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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Scooter Gennett Hits 4 Home Runs

Tuffy Rhodes Three Home Runs On Opening Day

On April 4, 1994 Tuffy Rhodes of the Chicago Cubs became the first National Leaguer to hit three home runs on Opening Day.  He accomplished the task against New York Mets ace Dwight Gooden. Rhodes only hit 10 other home runs in his 590 career at-bats. Finishing his major league career with 13 home runs and 44 RBI.

Rhodes would enjoy a stellar career in Japanese baseball where he hit 464 home runs including tying Sadaharu Oh’s season record of 55 home runs (since broken by Wladimir Balentein in 2013 with 60). He also drove in 1269 runs.

MLB Unusual Walk Offs

Walk Off Bunts

Ivan Rodriguez Defensive Highlights

Friday, May 26, 2017

Honus Wagner: The Flying Dutchman

Honus Wagner was signed by the Louisville Colonels of the National League making his debut in 1897 after spending only two seasons in the minor leagues. He would play in Louisville through the 1899 season, the National League contracted to 8 teams, and Wagner would go to the Pittsburgh Pirates where he would spend the rest of his career.

Wagner considered by many to be the best all around player of the Dead Ball Era. He hit 101 home runs with 1,732 RBI with a batting line of .328/.391/.467. He stole 722 bases in his career, and was the best shortstop of his era.

Wagner would win 8 National League batting titles, 5 times he would lead the league in RBI, and 5 times he would lead the league in stolen bases.

He would lead the Pirates to their only World Series Championship during his career in 1909. His #33 was retired by the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1936, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on the first ballot.

Dodgers Hit Four Consecutive Home Runs 09/18/2006

MLB: Regular Season Walk-Offs in the Vault (1971-1991)

Chicago Cubs Shortstop Don Kessinger

Don Kessing was a slick fielding shortstop for the Chicago Cubs from 1964-1975. During that period he would be a six time National League All-Star. He would win the Gold Glove Award in 1969 and 1970.

Never known for his offense, he hit 14 home runs with 527 RBI with a hitting line of .252/.314/.312. His best offensive season would be 1969, when he hit 4 home runs with 53 RBI.

He would spend the end of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago White Sox. He would serve as manager for the White Sox in 1979 with a record of 46-60.

Stormin' Gorman Thomas

Gorman Thomas was one of the most popular players in Milwaukee Brewers history. He hit 268 home runs with 782 RBI. His career battling was .225/.324/.448.

Thomas was a solid defender in centerfield until injuring his shoulder near the end of his career. He was part of the Brewers only World Series team. The 1982 Brewers were a hard hitting club that won the American League Pennant. Managed by Harvey Kuehn and were called Harvey’s Wallbangers.

Thomas would have his best season in 1979. He would hit 45 home runs and drive in 123 runs. He led the league in home runs, and would lead the league again in 1982 with 39. Five times in his career he hit 30 plus home runs in a season. He was also known for striking out, but remained popular with the Brewer faithful.

One season after going the World Series the Brewers dealt the popular outfielder to the Cleveland Indians in June of 1983. He would play for the Seattle Mariners from 1984-986, and finished the balance of the 1986 back with the Milwaukee Brewers.

MLB: Pitchers Hitting Their First Career Home Runs

2004 MLB Walk Offs

Sunday, May 14, 2017

MLB Ejections

Ken Griffey Jr.'s Career Highlights

Ken Holtzman

Ken Holtzman’s misfortune was to break in with the Chicago Cubs in 1966, when the Cubbies would finish dead last in the National League. In his rookie campaign, he would finish with a record of 11-16 with an ERA of 3.79.

In 1969, on August 19, 1969, he would throw his first no-hitter besting the Atlanta Braves. June 3, 1971, Holtzman would no-hit the Cincinnati Reds at Riverfront Stadium. It would be the first no-hitter in that in the history of Riverfront Stadium. Holtzman was the first pitcher in modern baseball to toss two no-hitters.

