Entries Tagged as 'homeruns'

Short sluggers

Steve Lombardi of the Baseball Reference Blog lists the top career homerun hitters of those players 5’6” or shorter

First of all, I never knew Hack Wilson was so short.  He just makes the 5’6” requirement.  He tops the list.  He’s also pretty much the only legitimate slugger.  Wilson outpaces #2 Tommy Leach by a remarkable 244 to 57 margin. 

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Breaking down pitchers’ homers

Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times breaks down the gopher ball pitchers of all time.  He ranks those pitchers who have given up homers of every type. 

It’s a fun read.  Don’t go in expecting to find low caliber pitchers on his lists.  These are hurlers who have gotten on these lists because they were good enough to last a long time in the bigs.  Similar to Pete Rose, who has the most hits all time but also has the most outs.  You’re out there long enough, you’re going to manage enough negative stats.

The most interesting to me was Roy Face.  He leads all pitchers in both walk-off homers and extra-inning homers.

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Number crunching Jamie Moyer’s homers

RBI Magazine brings us Ten Things About Jamie Moyer’s 505 Home Runs

…and one more reason to not like George W. Bush:

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For his career, Jamie Moyer has given up a home run during five different presidential administrations…the most being 221 during the 2001-2008 run of George W. Bush. The other presidents that occupied the White House while Moyer toed the rubber…Ronald Reagan (58 home runs), George Bush (21), Bill Clinton (164) and, of course, Barack Obama (41 and counting).

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Redding thinks Mike Basick is pretty groovy

There have been rumors before but Tim Redding came right out and said it.  On the radio. 

He accused former teammate Mike Basick of throwing a fat pitch to Barry Bonds when Barry broke Hank Aaron’s career homerun record.

"I mean, the guy that gave it up, I never want to speak ill of anybody," Redding said. "Mike Bacsik is a stand-up guy. He’s a little quirky, but he’s a nice guy, means well. I think he wanted to give it up. And he can say what he wants in defense or whatnot, but doing the chart, I mean, every ball that Barry hit, the ball was center cut, right down the middle, fastball. You know, I think maybe inside he was thinking he was going to get a little bit more publicity. Maybe, you know, publicity and some money out of it, appearances, stuff like that. But it is what it is. I would have had no problem giving it up. The next night I actually gave up the new record. I gave up a home run [to Bonds] that night, his first at-bat, he kept one fair down the right-field line. And I was the next new record, until the next guy gave one up."

As a curious aside… F.P. Santangelo was one of the radio co-hosts interviewing Redding.  Always wondered what happened to F.P.

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Howard HR ball back in hands of owner

After being bribed with cotton candy, the kid finally gets her due. 

That’s how the story goes.  Jennifer Valdivia, a 12 year-old girl who caught Ryan Howard’s historic 200th homerun ball was ushered to the Phillies’ clubhouse to exchange it for another autographed one, given some cotton candy then sent on her way. 

With help of attorney Norm Kent, she’s got the ball back now

"The Philadelphia Phillies’ team representative, knowing not only the historic value of that baseball, but its financial value, sent a team representative to Marlin security to retrieve young Jennifer from the stands," Kent said. "And she was there, 12-year-old Jennifer, with her 15-year-old brother, neither of the age of majority, offered her some cotton candy and a baseball worth 100 bucks in exchange for one that was worth thousands."

Kent knows marketing too.  He put this You Tube video up surreptitiously to talk about the resolution of the case of the 12 year old girl.  But let’s face it, it’s good PR for his law firm too.

 

 

But good on the girl, though.  She’s got her ball back. 

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Unlikely Postseason Heroes: The baseball players you didn’t expect to make the headlines

 

In baseball, the postseason is the time for players to shine, to give everything they got.  More than likely, it’s the big stars who make the headlines but every so often we see the unlikely hero who steps up and gets the job done during the most important games of the season. 

Here are 10 unlikely heroes of the baseball postseason because they are perhaps a little light with the stick, unknown players, or in one case, have no business getting on the field because of injuries.

Ozzie Smith (St Louis Cardinals, 1985 NLCS)

No doubt Ozzie Smith, the defensive whiz and speedster, has had his moments offensively but what happened in the 1985 NLCS must have Ozzie_Smith_suitsurprised even the most die-hard Cardinal fan. With 13 career homeruns to  name, Ozzie made himself a St Louis folk hero with one swing of the bat.

In Game 5 winner-take-all, the Cards and the Dodgers were locked up in a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the ninth.  With one out and righty Tom Niedenfuer on the mound, Ozzie batted left.  Not having hit a homerun in his previous 3,009 left-handed at-bats, he did the impossible.  He hit a homerun.  His four-bagger to right won the game for the Cardinals 3-2 and the series 3-2. 

 

Bucky Dent (New York Yankees, 1978 one-game playoff)

This light hitting but slick fielding shortstop   Dent was never known for his bat.  His highest batting average was .274 in 1974 and for his career he hit .247.  As for power, well, there wasn’t much.  In his 12 year career, he hit forty homeruns with a career high of eight in 1977. 

