from his job with the Giants at the end of the year. William Neukom will take over as managing general partner and Larry Baer will be the new president.

According to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle the ultimate winner in this could be the Giants GM:

General manager Brian Sabean, whose contract runs through 2009, is expected to survive the management change and could emerge with more authority if Neukom takes a less visible role than Magowan did.


Cardinals find injury for struggling Isringhausen
2008-05-16 12:34
by Bob Timmermann

Erstwhile closer and setup man for the Cardinals, Jason Isringhausen has been placed on the 15-day DL with what is described as a "right hand laceration."

Isringhausen has an ERA of 8.00 this season and has blown five saves. Chris Perez, one of the Cardinals top relief prospects, has been recalled to take Isringhausen's roster spot.

The Big Train kept rolling all day long
2008-05-15 06:00
by Bob Timmermann

It was 90 years ago today when Walter Johnson became the third pitcher to throw an 18-inning shutout, which is the record for the longest complete game shutout.

Monte Ward of Providence had an 18-inning shutout in 1882, but he was only pitching from 50 feet away. Ed Summers of the Tigers shut out Washington for 18 innings on July 16, 1909, but that game ended in a scoreless tie.

However, Johnson and the Senators were able to score a 1-0 win over the White Sox on this day 90 years ago. One of a major league record 38 1-0 wins in his career. Grover Alexander is second in this category with 17 and Bert Blyleven is third at 15.

Continue reading...

A headline that seemed witty 90 years ago
2008-05-14 20:02
by Bob Timmermann

But now it just sounds downright creepy.

From the May 23, 1918 Sporting News article about the suicide of former player and manager Patsy Tebeau.


Patsy Tebeau Acts as His Own Umpire


Breaks of the game
2008-05-14 16:00
by Bob Timmermann

Jeff Keppinger - left kneecap, out indefinitely

Ryan Doumit - left thumb, out four weeks

Clay Buchholz - fingernail on right middle finger, out two weeks

Walking in a pinch
2008-05-14 06:00
by Bob Timmermann

Back on this day in 1961, the Washington Senators (AL version 2.0) did something that no team has ever done since. The Senators sent three straight pinch-hitters to the plate and all of them drew a walk. This remarkable bit of patience by batters coming off the bench was not all the work of the Senators hitters as we shall see.

Continue reading...

Weekly Puzzle #22
2008-05-13 20:42
by Bob Timmermann

Two sentences in four pictures.

Equality in the NL
2008-05-13 10:04
by Bob Timmermann

Presently, all three division leaders in the NL (Florida, Chicago, and Arizona) have the same record, 23-15. I don't know if this has ever happened this late in a season. it's hard to do just because teams rarely all have the same number of games played until the last week of the season.

The Marlins have yet to play the Diamondbacks or Cubs this season. Eventually, some team is going to pull far ahead of the peloton just for the sake of making my "If the playoffs started today..." sidebar much tidier.


Big night in Cleveland! CI and UTP!
2008-05-12 17:28
by Bob Timmermann

In the top of the fifth in the second game of a doubleheader in Cleveland, Toronto's Lyle Overbay lined into an unassisted triple play. Indians second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera pulled it off.

Troy Tulowitzki had the last unassisted triple play, last year on April 29.

Cabrera is the third Cleveland player to pull off an unassisted triple play. Neal Ball, a shortstop, had one on July 19, 1909 and Bill Wambsganss had one on October 10, 1920 in Game 5 of the World Series.

Cabrera's UTP was the 13th in regular season play.

Waste a lot, want a lot
2008-05-12 12:10
by Bob Timmermann

The Pittsburgh Pirates won the first game of their doubleheader at home against the Atlanta Braves today by a 5-0 margin. The Braves managed to leave 15 runners on base in the game. The Braves got 8 hits, 6 walks, and had 2 batters reach on errors. One of the runners was erased on a double play.

The last team to leave 15 runners on base in a 9-inning game and not score was Colorado back on August 13, 2005 against Washington.

The record for most runners left on base in a 9-inning shutout is 16. Seattle did it against Toronto on May 7, 1998 and St. Louis did it against Philadelphia on May 24, 1994.