After the 1971 season, he was traded to the Oakland A’s for an outfield named Rick Monday. Holtzman would have his best seasons in Oakland.

He was a two time all-star, three time World Series Champion with the Oakland A’s 1972-1974. The 1973 season would be his only twenty win season. He would finish his career with a record of 174-150 with an ERA of 3.49. He had 1,601 career strike outs. He made stops with the Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, and came back to finish his career with the Cubs.

Derek Jeter Career Highlights

10 Great Players of the 19th Century

The Big Red Machine: Tony Perez "Big Dog"

Tony Perez broke into the major leagues with the Cincinnati Reds in 1964, but it wasn’t until 1967 that his power started to show. It was a season that he would hit 26 home runs with 102 RBI. His career would see 9 more seasons of 20+ home runs, and the first of 7 seasons of 100+ RBI.

He was a seven time all-star, and won back to World Series Championship with the Big Red Machine in 1975-1976. His career hitting line was .279/.341/.463 with 379 home runs and 1,652 RBI. In 2000, Perez was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He is a member of the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame, and the Reds have retired his #24.

Perez would have productive seasons with the Montreal Expos, and Boston Red Sox. He would make a brief stop with the Philadelphia Phillies before retiring with the Reds in a second stint with the team.

Kansas City Royals: Frank White

Frank White was a slick fielding second baseman for the Kansas City Royals playing from 1973-1990. His 18 seasons were all in a Royals uniform, a rare feat in the free agent era.

White was a light hitter in his early days, but improved his hitting to the point that he was able to win the Silver Slugger Award in 1986. He had his best offensive season of his career with 22 home runs and 84 RBI. He hit 160 home runs with 886 RBI, and a slash line of .255/.293/.383.

He won the Gold Glove Award eight times, and did it six straight seasons from 1977-1982. He was the ALCS MVP in 1980, and was a five time American League all-star. He was a member of the 1985 World Series Champion Kansas City Royals.

Joe Adcock: Milwaukee Brave

Joe Adcock broke into the major leagues with the Cincinnati Reds in 1950, but was stuck behind first baseman Ted Kluszewski. Adcock requested a trade, and was sent packing to the Braves.

The hard hitting first baseman would play in the long shadows of Eddie Matthews and Hank Aaron. The trio home run hitters made the Braves middle of the order one the most formidable in all of baseball. The Braves would win the 1957 World Series.

Adcock would hit 336 home runs with 1,122 RBI, and a batting line of .277/.33/.485. He was a two time all-star, and on July 31, 1954, he would slam four home runs in a game against the Brooklyn Dodgers.

At the end of this career he would spend time with the Angels and Indians. It included managing the Indians during the 1967 season to a 75-87 record. His .994 fielding percentage was 3rd best all-time when he called it a career.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

2017 Unbelievable Plays

Dave Concepcion Defensive Wizard

Dave Concepcion was a defensive wizard as the shortstop for the Cincinnati Reds for 19 seasons. He was a solid part of the defense of The Big Red Machine teams of the mid-70’s. Perfecting the bounce throw on the artificial turf. The Reds won the World Series in 1975-1976.

Concepcion was a nine time National league all-star, twice he won the Silver Slugger Award, and 5 time Gold Glove Award winner. His #13 has been retired by the Reds, and he is a member of the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame.

Nasty Pitches

Kevin Pillar Defensive 2016 Highlights

Friday, May 12, 2017

Pat Venditte Switch Pitcher

Switch pitcher Pat Venditte made his major league debut with the Oakland Athletics on June 5, 2015 pitching two scoreless innings.

Venditte of this writing has a 2-2 mark in the major leagues with an ERA of 4.97. He has pitched for the Oakland A’s, Toronto Blue Jays, and is currently pitching at AAA Leigh Valley in the Phillies organization.

He is the first ambidextrous since Tony Mullane, who pitched in the Dead Ball Era. Greg A. Harris pitched to batters left handed after enjoying a 15 year career right hand pitcher. 