But Bucky Dent will always have a special spot in every Yankee fan’s heart for what he did in one-game AL East playoff against the hated Boston Red Sox in 1978.  Down 2-0 in the seventh with two runners on, Dent hit a Mike Torrez pitch over the Green Monster to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead and sudden life.  The Yankees went on defeat the Red Sox 5-4. 

Dent wasn’t done.  He batted .417 in the World Series against the Dodgers garnering the World Series MVP award. 

 

Al Weis (New York Mets, 1969 World Series)

Among everyone on this list, Al Weis provides the widest disparity between his performance in the regular season and in the postseason.  In his 10 year 64topps-168 career, Al Weis was a .219 hitter with only seven homeruns.  For the 1969 Amazin’ Mets, his average was even worse at .215. 

But man, something change in him when it was time to face the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series.  For the Series, Weis not only hit .455 (5 for 11) but also hit a key homerun in the final game.  His at-bat total may seem a bit low for 5 games but that’s because he also led the Mets in walks with four. 

Donn Clendenon won Series MVP rightfully so (he hit .357 with three homeruns) but no one can dispute Weis’ contribution in the ‘69 series.

 

Kirk Gibson (Los Angeles Dodgers, 1988 World Series)

Rather odd that an regular season MVP would be chosen as an “unlikely” hero.  But  it fits.  Gibson won the 1988 MVP award on the measure of his leadership of the Dodgers plus his good (but maybe not great) stats (.290, 25 HR).  But by the postseason came around, the full season had taken its toll on Gibby’s knees and he was in no shape to play. 

Kirk_Gibson The Dodger’s opponents were the feared Oakland A’s who had among others, Dennis Eckersley who had one of best seasons a reliever ever had.

Do I need to go on?  We’ve all seen it.  Bottom of the 12th.  Gibson vs. Eckersley.  Gibby practically limping to the plate on two hobbled knees.  And the look of pure victory on his face and the fist pumping as he rounds the bases.  And the ecstatic Tommy Lasorda jumping up and down.

The Dodgers won that game, of course.  That was the only at-bat Gibson would have all series.  I’ve talked to Dodger fans who tell me that even though it was only Game One, they knew the Series was won by LA right then and there. 

 

Jim Sundberg (Kansas City Royals, 1985 ALCS)

This defensive stalwart behind the plate wasn’t known for his offense prowess.  Sundberg was a mainstay behind the plate for the Rangers for 12 years (and one season for Milwaukee) but he never hit the postseason for them.  Once he got to KC in 1985, he got his Championship ring.  And in the 1985 ALCS when the Royals took on the Toronto Blue Jays, he made a difference.

In the seventh and deciding game,  Sunny practically won the game on his own.   He went 2 for 4 with a triple and four rbis to clinch the Series and take the Royals to the World Series. 

 

Jim Lindeman (St Louis Cardinals, 1987 NLCS)

Probably the least known player on this list, Jim Lindeman was a highly touted St Louis Cardinal prospect who came up in 1986.  He managed to stick around for nine seasons but only accumulated 736 at-bats and 21 homers in his entire career.  That doesn’t matter to Cardinals fans though.  He had his moment in the sun in the NLCS in 1987 against the San Francisco Giants. 

In Game 3 of the series, Lindeman came up to bat in the seventh inning down 4-3 with runners on second and third.  Lindy hit a homerun to right-center and drove in three runs to make it 6-4.  The Cards ending up beating the Giants 6-5 and defeated the Giants in the NLCS 4-3.

 

Billl Mazeroski (Pittsburgh Pirates, 1960 World Series)

Bill Mazeroski falls into same category as Bucky Dent.  Light-hitting, good fielding middle infielder.  Ok, maybe that’s not fair.  For his time, Maz may have provided more offense than first glance might suggest.  He hit .260 for his career in a pitching-rich era.  Also, Maz did manage to hit 138 homers in his career.

The 1960 World Series pitted the big bully, the empire, the dynasty, the New York Yankees against the upstart, underdog Pittsburgh Pirates.  It’s only appropriate that it end the way it did.

Any baseball buff knows about and has seen photos of Maz’ homerun off Yankee Bob Turley to win the the 1960 World Series.  After all these years, it’s still the only walk-off homerun that has won a World Series.

 

It’s been rated as one of the most exciting moments in baseball history.

 

Billy Hatcher (Cincinnati Reds, 1990 World Series)

Billy Hatcher was one of those outfielders from the 80s and 90s that produced just enough to stick around for 12 seasons.  He batted .264 for his career with 54 homeruns.

But boy, the Reds were sure happy to have him around for the 1990 World Series against the Oakland Athletics.  Hatcher just caught fire.  So much so that he broke many offensive records for a four game World Series.  Batting second in the lineup, Hatcher hit four doubles, four doubles and a triple in 12 at-bats.  Nine for Twelve!!

