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08-14

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4

Another Look: Wilton Lopez: Closer Sleeper
by
Jason Collette

01-12

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32

Another Look: The All-Non-Hall of Fame Team
by
Bob Hertzel

01-06

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2

Another Look: Bert Blyleven
by
Bob Hertzel

12-22

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8

Another Look: Bob Feller
by
Bob Hertzel

12-13

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36

Another Look: Marvin Miller
by
Bob Hertzel

12-06

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0

Another Look: Ron Santo
by
Bob Hertzel

11-29

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16

Another Look: Willie Mays
by
Bob Hertzel

11-23

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8

Another Look: Dick Allen
by
Bob Hertzel

11-15

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3

Another Look: The Yankee Princess
by
Bob Hertzel

11-09

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4

Another Look: The Joe Morgan Trade
by
Bob Hertzel

11-02

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5

Another Look: 1989 World Series Earthquake
by
Bob Hertzel

10-26

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32

Another Look: Chuck Tanner and the 1979 Pirates
by
Bob Hertzel

10-19

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10

Another Look: Kirk Gibson's Homer
by
Bob Hertzel

10-12

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15

Another Look: The 1972 World Series
by
Bob Hertzel

10-05

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5

Another Look: Joe Torre and Casey Stengel
by
Bob Hertzel

09-28

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9

Another Look: Baseball Digest
by
Bob Hertzel

09-21

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17

Another Look: Hall of Fame Pitchers Becoming an Extinct Species
by
Bob Hertzel

09-14

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74

Another Look: Reconsidering Pete Rose
by
Bob Hertzel

09-07

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27

Another Look: Unbreakable Records
by
Bob Hertzel

08-31

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15

Another Look: Hitting Pitchers and Some Who Couldn't
by
Bob Hertzel

08-24

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6

Another Look: Lefty's Remarkable Streak
by
Bob Hertzel

08-17

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0

Another Look: The Unknown Comics
by
Bob Hertzel

08-10

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4

Another Look: Willie, Mickey, and the Duke
by
Bob Hertzel

08-03

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6

Another Look: Do No More
by
Bob Hertzel

07-27

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5

Another Look: Andy Van Slyke
by
Bob Hertzel

07-20

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5

Another Look: George Steinbrenner
by
Bob Hertzel

07-13

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2

Another Look: The 1952 Pirates
by
Bob Hertzel

07-06

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2

Another Look: Mal Fichman
by
Bob Hertzel

06-29

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2

Another Look: Remembering Donald Davidson
by
Bob Hertzel

06-22

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6

Another Look: Mascot Mania
by
Bob Hertzel

06-15

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7

Another Look: Pitchers Who Fizzled
by
Bob Hertzel

06-08

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15

Another Look: Baseball Truly is a Funny Game
by
Bob Hertzel

06-01

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2

Another Look: A Six Pack of No-Hitters
by
Bob Hertzel

05-25

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6

Another Look: Growing Up with a Future Big Leaguer
by
Bob Hertzel

05-11

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3

Another Look: Sparky Anderson
by
Bob Hertzel

04-27

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4

Another Look: Clemente's Last Hit
by
Bob Hertzel

04-20

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8

Another Look: Remembering Chico Ruiz
by
Bob Hertzel

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August 14, 2012 5:00 am

Another Look: Wilton Lopez: Closer Sleeper

4

Jason Collette

A look at Wilton Lopez and why he could be an unheralded source of saves in fantasy leagues.

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of hosting a BP Ballpark Event with my podcast co-host Paul Sporer and fellow BPer Jason Parks in Houston. Attendees peppered us with questions for 45 minutes before we gave way to the honored guests of the day: former Baseball Prospectus writer Mike Fast and Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow. I have known Fast for a long time, dating back to our days conversing at RotoJunkie.com (now rjbullpen.com), but it was my first interaction with Luhnow. As a child that grew up in Houston, I still follow the team from my Florida home, and it was enjoyable to listen to a strong communicator like Luhnow talk about both the process and the vision that he is cultivating for his organization right now. I left the room truly feeling that the downtrodden franchise was headed in the right direction and things were not as bad as they seem in the midst of a 4-34 stretch.

Things may indeed seem bad in Houston these days, but Jose Altuve is not the only fantasy asset worth owning in Houston. Even though the team does not win many games, their newly anointed closer Wilton Lopez is definitely one to watch as you keep one eye on the final weeks of the 2012 season and the other on your 2013 draft prep.

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One writer's favorites among those who haven't been immortalized in Cooperstown.

Fourteen years is a long time to wait, but that’s how long it took for Bert Blyleven to get into the Hall of Fame. He is a deserving selection, to be sure, but one that leaves you wondering about the others, those who straddled the line that runs between mere great and Hall of Fame great.

I've been a Hall of Fame voter since 1971, and it got me thinking about some of the players over the years who I had voted for but, for whatever reason, could not convince 75 percent of my BBWAA brothers and sisters that he belonged in the Hall of Fame. What a team they would make up, I thought, and why were so many of them first basemen, each in my mind qualified to go into the Hall of Fame? And that did not count Rafael Palmeiro and Mark McGwire, each of whom is on my restricted list.

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One of the two players elected into the Hall of Fame yesterday, Blyleven was a master with the hook.

There is some argument as to whether Candy Cummings or Fred Goldsmith invented the curveball, but there is no argument about this: Bert Blyleven perfected it and rode it to the Baseball Hall of Fame. However, his election was a slow curve that was thrown to Blyleven, not being elected by the Baseball Writers Association of America until his 14thseason of eligibility despite 287 victories and 3,701 strikeouts.

“It was 14 years of praying and waiting, but I want to thank the baseball writers for finally getting it right,” he said when his election was announced on January 5.

