The On Deck Circle

Baseball History, Commentary and Analysis

Archive for the category “Baseball Blogs”

Merry Christmas, and a Hiatus

Hi all, this is just a short note to say that I’ll be on vacation (from writing, not from my kids) over the next three weeks.

 

Happy Christmas, painted by Johansen Viggo

Happy Christmas, painted by Johansen Viggo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I’ll probably jump back in the saddle around the time that the BBWAA results for the 2014 HOF inductions are revealed in early January.

 

I hope you all have a Happy Christmas, or whatever it is you celebrate, and a safe New Year’s for you and yours.

Please consider this my Christmas card from me to you.

 

Thanks again to all of you who have been reading my blog, which started four years ago last month.  I really appreciate each and all of you, and I’m so glad so many of you have decided to make reading my blog part of your lives.

 

Take care, everyone,

 

Bill

 

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The Reality Blog Award

I’m not usually one to call attention to myself, but I am honored and humbled to have been nominated by Vince for the Reality Blog Award.  Vince writes a blog called “The Evolving Dad,” about his adventures as a brand-new father.  Vince used to write about baseball, but obviously now has more important things on his mind, namely, a brand new child.  (Congratulations again on that, Vince!)

reality-blog-award1-e1357511854615

By way of accepting this award, there are a few other steps that I am required to complete.  One step is to answer each of the five following questions, so here goes:

1)  If you could change one thing, what would you change?

Well, other than the Mets outfield, I would like to make it possible to once again have civil discourse in this country where people aren’t so quick to demonize those who may disagree with them on every issue that emerges…or the ending of the movie version of “The Mist.”  I really hated that ending.

2)  If you could repeat an age, what age would it be?

Honestly, I am perfectly happy with where I am now in my life.  I have no desire to go back and do it again.

3)  What one thing really scares you?

Any and all varieties of harm that could befall my family.

4)  What is one dream you have not completed, and do you think you’ll be able to complete it?  

I would like to bike the entire (approximately) 36 round-trip miles of the Swamp Rabbit Trail here in Greenville, SC.  in one day.  Yes, I think I can eventually do it.

5)  If you could be someone else for one day, who would it be?  

I would like to experience  the world through the eyes of my youngest, six-year old son.  What am I like as a father, as seen through his eyes, and how much of the world’s simple pleasures have I forgotten to enjoy?

Now, I have also been asked to nominate others for this same award.  Therefore, I would like to nominate each of the following blogs:

1)  Verdun2

2)  Promethean Times

3)  The Real McTeag

4)  You Jivin’ Me, Turkey?

5)  Ohm Sweet Ohm

6)  Baseball Revisited

7)  On Sports and Life

8)  Misc. Baseball

9)  The Flagrant Fan

10)  The Ball Caps Blog

11)  Mystery Ball ’58

12)  W.k. Kortas

Each of the above blogs keeps me entertained, informed and inspired.  You should visit each of them, too.

Finally, I would like to once again thank The Evolving Dad for nominating me for this award.

Thank you, Vince!

The Hall of Clearly Above Replacement But Not Quite Average – Article Link

I want to share with you a blog-post to which I contributed five short player bios.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, all five of the players I wrote about are former Mets.

The article appears on the website, High Heat Stats.  My friends Adam Darowski, Dan McCloskey and Graham Womack, among others, collaborated on this fun and unique project, which briefly covers the careers of 43 players.  I have provided the link to it so you can enjoy it, too.

http://www.highheatstats.com/2012/08/the-hall-of-clearly-above-replacement-but-not-quite-average/

My Baseball Blogging Community and Friends: A Shout-Out

I’ve been blogging about baseball for about two and a half years now.  During these past couple of years, I’ve been fortunate enough to have become part of an informal community of bloggers and readers.

Will Clark in the on-deck circle, 1997 MLB Season.

Will Clark in the on-deck circle, 1997 MLB Season. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I began the On Deck Circle, I had no idea how many people, if any, would bother to read my stories and articles about baseball.  I simply began to do it, as all of you who do it can attest, with the simple hope that someone out there would notice and enjoy my work.

To my amazement, I’ve now had over 26,000 hits on this blog (a modest total, to be sure.)  More importantly, I’ve been engaged in a continuous dialogue about baseball (and other topics) with people whom I’ve grown to appreciate and respect over the years.  You know who you are, but it occurred to me maybe other people don’t.

Therefore, in a simple and humble way, I’ve decided to spend some time here paying all of you back for your kindness and generosity by helping promote your fine work.  Many of you are familiar with one another, but I suspect many more potential readers are not.  So in no particular order, allow me to recommend the following blogs:

Duffy Lewis, Tris Speaker and Harry Hooper - B...

Duffy Lewis, Tris Speaker and Harry Hooper – Boston’s famous “Golden Outfield”. Photo: The Boston Globe archives. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1)  Verdun 2’s Blog is one of the very first baseball blogs I discovered when I was beginning my blog.  He was also one of my first readers, and has remained loyal ever since.  His blog specializes in old-time baseball, though he will write about current topics in baseball from time to time as well.  For my money, no other baseball blogger has impressed me more with his deep well of knowledge about the game, his consistently readable posts, and his willingness to engage his readers.