Oakland A's Legend Vida Blue

Vida Blue made his debut with the Oakland A’s in at 19 in 1969. It would be 1971 before he would experience a full major league season, and what a season it was for Blue. In 1971, he would win both the American League Cy Young Award and American League Most Valuable Player Award.

He would finish the season with a won-loss record of 24-8 with a league leading ERA of 1.82. He would also toss 8 shutouts on the season. He fanned 301 hitters in 312 innings.

Blue would be a six time all-star, playing for the A’s, Giants, and Royals. He was a member of the 72-74 Oakland A’s World Series Champions. In three seasons he would win over 20 games, and finish his career 209-161 with an ERA of 3.27.

2016 Carlos Correa Defensive Highlights

Funny Baseball Bloopers

MLB Great Catches

Jim Edmonds Career Highlights

Jim Edmonds was known for his spectacular defensive plays. He would win eight Gold Glove Awards over the course of his career. Edmonds was also an offensive weapon for the California Angels and St. Louis Cardinals.

Edmonds had a career hitting line of .284/.376/.527 with 393 home runs, and 1,199 RBI. He was a four time all-star, 2004 Silver Slugger Award, and a member of the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame. He was a member of the 2006 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals.

Frank Thomas: The Big Hurt

Frank Thomas made his major league debut in 1990, where he hit 7 home runs with 31 RBI and a .330 batting in official 191 at bats.

Frank Thomas would break out in his first full season. He hit .310/.453/.553 with 32 home runs and 109 RBI. He would finish his career after 19 seasons with 521 home runs, 1,740 RBI, and a batting line of .301/.419/.555.

Thomas was a five time American League all-star, a 4 time Silver Slugger Award winner, and he won the American League Most Valuable Player Award in back-to-back seasons (1993, 1994). His #35 has been retired by the Chicago White Sox. He was elected on the first ballot to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Sam "The Jet" Jethroe

Sam “The Jet” Jethroe was one of the fastest human beings he ever saw according to Don Newcombe. Jethroe began his career in the Negro Leagues with the Cincinnati/Cleveland Buckeyes where he hit .340, and won a pair of batting titles.

He was signed by the Boston Braves, and in 1950 became the first black player for the Braves. He would win Rookie of the Year honors for that season at age 33. He hit 18 home runs with 58 RBI, and stole 35 bases to lead the league.

In his career he would hit .261/.337/.418 with 49 home runs and 98 RBI. He won the NL stolen base title in 1950-51. His defense was his Achilles heel, and spent the 1953 season at Toledo before being traded to the Pirates. The Pirates would send him to Toronto, where he would spend five more seasons in minor league baseball before his career came to an end at age 41. 

Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown

Mordecai “Three-Finger” Brown is one of the best hurlers ever to pitch for the Chicago Cubs. It was a farm machine accident as a twelve year old that gave him the moniker of Three-Finger. He gave his ball unique movement.

He was from Nyesville, Indiana, and signed with the St. Louis Cardinals, and made his debut in 1903. He was 9-13 with an ERA 2.60. The Cardinals traded Brown to the Chicago Cubs.

In Chicago, Brown would win 20 plus games from 1906-1911. He would lead the Cubs to the World Series four times, and winning it in 1907-1908.

He would finish his career with a record of 239-130, and an ERA of 2.06. He would be elected by the Veteran’s Committee to the Baseball of Hall of Fame in 1949.

Amos Rusie: The Hoosier Thunderbolt

Amos Rusie signed with the Indianapolis Hoosiers in 1889 as an 18 year old from Mooresville, Indiana. Rusie could throw hard, but often didn’t know where the ball was going. At the end of 1889 the Hoosiers disbanded, and Rusie signed with the New York Giants. In New York, he quickly became a fan favorite. His ability to throw hard earned him the nickname “The Hoosier Thunderbolt.”

