Category Archives: Atlanta Braves

“TOP BASEBALL PLAYERS OF PAST 60 YEARS!” A Mathematical Study.

This is the third year we’ve published this study by Dr. Don Davis.  It’s one of our most popular blogs and we’re happy to be able to share it again with you.  Be sure to link to his website  for additional information, changes and criteria he used in compiling his study.

“2011 Baseball Players Mathematical Study, written by Don Davis, Department of Mathematics, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA., and printed here with his permission.”

Pos’n First team Second team Third team Fourth team Fifth team
P,1 Roger Clemens, 266.0 Tom Seaver, 181.1 Bob Gibson, 140.4 Juan Marichal, 107.9 Curt Schilling, 85.1
P,2 Randy Johnson, 202.1 Warren Spahn, 167.5 Sandy Koufax, 137.8 Gaylord Perry, 102.8 Phil Niekro, 84.9
P,3 Greg Maddux, 197.5 Bob Feller, 157.6 Robin Roberts, 136.5 Roy Halladay, 102.1 Johan Santana, 84.6
P,4 Pedro Martinez, 187.5 Steve Carlton, 143.5 Jim Palmer, 133.2 Fergie Jenkins, 87.2 Nolan Ryan, 83.7
C Johnny Bench, 111.2 Yogi Berra, 92.9 Gary Carter, 75.6 Mike Piazza, 74.8 Ivan Rodriguez, 71.0 Continue reading

Veterans Day and Every Day ….. Thank You!

Note:  This is a repost of my 2010 Veteran’s Day Blog.

Arlington National Cemetery

“But the mainstay of the big leagues was the reservoir of 4-Fs – males of draft age who had been rejected on physical grounds by the Armed Forces. Not since harem attendants had gone out of style were men’s physical deficiencies so highly prized. Ulcers, hearing defects, and torn cartilages were coveted by team owners.” – Frank Graham, Jr. in Farewell to Heroes (1981)

This and the following list of Hall of Fame Members Courtesy of  Baseball Almanac.

Baseball Hall of Fame Members  who Served in the Armed Forces.
The Civil War  
Morgan Bulkeley United States Army
World War I
Grover Alexander  United States Army
Happy Chandler United States Army Continue reading

Update: 2011 MLB Payrolls & Individual Salaries.

Courtesy TTF Baseball

Here’s the 2011 update to our 2010 Major League Baseball listing published November 22, 2010.  This comes to us compliments of USA Today.  If you’ll click the individual teams, you can access the individual players salaries.  It will be interesting to note the annual salaries of the teams that make the playoffs;  in other words, did they get what they paid for?

