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26 Nov 2018

Who Are MLB’s Greatest Pitchers of All Time?

 

There are plenty of pitchers who were able to dominate Major League Baseball during their era. Some of them, like Randy Johnson, offered overpowering stuff to opposing hitters that always seemed to help keep their team competitive in close games.

There are several elements to consider when determining who the greatest pitchers of all time are. We must look at their career ERA, strikeouts-to-walks ratio, and WAR from a statistical standpoint. Then there is the postseason success and long-term dominance to consider.

Here are the top pitchers that we think are the GOAT. 

#1. Christy Mathewson

From 1907-1911, Mathewson won 139 games, which averages just under 28 per season. His ERA during this period was only 1.69, and he averaged almost 7 shutouts during the year. Christy even had 30 saves during his career. He also had about four strikeouts for every walk he gave up. He would go on to win 373 games and finish with a career 2.13 ERA.

#2. Walter Johnson

Johnson is one of a handful of pitchers to win over 400 games during his career. Over 13 consecutive seasons, he never had an ERA higher than 2.22. His 1913 season was one of the best of all time, going 36-7 with a 1.14 ERA. From 1910-1914, he struck out almost 500 more batters than any other pitcher in the league.

#3. Cy Young

There are incredible numbers to look at over Young’s career. He won 511 games, but he also lost 316 of them. He pitched 184 complete games over one five-year stretch during his career. He didn’t get to compete in the postseason since the World Series didn’t start until 1903, but he did make four appearances for the Boston Americans in the first one.

#4. Sandy Koufax

Even though he only won 165 games in his career, Koufax saved his best work for last. He retired abruptly while still on top, so it is difficult to give him a fair ranking. During four postseason runs, his ERA is an incredible 0.95. He was also the MVP of both World Series in which he appeared. Over his 12-year career, he won the Cy Young three times – in 1963, 1965, and 1966.

#5. Roger Clemens

With 354 wins, the career of Clemens is still shrouded with the steroid era. He was a three-time AL Cy Young winner with the Red Sox, plus earned the runner-up in 1990 with a 1.93 ERA and a 21-6 record. He won the AL MVP in 1986. Then he received the Cy Young in 1997 and 1998 with the Blue Jays, in 2001 with the Yankees, and in 2004 with the Astros. His 1.87 ERA in 2005 was incredible for his age.

Some incredible pitchers deserve an honorable mention too: Nolan Ryan, Bob Gibson, Bert Blyleven, Tom Seaver, Rollie Fingers, Lefty Grove, Greg Maddux, and Clayton Kershaw are all fantastic players. 

Which pitchers do you think should make this list which we didn’t include for this piece? 

17 Oct 2018

12 of the Craziest Unwritten Rules in Baseball

 

If you were to try to get to know baseball by reading its rulebook, then you would be spending a lot of time turning pages. The 2018 PDF edition of the rules contains 169 pages of information.

Then there are the unwritten rules of baseball that players are supposed to follow over the course of the game. 

Here are some of the craziest rules that aren’t “official” ones which fit into that category.

Most Ridiculous Unwritten Rules in Baseball

1. If a picture is in the middle of a no-hitter, then you’re not supposed to talk about it. You aren’t even allowed to sit next to him or her after the fifth inning.

2. Don’t show up your teammates on the field. If someone makes an error, then just roll with the punches.

3. If you suspect that the opposing team hit your batter on purpose, then you do the same thing when a player of the same caliber comes up to the plate.

4. Hitting a home run can help your team in a lot of ways. Failing to run because you’re admiring the trajectory of the ball will almost always start a fight. Flipping your bat after hitting one could get you hit by a pitch the next time you come up too.

5. You’re not supposed to be stealing bases when your team is trailing by several runs. This action is seen as a way to boost your own statistics as a player instead of helping your team. The official scorekeeper might even make an “indifference” notation to take away that SB too. 

6. Speaking of stolen bases, you’re not supposed to take them if you are several runs in the lead as well.

7. Running up the score is frowned upon in baseball. That doesn’t mean you stop playing the game, but it does mean that you should stop trying to bunt for a base hit. Take your hacks, run out a grounder, and then sit down.

8. If you get hit by a pitch, you’re not supposed to rub the area that stings like crazy. Maybe this is a macho unwritten rule.

9. Unless you are a pitcher, then you are not allowed to step on the pitcher’s mound during inning transitions. It’s even sometimes frowned upon if you have a meeting out there with the infield.

10. If someone is pitching a no-hitter against your team, then you’re supposed to swing away to get a base hit. Bunting to get on base is considered a no-no.

11. You only get three outs in an inning. That means you should try to avoid making the first or the third out at third base. Since stopping at second can put you into scoring position, this unwritten rule is more about strategy than anything else.

12. When a pitcher gets pulled from the game, there is an expectation that they stay in the dugout. It’s considered disrespectful if they go to hit the showers first.

There are plenty of unwritten rules in baseball regarding etiquette and strategy that didn’t make this list too. What are some of the most ridiculous things that you’ve seen happen on the field? 