He tossed a no hitter on July 31,1891.1894 would be his best season, when he would win the pitching triple crown (wins, ERA, and strikeouts). Five times he led the National League in strike outs, and five times in strike outs. In his career he would strike out 1950 hitters, but he also walked 1707. The 1891-1894 seasons he would win over thirty games in each season.

He would close his career with a won-loss record of 246-174, and an ERA of 3.07. He would be elected by the Veteran’s committee in 1977 to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Richie Ashburn Hall of Fame Biography

Richie Asburn was a member of the 1950 Philadelphia “Whiz Kids” that won the National League pennant. Ashburn would spend the first 12 years of his career in the Phillies uniform, before spend two years with the Chicago Cubs, and his last with the infamous 1962 New York Mets.

Ashburn hitting line was .308/.396/.382 with 29 home runs and 586 RBI. He had 2,574 hits and a lifetime batting average of .308.

He was a two time NL batting champ, his #1 has been retired by the Phillies, and a member of the Philadelphia Baseball Wall of Fame. He was elected by the Veteran’s Committee in 1995 to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Harry Caray Tribute: His Best Calls

Derek Jeter Career Highlights

Future first ballot Hall of Famer Derek Jeter will have his number retired by the New York Yankees this weekend. He was the team Captain of the Yankees from 2003-2014.

He had a career batting average of .310 with 260 home runs, and 1,311 RBI. His 3,465 hits has him sixth on the all-time list.

Jeter was a 14 times all-star, 5 time World Series champion, 2000 World Series MVP, AL Rookie of the Year in 1996, 5 time Gold Glove winner, 5 times he won the Silver Slugger award, 2 time Hank Aaron award winner, and the 2009 Roberto Clement Award.

Amazing Throws 1

Alfonso Soriano's Amazing Four Game Stretch

Alfonso Soriano had one of the most productive four game stretches in major league baseball history. He had 13 hits, and drove in 18 runs from August 13-16, 2013.

Soriano broke in with the New York Yankees in 1997. Always an offensive threat Soriano hit 412 home runs with 1,159 RBI before retiring at the end of the 2014 season.

He had been a seven time all-star and four time Silver Slugger award winner while hitting .270 over the course his career.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Mel Ott: New York Giants

Mel Ott debuted with the New York Giants at 17, it was the beginning a 22 season Hall of Fame of career. Ott hit 511 home runs with 1,860 RBI, and batting line of .304/.414/.533.

Ott was a twelve-time National League all-star. He led the National League in home runs six-times. Ott managed the Giants form 1942-1948. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1951 on the third ballot.

The Giants played in three World Series during Ott’s career in 1933, 1936 and 1937. The Giants won the World Series in 1933. His #4 has been retired by the Giants. 

Bo Jackson Career Highlights

Bo Jackson played eights seasons in the American League for the Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox and California Angels.

He hit 141 home runs with 415 RBI. His slash line for his career is .250/.309/.474. His best season was 1989, when he hit .256/.310/.495 with 32 home runs and 105 RBI. The only season he had more than 100 RBI. He had four seasons of over 20 home runs. He was an American League all-star, and was the game’s MVP.

After 8 seasons, he retired at the age of 32.

Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star John Roseboro

John Roseboro was one of the best defensive catchers during the 1960’s. However, he is best remembered for an incident where he was hit in the head with a bat by San Francisco Giants pitcher Juan Marichal.

Roseboro was a six time all-star, won the Gold Glove award in 1961 and 1966. He played on three World Series Championship teams in 1959, 1963 and 1965. He caught two of Sandy Koufax’s no hitters, and was the catcher for 112 shutouts.

He lacked prowess with the bat with a hitting line of .249/.326/.371.  He had 104 career home runs and knocked 548 runs.

MLB Hidden Ball Tricks

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

New York Yankees rookie outfielder Aaron Judge is turning heads with his with his hot start. He is only the third Yankee to hit as many as 12 home runs in the first 25 games of the season. The other two are Babe Ruth and Alex Rodriguez.

