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


Curt Schilling, Baseball Fascist
2006-08-31 18:29
by Mike Carminati
Crash Davis (advising Nuke LaLoosh): Relax, all right? Don't try to strike everybody out. Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.
— Bull Durham

Curt Schilling in a losing effort last night joined the prestigious 3000-strikeout club, becoming its fourteenth member. In the process he probably hit a big enough career number to earn, with the help of his two rings each with different teams, a plaque in Cooperstown.

Mind you, I don't know if I would rush to put the 206-win late bloomer in the Hall, but I think the baseball writers will.

He becomes the fourth active pitcher to strike out three thousand batters joining Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, and Greg Maddux. Pedro Martinez, who is awaiting Ernesto to leave Florida to start rehabbing, is just 14 Ks short of joining the club.

There haven't been five active 3000-K pitchers in almost twenty years. In 1987 five 3000-K pitchers—Bert Blyleven (3286), Don Sutton (3530), Nolan Ryan (4547), Phil Niekro (3342), and Steve Carlton (4131)—were active. By 1992, just (Ryan and Blyleven) were still active. From 1994 to 1997, there were no 3000-K pitchers in baseball.

Two years saw the highest number of active 3000-K members, six. The first was 1983 (Don Sutton, Fergie Jenkins, Gaylord Perry, Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton, and Tom Seaver) and the second was 1986 (with Tom Seaver joining the 1987 list above).

By the way, here's the first list of 300-K club members with soon-to-be anointed Martinez:

Nolan Ryan5714
Roger Clemens4575
Randy Johnson4509
Steve Carlton4136
Bert Blyleven3701
Tom Seaver3640
Don Sutton3574
Gaylord Perry3534
Walter Johnson3509
Phil Niekro3342
Fergie Jenkins3192
Greg Maddux3151
Bob Gibson3117
Curt Schilling3003
Pedro Martinez2986

Unfortunately, there are not that many pitchers beyond Martinez who have a good shot of joining the club. The 39-year-old John Smoltz is next at 2743. Beyond that it looks like we are going to have as long a wait as we did after the waning mid-Eighties classes started to retire.

Here are the active pitchers who meet or exceed the strikeout totals for the average 300-K club member by the given pitcher's age. Note that this is based on the career totals through 2005, but I include the 2006 numbers. Two pitchers (Vazquez and Greinke) are falling short of the necessary totals in 2006, though Vazquez should catch up:

Name2005 Age2005K KbyAge 2006K Kby NextYr
Pedro Martinez332861 2,327 2986 2,489
Javier Vazquez281418 1,353 1543 1,561
C.C. Sabathia24761 542 899 714
Carlos Zambrano24655 542 842 714
Jake Peavy24635 542 809 714
Mark Prior24719 542 757 714
Dontrelle Willis23451 400 577 542
Oliver Perez23571 400 639 542
Jeremy Bonderman22421 300 593 400
Scott Kazmir21215 195 378 300
Zack Greinke21214 195 214 300
Felix Hernandez1977 71 221 128

[By the way, about the title: I just wanted to work in the right's favorite buzzword of late. I always love to quote Rummy the Dummy.]

Howard You Like A New Homer Champ?
2006-08-30 19:54
by Mike Carminati

Ryan Howard had an off night tonight, just a double and two runs batted in in four at-bats. Not even one home run. Dang!

That leaves him at 13 for the month and 48 for the season. As I'm sure you've already heard, that ties him with Mike Schmidt for the franchise record of home runs in a season. Schmidt hit 48 taters to lead the league in his MVP season of 1980, and yes, that's the only year the Phils even won a World Series ring.

Though they are now tied, I still give the nod to Schmidt, who had two more dingers in the World Series, for which he won the Series MVP. However, given that Howard now projects to 59 for the season, I don't expect the tie to last much longer.

Schmidt held the team home run crown for 27 seasons—he broke it '79 with 45 and then again in 1980—, and he is still 489 career homers ahead of Howard. Oh yeah, and he's also the best player the franchise ever had, the best third baseman in baseball history, and a first-ballot Hall of Famer. So his resume won't take that big a hit.

Schmidt held the record for quite some time, but he doesn't even compare to his predecessor in terms of longevity. Chuck Klein hit 43 home runs in 1929 to set a new club record. He broke Cy Williams 1923 record of 41. Klein owned that record for 50 years until Schmidt broke it in successive seasons.

Prior to Williams (and a brief stint by Gavvy Cravath, who hit 24 HRs in 1915), the club home run record holder was Hall-of-Famer Big Sam Thompson, who was the first Phil to hit twenty home runs—he had exactly 20 in 1889. He held the record for 26 seasons.

Here is the progression of Phils' single-season home run leaders:

LeaderHRYr HitYrs Held
Emil Gross/Bill McClellan/Blondie Purcell118831
Jack Manning518841
Joe Mulvey618852
George Wood1418872
Sam Thompson20188926
Gavvy Cravath2419157
Cy Williams4119237
Chuck Klein43192950
Mike Schmidt48198027
Mike Schmidt/Ryan Howard4819801

Also, here are the most home runs hit in a single season by a Phillie:

Mike Schmidt481980
Ryan Howard482006
Jim Thome472003
Mike Schmidt451979
Chuck Klein431929
Jim Thome422004
Cy Williams411923
Chuck Klein401930
Dick Allen401966
Mike Schmidt401983
Greg Luzinski391977
Chuck Klein381932
Mike Schmidt381975
Mike Schmidt381976
Mike Schmidt381977
Mike Schmidt371986
Pat Burrell372002
Mike Schmidt361974
Mike Schmidt361984
Greg Luzinski351978
Mike Schmidt351987
Mike Schmidt351982

Now, Schmidt's 27-year-old record made me wonder, what with home run records dropping like flies in the last decade, how many club records remain from before the home run boom. Here are the single-season record-holders per club. As you can see, Schmidt's was the eighth oldest:

Oakland Athletics581932Jimmie Foxx
Detroit Tigers581938Hank Greenberg
Boston Red Sox501938Jimmie Foxx
Pittsburgh Pirates541949Ralph Kiner
New York Yankees611961Roger Maris
Minnesota Twins491964Harmon Killebrew
Minnesota Twins491969Harmon Killebrew
Cincinnati Reds521977George Foster
Milwaukee Brewers451979Gorman Thomas
Philadelphia Phillies481980Mike Schmidt
Kansas City Royals361985Steve Balboni
Toronto Blue Jays471987George Bell
New York Mets411996Todd Hundley
Florida Marlins421996Gary Sheffield
Baltimore Orioles501996Brady Anderson
Seattle Mariners561997Ken Griffey
Colorado Rockies491997Larry Walker
Chicago Cubs661998Sammy Sosa
Seattle Mariners561998Ken Griffey
St. Louis Cardinals701998Mark McGwire
Chicago White Sox491998Albert Belle
San Diego Padres501998Greg Vaughn
Tampa Bay Devil Rays341999Jose Canseco
Washington Nationals442000Vladimir Guerrero
Houston Astros472000Jeff Bagwell
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim472000Troy Glaus
San Francisco Giants732001Barry Bonds
Arizona Diamondbacks572001Luis Gonzalez
Los Angeles Dodgers492001Shawn Green
Colorado Rockies492001Todd Helton
Milwaukee Brewers452001Richie Sexson
Texas Rangers572002Alex Rodriguez
Cleveland Indians522002Jim Thome
Milwaukee Brewers452003Richie Sexson
Tampa Bay Devil Rays342003Aubrey Huff
Atlanta Braves512005Andruw Jones

The completist in me has to address the club career home run leaders, so here goes…

Here's the progression of Phillies career home run leaders:

YrCareer LeaderHRYrs Held
1883Emil Gross/Bill McClellan/Blondie Purcell11
1884Jack Manning51
1885Jack Manning/Joe Mulvey81
1886 Joe Mulvey 102
1887 George Wood 181
1888 George Wood 242
1889 George Wood 294
1891 Sam Thompson 311
1892 Sam Thompson 402
1893 Sam Thompson 513
1894 Sam Thompson 644
1895 Sam Thompson 825
1896 Sam Thompson 946
1897 Sam Thompson 947
1898 Sam Thompson 9526
1917 Gavvy Cravath 961
1918 Gavvy Cravath 1042
1919 Gavvy Cravath 1163
1920Gavvy Cravath1177
1924Cy Williams1391
1925Cy Williams1522
1926Cy Williams1703
1927Cy Williams2004
1928Cy Williams2125
1929Cy Williams21713
1937Chuck Klein2261
1938Chuck Klein2342
1939Chuck Klein2353
1940Chuck Klein2424
1941Chuck Klein24319
1956Del Ennis25924
1980Mike Schmidt2831
1981Mike Schmidt3142
1982Mike Schmidt3493
1983Mike Schmidt3894
1984Mike Schmidt4255
1985Mike Schmidt4586
1986Mike Schmidt4957
1987Mike Schmidt5308
1988Mike Schmidt5429
1989Mike Schmidt54827

Here are the leaders in career home runs for the franchise:

Mike Schmidt5481972198918
Del Ennis2591946195611
Chuck Klein2431928194415
Greg Luzinski2231970198011
Cy Williams2171918193013
Dick Allen204196319769
Bobby Abreu195199820069
Johnny Callison1851960196910
Pat Burrell183200020067
Willie Jones1801947195913
Scott Rolen150199620027
Mike Lieberthal1471994200613
Darren Daulton1341983199714
Von Hayes124198319919
Andy Seminick1231943195712
Gavvy Cravath117191219209
Stan Lopata1161948195811
Don Hurst112192819347
Granny Hamner1031944195916
Juan Samuel100198319897
Jim Thome96200320053
Sam Thompson951889189810

Finally, here are the career leaders in home runs per season. Some interesting names—Santiago, Gene Freese, and 32-year-old rookie/one-year wonder Buzz Arlett—crop up. It might be excessive, but I can't resist any list with Don Demeter on it:

NameHRFirstLast#Yrs HR/Yr
Jim Thome96200320053 32.00
Mike Schmidt5481972198918 30.44
Benito Santiago30199619961 30.00
Dick Stuart28196519651 28.00
Lefty O'Doul54192919302 27.00
Pat Burrell183200020067 26.14
Ryan Howard72200420063 24.00
Don Demeter71196119633 23.67
Del Ennis2591946195611 23.55
Dolph Camilli92193419374 23.00
Gene Freese23195919591 23.00
Dick Allen204196319769 22.67
Bobby Abreu195199820069 21.67
Chase Utley65200320063 21.67
Scott Rolen150199620027 21.43
Greg Luzinski2231970198011 20.27
Todd Zeile20199619961 20.00
Johnny Callison1851960196910 18.50
Ron Gant37199920002 18.50
Buzz Arlett18193119311 18.00
Pete Incaviglia53199319963 17.67
Deron Johnson88196919735 17.60
Richie Hebner35197719782 17.50
Cy Williams2171918193013 16.69
Rip Repulski33195719582 16.50
Rico Brogna65199720004 16.25
Chuck Klein2431928194415 16.20
Lance Parrish32198719882 16.00
Don Hurst112192819347 16.00
So This Is What It Has Come To?
2006-08-28 19:43
by Mike Carminati

Jeff Conine?

Jeff Friggin' Connine?!?

Switching gears from sellers (of real talent) to buyers (of geriatric talent) is one thing. Sure, pick up a 43-year-old Jamie Moyer while Vicente Padilla, who was traded essentially for nothing, is 13-8 in Texas. Jose "Sr. K" Hernandez? Yes, he's still playing. And I won't mention the name of a throw-in in the Eric Milton trade—actually I will: Nick Punto, who's helping the Twins win a wild card that actually matters in the AL.

It's bad enough that the Phils are picking up these marginal talents after Crazy Pat's fire sale at the end of July. Yeah, that Abreu is really killing the Yankees.

OK, I get it. The Phils are in a wild card hunt. As they fall to .500 tonight, they are still just a game and a half out of the wild card lead. Given that it has been 13 years since their last playoff appearance and 23 since the one before that (both ending in Series losses), this team should do whatever they can to get a cherished playoff spot.

But Jeff Conine?

Johnny Damon going to the Yankees? David Wells to the Red Sox? Those are nothing compared to the man who single-handedly knocked the Phils out of the wild card spot in 2003 joining them for a wild card run in 2006.

When Conine was acquired by the Marlins—again from the O's in at the trade deadline in 2003—they were tied with the Phils for the wild card lead (73-63). By the time the Phils and Marlins next met (Sept. 16), Florida was 1.5 games up.

