Tag Archives: Maddux

While Yanks rest, the other series are all going the distance.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks will have four days off before Game 1 of the ALCS begins on Saturday. While they have swept the Twins, all of the other series are going the distance.

The NLDS’s will wrap up today. St. Louis at Atlanta, Game 5 at 5 PM Eastern, and Washington at the LA Dodgers at 8:30.

Meanwhile, Tampa Bay forced a Game 5 in Houston  7 PM  Thursday night by beating the Astros and Justin Verlander 4-1 last night. The Rays scored three in the first inning. Tommy Pham (3 hits) homered in the first for the Rays, and Willie Adames homered later. Avisail Garcia had four hits. Tampa Bay used an “opener” and went through six pitchers in the win.

Gleyber Torres reminds me of Derek Jeter, and in a good way. Derek hit for a higher average and stole more bases, while Gleyber has more power. But both at a young age show and showed an incredible amount of maturity and poise. You can see Torres becoming, like Jeter was, a long-time Yankee star, and maybe future captain and Hall-of-Famer. Hopefully his career follows the same great path Jeter’s did.

If the Yanks have to play Houston in the next round, it’ll be difficult ot beat them, but the Yanks did beat a trio of great pitchers in 1996 and 1999 when they beat the Braves’ HOF trio of Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz. But could this Astro trio of Verlander, Cole and Greinke be even better? Let’s see.

2019 Astro trio. Combined record (inc. Greinke’s overall record, time w/AZ this year)
59-16, Combined ERA+ 518

1996 Braves: 54-29, Combined ERA+ 458

1999 Braves: 44-28, Combined ERA+ 376.

It does look like, should Houston win Game 5, that the Yanks of 2019 may have a tougher battle.

But Houston’s overall team ERA of 3.66 was 2nd in the AL…. to Tampa Bay’s. Despite its unconventional use of “openers”, the Rays’ team ERA was 3.65, barely better than Houston’s.

Ottavino #0, Dodgers sign Pollock, cap preference, Bell new mgr. at SWB

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks announced today that Adam Ottavino will, indeed, be the first Yankee to wear the number zero.

All numbers 1 through 10 have been retired.

The Dodgers signed a deal with the 2nd best OF on the marker, A.J. Pollock, 5 yr., $60MM.

The best OF still Harper.

The Yanks promoted Jay Bell to AAA manager at SWB. Bell scored the winning run of the 2001 ws against the Yanks. He finished first in 2017 with A+ Tampa, and first in 2018 with AA Trenton.

He is working his way up.

Update: Forgot to mention the cap preference. Roy Halladay’s family announced that Halladay’s cap will be blank. I am a bit surprised, since Halladay spent 12 years with Toronto, 4 with the Phillies as opposed to Mike Mussina’s 10 with Baltimore and 8 with the Yankees. It is not like Halladay’s was as even as Mussina’s split time.

Mussina is still making up his mind (the HOF has final say) and could be (ala Greg Maddux and Halladay) having a blank cap on his plaque as well.


A-Rod decision soon?

Now that the HOF inductees have been announced, we wait for the decision on A-Rod, which could come as early as today. There are reports that Alex may accept a suspension if it’s less than 100 games, to which I say, wouldn’t that be an admission of guilt? Why fight as he has, if he IS guilty? Besides, after his 2009 mea culpa of using while with Texas, how stupid is he to go back on the stuff? Really, I wish he’d just go away.

The Tampa Bay Rays signed ex-Yankee utility IF Jayson Nix. Reports are that ex-Yankee A.J. Burnett may retire.

The BBWAA suspended that writer who sold his ballot to Deadspin.com for one year and that writer won’t ever be allowed to vote for the HOF anymore. It’s too bad that they also didn’t do that for other writers, like the one who voted for Jack Morris and only Jack Morris, or the one who voted for Armando Benitez. Armando Benitez? Really?

Or, for that matter, kick off all 16 writers who did not vote for the winningest living pitcher, Greg Maddux. Maddux won 355 games, and never a whiff of PEDs. To find an MLB pitcher who won more games than Maddux over the course of their career, you need to visit a cemetery.

But then, 23 idiots did NOT vote for Willie Mays in 1979. TWENTY-THREE.

There will be someone who won’t vote for Mariano Rivera in 2019. I only wish we could identify that jackass now so that said jackass could have his ballot stripped from him NOW.

3 make HOF

Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas made the Hall of Fame today.

Maddux is the winningest living pitcher (by one over Clemens), with 355 wins. He got 97.2% (75 is needed) of the vote. Shame to the 16 who didn’t vote for him.