 TEAM                          TOTAL P/R             AVG SALARY       MEDIAN

New York Yankees

$ 202,689,028

$ 6,756,300

$ 2,100,000

Philadelphia Phillies

$ 172,976,379

$ 5,765,879

$ 2,625,000

Boston Red Sox

$ 161,762,475

$ 5,991,202

$ 5,500,000

Los Angeles Angels

$ 138,543,166

$ 4,469,134

$ 2,000,000

Chicago White Sox

$ 127,789,000

$ 4,732,925

$ 2,750,000

Chicago Cubs

$ 125,047,329

$ 5,001,893

$ 1,600,000

New York Mets

$ 118,847,309

$ 4,401,752

$ 900,000

San Francisco Giants

$ 118,198,333

$ 4,377,716

$ 2,200,000

Minnesota Twins

$ 112,737,000

$ 4,509,480

$ 3,000,000

Detroit Tigers

$ 105,700,231

$ 3,914,823

$ 1,300,000

St. Louis Cardinals

$ 105,433,572

$ 3,904,947

$ 1,000,000

Los Angeles Dodgers

$ 104,188,999

$ 3,472,966

$ 2,142,838

Texas Rangers

$ 92,299,264

$ 3,182,733

$ 1,251,000

Colorado Rockies

$ 88,148,071

$ 3,390,310

$ 2,318,750

Atlanta Braves

$ 87,002,692

$ 3,346,257

$ 1,275,000

Seattle Mariners

$ 86,524,600

$ 2,884,153

$ 825,000

Milwaukee Brewers

$ 85,497,333

$ 2,849,911

$ 1,050,000

Baltimore Orioles

$ 85,304,038

$ 3,280,924

$ 1,425,000

Cincinnati Reds

$ 75,947,134

$ 2,531,571

$ 825,000

Houston Astros

$ 70,694,000

$ 2,437,724

$ 467,000

Oakland Athletics

$ 66,536,500

$ 2,376,303

$ 1,400,000

Washington Nationals

$ 63,856,928

$ 2,201,963

$ 1,050,000

Toronto Blue Jays

$ 62,567,800

$ 2,018,316

$ 1,200,000

Florida Marlins

$ 56,944,000

$ 2,190,153

$ 545,000

Arizona Diamondbacks

$ 53,639,833

$ 1,986,660

$ 1,000,000

Cleveland Indians

$ 49,190,566

$ 1,639,685

$ 484,200

San Diego Padres

$ 45,869,140

$ 1,479,649

$ 468,800

Pittsburgh Pirates

$ 45,047,000

$ 1,553,344

$ 450,000

Tampa Bay Rays

$ 41,053,571

$ 1,578,983

$ 907,750

Kansas City Royals

$ 36,126,000

$ 1,338,000

$ 850,000

Garlic Fries and Baseball: The Book

Update:  Now available at Amazon as Book and Kindle.

Finally it’s here!  My book’s been in the works since February and  it’s being published today.  It’s available for sale here first, and will be available on Amazon.com early next week and in Kindle form  soon thereafter.

The book’s a compilation of some of my favorite blogs, some in expanded form, with a few little ditties added in and formatted in such a way you’ll hardly recognize it!  I have to admit ~ writing a book is a great experience, but it’s much easier writing a blog!

Let me know what you think but please be kind.   This is my debut you know ♥   Ronni

Umpire makes Really Bad Call……or Does He?

Wow!  Take a look at this.  You won’t believe it.  This makes that Jim Jarvis call on the Armando Galarraga play look like play-doh!   Unfortunately, it’s another reason for the instant replay pundits to continue beating their drums.   I’m not a fan of instant replay, but I have to admit I sometimes wonder if maybe Selig might, just once in a while, override a call.  You know, like maybe once or twice a year? 

The call was made by umpire Jerry Meals during the 19th Inning of the Atlanta Braves vs Pittsburgh Pirates game last night, giving Atlanta the win by a score of 4-3. The Braves’ runner, Julio Lugo, was clearly out as seen in the video and appears to be as surprised as the catcher was at the call.  I guess Jerry Meals wanted to go back to his hotel room and either sleep or eat a meal since it was already 2am in Atlanta.

The blog title’s a little skewed since I’m sure the runner thought the umpire made a fabulous call as did a lot of the  Braves fans.  It depends a lot on your perspective, doesn’t it?  Videos and some of the commentary  provided from D’Wizzle’s World, a Yardbarker network.

Baseball Memorabilia …..Is it Really? How Can You Tell?

Right off let me tell you I’m a collector.  I collect anything baseball mostly for my personal enjoyment and for posterity and  I’ve never sold anything from my  collection.

I subscribe to periodicals that give me a rough idea of what the value of a particular card or item might be, but the only way you can really determine FMV is to sell it which I have no intention of doing.  Occasionally, when I feel I have a special card I’ll send it to Beckett to have it graded, only to find it’s not as special as I thought it was.

One such card was actually a Hockey card ~ a  1979 O-Pee-Chee #18Wayne Gretzky card that had recently sold for over $60,000 on Ebay.   I planned on selling this item and I’d already mentally taken a world cruise with the proceeds from this special Gretzky prize, the best card in my collection of over 75,000 cards.  Imagine my surprise when Beckett returned the card to me not only ungraded but with a notation of “Questionable Authenticity”.  In other words, it was a fake!

