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


In First (And Last) to Last
2006-07-31 21:51
by Mike Carminati

I have been compiling a plethora of information based on Retrosheet data, and tonight I ran into some interesting results. Given that I never met a table I didn't like, I hereby present the all-time leaders in percent of regular season days spent in first place:

FranchiseLg% in 1st% Last
New York YankeesAL34.20%4.17%
Arizona DiamondbacksNL33.96%23.98%
San Francisco GiantsNL23.32%6.74%
Los Angeles DodgersNL21.30%5.12%
Oakland AthleticsAL18.79%20.40%
St. Louis CardinalsNL18.26%7.85%
Atlanta BravesNL17.69%12.46%
Los Angeles Angels of AnaheimAL16.73%12.30%
Seattle MarinersAL16.67%25.22%
Houston AstrosNL16.63%10.83%

And here are the all-time worst:

FranchiseLg% in 1st% Last
Tampa Bay Devil RaysAL1.66%73.32%
Florida MarlinsNL6.93%24.13%
Milwaukee BrewersNL7.27%20.07%
Colorado RockiesNL7.94%26.86%
Washington NationalsNL9.22%18.40%
Philadelphia PhilliesNL9.78%21.91%
Minnesota TwinsAL10.90%13.16%
New York MetsNL11.17%25.67%
Baltimore OriolesAL11.56%16.34%
San Diego PadresNL11.78%33.91%

No surprises in the leaders (the Yankees and Tampa Bay, who have spent a grand total of 24 days in first place) on those lists. However, the all-time best among defunct clubs, the American Association's Boston Reds, who spent over 83% of their time in first, would not be the first club one thinks of. (By the way, 25 defunct clubs have spent not one day in first, tying for the all-time worst.)

Now for the least amount of time in last place in whatever division or league configuration that prevailed at the time:

FranchiseLg% in 1st% Last
New York YankeesAL34.20%4.17%
Los Angeles DodgersNL21.30%5.12%
San Francisco GiantsNL23.32%6.74%
St. Louis CardinalsNL18.26%7.85%
Chicago White SoxAL13.86%7.94%
Chicago CubsNL15.65%8.88%
Cincinnati RedsNL13.39%9.90%
Cleveland IndiansAL14.39%10.19%
Houston AstrosNL16.63%10.83%
Boston Red SoxAL15.27%11.26%

Now, the teams that spent the most time in last place:

FranchiseLg% in 1st% Last
Tampa Bay Devil RaysAL1.66%73.32%
San Diego PadresNL11.78%33.91%
Colorado RockiesNL7.94%26.86%
New York MetsNL11.17%25.67%
Texas RangersAL12.04%25.48%
Seattle MarinersAL16.67%25.22%
Florida MarlinsNL6.93%24.13%
Arizona DiamondbacksNL33.96%23.98%
Toronto Blue JaysAL16.41%22.71%
Philadelphia PhilliesNL9.78%21.91%

To get a truer picture, let's look at the ratio of days in first to days in last:

FranchiseLg% in 1st% LastFirst-Last Ratio
New York YankeesAL34.20%4.17%8.19
Los Angeles DodgersNL21.30%5.12%4.16
San Francisco GiantsNL23.32%6.74%3.46
St. Louis CardinalsNL18.26%7.85%2.32
Chicago CubsNL15.65%8.88%1.76
Chicago White SoxAL13.86%7.94%1.75
Houston AstrosNL16.63%10.83%1.54
Atlanta BravesNL17.69%12.46%1.42
Arizona DiamondbacksNL33.96%23.98%1.42
Cleveland IndiansAL14.39%10.19%1.41

Now the worst ratios:

FranchiseLg% in 1st% LastFirst-Last Ratio
Tampa Bay Devil RaysAL1.66%73.32%0.02
Florida MarlinsNL6.93%24.13%0.29
Colorado RockiesNL7.94%26.86%0.30
San Diego PadresNL11.78%33.91%0.35
Milwaukee BrewersNL7.27%20.07%0.36
New York MetsNL11.17%25.67%0.43
Philadelphia PhilliesNL9.78%21.91%0.45
Texas RangersAL12.04%25.48%0.47
Washington NationalsNL9.22%18.40%0.50
Seattle MarinersAL16.67%25.22%0.66

Of course, the Phillies are the worst of the original 16 teams.

As for the average position for each teams, here are the best (not that expansion teams get a boost from being in smaller groupings):

FranchiseLg POS Avg
Arizona DiamondbacksNL 2.64
New York YankeesAL 2.93
San Francisco GiantsNL 3.38
Kansas City RoyalsAL 3.46
Washington NationalsNL 3.53
Florida MarlinsNL 3.64
Toronto Blue JaysAL 3.69
Colorado RockiesNL 3.72
Los Angeles Angels of AnaheimAL 3.74
Los Angeles DodgersNL 3.77

Now the worst average position teams:

FranchiseLg POS Avg
Philadelphia PhilliesNL 4.78
Baltimore OriolesAL 4.67
Tampa Bay Devil RaysAL 4.57
Minnesota TwinsAL 4.53
Texas RangersAL 4.43
Oakland AthleticsAL 4.41
New York MetsNL 4.35
Atlanta BravesNL 4.24
Cincinnati RedsNL 4.19
Milwaukee BrewersNL 4.14
Seattle MarinersAL 4.14
Pittsburgh PiratesNL 4.14

Ah, it makes one proud to be a Phillies fan. Will someone please contract my team and free me from this curse?

Abreu Gone, But We're Still Living with Rolen
2006-07-31 09:22
by Mike Carminati

It's the end of an era we are told.

The era of over-optimistic, overspending Phils teams is through, and the era of austerity and rebuilding has begun. This weekend the Phils traded—or more properly dumped the salaries of—Bobby Abreu, David Bell, and Corey Lidle.

It all makes me feel wistful. A lot has happened to the Phils franchise in the last few years.

They have a new stadium and have gone through a ton of players and even more money.

They have bettered .500 each of the previous three seasons, but the closest they came to the playoffs was narrowly missing the wild card last year, technically after their regular season had ended. Reaching .500, let alone making the playoffs is a remote possibility this year.

They hired player-friendly manager Charlie Manuel as a caddy to then-franchise player Jim Thome (as well as a reaction to strident, A-personality manager Larry Bowa). The manager that tried to pry the job away from the Manuel, the man Ed Wade anointed Bowa's successor a year earlier, has since become the manager of the best team in baseball (i.e., Jim Leyland). Meanwhile, Jim Thome lasted just one injury-plagued, unproductive season under Manuel's reign. Manuel appears to be a lamp duck for the rest of the season, should he last that long.

Only five players survive from the 2002 season, the last before the Phils became the big spenders they had been until the weekend's salary dump. They are Pat Burrell (whose contract makes him close to untradeable), Jimmy Rollins (who has been in a season-long slump), Rheal Cormier (the requisite reliever), Randy Wolf (who is now on the DL more often than in the rotation), and Brett Myers (who, though an established major-league starter, caused the biggest black eye for this organization since Ben Chapman baited Jackie Robinson).

In truth this team has been careening toward the abyss since the trade deadline four years ago. That's when they traded then franchise player Scot Rolen to the Cardinals after failing to woo the third baseman into a long-term contract. As the press labeled Rolen clubhouse "cancer", the Phils were cornered into trading him at below trade value. The trade looked lousy at the time, even though they received Placido Polanco, who became a very fine player for the Phils before, of course, being traded away last season while leading the majors in batting for basically nothing.

The money that they offered Rolen was used or at least mentioned in seemingly every major contract they have signed since. David Montgomery has gone on the record saying that the ill-advised Burrell contract was basically a sop to the media and fans after the Rolen fiasco. When the Phils signed Jim Thome after the 2002 season, the money that the Phils had earmarked for Rolen was said to be used (along with the revenue sharing money that came indirectly from the Indians, Thome's former team) to corral the slugger. After that, signing Bell as a free agent and resigning guys like Abreu and Rollins to big-time contracts became the norm.

The names have changed, but the Phils are basically in the same situation they were in at the trade deadline in 2002. They have a few young stars, some pitching prospects, and not much else.

The one thing that has not changed in four years is the team's management, and if Bill Giles recent comments, made in the wake of the Myers scandal, are any indication, it won't be changing any time soon.

The problem with this team is at the top. I thought that replacing the woefully inept Ed Wade with an actual general manger in Pat Gillick would be enough, but given the recent salary dumps, clearly Gillick is working within a framework that is and never has been about winning. Wade, ever the showman, is clearly more concerned with milking the cash cow of having a team in the largest single-team market in the country. Montgomery appears too inept to provide any clear direction for the franchise. That leaves Dallas Green who at least is a knowledgeable baseball man but whose greatest legacy for the team is not managing their only world champion. It was stealing Hall-of-Famer Ryne Sandberg from the Phils, in one of the worst trades in baseball history, when he became the Cubs GM a few years later.

But I digress…

Bobby, We Hardly Knew Ye

Bobby Abreu came to the Phils following the 1998 expansion draft in what was one of the most lopsided trades in recent history. The Phils relinquished no-hit shortstop Kevin Stocker, who had just three seasons, none of which consisted of more than 112 games, left under his belt, to the newly minted Devil Rays, who had just drafted Abreu from the Astros.

Yesterday, after almost nine seasons in a Phils uniform, Abreu was shipped to the Yankees in a deal that looks just about as lopsided. The Yankees get Abreu and end-of-the-rotation starter Corey Lidle, and the Phils get four nondescript prospects.

Just as Abreu's tenure as a Phils has been totally misunderstood—"Why does he have to walk so much?"—the two trades that bookended his career in Philly have been just as misunderstood. When the Phils acquired Abreu, Stocker was a local hero—we do love our sub-par shortstops in the Larry Bowa mold—, a leftover from the 1993 NL champs. To trade him for a young unheralded outfielder—think Von Hayes—was not well received.

Though Abreu received a big hand from the Philly phaithless toward the end of the first game of yesterday's doubleheader, the fans and media have been rabidly calling for him to be traded all year. His $15 M contract for next year (plus either $2M buyout or $16M option for 2008) have been seen as an albatross around the Phils' necks. Curiously, the fans suffered through players with high price tags (though not quite as Abreu's) who were complete drains on the lineup for the past couple of years, specifically, David Bell and Mike Lieberthal. (Mercifully, Bell was also traded this weekend, for a bucket ice, er, the requisite minor-league relief pitcher.)

The four prospects the Phils received consist of three at or below Single-A ball (shortstop C.J. Henry, catcher Jesus Sanchez, and righthander Carlos Monasterios) plus a Quad-A 27-year-old pitcher (left-handed reliever Matt Smith) who because he can strike out about a man an inning appears the best pickup in the group. C.J. Henry was a 2005 first-round pick and is just 20, but has yet to prove that he can hit at even the lowest professional levels. For any of them to become productive major-leaguers would be a long shot at best.