His long-time teammate, Glavine, also a 300-game winner, got 91.9%. Thomas, who hit .301 with 521 HR (the same # as Ted Williams and Willie McCovey) got 83.7%

Craig Biggio, who had over 3000 hits in his MLB career, missed induction by two votes. Two. One writer sent in a ballot listing Jack Morris and no one else. He voted for no one from the steroids era. Will this asshole (and I hope he reads this, for that is what he is) also NOT vote for Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera just because of the era they were unfortunate enough to play in? If so, then he is an asshole.

As for Morris, he got 61.5% and after 15 years on the ballot, drops off. Maybe he will be selected by the Veterans’ Committee. Mike Piazza got 62.2%.

Steroid, or accused steroid users Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens got 34.7 and 35.4% of the vote, respectively. Sammy Sosa barely stayed on with 7.2% and Rafael Palmeiro, despite 3000+ hits and 500+ HR, drops off after getting just 4.4%.

The rule of 10 (a voter couldn’t vote for more than 10) seemed to hurt some players. Mike Mussina got 20.3%, Curt Schilling 29.2%. Others, like Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell and Alan Trammell were hurt. With the steroid (or accused) steroid users staying on the ballot, there is a backlog of good players there and sometimes it is now hard to decide on the best 10. Trammell or Edgar Martinez? Raines or Piazza, etc.

Next year, Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez probably will be elected. Biggio is back, same with Piazza. Gary Sheffield, I think, will just miss next year despite his 500+ HR. I can’t see Nomar getting in. Smoltz, I think, will get in.

It’ll be a Braves weekend. Maddux and Glavine are most famous with their time in Atlanta and their ex-manager, Bobby Cox will be going in the same day. Joe Torre, getting in for his managing with the Yankees, played with and managed Atlanta.

As for Don Mattingly, he stays on the ballot but next year will be his last. He got just 8.2%.

Now for the decision on A-Rod.

Feller passes away; some history and some Yankees news.

Hall of Famer Bob Feller  passed away at the age of 92. I met Feller a few years back and got an autographed baseball. Unfortunately, Feller signed in felt-point, not ball-point and you can guess what happened. Faded away. Sigh. I did thank him for his military service.

Feller won 266 games, all with the Indians, 1936-1941 and 1945-1956. He missed 3 2/3 years due to WWII, when he was with the Navy fighting the Japanese in the South Pacific.

Look at his stats (click the link) from 1939-1947 and consider those years he missed.

Feller was only 17 when he reached the majors. An 8x All-Star, he finished 3rd, 2nd and 3rd in MVP voting in 1939, 1940 and 1941. He finished top-10 in 1946, 1947 and 1951. Six times he was a 20-game winner, including seasons of 24-27-25 (1939-1941) and 26 wins (1946). Six times he led the AL in wins (3x all of MLB). He led the AL in ERA once. Games pitched AL  3x (MLB 1x). Games started 5x (MLB 4x). CG 3x (MLB 2x). 44 career shutouts. He led the AL in shutouts 4x (MLB 1x). 5x he led the AL in IP, the majors 4x. Three times he pitched over 300 innings in a season, including 371 1/3 in 1946! 4x he led the majors in walks. “Rapid Robert” was said to hit 98 with his fastball, but it’s unknown how high he actually hit, given the rudimentary measuring devices of his day. Many thought he was the fastest since Walter Johnson. Seven times he led the majors in strikeouts, and he had the record of 348 from 1946 to 1965 when Sandy Koufax topped it (Nolan Ryan broke that in 1973). I could go on, but you get the picture.

Before he turned 18, he had a 15 and a 17 strikeout game. For many years, he had the record of 18 strikeouts in a game (it is now 20).

Most players who lost significant time during WWII lost 1943-1945, as did Rizzuto, Williams and DiMaggio. He lost all of 1942-1944 and most of 1945. Since he won 24 games in 1939, 27 games in 1940 and 25 in 1941, if we give him 75 wins for 1942-1944 and another 20 for 1945, those 95 wins would take him from 266 career wins to 361.

In 1945, the war ended in time for him to come home and start 9 games. After some 3 2/3 to 3 3/4 years away, he went 5-3, 2.50.

In his first game back in the majors in almost four years, 8/24/45 (shortly after the atomic bombings of Japan—Feller was in the Navy in the South Pacific, fighting on the U.S.S. Alabama), Feller pitched a complete game victory, 2 R, 4 H and 12 K. It was his first MLB game since 9/26/41. He had enlisted in the Navy the day after the Pearl Harbor attack.  

Feller threw three no-hitters, one on Opening Day (I earlier said 1946, it was 1940 (sorry), and the only Opening Day no-no in major league history to date), and twelve one-hitters.

