Friday, May 10, 2019

Know Your Player

More interesting info:
SANDY KOUFAX [SABR Bio] earned the title "Left arm of God." There was never actually a ceremony. He was far too humble to claim the title. He debuted in the majors for a team based in the town where he was born, but they moved cities shortly after he joined them. Born in Brooklyn, NY. Came up with BRO. They became LAD in 1958. He was a much better player once he settled into his new circumstance. Average annual WAR w/BRO = 0.6; w/LAD = 5.8; w/LAD 1961-66 = 7.8. He also left the German color name he was born with. At birth, his last name was Braun ('Brown' in German) which he changed when his mother re-married.

OREL HERSHISER [SABR Bio] was the last Dodger in the 20th century to win the Cy Young Award unanimously CYA 1988. Received all 24 1st-place votes. Shares a birth city with one of history's greatest left-handers. He and Warren Spahn were born in Buffalo, New York. Was the oldest of four children, but he was still "the fourth". Full name is Orel Leonard Hershiser IV. His first name is also the name of the 61st largest city in Russia. Orel (commonly Oryol) is in far western Russia, equidistant between Moscow and the Ukraine border.

JOHNNY PODRES [SABR Bio] was the Phillies pitching coach when they played the Blue Jays in the World Series - 1993 WS. He coached w/PHI 1991-96. In his last active season as a player, his team seemed to be named after him. Was a coach for the San Diego Padres (pronounced the same as Podres). There is a life-size statue of him in his pitching motion on the grounds outside the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Statue at HOF60'6" in front of his is a statue of Roy Campanella in his catcher's crouch. He is in the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame - NPASHOF induction in 2002.

RANDY JOHNSON [SABR Bio] struck out 20 batters in nine innings the fourth time it was done - 20 K 08-May-2001. The game lasted 11 innings. The 3 previous 9-inning, 20-K performances were Roger Clemens 29-Apr-1986 & 18-Sep-1996 and Kerry Wood 06-May-1998. Max Scherzer has since done it = 11-May-2016. He is the only pitcher to strike out 300 batters in a season for four consecutive seasons - 300+ K = 1999-2002 w/364, 347, 372, 334. Each year he led the majors. He took a no-hitter into the eighth inning in the first game ever played at Jacobs Field. Near no-no = 04-Apr-1994. Manny being Manny broke it up w/2b in the 8th.

TOM SEAVER [SABR Bio] broke Johnny Podres' record of striking out eight consecutive batters - 10 straight K's, the final 10 Padres on 22-Apr-1970. The record of 8 was held by Podres, Max Surkont and Jim Maloney. He also broke a record of Sandy Koufax' in the same game. His 19 strikeouts in a day game broke the record of 18 shared by Sandy Koufax, Bob Feller and Don Wilson. The White Sox got him for losing Dennis Lamp. CHW had lost Dennis Lamp to TOR in the Nov. 1984 free-agent draft. NYM had left Seaver unprotected and the White Sox pounced.

MADISON BUMGARNER was the youngest pitcher to start a game for the Giants since they moved to the West Coast. First start 08-Sep-2009 @ age 20 yrs 27 days. NOTE: Several readers found Mike McCormick, who was younger than Bumgarner when he started a game on 02-May-1958, nearly 6 months before his 20th birthday (even though it was his 3rd season with the Giants!) Bums have overrun his hometown. He lives in Hickory, North Carolina, often called "Bumtown" because so many Bumgarners live there and in that area. The only thing this BRTL double-unique does left-handed is throw a ball.

CURT SCHILLING [SABR Bio] a former Astro, used his experiences with throat cancer and the resulting treatment to warn Madison Bumgarner against using smokeless tobacco. No other member of the 3,000 strikeout club has a better strikeout-to-walk ratio. K/BB% = 4.38. Pedro Martinez is the only other one over 4.00. He was inducted to the Wall of Fame of the franchise for whom he toiled the longest. Put on the Phillies Wall of Fame in 2003.

WEEKLY THEME – Pitchers who have been Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year
1955   Podres
1965   Koufax
1969   Seaver
2001   Johnson

WILLIE MAYS [SABR Bio] was the first National League Rookie of the Year Award winner to later lead his league in stolen bases for four consecutive seasons. NL SB leader in 1956, 57 & 58. His 27 in 1959 led the NL, but Luis Aparicio stole 56 bases in 1959 for CHW and took them to the WS. Aparicio also led the majors in SB an amazing five times!. Vince Coleman is the only NL ROY to lead ML 4 times. No one has more career stolen bases in All-Star games - 6 ASG SB. He was the first player to get 200 hits after his team moved to a new city - 208 H for SFG in 1958. Two seasons later, he led the majors in hits – 190 H in 1960 led MLB.

