Foster Brooks made a living out of pretending to be drunk, like Hal Smith who portrayed Otis Campbell on the Andy Griffith Show.
Foster Brooks made a living out of pretending to be drunk, like Hal Smith who portrayed Otis Campbell on the Andy Griffith Show.
Everyone knows by now about Roy Halladay’s 4-0 no-hit win over the Reds last night. So much has been written about the game that this might be a good time to consider Halladay’s credentials for the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Halladay with 169 wins in 13 major league seasons will be 34 next May and it is unlikely as of today that he will win 300 games which is the usual benchmark that insures automatic induction into the Hall of Fame.
If Halladay wins at least 15 games a season the rest of his career and pitches through the age of 40 he would finish with 274 wins. If he were to win 18 games a season assuming he pitches another seven seasons he would finish with 295 wins.
Even if he were to win 20 games in each of those seven seasons he would have a career win total of 309 which is unlikely to happen even for Halladay.
However even if he doesn’t win 300 games it may not matter as much by then in this day of pitch counts which sometimes takes a starting pitcher out of a game with a tie score preventing a chance for a win.
I once saw a game in the 60’s when Whitey Ford gave up 16 hits in a Yankees game with the Kansas City Athletics and still pitched a complete game loss.
Since that is not likely to happen in these days of high salaried pitchers it isn’t fair to expect Halladay to win 300 games to gain induction into the Hall of Fame.
Halladay posted a 18-17 record over his first four major league seasons from 1998-2001 then posted a 41-14 record over the 2002-2003 seasons.
He may have lost his chance for a 300 win career when he started 40 games total over the 2004 and 2005 seasons while posting a combined 20-12 record.
Nobody has been better among active players than Halladay when it comes to finishing games. He leads all active pitchers with 58 complete games with C.C. Sabathia at 29 the closest pitcher under the age of 30 who has 30 complete games but only has had two in each of the last two seasons.
Halladay almost certainly insured his induction into the Hall of Fame last night with the second no-hitter in postseason history which dates back to 1903. After having pitched a perfect game during the regular season Halladay has pitched a third of the six no-hitters thrown during the regular season and postseason.
Among Halladay’s credentials for Hall of Fame induction about 2025 or sooner depending on when he retires:
7 All Star games
Cy Young Award in both leagues if he wins the NL award for this season
3 time 20 game winner
1714 strikeouts (set career highs in strikeouts in the last three seasons with 206, 208 and 219 so could have 3,000 strikeouts by the time he retires)
Halladay had a total of 379 strikeouts over the 2005-2007 seasons but during the 2008-2010 seasons he has posted 633 strikeouts making him an even better pitcher by not allowing batters to make contact as often as in the past.
Unless Halladay has a serious injury or has several bad seasons we should see him making his acceptance speech in Cooperstown at some point in the middle 2020’s.
One last note about last night’s game: Halladay pitched his no-hitter against the NL leading Reds in runs with 790 and in batting average with a .272 mark so he not only pitched a no-hitter in the postseason but did it against the best hitting team in the NL.
If anyone had predicted in spring training that Jose Bautista would be leading the major leagues in home runs on September 1 with 43 they would have been fitted with a straitjacket on the spot.
However Bautista has done exactly that. He has hit 27 more home runs than his previous personal high of 16 he hit for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2006. His 103 runs batted in this season are 40 more than his personal high of 63 for the Pirates in 2007.
Bautista hit a home run every 25.8 at bats in 2009 but has hit one every 10.7 at bats in 2010. He had 29 extra base hits all last season but has 75 in 2010 with about 30 games left in the 2010 season.
Who would have thought that Bautista would have eight more home runs than Albert Pujols, 19 more than Ryan Howard and 22 more than Alex Rodriguez this season? Who would have predicted that he would be one of two major league players with over 100 runs batted in going into the last full month of the season?
His slugging percentage has increased by 215 points after a .408 slugging percentage in 2009 to a .623 slugging percentage in 2010. He has slugged over .700 in three different months in 2010.
On this date a year ago Bautista had 40 less home runs with three home runs at the end of August in 2009.
