Thursday, February 26, 2009

Greenberg and Ruth Stand Alone

A little known record that Hank Greenberg shares with Babe Ruth was his 96 extra-base hits or more in 4 different seasons: 96 in 1934, 98 in 1935, 103 in 1937, and 99 in 1940. Ruth is the only other player to have 96 or more extra-base hits in 4 different seasons. Lou Gehrig had 2, Joe DiMaggio had 1, Jimmie Foxx had 1, and Rogers Hornsby did it 2 times. Sluggers like Ted Williams, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron never had 96 or more extra-base hits in any season.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Chicago Deep Dish Pitchers

Ron Kaplan's piece about promising White Sox pitching prospect, Aaron Poreda, got me to thinking that you could put together a pretty decent staff with the Jewish pitchers who've played here in Chicago. Observe.

1. Ken Holtzman (Chicago Cubs, 1965-1971, 1978-1979)
80-81 with 3 saves and a 3.76 ERA in 1447 innings

2. Saul Rogovin (Chicago White Sox, 1951-1953)
32-28 with 2 saves and a 3.70 ERA in 555 innings

3. Steve Stone (Chicago White Sox, 1973, 1977-1978/Chicago Cubs, 1974-1976)
56-55 with 1 save and a 4.23 ERA in 1054 innings.

4. Ross Baumgarten (Chicago White Sox, 1978-1981)
22-31 with a 3.75 ERA in 451 innings

5. Jason Marquis (Chicago Cubs, 2007-2008)
23-18 with a 4.57 ERA in 358 innings

Scott Schoeneweis (Chicago White Sox, 2003-2004)
8-10 with a 5.39 ERA in 138 innings

Dave Roberts (Chicago Cubs, 1977-1978)
7-9 with 2 saves and a 4.70 ERA in 195 innings

Marv Rotblatt (Chicago White Sox, 1948, 1950-1951)
4-3 with 2 saves and a 4.82 ERA in 74 innings

Barry Latman (Chicago White Sox, 1957-1959)
12-7 with a 3.33 ERA and 1 save in 216 innings

Jose Bautista (Chicago Cubs, 1993-1994)
14-8 with 3 saves and a 3.23 ERA in 181 innings

Scott Radinsky (Chicago White Sox, 1990-1995)
24-16 with 32 saves and a 3.62 ERA in 275 innings

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The .400 Club

Minimum 500 PAs:
1. Buddy Myer - .454 OBP in 534 PAs (Washington Senators, 1938)
2. Buddy Myer - .440 OBP in 720 PAs (Washington Senators, 1935)
3. Hank Greenberg - .438 OBP in 681 PAs (Detroit Tigers, 1938)
4. Hank Greenberg - .436 OBP in 701 PAs (Detroit Tigers, 1937)
5. Hank Greenberg - .433 OBP in 670 PAs (Detroit Tigers, 1940)
6. Al Rosen - .422 OBP in 688 PAs (Cleveland Indians, 1953)
7. Hank Greenberg - .420 OBP in 604 PAs (Detroit Tigers, 1939)
8. Buddy Myer - .419 OBP in 636 PAs (Washington Senators, 1934)
9. Mike Epstein - .414 OBP in 500 PAs (Washington Senators, 1969)
10. Hank Greenberg - .411 OBP in 710 PAs (Detroit Tigers, 1935)
11. Hank Greenberg - .408 OBP in 510 PAs (Pittsburgh Pirates, 1947)
12. Buddy Myer - .407 OBP in 519 PAs (Washington Senators, 1937)
13. Al Rosen - .405 OBP in 668 PAs (Cleveland Indians, 1950)
14. Al Rosen - .404 OBP in 566 PAs (Cleveland Indians, 1954)
14. Sid Gordon - .404 OBP in 588 PAs (New York Giants, 1949)
14. Hank Greenberg - .404 OBP in 667 PAs (Detroit Tigers, 1934)
14. Sid Gordon - .403 OBP in 562 PAs (Boston Braves, 1950)
15. Cal Abrams - .400 OBP in 506 PAs (Baltimore Orioles, 1954)