And the yellow jersey goes to ...
2008-05-11 21:00
by Bob Timmermann

The best record in the majors now belongs to the Florida Marlins. Time to print playoff tickets ticket in South Florida.

And if the playoffs started today, the Tampa Bay Rays would be the AL wild card.

Indecision 2008
2008-05-11 19:18
by Bob Timmermann

Shawn Chacon of the Astros got a no-decision in his start today against the Dodgers. Chacon has now pitched in eight games this year, all starts and has nary a win or loss on his ledger. The only other pitcher to start that many consecutive games from the beginning of the season without getting a decision in any of them was Dick Stigman of the 1965 Twins.

However, Stigman went 4-2 in 25 relief appearances for the Twins that season and Stigman was just a spot starter throughout the season for the Twins. Stigman started just eight games in 1965.

Bert Blyleven of the 1979 Pirates holds the record for most no decisions in a season as a starting pitcher with 20. Odalis Perez in 2004 and Andy Hawkins in 1986 both had 18.

Who's out of order? The whole lineup is out of order!
2008-05-11 15:41
by Bob Timmermann

The Cincinnati Reds batted out of order in the ninth inning of their 8-3 loss to the Mets.

David Ross led off the inning, but Corey Patterson should have been the proper hitter. Ross lined out and Mets manager Willie Randolph came out of the dugout to notify the umpires that Patterson should have batted. So, under the rules, Patterson was charged with an out and now the proper batter, Ross, came up to bat. And Ross got a single. Why Randolph was so concerned about who was batting when he was just two outs away from a win and Corey Patterson was going to bat is a question best left unanswered.

From the AP story:

Reds manager Dusty Baker said the batting order was correct on the dugout board and on his scorecard.

“The guys hit out of order, and it’s my job to catch that,” Baker said. “So I take full responsibility.”

Baker said his only other experience with a team batting out of order came when he was a player and he was the one who hit when he wasn’t supposed to. When he came up the second time, he hit a three-run homer.

Excuse me, Mr. Baker, may I direct your attention to the events of April 16, 2004. Please note the play-by-play of the 7th inning. The game Baker remembered took place on May 4, 1980.

(Grand)mother's Day
2008-05-11 01:40
by Bob Timmermann

Recently, I sent frequent commenter Daniel Zappala a copy of my family genealogy for safekeeping. I figured that a Mormon with a lot of computer equipment and a penchant for making backups was ideal for this. Little did I know that Daniel, without being prompted, sent me a wealth of documents about my mother's side of the family. But what was especially fascinating was finding out by my maternal grandmother and her family. The Croatian part of me (a quarter of me) feels to be more of a part of me now than just wearing a checkerboard shirt.

My maternal grandmother, Ella Kimberling (pictured on the left from around 1911), lived with me as I grew up and her influence was more than just being the woman who cooked dinner almost every night and produced untold numbers of cookies, cinnamon rolls, cakes, pies, and grilled cheese sandwiches. I always remain grateful that my parents did a good job of raising me, but I also benefited from having the added perspective of another generation's wisdom and experiences.

Continue reading...

Weekly Puzzle #21
2008-05-10 15:24
by Bob Timmermann
Marlins decide to keep one star for a while
2008-05-10 11:03
by Bob Timmermann

Hanley Ramirez and the Marlins have reportedy agreed to a six-year, $70 million contract. This should keep Florida's best player in Marlin black and teal until the team decides to trade him to a much wealthier American League team.

May we be of assistance?
2008-05-10 06:00
by Bob Timmermann

56 years ago today, the Boston Red Sox tied a major league record for assists in one inning? It happened in the fifth inning of a game against the Yankees in New York? How many assists were there?

Continue reading...

Shields almost unhittable in St. Petersburg
2008-05-09 18:45
by Bob Timmermann

James Shields of the Tampa Bay Rays threw just the second complete game one-hitter in franchise history Friday night, as the Rays beat the Angels 2-0 on a home run by Evan Longoria in the ninth inning.

The only hit by Los Angeles was a third inning single by Brandon Wood. Shields struck out eight and walked none. Shields did hit Erick Aybar with a pitch, forcing him out of the game.

