Thursday, July 31, 2014

Tigers win the David Price Sweepstakes!

espn.com                                                            espn.com

Reality has finally set in for the Tampa Bay Rays as they pulled the trigger on their prize phenom. Price will definitely be a huge difference maker for Detroit Tigers as he immediately puts the Tigers rotation as the best in baseball.  The Tigers rotation will include Scherzer, Price, Verlander, Sanchez and Porcello. The odds of the Rays making the playoffs were beyond slim despite the recent surge winning 9 of their last 11 games.  Tampa put up their white flag and traded Price despite having another year on his contract which brings to question will Max Scherzer be in a Tigers uniform next season?  Austin Jackson was pulled out of the Tigers/White Sox game and was told he was traded to Seattle.  Tigers right-hand pitcher Drew Smyly and Seattle Mariners' Nick Franklin will goto Tampa. The Rays also acquire the Tigers' #4 prospect, shortstop, Willy Adames.

-LeRoy McConnell III

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

20 Baseball Records That Will Never Be Broken

We all heard the old saying "records are meant to be broken", but it's not necessarily a true statement.  I recently studied some of the all-time records held in Major League Baseball and come to the realization that several baseball records will never be broken. I know there is an outcry of some of the individuals who own some of these sacred records; but since Major League Baseball recognizes these accomplishments in their record books without an asterisk then I will do the same. In the following excerpts below I discuss extraordinary records held in Major League Baseball history that will never be broken.

Denton True Young "Cy Young" 511 wins! cy-young  
We all know Cy Young holds the record for winning 511 games, he also holds the record for the most losses and innings pitched.   Young was defeated 316 times, and pitched 7,356 innings!  Anyone pitching that many innings only had me wondering how many complete games must he have had?  The answer is 749!  What kinda pitching rotation did the Cleveland Spiders and Boston Americans have?  I take it that Cy Young never had Tommy John issues in the 22 seasons in the big leagues. Notables: The closest member to reach 511 wins was left hand pitcher Walter Johnson (417).  In today's game we have witness Greg Maddux (355) and Roger Clemens (354).  Tim Hudson is the active leader in wins with (211). 7,356 innings and 749 complete games pitched is mind-boggling!  Starting pitchers today struggle to pitch past the sixth inning!  Keep in mind that Nolan Ryan was in the majors for 27 years and he only pitched 5386 innings (5th all-time).  Mark Burhle is the active leader in innings pitched with 2964. 749 complete games will never get touched because today's pitchers won't even make that many starts.  Just think Bob Gibson recorded 255 complete and CC Sabathia is the active leader with 37!

Rickey Henderson single season (130) stolen bases and (1406) career stolen bases
There were plenty of times when Rickey Henderson would mention to whomever would listen that Rickey was the greatest of all time.  Well, he was correct as far as stealing bases were concern.  After breaking Lou Brock's career stolen base record of 938, Rickey boldly place the record out of reach by stealing an extra 438 bases.  Since today's game is all about rickeysteal
the longball, you will seldom see a ballplayer today make his living with his feet.  Oh by the way he also holds the single season stolen base record of 130. Can you imagine the wear and tear on your body from stealing bases.  Rickey can continue to chant his own name as the greatest base stealer of all time.  Ichiro Suzuki is the closest active player with 475 career stolen bases and he is 40.  Jacoby Ellsbury (70) and Willy Tavaras (68) are the only active players to break 65 in a single season. Future neophytes would be Dee Gordon and Billy Hamilton

Nolan Ryan 5714 K's and 7 No-Hitters 
I guess we can consider 27 years as a major league ballplayer a record that will never be touched.  The Ryan Expres was throwing major league heat at the tender age of 46, running his career strikeout total to (5714).  He is the only pitcher to eclipse 5,000 Ks and has (839) more strikeouts than Randy Johnson (4875), who sits second and also no longer playing.  CC Sabathia is the active leader in strikeouts with (2437). NS_9NolanRyan5000th                                                    (David Woo/Staff Photographer)

Nolan also has thrown an unprecedented 7 no-hitters.  The most interesting fact about his sixth and seventh no-hitter was he did it at the age 43 and 44 years of age!  Sandy Koufax has four no-hitters.  Mark Burhle, Tim Lincecum and Justin Verlander are the three active pitchers with two no-hitters.   A side note: Johnny Van Der Meer's record of two consecutive no-hitters in 1938 will remain a safe bet as well.