LOU GEHRIG [SABR Bio] is the only member of the 400-home-run club with more than ten steals of home. Stole home 15 times, hit 493 home runs. For each of thirteen straight seasons he batted in more than 100 runs - 100+ RBI 1926-38. He once explained, "In the beginning I used to make one terrible play a game. Then I got so I'd make one a week and finally I'd pull a bad one once a month. Now I'm trying to keep it down to one a season." Amazingly, he was not elected to the Hall of Fame the first time he received votes. Received 22.6% of the votes in 1936 (Not only was he still active that year, he won the AL MVP!). Entered the Hall via Special Election in 1939.

MIKE SCHMIDT was a first-round Hall of Famer, has been a vocal advocate for an electronic strike zone in major league games. Went public with this view in 2014. He is not alone. Once homered off brothers in the same game. On 17-Apr-1976 had HR off the Cubs' Rick and Paul Reuschel. Was the third player inducted into the Little League Museum's Hall of Excellence LL HOE induction 1991 w/Nolan Ryan. Tom Seaver had been inducted in 1988.

GIL HODGES [SABR Bio] a Princeton man, had his record for National League grand slams broken by Willie McCovey. Born in Princeton, Indiana, Hodges hit 14 grand slams over his 18-year playing career. McCovey hit his 15th on 19-May-1974. McCovey's 18 is still the NL record. Though it has been approached, no one has ever broken his MLB record for sacrifice flies in a single season. Hit 19 sac. flies in 1954. While managing in the majors, he once dissuaded a drunken and disconsolate player from a suicide attempt. He saved pitcher Ryne Duren from doing something un-doable.

ROCKY COLAVITO [SABR Bio] was the first player in the expansion era get seven hits in one game - 7-H G 24-Jun-1962. It was a 22-inning G. He batted ten times. He believed that his uniform number was more suited to a rookie. The organization agreed and assigned him number 6. It no doubt helped as that same year, he led the majors in slugging with a number that began with 6. Originally assigned #38 and played with it on his back 1955-57. Received #6 for the 1958 season. Slugged .620, beating out NL MVP Ernie Banks by 5+ basis points. A few years later he played the full schedule of games at his outfield position without a single error all year. In 1965 w/CLE he played 162 G, had 256 chances, made 256 outs.

SCOOTER GENNETT holds the Cincinnati franchise record for most total bases in a single game. Had 17 total bases were on 06-Jun-2017 against STL. Only Babe Ruth and he have hit their 20th home run of the season in the same game where they pitched. On 14-Aug-2017, he pitched the bottom of the 8th in a blowout, surrendering a 2-run HR to JASON (Not Gordon) Heyward. In the prior half inning he blasted his 20th HR of the season. He is in the super-exclusive Double Unique Club. In the long recorded history of the major leagues, there has never been another player named Gennett and there has never been another player who went by Scooter. Baseball-reference is the standard for Double-Uniques, as explained in the header of the D-U site.  Rizzuto is—and was—Phil.  "Scooter", his nickname, was used far more after his career than during. Similarly, Goose Goslin is still a Double-Unique because Gossage is "Rich" (as he insists now more strongly than when he was a rookie.) and "Goose" is his nickname. Also, Pee‑Wee Wanninger's hyphen keeps him on the list. 

SUNDAY BONUS (Not part of this week's theme)
1909 WORLD SERIES was the first World Series where each team had its league's batting champ and RBI champ. Honus Wagner and Ty Cobb were the league leaders in both categories. [Cobb hit .377 and knocked in 107 runs. Both measures led the majors, as did his Triple-Crown-clinching 9 home runs. Wagner's stats were .339, 100 RBI.] All are now in the Hall of Fame. Wagner & Cobb were inducted to the Hall together in 1936, the Hall's first "class." Managers Fred Clarke (PIT) and Hughie Jennings (DET) were elected posthumously to the Hall in 1945, but not actually inducted until 2013. Due to infrastructure issue, the Series was not televised. Television wasn't invented until 1927 and the first televised major league ball game wasn't until 1939.

WEEKLY THEME – Players who hit 4 home runs in a single game AND homered in an All-Star game.

Name / 4 HR G / ASG HR / ASG Venue / Off
Gehrig 03-Jun-1932 1936 Braves Field Boston Curt Davis
                                 1937 Griffith Stadium DC Dizzy Dean
Hodges 31-Aug-1950 1951 Briggs Stadium Detroit Fred Hutchinson
Mays 30-Apr-1961 1956 Griffith Stadium DC Whitey Ford
                              1960b Yankee Stadium Whitey Ford
                             1965 Metropolitan Stadium KC Milt Papas
Gennett 06-Jun-2017 2018 Nationals Stadium (DC) Edwin Diaz
**Only one here to do both in the same season. (And it got him no better than 4th in the 1959 MVP voting, behind a trio of pennant-winning White Sox future Hall of Famers).

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