Baseball Toaster Mike's Baseball Rants
Monthly archives: April 2006


What A Mench!
2006-04-30 19:06
by Mike Carminati

Kevin Mench ended his quest for the all-time consecutive game home run record last night, falling just one short. He did become one of six men all-time to homer in seven consecutive games, which after all aint bad.

Here are all streaks of six or more games:

Player Consecutive Games with HRsTotal HRsTeamDates
Dale Long88Pittsburgh5/19 - 5/28/1956
Don Mattingly810NY Yankees7/8 - 7/18/1987
Ken Griffey, Jr.88Seattle7/20 - 7/28/1993
Jim Thome77Cleveland6/25 - 7/3/2002
Barry Bonds78San Francisco4/12 - 4/20/2004
Kevin Mench77Texas4/21 - 4/28/2006
Ken Williams66StL Browns7/28 - 8/2/1922
George Kelly67NY Giants7/11 - 7/16/1924
Lou Gehrig66NY Yankees8/28 - 9/1/1931
Walker Cooper67NY Giants6/22 - 6/28/1947
Willie Mays67NY Giants9/14 - 9/20/1955
Roy Sievers66Washington7/29 - 8/3/1957
Roger Maris67NY Yankees8/11 - 8/16/1961
Frank Howard610Washington5/12 - 5/18/1968
Reggie Jackson66Baltimore7/18 - 7/23/1976
Graig Nettles67San Diego8/11 - 8/22/1984
Barry Bonds66San Francisco4/12 - 4/18/2001
Barry Bonds69San Francisco5/17 - 5/22/2001

I thought it might be interesting to look at the players with the best odds of homering in six or eight consecutive games using logic similar to what I used in the Rollins' hit streak earlier this month. Here were the best player years:

Barry Bonds200115373664.328.515.8631.3799.21%58.90%
Mark McGwire199815570681.299.470.7521.2226.43%45.13%
Mark McGwire199915365661.278.424.6971.1204.22%32.83%
Sammy Sosa199815966722.308.377.6471.0243.68%29.91%
Sammy Sosa200116064711.328.437.7371.1742.95%25.36%
Sammy Sosa199916263712.288.367.6351.0022.44%22.06%
Mark McGwire199613052548.312.467.7301.1982.40%20.64%
Roger Maris196116161698.269.372.620.9932.03%19.23%
Mark McGwire199715658657.274.393.6461.0391.76%17.12%
Matt Williams199411243483.267.319.607.9261.53%14.16%
Ken Griffey199715756704.304.382.6461.0281.31%13.73%
Luis Gonzalez200116257728.325.429.6881.1171.23%13.24%
Mark McGwire199510439422.274.441.6851.1251.23%11.84%
Alex Rodriguez200216257725.300.392.6231.0151.23%13.18%
Mickey Mantle196115354646.317.448.6871.1351.20%12.74%
Jim Thome200214752613.304.445.6771.1221.18%12.48%
Ken Griffey199816156720.284.365.611.9771.12%12.33%
Albert Belle199514350629.317.401.6901.0911.03%11.23%
Mickey Mantle195615052652.353.464.7051.1691.03%11.30%
Ken Griffey199614049638.303.392.6281.0201.01%10.99%
Juan Gonzalez199613447592.314.368.6431.0110.99%10.67%
Ken Griffey199411140493.323.402.6741.0760.98%10.12%
Barry Bonds200313045550.341.529.7491.2780.92%10.02%
Barry Bonds200014349607.306.440.6881.1270.91%10.24%

Bonds in 2001 had the best odds of getting a six-game streak, and you'll notice that he did it twice. Now here are the odds for the players who did in fact hit a home run in six or more straight games:

Barry Bonds200173664.328.515.8631.3798.76%56.75%
Roger Maris196161698.269.372.620.9932.02%19.14%
Jim Thome200252613.304.445.6771.1221.15%12.27%
Willie Mays195551670.319.400.6591.0590.82%9.56%
Barry Bonds200445617.362.609.8121.4220.40%5.59%
Lou Gehrig193146738.341.446.6621.1080.35%5.07%
Ken Griffey199345691.309.408.6171.0250.29%4.41%
Frank Howard196844663.274.338.552.8900.23%3.75%
Roy Sievers195742657.301.388.579.9670.21%3.44%
Ken Williams192239678.332.413.6271.0400.12%2.24%
Walker Cooper194735546.305.339.586.9260.10%1.88%
Don Mattingly198730629.327.378.559.9370.03%0.77%
Reggie Jackson197627558.277.351.502.8530.02%0.54%
Dale Long195627582.263.326.485.8120.01%0.35%
Graig Nettles198420465.228.329.413.7420.00%0.15%
George Kelly192421627.324.371.531.9020.00%0.10%
Kevin Mench2006776.275.335.493.8280.00%0.05%

You may also notice how precipitously the odds fall from six- to eight-game streaks. Dale Long must be the luckiest guy in the world.

Kruk of the Problem
2006-04-27 10:39
by Mike Carminati

News Bulletin—The Phils Need Pitching!

I love John Kruk's stuff. I used to think he was just a hack baseball writer, but I now have to admit I was wrong.

He's now become a caricature of a hack writer.

Kruk, the man who championed Chone Figgins for the 2004 AL MVP about the same time he discovered that David Eckstein was the "scrappiest" player in the majors, two years after his team won the World Series, now sets his sights on the Phils' woes. Let's let the down-to-earth smarmy hubris fly.

The first problem with the Phils was their lineup. Wow, what a revelation! When a team is batting Ryan Howard sixth and seventh and especially when they have three instant outs (Bell, Lieberthal, and the pitcher), there's a problem. Utley was ping-ponging between the cleanup and #5 spot. Well, sure, he is a prototypical cleanup hitter.

The basic problem is that manager Charlie "I Need A" Manuel did not understand why his lineup worked last year nor did he know how to deal with losing one starter (Kenny Lofton) from the top of the order last year. The Phils essentially had two leadoff hitters last year, Rollins and Lofton. They were both successful at getting on base and that was the key to the Phils' offensive success in 2005. The rest of the lineup at the end of last season was Utley at number three, then Abreu, Burrell, Howard, Bell, and Lieberthal.

For some reason, losing Lofton threw a monkey wrench in Manuel's approach to the lineup at the start of this season. Rowand replaced Lofton in center, so ol' Chowlie figured, hey, let's just let Rowand take Lofton's spot in the lineup. It is beyond me how a team can take a player from a different league who is coming off a down year offensive and owns just a .337 career OBP and put him in the number two hole, especially when they have better options.

What Manuel should have done to replace Lofton was just shift the numbers three through six hitters up one spot and put Rowand in the number six spot. It just took him the better part of a month to figure that out.

But I digress…I came to bury Kruk, not Caesar, er, Manuel.

Even Kruk can see that jumbling the lineup was needed and yes, he's correct that moving Utley to #2 was the most significant single change. But he misses the larger point. Sure, lineups are not as important as some would have you believe, but when a lineup is dysfunctional like the Phils was at the start of the season, it needs to be fixed. That was most important change to the lineup, to finally put players in positions in the order that made some semblance of sense.

Next Kruk opines:

But the Phillies need to start changing their philosophy, as well. Right now they play like an American League team in that they just wait for the home run and that's a mistake for this team. They have guys like Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Aaron Rowand who can run, and it's time to start using them to manufacture runs and to put pressure on opposing pitchers.

Let me get my waders on to delve into this pile of BS. Rowand and Utley are good baserunners, but the only time either of them cleared twenty steals in a season in their professional careers was when Rowand swiped 22 in Double-A in 2000. They are good bets at a dozen to eighteen steals a year, which is nice but is nothing to build an offense around.

Rollins and Abreu (whom Kruk neglected to mention) are legitimate stolen base threats. Abreu already has 4 steals (and projects to 32 on the season) so he has had no problems swiping his share of bases. Rollins has just three stolen bases this season (projecting to 24), which is off his usual pace, but the problem with him is that he's not getting on base. His on-base percentage is the lowest it's been in three years (.322) and the Phils are 19th in the majors in leadoff hitter OBP (.330 overall).

Compare the Phils ratios to their opponents overall. Kruk is correct that too much of their offense is based on home runs, but the problem is not stealing bases. It's getting on base via the single or double that's plaguing them:


Kruk next comes out with this major revelation, "They also need to find a way to get some quality starting pitching". No, really? This is a team that has not had a real number one pitcher since Curt Schilling left town. I guess Kruk just got the bulletin—keep in mind that he was a commentator for the Phils prior to his current ESPN gig. This is the baseball equivalent of Bush telling us, as if he's the first to discover this, that "Hey! We're addicted to oil!" Well, almost, it lacks the hypocritical causal link, but you get the idea.

Beyond overstating the painfully obvious, Kruk then goes on to single out individual problems with the rotation that have nothing to do with the real problem and are factually incorrect. He avers, "[T]he Phillies [are] relying for the time being on young pitchers like Gavin Floyd and Ryan Madson, who both don't have the experience pitching beyond 150 innings that is necessary".

First, the problem with the rotation is that they just don't have the talent. They don't have a legitimate number one or two pitcher on the staff. They are relying on sub-par retreads like John Lieber and Corey Lidle in two of the top three spots.

As for Madson and Floyd, they may not reach 150 innings each, but it is more likely to be a result of their on-field performance than some innate inability to pitch beyond 150 innings. Both have ERAs in the 8.00's and are getting pulled so early they are projecting to under 150 innings for the year.

Before you play Krukie advocate and offer that they just don't have the arm strength to pitch deep into their starts and that's what Kruk meant when he said they won't pitch well past 150 innings, I have to point out that both commonly pitched at least 150 in their previous professional career. As a matter of fact, in Floyd's four professional seasons, he has missed 150 innings just once (by just 12 in 2003) and he has average 163 innings per season. Madson was a long reliever in each of the last two seasons with the Phils, but in both of his previous two (mostly) minor-league seasons he reached 150 innings (171 in 2002 and 167 in 2003).

I'm not as concerned about their ability to pitch beyond 150 innings. I'm concerned as to whether or not they are legitimate major-league starters, and whether they can show that this season.

The gist of Kruk's argument is that the Phils need to make some changes because, "[T]he NL East is there for the taking right now". Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Mets are 4.5 games ahead of the (currently) second-place Phils. That's the largest lead in the majors. Three last-place teams are closer to first than the Phils (in the AL East, AL West, and NL West). Keep in mind that they are just 2.5 games out of last.

The problem with the Phils since the glory days of Schmidt and Carlton have been short-term solutions. What they need to do is right their ship. They need to determine if they have any starting pitchers besides Brett Myers who have a legitimate shot of being in the rotation next year. They need to devise a strategy at third and behind the plate after the rapidly aging Lieberthal and Bell's contracts are up at the end of the season—and how Kruk can analyze the Phils' woes without mentioning these two albatrosses is beyond me.

What they don't need is reactionary changes driven out of some misdirected believe that they are a legitimate playoff contender. Charlie Manuel was a reactionary selection. He was brought in to appease the players after the Vicksburgian siege that was the Larry Bowa era. He was also made the heir apparent to the managerial throne after Mike Schmidt realized that he didn't enjoying paying his managerial dues by riding a bus in the minors for five months out of the year. Manuel was also a good buddy of Jim Thome, who you might recall is no longer in town.

Kruk finishes up his magnum opus by offering that the next dozen or so games will help the Phils decide whether to fire Manuel. He's right: these games will be critical if Manuel's to keep his job. But really, the Phils need to take a look at the job Manuel has done and determine if he's the man to lead him. I have my own opinion.

The biggest problem with the Phils, and Kruk is remiss in not mentioning this, is their mercurial front office style. It reminds me of the old story of how the Mets went from a Series winner to one of the worst teams in the game by trying to resolve who their center fielder was. They traded Lenny Dykstra to the Phils, made a series of trades as a result of that one and the rest was history.

The Phils are still reeling from the Scott Rolen fiasco from years ago. The Burrell contract, David Montgomery has said publicly, was a direct result of the failure to sign Rolen. The Rolen deal is woven deep into the fabric of this team.

What the Phils need to do is decide what they do well and what they don't do well. They need to take advantage of the things they do well, and improve the things they do poorly. Otherwise, we will get more of the floundering mediocrity that has plagued them basically since they surprising won the NL pennant in 1993.

Maybe I'm wrong though. Maybe that's the start of the Phils' problems. They put together a mismatched bunch of players and somehow won a pennant. They have been trying to get the quick fix to again capture lightening in a bottle ever since. What this team needs is an identity, but unfortunately, the only man in the organization who has enough baseball talent to help develop one (Pat Gillick) may be well past his prime.

How Do 14 BB Equal 2 R?
2006-04-26 22:20
by Mike Carminati

In a game almost as improbable as the Tampa Bay forest green, softball uniforms, the Yankees lost, 4-2, in ten innings to the Devil Rays tonight. The D-Rays broke the game open in the top of the tenth with Mariano Rivera on the mound, and the Yankees left the bases loaded in the bottom of the tenth.

However, the oddest thing about the game was that the Yankees drew 14 walks. Fourteen! Every spot in the order walked. Jason Giambi walked four times. And just one of those fourteen was an intentional walk. Of the five Tampa Bay pitchers, four threw at least one walk, and starter Seth McClung walked seven in five innings. He has issued 22 walks in 22.1 innings this season. Tampa Bay threw 206 pitches on the night.

To put it in perspective, the AL record for walks in a game is 20 by the Red Sox (or rather issued by the Tigers) in a 14-13 twelfth-inning loss on September 17, 1920. It's 16 in the NL. The nine-inning AL record is 18 (Detroit vs. Phila., May 9, 1916 and Cleveland vs. Boston, May 20, 1948). The NL record is 17. So it was not a record, but it wasn't that far from being one.

And yet the oddest thing might be that none of those walkees came around to score. The only two Yankee runs were scored on a Damon single and Sheffield homer. The Yankees had six hits to go with the 14 walks. Given two doubleplays and two runs, New York left 16 men on base.

Tim McCarver, take note. Those walks don't always come around to haunt you.

Fourteen of the 48 men who came to the plate for the Yankees walked. The Yankees batted .188 and slugged .281 on the night but had an on-base percentage of .435. The Yankees drew 3.5 times the expected walk total based on last years major-league numbers.

Now, given that the odds of drawing a walk in any given plate appearance using last year's numbers was 8.16%. So what's the probability of drawing 14 walks in 48 plate appearances? It's 0.0016% or about one in 64,226. I can't imagine what the odds of drawing 14 walks and scoring two runs are at 1 AM, but they're somewhere in the neighborhood of David Bell returning as the starting third baseman for the Phils next year. And Leon is getting laaaaaarger.

Homeric Odyssey
2006-04-25 22:59
by Mike Carminati

Last night, I ran across an article on Yahoo saying that home runs are up this year (and not just in Jim Thome's stat line).

Then I moseyed to ESPN and was told that an AP-AOL Sports poll found that 53 percent of baseball fans feel that "Baseball has fallen short on keeping the sport drug-free." They also found that two-thirds of fans are down on Barry Bonds though more than half would still put him in the Hall of Fame.

To quote my dad, "What the hex!" What's going on here?

The fans are correct in being suspicious of baseball's intentions where it comes to a drug policy. Both the players union and the owners profited by the inflated offensive numbers of the past dozen or so years. Both were slow to address the issue, but they now have a policy that appears effective. I mean, at least there have been a handful of minor leaguers already suspended for almost a full season (100 games).

But some will question why home runs are up if the drug policy is working so well? Oddly, those are the same people rejoicing over Barry Bonds' painfully slow start this year. I have trouble with this sort of cognitive dissonance myself.

Then again, there's the next level of cynics who say that the drug testing is academic since major-league players have switched to untraceable types of enhancements like HGH (Human Growth Hormone) or prolonged sessions on Howard Stern's sybean [sp?]. Minor-leaguers get caught using steroids because they can't afford the good stuff.

Finally, your trek through the baseball cognoscenti caste system, you will reach nirvana. That is, you will realize that there are many, many other factors that have conspired to prolong the home run inflation.

Expansion and tinkering with the strike zone and the ball have all been factors. However, in my opinion, the largest factor is the high turnover in baseball stadiums, usually from the old standard tin can-type parks to today's revenue-generating bandboxes. The new stadium boom, you might notice, coincides almost perfectly with the current offensive boom.

OK, so it's just a theory, but maybe we can test it…

First, let's verify that there is an issue. The numbers look impressive in the Yahoo article, but what do they mean? Let's look at the numbers for Aprils in the last twenty years and see what they mean as compared to the season as a whole (current stats through last night's games, for all years stats are through April and may include March stats):

YrApril HRApril ABApril HR/ABHRABHR/ABApr/Tot
Grand Total116264063632.86%8395529079692.89%99.10%

Balls are flying out of the ballpark more quickly (i.e., in 3.52% of all at-bats) than in any other full season. However, April 2006 ranks behind 2000 and is just ahead of 2001. In those seasons, homers fell sharply after April.

However, on average April home run rates are slightly below the season average (i.e., at 99.10%). One would expect if this holds true that then homers will comprise 3.55% of all at-bats by season's end, the highest percentage ever.

Ok, so there seems to be a potential issue here, but could this season just be an aberration? Homers had been falling in previous seasons, right?

Well, yes, home runs were slightly down last season, but it wasn't 1968 or anything. Besides slight downturns happen, how does the current decade compare with the past? Let's see…


So where's the change coming from? St. Louis has a new ballpark. Could that be skewing the data?

Here is a comparison over the last two seasons of ballpark factors using data (based on PF = ((homeRS + homeRA)/(homeG)) / ((roadRS + roadRA)/(roadG))). The table is split to fit in the column:

Team2006 ParkRunsHRH2B3BBB
ArizonaChase Field 1.4322.1671.2440.8642.0001.014
San DiegoPETCO Park 1.0481.4141.0930.7380.7500.860
HoustonMinute Maid Park 1.1511.7461.0130.7820.3571.107
ClevelandJacobs Field 1.0691.2841.0091.1221.4441.152
ChicagoWrigley Field 0.8351.4290.8760.8080.6290.992
PittsburghPNC Park 1.1751.2181.0450.9310.3001.258
AtlantaTurner Field 0.7731.1951.0401.2310.9290.587
DetroitComerica Park 1.1391.2171.1251.0451.4861.026
BaltimoreCamden Yards 1.2411.2041.1741.9180.8080.769
TexasAmeriquest Field 1.0301.4641.0841.1310.8180.926
NY MetsShea Stadium 1.0330.9950.9431.4550.4850.909
SeattleSafeco Field 0.8190.9620.8890.5380.8751.044
Kansas CityKauffman Stadium 0.9830.8751.1331.5911.1250.637
OaklandMcAfee Coliseum 1.1901.0001.0131.2330.4441.067
NY YankeesYankee Stadium 1.2281.1161.0180.8200.4581.281
BostonFenway Park 0.8690.8140.8741.5680.9000.725
CinicinnatiGreat American Ball Park1.5311.1861.3271.4610.4071.176
San FranciscoAT&T Park 1.2820.8250.9781.5310.5711.166
WashingtonRFK Stadium 0.7420.6840.9160.9735.0560.636
FloridaDolphin Stadium 0.9250.7050.8510.9172.7501.369
Tampa BayTropicana Field 0.8930.7670.8570.6393.4291.447
MilwuakeeMiller Park 0.7330.8860.7810.7502.4551.171
St.LouisBusch Stadium (III)1.0750.9411.0130.8761.3500.946
MinnesotaMetrodome 1.1800.7311.0671.2002.0001.300
LA of AnaheimAngel Stadium 0.7320.6550.8900.8862.4760.929
Chi White SoxU.S. Cellular Field 0.9111.0640.9150.6360.1461.182
TorontoRogers Centre 0.9430.9351.0670.7951.6360.786
ColoradoCoors Field 0.8710.7781.0140.7550.8331.264
PhiladelphiaCitizens Bank Park 0.8820.6840.8621.2610.3001.258
LA DodgersDodger Stadium 0.7570.3730.8381.0620.3331.123

Now last year's data with the difference between the two:

Team2005 ParkRunsHRH2B3BBBHR DiffR Diff
ArizonaChase Field 1.0781.0461.0451.0691.6591.0411.1210.354
San DiegoPETCO Park 0.8030.7500.9030.8321.3310.9450.6640.245
HoustonMinute Maid Park 0.9491.1950.9900.8040.9260.9710.5510.202
ClevelandJacobs Field 0.8800.8720.9231.0430.3381.0040.4120.189
ChicagoWrigley Field 1.0151.0521.0091.0581.0860.9540.377-0.180
PittsburghPNC Park 1.0340.8681.0581.1251.3381.0180.3500.141
AtlantaTurner Field 1.0950.8791.0611.1201.3991.0140.316-0.322
DetroitComerica Park 0.9590.9441.0380.8871.7371.0410.2730.180
BaltimoreCamden Yards 0.8760.9610.9430.8240.6811.2140.2430.365
TexasAmeriquest Field 1.0761.2631.0361.0321.8120.9750.201-0.046
NY MetsShea Stadium 0.9630.8711.0050.9520.6861.0130.1240.070
SeattleSafeco Field 0.9700.8441.0200.9620.6081.0490.118-0.151
Kansas CityKauffman Stadium 0.9720.7611.0221.1570.9120.9880.1140.011
OaklandMcAfee Coliseum 1.0640.8901.0151.1270.7820.9800.1100.126
NY YankeesYankee Stadium 1.0511.1061.0830.8821.1220.8910.0100.177
BostonFenway Park 1.0270.8860.9641.3240.8901.076-0.072-0.158
CinicinnatiGreat American Ball Park1.1281.2631.0701.1870.5300.958-0.0770.403
San FranciscoAT&T Park 0.9700.9150.9630.9081.0440.974-0.0900.312
WashingtonRFK Stadium 0.8600.7750.8510.8881.0510.953-0.091-0.118
FloridaDolphin Stadium 0.8830.8030.9250.8591.0951.114-0.0980.042
Tampa BayTropicana Field 0.9860.8761.0010.9041.2660.991-0.109-0.093
MilwuakeeMiller Park 0.9921.0850.8950.8770.9481.032-0.199-0.259
St.LouisBusch Stadium (II)1.0281.1481.0151.0620.6280.992-0.2070.047
MinnesotaMetrodome 1.0190.9470.9720.9670.8280.897-0.2160.161
LA of AnaheimAngel Stadium 0.9210.9010.9510.9840.9880.983-0.246-0.189
Chi White SoxU.S. Cellular Field 1.0441.3750.9720.9230.8641.086-0.311-0.133
TorontoRogers Centre 1.0391.2551.0451.0711.0850.882-0.320-0.096
ColoradoCoors Field 1.2851.1191.2541.1351.4811.035-0.341-0.414
PhiladelphiaCitizens Bank Park 1.1611.2891.1171.1271.4060.931-0.605-0.279
LA DodgersDodger Stadium 0.9011.0490.9040.9770.4161.042-0.676-0.144

What happened to Coors? And moving the left field back two feet in Philly really mattered? Hmm… And what happened to PETCO and the BOB, former pitcher's parks?

Could it be this is what happens when you use a small sample of data, like what we have so far? Sure, but I'm too impatient to wait for the season's end.

Do stadiums really change that much from year to year? Well, for historic ballpark data we are left with lahman data, which unfortunately uses a different format from ESPN. However it is useful for looking at annual changes to data.