I’d paid good money for the card which was purchased from another collector I knew personally.  My first inclination was to contact the guy and ask for my money back.  In reality, I’m sure he bought it with the same expectations I had, totally unaware.   I had no idea what I was buying, no experience and no knowledge in the area of collectibles, and neither did he.  Continue reading

MLB Standings vs MLB Payrolls …. How do they measure?

Okay, so we’re maybe 25% through the 2011 Major League Baseball Season.  How is your team doing?  How is your team doing in relation to their total payroll?  In other words, are they getting what they paid for?

Here’s an interesting article published by Hayes & Taylor recently.  I’m always amazed at the amount of work some of these guys put into their daily blogs;  I mean who has time for this stuff?   In any event, this is a great chart and one of the better blogs and I wanted to share it with you.

“The Cleveland Indians are in first place in the AL Central. They have the fifth lowest payroll in all of baseball. Which got me thinking, how do the other teams in the MLB rank in the standings relative to their payroll. It turns out that the Indians aren’t even the best example right now.

The Tampa Bay Rays have the second lowest payroll in the majors. The are currently in first place in the power packed AL East. Ahead of the number one payroll in baseball the Yankees, the number three payroll in Boston and numbers 19 and 24 in Baltimore and Toronto. The Royals, Marlins and A’s are all over .500, and are all in the bottom ten payrolls in the league. Not to mention all are very alive in the playoff races.

If the season ended today, four of the eight playoff teams would come from the bottom eleven in payroll (Rays, Indians, Marlins, Reds). On the other side, only three would be coming from the top eight in payroll (Angels, Phillies and Giants).

What does this all mean? Talent wins in baseball and not always how much you pay for that talent. If money was how you win, the Yankees would win every year, but they don’t. That makes me very happy. I love to see underdogs win. I love the fact that some of the lower payroll teams won’t be trading away all of their talent this season to teams who will pay whatever it takes. Baseball is stronger than ever right now.

Click here to link to a chart that shows  where all 30 teams in major league baseball rank in payroll and where they are currently in the standings. Is your team over or under achieving?”

Spring Training Odds & Ends ……

David Letterman’s Top 10 List of  Things you Don’t want to hear During Spring Training!

Pablo Sandoval "Before"

I’m not a huge fan of David Letterman, but still ……. this was kinda sorta funny.   I’ve been following Spring Training this year,  more than in the past and I’m seriously thinking about running down to Arizona next year to see what all the fuss is about!    One of the things that struck my funnybone this year was all the

Pablo Sandoval "After"

hubbub that’s going around about Tim Lincecum‘s In ‘n Out Burger runs.  When one of the  analysts asked him today if he took the Panda with him,  Tim assured him he always went solo, at least during spring training.  Panda, if  you’re not from the Bay Area, refers to Pablo Sandoval who, at the end of last season, weighed in around 289 pounds much to the dismay of management.   At the threat of being sent back to the Minors this year if he didn’t get back into serious shape, Panda Pablo managed to drop 38 pounds, while adding some muscle,  and looks and acts fit as a fiddle.  Good news for Giants fans, that’s for sure!   But the conversation about Timmy’s lunch relates to his daily routine of three double-decker burgers, two orders of fries and a vanilla/chocolate combo milkshake.   That’s about 3,400 calories just for lunch each day and Tim only weighs 165 pounds!    Sure would be great to have a metabolism that could burn that off!

Luis Salazar

One thing that always bothers me about spring training is how many players get injured.   I’m pretty sure the reason for spring training is to get back in shape after the three months “vacation” from regular and postseason.   One of the injured this year is Chase Utley, who’s always been a powerhouse for Philadelphia.   But a real casualty this year happened not to a player, but to a spectator.  Actually, he’s  Luis Salazar,  a Minor League Manager for the Atlanta Braves and he was hit in the face by a line drive during a Spring Training game on March 9.  Salazar, 54, was leaning up against the railing on the top step of the dugout when Brian McCann slammed a foul ball directly towards Salazar, who didn’t see it coming.  He ended up losing his left eye, a real tragedy in any ballpark.    I know, I know, accidents happen, and this was indeed a tragic accident, but it’s still really sad when we hear about them.    We still have a few more weeks of Spring Training left and let’s cross our fingers we can get through without any more casualties.  A big hug and a “get well soon” to  Luis!