In postseason play, he went 0-2, 5.02 in the 1948 WS. His non-pickoff of Phil Masi is still considered a controversial call. Most thought Masi was picked off by Feller in Game 1 of the 1948 Series. He wasn’t (he was on second) and he scored moments later. Feller lost that game to Johnny Sain 1-0. The Indians did win that series, which was Feller’s only WS win and the Indians last to date. Feller didn’t pitch in the 1954 Series that the Indians were swept in, despite going 13-3 that year.

For his career, 266-162, 3.25 ERA. ERA+ 122. 2581 K. WWII probably stole some 980 K from him. If so, then he could have wound up with say, 361 wins and 3500 K. As a hitter Feller hit .151 with 8 HR.

He won the triple crown of pitching in 1940 (K, W, ERA) when he was just 21. He was elected to the HOF in 1962.

If you read that he was the oldest living HOFer, don’t believe it. Bobby Doerr is still alive and he is the oldest HOFer. Doerr was born seven months before Feller.

Feller’s #19 is retired by the Indians.

One of the all-time greats.

A little history. In 1992 the Yanks were after Greg Maddux, but he spurned a 5-year $34MM offer from the Yanks to go to the Braves for $28MM. The Yanks got Jimmy Key to shore up the rotation instead. In game 6 of the 1996 WS, Maddux loses to the Yanks (he won Game 2) and the Yanks wrap up the Series. Who does he lose to? Jimmy Key. (Maddux also lost to the Yanks in the 1999 WS. He did pitch well in all three games he faced them. The 3-2 loss in game 6, 1996. In the 1999 game, 2 of the 4 runs he gave up were unearned).

Yankees news on LoHud:

SWB coaching staff remains Miley, Wynegar, Aldred. Frank Menechino joins as infield coach. Tony Franklin (underrated mgr.) back at AA Trenton.    

They also report that Don Zimmer, 79, had a pacemaker installed. Get well, Zim.   


McGwire, the Rooney Rule, and more…

I think I wrote and stated most about McGwire yesterday. The steroids may have helped him extend his career and put up the numbers he did. Which is unfair to anyone whose career was shortened but who did it the right way.

Put it this way. Say steroids would have helped Mickey Mantle (and considering some of Mickey’s tape measure shots, could you imagine Mickey on steroids?). Say Mickey is healthier in those last four years, 1965-1968. Say they add a few more years to his career and that instead of 1968 being his last year, it’s 1971 instead. Say Mickey winds up with 600+ HR instead of 536. Who knows? Would Mickey have taken steroids had they been around in 1962? Who knows. McGwire says he did it to get back on the field. Given Mickey’s injuries that he played through, we just don’t know, do we? I wrote a few years ago about the shot Mickey got from a quack at the end of the 1961 season. That shot was supposed to cure a cold that Mickey had. Who knows what was in the needle that infected Mickey and caused him to miss the end of the season and most of the World Series?

Can you imagine if steroids could have helped Don Mattingly? If they could have cured his back problems and restored him to the 1984-1989 Donnie Baseball? McGwire may have had his career saved. Could they have done the same for Donnie?

Kevin Kernan’s column in the Post today (1-12-10) was worth reading. It’s Title says it all…”Truth remains he’s a cheat.” I wouldn’t vote for McGwire for the HOF. My stance is that if he, or for that matter, Rose or a Joe Jackson ever get in, that the last line on the plaque should read gambling, steroids or whatever to let the fan visiting the hall…many years later…know exactly the controversy that surrounded the individual.

This doesn’t only go for McGwire. You wonder how Commissioner Landis would have handled this vs. the spineless, gutless Bud Selig. I’ll tell you this. Landis, if getting a sniff of this, would have barred them all. Clemens,  Bonds, A-Rod, all of them. Granted I’m a Yankees fan and hope that A-Rod helps lead the Yanks to a WS title in 2010 as he did in 2009, but if he were barred, I’d accept it.

It’s one thing for a Pettitte to do it once or twice (50 game suspension in my eyes). But Alex admitted to three years of it. McGwire admits to years of doing it. Different scenario. Bar for good? I’d go with it, even if it is Alex and it hurts the Yankees. The problem here, of course is that Alex did it while with Texas. Who should then get punished, Texas or New York? Alex, definitely. But which team?

Sad music news. Knack frontman Doug Fieger has cancer. It looks pretty bad. They may have been one-hit (or one-album) wonders, but in 1979, they were a refreshing sound to those who were tired of the disco sound that permeated that year.

The Knack
The summer of 1979. I’d still rather hear My Sharona
or Good Girls Don’t than We Are Family.