Don't buy it when assistant GM Mike Arbuckle says, "We got value in today's market conditions." They dumped salary plain and simple.

Anyway, I wanted to take a quick look at Abreu's legacy as a Phil. He will not be well remembered, but he arguably was the team's best outfielder since Hall-of-Famers Ed Delahanty and Whitey Ashburn and their best overall player since Mike Schmidt, the best Phillies player ever.

Here are the Phils with the most Win Shares with the team. Abreu ranks seventh:

NameWin Shares # Yrs WS/Yr Primary POSFirst Last
Mike Schmidt46718 26 3B19721989
Ed Delahanty30513 23 OF18881901
Richie Ashburn28912 24 OF19481959
Robin Roberts27714 20 P19481961
Steve Carlton27614 20 P19721985
Sherry Magee27411 25 OF19041914
Bobby Abreu2409 27 RF19982006
Pete Alexander2388 30 P19111930
Roy Thomas23311 21 OF18991911
Del Ennis21511 20 OF19461956
Dick Allen2119 23 1B19631976
Johnny Callison20910 21 OF19601969
Gavvy Cravath1889 21 OF19121920
Greg Luzinski18411 17 OF19701980
Cy Williams17613 14 OF19181930
Chuck Klein17413 13 OF19281944
Willie Jones17312 14 3B19471958
John Titus1719 19 OF19031911
Sam Thompson16610 17 OF18891898
Billy Hamilton1656 28 OF18901895
Von Hayes1589 18 OF19831991

If you look at his Win Shares per year, he looks even better. He's second behind Grover Cleveland Alexander, another Phils who was traded in a woefully lopsided deal:

NameWin Shares # Yrs WS/Yr Primary POSFirst Last
Pete Alexander2388 30 P19111930
Bobby Abreu2248 28 RF19982005
Elmer Flick1114 28 OF18981901
Mike Schmidt46718 26 3B19721989
Lefty O'Doul512 26 OF19291930
Sherry Magee27411 25 OF19041914
Richie Ashburn28912 24 OF19481959
Johnny Bates241 24 OF19101910
Dave Cash713 24 2B19741976
Ed Delahanty30513 23 OF18881901
Dick Allen2119 23 1B19631976
Tom Seaton462 23 P19121913
Curt Davis452 23 P19341935
Doc White432 22 P19011902
Roy Thomas23311 21 OF18991911
Dutch Leonard422 21 P19471948
Don Demeter422 21 OF19621963
Kirby Higbe211 21 P19401940
Johnny Callison20910 21 OF19601969
Gavvy Cravath1889 21 OF19121920
Scott Rolen1236 21 3B19962001
Dolph Camilli613 20 1B19351937
Robin Roberts27714 20 P19481961
Steve Carlton27614 20 P19721985
John Kruk985 20 1B19901994
Del Ennis21511 20 OF19461956
Jim Bunning1156 19 P19641971
Joe Morgan191 19 2B19831983
Benito Santiago191 19 C19961996
John Titus1719 19 OF19031911
Dode Paskert1317 19 OF19111917
Jim Thome563 19 1B20032005
Gary Matthews563 19 OF19811983

So long, Bobby. Good luck with the Yankees. Good luck getting your jersey number back from Larry Bowa.

Unfortunately, the mourning period won't be long as the parade of salary dumping continues today. Whether the next to go is Jon Lieber, Pat Burrell, Ryan Franklin, or someone else, rest assured that the Phils will get the requisite middle reliever in the deal.

Strange But True Pitching Feats
2006-07-25 21:43
by Mike Carminati

Today while Carlos Zambrano was winning his eighth straight and hitting his fourth homer of the season, Ryan Madson tied a major-league record with four wild pitches in a season.

And incidentally, Harold Reynolds and his strip-ed suits got canned over at Baseball Tonight. While most would say, "What took so long?", with the other abrasive talking heads that have been hired since Reynolds established his insipid on-air persona, I will dread the show even more. Reynolds may have been fired because the bar for abrasiveness had been raised too high for the diminutive ex-second baseman to reach. His quaint yet groan-inducing one-liners were nothing compared to John Kruk's insane bloviations.

But I digress. Zambrano becomes just the third pitcher since Ken Brett in 1973 to hit at least four homers in a season. Zambrano projects to six home runs by season's end. The other two both hit seven homers (Brooks Kieschnick in 2003 and Mike Hampton in 2001). Zambrano is just the 90th pitcher to hit at least four homers in a season, and the all-time record for a pitcher (9 by Wes Ferrell in 1931) is in reach.

If Zambrano continues to pitch and hit as he currently projects, he will become the first pitcher in 35 years to hit at least six home runs and win at least 15 games, a feat that's been done just 17 times in baseball history:

Fergie Jenkins197162413
Rick Wise197161714
Sonny Siebert197161610
Earl Wilson196671811
Don Drysdale196572312
Jack Harshman195661511
Don Newcombe19557205
Bob Lemon195062311
Bob Lemon194972210
Wes Ferrell193572514
Hal Schumacher193462310
Wes Ferrell193192212
Jack Stivetts189482614
Jack Stivetts189173322
Jack Stivetts189072721
Ad Gumbert188971613
John Clarkson188763821

As for Madson, he has the oddest pitching line this side of Colorado—well, at least before this season. He is 8-7 with a 6.18 ERA, 1.75 WHIP, and now 10 wild pitches in 94.2 innings. Opponents are batting .319 against him. He has allowed 125 hits and 72 runs in 94.2 innings pitched. In his four major-league seasons, his ERA has gone from 0.00 (in just two innings pitched) in 2003 to 2.34 in 2004 to 4.14 last season to his current 6.18.

He would become the first man to have an ERA under 3.00 one year, an ERA between 4.00 and 5.00 in the next year, and an ERA over 6.00 in the third.

Madson has not won since June 29 when he came up one out short of a five-hit shutout against the O's. Oddly, he still projects to 13 wins for the season. If his trends continue, he would become just the ninth pitcher with at least 12 wins and an ERA over 6.00 for an entire season:

NameYrWL ERA Age
Pedro Astacio19981314 6.23 28
Brian Bohanon19991212 6.20 30
Guy Bush19301510 6.20 28
Wes Ferrell19381510 6.28 30
Ad Gumbert18941514 6.02 25
Bill Hutchison18941416 6.06 34
Mike Morgan19991310 6.24 39
Harry Staley18941210 6.81 27

His wild pitch-to-innings pitched ratio (.106) is the highest since the infamous Jesse Foppert in 2003 and just the 38th highest all-time (min. 100 IP). Here are the highest wild pitch-to-innings ratios of all time:

Scott Williamson20002458 3.29 1.49 33621 112.0 0.188
John Wetteland19892258 3.77 1.12 30816 102.7 0.156
Bobby Witt198622119 5.48 1.73 47322 157.7 0.140
Bo Belinsky19673039 4.68 1.44 34616 115.3 0.139
Johan Santana20022386 2.99 1.23 32515 108.3 0.138
Lowell Palmer19702212 5.47 1.50 30614 102.0 0.137
Mac Suzuki200126512 5.86 1.65 35516 118.3 0.135
Frank Bertaina196824713 4.66 1.59 38217 127.3 0.134
Blake Stein19982459 6.37 1.60 35215 117.3 0.128
Jack Hamilton196627613 3.93 1.52 44618 148.7 0.121
Jack Hamilton196223912 5.09 1.60 54622 182.0 0.121
Broom Dodgers
2006-07-24 09:38
by Mike Carminati

The Dodgers lost to the Cardinals 6-1 yesterday to complete a season sweep in their seven-game, inter-division season series. The Dodgers have been outscored 35-8 in the series.

It was just the second time in the Dodgers franchise history that the team was swept in a season series (not including interleague play). The only other time that the Dodgers were swept by a National League rival in a season series was in the strike-shortened 1994 when the Braves took six straight games from LA (with 7 games canceled by the strike).

Of course, season sweeps went the way of the dodo after the National League settled on eight teams for the 1900 season. In the nineteenth century, there were 119 sweeps, 88 of which came in the tumble down godfather to the National League, the National Association (1871-75). From 1900 to 1969, there were no season sweeps in either leagues.

After the Cleveland Spiders were swept by both Cincinnati and Brooklyn in their 14-game season series in 1899, the next season sweep did not come until the advent of divisional play, seventy years later. Given that the old eight-team leagues prescribed 22-game season series, a sweep was near to impossible. But when baseball went to four divisions in 1969, teams started playing 18 games with the teams in their division and just 12 against the teams of the other division, reviving the season sweep.

The first in the new round of season sweeps came in 1970 when the O's took all twelve games they played against the second-year Royals. The next sweep didn't come until 1978 (when the O's took 11 games from the A's). Of the 46 season sweeps since 1970—say that three times fast—10 came in the two severely strike-shortened years (1981 & 1994), and 32 have come since each went to three divisions (ignoring the 1994 strike year). Last year there were three season sweeps, all six-game series: the Astros 6-0 vs. the Phils (for the second straight year), the Twins vs. the D-Rays, and the Phils vs. the Padres. There were seven in 2004 and five in 2003, all of which consisted of six- or seven-game series.

The last season series of ten or more games that was swept by one team was in 1999, when the Rangers took all twelve of their games against the Twins. The last time a team swept a division rival in a season series was when the Braves took all 13 games from the Rockies in 1993, their inaugural year (That was also when the schedule-makers decided to have teams play more games with teams outside their division than within their division). That was the only season sweep by division rivals in a full season since the advent of divisional play.

