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Passing The Torch From Greatest MLB Player To Player During The Years 1979 – 2013: From Brett To Cabrera

Cabrera has had back to back AL MVP seasons in 2012 and 2013.  He has also won 3 straight AL Batting Titles.  Cabrera is the best player offensively in the universe.  He has put up 10 straight 100+ RBI campaigns, but he has racked in 276 RBI, and also 88 HRs.  The 11 Year Veterans totals would have even been higher in 2013, but he fought a torn groin for the last half of the year.

Cabrera has had back to back AL MVP seasons in 2012 and 2013. He has also won 3 straight AL Batting Titles. Cabrera is the best player offensively in the universe. He has put up 10 straight 100+ RBI campaigns, but he has racked in 276 RBI, and also 88 HRs – while featuring an OPS well north of 1.000. The 11 Year Veterans totals would have even been higher in 2013, but he fought a torn groin for the last half of the year.  The 8 time ALL – Star and 5 time Silver Slugger Award Winner has improved even greater on his totals over the last decade.  Cabrera has a Career 3 Slash Line of .321/.399/.967 – with 365 HRs and 1260 RBI in just 1660 Games Played.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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While watching Miguel Cabrera this year, I started thinking about the best players in the MLB over the last 33 years.  I am talking the best player of the game at any point of time. 

I tracked back to 1979 for this article.  I may expand further back in follow-up articles.  I didn’t rank defense as  highly as offense when I came up with the players. 

I agonized over players like Mike SchmidtJim Rice, Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken for some of the years given in specific time frames.  These gentlemen were given every consideration. 

In the end, we are talking about the best player in the game though and it is always subject to debate and personal opinion. 

The criteria had to involve leading the league in several different offensive and/or defensive categories, followed by routinely being in the top 7 in MVP balloting (if not taking home the honor), All-Star Appearances for every year I listed them for and most of them won silver sluggers and/or Gold Gloves as well.

Cabrera’s 3 HR Game – 2013

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An American Hobby: Baseball Memorabilia – 1978 Topps Eddie Murray Card

Eddie Murray is second among active switch hitters ALL - Time in HRs to Mickey Mantle with 504 HRs.  This former Rookie of The Year Award Winner in 1977, 7 time ALL - Star, 3 time Silver Slugger and Glove Award Winner, also featured 6 top AL MVP finishes.  In a time where 3B weren't known for hitting that much, he was a masher.  Murra

Eddie Murray is second among  switch hitters ALL – Time in HRs to Mickey Mantle with 504 HRs. This former Rookie of The Year Award Winner in 1977, 7 time ALL – Star, 3 time Silver Slugger and Glove Award Winner, also featured 6 top AL MVP finishes. In a time where 3B weren’t known for hitting that much, he was a masher. Murray still is in the top 10 with his 1917 RBI (1st as a switch hitter).  He also is the Career Leader in SF with 128.

By Lee Edelstein (‘Baseball Memorabilia Enthusiast’ – visit his website here)

MLB Reports: twitter-follow screen_name=’MLBreports’ show_screen_name=’yes’]  We are pleased to present you with Baseball Author Lee Edelstein as the newest writer with us at the Reports.  Lee will be providing us with great stories about baseball memorabilia on a regular basis.

MLB Reports

An American Hobby

Blog 13

Eddie Murray

Today’s article features a member of the 3,000 Hit AND 500 Home Run clubs.  He is one of only four players in MLB history to accomplish this dual feat (Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Rafael Palmeiro).

His nickname was ‘Steady Eddie’ and it was the perfect moniker for Eddie Murray, who would go on to play more games at first base than anyone in baseball history.

As a rookie, Murray played in 160 games, hit .283, swatted 27 homers, and drove in 88 runs.  His debut performance earned him the Rookie of the Year Award for 1977.

No sophomore jinx for Murray who, over the next ten years, would average 28 home runs and 99 RBI per year.

Eddie Murray – Baseball Hall Of Fame Biographies

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The Phillies State Of The Union: Hitters Edition + They Should Give A Full Chance To Darin Ruf In 2014

The Phillies are to the NL what the Yankees are to the AL, and old and expensive team.  They had their 1st losing campaign in over a decade, and are without a 3rd Baseman, Catcher and possibly an OF to fill the holes.  That is if they end up resigning Doc Halladay.  But 2013 wasn't an entire loss.  Performances by Domonic Brown and Darin Ruf have to give the management some hope.  Playing guys under team control, low payroll deals will enable the franchise the flexibility to pursue high end talent in Free Agency.  Today, I explain how the Phightins' can do this.

The Phillies are to the NL what the Yankees are to the AL, and old and expensive team. They had their 1st losing campaign in over a decade, and are without a 3rd Baseman, Catcher and possibly an OF to fill the holes. That is if they end up resigning Doc Halladay. But 2013 wasn’t an entire loss. Performances by Domonic Brown and Darin Ruf have to give the management some hope. Playing guys under team control, low payroll deals will enable the franchise the flexibility to pursue high end talent in Free Agency. Today, I explain how the Phightins’ can do this.  How will the team fare under 2nd year skipper Ryne Sandberg – after a 20 – 22 finish?

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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2014 was a tough year on the Phillies.  For one, the fact that the MLB Reports is having an Awareness Day for them today, based on them having the 7th worst record (73 – 89) in the Majors during 2013 is mind – boggling.