The Intentional Walk ….. And “Walk’r” the Chicken!

  “We weren’t trying to walk him; he just wouldn’t swing at any bad pitches.”  -Bobby Cox, on the Braves walking Barry Bonds 7 times in a series

There’s nothing that irks me quite as much as the intentional walk.  I’ve always wondered how the pitchers feel about it.   If  the batter’s a real crackerjack, would they be glad they don’t have to pitch to him or would they welcome the challenge?   If the pitcher is a really good pitcher, and has a lot of confidence in knowing he’s a really good pitcher, wouldn’t you think he’d welcome the chance to get a strikeout, knowing he had the competitive edge?  You know the saying, “Good pitching beats good hitting anytime”.    Personally, if I were a pitcher I think I’d be a little insulted if the manager gave me the signal to walk a batter. I’d think he probably didn’t have enough confidence in me to be able to get the guy out.  But that’s just me.  On February 4, 1956, the  American League announced it would begin testing the automatic intentional walk during spring training.    I don’t know when the National League jumped on the bandwagon, but at some point they definitely did.   Before that time, I guess the pitcher always pitched the ball and the batter swung,  or not, depending on the pitch.  Geez, what a novel idea huh?   I think here in San Francisco we’ve had a belly-full of the stuff and that’s why I’m a little antagonistic on the subject.  Back in 2004, ESPN reported the Giants concessions would start  selling “rubber chickens” , appropriately named Walk’r, to protest the number of walks at AT&T Park.  The chicken was an instant success and the chickens, if necessary, are still evident in the park today.  To illustrate how bad it had become, you might be surprised to know that Barry Bonds today still holds the career record for most “Intentional Bases on Balls” (since 1955)  with a startling 645 intentional walks.   George Brett  is second with 229.   It’s highly unlikely Bonds’ record will be broken anytime soon.   Here’s some statistics on Intentional Bases on Balls Records, provided by Baseball Almanac:  

 
Intentional Bases On Balls Records
Records Only Kept Officially Since 1955
Single Season Records
Record Lg Name(s) Team(s) Data
Most
In A Season
(Top 100)
AL John Olerud Toronto 33 1993
Ted Williams Boston 1957
NL Barry Bonds San Francisco 120 2004
Most
In A Season
By A Lefthander
AL John Olerud Toronto 33 1993
Ted Williams Boston 1956
NL Barry Bonds San Francisco 120 2004
Most
In A Season
By A Righthander
AL Frank Howard Washington 29 1970
Frank Thomas Chicago 1995
NL Albert Pujols St. Louis 44 2009
Most
In A Season
By A Rookie
AL Alvin Davis Seattle 16 1984
NL Willie Montanez Philadelphia 14 1971
Most
In A Season
By A Switch-Hitter
AL Eddie Murray Baltimore 25 1984
NL Tim Raines Montreal 26 1987
Most At Bats
In A Season
No Intentional Walks
AL Kirby Puckett Minnesota 691 1985
NL Jose Reyes New York 696 2005
 
According to Baseball Almanac, the one event in baseball that signifies true respect is the intentional walk with bases loaded.  The implication, I guess, is that the pitcher is showing respect to the batter by walking him instead of pitching to him, out of  fear he might hit the ball.   Personally, I’d  like to see the pitcher, pitch to the batter and strike the socks off  him, or not.  Now that, my friends, would command some real respect, don’t you think?

An Overdose of “Philly-Itis”…….

