As I am in a family of card collectors, this was a very interesting read.
Buck O’Neil joined Gil Hodges, Minnie Miñoso, Tony Oliva, Jim Kaat and Bud Fowler in getting chosen for the Hall of Fame by two veterans committees.O’Neil, Hodges, Miñoso, Kaat, Oliva, Fowler get baseball HOF — MLB | NBC Sports
The greatest, purest hitter of all time!
This Date In Baseball History- the Boston Red Sox acquire the rights to a 19 year old outfielder Ted Williams of the San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League. A year or so earlier the Red Sox general manager Eddie Collins was out west scouting a second baseman Bobby Doerr. While on that trip he caught a glimpse of a young Ted Williams. He was impressed with what he saw and on December 7, 1937 the Red Sox Collins struck a deal with the Padres [not to be confused with the San Diego Padres of today who wouldn’t exist until 1969] – sending them $35,000 and two players Dom Dallessandro and Al Niemiec. The 19 year old Williams would spend the 1938 season in the minors for the Red Sox before making his major league debut in 1939. Ted Williams would go on to become perhaps the greatest hitter…
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Sad day in baseball. I can’t say I didn’t see this coming…….
Major League Baseball (MLB) has just entered into a lockout as a result of the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement between the franchise owners and players’ union on Wednesday, December 1, at 11:59 p.m. ET.
At the core of the dispute between management and the players is the economic system that drives the game. The players want significant changes to increase competitiveness among teams, allow young players to be paid more in line with their performance and minimize what they view as constraints that disincentivize spending on talent. The owners argue these proposals would hurt small-market franchises and have been unwilling to increase the players’ share of overall revenues.
It is early in the lockout, and there is hope that it does not affect the start of Spring training in February, or even worse, the start of the season on March 31.
The strangest part of the lockout is…
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Big MLB moves this week
Source – Tigers, Baez Agree to $140 Million Deal – The Detroit Tigers have agreed to a six-year, $140 million deal with free-agent shortstop Javier Baez, a source told ESPN’s Buster Olney on Tuesday. The deal also includes an opt-out, according to the source. It would be the second-largest free-agent deal in Tigers franchise history. (Prince Fielder signed a nine-year, $214 million deal with Detroit in January 2012.) While he struck out a league-high 184 times last season, Baez hit .265 with 31 homers, 87 RBIs and 18 steals. He also brings Gold Glove defense to Detroit with his signature no-look tags. The Cubs selected Baez in the first round of the 2011 draft. The two-time National League All-Star had been close to signing a long-term extension with Chicago before the 2020 season, but the COVID-19 pandemic put negotiations on hold. Those contract talks never resumed, and the Cubs traded Baez to the
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This poster has the right idea. It is never too soon to think about the upcoming season!
This poster has the right idea. It is never too soon to think about the upcoming season!
And just like that, baseball season is over. Congratulations to the Atlanta Braves on winning the World Series for the first time since 1995. From a losing record at the all-star break, to losing their best player, and through a meager total of 88 regular season wins, the Braves, buoyed by several trade deadlines acquisitions, knocked off three teams with at least 95 victories.
For me, I proved once again that I am no expert by picking the Astros in six games. I also picked the Dodgers and Red Sox in the LCS. In the World Series, I concentrated so much on the potent Astros lineup of Altuve, Bregman, Correa, Alverez, and Brantley, that I completely overlooked the mashing potential of Atlanta. I think Jorge Soler’s home run just landed somewhere in Georgia. I have to give credit to the Braves pitching staff, especially their bullpen, who for the most part, shut Houston’s bats down.
Pitchers and catchers report for spring training in 102 days…….
Houston Astros vs Atlanta Braves:
How They Got Here:
The Astros took over first place in the AL West and never really looked back, cruising to another division title. In the postseason, the Astros took down a talented and up and coming Chicago White Sox team 3-1 to advance to the ALCS. There, they took down the Jekyll and Hyde Boston Red Sox 4-2 to move on to their third World Series in five seasons.
The Braves endured a roller coaster season, which included inconsistent play, as well as the loss of their best player, Ronald Acuna Jr. to a season ending injury. Atlanta benefitted from playing in the mediocre NL East and righted the ship to win their third consecutive division title. The Braves eliminated the Milwaukee Brewers in 3-1 in the division series. In the NLCS, Atlanta took down the defending World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2 to secure their first trip to the fall classic since 1999.
Both teams possess plenty of firepower. The Astros have the likes of Michael Brantley, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, and ALCS MVP Yordan Alverez up and down its lineup.
The Braves, despite the loss of Acuna, have talented guys who can swing the bat, as well, including Freddie Freeman, Austin Riley, Ozzie Albies, Joc Pederson, Jorge Soler, and Adam Duvall. Meanwhile, Eddie Rosario had three home runs to go along with his 14 NLCS hits.
EDGE: Astros. It’s a slight edge, but the emergence of Alverez on the big stage gives that edge to Houston.
No Lance McCullers for Houston once again. However, because of the emergence of Framber Valdez and Luis Garcia in the ALCS, McCullers’ absence is not a death knell for the Astros. Should Houston’s top two staters neutralize Atlanta’s top bats, it’s advantage in the bullpen (more on that later) could be the determining factor in the series.
Max Fried and Charlie Morton should toe the rubber for the Braves in the first two games. Morton has considerable World Series experience, playing a huge role in the Astros’ 2017 championship. Ian Anderson waits in the wings for game three.