Here are the greatest increasex in ballpark factor (BPF) from a previous season. You'll notice new ballparks are a factor:

TeamYrParkBPFPrev YrParkBPFDiff
Cincinnati Reds1902Palace of the Fans1101901League Park II in Cincinnati9317
Montreal Expos2003Stade Olympique/Hiram Bithorn Stadium1182002Stade Olympique10117
Cincinnati Reds2005Great American Ball Park1062004Great American Ball Park9214
New York Yankees2000Yankee Stadium II1041999Yankee Stadium II9113
Houston Astros2000Enron Field1071999Astrodome9413
Texas Rangers2002The Ballpark at Arlington1122001The Ballpark at Arlington10012
Colorado Rockies1995Coors Field1281994Mile High Stadium11612
Troy Trojans1880Haymakers' Grounds1051879Putnam Grounds9312
Chicago Cubs1916Wrigley Field1111915West Side Park II10011
Baltimore Orioles1883Oriole Park1031882Newington Park9211
Milwaukee Brewers1994County Stadium1051993County Stadium9510
Colorado Rockies1999Coors Field1291998Coors Field11910
Pittsburgh Pirates1891Exposition Park981890Recreation Park8810
Baltimore Orioles2004Oriole Park at Camden Yards1042003Oriole Park at Camden Yards959
Cincinnati Reds2002Cinergy Field1082001Cinergy Field999

Now, here are the greatest decreases:

TeamYrParkBPFPrev YrParkBPFDiff
Montreal Expos2004Stade Olympique/Hiram Bithorn Stadium952003Stade Olympique/Hiram Bithorn Stadium118-23
St. Louis Browns1892Sportsman's Park I951891Sportsman's Park I115-20
Hartford Dark Blues1877Union Grounds (Brooklyn)891876Hartford Ball Club Grounds108-19
Kansas City Royals2004Royals Stadium952003Royals Stadium113-18
Newark Pepper1915N/A941914N/A111-17
Chicago Cubs2000Wrigley Field901999Wrigley Field107-17
Los Angeles Dodgers1962Dodger Stadium941961Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum109-15
Los Angeles Angels1962Dodger Stadium971961Wrigley Field (LA)111-14
Seattle Mariners2000Safeco Field911999Kingdome / Safeco Field103-12
Oakland Athletics2003Oakland Coliseum932002Oakland Coliseum104-11
Philadelphia Phillies1938Baker Bowl/Shibe Park971937Baker Bowl108-11
Brooklyn Atlantics1874Union Grounds881873Union Grounds99-11
Troy Trojans1882Troy Ball Clubs Grounds951881Haymakers' Grounds105-10
St. Louis Maroons1885Sportsman's Park I941884N/A104-10
Baltimore Orioles2005Oriole Park at Camden Yards942004Oriole Park at Camden Yards104-10
Anaheim Angels2002Edison International Field972001Edison International Field107-10

Let's just look at stadium changes (i.e., not just stadium name changes). I'm including all new stadiums since the dawn of time since I love this stuff:

TeamYrParkBPFPrev YrParkBPFDiff
Washington Nationals2005R.F.K. Stadium932004Stade Olympique/Hiram Bithorn Stadium95-2
Philadelphia Phillies2004Citizen's Bank Park1012003Veterans Stadium956
San Diego Padres2004Petco Park922003Qualcomm Stadium911
Montreal Expos2003Stade Olympique/Hiram Bithorn Stadium1182002Stade Olympique10117
Cincinnati Reds2003Great American Ball Park1002002Cinergy Field108-8
Milwaukee Brewers2001Miller Park1012000County Stadium965
Pittsburgh Pirates2001PNC Park1002000Three Rivers Stadium982
Houston Astros2000Enron Field1071999Astrodome9413
San Francisco Giants2000PacBell Park9119993Com Park892
Detroit Tigers2000Comerica Park971999Tiger Stadium101-4
Seattle Mariners2000Safeco Field911999Kingdome / Safeco Field103-12
Seattle Mariners1999Kingdome / Safeco Field1031998Kingdome1003
Atlanta Braves1997Turner Field1021996Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium106-4
Colorado Rockies1995Coors Field1281994Mile High Stadium11612
Texas Rangers1994The Ballpark at Arlington1001993Arlington Stadium964
Cleveland Indians1994Jacobs Field1001993Cleveland Stadium1000
Baltimore Orioles1992Oriole Park at Camden Yards1031991Memorial Stadium967
Chicago White Sox1991Comiskey Park II981990Comiskey Park980
Toronto Blue Jays1990Skydome1021989Exhibition Stadium /Skydome984
Toronto Blue Jays1989Exhibition Stadium /Skydome981988Exhibition Stadium100-2
Minnesota Twins1982Hubert H Humphrey Metrodome1031981Metropolitan Stadium107-4
Montreal Expos1977Stade Olympique971976Jarry Park104-7
New York Yankees1976Yankee Stadium II991975Shea Stadium972
New York Yankees1974Shea Stadium971973Yankee Stadium I970
Kansas City Royals1973Royals Stadium1081972Municipal Stadium II1008
Texas Rangers1972Arlington Stadium961971R.F.K. Stadium942
Philadelphia Phillies1971Veterans Stadium1001970Connie Mack Stadium973
Pittsburgh Pirates1971Three Rivers Stadium1001970Forbes Field/Three Rivers Stadium982
Cincinnati Reds1971Riverfront Stadium981970Crosley Field/Riverfront Stadium100-2
Milwaukee Brewers1970County Stadium1011969Sicks Stadium983
Pittsburgh Pirates1970Forbes Field/Three Rivers Stadium981969Forbes Field980
Cincinnati Reds1970Crosley Field/Riverfront Stadium1001969Crosley Field105-5
Oakland Athletics1968Oakland Coliseum951967Municipal Stadium I97-2
St. Louis Cardinals1967Busch Stadium II991966Sportsman's Park IV/Busch Stadium II101-2
Atlanta Braves1966Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium1021965County Stadium1011
California Angels1966Anaheim Stadium971965Dodger Stadium98-1
St. Louis Cardinals1966Sportsman's Park IV/Busch Stadium II1011965Sportsman's Park IV109-8
Houston Astros1965Astrodome931964Colt Stadium94-1
New York Mets1964Shea Stadium981963Polo Grounds IV102-4
Washington Senators1962R.F.K. Stadium991961Griffith Stadium II990
Los Angeles Angels1962Dodger Stadium971961Wrigley Field (LA)111-14
Los Angeles Dodgers1962Dodger Stadium941961Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum109-15
Minnesota Twins1961Metropolitan Stadium1061960Griffith Stadium II997
San Francisco Giants1960Candlestick Park941959Seals Stadium98-4
San Francisco Giants1958Seals Stadium981957Polo Grounds IV100-2
Los Angeles Dodgers1958Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum1031957Ebbets Field110-7
Washington Senators1956Griffith Stadium II1001955Griffith Stadium I955
Kansas City Athletics1955Municipal Stadium I1011954Connie Mack Stadium1001
Baltimore Orioles1954Memorial Stadium931953Sportsman's Park IV102-9
Milwaukee Braves1953County Stadium941952Braves Field97-3
Cleveland Indians1947Cleveland Stadium971946League Park II/Cleveland Stadium943
Philadelphia Phillies1939Shibe Park971938Baker Bowl/Shibe Park970
Philadelphia Phillies1938Baker Bowl/Shibe Park971937Baker Bowl108-11
Boston Red Sox1934Fenway Park II1071933Fenway Park I998
Cleveland Indians1932League Park II/Cleveland Stadium1071931League Park II1061
New York Yankees1923Yankee Stadium I1021922Polo Grounds IV1020
St. Louis Cardinals1921Sportsman's Park IV981920Robison Field/Sportsman's Park IV962
St. Louis Cardinals1920Robison Field/Sportsman's Park IV961919Robison Field942
Chicago Cubs1916Wrigley Field1111915West Side Park II10011
Boston Braves1916Braves Field961915Fenway Park I / Braves Field960
Boston Braves1915Fenway Park I / Braves Field961914South End Grounds III99-3
Brooklyn Superbas1913Ebbets Field1031912Washington Park III967
New York Yankees1913Polo Grounds IV1001912Hilltop Park106-6
Boston Red Sox1912Fenway Park I1051911Huntington Avenue Grounds996
Cincinnati Reds1912Crosley Field971911Palace of the Fans961
New York Giants1912Polo Grounds IV1031911Polo Grounds III/Polo Grounds IV1030
Detroit Tigers1912Navin Field971911Bennett Park105-8
New York Giants1911Polo Grounds III/Polo Grounds IV1031910Polo Grounds III1003
Washington Senators1911Griffith Stadium I981910American League Park II953
Chicago White Sox1911Comiskey Park971910South Side Park II/Comiskey Park961
Chicago White Sox1910South Side Park II/Comiskey Park961909South Side Park II960
Pittsburgh Pirates1910Forbes Field1061909Exposition Park/Forbes Field108-2
Cleveland Naps1910League Park II1011909League Park I104-3
Pittsburgh Pirates1909Exposition Park/Forbes Field1081908Exposition Park1008
Philadelphia Athletics1909Shibe Park1021908Columbia Park107-5
St. Louis Browns1909Sportsman's Park IV931908Sportsman's Park III101-8
Washington Senators1904American League Park II981903American League Park I102-4
New York Highlanders1903Hilltop Park1061902Oriole Park1042
Cincinnati Reds1902Palace of the Fans1101901League Park II in Cincinnati9317
St. Louis Browns1902Sportsman's Park III991901Lloyd Street Grounds954
Brooklyn Bridegrooms1898Washington Park III1001897Eastern Park955
Philadelphia Phillies1895Baker Bowl1001894Philadelphia Baseball Grounds973
Boston Beaneaters1895South End Grounds III1081894South End Grounds II / Congress Street Grounds / South End Grounds III1080
Chicago Colts1894West Side Park II1051893South Side Park I996
Cincinnati Reds1894League Park II in Cincinnati1041893League Park I in Cincinnati1022
Boston Beaneaters1894South End Grounds II / Congress Street Grounds / South End Grounds III1081893South End Grounds II1080
St. Louis Browns1893Robison Field1001892Sportsman's Park I955
Louisville Colonels1893Eclipse Park II921892Eclipse Park I920
Pittsburgh Pirates1891Exposition Park981890Recreation Park8810
Cleveland Spiders1891League Park I1041890National League Park986
Brooklyn Grooms1891Eastern Park991890Washington Park II100-1
New York Giants1891Polo Grounds III961890Polo Grounds II100-4
Chicago Colts1891South Side Park I1001890West Side Park I104-4
Baltimore Orioles1891Union Park1011890Oriole Park105-4
Brooklyn Bridegrooms1890Washington Park II1001889Washington Park I1000
Cleveland Spiders1889National League Park981888National League Park II971
New York Giants1889Polo Grounds II1001888Polo Grounds I991
Kansas City Cowboys1889Exposition Park1061888Association Park I1060
Indianapolis Hoosiers1888Athletic Park II1021887Athletic Park I966
Boston Beaneaters1888South End Grounds II1021887South End Grounds I1002
Philadelphia Quakers1887Philadelphia Baseball Grounds1061886Recreation Park1015
New York Metropolitans1886St. George Cricket Grounds961885Polo Grounds I West Diamond924
Chicago White Stockings1885West Side Park I1151884Lake Front Park II1087
Pittsburgh Alleghenys1884Recreation Park1021883Exposition Park I957
Buffalo Bisons1884Olympic Park I1031883Riverside Park1021
Cincinnati Red Stockings1884League Park I in Cincinnati1051883Bank Street Grounds106-1
Baltimore Orioles1883Oriole Park1031882Newington Park9211
Chicago White Stockings1883Lake Front Park II1061882Lake Front Park I/Lake Front Park II1051
Philadelphia Athletics1883Jefferson Street Grounds1081882Oakdale Park112-4
Chicago White Stockings1882Lake Front Park I/Lake Front Park II1051881Lake Front Park I1050
Troy Trojans1882Troy Ball Clubs Grounds951881Haymakers' Grounds105-10
Troy Trojans1880Haymakers' Grounds1051879Putnam Grounds9312
Cincinnati Reds1880Bank Street Grounds991879Avenue Grounds954
Chicago White Stockings1878Lake Front Park I107187723rd Street Grounds112-5
Hartford Dark Blues1877Union Grounds (Brooklyn)891876Hartford Ball Club Grounds108-19
Brooklyn Atlantics1873Union Grounds991872Capitoline Grounds104-5

Now, here are stadiums for new ballclubs since 1901:

Arizona Diamondbacks1998Bank One Ballpark101
Tampa Bay Devil Rays1998Tropicana Field104
Florida Marlins1993Joe Robbie Stadium102
Colorado Rockies1993Mile High Stadium120
Seattle Mariners1977Kingdome99
Toronto Blue Jays1977Exhibition Stadium101
Kansas City Royals1969Municipal Stadium II101
Seattle Pilots1969Sicks Stadium98
Montreal Expos1969Jarry Park100
San Diego Padres1969Jack Murphy Stadium96
New York Mets1962Polo Grounds IV102
Houston Colt .45's1962Colt Stadium93
Washington Senators1961Griffith Stadium II99
Los Angeles Angels1961Wrigley Field (LA)111
Chicago Chi-Feds1914Wrigley Field94
Chicago White Sox1901South Side Park II97
Boston Americans1901Huntington Avenue Grounds98
Milwaukee Brewers1901Lloyd Street Grounds95
Detroit Tigers1901Bennett Park105
Cleveland Blues1901League Park I96
Philadelphia Athletics1901Columbia Park104
Baltimore Orioles1901Oriole Park104
Washington Senators1901American League Park I99

You'll note that almost all of the new stadiums in the last 15 seasons have had ballparks that have BPFs greater than the league average. You may also notice that some parks have more ups and downs than Jason Giambi on a rollercoaster. I thought it might be fun to look at the standard deviation and variance for BPFs:

Std Dev Var
DecadeBPFPrev BPFDiffBPFPrev BPFDiff

I think a couple of things are happening: As more homers are hit, the variation among team stadiums as well as for a given stadium from year to year goes up just because we're dealing with bigger numbers.

The other thing is that teams are building a number of idiosyncratic stadiums, and as each is built a cookie-cutter tin can stadium bids adieu. With the old Busch gone, Shea's the last one left, right? These throwback stadiums create throwback instability. This decade's BPF changes are closer to the 1890s than the 1990s.

The end result? Get used to the homers, and don't expect that a hitter's park one year will necessarily be one the next. Is it steroid use? Doubtful. Oh, and get off Barry Bonds' back.

Me and Julio Down on the Shuffleboard Court
2006-04-24 15:01
by Mike Carminati

Julio Franco became the oldest player to hit a home run last Thursday, connecting in the Mets 7-2 victory over the Padres. He nabs the record from pitcher Jack Quinn who homered once in 34 at-bats at the age of 46. Quinn had held the record since 1930—boy, must he be ticked off at Franco. By the way, Franco hit 9 last year at age 46, but was still edged out by Quinn.

Quinn hit only eight homers in 1349 at-bats. His second-to-last homer came eight years earlier when he was 38. He recorded 472 at-bats in those intervening eight seasons, and never recorded fewer than 46, and yet he hit his last in 34 at-bats. He collected just 35 at-bats in his final three seasons, before retiring at age 49.

Franco plans to play until age 50, and will be 49 when his current contract expires (if he doesn't first). If Franco can last that long, he'll be just the sixth man to do it, and given that none of them played more than 3 games in any season past 50, he can very easily collect the most games after turning 50.

Here are all the players to last in the majors to age 47, oldest to youngest:

Satchel Paige1965581
Minnie Minoso1980572
Nick Altrock1933561
Nick Altrock1931541
Minnie Minoso1976533
Jim O'Rourke1904531
Nick Altrock1929521
Charley O'Leary1934511
Hoyt Wilhelm19724916
Jimmy Austin1929491
Hughie Jennings1918491
Arlie Latham1909494
Jack Quinn19334914
Deacon McGuire1912481
Phil Niekro19874826
Gabby Street1931481
Hoyt Wilhelm19714812
Jack Quinn19324842
Hoyt Wilhelm19704753
Kaiser Wilhelm1921474
Jack Quinn19314739
Nick Altrock1924471
Johnny Evers1929471
Phil Niekro19864734
Julio Franco20064710

Note that all of the previous players have amassed just 261 at-bats after turning 47. Franco could equal that before his current contract is done, and of course, he's already out-homered the entire group.

There are 224 player seasons in which the given player was over 40 and hit at least one home run, four of which come this season (Franco, Craig Biggio, Steve Finley, and, finally, Barry Bonds). Altogether those players have collected 1289 taters in 52202 at-bats or a dinger in 2.47% of those player at-bats. Below are all the players to homer past age 44:

Julio Franco2006471911.11%
Jack Quinn1930461342.94%
Julio Franco20054692333.86%
Cap Anson18974534240.71%
Carlton Fisk1993451531.89%
Julio Franco20044563201.88%
Cap Anson18964424020.50%
Carlton Fisk19924431881.60%
Julio Franco20034451972.54%
Pete Rose19854424050.49%
Rickey Henderson2003442722.78%
Sam Rice19344413350.30%
Tony Perez19864422001.00%

Now, here are the most per season after age 40:

Darrell Evans198740344996.81%
Ted Williams196041293109.35%
Dave Winfield199240265834.46%
Hank Sauer195740263786.88%
Harold Baines199940254305.81%
Edgar Martinez200340244974.83%
Darrell Evans198841224375.03%
Eddie Murray199640225663.89%
Dave Winfield199341215473.84%
Hank Aaron197440203405.88%
Stan Musial196241194334.39%
Carlton Fisk198840192537.51%
George Brett199340195603.39%

And finally, here are the players with the highest percentage of home runs in their at-bats:

Deacon McGuire1907431520.00%
Nick Altrock1918411812.50%
Barry Bonds20054054211.90%
Julio Franco2006471911.11%
Andres Galarraga20044311010.00%
Ted Williams196041293109.35%
Bob Thurman195740161908.42%
Babe Ruth1935406728.33%
Cy Williams1929415657.69%
Carlton Fisk198840192537.51%
Hank Sauer195740263786.88%
Darrell Evans198740344996.81%
Merv Shea1944431156.67%
Hank Sauer1959421156.67%
Walker Cooper19554071116.31%

As for the most home runs past age 40, Franco, largely a role player late in his career, barely cracks the list of leaders:

Carlton Fisk7217814.04%
Darrell Evans6712125.53%
Dave Winfield5915393.83%
Carl Yastrzemski4815413.11%
Stan Musial4611424.03%
Hank Aaron4210763.90%
Andres Galarraga399734.01%
Hank Sauer396296.20%
Ted Williams395826.70%
Graig Nettles3710643.48%
Edgar Martinez369833.66%
Harold Baines367974.52%
Reggie Jackson337554.37%
Willie Mays328703.68%
Rickey Henderson3114882.08%
Julio Franco3011882.53%
Willie McCovey288173.43%
Brian Downing277273.71%
Eddie Murray257333.41%
Tony Perez229692.27%

And he comes nowhere near the leaders in home runs per at-bat post-40:

Nick Altrock1119.09%
Babe Ruth6728.33%
Barry Bonds6777.79%
Ted Williams395826.70%
Merv Shea1156.67%
Hank Sauer396296.20%
Darrell Evans6712125.53%
Bob Thurman203725.38%
Cy Williams173205.31%
Charlie O'Brien1195.26%
Tom Paciorek3605.00%

Franco does, however, own the post-45 homer list:

Julio Franco165622.85%
Cap Anson34240.71%
Jack Quinn11300.77%
Carlton Fisk1531.89%

Given the number of post-40 players to homer this year, you won't be surprised to find that the 2000s, or whatever we call the current decade, project to the most home runs after turning forty in baseball history. However, Franco and his aged compatriots will have to double their efforts to top the Fifties homers per at-bats after turning forty:

Hey Mr. Wilson!
2006-04-23 22:37
by Mike Carminati

Freddie Garcia beat the Twins yesterday, 9-2, to help the White Sox Sweep Minnesota in a three-game series. It was also the seventh win in their current eight-game winning streak. It was also Garcia's 102nd win in his eight-year career.

That might seem the most meaningless of the three consequences of the Saturday win, but of course that's the one I am going to bloviate upon. You see, by winning 102 games Garcia ties Wilson Alvarez for the all-time wins for a Venezuelan pitcher.

If that seems a bit low, it is, sort of. The Venezuelan co-leaders come in at just 14th if you rank the win leaders by country, behind such baseball hot beds as Ireland, Germany, and Holland.

Here are the all-time leaders for all countries:

CountryNameWLG ERA YrsFirstLast
USACy Young511316906 2.63 2218901911
HollandBert Blyleven287250692 3.31 2219701992
CANFergie Jenkins284226664 3.34 1919651983
IrelandTony Mullane284220555 3.05 1318811894
ScotlandJim McCormick265214492 2.43 1018781887
NicaraguaDennis Martinez245193692 3.70 2319761998
D.R.Juan Marichal243142471 2.89 1619601975
CubaLuis Tiant229172573 3.30 1919641982
MexicoFernando Valenzuela173153453 3.54 1719801997
GermanyCharlie Getzein145139296 3.46 918841892
P.R.Juan Pizarro131105488 3.43 1819571974
JapanHideo Nomo123109320 4.21 1119952005
South KoreaChan Ho Park10680299 4.33 1219942005
VenezuelaWilson Alvarez10292355 3.96 1419892005
VenezuelaFreddy Garcia10263223 3.96 819992006
WalesTed Lewis9464183 3.53 618961901
PolandMoe Drabowsky88105589 3.71 1719561972
ArubaSidney Ponson7691233 4.81 819982005
EnglandDanny Cox7475278 3.64 1119831995
SwitzerlandOtto Hess7090198 2.98 1019021915
V.I.Al McBean6750409 3.13 1019611970
PanamaJuan Berenguer6762490 3.90 1519781992
FranceCharlie Lea6248152 3.54 719801988
W.GermanyCraig Lefferts5872696 3.43 1219831994
South VietnamDanny Graves4143505 4.02 1019962005
SwedenEric Erickson3457145 3.85 719141922
AustraliaGraeme Lloyd3036568 4.04 1019932003
ItalyMarino Pieretti3038194 4.53 619451950
PhilippinesBobby Chouinard118111 4.57 519962001
RussiaRube Schauer102993 3.35 519131917
TaiwanChien-Ming Wang8518 4.02 120052005
UkraineIzzy Goldstein3216 4.47 119321932
SpainBryan Oelkers3845 6.01 219831986
NorwayJimmy Wiggs3413 3.81 319031906
CzechoslovakiaJoe Hovlik2016 3.62 319091911
AfghanistanJeff Bronkey2245 4.04 319931995
BahamasWenty Ford124 5.51 119731973
FinlandJohn Michaelson002 10.13 119211921
AustriaKurt Krieger003 12.60 219491951
JamaicaChili Davis001 - 119931993
A Ship on Atlantic OceanEd Porray013 4.35 119141914

It's odd to think that no 300-game winner has come from a foreign country, and even odder to realize that Chili Davis constitutes Jamaica's only major-league pitcher.

All of this made me wonder how various countries rank overall in certain categories. Here goes…First, number of pitchers:

Country# Pitchers

Now wins:


Winning Percentage:

Country# PitchersYrsWLPCT




South Vietnam182


Jamaica 2.0 0.00
Scotland 5,189.3 2.66
Switzerland 1,418.0 2.98
Ireland 10,832.7 3.04
V.I. 1,074.7 3.12
Holland 5,394.0 3.36
Wales 1,405.0 3.53
France 944.7 3.60
Czechoslovakia 54.7 3.62
Russia 435.7 3.66


Jamaica 2.0 0.000.00
Scotland 5,189.3 2.661.18
Holland 5,394.0 3.361.22
Ireland 10,832.7 3.041.25
Switzerland 1,418.0 2.981.27
Nicaragua 5,556.7 3.831.29
Poland 1,641.0 3.711.31
W.Germany 1,476.0 3.681.31
Panama 4,099.3 3.841.32
France 944.7 3.601.32

And finally strikeouts per nine innings:

South Korea 3,220.7 4.301.391.907.36
Norway 56.7 3.811.611.217.31
Japan 7,087.0 4.371.401.857.03
Panama 4,099.3 3.841.321.966.74
D.R. 61,864.7 4.091.341.936.59
Venezuela 19,434.0 4.161.381.786.50
Poland 1,641.0 3.711.311.666.37
Holland 5,394.0 3.361.222.716.28
Mexico 22,521.0 4.041.361.816.03
W.Germany 1,476.0 3.681.311.975.71
P.R. 26,175.0 4.071.391.635.69
Waiting for Mad Dog
2006-04-20 11:45
by Mike Carminati
We are all born mad (dog). Some remain so.
— From "Waiting for Godot" by Samuel "Don't Call Me Josh" Beckett

Not all players in their forties are struggling to achieve mediocrity. Two ex-Braves are leading the National League in ERA. They are, of course, Greg Maddux (1.33) and Tom Glavine (1.38).

Maddux, with Roger Clemens on hiatus, becomes the active leader in wins. He is now reminding fans that until the last few years, the debate as to whom was the best pitcher of his era, him or Clemens, was a hot topic. Maddux, a sure-fire Hall of Famer, saw his star tarnish the last few years but seems reborn this year.

With three wins, he no projects to—what?—forty or so for the season and comparison's to Old Hoss Radbourne abound. However, realistically a return to twenty wins is a definite possibility for Maddux. It would be his third twenty-win season but his first since 1993 (even though he has won two Cy Youngs since then).

That made me wonder what was the longest gap between twenty-win seasons for a pitcher in baseball history. Would 13 years be a new "record"?

The answer is that ten seasons is the most and it was down twice, once recently by a player who won twenty the first time with the Mets and the second time with the Yankees (Who else can say that?). There have only been 25 gaps of five seasons or more. Maddux's ex-teammate Glavine makes the list as does Phil Niekro, another ex-Brave…twice!

NameYr1WL ERA Yr2WL ERA #Yrs
Bert Cunningham18882229 3.39 18982815 3.16 10
David Cone1988203 2.22 1998207 3.55 10
George Bradley18764519 1.23 18842515 2.71 8
Jim Kaat19662513 2.75 19742113 2.92 8
Andy Pettitte1996218 3.87 2003218 4.02 7
Billy Rhines18902817 1.95 18972115 4.08 7
Bobby Mathews18762134 2.86 18833013 2.46 7
Ed Reulbach1908247 2.03 19152110 2.23 7
Roger Clemens1990216 1.93 1997217 2.05 7
Bill Donovan19012515 2.77 1907254 2.19 6
Eppa Rixey19162210 1.85 19222513 3.53 6
Jack Morris1986218 3.27 1992216 4.04 6
Adonis Terry18902616 2.94 18952114 4.80 5
Al Orth19012012 2.27 19062717 2.34 5
Bob Feller19412513 3.15 19462615 2.18 5
Brickyard Kennedy18942420 4.92 1899229 2.79 5
Frank Lary19562113 3.15 1961239 3.24 5
Kid Nichols18992119 2.99 19042113 2.02 5
Luis Tiant1968219 1.60 19732013 3.34 5
Phil Niekro19692313 2.56 19742013 2.38 5
Phil Niekro19742013 2.38 19792120 3.39 5
Red Faber19152414 2.55 19202313 2.99 5
Ron Guidry1978253 1.74 1983219 3.42 5
Tom Glavine1993226 3.20 1998206 2.47 5
Walter Johnson19192014 1.49 1924237 2.72 5

Bert Cunningham, you might recall, was Richie's brother in the original Happy Days lineup. I've never heard of this Cone guy though.

Back to Maddux: If he wins twenty, it'll be just the eighth time in baseball history that a forty-something pitcher has done so:

NameYrWL ERA Age
Warren Spahn1963237 2.60 42
Cy Young19082111 1.26 41
Phil Niekro19792120 3.39 40
Cy Young19072115 1.99 40
Jamie Moyer2003217 3.27 40
Pete Alexander19272110 2.52 40
Warren Spahn19612113 3.02 40
Eddie Plank19152111 2.08 39
Gaylord Perry1978216 2.73 39
Warren Spahn19602110 3.50 39
Early Wynn19592210 3.17 39
Spud Chandler1946208 2.10 38
Roger Clemens2001203 3.51 38
Jamie Moyer2001206 3.43 38
Warren Spahn19592115 2.96 38
Randy Johnson2002245 2.32 38

Even if Maddux does not win twenty, he seems like a lock to win at least 15. If so, he will tie Cy Young for the most 15-win seasons ever:

Cy Young18
Greg Maddux17
Walter Johnson16
Warren Spahn16
Eddie Plank15
Pete Alexander15
Tom Seaver13
Phil Niekro13
Gaylord Perry13
Christy Mathewson13
Steve Carlton12
Don Sutton12
Jim Palmer12
Jack Morris12
Roger Clemens12
Kid Nichols12
Red Ruffing11
Jack Taylor11
Pud Galvin11
Lefty Grove11
Burleigh Grimes11
Tim Keefe11
Mickey Welch10
Gus Weyhing10
Bob Feller10
Early Wynn10
Fergie Jenkins10
Randy Johnson10
Bert Blyleven10
Robin Roberts10
Whitey Ford10
Bob Gibson10

Speaking of which, there was a time when it seemed that the Cy Young Award would be renamed the Greg Maddux. If he wins one this year, it'll be one for Jerome Bettis's thumb, or words to that effect. Here are the multiple Cy Young winners:

Roger Clemens7
Randy Johnson5
Greg Maddux4
Steve Carlton4
Pedro Martinez3
Jim Palmer3
Tom Seaver3
Sandy Koufax3
Gaylord Perry2
Denny McLain2
Bob Gibson2
Bret Saberhagen2
Tom Glavine2

So as Maddux and Glavine return to their old glories, the Braves top winner—and the league's—is reliever Oscar Villarreal. He could become the first twenty-game winner to never start a game. Here are the most wins without a start in season:

Roy Face195957181 2.70
Bill Campbell197678175 3.01
John Hiller1974591714 2.64
Dick Radatz196479169 2.29
Jim Konstanty195074167 2.66
Ron Perranoski196369163 1.67
Tom Johnson197771167 3.13
Dale Murray197563158 3.96
Dick Radatz196366156 1.97
Eddie Fisher196582157 2.40
Hoyt Wilhelm195271153 2.43
Luis Arroyo196165155 2.19
Mike Marshall19741061512 2.42
Frank Linzy196958149 3.64
Hersh Freeman195664145 3.40
Jim Slaton198346146 4.33
Mark Clear198255149 3.00
Mark Eichhorn198669146 1.72
Mike Marshall197265148 1.78
Mike Marshall1973921411 2.66
Phil Regan196665141 1.62
Roger McDowell198675149 3.02
Ron Davis197944142 2.85
Stu Miller196163145 2.66
Stu Miller196567147 1.89
Home Warriors
2006-04-19 21:41
by Mike Carminati

The Phils came back from a three-run deficit in the eighth to beat the Nationals, 7-6 in ten innings, tonight. It was just their second win at home against six losses so far this season. It was the first Phils comeback in the final three innings in eight tries.

