Replay won’t correct incompetent umpiring

31 10 2009

Umpires make horrible calls in the World Series, just like they do in the regular season. And champions keep on playing and win their championships.

Thursday’s World Series game included two bad calls at first base. And the umpiring didn’t affect the outcome of the game at all. The Yankees just kept taking care of business. They didn’t need the extra runs they might have scored in the seventh inning. And Mariano Rivera would have gotten another out if the umpires hadn’t helped him in the eighth.

The most famous bad World Series call that I can remember is Don Denkinger’s blown call in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series, calling Jorge Orta of the Kansas City Royals (back when they were a perennial contender) safe at first leading off the ninth inning. St. Louis Cardinals fans lament that call decades later and still think they lost the 1985 World Series because of that call. Read the rest of this entry »

Baseball matches other sports’ competitive balance

28 10 2009

With the Yankees back in the World Series, we can be sure to hear lots of moaning about how they “buy” their championships and how they have destroyed the competitive balance of baseball.

But compare baseball’s championships this decade with the other sports:

Baseball. Eight different teams won championships — Yankees (possibly twice), Diamondbacks, Angels, Marlins, Red Sox (twice), White Sox, Cardinals, Phillies (possibly twice). Six other teams made it to the World Series: Mets, Giants, Astros, Tigers, Rockies, Rays. That’s 14 teams playing for the championship in this decade. Read the rest of this entry »

Ron Guidry compares well to three Hall-of-Fame Dodger pitchers

10 10 2009

To understand why Ron Guidry should be a no-doubt Hall of Famer, compare his career to three Dodgers in the Hall of Fame: Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Don Sutton.

Longevity is a huge factor in Hall of Fame voting and Sandy Koufax is one of the rare pitchers elected without a long career. In any discussion of greatest pitchers ever, Koufax will be one of the first names mentioned. And rightly so. His performance from 1963 to 1966 was perhaps the most brilliant stretch of pitching in major league history.

I’m not going to suggest that Ron Guidry was as great as Koufax. But I’ll show you that he was surprisingly close. Read the rest of this entry »

You be the judge: Who’s a Hall of Famer?

9 10 2009

Player A and Player B were as alike as any two great players in baseball history. I defy you to find two with more identical careers.

Player A played 12 full seasons in the major leagues, Player B played parts of 14 seasons, but one was a late cup-of-coffee call-up and he came up to stay partway through the next season. Another season was shortened by injury. They ended up playing nearly an identical number of games, 1,783 and 1,785. Their at-bats were pretty close, too, 7,003 to 7,244. 

Their careers overlapped almost entirely, retiring in the same season, so you don’t need any adjustments to compare performance from different eras. They played in the same league and were universally regarded as two of the best players in the league for most of their careers. Each of them played his entire career for one team and each played in a park that mostly helped his hitting. Read the rest of this entry »

Back where the Yankees belong

8 10 2009

I will be blogging through the 2009 post-season and beyond, some observations about the Yankees and my lifelong loyalty to them.

A particular interest is the consistency with which deserving Yankees get the shaft when it comes to Hall of Fame selections. You will get to read about how Roger Maris, Don Mattingly, Ron Guidry, Thurman Munson, Tommy John, Allie Reynolds and Graig Nettles belong in the Hall of Fame. In each case, it’s not even close. These guys are Hall of Famers, kept out of Cooperstown by the voters’ anti-Yankee bias (bolstered by some other ridiculous voter biases, which I will address).

And, of course, I’ll blog about this year’s edition of the Yankees, back in post-season play after a one-year absence.