After a 14-0 shellacking brought the Phils within one-half game of the wildcard lead, Conine helped lead the Marlins to an 11-4 going 2-for-3 with a home run, a double, two walks, two runs scored, and three runs batted in. He also doubled off two runs from his position in left field. He drove in two runs in the top of the first to put the Marlins up 3-0. After the Phils tied the score, he homered with one out in the fourth to put the Marlins 4-3. They added two more runs in the inning to go up to stay.

Despite a single and a run scored on a bunt and a Kevin Millwood error, Conine and Florida lost the final game of the series, and the Phils were again one-half game behind. The meet again in Miami after one series each—the Marlins split with the Braves and the Phils lost two of three to the Reds to fall to one full game back.

With six games remaining, the two teams had three games left to play. The Phils led 3-0 in the bottom of the seventh. After two straight walks by Kevin Millwood to lead off the bottom of the seventh and a flyout, Jeff Conine homered to tie the game and drive Millwood from the game. The ill-fated Mike Williams came in to give up a single and walk. When all was said and done, the Marlins nabbed a 5-3 lead—the eventual score was 5-4.

The Marlins led by two games, but the Phils could still tie them if they won the final two games of the series.

In the next game, the Marlins led 2-0 in the sixth when Conine hit a two-run homer to cap a four-run inning. Conine went 2-for-3 with a walk, a run scored, and two batted in in the 6-5 Marlins win.

The Phils were now done three games with just four games left to play.

Conine had an off game in their last meeting going just 1-for-5 (a double) with two runs batted in. The Marlins won 8-4 to eliminate the Phils. The Marlins went on to their second wild card be-pilfered ring in seven years. The Phils have been a team seemingly one game away from a playoff spot ever since.

Overall, in 37 at-bats against the Phils in 2003, Conine had 12 hits, 3 doubles, 3 home runs, 3 walks, 5 runs scored, 11 batted in, and five Ks. His ratios were .324/.375/.649/1.024. For Conine's career, there is only one team (the Rockies) against whom he has more homers than the Phils (13).

Did I mention that I dislike Jeff Conine?

But I digress…

If the Phils somehow steal the wild card spot, they will become one of a handful of teams who would play a playoff series without two of their regular-season starters. No matter what happens the rest of the way this season, Baseball Reference will list already departed Phils Bobby Abreu and David Bell as the starters in right and at third, respectively. And Sal Fasano, Abreu's teammate in the Bronx, had more at-bats than any other Phils catcher when he was inexplicably designated for reassignment a week before the trade deadline—well, maybe that was the explanation.

There are only two teams in playoff history who have started a series with two of their regular-season starters on other rosters. The first was the 1909 Detroit Tigers who traded the right side of the infield in August (1B Claude Rossman and 2B Germany Schaefer) for their superior replacements (Tom Jones and Jim Delahanty) for the last forty-odd games of the season. The Tigers still lost in seven games to the Pirates.

The other team was the 2004 Paul DePodesta Dodgers. They traded starting catcher and Team Leader(TM) Paul Lo Duca and staring right fielder Juan Encarnacion to the Marlins in the Brad Penny trade.

Of the twelve teams that played a playoff series without at least two of their regular-season starters, just one (the World Series Reggie-less 1972 A's) has won the World Series. The least number of starters fielded in a playoff series was four by the injury-plagued Braves in the 2001 Division Series, which they won. The Braves were missing starters Javy Lopez, Quilvio Veras, Rafael Furcal, and Wes Helms. Lopez returned for the NLCS, which they lost.

Here's the complete list of teams who have played a playoff series without at least two regular-season starters:

TeamYrRound#StartersWon Div?Won WC?Won Lg?Won WS?
Los Angeles Dodgers2004NLDS6YNNN
Arizona Diamondbacks2002NLDS6YNNN
Atlanta Braves2001NLDS4YNNN
Atlanta Braves2001NLCS5YNNN
St. Louis Cardinals2000NLDS6YNNN
Los Angeles Dodgers1996NLDS6NYNN
Montreal Expos1981NLDS6Y NN
Cincinnati Reds1973NLCS6Y NN
Oakland Athletics1972WS6Y YY
Boston Braves1948WS6 YN
New York Giants1911WS6 YN
Detroit Tigers1909WS6 YN

For those curious, here are the missing starters:

Los Angeles Dodgers2004NLDSJuan EncarnacionRF
Los Angeles Dodgers2004NLDSPaul Lo DucaC
Arizona Diamondbacks2002NLDSCraig Counsell3B
Arizona Diamondbacks2002NLDSLuis GonzalezLF
Atlanta Braves2001NLCSQuilvio Veras2B
Atlanta Braves2001NLCSRafael FurcalSS
Atlanta Braves2001NLCSWes Helms1B
Atlanta Braves2001NLDSJavy LopezC
Atlanta Braves2001NLDSQuilvio Veras2B
Atlanta Braves2001NLDSRafael FurcalSS
Atlanta Braves2001NLDSWes Helms1B
St. Louis Cardinals2000NLDSFernando Tatis3B
St. Louis Cardinals2000NLDSMike MathenyC
Los Angeles Dodgers1996NLDSMike Blowers3B
Los Angeles Dodgers1996NLDSRoger CedenoCF
Montreal Expos1981NLDSRodney Scott2B
Montreal Expos1981NLDSTim RainesLF
Cincinnati Reds1973NLCSBobby TolanRF
Cincinnati Reds1973NLCSDave ConcepcionSS
Oakland Athletics1972WSReggie JacksonCF
Oakland Athletics1972WSTim Cullen2B
Boston Braves1948WSJeff HeathLF
Boston Braves1948WSJim RussellCF
New York Giants1911WSAl BridwellSS
New York Giants1911WSArt Devlin3B
Detroit Tigers1909WSClaude Rossman1B
Detroit Tigers1909WSGermany Schaefer2B
Entering a New ERA?
2006-08-26 22:29
by Mike Carminati

I was looking at the league leaders the other day and noticed something odd. The best ERA in the American League was Johan Santana's 3.03 followed closely by rookie Justin Verlander's 3.05. The NL was led by Rookie Josh Johnson with a 2.90 ERA. Brandon Webb's 2.99 was the only other ERA under three.

There are a number of oddities surrounding this rather mundane seeming numbers.

First, if they hold up they would be among the top twelve highest ERAs for a league leader all-time. There have only been six ERA leaders over 3.00 in baseball history: Here are the highest with this year's leaders included:

Early Wynn1950AL 3.20 188.692 1.25 213.7 4.58 143
Ted Breitenstein1893NL 3.18 1924.442 1.35 382.7 4.66 147
Bill Walker1929NL 3.09 147.667 1.38 177.7 4.71 152
Lefty Grove1938AL 3.08 144.778 1.35 163.7 4.79 156
Freddy Garcia2001AL 3.05 186.750 1.12 238.7 4.47 146
Johan Santana2006AL 3.03 155.750 1.03 184.33 4.59 152
Warren Spahn1961NL 3.02 2113.618 1.14 262.7 4.03 134
Rick Sutcliffe1982AL 2.96 148.636 1.26 216.0 4.07 138
Mel Harder1933AL 2.95 1517.469 1.27 253.0 4.28 145
Elmer Smith1887AA 2.94 3417.667 1.18 447.3 4.29 146
Juan Guzman1996AL 2.93 118.579 1.12 187.7 5.00 171
Josh Johnson2006NL 2.90 116.647 1.27 133.7 4.50 155

However, I think it is even more odd that Johnson's 2.90 would be the highest ever for a major-league leader in any two-league season. To translate, it would be the highest except for some guy you never heard of in a season before the AL came to be. Here are the highest major-league leaders including Johnson:

Ted Breitenstein1893 3.18 1924.442 1.35 382.7
Josh Johnson2006 2.90 116.647 1.27 133.7
Dan Casey1887 2.86 2813.683 1.26 390.3
Lefty Grove1929 2.81 206.769 1.30 275.3
Saul Rogovin1951 2.78 128.600 1.21 216.7
Amos Rusie1894 2.78 3613.735 1.41 444.0
Jimmy Key1987 2.76 178.680 1.06 261.0
George Zettlein1871 2.73 189.667 1.34 240.7
Jim Palmer1970 2.71 2010.667 1.19 305.0
J.R. Richard1979 2.71 1813.581 1.09 292.3
Sal Maglie1950 2.71 184.818 1.24 206.0

Johnson also could become the first rookie ERA champ since Mark "The Bird" Fidrych, thirty years ago. He would also be just the fourteenth rookie to lead the majors in ERA. If Johnson and Verlander both win their league's ERA crown, it would be the first time that two rookies won the titles. Here are all the rookie ERA champs:

Josh Johnson2006NL 2.90 116.647 1.27 133.7 4.50 Y
Mark Fidrych1976AL 2.34 199.679 1.08 250.3 3.52 Y
Gary Peters1963AL 2.33 198.704 1.07 243.0 3.63 N
Hoyt Wilhelm1952NL 2.43 153.833 1.15 159.3 3.73 N
Chet Nichols1951NL 2.88 118.579 1.35 156.0 3.96 N
Mike Garcia1949AL 2.36 145.737 1.22 175.7 4.20 Y
Gene Bearden1948AL 2.43 207.741 1.28 229.7 4.29 N
Elmer Riddle1941NL 2.24 194.826 1.10 216.7 3.63 Y
Jim Turner1937NL 2.38 2011.645 1.09 256.7 3.91 N
Cy Blanton1935NL 2.58 1813.581 1.08 254.3 4.02 Y
Wilcy Moore1927AL 2.28 197.731 1.15 213.0 4.14 Y
Jeff Tesreau1912NL 1.96 177.708 1.16 243.0 3.40 N
Vean Gregg1911AL 1.80 237.767 1.05 244.7 3.34 Y
King Cole1910NL 1.80 204.833 1.27 239.7 3.02 N
Harry Krause1909AL 1.39 188.692 0.94 213.0 2.47 N
Frank Killen1891AA 1.68 74.636 1.28 96.7 3.72 Y
Billy Rhines1890NL 1.95 2817.622 1.12 401.3 3.56 Y
Jack Stivetts1889AA 2.25 127.632 1.15 191.7 3.84 Y
Denny Driscoll1882AA 1.21 139.591 0.87 201.0 2.68 Y
Tim Keefe1880NL 0.86 66.500 0.84 105.0 2.38 Y
John Ward1878NL 1.51 2213.629 1.02 334.0 2.30 Y
George Zettlein1871NA 2.73 189.667 1.34 240.7 4.22 Y

Finally, if Santana wins the AL ERA crown, he would be the 41st pitcher to lead his league in ERA more than once. Here are the men with the most ERA crowns:

Name# Yrs
Lefty Grove9
Roger Clemens7
Christy Mathewson5
Sandy Koufax5
Walter Johnson5
Pedro Martinez5
Randy Johnson4
Pete Alexander4
Greg Maddux4
Dazzy Vance3
Jim Palmer3
Carl Hubbell3
Tom Seaver3
Warren Spahn3
Tim Keefe3
The Real Boston Massacre
2006-08-24 16:05
by Mike Carminati

While I was on vacation, the Yankees did something that had not been done in baseball in ten years. They won five straight games of a five-game road series against the same opponent, the Red Sox if you haven't already heard. In the process they did their best to eliminate Boston from the postseason, sending them from 1.5 to 6.5 games out of first in the AL East and from 2.5 to 4 games out of the wild card hunt.

The Yanks outscored the Sox 49 to 23 for an average margin of victory of 4.6 runs. The other two times that Yankees took five straight in Boston were in 1927 and 1943, but they did not score nearly as many runs nor did they outscore the Sox by as much (35-14, 4.2 from June 21 to June 23, 1927—including two doubleheaders—and 34-12, 4.4 from September 9 to September 12, 1943).

However, it was by no means the worst drubbing that a New York team ever visiting on a Boston team on their home field. They were just different teams, ones that no longer exist, at least as Boston and New York teams.

From September 10 to September 14, 1928, the Giants took eight straight games of an eight-game series from the Braves at Braves Field via four doubleheaders in five days (with the off day coming day three). In the process they tied the record for doubleheader sweeps on consecutive days. No other road team has ever won more than six straight games against the same opponent.

On Monday, September 10, the Giants won 4-1 and 11-0, on Tuesday the Eleventh, 11-6 and 7-6 (with Freddie Lindstrom going 8-for-10), on Thursday the Thirteenth, 12-2 and 7-6, and finally on Friday the Fourteenth, 6-2 and 5-1 (in eight innings). In the process the Giants moved from 4.5 games back in third place on Sept. 9 to one game out in second place on September 14. Unfortunately, that's as close as they got to the first-place Cardinals, who won by two games two weeks later.