It was also Ryan Franklin's first win as a Phils, an inauspicious event to be sure. However, I had to mention it since any win by Franklin might be his last and at least they'll get this compensation for their $2.6M investment.

The Phils do own a 4-2 record on the road, which is probably nothing more than dumb luck at this stage of the season. But let's say the Phils are awful at home and great on the road this year. Would such a feat be unprecedented?

I looked up the greatest differences between a team's road and home records and here goes:

Chicago Cubs1994.1984964.4342039.3392925.537
Pittsburgh Pirates1908.1829856.6324235.5455621.727
Kansas City Royals1998.1687289.4472951.3634338.531
Philadelphia Athletics1948.1568470.5453641.4684829.623
Brooklyn Dodgers1948.1568470.5423641.4684829.623
Boston Red Sox1980.1508377.5193645.4444732.595
Kansas City Royals1981.1495053.4851928.4043125.554
Cincinnati Reds2001.1486696.4072754.3333942.481
St. Louis Cardinals1928.1439559.6174235.5455324.688
Boston Braves1923.13054100.3482255.2863245.416
Chicago White Sox1912.1307876.4943443.4424433.571
Cincinnati Reds1972.1279559.6174234.5535325.679
Chicago Cubs1909.12210449.6714729.6185720.740
Oakland Athletics1971.12010160.6274635.5685525.688
Los Angeles Dodgers1970.1198774.5403942.4814832.600
Milwaukee Brewers1999.1197487.4603248.4004239.519
Washington Senators1960.1177381.4743245.4164136.532
San Diego Padres1972.1135895.3792654.3253241.438
Philadelphia Phillies1923.11350104.3232055.2673049.380
Brooklyn Superbas1913.1126584.4282947.3823637.493
Boston Red Sox2002.1119369.5744239.5195130.630
New York Mets1968.1117389.4483249.3954140.506
San Diego Padres2001.1117983.4883546.4324437.543
Detroit Tigers1917.1117875.5063441.4534434.564
Seattle Mariners1981.1114465.4002037.3512428.462

OK, there are some teams who weren't bad at home, just not as good as on the road. Let's look at just those teams with a winning record on the road and a losing record at home. There are just 63 in baseball history, the Cubs and D-Backs last year being the latest. Their average record was 80-82, which so far, seems about right for this uneven team. Here are the most lopsided of that group:

Chicago Cubs1994.1984964.4342039.3392925.537
Kansas City Royals1998.1687289.4472951.3634338.531
Philadelphia Athletics1948.1568470.5453641.4684829.623
Brooklyn Dodgers1948.1568470.5423641.4684829.623
Boston Red Sox1980.1508377.5193645.4444732.595
Kansas City Royals1981.1495053.4851928.4043125.554
Chicago White Sox1912.1307876.4943443.4424433.571
Los Angeles Dodgers1970.1198774.5403942.4814832.600
Milwaukee Brewers1999.1197487.4603248.4004239.519
Washington Senators1960.1177381.4743245.4164136.532
New York Mets1968.1117389.4483249.3954140.506
San Diego Padres2001.1117983.4883546.4324437.543
Detroit Tigers1917.1117875.5063441.4534434.564
St. Louis Cardinals1994.1075361.4612333.4113028.517
Detroit Tigers1956.1048272.5293740.4814532.584

And if the Phils remain this bad at home, they will challenge for the all-time worst record at home (at least since 1901):

St. Louis Browns1939.09143111.2761859.2342552.325
Boston Rustlers1911.06044107.2821954.2602553.321
Philadelphia Athletics1915.03643109.2791953.2642456.300
Philadelphia Phillies1923.11350104.3232055.2673049.380
New York Mets1962-.05040120.2482258.2751862.225
Detroit Tigers2003-.03743119.2652358.2842061.247
Philadelphia Phillies1961.03947107.3032255.2862552.325
Boston Braves1923.13054100.3482255.2863245.416
Kansas City Athletics1956.10452102.3382255.2863047.390
Philadelphia Phillies1945.02646108.2992255.2862453.312
Boston Pilgrims1906.05749105.3162254.2892751.346
Montreal Expos1969.04952110.3212457.2962853.346
Pittsburgh Pirates1952-.05242112.2712354.2991958.247
St. Louis Browns1953.10454100.3512354.2993146.403
Philadelphia Athletics1919-.08636104.2572149.3001555.214
Philadelphia Athletics1916-.13436117.2342353.3031364.169
Philadelphia Phillies1940.04850103.3272455.3042648.351
Philadelphia Phillies1941-.05443111.2772352.3072059.253
Washington Senators1904-.10938113.2422352.3071561.197
Philadelphia Phillies1942-.06442109.2782351.3111958.247
St. Louis Browns1951.05252102.3382453.3122849.364
Toronto Blue Jays1977.04654107.3352555.3132952.358
Pittsburgh Pirates1917.02251103.3252553.3212650.342
St. Louis Browns1911-.05045107.2962553.3212054.270
Toronto Blue Jays1981.0573769.3491736.3212033.377
Kansas City Athletics1964.06257105.3502655.3213150.383

Boy, am I glad that this team has the estimable Charlie Manuel there to guide them toward abject mediocrity. How long is it until Stand Pat Gillick starts moving veterans who will be free at the year's end? That is, if he can.

Double Your Homers, Double Your Fun
2006-04-18 20:50
by Mike Carminati

Tonight Chris Shelton goes for his tenth home run of the season in his first fourteen games as his Tigers face the A's in Oakland. He currently projects to 112 on the season, which is slightly behind projecto-Albert Pujols at 116. Take that McGwire and Sosa, you wimps.

Coming into this season, Shelton had just 19 career homers. Even if he fails to reach his projected 112 homers, one would expect him to very easily double his career home run total. He's almost halfway there now and has 149 games left to go.

That made me wonder what was the most a player, who already had some major-league experience under his belt (at least 100 games and 15 home runs), upped his career home run total in a single season while doubling his career home run total. When Shelton hits 112th this year, whose "record" will he be breaking?

The answer would be that pitcher-cum-outfielder named Babe Ruth:

PlayerYrCareer HRHRPrev HR
Babe Ruth19201035449
Johnny Bench1970874542
Lou Gehrig1927844737
Cecil Fielder1990825131
Brian Giles1999783939
Reggie Jackson1969774730
Troy Glaus2000774730
Joe DiMaggio1937754629
Juan Gonzalez1992754332
Lee May1969743836
Ralph Kiner1947745123
Darrell Evans1973724131
Eddie Mathews1953724725
Steve Balboni1985713635
Ripper Collins1934703535
Nomar Garciaparra1998693534
Jim Gentile1961684622
Richard Hidalgo2000684424
Charlie Keller1941653332
Ernie Banks1955654421
Todd Helton1999653530
Willie Mays1954654124

Shelton would also be increasing his homer total fivefold. What was the greatest percentage increase for a player's career home run total in a single season:

PlayerYrCareer HRHRPrev HR%
Ralph Kiner1947745123222%
Mel Ott1929614219221%
Ernie Banks1955654421210%
Jim Gentile1961684622209%
Jimmie Foxx1929493316206%
Hideki Matsui2004473116194%
Mike Schmidt1974553619189%
Phil Plantier1993523418189%
Eddie Mathews1953724725188%
Ruben Sierra1987463016188%
Chase Utley2005432815187%
Travis Hafner2004432815187%
Norm Cash1961634122186%
Alfonso Soriano2002603921186%
Richard Hidalgo2000684424183%
Jason Thompson1977483117182%
Wally Post1955624022182%
Fernando Tatis1999533419179%
Henry Rodriguez1996573621171%
Willie Mays1954654124171%
Mo Vaughn1993462917171%

Kiner had 23 in his first season (1946) and then 51 in his second, a 122% increase. That's measly compared to Projecto-Shelton.

One last thing, Shelton will be 26 this season, which made me wonder who was the oldest player to double his career home run total. Let's ask Mr. Owl:

PlayerYrCareer HRHRPrev HR%Age
Bob Thurman1957311615107%40
George Crowe1957623131100%36
Sam Jethroe1951361818100%33
Bob Cerv1958613823165%32
Monte Irvin1951392415160%32
Ken Williams1921402416150%31
Roman Mejias1962412417141%31
Hideki Matsui2004473116194%30
Casey Blake2004472819147%30
Geronimo Berroa1995372215147%30
Dale Long1956462719142%30
Melvin Mora2002341915127%30
Chuck Workman1945462521119%30
Sid Gordon1948573027111%30
Mike Stanley1993502624108%30
Chico Fernandez1962392019105%30
Bill Robinson1973492524104%30
Ripper Collins1934703535100%30
Pat Mullin1948462323100%30
Chuck Essegian1962422121100%30
Jerry Martin1979381919100%30
Earl Averill1961372116131%29
Lee Stevens1997382117124%29
Don Hoak1957361917112%29
Joe Collins1952351817106%29

I love lists like this. What's great, besides the awesome array of names, is that there are three men from the 1957 Cincinnati Reds, excuse me, Red Legs. They are the top two guys on the list, Crowe and Thurman, and Don Hoak (29). I guess cowering in the face of abject McCarthyism helps a team open themselves up to playing old, untried guys by the truck full. I guess it was a senior outreach program, and it worked in the short term as the Reds finished 80-74 for the season.

You'll also note that recent players include late-career revelations like Casey Blake and Melvin Mora—where's Mike Easler?—and Japanese import Hideki Mastui.

By the way, the only two men to make the list twice, that is double their career home run totals in one season two times, were Babe Ruth (1919-20) and Johnny Bench (1969-70). Also, two generations of Earl Averill make the list (in 1930 and 1961), and both had 37 career home runs at the time.

Pujol-y Cow
2006-04-17 22:29
by Mike Carminati

Albert Pujols today became the 35th man in major-league history to hit four home runs in four consecutive at-bats and the 21st to do it consecutive plate appearances.

Here is the complete list:

Home Runs In Consecutive At-Bats (*= in consecutive plate appearances)

One Game: Carlos Delgado, TOR, Sept. 25, 2003*
Mike Cameron, SEA, May 2, 2002*
Mike Schmidt, PHI, Apr. 17, 1976*
Rocky Colavito, CLE, June 10, 1959*
Lou Gehrig, NYY, June 3, 1932*
Bobby Lowe, BOS May 30, 1894*
Two Games: Albert Pujols, StL, April 16-17, 2006*
Troy Glaus,:ANA, Sept. 15-16, 2002*
Andruw Jones, ATL, Sept. 7-10, 2002
Shawn Green, LA, June 14-15, 2002*
Barry Bonds, SF, May 19-20, 2001
Manny Ramirez, CLE, Sept. 15-16, 1998*
Bob Higginson, DET, June 30-July 1, 1997
Benito Santiago, PHI, Sept. 14-15, 1996
Tuffy Rhodes, CHC, Oct. 3, 1993-Apr. 4, 1994
Bo Jackson, KC, July 17-Aug. 26, 1990*
Larry Herndon, DET, May 16-18, 1982*
Mike Schmidt, PHI, July 6-7, 1979*
Don Baylor, BAL, July 1-2, 1975
Deron Johnson, PHI, July 10-11, 1971*
Mike Epstein, OAK, June 15-16, 1971*
Bobby Murcer, NYY, June 24, 1970 (DH)
Art Shamsky, CIN, Aug. 12-14, 1966*
Stan Musial, STL, July 7-8, 1962
Mickey Mantle, NYY, July 4-6, 1962*
Willie Kirkland, CLE, July 9-13, 1961
Charlie Maxwell, DET, May 3, 1959 (DH)
Ralph Kiner, PIT, Sept. 11-13, 1949*
Ralph Kiner, PIT, Aug. 15-16, 1947
Bill Nicholson, CHC, July 22-23, 1944
Hank Greenberg, DET, Jul 26-27, 1938*
Jimmie Foxx, PHI(AL), June 7-8, 1933*
Three Games: Jeff Manto, BAL, June 8-10, 1995
Johnny Blanchard, NYY, July 21-22-26, 1961*
Four Games: Ted Williams, BOS, Sept. 17-20-21-22, 1957

Some list, eh? Mike Epstein, Jeff Manto, AND Tuffy Rhodes. You'll notice that Schmidt and Kiner are the only two to make the list twice, and Schmitty is the only one to ever do it in consecutive plate appearances twice.

Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to look at the probability of accomplishing such a feat (based on a player's career totals, through 2005). Here are the players with the best odds of hitting four straight homers in any four given at-bats:

Mike Jacobs111001120.000146419.30462E-05
Mark McGwire583618776607.88413E-053.35551E-05
Ted Tappe558725.52291E-052.32568E-05
Babe Ruth7148398106165.22504E-052.04621E-05
Dave Staton91081224.82253E-052.96163E-05
Barry Bonds7089140116363.60038E-051.37062E-05
Jim Thome430591972812.78535E-051.21649E-05
Manny Ramirez435612672252.54243E-051.31403E-05
Ralph Kiner369520562562.52594E-051.21037E-05
Harmon Killebrew573814798312.44696E-051.15406E-05
Mike Busch71001050.000024011.97531E-05
Sammy Sosa588840194422.39986E-051.50402E-05
Adam Dunn158227127832.34293E-051.0389E-05
Alex Rodriguez429619571002.29966E-051.33289E-05
Greg Pirkl81161202.26218E-051.97531E-05
Bernardo Brito573762.20084E-051.87338E-05
Ryan Howard243513902.18583E-051.43412E-05
Ken Griffey536787090722.15159E-051.21856E-05
Albert Pujols201295434282.14359E-051.18201E-05
Ted Williams521770697912.08946E-058.01757E-06

Now, here's the same thing based on four straight plate appearances:

Mike Jacobs111001120.000146419.30462E-05
Mark McGwire583618776607.88413E-053.35551E-05
Dave Staton91081224.82253E-052.96163E-05
Ted Tappe558725.52291E-052.32568E-05
Babe Ruth7148398106165.22504E-052.04621E-05
Mike Busch71001050.000024011.97531E-05
Greg Pirkl81161202.26218E-051.97531E-05
Bernardo Brito573762.20084E-051.87338E-05
Dixie Howell574792.08427E-051.60462E-05
Sammy Sosa588840194422.39986E-051.50402E-05
Ryan Howard243513902.18583E-051.43412E-05
D.T. Cromer71041142.05238E-051.42158E-05
Luis Medina101501631.97531E-051.41661E-05
Barry Bonds7089140116363.60038E-051.37062E-05
Juan Gonzalez434655671551.92045E-051.35369E-05
Alex Rodriguez429619571002.29966E-051.33289E-05
Manny Ramirez435612672252.54243E-051.31403E-05
Dave Kingman442667774291.92028E-051.25305E-05
Ken Griffey536787090722.15159E-051.21856E-05
Jim Thome430591972812.78535E-051.21649E-05

You'll note that guys who recorded a bunch of homers in a limited set of at-bats/plate appearances do very well in these lists. If you would prefer to examine the expected four-homer streak per player, here are the players you would most expect to accomplish such a feat:

Mark McGwire583618776607.88413E-053.35551E-05 0.488 0.257
Babe Ruth7148398106165.22504E-052.04621E-05 0.439 0.217
Barry Bonds7089140116363.60038E-051.37062E-05 0.329 0.159
Sammy Sosa588840194422.39986E-051.50402E-05 0.202 0.142
Harmon Killebrew573814798312.44696E-051.15406E-05 0.199 0.113
Hank Aaron75512364139401.39044E-058.60472E-06 0.172 0.120
Ken Griffey536787090722.15159E-051.21856E-05 0.169 0.111
Jim Thome430591972812.78535E-051.21649E-05 0.165 0.089
Ted Williams521770697912.08946E-058.01757E-06 0.161 0.078
Manny Ramirez435612672252.54243E-051.31403E-05 0.156 0.095
Mickey Mantle536810299091.91554E-058.5613E-06 0.155 0.085
Mike Schmidt5488352100621.85336E-058.79802E-06 0.155 0.088
Jimmie Foxx534813496701.85758E-059.29949E-06 0.151 0.090
Willie Mays66010881124931.35363E-057.78949E-06 0.147 0.097
Alex Rodriguez429619571002.29966E-051.33289E-05 0.142 0.095
Willie McCovey521819796861.63204E-058.37092E-06 0.134 0.081
Ralph Kiner369520562562.52594E-051.21037E-05 0.131 0.076
Jose Canseco462705781291.83691E-051.04332E-05 0.130 0.085
Dave Kingman442667774291.92028E-051.25305E-05 0.128 0.093
Juan Gonzalez434655671551.92045E-051.35369E-05 0.126 0.097
Frank Thomas448695686021.72058E-057.35723E-06 0.120 0.063
Frank Robinson58610006117431.17638E-056.20118E-06 0.118 0.073
Lou Gehrig493800196601.44149E-056.7839E-06 0.115 0.066
Eddie Mathews5128537101011.29377E-056.60119E-06 0.110 0.067
Carlos Delgado369552966341.9839E-059.57202E-06 0.110 0.063
Albert Belle381585366731.7955E-051.06271E-05 0.105 0.071
Reggie Jackson5639864114161.06126E-055.91531E-06 0.105 0.068
Mike Piazza397620369771.67786E-051.0483E-05 0.104 0.073
Willie Stargell475792790261.28926E-057.66996E-06 0.102 0.069

McGwire comes in at number one, but never hit four home runs in consecutive at-bats. Then again, one would expect that there would be no more than 15 or 16 players to accomplish it (based on the sum of the expectations for all players). Also, one would expect about 11 to hit four dingers in four straight plate appearances.

Albert Pujols come in at number 51, by the way. Tuffy Rhodes comes in at 1924th among the 3998 players who qualify (i.e., a min of 5 career home runs). I believe he had the worst odds of anyone who actually accomplished the feat. Rhodes' expectation is 0.00014. I think it appropriate to say, "Well, how about that!" and leave it at that.

Dual Duel
2006-04-17 12:20
by Mike Carminati

Yesterday, the Phils improbably beat the Rockies, 1-0, in only the second one-zip game in Coors Field's eleven-plus-year history. A solo shot by Ryan Howard in the seventh was the difference. Brett Myer somehow escaped unscathed after scattering seven hits in 7.2 innings.

Meanwhile, the Tigers behind Mike Maroth's pitching and a homer by their first baseman, Chris Shelton, won 1-0 over the Indians at Comerica.

That's two 1-0 games in one day. There have been only two others this season, an Astro win at home and a Cards loss at the new Busch Stadium, in only the fourth game held there. Even so, until yesterday it had as many 1-0 games as Coors.

The odds of getting two 1-0 games in a full slate of fifteen games (based on last year's numbers) is 3.25%, if I remember my combinatorics correctly.

So far in 2006, there have been four 1-0 ballgames out of 182 played or about 2.20%, which would be the highest since 1992 if t keeps up. Here are the numbers per decade starting in 1901 with the home team record for 1-0 games:

Decade1-0 H GWLPCTTot H G%

As far as Coors being a difficult park to get a 1-0 pitchers duel, here are the parks that have been the hardest since 1901 (note that it's divided by ballpark name):

FranchisePark1-0 H GWLPCTTOT H GFirstLast%
Texas RangersAmeriquest Field000.00088200520060.00%
Houston AstrosEnron Field000.000162200020010.00%
Cincinnati RedsCrosley Field/Riverfront Stadium000.00081197019700.00%
Los Angeles Angels of AnaheimWrigley Field (LA)000.00082196119610.00%
San Francisco GiantsPolo Grounds III/Polo Grounds IV000.00075191119110.00%
Colorado RockiesCoors Field211.500888199520060.23%
Los Angeles Angels of AnaheimEdison International Field321.667569199720030.53%
San Francisco GiantsSBC Park101.000169200420060.59%
Los Angeles DodgersLos Angeles Memorial Coliseum2201.000309195819610.65%
Texas RangersThe Ballpark at Arlington624.333864199420040.69%
Colorado RockiesMile High Stadium1101.000138199319940.72%
Tampa Bay Devil RaysTropicana Field532.600653199820060.77%
New York YankeesOriole Park1101.000130190119020.77%
Cincinnati RedsGreat American Ball Park211.500250200320060.80%
Cincinnati RedsCinergy Field431.750487199720020.82%
Milwaukee BrewersMiller Park413.250411200120060.97%

Coors was the hardest to record a 1-0 game in for stadiums used in at least two seasons. Now, here are the easiest stadiums to get a 1-0 in:

FranchisePark1-0 H GWLPCTTOT H GFirstLast%
St. Louis CardinalsBusch Stadium III101.00062006200616.67%
Chicago White SoxSouth Side Park II/Comiskey Park945.444791910191011.39%
Los Angeles Angels of AnaheimDodger Stadium22193.864323196219656.81%
Baltimore OriolesSportsman's Park III361719.472530190219086.79%
Atlanta BravesFenway Park I / Braves Field5501.00078191519156.41%
Los Angeles Angels of AnaheimAngels Stadium of Anaheim523.40081200420046.17%
Houston AstrosColt Stadium1486.571244196219645.74%
Chicago White SoxSouth Side Park II392613.667690190119095.65%
Los Angeles DodgersWashington Park III452124.467902190119124.99%
Minnesota TwinsAmerican League Park II251411.560537190419104.66%
Chicago CubsWest Side Park II463214.6961150190119154.00%
St. Louis CardinalsRobison Field572631.4561435190119193.97%
San Francisco GiantsPolo Grounds III291811.621760190119103.82%
Atlanta BravesBraves Field1066244.5852787191619523.80%
Los Angeles DodgersDodger Stadium1338746.6543506196220063.79%
Atlanta BravesSouth End Grounds III402713.6751057190119143.78%
Texas RangersR.F.K. Stadium301515.500804196219713.73%
New York YankeesHilltop Park281513.536752190319123.72%
St. Louis CardinalsSportsman's Park IV/Busch Stadium II321.66781196619663.70%
Pittsburgh PiratesForbes Field/Three Rivers Stadium312.33382197019703.66%

The Rockies also lost their first 1-0 game at home (Coors or Mile High), thereby following from the top of the heap. The Braves now own the best 1-0 home record in baseball. The D-Backs are the only team with a losing record in 1-0 home games:

Franchise1-0 H GWLPCT
Atlanta Braves23115576.671
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim1127537.670
Colorado Rockies321.667
San Diego Padres754827.640
Houston Astros1137241.637
Cleveland Indians18311667.634
San Francisco Giants17911267.626
Chicago White Sox262162100.618
Milwaukee Brewers543321.611
Cincinnati Reds19712077.609
Baltimore Orioles20412480.608
Tampa Bay Devil Rays532.600
Los Angeles Dodgers249148101.594
Minnesota Twins21212686.594
Detroit Tigers1649767.591
Seattle Mariners342014.588
New York Mets1076245.579
Florida Marlins19118.579
St. Louis Cardinals19711483.579
Chicago Cubs234134100.573
Texas Rangers784434.564
Pittsburgh Pirates20611690.563
Toronto Blue Jays321814.563
Boston Red Sox1598970.560
New York Yankees19110685.555
Oakland Athletics1799782.542
Philadelphia Phillies19510590.538
Washington Nationals653530.538
Kansas City Royals492524.510
Arizona Diamondbacks725.286

By the way, if you think that having a 1-0 game 2.2% of the time so far in 2006 is abnormally high, take a look at the years with the highest percentage:

Yr1-0 H GWLPCTTot H G%

Now, here are the seasons with the fewest, by percentage, 1-0 games. Surprise—most of them are during the hit-happy last decade and the early Thirties:

Yr1-0 H GWLPCTTot H G%
Wrong Bronson Arroyo? (And Other Minor Clash Songs)
2006-04-13 22:17
by Mike Carminati

What got into Bronson Arroyo?

Yes, he is pitching better than he ever has before. His ERA is half his previous career ERA (1.98 as opposed to 4.59). He's cut his WHIP nearly in half (1.36 to 0.88) and upped his strikeouts per nine innings by three runs over last year (4.38 to 7.24).

But it's his hitting, not his pitching, that's been the most revelatory.

Arroyo came into 2006 with just four career hits and two extra base hits, both doubles, in 55 at-bats for a .088 batting average. He also struck out 60% of the time (33 out if 55 ABS).

So far in 2006, he has two homers, one per game, in four at-bats. If he keeps this up he can set a new home run record for pitchers. Here are the best homer years for players whose primary position was pitcher in the given year:

Wes Ferrell1931CLEAL91169402212 3.75
Jack Stivetts1894BSNNL824427452614 4.90
Ad Gumbert1889CHNNL715316311613 3.62
Bob Lemon1949CLEAL710819372210 2.99
Brooks Kieschnick2003MILNL77054211 5.26
Don Drysdale1958LANNL76621441213 4.17
Don Drysdale1965LANNL713030442312 2.77
Don Newcombe1955BRONL71173534205 3.20
Earl Wilson1968DETAL78820341312 2.85
Jack Stivetts1890SL4AA722614542721 3.52
Jack Stivetts1891SL4AA730215643322 2.86
Mike Hampton2001COLNL77931321413 5.41
Wes Ferrell1933CLEAL71408281112 4.21
Wes Ferrell1935BOSAL715016412514 3.52

He could become just the third pitcher to record a home run per game in a season. The other twp are:

Bill Lefebvre1938BOSAL112100 13.50
Ed Poole1900PITNL140110 1.29

Finally, he's allowed as many homers as he's hit, 2. Here are the pitchers who allowed as many homers as they hit (min. of two):

Wes Ferrell1931CLEAL91169402212 3.75
Brooks Kieschnick2003MILNL77054211 5.26
Jim Whitney1882BSNNL52513492421 2.64
Babe Ruth1915BOSAL492332188 2.44
Bob Caruthers1886SL4AA43173443014 2.32
Cy Seymour1898NY1NL42974452519 3.18
Don Larsen1958NYAAL44941996 3.07
Guy Hecker1884LS2AA43164755220 1.80
Wes Ferrell1934BOSAL478426145 3.63
Babe Ruth1916BOSAL31360442312 1.75
Billy Taylor1884SLUUA3186233254 1.68
Claude Hendrix1918CHNNL391232207 2.78
Garland Buckeye1925CLEAL362330138 3.65
Walter Johnson1914WS1AL31363512818 1.72
Adonis Terry1886BR3AA22991341816 3.09
Arnold Carter1944CINNL248133117 2.60
Babe Ruth1917BOSAL21232412413 2.01
Bert Cunningham1897LS3NL2932291413 4.14
Bill Donovan1901BRONL21351452515 2.77
Chad Kimsey1929SLAAL23022436 5.04
Chad Kimsey1931SLAAL23714246 4.39
Chief Hogsett1935DETAL22314066 3.54
Curry Foley1880BSNNL23321361414 3.89
Don Durham1972SLNNL21411027 4.34
Ed Doheny1898NY1NL286128719 3.68
Ed Karger1907SLNNL21122391519 2.04
Frank Owen1904CHAAL21072372115 1.94
Jean Dubuc1913DETAL21351361514 2.89
Jim Tobin1945DETAL22521445 3.55
Joe Wood1911BOSAL2882442317 2.02
Jouett Meekin1892WSNNL245214310 3.46
Ken Tatum1969CALAL22114572 1.36
Orval Overall1909CHNNL2961382011 1.42
Pete Conway1886DTNNL24311165 3.36
Sam Jones1921BOSAL21001402316 3.22
Walter Johnson1910WS1AL21371452517 1.36
Walter Johnson1912WS1AL21442503312 1.39
Walter Johnson1915WS1AL21471472713 1.55
Zeb Eaton1945DETAL23201742 4.05

I don't expect any of this to continue, neither the great pitching or historic batting, but, what the hay, it makes things interesting.