Verdun2 is one of the bedrocks of my baseball blogging community, and I can’t imagine a week going by during the baseball season (and, perhaps more importantly, in the off-season) when I wouldn’t be tuning in to his fine work.  My favorite posts of his are those that draw from his own life experience, as it relates to baseball.  Here is a typical example of this sort of post.  I think you’ll enjoy his work as much as I have.

New York Yankees player Bobby Murcer on deck a...

New York Yankees player Bobby Murcer on deck at Yankee Stadium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2)  Kevin Graham’s Baseball Revisited is irreverent, informed, and always entertaining.  Kevin focuses on baseball before 1994, “the year they took the game away from us.”  He examines players, writers, objects, baseball cards, relics, photos, and everything else he can get his grubby little A.L. loving hands on, holds them up to the light, and helps us see them in a new way.

Kevin has also been a loyal reader of The On Deck Circle, and for that I am grateful as well.  If you haven’t already checked out his site, you owe it to yourself to do so now.  Here’s one of his posts that I very much enjoyed.

Official seal of Caribou, Maine

Official seal of Caribou, Maine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3)  William Tasker is a prolific blogger over on his site, The Flagrant Fan, and a great guy who lives up in Caribou, Maine.  Since I lived in Maine for over 20 years myself, I feel a deep, gut-level connection to this man who survives about five months of winter every year.

Oh, yeah, and Tasker’s a fine baseball blogger as well.  He blogs virtually every day about current events and topics in baseball.  Although he is a Yankees fan, his loyalty to his favorite team does not prevent him from being objective in his analysis and commentary on what is happening on and off the field in MLB.  I don’t always agree with the man, but I do respect his opinions.  I also appreciate that he visits my site as well.  Here’s a link to one of his recent blog-posts.

Fabrics of the color red seen in baseball caps.

Fabrics of the color red seen in baseball caps. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4)  Daniel Day has an unhealthy obsession with baseball caps.  O.K., that’s a bit strong, but The Ball Caps Blog is basically one colorful pean to baseball caps.  Daniel was even kind enough to send me one once upon a time, but my collection pales in comparison to his.

Daniel is also a paid writer by day (how many of us can say that), and a Superhero baseball blogger by night.  Currently on a cross-country trip to save New Jersey, Daniel has also been a great friend of the On Deck Circle.  Here is one of Daniel’s latest posts. Enjoy!

Low-resolution reproduction of screenshot from...

Low-resolution reproduction of screenshot from trailer for the movie Wikipedia:en:The Big Combo (1955) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5)  From the fevered imagination of Jeff Polman comes the always tantalizing, salacious and just plain juicy Mysteryball ’58.  It is a murder mystery wrapped in a baseball pennant race riddle featuring a primary character who is a bit of an enigma.  Picture a Hitchcock film noir tuned to a late ’50’s baseball radio broadcast in which a colorful cast of characters, including Jack Kerouac, come and go.

As an added ingredient, Jeff plays (or re-plays, I suppose) the entire 1958 baseball season himself with dice and player cards (that’s old school if you ask me, and I think the die are loaded.)  His characters tend to be Giants fans, but will their loyalty kill them, or will they solve the mystery, win the pennant, and saunter off into the San Fran fog?  Stay tuned!  Here is Jeff’s latest chapter of this mystery series.

6)  Arne Christensen is a class individual who in some ways feels like a library research assistant who could point you in the direction of almost any obscure document you might want to find.  His blog, Misc. Baseball, is a treasure trove of long-forgotten newspaper clippings and articles that often go back many decades.  Every time I click on his site, I never fail to be amazed at what he comes up with.

Perhaps the best thing about Arne’s blog is that he generally lets the material speak for itself.  He keeps his personal commentary to a minimum, and this minimalist approach invariably creates a more powerful effect on the reader than would the addition of unnecessary commentary.  I also sometimes come away with ideas for blog-posts of my own, which is always useful in a pinch.  Here is but one of Arne’s fine posts.

7)  Vince V. has a nice baseball blog called The Outfield in which Vince expresses clearly and concisely his opinions on the people and events in Major League baseball today.  Vince is clearly a passionate fan, but one (unlike many fans) who manages to avoid an obnoxiously combative style or tone.  Vince just states his opinions, and welcomes others to share theirs.  His blog is friendly, accessible, and timely.

Vince has also been a friend to the On Deck Circle, for which I am grateful.  Here is Vince’s latest work.  There’s more where this came from.

8)  Michael Jawitz over at Grubby Glove and I have traded baseball cards, exchanged emails, and have become friends due to our common passion for baseball.  His site features one baseball card per week, and is a great site for reviews and commentary regarding the latest baseball card brands that are for sale, and what you can expect to find in the packs and boxes.  Also, he looks back at older baseball cards sometimes as well.