In the series Fat Freddie Fitzsimmons and Jack Scott both won two games. Cal Hubbell, Joe Genewich, Larry Benton, and reliever Jim Faulkner (in relief of Genewich, who allowed three in the first) each won one game. The Braves' Bob Smith lost three games including both ends of the last doubleheader.

The Braves actually led in the first inning of the 7-6 game on 9/11. The Giants tied it up in the second. They again led 2-1 in the fourth, but the Giants scored two to lead off the fifth, and then led the rest of the game. In the other 7-6 game (9/13), the Braves led 3-0 from the first until the bottom of the first until the top of the fourth. Then the Giants scored three to tie it, the Braves again went ahead in the top of the fifth, 4-3, but the Giants again tied the game in eighth, and then went ahead to stay with three runs in the ninth. These were the only leads the Braves held in the series (they also had a tie in game three from the bottom of the fourth until the top of the sixth and then again from the bottom of the sixth until the top of the seventh).

The Braves did not score in the first game until down 4-0 in the bottom of the ninth. They didn't score at all in game two. After keeping game three close (2-2) though six full innings, they allowed six runs to the Giants en route to an 11-6 blowout. In game five, they did not score until the seventh when they were already down 9-zip. In game seven, they allowed five in the top of the first frame en route to a 6-2 loss. In the final game, the Braves did not score until they were already down 5-0 in the eighth and final inning of a game apparently shortened due to darkness.

The most lopsided five-game series, however, came in New York from September 4 to September 6, 1901. The last-place Giants lost six straight at home to the first-place Pirates by a combined score of 80-23 or about 13.3 to 3.8 on average. That's an average margin of victory of 9.5 runs. The Pirates outscored the Giants 10.2 in the last five games of the series, and 9.6 in the first five. Aside from this series, only the Cardinals in a 1926 five-game sweep of the Phils done so with an average margin of victory greater than 7.2 runs (also 9.6). To top it off, the Giants lost 10-4 to Chicago the day before the series started for seven straight games with double-digit run totals allowed.

As it turned out it was just the first six-game sweep by a road team of the season. The Phils sweep the Reds from September 30 to October 2, 1901. There have only been eleven six-game sweeps by a road team all-time, the last coming in 1932.

By the way, here are all of the five-game sweeps by a road team since World War II. Note that the Yanks-Sox is the most lopsided since the soon-to-be World Champion Phils took five straight from the Mets at Shea in 1980:

YrRoad TmHome TmDate StartDate EndTot RTOT RA Avg MoV
2006NYABOS20060818200608214926 4.6
1996PITSFN19960912199609154119 4.4
1990CHAMIL19900802199008052914 3.0
1984ATLCIN1984053119840603319 4.4
1983ATLCIN1983062419830627289 3.8
1982SLNNYN1982091719820919216 3.0
1980PHINYN19800814198008174012 5.6
1970NYNCHN19700622197006254424 4.0
1964CINNYN1964092519640927204 3.2
1964SLNPIT1964092419640927248 3.2
1956CINPIT19560727195607302410 2.8
1954CLEBOS19540611195406143512 4.6
1954MIL BravesCHN19540521195405233519 3.2
1947NYACLE19470715194707172910 3.8

Here are the most lopsided five-game sweeps by a road team all-time:

YrRoad TmHome TmDate StartDate5Tot RTOT RA Avg MoV
1901PITNYG19010904190109066817 10.2
1901PITNYG19010904190109066719 9.6
1926SLNPHI19260915192609185911 9.6
1912BOSNYA19120619191206225418 7.2
1925PITPHI19250828192509015418 7.2
1928NYGBOS Braves19280910192809134515 6.0
1929NYGPHI19290619192906225828 6.0
1908PITCIN1908083119080903357 5.6
1923CINPHI19230710192307134517 5.6
1924DETBOS19240716192407194214 5.6
1928NYGBOS Braves19280910192809134820 5.6
1934PHACHA19340917193409204012 5.6
1945CHNPHI19450706194507084012 5.6
1980PHINYN19800814198008174012 5.6
1900PITBOS Braves19000903190009054215 5.4
1909NYGSLN19090807190908113912 5.4
1912NYGBOS Braves19120619191206226336 5.4
1933CHASLA19330604193306074619 5.4
1923SLNBOS Braves19230710192307134620 5.2
1924PITPHI19240808192408113711 5.2
1931SLNBOS Braves1931082319310826337 5.2
1935SLNBRO19350823193508254317 5.2
1942BOSPHA19420821194208233813 5.0
Best Player Years?
2006-08-18 22:59
by Mike Carminati

I'm working on a new evaluation system for trades, and accidentally tripped upon a system for evaluating player years. I ran the numbers for the average win shares per game for position players and pitchers (separately) for every season. Then I calculated the Win Shares for each player year above that baseline (WSAB).

It may not be the most elegant system for evaluating players, but a) it beats regular old Win Shares and b) it produces keen tables aplenty, which I love. So here are the best player years of all time:

NameYrWin Shares BatWS FieldWS PitchWS WS Baseline WSAB
Bob Caruthers188754 17.9 1.8 33.9 12.0 42.0
Honus Wagner190859 49.2 9.7 - 17.0 42.0
Charley Radbourn188489 5.6 0.4 83.1 47.3 41.7
Barry Bonds200154 52.2 1.6 - 14.0 40.0
Barry Bonds200453 50.4 2.7 - 14.0 39.0
Babe Ruth192355 48.5 6.2 - 16.0 39.0
Mickey Mantle195751 46.1 5.0 - 14.0 37.0
Babe Ruth192153 47.7 5.0 - 16.0 37.0
Barry Bonds200249 46.8 2.1 - 13.0 36.0
Babe Ruth192051 47.9 3.3 0.2 15.0 36.0
Bob Caruthers188846 8.5 1.6 35.7 11.0 35.0
Mickey Mantle195649 43.8 4.8 - 14.0 35.0
Tris Speaker191251 41.6 9.9 - 16.0 35.0
Mickey Mantle196148 43.0 4.9 - 14.0 34.0
Ted Williams194649 45.1 4.0 - 15.0 34.0
Silver King188871 5.2 - 66.3 37.6 33.4
Walter Johnson191354 3.8 - 50.3 20.6 33.4
Barry Bonds199347 44.0 2.7 - 14.0 33.0
Charlie Sweeney188467 13.0 0.8 53.8 34.3 32.7
Ty Cobb191548 41.6 6.4 - 16.0 32.0
Bob Caruthers188657 16.9 0.9 38.9 25.7 31.3
Dave Foutz188743 14.9 1.7 26.7 12.0 31.0
Ted Williams194246 41.5 4.6 - 15.0 31.0
Joe Morgan197544 36.2 7.8 - 13.0 31.0
Rogers Hornsby192247 42.9 4.0 - 16.0 31.0
Ty Cobb191147 41.3 6.0 - 16.0 31.0
Stan Musial194846 42.4 3.9 - 15.0 31.0
Babe Ruth192645 42.6 2.6 - 15.0 30.0
Ty Cobb191746 40.4 5.5 - 16.0 30.0
Babe Ruth191840 24.7 2.5 12.7 10.0 30.0
Nap Lajoie191047 40.4 6.2 - 17.0 30.0
Honus Wagner190646 34.2 11.3 - 16.0 30.0
Will Clark198944 41.1 2.7 - 14.0 30.0
Ty Cobb191045 40.0 5.4 - 15.0 30.0
Babe Ruth192745 40.5 4.1 - 15.0 30.0
Babe Ruth192845 42.7 2.2 - 16.0 29.0
Tris Speaker191445 36.5 8.9 - 16.0 29.0
Stan Musial194644 40.9 3.2 - 15.0 29.0
Honus Wagner190546 36.8 9.6 - 17.0 29.0
Adonis Terry189041 13.1 1.5 26.2 12.0 29.0
Babe Ruth192445 41.7 2.9 - 16.0 29.0
Babe Ruth191943 33.5 2.0 7.9 14.0 29.0
Billy Taylor188465 12.1 0.7 52.7 36.4 28.6
Dave Foutz188662 8.6 1.3 52.3 33.5 28.5
Lou Gehrig192744 41.5 2.6 - 16.0 28.0
Honus Wagner190443 38.1 4.9 - 15.0 28.0
Honus Wagner190744 36.4 7.7 - 16.0 28.0
Barry Bonds199241 37.8 3.0 - 13.0 28.0
Willie Mays196543 35.0 8.1 - 15.0 28.0
Ted Williams194744 41.1 3.4 - 16.0 28.0

Now, here are each players stats for the given years:

Bob Caruthers1887102873.357.463.5471.010299.7630 3.30 1.17 1.95
Honus Wagner190810010109.354.415.542.957
Charley Radbourn188448137. 1.38 0.92 5.85
Barry Bonds200112973137.328.515.8631.379
Barry Bonds200412945101.362.609.8121.422
Babe Ruth192315241131.393.545.7641.309
Mickey Mantle19571213494.365.512.6651.177
Babe Ruth192117759171.378.512.8461.359201.0000 9.00 2.56 2.00
Barry Bonds200211746110.370.582.7991.381
Babe Ruth192015854137.376.533.8491.382101.0000 4.50 1.25 -
Bob Caruthers188858553.230.328.334.6622915.6590 2.39 1.00 3.22
Mickey Mantle195613252130.353.464.7051.169
Tris Speaker19121361090.383.464.5671.031
Mickey Mantle196113254128.317.448.6871.135
Ted Williams194614238123.342.497.6671.164
Silver King188825114.208.339.300.6384521.6820 1.64 0.88 3.96
Walter Johnson191312214.261.293.433.726367.8372 1.14 0.78 6.32
Barry Bonds199312946123.336.458.6771.136
Charlie Sweeney188455219.307.347.404.7514115.7321 1.70 0.82 6.16
Ty Cobb1915144399.369.486.487.973
Bob Caruthers188691461.334.448.527.9743014.6820 2.32 1.06 3.86
Dave Foutz1887794108.357.393.508.9012512.6760 3.87 1.35 2.49
Ted Williams194214136137.356.499.6481.147
Joe Morgan19751071794.327.466.508.974
Rogers Hornsby192214142152.401.459.7221.181
Ty Cobb19111478127.420.467.6211.088
Stan Musial194813539131.376.450.7021.152
Babe Ruth192613947150.372.516.7371.253
Ty Cobb19171076102.383.444.5701.014
Babe Ruth1918501166.300.411.555.966137.6500 2.22 1.05 2.16
Nap Lajoie191094476.384.445.514.960
Honus Wagner1906103271.339.416.459.875
Will Clark198910423111.333.407.546.953
Ty Cobb1910106891.383.456.5511.008
Babe Ruth192715860164.356.486.7721.258
Babe Ruth192816354142.323.463.7091.172
Tris Speaker1914101490.338.423.503.92600.0000 9.00 2.00 -
Stan Musial194612416103.365.434.5871.021
Honus Wagner19051146101.363.427.505.932
Adonis Terry189063459.278.356.408.7642616.6190 2.94 1.34 4.50
Babe Ruth192414346121.378.513.7391.252
Babe Ruth191910329114.322.456.6571.11495.6431 2.97 1.55 2.03
Billy Taylor18845230.323.345.471.8174316.7294 2.10 1.03 4.89
Dave Foutz188666359.280.297.389.6864116.7191 2.11 1.12 5.05
Lou Gehrig192714947175.373.474.7651.240
Honus Wagner190497475.349.423.520.944
Honus Wagner190798682.350.408.513.921
Barry Bonds199210934103.311.456.6241.080
Willie Mays196511852112.317.398.6451.043
Ted Williams194712532114.343.499.6341.133

"Bob Caruthers?!?" you say in disgust. Well one limitation of this sort of evaluation is by splitting players up by position player or pitcher, it has great difficulty dealing with those players, like Caruthers, who played both well in baseball's early years. Caruthers was a 29-9 pitcher with a 1.010 OPS. Maybe it is the best season of all time.