As of May 3, 2017, he has hit 13 home runs with 27 RBI, and is threat to break Joe DiMaggio’s Yankee rookie record of 29 home runs.

Judge made his debut in 2016, where he struck out 42 times in 84 at bats. In a similar at bat totals this season, he reduced the total to 26 times in his first 83 2017 at bats.

It should be a fun story to follow for baseball fans in 2017.

Tom Burns Chicago White Stocking

Tom Burns (baseball).jpg

Tom Burns was part of Cap Anson’s famed “stonewall infield” from 1883-1889 for the Chicago White Stockings. During that time the White Stockings would win back-to-back National League pennants in 1885-1886.

It was during the 1883 season on September 6 that Burns would put his mark on baseball history. In 18-run 7th inning against Detroit, he hit two doubles, and a home run in route to a 26-6 White Stocking win. His three hits in the inning wouldn’t be matched again until 1953.

He would .264 with 39 home runs and 653 RBI during his career. He managed the Pittsburgh Pirates 1892, and the Chicago Orphans (White Stockings/Cubs) 1898-1899. He died at 44 of heart disease while managing in the Eastern League.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Joe Borden: Josephus the Phenomenal

  1. Joe Borden.jpg

July 28,1875, Joe Borden of the Philadelphia White Stockings of the National Association tossed the first no hitter in professional baseball history. It was the only no-hitter in the history of the National Association during it’s five year existence. The following season he was the winner in the opening game for the Boston Red Caps of the National League.

He had the colorful nickname of “Josephus the Phenomenal.” Borden pitched under the surnames of Josephs and Nedrobs. He was from a wealthy family that disapproved of playing baseball. He was bought out of his contract in 1876. He finished his career with a 13-16 won-loss record, and an ERA of 2.60 at the age of 22.

Al "Scoop" Oliver Professional Hitter

Al Oliver broke into the major leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates in1968, and with his official taking place in 1969. Oliver finished with a batting line of .285/.333/.445 with 17 home runs and 70 RBI. It was just the beginning of a long and productive career.

In 18 seasons, Oliver won three silver slugger awards, he was a 7 time all-star, and won a World Series Championship with the 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1982, while playing for the Montreal Expos, Oliver was the National League leader in RBI, batting average, doubles, and hits.

His career ended after the 1985 season. He finished with a career batting line of .303/.344/.451. He had 2743 hits over the course of his career with 219 home run and 1326 RBI.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Willie Smith Opening Day 1969

Opening day on April 8, 1969, Willie Smith delivered a two-run home run off the Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Randy Lersch in the 11th giving the Chicago Cubs a 7-6 win. It sparked the Cubs to an 11-1 start on the season.

Smith broke in with the Detroit Tigers as a pitching prospect, and before converting to the outfield he compiled a record 2-4 with a 3.10 ERA. He finished his career with a batting line of .248/.295/.395 with 46 home runs and 211 RBI.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Knuckleball Pitcher Wilbur Wood

Wilbur Wood struggled early in his career with the Boston Red Sox, and Pittsburgh Pirates. After being traded to the Chicago White Sox, he took Hoyt Wilhem’s advice to rely on his knuckleball. It would launch his career. In 1968, he set a then major league record of 88 appearances.

In 1971, Wood was moved to the starting rotation, and delivered with four consecutive 20 game win seasons. He would lead the American League in wins in 1972-73, and was an American League all-star in 1971-1972, and 1974.  His career was derailed in 1976, when a line drive from the bat of Ron LeFlore shattered his left kneecap. After returning from his injury in 1977, he wasn’t as effective with his knuckleball, and retired after the 1978 season. He finished his career with a 164-156 won-loss record, and an ERA of 3.24.

Frank Howard: The Capital Punisher

Frank Howard broke in with the Los Angeles Dodgers. In his rookie season Howard hit 23 home runs with 77 RBI earning the National League Rookie of the Year award.

