"The Killer," Harmon Killebrew, a slugger for the Minnesota Twins (formerly Washington Senators) has died today at 74. [more inside]
Bartolo Colon, now of the New York Yankees, underwent a controversial stem-cell treatment in the Dominican Republic to regain his old form.
Bill Gallo, longtime NY Daily News Sports Cartoonist, is dead at age 88. If you grew up in the NYC area anytime from the the 50s until this April, you've probably seen one of Gallo's cartoons in the Daily News. Although he covered all sports and their fans, blue collar sports like boxing and baseball were his real love. Gallo was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, NY as part of the Class of 2001 and some of his work hangs in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. [more inside]
"Value-added modeling is promoted because it has the right pedigree -- because it is based on "sophisticated mathematics." As a consequence, mathematics that ought to be used to illuminate ends up being used to intimidate." John Ewing, president of Math for America and former executive director of the American Mathematical Society, criticizes the "value-added modeling" approach used as a proxy for teacher quality, most famously in a Los Angeles Times story that called out low-scoring teachers by name. A Brookings Institution paper says value-added modeling is flawed but the best measure we have of teacher value, arguing that the metric's wide fluctuations from year to year are no worse than those of batting averages in baseball. (Though the weakness of that correlation is mostly a BABIP issue.) Can we assign a numerical value to teacher quality? If so, how?
"My NY Mets sketchbook. I create an entry after each Mets game or commentary on the crazy stuff going on around the team."
Whiskerino is no more, Goatee Groundhog Day has come and gone and Moustache May is still a few weeks off. Whose fecund, feral, facial hair can sustain us in the meantime? None other than Brian Wilson, closing pitcher of the San Francisco Giants, and his virtual beard. Touch it!
The recently retired Manny Ramirez was one of the most inscrutable players in recent history. Ben McGrath of the New Yorker attempted to figure out Ramirez's motivations in this 2007 piece.
Archived Baseball photos from 1917-1956 Today, the Boston Public Library will publish on the Internet the first 100 of a trove of nearly 3,000 rarely seen baseball photographs taken by Leslie Jones, who worked for the Boston Herald and the Boston Traveler from 1917 to 1956. Moments preserved by the shutter and squirreled away in his Dorchester basement, where he kept tens of thousands of images. The Boston Globe has a selection published here. The first batch of snapshots was released to coincide with today’s Opening Day at Fenway Park. Library staff plan to upload several dozen more images each week until all 2,881 photos are online. The project is part of a broader initiative by the library to give the public unfettered access to Jones’s entire archive of tens of thousands of images. He photographed car wrecks and ice-crusted fishing trawlers; shot luminaries like Albert Einstein and Amelia Earhart; and the people of Boston.
Talkin' Baseball: Cali, Cardinals, Giants, Mets, Red Sox, Tigers, Twins, Yankees, The Simpsons softball. [more inside]
Chicago Cubs outfielder Fernando Perez has published his poems in Poetry and The Southern Review. He studied creative writing at Columbia, just like James Franco. He is into Robert Creeley. He has a twitter feed. His career batting average is .234 but he's hitting only .161 in the Cactus League and might not make the big league club. Spring Training is the cruelest month.
Every Hall of Famer is a blog where Summer Anne Burton is drawing pictures of all 295 members of the baseball Hall of Fame. She started in January and plans to finish by the end of the year. Here's an interview with her about the project. The drawings include telling bits of information and cool quotes. It's a fun way to learn about baseball history. Here are three of my favorites so far: Charles Radbourne, Dan Brouthers and Grover Cleveland Alexander.
What Baseball Team Should I Root For? (image) Now you can establish a lasting emotional bond through the magic of pure logic.
Harvey Dorfman, author of The Mental ABCs of Pitching and The Mental Game of Baseball, died on February 28th. A sports psychologist, Dorfman counseled hundreds of baseball players, mentoring some of the best players in the modern era. Mike Pelfrey called Dorfman after nearly every start. Roy Halladay, before he was "Doc," went to see the Dorfman and continues to give his book on pitching to all young pitchers. A 2009 profile of "Dr. Baseball" explained how Dorfman worked, "One week I’m Hamlet, the next week I'm Bozo. You come to me with a certain disposition; I better know who to play…. I am neither an asshole nor a saint, in totality. I am whatever is required at the moment."
Edwin Donald "Duke" Snider, also known as "The Silver Fox," has passed away at the age of 84. Snider played for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers for the bulk of his career, in which he hit 40 or more home runs in 5 consecutive seasons and hit the last home run in Ebbets Field. Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980, Snider was the least-known of the famed trio of New York center fielders from the 1950s, but enjoyed a resurgence in popularity after his induction and the release of "Willie, Mickey, & the Duke" in 1981. Mickey Mantle died in 1995, but Willie Mays is still going strong.