Michael has been a loyal fan of the On Deck Circle, and a good friend, for which I am thankful.  Here’s a look at the Topps Diamond Giveaway.  Don’t miss out!

9)  I feel badly about taking so long to get to Mike Cornelius of On Sports and Life because he just may be the finest sports writer / blogger that I read on a regular basis.  If I ever grow up to write for a newspaper or sports periodical, I could do far worse than to emulate Mike’s style, grace, and grasp of the mechanics of good, solid writing.

Mike doesn’t limit his sports writing to baseball, but I’ll read pretty much anything he writes because his instincts are finely tuned to a good story, and he never disappoints in the telling of that story.  If you are looking for a sports blog to hang your hat on, look no further than On Sports and Life.  Here’s one of his many posts that I enjoyed.

I also want to thank Mike for reading my blog, and for leaving comments from time to time.

10)  This blogger isn’t even strictly speaking a baseball blogger.  In fact, he’s a poet.  Now, don’t go screaming for the exits, boys and girls.  W.K. Kortas writes bold poetry in primary colors.  He’s not afraid of what you might think, so he looks you in the eye and challenges you to look away from his haunting, lyrical visions of life, death, and all the other shit that goes on in between.

In a word, he’s damned good, and if you’re not already reading his work, once you start you will rue all those previous wasted days of your life.

Here’s one of my favorite poems of his.  And here’s another that’s actually about baseball (kind of.)  Kortas has also been friendly to my blog, which is an added bonus, but I’d still read his stuff even if he hated my blog.

11)  Rich Kenney used to blog about baseball, but his more recent blog, Faith Checks, is about the rest of the life’s spiritual side.  Rich always tells a fine story, sometimes laced with original poetry, about the things that make life worth living.  His memories of family, friends, faith and yes, sometimes baseball, are little gems to be marveled over for their rich, poignant language and detail.

Rich also checks in with me from time to time, and I do appreciate his continued support for my blog even as I can only wistfully hope to approach his talent some day.  Here’s one of his little stories I think you’ll appreciate.

Robert Cray in concert, 2007

Robert Cray in concert, 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

12)  My friend Brad, who virtually never fails to either click the “Like” button on my posts and / or leave a friendly word, has a crazy little blog of his own called “You Jivin’ Me, Turkey?”  To follow this blog for a while is to get a glimpse into the jumbled, creative, stream-of-conscious mind of its creator.  Brad and I share lots of interests including Blues music, history, semi-forgotten movies and baseball.

Brad seems to be constantly blogging.  I have no idea how or when he eats or even gets to use the bathroom, but I’m glad he’s out there because his enthusiasm is contagious, and it helps motivate me to blog even when I’m not sure what it is I want to say. So, thank you, Brad, for being out there, and for paying attention to me as well.

There are many others whom I want to say thank you to.  Some of them blog, and some don’t.  The ones who are highlighted have a link to their own fine blogs that I enjoy reading (and you should take a look as well.)  The other people are loyal (or, at any rate, semi-loyal) readers who have actual lives (just kidding, fellow bloggers!)

Adam Darowski, Dan McCloskey, KeithO Saunders, Vinnie (who send me links to articles and with whom I talk baseball with over email virtually every single day), Eric Kline, Chris Watson, Joe Magennis, Allan Smorra, Connie Haag, Cameron Watson, Ken Pryor, Graham Womack, and my dear Aunt Rita.  If I left any of you out, please accept my apologies.  Thank you one and all.

Bill

Baseball’s Best of the Worst: Lenny Randle

I am excited to kick off a new series today, “Baseball’s Best of the Worst.”  This is Part I of a twelve-part series analyzing those unfortunate players who performed well on otherwise terrible teams.  Almost every last-place team seems to have one of them, and their efforts are usually forgotten by all but that team’s biggest fans.

My colleague, Graham Womack of the baseball blog, “Baseball Past and Present,”  will be co-authoring this series with me, on a weekly, alternating basis.

The six players I will focus on in this series have all played since 1961.  Graham’s focus, then, will be on half a dozen players from pre-1961 baseball.  We have decided not to concern ourselves with splitting up the A.L. and the N.L., so ultimately, it is possible that one league or the other will end up being featured more prominently than the other.  So be it.

Graham and I have been in contact with each other regarding co-writing a series together since before Christmas.  This is the topic we have come up with.  We decided to keep the entire series here on my blog to avoid possible confusion for our readers, and, speaking for myself, the writers.  Graham’s first post will be featured next Friday, January 21st.

We hope you enjoy this series.  If you have any suggestions about players you would like to see featured, please drop us a line.

Now, without further adieu, here is our initial offering.

The 1977 New York Mets are underrated as one of the worst teams in Mets history.  Almost everyone knows that the pre-1969 Mets were God-awful, but the decade of the ’70’s also featured some of the worst efforts, or non-efforts, that New York’s National League franchise ever produced.