We are talking about a team that had 5 Division Titles in a row (2007 – 2011), a huge payroll, and a bountiful nest of ALL – Stars to hit in the lineup, and in the Starting Rotation.

Much like the Yankees though, their core is all hitting their waning years.  Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins are having a tough time staying on the field to be productive.

2013 was always going to be about the team resurrecting its status as an NL Elite, instead they saw Roy Halladay blow up before their eyes, Cole Hamels struggle, and nobody was there to save them.

For all of the Rosters, Depth Charts, State of the Unions and Salaries Posts that we do, please visit our dedicated page link here.

Darin Ruf’s Towering Shot in Aug of 2013

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2 And A Hook Podcast #7: Ranking The 30 Ball Parks In The MLB + Giants And Red Sox Correspondent Interviews

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Friday, June.07/2013

MLB reports and The Benchwarmers Show present 2 and A Hook Podcast

MLB reports and The Benchwarmers Show present 2 and A Hook Podcast.

’2 And A Hook’ is an expression from Baseball:  ‘Throw the guy 2 Fast balls and then a Hook’ (AKA Curve Ball, Wiggly one, Chair etc..)

By James Acevedo – Host (Podcast Veteran News and Stats – 1st minute to 7 minute mark, 26 Minute Mark to 36 Minute Mark, and 1 Hour 4 Minute Mark to 1 Hour Minute 8.) 

People in this Podcast:

Jonathan Schifferle (MLB Reports Giants Correspondent – 7 Minutes in and a 18 Minute Segment)

Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Boston Red Sox Correspondent – 36 Minute Mark and a 27 Minute Segment) 

Chuck Booth (MLB Reports Owner and Lead Baseball Analyst – 1 Hour and 10 Minutes In and a 43 Minute Segment) 

On today’s show, brought to you by MLB Reports (www.mlbreports.com) & yours truly The Bench Warmers, I get into the Alex Rodriguez/Anthony Bosch soap opera very briefly.

I  then interviewed our (MLB Reports) Giants correspondent Jonathan Schifferle to talk about the giants team,”The Peapods” in the stands for Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence also known as “The Killer Peas”. Read the rest of this entry

An American Hobby: Baseball Memorabilia – Roberto Clemente’s 1955 Topps Rookie Card

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Saturday, April.27, 2013

Roberto Clemente was a 13 Time ALL - Star and a 12 time Gold Glove Award Winner.  He also led the NL in Batting Average 4 X - and in hits 2 X.  He was the 1966 NL MVP - setting Career highs in HRs (29) and RBI (119).  In the 13 years from 1960 - 1972, he hit under .312 only in 1 season (.291 in 1968).  Sadly, he died in an aviation accident on New Years Eve 1973, while he was delivering aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua at the age of 38.  He and Lou Gehrig hold the distinctive honors of having the 5 year wait period waived for the Baseball Hall Of Fame.

Roberto Clemente was a 13 Time ALL – Star and a 12 time Gold Glove Award Winner. He also led the NL in Batting Average 4 X – and in hits 2 X. He was the 1966 NL MVP – setting Career highs in HRs, (29) Runs, (105) and RBI (119). In the 13 years from 1960 – 1972, he hit under .312 only in 1 season – (.291 in 1968). Sadly, he died in an aviation accident on New Years Eve 1973, while he was delivering aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua at the age of 38. He and Lou Gehrig hold the distinctive honors of having the 5 year wait period waived for the Baseball Hall Of Fame.

By Lee Edelstein (‘Baseball Memorabilia Enthusiast’ – visit his website here)

MLB Reports:  We are pleased to present you with Baseball Author Lee Edelstein as the newest writer with us at the Reports.  Lee will be providing us with great stories about baseball memorabilia on a regular basis.

MLB Reports

An American Hobby

Blog 10

Roberto Clemente

This week’s article features a member of the 3,000 Hit Club.

Roberto Clemente is a beloved figure in baseball history, one of the greatest defensive right fielders of all time, and, in many ways, a pioneer – the Jackie Robinson of Hispanic and Latin ballplayers. 

While Robinson faced the monumental hurdle of integrating baseball, Clemente’s challenges included overcoming pervasive language and cultural barriers.

Consider this – he is the first Latin American in the Hall of Fame, the first Hispanic ballplayer to win a World Series as a starter (1960), win an MVP award (1966), and win a World Series MVP Award (1971). 

He played in the era of Aaron, Mays, and Mantle and, for much of his career, was under-appreciated.

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An American Hobby: Baseball Memorabilia – Harmon Killebrew’s 1955 Topps Rookie Card

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Saturday, April.20, 2013

Killer was an 11 Time All - Star and an 6 time HR King and led the AL in RBI 4 times as well. He also hit 40+ HRs 8 times. The man had a Hall Of Fame Career.  The Phillies could take a page out of Killebrew's patience...He Walked 1559 times  in 2435 Games Played.  His 3 Career Slash was .256/.376/.884. Killebrew also had a great eye leading the League in Walks in 4 separate seasons (66', 67', 69', 71).

Killer was an 11 Time All – Star and an 6 time HR King and led the AL in RBI 3  times as well. He also hit 40+ HRs 8 times. The man had a Hall Of Fame Career. Killenbrew also had a great eye – in leading the American League in  Walks in 4 separate years.  Overall, he Walked 1559 times in 2435 Games Played. His 3 Career Slash was .256/.376/.884.