The only major leaguers with a higher slugging percentage this season are Miguel Cabrera slugging at a .643 clip and Josh Hamilton slugging .637.
Since the All Star game break Bautista who is hitting .266 this season has hit .323, slugged .761 and has an OBP of .422 so he has shown no signs of slowing down. He has hit 53 home runs since September 5 of 2009.
Someone has hit 50 home runs only 41 times in the history of major league baseball and Bautista needs only seven more to hit 50 for the 42nd time.
If he does hit 50 will Bautista be a one season wonder like Hack Wilson who hit 56 in 1930 but only hit 13 in 1931 and never hit more than 31 in a season before or after his 56 home run season?
Or Brady Anderson who hit 50 in 1996 but hit only 18 in 1997 and never hit more than 24 in any other season? Anderson only hit more than 20 home runs three times in his fifteen year career.
Luis Gonzalez is another example of a one season wonder when he hit the eleventh most home runs ever hit in a season with 57 in 2001. He still finished 16 home runs behind the major league leader Barry Bonds who hit 73 that season.
He never hit more than 31 home runs in any other season of his 19 year career.
It will be interesting to watch Bautista in 2011 and see if he comes close to numbers of this year. One thing for certain is that Bautista should receive a hefty raise from whatever team he plays for in 2011. He only is earning $2.4 million this season.
His teammate Vernon Wells is earning $15.6 million this season but is 20 home runs and 34 runs batted in behind Bautista currently.
In these days of steroids use it does seem suspicious that a player like Bautista who had only three home runs a year ago has hit 53 home runs since then but for now he deserves credit for having a great season.
Around the Diamond
Manny Ramirez makes his debut for the Chicago White Sox against Carlos Carrasco 0-4, 8.87 ERA of the Indians who will be making his 2010 debut this afternoon against the White Sox….Josh Hamilton who is hitting .361 to lead the majors in batting is hitting .417 in his last ten games.
Vladimir Guerrero needs one RBI to become the third major leaguer this season to reach the century mark and the tenth time for him to accomplish the feat….Barry Zito was 6-2 at the end of May but has a 2-8 record since then. He hasn’t won since July 16 and has recorded only two wins since May 16.
Ichiro Suzuki needs 31 hits in 30 games to post his tenth consecutive 200 hit season….15 of the major league teams are at least 10 games out of first place in their division which is not a good sign for attendance in those cities.
The Orioles and Pirates have already been eliminated from the 2010 pennant race….The Yankees, Orioles and Braves have the longest current winning streaks with streaks of four wins….The Astros have the best record in the last ten games with a 8-2 record and have moved to only one game behind the third place Brewers in the NL Central.
The Rays are only a game behind the Yankees in the AL East but are seven games ahead of the Red Sox in the AL wild card race so are likely to be in the playoffs this year one way or the other. The Cardinals are seven games behind the Reds but are only four games behind the Phillies in the NL wild card race but are still trailing the Giants who are a game-and-a-half behind the Phillies.
Jered Weaver and Felix Hernandez share the major league strikeout lead with both hurlers having posted 200 strikeouts exactly….Clay Buchholz with a 2.21 ERA is the AL ERA leader while Tim Hudson has posted a 2.24 ERA to lead the NL.
Ubaldo Jimenez looked like a lock for 25 wins earlier this season but is 3-4 in his last ten starts. He was 2-1 with 6.04 ERA in July but actually pitched better in August but was 1-3 for the month with a 2.83 ERA. His last six starts have been quality starts.
12 AL players are hitting .300 currently but Kevin Youkilis who is out for the season will not have enough at bats to qualify by the end of the season….Nine NL players are hitting .300 this season with the Cubs and Cardinals being the only teams to have two players hitting .300 leaving five players among the other 14 NL teams to be hitting .300.
Chris Young needs eight home runs and four stolen bases to join the 30-30 club. Carlos Gonzalez needs one home run and ten stolen bases to join the elite club. No other player at this time has a realistic chance of joining the club.
