MLwwB: What if Mike Trout Was Drafted by the Yankees?

Hey baseball fans!

I just put up another ML”what would”B post on More Than A Fan! In every ML”what would”B post, I discuss what would have happened if a famous event in baseball history had gone differently than it did in reality. For my latest post, I wondered what would have happened if Mike Trout was drafted by the Yankees in the 2009 MLB Draft. If you want to know the answer, just click here.

Thanks for reading the ML”what would”B and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

The 2009 World Series

Hey baseball fans!

A lot of people ask me: ‘Have you ever been to a World Series games, considering that you know all of the teams that won them?’ The answer is yes, I have been to a World Series game. I attended Game One of the 2009 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies at the new Yankee Stadium. The real bonus of this game for me was that I went with my dad and both my grandfathers (Phil and Aron) and it was the first time any of us had been to a World Series game. The game itself wasn’t my favorite, as the Yanks lost the game 6-1, but I definitely want to talk about this Fall Classic because it was the first one that I followed very religiously.

The 2009 New York Yankees were a great team. They won 103 games and six of the team’s hitters hit more than 20 home runs. They got to the World Series by beating the Twins and Angels in the ALDS and ALCS, respectively. The 2009 Phillies were also a great team. They had just won the ’08 Series against the Tampa Bay Rays and finished the 2009 regular season in first place in the NL East with 93 wins. They then proceeded to beat the Rockies and the Dodgers in the NL playoffs to face the Yanks in the World Series. This was not the first time that these two teams met in the Fall Classic, however. They played against each other in the 1950 World Series, and the Yankees swept that Series. Now, let’s get into details about each of the six games played in the 2009 World Series.

Game One:
First-year Yankee C.C. Sabathia gave up two home runs to Phillie All Star Chase Utley. Philadelphia pitcher Cliff Lee held the Yankees to one unearned run in a complete game win. Lee became the first pitcher to strike out ten batters, walk none, and allow zero earned runs in a World Series start. The Phillies won the game 6-1, putting the eaters of the cheesesteak up in the Series, 1-0.

Game Two:
Both A.J. Burnett of New York and Pedro Martinez of the Phils pitched great, but Martinez did a little bit worse. New Yank Mark Teixeira and Yankee favorite Hideki Matsui went yard and Mariano Rivera got his first save in World Series play in nine years. The Yankees beat the Phillies by a final score of 3-1. After Game Two, the Series was tied at one game apiece.

Game Three:
This was the first game in the Series held in Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia and it would be one that Phillies fans would quickly want to forget. Nick Swisher, Alex Rodriguez, and Matsui all crushed homers off of 2008 WS MVP Cole Hamels in an 8-5 win for New York. Andy Pettitte gave up four runs in six innings pitched in his first World Series start since 2005. The Yanks led the Series two games to one after three games played.

Game Four: 
C.C. took the hill for the Yankees in Game Four, this time going up against Joe Blanton of the Phillies. Several runs were exchanged between the two teams and entering the top of the ninth inning, the game was tied at four. However, key hits by A-Rod and Yankee great Jorge Posada surged the Yanks to a 7-4 victory. Mo got his second save of the Series and New York led the Phillies in the ’09 World Series, 3-1. Important note: Chase Utley hit a homer in the game, his third of the Fall Classic.

Game Five: 
A.J. Burnett got rocked early and often with six runs allowed in the first three innings. Utley hit two more homers, raising his Series total to five, and Raul Ibañez hit one of his own. Although the Yankees tried to come back in the later innings, Philly prevailed and won the game, 8-6. The World Series then moved back to New York for a (spoiler alert) great game by the eventual World Series MVP.

Game Six:
The final game of this World Series was all about Hideki Matsui. Matsui collected six RBIs in the contest, tying Bobby Richardson of the Yankees in Game Three of the 1960 World Series for the World Series single-game record of runs driven in by a single hitter. Andy Pettitte had a great pitching performance and Mo closed it out in the ninth to preserve a 7-3 Yankees victory. It was the Yankees’ 27th World Series title, the most championships won by a professional sports team. Matsui received World Series MVP honors for his three homers and eight RBIs in the Series.