His best offensive seasons would come as a member of the Washington Senators uniform. He hit forty plus home runs in 68-70 seasons. In 1968 and 1970, he led the American League in home runs. He had the creative nicknames of “The Washington Monument”, “Hondo” and “The Captial Punisher.” Howard was a four time all-star. After his playing days, he managed the New York Mets and San Diego Padres. He also served as a coach for his several clubs.

He hit 382 home runs with 1,119 RBI with a hitting line of .273/.352/.499. 

Mel Allen Voice of the New York Yankees

Mel Allen began his sports broadcasting by calling Alabama Crimson Tide football games. Later while working for CBS, Allen was assigned to the 1938 World Series as a color commentator to begin his career in baseball.  He began doing games for the Yankees in June of 1939.

After serving in WW II, and beginning in 1947 through 1964, before his contract was not renewed in 1965. He would rejoin the Yankees in 1976, and in 1977 Mel Allen was the voice This Week In Baseball. He broadcast a game in 1990 for WPIX to make him the first seven decade broadcaster.

Allen also broadcast for the Milwaukee Braves in 1965, 1968 Cleveland Indians television. He broadcast 12 Rose Bowls, 2 Orange Bowls and 2 Sugar Bowls.

He was one of the first two to receive the Ford C. Frick award for broadcasters along with Red Barber.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Chicago Cubs Great Hack Wilson

The video is of the seven greatest offensive seasons in baseball history. Hack Wilson is the first of the seven.

Hack Wilson was a hard drinking, hard hitting outfielder, quick with his fists,  that made for one the most colorful players of his day. At only 5-6, he would display power not seen in the National League at that time.  Wilson broke in the major leagues in 1923 with the New York Giants. In his official rookie season of 1924, the Giants would win the pennant, but Wilson struggled in the World Series hitting only .233. In May of 1925, Wilson was slumping so badly he lost his job in left field. His slump continued most of the season, and was sent to the minor league Toledo Mud Hens of the American Association.

The Chicago Cubs wallowing in last place would claim Hack Wilson that winter on waivers when the Giants failed to protect him. The Giants right-fielder Ross Youngs at the time offered the prophetic words "They let go the best outfielder I ever played beside, and they're going to regret."

Getting claimed on waivers by the Cubs Wilson would win the center field job, and is his first season on the north side of Chicago, he hit a league leading 21 home runs with 109 RBI. The Cubs went from last to fourth place finishing 10 games over .500.  Over the next three seasons he would hit 30 or more home runs including leading the league in 1927-1928.  The 39 home runs he hit in 1929 would help lead the Cubs to the National League pennant.  In 1930, Wilson would have an offensive season for the ages. He would hit 56 home runs, a first in the National League with a major league baseball record of 191 RBI. The RBI record is believed by many to be a record that will never be broken. He finished the season with a slash line  of .356/.454/.723. 

After the great season of 1930, Wilson's drinking became very heavy. He reported for spring training in 1931 twenty pounds overweight.  He went into a long slump during the season, and the last straw for the Cubs came when he got into a fight with reports on a train in Cincinnati. He was suspended by the Cubs for the rest of the season. He had hit only .261 with 13 home runs. In December the Cubs shipped the troubled outfielder to the St. Louis Cardinals. They in turn traded him the Brooklyn Dodgers. 

He bounced back in Brooklyn during the 1932 season hitting 23 home runs with 123 RBI. His career like his drinking was spiraling out of control. He would retire from baseball in 1935. Wilson died broke in 1948, National League President Ford Frick paid for the funeral when Wilson's wouldn't claim the body.  Wilson would be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979 by the veterans committee. 

In his final interview with CBS Radio Wilson left us with these words of advice: "Talent isn't enough. You need common sense and good advice. If anyone tries to tell you different, tell them the story of Hack Wilson. ... Kids in and out of baseball who think because they have talent they have the world by the tail. It isn't so. Kids, don't be too big to accept advice. Don't let what happened to me happen to you."

