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Nice guy.  Have some blogs.  Do baseball research.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Lazy media: check the facts!

Today I heard a prominent media personality on ESPN disparage the credentials of Seattle pitcher Felix Hernandez to win the AL Cy Young award, mostly because Hernandez has a 13-12 record. Despite the fact that Hernandez leads AL in innings, strike outs and ERA, media guy said that Hernandez did not pitch in the tough AL east. The implication was that Hernandez pitched more against weaker hitting AL west teams.

I checked how Hernandez did against AL teams.


I sorted by OPS allowed by Hernandez. The only AL teams with OPS lower than .500:

Yankees .495
Boston .494
Toronto .440

Three best OPS against Hernandez:

Angels .738
Texas .727
Oakland .648

The Yanks and Red Sox lead AL in runs scored.

In other words if Hernandez had pitched in the AL east he might have even better numbers.

Rather than run his mouth this high profile media guy could have checked. It took me about two minutes.

Friday, September 24, 2010

1960 World Series game 7: why didn't Stengel use Duren?

Despite my Yankees losing, I have long thought that this is the greatest game of all time given its importance, the high score, dramatic ending, constant shifting of fortunes, quickness of play (2 hours 36 minutes) for so much action AND ... there were NO strike outs! Pure action!

I am not one of those baseball fans who pathologically looks for some little event to blame my team's loss on a managerial decision. You know, like Confederate States of America supporters and post World War I Germans who blame their defeats on their generals.

However, I am curious about something. 1960 World Series game 7: why didn't Yankee manager Casey Stengel use relief specialist Ryne Duren?

Who was Ryne Duren?

Duren led the Yankees in relief appearances in 1958 and 1959 and was second by one in 1960. His innings were 75, 76, 49. His SO%: 38.3, 41.7, 45.6. For reasons that remain unknown Duren did not even warm up in the famous game seven of the 1960 WS. By spring 1961 Duren was gone and so was Stengel. After pitching in four games Duren was traded by the Yankees at age 32 May 8, 1961 with Johnny James and Lee Thomas to the Los Angeles Angels for Bob Cerv and Tex Clevenger. Only one Yankee relief pitcher ever exceeded Duren's 1960 SO%: Edwar Ramirez in 2007 - 49.2 SO%. Mariano Rivera's best: 1996 when he pitched his most innings (107) ... as a setup man - 40.2 SO%. In SO% Duren has three of the nine best all time for Yankee relief pitchers.

Duren also had a drinking problem.


In 1983, Duren was presented with the Yankee Family Award for his conquering alcoholism, and for service as an alcohol abuse educator.

So why ask this question now?


Published: September 23, 2010

a near pristine black-and-white reel of the entire television broadcast of the deciding game of the 1960 World Series — long believed to be lost forever — came to rest in the dry and cool wine cellar of Bing Crosby’s home ... unseen on TV since its original broadcast

he hired a company to record Game 7 by kinescope, an early relative of the DVR, filming off a television monitor. The five-reel set, found in December in Crosby’s home, is the only known complete copy of the game

Great games like Game 7 in 1960 are often recalled with just a few newsreel clips ... Game 7, called by the Yankees’ Mel Allen and the Pirates’ Bob Prince — the complete NBC broadcast.

an agreement allowing the MLB Network to televise the game in December, and to wrap interviews and other programming around it, with Bob Costas as the host. M.L.B. also plans to sell DVDs of the game.


I would much prefer that the game be shown as is but I'll take what I can get. I can only hope that Bob Costas reads this and does more than his usual sloppy job of repeating myths and mistakes. For instance, I expect Costas to mention that the Yanks could have won the WS if Stengel had started Whitey Ford in games 1, 4, 7. WRONG. I debunked that years ago. Bob, read the 1960 part of this: World Series.

But what of Duren? Was he fit to pitch? If not, why not? As far as I know Duren has never been asked that question. Nor have his teammates who drone on about the Ford myth. Duren was born February 22, 1929. He'll be almost 82 when this game is shown for the second time. Given his age and alcohol abuse, Costas should get to him ASAP.

In the 1960 WS Duren pitched in two games: 4 innings, 2 hits, one run (earned), 2.25 ERA, 1 BB, 5 SO. Duren had thrown only 49 innings (67 SO) in the regular season.