Overall the Braves lead all major-league franchises in season series sweeps with six (three since 1993 and three before 1893). The Royals lead in most times being swept in a season series (also 6). Here are the all-time standings in season sweeps for all active franchises:

FranchiseLast Time SweeperTimes SweeperLast Time SweepeeTimes Sweepee
Arizona Diamondbacks2002120041
Atlanta Braves20036None0
Baltimore Orioles2004520042
Boston Red Sox19811None0
Chicago Cubs18852None0
Chicago White Sox19811None0
Cincinnati Reds1998520022
Cleveland Indians1996419941
Colorado RockiesNone020032
Detroit TigersNone020043
Florida MarlinsNone019983
Houston Astros20053None0
Kansas City Royals1988220046
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim2004119942
Los Angeles Dodgers2004220062
Milwaukee Brewers1998120042
Minnesota Twins2005220034
New York MetsNone020021
New York Yankees2003519901
Oakland Athletics2004219953
Philadelphia Phillies2005220054
Pittsburgh PiratesNone020042
San Diego PadresNone020053
San Francisco Giants2002420031
Seattle MarinersNone0None0
St. Louis Cardinals2006318973
Tampa Bay Devil RaysNone020052
Texas Rangers19991None0
Toronto Blue Jays2002119811
Washington Nationals2004420011

The most games win in a season-series sweep were 16 when the Cubs (then Chicago White Stockings) over the now-defunct Buffalo Bisons in 1885. Here are the most in a season-series sweep:

SweeperActive?SweepeeActive?YrTot GTot W
Chicago CubsYBuffalo BisonsN1885160
Cincinnati RedsYCleveland SpidersN1899140
Los Angeles DodgersYCleveland SpidersN1899140
Atlanta BravesYPhiladelphia PhilliesY1883140
Atlanta BravesYColorado RockiesY1993130
San Francisco GiantsYLouisville ColonelsN1894130
Atlanta BravesYBaltimore OriolesN1892130
Texas RangersYMinnesota TwinsY1999120
Cleveland IndiansYDetroit TigersY1996120
Washington NationalsYSan Diego PadresY1994120
Oakland AthleticsYNew York YankeesY1990120
Kansas City RoyalsYBaltimore OriolesY1988120
Baltimore OriolesYKansas City RoyalsY1970120
San Francisco GiantsYSt. Louis CardinalsY1897120
Baltimore OriolesNPhiladelphia PhilliesY1896120
Cincinnati RedsYSt. Louis CardinalsY1896120

However, the most wins in a season series is 21, last done by the Cubs against the Reds in 1945. Note that the highest win totals all came in the glory days of eight-team leagues:

Team1Team2YrTot WTot L
New York YankeesSt. Louis Browns1927211
Pittsburgh PiratesCincinnati Reds1937211
Chicago CubsBoston Doves1909211
Chicago CubsCincinnati Reds1945211
New York GiantsBoston Beaneaters1904202
Philadelphia AthleticsSt. Louis Browns1911202
Pittsburgh PiratesSt. Louis Cardinals1908202
Pittsburgh PiratesSt. Louis Cardinals1907202
Pittsburgh PiratesBoston Doves1909201
Pittsburgh PiratesBoston Braves1935202
St. Louis CardinalsPhiladelphia Phillies1928202
St. Louis CardinalsCincinnati Reds1931202
Brooklyn DodgersPittsburgh Pirates1953202
Boston PilgrimsWashington Senators1904202
Cleveland IndiansBoston Red Sox1954202

The most wins head-to-head all-time were 1219 (through 2005) by the Giants against the Phillies:

Franchise1Franchise2Tot WTot L
San Francisco GiantsPhiladelphia Phillies1219888
Chicago CubsAtlanta Braves11991000
San Francisco GiantsAtlanta Braves11981048
Chicago CubsPhiladelphia Phillies11951064
St. Louis CardinalsPhiladelphia Phillies1183921
San Francisco GiantsCincinnati Reds1179969
New York YankeesBaltimore Orioles1177810
Pittsburgh PiratesChicago Cubs11741102
Pittsburgh PiratesPhiladelphia Phillies11731024
Pittsburgh PiratesSt. Louis Cardinals11631087
Atlanta BravesPhiladelphia Phillies11571039
Los Angeles DodgersAtlanta Braves1143991
San Francisco GiantsLos Angeles Dodgers11311098
Los Angeles DodgersCincinnati Reds11291120
St. Louis CardinalsCincinnati Reds11251044
Los Angeles DodgersPhiladelphia Phillies1121879
Cincinnati RedsLos Angeles Dodgers11201129
Chicago CubsSt. Louis Cardinals11151059
Cincinnati RedsAtlanta Braves11131035
San Francisco GiantsPittsburgh Pirates1105956
Chicago CubsPittsburgh Pirates11021174
San Francisco GiantsChicago Cubs11021033

As for the 27-run run differential in the Cards-Dodgers season series, it's nothing compared to the all-time high, 117 runs:

Chicago White StockingsYPhiladelphia QuakersY188414219174117
St. Louis BrownsYCleveland BluesN188718121598117
Boston RedsNWashington StatesmenN189118217661115
Brooklyn BridegroomsYLouisville ColonelsN188919118571114
New York GiantsYBuffalo BisonsN188515115038112
Philadelphia PhilliesYPittsburgh AlleghenysY189017219583112
Chicago White StockingsYKansas City CowboysN188617117463111
New York YankeesYPhiladelphia AthleticsY193918417968111
Philadelphia QuakersYIndianapolis HoosiersN188717118275107
Boston Red SoxYPhiladelphia AthleticsY195019319084106
Brooklyn BridegroomsYPittsburgh AlleghenysY189018219791106
Cincinnati RedsYCleveland SpidersN189914014035105
New York GiantsYBoston BeaneatersY190519314540105
Baltimore OriolesNCleveland BluesN188717316358105
Detroit TigersYSt. Louis BrownsY193517518278104
Boston BeaneatersYPhiladelphia QuakersY188314016967102
Boston Red SoxYSt. Louis BrownsY1950193216115101
Chicago ColtsYPittsburgh AlleghenysY189017318181100
Pittsburgh PiratesYNew York GiantsY190116416565100

The average margin of victory in the Cards-Dodgers series was almost four runs (3.86 runs). The most lopsided margin of victory in a season series was 25 runs:

Team1Active?Team2Active?YrWLRRAAvg MoV
Middletown MansfieldsNBrooklyn EckfordsN1872206212 25.0
Boston Red StockingsNWashington NationalsN187210273 24.0
Baltimore CanariesNBaltimore MarylandsN18734010116 21.3
Boston Red StockingsNFort Wayne KekiongasN187120519 21.0
Washington Blue LegsNBaltimore MarylandsN1873205110 20.5
New York MutualsNWashington OlympicsN187210255 20.0
Cleveland Forest CitysNBrooklyn EckfordsN187210245 19.0
Philadelphia AthleticsNFort Wayne KekiongasN1871204610 18.0
Baltimore CanariesNWashington OlympicsN187220385 16.5
Troy HaymakersNWashington OlympicsN187210182 16.0
Baltimore CanariesNWashington NationalsN187230537 15.3
Philadelphia AthleticsNWashington NationalsN1875509317 15.2

Of course, these are all nineteenth-century teams. Since 1900, the most lopsided margin of victory in a season series was 5.6 runs when the 114-win Yankees took ten games from the lowly Royals:

Team1Team2YrWLRRAAvg MoV
New York YankeesKansas City Royals19981007822 5.60
Oakland AthleticsSeattle Mariners1981615415 5.57
Baltimore OriolesKansas City Royals2002705516 5.57
New York YankeesMinnesota Twins2003704913 5.14
Oakland AthleticsTampa Bay Devil Rays2000726721 5.11
New York YankeesPhiladelphia Athletics193918417968 5.05
Pittsburgh PiratesNew York Giants190116416565 5.00
Oakland AthleticsKansas City Royals2005424112 4.83
Atlanta BravesHouston Astros2005514213 4.83
Boston Red SoxPhiladelphia Athletics195019319084 4.82
Chicago White SoxSeattle Mariners1994917830 4.80
New York GiantsBoston Beaneaters190519314540 4.77
Detroit TigersSt. Louis Browns193517518278 4.73
Arizona DiamondbacksCincinnati Reds2002604214 4.67
Florida MarlinsSan Diego Padres2003514820 4.67
Houston AstrosLos Angeles Dodgers2003424618 4.67
Boston Red SoxSt. Louis Browns1950193216115 4.59
Houston AstrosPhiladelphia Phillies1999615826 4.57
Oakland AthleticsMinnesota Twins1994526331 4.57
Los Angeles DodgersSan Diego Padres197416212947 4.56
New York YankeesKansas City Royals2001604619 4.50
Seattle MarinersTexas Rangers1994919146 4.50
Dual Pitchers' Duels
2006-07-20 19:14
by Mike Carminati

The Red Sox won their second consecutive game by a score of 1-0 yesterday at Fenway. The difference was Manny Ramirez's 460th career home run.

Winner Josh Beckett ran his record to 12-5 while lowering his ERA to 4.78. Oddly, Beckett has allowed just 112 hits in 122.1 innings and has 40 walks to 102 strikeouts, but has somehow allowed 65 earned runs this year. I guess that's what happens when one loses to the Indians 15-3 (April 27), 13-5 to the Yankees (June 5), and 15-3 to the A's (July 14, his previous start) in little over one half season.

Beckett put that behind him in blanking the lowly Royals. I guess it didn't hurt that the club was ready to announce a $30 M, 3-year contract for Beckett, which became official after the game.

You've probably heard that it is the first time since 1916, when Fenway was a substantial different stadium, that the Red Sox have won back-to-back 1-0 games at home. The 1916 pair were won by Ernie Shore and Babe Ruth. It is, however, the third time that the home team has won two straight 1-0 games at Fenway: the Braves did it earlier in 1916.

But don't get the impression that even though Fenway had been known as a hitter's park for years, it's any easier to record two straight 1-0 home games in another stadium. It's only been done 45 times in major-league history. The only active stadiums that have witnessed the feat besides Fenway are Dodgers Stadium, Angel Stadium, Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium, and Wrigley Field.

The first time it was done was by the then New York Highlanders (now Yankees) at Hilltop Park on June 16 and 17, 1903, both against the White Sox. The last time before the Red Sox accomplished the feat yesterday was 2000 when the Dodgers took two straight 1-0 games from the D-Backs on September 19 and 20.

The last consecutive 1-0 games at Fenway were actually in 1961. On May 17, 1961, the Sox lost 1-0 to the Indians and then beat Tigers the next day, 1-0. Consecutive 1-0 games in a team's home park in which they lost one game and won the other have been accomplished just 57 times in major-league history. The last time was at the BOB in 2003 when the D-Backs beat the Dodgers, 1-0, on July 26 but lost to them the next day, 1-0.

The first year it was done was 1888 by the Pittsburg Alleghenys (now Pirates, oh, and the city has had the "H" to the end of its name) twice. At Recreation Park, they beat the Phils (then known as the Quakers) 1-0 in the first game of a double-header on September 10 only to lose to them 1-0 in the second game. Five days later, they beat the Giants and then lost to New York two days later in their next ballgame. By the way, that doubleheader on September 10 was one of only eleven split 1-0 doubleheaders in major-league history (and was the first one), the last one coming on July 11, 1971 at old Comiskey when the Sox and Brewers split 1-0 games. At this point I am legally required to intone, "Well, how about that!"

If the Red Sox win 1-0 tonight (Note: before I finished this the Sox won 6-4 tonight, oh well), they will be just the second team in major-league history to win three consecutive 1-0 games at home. The White Sox did it at South Side Park (III) from April 25 to 27, 1909.