Joe DiMaggio 56 game hitting streak Joe D
Probably baseball most heralded record now.  Joe DiMaggio broke the original 45 games hit streak held by Willie Keeler back in 1941.  He ran the total up to 56 games before the Cleveland Indians finally shut him down.   You want to know how cool "Joltin Joe" was?  DiMaggio started another streak the next day that lasted an additional 16 games. So just imagine hitting safely in 72 of 73 games.  Many have tried and many have failed! Pete Rose (44) and Paul Molitor (39) were the closest players to ever threaten the now 73-year-old record.  Since the turn of the century only three major league ball players have reach a 33 game hit streak: Jimmy Rollins (38), Chase Utley (35), Dan Uggla (33)

Pete Rose 4256 hits
Speaking of Pete Rose.  If no one wants to give Charlie Hustle some love then I'll give it to him.  Only two individuals have more than 4,000 major league hits.  Ty Cobb (4191) and Pete Rose (4256), who passed Cobb back in 1985.  Its hard enough just to get to 3,000 hits! Only 28 ball players have reached that plateau.espn.go.com                                                       espn.go.com
Derek Jeter (3416) is the lone active member of the 3,000 hit club still playing.  If Ichiro Suzuki (2770) started in the majors early on in his career then he would have been the one to make a serious run at Rose's record.  There is still Alex Rodriguez (2939)!   What's the odds of Arod reaching 3,000?  Rose also holds the record of 3215 singles.

Sam Crawford's 309 career triples Hall of Stats
                                                           Hall of Stats
Hitting a triple at the professional level requires some serious speed.  This is the one time you cannot stand at the plate and admiring your work after putting the ball in play!  Sam Crawford hit 309 career triples, are you kidding me!  If you don't recognize Sam Crawford's name, just realize he is the man who has 14 more triples than Ty Cobb (295) listed second and Honus Wagner (252) who is sitting third on the all-time triples list.  Carl Crawford is the active leader in triples with (118).

George Brett Winning a batting title in 3 different decades  msn.foxsports.com-                                                      msn.foxsports.com
When we think of George Brett the first thing that comes to mind is the pine tar fiasco back on July 24, 1983.  Brett is the only player in MLB history to win a batting title in three different decades (1976, 1980, 1990).  Ty Cobb leads with (11) batting titles followed by Tony Gwynn and Honus Wagner with (8).  Rod Carew, Rogers Hornsby and Stan Musial all have (7) and none of them can claim a batting title in three different decades.

Cal Ripken Jr. 2632 consecutive games played
I never thought of this record as being a big deal.  Heck grown men playing a kids game and getting paid millions of dollars to do it, well sign me up!  Seriously, only seven major league ball players have topped 1100 consecutive games played.   Ripken broke Lou Gherig's record of 2,130 consecutive games that stood for 56 years on September 6, 1995. cal-ripken-streak-consecutive-games-played
Though some may argue his play was affected because he went 16 seasons without a day off.  How many of us have used a sick day from our job? Up until this season Prince Fielder's 547 consecutive game streak was snapped as he had season ending surgery to repair a cervical disc herniation.

Tris Speaker's 792 Career Doubles
Speaker's 792 career doubles has stood since The Depression Era (1928)!  Only four members (Speaker, Pete Rose, Stan Musial, and Ty Cobb) can say they hit at least 700 doubles in their career.  All four members are also inclusive company as they have at least 3500 career hits. Hitting doubles in the big league doesn't require being a power hitter as I mention the top four members of the 700 club, only Musial was consider a slugger.theconloncollection.com                                                    theconloncollection.com
During Speaker's heyday in hit over 50 doubles four times, 59 in one season was his most ever.  The record for most in a single season belonged to Earl Webb who hit 67 in 1931.  There is one active player that may have a legitimate shot of threatening Speaker's record.  Albert Pujols who is sitting at 546 (246 shy).  However he must stay away from the injury bug!

Barry Bonds' Bases on Balls single season 232 and career 2558
To draw a walk requires a lot of discipline, patience at the plate, and knowledge of the strike zone.  Know one did it better than the most hated man in baseball.  Barry Bonds was pitched around so many times that the slugger may have seen one good pitch a game.  To his credit he never chase the ball outside the strike zone.  If it wasn't a strike then he would gladly take that piece of armor off his right arm and head on down to first base.  Bonds led the league in walks twelve time and he also holds the single season (120) and career mark of intentional walk (688).AP                                                                   AP 
Buck Showalter intentional walk Barry Bonds with the bases-loaded; with two outs and a one run lead. The bold decision resulted in a victory for the Arizona Diamondbacks.  Bonds surpassed Rickey Henderson career walk of (2190) and Bobby Abreu is the leading active member with 1474.  As far as breaking the intentional walks; Albert Pujols is 12 shy of Hank Aaron (293) for second on the list.