30 Sep 2018

6 Best Hitters in Baseball History

 

Baseball is a simple game that requires you to focus on the moment. If you can hit it, run, and catch, then you have a chance to experience greatness in this sport.

History teaches us that most professionals can do two out of the three requirements well. Hitting is an art form that a rare handful of players were able to achieve greatness in during their careers. Here is a list of the best.

#1. Babe Ruth

The 59 home runs that he hit in 1921 are still called one of the greatest seasons ever by a player in baseball history. His career batting average was .342, his offensive WAR is a crazy 164.6, and he even finished up with 136 triples.

#2. Ty Cobb

Cobb led baseball as the best hitter in the league for 11 seasons. It used to be 12, except for an error found during the 1910 campaign decades later. He even led in home runs for a season. His 4,189 hits were considered an unbreakable record for decades, helping him to receive 98.2% of the vote during the inaugural election for the Hall of Fame.

#3. Ted Williams

Williams is the last hitter to eclipse the .400 mark for a batting average in the season. He also led the league in walks and on-base percentage when he was playing. Let’s not forget that he hit 521 home runs over the course of his career. What’s scary is that his stats would have been even better if he hadn’t gone off to serve in World War II.

#4. Pete Rose

Because of his betting on baseball, Rose doesn’t usually get included on lists like this. He deserves to be here though. With 4,256 hits, more than 2,000 runs, and over 3,500 games played, this 17-time all-star won three World Series titles, was a three-time batting champion, and made it to the plate almost 16,000 times. The 44-game hitting streak he had is third all-time behind DiMaggio’s 56 and Willie Keeler’s 45.

#5. Mickey Mantle

Although Mantle’s batting statistics aren’t above .300 for his career, he did finish with 536 home runs and more than 1,500 RBIs as a switch-hitter, which was unheard of during his era. He won the Triple Crown in 1956, frequently led in home runs and runs, and was still hitting for power during the final season of his career. He also won three MVP awards.

#6. Rogers Hornsby

Only Nap Lajoie, who played for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1901, had a higher batting average (.426) than Hornsby (.424) in the 20th century. He had back to back .400 seasons in 1924-1925. Because his team wasn’t “championship caliber,” writers left him off the MVP ballot that year. His .358 batting average is still the second-best of all time.

Other hitters, like Shoeless Joe, Lefty O’Doul, Ed Delahanty, and Tris Speaker all had high career batting averages which could include them on this list. Even George Sisler, who batted .340 and had two .400 seasons, could be here. Which names do you feel that we left out? 

25 Sep 2018

6 Best Baseball Players Not in the Hall of Fame… Yet

 

Baseball’s Hall of Fame tells the story of a player’s career. The statistics are an important part of each entry, but so is the impact that each person made on the field. There are many who have been enshrined and rightfully so, but there are many players not in the HOF who deserve to be there.

Here are some of the best baseball players who are not in the Hall of Fame yet.

#1. Roger Maris

Maris deserves to be in the Hall of Fame for the 61 home runs he hit in 1961. Did he get extra games to break Babe Ruth’s record? Of course, he did! He was also a two-time AL MVP award winner, an excellent outfielder, and his power changed the way that teams pitched to Mantle.

#2. Pete Rose

Charlie Hustle will probably never make it to the Hall of Fame because of the way he disrespected the integrity of the game. The rules as they are currently forbid him entry to Cooperstown, so his record-breaking statistics will never be enshrined as they should be. Maybe one day his eligibility will be restored.

#3. Barry Bonds

The steroid era in baseball is going to keep some great players out of the Hall of Fame. Barry Bonds deserves to go, whether he was juicing or not. He hit a total of 762 home runs during his career, won 7 MVP awards, and had 12 Silver Sluggers to his name. Bonds even hit 73 home runs during the 2001 season, eclipsing Mark McGwire’s 70 that he hit in 1998.

#4. Sammy Sosa

What people may not know about Sosa (besides a sneeze putting him on the disabled list) is that he was briefly the holder of the record for most home runs in a season. He hit his 66th dinger on 9/25/98, which would stand for only a day as McGwire would tie him an hour later, and then hit four more over the next two games. The bat used to hit #66 is in the Hall of Fame, so why isn’t the hitter? Let’s not forget that he also hit 609 home runs during his career. 

#5. Dwight Gooden

When he was pitching during his prime, there wasn’t anyone better on the mound. He went to three consecutive all-star games in the 1980s, won the Rookie of the Year award in 1984, and had an ERA of 1.53 during the 1985 season while racking up 24 win and 268 strikeouts. If he hadn’t struggled with drugs, there is a chance he could have won 300 games. 

#6. Rafael Palmeiro

He’s another casualty of the steroid era. Palmeiro is also the one guy no one suspected of doping – until he admitted it. During his 20-year career, he hit 569 home runs, which is usually a guarantee for HOF entry. He also has over 3,000 hits and brought in 1,835 RBIs. Although the .288 career batting average isn’t spectacular, guys have made it in with worse.

Who are some of the players that you’d like to see in baseball’s Hall of Fame?