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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Daniel Murphy, Bobby Richardson, hot, clutch, choke.

Who among us doesn't think he/she can spot choke a mile away?  It's easier in the individual sports.  Former champions turned TV analysts Johnny Miller and John McEnroe can barely hide their contempt when they respectively see a golfer or tennis player succumbing to the pressure of the moment.  Well if there's choke, there must also be clutch.  And if there's clutch, there must be hot.

Met second baseman Daniel Murphy has been hot.  Tonight in the first game of the final series Murphy has the opportunity to extend his tournament record streak of homering in six consecutive games.  The record including regular season is at least one homer in eight consecutive games.
Photo of Daniel Murphy

Daniel Murphy is 75 % to consecutive game homer record of Long, Mattingly, Griffey, Jr. Thursday, October 22, 2015

The record for homering in consecutive games overall is eight games:
Dale Long Pittsburgh Pirates May 19-28,1956
Don Mattingly New York Yankees July 8-18, 1987; 10 homers in 8 games
Ken Griffey, Jr. Seattle Mariners July 20-28, 1993

Mattingly was not a home run hitter but he has another record: most bases loaded (four run) home runs in one season: six, which oddly, are the only grand slams in Mattingly's career.  In 1987 Mattingly hit grand slams May 14, June 29, July 10, 16, Sept. 25, 29.  Travis Hafner in 2006 also hit six grand slams.

Consider Mattingly's other home run record: six grand slams in one season.  To tie and the break the old record Mattingly needed help from his Yankee teammates in loading the bases for him but in those few opportunities very late (Sept. 25 and 29) in the 1987 season Mattingly had to come through, doing something he was not particularly exceptional at doing: hitting home runs.  That seems pretty clutch to me.

Home run records have weight, in part, because the batter has to hit the ball hard enough and long enough to reasonably deserve a double in almost all cases.  It may be a cheap home run but it probably is a good double.

A plain record based on all types of hits could include many cheapies: bloopers, dribblers, etc.  So Bobby Richardson's World Series records are more suspect than Murphy's current hot streak.  Except, Richardson did it twice and Richardson couldn't hit.  More on that later.

Streaks Like Daniel Murphy’s Aren’t Necessarily Random OCT. 27, 2015  The New York Times
by Binyamin Appelbaum

... the Mets’ Daniel Murphy ... is locked in, on a hot streak, en fuego...

... social scientists ... for more than a generation have dismissed all of this as a grand illusion. A body of research dating to the mid-1980s purports to show that professional athletes do not get hot...

But now there is new evidence that our eyes are right and the experts are wrong.


OK, enough on that.  Read it for yourself before the experts change their minds again.  Most of us here on planet Earth think that Murphy is hot and if he doesn't continue to hit well we can use the five day layoff waiting for tonight's game as an excuse.  Plus, there's always:

"God does not play dice with the universe" Monday, October 19, 2015

Einstein did not live long enough to see the Mets.

Photo of Bobby Richardson
Bobby Richardson was the starting second baseman for the New York Yankees from 1959 through 1966, including the five consecutive pennant winners: 1960-1964.  Richardson had his best season in 1962, right in the middle of the five pennants.  Unlike the 30 year old Murphy, Richardson was 26 years old.  Richardson finished second to teammate Mickey Mantle in the 1962 American League Most Valuable Player voting:

1Mickey MantleNYY234.013.084%5.91233779612130899122.321.486.6051.091
2Bobby RichardsonNYY152.05.054%3.2161692992098591137.302.337.406.743
3Harmon KillebrewMIN99.01.035%2.815555285134481261106.243.366.545.912
4Leon WagnerLAA85.00.030%2.11606129616437107750.268.326.500.826
Richardson had OPS+ 101; the next highest of his career: 99 in 1959.  In 1962 Richardson led the AL in plate appearances, at bats, hits and sacrifices.
BA .302
OBP .337
SLG .406
OPS .743

Not very impressive. As stated above Bobby Richardson could not hit.  Yet in the first and last of those five consecutive World Series Richardson set hitting records that still stand for Hits and RBI.

1.Marty Barrett13351986 WS
Bobby Richardson13331964 WS
Lou Brock13311968 WS

1.Bobby Richardson12311960 WS
2.Mickey Mantle11331960 WS
3.Sandy Alomar10321997 WS
Yogi Berra10291956 WS
Mike Napoli10282011 WS
Ted Kluszewski10251959 WS
In the 1960 World Series Richardson had already reached 12 RBI before Mantle reached 11, so Mantle never had the record.

The rejoinder I hear when I mention Richardson being clutch is that he didn't do it in all five World Series.  Come on.

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