Walter Johnson 110 shutouts psacard.com                                                                       psacard.com 
Walter Johnson is one of two pitcher to won more than 400 games in major league history.  Out of 417 victories Johnson had shutout 110 ball clubs!  In other words a pitcher must complete the entire game without giving up a run to get credit for a complete game shutout.  Oh by the way he is fifth all-time in complete games pitched (531). His single season high for shutouts is (11) which places him eighth all-time.  The major league record for shutouts in a season is (16), tied by Pete Alexander (1916) and George Bradley (1896).  Bob Gibson was the last known man to make a run at the record in a single season with (13) in his magical season of 1968.  Johnson's career 110 shutouts look to be safe for a very long time.  38-year-old Tim Hudson has been in the majors for 16 years and he has 13 career shutouts that leads all active players in baseball.  Remember Bob Gibson did that in one season!

Fernando Tatis hits 2 grand slams in one inning!enquirer.com                                                           enquirer.com
 Fernando faced Dodgers pitcher Chan Ho Park, who is known for giving up the long ball (ask any Texas Rangers fan).   Opportunity of walking up to the plate with the bases loaded twice in the same inning and being able to smash two grand slams is just about a tall tale as they come.  This sort of thing doesn't even happen in little league.

Ty Cobbb's lifetime batting average of .366
Ty Cobb batted a meager .240 in his rookie season at the age of 18 and that would be the last time he would ever have a batting average under .316.  Cobb had a .367 career batting average to go along with 4191 hits, only makes it more incredible that he only walked 1289 times in 24 seasons.  It is extremely difficult to keep a average up without drawing a walk every now and then.  Cobb helped his own cause by batting over .400 on three different occasions. ty-cobb2His career batting average is 20 points higher than the likes of Ted Williams (.344) and 22 points higher than Babe Ruth (.342).  Heck as good as Tony Gwynn was he only had a career average of (.338).  Wade Boggs (.327).  Today's active career batting averages belongs to Miguel Cabrera who owns a (.321) batting average.  I wonder what Ty Cobb would do in today's game?

Albert Belle 50 home runs and 50 doubles in a season cleveland.indians.mlb.com                                                      cleveland.indians.mlb.com  
Albert Belle is the first and only player in major league history to hit 52 home runs and 50 doubles in the same season.  Funny thing is he accomplished this feat in 143 games.  It was by far his best season as a pro in 1995 and that was the year they gave the MVP to Red Sox first baseman Mo Vaughn.  Well we all know why, Belle was a little volatile to say the least.  Belle almost duplicated the 50/50 club once again three years later in a White Sox uniform (49hr,48dbls).  Baltimore Orioles Chris Davis is probably the closest active players to join Belle's 50/50 club with his magical season just last year when he hit (53hr/42dbls).

Johnny Vander Meer's consecutive no-hittersvander meer
Nolan Ryan had seven chances at this record and failed each time.  Vander Meer's consecutive no-hitters were four days apart.  He did allow base runners via the walk.  Giving up three walks in his first no-hitter.  However his second bid attempt he nearly lost his no-hitter walking eight batters.  In fact he walked the bases loaded in the ninth inning before Leo Durocher popped out to ended the game.  There have been 286 no-hitters in major league history.  

Hack Wilson 191 RBI in a single season espn.com                                                                   espn.com 
Needless to say in order for Hack Wilson to achieve this record, his teammates had to consistently get on base so there would be opportunities for him to drive them in.  191 RBI are ridiculous for the 1930s, in fact  that year produce a total of six ball players achieving over the 150 RBI mark.  Hmmm, could they have been juicing back then?  The top 13 members of the RBI list rank from 191 RBI to 166 RBI, all achieving their single season stats in the 1930s.   With all the offense displayed in today's game this is the record I thought would be threatened; but here it is 80 years later and the closest person to make a run at the RBI record was Manny Ramirez.  In 1999, Ramirez drove in a modern era 165 RBI for the Cleveland Indians.  That is still 28 RBI short of getting a sniff of Wilson's 191 RBI.

Connie Mack  3,731 Wins and record for manager longevity: 53 years  huffingtonpost.com                                                                huffingtonpost.com
Cornelius McGillicuddy, Sr a.k.a Connie Mack did only what Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys wish he could do.  Own and manage the team.  Connie Mack owned the Philadelphia Athletics from 1901-1950.   Mack managed until he was 87 years old!  In that span he led the Athletics to five World Series victories so there was no reason to fire himself.  He manage the A's to 3731 victories; but loss more than he won losing 3948 games!  Who loses 3948 games which is also an untouchable record?  This record is equivalent to Cy Young's 511 victories as Hall of Fame managers Tony LaRussa (1003) and Bobby Cox 1227) victories behind Mack. 

Dutch Leonard's 0.96 ERA espn.com                                                                           espn.com  
In 1914 Boston Red Sox pitcher Dutch Leonard gave up only 24 earned runs in 224.2 innings  He is one of only two pitchers in major league history that had an ERA under one.  Tim Keefe also did it with a .857 way back in 1880.  The closest pitcher to pose any threat was St. Louis Cardinals Bob Gibson who had a 1.12 ERA giving up 38 earned runs back in 1968.  Here it is 2014 and we are clamoring over the 215 million dollar Clayton Kershaw who has the active single season ERA of 1.83.  Just imagine how much Dutch Leonard would command for today.