Best At Worst
2006-04-12 22:16
by Mike Carminati

The Phils jumped out to a four-run lead tonight and were actually able to hold onto it for their second victory of the season. In the process they went from the cellar of the NL East to third place, a position they seem destined to hold for the remainder of the season.

Before the win the Phils had the worst record in baseball (1-6), which made me wonder how many times they had occupied that position in their history. (And unfortunately, they went out and improbably won a game—with Lidle pitching yet—to ruin my research, but I decided to post it anyway.)

Here are the teams that recorded the worst record in the majors at least four times:

Philadelphia PhilliesNLY14
Minnesota TwinsALY12
Oakland AthleticsALY12
Baltimore OriolesALY8
Pittsburgh PiratesNLY7
New York MetsNLY6
Atlanta BravesNLY6
Detroit TigersALY5
St. Louis CardinalsNLY5
Louisville ColonelsAA-NLN4
Toronto Blue JaysALY4
Boston Red SoxALY4
Cleveland IndiansALY4

The Phils, of course, top the list. The Louisville Colonels are the only inactive team to make the list.

Of the current teams, here are the ones to finish last overall the fewest times:

Colorado RockiesNLY0
Houston AstrosNLY0
Los Angeles Angels of AnaheimALY0
Milwaukee BrewersAL-NLY0
Arizona DiamondbacksNLY1
Florida MarlinsNLY1
Kansas City RoyalsALY1
New York YankeesALY1
Cincinnati RedsNLY1

Then again, the Phils have been around for 123 years. To put it in perspective, I looked at the teams that finished last the most often (just active teams—for the record Louisville finished last 4 out of 18 times to tie the D Rays for worst):

FranchiseLGActive?#YrsTot Yrs%
Tampa Bay Devil RaysALY2825.00%
Toronto Blue JaysALY42913.79%
New York MetsNLY64413.64%
Arizona DiamondbacksNLY1812.50%
Minnesota TwinsALY1210511.43%
Oakland AthleticsALY1210511.43%
Philadelphia PhilliesNLY1412311.38%
Seattle MarinersALY32910.34%
San Diego PadresNLY3378.11%
Florida MarlinsNLY1137.69%

OK, so the Phils may not the most frequent last-place team. Of the franchises that have been in existence for at least a hundred years, the Phils trail the Senators/Twins and A's. Then again, if the Phils succeed in failing worse than any other team this year, they will leapfrog those two franchises (as well as the D-Backs.

Unfortunately, if the Phils offense can come alive enough to win games for Lidle, they might be able to win a game or three. And Charlie "I Need A" Manuel finally figured out that Burrell is a better option at cleanup than Utley. Unfortunately, he hasn't figured out that Utley and Howard at the numbers five and six spots with the on-base-impaired Rowand batting second makes no sense at all.

Don't worry: his successor will figure it out pronto.

Leiber and Lidle And Pray That They're Idle
2006-04-11 22:20
by Mike Carminati

The Phils are in fact idle tonight as they await a run at tying their team record for the worst start to a season, 1-7. And who's ready and waiting to deliver it? None other than the estimable Corey Lidle.

The goodish news is that one of those 1-7 Phils clubs, the 1987 rendition, finished the season at 80-82, which at this point seems extremely optimistic. Another (1985) finished at 75-87 and the other two (1934 and '38, respectively) finished at a deplorable 56-93 and 45-105. Oh joy!

Overall throughout all teams, 1-7 starts end up with a 70-92, .433 record. Just two of those teams (out of 76) made the postseason ('95 Reds and '74 Pirates).

I've been trying to get my arms around how bad this start is and at what point they reach a tipping point for a descent into hell. This series with the Braves seems to be the ticket. After tomorrow's masterpiece from Msgr. Lidle, salvaging anything from the series will come down to Gavin Floyd, the latest in a long line of promising yet enigmatic Phils pitchers.

If the Phils can keep up the abysmal performance until they arrive in Denver, they can record just their second 1-9 start to a season ever and their first since 1938. Here are the worst starts through ten games for any Phillies club (since 1901):

197737.3003646.39010161.6231Division Champ
Avg.254.3186795.414 5.67

Sparing a three-game win streak, the Phils will join their company. On average these teams ended at 67-95, .414. Given the talent in the NL East that still might be good enough for a distant third-place finish. Given the expected winning percentage from this year, the Phils have not outperformed their lesser antecedents and just fallen on bad luck. Their expected winning percentage is worse than the average for this lot, which makes me think 65-97 is optimistic.

Anyway, my next thought is how long "Can't Stand" Pat Gillick will sit idly by and not get busy marking Charlie "I Need a Friggin'" Manuel as the fall guy for the mess. This sort of slight of hand will become necessary when the locals start pointing out that it was Gillick who traded the newly revitalized Jim Thome (and ate half of his gargantuan contract in the process) and who spent the offseason putzing around with minor notes like Julio Santana and Ryan Franklin when the team's tune needed a whole new arrangement.

I couldn't believe that Manuel, ex-GM's Ed Wade's boy, let's not forget, could survive a 1-9 start. This all made me wonder what was the quickest hook at the start of the season for a manager. Whatever happens, Manuel won't be close to the quickest but I'm proud to say that the honor is owned by a Phils' manager anyway. Here are all the managers fired within ten games and how their teams finally finished the season:

ManagerYrTeamGMgr WMgr LWLPostseason?
Eddie Sawyer1960Philadelphia Phillies1015995N
Billy Barnie1892Washington Senators2025893N
Clyde Sukeforth1947Brooklyn Dodgers2209460N
Harry Wheeler1884Kansas City Cowboys4041663N
Jack Glasscock1892St. Louis Browns4135694N
Jim McCormick1882Cleveland Blues4044240N
Lip Pike1871Troy Haymakers4131315N
Bill Smith1873Baltimore Marylands50506N
Cal Ripken1988Baltimore Orioles60654107N
Cy Young1907Boston Red Sox6335990N
Phil Garner2002Detroit Tigers60655106N
A.M. Thompson1884St. Paul Apostles92626N
Nick Young1872Washington Olympics92727N
Dude Esterbrook1889Louisville Colonels102827111N
Fergy Malone1873Philadelphia Whites10823617N
Jimmie Wilson1944Chicago Cubs10197579N

In order to filter out teams that only played a handful of games in a season in the nineteenth century, I looked at just those who managed from 1900 on:

ManagerYrTeamGMgr WMgr LWLPostseason?
Eddie Sawyer1960Philadelphia Phillies1015995N
Clyde Sukeforth1947Brooklyn Dodgers2209460Y
Cal Ripken1988Baltimore Orioles60654107N
Cy Young1907Boston Red Sox6335990N
Phil Garner2002Detroit Tigers60655106N
Jimmie Wilson1944Chicago Cubs10197579N
Doc Gessler1914Pittsburgh Rebels11386486N
Preston Gomez1972San Diego Padres11475895N
Vedie Himsl1961Chicago Cubs11566490N
Nick Leyva1991Philadelphia Phillies13497884N
Bob Lemon1982New York Yankees14687983N
John McGraw1925New York Giants141048666N
Kid Nichols1905St. Louis Cardinals14595896N
Larry Rothschild2001Tampa Bay Devil Rays1441062100N
Davey Lopes2002Milwaukee Brewers1531256106N
Lew Fonseca1934Chicago White Sox154115399N
Yogi Berra1985New York Yankees166109764N
Al Lopez1969Chicago White Sox17896894N
Bill Norman1959Detroit Tigers172157678N
Charlie Grimm1960Chicago Cubs176116094N
Deacon McGuire1911Cleveland Naps176118073N
Vern Rapp1978St. Louis Cardinals176116993N
Malachi Kittridge1904Washington Senators1811638113N
Chuck Dressen1957Washington Senators204165599N
El Tappe1962Chicago Cubs2041659103N
Johnny Keane1966New York Yankees204167089N

We're headed down a very dismal path here. But there is one bright spot: if the Phils keep it up much longer ol' Charlie Manuel can't be long for this world. Now if someone could fire David Montgomery, then they would headed in the right direction.

Respecting the Streak
2006-04-11 05:25
by Mike Carminati
I told him that a player on a streak has to respect the streak.
— Crash Davis in "Bull Durham"

Jimmy Rollins just ended his 38-game hitting streak and, after one hitless game, started another streak that now stands at four games after his 3-for-4 showing last night. It was the second longest streak since Pete Rose's historic 44-game hitting streak in 1978 as well as the second longest multi-year streak (after Wee Willie Keeler's 45-gamer that started in the last game of the 1896 season).

Oddly, when I tried to look up the complete list of 30-game hitting streaks, I got wildly divergent lists. I cobbled together what I believe is a complete list from three main sources (1, 2, and 3):

56—Joe DiMaggio, 1941
52—Denny Lyons, 1887 (inc. walks as hits)
45—Willie Keeler, 1896-97 (last game of 1896 plus first 44 of 1897)
44—Pete Rose, 1978
42—Bill Dahlen, 1894
41—George Sisler, 1922
40—Ty Cobb, 1911
39—Paul Molitor, 1987
38—Jimmy Rollins, 2005-06
37—Tommy Holmes, 1945
36—Billy Hamilton, 1894
35—Luis Castillo, 2002
35—Ty Cobb, 1917
35—Fred Clarke, 1895
34—Benito Santiago, 1987
34—Dom DiMaggio, 1949
34—George McQuinn, 1938
34—George Sisler, 1925
33—George Davis, 1893
33—Heinie Manush, 1933
33—Hal Chase, 1907
33—Rogers Hornsby, 1922
31—Vladimir Guerrero, 1999
31—Ken Landreaux, 1980
31—Rico Carty, 1970
31—Willie Davis, 1969
31—Sam Rice, 1924
31—Nap Lajoie, 1906
31—Ed Delahanty, 1899
30—Albert Pujols, 2003
30—Luis Gonzalez, 1999
30—Eric Davis, 1998
30—Sandy Alomar Jr., 1997
30—Nomar Garciaparra, 1997
30—Jerome Walton, 1989
30—George Brett, 1980
30—Ron LeFlore, 1976
30—Stan Musial, 1950
30—Goose Goslin, 1934
30—Tris Speaker, 1912
30—Elmer Smith, 1898
30—Cal McVey, 1876

The one entry on the list that you never see is Denny Lyons' 52-game streak in 1887. That year the National League counted walks as hits. Lyons kept the streak going a few times without registering what we consider a hit today. MLB decided to reset the stats from 1887 to reflect our current definition for hits. However, the fact remains that Lyons had a 52-game streak according to the rules in play at the time.

You'll note that Rollins comes in ninth in terms of longest hitting streaks all time.

I thought it might be interesting to look at the player stats for all of those registering a thirty game streak or longer. Given their stats we can then determine the odds that each player would have hit the streak that he did.

I established the statistics involved in deriving the odds in a post from a few years ago. I have changed it slightly to ignore those plate appearances in which the batter had no chance to get a hit (i.e., times hit by a pitch and intentional walks).

For each, I list the odds that the batter will get a hit in any given plate appearance, in any given game, for a stretch of games as long as their streak, and for a stretch as long as their streak over their season(s):

NameYrStreakGABHBAOBPSLUGOPSOdds (1 PA)Odds(1g)Single Streak OddsStreak Odds
Ed Delahanty189931146581238.410.464.5821.04637.13%86.97%1.317%152.82%
Willie Keeler1896-97452551108449.405.448.518.96637.26%88.95%0.515%108.76%
Rogers Hornsby192233154623250.401.459.7221.18135.56%86.55%0.850%103.76%
George Sisler192241142586246.420.467.5941.06137.79%88.65%0.716%73.00%
Ty Cobb191140146591248.420.467.6211.08838.39%88.27%0.680%72.78%
Billy Hamilton189436129544220.404.523.5281.05032.84%87.35%0.767%72.12%
Denny Lyons188752137570209.415.421.523.94341.49%91.05%0.765%65.76%
Cal McVey18763063308107.347.352.406.75734.52%87.55%1.850%62.92%
George Brett198030117449175.390.454.6641.11835.14%84.16%0.567%49.90%
Tris Speaker191230153580222.383.464.5671.03133.18%82.85%0.354%43.86%
George Sisler192534150649224.345.371.479.85132.56%83.58%0.225%26.29%
Nap Lajoie190631152602214.355.392.465.85732.97%81.88%0.204%24.84%
George Davis189333133549195.355.410.554.96432.99%83.12%0.224%22.65%
Ty Cobb191735152588225.383.444.5701.01433.83%83.58%0.188%22.19%
Heinie Manush193333153658221.336.372.459.83131.48%82.35%0.165%19.97%
Sam Rice192431154646216.334.382.443.82530.51%81.24%0.159%19.76%
Albert Pujols200330157591212.359.439.6671.10631.98%80.35%0.141%18.07%
Nomar Garciaparra199730153684209.306.342.534.87528.79%80.03%0.125%15.53%
Luis Gonzalez199930153614206.336.403.549.95230.29%79.89%0.119%14.73%
Fred Clarke189535132550191.347.396.425.82132.54%82.63%0.126%12.33%
Elmer Smith189830123486166.342.425.432.85829.59%79.81%0.115%10.85%
Stan Musial195030146555192.346.437.5961.03429.91%79.04%0.086%10.08%
Tommy Holmes194537154636224.352.420.577.99731.59%82.59%0.084%9.96%
Rico Carty197031136478175.366.454.5841.03731.70%78.73%0.060%6.38%
Ron LeFlore197630135544172.316.376.410.78628.71%77.73%0.052%5.53%
Goose Goslin193430151614187.305.373.453.82627.34%76.46%0.032%3.89%
George McQuinn193834148602195.324.384.477.86128.97%78.90%0.032%3.64%
Bill Dahlen189442121502179.357.444.5661.01030.97%82.97%0.039%3.15%
Vladimir Guerrero199931160610193.316.378.600.97829.56%76.07%0.021%2.70%
Paul Molitor198739118465164.353.438.5661.00330.48%80.94%0.026%2.10%
Dom DiMaggio194934145605186.307.404.420.82426.42%77.45%0.017%1.89%
Sandy Alomar199730125451146.324.354.545.90030.74%75.23%0.020%1.88%
Willie Davis196931129498155.311.356.456.81129.19%75.85%0.019%1.88%
Jerome Walton198930116475139.293.335.385.72127.36%75.34%0.020%1.78%
Luis Castillo200235146606185.305.364.361.72627.95%77.37%0.013%1.41%
Eric Davis199830131452148.327.388.582.97029.42%73.76%0.011%1.11%
Jimmy Rollins2005-0638164701204.291.339.432.77127.35%76.62%0.004%0.51%
Hal Chase190733125498143.287.315.357.67227.13%73.67%0.004%0.39%
Benito Santiago198734146546164.300.324.467.79129.03%73.47%0.003%0.32%
Ken Landreaux198031129484136.281.334.417.75125.66%70.43%0.002%0.19%
Pete Rose197844159655198.302.362.421.78327.50%76.69%0.001%0.10%
Joe DiMaggio194156139541193.357.440.6431.08331.28%81.08%0.001%0.07%

So basically, the most likely was Big Ed's 31-game streak in 1899, and the least likely was DiMaggio's 56-gamer.

But isn't that a function of the length of the streak. It's just harder to get a hit for 25 more games, right? Well, I put that theory to the test. I projected each hitter's odds of recording a 56-game streak. Who had the best chance?:

NameYrStreak56-G Streak?
Denny Lyons18875243.09684%
Willie Keeler1896-974528.44247%
George Sisler19224110.21876%
Ty Cobb1911408.40896%
Billy Hamilton1894363.79457%
Ed Delahanty1899313.65115%
Rogers Hornsby1922333.03636%
Cal McVey1876300.46631%
Ty Cobb1917350.42242%
George Sisler1925340.41270%
George Brett1980300.39728%
Tris Speaker1912300.26023%
George Davis1893330.24919%
Tommy Holmes1945370.22060%
Bill Dahlen1894420.19053%
Heinie Manush1933330.18601%
Fred Clarke1895350.17617%
Nap Lajoie1906310.13345%
Sam Rice1924310.08748%
Joe DiMaggio1941560.06679%
Albert Pujols2003300.04875%
Paul Molitor1987390.04546%
Nomar Garciaparra1997300.03747%
Luis Gonzalez1999300.03394%
Elmer Smith1898300.02232%
Stan Musial1950300.01731%
George McQuinn1938340.01600%
Rico Carty1970310.01233%
Ron LeFlore1976300.00596%
Dom DiMaggio1949340.00550%
Luis Castillo2002350.00525%
Pete Rose1978440.00365%
Jimmy Rollins2005-06380.00363%
Goose Goslin1934300.00286%
Vladimir Guerrero1999310.00233%
Willie Davis1969310.00140%
Sandy Alomar1997300.00084%
Jerome Walton1989300.00079%
Eric Davis1998300.00030%
Benito Santiago1987340.00029%
Hal Chase1907330.00026%
Ken Landreaux1980310.00002%

So DiMaggio was just the twentieth most likely to record a 56-game streak. That's about half way down the list and miles away from Lyons' 43% likelihood.

That made me wonder who in baseball history had the best shot to record a 56-game hitting streak in any single season. I ran the numbers and—surprise!—most of the players are from 1887 when walks were counted as hits. For each, I translated the 56-game probability to its "one in X" equivalent:

Tip O'Neill1887124517225.485.490.6911.180436.376% 0.23
Pete Browning1887134547220.457.464.5471.011189.340% 0.53
Bob Caruthers188798364130.456.463.5471.01077.212% 1.30
Dan Brouthers1887123500169.420.426.562.98865.519% 1.53
Denny Lyons1887137570209.415.421.523.94343.097% 2.32
Hugh Duffy1894125539237.440.502.6941.19635.251% 2.84
Sam Thompson1887127545203.407.416.571.98730.632% 3.26
Cap Anson1887122472164.421.422.517.93929.667% 3.37
Willie Keeler1897129564239.424.464.5391.00327.054% 3.70
Paul Radford1887128486129.397.403.342.74524.994% 4.00
Oyster Burns1887140551188.409.414.519.93323.647% 4.23
Ross Barnes187360322137.425.456.5841.04022.598% 4.43
Yank Robinson1887125430131.427.445.405.85022.268% 4.49
Reddy Mack1887128478147.410.415.395.81121.244% 4.71
Ross Barnes187666322138.429.462.5901.05220.385% 4.91
Nap Lajoie1901131544232.426.463.6431.10617.500% 5.71
King Kelly1887116484156.391.393.488.88017.273% 5.79
Jesse Burkett1896133586240.410.461.5411.00216.465% 6.07
Fred Dunlap1884101449185.412.448.6211.06913.717% 7.29
Arlie Latham1887136627198.362.366.413.77912.741% 7.85
George Sisler1922142586246.420.467.5941.06110.219% 9.79
Sam Thompson1895119538211.392.430.6541.0859.780% 10.22
Sam Thompson189499437178.407.458.6861.1458.629% 11.59
Ty Cobb1911146591248.420.467.6211.0888.409% 11.89
George Wright187359325126.388.402.523.9257.596% 13.16

Yeah, that Tip O'Neill was a shirker. He should have had at least a couple of 56-game streaks.

I started the data at 1900 to filter out those 1887 anomalies:

Nap Lajoie1901131544232.426.463.6431.10617.500% 6
George Sisler1922142586246.420.467.5941.06110.219% 10
Ty Cobb1911146591248.420.467.6211.0888.409% 12
George Sisler1920154631257.407.449.6321.0825.980% 17
Al Simmons1925153654253.387.419.5991.0184.580% 22
Bill Terry1930154633254.401.452.6191.0714.126% 24
Lefty O'Doul1929154638254.398.465.6221.0873.700% 27
Ichiro Suzuki2004161704262.372.414.455.8693.346% 30
Rogers Hornsby1922154623250.401.459.7221.1813.036% 33
Ty Cobb1912140553226.409.456.5841.0402.990% 33
Chuck Klein1930156648250.386.436.6871.1232.287% 44
Joe Jackson1911147571233.408.468.5901.0582.171% 46
Harry Heilmann1921149602237.394.444.6061.0511.961% 51
Rogers Hornsby1924143536227.424.507.6961.2031.819% 55
Babe Herman1930153614241.393.455.6781.1321.565% 64
Jesse Burkett1901142601226.376.440.509.9491.555% 64
Heinie Manush1928154638241.378.414.575.9891.385% 72
Freddie Lindstrom1930148609231.379.425.575.9991.215% 82
Rod Carew1977155616239.388.449.5701.0191.178% 85
Al Simmons1931128513200.390.444.6411.0851.153% 87
George Sisler1921138582216.371.411.560.9711.121% 89
Jack Tobin1921150671236.352.395.487.8821.108% 90
Ichiro Suzuki2001157692242.350.381.457.8380.946% 106
Rogers Hornsby1921154592235.397.458.6391.0970.943% 106
Joe Medwick1937156633237.374.414.6411.0560.870% 115

And just to put it in perspective, I looked at the most likely to get a 56-game hitting streak since 1941. Here's the list up to DiMaggio:

Ichiro Suzuki2004161704262.372.414.455.8693.346% 30
Rod Carew1977155616239.388.449.5701.0191.178% 85
Ichiro Suzuki2001157692242.350.381.457.8380.946% 106
Darin Erstad2000157676240.355.409.541.9510.701% 143
Kirby Puckett1988158657234.356.375.545.9200.474% 211
Ralph Garr1974143606214.353.383.503.8860.474% 211
Tony Gwynn1997149592220.372.409.547.9570.433% 231
Tony Gwynn1994110419165.394.454.5681.0220.426% 235
Stan Musial1948155611230.376.450.7021.1520.423% 236
Wade Boggs1985161653240.368.450.478.9280.414% 242
George Brett1980117449175.390.454.6641.1180.397% 252
Don Mattingly1986162677238.352.394.573.9670.337% 297
Tony Gwynn1995135535197.368.404.484.8880.300% 333
Stan Musial1946156624228.365.434.5871.0210.287% 348
Alex Rodriguez1996146601215.358.414.6311.0450.276% 362
Hank Aaron1959154629223.355.401.6361.0370.252% 396
Andres Galarraga1993120470174.370.403.6021.0050.243% 412
Tommy Holmes1945154636224.352.420.577.9970.221% 453
Joe Torre1971161634230.363.421.555.9760.219% 456
Cecil Travis1941152608218.359.410.520.9300.195% 512
Cecil Cooper1980153622219.352.387.539.9260.195% 512
Roberto Clemente1967147585209.357.400.554.9540.185% 541
Pete Rose1973160680230.338.401.437.8380.170% 588
Willie McGee1985152612216.353.384.503.8870.169% 593
Dale Mitchell1948141608204.336.383.431.8140.162% 617
Richie Ashburn1951154643221.344.393.426.8190.156% 642
Willie Wilson1980161705230.326.357.421.7780.154% 648
Matty Alou1969162698231.331.369.411.7800.154% 650
Rod Carew1974153599218.364.433.446.8790.152% 659
Tommy Davis1962163665230.346.374.535.9100.150% 667
Tony Gwynn1993122489175.358.398.497.8950.148% 677
Mickey Rivers1980147630210.333.353.437.7890.146% 683
Lance Johnson1996160682227.333.362.479.8410.142% 704
Ralph Garr1971154639219.343.372.441.8130.141% 711
Nomar Garciaparra2000140529197.372.434.5991.0330.137% 728
Harvey Kuenn1959139561198.353.402.501.9030.132% 758
Dante Bichette1995139579197.340.364.620.9840.127% 786
Felipe Alou1966154666218.327.361.533.8940.127% 790
Willie Wilson1982136585194.332.365.431.7960.121% 826
Tony Gwynn1987157589218.370.447.511.9580.113% 887
Nomar Garciaparra1999135532190.357.418.6031.0220.106% 945
Mickey Vernon1946148587207.353.403.508.9100.103% 972
Pete Rose1968149626210.335.391.470.8610.102% 980
Stan Musial1943157617220.357.425.562.9880.102% 983
Paul Molitor1996161660225.341.390.468.8580.100% 1,003
Richie Ashburn1958152615215.350.440.441.8810.097% 1,030
Bill Madlock1975130514182.354.402.479.8810.088% 1,141
Pete Rose1969156627218.348.428.512.9400.088% 1,142
Don Mueller1954153619212.342.363.444.8070.087% 1,150
Roberto Clemente1961146572201.351.390.559.9490.083% 1,202
Kirby Puckett1986161680223.328.366.537.9030.080% 1,244
Kenny Lofton1994112459160.349.412.536.9480.080% 1,247
Michael Young2005159668221.331.385.513.8990.073% 1,364
George Kell1950157641218.340.403.484.8860.069% 1,456
Derek Jeter1999158627219.349.438.552.9890.069% 1,460
Ivan Rodriguez1999144600199.332.356.558.9140.068% 1,463
Wade Boggs1986149580207.357.453.486.9390.067% 1,487
Joe DiMaggio1941139541193.357.440.6431.0830.067% 1,497

So what does this tell us? Well, mainly it says that DiMaggio's streak may have been one of the least likely events to ever occur in the game. But I think it says that DiMaggio's streak is not unattainable. Ichiro two seasons ago had the best shot since 1941 to break it. But as we saw when we compared streaks of various length, extending a long streak to an historic one is a difficult or at least unlikely thing. And it doesn't get any easier when the media start hounding you to answer whether you'll get a hit the next day while you have a towel wrapped around your midsection.

