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Friday, December.21, 2012
Note from Chuck Booth: I am attempting to bring the history for each of the 30 MLB Franchises into a 5 part series that will focus on 1. The teams history. 2. The hitters 3. The pitchers. 4. The Teams Payroll going into 2013 and 5.The Ball Park that they play in. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.) Be sure to check my author page with a list of all of my archived articles section here.
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
The Rays have only been around for 15 years, however they have seen their share of talent grace the club. In their inaugural year, the club signed Free Agents Fred McGriff and Wade Boggs. A few years later when Boggs retired, they added Vinny Castilla, Jose Canseco and Greg Vaughn all to the club. This movement did not work out. It was the drafted talent of the club that started to surface in the early 2000′s. Aubrey Huff and Carl Crawford emerged as AL offensive threats. Other picks like Rocco Baldelli, Jorge Cantu and Jonny Gomes started out on fire, yet quickly flamed out. The club saw other guys come and go before the 2007 started to show what the team was really capable of. Carlos Pena gave them a bonafide HR guy. Soon Evan Longoria was called up to the Major Leagues and the club featured one of the best attacks in all of Major League Baseball.
The offense has suffered a bit of a drop-off in the last few years, but newly acquired Wil Myers is one of the best offensive prospects in the game of baseball. Longoria is signed through 2023 and Ben Zobrist is a great all-around offensive talent signed for the next 3 seasons. While the team will still be predominantly based with great pitching, the club should see some well-rounded offensive players.
Tropicana Field is one of the harder places to put up great numbers, so we will see what the future holds. We must look at the past. In these Series I have been doing for the teams, a lot of criteria had to be met to be included in the Franchises best hitters or pitchers. Obviously with a 15 Year Old team, the stakes are not raised as high. I still looked for significant contributions to the team. Of course if anyone ever leads the American League in any category, that is usually grounds for inclusion.
Franchise Series Article Links:
2013 Team Payroll Part 4: Tampa Bay Rays Payroll 2013 And Contracts Going Forward: Updated for Myers Trade Dec.11/2012
Tropicana Field Expert: An Interview with Tropicana Field Expert Kurt Smith
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
Sunday July 22nd, 2012
By Patrick Languzzi (Guest Baseball Writer):
As we embark on baseball’s most exciting weekend, the eyes of baseball fans everywhere will be on Cooperstown, NY for the induction of Barry Larkin and Ron Santo into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Larkin was elected through the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) and Santo via the Veterans Committee after falling off the ballot in 1998.
The Veterans committee consists of 16 members made up of veteran media members, executives and current members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. For a player to be elected, they must receive 75 percent or 12 of 16 votes.
But there’s another player that I’ll take a special interest in come the winter meetings of 2013. That’s when the Expansion Era ballot (Veterans) finalists are announced. It’s also when former Red Sox great Dwight “Dewey” Evans becomes eligible again. Evans fell off the BBWAA ballot back in 1999. Now his chance to shine comes up again very soon. Read the rest of this entry
Monday July 16, 2012
Robert Whitmer (Baseball Writer):
“The Dash” by Linda Ellis
I read of a reverend who stood to speak at the funeral of his friend. He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the beginning…to the end. He said that the first was the date of her birth, and spoke of the last date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years. For that dash represents all the time that she spent alive on earth, and now only those who loved her know what that little line is worth. For it matters not, how much we own; the cars, the house, the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash. So think about this long and hard, are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left – (you could be at “dash mid-range.”) If we could just slow down enough to consider what’s true and real, and always try to understand the way other people feel. And be less quick to anger, and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before. If we treat each other with respect, and more often wear a smile, remembering that this special dash might only last a little while. So, when your eulogy is being read with your life’s action to rehash, would you be pleased with what they say about how you spent your dash? Read the rest of this entry
Wednesday June.6, 2012
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 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
Monday March. 12, 2012
Douglas ‘Chuck’ Booth (Baseball Writer): When I was a kid, the best players in the game of baseball all seemed to play Third or First Base. Think back to the mid-eighties, where George Brett, Wade Boggs, Mike Schmidt, Howard Johnson, Terry Pendleton and Paul Molitor were some of the better players in the game. Even Bobby Bonilla broke into the Majors at third base. The next wave of third baseman were impressive too, guys like: Chipper Jones, Ken Caminiti, a young Scott Rolen, Vinny Castilla and Robin Ventura. As little as five years ago, there was Alex Rodriguez and David Wright both being top-5 players in baseball. When you added Miguel Cabrera and Mike Lowell to the mix, it was a pretty formidable bunch of players at the Hot Corner. Read the rest of this entry
Monday December 5, 2011
Doug Booth- Guest Baseball Writer: Okay, it is time for me to make my argument for my favorite player of all time to be inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame. There will be several people that will say that Don Mattingly’s career stats of: H-2154, HR-222, RBI-1099, AVG-.307 and 9 Gold Gloves are not enough in just 14 seasons. I am not counting his 7 game-stint in 1982 with this. As a rookie in 1983, Don only .hit .283 with 4 HR’S and 32 RBI’s. In Donnie’s first year as a full time first baseman, he led the AL with a .343 AVG-with 23 HR’S and 110 RBI’s, also leading the league in hits with 207 and 2B’s with 48.