By Lee Edelstein (‘Baseball Memorabilia Enthusiast’ – visit his website here)

MLB Reports:  We are pleased to present you with Baseball Author Lee Edelstein as the newest writer with us at the Reports.  Lee will be providing us with great stories about baseball memorabilia on a regular basis.

MLB Reports

An American Hobby

Blog 10

Harmon Killebrew

This week’s article features a member of the 500 Home Run club.

During the decade of the 1960’s, sluggers named Hank Aaron,Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Willie McCovey, Ernie Banks, and Frank Robinson, in the prime of their careers, bashed balls out of the ballpark in record fashion.

In 1961, Mantle and Maris duked it out as the baseball world watched their assault on Babe Ruth’s single season Home Run record. But after the dust had settled on the 60’s, it was a quiet gentleman named Harmon Killebrew who wound up hitting more Home Runs in the decade than anyone else.

Nicknamed “The Killer”, although he was anything but, he pounded 393 Home Runs in that ten year period:

Harmon Killebrew Tribute:

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Nate Freiman: Beane Finds Yet Another Hidden Gem… And The A’s Next 1st Baseman

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Friday April 5th, 2013

All Nate Freiman did was carry the Country of Israel during the recent World Baseball Classic Qualifying Tournament. Can this First Base giant do the same in Oakland?

All Nate Freiman did was carry the Country of Israel during the recent World Baseball Classic Qualifying Tournament. Can this First Base giant do the same in Oakland?

Jonathan Hacohen  (Lead Baseball Columnist, Oakland A’s Correspondent and Website Founder):  

Baseball is a funny game sometimes. One minute you’re crying the Chris Carter blues. Then before you  know it, Nate Freiman appears. That is how Billy Beane works my friends. Just when you think he might be slipping, he pulls a magic rabbit out of his hat (better known as the waiver wire in baseball terms). 

On February 11, 2013, I wrote an article outlining Billy Beane’s error in trading Chris Carter. While I have always endorsed the talents of Jed Lowrie, it was my opinion that giving up a future star in Chris Carter was too high of a price to pay.

The trade (which actually took place on February 4th) saw the Astros acquire yet another stud First Base prospect. I wondered out loud what the Astros would do with all their First Base talent (Brett Wallace, Jonathan Singleton, Nate Freiman and veteran Carlos Pena).

It seemed like too many bats and not enough positions in Houston, despite the newfound need for a Designated Hitter. A little over a month later, March 23rd to be exact- I had my answer. Nate Freiman was on his way to Oakland.

The star for Israel in this year’s World Baseball Classic qualifying tournament was going to get the opportunity of a lifetime.

While some felt the A’s were simply acquiring roster depth, I saw a different vision. The A’s had their replacement for Brandon Moss at First Base.

Billy Beane had an uncovered yet another gem that was going to thrive in Oakland. Remember Josh Reddick 2012? Meet Nate Freiman 2013.  

Nate Freiman Interview:

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An American Hobby: Baseball Memorabilia – ‘Mel Ott’ Card From 1935

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Sunday, March.24, 2013

Mel Ott was a Hall Of Fame Player that spent his whole Career wit the New York Giants.  He ranks 4th in ALL - Time HRs for players that played for just 1 team behind Schmidt (548), Mantle (536), and  Banks (512)

Mel Ott was a Hall Of Fame Player that spent his whole Career with the New York Giants. He ranks 4th in ALL – Time HRs for players that played for just 1 team behind Schmidt – PHI (548), Mickey Mantle – NYY (536), and Ernie Banks – CHC (512).   Ott made every ALL – Star Game (33 – ’44}.  He led the NL in Home Runs and Walk 6 times each.  Ott had 8 straight 100 + RBI years from Age 20 – 28.  At the Age of 20 (1929), he had his best year with 42 HRs, 151 RBI and a 3 Slash Line of .328/.449/1.084.

By Lee Edelstein (‘Baseball Memorabilia Enthusiast’ – visit his website here)

MLB Reports:  We are pleased to present you with Baseball Author Lee Edelstein as the newest writer with us at the Reports.  Lee will be providing us with great stories about baseball memorabilia on a regular basis.

MLB Reports

An American Hobby

Blog 6

Mel Ott

Collecting baseball cards is a uniquely American hobby.  As a kid growing up in the 1950’s I had shoeboxes full of them.  All of my friends did, too.  We had so many cards that, when we got older and our interests shifted to teenage pursuits, our moms decided to clean house. Literally.  Out went the cards which they considered to be nothing more than junk.  Today, we wax nostalgic over those cardboard canvasses of our heroes that we treated so casually.  That’s also why, in good condition, they are worth small fortunes.

I renewed my interest in card collecting a few years ago when I decided to build a collection of the elites of the game – the ballplayers who are members of three very exclusive clubs: 300 Wins, 3,000 Hits, and 500 Home Runs.  It’s an exclusive membership that includes players from before the turn of the twentieth century (Kid Nichols #7 with 361 wins) through players who are active today (Derek Jeter is currently #10 on the all-time hit list with 3,304 hits):

  • 300 Wins – 24 players
  • 3,000 Hits – 28 players          
  • 500 Home Runs – 25 players

Each week, I’ll feature a baseball card of one of these all-time greats.  Along the way, we’ll talk about other aspects of America’s Hobby, why it continues to grow in popularity, and answer any questions you may have.

1933 World Series Recap – Including a HR by Mel Ott!

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What Will It Take For Bryce Harper To Be An NL MVP This Year?