The only other one-hitter in Tampa Bay history was tossed by Joe Kennedy at Detroit on May 2, 2003.

'Ball Four' and more, so many more
2008-05-09 06:00
by Bob Timmermann

Today is the 92nd anniversary of the walkingest game in major league history. At Shibe Park, the Tigers and Athletics got together for a game where pitches missed the strike zone at a record rate. Just how many walks were there in the game? You'll have to read after the jump.


Continue reading...

Maple bats: baseball's newest lethal weapon?
2008-05-08 23:44
by Bob Timmermann

Are maple bats now the most likely piece of baseball equipment to injure players or spectators? Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports looks into the issue of whether maple bats shatter into pieces that tend to fly into dugouts or the seats with the potential for gruesome injuries.

Someone’s going to die at a baseball stadium soon.

Might be a player. Could be an umpire. Possibly even a fan.

It almost was a coach.

The scar on Don Long’s left cheek still puffs around the edges, fresh enough that it looks like a misplaced zipper instead of the mark of someone who lived too hard. Like every scar, this one has a story, and it involves a piece of shattered wood, about two pounds heavy, that tomahawked 30 feet before slicing through his face.

Nate McLouth thought he just missed the sweet spot of the bat. It was April 15, the eighth inning, and the Pittsburgh Pirates were getting pummeled at Dodger Stadium. Long, the Pirates’ hitting coach, milled about the dugout until he heard McLouth hammer Esteban Loaiza’s 0-2 pitch. Long looked up and tracked the ball down the right-field line. He had no idea baseball’s greatest weapon was headed right at him, and that had he been positioned an inch to the left or right, he might not be here to talk about it.

About two or three times a game. players swinging bats made of maple wood end up with kindling in their hands while the barrel – blunt and thick on one end, splintered and sharp on the other – flies every which direction. Pitchers and middle infielders stand in the greatest line of fire and do their best acrobat imitations to avoid the remnants. On occasion, the shard will land in the stands and harm a fan. And sometimes, as it did in the case of Long, it will wind up in the dugout.

“Didn’t see it at all,” Long said. “It just hit me. I backed up. I saw the blood coming out on the card I keep and on my shoes.”

Passan talks to MLB officials who may be asking for a ban on maple bats or a requirement to make the handles thicker. However, it isn't known if ash bat manufacturers can fill orders fast enough.

The Hall of Fame for the Rest of Us: Baseball Reliquary announces new electees
2008-05-08 23:07
by Bob Timmermann

The Board of Directors of the Baseball Reliquary, the Festivus of baseball museums compared to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, announced its three electees for this year: Buck O'Neil, Bill Buckner, and Emmett Ashford. The induction ceremony will be on July 20 in Pasadena. Full details after the jump.


Continue reading...

No save for you!
2008-05-08 13:02
by Bob Timmermann

The intricacies of Rule 10.19 apparently eluded the official scorer in Atlanta last night. Originally, the box score showed Atlanta reliever Manny Acosta picking up his third save in Atlanta's 5-2 win over the Padres. However, the Elias Sports Bureau stripped Acosta of his save because he didn't earn it under Rule 10.19.

Acosta retired the final two batters of the game after relieving Will Ohman, however, there were no runners on. Since Acosta did not pitch a complete inning and the lead was more than two runs and there were no runners on base, Acosta's save disappeared into the ether.

More on the Richards-Cantillon Gambit (Guest Report!)
2008-05-08 06:00
by Bob Timmermann

Today, a special guest report from James Ashenhurst, whom most of you know as Johnny Nucleo. He's an organic chemistry postdoc fellow by day at MIT and a guy who can appreciate a manager who moves a relief pitcher to the outfield temporarily. Here's his report:

Your post from last month about Bobby Cox moving a pitcher to the outfield and
back again
got me wondering how often managers have pulled this little move. I
remembered that Whitey Herzog had done it a few times with Todd Worrell, and
commenter John O'Connor recounted that Kent Tekulve was switched to the
outfield in a 1979 game. Because I am strangely attracted to unusual baseball
phenomena, a trait undoubtedly shared by the Griddle's author, to say
nothing of his many readers, I thought I would try to find all the examples
where this had been done in the past 30 years or so. I self-centeredly chose
1979 as my starting point because: 1) that is where my living memory of baseball
begins, and 2) I really have a limited patience for digging through fielding
statistics. I found these events by looking for outfielders in the BR fielding
index for each year that had 5 or fewer innings in the field. Pitchers usually
stick out like a sore thumb. Since 1979, I found twelve instances where this
switch had been done. So here they are:

Continue reading...