Hank Aaron, Wikipedia Image

Philly Schmilly …….Don’t you just love it when someone in the know has the guts to speak what’s on his mind instead of jumping on the eternal pundit bandwagon?   That’s just exactly what Hank Aaron did yesterday.   Hank’s predicting a 2011 World Series between the Giants and Red Sox.   Whew ~ where did that come from?  Hasn’t he been listening to the pundits and bloggers and baseball experts? Could it be that Henry knows something the rest of the baseball world doesn’t?   Could it be these so-called experts have fallen into the same trap they did last year and have totally overlooked the obvious?  In other words, they didn’t learn a thing.  I’m not talking about the regular season.   I mean, for pete’s sake, I’m a Giant’s fan and there’s no way I would have imagined, say, in August,  the Giants would end up taking their Division.  So what do you think Hank Aaron might possibly be thinking?  

For one thing, Aaron’s predicting 2011’s going to be  a hitters year, unlike the pitcher’s year of 2010.   Well if that’s true  it sure takes the wind out of the sails for that $120 Million contract the Phillies signed Clifton Phifer “Cliff” Lee to in the off-season.   I’ve never understood the reasoning that  the Phillies are now unbeatable, invincible, the next undisputable World Champions, just by virtue  of having Cliff Lee on their roster.    Uhhh, seems to me the unbeaten Cliff Lee was beaten TWICE by the Giants in this year’s World Series.   So please tell me what Cliff Lee has done recently that would make him now “unbeatable”?   It just doesn’t make sense.     He was unbeatable last season and the Giants whooped the stuffing out of him, not once, but twice,and now he’s wearing a Phillies uniform, and he’s once again unbeatable?  

Is it possible the Phillies might be able to pull it off and win the Division?  Oh sure.  Is it possible they might go on and win the World Series?  Maybe.  But it’s not a foregone conclusion.  Thank you,   Hank Aaron,  for bringing some good old fashioned  common sense to the subject.   It’s a lot more fun letting the teams play out the season instead of  letting the self-proclaimed pundits and experts crown the Philadelphia Phillies  the anointed ones in February.   It’s obvious the only reason Cliff Lee signed with the Phillies is he sees it as his only chance to vindicate himself from the embarrassment he obviously felt (or should have felt) of not only being outpitched in the World Series, but of being so “mouthy” about it before hand.  

Philly Phanatic

 To say the Phillies might be my least favorite team is probably a huge understatement.  Go ahead, ask the teams and  players who’ve had to endure the wrath, anger and profanity of the Phillie phanatics on and off the field.  I’m just saying, when it comes to baseball, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is definitely NOT the city of brotherly love. 

Top Baseball Players of Past 59 Years!

“2010 Baseball Players Mathematical Study, written by Don Davis, Department of Mathematics, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA., and printed here with his permission.”

(GFBB Note:  I found this  information fascinating and posted the 2009 study last August.  This is the 2010 updated version with a few variations.  You can view the entire study here:  http://www.lehigh.edu/~dmd1/baseball.html    It explains the  criteria used and the history behind the study as well as a wealth of other information related to it.  You can contact Dr. Davis directly for more information regarding the list@ dmd1@lehigh.edu )

