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!

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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On the 2021 World Series

Well, that was….. a “best of seven” series.

We can’t expect every Fall Classic to be a Fall Classic, but this one was still rather dull. Half the games were pretty much over by the fourth inning. Only two could be considered interesting. Would the Astros ever get a base hit in Game 4, and holy crap did the Astros find their offense in Game 5!

But that was it.

One of the problems was that the announcers continued to include the stats from the earlier playoffs in a “Post-Season” bucket. This made the World Series seem like just another round of playoff games and NOT the Championship Series. I can understand doing it in the first two games, when the players haven’t accumulated enough appearances for any stats to be meaningful, but once Game 3 starts….

It would have also been nice to mention which players were appearing in their first World Series, or who was in their third or more WS.

You want to make the World Series a special event – treat it like something special.

Another problem – that wasn’t anyone’s fault – was the lack of “star power” on the teams. When the biggest names on the teams are Freddie Freeman and Jose Altuve, you’re not going to get much interest from the casual fan.

Much press attention was given to how the Braves added a bunch of outfielders at the trade deadline, and then turned out to have an incredible impact on the team’s playoff run. But isn’t that pretty much the same as “buying” a championship? In past years, we’ve looked down on teams that grab “free agents to be” at the trade deadline in order to secure a playoff spot – why are we giving the Braves a bit of a pass this time?

Speaking of free agents, I don’t recall hearing much about how a good number of prominent Astros will be free agents this year, making it pretty much the end of a dynasty that won three pennants in five years. Well, there was mention of the free agency thing, but not about the dynasty. They’d won four divisional titles in five years, but that’s somehow not a “dynasty”. But the San Francisco Giants, who won three WS in five years, despite having won their division in only two of them, and even having losing records in the non-WS years, ARE a “dynasty”.

Well, that’s all for baseball for this year. The awards will be given out in the next week or so, and then the collective bargaining agreement is going to expire, so that may be all the real baseball for much longer than just the winter.

Overrated – Underrated: Playing Professional Sports While Injured

With Braves’ pitcher Charlie Morton suffering a broken fibula from taking a line drive off his leg in Game 1 of the World Series – and staying in to face a few more batters before he couldn’t continue, there was quite a bit of talk in the comment sections about sportsball figures playing while injured. Mention was made of when Bob Gibson suffered a similar injury during the regular season, and Curt Schilling’s “bloody sock”, among others.

My mind quickly recalled a draft post I’d been puttering about with for a while…

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