That said, I wouldn't be surprised to see someone top the historic 56-game figure. I say we go back to counting walks as hits to move the process along.

Vuja De All Over Again
2006-04-10 15:59
by Mike Carminati

The Phils earned a split with the Dodgers yesterday, thereby finally removing the goose egg from their win column. They did it in dramatic come-from-behind, walk-off-homer style.

However, that was in the first game of the doubleheader. They lost another series and saw their record fall to 1-5 in lackluster style in the second game.

They finished their first homestand of the season at 1-5 and now head into Atlanta with the enigmatic Brett Myers on the mound. It may sound overly melodramatic to say that their season is on the line, but it just might be.

The average outcome for a team that starts the season 1-5 is 74 wins, a .463 winning percentage, and a sixth-place finish in a 162-game schedule. That sounds pretty bad, but eight of those 189 clubs went to the postseason (about 4.2%), and four (or 2%) won the Series ('73 A's, 1911 A's, 1925 Pirates, and 1934 Cards). 63 of the clubs (one-third) finished with a .500 or better record.

The 1-6 starters, ended up on average 71-91, .443, though in fifth place. Five made the playoffs 3.8%, but just one (1911 A's) won the World Series. And just 33 (25%) finished over .500.

As the old adage goes, the games in April count, too, and it's apparent that if you dig too deep a hole early, you may as well just fall right in. The Phils, if they know it or not, are staring down that precipice now.

It's time to make a change. Charlie "I Need A" Manuel's lineup was dysfunctional to begin with—Rowand and his 2005 .329 OPS batting second? Utley cleanup? Now, it's indefensible. Why they would want to heap pressure on a player switching leagues (Rowand) is beyond me. They should go back to Rollins and Utley at the top of the order, and Howard batting cleanup. Rowand should bat in fellow center fielder Garry Maddox's six hole. It's also clear that David Bell should not be allowed to submarine their offense. They should have eaten his contract and kept Tomas Perez.

Anyway, the Phils face their first divisional test, and if they come up short again, they might just have buried their season.

Gross Domestic Product?
2006-04-09 13:28
by Mike Carminati
Foreign policy is really domestic policy with its hat on.
—Hubert H. Humphrey as in the Metrodome

Go to foreign countries and you will get to know the good things one possesses at home.
—Johann "Santana" Wolfgang Von Goethe

The other day, it was reported that "[t]he percentage of major-league players born outside the United States dropped slightly to 27.4 on Opening Day from last year's record of 29.2." Before you start getting xenophobic and think this vindicates us for the poor showing in the Wannabe Baseball Classic, the percentage of minor leagues born outside of the U.S. is almost 50 percent (though it fell from 45.4 to 45.1 this past season.

Also, consider that baseball has been in an inexorable trend towards more foreign-born players that started in the mid-Thirties when it was not unusual for 99% of the players in the majors to be American-born. (The all-time low for foreign-born players was 0.8% in 1930 or 4 out of 492 major-leaguers.) There may be slight upswings one season, but they are invariably reversed within a year or two. Besides given the percentage of foreign-born players in the minors, the increase in American players may be erased later this season as teams start dipping into their minor-league systems.

Here are the numbers for the last 20 seasons, in which the percentage of U.S.-born players dropped by about 15 percentage points:

YrUS PlayersForeign Players%US bornChange

Also, consider that the Dominican Republic has been the top foreign producer of talent since 1978, but has more than quadrupled its number of major-leaguers since that time (31 in 1978 and 134 last year).

And the Dominican Republican is not nearly the fastest growing foreign country in terms of major-league representation. Both Japan and South Korea have seen 700% growth over the last ten seasons. Venzuela has witness 160% growth since 1995, and seven other countries have seen infinite growth given that they had no major-leaguers in 1995 (Colombia, Cuba, Curacao, Philippines, South Vietnam, Spain, and Taiwan). The D.R. has seen "only" a 70% increase over that time. That's comparable to Canada's 67% growth, and is slightly behind the overall growth of foreign-born players (73%).

However, the other regions of the world will have to go quite a way to display the Caribbean isles ad the greatest foreign producer of major-league talent. Nearly 56% of all foreign-born players come from the Caribbean or Atlantic though that was as high as 72% in 1992 and has been falling steadily since.

In baseball's early history, nearly all foreign-born players came from England or one of its former territories. Of course, most were converted cricketers back then. The Caribbean/Atlantic players took the lead in 1950 and have yet to relinquish it.

The first Caribbean exporter was Cuba, which produced the most foreign-born players from 1950-70. They were followed by Puerto Rico (which I know is a U.S. territory but usually is counted as a foreign country in baseball matters—look at the WBC—and) which led 1970-77 and shared the lead briefly in 1981. Since 1978 it's been the D.R.

By the way, my research got a mention on when the Giants fielded the first outfield of players all 39 years old or older the other day.

Does Size Matter?--Height of Absurdity, Height of Wisdom
2006-04-07 22:18
by Mike Carminati
That which seems the height of absurdity in one generation often becomes the height of wisdom in the next.
—John Stuart "Brad" Mill

The lotus' stem is as long as the depth of water,
So men's height is just as great as their inner strength.


While I'm droning on the subject of height, I thought I would answer this question from a previous post's comments:


Are ballplayers getting taller relative to the general population trend of increasing height? And if so, is it due to better nutrition (or other legal/illegal substances) or are teams more interested in taller people as pitchers?

Well, I didn't have the general population data, but was able to get something close here. It's a report with data dating back to 1960 from the CDC.

First, I got a baseline of for the average height per decade. A notes on how I derived this data: I ignored players for which there was no data. I averaged based on player years in a given decade, meaning that a player who was active for four seasons in, say, the 1990s counts for four entries in the internal table used to derive the average. Basically, it's weighted by years active. I believe this gives a better representation of the average player in a given year for the concerned decade.

Next, I split up the players by position players and pitchers. Then I found the ratio for pitcher height to position player height. (For the record, the only year that the average position player was taller than the average pitcher was 1878.) And for each category I looked at the percent change each decade.

OK, enough of my yakking, let's boogie…

Decade Avg Ht (All) Change Avg Ht P Change Avg Ht Pos Change P-to-Pos
1870s 68.85 69.49 68.74 101.08%
1880s 69.63 1.13% 70.22 1.05% 69.48 1.07%101.06%
1890s 70.12 0.70% 70.63 0.58% 69.86 0.56%101.09%
1900s 70.53 0.59% 71.38 1.07% 70.04 0.26%101.91%
1910s 71.00 0.66% 72.16 1.08% 70.27 0.32%102.69%
1920s 71.09 0.13% 72.02 -0.19% 70.36 0.13%102.37%
1930s 71.70 0.86% 72.49 0.65% 71.12 1.09%101.92%
1940s 72.10 0.56% 72.89 0.55% 71.53 0.57%101.90%
1950s 72.45 0.48% 73.02 0.18% 72.03 0.70%101.38%
1960s 72.81 0.50% 73.50 0.66% 72.28 0.35%101.69%
1970s 72.95 0.19% 73.88 0.52% 72.29 0.01%102.20%
1980s 73.27 0.44% 74.33 0.61% 72.50 0.30%102.52%
1990s 73.41 0.19% 74.32 -0.01% 72.61 0.15%102.35%
2000s 73.48 0.10% 74.35 0.03% 72.64 0.04%102.35%
Avg 72.42 73.42 71.70 102.39%

You may notice that the only two times that the average pitcher shrank was right before the two biggest offensive explosions in major-league history (the Twenties and the Nineties). Maybe the fact that the taller and usually better athlete was looking toward offense and not pitching might have more to do with the explosions than steroids (especially since steroids were hard to come by in the era of prohibition, though reportedly, Joe Kennedy could lay his hands on 'em).

Also, pitchers have consistently been slightly taller since the dawn of major-league baseball. Other than a slight spike in the early part of the twentieth century, the pitchers have become ever so slightly taller as compared to position players extremely gradually throughout baseball history.

Anyway, back to the general population. Here's a comparison between the average player and the average American male for the decades available:

Decade Avg Ht (All) Avg Male 20-74 in USA % of Avg MLB
1960s 72.81 68.393.80%
1970s 72.95 68.994.45%
1980s 73.27 69.194.31%
1990s 73.41 69.294.27%
2000s 73.48 69.494.45%

So the answer to the original question is no. Players are not growing faster than the average American. If anything, it's the reverse.

I think it goes back to what I found in the last study, that height has absolutely no correlation to how well a player (actually, it was at the team level) does on the field. There's a tangential study on player pool depth that would address this. I have just such a study that I designed a while back, but was part of my competitive balance series that is currently on hiatus. They'll more on this later—maybe I'll save it for the long lockout that will come after the All-Star game.

Here We Go Again
2006-04-07 17:50
by Mike Carminati

Lieber and Lidle, and Pray That They're Idle

It's tough starting the season 0-2 and then have to hand the ball to the estimable Corel Lidle. The Phils lost 4-2 yesterday to complete a sweep at the hands of the Cardinals and to fall to 0-3 to start the season for the 15th time since 1901. It's the seventh time in the last 30 years that started the season 0-3. Oopha!

Although two of those teams made the playoffs (1977 and 1983), on average those teams ended up at 72-90 at season's end.

YrWLRFRAFinal WFinal LPCTPOSPostseason
1983034119072.5561NL Pennant
197703131910161.6231Division Champ

You might say that those 15 teams are too small a group to draw any conclusions for this season. So let's look at all teams.

Since 1901, 287 teams have started the season at 0-3. Of those teams, 27 made the playoffs (or about 7.32%). However, since 1995 six clubs have made the playoffs after an 0-3 start including the 1998 Yankees who would up 114-48 and won the Series while Wade Boggs round a horse (the rest are the 2003 Braves, 2001 Cards, 1999 D-Backs, 1996 Indians, and 1995 Reds, none of which won the Series). The other world champs who started 0-3 are the 1911 A's, 1914 Miracle Braves, and 1973 A's.

Here are all the teams, in descending order by winning percentage, to start the season 0-3 and finish the season with at least a .600 winning percentage:

NYY19980362111448.7041WS Champ
PHA19110361210150.6691WS Champ
PHA1914032139953.6511AL Pennant
BRO194103101610054.6491NL Pennant
OAK19710392610160.6271Division Champ
STL198503101410161.6231NL Pennant
ATL20030321710161.6231Division Champ
PHI197703131910161.6231Division Champ
ARI199903121710062.6171Division Champ
CLE1996033199962.6151Division Champ
BSN1914035189459.6141WS Champ
CHW1983035139963.6111Division Champ
NYY1964037109963.6111AL Pennant

However, as you would expect, there are a lot of awful teams that started 0-3.

On average these teams ended up with a .469 winning percentage, which translates to a 76-86 record over a 162-game season. They also ended up in fifth place (or 4.84 to be precise).

So are the Phils in for their first season with less than 80 wins since the waning days of the Terry Francona regime (65-97 in 2000)?

What if we take into account the run differential over the last three games? The Phils were outscored 10-21 by the Cards.

I looked at the clubs that were outscored by about the same amount (by 1.67 to 2.5 times). They ended the season with a slightly worse record 75- 87, .463 and were also in fifth place on average (4.94 actually). However, a much lower percentage made the playoffs, just 4.55%.

So if history means anything, the Phils have a 1-in-20 shot at making the playoffs this year. One in twenty!

Boy, I'm excited. I thought they had no shot at all.

The real Phils future starts tonight with Gavin Floyd facing Brett Tomko and the Dodgers tonight. If there is any life left in this team, Floyd and Madson will be the ones to jumpstart them to life.

If the rotation is Floyd, Madson, Myers, Lieber, and a replacement for Lidle by the season's end, maybe they can defy those one-in-twenty odds. Otherwise, the Phils might be battling the Nats and Marlins for seeding in the second division of the NL East.

On Your Mark—Hendrickson's a Voodoo Chile
2006-04-06 21:25
by Mike Carminati

Mark Hendrickson tonight recorded the first shutout of the season for, of all teams, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, topping the O's in their battle to avoid the basement in the AL East. Hendrickson held the O's to three hits and won 2-0. It was also the lowest attended game in Camden Yards history (13,194, just 27.4% full).

It was the D-Rays' first complete-game shutout in the last three seasons. It was also just the 13th complete-game shutout in Tampa Bay's nine-year history

It was Hendrickson second career shutout and his first since 2003, when he was with the Blue Jays. Hendrickson, at 6'9", becomes the second tallest active pitcher to record at least two career shutouts. I'll let you guess who the other, but I'll give you a hint: It aint Wendell Wilkie.

Here are the tallest pitchers to record a shutout and their career shutout totals:

PitcherHt FtHt InWtSHO
Eric Hillman6102251
Randy Johnson61022537
Mark Hendrickson692302
Lee Guetterman682271
J.R. Richard6822219
Gene Conley6822513
Mike Smithson682156
Aaron Harang672401
Ben McDonald672136
Jeff D'Amico672504
Tom Parsons672101
Blake Stein672401
Ed Halicki6722013
Steve Hamilton671951
C.C. Sabathia672502
Willie Adams672151
Scott Elarton672401
Rich Gale672255
Mike Witt6719211
Rick Sutcliffe6721518
John Candelaria6723213
Slim Love671951
Daniel Cabrera672301
Dennis Rasmussen672305

For the time being, 100% of major league baseball's shutouts were by a man six and one half feet or taller. This probably won't hold for the entire season, but does point out a growing trend. As shutouts in general half fallen by more than 50% in the last twenty years, shutouts by pitchers 6'6" or taller have increased by over 50% over the same time.

Here are the totals for all pitchers and for those 6'6" or taller for the last twenty years.

Yr6'6" SHOTot SHO%

By the way, the most shutouts in a season was ten by a pitcher 6'6" or over was by Dave Davenport (6'6" on the nose) for the Federal League St. Louis Terriers in 1915. Don Drysdale's eight in 1968 are second.

Ersatz Burnitz
2006-04-05 22:10
by Mike Carminati

Yesterday Jeromy Burnitz hit a pinch-hit home run for the Pirates to help them draw to within one run of the Brewers in the seventh, only to see them lose. It was his 300th career home run, and it left me to ponder the question, is Burnitz indeed the worst player ever to hit 300 home runs?

Not, that I have anything against Burnitz. He had a few very good years for the Brewers in the late Nineties. He finally did have a decent season for the Mets after three tries in 2003 but ended up traded to the Dodgers before year end for Victor Diaz and a bucket of ice. Oh, and the Mets did pay him $12,166,667 for the honor.

He's on his eighth franchise in 14 years, and appears, at 37, to be part of a five-man rotation in Pittsburgh, arguably one of the worst franchises in the game. And he still insists on spelled his first name with an "O".

So is he the worst of the 111 men to hit 300 dingers? Let's run a comparison including my favorite devise, a table.

I ranked the players by the batting ratios, Win Shares, and adjusted OPS. Then I took the average of their rankings. Yeah, you can complain about the methodology, but hey, me likey the results:

NameHRWin SharesRankBARankOBPRankSLUGRankOPSRankOPS+RankAvg Rank
Gary Gaetti36024984.255104.308109.434109.74111196110 103.6
Lance Parrish32424885.252107.313107.440106.753109105107 102.8
Joe Carter39624091.25999.306110.46494.771107104109 100.0
Ruben Sierra30622399.26882.316106.450103.766108105107 99.8
Greg Vaughn355199106.242110.33797.47089.80792112102 99.8
Dave Kingman442195107.236111.302111.47879.78010311598 99.6
Ron Gant321206104.256102.33698.46892.80397112102 99.4
Graig Nettles39032150.248109.329102.421111.750110110106 97.2
Lee May35422598.26787.313108.45999.77210611696 97.2
Don Baylor33826279.26098.34289.436108.77710411893 96.4
Cecil Fielder319160110.255105.34585.48276.8278011990 92.2
Jeromy Burnitz300163109.255103.34881.48571.83275113100 91.6
Willie Horton32523395.27374.332100.457101.78910112087 91.6
Tino Martinez339216102.27178.34486.47186.81588112102 91.2
Ron Cey31628071.26197.35473.445105.7999812183 90.8
Vinny Castilla315158111.27863.324103.48373.8069396110 90.0
Gary Carter32433745.26295.33599.439107.77310511598 90.0
Darrell Evans41436333.248108.36158.431110.79210011990 88.2
Matt Williams37824190.26881.317105.48964.80595113100 86.0
Roy Sievers31823197.26789.35472.47584.8297812476 84.8

It seems about right. OK, Burnitz is probably a step up from the Gaettis and Sierras, but let's just say that the Hall is not preparing a spot for Jeromy any time soon.

But I do have newfound respect for Mr. Burnitz. He's in my top three favorite Bucs outfielders behind Jason Bay and Craig Wilson. Oh, and I like that Nate McLouth (rhymes with vermouth) kid. Let's just say I prefer him to Chris Duffy and leave it at that.

The Long and the Short of It, III
2006-04-05 15:44
by Mike Carminati
Part I Part II

Now, here are the shortest possible (though unconfirmed) infields all time:

Louisville ColonelsNL1896Ducky Holmes66Tom Morrison63Frank Shannon63Doggie Miller66Herm McFarland6632464.85 4.8
Louisville ColonelsNL1896Ducky Holmes66Frank Shannon63Tom Morrison63Doggie Miller66Herm McFarland6632464.85 4.8
Louisville ColonelsNL1896Ducky Holmes66Frank Shannon63Tom Morrison63Doggie Miller66Charlie Dexter67325655 5.0
Louisville ColonelsNL1896Ducky Holmes66Tom Morrison63Frank Shannon63Doggie Miller66Charlie Dexter67325655 5.0
Louisville ColonelsNL1896Frank Eustace69Frank Shannon63Tom Morrison63Doggie Miller66Herm McFarland6632765.45 5.4
Louisville ColonelsNL1896Frank Eustace69Tom Morrison63Frank Shannon63Doggie Miller66Herm McFarland6632765.45 5.4
Louisville ColonelsNL1896Jack Crooks70Frank Shannon63Tom Morrison63Doggie Miller66Herm McFarland6632865.65 5.6
Louisville ColonelsNL1896Frank Eustace69Tom Morrison63Frank Shannon63Doggie Miller66Charlie Dexter6732865.65 5.6
Louisville ColonelsNL1896Frank Eustace69Frank Shannon63Tom Morrison63Doggie Miller66Charlie Dexter6732865.65 5.6
Louisville ColonelsNL1896Jack Crooks70Tom Morrison63Frank Shannon63Doggie Miller66Herm McFarland6632865.65 5.6
Louisville ColonelsNL1896Ducky Holmes66Frank Shannon63Tom Morrison63Pete Cassidy70Doggie Miller6632865.65 5.6
Louisville ColonelsNL1896Ducky Holmes66Frank Shannon63Tom Morrison63Tom Kinslow70Herm McFarland6632865.65 5.6
Louisville ColonelsNL1896Doggie Miller66Frank Shannon63Tom Morrison63Tom Kinslow70Herm McFarland6632865.65 5.6
Louisville ColonelsNL1896Ducky Holmes66Frank Shannon63Tom Morrison63Pete Cassidy70Herm McFarland6632865.65 5.6
Louisville ColonelsNL1896Doggie Miller66Tom Morrison63Frank Shannon63Pete Cassidy70Herm McFarland6632865.65 5.6
Louisville ColonelsNL1896Doggie Miller66Frank Shannon63Tom Morrison63Pete Cassidy70Herm McFarland6632865.65 5.6
Louisville ColonelsNL1896Ducky Holmes66Tom Morrison63Frank Shannon63Tom Kinslow70Doggie Miller6632865.65 5.6
Louisville ColonelsNL1896Ducky Holmes66Tom Morrison63Frank Shannon63Tom Kinslow70Herm McFarland6632865.65 5.6
Louisville ColonelsNL1896Ducky Holmes66Tom Morrison63Frank Shannon63Pete Cassidy70Doggie Miller6632865.65 5.6
Louisville ColonelsNL1896Doggie Miller66Tom Morrison63Frank Shannon63Tom Kinslow70Herm McFarland6632865.65 5.6
Louisville ColonelsNL1896Ducky Holmes66Tom Morrison63Frank Shannon63Doggie Miller66Tom Kinslow7032865.65 5.6
Louisville ColonelsNL1896Ducky Holmes66Frank Shannon63Tom Morrison63Doggie Miller66Tom Kinslow7032865.65 5.6
Louisville ColonelsNL1896Ducky Holmes66Tom Morrison63Frank Shannon63Doggie Miller66Lawrence Freund7032865.65 5.6
Louisville ColonelsNL1896Ducky Holmes66Frank Shannon63Tom Morrison63Doggie Miller66Lawrence Freund7032865.65 5.6
Louisville ColonelsNL1896Ducky Holmes66Frank Shannon63Tom Morrison63Tom Kinslow70Doggie Miller6632865.65 5.6
Louisville ColonelsNL1896Ducky Holmes66Tom Morrison63Frank Shannon63Pete Cassidy70Herm McFarland6632865.65 5.6

The shortest possible infields since 1900:

Washington SenatorsAL1903Ducky Holmes66Rabbit Robinson66Kip Selbach67Lew Drill66Malachi Kittridge6733266.45 6.4
Washington SenatorsAL1903Ducky Holmes66Champ Osteen68Rabbit Robinson66Lew Drill66Malachi Kittridge6733366.65 6.6
Washington SenatorsAL1903Rabbit Robinson66Champ Osteen68Ducky Holmes66Lew Drill66Malachi Kittridge6733366.65 6.6
Washington SenatorsAL1903Rabbit Robinson66Gene DeMontreville68Ducky Holmes66Lew Drill66Malachi Kittridge6733366.65 6.6
Washington SenatorsAL1903Ducky Holmes66Gene DeMontreville68Rabbit Robinson66Lew Drill66Malachi Kittridge6733366.65 6.6
Washington SenatorsAL1903Gene DeMontreville68Rabbit Robinson66Ducky Holmes66Lew Drill66Malachi Kittridge6733366.65 6.6
Washington SenatorsAL1903Rabbit Robinson66Champ Osteen68Kip Selbach67Lew Drill66Malachi Kittridge6733466.85 6.8
Washington SenatorsAL1903Rabbit Robinson66Bill Coughlin69Ducky Holmes66Lew Drill66Malachi Kittridge6733466.85 6.8
Washington SenatorsAL1903Ducky Holmes66Bill Coughlin69Rabbit Robinson66Lew Drill66Malachi Kittridge6733466.85 6.8
Washington SenatorsAL1903Bill Coughlin69Rabbit Robinson66Ducky Holmes66Lew Drill66Malachi Kittridge6733466.85 6.8
Washington SenatorsAL1903Ducky Holmes66Rabbit Robinson66Bill Coughlin69Lew Drill66Malachi Kittridge6733466.85 6.8
Washington SenatorsAL1903Rabbit Robinson66Gene DeMontreville68Kip Selbach67Lew Drill66Malachi Kittridge6733466.85 6.8
Washington SenatorsAL1903Ducky Holmes66Champ Osteen68Kip Selbach67Lew Drill66Malachi Kittridge6733466.85 6.8
Washington SenatorsAL1903Ducky Holmes66Gene DeMontreville68Kip Selbach67Lew Drill66Malachi Kittridge6733466.85 6.8
Washington SenatorsAL1903Barry McCormick69Rabbit Robinson66Ducky Holmes66Lew Drill66Malachi Kittridge6733466.85 6.8
Washington SenatorsAL1903Gene DeMontreville68Rabbit Robinson66Kip Selbach67Lew Drill66Malachi Kittridge6733466.85 6.8
Washington SenatorsAL1903Barry McCormick69Rabbit Robinson66Kip Selbach67Lew Drill66Malachi Kittridge67335675 7.0
Washington SenatorsAL1903Gene DeMontreville68Champ Osteen68Rabbit Robinson66Lew Drill66Malachi Kittridge67335675 7.0
Washington SenatorsAL1903Gene DeMontreville68Champ Osteen68Ducky Holmes66Lew Drill66Malachi Kittridge67335675 7.0
Washington SenatorsAL1903Rabbit Robinson66Bill Coughlin69Kip Selbach67Lew Drill66Malachi Kittridge67335675 7.0
Washington SenatorsAL1903Ducky Holmes66Bill Coughlin69Kip Selbach67Lew Drill66Malachi Kittridge67335675 7.0
Washington SenatorsAL1903Bill Coughlin69Rabbit Robinson66Kip Selbach67Lew Drill66Malachi Kittridge67335675 7.0
Detroit TigersAL1904Rabbit Robinson66Charley O'Leary67Bill Coughlin69Lew Drill66Frank McManus67335675 7.0
Baltimore OriolesAL1902Harry Howell69Billy Gilbert64John McGraw67Lew Drill66Roger Bresnahan69335675 7.0
Baltimore OriolesAL1902Jimmy Williams69Billy Gilbert64John McGraw67Lew Drill66Roger Bresnahan69335675 7.0
Baltimore OriolesAL1902Jimmy Williams69Billy Gilbert64John McGraw67Harry Howell69Lew Drill66335675 7.0
Baltimore OriolesAL1902Harry Howell69Billy Gilbert64John McGraw67Jimmy Williams69Lew Drill66335675 7.0

The shortest possible since 1950:

1999Chad Fonville66Jeff Frye69Donnie Sadler66Lou Merloni70Lenny Webster69340685 8.0
1999Chad Fonville66Donnie Sadler66Jeff Frye69Lou Merloni70Lenny Webster69340685 8.0
1965Joe Morgan67Sonny Jackson69Mike White68Nellie Fox69Ron Brand6834168.25 8.2
1965Joe Morgan67Sonny Jackson69Mike White68Chuck Harrison70Ron Brand6834268.45 8.4
1966Joe Morgan67Sonny Jackson69Ron Brand68Chuck Harrison70Bill Heath6834268.45 8.4
1963Joe Morgan67Jimmy Wynn69Ernie Fazio67Carl Warwick70Jerry Grote7034368.65 8.6
1963Joe Morgan67Sonny Jackson69Ernie Fazio67Carl Warwick70Jerry Grote7034368.65 8.6
1950Billy Cox70Bobby Morgan69Pee Wee Reese69Bruce Edwards67Roy Campanella6834368.65 8.6
1950Billy Cox70Pee Wee Reese69Bobby Morgan69Bruce Edwards67Roy Campanella6834368.65 8.6
1950Billy Cox70Bobby Morgan69Spider Jorgensen69Bruce Edwards67Roy Campanella6834368.65 8.6
1963Joe Morgan67Ernie Fazio67Jimmy Wynn69Carl Warwick70Jerry Grote7034368.65 8.6
1965Joe Morgan67Sonny Jackson69Nellie Fox69Chuck Harrison70Ron Brand6834368.65 8.6
1965Joe Morgan67Bob Lillis71Mike White68Nellie Fox69Ron Brand6834368.65 8.6
1950Billy Cox70Pee Wee Reese69Spider Jorgensen69Bruce Edwards67Roy Campanella6834368.65 8.6
1958Johnny Schaive68Rocky Bridges68Bobby Malkmus69Eddie Yost70Clint Courtney6834368.65 8.6
1958Johnny Schaive68Bobby Malkmus69Rocky Bridges68Eddie Yost70Clint Courtney6834368.65 8.6
1953Johnny O'Brien69Dick Smith68Eddie Pellagrini69Paul Smith68Vic Janowicz6934368.65 8.6