By the way, the Red Sox and Boston Braves used to share Fenway, so I checked to make sure that there were never two consecutive games at that park won 1-0 by each team. The closest 17 days: The Red Sox won 1-0 at Fenway on July 7, 1915, and then the Braves did it on July 24. They recorded two home 1-0 wins within 12 days when they briefly shared Braves Field. On August 2, 1931, the Sox won a game 1-0 and then the Braves won 1-0 on August 14. The only other parks to have two different home teams win 1-0 in the same season were Dodger Stadium (the Dodgers and Angels), the Polo Grounds V (Yankees and Giants), Connie Mack Stadium (Phils and A's) and Busch Stadium I (the renamed Sportsman's Park III, Cardinals and Browns). The closest that two teams ever came was two days apart by the Cards and Browns in 1953.

For the record, here are the 45 teams that have won two straight 1-0 games at home:

YrTeamDate 1Date 2Park Name
2006Boston Red Sox2006071820060719Fenway Park II
2000Los Angeles Dodgers2000091920000920Dodger Stadium
1991California Angels1991090719910908Anaheim Stadium (Angel Stadium)
1984Los Angeles Dodgers1984072819840729Dodger Stadium
1981Houston Astros1981052619810527Astrodome
1980Toronto Blue Jays1980051519800516Exhibition Stadium
1976Pittsburgh Pirates1976100319761003Three Rivers Stadium
1974Baltimore Orioles1974090219740902Memorial Stadium
1974Houston Astros1974082319740824Astrodome
1971Atlanta Braves1971072119710722Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium
1970Los Angeles Dodgers1970042419700425Dodger Stadium
1968New York Yankees1968052419680525Yankee Stadium I
1967Chicago White Sox1967051219670513Comiskey Park
1966Chicago White Sox1966090919660910Comiskey Park
1966Los Angeles Dodgers1966070519660706Dodger Stadium
1966New York Mets1966092819660930Shea Stadium
1965Detroit Tigers1965052819650529Tiger Stadium
1961Chicago Cubs1961051919610520Wrigley Field
1960San Francisco Giants1960051119600512Candlestick Park
1957Kansas City Athletics1957081919570820Municipal Stadium
1954Chicago White Sox1954081119540813Comiskey Park
1943Cincinnati Reds1943042119430422Crosley Field
1940Chicago White Sox1940061919400620Comiskey Park
1937Boston Bees1937062919370630Braves Field
1933New York Giants1933070219330702Polo Grounds V
1926St. Louis Browns1926091219260916Sportsman's Park III
1925New York Yankees1925070319250704Yankee Stadium I
1918Boston Braves1918060819180610Braves Field
1916Boston Red Sox1916062219160623Fenway Park I
1915Boston Braves1915072419150726Fenway Park I
1915Boston Braves1915100619151006Braves Field
1915Chicago Cubs1915091519150916West Side Grounds
1915Pittsburgh Pirates1915053119150531Forbes Field
1915Washington Senators1915080319150804Griffith Stadium I
1914Boston Braves1914080319140804South End Grounds III
1914Chicago Chi-Feds1914053019140531Weeghman Park (Wrigley Field)
1909Chicago White Sox1909042519090426South Side Park III
1909Chicago White Sox1909042619090427South Side Park III
1909Brooklyn Superbas1909072419090724Washington Park III
1909Philadelphia Athletics1909050719090508Shibe Park (Connie Mack Stadium)
1908Philadelphia Athletics1908051419080516Columbia Park
1908Pittsburgh Pirates1908082819080829Exposition Park III
1907Chicago Cubs1907081119070811West Side Grounds
1907Brooklyn Superbas1907070319070704Washington Park III
1903New York Highlanders1903061619030617Hilltop Park

Here are the closest 1-0 wins at the same park by two different teams. (By the way, the last time this occurred was in 1965 when the Angels won 1-0 on August 31 and Dodgers won 1-0 on September 9):

YrBall Park NameTeam1Date1Team2Date2Diff
1915Fenway Park IBoston Red Sox19150707Boston Braves1915072417
1931Braves FieldBoston Red Sox19310802Boston Braves1931081412
1963Dodger StadiumLos Angeles Angels19630413Los Angeles Dodgers196304174
1916Polo Grounds VNew York Yankees19160722New York Giants1916080311
1953Connie Mack StadiumPhiladelphia Athletics19530813Philadelphia Phillies195308185
1953Busch Stadium I (Sportsman's Park III)St. Louis Browns19530905St. Louis Cardinals195309072
Few But the Braves
2006-07-19 10:52
by Mike Carminati

There was a time that a baseball team could not win a game unless it scored 21 runs, or more properly, "aces". And I believe if you passed 21, you went bust, the house won, and everyone on the team had to ante up for a new hand. What could you do? Those were the rules, and we liked them.

Of course that time was about 160 years ago when Alexander Joy Cartwright and the Kinckerbocker club codified the game, but the Braves appear set to bring that era back. Well, they haven't scored 21 a game, but have scored at least ten for the past five games, and look to me like the team to beat for the wild card in the second half (another of my bold predictions that is sure to put the kibosh on this team).

It is the first time in over 76 years that a team has scored ten runs in five straight games, and just the ninth time since the turn of the twentieth century (though the feat has been accomplished 87 times in baseball history). Since the All-Star break the Braves have scored 15 and 11 runs against the Padres and 10, 15, and 14 against the Cards, all on the road, winning all five games.

For the record, here are the teams that have scored at least ten runs in five straight games since 1897, the last year that the Braves franchise (then the Boston Beaneaters) accomplished the feat:

YrTeamFrom DateFrom G#To DateTo G#G1 RG2 RG3 RG4 RG5 RTot RAvg R
2006Atlanta Braves20060714902006071894151110151465 13.00
1930New York Yankees19300612481930061752141011171769 13.80
1930Chicago Cubs19300601431930060647161518101372 14.40
1929New York Giants19290619541929062258151211111261 12.20
1929New York Giants19290619551929062259121111121258 11.60
1925Pittsburgh Pirates1925082812019250901124101113101054 10.80
1925Cleveland Indians19250723941925072998101211161059 11.80
1901Pittsburgh Pirates1901090410919010906113101515151368 13.60
1901Pittsburgh Pirates1901090410819010906112121015151567 13.40
1897Boston Beaneaters1897090611718970911121101713101161 12.20

As for the Braves franchise, they are the ones to score ten runs in five straight games the most in baseball history. This is their 24th time:

YrTeamFrom DateFrom G#To DateTo G#G1 RG2 RG3 RG4 RG5 RTot RAvg R
2006Atlanta Braves20060714902006071894151110151465 13.00
1897Boston Beaneaters1897090611718970911121101713101161 12.20
1894Boston Beaneaters18940705611894071065221916111280 16.00
1894Boston Beaneaters18940704601894070964112219161179 15.80
1894Boston Beaneaters18940525271894053031101018132071 14.20
1894Boston Beaneaters18940607371894061241181212151269 13.80
1894Boston Beaneaters18940606361894061140111812121568 13.60
1894Boston Beaneaters18940806871894081091151910111267 13.40
1894Boston Beaneaters18940804861894080990111519101166 13.20
1894Boston Beaneaters18940807881894081192191011121062 12.40
1879Boston Red Caps18790820581879082662151612111064 12.80
1875Boston Red Stockings187504294187505058222411141384 16.80
1875Boston Red Stockings18750511111875051515162310131476 15.20
1875Boston Red Stockings187505015187505089241114131072 14.40
1875Boston Red Stockings18750512121875051716231013141272 14.40
1875Boston Red Stockings18750514141875051918131412101362 12.40
1875Boston Red Stockings18750513131875051817101314121059 11.80
1874Boston Red Stockings187405042187405126111014282588 17.60
1874Boston Red Stockings187405021187405095121110142875 15.00
1874Boston Red Stockings18741022651874102769111311151161 12.20
1874Boston Red Stockings18741023661874102870131115111060 12.00
1874Boston Red Stockings18741024671874103071111511101158 11.60
1873Boston Red Stockings18731011531873102257133224181198 19.60
1871Boston Red Stockings18710710161871080720213012122398 19.60

The all-time franchise "record" for consecutive games with at least ten runs is eight by the 1875 club. Of the 87 teams that have completed five-game streaks, just 36 extended that streak to six games. The last to do so was the 1929 Giants. Here are the teams that ran their streaks to six games since the founding of the National League (in 1876):

YrTeamFrom DateFrom G#To DateTo G#G1 RG2 RG3 RG4 RG5 RG6 RTot RAvg R
1929New York Giants1929061954192906225915121111121273 12.17
1901Pittsburgh Pirates190109041081901090611312101515151380 13.33
1896Washington Senators1896060539189606124414101213111979 13.17
1896Washington Senators1896060438189606114310141012131170 11.67
1894Philadelphia Phillies1894081591189408219614172911161299 16.50
1894Boston Beaneaters1894080687189408119215191011121077 12.83
1894Boston Beaneaters1894080486189408109111151910111278 13.00
1894Cleveland Spiders18940709591894071464162315201614104 17.33
1894Cleveland Spiders18940707581894071363101623152016100 16.67
1894Boston Beaneaters1894070460189407106511221916111291 15.17
1894Boston Beaneaters1894060636189406124111181212151280 13.33
1884Washington Nationals1884082173188408287812141011101269 11.50
1884St. Louis Maroons188404306188405091115161412221291 15.17

With the Braves facing Chris Carpenter tonight, one would assume that their scoring streak would end at five games, but keep in mind that Carpenter allowed seven runs in seven innings en route to a 10-6 loss on June 23 against Detroit. With the Phils starting pitching in their next series, the Braves could beat their franchise record of eight straight ten-run games.

By the way, the "record" for consecutive games with at least ten runs scored is eleven. It was recorded in 1873 by the Philadelphia Whites (or White Caps). They scored a total of 170 runs over their streak for an average of 15.45 per game. They exceeded ten runs in all but the eleventh game.