Failure of the cycle alert warning system! Congressional investigation called for!
2008-05-07 23:56
by Bob Timmermann

Carlos Gomez of the Twins hit for the cycle in a 13-1 win for Minnesota at Chicago Wednesday. Gomez was actually at red alert status when he batted in the ninth and he led off the inning with a single.

No Mark Grace is not always wrong, Mr. Sutton
2008-05-07 20:43
by Bob Timmermann

With one out in the sixth, Arizona's Chris Snyder hits a grounder to Philadelphia third baseman Pedro Feliz. Feliz throws to Chase Utley at second to force Jeff Salazar. But Utley's relay throw for the double play is dropped by Ryan Howard.

Diamondbacks analyst Mark Grace goes on a small crusade to give Howard an error. "He just dropped it. Who cares if you can't assume the double play?" Play-by-play man Daron Sutton insists "Those are the rules. It's not an error."


Rule 10.12(d) Comment: When a fielder muffs a thrown ball that, if held, would have completed a double play or triple play, the official scorer shall charge an error to the fielder who drops the ball and credit an assist to the fielder who made the throw.

And if you check the boxscore, Howard does indeed have an error to his name.

A long day's journey to 1-0
2008-05-07 06:00
by Bob Timmermann

Continuing on my theme of commemorating the truly important events in baseball's history (unless I don't have enough time to write something up or I've got something actually interesting)...

Today is the 11th anniversary of the longest nine-inning 1-0 game by time. In a getaway day game at County Stadium, the Athletics and Brewers spent 200 minutes playing a 1-0 game that ended with the potential tying run thrown out at the plate to end the game and Oakland manager Art Howe along with Scott Brosius getting ejected from the game after it was over.

Continue reading...

One pitch is all we ask
2008-05-06 19:14
by Bob Timmermann

Kevin Gregg of the Marlins picked up a save tonight in Milwaukee making just one pitch. Scott Olsen went 8 2/3 innings, but left with the bases loaded and two outs after throwing 121 pitches.

Gregg threw one pitch to Bill Hall and got him to fly out to right to end the game and give the Marlins a 3-0 win.

Jon Rauch of Washington and Randy Flores of St. Louis also have one-pitch saves this season.

There have also been five one-pitch wins this season. In recent years, the one-pitch win has been slightly more common than its cousin the save, presumably because every game has a win and a loss and not every game has a save.

The big record of May 6
2008-05-06 06:00
by Bob Timmermann

No, not this game of 10 years ago. Anybody can strike out 20 batters in a game. Or at least people named Roger Clemens and Randy Johnson. And Tom Cheney if you give him enough time.

But 40 years ago today, the Detroit Tigers, en route to a World Series title, tied a major league record by recording only 23 at bats while batting nine times in a game.

The game was played at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium. Dave Leonhard started for the Orioles against Joe Sparma of the Tigers. Leonhard threw a complete game one-hitter, but he also walked seven batters and hit two others. But the Tigers never came close to scoring and did just about everything possible to keep themselves from scoring as the Orioles won 4-0.