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December 22, 2010 9:00 am

Another Look: Bob Feller

8

Bob Hertzel

The Hall of Fame pitcher served his country and enrinched both baseball and American history.

The first thought that crossed this battered old mind when Bob Feller died last week was to write a baseball tribute to a man who just may have had the greatest fastball of all time. But as the tributes rolled off the presses across the nation, some typed by far more skilled fingers than these and others by people far closer to Feller than I, it became apparent that a retrospective of the man or tribute to him would not do. Instead, Feller’s most lasting influence on our society was not as a strikeout pitcher, but as a patriot who, on December 8, 1941, became the first baseball player to volunteer for active duty, enlisting in the United States Navy one day following the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

A stream of more than 4,500 professional players followed him from the baseball uniform into military garb, as this five-year war rewrote both American and baseball history.

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December 13, 2010 9:00 am

Another Look: Marvin Miller

36

Bob Hertzel

The man who brought free agency to baseball was again denied election to the Hall of Fame.

On the back cover of Marvin Miller’s book, A Whole Different Ball Game: The Sport and Business Baseball, there is a blurb that needs to be revived here, now that the Baseball Hall of Fame has once again denied Miller entry.

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December 6, 2010 9:00 am

Another Look: Ron Santo

0

Bob Hertzel

Reflecting on the Cubs third baseman and broadcaster, and his upbeat personality.

I don’t know why, but when the word of Ron Santo’s death began filtering across the nation last week, the words of a song began running through my head:

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November 29, 2010 9:00 am

Another Look: Willie Mays

16

Bob Hertzel

The Hall of Fame center fielder made defensive plays that still defy description.

I got a text the other day from my friend, Bryant McCarthy, who spends his life living in some kind of fantasy land that includes the Red Sox, Tom Brady, and Ken Griffey Jr. He questioned whether Griffey Jr. was the greatest defensive center fielder of all time. Putting the generational gap aside, with young Mr. McCarthy actually believing that I reported on Tris Speaker, it made for an interesting internal discussion, for surely Griffey would rank among the legends, but whether he was the best of all-time is certainly debatable.

In talking about the greatest to ever patrol the outfield's middle pasture, you must not only discuss range and arm and baseball smarts, but also the mind's TiVo that runs those players' greatest moments. In this SportsCenter, TiVo, and YouTube age, Griffey and Jim Edmonds dominated the mental landscape because their top plays are captured on video, whereas those of Speaker, Dom DiMaggio, Paul Blair, Jimmy Piersall, and Willie Mays went unrecorded.

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November 23, 2010 9:00 am

Another Look: Dick Allen

8

Bob Hertzel

The slugging first baseman never turned a blind eye to controversy but knew how to punish pitchers.

He was not an American hero, and that was the way he wanted it.

The man who wished to be called Dick Allen, not Richie, had a career that bordered on Hall of Fame greatness—Rookie of the Year, MVP, two-time home run champion, RBI leader, four-time OPS leader, seven All-Star teams in 15 seasons, 351 homers, 1,119 RBI—but he never allowed anyone to paint him with the face of greatness.

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November 15, 2010 9:00 am

Another Look: The Yankee Princess

3

Bob Hertzel

Jennie Paul, daughter of former executive Gabe Paul, takes a unique look at her father and the Yankees of the late 1970s in her new book.

Maybe none of us move fast enough because the past seems to catch up. The past caught up the day the e-mail arrived from Jennie Paul, or, “The Yankee Princess”—the title of the book she wrote about her relationship with her father, Gabe Paul, a lifelong baseball executive who brought George Steinbrenner into baseball and who was the engineer behind the Yankees dynasty in the 1970s.

This gets a bit complicated; there are some personal ties here, having known Jennie when she was a young sports reporter in Dayton, Ohio, as I covered the Reds, and having had some interesting ties to Gabe.

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A deal that shocked the baseball world helped fuel the Big Red Machine.

It was a quiet day at a very quiet winter meetings, this November 29, 1971, that would change the history of baseball. Writers were milling around the lobby at the Biltmore Hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona, not a story in sight.

They knew not that Bob Howsam, the general manager of the Reds, had been hard at work for some time on a trade and that he had just completed it. He gathered his staff around him—manager Sparky Anderson, right-hand man Dick Wagner, scout Ray Shore, farm director Chief Bender, and public relations director Roger Ruhl.

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November 2, 2010 8:00 am

Another Look: 1989 World Series Earthquake

5

Bob Hertzel

The Loma Prieta earthquake had a magnitude beyond delaying the Bay Bridge Series between the Athletics and Giants.

It came without warning, as so many of the earth-shaking moments in World Series history have. One second there is relative calm, then Willie Mays makes his catch or Bill Mazeroski hits his home run and there is chaos.

This held true on an uncomfortably hot October afternoon in San Francisco.

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October 26, 2010 8:00 am

Another Look: Chuck Tanner and the 1979 Pirates

32

Bob Hertzel

An unconventional manager pushed all the right buttons for a team full of characters.

If the 1979 World Series belonged to Willie Stargell, and there is not a soul on Earth who watched the man they affectionately called “Pops” will the championship to the “We Are Family” Pittsburgh Pirates in those seven games against the Baltimore Orioles who doesn't think otherwise, then the season belonged to manager Chuck Tanner.

This was a team that not everyone could manage, for it was a flamboyant, rollicking group of free spirits that had somehow come together under one roof, tied together only by a burning desire to win. It was a cast of characters made for a TV situation comedy, sort of a “Gilligan’s Island” meets “Friends” sequel from a second baseman nicknamed Scrap Iron to a third baseman nicknamed Mad Dog. There was the Candy Man or the Rubber Band Man on the mound and in right field they had in Dave Parker, “The Cobra”,  a man whose ego was the only thing that towered over his ability.

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