The Braves are also the first team since the 1950 Red Sox to score at least 65 runs over a five-game span and just the 17th since 1900 (ant the 400th overall). The 1950 Sox actually accomplished the feat four times during the season, thanks to two consecutive games with at least twenty runs scored:

YrTeamFrom DateFrom G#To DateTo G#G1 RG2 RG3 RG4 RG5 RTot RAvg R
2006Atlanta Braves20060714902006071894151110151465 13.00
1950Boston Red Sox19500607481950061152202978266 13.20
1950Boston Red Sox19500606471950061051420297868 13.60
1950Boston Red Sox195006054619500609501242029772 14.40
1950Boston Red Sox1950060445195006084917124202982 16.40
1940Boston Red Sox19400924147194009281511645241665 13.00
1936New York Yankees193605213319360525379121525768 13.60
1930New York Yankees19300612481930061752141011171769 13.80
1930Chicago Cubs1930060344193006074815181013965 13.00
1930Chicago Cubs19300601431930060647161518101372 14.40
1930Chicago Cubs1930053142193006054661615181065 13.00
1927New York Yankees192707047519270709792178101965 13.00
1923Cleveland Indians192307057019230708741052781565 13.00
1922Pittsburgh Pirates1922080599192208101039171971466 13.20
1912New York Giants1912062052191206245621517141168 13.60
1901Pittsburgh Pirates1901090410919010906113101515151368 13.60
1901Pittsburgh Pirates1901090410819010906112121015151567 13.40

The most runs scored in five games is 116 runs or an average of 23.20 per game by the old Philadelphia Athletics in 1871, who had game scores of 49 (!), 22, and 20 twice during that span. That was their ninth to thirteenth games, but they had scored 34, 31, and 25 runs in their first eight games. The most since 1900 was 82 by the 1950 Red Sox. The Braves franchsie "record" is 102 by the 1873 club, the most besides the 1871 Philly A's:

YrTeamFrom DateFrom G#To DateTo G#G1 RG2 RG3 RG4 RG5 RTot RAvg R
1871Philadelphia Athletics1871062691871070413204952022116 23.20
1871Philadelphia Athletics1871062810187107141449520229105 21.00
1872Philadelphia Athletics187205011187205205341025314104 20.80
1871Philadelphia Athletics1871062181871070112102049520104 20.80
1873Boston Red Stockings18731009511873101755258133224102 20.40
1872Philadelphia Athletics187205133187205297253141527102 20.40
1873Boston Red Stockings18731011531873102257133224181198 19.60
1872Troy Haymakers187204272187205086271617172198 19.60
1871Boston Red Stockings18710710161871080720213012122398 19.60
1876Chicago White Stockings1876072038187607294218302317997 19.40
1876Chicago White Stockings1876071837187607274191830231797 19.40
1871Philadelphia Athletics187106176187106281011610204996 19.20
1876Chicago White Stockings1876071536187607254015918302395 19.00
1874Philadelphia Whites18740812361874082640231124142395 19.00
1874Boston Red Stockings18740508418740514814282582095 19.00
1873Boston Red Stockings1873101052187310215681332241895 19.00
He's a Hometown Hero, He's Got Stars in his Eyes
2006-07-18 22:12
by Mike Carminati

Major League Baseball has started a Hometown Heroes contest for apparently no other reason than my amusement.

Fans get to select the best player per franchise. Hmm, we Phillie fans get to pick from, it must be, Larry Bowa, Steve Jeltz, Lance Parrish, Travis Lee, and Rico Brogna. Decisions…decisions…

Actually the nominees are a bit more appetizing, but it really is no contest. Hands down the best player the Phils have ever had is Mike Schmidt.

The ones that will be really difficult are the newer franchises like the D-Rays and Marlins. Let's see, is it Wade Boggs well past his prime or Fred McGriff well past his prime? Or is it Aubrey Huff, who just got traded to the Astros?

I thought I would look at the franchise leaders in Win Shares to see who comes out as the "best". So here goes (through 2005), sorted best to worst including some of the best among defunct teams just for the heck of it:

FranchiseWin SharesNameTeam Active?On Ballot?
Detroit Tigers688Ty CobbYY
Atlanta Braves629Hank AaronYY
San Francisco Giants625Willie MaysYY
St. Louis Cardinals604Stan MusialYY
Pittsburgh Pirates598Honus WagnerYY
New York Yankees574Babe RuthYY
Minnesota Twins560Walter JohnsonYN
Boston Red Sox555Ted WilliamsYY
Philadelphia Phillies467Mike SchmidtYY
Cincinnati Reds454Pete RoseYY
Kansas City Royals432George BrettYY
Baltimore Orioles427Cal RipkenYY
Milwaukee Brewers423Robin YountYY
Houston Astros414Craig BiggioYY
San Diego Padres398Tony GwynnYY
Chicago Cubs381Cap AnsonYN
Chicago White Sox378Luke ApplingYY
Los Angeles Dodgers373Zack WheatYN
Cleveland Indians338Tris SpeakerYY
Oakland Athletics308Eddie PlankYN
Seattle Mariners305Edgar MartinezYY
Cleveland Spiders296Cy YoungNN
Washington Nationals265Tim RainesYN
Providence Grays262Charley RadbournNN
New York Mets258Tom SeaverYY
Louisville Colonels254Guy HeckerNN
Buffalo Bisons244Pud GalvinNN
Texas Rangers236Rafael PalmeiroYN
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim229Tim SalmonYY
Toronto Blue Jays212Carlos DelgadoYN
Colorado Rockies211Todd HeltonYY
Cleveland Blues203Jim McCormickNN
Arizona Diamondbacks174Luis GonzalezYY
Philadelphia Athletics167Harry StoveyNN
Baltimore Orioles162John McGrawNN
Florida Marlins135Luis CastilloYY
Tampa Bay Devil Rays75Aubrey HuffYY

Well, overall 23 of the best payers per franchise actually made the ballot. Sorry, Walter Johnson, we need a spot for Kent Hrbek. Tim Raines? No, but how about Brian Schneider? Oopha!

Anyway, of those 23, I doubt that half will garner enough votes to come out on top. How many fans even know who Honus Wagner was? How many will vote for Albert Pujols over Stan the Man?

I can't wait for the carnage. Oh, and where's the write-in spot for Steve Jeltz?

Save It For Later II
2006-07-18 09:24
by Mike Carminati

My curiosity was piqued by the first day without saves in 28 years without saves the other day. I wondered how often it had happened in baseball history.

So I took a look at the Retrosheet game log to figure it out. Unfortunately, the saves data only goes back to 1957. However, I sallied forth with data for the past 50 years of baseball history.

I found that there were 221 days in which no saves were recorded, but a number of them were when only a one or two games were played. For example, the last time there were no saves was last April 3 when there was just one game played. What was so rare about the other day was that there was a full slate of games (15) around the majors.

Here are the days on which a full slate of games were played and yet no saves were recorded. Some of the days the total number of games even exceeded a full slate if there were doubleheaders played:

YrMoDaySavesTot GMax G (no DHs)
So this is something that has now happened just twenty times in 50 seasons and just four times in the last 39 seasons. You'll note that expansion played a large role in wiping out no-save days. As the number of teams along increased the odds of no saves exponentially decreased. It did not hurt that at the same time, the role of the closer was expanding as well.

Save It For Later
2006-07-16 22:26
by Mike Carminati

Tonight Mariano Rivera become just the fourth man to record 400 saves, though he's best bet of the four to make it to the Hall. Rivera comes out second in my Relief Wins research (behind just one man, Hall of Famer Hoyt Wilhelm). Smith is on the writers ballot but will have to wait at least until after much more deserving Goose Gossage gets his plaque. The other two men, John Franco and Trevor Hoffman, though not yet eligible, are marginal candidates at best. Rivera is clearly the best reliever of his generation.

Oddly, Rivera made history of sorts one night after the majors recorded its first full slate of games without a save in 28 years. That made me wonder what the odds of that happening are for this season and if those had dramatically changed to the point that such a rare occurrence could, ah, occur.

I thought it was either that or dumb luck. So let's see. Here are the odds of a full slate of games being completed without a save for each of the last 28 seasons:

YrWSvSv/W No Save Odds (one in)
1979209684040% 778.43
1980210190243% 1,468.55
1981138960544% 1,694.42
1982210693244% 1,991.93
1983210697746% 3,310.83
1984210499347% 4,030.06
1985210197747% 3,400.77
19862102100448% 4,638.68
1987210597146% 3,106.76
19882098104950% 8,192.00
19892103106951% 10,189.28
19902105111353% 17,685.83
19912104113254% 22,905.15
19922106110953% 16,669.47
19932268119253% 34,168.89
1994159977749% 11,108.95
19952016100650% 15,935.59
19962266111649% 13,300.53
19972266113950% 17,648.34
19982430126552% 61,546.76
19992427121750% 34,218.90
20002428117849% 21,138.79
20012428121050% 31,190.40
20022425122450% 37,803.41
20032429119849% 26,763.44
20042428123051% 39,983.24
20052430125452% 53,454.50
2006135866949% 26,315.29

Note that even though the percentage of games saved did not go up that radically, with more games today (15 as opposed to 13), the odds go through the roof.

It's no wonder that the last time that all closers were shut out on the same night was in 1979, but it is odd that it happened this year. Sure, the save percent went down slightly in 2006, but it still is among the best seasons all time:

YrWSvSv/WNo Save Odds (one in)
19982430126552% 61,546.76
20052430125452% 53,454.50
20042428123051% 39,983.24
20022425122450% 37,803.41
19992427121750% 34,218.90
19932268119253% 34,168.89
20012428121050% 31,190.40
20032429119849% 26,763.44
2006135866949% 26,315.29
19912104113254% 22,905.15
20002428117849% 21,138.79
19902105111353% 17,685.83
19972266113950% 17,648.34
19922106110953% 16,669.47
19952016100650% 15,935.59
19962266111649% 13,300.53
1994159977749% 11,108.95
19892103106951% 10,189.28

So it was dumb luck after all. I should have known, what with Jim Bowden making a great trade this weekend and Brett Myers winning in his first start in two weeks in a game in which David Bell actually homered(!)—dumb luck abounded.

Catch That Tiger?
2006-07-13 22:32
by Mike Carminati

The Tigers came back tonight from a 4-0 deficit to top the Royals 6-4 for their 60th win of the season. The Tigers are just the 47th team in baseball history to win 60 of their first 89 games of the season.

Below are the first 46. Note that on average they end up with 103 wins, and all but four made the playoffs. The only team to finish with a sub-.600 winning percentage were the Tigers in 1911, not to look for bad omens or anything.