Then again, this approach is intended to evaluate trades which were far more prevalent in baseball's "modern" period. For kicks, I ran the numbers for the last 50 years. They seem to track very well with what one would anticipate. So here goes…

Barry Bonds200154 52.2 1.6 14.0 40.0 12973137.328.515.8631.379
Barry Bonds200453 50.4 2.7 14.0 39.0 12945101.362.609.8121.422
Mickey Mantle195751 46.1 5.0 14.0 37.0 1213494.365.512.6651.177
Barry Bonds200249 46.8 2.1 13.0 36.0 11746110.370.582.7991.381
Mickey Mantle195649 43.8 4.8 14.0 35.0 13252130.353.464.7051.169
Mickey Mantle196148 43.0 4.9 14.0 34.0 13254128.317.448.6871.135
Barry Bonds199347 44.0 2.7 14.0 33.0 12946123.336.458.6771.136
Joe Morgan197544 36.2 7.8 13.0 31.0 1071794.327.466.508.974
Will Clark198944 41.1 2.7 14.0 30.0 10423111.333.407.546.953
Willie Mays196543 35.0 8.1 15.0 28.0 11852112.317.398.6451.043
Barry Bonds199241 37.8 3.0 13.0 28.0 10934103.311.456.6241.080
Mark McGwire199841 39.5 1.4 14.0 27.0 13070147.299.470.7521.222
Rickey Henderson199039 35.3 3.6 12.0 27.0 1192861.325.439.5771.016
Mickey Mantle195541 34.1 6.9 14.0 27.0 1213799.306.431.6111.042
Sammy Sosa200142 39.2 3.2 15.0 27.0 14664160.328.437.7371.174
Reggie Jackson196941 38.0 2.6 14.0 27.0 12347118.275.410.6081.018
Norm Cash196142 39.1 3.2 15.0 27.0 11941132.361.487.6621.148
Barry Bonds200339 36.1 3.2 12.0 27.0 1114590.341.529.7491.278
Carl Yastrzemski196742 38.2 4.0 15.0 27.0 11244121.326.418.6221.040
Frank Robinson196241 36.3 4.5 15.0 26.0 13439136.342.421.6241.045
Frank Robinson196641 38.0 2.7 15.0 26.0 12249122.316.410.6371.047
Willie Mays196241 34.1 6.7 15.0 26.0 13049141.304.384.615.999
Joe Morgan197340 33.5 7.0 14.0 26.0 1162682.290.406.493.899
Albert Pujols200341 38.9 2.2 15.0 26.0 13743124.359.439.6671.106
Willie Mays195840 33.4 6.1 14.0 26.0 1212996.347.419.5831.002
Jeff Bagwell199641 38.6 2.1 15.0 26.0 11131120.315.451.5701.021
Hank Aaron196341 37.2 3.5 15.0 26.0 12144130.319.391.586.977
Dick Allen197240 37.6 2.9 14.0 26.0 9037113.308.420.6031.023
George Brett198036 31.5 4.5 10.0 26.0 8724118.390.454.6641.118
Frank Thomas199739 38.7 0.4 13.0 26.0 11035125.347.456.6111.067
Joe Torre197141 38.4 2.2 15.0 26.0 9724137.363.421.555.976
Dick Allen196441 34.9 5.6 15.0 26.0 1252991.318.382.557.939
Ted Williams195738 35.2 2.7 12.0 26.0 963887.388.526.7311.257
Willie Mays195540 34.8 5.0 15.0 25.0 12351127.319.400.6591.059
Mike Piazza199739 32.3 6.4 14.0 25.0 10440124.362.431.6381.070
Albert Pujols200440 37.6 2.1 15.0 25.0 13346123.331.415.6571.072
Ken Caminiti199638 30.9 6.9 13.0 25.0 10940130.326.408.6211.028
Willie McCovey196939 37.3 2.0 14.0 25.0 10145126.320.453.6561.108
Jose Canseco198839 36.2 2.7 14.0 25.0 12042124.307.391.569.959
Rickey Henderson198538 32.4 5.3 13.0 25.0 1462472.314.419.516.934
Robin Yount198239 32.4 6.3 14.0 25.0 12929114.331.379.578.957
Mickey Mantle195839 35.7 3.8 14.0 25.0 1274297.304.443.5921.035
Barry Bonds199639 37.3 1.7 14.0 25.0 12242129.308.461.6151.076
Joe Morgan197239 32.6 6.8 14.0 25.0 1221673.292.417.435.851
Tony Gwynn199739 37.5 1.1 14.0 25.0 9717119.372.409.547.957
Joe Morgan197637 32.6 4.2 13.0 24.0 11327111.320.444.5761.020
Kevin Mitchell198938 35.4 2.3 14.0 24.0 10047125.291.388.6351.023
Willie Mays196038 32.6 5.2 14.0 24.0 10729103.319.381.555.936
Eddie Mathews196038 35.0 2.9 14.0 24.0 10839124.277.397.551.948
Hank Aaron195938 35.4 2.1 14.0 24.0 11639123.355.401.6361.037
Howard Johnson198938 34.8 3.1 14.0 24.0 10436101.287.369.559.928
Jason Giambi200038 35.6 2.5 14.0 24.0 10843137.333.476.6471.123
Barry Bonds199037 32.5 4.2 13.0 24.0 10433114.301.406.565.970
Wade Boggs198637 30.7 6.1 13.0 24.0 107871.357.453.486.939
Mike Schmidt198237 30.8 5.8 13.0 24.0 1083587.280.403.547.949
Scott Rolen200438 32.5 5.6 14.0 24.0 10934124.314.409.5981.007
Ryne Sandberg198438 28.9 9.5 14.0 24.0 1141984.314.367.520.887
Joe Morgan197437 31.0 5.9 13.0 24.0 1072267.293.427.494.921
Alex Rodriguez200037 28.8 8.4 13.0 24.0 13441132.316.420.6061.026
Mike Schmidt198037 30.7 6.7 13.0 24.0 10448121.286.380.6241.004
Mike Schmidt197439 30.1 8.6 15.0 24.0 10836116.282.395.546.941
Hank Aaron196938 33.3 4.5 14.0 24.0 1004497.300.396.6071.003
Dave Parker197837 32.7 3.8 13.0 24.0 10230117.334.394.585.979
Carl Yastrzemski196839 35.7 3.3 15.0 24.0 902374.301.426.495.922
Bobby Murcer197138 34.4 3.0 14.0 24.0 942594.331.427.543.969

A Quick Programming Note: I will be on vacation until Wednesday. Leave it to my wife to schedule a vacation during a five-game Yankee-Red Sox series.

Oh, and by the by, I looked up all the non-extra inning games that took the longest to play. Oh, the reason for this being that the Yanks topped the Sox 14-11 in reportedly the longest game of none innings or less. 4:45. Here is what I found in Retrosheet. I believe the low-scoring ones that appear at the top include some sort of game delays. Anyway, here 'tis:

DateVisiting teamRHome teamR Time (Hrs) Innings
19620721SLN3HOU7 8.00 8.5
19910628PIT6MON1 7.63 9.0
19590610KC14NYA6 4.52 8.5
20011005LAN11SFN10 4.45 9.0
19970905BAL13NYA9 4.37 9.0
20000511MIL14CHN8 4.37 9.0
19960430NYA13BAL10 4.35 9.0
20000831CLE7TEX14 4.35 8.5
19960517SEA13BAL14 4.33 8.8
19960630LAN15COL16 4.33 8.8
19970405DET15CHA12 4.33 9.0
20000416SLN13COL14 4.32 8.5
Late Season Leapfrogging
2006-08-16 20:28
by Mike Carminati

The Yankees came up one run short tonight to let the Red Sox creep to within two games of first. But should New York hold on to win the division, it will be the seventh time they have knocked the Red Sox out of first after July 1. That would be the most ever.

Here are the most times that one team has leapfrogged another into first from July 1 on:

Lost FirstTo Team#YrsFirstLast
Cleveland IndiansNew York Yankees619211962
Atlanta BravesLos Angeles Dodgers619161983
Boston Red SoxNew York Yankees619492005
San Francisco GiantsAtlanta Braves518911993
Los Angeles DodgersSt. Louis Cardinals518881946
San Francisco GiantsLos Angeles Dodgers519592004
Cincinnati RedsLos Angeles Dodgers518901978
Los Angeles DodgersAtlanta Braves518921991
Chicago White SoxOakland Athletics419021990
Chicago White SoxNew York Yankees419511964
Chicago White SoxBoston Red Sox419041967
Los Angeles DodgersCincinnati Reds419401981
Chicago CubsSan Francisco Giants418881937
New York YankeesBoston Red Sox419041988
Philadelphia PhilliesAtlanta Braves418932004
Pittsburgh PiratesChicago Cubs419081938
Baltimore OriolesNew York Yankees419221977
Cincinnati RedsAtlanta Braves418981992
St. Louis CardinalsLos Angeles Dodgers418891963

OK, you say, but a lot of those are from decades ago. How many times has it happened in recent memory?

Dang, you're never satisfied, are you?

Since the advent of divisional play, here are the leaders. Note whose numero uno:

Lost FirstTo Team#YrsFirstLast
Boston Red SoxNew York Yankees419772005
Philadelphia PhilliesAtlanta Braves319952004
Los Angeles Angels of AnaheimKansas City Royals319781985
Los Angeles DodgersAtlanta Braves319691991
Seattle MarinersOakland Athletics320002003
Texas RangersLos Angeles Angels of Anaheim319792004
Philadelphia PhilliesPittsburgh Pirates219741975
Los Angeles DodgersCincinnati Reds219731981
Oakland AthleticsLos Angeles Angels of Anaheim220042005
Cincinnati RedsAtlanta Braves219691992
Cincinnati RedsHouston Astros219801999
New York YankeesBaltimore Orioles219731974
New York MetsPittsburgh Pirates219701990
New York MetsAtlanta Braves219992000
Philadelphia PhilliesSt. Louis Cardinals219811982
Minnesota TwinsKansas City Royals219771984
Oakland AthleticsMinnesota Twins219691987
Washington NationalsPittsburgh Pirates219791992
Detroit TigersBaltimore Orioles219731983
Los Angeles DodgersArizona Diamondbacks220012002
Los Angeles Angels of AnaheimSeattle Mariners219951997
Los Angeles Angels of AnaheimOakland Athletics219892002
Houston AstrosCincinnati Reds219791994
Kansas City RoyalsMinnesota Twins219872003
Kansas City RoyalsLos Angeles Angels of Anaheim219791982
Minnesota TwinsOakland Athletics219731992
Chicago CubsNew York Mets219691973
Chicago White SoxMinnesota Twins220032004
St. Louis CardinalsHouston Astros219972001
Boston Red SoxBaltimore Orioles219731974
Chicago White SoxOakland Athletics219721990
Baltimore OriolesMilwaukee Brewers219811982
San Francisco GiantsLos Angeles Dodgers219782004
Texas RangersKansas City Royals219771978
San Francisco GiantsAtlanta Braves219691993
Washington NationalsPhiladelphia Phillies219801983
San Diego PadresLos Angeles Dodgers219852004
Pittsburgh PiratesPhiladelphia Phillies219801983
Chicago White SoxKansas City Royals219771984
Baltimore OriolesToronto Blue Jays219891993

So the perception that the Red Sox always fold to the Yankees is true, eh? I guess that's no real shocker.

As a Phils fan, I can now understand why we hate the Braves of late, why we hated the Pirates in the mid-Seventies and the Cardinals in the early Eighties, and why we respected the Expos (cum Nationals) while winning a World Series.

I Can't Stand Up for Falling Down
2006-08-14 10:06
by Mike Carminati
There are a sort of men whose visages
Do cream and mantle like a standing pond.

—William "Author" Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

Not yet old enough for a man, nor young enough for a boy; as a squash is before 'tis a peascod, or a codling when 'tis almost an apple. 'Tis with him in standing water between boy and man.
—William "Author" Shakespeare, Malvolio in Twelfth Night

On July 31, the Red Sox were a game up on the Yankees, and the Dodgers were in last place, five games behind the division leading Padres.

At the time the Dodgers were in the midst of an eleven-game winning streak. They have now won fifteen of their last sixteen. Their low point was July 26, when they lost 10-3 to the Padres to complete an eight-game losing streak and series sweep at the hands of the division leaders. For the two weeks following the All-Star break, the Dodgers were 1-13. The found themselves in last place with a 47-55 record, 7.5 games behind San Diego on July 26.

As for the Yankees, on July 31 they were in the midst of fleecing Bobby Abreu from the Phils (along with Corey Lidle also from the Phils and Craig Wilson from the Pirates).

Both teams now have slight (one or one and one half game leads) in their respective divisions. It made me ask myself a few questions. I said, "Self, how many times have the Red Sox been leapfrogged by the Yankees late in the season?" (among other questions). The Red Sox led most of the season, so how many days has a team been in first only to lose their division or league? Looking at the Dodgers, one has to wonder what the latest date in a season was that a division or league winner was in last place? Was it later than July 31?