Here are the tallest possible infields of all time:

Cleveland IndiansAL1998Jeff Manto75Travis Fryman73Russell Branyan75Richie Sexson80Sandy Alomar77380766 4.0
Cleveland IndiansAL1998Jeff Manto75Shawon Dunston73Russell Branyan75Richie Sexson80Sandy Alomar77380766 4.0
Cleveland IndiansAL1998Jeff Manto75Travis Fryman73Pat Borders74Richie Sexson80Sandy Alomar7737975.86 3.8
Cleveland IndiansAL1998Jeff Manto75Shawon Dunston73Pat Borders74Richie Sexson80Sandy Alomar7737975.86 3.8
Seattle MarinersAL2005Scott Spiezio74Mike Morse76Jose Lopez74Richie Sexson80Dan Wilson7537975.86 3.8
Seattle MarinersAL2005Jose Lopez74Mike Morse76Scott Spiezio74Richie Sexson80Dan Wilson7537975.86 3.8
Washington SenatorsAL1968Frank Coggins74Ken McMullen75Ron Hansen75Frank Howard79Paul Casanova7637975.86 3.8
Washington SenatorsAL1968Frank Coggins74Ken McMullen75Ron Hansen75Frank Howard79Billy Bryan7637975.86 3.8
Washington SenatorsAL1968Frank Coggins74Ron Hansen75Ken McMullen75Frank Howard79Billy Bryan7637975.86 3.8
Washington SenatorsAL1968Frank Coggins74Ron Hansen75Ken McMullen75Frank Howard79Paul Casanova7637975.86 3.8
Anaheim AngelsAL1999Tim Unroe75Jeff Huson75Troy Glaus77Matt Luke77Steve Decker7537975.86 3.8
California AngelsAL1995Rene Gonzales75Gary DiSarcina73Eduardo Perez76Carlos Martinez77Andy Allanson7737875.66 3.6
Cleveland IndiansAL1998Jeff Manto75Shawon Dunston73Travis Fryman73Richie Sexson80Sandy Alomar7737875.66 3.6
Cleveland IndiansAL1998Shawon Dunston73Travis Fryman73Jeff Manto75Richie Sexson80Sandy Alomar7737875.66 3.6
Cleveland IndiansAL1998Shawon Dunston73Travis Fryman73Russell Branyan75Richie Sexson80Sandy Alomar7737875.66 3.6
Seattle MarinersAL2005Jose Lopez74Mike Morse76Scott Spiezio74Richie Sexson80Miguel Ojeda7437875.66 3.6
Seattle MarinersAL2005Scott Spiezio74Mike Morse76Jose Lopez74Richie Sexson80Miguel Ojeda7437875.66 3.6
Seattle MarinersAL2005Scott Spiezio74Mike Morse76Greg Dobbs73Richie Sexson80Dan Wilson7537875.66 3.6
San Francisco GiantsNL1996Steve Scarsone74Matt Williams74Steve Decker75Desi Wilson79Marcus Jensen7637875.66 3.6
Seattle MarinersAL2005Jose Lopez74Mike Morse76Scott Spiezio74Richie Sexson80Pat Borders7437875.66 3.6
Seattle MarinersAL2005Scott Spiezio74Mike Morse76Jose Lopez74Richie Sexson80Pat Borders7437875.66 3.6
Seattle MarinersAL2005Jose Lopez74Mike Morse76Greg Dobbs73Richie Sexson80Dan Wilson7537875.66 3.6
Washington SenatorsAL1968Tim Cullen73Ron Hansen75Ken McMullen75Frank Howard79Paul Casanova7637875.66 3.6
Washington SenatorsAL1968Tim Cullen73Ken McMullen75Ron Hansen75Frank Howard79Billy Bryan7637875.66 3.6
Washington SenatorsAL1968Tim Cullen73Ron Hansen75Ken McMullen75Frank Howard79Billy Bryan7637875.66 3.6
Washington SenatorsAL1968Tim Cullen73Ken McMullen75Ron Hansen75Frank Howard79Paul Casanova7637875.66 3.6
Texas RangersAL1991Monty Fariss76Gary Green75Jeff Huson75Rob Maurer75Mark Parent7737875.66 3.6
Anaheim AngelsAL1999Jeff Huson75Andy Sheets74Troy Glaus77Matt Luke77Steve Decker7537875.66 3.6
Anaheim AngelsAL1999Tim Unroe75Jeff Huson75Troy Glaus77Matt Luke77Bret Hemphill7437875.66 3.6
Anaheim AngelsAL1999Tim Unroe75Jeff Huson75Troy Glaus77Matt Luke77Charlie O'Brien7437875.66 3.6
Anaheim AngelsAL1999Tim Unroe75Andy Sheets74Troy Glaus77Matt Luke77Steve Decker7537875.66 3.6
Anaheim AngelsAL1999Tim Unroe75Jeff Huson75Troy Glaus77Chris Pritchett76Steve Decker7537875.66 3.6
Anaheim AngelsAL1999Andy Sheets74Jeff Huson75Troy Glaus77Matt Luke77Steve Decker7537875.66 3.6

The tallest possible infields before 1950:

Chicago White SoxAL1947Don Kolloway75Jack Wallaesa75Bob Kennedy74Jake Jones75Joe Stephenson7437374.66 2.6
Chicago White SoxAL1947Don Kolloway75Jack Wallaesa75Bob Kennedy74Jake Jones75George Dickey7437374.66 2.6
Chicago White SoxAL1946Don Kolloway75Frank Whitman74Bob Kennedy74Jake Jones75George Dickey7437274.46 2.4
Chicago White SoxAL1947Don Kolloway75Jack Wallaesa75Bob Kennedy74Rudy York73George Dickey7437174.26 2.2
Chicago White SoxAL1947Don Kolloway75Jack Wallaesa75Bob Kennedy74Rudy York73Joe Stephenson7437174.26 2.2
Chicago White SoxAL1946Don Kolloway75Frank Whitman74Bob Kennedy74Hal Trosky74George Dickey7437174.26 2.2
St. Louis CardinalsNL1942Harry Walker74Marty Marion74Erv Dusak74Ray Sanders74Walker Cooper7537174.26 2.2
New York GiantsNL1947Bobby Thomson74Buddy Kerr74Bill Rigney73Johnny Mize74Ernie Lombardi75370746 2.0
New York GiantsNL1947Bobby Thomson74Buddy Kerr74Bill Rigney73Johnny Mize74Walker Cooper75370746 2.0
Philadelphia PhilliesNL1941Stan Benjamin74Harry Marnie73Bill Nagel73Nick Etten74Bill Harman76370746 2.0
Philadelphia PhilliesNL1941Bill Nagel73Harry Marnie73Stan Benjamin74Nick Etten74Bill Harman76370746 2.0
St. Louis CardinalsNL1946Nippy Jones73Marty Marion74Erv Dusak74Dick Sisler74Del Wilber75370746 2.0
St. Louis CardinalsNL1946Nippy Jones73Marty Marion74Erv Dusak74Harry Walker74Del Wilber75370746 2.0
St. Louis CardinalsNL1947Nippy Jones73Marty Marion74Erv Dusak74Dick Sisler74Del Wilber75370746 2.0
St. Louis CardinalsNL1946Nippy Jones73Marty Marion74Erv Dusak74Dick Sisler74Del Rice7436973.86 1.8
New York GiantsNL1949Bill Rigney73Buddy Kerr74Monte Irvin73Johnny Mize74Walker Cooper7536973.86 1.8
St. Louis CardinalsNL1946Nippy Jones73Marty Marion74Erv Dusak74Harry Walker74Del Rice7436973.86 1.8
St. Louis CardinalsNL1947Nippy Jones73Marty Marion74Erv Dusak74Dick Sisler74Del Rice7436973.86 1.8
St. Louis CardinalsNL1948Erv Dusak74Marty Marion74Bobby Young73Nippy Jones73Del Wilber7536973.86 1.8
New York GiantsNL1947Bobby Thomson74Buddy Kerr74Bill Rigney73Johnny Mize74Bennie Warren7336873.66 1.6
St. Louis CardinalsNL1948Erv Dusak74Marty Marion74Bobby Young73Nippy Jones73Del Rice7436873.66 1.6
Philadelphia PhilliesNL1941Stan Benjamin74Harry Marnie73Bill Nagel73Nick Etten74Bennie Warren7336773.46 1.4
Philadelphia PhilliesNL1941Bill Nagel73Harry Marnie73Stan Benjamin74Nick Etten74Bennie Warren7336773.46 1.4

The tallest possible infields before 1900:

Detroit WolverinesNL1888Parson Nicholson78Sy Sutcliffe74Charlie Ganzel72Dan Brouthers74Deacon McGuire7337174.26 2.2
Detroit WolverinesNL1888Parson Nicholson78Sy Sutcliffe74Deacon White71Dan Brouthers74Deacon McGuire73370746 2.0
Detroit WolverinesNL1888Parson Nicholson78Sy Sutcliffe74Charlie Ganzel72Dan Brouthers74Jake Wells7136973.86 1.8
Detroit WolverinesNL1888Parson Nicholson78Sy Sutcliffe74Charlie Ganzel72Dan Brouthers74Charlie Bennett7136973.86 1.8
Detroit WolverinesNL1888Parson Nicholson78Sy Sutcliffe74Deacon White71Dan Brouthers74Charlie Ganzel7236973.86 1.8
Detroit WolverinesNL1888Parson Nicholson78Charlie Ganzel72Deacon White71Dan Brouthers74Sy Sutcliffe7436973.86 1.8
Detroit WolverinesNL1888Parson Nicholson78Sy Sutcliffe74Charlie Ganzel72Charlie Bennett71Deacon McGuire7336873.66 1.6
Detroit WolverinesNL1888Parson Nicholson78Sy Sutcliffe74Deacon White71Charlie Ganzel72Deacon McGuire7336873.66 1.6
Detroit WolverinesNL1888Parson Nicholson78Charlie Ganzel72Deacon White71Dan Brouthers74Deacon McGuire7336873.66 1.6
Detroit WolverinesNL1888Parson Nicholson78Charlie Ganzel72Deacon White71Sy Sutcliffe74Deacon McGuire7336873.66 1.6
Detroit WolverinesNL1888Parson Nicholson78Sy Sutcliffe74Deacon White71Dan Brouthers74Charlie Bennett7136873.66 1.6
Detroit WolverinesNL1888Parson Nicholson78Sy Sutcliffe74Deacon White71Dan Brouthers74Jake Wells7136873.66 1.6
Detroit WolverinesNL1888Parson Nicholson78Sy Sutcliffe74Deacon White71Charlie Bennett71Deacon McGuire7336773.46 1.4
Detroit WolverinesNL1888Parson Nicholson78Ed Beatin69Charlie Ganzel72Dan Brouthers74Sy Sutcliffe7436773.46 1.4
Philadelphia PhilliesNL1896Ed Delahanty73Sam Mertes72Mike Grady71Dan Brouthers74Jack Boyle7636673.26 1.2
Washington SenatorsNL1895Jack Crooks70Parson Nicholson78Bill Hassamaer72Andy Boswell73Deacon McGuire7336673.26 1.2
Detroit WolverinesNL1888Parson Nicholson78Ed Beatin69Charlie Ganzel72Dan Brouthers74Deacon McGuire7336673.26 1.2
Detroit WolverinesNL1888Parson Nicholson78Ed Beatin69Deacon White71Dan Brouthers74Sy Sutcliffe7436673.26 1.2
Detroit WolverinesNL1888Parson Nicholson78Ed Beatin69Charlie Ganzel72Sy Sutcliffe74Deacon McGuire7336673.26 1.2
Detroit WolverinesNL1888Parson Nicholson78Sy Sutcliffe74Deacon White71Charlie Bennett71Charlie Ganzel7236673.26 1.2
Detroit WolverinesNL1888Parson Nicholson78Charlie Ganzel72Deacon White71Sy Sutcliffe74Jake Wells7136673.26 1.2
Detroit WolverinesNL1888Parson Nicholson78Charlie Ganzel72Deacon White71Dan Brouthers74Jake Wells7136673.26 1.2
Detroit WolverinesNL1888Parson Nicholson78Sy Sutcliffe74Deacon White71Charlie Ganzel72Charlie Bennett7136673.26 1.2
Detroit WolverinesNL1888Parson Nicholson78Charlie Ganzel72Deacon White71Dan Brouthers74Charlie Bennett7136673.26 1.2
Detroit WolverinesNL1888Parson Nicholson78Charlie Ganzel72Deacon White71Charlie Bennett71Sy Sutcliffe7436673.26 1.2
Detroit WolverinesNL1888Parson Nicholson78Sy Sutcliffe74Deacon White71Charlie Ganzel72Jake Wells7136673.26 1.2
Detroit WolverinesNL1888Parson Nicholson78Sy Sutcliffe74Charlie Ganzel72Charlie Bennett71Jake Wells7136673.26 1.2
Detroit WolverinesNL1888Parson Nicholson78Jack Rowe68Charlie Ganzel72Dan Brouthers74Sy Sutcliffe7436673.26 1.2
Detroit WolverinesNL1888Parson Nicholson78Charlie Ganzel72Deacon White71Sy Sutcliffe74Charlie Bennett7136673.26 1.2

Ok, if you've made it this far, hopefully I have some payoff for you. I ran the numbers for all teams to find the average height of each team's starting lineup. I adjusted the numbers for the major-league average for the given year since players have been growing gradually over the last 150 years. (Note that I included just those teams for which we have demographic for at least 5 starters.)

First, here are the shortest teams based on the average height for all starting position players (no adjustment for era):

1872Troy HaymakersNA15105.600 67.0 5 7.0
1876St. Louis Brown StockingsNL45192.703 67.0 5 7.0
1880Buffalo BisonsNL24587.293 67.0 5 7.0
1874Philadelphia AthleticsNA33223.600 67.3 5 7.3
1887Cleveland BluesAA39928.298 67.3 5 7.3
1887Cleveland BluesAA39928.298 67.3 5 7.3
1875St. Louis Brown StockingsNA39294.574 67.4 5 7.4
1884Baltimore MonumentalsUA58474.552 67.4 5 7.4
1890St. Louis BrownsAA78583.574 67.4 5 7.4
1875Philadelphia AthleticsNA53202.726 67.6 5 7.6
1901Detroit TigersAL74613.548 67.6 5 7.6
1871Washington OlympicsNA15154.500 67.6 5 7.6
1874Chicago White StockingsNA28315.475 67.6 5 7.6
1877St. Louis Brown StockingsNL28324.467 67.6 5 7.6
1882Philadelphia AthleticsAA41342.547 67.6 5 7.6
1884St. Louis BrownsAA67404.626 67.6 5 7.6
1886Washington NationalsNL28928.233 67.6 5 7.6
1877St. Louis Brown StockingsNL28324.467 67.6 5 7.6
1884New York MetropolitansAA75321.701 67.7 5 7.7
1884New York MetropolitansAA75321.701 67.7 5 7.7
1886Washington NationalsNL28928.233 67.7 5 7.7
1871Philadelphia AthleticsNA2171.750 67.7 5 7.7

Here are the tallest:

2005Arizona DiamondbacksNL77852.475 75.3 6 3.3
2002Tampa Bay Devil RaysAL551065.342 74.7 6 2.7
1968Washington SenatorsAL659610.404 74.4 6 2.4
1953Chicago CubsNL65897.422 74.4 6 2.4
1995Los Angeles DodgersNL78661.542 74.4 6 2.4
1996Toronto Blue JaysAL74884.457 74.2 6 2.2
1967Washington SenatorsAL76856.472 74.1 6 2.1
1976Cleveland IndiansAL81784.509 74.1 6 2.1
1995Toronto Blue JaysAL56885.389 74.1 6 2.1
1993Toronto Blue JaysAL95671.586 74.1 6 2.1
2004New York YankeesAL101611.623 74.1 6 2.1
1987Baltimore OriolesAL67956.414 74.1 6 2.1
2003Tampa Bay Devil RaysAL63995.389 74.1 6 2.1
2003St. Louis CardinalsNL85773.525 74.1 6 2.1
2000Cleveland IndiansAL90722.556 74.1 6 2.1
1977San Diego PadresNL69935.426 74.0 6 2.0
1969Washington SenatorsAL86764.531 74.0 6 2.0
1978San Francisco GiantsNL89733.549 74.0 6 2.0
2002Florida MarlinsNL79834.488 74.0 6 2.0
2002Cincinnati RedsNL78843.481 74.0 6 2.0
1986Oakland AthleticsAL76864.469 74.0 6 2.0
1989Chicago White SoxAL69927.429 74.0 6 2.0
1984Baltimore OriolesAL85775.525 74.0 6 2.0
2000Anaheim AngelsAL82803.506 74.0 6 2.0

Now, here are the shortest adjusted for era:

YrTmLgWLPOSPCT Avg Ht Ft In Adj Ht
1890St. Louis BrownsAA78583.574 67.4 5 7.4 0.964
1880Buffalo BisonsNL24587.293 67.0 5 7.0 0.965
1915Pittsburgh RebelsFL86673.562 68.3 5 8.3 0.966
1887Cleveland BluesAA39928.298 67.3 5 7.3 0.968
1901Detroit TigersAL74613.548 67.6 5 7.6 0.968
1876St. Louis Brown StockingsNL45192.703 67.0 5 7.0 0.968
1922Cincinnati RedsNL86682.558 68.4 5 8.4 0.970
1915Pittsburgh RebelsFL86673.562 68.6 5 8.6 0.971
1958Washington SenatorsAL61938.396 70.3 5 10.3 0.971
1892Washington SenatorsNL589310.384 68.0 5 8.0 0.971
1968Philadelphia PhilliesNL76867.469 70.4 5 10.4 0.971
1884Baltimore MonumentalsUA58474.552 67.4 5 7.4 0.971
1901Boston BeaneatersNL69695.500 67.8 5 7.8 0.972
1920Pittsburgh PiratesNL79754.513 68.4 5 8.4 0.972
1981San Diego PadresNL41696.373 70.8 5 10.8 0.973
1947Brooklyn DodgersNL94601.610 69.9 5 9.9 0.973
1914Pittsburgh RebelsFL64867.427 68.5 5 8.5 0.973
1977Seattle MarinersAL64986.395 70.6 5 10.6 0.973
1939Pittsburgh PiratesNL68856.444 69.7 5 9.7 0.973
1886Washington NationalsNL28928.233 67.6 5 7.6 0.973
1921Pittsburgh PiratesNL90632.588 68.4 5 8.4 0.973
1971Kansas City RoyalsAL85762.528 70.4 5 10.4 0.974
1977Seattle MarinersAL64986.395 70.7 5 10.7 0.974
1903Washington SenatorsAL43948.314 68.2 5 8.2 0.974
1939Boston BeesNL63887.417 69.7 5 9.7 0.974
1964Cleveland IndiansAL79837.488 70.8 5 10.8 0.974
1884St. Louis BrownsAA67404.626 67.6 5 7.6 0.974
1886Washington NationalsNL28928.233 67.7 5 7.7 0.974

Here are the tallest adjusted by era:

YrTmLgWLPOSPCT Avg Ht Ft In Adj Ht
1905Washington SenatorsAL64877.424 73.4 6 1.4 1.047
1906Washington SenatorsAL55957.367 73.0 6 1.0 1.040
1953Chicago CubsNL65897.422 74.4 6 2.4 1.033
1921New York YankeesAL98551.641 72.5 6 0.5 1.032
2005Arizona DiamondbacksNL77852.475 75.3 6 3.3 1.031
1968Washington SenatorsAL659610.404 74.4 6 2.4 1.027
1908Pittsburgh PiratesNL98562.636 72.2 6 0.2 1.026
1907Cincinnati RedsNL66876.431 72.2 6 0.2 1.026
1890Syracuse StarsAA55727.433 71.7 5 11.7 1.026
1891Philadelphia PhilliesNL68694.496 71.6 5 11.6 1.026
2002Tampa Bay Devil RaysAL551065.342 74.7 6 2.7 1.025
1928Brooklyn RobinsNL77766.503 72.8 6 0.8 1.025
1933Philadelphia AthleticsAL79723.523 73.0 6 1.0 1.024
1883Cincinnati Red StockingsAA61373.622 71.2 5 11.2 1.024
1887Detroit WolverinesNL79451.637 71.2 5 11.2 1.023
1888Detroit WolverinesNL68635.519 71.2 5 11.2 1.023
1967Washington SenatorsAL76856.472 74.1 6 2.1 1.023
1951Chicago CubsNL62928.403 73.6 6 1.6 1.023
1886Detroit WolverinesNL87362.707 71.0 5 11.0 1.022
1976Cleveland IndiansAL81784.509 74.1 6 2.1 1.022
1917St. Louis CardinalsNL82703.539 72.2 6 0.2 1.022
1932Cincinnati RedsNL60948.390 72.8 6 0.8 1.022
1896Philadelphia PhilliesNL62688.477 71.3 5 11.3 1.022
1956Pittsburgh PiratesNL66887.429 73.8 6 1.8 1.022
1955Chicago CubsNL72816.471 73.7 6 1.7 1.022
1971Washington SenatorsAL63965.396 73.9 6 1.9 1.021
1911Cincinnati RedsNL70836.458 71.9 5 11.9 1.021
1995Los Angeles DodgersNL78661.542 74.4 6 2.4 1.021
1895Philadelphia PhilliesNL78533.595 71.2 5 11.2 1.021
1884New York GothamsNL62504.554 70.8 5 10.8 1.020

Finally, I wanted to see if height had any connection to winning. I took the winning percentage and position in the standings for each team against the adjusted height and average height. And…drum roll, please…I got a big fat goose egg. The adjusted height had absolutely nothing to do with team winning percentage (coefficient 0.0005). Neither did position (0.0084). Using the average height for the team's starting position players, there was no relationship to winning percentage (0.0074) or position (-0.1775). These no relationship whatsoever.

So what does it all mean? Talent wins. It doesn't matter if a team's short or tall. If they're good, they win. I guess that should be self evident, but I was surprised to find that bigger teams didn't dominate in some way especially in the steroid era. And before you say that the juice doesn't make players taller just bigger, consider that I ran similar correlations for weight and found that there was ever-so-slightly more of a relationship, but still, no strong correlation. George Mitchell, take that and stick it in your report.

The Long and the Short of It, II
2006-04-05 11:21
by Mike Carminati
Part I

As Matt Philip pointed out in the last post, shortstop Harry Chappas (5'3") and second baseman Joe Gates (5'7"), White Sox 1978-79, are the shortest documented doubleplay combination in baseball history. However, there are shorter possible combos that we cannot confirm given that they predate the box score data available in Retrosheet.