There are actually several reasons, though, why the ’77 team stands out as a tragic example of how a Major League baseball team is quite capable of kicking its fans in their collective teeth, and appearing not to notice.  Specifically, given that the Mets had played better than .500 baseball in three of their previous four seasons, including a trip to the ’73 World Series and a couple of respectable third-place finishes, it seemed reasonable to assume that the ’77 Mets would be a competitive ball club.

For one thing, the Mets were returning with one of baseball’s best rotations:  Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, and Jon Matlack, as well as promising young starters Nino Espinosa and Craig SwanBob Apodaca and Skip Lockwood provided above-average relief help in the bullpen.

The Mets defense also appeared solid, with the exception of Dave Kingman in left-field.  Young catcher John Stearns provided above-average speed behind the plate, and 22-year old outfielder Lee Mazzilli appeared to be a future star.

Very quickly, however, things began to unravel in Gotham.  The Mets, under manager Joe Frazier, stumbled out of the gate with a 15-30 record.  Then, on June 15, 1977, the unthinkable happened.  The Mets traded their 32-year old franchise player, Tom Seaver, for four young prospects, none of whom were to make much of a mark on Major League history.  Then they also traded their only legitimate power-hitter, Dave Kingman, to the San Diego Padres.

Thirty-six year old Joe Torre, now a player-manager, took over the helm in his very first shot at managing.  He didn’t have much left to work with.

In the previous off-season, however, the Mets did manage to pry a young third baseman named Lenny Randle from the Texas Rangers for a player-to-be-named later.

Lenny Randle was no prospect.  He was going to be 28-years old in ’77, and few Mets fans had any idea what to expect.

But, as it turned out, Lenny Randle provided spark on a team whose guts had just been ripped out by upper-management.  He gave Mets fan a reason to keep watching their team long after it was obvious that ’77 was a lost season.

Randle’s statistics for the 1977 were not spectacular, but he was the best the Mets had to offer that year.

Randle led the team with a .304 batting average.  He led them in stolen bases with 33.  He also led the Mets in on-base percentage (.383, tenth best in the league), and in hits (156), triples (5) and runs scored (78).  His 4.2 WAR was the highest on the team.

Defensively, he played the position more like a middle-infielder.  His Range Factor per nine innings was a solid 3.06, 4th best in the N.L.

Although Randle’s  power numbers were terrible, accumulating just five home runs and 27 RBI,  Mets fans understood that Randle’s job was to get on base and make things happen.

But Randle turned out to be little more than a flash-in-the pan.  He performed poorly in Flushing in ’78, then bounced around between the Yankees, Cubs, and Mariners for the next several seasons, until his retirement in 1982 at the age of 33.

In 1983, Randle became the first American major league player to play in Italy, where he won a batting title by hitting .477.

On a really good Major League baseball team, Lenny Randle would have been a nice complementary ballplayer.  On the 1977 Mets, however, he was the star attraction on an abysmal team.

2010 in review

747-400 flight deck

Image via Wikipedia

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 5,400 times in 2010. That’s about 13 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 78 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 87 posts. There were 2 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 39kb.

The busiest day of the year was May 14th with 54 views. The most popular post that day was Best Scenes from Baseball Movies.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were verdun2.wordpress.com, sportsphd.wordpress.com, dmbworldseriesreplay.wordpress.com, facebook.com, and WordPress Dashboard.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for baseball one year wonders, billy beane overrated, 2010 baseball predictions, yankees old timers game 2010, and baseball old timers game.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Best Scenes from Baseball Movies May 2010
5 comments

2

Underrated / Overrated: Baseball and Other Stuff March 2010
12 comments

3

One-Year Wonders January 2010
8 comments

4

Best Forgotten Baseball Seasons: The Montreal Expos June 2010
16 comments

5

About the Author: Bill Miller November 2009
4 comments

A One Year Anniversary Thank You, and a Shout-Out

Crowd outside Huntington Avenue Grounds before...

Image via Wikipedia

Well, looks like we made it.  Step right up, and have your tickets handy.  The gates are now open.

The On Deck Circle turns one-year old as of November 30th, a few hours from now.

Thank you all for the 5,062 hits over the past year.

Here’s a paragraph I wrote in that first blog-post, by way of introduction:

Memory is what keeps most of us (those of us who love baseball), hooked on this sport.  That is to say, we remember what we loved about baseball in our youth, and we try, sometimes a little too hard, to pass these memories on to our own children.”

Further attempting to clarify the intended purpose of this blog, I later added:

There are actually two questions here, important to both American history proper, and to baseball history:

  1. Who deserves to be remembered?
  2. How do they deserve to be remembered?

The answers to these questions comprise the collective historical mythology that we pass down through the generations, from father to son.”

Thus, this blog has primarily been focused on those two important questions over the past year.  I hope that my efforts to resurrect the careers of semi-forgotten stars, while also periodically sharing personal stories of my baseball youth, have stayed true to my original, intended purpose.