I looked up the most times that one franchise leapfrogged over another team that was the division/league leader to nab the title. The Yankees have won their division/league 35 times after the Red Sox had gone out in front. That's tied for the most among all franchises. Here are the most all time:

Lost FirstTo Team#Yrs
Boston Red SoxNew York Yankees35
Baltimore OriolesNew York Yankees35
Cleveland IndiansNew York Yankees28
Detroit TigersNew York Yankees25
Minnesota TwinsNew York Yankees20
Philadelphia PhilliesAtlanta Braves19
Oakland AthleticsNew York Yankees19
Chicago CubsSt. Louis Cardinals19
Chicago White SoxNew York Yankees19
San Francisco GiantsLos Angeles Dodgers18
Pittsburgh PiratesSt. Louis Cardinals18
Atlanta BravesLos Angeles Dodgers17
Cincinnati RedsLos Angeles Dodgers17
Cincinnati RedsSt. Louis Cardinals16
Minnesota TwinsOakland Athletics16
Cincinnati RedsAtlanta Braves15
Chicago White SoxOakland Athletics15
Chicago CubsSan Francisco Giants15
Chicago CubsPittsburgh Pirates15
Philadelphia PhilliesLos Angeles Dodgers15

By contrast, the Red Sox leapfrogged the Yankees just 12 times. The least times it happened among the original 16 franchises was once, and it of course happened among the tail-end teams like my Phils and the Browns (i.e., Orioles):
Lost FirstTo Team#Yrs
Baltimore OriolesCleveland Indians1
Baltimore OriolesMinnesota Twins1
San Francisco GiantsPhiladelphia Phillies1
Oakland AthleticsBaltimore Orioles1
Minnesota TwinsBaltimore Orioles1
Cincinnati RedsPhiladelphia Phillies1

As for the most days in first only to lose the division/league title, the crown goes to the '69 Cubs whose September swoon led to the Amazing Mets 1969 World Series win. Of course, the '64 Phils make an appearance:

TeamLgDivYearFinal Pos# Days in 1stWild card?
Chicago CubsNLE19692151
Seattle MarinersALW20002149Y
Brooklyn DodgersNL 19422143
San Francisco GiantsNLW19932141
Brooklyn DodgersNL 19512141
Pittsburgh PiratesNL 19212141
Boston BeaneatersNL 18892140
St. Louis BrownsAA 18892138
California AngelsALW19852137
Seattle MarinersALW20032132N
Philadelphia PhilliesNL 19642132
Los Angeles DodgersNLW19912129
Seattle MarinersALW20023128N
Houston AstrosNLW19792127
California AngelsALW19952126N
Milwaukee BravesNL 19562124
New York GiantsNL 19342123
Detroit WolverinesNL 18862120
Chicago ColtsNL 18912120
Colorado RockiesNLW19952116Y
New York GiantsNL 19353116
Cleveland IndiansAL 19212115
Brooklyn DodgersNL 19462115
Boston Red SoxALE19782114
Detroit TigersAL 19502114
Baltimore OriolesALE19892114
Arizona DiamondbacksNLW20003113N
Detroit TigersAL 19112112
Philadelphia PhilliesNLE20012112N
Chicago CubsNLC20013110N
Cincinnati RedsNL 18983109
Cincinnati RedsNLW19872108
Los Angeles DodgersNL 19622108
Philadelphia WhitesNA 18732107
Atlanta BravesNLE19942105
Kansas City RoyalsALC20033104N
Minnesota TwinsALC20012103N
Chicago White SoxAL 19073102
New York GiantsNL 19142101
Los Angeles DodgersNLW19812101
Oakland AthleticsALW2004299N

As for the Dodgers, if they go on to win the division, they will come in second in the latest a team has been in last place only to win their division/league title. July 26 would beat out the 1914 Miracle Braves run at the NL crown and the M's first division title in 1995 by at least a week. They do fall short of the '73 Mets who were in last place on August 30 with a 61-71 record. They were in sixth in the NL East, a half-game behind fifth-place Philadelphia, and 6.5 behind the division-leading Cards (68-65). They went 21-8 thereafter, beat the Big Red Machine in the LCS, but lost the Series to the A's (the Cards went 13-16):

New York Mets1973NLE08306
Boston Braves1914NL 07188
Seattle Mariners1995ALW07164
Kansas City Royals1984ALW06287
San Diego Padres1996NLW06224
Los Angeles Dodgers1995NLW06214
Baltimore Orioles1974ALE06164
Pittsburgh Pirates1974NLE06156
Atlanta Braves2005NLE06134
Toronto Blue Jays1989ALE06066
Oakland Athletics2000ALW06043
Philadelphia Athletics1871NA 06029
Indianapolis Hoosiers1914FL 05318
Atlanta Braves1992NLW05266
Oakland Athletics2002ALW05234
St. Louis Cardinals1996NLC05204

Note that 16 times after mid-May did a last place team win their division/league crown. If the Dodgers win the NL West, they would become just the fourth team to go from last to first after the All-Star break.

Is It Over Yet, Johnny (Roseboro)?
2006-08-10 19:21
by Mike Carminati

Col. Trautman: It's over Johnny. It's over!
John Rambo: Nothing is over! Nothing! You just don't turn it off! It wasn't my war! You asked me, I didn't ask you! And I did what I had to do to win! But somebody wouldn't let us win! (From the OscarTM-winning "First Blood")

D-Day: War's over, man. Wormer dropped the big one.
Bluto: Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!
Otter: Germans?
Boon: Forget it, he's rolling.
Bluto: And it ain't over now. 'Cause when the goin' gets tough... [Waits], the tough get goin'! Who's with me? Let's go! [Runs out of the room by himself] (from the incomparable "Animal House")

There was a rather interesting play dealing with conflicting rules that ended the A's-Rangers game the other day and that I believe went largely overlooked because the people out west still demand to start games at times that are convenient for them. There ought to be a law.

Anyway, with the A's leading 7-6, the Rangers were batting in the bottom of the ninth and had one out, a man on first (Jerry Hairston Jr.), and a full count on the batter, Mark DeRosa. The Rangers had just scored two runs off closer Huston Street to pull within one run of the A's. DeRosa lunged at the next pitch and swung through it for an apparent strikeout as the runner tried to take second. On DeRosa's follow-through, his bat tapped A's catcher Jason Kendall on the helmet, thereby preventing him from throwing the runner out.

Jim Joyce, the homeplate umpire immediately punched out both the batter and the runner, ending the game. Texas manager Buck Showalter argued but later conceded, "He probably got it right. It is involving a veteran catcher." That's a nice concession speech, but I don't see how the catcher's experience has any bearing on the rulebook.

Kendall, of course, loved the call though his comments were equally irrelevant. "His bat hit my elbow. It's all because of Huston's pitch. That was a pretty nasty pitch down and away. He can't help but get carried over the plate."

I see the bat clearly hitting his helmet while Kendall made the throw. However, it seems physically impossible for DeRosa's bat to hit Kendall's elbow on his throwing arm prior to the throw. If he meant his catching arm's elbow, which it does seem the bat did touch, it was before the bat went through and hit his helmet. Therefore, it was before the throw. It seems odd that Kendall didn't mention that his helmet got whacked as he release the ball which seemed like the larger infraction, but maybe he thought mentioning an elbow would sell the call better.

Also, I don't see what getting carried over the plate has to do with anything. That was what the commentators pointed to to buttress the interference argument. There's nothing in the rulebook that says that crossing the plate constitutes interference.

Joyce was confident of his call, "He made contact with the catcher. I understand the momentum aspect but even unintentionally he cannot interfere with the catcher." Again with the friggin' momentum. I wasn't so sure. Oh, and not to doubt Joyce's abilities but there are some cases of interference in which whether it is intentional or not does matter.

The problem with this call is that it deals with a number of rules that are, unfortunately, not completely in agreement. Let's review.

First, here's the Offensive Interference rule itself (2.0):

(a) Offensive interference is an act by the team at bat which interferes with, obstructs, impedes, hinders or confuses any fielder attempting to make a play. If the umpire declares the batter, batter- runner, or a runner out for interference, all other runners shall return to the last base that was in the judgment of the umpire, legally touched at the time of the interference, unless otherwise provided by these rules.
Rule 2.00 (Interference) Comment: In the event the batter-runner has not reached first base, all runners shall return to the base last occupied at the time of the pitch.

OK, from this rule it looks like DeRosa should have been called out and Hairston should have been sent back to first with two outs. But let's continue…

Here is the rule that is specific to the batter interfering with the catcher (6.06(c)). I'll break it down since it takes half a page:

A batter is out for illegal action when…
(c) He interferes with the catcher's fielding or throwing by stepping out of the batter's box or making any other movement that hinders the catcher's play at home base.

OK, again, it seems like the batter is out, doubly here, for interference and for the strikeout.

EXCEPTION: Batter is not out if any runner attempting to advance is put out, or if runner trying to score is called out for batter's interference.

Nothing new here because the runner was not out nor was he trying to score.

Rule 6.06(c) Comment: If the batter interferes with the catcher, the plate umpire shall call "interference." The batter is out and the ball dead. No player may advance on such interference (offensive interference) and all runners must return to the last base that was, in the judgment of the umpire, legally touched at the time of the interference.

Again it seems that the runner should return to first and there should be two outs.

If, however, the catcher makes a play and the runner attempting to advance is put out, it is to be assumed there was no actual interference and that runner is out—not the batter. Any other runners on the base at the time may advance as the ruling is that there is no actual interference if a runner is retired. In that case play proceeds just as if no violation had been called.

Again there's nothing new since the runner was not out.

If a batter strikes at a ball and misses and swings so hard he carries the bat all the way around and, in the umpire's judgment, unintentionally hits the catcher or the ball in back of him on the backswing before the catcher has securely held the ball, it shall be called a strike only (not interference). The ball will be dead, however, and no runner shall advance on the play.

This is very close to the play, but no cigar. Yes, DeRoda struck at the ball and bat did go all the way around, And yes, he hit the catcher apparently unintentionally on the backswing (and Joyce seems to agree that it was unintentional given his comments). However, it was not before the catcher caught the ball. It seemed that Kendall had caught the ball before DeRosa's bat, after the big sweeping swing, touched either of his elbows or his helmet. The interference was on the throw. So this codicil of the rule doesn't really apply, but let's assume that Joyce's applied this part of the rule, the call would still be that the batter is out, the ball is dead, and the runner returns to first.

Of course, baseball can't stop there. In addition to the batter section of the rules (part 6), there is more on interference that affects the batter under the Batter section (#7).

It is interference by a batter or a runner when…
(a) After a third strike he hinders the catcher in his attempt to field the ball;

OK, enough, DeRosa's out. I get it. But 7.09 continues…

(j) He fails to avoid a fielder who is attempting to field a batted ball, or intentionally interferes with a thrown ball, provided that if two or more fielders attempt to field a batted ball, and the runner comes in contact with one or more of them, the umpire shall determine which fielder is entitled to the benefit of this rule, and shall not declare the runner out for coming in contact with a fielder other than the one the umpire determines to be entitled to field such a ball;
Rule 7.09(j) Comment: When a catcher and batter-runner going to first base have contact when the catcher is fielding the ball, there is generally no violation and nothing should be called. "Obstruction" by a fielder attempting to field a ball should be called only in very flagrant and violent cases because the rules give him the right of way, but of course such "right of way" is not a license to, for example, intentionally trip a runner even though fielding the ball. If the catcher is fielding the ball and the first baseman or pitcher obstructs a runner going to first base "obstruction" shall be called and the base runner awarded first base.

But here's the kicker:

(e) Any batter or runner who has just been put out hinders or impedes any following play being made on a runner. Such runner shall be declared out for the interference of his teammate;
Rule 7.09(e) Comment: If the batter or a runner continues to advance after he has been put out, he shall not by that act alone be considered as confusing, hindering or impeding the fielders.

From the comment, if Kendall had dropped the ball or caught it on a bounce and DeRosa had been running to first, it would not have been interference. But he wasn't and the rule seems to overrule the rest and calls Hairston out because of DeRosa's bat.