  • Inning 1 - Dick McAuliffe leads off with a walk and steals a second. Mickey Stanley comes up and hits into a fielder's choice as McAuliffe is thrown out at third. Stanley tries to steal second, but Curt Blefary throws him out. Al Kaline flies out. 2 AB
  • Inning 2 - Willie Horton leads off with a fly out. Bill Freehan walks. Jim Northrup grounds into a force out. Northrup then tries to steal second and is thrown out to end the inning. 2 AB
  • Inning 3 - Don Wert is hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and the next three batters strike out. 3 AB
  • Inning 4 - Stanley strikes out. Kaline walks. Horton strikes out and Kaline is thrown out trying to steal for a DP. 2 AB.
  • Inning 5 - Freehan is hit by a pitch. Northrup grounds into a DP. Wert flies out. 2 AB
  • Inning 6 - Dick Tracewski flies out. Pinch hitter Tom Matchick walks. McAuliffe grounds out and Matchick moves up. Stanley lines out. 3 AB.
  • Inning 7 - Kaline leads off with a walk and moves on to second on a passed ball by Blefary. Horton strikes out. Freehan flies out. Northrup singles to break up the no-hitter and Kaline goes to third. Wert grounds out. 4 AB.
  • Inning 8 - Eddie Mathews pinch hits and flies out. Norm Cash pinch hits and walks. McAuliffe flies out and Stanley hits into a force play to end the inning. 3 AB.

Going to the ninth, the Tigers are at 21 ABs. The chance of tying the mark of 23 will require some doing.

  • Inning 9 - Kaline grounds out. But, Leonhard delivers and he walks Horton. All that's left is for Freehan to hit into a DP and he complies 6-4-3. 2 AB.

Two other teams have managed to have just 23 ABs in a game. Cleveland did it on May 9, 1961 in a 4-2 loss at Chicago. The Indians drew six walks, had three sacrifices, and two sacrifice flies. They had no runners caught stealing, nor did they hit into a DP.

The other 23 AB game was in the AL and it occurred on May 6 as well, but back in 1917. In the second game of a doubleheader, the Chicago White Sox lost to the St. Louis Browns 3-0. Bob Groom of the Browns threw a no-hitter and walked three and hit a batter. The boxscore I found was incomplete, but the story mentioned that Groom faced only 28 batters. The White Sox hit into one double play and had one sacrifice. Caught stealings weren't an official stat then, so that would likely account for the missing ABs. Groom had also pitched the last 1 1/3 innings of the first game against the White Sox and didn't give up any hits then either.

Two brief asides: on May 5, 1917, Ernie Koob of the Browns had also thrown a no-hitter against the White Sox. And on May 2, 1917 Fred Toney of Cincinnati threw 10 no-hit innings to beat Hippo Vaughn of the Cubs who had thrown 9 no-hit innings before losing on a hit in the 10th.

The last team to make a run at the fewest AB record was on June 13, 2003 when the Pirates managed just 24 at bats in a 7-1 loss at Tampa Bay.


You get a DFA and a beating?
2008-05-05 13:09
by Bob Timmermann

Jacque Jones of the Tigers was designated for assignment today.

The headline on Yahoo! Sports about it reads (since fixed):

Tigers OF Jones leaves with contusion

Nine years ago, Colorado scores in all nine
2008-05-05 07:19
by Bob Timmermann

On this date in 1999, the Colorado Rockies became the tenth major league team to score in all nine innings of a game. Seven of these games were in the National League and three in the American Association, but no AL team has managed to pull it off.

The Cubs almost got out of the first inning scoreless, but third baseman Gary Gaetti made a two-out error on a ball hit by Vinny Castilla to let a run in. Cubs starter Terry Mulholland had retired the first two batters before giving up hits to Larry Walker and Dante Bichette.

The Rockies had close calls again on getting shut out in an inning in the fourth, when Chris Sexton got a two-out hit to score Neifi Perez and again in the sixth when Richie Barker threw a wild pitch with two outs to let Sexton score from third.

Sexton hit a 2-out, 2-run homer in the seventh and then in the ninth with the Rockies already up 11-6, Brad Woodall gave up a leadoff single to Mike Lansing. Larry Walker followed up with a force out and moved up to second on a wild pitch. Bichette walked, but Castilla grounded out. This brought up Todd Helton (who had not started the game and was batting sixth) and he hit a grounder to Mark Grace at first. But Grace couldn't handle it and two more runs came in on the error. The Rockies won 13-6.

And the score by innings for the Rockies read 111 121 222.

Calendars, calendars, calendars
2008-05-04 21:27
by Bob Timmermann

For the longest time, I never really looked at calendars much. I would just memorize my work schedule and keep track in my head of a few other important dates such as family and friend's birthdays. But as I've become responsible for other people's schedules at work and am required to be in different places at different times, I have to make a calendar and keep checking it.

