Bud Selig thought about blocking the Marlins-Blue Jays blockbuster, but Bowie Kuhn did more than think about overturning trades during his time as commissioner.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
Bud Selig took six days to review the 12-player Marlins-Blue Jays trade before allowing it to stand. However, there is some precedent for a commissioner having the power to overturn trades, as Steven Goldman explained in the piece reprinted below, which was originally published as a "You Could Look it Up" column on April 24, 2006.
Albert Pujols is very different from anything the Halos have had before.
I caught myself about to write this sentence: “Albert Pujols will be the best first baseman in Angels history.” This is a tautological statement, completely unnecessary: with rare exceptions, Pujols is the best first baseman in anybody’s history. In terms of career warp, he is already 31st on the all-time list, with only a couple of first-sackers leading him:
UPDATED: I am sorry to say that Killebrew passed away this morning. In his honor, here is one fan's all-time Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins batting order. I have made no effort to normalize the stats, but you can easily imagine that if I had done so, Killebrew's 1960s and 1970s production would zoom past those of his predecessors, hence his placement here as cleanup hitter.
More baseball remembrances from the erstwhile Boston Red Sox ace.
Bill Monbouquette is as old-school as they get. The 74-year-old “Monbo” spent 50 years in the game — 11 as a big-league right-hander and many more as a pitching coach — and few have been more hard-nosed. Three years after being diagnosed with leukemia, he remains every bit as feisty.
The Dodgers' first baseman doesn't hit a lot of home runs but he drives in a quite a few runs.
James Loney is somewhat of an odd player. Despite hitting .321/.372/.543 in 486 plate appearances across the 2006 and 2007 seasons for the Dodgers, his power output has resembled that of Placido Polanco lately. While a short supply of power isn’t always a death blow to success at first base, it usually means that the top notchiest of defensive ability is required to make up the difference. Loney realistically doesn’t fit that bill either. He might be smooth with the glove, and he might not have a glaring weakness such as Ryan Howard’s inability to throw a baseball, but it isn’t as if we’re talking about the first-base equivalent of Franklin Gutierrez or Jack Wilson here. Despite the shortcomings in his game, there is one area in which Loney has excelled, even if it is a stat kept only in my strange head: the ratio of RBI to home runs.
In 2008, Loney hit just 13 home runs but knocked in 90 runners. Last season, he did the exact same thing by launching 13 dingers and plating 90 runners. This season, he appears to be on pace for very similar numbers, as he hasnine home runs and 80 RBI. Recording that many RBI with so few home runs is one of those jarring parts on a batting line. It doesn’t really tell us anything revolutionary about a player, but it looks off, just like when an on-base percentage exceeds its slugging counterpart. A disproportionate number of RBI relative to home runs might suggest that we are dealing with more of a slap hitter who happens to come up with runners on very frequently, and if he were to be moved down in the order the ratio might decline. After all, Loney continues to bat in the middle of the order even if Martin Prado can out-homer him.
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The answers to last week's Rookie of the Year voting trivia challenge are revealed, along with a breakdown of how the stubborn votes look in hindsight.
That collective groan you heard yesterday emanated from all the sportswriters in the land as they contemplated an early end to the bubbling hot stove spring that the Alex Rodriguez free agency represented. Seeing him get his situation situated by Thanksgiving is not what baseball wordsmiths had in mind when he parted ways with the Yankees prior to Game Four of the World Series. That he returned from whence he came makes it that much more anticlimactic. Now we'll all have to find something else to talk about.
Memories of this fan's rite of passage engender a look back at 1977 on the bases.
"This team, it all flows from me. I'm the straw that stirs the drink. Maybe I should say me and [Thurman] Munson, but he can only stir it bad." -Attributed to Reggie Jackson in the May 1977 issue of Sport magazine.
Parsing the data can help us address questions of bias among umpires in calling balls and strikes.
Bias in sports officiating isn't a topic to be taken lightly, and one need only recall the recent furor over a New York Times article written by Alan Schwarz, where he reported a study on racial bias in the officiating of NBA Games. But as discussed in this space a month ago, PITCHf/x data does give us a limited window into asking questions about how players are treated by umpires; today, we'll continue trekking through this new world and see what we can learn about pitchers, hitters, and the umpires who like them, like Ron Luciano with Rod Carew.