Meanwhile, I also wanted to take this opportunity to do a Shout-Out for several other baseball blogs that I have followed over the past year.  In some cases, the authors of these blogs have been kind enough to provide useful, constructive feedback on my 83 posts.

This is my way of saying thank you to some of the people who provided inspiration and support to me along the way.

In each case, these blogs have given me some reason to come back to each one of them again and again. 

So, in no particular order, here they are:

1) DMB Historic World Series Replay

http://dmbhistoricworldseriesreplay.wordpress.com/

Ever wonder how the old-time World Series match-ups would have turned out if they could be replayed once again, using the same rosters and lineups as were used in the original match-ups?  Well, look no further.  In a recent World Series replay, the 1908 Cubs were upset by Ty Cobb‘s Tigers.  Blog writer Kevin Graham provides brief commentary and full box scores of each replay.

Recently, Kevin has also added a series in which he takes a closer look at members of Baseball’s Hall of Fame.  I am subscribed to this blog, and always enjoy following along.

2)  Play That Funky Baseball

http://funkyball.wordpress.com/

Where to begin on this one.

This is one funky baseball road-trip through the 1977 season, complete with a stopover at Graceland.  Populated by one of the strangest cast of characters to ever spill popcorn on unsuspecting patrons at a ballpark near you, including C. Buzz Gip, Crazy Amy, Mikey Spano, Friendly Fred and others, trying not to physically vanish from this alternate universe before their favorite teams are eliminated from playoff contention.

Ballplayers with names you have long since forgotten, like Doug Rau, Jerry Reuss, and Jack Billingham once again fill the baseball scorecards.  Check it out and you may find yourself riding along on this demented baseball road-trip.

3.  Verdun2’s Blog

http://verdun2.wordpress.com/

I’ve been following this blog longer than any other baseball blog.  It is always well-written, and the author (who is that masked man, anyway?) is that rarest of baseball fanatics:  One who doesn’t have his head up his ass every time he opens his mouth.

Verdun2 specializes, but does not limit himself, to the extremely early days of baseball (19th and early 20th century.)  His historical perspective always provides an interesting learning opportunity for the reader.  He also writes about contemporary baseball topics such as picking the players who will win the post-season awards, and which retired players will / should be elected to the Hall of Fame.

V has also been an extremely loyal reader of The On Deck Circle since virtually the beginning, and for that I am ever grateful.

4)  Section 518

http://section518.wordpress.com/

If you are a Mets fan, as I am, look no further for analysis of this ugly duckling franchise (with the current emphasis on ugly.)  A Mets fan in the truest sense, JD is an optimist willing to lay his head on the chopping block year after year, yet realistic enough to accurately gauge their chances for making the playoffs.

I like to read his take on which moves he thinks the Mets should make, and his analysis on moves they have already made.  JD’s evaluations are logical and often brutally honest.  Good stuff.

5)  The Ball Caps Blog

http://ballcaps.wordpress.com/

What can you say?  The man is addicted to ball caps.

Actually, my friend Daniel Day simply has a healthy appreciation for all things baseball, so long as you can wear it.  He has been known to travel to Timbuktu for an original 1912 Giants home baseball cap.  Or at least to the local Marshall’s for a facsimile.  Always willing to support other baseball fan’s blogs, it’s time he got a little love sent back at him.

Thank you, Dan, and keep up the good work.

6)  The World According to Keitho

http://worldofkeitho.com/

On any given day, in any given post, Keitho is likely to write about how driving in San Fran compares to driving in NYC, his experiences playing jazz in a local nightclub, trying to program a VCR (!) on Thanksgiving, or, when the mood strikes him, his current opinions on all things baseball.

Reading Keitho’s blog is a bit like checking in with a friend of yours via any other social networking platform from time to time.  His style is open, engaging, funny, and interesting.  Reading the World According to Keitho is like opening a box of chocolates, because  it’s always better than NOT opening a box of chocolates.

Keitho pulls no punches, but he is an entertaining social critic with an eye for detail.  And his periodic descents into baseball analysis keep me coming back.

7)  Never Too Much Baseball

http://charlesapril.com/

I have to confess that I don’t get around to reading this one as much as I should.  His posts pique my interest every time I read them.  His post, “Be Careful: What You Write Might Be Held Against You,” 10/5/10, is one of the most hilarious articles I’ve read in a long time regarding how imprecise writing can completely undermine a writer’s (otherwise) best efforts.

Charles April is never imprecise with his language.  And his logic is even sharper.  His analysis of the various blown calls in the MLB playoffs, and his subsequent arguments in favor of instant replay, are typical of the excellent writing you will find in this blog.  Have a look.

It would be impossible for me to include each and every one of the other baseball blogs and bloggers that I read.  There are links on the right-hand side of my homepage that will take you to several others that are certainly worth a look.  Therefore, with apologies to anyone who may feel slighted, let us stop here for now.

Meanwhile, my plans for future posts include an analysis of the most underrated player of the past 20 years, and why he belongs in The Hall of Fame (hint:  he is a first-time candidate on this year’s ballot.)  I also plan to write a third Underrated / Overrated blog-post about baseball and everything else I can throw in to the mix.

