Before the Cy Young Award – 2

(No wonder I hadn’t seen any “Likes” for Part 1 – I loaded it into Drafts, but forgot to publish it! So you get TWO posts today! Hooray.)

You may have noted that although I considered the short-lived Federal League, there’s no sign of the Negro Leagues. This was deliberate. I felt that since Major League Baseball didn’t recognize their existence as “real” leagues at the time, they would never have thought of giving awards to those players when the Negro Leagues were active. There’s also the possibility that the Negro Leagues themselves may have given out individual achievement awards (I haven’t checked).

In any case, I leave it as an exercise to the reader to find players in the Negro Leagues worthy of receiving a Most Valuable Player or “Best Pitcher” award. Now that the stats are on Baseball Reference (thanks in large part to the researchers at Seamheads), it shouldn’t be too hard.

1931

AL: Lefty Grove was even better this year with a 31-4 record and 2.06 ERA. Only 175 Ks, but he still led the majors in all of those categories. If that’s good enough for the MVP award….

NL: A much closer race. The Cardinal’s Paul Derringer had the league’s best record at 18-8, but teammate Bill Hallahan led the league in strikeouts with 159, and his 19-9 record was almost the same. Bill Walker of the Giants led the league in ERA with 2.26, and his record of 16-9 wasn’t too shabby. I’ll go with Walker thanks to his major league leading 6 shutouts.

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Before the Cy Young Award – 1

After the death of Cy Young in 1955, Major League Baseball decided to honor the greatest pitcher of all time by naming an award after him, and giving it to the best pitcher in the game (according to a poll of writers). It was soon doubled to cover both leagues.

But like the World Series Most Valuable Player Award, there were a lot of years and pitchers before the award was instituted.

So, what better way to kill some time in the off-season than wonder who might have won the award if it began in 1912, the year after Cy Young retired?

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2021 in Review

Well, that was a year.

I just about managed to keep up with my overall rate of one post per week – though I did have to split some essays up into parts in order to do so. I find myself gettting a little tired of that pace. Expect things to slow down this year. On some topics (especially the political ones), I’ve said all I need to say. And I’ve reviewed most of the movies I wanted to review for this blog.

If anyone cares about the numbers, I got 5,288 views from 3,826 visitors. That’s a nice steady increase from previous years. The most viewed post was my Christmas playlist, which scored 279 views overall. Nearly 200 of those were all on one day – December 14! How did I manage that? A bit of shameless self-promotion. I subscribe to Craig Calcaterra’s baseball blog, “A Cup of Coffee”. On the 13th, he wrote about a certain Christmas song in the non-baseball part of the essay. This led to some lively discussions of the worst and most overplayed holiday songs in the comments. I mentioned my playlist post to share some alternates to the usual bland stuff. Craig is a cool guy and right proper chap; he at least glances at the comments…. And so the very next day, my playlist post got a specific mention and link – even scoring it’s own section heading!

So I guess that’s the secret to promoting your blog. Hang out in comment sections, and mention your writings when appropriate – and don’t forget the link!

See you around!

Stupidest Things of the Year – 2021

(By the way, this will be my last post for 2021. See you in the new year!)

I recall reading of one holiday ritual that I firmly believe we need to do more often. On New Year’s Eve, go outside and start a large fire (in an appropriate fire pit or other safe place, naturally). As you and your friends stand around sharing good cheer, throw into the fire representations of everything you don’t want to follow you into the new year. The idea is that through “sympathetic magic”, the bad juju will burn up, turn to ash and smoke, and blow away on the wind.

If you can’t build a fire, simply writing the bad things on a piece of paper and burning that in an ashtray or other fire-safe container will work. If you must do it indoors, do it near an open window so you can blow the smoke outside.

This is also the time of year when various journalists prepare their “Best of the Year” lists.

How about a list of the year’s Worst? The stupid, awful, and inane things that should be left in the past?

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Movie Review: The Year of the Sex Olympics (UK, TV, 1968)

Get your mind out of the gutter. This is NOT some sort of soft-core porn “nudie cutie”. It’s a “made for TV” play that aired on the BBC’s “Theater 625” drama anthology series, so other than a hint of some passing nudity in one scene, there’s nothing that could be considered lascivious.

