The recent passing of Gene Mauch got Steve thinking about the 1964 Phillies, and the great work done by their scion GM.
Steven investigates the “utility infielder disease” that plagues GMs near the trading deadline, and looks at a position in Pittsburgh that has proved particularly hard to fill.
Steve takes you inside BP’s new book, which includes the Nomar deal, the Schilling sock, the Yankees matchup and the effect (or non-effect) of brawls.
Two days after Christmas, Don Padgett got a present that changed his life. Steven Goldman has the story as the Infinity Edition returns.
Steven Goldman continues The Infinity Edition by looking at Jeff King, Kevin Mitchell, Graig Nettles, and others.
Steven Goldman continues his stroll through BP: Infinity Edition with a look at Elmer Flick, Cecilio Guante and more.
Steven Goldman triumphantly returns to BP with a revisionist idea: to create player comments for those players who existed before Baseball Prospectus.
With Opening Day less than two weeks away, the BP staff begins a series of articles, each with their own flavor, that set the scene for the upcoming season. Today, Steven Goldman exposes a vast conspiracy.
Alan Trammell did a good job of mixing parts this year, but employed a few too many one-run strategies, more than this team needed. Over 100 years into the modern game and most managers haven’t figured out what John McGraw knew in 1920, that the era of inside baseball is dead, no matter how poor your offense is. Other than in a sudden-death, ninth-inning situation, giving away outs just brings the end of the game closer. The average American Leaguer reached base 34% of the time last year, and grounded into a double-play in .022 of all at-bats. When you bunt, both percentages drop to close to zero. It’s not a fair trade off.
Current events inspire questions about the game’s history. Steven Goldman has more answers than a box of Trivial Pursuit cards.
Feverish and clogged, Steven plays the role of Roy Hobbs, climbing off the deck for a late-season contribution.
It’s not getting much attention, but Adam Dunn’s unwilling quest to shatter Bobby Bonds’ single-season record for batter strikeouts of 189 (1970) is going to be close enough that Dave Miley is going to have to think about whether he joins the wussy Jeff Torborgs and Al Pedriques of the world and actively interferes with pursuit of a milestone for no good reason. With 12 games to go, Dunn trails Bonds by 14. It will be tight, but four of the Reds’ remaining games come against Cubs flamethrowers. Prior, Wood, do your stuff, lads! GRADE: C-
When Bonds passes Aaron, if not before, there will be a rush to anoint him as the greatest something. Greatest home run hitter. Greatest actor in a non-singing part in a musical. Greatest beer and cheese combination. Greatest baseball player. This would be extremely short-sighted. To displace Ruth as the greatest ballplayer of all time, the aspirant must meet a higher standard. If the greatest baseball player is measured not just in muscles and eye-hand coordination but in his impact on sports and society as a whole, then Babe Ruth owns the title and has never lost it, never wavered in his possession of it, and never will.
Played an old-school eight games and went 5-3, though it could have been a bigger week; Pittsburgh gave them more trouble than they should have. In the three losses in Steeltown, the offense couldn’t get started, though most of the principles did well on the week. The restaurant scene in Pittsburgh is said to be lacking, that could bring a team down… In a reversal of the usual order of things, Brad Ausmus batted .368/.400/.421, but opponents were safe in five of six stolen base attempts. Happy new year, Brad! Life is (a) a bowl of cherries, (b) a beach, (c) none of the above, (d) a mixed bag at the best of times, (e) all of the above. GRADE: B-
Since it’s the Yankees, let’s play six degrees of Casey Stengel. First test: Casey Stengel to “Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson. Casey Stengel went to high school with William Powell. William Powell co-starred with Clark Gable in “Manhattan Melodrama,” 1934. Gable headlined “Gone with the Wind” with Vivien Leigh. Leigh was married to Sir Laurence Olivier, who was in “War Requiem” with Sean Bean. Bean was “Boromir” in Jackson’s trilogy.