I can tell you that this week, I'll get paid on Wednesday (and I need to make sure that the rest of my staff gets their checks too, they're picky about that) and I need to make "Count Week" sheets and trust me, you don't want to know about that.

But this Sunday, May 4, was my dad's birthday. Although I don't know if a person who has passed on still has a birthday. Unless it's a holiday. My dad would have been 79 Sunday (so would have Audrey Hepburn). And next Sunday will be Mother's Day, which is another day that lacks an important participant for me. So it's back to back Sundays in which the calendar seems to have conspired against me.

I looked back at a perpetual calendar and this same 1-2 combo of downer Sundays occurred in 2003 and will happen next in 2014. But with each year, the sense of loss lessens and gets replaced with more of an appreciation for the good times that were there. Maybe the calendar isn't conspiring against me, but rather giving me an opportunity to move ahead while I still look back.

(I will resume this blog's boring historical anecdotes Monday. Such as telling you that if we were using the French Revolutionary calendar today would have been Quintidi 15 Floreal CCXVI.)


The Mark of the RBI Beasts, 6 6 6
2008-05-03 21:23
by Bob Timmermann

All three players had 6 RBI games today. That's the first time that there have been three different players with 6 or more RBI in a game in one day since September 18, 2006 when Aramis Ramirez of the Cubs (with 7) and Jeff Baker and Garret Atkins (both of Colorado and both with 6) did it.

Back on June 8, 1990 four different players had 6 RBI in a game. Nelson Santovenia (for the Expos), George Bell (for the Blue Jays), and Will Clark and Rick Parker (both for the Giants) did the honors.

There was another instance on May 18, 1983 with Greg Brock, Ted Simmons, and Jack Clark being the trio. And it's possible there could be more.

Ojeda got his 6 RBI without hitting a home run, which isn't all that unusual as it happened twice last year. The list (since 1956) includes some great hitters, but also guys like Paul Bako, Duane Kuiper, and Dave Giusti.

To sing a song of Terrmel Sledge
2008-05-02 23:21
by Bob Timmermann

Deanna Rubin of Marinerds, which is actually almost all about one woman's love of Japan's coolest team, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, finally made a trip to Sapporo to watch the Fighters in action.

She sat in the oendan, one of the official cheering sections for the team, at the Sapporo Dome and has video of the song that the fans sing when one of the Fighters' new imports, Terrmel Sledge comes up to bat.


Deanna's translation of the song is:


North Carolina power,

homerun Sledge Daichi ni banrifuu fukaseyo atsuku nare Hammer Sledge

(Go go let's go su-re-ji!)

Deanna also reports that the PA system plays "Sledgehammer" and the fans wave inflatable hammers when Sledge bats. (He's hitting .248 with six homers the last time I checked.)


Sledge, as I've mentioned before, went to my high school, John F. Kennedy High in Granada Hills, and was the starting center fielder for the team's L.A. City Championship team in 1995. Jon Garland was a sophomore pitcher and outfielder on that squad.

Right now (and I mean now as the Fighters are in action as I type this), Nippon Ham is in second place in the Pacific League, two games behind surprising Seibu, which was expected to be inhabiting last place after a tumultuous offseason.

Julio Franco retires?
2008-05-02 22:30
by Bob Timmermann

Via Deadspin comes this announcement from the Mexican League website that Julio Franco has retired.

Este miércoles al término del segundo juego de la serie de Tigres frente a Petroleros, el dominicano Julio Franco le anunció a la directiva felina su retiro definitivamente como jugador activo.

Después de analizar la situación con la familia, el dominicano pone fin a una trayectoria de 26 años como jugador en donde cosechó un titulo de bateo con los Rangers de Texas, jugador más valioso de la Liga Americana en el 90, tres juegos de estrellas y dos títulos de bateo en México.

Does someone want to try a non-automated translation of that?

This article seems to confirm the above statement. It's in Spanish too.

South Asia sends over two prospects who really should pitch for Cleveland
2008-05-02 10:24
by Bob Timmermann

19-year old Rinku Bhramdeen Singh and 20-year old Dinesh Kumar Patel were the winners of a nationwide talent search for baseball players in India called "The Million Dollar Arm Hunt" and they will now be heading to the U.S. for a year's worth of training.

