It is important to remember that there are fewer third basemen in the Hall of Fame than any other position. The position has traditionally been looked at as a corner power-hitting place in the lineup. Therefore, trying to find a good power hitter who can also play defense is a challenging proposition. Most winning teams […]
Once, in the ninth inning of a game against the Cubs, the great Christy Mathewson looked into his fine-fielding catcher, the Californian Chief Meyers, for the sign. Suddenly, Meyers called “Time!”, jumped up and headed to the mound. “What’s the matter?”, asked Mathewson. “Skip wants a double-play ball,” responded Meyers. Mathewson glanced toward the dugout […]
In the early part of the 20th century, baseball fans came out in droves to watch “Rube strike ’em out!” Yes, Rube Waddell was the new American League’s star pitcher. He was a flame-throwing strikeout ace–and he was really something to see. Before some games, he would paint, on the sidewalks and streets, “Come watch […]
Roger Connor was the best first baseman in baseball during his 18 year career. He set a record for career home runs that was not broken until Babe Ruth broke it in 1921, 24 years later. What made Connor a star was his combination of power and superb fielding–an amazing balance on both sides of […]
When asked about center fielder Bill Lange, A. H. Spink, founder of The Sporting News, responded, “Lange was Ty Cobb enlarged, fully great in speed, batting skill and baserunning.” Others agreed, only giving the nod to Buck Ewing as the greatest 19th century player because of his expertise at catcher. While Lange was widely acknowledged […]
David “Davy” Force was not baseball’s first great short stop. Players such as Dickey Pearce and George Wright helped to develop the position in the 1860s and early 1870s. Yet, Force is clearly remembered as the first great defensive player at the position. He played on a number of teams for 19 years in the […]
Recently, Ultimate Baseball The Game (UBTG) launched a “dream team” project, a Dream Team Baseball Poll designed to tally respondents’ favorite picks of all time at each position. I was asked to submit my all-time dream picks, and I decided to publish the following post in hopes of spurring some lively discussion. As many of […]
John Montgomery “Monte” Ward, all 5′ 9″ and 165 pounds of him, was one of the top pitchers of his generation. He was also one of the top shortstops of the 1880s and 1890s. And, he was one of the most influential “movers and shakers” in the history of baseball. As legends of baseball go, […]
Amos Rusie threw so hard, many fans swore they couldn’t see the ball when it left his hand. Experts believe he could “bring it” at 100mph–and that he routinely threw in the high 90s. His catcher, Dick Buckley, under his glove, placed a thin strip of lead covered in a handkerchief, and added a sponge […]
In the 1880s, a new baseball star appeared on the horizon. He was 6′ 2 1/2″ tall and around 225 pounds, a pretty big fellow for his era, and his teammates, and the fans, called him “Big Sam”. Samuel Luther “Big Sam” Thompson was indeed a formidable force with a bat in his hands. He […]
Recently, some of us former baseball coaches (and current coaches) were cutting up reminiscences about a small handful of parents we have encountered over the years. We also reflected on some of our former coaches and Michael Lewis’ brilliant piece on his high school baseball coach was recalled. The truth is that most parents and coaches are fine […]
Mike Piazza holds the career major league record for home runs while in the lineup as a catcher: 396. It is estimated that Josh Gibson hit over 800 HRs while catching in the Negro Leagues. Some projections show Gibson might have hit 775+ HRs in the Majors.
On August 1, 1972, Nathan “Nate” Colbert hit five home runs in a doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves (Retrosheet box scores for game 1 and 2) ending the day with 13 RBI. Stan Musial also hit 5 home runs in one day on May 2nd, 1954 against the New York Giants. Colbert and Musial are the only […]
On a nice Spring afternoon in 1959, our father took us to see the Toei Flyers (now called the Nippon Ham Fighters… of Yu Darvish fame) play the Nankai Hawks at Namba Yakyujo, home of the Hawks in Osaka, Japan. The Flyers’ left fielder was an emerging rookie named Isao Harimoto, a left-hander who was […]
Samuel “Big Sam” Thompson holds the career record for most RBIs per 9 innings played. No one else is even close. For example, in 1895, he averaged 1.387 RBIs per 9 innings; in 1894, his average was 1.382; and, in 1887, his average was 1.307. His closest competitor was Hack Wilson in 1930 who averaged 1.232 […]
Hank Aaron holds the career total bases record by a wide margin with 6,856. He also scored over 100 runs a season for 15 seasons, a Major League record.
Babe Ruth holds the career record for Slugging Percentage with .690*. He also holds the career record for On Base plus Slugging Percentage with 1.164*. The leader in both categories among active MLB leaders at the time of this post? Albert Pujols (SLG .610 & OPS 1.027). *minimum 5,000 plate appearances
Pete “Charlie Hustle” Rose, currently banned from baseball for life, holds many records, at least 3 of which will probably never be broken: most career games played (3, 562), most career At Bats (14,053), and most career plate appearances (15,890).
Ted Williams holds the career record for On Base Percentage (minimum 5,000 plate appearances) with .482. Mickey Mantle holds the career record for OBP (minimum 5,000 PAs) for switch-hitters with .421. In case you’re wondering, the leader among active players, Todd Helton (over 7,000 PAs) has a career OBP of .419. As for switch-hitters, Lance […]
Those of us who grew up during the ’50s in Japan all knew about Kazuhisa “Iron Man” Inao. In fact, he earned that nickname on his way to 276 career victories and a revered place in Japan’s Baseball Hall of Fame. Victor Starffin and Tadashi “Bozo” Wakabayashi, great pitchers in their era, were now retired. […]
Only 3 hitters ever recorded batting averages over .350 (minimum 1,500 at bats): Ty Cobb (left-handed), .366; Rogers Hornsby (right-handed), .358; and Joe Jackson (left-handed), .356.
Ty Cobb (left), “Shoeless Joe” Jackson (center) and Sam Crawford in 1912. Crawford, known as “Wahoo Sam” (he was from Wahoo, Nebraska), holds the career record for triples with 309. He was a line drive hitter with excellent base-running skills.