Chicago Cubs: Tinker to Evers to Chance

Between 1902 and 1912 the trio of Joe Tinker shortstop, Johnny Evers second base, and Frank Chance. The trio were elected by the veterans committee in 1946 to the Baseball Hall of Fame.  During their time with the Cubs, they won 1907-1908 World Series, and four National League pennants. The only two World Series championship in Chicago Cubs history mastering the Detroit Tigers in both series.

 Franklin Pierce Adams of the New York Evening Post made the trio famous by penning the poem "Baseball's Sad Lexicon." It was originally titled "That Double Play Again" when it was published on July 12, 1910. The poem launched the trio into baseball immortality
It is well documented that Evers and Tinker didn't speak to each other after September 14, 1905. Evers took a cab to the ballpark leaving Tinker in the hotel lobby, and they ended up having a fist fight on the field. 

Frank Chance managed the Cubs from 1905-1912, and afterwards managed both the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. He was a lifetime .296 hitter and twice led the National League in stolen bases.  Tinker would be a player-manager for the Cubs and Cincinnati Reds. He only hit .262 in his career.  Johnny Evers would hit .270 over the course of his long career. In era of high batting averages, the trio were helped by the famous poem.

Gentleman Jim Hickman

Hickman is remembered for delivering the game winning hit in the 1970 All-Star game in which Pete Rose blew up Ray Fosse at home plate.

Hickman broke in to the big leagues with the New York Mets after being selected in the expansion draft from the St. Louis Cardinals, and played with them from 1962-66. While in New York, Hickman became the first Met to hit for the cycle, and it was Hickman that hit the last home run in the Polo Grounds. He played the 1967 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers  before being sent packing to the Chicago Cubs.

He enjoyed his most productive year in 1970 with the Cubs. Hickman blasted 32 home runs with 115 RBI, and finished with a .315 batting average. They were career highs in all three categories. He would provided the Cubs two more solid seasons before tapering off in 1973, and spent 1974 with the Cardinals.

As a young fan of the Cubs Jim Hickman was always one of my favorites among the non-star players. In my young mind, it seemed he was always delivering in the clutch.

Sweet Swinging Billy Williams

Sweet Swinging Billy Williams, he was tagged early in his career with the Chicago Cubs. Williams, who was the 1961 National League Rookie of the Year made his mark in baseball history with his durability, and bat.

Williams spent sixteen seasons in the major leagues fourteen of those with the Cubs, and his last two with the Oakland Athletics. Williams was an iron man his day playing 1,117 straight games from 1963-1970. His streak currently ranks sixth in major league history. He was a six-time National League All-Star, won the battling title in 1972. He was snubbed for the All-Star game in 1970 when had a 26 home runs and 80 RBI at the all-star break.

His best season was 1972, when he hit 37 home runs with 122 RBI, and hit .333. He finished second to Johnny Bench of the Reds in the MVP voting. His career numbers of 426 home runs, 1475 RBI, and a .290 batting average were enough to get him elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987.

Often over shadowed in recent years by fellow Hall Fame players Ferguson Jenkins, Ron Santo, and Ernie Banks, but Williams was a key member of the solid Chicago Cubs teams of the late 60's and eaarly 70's.

Kong: Dave Kingman

Dave Kingman was known for his ability to crush long towering home runs, a poor glove, and an abrasive personality. Kingman was drafted by the San Francisco Giants out of USC (University of Southern California) in 197. He made his Major League debut in 1971 with his first full season in 1972, a strike delayed season, he hit for the cycle on the second game of the season (April 16, 1972). Kingman would hit 29 home runs that season with 83 RBI, but he would finish with a sub par slash line of .225/.303/.478 which would become indicative of what was to come in his career.

His offensive numbers continued to dip over the next two seasons. The Giants gave up on Kingman as a third baseman after making 12 errors in only 59 chances in 1974. His run production had slipped from his rookie campaign. He hit only 18 home runs with 55 RBI, and a slash line  of .223/.302/.440. He would be traded to the New York Mets after the 1974 season. 