Although the Yanks haven’t won a World Series since 2009, it’s always nice to think about that ’09 Yankees team. Anyway, thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

Five-Tool Player and a Three-Sport Athlete? Insane!!!

Hey baseball fans!

Today was the first weekend of the NFL season! So many incredible games were played and more should-be exciting games will be played tonight and tomorrow night. In honor of this fun and action-packed weekend, I want to talk about a baseball Hall of Famer that was not only drafted into the MLB, but also into the NFL (and the NBA).

One of my favorite Hall of Famers of all time, Dave Winfield played from 1973-1995 with the Padres, Yankees, Angels, Blue Jays, Twins, and Indians. One of the tallest Hall of Famers, standing at 6′ 6”, Winfield was one of the best players of his time. The twelve-time All Star batted .283, with 465 home runs and 1,833 RBIs in his great career, but his most famous stat is his hit total: 3,110 career base hits (20th all time). This five-tool player had great years in San Diego and New York, but despite his last name, he never won a World Series with those clubs. However, he helped the Toronto Blue Jays win their first Fall Classic in franchise history in 1992 with a go-ahead hit in the top of the eleventh inning of Game Six of the Series. The seven-time Gold Glove Award winner didn’t have to wait long after his retirement to get into Cooperstown, as he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, in 2001.

In case you were wondering, Winfield was drafted by the Padres of the MLB, the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL, and the Atlanta Hawks of the NBA. I wonder what his career would have been like in pro football and/or pro basketball. Anyway, thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

The History of the Fish

Hey baseball fans!

The National League East has been a very unpredictable division over the past several years; every team in the NL East has won the division at least once since 2006, except for one team: the Florida/Miami Marlins. Although the Marlins haven’t been super great for the last decade, I want to tell you a little about this fairly young baseball team.

The Florida Marlins played their first season in the MLB in 1993. The marlin is the most popular deep water fish in Florida, which was one of the reasons why then-Marlins’ owner, Wayne Huizenga, chose the name for the first MLB team in Florida. When they were known as the Florida Marlins (yes, they were renamed, but that will be explained later), they played in the same stadium as the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. The stadium went through several name changes, but most people recognize it by its formal name, Joe Robbie Stadium.

The Marlins didn’t experience immediate success, but they got their first ticket to the playoffs in 1997 as the NL Wild Card team with 92 wins. After beating the Giants and Braves in the NL playoffs, Florida became the fastest expansion team up to that point to reach the World Series (the Diamondbacks would break that record in 2001). There, the Fish (as the team is nicknamed) faced the powerful Cleveland Indians. Surprisingly, the Marlins actually won that Fall Classic in seven games. The seventh game was very dramatic, as it was won on a walk-off single by Edgar Renteria in the bottom of the eleventh inning.

1998 was a hard year for the Marlins and their fans, as the team couldn’t keep most of their players from the 1997 squad due to financial problems. Because of this, they posted the worst record for any team that had just come off of winning a World Series, with 108 losses. They experienced a couple more subpar seasons, but they turned it around in 2003. With the help of star hitters like Ivan Rodriguez and Mike Lowell and star pitchers like A.J. Burnett and Josh Beckett, the Marlins won the NL Wild Card race again and eventually reached the World Series to face the Yankees. Again the underdogs, the Marlins shocked baseball when they beat New York in six games.

After 2003, the Marlins have not had any more exciting treks through the playoffs, but something exciting did happen to the team after the 2011 season: they relocated! The Florida Marlins were renamed the Miami Marlins, moved into their new park, Marlins Park, and switched their teal uniforms for orange uniforms. Miami has not experienced playoff baseball in their new stadium, but they probably will in the near future.

Here’s another fun fact about the Marlins: Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers actually started his career with the Marlins in 2003. He played with the team until 2007! Anyway, thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

 

No One Can Survive Walking the Plank

Hey baseball fans!

I’m currently on vacation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania! I was supposed to stop off at Gettysburg, PA for a reennactment of the Battle of Gettysburg that took place during the American Civil War, but the reennactment got cancelled. So, in order to fill that void, I’m going to be talking about a Hall of Famer who was born in Gettysburg: Eddie Plank!