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Tuesday, Mar. 19/2013

Just how far can Bryce Harper improve during his 2nd season?  If he can improve by about 15 % might we see a 30 HR/ 30 SB, year with around 120 Runs Scored and 80 Extra Base Hits?  This would vault the 20 Year Old LF

Just how far can Bryce Harper improve during his 2nd season? If he can improve by about 15% – might we see a 30 HR/30 SB year, with around 120 Runs Scored and 80 Extra Base Hits? With the Nationals being the consensus favorite in the National League amongst experts, this would definitely put him in the NL MVP discussion.  Seasons of improvement between the age of 19 and 20 for MLB Players of the past has proved to show this could happen. Harper will look to avoid the similar fates of the last 5 NL Rookie Of The Year Awards with a 2nd year regression.

By David Huzzard (Nationals Correspondent via Citizens of Natstown.com – view website here): 

A good part of analysis is knowing when numbers are useless. I was going to look back at the last 5 NL Rookies of the Year – and inform you of their average decrease in OPS, but two of the five are Geovany Soto and Chris Coghlan. On top of that Posey got injured his second full season after only 45 games and Ryan Braun hit like a madman in his rookie season with an OPS of 1.004. It did drop from that to .888, but seriously he OPS’d 1.004 in his rookie season.

The only one of the last five position player rookies of the year to not suffer any drop was Hanley Ramirez who saw his OPS rise from .833 in 2006 to .948 in 2007. If we go back one more season to the 2005 rookie of the year, Ryan Howard, his OPS rose from .924 in 2005 to 1.084 in 2006 when he won the MVP (Pujols had a 1.102 OPS that season, the third highest of his career and tops in the NL, but the vote went to Howard).   ​

Bryce Harper Steals Home!

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An American Hobby: Baseball Memorabilia – Mickey Mantle: “The Mick” Card

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Monday, March.18, 2013

Mickey Mantle is the ALL - Time HR leader amongst switch hitters.  He was a 3 Time AL MVP with 6 other top 5 finishes.  He won the Triple Crown in 1956 for the Yankees.  In an era that was not known for Stealing, he held himself back - or he could have been Baseballs first 40/40 Man.  Mantle slugged over 1.000 OPS in 8 years and held a Career 3 Slash line of .298/.421/.977.

Mickey Mantle is the ALL – Time HR leader amongst switch hitters. He was a 3 Time AL MVP with 6 other top 5 finishes. He won the Triple Crown in 1956 for the Yankees. In an era that was not known for Stealing, he held himself back – or he could have been Baseballs first 40/40 Man. Mantle slugged over 1.000 OPS in 8 years and held a Career 3 Slash line of .298/.421/.977.  Mantle won 7 World Series and appeared in a total of 12 Fall Classics – hitting 18 HRs (a record that stood for 3 decades by a Post Season Career and still is a WS Record.)  Mantle made just over $1 MIL in earnings for his 18 years.

By Lee Edelstein (‘Baseball Memorabilia Enthusiast’ – visit his website here)

MLB Reports:  We are pleased to present you with Baseball Author Lee Edelstein as the newest writer with us at the Reports.  Lee will be providing us with great stories about baseball memorabilia on a regular basis.

MLB Reports

An American Hobby

Blog 5

Mickey Mantle

Just as Joe DiMaggio was winding down his career in 1951, a nineteen-year-old wunderkind burst upon the MLB scene.  His name was Mickey Mantle, he hailed from Commerce, Oklahoma, and he was the walking, talking personification of the All-American boy.  The Mick was boyishly handsome, strong, sleek, and fast as the wind. 

And he could hit Home Runs further than anyone in the game.  When he won the Triple Crown in 1956 he captured the hearts and souls of an entire generation of youngsters who would go on to be known as the Baby Boomers.  But just like Roy Hobbs, The Natural, in Bernard Malamud’s 1952 story, his personality flaws along with injuries, would keep Mantle from realizing his full potential.

The Yankees seemed to be blessed with sterling talent that showed up at just the right time.  As Babe Ruth’s career with the Bronx Bombers wound down, Lou Gehrig was there to carry the team forward.  When Gehrig’s career came to an abrupt and tragic end, Joe DiMaggio was just establishing himself as the preeminent Center Fielder of his day. 

Mickey Mantle’s 500th HR(3rd one in) is amongst these 7 Mantle videos :

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Yoenis Cespedes: While Cuba Misses Their Star in the 2013 WBC – the A’s Slugger Looks to be an A.L. MVP Candidate

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Friday March 8th, 2013

From Cuba to A.L. MVP? Despite not being able to represent his native country in the WBC, Cespedes is a year older and wiser. The more he adjusts to North America life and baseball, opposing pitchers will shudder even more each time Cespedes comes to the plate.

Jonathan Hacohen  (Lead Baseball Columnist, Oakland A’s Correspondent and Website Founder):  

It’s pretty ironic if you ask me. The 2013 World Baseball Classic is here and Cuba is off to a huge start. I had to pick a winner and went with Cuba as my pre-tournament favorite. Considering that Japan has won both editions of the WBC, Cuba was definitely going to be in tough. To top it all off, they are starting off the first two rounds in Japan. Why is it ironic? For Cuba is missing its biggest star for the tournament. Yoenis Cespedes, the Oakland A’s star outfielder is in Arizona for Spring Training.

Far away from the bright lights of Japan, where Cuba finally beat its nemesis this week in WBC play after several failed attempts in the past. With that monkey off their back, Cuba has made the statement that they are ready to win it all. But yet without their biggest star. For when one defects from Cuba, they are forever banished from representing their country again in any baseball capacity.