Here are the shortest men to ever play second base and short for the same team in the same year (though they perhaps never played together in the same game). They are all as short or shorter than Chappas and Gates:

TeamLgYr2BHtSSHtTot HtFtIn
St. Louis BrownsAA1886Hugh Nicol64Trick McSorley64128108
Chicago/PittsburghUA1884Richardson64Charlie Baker64128108
New York HighlandersAL1911Birdie Cree66Stubby Magner63129109
New York HighlandersAL1911Stubby Magner63Birdie Cree66129109
New York GiantsNL1897Yale Murphy63Ducky Holmes66129109
Louisville ColonelsNL1896Doggie Miller66Frank Shannon63129109
Louisville ColonelsNL1896Doggie Miller66Tom Morrison63129109
Louisville ColonelsNL1896Ducky Holmes66Frank Shannon63129109
Louisville ColonelsNL1896Ducky Holmes66Tom Morrison63129109
New York GiantsNL1895Yale Murphy63Shorty Fuller66129109
New York GiantsNL1894Shorty Fuller66Yale Murphy63129109
New York GiantsNL1894Yale Murphy63Shorty Fuller66129109
Washington SenatorsNL1893Paul Radford66Cub Stricker63129109
Baltimore OriolesNL1892Cub Stricker63George Shoch66129109
Washington SenatorsNL1892Paul Radford66Frank Shannon63129109
Boston RedsAA1891Cub Stricker63Paul Radford66129109
Cleveland InfantsPL1890Cub Stricker63Paul Radford66129109
Cleveland InfantsPL1890Paul Radford66Cub Stricker63129109
Cleveland BluesAA1887Cub Stricker63Jim Toy66129109
St. Louis Brown StockingsNA1875Ned Cuthbert66Dickey Pearce63129109
Washington OlympicsNA1871Tommy Beals65Davy Force64129109
Chicago White SoxAL1979Joe Gates67Harry Chappas631301010
Chicago White SoxAL1978Joe Gates67Harry Chappas631301010
Boston BravesNL1931Rabbit Maranville65Buster Chatham651301010
Boston BravesNL1927Doc Gautreau64Andy High661301010
Detroit TigersAL1921Ralph Young65Jackie Tavener651301010
New York GiantsNL1897Kid Gleason67Yale Murphy631301010
New York GiantsNL1897Yale Murphy63Kid Gleason671301010
Baltimore OriolesNL1892Cub Stricker63John McGraw671301010
St. Louis BrownsNL1892Bob Caruthers67Cub Stricker631301010
St. Louis BrownsNL1892Kid Gleason67Cub Stricker631301010
Boston RedsAA1891Cub Stricker63Hugh Duffy671301010
Kansas City CowboysAA1888Monk Cline64Henry Easterday661301010
Cleveland BluesAA1887Cub Stricker63Frank Scheibeck671301010
Washington NationalsNL1886Davy Force64George Shoch661301010
Philadelphia AthleticsAA1885Cub Stricker63George Strief671301010
Philadelphia AthleticsAA1885Cub Stricker63Sadie Houck671301010
Philadelphia AthleticsAA1884Cub Stricker63Sadie Houck671301010
St. Louis BrownsAA1884Joe Quest66Hugh Nicol641301010
Chicago White StockingsNL1882Joe Quest66Hugh Nicol641301010
Philadelphia AthleticsAA1882Cub Stricker63Lou Say671301010
Chicago White StockingsNL1881Joe Quest66Hugh Nicol641301010
St. Louis Brown StockingsNL1877Mike McGeary67Dickey Pearce631301010
Philadelphia AthleticsNL1876Wes Fisler66Davy Force641301010
St. Louis Brown StockingsNL1876Denny Mack67Dickey Pearce631301010
St. Louis Brown StockingsNL1876Dickey Pearce63Denny Mack671301010
St. Louis Brown StockingsNL1876John Clapp67Dickey Pearce631301010
St. Louis Brown StockingsNL1876Mike McGeary67Dickey Pearce631301010
Philadelphia AthleticsNA1875Al Reach66Davy Force641301010
Philadelphia AthleticsNA1875Wes Fisler66Davy Force641301010
Baltimore CanariesNA1873John Radcliff66Davy Force641301010
Washington Blue LegsNA1873Tommy Beals65Bob Reach651301010
Washington OlympicsNA1872Tommy Beals65Bob Reach651301010

Retrosheet has earlier data for World Series games. Just for the record, here are the shortest possible keystone combos for the postseason. Retrosheet confirms that Dahlen and Gilbert played together in 1905, so they are indeed the shortest:

TeamLgYr2BHtSSHtTot HtFtIn
New York GiantsNL1905Billy GilbertBill Dahlen6469133111
Boston BravesNL1914Johnny EversRabbit Maranville6965134112
Chicago CubsNL1918Chuck WortmanCharlie Hollocher6767134112
Anaheim AngelsAL2004Chone FigginsDavid Eckstein6966135113
Atlanta BravesNL1991Mark LemkeRafael Belliard6966135113
Atlanta BravesNL1992Mark LemkeRafael Belliard6966135113
Atlanta BravesNL1993Mark LemkeRafael Belliard6966135113
Atlanta BravesNL1995Mark LemkeRafael Belliard6966135113
Atlanta BravesNL1996Mark LemkeRafael Belliard6966135113
Boston PilgrimsAL1903Hobe FerrisFreddy Parent6867135113
Kansas City RoyalsAL1976Cookie RojasFreddie Patek7065135113
Seattle MarinersAL1995Joey CoraWarren Newson6867135113
Anaheim AngelsAL2004Alfredo AmezagaDavid Eckstein7066136114
Cleveland IndiansAL1997Bip RobertsOmar Vizquel6769136114
Detroit TigersAL1907Germany SchaeferCharley O'Leary6967136114
Detroit TigersAL1908Germany SchaeferCharley O'Leary6967136114
Kansas City RoyalsAL1976Frank WhiteFreddie Patek7165136114
Kansas City RoyalsAL1977Frank WhiteFreddie Patek7165136114
Kansas City RoyalsAL1978Frank WhiteFreddie Patek7165136114
New York YankeesAL1941Joe GordonPhil Rizzuto7066136114
New York YankeesAL1942Joe GordonPhil Rizzuto7066136114
Pittsburgh PiratesNL1970Dave CashFreddie Patek7165136114
St. Louis CardinalsNL1928Frankie FrischRabbit Maranville7165136114

Just for the record, here are the tallest possible:

TeamLgYr2BHtSSHtTot HtFtIn
Detroit WolverinesNL1888Parson Nicholson78Sy Sutcliffe74152128
Pittsburgh PiratesNL1953Dick Hall78Dick Cole74152128
Baltimore OriolesAL1974Enos Cabell77Frank Baker74151127
Houston AstrosNL1977Art Howe74Enos Cabell77151127
Houston AstrosNL1977Wilbur Howard74Enos Cabell77151127
Houston AstrosNL1978Art Howe74Enos Cabell77151127
Houston AstrosNL1978Wilbur Howard74Enos Cabell77151127
Baltimore OriolesAL1986Ricky Jones75Cal Ripken76151127
Baltimore OriolesAL1987Rene Gonzales75Cal Ripken76151127
Chicago White SoxAL1987Steve Lyons75Pat Keedy76151127
Baltimore OriolesAL1988Rene Gonzales75Cal Ripken76151127
Baltimore OriolesAL1989Rene Gonzales75Cal Ripken76151127
Baltimore OriolesAL1990Rene Gonzales75Cal Ripken76151127
Texas RangersAL1991Monty Fariss76Gary Green75151127
Texas RangersAL1991Monty Fariss76Jeff Huson75151127
Texas RangersAL1992Monty Fariss76Jeff Huson75151127
Baltimore OriolesAL1995Jeff Huson75Cal Ripken76151127
Baltimore OriolesAL1996Jeff Huson75Cal Ripken76151127
New York YankeesAL1996Andy Fox76Derek Jeter75151127
New York YankeesAL1996Robert Eenhoorn75Andy Fox76151127
New York YankeesAL1997Andy Fox76Derek Jeter75151127
San Diego PadresNL1998Archi Cianfrocco77Andy Sheets74151127
Anaheim AngelsAL2000Benji Gil74Troy Glaus77151127
Anaheim AngelsAL2000Scott Spiezio74Troy Glaus77151127
Anaheim AngelsAL2001Benji Gil74Troy Glaus77151127
Anaheim AngelsAL2002Benji Gil74Troy Glaus77151127
Anaheim AngelsAL2002Scott Spiezio74Troy Glaus77151127
Chicago White SoxAL2005Geoff Blum75Jermaine Dye76151127

And the tallest in the postseason:

TeamLgYr2BHtSSHtTot HtFtIn
New York YankeesAL1996Andy FoxDerek Jeter7675151127
New York YankeesAL1997Andy FoxDerek Jeter7675151127
Arizona DiamondbacksNL1999Jay BellAndy Fox7376149125
Baltimore OriolesAL1973Bobby GrichFrank Baker7474148124
Baltimore OriolesAL1974Bobby GrichFrank Baker7474148124
Baltimore OriolesAL1983Rich DauerCal Ripken7276148124
Baltimore OriolesAL1996Roberto AlomarCal Ripken7276148124
New York YankeesAL1958Gil McDougaldTony Kubek7375148124
New York YankeesAL2000Jose VizcainoDerek Jeter7375148124
New York YankeesAL2001Alfonso SorianoDerek Jeter7375148124
New York YankeesAL2002Alfonso SorianoDerek Jeter7375148124
New York YankeesAL2003Alfonso SorianoDerek Jeter7375148124
Baltimore OriolesAL1973Bobby GrichMark Belanger7473147123
Baltimore OriolesAL1974Bobby GrichMark Belanger7473147123
Boston Red SoxAL1967Mike AndrewsRico Petrocelli7572147123
Chicago CubsNL1984Ryne SandbergTom Veryzer7473147123
Chicago CubsNL1989Ryne SandbergShawon Dunston7473147123
New York YankeesAL1958Gil McDougaldJerry Lumpe7374147123
New York YankeesAL1996Mariano DuncanDerek Jeter7275147123
New York YankeesAL1997Charlie HayesDerek Jeter7275147123
New York YankeesAL2004Miguel CairoDerek Jeter7275147123
Oakland AthleticsAL1981Dave McKayRob Picciolo7374147123
San Diego PadresNL1998Andy SheetsChris Gomez7473147123
Toronto Blue JaysAL1991Roberto AlomarRene Gonzales7275147123

Just for the heck of it, I looked at the shortest/tallest possible infields (i.e., positions 2 through 6 on your scorecard). Here are the shortest starters:
Philadelphia AthleticsNA1871Al Reach66John Radcliff66Levi Meyerle73Wes Fisler66Fergy Malone6833967.85 7.8
Baltimore CanariesNA1872Tom Carey68John Radcliff66Davy Force64Everett Mills73Bill Craver69340685 8.0
Baltimore CanariesNA1873Tom Carey68John Radcliff66Davy Force64Everett Mills73Cal McVey69340685 8.0
Philadelphia AthleticsNA1872Wes Fisler66Mike McGeary67Cap Anson72Denny Mack67Fergy Malone68340685 8.0
Detroit WolverinesNL1882Dasher Troy65Mike McGeary67Joe Farrell66Martin Powell72Charlie Bennett7134168.25 8.2
Buffalo BisonsNL1881Davy Force64John Peters67Jim O'Rourke68Dan Brouthers74Jack Rowe6834168.25 8.2
Baltimore OriolesAA1886Mike Muldoon68Jimmy Macullar66Jumbo Davis71Milt Scott69Chris Fulmer6834268.45 8.4
Pittsburgh PiratesNL1893Lou Bierbauer68Jack Glasscock68Denny Lyons70Jake Beckley70Doggie Miller6634268.45 8.4
Detroit TigersAL1921Ralph Young65Donie Bush66Bob Jones72Lu Blue70Johnny Bassler6934268.45 8.4
Detroit TigersAL1905Germany Schaefer69Charley O'Leary67Bill Coughlin69Chris Lindsay72Lew Drill6634368.65 8.6
Boston AmericansAL1901Hobe Ferris68Freddy Parent67Jimmy Collins69Buck Freeman69Ossee Schreckengost7034368.65 8.6
Cleveland SpidersNL1898Cupid Childs68Ed McKean69Bobby Wallace68Patsy Tebeau68Lou Criger7034368.65 8.6
Cleveland SpidersNL1894Cupid Childs68Ed McKean69Chippy McGarr67Patsy Tebeau68Chief Zimmer7234468.85 8.8
Boston RedsAA1891Cub Stricker63Paul Radford66Duke Farrell73Dan Brouthers74Morgan Murphy6834468.85 8.8
Cleveland BluesNL1882Fred Dunlap68Jack Glasscock68Mike Muldoon68Bill Phillips72Fatty Briody6834468.85 8.8
Chicago ColtsNL1890Bob Glenalvin69Jimmy Cooney69Tom Burns67Cap Anson72Malachi Kittridge6734468.85 8.8
Cleveland SpidersNL1895Cupid Childs68Ed McKean69Chippy McGarr67Patsy Tebeau68Chief Zimmer7234468.85 8.8
Brooklyn DodgersNL1947Eddie Stanky68Pee Wee Reese69Spider Jorgensen69Jackie Robinson71Bruce Edwards6734468.85 8.8
Chicago White SoxAL1902Tom Daly67George Davis69Sammy Strang68Frank Isbell71Billy Sullivan6934468.85 8.8
St. Louis BrownsAL1905Ike Rockenfield67Bobby Wallace68Harry Gleason66Tom Jones73Joe Sugden7034468.85 8.8
Milwaukee BrewersAL1901Billy Gilbert64Wid Conroy69Jimmy Burke67John Anderson74Billy Maloney7034468.85 8.8
Cleveland SpidersNL1896Cupid Childs68Ed McKean69Chippy McGarr67Patsy Tebeau68Chief Zimmer7234468.85 8.8
New York GiantsNL1899Kid Gleason67George Davis69Fred Hartman68Jack Doyle69John Warner7134468.85 8.8
Brooklyn SuperbasNL1903Tim Flood69Bill Dahlen69Sammy Strang68Jack Doyle69Lew Ritter6934468.85 8.8
Boston Red SoxAL1913Steve Yerkes69Heinie Wagner69Larry Gardner68Clyde Engle70Bill Carrigan69345695 9.0
New York GiantsNL1895General Stafford68Shorty Fuller66George Davis69Jack Doyle69Duke Farrell73345695 9.0
Pittsburgh RebelsFL1914Jack Lewis68Ed Holly70Ed Lennox70Hugh Bradley70Claude Berry67345695 9.0
Cleveland SpidersNL1897Cupid Childs68Ed McKean69Bobby Wallace68Patsy Tebeau68Chief Zimmer72345695 9.0
Detroit WolverinesNL1883Sam Trott69Sadie Houck67Joe Farrell66Martin Powell72Charlie Bennett71345695 9.0

Now, the tallest starters, the 2005 D-Backs come in #1:

Arizona DiamondbacksNL2005Craig Counsell72Royce Clayton72Troy Glaus77Tony Clark79Chris Snyder75375756 3.0
New York YankeesAL2004Miguel Cairo72Derek Jeter75Alex Rodriguez75Tony Clark79Jorge Posada74375756 3.0
Florida MarlinsNL2002Luis Castillo71Andy Fox76Mike Lowell76Derrek Lee77Charles Johnson7437474.86 2.8
Arizona DiamondbacksNL1999Jay Bell73Andy Fox76Matt Williams74Travis Lee75Damian Miller7537374.66 2.6
Tampa Bay Devil RaysAL2002Brent Abernathy73Chris Gomez73Jared Sandberg75Steve Cox76Toby Hall7537274.46 2.4
Baltimore OriolesAL1987Billy Ripken73Cal Ripken76Ray Knight74Eddie Murray74Terry Kennedy7537274.46 2.4
Baltimore OriolesAL1988Billy Ripken73Cal Ripken76Rene Gonzales75Eddie Murray74Mickey Tettleton7437274.46 2.4
Chicago White SoxAL1989Steve Lyons75Ozzie Guillen71Carlos Martinez77Greg Walker75Carlton Fisk7437274.46 2.4
Pittsburgh PiratesNL1995Carlos Garcia73Jay Bell73Jeff King73Mark Johnson76Mark Parent7737274.46 2.4
Los Angeles DodgersNL1994Delino DeShields73Jose Offerman72Tim Wallach75Eric Karros76Mike Piazza7537174.26 2.2
Baltimore OriolesAL1973Bobby Grich74Mark Belanger73Brooks Robinson73Boog Powell76Earl Williams7537174.26 2.2
Toronto Blue JaysAL1993Roberto Alomar72Tony Fernandez74Ed Sprague74John Olerud77Pat Borders7437174.26 2.2
Chicago CubsNL1997Ryne Sandberg74Shawon Dunston73Kevin Orie76Mark Grace74Scott Servais7437174.26 2.2
Houston AstrosNL1977Art Howe74Roger Metzger72Enos Cabell77Bob Watson74Joe Ferguson7437174.26 2.2
Los Angeles DodgersNL1995Delino DeShields73Jose Offerman72Tim Wallach75Eric Karros76Mike Piazza7537174.26 2.2
Baltimore OriolesAL1974Bobby Grich74Mark Belanger73Brooks Robinson73Boog Powell76Earl Williams7537174.26 2.2
Detroit TigersAL1954Frank Bolling73Harvey Kuenn74Ray Boone73Walt Dropo77Frank House7437174.26 2.2
Baltimore OriolesAL1960Marv Breeding72Ron Hansen75Brooks Robinson73Jim Gentile76Gus Triandos7537174.26 2.2
Baltimore OriolesAL1961Jerry Adair72Ron Hansen75Brooks Robinson73Jim Gentile76Gus Triandos7537174.26 2.2
San Francisco GiantsNL1978Bill Madlock71Johnnie LeMaster74Darrell Evans74Willie McCovey76Marc Hill75370746 2.0
New York YankeesAL2005Robinson Cano72Derek Jeter75Alex Rodriguez75Tino Martinez74Jorge Posada74370746 2.0
Tampa Bay Devil RaysAL2001Brent Abernathy73Felix Martinez72Aubrey Huff76Steve Cox76John Flaherty73370746 2.0
Cleveland IndiansAL1997Tony Fernandez74Omar Vizquel69Matt Williams74Jim Thome76Sandy Alomar77370746 2.0
Baltimore OriolesAL1989Billy Ripken73Cal Ripken76Craig Worthington72Randy Milligan73Bob Melvin76370746 2.0
Milwaukee BrewersNL2003Eric Young69Royce Clayton72Wes Helms76Richie Sexson80Eddie Perez73370746 2.0
Toronto Blue JaysAL1995Roberto Alomar72Alex Gonzalez72Ed Sprague74John Olerud77Lance Parrish75370746 2.0
Florida MarlinsNL2001Luis Castillo71Alex Gonzalez72Mike Lowell76Derrek Lee77Charles Johnson74370746 2.0
Milwaukee BrewersNL2005Rickie Weeks72J.J. Hardy74Russell Branyan75Lyle Overbay74Damian Miller75370746 2.0
Milwaukee BrewersNL2002Eric Young69Jose Hernandez73Tyler Houston74Richie Sexson80Paul Bako74370746 2.0

Shortest starting infield since 1900:

Detroit TigersAL1921Ralph Young65Donie Bush66Bob Jones72Lu Blue70Johnny Bassler6934268.45 8.4
Boston AmericansAL1901Hobe Ferris68Freddy Parent67Jimmy Collins69Buck Freeman69Ossee Schreckengost7034368.65 8.6
Detroit TigersAL1905Germany Schaefer69Charley O'Leary67Bill Coughlin69Chris Lindsay72Lew Drill6634368.65 8.6
Chicago White SoxAL1902Tom Daly67George Davis69Sammy Strang68Frank Isbell71Billy Sullivan6934468.85 8.8
Milwaukee BrewersAL1901Billy Gilbert64Wid Conroy69Jimmy Burke67John Anderson74Billy Maloney7034468.85 8.8
Brooklyn DodgersNL1947Eddie Stanky68Pee Wee Reese69Spider Jorgensen69Jackie Robinson71Bruce Edwards6734468.85 8.8
St. Louis BrownsAL1905Ike Rockenfield67Bobby Wallace68Harry Gleason66Tom Jones73Joe Sugden7034468.85 8.8
Brooklyn SuperbasNL1903Tim Flood69Bill Dahlen69Sammy Strang68Jack Doyle69Lew Ritter6934468.85 8.8
Boston Red SoxAL1913Steve Yerkes69Heinie Wagner69Larry Gardner68Clyde Engle70Bill Carrigan69345695 9.0
Pittsburgh RebelsFL1914Jack Lewis68Ed Holly70Ed Lennox70Hugh Bradley70Claude Berry67345695 9.0
New York GiantsNL1905Billy Gilbert64Bill Dahlen69Art Devlin72Dan McGann72Roger Bresnahan6934669.25 9.2
New York HighlandersAL1906Jimmy Williams69Kid Elberfeld67Frank LaPorte68Hal Chase72Red Kleinow7034669.25 9.2
Boston Red SoxAL1926Bill Regan70Topper Rigney69Fred Haney66Phil Todt72Alex Gaston6934669.25 9.2
New York HighlandersAL1908Harry Niles68Neal Ball67Wid Conroy69Hal Chase72Red Kleinow7034669.25 9.2
New York GiantsNL1906Billy Gilbert64Bill Dahlen69Art Devlin72Dan McGann72Roger Bresnahan6934669.25 9.2
Boston Red SoxAL1914Steve Yerkes69Everett Scott68Larry Gardner68Dick Hoblitzel72Bill Carrigan6934669.25 9.2
Detroit TigersAL1923Fred Haney66Topper Rigney69Bob Jones72Lu Blue70Johnny Bassler6934669.25 9.2
Detroit TigersAL1902Kid Gleason67Kid Elberfeld67Doc Casey66Pop Dillon73Deacon McGuire7334669.25 9.2

The shortest starting infield since 1950:

New York YankeesAL1950Jerry Coleman72Phil Rizzuto66Billy Johnson70Joe Collins72Yogi Berra6834869.65 9.6
Atlanta BravesNL1991Mark Lemke69Rafael Belliard66Terry Pendleton69Brian Hunter72Greg Olson7234869.65 9.6
Brooklyn DodgersNL1951Jackie Robinson71Pee Wee Reese69Billy Cox70Gil Hodges73Roy Campanella6835170.25 10.2
New York YankeesAL1951Jerry Coleman72Phil Rizzuto66Bobby Brown73Joe Collins72Yogi Berra6835170.25 10.2
Brooklyn DodgersNL1950Jackie Robinson71Pee Wee Reese69Billy Cox70Gil Hodges73Roy Campanella6835170.25 10.2
Brooklyn DodgersNL1952Jackie Robinson71Pee Wee Reese69Billy Cox70Gil Hodges73Roy Campanella6835170.25 10.2
Cincinnati RedlegsNL1955Johnny Temple71Roy McMillan71Rocky Bridges68Ted Kluszewski74Smoky Burgess6835270.45 10.4
New York YankeesAL1954Gil McDougald73Phil Rizzuto66Andy Carey73Joe Collins72Yogi Berra6835270.45 10.4
New York GiantsNL1951Eddie Stanky68Alvin Dark71Hank Thompson69Whitey Lockman73Wes Westrum7135270.45 10.4
Kansas City RoyalsAL1975Cookie Rojas70Freddie Patek65George Brett72John Mayberry75Buck Martinez7035270.45 10.4
Washington SenatorsAL1957Herb Plews71Rocky Bridges68Eddie Yost70Pete Runnels72Lou Berberet7135270.45 10.4
Atlanta BravesNL1991Mark Lemke69Rafael Belliard66Terry Pendleton69Sid Bream76Greg Olson7235270.45 10.4
Atlanta BravesNL1992Mark Lemke69Rafael Belliard66Terry Pendleton69Sid Bream76Greg Olson7235270.45 10.4
Anaheim AngelsAL2004Adam Kennedy73David Eckstein66Chone Figgins69Darin Erstad74Bengie Molina7135370.65 10.6
Chicago CubsNL2001Eric Young69Ricky Gutierrez73Ron Coomer71Matt Stairs69Joe Girardi7135370.65 10.6
Chicago CubsNL1980Mike Tyson69Ivan DeJesus71Len Randle70Bill Buckner72Tim Blackwell7135370.65 10.6
Cleveland IndiansAL1961Johnny Temple71Woodie Held71Bubba Phillips69Vic Power71Johnny Romano7135370.65 10.6
Philadelphia PhilliesNL1959Sparky Anderson69Joe Koppe70Gene Freese71Ed Bouchee73Carl Sawatski7035370.65 10.6
Philadelphia PhilliesNL1968Cookie Rojas70Roberto Pena68Tony Taylor69Bill White72Mike Ryan7435370.65 10.6
Kansas City RoyalsAL1976Frank White71Freddie Patek65George Brett72John Mayberry75Buck Martinez7035370.65 10.6

The tallest starting infield before 1950:

New York GiantsNL1947Bill Rigney73Buddy Kerr74Jack Lohrke72Johnny Mize74Walker Cooper7536873.66 1.6
New York GiantsNL1946Buddy Blattner72Buddy Kerr74Bill Rigney73Johnny Mize74Walker Cooper7536873.66 1.6
New York GiantsNL1948Bill Rigney73Buddy Kerr74Sid Gordon70Johnny Mize74Walker Cooper7536673.26 1.2
St. Louis CardinalsNL1949Red Schoendienst72Marty Marion74Eddie Kazak72Nippy Jones73Del Rice74365736 1.0
St. Louis CardinalsNL1943Lou Klein71Marty Marion74Whitey Kurowski71Ray Sanders74Walker Cooper75365736 1.0
St. Louis CardinalsNL1944Emil Verban71Marty Marion74Whitey Kurowski71Ray Sanders74Walker Cooper75365736 1.0
St. Louis CardinalsNL1948Red Schoendienst72Marty Marion74Don Lang72Nippy Jones73Del Rice74365736 1.0
Cincinnati RedsNL1949Jimmy Bloodworth71Virgil Stallcup75Grady Hatton69Ted Kluszewski74Walker Cooper7536472.86 0.8
Cincinnati RedsNL1941Lonny Frey70Eddie Joost72Billy Werber70Frank McCormick76Ernie Lombardi7536372.66 0.6
St. Louis CardinalsNL1947Red Schoendienst72Marty Marion74Whitey Kurowski71Stan Musial72Del Rice7436372.66 0.6
Chicago CubsNL1949Emil Verban71Roy Smalley75Frankie Gustine72Herman Reich74Mickey Owen7036272.46 0.4
St. Louis CardinalsNL1945Emil Verban71Marty Marion74Whitey Kurowski71Ray Sanders74Ken O'Dea7236272.46 0.4
Chicago White SoxAL1942Don Kolloway75Luke Appling70Bob Kennedy74Joe Kuhel72Mike Tresh7136272.46 0.4
St. Louis CardinalsNL1940Joe Orengo72Marty Marion74Stu Martin72Johnny Mize74Mickey Owen7036272.46 0.4

And the tallest starting infield before 1900:

Toledo MaumeesAA1890Parson Nicholson78Frank Scheibeck67Billy Alvord70Perry Werden74Harry Sage7035971.85 11.8
New York GiantsNL1886Joe Gerhardt72John Ward69Dude Esterbrook71Roger Connor75Buck Ewing7035771.45 11.4
New York GiantsNL1885Joe Gerhardt72John Ward69Dude Esterbrook71Roger Connor75Buck Ewing7035771.45 11.4
New York GiantsNL1887Danny Richardson68John Ward69Buck Ewing70Roger Connor75Willard Brown7435671.25 11.2
Brooklyn GroomsNL1892John Ward69Tommy Corcoran69Bill Joyce71Dan Brouthers74Con Daily72355715 11.0
Cincinnati Red StockingsAA1889Bid McPhee68Ollie Beard71Hick Carpenter71John Reilly75Jim Keenan70355715 11.0
Cincinnati RedsNL1893Bid McPhee68Germany Smith72Arlie Latham68Charlie Comiskey72Farmer Vaughn75355715 11.0
Chicago ColtsNL1895Ace Stewart70Bill Dahlen69Bill Everitt72Cap Anson72Tim Donahue7135470.85 10.8
Cincinnati RedsNL1891Bid McPhee68Germany Smith72Arlie Latham68John Reilly75Jerry Harrington7135470.85 10.8
Pittsburgh PiratesNL1896Dick Padden70Bones Ely73Denny Lyons70Jake Beckley70Joe Sugden7035370.65 10.6
Cincinnati RedsNL1895Bid McPhee68Germany Smith72Arlie Latham68Buck Ewing70Farmer Vaughn7535370.65 10.6
Detroit WolverinesNL1887Fred Dunlap68Jack Rowe68Deacon White71Dan Brouthers74Charlie Ganzel7235370.65 10.6
Detroit WolverinesNL1886Fred Dunlap68Jack Rowe68Deacon White71Dan Brouthers74Charlie Bennett7135270.45 10.4
Chicago White StockingsNL1882Tom Burns67King Kelly70Ned Williamson71Cap Anson72Silver Flint7235270.45 10.4
St. Louis BrownsNL1895Joe Quinn67Bones Ely73Doggie Miller66Roger Connor75Heinie Peitz7135270.45 10.4
Cincinnati Red StockingsAA1888Bid McPhee68Frank Fennelly68Hick Carpenter71John Reilly75Jim Keenan7035270.45 10.4
Brooklyn BridegroomsAA1889Hub Collins68Germany Smith72George Pinkney67Dave Foutz74Joe Visner7135270.45 10.4
Pittsburgh PiratesNL1892Lou Bierbauer68Frank Shugart68Duke Farrell73Jake Beckley70Connie Mack7335270.45 10.4
Cincinnati RedsNL1878Joe Gerhardt72Billy Geer68Cal McVey69Chub Sullivan72Deacon White7135270.45 10.4

Now, here are the shortest possible (though unconfirmed) infields all time:

Continued here...

A Life Of Dellucci-on
2006-04-04 15:04
by Mike Carminati

Surprise—The Phils, a team without a top of the rotation-type pitcher, got creamed in the season opener, 13-5, by the Cardinals. Jon Lieber allowed nine hits and eight runs in three and a third innings.

Lieber is a notoriously slow starter. He owns a 4.96 ERA in the first half of the season over the last three years. It usually doesn't until May though (3.03, 4-1 in April 2003-05). So the #1 pitcher is a guy who struggles to keep his job while his team falls behind in the standings in the first half. Then he excels (3.59, 16-8) in the second half.