Pos’n First team Second team Third team Fourth team Fifth team
P,1 Roger Clemens, 266.0 Tom Seaver, 181.1 Bob Gibson, 140.4 Juan Marichal, 107.9 Phil Niekro, 84.9
P,2 Randy Johnson, 202.1 Warren Spahn, 167.5 Sandy Koufax, 137.8 Gaylord Perry, 102.8 Johan Santana, 84.6
P,3 Greg Maddux, 197.5 Bob Feller, 157.6 Robin Roberts, 136.5 Fergie Jenkins, 87.2 Roy Halladay, 84.1
P,4 Pedro Martinez, 187.5 Steve Carlton, 143.5 Jim Palmer, 133.2 Curt Schilling, 85.1 Nolan Ryan, 83.7
C Johnny Bench, 112.9 Yogi Berra, 94.9 Gary Carter, 77.3 Mike Piazza, 76.6 Ivan Rodriguez, 72.7
1B Albert Pujols, 158.9 Jeff Bagwell, 99.9 Eddie Murray, 91.6 Willie McCovey, 88.4 Harmon Killebrew, 80.8
2B Joe Morgan, 140.6 Rod Carew, 100.5 Ryne Sandberg, 94.8 Jackie Robinson, 93.8 Roberto Alomar, 81.1
3B Mike Schmidt, 184.1 George Brett, 120.9 Eddie Mathews, 112.2 Wade Boggs, 110.5 Brooks Robinson, 105.1
SS Alex Rodriguez, 151.9 Cal Ripken, 121.6 Ernie Banks, 97.6 Robin Yount, 88.2 Derek Jeter, 83.4
OF,1 Barry Bonds, 270.7 Stan Musial, 208.6 Frank Robinson, 141.2 Al Kaline, 119.2 Reggie Jackson, 111.5
OF,2 Willie Mays, 243.2 Mickey Mantle, 208.3 Rickey Henderson, 138.4 Ken Griffey, 117.1 Pete Rose, 99.4
OF,3 Ted Williams, 219.8 Hank Aaron, 201.3 Carl Yazstremski, 131.8 Roberto Clemente, 112.1 Tony Gwynn, 97.1
DH Frank Thomas, 101.0 Paul Molitor, 58.8 Edgar Martinez, 53.4

 

“TEXAS CAN’T HOLD EM” ~ Game 1. Rangers and Pundits Lose!

Whodathunk it?  I had almost as much fun watching the sports pundits after the game than watching the game itself.  Well, almost.   The Giants had no chance, nada, zilch, zero, of beating Cliff Lee in game one of this World Series.  None!  I mean, after all, Cliff Lee had never lost a playoff game.  Won 10, Loss  0!  Whew, who wants to go up against those odds?   I almost believed it myself.  So after the game, when the pundits came slithering out from under the rocks, it was just a lot of fun to listen to their enlightened jibberish.   I believe it’s called “eating crow”?   As Joe buck said in his post-game commentary, “Don’t listen to us folks.  We don’t know anything!”  

The thing that puzzles me about the  Giants getting absolutely no respect before the game, and still now, even after the  game, is the  way they made it to the World Series in the first place.    This is a team of self-proclaimed misfits and oddballs, picked up from the trash heaps of other teams, a couple of rookies, and one helluva pitching staff.    In August, this team was 6 1/2 games behind in the NL West, but they scratched and clawed and fought off not only the San Diego Padres, but also a very good Colorado Rockies team to prevail.  They willed their way to the NL West Championship.    They were the underdog as they advanced to the NLDS against Atlanta, under the leadership of  Bobby Cox, destined to extend his career a few more games.   But, once again,  against the odds, the Giants won the National League Division Series against Atlanta!

So now the pundits had a ball!   I mean now the Giants had to face the Philadelphia Phillies, defending National League Champions, two years in a row, and World Series Champions only a year ago!   Their ace, Roy Halladay, as good as it gets, pitched a “no hitter” against the Cincinnati Reds,  enroute to the NLDS this year, and the Reds were no pansies.  To solidify the belief, earlier in the year Halladay had thrown a perfect game!   And it wasn’t just Halladay, they also had to face Roy Oswalt, a fastball pitcher who the Phillies acquired from Houston specifically for this reason, to dominate in the playoffs.   Again, Phillies fans lost a lot of money through their bookies over this series.   Giants beat the Philadelphia Phillies and won the National League Pennant in 6.

So what’s it going to take?  Headlines all over the country projected the Texas Rangers to win the World Series.  Everywhere except in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Even the Los Angeles papers ….. (whoops forget it, that’s Dodger country, doesn’t count!  i.e., LA Times article today by “Bill Shaikin ~ San Francisco takes advantage of a less-than-sharp effort by the highly regarded left-hander on a night when Tim Lincecum is not exactly crisp.”)  Cracks me up, but you know what?  He’s right!   And that’s baseball folks!  And you know what else?   The SF Giants may NOT win the World Series.  But if they do, it will be because they WILLED it, and not because of anything the Rangers and pundits have to say.    Baseball, don’t you just love it?