Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Annual Updates 2018

After an anticlimactic postseason that saw the Red Sox win it again (and where my predictions were a big pile of LOL), it's time for the annual updates to our ongoing lists.

Enjoy!

Rookie of the Year Facts
The Second Place Award Winners
The Run That Clinched It

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Playoff Predictions: 2018 Edition

On what I believe was the first day in Major League history with two tiebreakers played, both teams I was rooting for lost. Needless to say, I'm not terribly thrilled as I write this post. But I have a duty to the baseball community to record these predictions which will almost certainly be wrong so that we can all have a good laugh over them someday. My preseason prediction was a Yankees-Dodgers World Series. Do I stand by that prediction? Let's just take this round by round.

Stupid Wild Card Games That Nobody Wanted

Cubs over Rockies
Yankees over Athletics

While it was fun pulling for the Rockies as they marched to the playoffs, the fact remains that they simply are not a great team. The Cubs have much more depth, and when you throw in the fact that Chicago has home field advantage, they're the easy favorite here. Obviously, anything can happen in one game, but I'm going with what I think is the more likely outcome.

As for the American League, I think the Yankees have just a bit more magic on their side, and I'm not going to bet against them.

Division Series

Brewers over Cubs
Dodgers over Braves
Yankees over Red Sox
Indians over Astros

The way the Brewers have been playing lately, I don't think my beloved Cubs are in a very favorable position if they face them. They've been unbeatable. If you recall, I actually picked them at the beginning of the season to be the surprise division winner, so I'm not always wrong.

I'm taking the Dodgers over the Braves, just because I'm not confident that the Braves are all there yet. The Dodgers have been a lot better in recent postseasons than earlier this decade, and I think they have the be the favorite this year too.

Yankees over the Red Sox? The Red Sox team that won 108 games? Yes, I'm going to make a bold prediction that the juggernaut from Boston is actually overrated and will choke in the first round like the Indians did last year. Besides, this Yankee team ain't exactly Jell-O pudding, with 100 wins of their own.

But wait...I'm also predicting the Indians will beat the powerhouse Astros? Now I'm just loony, right? Two huge first round upsets in the same league? I'll admit that the Astros are a much better team than this year's Indians, but the postseason really is a crapshoot, and I think these Indians could pull it off. They have unfinished business from last year, and they might be just a little more determined than the defending champs.

League Championship Series

Brewers over Dodgers
Indians over Yankees

So it looks like I'm not sticking with my preseason pennant predictions! I have both of them losing in the LCS.

First, the Brewers. I think their momentum has given them the confidence to ride this thing all the way to the World Series. They're playing like a team whose time has come, and despite them beating the Cubs, I have to tip my hat to them. This team looks special.

Indians over the Yankees? Yup. The Indians looked like a team of destiny last year, but the Yankees spoiled the party in the first round. Remember that unfinished business I mentioned above? Yep. It's time for the Indians to get their payback.

World Series

Indians over Brewers

Remember the Cardinals of 2004-06? In 2004, they won 100 games and the pennant, but lost to the Red Sox, who were breaking the once-famous 86-year drought. In 2005, they won 100 games again, but this time they lost in the LCS to the Astros. In 2006, they squeaked into the playoffs by winning a weak division, but unlike the prior two years, they won the whole thing. Go figure.

I'm predicting the Indians to follow a similar pattern: Lose to a team getting a monkey off its back, lose before the World Series, then win the World Series with a team whose record isn't that impressive but played in a weak division. We have the precedent. It's all there for the Indians' taking. Can this be Cleveland's year? That's what I'm going with. And unlike last year, I might even be correct.

So there you have my predictions. Be sure to come back in a month and have a good chuckle at how wrong they were!

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Oldest Ringless Players: 2018 Edition

And then there were ten! With the elimination of the Cardinals this afternoon, we now know who our ten postseason teams are, and we can check out this year's edition of the Oldest Ringless Players!

Atlanta Braves: Peter Moylan (b. December 2, 1978)
Boston Red Sox: Brandon Phillips (b. June 28, 1981)
Chicago Cubs: Jorge De La Rosa (b. April 5, 1981)
Cleveland Indians: Rajai Davis (b. October 19, 1980)
Colorado Rockies: Chris Iannetta (b. April 8, 1983)
Houston Astros: Martin Maldonado (b. August 16, 1986)
Los Angeles Dodgers: Rich Hill (b. March 11, 1980)
Milwaukee Brewers: Curtis Granderson (b. March 16, 1981)
New York Yankees: Neil Walker (b. September 10, 1985)
Oakland Athletics: Fernando Rodney (b. March 18, 1977)

This crew feels different than most past editions. Fernando Rodney seems like he's shown up here a lot, but the others, not so much. The Rockies deserve an asterisk, since Seunghwan Oh is older than Iannetta and has never won a Major League World Series, but he's won several Korean Series, so I don't think he should count.