Otherwise, my hope is that this blog will evolve organically, perhaps into something like a Triffid that can only be destroyed by seawater.  Or perhaps into something that will continue to generate a reasonable amount of daily traffic due to the continuously high rate of leisure time apparently enjoyed by the average middle-aged baseball fan (like me.)

Anyway, here’s hoping that I am lucky enough to continue to meet and correspond with fellow baseball fans like you.  Until next time, carry your trash out with you, and please drive home carefully.

Regards, Bill Miller


Baseball Bloggers Alliance: Stan Musial Award Winners

St. Louis Cardinals

Image via Wikipedia

Here are the official results from the Baseball Bloggers Alliance regarding the Most Valuable Players in both the A.L. and the N.L.  The award is called the Stan Musial Award.  Here is the official press release from the BBA:

 

HAMILTON, VOTTO TAKE HOME STAN MUSIAL AWARD
The Baseball Bloggers Alliance
concluded their award season today by naming the best player in each
league for 2010.  When all the votes were tallied, two men were
comfortably ahead.

Texas outfielder Josh Hamilton, who hit 32 home runs and fashioned an OPS of 1.044 while leading the Rangers into the playoffs, won the award in the
American League.  Hamilton received sixteen first place votes and 261
points overall, which put him ahead of his nearest competitor, Detroit
first baseman Miguel Cabrera, by roughly 70 points.

In the National League, helping Cincinnati to an unexpected divisional
title paid off for first baseman Joey Votto.  After a season where he
cracked 37 home runs and posted a 1.024 OPS, Votto also received sixteen
first-place votes toward his total of 252 points.  He also denied St.
Louis first baseman Albert Pujols the chance to win back-to-back BBA
awards.  Pujols was selected as MVP by the BBA in 2009, but placed
second with 197 points in this year’s voting.

Winners of other Alliance awards also received votes in the Musial balloting.  In the American League, Walter Johnson winner Felix Hernandez received 21 points, while Goose Gossage selection
Rafael Soriano had a single mention.  On the senior circuit, Walter
Johnson winner Roy Halladay placed fourth in the voting with 101 points.

The complete voting results are as follows (first place votes in parenthesis):

American League
Josh Hamilton, Texas (16) 261
Miguel Cabrera, Detroit (4) 188
Robinson Cano, New York 158
Jose Bautista, Toronto (1) 146
Adrian Beltre, Boston 107
Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay (1) 102
Paul Konerko, Chicago 65
Carl Crawford, Tampa Bay 56
Joe Mauer, Minnesota 50
Shin-Soo Choo, Cleveland 44
Felix Hernandez, Seattle 21
Vladimir Guerrero, Texas 13
Justin Morneau, Minnesota 12
Delmon Young, Minnesota 10
Cliff Lee, Seattle/Texas 8
CC Sabathia, New York 8
Alex Rodriguez, New York 7
Clay Buchholz, Boston 4
Mark Teixeria, New York 3
Jon Lester, Boston 2
Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle 2
Nick Swisher, New York 2
Jim Thome, Minnesota 2
Kevin Youkilis, Boston 2
Brett Gardner, New York 1
David Ortiz, Boston 1
Rafael Soriano, Tampa Bay 1

National League
Joey Votto, Cincinnati (16) 252
Albert Pujols, St. Louis (3) 197
Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado (1) 118
Roy Halladay, Philadelphia (1) 101
Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego 98
Troy Tulowitski, Colorado 98
Ryan Zimmerman, Washington 93
Matt Holliday, St. Louis 84
Aubrey Huff, San Francisco 32
Adam Wainwright, St. Louis 17
Ubaldo Jimenez, Colorado 16
Josh Johnson, Florida 16
Dan Uggla, Florida 16
Jayson Werth, Philadelphia 16
Ryan Braun, Milwaukee 13
Prince Fielder, Milwaukee 10
Ryan Howard, Philadelphia 9
Martin Prado, Atlanta 7
Jason Heyward, Atlanta 6
Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee 5
David Wright, New York 5
Adam Dunn, Washington 4
Kelly Johnson, Arizona 4
Andres Torres, San Francisco 1

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance was formed in the fall of 2009 to encourage
cooperation and collaboration between baseball bloggers of all major
league teams as well as those that follow baseball more generally. As of
this writing, the organization consists of 233 blogs spanning all 30 major league squads as well as general baseball writing.

The BBA is organized under a similar structure as the Baseball Writers of
America, where blogs that follow the same team are combined into
“chapters” and only two votes from the chapter on an award are counted.
The blog chapters that are focused on general baseball were allowed two
votes as well, which they could use both on the same league or split
between the two leagues.

Chapters generally followed one of two methods when casting their ballot.
Either representatives of the chapter were given the ballots for voting
or a “group ballot” was posted, accounting for both of their votes.

