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2014 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot: Three Will Make It In

Cooperstown sign

With the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot being due by the end of the year, it is an appropriate time to make some predictions.

There is an exciting group of quality players in this class of Hall of Fame nominees. It features two Cy Young Award winners along with two Most Valuable Player Award winners. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2013 in Historical

 

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The Cincinnati Reds Are Kicking the Tires on Carlos Beltran

Carlos Beltran

According to C. Trent Rosecrans, the Cincinnati Reds have expressed an interest in Free Agent outfielder, Carlos Beltran. He has been courted heavily this offseason by the New York Yankees and many feel they have the upper hand in negotiations with the 36-year old Beltran. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Braves’ Lew Burdette’s Two Flirtations with Perfection

Lew Burdette

Did you ever have one of those days when it seemed as if everything went right? It was like some spiritual or universal force was guiding your every move. Would you call that a perfect day? All went well, nobody close to you was sick or dying.

Lew Burdette had two days which were similar to that. One was his and the other one he was watching. My father said Burdette was nicknamed “Fidgety Lew” because he never kept still for a moment. He was on the mound that Tuesday night, May 26, 1959 in old County Stadium when diminutive southpaw Harvey Haddix pitched 12 innings of baseball perfection. Seriously, 36 up and 36 down, no runs, no hits, no walks, no HBP, no errors. The man pitched a perfect game (for 12 innings, not 9), yet he lost 1-0 in the 13th inning.

You may have heard that at some point, but you probably were not told that the winner of the game pitched pretty well himself. Burdette won the game that night by going 13 hard innings for the Milwaukee Braves and staying until the end. His line that night showed 13 IP, 12 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO.

So, you may ask, what has that to do with Burdette and perfection? He watched his counterpart twirl 12 masterpiece innings and stayed the course for the win. He saw what it was like for someone to flirt with perfection.

Fast forward a year to August 18, 1960. The same venue as the last, Burdette’s home yard, County Stadium. This time it is the Philadelphia Phillies, fresh off a three-game losing streak at the hands of the Pirates at Forbes Field.
“Long” Gene Conley was slated to start against Burdette who was last seen four days earlier throwing a five-hit shutout against the San Francisco Giants.

Conley was also a power forward in the NBA with the Boston Celtics. He was huge in baseball terms.

Burdette had retired the first 13 Phillies he faced and was working in the fifth inning of a scoreless game. With one out and the bases empty, centerfielder Tony Gonzalez came to the plate. The only bad pitch of the game for Burdette, and one that shall live in infamy, hit Gonzalez and he was the first runner for the Phillies. Third-baseman Lee Walls came up next and hit a ball hard to Eddie Mathews. He threw the ball to Joe Adcock at first, who then fired to shortstop Johnny Logan who tagged Gonzalez.

Burdette never allowed another runner. In the home half of the eighth inning with the game still scoreless, Burdette leads off the inning. He hit a hard grounder down the left field line and raced to second with a leadoff double. Center-fielder Billy Bruton came up next and rifled a grounder down the right field line for a standup double which scored Burdette, and consequently the only run of the game.

In the top of the ninth Burdette had retired both Jimmy Coker and Ken Walters leaving only Gene Conley standing between Burdette and a no-hitter. Manager Gene Mauch pinch hits for Conley, sending Bobby Smith to bat for him. Smith hits an easy fly to right-fielder Hank Aaron who easily makes the catch to preserve the win, complete game shutout, no-hitter and nearly a perfect game for Burdette.

What a night! Not only did he  pitch a masterpiece, he scored the only run of the game, and was 2 for 3 at the plate.

The box score will show that Burdette faced the minimum of 27 batters. The AB however, will reflect only 26 since Gonzalez HBP didn’t result in at AB and he was wiped clean with a twin killing.

I wonder how much thought he put into the game in ’59 when he was watching Haddix fiddle with baseball immortality.