NYY19986722.753525341.68811448.7041WS Champ
NYY19286623.742535375.65710153.6561WS Champ
PIT19026521.756483240.78210336.7411NL Pennant
NYG19126523.739571357.70310348.6821NL Pennant
PHA19296524.730570346.71410446.6931WS Champ
CHC19076424.727325217.67710745.7041WS Champ
NYG19056425.719478279.72810548.6861WS Champ
NYY19396425.719552299.75410645.7021WS Champ
SEA20016425.719537389.64311646.7161Division Champ
PIT19096425.719396273.66411042.7241WS Champ
BOS19466324.724500342.66710450.6751AL Pennant
STL19446324.724445234.76410549.6821WS Champ
NYY19276325.716591358.71511044.7141WS Champ
PHA19316325.716524358.66810745.7041AL Pennant
PHA19136326.708505349.6639657.6271WS Champ
CIN19706326.708440346.60810260.6301NL Pennant
NYG19046224.721468267.73610647.6931NL Pennant
BRO19556227.697516361.6589855.6411WS Champ
CLE19956227.697519372.64810044.6941AL Pennant
BOS19126227.697472332.65610547.6911WS Champ
BAL19696227.697455283.70510953.6731AL Pennant
CHC19066126.701390238.71211636.7631NL Pennant
BRO19526127.693467324.6619657.6271NL Pennant
NYM19866128.685445314.65410854.6671WS Champ
PHI19766128.685456308.67210161.6231Division Champ
NYY19236128.685491358.6419854.6451WS Champ
NYY19536128.685466330.6539952.6561WS Champ
CIN19196128.685376273.6429644.6861WS Champ
NYY19426128.685439296.67310351.6691AL Pennant
CLE19546128.685427312.64011143.7211AL Pennant
NYY19326128.685602435.64410747.6951WS Champ
DET19846128.685464344.63410458.6421WS Champ
NYG19136026.698429292.66910151.6641NL Pennant
CIN19406028.682425290.66810053.6541WS Champ
NYY19566029.674506366.6449757.6301WS Champ
PIT19036029.674533370.6619149.6501NL Pennant
NYG19546029.674455325.6499757.6301WS Champ
CIN19756029.674458309.67310854.6671WS Champ
PHA19306029.674569463.59310252.6621WS Champ
CHW20056029.674428345.5979963.6111WS Champ
LAD19746029.674455305.67510260.6301NL Pennant
ATL19986029.674475334.65610656.6541Division Champ
Red Handed
2006-07-13 20:10
by Mike Carminati

Jim Bowden may no longer be a boy genius, but that's hard to tell from the eight-player fleecing he put on his old mates, the Reds, today.

His Nats traded relief pitchers Gary Majewski and Bill Bray, shortstop Royce Clayton, utility man Brendan Harris, and prospect Daryl Thompson for right fielder Austin Kearns, shortstop Felipe Lopez, and reliever Ryan Wagner.

I cannot see how this trade helps the Reds now or in the future. I can't possibly see what they think they got out of the trade. Ostensibly it's middle relief help, but I'm not that impressed with what Majewski or Bray can do for them this year.

Clayton-for-Lopez is a severe downgrade. Majewski is an undistinguished middle reliever, with an OK ERA but with a WHIP, strikeouts to walk ratio, and a strikeouts per nine innings that are poor at best. Harris is a replacement level player.

The rest of the trade looks like they are trading for the future: Bray could be a future closer but has had such a short and uneven minor-league career (4.40 ERA and 1.36 WHIP but a 10.53K/9IP). But the Reds want him more as a middle reliever now than a closer later—curiouser and curiouser. Thompson is young but spent two undistinguished years in Single-A Savannah, and has a 6.75 ERA at the start of his third Single-A season, this time one step down in Short-Season Vermont. He looks like a guy who may never make it out of the lower minors.

Meanwhile, the Nats get a new right fielder who may be just slightly better than middle of the pack in OPS (.844, 10th out of the 17 RFs who qualify), but is a tremendous upgrade over their putative starter, Jose Guillen.

They get a shortstop who is ten years younger than Clayton, and is markedly better.

And they get a project in Ryan Wagner, who has a 6.34 ERA in Triple-A, but has at least had some major-league experience and is just 23. Wagner started strong in his first major-league tryout (1.66 and 25 K in 21.2 IP in 2003) but got worse each year in Cincinnati. A change of scene might help, and given his age and his former strikeout ability (until his second trial in Cincy).

Actually, the trade looks worse the more I look at it. At best the Reds cut salary. Lopez is making $1.7 M more than Clayton, and Kearns is making $1.85 M. But even so, that's not a lot of money, and the Reds are supposedly trying to make the postseason, not cut salary.

But perhaps Bowden put it best, "Philosophically, we believe that when you have a chance to trade a middle reliever for an everyday player, that's helpful," even though he cites injuries, not overall value, as the reason for this. I, frankly, don't have a lot of respect for the once highly vaunted Bowden, but even a broken clock is right twice a day, and it doesn't hurt to have an organization like the Reds to make trades with instead of for.

Two Miles Low
2006-07-10 21:16
by Mike Carminati

Howard hit almost two miles of home runs tonight

With a typical Chris Berman understated assessment, the home run derby ended and a new Phils player was cursed with winning the darn thing.

Berman then offered the next pat answer, that the AL has been dominant the last few years but those young, pesky NL'ers, as demonstrated by derby finalists Howard and Wright, are ready to turn the tide or some such old saw.

ESPN also has an article on how many first-time All-Stars are invited to this year's game, 23.

"That is a big number," Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez said. "I didn't realize it was that big."

"There are big names missing that are truly All-Stars, you can start with [Barry] Bonds, [Ken] Griffey and [Craig] Biggio," NL manager Phil Garner said. "But it's exciting for baseball. ... We are embarking on a new era."

Twenty-three newbies, that must be a record, right? Well, the record is 36 in 1933, the first year of the All-Star game, of course. But 23 must be near the top, right?

Actually, there hasn't been a year since 1998 in which there were not at least 22 first-time All-Stars. The high for that period was 32 in 2003. Here are the all-time highs for first-timers:


Well, maybe the players are younger than today even though the number of first-timers is not that impressive. The average 2006 All-Star is 29.2 years old. How does that rank?

It's not one of the lowest:

Yr Youngest Avg
1966 27.28
1967 27.36
1965 27.40
1968 27.58
1969 27.68
1976 27.81
1977 27.82
1955 27.92
1988 28.05
1993 28.12

Then again, it's far from the oldest:

Yr Oldest Avg
1945 30.84
1999 30.13
2004 30.09
2005 30.06
2001 30.02
2000 29.88
1995 29.85
1947 29.85
1991 29.84
1953 29.75
1939 29.75

I guess it's lower than it's been the last few years, so that's an improvement, but that's far from encouraging.

We have a 41-year-old starting pitcher for the AL who was tabbed by Ozzie Guillen in typical eccentric fashion. Pudge Rodriguez makes an appearance and thereby passes Mike Piazza in third for the most appearances by a catcher.

Yes, there are some older stars who are enjoying a three-day vacay, but that's part of the game. If we need a quirky storyline for the game, how about some retrospective on how the Pirates went from a real team to a shell of a team, however, the All-Star game host, whose most distinguishing characteristicss are the yellow pj tops that they forced the NL to wear? Or how about Mark Redman's surprise at being picked for the team?

How I spent My SABR Vacation III
2006-07-10 09:46
by Mike Carminati

After the two hours for my poster presentation flew by, I then had to worry my 40-minute oral presentation down to 25 minutes, leaving five for questions, and find some lunch in downtown Seattle, a place in which coffee is easier to come by then food.

I headed back to my hotel and noticed a burrito joint named Chez Dave that looked passable. It was one of these places that are yuppified yet still authentic and affordable, a type of place that could not exists in the Northeast, at least not as a burrito joint. Anyway, I grabbed something quick, wolfed it down, and then proceeded the locals by reading through my relief pitching presentation in a low, yet still easily audible voice.

Luckily my edits on the flight had gotten it down to twenty-five minutes. Emboldened, I headed back to the convention, ready to hear someone else present something.

The first I caught was on the years between the Pilots and the Mariners in Seattle and the shenanigans that led to baseball returning to the region. There were cherce tales of Johnny Allen and Charlie O. Finley doing a pas de deux to bring an existing team to Seattle. That all fell through and the AL was compelled to expand to the city due to congressional pressure. After failing to impel the National League to expand as well (to two 13-team circuits) with interleague play and all, the AL was forced to turn to Toronto while the NL turned its back on the entire situation. (I always wondered why the NL had so little involvement in the 1977 expansion draft and the attendant expansion fees accrued.

I also checked out the room in which I would be presenting, the Federal room, which was exactly half the size of the combined Superior-Municipal rooms, the other presentation room. The presenter at the time was discussing the Caribbean tour of the All-American Girls Baseball League, and I uttered the double four-letter word that Jim Bouton's manager in "Ball Four" made famous. Welcome to the marginal room. Oh well.

The next presentation was on how much to pay for the "last piece of the puzzle". It was interesting, yet hardly revelatory. The presenter found that the victories below 69 and above 98 wins are basically meaningless to one's financial bottom line. Getting a player who will help you improve from 60 to 65 wins adds nothing to your financial statement. Neither does getting a player who will help you improve from 100 to 105 wins. This seemed to hold true for all franchises. However, the return on investment for each win between 69 and 98 varied per team. The Yankees produced a great deal for each win over 69, whereas the Braves did not. It seemed like one of my studies which I feel forced to post even though the results aren't that tremendous because of the extensive research involved.

Anyway, Toastermate Bob Timmerman, whom I kept running into in these presentations, reminded me that I should get myself set up in the other room (the lesser room) given that mine was coming up. I went to the Federal room, and listened to a presentation on the death knell of salary arbitration, when I noticed that the presenter was using the type of plastic slides that were popular with lecturers some twenty years ago and that I had not seen since my first job.

I scanned the room and saw no computer, and, given that my presentation was all in PowerPoint, I panicked. I imagined myself describing each of the twenty to thirty-odd graphs—"Here's a pretty one with plenty of colorful lines. Gee, it would great if you could actually see it."

I went back to the reception desk with my concerns and was told to track down the same guy who I had been looking for since 10:00 AM in my quest for Velcro tape. I still haven't found him. I went back to the presentation room and located a dude with a "Staff" shirt. I thought either he was a supporter of pitching in general or this was the guy to help me. I explained my problem and he pointed to an unused laptop next to the podium. I told him I had one last revision on my memory stick, and he said that once the current presenter was done, he would update the document and we would be good to go.

At this point the presenter was taking questions and he decided to go five minutes over while the moderator that was promised via email by my now arch-nemesis, the aforementioned Velcro tape fiend, was nowhere to be seen.

I rushed the podium, had the staff dude update my document, and then tried to wrest the crowd, half of which was wondering while a new group was wondering in, into submission. I whizzed through the presentation, trying not to look anyone in the face for fear of realizing where I was and what I was doing. I kept thinking of Marcia Brady taking her driving test and having to picture the tester in his underwear so that she wouldn't freeze (Ironically, as an adolescent, I pictured Marcia in her underwear).

My opening "joke" actually got laughs, so that helped my get over a hurdle. The staff dude told me after he loaded the file that he would signal me when I was at the halfway point, but I had long since forgotten him. Besides I could never find him in this sea of people. Anyway, I finished up and locked at my watch to find that I was not only on time but had a few minutes for questions.