Wake Forest University's slogan for their baseball team in 2011 is 'What are you willing to sacrifice to help make this team better?' "Head coach Tom Walter's intent was to have his players thinking about sacrifice bunts, moving runners over, and giving up personal glory to help the Demon Deacons improve as a team. But what Walter chose to sacrifice is greater than simply hanging in on a curve ball and taking one for the team. Walter gave up a kidney." [more inside]
Sabermetrician in Exile. Voros McCracken's radical idea -- that pitchers have very little ability to induce batters to hit into outs, and succeed mostly insofar as they can strike out a lot of hitters and give up few home runs and walks -- has changed the way baseball teams are constructed. (Heard of BABIP? That's him.) Every major league team has employees who rely on McCracken's insights. McCracken, struggling to make his rent in suburban Phoenix, isn't one of them.
Donnie Moore was the California Angels' relief ace in 1986. After he gave up a home run that began the Angels' collapse in the ALCS, Moore's life and psyche steadily deteriorated, until he committed suicide in 1989. Steve Hofstetter wrote about Moore and the divergent paths taken by other athletes in similar situations.
The Baseball Club is a game by MetaFilter favorite Taro Ito, best known for Dice Wars. In The Baseball Club you take control of a high school baseball team and attemp to lead them to victory in The World Baseball Tournament. You keep each player for three seasons and train them in batting practice. Warning: Absurdly addictive.
In 1972, with two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning in the last game the Washington Senators played before moving to Texas, the crowd flooded onto the field, ruining a thrilling late-game comeback over the Yankees. In 1974, the Cleveland Indians tripled attendance by offering Ten Cent Beer Night, but ended up wielding bats against their own fans to protect the visiting Rangers. In 1979, the plan to blow up disco records on the field between the two games of a double-header in Chicago led to riots and fires. And Rusty Torres was on the field all three times.
The Baseball Prospectus' Wezen-Ball blog solves a riddle in Ferris Bueller's Day Off at Wrigley Field, explaining exactly which Cubs game Ferris and his friends attended during that fateful day off.
Wins-above-replacement, or WAR, is a Sabermetric term of art for baseball player comparison. Fangraphs, one of the go-to sites for baseball nerdlingers, now offers a way to make WAR grids, an amazingly easily comprehended visual display comparing players based on WAR, sortable by team, position and season, with a default topline of player age. [more inside]
ESPN baseball writer Jayson Stark presents his Strange But True hitting feats of 2010. Only in baseball's...umm...unique scoring system could someone get caught stealing 3B, and then safely steal 3B on the next pitch. Warning: both links contain auto playing video with ads at the top.
Jonah Keri looks at the unconventional methods being used by the Texas Rangers to improve the durability and effectiveness of their pitching staff.
Who was Eddie Klep? Everybody knows about the black man who integrated the major leagues in 1947, but hardly anyone knows about the white man who integrated the Negro Leagues the year before. Eddie Klep was no role model, but he deserves to be remembered, and Chuck Brodsky (who's written a bunch of baseball songs) did his part with the "Ballad of Eddie Klepp" (YouTube, lyrics). The name actually has just one p; Brodsky regrets the error (which is also made in this short piece, with lively quotes from Klep's wife). (Thanks, Ken!)
"In order to renew my Fangraphs membership, every six months, Dave Cameron flies out to meet me in an unmarked parking garage in Washington DC, where I swear a blood oath by candlelight on a stack of Necronomicons never to write anything complimentary about Derek Jeter’s mobility or range. Cameron’s post about Jeter yesterday was faithful to our sworn mission. The awful secret of Derek Jeter’s fifth Gold Glove requires a little background in a few of the more esoteric domains of human knowledge. This may be the most important blog post I ever write; if it is the last, dear readers, only you will know the truth." Sure, FanGraphs appears to be a geeky site for baseball stat-heads who live in their mothers’ basements, crunch numbers whilst sipping Diet Dr. Pepper, and invent silly acronyms instead of dating girls. But FanGraphs bloggers quite firmly embrace their own nerdiness – even going so far as to create NERD, the stat, which rates the “watchability” of a team. Furthermore, they so often blend humor, politics, literature, and philosophy into their writings that to shun the site is to deprive yourself of fascinating, scrumptious nuggets of surprisingly accessible, occasionally math-heavy, and nearly always well-written baseball geekery. Would you like to know if better players have more Twitter followers? Wondered, Is The DH Dying? Derek Jeter cheated... so what? How about a lengthy meditation on baseball and the science of happiness? [more inside]
Dave Niehaus, the longtime play-by-play announcer for the Seattle Mariners, has passed away at the age of 75. [more inside]
Legendary baseball manager George "Sparky" Anderson dead at 76. Ernie Harwell on Sparky. Interview on Santa Clarita community access. "Mr. President, I know you love those Cubs, but if you knew these Tigers, you'd love 'em more. Hall of Fame entry. He was a crummy player, though. Remembering Anderson's class. STAY CLASSY, SPARKY! The End of a Sparkling Life.