Just for fun, here are some variations on the rules from Rich Marazzi's The Rules and Lore of Baseball. Unfortunately, he does not provide an example for 7.09(e), but there's more than enough good reading here:

One of the most controversial if not the most controversial play in World Series history took place at Cincinnati on the night of October 14, 1975, in the third game of the fall classic played between the Boston Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds. The play involved rule 6.06(c)…

This was the situation: With Cincinnati batting in the bottom of the tenth after the Red Sox had rallied from a 5-1 deficit to knot the score 5-5, Cesar Geronimo was on first with an opening single. Ed Armbrister then pinch-hit for pitcher Rawly Eastwick. Armbrister bunted the ball in front of home plate, and Boston catcher Carlton Fisk charged to field it. Armbrister and Fisk then came together as Armbrister took two steps toward first, backed up, and then started again.

When Fisk picked up the ball, he threw toward second base in an attempt to get the lead runner. But the throw was wild into center field, and the Reds suddenly had runners on second and third base use of the throwing error.

Boston manager Darrell Johnson along with Fisk argued violently with plate umpire Larry Barnett. They claimed that Fisk was interfered with and the rule should be enforced. Barnett said that, "It was simply a collision.... It is interference only when the batter intentionally gets in the way of the fielder." [again with this "intentional" guff] Dick Stello, the first base umpire, supported Barnett during the protest.

It was interesting to hear both sides of the play Fisk said of Barnett, "He blew it two ways.... The first time was when he didn't call interference on the play. The second time was when he didn't call the man out because I probably tagged him after I got the ball."

Armbrister said, "I hit the ball in front of the plate and it bounced high. I started to break for first, and Fisk just came from behind and bumped me, and if he hit from behind, I would say he interfered with me." You can see why baseball needs them, so please, don't kill the umps!

After the argument the Red Sox issued an intentional walk to Pete Rose to load the bases. Merv Rettenmund then struck out, but Joe Morgan proceeded to single home the game-winning run.

To briefly review the situation let's break a couple of things down. Offensive interference is an act by the team at bat which interferes with, obstructs, impedes, hinders or confuses any fielder attempting to make a play. If the umpire declares the batter out for interference, all other runners shall return to the last base that was in the judgment of the umpire, legally touched at the time of the interference, unless otherwise provided by these rules. (2.00)

There is no mention in the definition of interference of the word intentional. Umpire Barnett's argument using the word "intentional" was, in my opinion, a mistake. Barnett also revealed that the American League gives umpires a list of special instructions that is a supplement to the rule book. Collisions of this type in the area of home plate are not to be called interference according to A. L. instructions. If this is true, Barnett might be defended. However another rule that supports the Red Sox protest is rule 7.09(1) [now 7.09(j)]. It is interference by a batter or a runner when he fails to avoid a fielder who is attempting to field a batted ball or intentionally interferes with a thrown ball etc, etc. According to this rule, it was Armbrister's duty to avoid Fisk. The word intentional is used in relation to a thrown ball.

In summary, a play of this type is judgment on the part of the umpire to a certain extent. It's easy to sit down with a pen in hand in a quiet room and evaluate the play. Larry Barnett had to make the call before millions of viewers on national television. He believed his call was the correct one and gave some very good reasons. In demand as a banquet speaker in the off-season, Mr. Barnett has become a baseball personality due mainly to this controversial play.

The jury is going to be put out on this one for a long time. That's what makes baseball the great game that it is.

Nick Bremigan offers his opinion on the play. Barnett made the right call. However, at the time the play occurred, the only place where this explanation could be found was ironically in the "Special Instructions to Umpires" for the National League. (Barnett was an A.L. umpire.) It was belatedly thought that everyone should have access to these interpretations, so they were pirated from the "top secret" "Special Instructions to Umpires" book and put into the regular rule book, which anybody can have access to.

I've also talked to N.L. umpire Terry Tata about the play. Terry gave an emphatic "yes" when asked if Barnett had made the proper call.

It's not chic on my part to challenge two major league umpires, but in my mind Barnett believed it was interference (but not intentional) by his statement, "It is interference only when the batter intentionally gets in the way of the fielder."

Since I've been voted down, I guess the play should be referred to as a "simple collision." Amen!

In a game between the Red Sox and White Sox in the 1950s, Frank Malzone, Red Sox third baseman, was called out when he interfered with White Sox catcher Sherm Lollar. The Chicago catcher was attempting to throw out Jackie Jensen, who was trying to steal second. Malzone missed the pitch and his momentum carried him into Lollar. Jensen was safe on the play. The umpire ordered Jensen back to first, and Malzone was called out.

The umpires admittedly missed the next case involving rule 6.06. The incident occurred on July 9, 1969, at Minnesota where the Twins were hosting Kansas City. The Royals were batting with Bob Oliver on first base and Ellie Rodriguez at the plate. Oliver attempted to steal second. In making his throw to second base, Twins' catcher John Roseboro had to push Rodriguez's bat out of the way. Still Roseboro's throw nailed Oliver. Now the fun began.

"At first I wanted to call them both out," said plate umpire John Rice. "Rodriguez for interference and Oliver at second."

Royals' manager Joe Gordon protested. After several huddles, the umps (Bill Kunkel, Larry Napp, and Russ Goetz were the other three) sent Oliver back to first and ruled Rodriguez out.

Rule 6.06(c) says A batter is out if he interferes with a catcher's fielding or throwing. There also is an exception, saying the batter is not out if any runner attempting to advance is put out. Rule 2.00, however, says if the umpire declares the batter out for interference, other runners shall return to the last base legally touched at the time of the interference. This might have caused some of the confusion on the part of the umpires.

"What I did was against the rule book," Rice said, after taking eight minutes to make a decision. Rice said the exception should have been invoked.

In other words when a putout is made, this nullifies the interference as stated in 6.06(c). [This has actually been added to rule 6.06(c) as I mentioned above.]

It is true that Rice made a mistake. But baseball rules are often confusing because they are not consistent. For example, let's assume that Oliver was trying to score from third and Rodriguez interfered with Roseboro. In this case with less than two outs the runner is out. With two outs, the batter (Rodriguez) would be called out. Why not be consistent with the rule? Does the rule punish the offensive team sufficiently if a putout is not made?

Here is another argument: There is a runner on second and one out. The runner attempts to steal third base, and the batter interferes with the catcher, causing the runner to reach third safely. Ruling under 6.06(c): The umpire declares the batter out and the runner would return to second base. There are two outs and a runner is still in scoring position. The next batter then gets a hit and drives in the run from second. Once again I ask, does the rule sufficiently punish the offense?

During the 1955 season in a game played between the Dodgers and Giants, Brooklyn's Sandy Amoros struck out, but the ball got by catcher Wes Westrum when Amoros' bat hit Westrum on the backswing. Amoros reached second base before the dazed Westrum could recover the ball.

If this type of play were to happen today, Amoros would be out as the case book explanation to rule 6.06(c) stipulates, If a batter strikes at a ball and misses and swings so hard he carries the bat all the way around and, in the umpire's judgment, unintentionally hits the catcher or the ball in back of him on the backswing before the catcher has securely held the ball, it shall be called a strike only (not interference). The ball will be dead, however, and no runner shall advance on the play. If the situation takes place after a third strike it is ruled as interference under 7.09(a) which states, It is interference by a batter or a runner when after a third strike he hinders the catcher in his attempt to field the ball. Thus Amoros would end up in the dugout instead of second base.

The Real Reason to Hate Interleague Play
2006-08-09 19:41
by Mike Carminati

One can complain about the unbalanced schedule or the inelegance of using the designated hitter only in American League parks, but the real reason to hate interleague play is how it affects what are annually becoming closer and closer races, especially in the wild card hunt.

I looked into this last year and found that ten playoff spots in ten years were altered by the results of these legitimized exhibitions. With the AL again dominating the senior circuit in interleague play, the ultra-tight NL West and wild card races have been turned inside out by interleague results.

The NL wild card has ten clubs separated by six games (as of about 9 PM tonight) and the NL West sees all five clubs within 4.5 games of each other. Take away the interleague games and each races gets tighter at the top even though more teams would drop from contention

Let's take a look. First, here are the current (ish) standings:

New York6643.606-
Tampa Bay4768.40922
Kansas City3973.34836.5
Los Angeles5954.5222.5
Los Angeles5954.5228
Tampa Bay4768.40921
Kansas City3973.34827.5
New York6744.604-
St. Louis6151.545-
San Diego5854.518-
Los Angeles5855.5130.5
San Francisco5459.4784.5
Los Angeles5855.513-
San Francisco5459.4784

Here are the interleague standings. Note that the AL won more than 61% of the games. That's dominance:

Tampa Bay117.6115
New York108.5566
Kansas City108.5566
Los Angeles711.3899
San Francisco87.5333
San Diego78.4674
New York69.4005
St. Louis510.3336
Los Angeles510.3336

Finally, here are the standings as they would appear without the execrable interleague play:

New York5635.615-
Tampa Bay3661.37123
AL Central
Kansas City2965.30931.5
AL West
Los Angeles5243.5471.5
Los Angeles5243.5471
Tampa Bay3661.37118
Kansas City2965.30923.5
NL East
New York6135.635-
NL Central
St. Louis5641.577-
NL West
Los Angeles5345.541-
San Diego5146.5261.5
San Francisco4652.4697
Los Angeles5345.541-
San Diego5146.5261.5
San Francisco4652.4697

One result that I didn't expect is that the Yankees would be running away with the AL East crown instead of holding a small lead over the Red Sox. I also didn't realize that the Angels would end up right in the middle of the wild card chase.

In the NL, the Dodgers and D-Backs, instead of the Padres, would own the NL West. The Padres and Reds would lose their playoff leads. A number of teams would drop from the wild card hunt, but the top four spots would be within a game and one half of each other.

Wake me up when the AL is winning 90% of the interleague contests, the NL wild card winner is under .500 and all but the truly awful NL teams are in the wild card hunt. It makes about as much sense as the Phils trading both their long relievers from both sides to the team they are chasing in the wild card race, the Reds. Then again, trading their crappy pitchers to the "enemy" might be the most strategic thing this club has done since trading Jim Thome.

The Wild Wild Worst
2006-08-07 20:11
by Mike Carminati

In the American League, the wild card leaders (Chicago as of last night) are on a pace to win 97 games. Two teams (Boston and Minnesota) project to 96 wins but, if the standings hold, won't even make the post season. Meanwhile three other teams that are barely in the wild card hunt are playing .500 ball (and nine in total out of 14 clubs).

In the NL, as of last night's standings, there are eight clubs within striking distance (five games) of the wild card hunt, and all but one club (the Pirates) are within ten games of the wild card leader. And yet that leader, the Reds, has just a .514 winning percentage which would garner them just 83 wins for the season. Of the other seven teams in the wild card hunt, just two are over .500 and they are just one game above mediocrity. The Brewers project to a poor 76-86 record but are now just five games back in the wild card.

Being in contention in the NL might not that discriminating company, but having eleven clubs within five games of a playoff spot as of August 6 is the most for any league in any year. We are looking at teams within five games because I've found that 91% of clubs that have made the playoffs were within five games of a spot by the start of August (93% for those within 7 games, 96% for those within 10). The most previously was ten for the NL last year.

Of course doubling the number of playoff teams in 1994 drove up the number of teams that remain in contention after the first week in August. Before divisional play (1900-68), on average there were just two teams per league that were in contention by August 7 (actually, 2.04), and no league ever had more than five clubs in contention by that date. When the leagues expanded to two divisions (1969-93), there were almost four and a half clubs in contention by August 7 (4.44).

Since the advent of the wild card, there have been on average slightly under seven clubs in contention by August 7 (6.77). The number of clubs per open spots has fallen under two with the wild card since it cannibalizes a lot of the same population as the division chases, but given the two extra spots per league, the number of contenders has gone up considerably.

Anyway, the Reds projection reminded me of the 1973 Mets, who had one of the worst records ever for a playoff team. It made me wonder what was the worst team ever that was still in contention by August 7.