Most major league starters will have six or seven starts before the end of the season. With that in mind it looks like C.C. Sabathia with 18 wins, Ubaldo Jimenez and Adam Wainwright with 17 wins each and Roy Halladay and Phillip Hughes with 16 wins each have the best chance of winning 20 games in 2010.
Only Cliff Lee, Brandon Webb who both won 22 games in 2008 and Josh Beckett who won 20 in 2007 have won 20 games since 2005.
Bobby Thomson hit one of the most if not the most dramatic home runs in baseball history on October 3, 1951 when he hit a home run that turned a 4-2 defeat into a thrilling 5-4 come from behind win for the New York Giants over the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Bobby Thomson the hero of the 1951 NL playoffs died Monday at the age of 86 at his home in Savannah, Georgia. The mere mention of his name brings back memories of that day in 1951 when Thomson hit the shot heard around the world.
The Dodgers had took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning and Bobby Thomson tied the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the seventh when he hit a sacrifice fly to deep center field scoring Monte Irvin.
However the Dodgers came back with three runs in the top of the eighth to give them a 4-1 lead. The Giants were unable to score in the bottom of the frame and Dodgers went down in order in the top of the ninth.
Alvin Dark and Don Mueller singled to start the bottom of the ninth for the Giants. Monte Irvin made the first out when he popped up to first base. Then Whitey Lockman hit a double to left field scoring Dark to make it a 4-2 game.
Then Don Newcombe was relieved by Ralph Branca who had given up a home run to Thomson earlier in the playoff series and was facing Thomson with runners on second and third and with one out.
Thompson had an 0-1 count when he hit a line drive home run over the left field wall giving the Giants a 5-4 walkoff win culminating the 1951 season when the Giants were 13 games behind the Dodgers on August 11 with a 59-51 record. The Giants would play 29-8 baseball the rest of the season and won 11 of their last 13 games to take the NL championship.
The N.Y. Times obituary says the Giants were 13 and-a-half games behind the Dodgers but baseball-reference.com shows that they were never more than 13 games behind in 1951.
He had a three-for-four game at the plate and drove in four of the five Giant runs so he not only won the game with his three run home run in the bottom of the ninth but had put them in position to win by tying the game in the seventh.
While Thomson and the Giants were celebrating the dramatic home run Branca the reliever who gave up the home run was devastated and took the loss very hard.
This paragraph from an article about Branca written after the death of Thompson tells what a priest friend told Branca that day:
“I remember the parking lot,” Branca said. “I remember going out to the parking lot. Ann was in the car with a friend of ours, Father Paul Rowley from Fordham. And I said to Father Rowley, ‘Why me? Why did this have to happen to me?’ And Father Rowley said, ‘God gave you this cross to bear because you’re strong enough to bear it.'”
Thomson and Branca who is now 84 were good friends since that day in October of 1951 and the above photo shows that Branca had recovered enough to pose with Thomson only a week later.
Only in America could a two year old Scottish boy move to America with his immigrant parents and become one of the biggest heroes in American baseball history for one day in October of 1951.
Thomson was not a one season wonder as he hit hit 264 major league home runs and drove in 1026 runs in his 15 year major league career. He drove in over a 100 runs for the Giants in four seasons.
He was traded by the Giants to the Braves on February 1, 1954 but would break his ankle allowing a young outfielder named Hank Aaron win a place in the starting lineup and when Thomson returned to the lineup he was playing third base because Aaron was doing so well.
Thomson would never be considered for the Baseball Hall of Fame but for one day in October of 1951 he was a Hall of Famer to Giant fans.
For the first time this season since I have been tracking the MLB attendance at baseball-reference.com the attendance has declined over 700,000. Not surprisingly we haven’t heard any reports from baseball commissioner Bud Selig about how well the game of baseball is doing.
Only twelve teams have shown an increase in attendance during the 2010 baseball season. The numbers should continue to drop as teams drop further out of the races, school starts again and college and pro football start in about a month.
Attendance would have fallen more if not for the new Target Field in Minnesota showing an increase of over 561,000 more fans than in 2009 for the Minnesota. The Colorado Rockies with an increase of over 163,000 and the San Francisco Giants with over 108,000 more fans this season are the only three teams with an increase of over 100,000 more fans than in 2010.