It just happens to be set in the Year of the Sex Olympics. We’re not given any clue as to what a “sex Olympics” might entail. But what we do know is that the teleplay takes place in a not too distant overpopulated future, where everyone is effectively divided into the “hi-drives” (the leaders, movers and shakers, the “One Percent”) and the “lo-drives” (the plebians, the workers, the unwashed masses). The lo-drives are fed a nearly constant stream of lowest-common-denominator entertainment to keep them in line.

There are some who dissent, and some of the hi-drives are worried that their usual methods of keeping the lo-drives sated and content aren’t working anymore. Coordinator Ugo Priest (Leonard Rossiter) has a plan to try the broadest of physical comedy – a pie fight – in the hopes of getting people to laugh. It fails completely. When the accidental death of a protester on the set during a live “introduction” of some of the year’s sex Olympians causes the viewing audience to break out laughing, director Nat Mender (Tony Vogel) gets an idea. Continue reading

A Christmas Playlist for You

Rather than upload a collection of music files, I decided to be a little lazy and just slap together a YouTube playlist. I’ll bet you’re wondering why I don’t just create a Spotify playlist. Aside from not wanting to join Spotify (or any other similar service) when I’ll use it only once a year, a good number of these pieces are probably NOT going to be found there.

Sometimes you WANT the video, so you can actually see the artists performing the songs.

Again, I wish I could do something about volume levels and extraneous material in the videos. Such is life.

Here’s the playlist:

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On the 2022 Hall of Fame Ballot – III

In addition to the regular Hall of Fame ballot that pretty much all baseball fans are following, there are two special committees that will examine the cases of several players who either never got their proper due, or were somehow overlooked.

The “Early Era” committee looks at players and people from before 1950. The “Golden Days” committee covers the years from 1950-1969. Each committee has sixteen members; nominees must get twelve votes to be inducted.

Here are the nominees on the Early Era ballot:

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On the 2022 Hall of Fame Ballot – II

In addition to the six mentioned the last time, there are two dozen other players on the Hall of Fame ballot:

Returning candidates are Omar Vizquel, Andruw Jones, Andy Pettite, Tim Hudson, Billy Wagner, Jeff Kent, Mark Buehrle, Todd Helton, Manny Ramirez, Torii Hunter, Scott Rolen, Gary Sheffield, and Bobby Abreu.

The other newcomers are Carl Crawford, Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard, Tim Lincecum, Justin Morneau, Joe Nathan, Jonathan Papelbon, Jake Peavy, A.J. Pierzynski, Jimmy Rollins and Mark Teixeira.

All deserving of the nomination, but it’s hard to see anyone who clearly is a Hall of Famer.

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On the 2022 Hall of Fame Ballot – I

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum has announced this year’s candidates for the Hall of Fame. It is now up to members of the Baseball Writers Association of America to decide who gets the bronze plaque in the “shrine” in Cooperstown.

There are six names on the ballot that are, well, “problematic”, to put it mildly. Four people who are on their last chance to be voted in, and two newcomers.

Those with having their last shot are Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, and Sammy Sosa. The newcomers are David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez.

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Classic Drinking Songs

About a decade or so ago – probably more – I came across a blog post counting down the Top 100 Drinking Songs of All Time (or so it claimed). There were a lot of songs I recognized. Another online essay I had read and enjoyed recommended that anyone worthy of the name Drunkard should know – be able to sing all the way through, that is – at least one classic drinking song.

So, having (at the time) just acquired a computer with a CD burner, I thought it would be cool to download a bunch of those tunes wherever I could get them, and make a CD or two of “Classic Drinking Songs”. Well, I started collecting them. My guidelines were 1) Original artists where at all possible, and b) no more than one song per artist. I wound up with over seventy before I cried “Enough already!”

Then I discovered that you could make playlists on YouTube. I said to myself, “Self, why don’t you make a playlist on YouTube of these Classic Drinking Songs so you can share the fun with other people??

So I did.

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