Edge: Braves. Another slight edge, given Morton’s postseason history.
The Astros feature Kendall Graveman, Ryan Pressly, Phil Maton, and Ryan Stanek as part of a solid, if unspectacular bullpen. None of the four gave up more than one earned run in the ALCS.
The Braves feature closer Will Smith, as well as Tyler Matzek, Luke Jackson, and AJ Minter. Jackson and Matzek have had rough outings in the postseason.
Edge: Astros. Again, this matchup may decide the whole thing.
Houston plays under the steady leadership of longtime baseball man Dusty Baker, who had the unenviable task of replacing AJ Hinch, who was let go as part of the team’s sign stealing scandal in 2017. Baker has done a fantastic job in both the regular season and the postseason, albeit without drawing much attention to his abilities.
Meanwhile, Atlanta’s Brian Snitker has quietly had a successful run as the Braves’ manager, finally guiding the team over the playoff hump and into the World Series.
Edge: Even. Both managers are vastly underrated. This fall classic may be decided on the field.
Astros in 6. Houston’s bats are able to score enough to get Atlanta’s starters out of the game and into the bullpen. Here, the Astros control the late innings and win a couple of one-run games in the late or extra innings.
Disclaimer: I got both league championship series predictions wrong, so DO NOT use this post as a means to go to the betting lines!
Astros 9 Red Sox 2 (Series Tied 2-2)
Good old Laz Diaz. He usually finds himself in the middle of something, and usually in a negative manner. Game Four’s home plate umpire missed 23 pitches, whether strikes that should have been called balls, or balls that should have been called strikes. None was more important than the pitch he called a ball from Red Sox pitcher Nathan Eovaldi to the Astros’ Jason Castro in a 2-2 game in the top of the ninth. Clearly in the strike zone, the pitch should have ended the inning. Instead, given new life, Castro singled to give Houston the lead and the Astros piled on from there. Game over. Series tied.
So, Game Four will be known as the Laz Diaz game, just as another game four from many moons ago in 1999. In that fateful game, since retired umpired made a crucial call on a “tag” by Yankees second baseman Chuck Knoblauch applied to Boston’s Jose Offerman. This was another potential series altering call.
But let’s also not forget the anemic Red Sox offense after the first inning last night. Boston’s unworldly offense in this postseason was shut down by a plethora of Houston relievers that has suddenly turned this series from what appeared to be a foregone conclusion to anything but. In what has become a disturbing trend on two fronts in these playoffs is Boston’s inability to put a team away by continuing to pile up runs and in holding a late lead. Games 2 and 3 vs Houston were indeed put away early, however, last night, it seemed they had Zach Greinke and relievers on the ropes only to squander opportunities. There was also Game Four against the Rays in the division series in which the Red Sox put up a five run inning and couldn’t score again until the series winning run in the ninth inning. In both games, the Sox had the lead in the eighth inning and couldn’t hold it.
While this series seemed to be tilting in Boston’s favor, we are now in a best-of-3 scenario where both team’s pitching staffs are taxed. Two of these games would be played in Houston. I am much more nervous today than I was yesterday.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs Atlanta Braves
How They Got Here:
The Dodgers fought toe to toe with the San Francisco Giants, finishing one game behind their fierce rival with 106 wins in the regular season. After walking off the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL wild card game, the Dodgers dispatched the Giants in the division series in five games, winning game five 2-1.
The Braves endured a roller coaster season, which included inconsistent play, as well as the loss of their best player, Ronald Acuna Jr. to a season ending injury. Atlanta benefitted from playing in the mediocre NL East and righted the ship to win their third consecutive division title. The Braves eliminated the Milwaukee Brewers in 3-1 in the division series.
The Dodgers feature an explosive offense, with the likes of Mookie Betts, Corey Seager, Trea Turner, Justin Turner, Will Smith, and Cody Bellinger (who had a rough regular season but produced the game-winning hit to oust the Giants).
The Braves, despite the loss of Acuna, have talented guys who can swing the bat, as well, including Freddie Freeman, Austin Riley, Ozzie Albies, Joc Pederson, and Adam Duvall.
EDGE: Dodgers. Too many weapons for LA not to get the edge here.
Los Angeles will throw Walker Buehler, Max Scherzer, and Julio Urias, but don’t be surprised to see manager Dave Roberts use any of them in a relief role. The Dodgers’ embarrassment of riches would have been even more if Clayton Kershaw did not suffer a season ending injury.
Atlanta’s starting pitching shut down a weak Milwaukee offense, with Charlie Morton, Max Fried, and Ian Anderson leading the way. They face a much stiffer challenge in this round, however.
Traditional bullpen roles tend to go by the wayside in October. Case on point, Max Scherzer closed out the Giants in game five of the first round. That said, the Dodgers feature Kenley Jansen, Brusdar Graterol, Corey Knebel, Blake Treinen, Joe Kelly, and Phil Bickford. If things get hairy, however, don’t be surprised to see Roberts get creative.
The Braves feature closer Will Smith (no relation to the Dodger’s catcher of the same name), as well as Tyler Matzek, Luke Jackson, and AJ Minter.
Roberts has a plethora of postseason experience and is looking for his fourth pennant in five years.
Meanwhile, Atlanta’s Brian Snitker has quietly had a successful run as the Braves’ manager.
Dodgers in 6.
The Braves gave the Dodgers a run for their money in the 2020 NLCS, losing in seven games after being up 3-1. Unfortunately for them, Los Angeles is simply too talented and too experienced to vanquish those demons.