I'll be back with my predictions for the playoffs once we have all the races settled.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Ultimate Number Players: #21-25

It's time for another installment of Ultimate Number Players! In case you've forgotten how this works, the Ultimate Number Player has to have worn a particular uniform number with every stint with every franchise he played for, and he must be (in my judgment) the best player to have played with the most franchises wearing that number. We've done them all from 1 to 20, so now we'll do another block of five.

Ultimate #21: Warren Spahn

It's hard to find a good photo of Spahn in a Giants uniform with his #21 visible. The closest thing I've found is grainy black-and-white footage from the infamous Marichal-Roseboro brawl where the back of his jersey can be seen among the chaos. For the photo collage, I chose the only other qualifying player with three franchises: Mike Hargrove. I know this looks terrible compared to some of the others I've made, but it was the best I could do.




Ultimate #22: Walt Weiss

Thank goodness he wore #22 for one season with the Athletics before embarking on his journey around the majors.




Ultimate #23: Ted Simmons

Several 23s had three franchises, but Simmons was by far the best of the lot.




Ultimate #24: Willie Mays

24 proved to be a difficult number to keep one's entire career, but the greatest player ever to wear it takes the prize here with his two franchises.



Ultimate #25: Jim Thome

I don't know how he did it, but Thome bounced around a ton, somehow always holding on to the coveted #25. This collage is a thing of beauty in my eyes.



Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Half the Guys Are Gone

For today's post, I''m just going to share some data I've compiled and you can make of it what you will.

At what point are half the players on a team deceased? If the total number of players (let's call it variable n) is odd, it'd be when the number of deceased players is equal to (n + 1 / 2). If you have an even number of players, it's when the number of deceased players is (n / 2). I looked at the years that were multiples of ten between 1910 and 1960 to see which players marked the halfway point of the players being deceased for each of them, and also how long it took to occur. For a couple from 1960, they didn't even reach that level till earlier this year. I also looked at how it compared to the average age of the team to see how strong the correlation was.


1910NameDeath DateYearsAvg Age
PittsburgHowie Camnitz3/2/19605028.3
Philadelphia (AL)Jack Coombs4/15/19574727.6
CincinnatiFrank Roth3/27/19554526.2
ClevelandHeinie Berger2/10/19544428.2
Boston (AL)Bunny Madden1/20/19544425.5
Chicago (AL)Fred Payne1/16/19544427.1
BrooklynRube Dessau5/6/19524225.9
New York (NL)Doc Crandall8/17/19514125.7
WashingtonDoc Ralston8/29/19504027.9
Boston (NL)Jim Riley3/25/19493926.5
DetroitMarv Peasley12/27/19483827.8
New York (AL)Walter Blair8/20/19483827.4
St. Louis (NL)Rebel Oakes3/1/19483826.4
Chicago (NL)Mordecai Brown2/14/19483829.0
St. Louis (AL)Hub Northen10/1/19473728.2
Philadelphia (NL)Kitty Bransfield5/1/19473729.0
MLB AVG41.427.3

r = -0.18



1920NameDeath DateYearsAvg Age
PittsburghBilly Southworth11/15/19694927.6
Philadelphia (AL)Chick Galloway11/7/19694924.7
New York (AL)Rip Collins5/27/19684827.8
ClevelandRay Caldwell8/17/19674729.3
BrooklynDoug Baird6/13/19674730.1
Chicago (NL)Hippo Vaughn5/29/19664629.3
Philadelphia (NL)Gene Paulette2/8/19664628.9
WashingtonBill Hollahan11/27/19654527.2
CincinnatiJimmy Ring7/6/19654529.1
Boston (AL)Wally Schang3/6/19654528.1
DetroitOscar Stanage11/11/19644428.9
St. Louis (AL)Roy Sanders7/8/19634328.5
Chicago (AL)Dickey Kerr5/4/19634329.4
Boston (NL)Ray Powell10/16/19624227.9
St. Louis (NL)Burt Shotton7/29/19624226.4
New York (NL)Frank Snyder1/5/19624226.9
MLB AVG45.228.1