Good article also in the Post regarding the Rooney Rule. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the reason and concept of the rule. Good intentions. But when there are obvious candidates out there like Shanahan (2 Super Bowl wins) or Carroll (a pair of national championships), then bringing in a minority candidate to interview for a job they have no chance of getting—when we all know it’s a sham interview to satisfy the Rooney Rule—makes no sense. If there is no clear cut candidate, enforce the Rooney Rule. When there is an obvious candidate, waive the rule. Don’t make a joke out of the process.

Put it this way. In 1969, the Redskins let Otto Graham go. The replacement? Some guy named Vince Lombardi (who only coached the Redskins for one year before colon cancer took his life). Would you have enforced the Rooney Rule back then? I mean, if the ‘Skins could get the best candidate available…Lombardi…would you really want to…or need to…interview anyone else? I mean, come on.

Lane Kifflin, former Raiders coach and then Tennessee, is going to replace Carroll at USC. 

Forget some of the celebrity weddings. Jolie/Pitt. Streisand/Brolin. Can you imagine what the circus of paparazzi will be like, all (like the National Enquirer) trying to get shots of Jeter’s wedding?

Joel Sherman in the Post is reporting that apparently the Yanks are budgeting $2M for their LF situation this year. Hairston? Nady? Reed Johnson? But if that is the truth, certainly not JD. No way he goes from $13M to $2M.

For what it’s worth, compare Greg Maddux to Roger Clemens. Compare Ken Griffey Jr. to McGwire. For what we know, Maddux and Griffey’s numbers are clean…and better than Clemens’ and McGwire’s. Just saying…and why the respect (and first ballot votes) should be so much greater for Maddux and Griffey.

The worst part about the steroid era is that we suspect. Our suspicions about McGwire have proved true. But for others, we just don’t know…Peter Gammons writes,

Last spring, Mike Piazza talked to me about the accusations of steroid use and seemed legitimately shaken. Piazza is a smart, good man — one we all hope was clean — but he is going to have to deal with rumors and innuendo.

Sammy Sosa will have to answer the assumptions. So will Clemens and Barry Bonds and many others.

So will Jeff Bagwell when his name appears on the ballot next winter. Bagwell’s name has never turned up on any report. He lost bulk his last few seasons, but he couldn’t lift a weight for five years because of congenital arthritis in his shoulder. This summer, two of his closest friends in the game adamantly maintained there is no chance he cheated.

Bagwell, according to Elias Sports Bureau, is one of nine players with 1,500 runs, 1,500 RBIs and 200 steals — the other eight are in the Hall of Fame. Compare him to Jim Rice, and you’ll see that Bagwell had 67 more homers, 78 more RBIs, 268 more runs, 135 more extra-base hits, 84 more total bases and one more Gold Glove. His on-base percentage was 56 points higher than Rice, his slugging 38 points higher, his OPS 94 points higher and his OPS-plus 21 points higher. No doubt, no question a Hall of Famer.

I wrote the other day about Bagwell and the suspicions. If I definitely, positively KNEW he was clean, then I would consider him a HOF worthy player. But we don’t know, and that is the problem. We’d like to believe Clemens, a sure-shot 1st ballot HOF if clean, but the suspicions are too great.

God forbid someone like Jeter or Rivera be guilty. I can’t think of two cleaner players in the game.



Game 89. Tigers @ Yankees.

What a week for the old folks.

Rivera, at 39, sets the All-Star record for saves with four. Last night, 46-year-old Jamie Moyer pitched seven scoreless innings of one-hit ball. Tom Watson, at 59, has the British Open lead after two rounds, and shot an opening round 65. Lance Armstrong is running strong at the Tour de France in his comeback.

But for some younger guys, not a good week. Tiger Woods failed to make the cut (and TV will probably shift from all-Tiger to the Watson feel-good story). Yao Ming’s will most likely miss all next year, and you hope his career won’t be over.

Tonight’s Yankee lineup:

YANKEES (51-37, 2nd, 3 GB. Up by 2 1/2 for the WC)
OPS+ 116, ERA+ 97. +2 on the Pythagorean.

*-Team leader BA/HR/RBI/SB/SBATT/OPS+
Jeter SS .321*-10-37-17/20-125
Damon LF .276-16-50-8/8-127
Teixeira 1B .275-21*-63*-0/0-137
Rodriguez 3B .256-17-50-3/3-150*
Matsui DH .265-14-40-0/0-130
Posada C .285-11-40-1/1-128
Cano 2B .308-13-46-4/8-116
Swisher RF .237-14-47-0/0-115
Cabrera CF .285-8-34-5/7-106

Pitching: RHP A.J. Burnett (8-4, 3.77) ERA+ 117* (among Yankee starters)

So the Braves are retiring #31 for Maddux. I do wonder what happens if you start retiring too many…oh yeah, Aceves wears #91 and Hughes #65 (j/k).

Here is a list as to what is retired throughout baseball.