Seven teams have drawn over 100,000 less fans in 2010 than in 2009 with the New York Mets topping the list with a loss of over 341,000 fans . The Toronto Blue Jays with a loss of over 273,000 fans and the Indians drawing over 271,000 and even the Milwaukee Brewers who Selig used to own have drawn over 217,000 less fans.
Twelve teams are drawing 1,000 less fans per game than in 2009 with the New York Mets losing over 6,200 fans per game while Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians losing over 4,000 fans per game while the Milwaukee Brewers and Baltimore Orioles are drawing over 3,000 less fans per game.
The Yankees are averaging over 46,000 fans per game while the Cleveland Indians are the worst drawing team with about an average of 17,000 fans per game.
The Florida Marlins could move to the positive side in attendance since they have lost only 38 fans per game and are only a minus 2,249 for the season.
700,000 less fans represents a huge loss for the major league baseball. Those 700,000 fans assuming they would have spent $20 at each game means a loss of $14 million for baseball.
Baseball is averaging 408 fewer fans per game which if using the $20 per fan benchmark represents a loss at each game of $8,160 which multiplied 81 times for each home game comes to a loss of $660,960 for the season.
With 11 major league teams at least 10 games behind the division leaders and three teams at least nine games behind the division leaders that could be 13 teams out of the division races very soon.
On a more positive note five division races are showing a separation of two-and-half games or less between the first and second place teams which should boost attendance. The AL West is the only race not hotly contested but not by no means over with the Angels seven-and-half behind the Rangers.
The Tampa Bay Rays have lost over 98,000 fans despite being the thick of the AL East race.
These are the attendance gain or loss numbers for all the division leaders:
The totals for all the last place teams in each division:
Nationals: + 63,477 ( most of increase could be attributed to Stephen Strasburg pitching in home games)
Pirates: +71,064 (this is a surprise considering the Pirates have lost seven more games than at this point last season)
In summation these numbers mean that general managers will have to be even more careful to not sign free agents for exorbitant sums. They will be careful to not take a risk on injury prone players like Ben Sheets who earned $10 million from the Athletics despite winning only four games in 20 starts and is now out for the season and is not likely to pitch at all in 2011. They also paid Coco Crisp $5 million to play in only 41 games so far and he will fall short of playing in 100 games.
Another example is Kevin Millwood earning $12 million this season with two wins in 23 starts for the starts. The Mariners have paid out big bucks to players like Milton Bradley hitting .205 for $11 million in 2010 and Chone Figgins who is hitting .253 for $8.5 million but is hitting .310 since the All Star break.
The Mets are paying Carlos Beltran over $19 million and he only recently played in his first game of the season. Jason Bay is earning $8 million to hit six home runs.
Then there is the case of Carlos Zambrano who has either pitched badly or been suspended this season for $18.8 million despite winning only three games.
Kosuke Fukudome is earning $14 million in 2010 and hit .189 in June and .162 in July but is hitting .421 in August.
Baseball is going to have to stop the insanity of these long-term contracts because the fan base isn’t there to support such extravagant spending.
J.P. Arenciba may have surprised most baseball fans on Saturday by hitting his first pitch for a home run and then homering again in the sixth inning for the Toronto Blue Jays. However the Blue Jays organization have been expecting this kind of power from Arenciba since he has hit with power in the minors this season.
24 year old Arenciba had hit 31 home runs and 79 runs batted in so far in the minor leagues this season and the two home runs Saturday gave him 33 for the season leaving him one behind Jose Bautista with 34 who leads all of professional baseball with 34 home runs.
He hit .313 for Las Vegas in the Pacific Coast League while having an OBP of .367, slugging .658 and posting an OPS of 1.025 which leads all minor leaguers with at least 300 at bats.
Arenciba was called up after John Buck the catcher this season for the Blue Jays was placed on the DL. However Buck is scheduled to be back on August 20. If Arenciba continues to hit well Buck may finish the season as the backup for Arenciba.