Here are the previous teams with a losing record who were still in contention by August 7 (Add the five sub-.500 NL teams to that list):

1994ALOakland Athletics4960.450214
1995ALOakland Athletics4451.463145
1994NLSan Francisco Giants5259.468414
1994ALTexas Rangers5258.4730
2005NLArizona Diamondbacks5359.47337
1987ALTexas Rangers5155.4815
1987ALSeattle Mariners5256.4815
1989ALMilwaukee Brewers5357.4824
1983ALTexas Rangers5255.4865
1997ALChicago White Sox5457.486411
1995ALKansas City Royals4446.489182
1995ALBaltimore Orioles4547.48982
1995ALMilwaukee Brewers4547.489182
1983ALKansas City Royals5153.4904
1983NLSt. Louis Cardinals5355.4914
1987NLSan Francisco Giants5355.4915
1984ALKansas City Royals5456.4914
1989ALCleveland Indians5456.4914
2005NLChicago Cubs5456.491155
1996NLChicago Cubs5557.49144
1997NLPittsburgh Pirates5658.491511
1995ALSeattle Mariners4647.495112
1987ALKansas City Royals5354.4954
1990ALBaltimore Orioles5354.4955
1989ALToronto Blue Jays5556.4953
1997ALMilwaukee Brewers5556.495410
2005NLMilwaukee Brewers5556.495144

That made me wonder what playoff teams had the worst records on August 7. Here goes with their final records:

1973NLNew York Mets4960.45010 Y Y8279.509
1974NLPittsburgh Pirates5357.4826 Y N8874.543
1987NLSan Francisco Giants5355.4915 Y N9072.556
1984ALKansas City Royals5456.4914 Y N8478.519
1995ALSeattle Mariners4647.495112YNN7966.545
1989ALToronto Blue Jays5556.4953 Y N8973.549
2005NLSan Diego Padres5555.5000 YNN8280.506
2003ALMinnesota Twins5756.504410YNN9072.556
2004NLHouston Astros5554.505165NYN9270.568
2001NLSt. Louis Cardinals5654.50976NYN9369.574

So even if the lowly Phils or Brewers eventually win the wild card, they still would not have overcome a worse record (.450 winning percentage) or a greater deficit (10 games back) than the 1973 Mets. And that club topped the Big Red Machine in their prime in a five-game LCS.

So what does it all mean? Really nothing that we didn't already know: The NL is a weak league this year and basically any club that makes the playoffs can win especially in a short series.

Abraham 0-For Nunez
2006-08-07 12:02
by Mike Carminati

Even with the Phils dropping a pair of games to the Mets over the weekend and missing a chance to break .500 for the first time since June 19 (after which they lost seven straight and nine of ten), they still somehow remain at least tangentially involved in the wild card hunt: in fifth place, 3-1/2 games behind the Reds. And yet the team may have one of the worst semi-regulars in baseball history in its lineup, Abraham O. Nunez.

I say semi-regular since Nunez has accumulated just 151 at-bats this year. When all is said and done, the Phils "regular" third baseman as recorded by Baseball Reference will be the since departed David Bell. Who played 90 games for the Phightin's at the position. Nunez could play no more than 77 at third (25 so far plus 52 to b played).

Nunez is batting .159 with a .221 on-base percentage, .219 slugging average, and .440 OPS. He has one home run and just eight RBI in his 151 ABs. And Nunez, a .242 career hitter, shows no real signs of breaking out of his funk. Since inheriting the starting third base job just before the trade deadline he is batting .143 an his OPS has remained at .440.

If Nunez remains the regular third baseman for the rest of the season—eh, why not?—He will surely accumulate between 250 and 300 at-bats for the year. Even though one would assume that the extra at-bats would help Nunez slip free of his noose, there are just 15 men in baseball history who have accumulated 250 ABs and batted under .159, his current average. The last man who batted as low as Nunez (min. 250 ABs) was almost sixty years ago: Les Moss, who batted .157 in 174 at-bats in 1947. And the last time before that was 1909.

The last player with an OBP as low as Nunez (250 ABs) was Angel Salazar (.219) in 1987. The last who slugged that low was in 1980 (Luis Gomez, .239). Finally, no player has had an OPS as low as Nunez in 38 years, in 1968, the year of the pitcher. That year there were two (Al Weis, .438, and Irish Mike Ryan, .434). Prior to that no player had an OPS of .440 or below (min. 250 ABs) since 1909.

Abe O. has just 8 RBI on the year, which projects to 14 over the course of the rest of the season. There are just ten players in baseball history with 250 at-bats and eight RBI or fewer, the last being Luis Castillo (with 8) in 1997. 147 have recorded 14 or less, the last being John McDonald in 2002 (12 RBI).

To sum up, Nunez is having a pretty poor year. Many lovely tables follow below.

P.S., Thanks to Jim Salisbury for the nice mention this weekend in the Philly Inquirer.

Players with a batting average under .160 (min. 250 ABs):

Tom McLaughlin1886250016.
Will White1879294017.
Bill Bergen1909346115.
Fritz Buelow1904255010.
Jack Burdock1888325112.
Charley Bassett1885285016.
Henry Easterday1890289221.
Harry Sage1890275225.
Sam Crane1886301119.
Bill Traffley1885254120.
Joe Gerhardt1885399033.
John Humphries188425702.
Charlie Waitt18822500 .
Les Moss1947274627.
Doc Bushong1882253115.
Bill Bergen1906353019.

Last ten:

Les Moss1947274627.
Bill Bergen1909346115.
Bill Bergen1906353019.
Fritz Buelow1904255010.
Harry Sage1890275225.
Henry Easterday1890289221.
Jack Burdock1888325112.
Sam Crane1886301119.
Tom McLaughlin1886250016.
Bill Traffley1885254120.
Charley Bassett1885285016.
Joe Gerhardt1885399033.

Worst since 1993:

Greg Vaughn2002251829.163.286.315.601
Tony Pena1993304419.
Mark McGwire20012992964.187.316.492.808
Gregg Zaun1998298529.
Lance Blankenship1993252223.190.363.254.617
Eli Marrero1999317634.
Craig Paquette2002252420.194.223.306.528
Ruben Rivera19994112348.195.295.406.701
Scott Servais1994251941.195.235.371.606
David Bell2003297437.
Shane Andrews19993481651.195.295.368.662

Worst OBP (250 ABs):

Will White1879294017.
Bill Bergen1909346115.
Doc Bushong1882253115.
Bill Bergen1906353019.
Joe Battin188428600.
Silver Flint1880284017.
George Baker18843170 .
Frank Meinke1884341624.
Jack Burdock1888325112.
Pud Galvin1884274024.

Last ten with an OBP of .221 or worse:

Angel Salazar1987317221.
Mario Mendoza1979373129.
Dave McKay1977274322.
Rob Picciolo1977419222.
Mike Ryan1968296115.
Paul Casanova1968322425.
Ed Gagnier1914337025.
Bill Bergen1909346115.
Bill Bergen1908302015.
Bill Bergen1906353019.
George McBride1906313013.

Worst since 1993:

Craig Paquette2002252420.194.223.306.528
Alex Gonzalez2000385742.200.229.319.548
Scott Servais1994251941.195.235.371.606
Eli Marrero1999317634.
Danny Bautista1995271727.203.237.314.550
Darrin Jackson1993263626.209.237.312.549
Chris Truby2002382422.215.238.314.552
Brandon Phillips2003370633.208.242.311.553
Mike Matheny1996313846.204.243.342.584
George Bell19934101364.217.243.363.607

Worst slugging percentage (min. 250 ABs):

Tom McLaughlin1886250016.
Bill Bergen1909346115.
Will White1879294017.
John Humphries188425702.
Herman Pitz189028409.165.315.165.481
Jack Burdock1888325112.
Charlie Waitt18822500 .
Billy Sullivan1909265016.
Fritz Buelow1904255010.
Jimmy Cooney1892263024.
George Baker18843170 .
Stump Wiedman1884300026.

Last ten with a SLUG of .219 or worse:

Luis Gomez1980278024.
Al Weis1968274114.
Mike Ryan1968296115.
Willy Miranda1957314020.
Ray Berres1940261016.
Mickey Doolan1918308018.
Ralph Young1918298021.188.313.218.531
Morrie Rath1913295012.200.310.207.517
Tommy McMillan1910322015.
Bill Bergen1909346115.
Billy Sullivan1909265016.
Ed Hahn1909287116.

Worst since 1993:

Abraham Nunez1999259017.
Homer Bush2000297118.
Rey Sanchez1996289112.
Lance Blankenship1993252223.190.363.254.617
Pat Listach1995334025.
Rey Ordonez1997356133.
Tony Pena1993304419.
Mike Felder1993342120.
Luis Castillo199726308.240.310.270.580
Carlos Quintana1993303119.244.317.271.587
Jeff Cirillo2003258223.

Worst OPS all-time (250 ABs):

Will White1879294017.
Bill Bergen1909346115.
Jack Burdock1888325112.
Bill Bergen1906353019.
George Baker18843170 .
Doc Bushong1882253115.
Joe Battin188428600.
Charlie Waitt18822500 .
Tom McLaughlin1886250016.
John Humphries188425702.
Fritz Buelow1904255010.

Last ten with an OPS of .440 or worse:

Al Weis1968274114.
Mike Ryan1968296115.
Bill Bergen1909346115.
Billy Sullivan1909265016.
Bill Bergen1908302015.
Bill Bergen1906353019.
George Gibson1906259020.
George McBride1906313013.
Joe Sugden1905266023.
Bill Bergen1904329012.
Fritz Buelow1904255010.
Ossee Schreckengost1904311121.

Worst OPS since 1993:

Tony Pena1993304419.
Rey Ordonez1997356133.
Luis Sojo1996287121.
Homer Bush2000297118.
Rey Sanchez1996289112.
Craig Paquette2002252420.194.223.306.528
Matt Walbeck1994338535.
Mike Felder1993342120.
Pat Listach1995334025.
Eli Marrero1999317634.
John Flaherty1998304324.

Fewest RBI (min. 250 ABs):

John Humphries188425702.
Jack Remsen188434433.221.282.305.587
Buster Hoover188431714.341.372.467.839
Dick Howser196530716.235.354.283.638
Chris Cannizzaro196525107.
Davy Force187931608.
Doc Gautreau192626608.267.356.331.687
Dupee Shaw188428918.
Luis Alvarado197126408.
Luis Castillo199726308.240.310.270.580

Players with 8 or fewer RBI in descending chronological order:

Luis Castillo199726308.240.310.270.580
Luis Alvarado197126408.
Dick Howser196530716.235.354.283.638
Chris Cannizzaro196525107.
Doc Gautreau192626608.267.356.331.687
John Humphries188425702.
Jack Remsen188434433.221.282.305.587
Buster Hoover188431714.341.372.467.839
Dupee Shaw188428918.
Davy Force187931608.
Was Abreu Overpriced?
2006-08-04 10:02
by Mike Carminati

Jayson Stark had a good piece on the Bobby Abreu trade yesterday on ESPN. He concluded, "To make this kind of trade, just for the joy of cashing out, simply tells the sport that either you think Abreu is outrageously overrated or your team is in major financial trouble -- or both."

That sums it up for me. For the Phils to have traded Abreu with one year left in his contract, they have to think that his potential contribution to the team in 2007 would not be worth the money. Either that or they are cutting whatever salary they can.

So was Abreu overpaid? Or maybe more to the point, since the Phils are longshots in this year's wild card hunt at best, will Abreu be wildly overpriced in 2007 making the salary dump justifiable? Also, was Abreu's contract overall a Mo Vaughn-ian bust that demanded the Phils trade the former the player?

Being extremely linear, I will address the first question first. I looked up the starting corner outfielders for every team since the 2000 season, the first of Abreu's current contract. For each, I listed the Win Shares, salary, and age. For the 301 player-years that I found, the average corner outfielder produced 18 Win Shares and was paid $4.8 M. This translates into $271K per Win Share. That's what the average team paid per starting corner outfielder Win Share.

The highest paid player was 32-year-old Bobby Higginson in his (and the Tigers') infamous 2003 season. Detroit paid him just under $2M per Win Share that year ($1.975M/WS from an $11.85M salary and 6 Win Shares produced). The cheapest was Lance Berkman in 2001 when the then 25-year-old produced 32 Win Shares for a then league minimum of $305K, which translates into $9,531 per Win Share.

As for Abreu, his 2005 campaign was his most costly ($467,857 per Win Shares), based on 28 Win Shares for $13.1M contract, which was the 63rd highest among the 301 qualifiers. His cheapest year from his current contract was 2000, in which he produced 23 Win Shares for a $2.93M salary, or $127.5K per Win Share, 196th among the 301 corner OF years.

But that's the past: what was Abreu doing this year? Abreu had 18 Win Shares for the Phils, which projects to 28 for the year. His salary is $13.6M this year. That translates into $485K per Win Share. That would land him a bit higher than last year, but just 60th on the list. So, yes, he's slightly overpriced, but not wildly. He had a big contract but produced big.

However, comparing Abreu's contract to the full field of corner outfielders is unfair. Abreu is now 33, and as is the practice in sports is getting paid in part for his past performance. It's not fair to compare his salary today to that of an unproven, typically underpaid 25-year-old.