They say that if you have a shortened career-(and Mattingly’s back injury in the late eighties certainly robbed him of a definite Hall of Fame Career,) then you better have an incredible stretch as the best player in baseball. It is my belief that Don Mattingly was the best all-around player from 1984-1989, with apologies to Rickey Henderson, Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn and Dale Murphy, Don’s incredible consistency during this 6 year stretch included these numbers. A .327 AVG with 160 HR’s and a staggering 682 RBI’s with 257 doubles and 1219 hits. Nobody had more RBI’s and extra base hits in that time frame. Only Wade Boggs had more hits. The 6 year AVG breaks down to an AVG of .327 with H-204, 2B-43, HR-27 and RBI-114. What is most impressive is that Mattingly only averaged 33 strikeouts a season/or about 1/23 Plate appearances in this stretch.
During this stretch-Mattingly was also an All-star for 6 straight seasons-and was a Gold Glover for 5 years straight from 85-89. Donnie led the league in doubles three times, (84-86), hits twice, (84-86), total bases twice, (85-86), AVG in ’86, slugging and OBP in 1986. Don’s 145 RBI’s in 1985 were the most RBI’s by a left hander since the 1960’s. The same could be said for his 388 total bases in 1986. Other dominant stretches included his 1987 power streaks, in which he hit a record-6 grand slams(since equaled by Travis Hafner,) and also is still tied for homering in a record-tying 8 straight games (and should be the official leader because only Don hit 10 HR’S in that stretch of 8 games.) Mattingly is a silver slugger three times over (84-86), and The Sporting News Player of the Year for the seasons of (84-86). Don was the AL MVP in 1985, and finished 2nd in 1986 to Roger Clemens, but for hitting he was listed as #1. His 1984 and 1987 seasons also garnered serious MVP considerations. All impressive for a man who was not considered a power hitting prospect.
Back injuries slowed Mattingly down from 1990-1995, where he lost most of his power, but he was a .290 contact hitter who would still drive in about 80-85 RBI’S per year. If he could have kept playing healthy, instead of retiring at the age of 34, he would have had nearly 3000 hits, and probably would have hit 600-700 2B, and 300 HR’s-with about 1600 RBI’S. He probably would have finished up career with an AVG. that was near .300. You could probably add 3-5 more Gold Gloves as well. Instead, he finished with 2154 hits. His .307 career average will be one of the higher averages never to be in the Hall of Fame if he is not voted in. Don’s average season is still .307 with 20 HR’S, 97 RBI’S, with close to 200 hits and 40 doubles.
Another fact that gets overlooked was Don’s strikeout ratio to plate appearances. Mattingly only struck out 444 times in 7721 PA’s, or once every 19 times. This stat is unbelievable for a modern age hitter-and 444 Strikeouts is only 2 less doubles than the man hit in his career with 442. Only Tony Gwynn has had a better ratio for striking out in the last 50 years. You add the 9 Gold Gloves-(2nd all-time for a 1B), and this man should be gaining more consideration for the hall.
Other comparisons in numbers for players already in the Hall, would be Jim Rice and Kirby Puckett, Puckett for average and power, while Rice has similar offensive numbers for his 162 game AVG. Rice had a few more HR’s and RBI’s while Mattingly had a better AVG. and had more hits/doubles for an average season. Both played 14 seasons.
For all of those kids watching Donnie Baseball play live, or on TV, we saw a guy that exemplified a professional hitter. Amongst fielding 1st baseman that I have seen, no one has ever been better. His swing was pure poetry in motion, even when he older, it must have drove pitchers crazy that they could not strike him out. I am only sad that Don Mattingly has missed out on all of the Yankees championship seasons.
At least his fans can always recall his last at bat in the 1995 playoffs where he crushed a homer in a 5th game loss to the Mariners in the ALDS. It was a great career shortened by back injuries. If defensive prowess is deemed a lot more lucrative for a Hall of Fame bid, once again they have to consider ‘Donnie Baseball.’
*** Thank you to Doug Booth for joining us today 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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