Aside from an interesting question from Jay Jaffe (regarding incorporating Retrosheet play-by-play data into study to investigate various scenarios in which relievers enter a game mid-inning), I have no idea what else was asked or what I answered. Someone asked about saves and my reliance on the stat even though the definition changed in 1973 (actually, three times between 1973 and 1976). I just remember thinking that I don't use saves for evaluating relievers—I just hope I wasn't too dismissive in my response. Someone else offered that pitchers will eventually be changed every inning, and I said something like unless the rosters double or they clone Brooks Kieschnick, it aint gonna happen.

Finally, my time was up and I could leave the podium. As I walked back to gather my stuff (and to try not to forget my memory stick which was still in the laptop), a small group approached the platform. If I were in a different state of mind, my reaction would have been something like "Cool, groupies!", but I just wanted to get of there before my sweat production approached Albert Brooks in "Broadcast News" proportions.

The first person informed me that the first MacMillan encyclopedia, the 1969 edition, had pitching lines split out by starting and relieving stats but that they had not been updated since and there were of course errors in the data that had since been fixed. This was in response to one of my recommendations, i.e., that baseball should officially register its pitching stats by starter and reliever splits. I thanked him and then tried to vacate the stage for fear that I was stepping on the next presenter's time. I answered a few more questions and left.

Later, someone (Bob?) told me that it was Pete Palmer who first approached me. Pete Palmer?!? The guy had no name tag that I saw, not that I noticed at least in my post-presentation stupor. Dang! I am a moron.

While I was in a frenzy prior to the presentation, I saw John Thorn, the author of "The Relief Pitcher" (which I mention in my presentation), hanging out in the lobby—I must have still been able to read nametags at this stage. I fantasized that he was waiting to see my presentation. I want to approach him and introduce myself, but the then-lack of PC not to mention a small crowd already gathered around him, prevented me from doing so. I didn't see him after the presentation and still am fantasizing that he actually saw it.

After the speech, I spent some time in the lobby speaking with a guy who is trying to build a case for Goose Gossage, who came out among my top three relievers. He asked me to contribute. If I could have anything to do with Goose going into the Hall, that would be the ultimate.

I also talked to Gabe Schechter who gave a poster presentation opining that middle relievers were overvalued and overused. Surprisingly, we were in agreement on a number of issues. My take is that middle relief is now where baseball is attempting to improve—the closer role is pretty much set. He agrees but does not feel that the role is necessary. I guess I see that as besides the point to a certain degree. We could go back to almost every pitcher throwing a complete game almost every time, but look how well the Billy Ball A's did with that. I just feel that it's like tilting against windmills. The relief role has been evolving pretty much since Alexander Cartwright marked off the first field , so I can't really get that upset with the current state given that I know that it's a moving target anyway.

After talking to a few other people, I was spent. I decided to forego the remaining presentations and headed for my hotel to change before an event at the world famous Ebbets Field Flannels. On the way out I met THT's Aaron Gleeman and Ben Jacobs, who were in the process of switching hotels.

Bob and I walked over towards the stadium, where the EFF shop resides. Along the way, we found a lovely little ghetto that sprang up and disappeared within a couple of city blocks. We found on the way home that it was just a block or two away from the gentrified yuppy/touristy area. These small cities are so odd. New York or Philly, I know where to go and where not to go. It makes sense. Again I am an ugly Northeasterner.

When we arrived at EFF, I was surprised at how small the shop was. One or two dozen SABR devotees were milling about in the overcrowded shop. Bob and I commented that the shop had Seattle AC, which means none, but they braved the heat with bowls of free popcorn and pretzels. I spotted a discount rack in the back with jerseys for $25. I picked out two, a Josh Gibson Homestead Greys and a Larry Doby Brooklyn Eagles. They were not subject to the 10% SABR discount that EFF was offering that night, but I didn't care.

When I arrived outside, I found Bob speaking with someone that turned out to by Rob Neyer, not that I would have recognized him. He looked shorter and thinner than I expected. Neyer was heading to a book signing and seemed not to keen on the EFF crowd, not that I really blame him much. It must be hard to be the focus of the geekfest especially when someone is somewhat introverted, as Neyer appeared to be.

At this point it was around 7 PM, but my stomach was still on Eastern time (10 PM). We saw a pub with an awning with faux baseball stitching, and Bob and I headed in that direction. It was F.X. McRory's, which both of us thought was a famous baseball joint but it might just have been the name. We sat in an area with a plethora of large screen TVs most with Mets-Red Sox game and, of course, Seattle AC. We found out later that the rest of the people in our section were also SABR denizens seeking a brief respite.

As was the case throughout the weekend, we sat and exchanged storied with the other SABR-ites. I have to say that it's such a love fest, it's like Woodstock for baseball. The two Red Sox fans weren't too pleased when the bar promptly switched to the M's-D-Backs game, even though the Mets-Sox were tight in the late innings. Finally, Gleeman, Jacobs, and the THT gang arrived as we were about to leave.

Anyway, the burger hit the spot and when headed back on a slightly circuitous but more gentrified route. It was great until we neared the hotels and had to climb the hills that each street then offered. Whether it was the hills or the jetlag (or the impending flu that quickly overwhelmed after the trip), I was beat and decided to call it a night. All in all is was a pretty good birthday.

[To be continued…]

Shut Your Mouth!
2006-07-07 17:43
by Mike Carminati

An odd thing happened on the way to the blog. I checked the major-league scoreboard and found that every game featured (at least) one shutout.

I wondered if all the games in progress ended in a shutout would it be the first time in baseball history that an entire day's slate of games were completed without even one losing team scoring a run. So I looked it up…

The answer is that it's happened before, 127 times in baseball history actually. However, 107 of those were days in which there was just one game played.

Here are the dates with more than one date:

YrMo/DayNum GNum SHO

Dang! The Mets and Phils both just scored. Oh well.

Is There Scoring After Death? (Or, the X-Rated Version of "Weekend at Bernie's")
2006-07-06 09:14
by Mike Carminati

The other day, there was a throwaway incident in the first game of the Yankees-Indians series that I didn't want to pass without comment because, if for no other reason, it leads to some great stories.

The Indians took a 3-2 lead and Victor Martinez was rounding third early in the game when he apparently came in contact with third base coach Jeff Datz. Lee Mazzilli, along with the YES announcers, wanted the runner called out by rule 7.09(h). Datz was back-pedaling, but Martinez appeared to extend his arms in what looked like an attempt to push off Datz to return to third.

The third base ump, however, was not in position to see the play. After the runner passed him going into third, the ump looked to the outfield for the incoming throw. Even after a confab on the field and as Mazzilli communicated through gestures in the dugout, none of the four umps saw the play, and therefore, Martinez remained at third.

However, the play came to naught as the Indians then ended the inning without any further damage. Besides even the best of replays showed that the contact was minimal at most. But given my love for trivia, I had to investigate further.

First, I must say that I have never seen that play before. Datz was out of position and should be given a good talking-to by management. I mean, his one job is to ensure that things go smoothly between second and home, and here he is getting in the middle of what could have been a key play—the Indians just had taken the lead by just one run—that could have very easily ended the inning prematurely.

Second, the rule is open to interpretation. It deals with the coach interfering with the runner, not the runner using the coach as a bumper as was the case here, but I think the rule still applies:

It is interference by the batter or a runner when…(h) in the judgment of the umpire, the base coach at third base, or first base, by touching or holding a runner, physically assists him in returning to or leaving third base or first base…PENALTY FOR INTERFERENCE: The runner is out and the ball is dead.

Finally, as always I consulted Rich Marazzi's "The Rules and Lore of Baseball" to see how the rule was enforced in the past. Here it is:

A good example of this baseball statute was enforced during the 1967 season in a Pacific Coast League game between Spokane and Hawaii. Spokane outfielder Jim Fairey was knocked unconscious by the throw from the Hawaii catcher after he stole third base. The ball rolled into left field after hitting Fairey on the skull. Fairey rolled passed the bag after he was struck by the ball. Third base coach Gordy Coleman lifted him back onto the bag, and Fairey was called out for getting assistance from the third base coach.

It is now illegal for the coach to assist a runner anytime, whether a play is being made on him or not. However, if a runner assists another runner, it is perfectly legal.

Because of this rule interpretation, a dead man once scored a run in a game played in New Jersey many years ago between the University of St. Joseph and the Chatham Stars. According to Baseball Maga¬zine, "Chatham was leading 2-0 and two were out in the bottom of the ninth when O'Hara, a weak hitter, doubled to left. He was followed by Robidoux, "a scrappy young Arcadian," who hit a long ball over the center fielder's head. As O'Hara reached third base, he collapsed and died. Robidoux, rounding third, picked O'Hara up and carried him down the base line, touching home plate first with O'Hara and then stepping on the plate himself. The game was tied, 2-2."

The above case might be a dramatic illustration of the rule, but I think it gets the point across.

That's great. I just wonder how you score that one, suicide squeeze? Of course, Billy Joe Robidoux went on to set all-time highs in the majors for a zombie player.

Indians Scalp Yanks on Independence Day
2006-07-04 19:36
by Mike Carminati

Cleveland beat the Yankees by the most lopsided of scores, 19-1, on of all days the Boss's birthday. Oddly, it is not the most lopsided game in their history. The Indians beat the Yankees by 22 runs once (22-0) on August 31, 2004 and by 18 one other time (24-6 on July 28, 1929). The Yankees' largest margin of victory against the Indians was 20 runs (21-1 on July 24, 1999) and they hit 18 twice (21-3 on July 14, 1904 and 18-0 on July 10, 1936).

It was just the fifth time that the Indians had won a game by 18 runs or more at home in their history and the first in over 56 years. Here they are by margin of victory:

DateVisitingVT runsHomeHT runsMoV
07/07/1923Boston Red Sox3Cleveland Indians2724
06/18/1950Philadelphia Athletics2Cleveland Indians2119
07/29/1928New York Yankees6Cleveland Indians2418
05/11/1930Philadelphia Athletics7Cleveland Indians2518

The loss matches Yankees worst on the road, the July 29, 1928 game against Cleveland above.