Ballots are posted on the respective blogs and for this award, were tabulated
on a 13-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 point scale for first through tenth place. In
the interest of transparency, links are given below for the ballots.
Chapter affiliation is in parenthesis.  Those chapters that decided on
the group method are noted with an asterisk.

Baseball Bloggers Alliance Walter Johnson Award Winners

Walter Johnson, Washington National baseball p...

Image via Wikipedia

Here is the official press release from the BBA regarding the N.L. and A.L. winners of the Walter Johnson Award for best pitcher in each league:

HALLADAY, HERNANDEZ OVERWHEMING WINNERS OF WALTER JOHNSON AWARD
2010 was often referred to as “the year of the pitcher.”  However, not all pitchers are created equal.

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance
announced today that Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay was the unanimous
selection for the National League Walter Johnson Award, receiving all
nineteen first place votes.  In the American League, Seattle’s Felix
Hernandez was almost as dominant, garnering all but four of the first
place selections from the BBA membership.

Halladay, who came over to Philadelphia in an off-season deal with Toronto,
wasted no time getting comfortable in his new league, posting an 2.44
ERA, striking out 219 batters, winning 21 games, and throwing a perfect
game to boot.  While only the regular season was considered for voting,
he also became only the second player to throw a post-season no-hitter
when he faced the Reds in the National League Divisional Series.
Halladay received 133 points, well ahead of the runner up, St. Louis’s
Adam Wainwright, who received 66.

Hernandez’s
win was statistically more impressive, due to more ballots being cast
in the American League and a wider range of pitchers receiving votes.
His 2010 season, where he put up a sparkling 2.27 ERA, a 1.06 WHIP, and
struck out 232 in just under 250 innings pitched, led voters to bestow
upon him 137 points, with second place being New York’s CC Sabathia, who
received three first place votes and 62 points over all.

The complete voting results are as follows (first place votes in parenthesis):

American League
Felix Hernandez, Seattle (18) 137
CC Sabathia, New York (3) 62
David Price, Tampa Bay (1) 57
Cliff Lee, Seattle/Texas 41
Jered Weaver, Los Angeles 22
Jon Lester, Boston 18
Clay Buchholz, Boston 14
Francisco Liriano, Minnesota 13
Trevor Cahill, Oakland 5
Justin Verlander, Detroit 5

National League
Roy Halladay, Philadelphia (19) 133
Adam Wainwright, St. Louis 66
Ubaldo Jimenez, Colorado 52
Josh Johnson, Florida 43
Tim Hudson, Atlanta 16
Tim Lincecum, San Francisco 7
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles 2
Mat Latos, San Diego 2
Heath Bell, San Diego 1
Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee 1

The
Baseball Bloggers Alliance was formed in the fall of 2009 to encourage
cooperation and collaboration between baseball bloggers of all major
league teams as well as those that follow baseball more generally. As of
this writing, the organization consists of 233 blogs spanning all 30 major league squads as well as general baseball writing.

The
BBA is organized under a similar structure as the Baseball Writers of
America, where blogs that follow the same team are combined into
“chapters” and only two votes from the chapter on an award are counted.
The blog chapters that are focused on general baseball were allowed two
votes as well, which they could use both on the same league or split
between the two leagues.

Chapters
generally followed one of two methods when casting their ballot.
Either representatives of the chapter were given the ballots for voting
or a “group ballot” was posted, accounting for both of their votes.

Ballots
are posted on the respective blogs and for this award, were tabulated
on a 7-4-3-2-1 point scale for first through fifth place. In the
interest of transparency, links are given below for the ballots. Chapter
affiliation is in parenthesis.  Those chapters that decided on the
group method are noted with an asterisk.

American League
Camden Crazies (Baltimore)*
Boston Red Thoughts (Boston)*
The Tribe Daily (Cleveland)*
Motor City Bengals (Detroit)
Detroit Tigers Scorecard Blog (Detroit)
One Royal Way (Kansas City)*
Twins Target (Minnesota)
Bronx Baseball Daily (New York)*
Contract Year (Oakland)
Sodo Mojo (Seattle)
Tampa Bay Rays News (Tampa Bay)
1 Blue Jays Way (Toronto)
Infield Fly (Toronto)
Misc. Baseball (History)*
Advanced Fantasy Baseball (Fantasy)*
Blogging From The Bleachers (General)*
Victoria Seals Baseball Blog (Other)*

National League
Marlin Maniac (Florida)
Marlins Diehards (Florida)
Feeling Dodger Blue (Los Angeles)
The Eddie Kranepool Society (New York)*
Dugger’s Corner (Philadelphia)
Phighting On (Philadelphia)
Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke? (Pittsburgh)*
Stan Musial’s Stance (St. Louis)
C70 At The Bat (St. Louis)
Friar Forecast (San Diego)*
22gigantes (San Francisco)*
Misc. Baseball (History)*
Advanced Fantasy Baseball (Fantasy)*
Blogging From The Bleachers (General)*
Victoria Seals Baseball Blog (Other)*

Prior Winners:  2009: Zach Greinke, Kansas City; Tim Lincecum, San Francisco

The official website of the BBA is located at www.baseballbloggersalliance.com.
The BBA can be found on Twitter by the handle @baseballblogs and by
the hashmark #bbba.  Members of the BBA may be heard at Blog Talk Radio
every Tuesday night with their call-in show, BBA Baseball Talk, which may also be downloaded as a podcast from iTunes.  For more information, contact Daniel Shoptaw at founder@baseballbloggersalliance.com.