Greatest calls in sports is a selection of 32 great calls in broadcast sports, chosen by Joe Posnanski, obviously US-centric but featuring some good choices. Want some elation this Friday? [more inside]
Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies has pitched the second postseason no-hitter in major league history. [more inside]
Thanks, Bing! It was a long haul for the Pirates, they hadn't won since 1925, and, until recently, we didn't have a film record of the win.
Bill Lee, The Spaceman, baseball curmudgeon, subject of a Warren Zevon song, marijuana advocate, has become the oldest pitcher to win a professional baseball game at the age of 63.
Today, Deadspin leaked financial documents detailing the finances of several MLB teams, including a few that are getting revenue sharing money. They show that several of MLB's "poorest" franchises turned a profit due to these cash infusions. [more inside]
Chelsea Baker throws like a girl. Of course, she is a 13 year old girl, so that is to be expected. She is a pitcher that went 12-0 with 2 perfect games in the Plant City FL Little League this season. She hasn't been tagged with a loss in 4 years. Her secret is the knuckleball that was taught to her by a former coach, retired MLB pitcher Joe Niekro.
Bob Sheppard, the voice of Yankee Stadium, died Monday. Only two months shy of his 100th birthday, Sheppard was known for his concise speaking style as the public-address announcer for the Yankees. He held that position from 1951 to 2007, announcing lineups containing baseball greats like DiMaggio and Mantle up to today's players, like Derek Jeter, who requested that Sheppard's voice be the only voice to announce his name in Yankee Stadium. His longetivity and distinct announcing voice made him popular with many generations of Yankee fans. [more inside]
Take Me Out to the Ballgame is an American classic, the "national anthem of baseball." Written by Jack Norworth, with notable versions by Harry Caray and friends. Norworth recently got a new gravemarker, but cemetery rules says no changes could be made without approval from his family. When no family could be found, an empty grave was purchased and set aside for some future "unfortunate soul," who will get a teeny, tiny place in baseball history.
We've talked about Mariano Rivera's cutter before. Now you can see why batters find this pitch is so devastating through the magic of a video based on Pitch f/x data.
Eighteen years ago, 11 year old Randy Neuenfeldt raced Henry the Puffy Taco mascot of the San Antonio Missions minor league baseball team in the usual 7th inning race. Through a series of unfortunate events, the taco won. On June 24, 2010, Randy Neuenfeldt got his revenge. Also, here
Wade Boggs is known to like his beer. Well, now a Tapper-style game where Boggs drinks beers, throws away girlie drinks, and eats burgers to sober up has been created. [more inside]
Last week, before Jack McDonald died, he told his son, Toronto Blue Jays utility infielder John McDonald (14 home runs in a 12 year professional career), to hit a home run for him when he went back to the team. "They're not that easy to hit," John said.
John rejoined his team and got his first at-bat in the ninth inning this past Sunday. Father's Day.
John rejoined his team and got his first at-bat in the ninth inning this past Sunday. Father's Day.
On Saturday, in her second start as a professional baseball player for the Chico (CA) Outlaws, 18-year-old "Knuckle Princess" Eri Yoshida received her first strikeout as a player in the US. [Yoshida previously on Metafilter.] [more inside]
Mamie "Peanut" Johnson is one of three women to play in the Negro Leagues, and as of yet, the only woman to pitch at the major level in the United States. [more inside]
He was previously introduced to the blue a year ago wherein he was heralded as the most incredible pitching prospect of all time. A year later, almost on cue, Stephen Strasburg makes his MLB debut tonight in Washington DC amid much fanfare. [more inside]
Blown call costs pitcher a perfect game. It should have been the third perfect game this season, and only the 21st in major league history. Armando Galarraga was one out away from a perfect game, only to have it spoiled by what will likely be remembered as one of the worst calls in baseball history. "I just cost that kid a perfect game," said umpire Jim Joyce, a 22-year veteran. Can we go to the replay? Nope! [more inside]
20 men have thrown Perfect Games in the history of the MLB -- 18 since the modern baseball era began 110 years ago -- yet, remarkably, this month has witnessed two: Dallas Braden's perfecto on Mother's Day (previously), and Roy "Doc" Halladay, of the Philadelphia Phillies, tonight, on Memorial Day weekend (out #27). [more inside]
Swinging Away: How Cricket and Baseball Connect Five minute slideshow with audio from the BBC of historical images to coincide with an exhibition at Lords on the linked histories of the two bat and ball sports.
Joeurt Puk (aka Joe Cook) is the father of Cambodian baseball. In this feature by ESPN, Patrick Hruby looks into Cook's background and finds that Cook may not be the tireless philanthropist he claims to be. [more inside]