I couldn’t help but think watching Cuba play in Japan this week that in fact Cespedes and the A’s opened their season last year in Japan. Cespedes actually started off his season with a bang out there and never looked back. On March 29th last year, Cespedes had a home run in the 2nd game of the A’s young season. That bomb in Japan was the start of the legend. Who knew that Cespedes would actually be in Japan a year too early? For all the success that Cuba has enjoyed thus far in the 2013 WBC, imagine if they had Cespedes anchoring that lineup?

Cuba may very still win the 2013 WBC. My money is on that happening. But if Cuba falls short yet again, the what if scenarios will endlessly get bounced around. What if the team had Aroldis Chapman? Alexei Ramirez? And most of all, Yoenis Cespedes? Until Cuba allows its defectors to come home again, the talent drain will continue to affect the country in international tournaments.

Yoenis Cespedes 2012 Highlights Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is Advised:

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Paul Konerko Has Asserted Himself As An ALL-Time South Sider

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Sunday, January.13/2013

Paul Konerko heads into the last year of a contract.  At 37, Konerko has hit 415 HRs as a White Sox Players and is 33 Round-Trippers short of Frank Thomas for the ALL-Time Franchise Lead.  Will he reach the 'BIG HURT' in 2013?

Paul Konerko heads into the last year of a contract. At 37, Konerko has hit 415 HRs as a White Sox Player – and is 33 Round-Trippers short of Frank Thomas (448) for the ALL-Time Franchise Lead. Will he reach the ‘BIG HURT’ in 2013? Better yet, if he re-signs with the team past 2013, he may enter the top 10 of ALL-Time HRs for one team.  Currently Lou Gehrig and Eddie Matthews sit tied in 9th with 493 HRs each for one club.

By Brian Madsen (White Sox Correspondent):  

The South Side of Chicago. U.S. Cellular Field. You’re likely to have heard chants of “Let’s go White Sox!!”, “Ozzie!! Ozzie!!, and maybe even “Oh-E-Oh, Magglio!!”, over the years at this beautiful, yet underrated ball park. But, for the last 14 seasons, you probably would have heard “Paulie!! Paulie!!”, more than any other. No, not Paulie from Rocky fame. Paul Konerko, the 6 time ALL-Star and 2005 World Series Champion First Baseman of the Chicago White Sox. Some would say he’s underrated, much like the stadium he’s called home since 1999. Acquired via trade from the Cincinnati Reds in late 1998 by the White Sox for Mike Cameron, Konerko has been a consistent producer for them for 14 seasons.

He’s averaged more than 32 HRs and 101 RBI in that time frame for the Sox – and has combined for a few quality 1-2 punches over the years with some big hitters. Frank Thomas, Carlos Lee, Magglio Ordonez, and now Adam Dunn, to name a few. He is said to be one of White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf’s favorite players of ALL-time. He should be, as he helped guide the White Sox to their first World Series Championship in 88 years back in 2005. Konerko even presented the “3rd and final out ball” to Reinsdorf at the victory parade, bringing the owner to tears in front of thousands of screaming Sox fans.

Paul Konerko 2012 Highlights:  Mature Lyrics – Parental Guidance is Advised:

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Part 1 of a Series: All-Time All-Star Teams By Regionality

 

Friday November 23th, 2012

Note from Alex Mednick:  I am going to be putting together a small project that accumulates all the best players of all time, and puts them together on teams according to their birthplace.  For example, in this first edition I will be breaking down players from the United States of America into teams from the 1) Northeast, 2) Southeast, 3) Midwest, and 4) Southwest…(sorry, there really is not enough quality coming out of the northwest to compete with these teams…maybe I will put a Northwestern United States team in a later edition with less competitive teams).  Later on I will bring you teams assembled from the all-time greats out Central and South American (Mexico, Venezuela, Panama, Panama Canal Zone, etc.) and the All-Caribbean Team (Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Curacao, etc).  Also look forward to teams from Japan, Canada and the EU.  Should be fun to sort of assemble an “Olympics” of Baseball.  I love watching the World Baseball Classic and seeing players fight for their nations pride…but by grouping the teams by region, it might make the teams more competitive.  Of course, this is all for the sake of speculation; Babe Ruth was a great player, but I don’t think he will be taking any at-bat’s soon. (Also, please note that I do not lend consideration to relief pitchers in this analysis). Read the rest of this entry

Baseball Book Review: “The 50 Greatest Players in New York Yankees History” – By Robert W. Cohen

Sunday November 11th, 2012

“THE 50 GREATEST PLAYERS IN NEW YORK YANKEES HISTORY” –  BY ROBERT W. COHEN

The Scarecrow Press, Inc.:  2012

 

Jonathan Hacohen:  I’m going to start off this review with a little disclaimer. Despite the similarities of our last names, there is no relation between myself and author Robert W. Cohen. He is a Cohen, I am Ha-Cohen. Fortunately, our surnames is not the only thing that links myself to Robert. After reading his prized book “The 50 Greatest Players in New York Yankees History” (or as I shall call the “50 Greatest Yankees” for the rest of this review), we have a common admiration for the team in pinstripes. Truth be known, for a person loves baseball- they can’t help but respect and follow the Yankees. The history, traditions and of course, the superstars that have played in the Bronx over the years. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, you can’t stop talking about the Yankees when a baseball history conversation is in play. 