In New York, he was moved to the outfield where he put up career high in 1975 in home runs with 36 and RBI with 88. During the 1976 season on June 4th, he would hit three home runs in an 11-0 thumping of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He would accomplish this feat five times in his career. He also set a new high in home runs during the season with 37. 
The 1977 was a poor season for Kingman, who was traded to the San Diego Padres, and after performing poorly was waived and claimed by the California Angels on September 6th. Only nine days later he was shipped to the New York Yankees. He is one of the few players in Major League history to play for four teams in the same season.

In 1978, he would sign as a free agent with the Chicago Cubs.  He would hit 28 home runs and drive in 79 runs in his first year on the north side of Chicago. He followed it up by having the best year of his career hitting 48 home runs driving in 115 with the best slash line of his career at .288/.343/.613.  He was named to the National League all-star team for the second time in his career. He was an all-star with the Mets in 1976, and would be named an all-star with the Mets again in 1982. The Cubs tiring of Kingman's personality traded the outfielder back to the New York Mets.

In his last six seasons he hit thirty or more home runs four times. Including the last three seasons with the Oakland A's. Despite hitting 35 home runs with 94 RBI , he wasn't offered a contract. Despite lofty home run totals Kingman was plagued by a poor slash his entire career finishing .236/.302/.478. He hit 442 home runs in his career with 1210 RBI. He became the first hitter with more than 400 home runs not to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

He was entertainment on many mediocre teams in New York, Chicago, and Oakland.

1876 Chicago White Stockings

April 25, 1876, the Chicago White Stockings when their opening game in the inaugural season of the National League. They beat the Louisville Grays 4-0 in Louisville. The White Stockings would change their name first to the Colts, Orphans, and now known as the Chicago Cubs. They would win the National League championship in the first year of the the league.

The White Stockings would finish the season at 52-14, and would dominate the National League by winning six of the first eleven titles. They would be called the Cubs in 1902 by the Chicago Daily News, but the team name wasn't officially changed until 1907.

The 1876 Chicago White Stockings roster can be found at:

The 1876 Chicago White Stockings schedule with results:

2016 Anthony Rizzo Highlights

The best highlights of the World Series champion Chicago Cubs’ first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo was instrumental in leading the Chicago Cubs to their first World Series title since 1908. He hit .292 with 32 home runs and 109 RBI.

Rizzo is a three time all-star (2014-2016) 2016 Gold Glove winner, and the 2016 platinum glove winner at first base. He is a survivor of limited state classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He established the Anthony Rizzo Foundation in 2012 to raise money for cancer research, and to assist families that are fighting cancer.

Friday, February 3, 2017

2017 Baseball Predictions

I have been asked over the last several weeks about my picks for the 2017 baseball season. My prediction for the two wildcard teams in the AL are Toronto and Houston.  A game in which the Astros will defeat the Blue Jays. The next round winners will be Boston and Cleveland with Boston capturing the American League title.

In the National League the Mets square off with the Giants in the wildcard with the Mets prevailing in that game. The Cubs and Dodgers win their respective series, and the Cubs beat the Dodgers for the National League title.

The Cubs win their first back-to-back titles in the 1907-1908, by beating the Red Sox in seven games. Now, you didn't really think I was going to go against the Cubs did you? Please feel free to leave comments, or twitter me at @jsph1959,  you can email them to me by going to my webpage.

AL East                                   AL Central                              AL West

Boston                                    Cleveland                                    Texas
Toronto                                   Detroit                                         Houston
New York                               Kansas City                                 Seattle        
Baltimore                               Chicago WS                                LA Angels
Tampa Bay                             Minnesota                                    Oakland

NL East                                   NL Central                              NL West

Washington                                 Chicago Cubs                          LA Dodgers
New York                                    St. Louis                                  SF Giants  
Miami                                          Pittsburgh                                Arizona
Philadelphia                                Milwaukee                                Colorado
Atlanta                                         Cincinnati                                 San Diego