Baseball Bloggers Alliance- Goose Gossage Award

Baseball reliever and Hall of Famer Goose Gossage

Image via Wikipedia

Here is the official press release from the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA) regarding the final voting results for the Goose Gossage Award, given to the best relief pitcher in each league, as determined by the membership of the BBA.

SORIANO, WILSON DOMINATE GOOSE GOSSAGE AWARD VOTING

For an inaugural vote, it wasn’t much of a contest.
Tampa Bay closer Rafael Soriano and San Francisco closer Brian Wilson handily won the Baseball Blogger Alliance’s
first-ever Goose Gossage Award, handed out to the best reliever in each
league.  Soriano and Wilson, besides leading their teams to the
postseason, posted numbers that well-distanced themselves from their
competition in the minds of the voters.
Soriano, who captured fourteen first place votes in route to an overall
total of 94 points, posted a 1.73 ERA and converted 45 saves in 48
chances.  Soriano also had a 0.80 WHIP and struck out 57 in 62.1 innings
pitched.  He easily outdistanced Kansas City reliever Joakim Soria, who
received 48 points.
In the National League, Wilson accumulated seventeen first place votes
and 104 points overall after his season in which he piled up 48 saves
(in 53 chances) with a 1.81 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP.  Wilson also struck out
93 in just 74.2 innings.  He outpaced San Diego closer Heath Bell, who
lagged behind with 52 points.
While the BBA has named all of their post-season awards after greats of
the game, Gossage gave his blessing to do so earlier in the year,
inspiring the rest of the awards to be renamed as well.
The complete voting results are as follows (first place votes in parenthesis):

American League

Rafael Soriano, Tampa Bay (14) 94
Joakim Soria, Kansas City (4) 48
Mariano Rivera, New York (1) 23
Joaquin Benoit, Tampa Bay (3) 19
Neftali Feliz, Texas 12
Matt Thornton, Chicago (1) 9
Daniel Bard, Boston 1
Jonathan Papelbon, Boston 1

National League

Brian Wilson, San Francisco (17) 104
Heath Bell, San Diego (2) 52
Carlos Marmol, Chicago (5) 41
Billy Wagner, Atlanta 19
Arthur Rhodes, Cincinnati (1) 5
Hong-Chih Kuo, Los Angeles 2
Matt Belisle, Colorado 1
Jonny Venters, Atlanta 1
The Baseball Bloggers Alliance was formed in the fall of 2009 to encourage
cooperation and collaboration between baseball bloggers of all major
league teams as well as those that follow baseball more generally. As of
this writing, the organization consists of 234 blogs spanning all 30 major league squads as well as general baseball writing.
The BBA is organized under a similar structure as the Baseball Writers
of America, where blogs that follow the same team are combined into
“chapters” and only two votes from the chapter on an award are counted.
The blog chapters that are focused on general baseball were allowed two
votes as well, which they could use both on the same league or split
between the two leagues.
Chapters generally followed one of two methods when casting their
ballot.  Either representatives of the chapter were given the ballots
for voting or a “group ballot” was posted, accounting for both of their
votes.
Ballots are posted on the respective blogs and tabulated on a 5-3-1
point scale for first, second and third. In the interest of
transparency, links are given below for the ballots. Chapter affiliation
is in parenthesis.  Those chapters that decided on the group method are
noted with an asterisk.
American League
Camden Crazies (Baltimore)*
The Tribe Daily (Cleveland)*
One Royal Way (Kansas City)*
Twinkie Talk (Minnesota)
Over The Baggy (Minnesota)
Contract Year (Oakland)
Misc. Baseball (History)*

National League

Prose and Ivy (Chicago)*
Reds Fan Central (Cincinnati)
Marlin Maniac (Florida)
Feeling Dodger Blue (Los Angeles)
The Brewers Bar (Milwaukee)*
Dugger’s Corner (Philadelphia)
Raise The Jolly Roger (Pittsburgh)*
RetroSimba (St. Louis)
Fungoes (St. Louis)
Friar Forecast (San Diego)*
22gigantes (San Francisco)*
Misc. Baseball (History)*

The official website of the BBA is located at www.baseballbloggersalliance.com.
The BBA can be found on Twitter by the handle @baseballblogs and by
the hashmark #bbba.  Members of the BBA may be heard at Blog Talk Radio
every Tuesday night with their call-in show, BBA Baseball Talk, which may also be downloaded as a podcast from iTunes.  For more information, contact Daniel Shoptaw at founder@baseballbloggersalliance.com.

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