With the final pitch of the 2012 World Series having recently been thrown (and watched for a called third strike to end the game…and season), I found myself with the opportunity to complete the 50 Greatest Yankees. We were fortunate to have Robert W. Cohen appear on MLB reports back in July with a Guest MLB Blog to discuss the book. Now it was time for me to complete the book and discuss it with you, the readers. The timing couldn’t be better, considering that the Christmas holiday shopping season is around the corner. If you want to really impress the baseball fan in your life with a great gift, the 50 Greatest Yankees will certainly be a home run for you. A detailed history of the 50 greatest players to ever put on a Yankees uniform? This is a subject that every baseball fan will want to cover in great detail. Read the rest of this entry

Roger Clemens and the Sugar Land Skeeters

Wednesday August 29th, 2012

Sam Evans: Roger Clemens deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. If Cooperstown picked candidates with regard to their off-field activities, players like Dick Williams and Mickey Mantle might have never been chosen to the elite class that is the Hall of Fame. If Hall of Fame voters look at Clemens’ career numbers, they’ll find it hard to not see him as having one of the best starting pitching careers we’ve ever seen. Clemens is currently pitching with the independent league Sugar Land Skeeters after five years away from the game. It’s been only one game so far, with more possibly to come. Let’s look at Clemens, his first start, and how he stacks up against some of his teammates.

Roger Clemens ranks eighth all-time among major leaguers in WAR, and second among starting pitchers (145.5). His upper 90’s fastball, nasty splitter, and above-average changeup led him to over 300 wins and a twenty-four year career in the majors. His last season, in 2007 with the New York Yankees, Clemens still managed to pitch at a fairly high level, posting a 4.14 FIP in seventeen starts. His average fastball velocity was just over 90 MPH for the 2007 season.

After Clemens figured out a bunch of legal things, he “tried out” for the Sugar Land Skeeters, who play in the independent Atlantic League, and made the team. In his first start on Saturday, August 25th, Clemens lasted 3 1/3 innings, allowing only one hit, not walking a batter, and striking out two. Facing a Bridgeport team that features former major leaguers Joey Gathright and Shea Hillebrand, Clemens topped out at 88 MPH and got a few outs via his splitter. Read the rest of this entry

The Underrated Greatness of Yoenis Cespedes: The Stats Don’t Lie

Monday August 20th, 2012

                                                                                                                                

                                                                              (Image Courtesy of Businessinsider.com)

Jonathan Hacohen: For all the talk of Mike Trout as the sure bet for this year’s A.L. ROY and possibly MVP awards, a name that does not get thrown around enough is that of Yoenis Cespedes. Heard of him? I’m sure you have. The Cuban sensation, who went almost overnight from a YouTube prospect star to the A’s best hitter. The baseball world has not forgotten about Cespedes. But it seems like for all the attention Mike Trout is getting, Cespedes is not getting enough baseball love. Given Trout’s numbers, it’s not hard to see why. The kid hailed as the next Mickey Mantle has delivered and then some. Trout leads the league with a .343 average. Scored 96 runs and stole 39 bases. Obscene numbers for any MLB player in August, let alone a 21-year old. What makes Trout even more incredible is that he is doing it at home and on the road. Check his splits- almost identical. But then Trout does get to enjoy the lineup protection of Albert Pujols, Kendrys Morales, Torii Hunter and the rest of the Angels lineup. 

I am not even going to begin to try to compare Trout and Cespedes. Apples and oranges. Trout is much younger (6 years) and he clearly has the superior numbers. In any other year though, Yoenis Cespedes would have been the shoo-in Rookie of the Year in the A.L. and would have garnered MVP votes as well. But just because Trout is so good, we shouldn’t let Cespedes not get his time in the sun. The man has been a one-man wrecking crew for the A’s and the team’s overall record with him in the lineup is part of the proof of his greatness. Read the rest of this entry

“The 50 Greatest Players in New York Yankees History” – By Robert W. Cohen: Guest MLB Blog

Thursday July 12th, 2012

“THE 50 GREATEST PLAYERS IN NEW YORK YANKEES HISTORY” –  BY ROBERT W. COHEN

A sneak peek, courtesy of Amazon.com:

The New York Yankees are Major League Baseball’s most renowned and successful franchise. Baseball greats such as Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and Derek Jeter have all worn the famous navy blue and white pinstripes. The Yankees have won 27 World Series championships, and 29 players who spent at least a year with the team have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. With so many Hall of Famers to choose from, selecting the best players in the history of the franchise might seem impossible; yet that is exactly what Robert W. Cohen has done in The 50 Greatest Players in New York Yankees History.

This book carefully examines the careers of the players who made the greatest impact on the most successful franchise in the history of professional sports. The ranking was determined based on such factors as the extent to which each player added to the Yankees legacy, the degree to which he impacted the fortunes of his team, and the level of dominance he attained while wearing the Yankee uniform. Features of The 50 Greatest Players in New York Yankees History include

  • Each player’s notable achievements
  • Recaps of the player’s most memorable performances
  • Summaries of each player’s best season
  • Quotes from opposing players and former teammates

Yankees fans and baseball fans in general will find The 50 Greatest Players in New York Yankees History a fascinating collection of bios, stats, recaps, quotes, and more. And with such iconic figures as Yogi Berra, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Alex Rodriguez, and Andy Pettitte, this book is sure to inspire debate and controversy among true Yankees fans.