With Hatcher’s bat, Cincinnati went on to sweep the A’s,

 

Jim Beattie (New York Yankees, 1978 World Series)

I remember when Jim Beattie came up.  Oh how he was going to be the next Ron Guidry!  George Steinbrenner pinned his hopes on him and when he went 9-15 his first two years with the Yanks, he was little “disappointed”.

But Beattie came to the 1978 postseason prepared.  He won his game against KC, pitching 5 1/3 innings.  And in the World Series against the Dodgers, he really showed his stuff.  In the fifth game, he pitched a complete game win allowing just two runs to give the Yankees a 3-2 series edge. 

I’m sure the Boss’ private opinion didn’t change but outwardly he was glad of Beattie performance. 

 

David Eckstein (Anaheim Angels, 2002 World Series and St Louis Cardinals, 2006 World Series)

At 5’6”, shortstop David Eckstein has had the adjective “scrappy” placed before his name on scouting reports more than anyone.  And it’s probably deserved.  With his ability, comes some ability to win.

This postseason look comes in two parts.  In 2002, David Eckstein was part of the Anaheim Angels World Championship team.  Eck batted .310 in thedavid-eckstein-mvp-trophy-400a-103006 World Series with six runs scored.  All told he compiled 20 hits in the postseason in 2002. 

But it was in 2006 when Eckstein was recognized for his postseason work.  Then playing for the St Cardinals who were taking on the Detroit Tigers, Eckstein actually started out 1 for 11 in the first couple of games. 

Then he caught fire.  In the final three games, he went 7 for 11 and in Game 4 went 4 for 5 with 3 doubles.  For his performance, Eck was named World Series MVP for the Cardinals who defeated the Tigers 4 games to 1.

Honorable Mention:  Scott Brosius (1998 WS), Jose Vizcaino (2000 WS), Wayne Garrett (1969 NLCS and 1973 WS)

Who am I missing?

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Mike Blowers gets the call right with Tuiasosopo homer

Mike Blowers, he’s quite the fortune teller.

Former MLB journeyman and current color guy for the Mariners, Blowers made an on-the-air prediction that Matt Tuiasosopo would be the Player of the Game last night.  He took further I’m sure just on a lark, and said that Tuiasosopo would hit his first major league homerun in his second at-bat… on a fastball… on a 3-1 count.. into the second deck. 

Here’s the coverage including the… well, check it out for yourself:

 

Pretty amazing Carnac work, I’d say.  I don’t think Tuiasosopo’s ball made it all the way to the second deck but Blowers’ prediction was pretty spot on otherwise.

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Former Illini almost catches Derrek Lee’s homer

On Sunday night, the Chicago Cubs beat the Reds 5-2 thanks to some timely hitting by some part-timers, Koyie Hill. 

But Derrek Lee had a solo shot, too.  And for those Illini baseball fans who were paying attention, they might have noticed who attempted to catch the ball. 

None other than former Illini thirdbaseman, Dominic Altobelli.

domwrigley

Alas, Lee’s homerun ball bounced off the wall out of Altobelli’s grasp and went back in to the outfield grass. 

Here’s the video of Lee’s homer and Dom just missing the catch.

Nice try, Dom!

Altobelli just finished his first season with the Casper Ghosts, the A affiliate for the Colorado Rockies.

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Are homerun celebrations getting out of hand?

Much is being made now about over-zealous homerun celebrations and the reactions they get from the opponents.  I first came across this article on mlb.com about the Giants getting “irked” about a couple of homeruns in which teams exhibited in the Giants’ opinion, “unprofessional” behavior. 

One was the actions of Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder, the other of Adrian Gonzalez of the Padres.  Giants starter Brad Penny, who gave up the four-bagger, thought Gonzalez lingered a bit too long, admiring his work before making the trot.  

I saw the video of the Gonzalez homer and honestly, I didn’t notice it.

Now, USA Today has picked up on the story.  And they have a pretty damning photo of Fielder’s antics to go along with it, too  The story is compelling with good examples etc etc..

But it makes me wonder if this story has taken a life of its own.  Does it merit this much attention? 

Two thoughts that popped into my head regarding this rather unimportant issue (in the grand scheme of things):

One, mlb.com covered this a few days ago.  The same news source that recoils at anything controversial.  Normally, the cynic in me would surmise that MLB is just trying to perhaps generate controversy/interest/rivalry in the midst of a postseason hunt but the teams involved are not near the top of their division. 

Two, god forbid should this story take off to the point that MLB feel that they need to “do something about it”.  Professional baseball has enough regulations already and a lot of them range from unnecessary to a hindrance.

Some of you watch more baseball games from different markets than I.  Is this really a problem?  And why is MLB so worried about it?

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Homerun first

Woo hoo!  Former Illini shortstop and friend of the Zealot, Shawn Roof has hit his first pro homerun.  It’s worth mentioning because the versatile infielder never hit one during his days as an Illini either. 

Don’t expect another one soon because the Roof waited till the last game of the Erie Seawolves’ regular season for his first dramatic first.

Congrats, Shawn!

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