As for the most lopsided victories of all time, this one only ranks at 286th. The most lopsided game in baseball history was June 18, 1874 when the New York Mutuals topped the Chicago White Stockings (now the Cubs), 38-1. Here are the most lopsided ever by margin of victory:

DateVisitingVT runsHomeHT runsMoV
06/18/1874Chicago White Stockings1New York Mutuals3837
06/30/1873Baltimore Marylands1Baltimore Canaries3534
07/24/1882Cleveland Blues4Chicago White Stockings3531
06/22/1872Brooklyn Eckfords6Middletown Mansfields3630
07/04/1873Elizabeth Resolutes3Boston Red Stockings3229
10/01/1874Brooklyn Atlantics0Boston Red Stockings2929
06/29/1897Louisville Colonels7Chicago Colts3629
08/21/1883Philadelphia Quakers0Providence Grays2828
06/15/1887Philadelphia Quakers1New York Giants2928
09/10/1891Washington Statesmen3Milwaukee Brewers3027
10/05/1872Baltimore Canaries39Brooklyn Atlantics1425
10/09/1873Baltimore Canaries29Brooklyn Atlantics425
05/13/1876New York Mutuals3Hartford Dark Blues2825
06/20/1883Philadelphia Quakers4Boston Beaneaters2925
08/17/1894Louisville Colonels4Philadelphia Phillies2925
06/08/1950St. Louis Browns4Boston Red Sox2925
04/30/1872Boston Red Stockings27Washington Nationals324
05/18/1872Cleveland Forest Citys7Philadelphia Athletics3124
05/01/1875Boston Red Stockings24Washington Nationals024
07/03/1883Buffalo Bisons7Chicago White Stockings3124
05/27/1885Buffalo Bisons0New York Giants2424
06/24/1886Baltimore Orioles1Brooklyn Grays2524
06/11/1887Washington Nationals2New York Giants2624
06/28/1887Philadelphia Quakers24Indianapolis Hoosiers024
07/07/1923Boston Red Sox3Cleveland Indians2724

You'll note that a lot of these come from the early days of major-league baseball. Barring nineteenth century games, here are the most lopsided:

DateVisitingVT runsHomeHT runsMoV
06/08/1950St. Louis Browns4Boston Red Sox2925
07/07/1923Boston Red Sox3Cleveland Indians2724
06/04/1911Boston Rustlers3Cincinnati Reds2623
05/24/1936New York Yankees25Philadelphia Athletics223
08/12/1948Cleveland Indians26St. Louis Browns323
04/23/1955Chicago White Sox29Kansas City Athletics623
05/13/1902Philadelphia Phillies2Cincinnati Reds2422
05/18/1912Detroit Tigers2Philadelphia Athletics2422
07/06/1929St. Louis Cardinals28Philadelphia Phillies622
07/03/1945Chicago Cubs24Boston Braves222
09/16/1975Pittsburgh Pirates22Chicago Cubs022
08/25/1979California Angels24Toronto Blue Jays222
09/28/2000Toronto Blue Jays1Baltimore Orioles2322
08/31/2004Cleveland Indians22New York Yankees022
09/15/1901Cleveland Blues0Detroit Tigers2121
09/10/1924Boston Braves1New York Giants2221
06/28/1939New York Yankees23Philadelphia Athletics221
08/13/1939New York Yankees21Philadelphia Athletics021
06/08/1940Brooklyn Dodgers2Cincinnati Reds2321
08/12/1953New York Yankees22Washington Senators121
06/13/1999Baltimore Orioles22Atlanta Braves121
06/19/2000New York Yankees22Boston Red Sox121
09/30/2000Texas Rangers2Oakland Athletics2321
06/04/2002Cleveland Indians2Minnesota Twins2321
09/09/2004Kansas City Royals26Detroit Tigers521
08/07/1923Cleveland Indians22Washington Senators220
09/28/1923New York Yankees24Boston Red Sox420
09/16/1926St. Louis Cardinals23Philadelphia Phillies320
07/04/1927Washington Senators1New York Yankees2120
05/02/1939New York Yankees22Detroit Tigers220
09/27/1940Washington Senators4Boston Red Sox2420
06/18/1953Detroit Tigers3Boston Red Sox2320
06/01/1957Chicago Cubs2Cincinnati Redlegs2220
08/28/1992Milwaukee Brewers22Toronto Blue Jays220
07/24/1999Cleveland Indians1New York Yankees2120
How I spent My SABR Vacation II
2006-07-03 18:28
by Mike Carminati

But enough of Seattle itself. I went to SABR36 to present a couple of studies that I had conducted. The first was on the Hall of Fame and the second was on relief pitching.

The Hall study was a "poster" presentation, something about which I knew about as much as you do. I had a four-foot by four-foot palette on which to paint. So I took my Hall study—long story short, baseball average 20-30 players per ten years but taking into account expansion less than one-half of one percent of today's players will get in—and converted my usual wanton tables into graphs replete with callout boxes with the more salient points. Oh, and I also inserted many copious cartoon character slides to balance out the numbers.

Unfortunately, my flight from Newark was delayed a couple of hours, I didn't arrive at my hotel until after 1:00 AM Pacific time, and I didn't wake up until after 8:30. So when I arrived at the hotel where the convention was being held, I only had about 5-10 minutes to get my presentation on the board. The room for the poster presentations was already full and two-thirds of the presentations were up. After searching in vane for the person who was supposed to be organizing the presentations (and whom I never did find), I struggle to find a small strip of Velcro tape to hang my presentation.

So I am on my knees attempted to post these things in something that vaguely resembles a straight lines all the while, I look around at the presentation facing mine in which just about every baseball movie ever made is glaring down on me in glorious four-color glossy regalia. Goddammit! I feel like the kid who made his science project while the rest of the class had their parents help.

I finally complete the hanging of my various slides with the miniscule strip of Velcro tape that I found, and people are actually starting to read it. After about fifteen minutes someone from stops by to ask if I want to contribute on a project they are doing on the Hall of Fame, and I'm feeling a bit better. A bunch of people stop by to read and discuss the study and before I know it, it's two hours later, poster presentation phase is complete, and the room is emptying out for lunch.

Now, I have to worry about my second presentation, an oral one. The one time I presented it previously (two days earlier to my somnolent wife) it went two minutes too long and I just found out from the program that I was supposed to leave five minutes for questions. Oops.

To be continued…

How I spent My SABR Vacation
2006-07-02 20:35
by Mike Carminati

I remember most players from my youth, at least the non-Phils, through the grainy pictures on the fronts of their Topps baseball cards. Mike Marshall will remain there, in my mind, forever throwing off the mound for the Braves, even though he spent little more than one offseason with that team.

Even so, I knew he was the guy who had thrown one hundred games all in relief a few years earlier. I barely missed his glory years though I witnessed his short-lived comeback with the Twins (which oddly was absent any representation on a cardboard doppelganger from Topps—perhaps the irascible reliever refused to sign with the then-baseball card monopoly).

That's what I always remembered about Marshall, the 100 games. Somehow that factoid had filtered down to a ten-year-old a few seasons after the fact even though a few seasons seemed an eternity at the time. The 208.1 innings pitched never did register but seem even more impressive now. 208.1 innings?!? That's basically a bullpen. Marshall was a one-man pen. No wonder he won the 1974 NL Cy Young award.

Jim Bouton, I never did see pitch though I remember the ill-fated footnote of a comeback and of course, there's the book. Maybe that's why Marshall had more resonance for me when I attended that refuse for baseball geekdom, a Society for Baseball Research (or SABR for short) convention. Or maybe it was the fact that I presented on relief pitching, so it felt something like kismet. Or maybe it was the fact that I cornered Marhsall and asked him a few questions about relief pitching, but more on that later.

I do have to say that when a group of people who truly love something get together in the same place, it is a wonderful thing. It's sometimes enough to warm the heart of a jaded curmudgeon like me. But enough about how the Jersey fan's cheered and chanted "Bruce" for Springsteeen's exuberant but quite often very mediocre jug band project when I saw them at whatever they now call the Garden State Arts Center last week.

Just kidding. It's just my curmudgeonly way to refer to weekend at the SABR convention. It was my first national convention though I've been a member for a dozen years. And I have to say that I left chanting "Bruce" as well though no one, including me is sure why.

I don't know if I can do the whole experience justice. I choose to represent the whirlwind, as I experienced it, through the sights, the sounds, and the smells of a hard-working SABR convention (to paraphrase, badly, Marty DiBergi).

First, Seattle…I had never visited the Coffee City before, and found the experience to be very odd. The downtown area seems hillier than San Francisco. The sun never seemed to set, well, maybe by around 10:30 or so. The game that the SABR group attended a short interleague contest. in which Colorado's Josh Fogg pitched a complete game shutout on something like 86 pitches, was a night game played entirely in daylight. The blinding sun blazed down on us fans seated down the rightfield line for the first half of the game. But perhaps the oddest thing was how pedestrians refused to enter an intersection, no matter how bereft of traffic it was, until instructed to do so. Being a Northeasterner, I felt free to cross when appropriate until my Toastermate, Bob Timmerman, a West Coaster he, advised me that the police enforce jaywalking with a vengeance out West.

To Be Continued…

Fultzing Around
2006-07-02 13:09
by Mike Carminati

The Phils were reduced to turning to a career lefty specialist as their starting pitcher today, and yet so far somehow it's worked. The Phils lead the Blue Jays, 7-5, after six innings and they chased A.J. Burnett with seven runs—five earned—and ten hits after four and one-third innings pitched. Fultz didn't do much better, giving up four hits and three runs after one and two-thirds innings. Somehow the Phils have out-bad pitched the Jays.

As the Phils endeavor on a daily basis to cobble together a rotation while Myers does his penance and Randy Wolf rehaps, the president of the club is attempting to douse the public ire resulting from the decision to pitch Brett Myers the day after being arrested for hitting his wife in public by terming it a "mistake". The locals are waiting for the other shoe to drop squarely on Charlie "I Need a Friggin'" Manuel. Or at least they were but these other issues have taken the focus off of ol' Chollie.

Fultz being used as a starter is one of the more curious moves that I can remember. That Fultz is anything more than a situational lefty is due in part to a fine season for him last year with the Phils and in part to Manuel's robust imagination in using Fultz (for the first time in his major-league career) in an expanded relief role and now, incredibly, as a starter.

Anyway, I wondered how many pitchers had pitched as many games as Fultz prior to his first major-league start. So I looked it up (in descending chronological order):

NameYrPrev GSPrev G Prev IP GSAgeThrows
Aaron Fultz20060381 413.7 132L
Todd Jones20030607 681.0 135R
Chuck McElroy20000562 601.0 232L
Mike Stanton19990538 535.0 132L
Mark Clear19870394 689.3 131R
Gary Lavelle19810412 622.0 332L
Hoyt Wilhelm19580361 666.7 1035R

You'll notice that the previous guys on the list had pitched considerably more innings before being considered for a starting job even though the majority are left-handed relievers.

The Phils are now leading 10-5 and are polishing this turd to a fine luster. I can't wait until next week brings us "Geoff Geary, major-league starting pitcher". Ah, the fine aroma of Phillies continual pathos.

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