r = -0.06




1930NameDeath DateYearsAvg Age
New York (NL)Hughie Critz1/10/19805027.2
ClevelandMilt Shoffner1/19/19784827.3
Boston (NL)Lance Richbourg9/10/19754529.6
CincinnatiMarty Callaghan6/23/19754529.6
New York (AL)Ownie Carroll6/8/19754527.0
DetroitJimmy Shevlin10/30/19744426.7
PittsburghSteve Swetonic4/22/19744426.7
Chicago (AL)Bennie Tate10/27/19734327.4
St. Louis (NL)Frankie Frisch3/12/19734329.6
Chicago (NL)Danny Taylor10/11/19724229.4
Boston (AL)Charlie Berry9/6/19724228.6
St. Louis (AL)General Crowder4/3/19724228.7
BrooklynRay Phelps7/7/19714128.9
Philadelphia (NL)Tripp Sigman3/8/19714127.1
WashingtonBobby Burke2/8/19714129.1
Philadelphia (AL)Pinky Higgins3/21/19693928.7
MLB AVG43.428.2

r = -0.35



1940NameDeath DateYearsAvg Age
Boston (NL)Hank Majeski8/9/19915126.3
Philadelphia (AL)Wally Moses10/10/19905026.9
New York (NL)Mickey Witek8/24/19905028.7
Philadelphia (NL)Neb Stewart6/8/19905027.4
St. Louis (NL)Creepy Crespi3/1/19905027.1
New York (AL)Lefty Gomez2/17/19894928.1
Chicago (NL)Zeke Bonura3/9/19874728.9
CincinnatiVince DiMaggio10/3/19864628.8
DetroitHank Greenberg9/4/19864629.4
St. Louis (AL)George Susce2/25/19864628.2
WashingtonSam West11/23/19854526.8
Boston (AL)Joe Glenn5/6/19854528.1
ClevelandHank Helf10/27/19844426.7
BrooklynGus Mancuso10/26/19844428.4
Chicago (AL)Joe Kuhel2/26/19844429.4
PittsburghEd Leip11/24/19834327.6
MLB AVG46.927.9

r = -0.31



1950NameDeath DateYearsAvg Age
WashingtonSandy Consuegra11/16/20055528.6
St. Louis (AL)Ribs Raney7/7/20035325.5
New York (AL)Joe Ostrowski1/3/20035329.2
Chicago (NL)Harry Chiti1/31/20025227.5
Boston (AL)Bob Gillespie11/4/20015129.8
New York (NL)Bill Rigney2/20/20015127.0
St. Louis (NL)Tom Poholsky1/6/20015129.1
Boston (NL)Willard Marshall11/5/20005029.2
Chicago (AL)John Perkovich9/16/20005028.4
Philadelphia (NL)Ken Heintzelman8/14/20005026.5
BrooklynPee Wee Reese8/14/19994927.5
ClevelandEarly Wynn4/4/19994929.2
Philadelphia (AL)Ben Guintini12/2/19984831.2
DetroitHal Newhouser11/10/19984828.2
PittsburghStan Rojek7/9/19974728.6
CincinnatiBobby Adams2/13/19974727.5
MLB AVG50.328.3

r = -0.19


1960NameDeath DateYearsAvg Age
ClevelandTito Francona2/13/20185828.2
Los AngelesWally Moon2/9/20185827.7
DetroitChico Fernandez6/11/20165628.6
San FranciscoJim Davenport2/18/20165626.8
Kansas CityKen Johnson11/21/20155528.3
St. LouisRay Sadecki11/17/20145428.6
PhiladelphiaAl Dark11/13/20145426.1
Chicago (AL)Gene Freese6/19/20135330.8
MilwaukeeStan Lopata6/15/20135330.0
BostonTom Borland3/2/20135329.0
Chicago (NL)Ed Bouchee1/23/20135328.1
WashingtonDon Mincher3/4/20125227.4
New YorkAndy Carey12/15/20115128.1
PittsburghGino Cimoli2/12/20115128.6
BaltimoreAl Pilarcik9/20/20105027.8
CincinnatiWhitey Lockman3/17/20094927.3
MLB AVG53.528.2

r = -0.05


The r variable, for anyone unaware, shows the strength of correlation. A negative number, as we see in each of these cases, shows that the higher the number of years until a team reaches the halfway point, the younger the average age of the team is. That's consistent with what we'd expect, but as we can see, the correlation isn't particularly strong in any of these cases. There's no higher than a 35% correlation in any instance, and in some cases it's close to zero.

I'm also not sure why from 1920 to 1930 the average number of years till a team reached the halfway point actually dropped. You'd think we'd see a steady rise, considering the increases in life expectancy over time.

I suppose I'll have to compile the data for more years than just these, to see if we can spot any trends, because six different years isn't exactly the largest sample size. We'll see what comes of that. To be continued? Maybe?