So I reran the data based on players 30 or older. They produced about the same as the overall corner outfielders (18 Win Shares), but they cost much more ($6,830,195 on average). Their average cost per Win Share was $378,467. Abreu was about a $100K per Win Share cheaper than that in 2004, but was about $90K higher in 2005, and an estimated $100 higher this year. But again his 2006 season would come in just 48th overall among the 149 qualifying thirty-something players. He is in the top third. Again his slightly overpriced, but not much.

Now I'll be non-linear and answer the third question next. Has Abreu's contract been a bust?

Looking at the totals from 2000 to 2005 for all players who were starting corner outfielders during the period, Abreu comes in 42nd costliest among the 129 players. During the period, he amassed 172 Win Shares (averaging 29 per season) and a little over $49M (or $7.84 per season). He cost $273,545 per Win Share over the period.

But consider that the average corner outfielder over the span cost $270,292 per Win Share, Abreu has been paid basically the major-league average for the first six years of his contract. Given the way he has produced, the Phils really made out like bandits for the first six years. Now that the back-loaded deal is finally in Abreu's favor, the Phils felt compelled to dump him.

However, maybe that's being too tough on the team. Could the last two years of Abreu's deal actually make the deal a bust? We know pretty much what Abreu's 2006 totals will look like at season's end (he projects to 28 Win Shares). However, given that he will be 33 in 2007, could the aging process arrive with a vengeance next year and make the overall deal untenable?

To determine that, I looked up all 32-year-old corner outfielders with at least 25 Win Shares throughout baseball history (40 qualified). Abreu is 32 and currently projects to 28 Win Shares. For each player, I then looked at his performance in his next year. On average the players lost 5 Win Shares when they turned 33 years old.

The worst age-33 decline was Sammy Sosa at 15 Win Shares lost (42 in 2001 and 27 in 2002). However, there were seven players who either improved or stayed the same (based on Win Shares). The best improvement was by Luis Gonzalez who went from 27 Win Shares in 2000 to 37, a ten-point improvement, in 2001. The others who did not decline at age 33 were Mel Ott (+9), Hank Aaron (+7), Manny Ramirez (+7), Enos Slaughter (+3), Babe Ruth (no change), and Rickey Henderson (no change).

I don't think it's inconceivable that Abreu could have a better year in 2007 given that all of the trade talk all season seemed to wear on him. But let's assume that he declines by the 33-year-old average, 5 Win Shares. That would give him 23 Win Shares for 2007. Abreu would cost $696K per Win Share. That would be the 25th highest among the 301 corner outfielders from 2000-05.

Using these projections, Bobby Abreu would amass 223 Win Shares over the eight years of his contract (2000-07) and would cost $76.65M. That translates into $343,661 per Win Share. That would make him 31st among all starting corner outfielders using the 2000-05 numbers I quoted earlier. It's about $70K more per Win Share, but is nowhere near the highest paid players.

I see no reason why the Phils can justify dumping Abreu based on his production. The only rationalization is as a salary dump, pure and simple.

By the way, here is some of the data in tabular form that I referred to earlier. First, the most overpaid corner outfielder years:

NameYrTmWin Shares Salary Age$/WS
Bobby Higginson2003DET6 $ 11,850,000 32 $1,975,000
Juan Gonzalez2002TEX6 $ 11,000,000 32 $1,833,333
Brian Jordan2003LAN7 $ 9,600,000 36 $1,371,429
Juan Gonzalez2003TEX10 $ 13,000,000 33 $1,300,000
Sammy Sosa2004CHN14 $ 16,000,000 35 $1,142,857
Jeromy Burnitz2002NYN7 $ 7,166,667 33 $1,023,810
Chuck Knoblauch2002KCA2 $ 2,000,000 33 $1,000,000
Richard Hidalgo2005TEX5 $ 5,000,000 30 $1,000,000
Jermaine Dye2004OAK12 $ 11,666,667 30 $ 972,222
Raul Mondesi2000TOR11 $ 10,000,000 29 $ 909,091
Larry Walker2005SLN14 $ 12,666,667 38 $ 904,762
Brady Anderson2001BAL8 $ 7,200,000 37 $ 900,000

Here are the most underpaid:

NameYrTmWin Shares Salary Age$/WS
Lance Berkman2001HOU32 $ 305,000 25 $ 9,531
Jason Bay2005PIT34 $ 355,000 26 $ 10,441
Adam Dunn2002CIN21 $ 250,000 22 $ 11,905
Brad Wilkerson2002MON17 $ 206,000 25 $ 12,118
Jacque Jones2002MIN25 $ 312,500 27 $ 12,500
Miguel Cabrera2005FLO29 $ 370,000 22 $ 12,759
Adam Dunn2004CIN32 $ 445,000 24 $ 13,906
Geoff Jenkins2000MIL20 $ 282,000 25 $ 14,100
Miguel Cabrera2004FLO22 $ 320,000 21 $ 14,545
Carl Crawford2004TBA21 $ 320,000 22 $ 15,238
Aubrey Huff2003TBA21 $ 325,000 26 $ 15,476
Benny Agbayani2000NYN14 $ 220,000 28 $ 15,714
Mark Quinn2000KCA13 $ 205,000 26 $ 15,769

Here are the most overpaid for the entire period 2000-05 (starting corner OF totals only):

NameWin Shares Salary $/WS# Yrs
Brady Anderson8 $ 7,200,000 $900,000 1
Juan Gonzalez48 $ 41,500,000 $864,583 4
Albert Belle15 $ 12,868,670 $857,911 1
Raul Mondesi26 $ 21,500,000 $826,923 2
David Justice11 $ 7,000,000 $636,364 1
Al Martin8 $ 5,000,000 $625,000 1
Chuck Knoblauch13 $ 8,000,000 $615,385 2
Larry Walker83 $ 50,166,668 $604,418 4
Richard Hidalgo32 $ 19,000,000 $593,750 3
Ray Lankford14 $ 8,250,000 $589,286 2
Manny Ramirez170 $ 97,262,727 $572,134 6
Brian Jordan59 $ 32,900,000 $557,627 4

Now, the cheapest 2000-05:

NameWin Shares Salary $/WS# Yrs
Jason Bay52 $ 660,000 $ 12,692 2
Miguel Cabrera51 $ 690,000 $ 13,529 2
Brad Wilkerson35 $ 521,000 $ 14,886 2
Mark Quinn13 $ 205,000 $ 15,769 1
Eric Byrnes19 $ 328,000 $ 17,263 1
Carl Crawford57 $ 990,000 $ 17,368 3
Coco Crisp21 $ 364,900 $ 17,376 1
Emil Brown20 $ 355,000 $ 17,750 1
Rob Mackowiak12 $ 227,000 $ 18,917 1
Matt Holliday19 $ 366,000 $ 19,263 1
Chris Richard12 $ 232,500 $ 19,375 1
Terrmel Sledge15 $ 300,000 $ 20,000 1
Albert Pujols73 $ 1,500,000 $ 20,548 2

Finally, here are the annual and overall numbers for Abreu:

YrTmWin Shares Salary Age$/WS
2000PHI23 $ 2,933,333 26 $ 127,536
2001PHI27 $ 4,983,000 27 $ 184,556
2002PHI29 $ 6,333,333 28 $ 218,391
2003PHI28 $ 9,100,000 29 $ 325,000
2004PHI37 $ 10,600,000 30 $ 286,486
2005PHI28 $ 13,100,000 31 $ 467,857
2006PHI-NYY28$13,600,000 32 $ 485,048
2007NYY23 $ 16,000,000 33 $ 695,652
Total223 $ 76,649,666 $ 343,661
Pole To Pole (In Honor of Ricky Bobby)
2006-08-02 22:19
by Mike Carminati

I continue to play around with Retrosheet data and here's something that, though I have heard allusions to, I have never seen a definitive list of. Here is the list of teams that lead their league or division from the first day of the season to the last. Note that only four of the nine that played since 1903, the first year the World Series was played, won the Series:

TeamYrLgDivWLPCTG AheadWon Lg?Won WS?
Chicago White Sox2005ALC9963.61115YY
San Francisco Giants2003NLW10061.6214.5NN
Seattle Mariners2001ALW11646.71619NN
Cleveland Indians1998ALC8973.54915NN
Baltimore Orioles1997ALE9864.6055NN
Cincinnati Reds1990NLW9171.5622YY
Detroit Tigers1984ALE10458.6429YY
New York Yankees1927AL 11044.71414YY
New York Giants1923NL 9558.62115.5YN
Boston Red Stockings1875NA 718.8996YN/A

Now, here's something that I don't think has even been alluded to, the list of teams that was in last in their division/league from the start to the end of the season. This includes teams tied for the bottom slot in their division/league. As long as no other team had a worse record on any given day of the season.

Here they are, the pole-to-pole last place teams:

Detroit Tigers2003ALC43119.265547
Arizona Diamondbacks1998NLW6597.401533
San Diego Padres1994NLW4770.402413
Baltimore Orioles1988ALE54107.335735
Philadelphia Phillies1942NL 42109.278863
Boston Red Sox1932AL 43111.279864
Washington Senators1904AL 38113.252856
Louisville Colonels1896NL 3893.2901253
Detroit Wolverines1884NL 2884.250856
Philadelphia Quakers1883NL 1781.173846

God, I love this stuff.

Take My Catcher, Please!
2006-08-02 18:58
by Mike Carminati

Jason Veritek, or "Tek" to his friends, the Red Sox starting catcher will have surgery on his left knee and will miss at least a month of the season, it was announced today. They now must rely on twice-traded backup Doug Mirabelli and the man who destroyed Derek Jeter's shoulder a few years ago, Ken Huckaby, who has not caught a major-league game since last September 19, behind the plate.

Ever sympathetic to the Red Sox's plight, I offer a solution to their catching woes. Take Mike Lieberthal!

Please! I beg of you.

Lieberthal is in the last year of a contract that pays him $7.5 M (actually, it was an option year that kicked in in the midst of last season). For the Phils to re-sign him, which would be shear insanity, or in other words a good possibility for this team, they would have to pay him 80% of that salary or wait until May 1.

The Phils have been rotating a combination of Lieberthal (when he's been healthy), Sal Fasano (before he was traded to the Yankees), an aged rookie, Chris Coste (who is more of a nice story than a major-league player), all of whom are at least 33 years old, behind the plate.

The only catcher in the organization that has a shot of being their starter next year is Carlos Ruiz, who has spent most of the season in Triple-A Scranton. Ruiz got a cup of coffee during two of Lieberthal's DL stays, but was not very productive (.205 average, .234 OBP and .273 slugging average), but that includes a three game arc around July 4 in which he seemed to catch up with major league pitching going 2-for-3 in two of those games, only to be demoted again. He is batting .315 with a .906 OPS at Triple-A and is 26 years old.

Maybe Ruiz is not a major-league catcher. Maybe. But I keep thinking of a 26-year-old catcher that the Phils jettisoned in 2002 after a couple of good seasons in Scranton and some short and unpromising stints in the majors. That catcher went on to become the starting catcher for a Braves team that won two division titles. Of course, I'm speaking of Biff Pocoroba, er, Johnny Estrada.

The Phils are going nowhere this year. The deals they made at the trade deadline were merely to dump salary (even the remainder of Corey Lidle's measly $3M contract for 2006). They have to be salivating over the prospect of dumping the rest of Lieberthal's useless contract.

So why not dump Lieberthal on the Sox for whatever they can get and call up Ruiz to catch the rest of the year to see if he is a capable major-league starter?

Well, the Phils' bloodlust for salary dumps is unfortunately outweighed by their inherent distrust of young players.

Chase Utley is arguably the best second baseman in baseball, but he was not named the Phils starter until well into last season when he was already 26, well past the age a star player typically gets the his first starting job (and never mind that he played 94 games at the position the previous year).

Ryan Howard was vilified by the Phils brass (can't field, can't hit a curve, has minor-league power, is lazy, is not coachable, etc.) until an injury to Jim Thome forced the Phils to use him last year and of course, he went on to win the NL Rookie of the Year award. Howard is now one of the best young players in the NL, but is already 26.

Ruiz has nowhere near the rep of these two players. He seems destined to Johnny Estrada his way to a more baseball savvy organization in the next few years.

Meanwhile, the Phils will use the salary that they dumped at the deadline to sign an overpriced, middling starting catcher instead of signing a decent major-league starting pitcher, a dire need for this team. And that's why they are the Phils.

This is my site with my opinions, but I hope that, like Irish Spring, you like it, too.
Frozen Toast
Google Search
Mike's Baseball Rants


10  09  07 
06  05  04  03 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
Links to MBBR