Robert Cohen:  Although I have been interviewed on numerous occasions to discuss my previously published works, I have never before been presented with an opportunity to speak directly to baseball fans – a group with which I closely identify. Therefore, I would first like to thank MLB Reports for giving me this chance to address those fans of the game that frequent their website.

Considering the fact that I first began writing professionally some 10 years ago, it probably came as a surprise to those people who know me best that it took me this long to write my latest book, The 50 Greatest Players in New York Yankees History. A huge fan of the Yankees since my childhood days, my earliest memories of the sport center around the team’s fall from grace during the mid-1960s. While I have vague memories of watching the 1964 World Series on my family’s old black and white television, I recall far more vividly the dark period that followed, when the Yankees typically finished in the American League’s second division with a roster littered with mediocre players.

Nevertheless, even those Yankee teams featured a few standout performers, with players such as Mel Stottlemyre, Bobby Murcer, Roy White, and Thurman Munson helping to keep them respectable. And some of the great players from New York’s glory years still remained on the team at the beginning of that period, including Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Whitey Ford, and Elston Howard. Read the rest of this entry

Top Ten Stat of the Week: HRs per AB Career (Active)

Monday June.11, 2012

Russell Branyan has raw power and was never given a chance to play full time despite ranking 6th amongst active players in HRs per AB. Photo courtesy of seattlesportscentral.com

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- Chicks dig the long ball right?  Well so do dudes.  There is a certain folklore of a player that can absolutely cream a baseball regardless of their batting average or ability to make contact all of the time.  One of my favorite players to watch swing a bat is Russell Branyan.  I follow the Seattle Mariners since they are my closest team for geography.  I was able to see what Russell “The Muscle” was able to do once he was given a chance to play every day for the Mariners.  He rewarded the club by pasting 31 HRs and knocking in 76 RBI in just 116 games during the 2009 year.  The next season, he started with the Cleveland Indians before rejoining the Mariners again at the end of June.  Branyan would electrify the crowds at Safeco by hitting another 15 HRs in just 205 AB. Branyan hits as many HRs per AB for a rate in his career as Mickey Mantle did.  Branyan draws comparisons to another one of my favorite players in Jack Cust with his nickname ’3TO’, which is short for 3 True Outs.  This is a strikeout, walk or HR.  Cust never made this upcoming list but he did hit 63 HRs in his first 1000 AB while striking out 430 times!  Branyan’s average 162 game season average (with full at bats) would have included striking out 171 times.   In this video you can see his power, (also click the link provided from at the top of the page on this link to see another shot of this mammoth blast that Branyan had at Yankee Stadium.  You can do this by copying the blue version of the link and pasting it into your browser.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0KRvFSdcII

  Read the rest of this entry

Passing of the Torch as The Greatest Player in The MLB: From Pujols to Hamilton

Wednesday June.6, 2012

Josh Hamilton is on pace for 64 HRs and 177 RBI in 2012 with a .345 AVG. He has taken over as the best player in MLB from Albert Pujols -Photo Courtesy of http://www.real-fans.com

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- While watching Josh Hamilton this year, I started thinking about the best players in the MLB over the last 33 years.  I am talking the best player of the game at any point of time.  I tracked back to 1979 for this article.  I may expand further back in follow up articles.  I did rank defense highly when I came up with the players.  I did agonize over Mike Schmidt,  Jim Rice, Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken for some of the years given in specific time frames.  These gentlemen were given every consideration.  In the end, we are talking about the best player in the game though and it is always subject to debate and personal opinion.  The criteria had to involve leading the league in several different offensive and/or defensive categories, followed by routinely being in the top 7 in MVP balloting(if not taking home the honor), All-Star Appearances for every year I listed them for and most of them won silver sluggers and/or Gold Gloves as well.

George Brett won batting titles in 3 different decades and flirted with .400 in 1980 while hitting .390 for the year. -Photo courtesy of lanius.wordpress.com

George Brett 1979-1983-George Brett was the best hitter in the game from 1979-1983.  He hit for a .320 average and slugged his way to having the Royals as perennial contenders.  He led the league in triples (20) and hits in 1979.  In 1980, he hit .390 with a .454 OBP, 664 SLG and a 1.118 OBP which led the league.  In 1983, Brett led the league in slugging an OPS once again.  Brett won the MVP in 1980 and was the runner-up in 1979.  In 1985, George Brett would lead the Royals to a World Series.  He later won a batting title at age 37 with a .329 average.  This was the toughest time frame to judge from 1979-1983.  Mike Schmidt was an incredible force at third base with huge power and Jim Rice also put up mammoth numbers, but in the end I chose  George Brett because he was more consistent out of 3. Read the rest of this entry

The Yankees and Their Milestones Tracker: Jeter, A-Rod, Teixeira and CC

Wednesday, May.23/2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-Heading into tonight’s game versus the Kansas City Royals, Derek Jeter sits in 16th all time for the All-time hits list.  He is only 3 hits behind Paul Waner and another 5 hits behind George Brett.  If Jeter has a decent last 120 games, he could find himself already in the top 10 all time by collecting another 145 hits and passing Willie Mays  for 10th all time with 3284 hits by the end of the year.  I am not sure how much longer the captain will play, but I think it has to be at least another year or two based on how he has started this campaign out.  If he plays another 300 games after this year, you have to think he is capable of averaging a hit per game the rest of his career.  This would place him in the top 5 of hits all time behind Pete Rose (4256), Ty Cobb (4191) Hank Aaron (3771) and Stan Musial’s (3630).  If I were a betting man, I think that 482 more hits might be asking a little much for the 37-year-old shortstop.  Having said this, Jeter will undoubtedly take his place amongst these immortal men by the time he is done playing the game. Read the rest of this entry

Forget Strikeouts: Hit ’Em Where They Ain’t!