During his pitching career from 1901-1917, Plank played for the Philadelphia Athletics and the St. Louis Browns of the American League and the St. Louis Terriers of the Federal League. Although Gettysburg Eddie (which he was nicknamed because of his hometown) never led the league in wins or earned run average (but he did have a career ERA of 2.35), he was still a very dominant pitcher. That says a lot considering he pitched in the same era as Walter Johnson and Christy Mathewson. Plank, who possessed one of the best curveballs the game has ever seen, won 326 games during his career, which is third on the all-time list for lefties, only behind Warren Spahn and Steve Carlton, but his career shutouts (69) and complete games (410) lead all lefties who ever pitched in the Majors. Plank and his amazing sidearm pitching helped the A’s win six pennants in the newly-formed American League. All of these accolades helped him get inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1946.

Here’s a fun fact about Eddie: during the offseason, he would go work at the Gettysburg National Military Park as a tour guide at the battlefield! How interesting! Anyway, thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

LAD vs. SF: Which Team is Truly Better?

Hey baseball fans!

Other than the Yankees and Red Sox, there is one other big rivalry in Major League Baseball: the Dodgers and the Giants. With that being said, it’s time to find out which of these two NL West teams is better! How will I judge this contest, you ask? The categories will be the same as my last “Which Team Is Better” post, which compared the Red Sox to the Yanks, except for the “Head-to-Head Playoff Matchups” category because the two teams have never faced off against each other in October. So, without further delay, which former New York team is more supreme? Let’s find out.

Category One: Overall Winning Percentage
The New York Giants (present-day San Francisco Giants) have been competing in the National League since 1883, while the Brooklyn Dodgers (present-day LA Dodgers) have been playing in the senior circuit since 1884, so both teams have played about the same amount of games. The Giants, in 20,166 games played, have won 10,756 of them, for a total winning percentage of .533. The Dodgers have played in 20,083 games and have won 10,465 of them, for a total winning percentage of .521. The Giants are the first ones on the board in this contest and now lead 1-0.

Category Two: Head-to-Head Overall Record
LA and San Francisco have faced off against each other in the regular season in a total of 2,404 games. In those games, there have been 17 ties, 1,179 Dodger wins, and 1,208 Giants wins. The Giants are pulling away in the contest and now lead 2-0. One more point and they win this contest.

Category Three: Hall of Famers
Like I mentioned in the BOS vs. NYY post, this category is very important because it’s necessary to see which team has brought up the most stars who are now forever cemented in Cooperstown. There are 14 Hall of Famers who represent the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers, including Sandy Koufax, Jackie Robinson, and Roy Campanella. On the other hand, there are 23 Hall of Famers who represent the New York/San Francisco Giants, including stars like Willie Mays and Christy Mathewson. There are more Giants HoFers than Dodgers HoFers, which means that the Giants win the contest, 3-0, and are therefore better than the Dodgers.

Don’t feel sad, Dodger fans. Facts are facts and you really can’t argue with them. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post. Which team do you think is better? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below. Thanks for reading and check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

The Toddfather

Hey baseball fans!

The Colorado Rockies are a fairly new franchise when it comes to MLB teams, having only started competing during the regular season in 1993. With that being said, there is only one ballplayer who played a mile above sea level who has had his number retired by the Rockies: Todd Helton! In fact, his number was retired by Colorado only several days ago, which is why I want to talk about him for this post.

The Toddfather, as he was nicknamed, played with the Rockies for his entire career from 1997-2013. The five-time All Star first baseman is known as a very good all-around player; he could field excellently and he could also hit for average and power. He batted .316 for his career, hit 369 homers, drove in 1,406 runs, and collected 2,519 base hits. The homers, RBIs, and hits are all Rockies’ all time highs.

The four-time Silver Slugger and three-time Gold Glove winner had his best season in 2000, when he led the league in batting average (.372), RBIs (147), hits (216), on-base percentage (.463), and slugging percentage (.698). Although Colorado didn’t make the playoffs that year, Todd helped the Rockies get to the postseason twice, in 2007 and 2009. In 2007, the Rockies even got to the World Series!