Wednesday, October 5, 1960 at Forbes Field game one Duren pitched the 7th and 8th innings in a 6-4 Pirate win. One HBP, one BB (Hoak caught stealing), one SO, no runs. The score was 6-2 Pirates when he entered. Yanks scored two in the top of the ninth. Duren faced seven batters:

Skinner HBP
Stuart SO
Clemente Foul Flyball: 2B
Burgess Groundout: 2B-1B

Hoak BB
Mazeroski Foul Flyball: 1B
Face (pitcher) Hoak Caught Stealing 2B (C-SS); Groundout: P-1B

Not bad. Got a little help. Faced only lefty: Burgess.

Monday, October 10, 1960 at Yankee Stadium game five Duren pitched the 8th and 9th innings in a 5-2 Pirate win. Two hits, one run (earned), 4 SO. The score was 4-2 Pirates when he entered. Duren faced eight batters:

Clemente SO
Stuart Flyball: LF
Cimoli SO looking

Burgess Single to LF; Burgess to 2B/Adv on E7; Christopher pinch runs for Smoky Burgess
Hoak Wild Pitch; Christopher to 3B; Single to CF; Christopher Scores
Mazeroski SO
Face (pitcher) SO
Virdon Groundout: P-1B

Somewhat of an adventure but not terrible.

Which brings us to game 7 played Thursday, October 13, 1960. Remember, game 6, played the previous afternoon, was Ford's second complete game shutout, so all the other pitchers were well rested. So who did Stengel use in game 7?

pitcher innings runs (all earned)
Turley 1 3
Stafford 1 1
Shantz 5 3
Coates .66 2
Terry .33 1

Bobby Shantz actually pitched well, however, Stengel left him in too long. More grist for the pathological second guessers.

The Yankees scored two runs in the top of the 8th off Face, who was pitching in his third inning, to extend their lead to 7-4. Stengel let Shantz make the final out with runners on second and third following Clete Boyer's double. Boyer was such a light hitter that Stengel had humiliated him by having Dale Long PH for Boyer in what would have been Boyer's first WS PA: second inning, game one. Long made out.

In the bottom of the 7th Shantz was a little rocky: single, line out LF, Ground Ball Double Play: SS-2B-1B.

In the top of the 7th Shantz singled to LF (Ground Ball) off Face.

Did Stengel think that Shantz would get another hit?

Did Stengel think that Shantz was pitching so well that he dare not remove Shantz?

Either way it was a fatal mistake. All hell broke loose in the bottom of the 8th. Shantz allowed singles to Cimoli, Virdon and Groat. Virdon's was the infamous DP grounder that bounced up and hit SS Tony Kubek in the throat causing Kubek to leave the game. Jim Coates (18 starts, 17 relief) replaced Shantz with one run in, two runners on, Yanks leading 7-5.

Skinner sac runners to second and third
Nelson Flyball: RF

Clemente Single to 1B (Coates failed to cover first as he and Skowron both went for the slow roller) (Ground Ball); Virdon Scores; Groat to 3B; 7-6 Yanks

Hal Smith Home Run (Deep LF); Groat Scores; Clemente Scores; 9-7 Pirates

Most people think Ralph Terry entered the game to start the ninth inning. However, Terry replaced Coates and retired Hoak to end the 8th: Flyball: LF. In 1960 Terry had started 23 games and relieved in 12.

Stengel could have used Duren instead of Coates. Duren couldn't have done much worse. Stengel could also have used Arroyo (no starts, 23 relief), Mass (1, 34), both relief specialists. He could have also used starter Ditmar (28, 6).

1960 WS games, ERA:

Arroyo 1 13.50
Ditmar 2 21.60
Duren 2 2.25
Maas 1 4.50
Terry one start: lost game 4 Sunday, October 9, 1960 at Yankee Stadium; 6.33 innings, 3 runs (earned); first four innings - no runs

Coates pitched in two games before game 7.

Game one: relieved Ditmar in first inning, Yanks down 3-1, retired both batters: Burgess, Hoak; 3.33 innings, 2 ER, one HR: B Mazeroski (1, off J Coates; 4th inn, 1 on, 1 out to Deep LF)

Game four: pitched 8th and 9th; one hit, no runs.