Monday January 23, 2012


Douglas “Chuck” Booth-  Baseball Writer:  Back in the turn of the 20th century, baseball was a different game.  Players had second jobs to supplement their baseball salaries, teams carried few pitchers and they used the same baseball for as much of the game as they could.  There was a player named Willie Keeler who coined the phrase: “Hit ’em where they ain’t!”  It was a slang term for hitting the baseball where outfielders were not located.  This term would hold up for baseball players until Babe Ruth graced the baseball world with the retort, “I like to him them over the fence because the fielders are definitely not there.”  Strikeouts were a different situation back then as opposed to the modern-day game.

Old time baseball players were ashamed of strikeouts.  To them, you had done nothing to help your team in advancing the offence.  While I never played baseball at a higher level than age 19, I came from this very philosophy and this was twenty years ago.  My teammates and I all took turns throwing temper tantrums over striking out in Little League Baseball.  Some kids even resorted to crying.  The coaches of the teams all preached young men to cut down their strikeouts in favor of just making some contact.  For the longest time I believed that the Major League Players thought along these lines.  Media articles and sports broadcasters still interview retired players about striking out.  All of them say that it bothered them a great deal.  So what happened to change the philosophy?  Was it Money Ball?  How about Sabermetrics?  I think that these both had a role in the ever rising strikeout totals the current players are experiencing each and every year.  There are other factors like hard throwing relief pitchers and teams spending more money to keep aging veterans who have lost plate coverage, thus increasing their k rates.

In the 1990’s we also experienced the steroid era, where the bandbox stadiums were built and MLB went with the advertising campaign, “chicks dig the long ball!”  It all had led to the increased strikeout total.  To see just how far the epidemic had come, let’s go back 85 years; in 1927 Babe Ruth led the Major Leagues with 89 strikeouts.  Oh yeah, he also hit .356 with 60 HRs and drove in 164 RBIs in 540 ABs.  Lou Gehrig finished in 2nd that year with 84 strikeouts- but he hit .373 with 47 HRs and a whopping 175 RBIs in 580 ABs.  Both men walked over 100 times each and slugged over .750.  Yes pitching was not as tough as it is today. But these guys played in the dead ball era with humongous baseball stadiums.  

Fast forward to 1961. 10 players had over 100 strikeouts that year.  Much like 1927, the New York Yankees had two players leading the charge in offense with Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle.  Despite hitting a record 61 HRs that season, Roger Maris had a keen eye for the plate in only striking out 67 times.  There was a shift starting with the other players in league.  A player by the name of Jake Wood stuck out a league leading 141 times.  Amongst the other players to top the 100 strikeouts mark were Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle and Harmon Killebrew.  It was a change in contrast to the power hitters of the league striking out on a more frequent basis.  Players like Joe Dimaggio (369 SO, 361 HRs), Ted Williams (760 SO and 521 HRs) and Stan Musial (696 SO and 475 HRs) were standing out on the pier as players who adopted the contact concept. But they were becoming a rare breed of player.

In 1986, the number of players with 100 strikeouts escalated to 40.  Yes there were an increase in the number of teams due to expansion. However, the rate of the players striking out 100 times a year far outweighed those added teams.  There were definitely a few exceptions to the rule.  Don Mattingly only struck out 444 times in 7721 Plate Appearances during his career. Wade Boggs only struck out only 745 times in nearly 11000 Plate Appearances.  It should be noted the Boggs walked 1412 times and routinely fouled off pitches with two strikes deliberately to wear down opposing pitchers; otherwise his whiffs would have been much lower.  The best of this era was Tony Gwynn, who only struck out 434 times in 10200 Plate Appearances.  All 3 of these players were part of a baseball decade in which the 1-2 hitters were purely average contact hitters who did not strikeout very much and stole bases, while playing hit and run ball.  Your power hitters belonged in the 3-4-5 slots and that was the only place to have an acceptable amount of high strikeout totals.  The 6-8 hitters were also average contact hitters with speed.

In 2011, 80 players finished with over 100 strikeouts.  There is one thing though that has remained constant.  The home runs are still up way higher from the rate of the 1980’s.  Now steroid testing has slowed down the balls leaving the yard from 10-15 years back, but more players still hit 30 homers a year than in the 25 years before the steroid era.  You might want to also throw in the decreasing strike zone the umpires seem to implement each progressive season.  Do not count on the umpires calling more strikes either, as it easier to pinpoint the botched strike calls now more than ever with technology.  Umpires are simply not willing for the most part to give much leniency to the pitchers.  Higher counts in ABs as a result will reflect in both more strikeouts and walks.

The baseball world has come to this.  It is now acceptable for players (including the management and front office backing of the idea), to carry high strikeout totals and low batting averages- if the on base percentage/power numbers are still there.  Leadoff hitters are not even immune to striking out on a regular basis.  It is a mentality that has changed the game forever.  So the next time you are wondering why all of the baseball games seem to last forever now: remember that more strikeouts equals more pitches seen. Which means the length of time each game lasts will be affected.

*** Thank you to our Baseball Writer- Doug Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports.  To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Doug Booth, you can follow Doug on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and click here for Doug’s website, fastestthirtyballgames.com*** 

 

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