Billy Loes who compiled a 80-63 record in 11 seasons with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Baltimore Orioles and San Francisco Giants has died at the age of 80 in a hospice in Tucson, Arizona. He had been battling diabetes for several years.
He made headlines when he said the Yankees would win the 1952 World Series in six games. He was one game off as the Yankees won in seven games but it was unusual for a player to predict the other team would win the World Series.
Loes missed a chance to be the winning pitcher in what could have been a World Series clinching win for the Dodgers in the sixth game but allowed the Dodgers to take the win.
Vic Raschi gave up a single when a ball caromed off the leg of Loes. After the game Loes said he had lost the ground ball in the sun. The Yankees went on to win the World Series in the next game.
He had died on July 15 but the New York Times didn’t print it till their July 27, 2010 edition.
Ichiro Suzuki is trying to have 200 hits for his tenth consecutive season but is still 73 hits short after slumping since the All Star game break.
He has had only nine hits in 52 at bats since the break while hitting .173 in that span.
Only one of his 22 hits in July has been for extra bases when he doubled on July 15.
He was hitting .360 on May 15 but his batting average has dropped to .307 after an 0 for 4 game yesterday against the Chicago White Sox.
It takes roughly 34 hits a month to have a 200 hit season but Ichiro only has 22 hits this month with four games remaining.
Another interesting stat is that he has only four multi-hit games in July. He had 12 in April, 13 in May and 11 in June.
Ichiro will be 37 in October and has played a lot of baseball having played nine years in Japan and he is in his tenth year in the United States. He has 2,157 hits with the Mariners and 1,434 hits with Orix while playing in Japan for a total of 3,591 hits.
Even though Suzuki has had some bad slumps in the past this one is a major concern since his average has dropped from .360 to .307 in the last two and a half months. He is hitting only .175 in his last ten games with seven hits in his last 40 at bats.
He may bust loose anyday and have a four or five hit game but right now it is questionable whether he will have 200 hits this season and if he will not hit .300 for the first time in his career with the Mariners.
Around the Diamond
The Nationals pulled Stephen Strasburg from his scheduled start against the Braves and they later found he has an inflamed right shoulder. With the Nationals fourteen and a half games behind the NL East leading Braves there is no reason to send him to the mound till they are 100 percent sure he is healthy.
The Reds took an easy 12-4 win over the Brewers behind a 19 hit attack. The first four Reds in their batting order accounted for 15 of those hits with Brandon Phillips having a 4 for 6 game while Orlando Cabrera was 3 for 6, Joey Votto 4 for 6 and Scott Rolen 4 for 4. The four players also drove in seven runs.
It looked like the perfect time for Alex Rodriguez to hit his 600th home run against the Indians yesterday with Josh Tomlin making his major league debut. Instead Tomlin held Rodriguez hitless.
Fausto Carmona will take the mound today against the Yankees and try to prevent the slugger from hitting No.600 and taking Carmona into the record books with him as the pitcher who gave up the 600th home run.
Jose Bautista hit two more home runs yesterday extending his major league lead to 30. Bautista had hit 13 home runs in 59 games before the All Star break. Since then he has hit six in his last 12 games.
He had never hit more than 16 home runs or drove in more than 63 runs in his career before this season. He has already hit 30 home runs and drove in 75 runs this season with 61 games remaining in the 2010 season.
Cubs rookie Tyler Colvin is only two home runs behind team leader Alfonso Soriano who has 18 while Colvin has hit 16 in 82 fewer at bats….Yovani Gallardo had a better game at bat than on the pitcher’s mound. He gave up six runs for the second time in his last three starts in the Brewers 12-4 loss to the Reds but hit the eighth home run of his major league career and his fourth of this season.
Pat Venditte is unique in that he can throw from both the left and right side. This enables him to be able to switch to the side that gives him the advantage over the batter. It really gets interesting when he faces a switch hitter. He needs to know which side a switch hitter hits the worst from to have the advantage in that situation.
The Yankees selected Venditte in the 20th round of the 2008 draft as their 620th overall pick. They had previously drafted him in 2007 in the 45th round as their 1,345th pick. He pitched collegiate baseball for Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.