Barry Bonds single and career home run record (73) and (762)barry-bonds                                                          calvinayre.com
Don't jump down my throat, the most hated man in the modern baseball era owns these records. They are in every legitimate baseball reference you can find. There are no asterisks beside Barry Bonds records.  Whether you are a Barry Bonds fan or not, when he went after the single season and career home run record his plate appearance were a must see.  His records may stand primarily because of no more enhancements.  The single season home run record originally was owned by Roger Maris who like Bonds was getting the rift because everyone was pulling for Mickey Mantle instead when breaking Babe Ruth's record of 60.  Since the single season home run record was broken by Maris(61), McGwire topped it with (70) and Sosa had (66) home runs in 1998.  Bonds owned the record (73) three years later (2001).  August 7, 2007, Bonds snatched the sacred home run record(756) formerly held by Hank Aaron.  The debate continues as baseball purist argues who is the home run king.  Well according to Major League Baseball, Barry Bonds is the home run king.  Since Bonds (73) home runs Ryan Howard is the closest hitting (58) home runs in 2006.  The closest player to become the next home run king would be another villian in Alex Rodriguez (654) and Albert Pujols (512)

Ken Griffey Sr. & Ken Griffey Jr. The only father/son tandem to hit back to back home runs nesn.com
First of all, what would you do in order to play baseball at the highest level with your old man.  There have been plenty of legacies throughout baseball and its a rarity to see a father/son tandem playing side by side.  The Griffey's will always be able to tell the most magical moment a father and son could have in the game of baseball.  On Sept. 14, 1990 Griffey Sr. hit a home run against Anaheim Angels Kirk McCaskill with Junior coming up to bat next.  What does the kid do you ask?  Junior takes a 3-0 pitch and almost hits it in the exact same spot in left-center field!

The best thing about baseball records are no two fans will completely agree upon which records will be the hardest to break.  I went in-depth on just a few but here are a few more that will never be touched.  
Ron Hunt gets hit by a pitch 50 times in 1971  
Eric Gagne 84 consecutive saves
Hank Aaron 25consecutive all-star games selections  
Charles "Old Hoss" Radbourn 59 wins by a pitcher in a single season  
Joe Sewell - Least Strikeouts.  A .300 hitter over 14 seasons, Joe has struck-out 114 times in 7132 at-bats.  
Nolan Ryan walking 2,795 batters  
Barry Bonds’ .609 on-base percentage for a single season.  
Roger Hornsby's .424 BA in 1924  
Don Larsen's perfect game in World Series  
Orel Hershiser's record of 59 consecutive scoreless innings
Ichiro's 262 single season hit record  
Mariano Rivera 652 Career Saves  
Greg Maddux is the only pitcher in MLB history to win at least 15 games for 17 straight seasons

-LeRoy McConnell III Related Articles
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The All-Time Franchise Player on each American League Baseball Roster
Top 10 Eccentric Hairdos in the Majors
The Top 10 Negro League Unsung Ballplayers 

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Giants battery-mates each smacks grand slams

mlb.com                                                             via mlb.com
 Never in the history of MLB has battery-mates smack grand slams until Sunday afternoon in AT&T ballpark in San Francisco.  Both Giants catcher Buster Posey and Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner displayed post-Fourth of July fireworks in back-to-back innings giving the San Francisco Giants an 8-4 victory against the Arizona Diamondbacks.  Posey swung for the fences in the fifth inning with the Giants trailing 1-0 and Bumgarner slammed came in the sixth inning.  Madison Bumgarner became the first pitcher in 48 years to hit two grand in a single season; the other pitcher was  Tony Cloninger who did it back in 1966. Here's a look Bumgarner's grand slam: mlb.com
It was the third home run for the all-star pitcher this season.  After the game Bumgarner announced that he will not pitch in Tuesday night's summer classic giving up his spot to Tim Hudson.  If the National League team needs a substitute for the home run derby my money is on Madison Bumgarner!

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Billy Hamilton Demonstrates How To Beat Out A Bunt Single

Cincinnati Reds rookie sensation Billy Hamilton shows the major leagues another reason why he is in-line for National League Rookie of the Year.  Take a look at his bunt attempt in his first at-bat Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Billy-Hamilton-Reds-infield-single-1-071114Quite a nifty move by the young phenom.  Pirates first baseman Gaby Sanchez got a taste of how fast Hamilton really is!  I wonder if the Cincinnati Bengals are paying attention?  With NFL preseason camp coming up in a few days the Bengals may want to give Billy a call for a tryout at receiver, punt return or kickoff return.  I could easily see him dodging NFL defenders on the gridiron in the near future.

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