Hall Smith had 8 AB in three games. None against Coates before game 7. In 1960 Smith had 11 HR in 286 AB, all against starters (off righties 4 in 128 AB; off lefties 7 in 130 AB); slugged .508, career best. Prior to game 7 Smith played catcher and batted only against Ford:

game 3: 0 for 3; DP
game 6: 2 for 4

Smith against Ford the previous day:

single LF
single CF
Groundout: SS-2B/Forceout at 2B
Ground Ball Double Play: 3B-2B-1B to end the game

When a team gives up 10 runs on 24 outs it's silly to blame one play or one player. Could Duren have helped the Yankees win? Who knows? But I want to know if Duren was an option.

Was Ryne Duren fit to pitch in game seven of the 1960 World Series?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

16 months after I implored MLB commissioner Bud Selig to DO something, a base runner was impaled in the chest.


Cubs outfielder Tyler Colvin was impaled in the left upper chest with a broken bat and taken to a local (Miami) hospital ... Colvin was listed in stable condition ... A tube was inserted into his chest to prevent a collapsed lung. He’ll remain hospitalized for two or three days, and his promising rookie season is over. The Cubs said he was fortunate to elude a much more serious injury ...

Marlins catcher Mike Rivera said it looked like Colvin was “being stabbed.” Cubs manager Mike Quade said he’s “amazed” it hasn’t happened more often with the proliferation of maple bats, which split in half with relative ease.

“We’ve seen guys get hit by pieces, but to actually get stabbed by one . . . ” Quade said. “I’m glad he’s okay. If it would’ve been more velocity, or the bat was sharper, I don’t know (what would’ve happened). He’s a strong guy, so maybe that had something to do with it. He dodged a bullet.”



MONDAY, MAY 18, 2009

MLB: switch to aluminum bats before someone gets killed.

It is obvious that MLB commissioner Bud Selig has neither the imagination nor the inclination to actually do something about the alarming tendency for wood bats to splinter into javelins and fly at people, both players and fans. Before one of these leathal projectiles embeds itself into the neck or chest of someone, outlaw the ancient wooden bats and replace them with bats made of alloys such as aluminum.

I know, I know, aluminum bats are supposed to be even more dangerous because the ball flies off them at faster speeds. However, the properties of aluminum that cause this can be managed to produce bats that are comparable to those made of wood.

Make the switch before someone is killed.

Friday, September 17, 2010

How about limiting the number of pitchers in Hall of Fame to 50?

First dump some of those already in. Start by deducting the stupid relief pitchers. The Babe, of course, stays as a batter. Then, once you get down to 50, ...

If you add a pitcher, you subtract a pitcher.