He compiled a 21-8 record for Creighton which is located in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska where he was born on June 30,1985.
Venditte is pitching for the Tampa Yankees in the Florida State League and has won one game with no losses and has a sterling 1.73 ERA. He has struck out 62 in 52 innings while walking 10. Opposing hitters are only batting .183 against him and he has given up only 34 hits and two home runs and has an excellent WHIP of 0.84.
His minor league lifetime numbers are also very impressive with a 6-2 record with a 1.60 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP. He has struck out 191 in 152 innings while walking only 31. He has only given up only 108 hits a minus 44 less hits allowed than innings pitched.
The question is why is Venditte pitching in A ball for the third straight season and the second season for Tampa Yankees? His numbers are great across the board and he is striking out 11.3 batters per 9 innings, walking only 1.7 batters per 9 innings and is allowing 0.4 home runs per 9 innings.
Venditte has proved that he is more than just a novelty pitcher who throws from both sides. He needs to be promoted to see how he fares past A ball. At the age of 25 he deserves a chance to pitch for the Yankees in Yankee Stadium someday if he can continue to have success at the minor league level.
At the rate he is going now he may not reach the majors till 2011 or 2012. He will probably be 26 or 27 if and when he is called up to the majors. So time is not on Venditte’s side but the Yankees could at least promote him before the end of this season .
2010 is the first year since 1959 that Pete Rose or Pete Rose Jr. haven’t either played or managed in a baseball game. That is impressive that a father and son have worn a professional baseball uniform for 50 years. The dad may have played the game better but they both had a burning desire to play baseball.
Pete Rose Jr. is not playing organized baseball for the first time since 1989. He made his only appearance in the major leagues for the Cincinnati Reds in 1997 playing in 11 games and made 16 plate appearances while hitting .143.
He made two errors in his 11 chances with the Reds so he did nothing to impress the Reds offensively or defensively.
Rose Jr. has doggedly pursued his dream of returning to the majors till he was released by the York Revolution of the Atlantic independent league last fall.
When typing his name into the search box for his photo most of the photos were of his dad including some with his dad’s girlfriend but very few of himself. Then I did a search for him being in the news and a article about his dad watching Stephen Strasburg pitch was at top of the search list which of course included a photo of Rose and his girlfriend again.
So he continues to live in the shadow of his dad and even spent time in prison in 2006 like his dad when he served a month in prison for distributing performance enhancers to his minor league teammates. He claimed he distributed the performance enhancers so his teammates could relax after games.
It is doubtful that any baseball player has spent more time in the minor leagues than Rose. He spent 21 years in the minors with six different organizations and wore 24 different uniforms in the minors plus spent two winters playing in Nicaragua.
He spent part of the 2003 season playing for Cordoba of the Mexican League and only played independent baseball the last six years of his career.
After 21 minor league seasons he had hit 158 home runs and had driven in 994 runs while hitting .271. He mostly played third base and first base during his career but only played shortstop once.
He was a 19 year kid who was drafted 295th by the Baltimore Orioles in the 1988 amateur draft. He was 19 when he made his professional baseball debut with the Erie Orioles in 1989 and was 39 when he played his last game in 2009 for the York Revolution.
Any other player without the last name of Rose may have been out of baseball in five or six years but Rose loved the game of baseball enough to play it till he was 39. His dad instilled the love of baseball in him and the older he got the more he looked like his dad and wasn’t the Petey Rose that was there for his dad’s record breaking 4,192nd hit.
That day meant more to Pete Rose Jr. than just the record. It was the first time he had seen his dad who had been a tough dad cry and his dad told his son he loved him. All the baseball records in the world couldn’t have meant more to Pete Rose Jr.
If the coaching of Pete Rose Jr. is counted the father and son have a combined 51 years in baseball and with the love of the game by Pete Rose Jr. he may be in the game another 25 years which would make 76 years in baseball for the Roses.
His baseball career may not have ended the way he wanted but he can say he followed his dream to the end and although the final destination wasn’t the major leagues he did it his way.