The article in the Hindu  (title edited) says that Singh can hit 89 mph on the radar gun.

And there were just 12
2008-05-02 08:28
by Bob Timmermann

The Milwaukee Brewers were carrying 14 pitchers for a week in April. But then the number dropped to 13 when Mike Cameron's suspension ended and Dave Bush was sent to the minors.

And now, reliever Derrick Turnbow has been designated for assignment and outfielder Joe Dillon has been called up to replace him. Turnbow had an ERA of 15.63 in eight games.

Weekly Puzzle #20
2008-05-02 08:00
by Bob Timmermann
It's like so what
2008-05-02 06:29
by Bob Timmermann

Ichiro Suzuki now has the second most hits all time of a Japanese player with 2903. However, you only get that total if you add together Ichiro's hit total with the Orix Blue Wave (1278) and the Mariners (1625).

From the Kyodo News Service:

Suzuki showed no interest in being second on the hit list,
saying, ''It's like so what?'' when he was asked to comment after the

I don't make up these headlines all the time.

For those not keeping track at home or too lazy to read the full article, the alltime hits leader in Japan is Isao Harimoto with 3085. According to this source, Harimoto wasn't even Japanese. He was a Korean born in Japan. And he had a couple of cool nicknames, including Komazawa Abarenbo and Anda Seizoki.

Emil Joseph 'Buzzie' Bavasi, 1915-2008
2008-05-01 15:57
by Bob Timmermann


Longtime baseball executive Buzzie Bavasi passed away today in San Diego at the age of 92.

Bavasi started his career in baseball with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1939 as the team's traveling secretary and eventually made his way up to general manager in 1951. Bavasi was one of the few front office executives who survived Walter O'Malley's takeover of a controlling interest of the Dodgers after the 1950 season in a boardroom battle with Branch Rickey.

Bavasi's Dodger teams won four World Series: 1955, 1959, 1963, and 1965 and also lost World Series in 1952, 1953, 1956, and 1966. Bavasi resigned from the Dodgers in 1968, in part because he knew that O'Malley intended to pass control of the team over to his son Peter and also to get the chance to start fresh with the expansion San Diego Padres in 1969.

He also served as the Padres team president from 1969-1977 before moving over to serve as executive vice president of the Calfornia Angels from 1978-1984. Bavasi's son Bill is the general manager of the Seattle Mariners. Another son, Peter, served as GM for the Padres from 1973 through 1976, the Toronto Blue Jays from 1977 through 1981, and for the Cleveland Indians in 1986.

A few years ago, I got an email from Buzzie Bavasi. He was actually looking for Rob Neyer, but I thought it was pretty cool nonetheless. As he told me in his message, "You know, at my age you can only be expected to remember so much stuff right." Nevertheless, I thought it was cool to have an image of a guy who signed Sandy Koufax getting up every morning to check to see where his name turned up on Google.

(Initial reports said that Bavasi was born in 1914, but I've found more sources that say he was born in 1915 and was just 92. I believe his birthday is 12/12/1915.)

In the AP obituary, Bavasi had this anecdote.


“Money was scarce many times during my career, particularly during our early years in San Diego,” Bavasi recalled in his autobiography. “Every time we got a player with any value we would sell him. In one short span in the early ’70s, I sold Al Santorini to St. Louis, Al Ferrara to Cincinnati and Ed Spiezio to the Chicago White Sox. Then my phone rang.

“ ‘Am I next?’ the voice on the other end asked before hanging up.

“It was my mother calling from Florida. She was 81 at the time.

“I immediately phoned her back. ‘What’s the matter?’ I said.

“ ‘Well, you sold three Italians in a row. I figured I was next.’ ”

Checking the Padres transactions, Bavasi almost remembered it perfectly, except the three Italian players who were dealt in succession were Ferrara, Chris Cannizaro, and Santorini. Spiezio was dealt to the White Sox next year.


But for a guy who dealt with farm systems that had over 500 players in it for much of his tenure with the Dodgers, I think that Bavasi did a good job of remembering who was who.

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