66 HoF pitchers with at least 500 Innings Pitched:

Rk Player ERA+ ▾ IP From To
1 Lefty Grove 148 3940.2 1925 1941
2 Walter Johnson 147 5914.1 1907 1927
3 Hoyt Wilhelm 147 2254.1 1952 1972
4 Ed Walsh 146 2964.1 1904 1917
5 Addie Joss 142 2327.0 1902 1910
6 Kid Nichols 140 5067.1 1890 1906
7 Mordecai Brown 139 3172.1 1903 1916
8 Cy Young 138 7356.0 1890 1911
9 Bruce Sutter 136 1042.0 1976 1988
10 Christy Mathewson 136 4788.2 1900 1916
11 Pete Alexander 135 5190.0 1911 1930
12 Rube Waddell 135 2961.1 1897 1910
13 John Clarkson 134 4536.1 1882 1894
14 Whitey Ford 133 3170.1 1950 1967
15 Al Spalding 132 2886.1 1871 1877
16 Sandy Koufax 131 2324.1 1955 1966
17 Dizzy Dean 131 1967.1 1930 1947
18 Carl Hubbell 130 3590.1 1928 1943
19 Hal Newhouser 130 2993.0 1939 1955
20 Amos Rusie 129 3778.2 1889 1901
21 Stan Coveleski 128 3082.0 1912 1928
22 Bob Gibson 128 3884.1 1959 1975
23 Tom Seaver 128 4783.0 1967 1986
24 Tim Keefe 127 5049.2 1880 1893
25 Rich Gossage 126 1809.1 1972 1994
26 Jim Palmer 126 3948.0 1965 1984
27 Dazzy Vance 125 2966.2 1915 1935
28 Lefty Gomez 125 2503.0 1930 1943
29 Juan Marichal 123 3507.0 1960 1975
30 Babe Ruth 122 1221.1 1914 1933
31 Bob Feller 122 3827.0 1936 1956
32 Clark Griffith 122 3385.2 1891 1914
33 Eddie Plank 122 4495.2 1901 1917
34 Don Drysdale 121 3432.0 1956 1969
35 Rollie Fingers 120 1701.1 1968 1985
36 Old Hoss Radbourn 120 4527.1 1881 1891
37 Joe McGinnity 120 3441.1 1899 1908
38 Red Faber 119 4086.2 1914 1933
39 Monte Ward 119 2469.2 1878 1884
40 Warren Spahn 119 5243.2 1942 1965
41 Bob Lemon 119 2850.0 1946 1958
42 Ted Lyons 118 4161.0 1923 1946
43 Vic Willis 118 3996.0 1898 1910
44 Gaylord Perry 117 5350.0 1962 1983
45 Dennis Eckersley 116 3285.2 1975 1998
46 Phil Niekro 115 5404.0 1964 1987
47 Steve Carlton 115 5217.2 1965 1988
48 Candy Cummings 115 2149.2 1872 1877
49 Fergie Jenkins 115 4500.2 1965 1983
50 Eppa Rixey 115 4494.2 1912 1933
51 Jim Bunning 114 3760.1 1955 1971
52 Mickey Welch 114 4802.0 1880 1892
53 Robin Roberts 113 4688.2 1948 1966
54 Nolan Ryan 112 5386.0 1966 1993
55 Chief Bender 112 3017.0 1903 1925
56 Waite Hoyt 112 3762.1 1918 1938
57 Jack Chesbro 111 2896.2 1899 1909
58 Jesse Haines 109 3208.2 1918 1937
59 Red Ruffing 109 4344.0 1924 1947
60 Don Sutton 108 5282.1 1966 1988
61 Pud Galvin 108 6003.1 1875 1892
62 Burleigh Grimes 108 4180.0 1916 1934
63 Early Wynn 107 4564.0 1939 1963
64 Herb Pennock 106 3571.2 1912 1934
65 Catfish Hunter 105 3449.1 1965 1979
66 Rube Marquard 103 3306.2 1908 1925

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Derek Jeter behaved badly and should apologize.

Jeter should apologize for faking HBP. What if A-Rod had done it?

In last night's Yankee game in St. Petersburg, FL a pitch to Jeter was inside. Jeter spun away and grabbed his left elbow and acted as if he was in pain. The Yankee manager and trainer came out to attend to their "injured" player. The plate umpire reacted to Jeter's actions and awarded Jeter first base for being hit by a pitch.

TV replays showed that the pitch hit the bottom of Jeter's bat, not Jeter. One angle even showed Jeter peeking at the umpire to determine if his acting had worked. I was shocked. It makes me question the many times I have seen Jeter behave as if hit. This cannot be the first time Jeter has attempted deceit.

Most professional comments early this morning support Jeter faking injury to get a free base. The next batter, Curtis Granderson, homered to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead. Tampa eventually won 4-3.

What if the Yankees had won?

What if it had been the last WS game?

What if A-Rod had done it?

Would you teach a kid to do this?

At what age does such behavior become acceptable?

Baseball players are not supposed to make their own calls. Country club sports golf and tennis have players make calls as amateurs. Even pro golfers make calls against themselves. The PGA has an honor rule.

No, what Jeter did is not cheating. As far as I know there is no rule against it. There should be. There is such a rule in the NHL. It is faking. Jeter took action to deceive the umpire. Jeter was not passive.

What would be the reaction if a player corrected an umpire on one of the few plays where the player actually knows what happened as opposed to plays like trapped fly balls in which the player really does not know? What if a batter was awarded first for HBP and told the umpire that he had not been hit? Would MLB break into the PGA?

That would be refreshing. That would show integrity. That's what I expect from a player with the status of Derek Jeter, the Yankee captain, whom I will never view again as a person of integrity.