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Posted by on March 19, 2013 in Historical, MLB

 

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Reds Drop Spring Opener to Cleveland 11-10

Although the pitching was bad the takeaway from the first game of Spring Training good. Shin-Soo Choo worked the leadoff role to perfection his first time at bat in a Reds uniform. He walked and scored the first of five runs in the first inning. Joey Votto started the spring off on the right foot with a 2-3 performance.

Power came in the form of the battle for backup catcher between Miguel Olivo and Devin Mesoraco. Oliva went deep with a solo shot in the fourth inning and Mesoraco blasted a two-run shot in the fifth.

Starting pitcher Tony Cingrani allowed three runs in his only inning of work.

Manager Dusty Baker had a comment after the game.

“The offense was moving pretty good,” Baker said. “We had a lot of young guys out there. A lot of walks, untimely walks especially at the end of the game. You want to rescue them but they have to get their work in.”

According to Mark Sheldon Choo was not a liability thus far in center-field. He said that Choo got to a deep drive on one hop and held the runner to a long single.

Ex-Reds Drew Stubbs and Jeremy Hermida both contributed a single to the Indian victory.

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2013 in Spring Training

 

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Cleveland Indians Lose Interest in Slugger Jim Thome

Thome cardshotKen Rosenthal reported that former Cleveland Indian slugger Jim Thome is no longer on their radar. They do not wish to take up roster space with a dedicated designated hitter, which apparently is what he is reduced to at this stage in his very good career.

Thome is currently seventh on the all-time list of home run hitters in MLB with 612. He claims that he is healthy and wants to continue. He is clearly within range of surpassing No. 6 on the list, Ken Griffey, Jr who has amassed 630 in his certain Hall of Fame career.

Thome has a total of 1699 RBI (24th all time) to go along with those homers, as well as 1583 runs scored. He also has a decent slash line of .276/.402/.554 with a very good OPS+ of 147. He is seventh on the all-time list in walks with 1747.

If he would only see 200 PA this year he would pass Reggie Jackson as the MLB strikeout king. He is just 49 short now and he strikes out at the rate of 24.7 percent

The Oakland A’s are about the only team that would be a viable landing spot for the 42-year old as far as I can see. They are the only team that doesn’t have a DH listed on their depth chart. It is doubtful if a National League squad would taken him in as just a pinch hitter. At this stage of his career he goes for pennies on the dollar. He made $1.25M last season. The last three campaigns added together are only $5.75M which is a pittance considering he made $15.7M in 2008.

Thome’s next stop just might be Cooperstown.

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2013 in MLB

 

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Former Reds Pitcher Micah Owings Signs With Nats as First Baseman

Former Reds pitcher Micah Owings has signed a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals today as a first baseman, according to MLB Trade Rumors.

Owings, 30 has a six year career and is now starting on his fourth franchise. He has spent time with Arizona (twice), Cincinnati, San Diego and now Washington. He owns a career record of 32-33 with a 4.86 ERA. His best season was in 2011 with the Diamondbacks when he won eight games without a loss and compiled a decent ERA of 3.57. His career ERA+ is an unattractive 91.

He has always been a good hitter and apparently is attempting to resurrect his career as a position player, a la Rick Ankiel. His career slash line as a hitter is .283/.310/.502 with 9 HR and 35 RBI. His HR% is 4.1, roughly 1.5 above league average. This would translate into roughly 25 HR for a full season. His career OPS+ as a hitter is 106.

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2013 in MLB

 

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Is Chris Carpenter’s Career Over?

 

Chris carpenter

St. Louis Cardinal ace Chris Carpenter may have thrown his last pitch in his excellent career. According to MLB Trade Rumors, Carpenter will miss the 2013 season and probably end his career. The CYA winner in 2005, Carpenter has fashioned a brilliant 15-year career. He has a record of 144-94 with a 3.76 ERA. The three-time All-Star has a 3-0 record in World Series play with 2.00 ERA.

Carpenter, 37, missed almost the entire season in 2012 due to thoracic outlet syndrome. “If I have more health issues I’m not going to continue to try to battle through,” Carpenter said, according to the Post-Dispatch.

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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