This is exactly the wrong pitcher for the Phils, a team that perennially falls flat in the first half only to come on strong in the second half to raise expectations for the next season. Throw in the mercurial Brett Myers, the sub-par Corey Lidle, and two first-time major-league starters, and you have a mess. My only hope is that Madson and Floyd can turn into top starters quick.

But you can't lay all the blame on Lieber. He left with one out in the fourth trailing 5-0, a big deficit but not insurmountable. Julio Santana came in and allowed the three runners he inherited plus two others (including a grand slam) to score. This is a guy who had been out of the majors for two years before registering a barely passing 4.50 ERA last year in Detroit, and yet the Phils had to snatch him up on the free agent market. The bullpen might be a big problem in Philly this year.

So why did the Phils trade Robinson Tejeda away for the Rangers former starting left fielder. Yes, on paper it might be a better trade at least in the short term, But with Burrell and Abreu at the corners, what do they need Dellucci for? How much will he contribute in his 200-odd at-bats this year? Wouldn't it be better to hold onto some depth at their most problematic positions?

Dellucci is replacing Jason Michaels as the fourth outfielder. Michaels amassed 289 at-bats in 105 games last year. I would be shocked if Dellucci can scratch out that many ABs pinch-hitting, DH'ing, and spelling Abreu and Burrell, who between them missed a total of 8 games last year. Michaels got most of his ABs in center field, a position Dellucci has not played with any regularity for years.

If Dellucci gets 200 at-bats, which I think is the end without a major injury to a regular, given his homer-per-at-bat ratio from last year, he would amass 13 dingers, slightly more than Michael's collected in 2004 (10) in a similar role. Keep in mind that 2005 was a career year for Dellucci, he played in a hitter's stadium, and he's now 32. You could acquire Ted Williams but what would he accomplish if limited to 100 at-bats, especially given that he has no head?

I was wondering how unique Dellucci's situation was. How often does a player go from 29 taters to the bench? The answer is not too often, three times in baseball history actually. I assumed that Dellucci will play 100 games as a replacement outfielder and will collect no more than 300 at-bats:

Dave Kingman19821495353.6377%19831002482.5135%34
Gus Zernial19551204133.4307%19561092722.5166%33
Harmon Killebrew19671635473.4448%19681002953176%32

If you think 300 at-bats are too low, here are the results for 350:

George Crowe19571334943.7316%19581113453.172%37
Rick Wilkins19931364463.3307%19941003133.172%27
Dave Kingman19821495353.6377%19831002482.5135%34
Duke Snider19571395083.7408%19581063273.1155%31
Gorman Thomas19851354843.6327%19861013153.1165%35
Gus Zernial19551204133.4307%19561092722.5166%33
Harmon Killebrew19671635473.4448%19681002953176%32
Mickey Tettleton19931525223.4326%19941073393.2175%33
Willie McCovey19701524953.3398%19711053293.1185%33
Hank Aaron19731203923.34010%19741123403206%40
Rudy York19381354633.4337%19391023293.2206%25
Willie McCovey19731303832.9298%19741283442.7226%36
Dave Kingman19721354723.5296%19731123052.7248%24
The Short and the Short and the Second Base of It
2006-04-03 22:23
by Mike Carminati

There's a query on the SABR email list that I found intriguing:

Today the Cardinals' opening-day lineup included a middle-infield tandem of the 5'6" David Eckstein at shortstop and the 5'8" Aaron Miles at second base for a total height of 11'2" (according to; lists each player at 5'7"). What is the shortest combined height for a keystone combination?

It's impossible to say what the shortest combination was of all time. You would have to go through every box score, some of which are unavailable. I thought a better course would be to look at the shortest starting doubleplay combinations all time.

And here they are. That is, all the combos under 11'2":

1891Boston RedsAAPaul Radford6656Cub Stricker6353129109
1876Philadelphia AthleticsNLDavy Force6454Wes Fisler66561301010
1882Philadelphia AthleticsAALou Say6757Cub Stricker63531301010
1885Philadelphia AthleticsAASadie Houck6757Cub Stricker63531301010
1884Philadelphia AthleticsAASadie Houck6757Cub Stricker63531301010
1908St. Louis CardinalsNLPatsy O'Rourke6757Billy Gilbert64541311011
1919Detroit TigersALDonie Bush6656Ralph Young65551311011
1920Detroit TigersALDonie Bush6656Ralph Young65551311011
1921Detroit TigersALDonie Bush6656Ralph Young65551311011
1915Detroit TigersALDonie Bush6656Ralph Young65551311011
1918Detroit TigersALDonie Bush6656Ralph Young65551311011
1881Buffalo BisonsNLJohn Peters6757Davy Force64541311011
1884New York MetropolitansAACandy Nelson6656Dasher Troy65551311011
1916Detroit TigersALDonie Bush6656Ralph Young65551311011
1871Washington OlympicsNADavy Force6454Andy Leonard67571311011
1877St. Louis Brown StockingsNLDavy Force6454Mike McGeary67571311011
1917Detroit TigersALDonie Bush6656Ralph Young65551311011
1888Cleveland BluesAAEd McKean6959Cub Stricker6353132110
1889Cleveland SpidersNLEd McKean6959Cub Stricker6353132110
1887Cleveland BluesAAEd McKean6959Cub Stricker6353132110
1892New York GiantsNLShorty Fuller6656Eddie Burke6656132110
1872Washington OlympicsNAWally Goldsmith6757Tommy Beals6555132110
1871Philadelphia AthleticsNAJohn Radcliff6656Al Reach6656132110
1872Troy HaymakersNADavy Force6454Jimmy Wood6858132110
1882Detroit WolverinesNLMike McGeary6757Dasher Troy6555132110
1878Indianapolis BluesNLFred Warner6757Joe Quest6656133111
1923Pittsburgh PiratesNLRabbit Maranville6555Johnny Rawlings6858133111
1879Chicago White StockingsNLJohn Peters6757Joe Quest6656133111
1880Chicago White StockingsNLTom Burns6757Joe Quest6656133111
1904New York GiantsNLBill Dahlen6959Billy Gilbert6454133111
1881Chicago White StockingsNLTom Burns6757Joe Quest6656133111
1906New York GiantsNLBill Dahlen6959Billy Gilbert6454133111
1922Pittsburgh PiratesNLRabbit Maranville6555Cotton Tierney6858133111
1911Detroit TigersALDonie Bush6656Charley O'Leary6757133111
1892Baltimore OriolesNLTim O'Rourke70510Cub Stricker6353133111
1933Boston BravesNLBilly Urbanski6858Rabbit Maranville6555133111
1932Boston BravesNLBilly Urbanski6858Rabbit Maranville6555133111
1905New York GiantsNLBill Dahlen6959Billy Gilbert6454133111
1886Washington NationalsNLDavy Force6454Jimmy Knowles6959133111
1922Philadelphia AthleticsALChick Galloway6858Ralph Young6555133111
1872New York MutualsNADickey Pearce6353John Hatfield70510133111
1875Philadelphia AthleticsNADavy Force6454Bill Craver6959133111
1917Boston BravesNLRabbit Maranville6555Johnny Rawlings6858133111
1873Philadelphia AthleticsNAMike McGeary6757Wes Fisler6656133111
1902Baltimore OriolesALBilly Gilbert6454Jimmy Williams6959133111
1872Brooklyn EckfordsNAJim Snyder6757Candy Nelson6656133111
1872Philadelphia AthleticsNAMike McGeary6757Wes Fisler6656133111
1901Milwaukee BrewersALWid Conroy6959Billy Gilbert6454133111

You might notice that most of those guys are from quite a long time ago. Given that players are larger today in general, it might be unfair comparison.

Therefore, I limited it to players from 1950 until today. No starting keystone combo was under 11'2" in that period:

1991Atlanta BravesNLRafael Belliard6656Mark Lemke6959135113
1975Kansas City RoyalsALFreddie Patek6555Cookie Rojas70510135113
1974Kansas City RoyalsALFreddie Patek6555Cookie Rojas70510135113
1992Atlanta BravesNLRafael Belliard6656Mark Lemke6959135113
1973Kansas City RoyalsALFreddie Patek6555Cookie Rojas70510135113
1972Kansas City RoyalsALFreddie Patek6555Cookie Rojas70510135113
1971Kansas City RoyalsALFreddie Patek6555Cookie Rojas70510135113
1979Kansas City RoyalsALFreddie Patek6555Frank White71511136114
1966Houston AstrosNLSonny Jackson6959Joe Morgan6757136114
1978Kansas City RoyalsALFreddie Patek6555Frank White71511136114
1976Kansas City RoyalsALFreddie Patek6555Frank White71511136114
1977Kansas City RoyalsALFreddie Patek6555Frank White71511136114
1967Houston AstrosNLSonny Jackson6959Joe Morgan6757136114
1980Atlanta BravesNLLuis Gomez6959Glenn Hubbard6757136114

For the record, here are the tallest combos. It's no surprise that Cal Ripken dominates the list:

1985Baltimore OriolesALCal Ripken7664Alan Wiggins7462150126
1963Chicago CubsNLAndre Rodgers7563Ken Hubbs7462149125
1962Chicago CubsNLAndre Rodgers7563Ken Hubbs7462149125
1989Baltimore OriolesALCal Ripken7664Billy Ripken7361149125
1999Arizona DiamondbacksNLAndy Fox7664Jay Bell7361149125
1990Baltimore OriolesALCal Ripken7664Billy Ripken7361149125
1988Baltimore OriolesALCal Ripken7664Billy Ripken7361149125
1987Baltimore OriolesALCal Ripken7664Billy Ripken7361149125
1992Baltimore OriolesALCal Ripken7664Billy Ripken7361149125
1991Baltimore OriolesALCal Ripken7664Billy Ripken7361149125
2001New York YankeesALDerek Jeter7563Alfonso Soriano7361148124
1977Minnesota TwinsALRoy Smalley7361Bob Randall7563148124
1996Baltimore OriolesALCal Ripken7664Roberto Alomar7260148124
2002New York YankeesALDerek Jeter7563Alfonso Soriano7361148124
2002Texas RangersALAlex Rodriguez7563Michael Young7361148124
2001Texas RangersALAlex Rodriguez7563Michael Young7361148124
1978Minnesota TwinsALRoy Smalley7361Bob Randall7563148124
1976Minnesota TwinsALRoy Smalley7361Bob Randall7563148124
1984Baltimore OriolesALCal Ripken7664Rich Dauer7260148124
1958New York YankeesALTony Kubek7563Gil McDougald7361148124
2003New York YankeesALDerek Jeter7563Alfonso Soriano7361148124
2003Texas RangersALAlex Rodriguez7563Michael Young7361148124
1983Baltimore OriolesALCal Ripken7664Rich Dauer7260148124
1982Baltimore OriolesALCal Ripken7664Rich Dauer7260148124
Tomas Come Today
2006-04-03 16:17
by Mike Carminati

The Phils are today flying their shaving cream pies at half mast. For Tomas, mighty Tomas Perez has been let go.

First, they dye the Phanatic red, ….

And now this. What's next, will they get rid of Schmitters in the left field concession area? Heaven forefend!

Perez became expendable when the Phils signed the cast of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" —"O'Brien to Ryan to Goldberg"!—to buttress/replace lamb-duck third baseman David Bell. The team acquired Alex S. Gonzalez, who you'll remember from "Family Ties", who was shortstop in his former life with the Blue Jays and Cubs, and Abraham O. Nunez, who filled in for exiled ex-Phil Scott Rolen at third for the Cards last year. The Phils evidently want to change their tradition of signing lesser siblings (Ken Brett, Tim Worrell, etc.) to signing players who need to use a middle initial so as not to be confused with another player of the same name. At least they have a schtick.

It takes a village to replace the Tomas Perez, who was basically a backup or emergency backup at every defensive position (he even pitched once). Ostensibly Gonzalez (who made a nice stop yesterday in the spring finale) will cover short and third and Nunez will cover second and third.

As for who's backing up first, your guess is as good as mine. The only guy the Phils have on their bench who has ever even played first in the majors is backup catcher Sal Fasano, who has a grand total of six games there. I guess David Dellucci becomes the logical choice, but he has never played first—not that it's rocket science—and he is a lefty bat, the same as starter Ryan Howard. Or maybe Pat Burrell (58 career games at first) will shift to first and Dellucci, the superior fielder, would play left. I'm not sure how'll Burrell will react to that especially if Howard goes down for an extended period of time with an injury.

The outfield is better stocked than usual. They have Shane Victorino AND David Dellucci now backing up the starters as opposed to just Jason Michaels. As for emergency catcher, I hope Victorino has invested in a catcher's mitt. Two 34-year-old catchers? Eek.

Anyway, as Tomas passes the baton, er, cream pie to the next generation benchwarmers, I am reminded to the great utility men on the Phils clubs from my childhood (Greg Gross, Del Unser, Luis Aguayo, Tommy Hutton, Terry Harmon) and I am left trying to figure out how Tomas compares to them. Let's see.

First, I looked at just those players who were exclusively bench players for the Phils. That means that they never played more games at a given position than any other player and they never qualified for a batting title as a Phil. I wanted just career bench players (sorry Del Unser—he was the starting center fielder in his first tour of duty in Philly). Next, I limited the list to just primarily position players.

Here are the men who spent the most years in a Phils uniform as a benchwarmer:

Greg Gross1019791988
Terry Harmon919691977
Luis Aguayo919801988
Todd Pratt819922005
Fred Jacklitsch719001910
Tomas Perez620002005
Bob Dernier619801989
Ed Burns619131918
Kevin Sefcik619952000
Jackie Mayo619481953
Jason Michaels520012005
Randy Ready519891995
Jerry Martin519741978
Mel Clark519511955
Bob Bowman519551959
Gary Bennett519962001

Next are the men who played the most games exclusively as a bench player in Philly"

Greg Gross10197919881080
Terry Harmon919691977545
Tomas Perez620002005504
Luis Aguayo919801988471
Jerry Martin519741978444
Bob Dernier619801989439
Kevin Sefcik619952000424
Jason Michaels520012005383
Ron Stone419691972362
Ed Burns619131918320
Todd Pratt819922005299
Randy Ready519891995289
Harry McCurdy419301933281
Ollie Brown419741977272
Jimmy Walsh419101913259
Bob Bowman519551959256
Rick Joseph419671970253

Perez makes both lists.

He also comes in fourth in career bench homers:

Luis Aguayo91980198833
Todd Pratt81992200528
Jason Michaels52001200521
Tomas Perez62000200520
Jerry Martin51974197819
Mark Whiten21995199618
Bob Bowman51955195917
Ollie Brown41974197716
Bobby Estalella41996199914
Rick Joseph41967197013
Joe Lis31970197213
Ron Jones31988199013

And second in RBI:

Tuck Turner418931896138
Tomas Perez620002005128
Greg Gross1019791988128
Todd Pratt819922005114
Jason Michaels520012005100
Pearce Chiles21899190099
Luis Aguayo91980198893
Jerry Martin51974197891
Ron Stone41969197289
Jimmy Walsh41910191386
Ollie Brown41974197782

Perez was sixth in runs:

Tuck Turner418931896186
Greg Gross1019791988168
Terry Harmon919691977164
Bob Dernier619801989147
Jason Michaels520012005134
Tomas Perez620002005128
Luis Aguayo919801988123
Jerry Martin519741978121
Lonnie Smith419781981119
Randy Ready51989199599
Todd Pratt81992200599

Tied for second in hits:

Greg Gross1019791988431
Tuck Turner418931896279
Tomas Perez620002005279
Terry Harmon919691977262
Jason Michaels520012005235
Bob Dernier619801989230
Todd Pratt819922005221
Kevin Sefcik619952000212
Luis Aguayo919801988208
Jimmy Walsh419101913188
Ron Stone419691972188

He's first in doubles:

Tomas Perez62000200565
Greg Gross101979198859
Jason Michaels52001200549
Todd Pratt81992200546
Jerry Martin51974197844
Gibby Brack21938193941
Jimmy Walsh41910191338
Kevin Sefcik61995200036
Tuck Turner41893189635
Luis Aguayo91980198835

Second in strikeouts:

Todd Pratt819922005239
Tomas Perez620002005217
Jason Michaels520012005182
Terry Harmon919691977175
Luis Aguayo919801988168
Jerry Martin519741978156
Bob Dernier619801989137
Rick Joseph419671970130
Mark Whiten219951996125
Ron Stone419691972120

Second in intentional passes:

Greg Gross101979198832
Tomas Perez62000200524
Todd Pratt81992200513
Ron Stone41969197213
Luis Aguayo91980198811
Joe Lefebvre31983198610
Johnny Oates21975197610
Jerry Martin5197419789
Tim Corcoran3198319859
Ollie Brown4197419778
Rod Booker2199019918
Tom Foley2198519868

Eighth in bunts:

Jimmy Walsh41910191332
Dots Miller21920192122
Ed Burns61913191818
Joe Ward31906191018
Terry Harmon91969197716
Kevin Sefcik61995200015
Tom Downey11912191215
Tomas Perez62000200514
Paul Sentell21906190712
Bob Dernier61980198912
Mel Clark51951195512

Third in plate appearances:

Greg Gross10197919881819
Terry Harmon9196919771276
Tomas Perez6200020051227
Bob Dernier6198019891053
Todd Pratt8199220051010
Luis Aguayo919801988983
Jason Michaels520012005941
Ed Burns619131918903
Ron Stone419691972903
Kevin Sefcik619952000883
Randy Ready519891995817
Jerry Martin519741978808
Tuck Turner418931896808

100th in batting average (.249). Here are the leaders (min. 100 plate appearances):

Tuck Turner418931896.379
Tripp Sigman219291930.326
Monk Sherlock119301930.324
Lonnie Smith419781981.321
Dave Gallagher119951995.318
Jim Lindeman219911992.313
Al Oliver119841984.312
Dick Davis219811982.311
Ralph LaPointe119471947.308
Doc Miller219121913.307
Rene Monteagudo119451945.301
Dave Philley319581960.300
Buck Jordan119381938.300

134th in on-base (.303):

Tuck Turner418931896.432
Tommy Glaviano119531953.410
Hugh Duffy219041905.390
Rene Monteagudo119451945.389
Lonnie Smith419781981.389
Jim Lindeman219911992.384
Wally Kimmick219251926.381
Phil Geier218961897.381
Monk Sherlock119301930.380
Jason Michaels520012005.380
Tim Corcoran319831985.380

66th in slugging (.371):

Tripp Sigman219291930.519
Ron Jones319881990.516
Tuck Turner418931896.492
Buddy Blattner119491949.464
Dick Davis219811982.463
Frank Thomas219641965.459
Joe Lefebvre319831986.459
Chuck Essegian119581958.456
Dave Philley319581960.454
Davey Johnson219771978.449
Gibby Brack219381939.446
Jason Michaels520012005.442
Mark Whiten219951996.442
Bobby Estalella419961999.441

And 95th in OPS (.674):

Tuck Turner418931896.924
Tripp Sigman219291930.898
Ron Jones319881990.860
Buddy Blattner119491949.835
Lonnie Smith419781981.826
Joe Lefebvre319831986.825
Jason Michaels520012005.822
Dick Davis219811982.814
Davey Johnson219771978.813
Dave Philley319581960.805
Mark Whiten219951996.802
Tommy Glaviano119531953.802
Dave Gallagher119951995.793
Gibby Brack219381939.787
Monk Sherlock119301930.778
Chuck Essegian119581958.774
Todd Pratt819922005.769
Jim Lindeman219911992.765
Dwayne Murphy119891989.764
Ollie Brown419741977.763

I put Perez number three among Phillie utility infielders, behind the great Little Louie Aguayo and the long-lasting Terry Harmon. Among outfield-first base types, I would rank Gross first followed by Lonnie Smith, Joe Lefebrve, Jason Michaels, Jerry Martin, and Downtown Ollie Brown. The recently departed Todd Pratt comes in at number one among catchers with Bobby Estelella.

Also, Tomas Perez gets added brownie points for having played six positions as a Phil. Here are all the Philly players to play at least six. Rojas played all nine in one game. (And you might notice the ubiquitous Kid Gleason, as always, makes the list):

Name# POS
Cookie Rojas9
Bernie Friberg9
Jimmy Walsh9
Bill Gray8
Lave Cross8
Kid Gleason8
Bill Hallman8
Bobby Pfeil7
Kevin Sefcik7
Charlie Reilly7
Phil Geier7
Shad Barry7
Red Dooin7
Jack Clements7
Heinie Mueller7
Pop Schriver7
Ed Delahanty7
Dode Paskert7
Tommy McCarthy7
Tomas Perez6
Bill Harbidge6
Tony Cusick6
Jimmie Wilson6
Joe Ward6
Jim Fogarty6
Cozy Dolan6
Nap Lajoie6
Ernie Courtney6
Cliff Lee6
John Coleman6
George Wood6
Ed Mayer6
Derrel Thomas6
Charlie Ferguson6
Russ Wrightstone6
Frank Ringo6
Stan Benjamin6
Sherry Magee6
Fred Jacklitsch6
Dick Allen6
Fearless Predictions...That Are Invariably Wrong
2006-04-02 21:58
by Mike Carminati

OK, here goes...

AL East:
Yankees, (Blue) Jays, Red Sox, (Devil) Rays, O'Jays (I know, I swapped the Jays and the Sox at the last minute)

AL Central:
Cleveland, Chicago (WC), Minnesota, Detroit, Kansas City

AL West:
Oakland of Sacramento, Texas of Arlington, Bakersfield of Anaheim, Seattle of Olympia

NL East:
Atlanta, Mets (WC), Phils, Washingon, Florida

NL Central:
St. Louis, Milwaukee, Houston, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati

NL West:
Los Angeles of Dodgers, San Diego, Arizona, San Francisco, Colorado of Anaheim

ALCS: A's over Yankees
NLCS: Braves over Cards
World Series: A's over Braves
Worst Teams: Marlins and Royals
Most likely to be contracted: Marlins, Twins
Strike or Lockout: Neither, but Don Fehr and Bud Selig will be wed by the start of next season
Results of Steroid Probe: Bud Selig will come out smelling like roses (pun intended), George Will will write am editorial supporting MLB. Joe Morgan will blame Billy Beane...and Leon is getting laaaaaarger!

OK, It's Not So Scary—Count Floyd AND Madson in the Rotation
2006-04-02 12:47
by Mike Carminati
Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane. —Morgan "Starvin' Marvin" Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption

In a shocking display of common sense, something that has been in short supply in the Phils' front office for lo these many years, I assure you, the Phils have decided to go with two inexperienced starters in the rotation, Ryan Madson and Gavin Floyd.

Ryan Franklin, a sub-par veteran whom the Phils signed in the offseason in one those many instances in which common sense was defeated in Philly, moves into long relief, the job vacated by the other Ryan, and perhaps eventually will move to lovely Scranton. At least yesterday, he filled his role well, relieving Floyd, who won though succumbing to the long ball three times, and bridging the way to the short relievers, Rhodes and Gordon. Would that it will play out as well in the regular season.

It's encouraging to see the team finally give youngsters a shot. The may fall flat, but we all know what Franklin can do in the rotation. The Phils have never been easy on young players. Chase Utley started the season in some sort of rotation at second and ended the season as arguably the best in baseball. Ryan Howard was not given a shot at first until the ineffectual incumbent JimThome went down. Floyd himself was given an aborted shot at the rotation last year only to have it taken away when he fell flat. Madson was given one start in the majors, two years ago when he was pounded by the White Sox.

If Madson and Floyd develop quickly into effective starters, the Phils might finally escape eighty-win purgatory. If they falter the Phils will no longer have Robinson Tejeda to fall back on. He was traded to Texas, Elba for Phils pitchers, for David Dellucci. Dellucci hit 29 homers last year and had a career year. He now becomes the fourth outfielder and a left-handed bat off the bench. It seems like a great deal on paper—the Rangers were desperate for pitching—but the Phils add depth were they don't need it and lose depth where they do. I was never that high on Tejeda. He was good in a brief callup and had great strikeout numbers. However, I was never convinced that he would make a decent major-league starter. That said, I don't know if I would trade him for a 32-year-old coming off a career year without a position to play.

Anyway, back to Floyd and Madson (who just won 5-0 with the aid of Ryan Howard's 11th spring dinger), I was wondering when the last time the Phils inserted two youngsters into the rotation at the same time. Even back in the Seventies when they were more welcome to young talent (Christenson, Ruthven, Lerch, Underwood, Bystrom, Walk, etc.), they were staggered over a few years.

I looked up all the Phils starters who made the rotation (i.e., were given at least 20 starts in a season), who had never started consistently before (i.e., fewer than ten previous starts). For a franchise that is over one hundred and twenty years old, the Phils have tried a scant few newcomers as starters, only 66 in total. They also have given two youngsters a shot at the same time just 14 times, and only twice since 1948. The last time was the infamous Pat Combs and Jose DeJesus in 1990. Here are all fourteen previous instances of a Madson-Floyd pairing in the rotation:

Jose DeJesus1990222783.74130.0
Pat Combs199031610104.07183.3
Dennis Bennett1962240993.81174.7
Jack Hamilton19622609125.09182.0
Curt Simmons19482317134.87170.0
Robin Roberts1948200793.19146.7
Al Gerheauser194331010193.6215.0
Jack Kraus19432509153.16199.7
Johnny Podgajny19412449124.62181.3
Tommy Hughes19412409144.45170.0
Hugh Mulcahy19372578185.13215.7
Wayne LaMaster193730015195.31220.3
Bucky Walters1935221994.17151.0
Orville Jorgens193524010154.83188.3
Ed Holley193230111143.95228.0
Snipe Hansen193223910103.72191.0
Eppa Rixey191220010102.5162.0
Tom Seaton191227016123.28255.0
George Chalmers191122313103.11208.7
Pete Alexander191137028132.57367.0
Johnny Lush190635818152.37281.0
Lew Richie19062209112.41205.7
Bill Duggleby190129520122.88284.3
Doc White190127014133.19236.7
Ben Sanders188829019101.9275.3
Kid Gleason18882307162.84199.7
Bill Vinton188421010102.23182.0
Charlie Ferguson188447021253.54416.7

Simmons and Roberts in 1948 is encouraging, but any list comparing the current scenario to Combs is—let's say—not. I have to hand it to Gillick for at least making this season interesting. Most GMs, or at least Ed Wade, would have let the Thome-Howard situation bleed into at least spring training, if not the regular season. He is addressing the number one problem—starting pitching—with youth and apparent talent (then again, he did sign Franklin).

The season starts tomorrow. The Phils were 19-11 this spring and ended on a 5-0 shutout of the Red Sox. Their young players look pretty good. There's a lot of reason for optimism. I need the guy whispering in my ear, "Thou art mortal—it's just April 2 for crissake!"

This is my site with my opinions, but I hope that, like Irish Spring, you like it, too.
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