Under 500 PAs, Over 100 PAs:
1. Buddy Myer - .427 OBP in 201 PAs (Washington Senators, 1936)
2. Phil Weintraub - .422 OBP in 421 PAs (Philadelphia Phillies, 1938)
3. Cal Abrams - .419 OBP in 186 PAs (Brooklyn Dodgers, 1951)
4. Cal Abrams - .413 OBP in 407 PAs (Baltimore Orioles, 1955)
4. Fred Sington - .413 OBP in 109 PAs (Washington Senators, 1936)
5. Phil Weintraub - .412 OBP in 423 PAs (New York Giants, 1944)
6. Sid Gordon - .405 OBP in 447 PAs (Pittsburgh Pirates, 1954)
7. Hank Greenberg - .404 OBP in 312 PAs (Detroit Tigers, 1945)
8. Richie Scheinblum - .402 OBP in 333 PAs (Cincinnati Reds/California Angels, 1973)

Close, But No Cigar:
Morrie Arnovich - .397 OBP in 560 PAs (Philadelphia Phillies, 1939)
Buddy Myer - .396 OBP in 300 PAs (Washington Senators, 1939)
Ron Blomberg - .395 OBP in 338 PAs (New York Yankees, 1973)

Honorable Mentions:
Fred Sington - .493 OBP in 68 PAs (Brooklyn Dodgers, 1938)
Phil Weintraub - .461 OBP in 90 PAs (New York Giants, 1934)
Lou Boudreau - .453 OBP in 676 PAs (Cleveland Indians, 1948)
Lou Boudreau - .406 OBP in 681 PAs (Cleveland Indians, 1944)
Kevin Youkilis - .400 OBP in 95 PAs (Boston Red Sox, 2005)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Lefty and Sherry and Nary a Difference

Lefty Phillips and Norm Sherry were both Jewish managers of the California Angels in the '70s. Sherry's overall record was 76-71. Phillips' overall record was 222-225. Combined, they were 2 games above .500. Not spectacular, but certainly respectable for a recent expansion team.

Sherry's best season was 1976. He was 37-29. Phillips' best season was 1970. He was 86-76. Obviously, Sherry had a lot of ties to the Dodgers. But apparently Phillips also had some ties. He worked with Koufax as the Dodgers' pitching coach in '65 and '66.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

You're Outta Here!

In light of recent developments with A-Roid, I thought I'd take this opportunity to talk about something a little more wholesome: ejections! No, not injections. Ejections. Some boys dream about playing professional baseball. Others dream about getting into bench-clearing brawls. I ask you: can't it be both? This one was fun to research. Retrosheet could be easier to navigate, but I'll take substance over style any day.

The ejections that stand out to me are Buddy Myer's and Gabe Kapler's. You'll recall that brawl in Boston with the Yankees (who else?) in '04. Not quite as entertaining as Pedro Martinez and Don Zimmer doing battle the year before, but Kapler and Co. really put a hurting on Tanyon Sturtze. After Sturtze jumped Kapler from behind and started choking him, David Ortiz and Trot Nixon rose to his defense. Kevin Millar said, "I don't know what Sturtze was thinking, because he had the wrong guys with Nixon and Kapler." Truer words were never spoken.

Myer's epic ejection in 1933 is the stuff of legends. It happened when Myer took umbrage to Ben Chapman spiking him at second base while Myer was pivoting on a double-play. Myer responded by kicking Chapman square in the derriere. What followed was a melee of Peter Griffin-Giant Chicken proportions. No exaggeration. The Myer-Chapman fight spread to the dugouts and even the stands. Incidentally, Chapman was on the Yankees. Boy, they really can't catch a break!

Chapman was notoriously anti-Semitic and was unceremoniously traded to the Washington Senators in 1936, which meant that Myer and Chapman were actually teammates. Awwwkward! Chapman, being the good chap that he was, also had a confrontation with Jackie Robinson in 1947. But it doesn't end there. The guy Chapman was traded for, Jake Powell, is best remembered for being racist and his intentional collision with Hank Greenberg in 1936, causing Greenberg's wrist to be broken and sidelining him after just 12 games.

And now, without further ado... seems like some of these guys have/had a real predilection for ejections.

1. Brad Ausmus - 10
2. Buddy Myer - 6
3. Saul Rogovin - 4
3. Harry Danning - 4
3. Al Rosen - 4
4. Jose Bautista - 3
5. Hank Greenberg - 2
5. Mike Epstein - 2
5. Goody Rosen - 2
5. Phil Weintraub - 2
6. Ken Holtzman - 1
6. Ian Kinsler - 1
6. Scott Radinsky - 1
6. Gabe Kapler - 1
6. Scott Feldman - 1
6. Harry Eisenstat - 1
6. Joe Ginsberg - 1
6. Kevin Youkilis - 1
6. Larry Sherry - 1
6. Jimmie Reese - 1
6. Morrie Arnovich - 1
6. Shawn Green - 1

Bob Melvin - 19
Lou Boudreau - 15
Larry Rothschild - 15

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Apologies to Sam Fuld

For not putting him in the poll. I completely forgot about him. And he's right here under my nose! Sam may not hit a lot of HRs, but that hasn't hurt his extra-base hit total. In 423 games in the Minors, he has 97 doubles and 18 triples. Also has 62 SBs. He's hitting .288 with a .372 OBP and a .406 SLG. Must have a pretty good arm, too. In 2007, he had 17 assists from the outfield in 100 games. In 2008, he had 8 assists in 83 games.

The Cubs could certainly use a bona fide center fielder. Not to mention a table setter. Splitting time between Reed Johnson and Jim Edmonds worked last year. But Edmonds is gone now, and Johnson can't carry the load all by himself. Give him the call, Mr. Hendry. And give him a fair shake during Spring Training. If you're going to phone it in by dumping salary in the offseason, the least you can do is try to improve the ballclub during the regular season.

Monday, February 2, 2009

What's in the Water at Fairfax High School?!

To date, 5 Jewish MLB players have graduated from Fairfax High School in California. Larry Sherry, Norm Sherry, Barry Latman, Mike Epstein, and Al Silvera were all at one time Colonials. Larry and Barry (who pitched a perfect game for Fairfax) were actually teammates. And while Silvera never amounted to much, his uncle, Sam Nahem, had a very good season for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1941. He was 5-2 with 1 save and a 2.98 ERA in 81 innings. Larry and Barry would later meet up again, this time on opposing sides in the 1959 World Series. And in 1967, they were reunited as teammates on the Houston Astros. Silvera and Latman also both went to the University of Southern California. Last but certainly not least, Mila Kunis went to Fairfax High School. More like Fairfox. Corny, yes. But oh so true.

Ken Holtzman and Art Shamsky also graduated from the same high school. They went to University City High School in St. Louis. In 1969, Shamsky's Mets famously overtook Holtzman's Cubs and went on to win the World Series. On August 19, the Cubs had a 9½ game lead over the Mets after a no-no by Holtzman. But it was not to be for the Northsiders. Holtzman and Shamsky were ever so briefly together on the '72 Oakland A's, along with Mike Epstein.

Gabe Kapler and Jordan Farmar both went to William Howard Taft High School in California.

Here come the big guns. Sandy Koufax and Kevin Youkilis are both alumni of the University of Cincinnati. How did the Reds' and Indians' scouts miss these guys?!

And we're not done with Shamsky yet. Shamsky and Ian Kinsler both went to the University of Missouri. Mizzou and Jews evidently go together.

Al Rosen, Ross Baumgarten, and Steve Rosenberg went to the University of Florida. So did David Eckstein. (Granted, he's not Jewish. But with a name like that he damn well should be!)

Scott Schoeneweis and Art Heyman went to Duke University. Jon Scheyer (who once scored 21 points in 75 seconds in a high school game) currently plays basketball for Coach K.

As far as I know the noteworthy professional sports connections end there, but Saul Rogovin attended Abraham Lincoln High School in New York with some pretty cool cats. Other alumni of Lincoln High include Marv Albert, Mel Brooks, Neil Diamond, Joseph Heller (wrote Catch-22), Harvey Keitel, Arthur Miller, and Neil Sedaka.

And NBA Hall of Famer Dolph Schayes went to DeWitt Clinton High School in New York. Other alumni of the school include Paddy Chayefsky, George Cukor, Bill Finger (created Batman characters with Bob Kane), Judd Hirsch, Robert Klein, Stanley Kramer, Ralph Lauren, Stan Lee, and Neil Simon.