Here’s a fun fact about Todd Helton: he went to the same college, University of Tennessee, at the same time as NFL star, Peyton Manning. They were both QBs for the Volunteers and had Todd not suffered an injury, he might have been an NFL star instead of Manning. Anyway, thanks for reading this post. Congratulations to Todd Helton on his number being retired by the Colorado Rockies. I hope you enjoyed this post and check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

BOS vs. NYY: Which Team is Truly Better?

Hey baseball fans!

Right after the Red Sox won the 2013 World Series, many people came up to me, saying that the Sox were better than the New York Yankees. My response was usually that of course they were better because they just won the World Series. But I followed up that statement with the following one: “But when Boston wins their 28th championship, then they will really be better than the Yankees.” Although that’s pretty mean, it’s a logical statement. However, that got me thinking: which team really is better: the Boston Red Sox or the New York Yankees? So, in this post, I will finally be answering this age-old question the only way I know how: historical facts! And yes, the Yankees do have the most World Series wins out of any MLB team with 27, but I’m judging this contest on different criteria.

Category One: Overall Winning Percentage
The Red Sox have been around since 1901 and the Yankees have been around since 1903, so they have played relatively the same amount of games (of course, there are always tiebreakers and rain outs and stuff like that). With that being said, out of 17,742 games played in the franchise’s history, the Red Sox have won 9,130 of them. Their overall winning percentage is .515. The Yankees have played in 17,454 games and have won 9,890 of them for a total winning percentage of .567. After one category of judging, the score in the contest is 1-0, New York.

Category Two: Head-to-Head Overall Record
There have been 2,138 meetings between the two storied franchises, but which team has won more of these head-to-head games? Well, the Red Sox have won 972 of them, there have been 14 ties, and the Yankees have won the remaining 1,152 games. The Yankees are building their lead in the contest, with the score 2-0 after two categories.

Category Three: Hall of Famers
Although this category seems a bit obscure and not needed, I think it’s very necessary to see which team has brought up the most stars who now reside in Cooperstown. There are 12 ballplayers in the Hall of Fame who were inducted in as Red Sox, including stars like Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski. On the other hand, there are 22 Yankees Hall of Famers, including Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Babe Ruth. (Yes, Ruth did go in as a Yankee and not as a member of the Red Sox.) With the contest now at 3-0, New York, the Yankees only need to win one more category to win the whole contest.

Category Four: Head-to-Head Playoff Matchups
Boston and New York have squared off in the postseason in 19 games in three playoff series. The first series was the 1999 ALCS, in which the Yankees beat the Red Sox 4-1 and eventually won the World Series against a former Boston team, the Atlanta Braves. In the 2003 ALCS, it took seven games and a dramatic walk-off homer by Aaron Boone in Game Seven for the Yankees to send the Red Sox home. In the 2004 ALCS, the Red Sox came back from a three games to none deficit and won the series, four games to three. The ’04 Sox eventually won their first World Series since having sold Babe Ruth to…the Yankees! However, despite this dramatic win for the Sox, the Yankees won two out of the three playoff series that the two teams have participated in, which means only one thing: the Yankees win the contest, 4-0, proving once and for all that they are better than the Red Sox.

I’m sorry Red Sox fans, but facts are facts and you really can’t argue with them. Anyway, thanks for reading this post. Do you agree with it? Write your opinions in the comment section below. I hope you enjoyed this post and check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

His Homer in the Gloamin’ was a Hall of Fame Omen

Hey baseball fans!

We are more than two thirds of the way through the 2014 MLB season and, sadly, it looks as if the Chicago Cubs will not be making the postseason. However, in order to alleviate the wounds of Cubs fans, I want to talk about one of the fan favorites that played in Chicago. He was one of the best catchers of all time and one of the first catchers ever inducted into the Hall of Fame, Gabby Hartnett.

Hartnett played with the Cubs and Giants from 1922-1941. In his 20 years in Major League Baseball, the man nicknamed “Old Tomato Face” was one of the best hitters of his generation, hitting for a .297 batting average with 236 homers and 1,179 RBIs. He was the first catcher in the MLB to hit 20 or more home runs in a season, which he did in 1925 (he hit 24). Besides his prolific hitting, Gabby was an excellent fielding catcher. He caught 100 or more games in twelve seasons and led the NL in putouts four times. The six-time All Star placed in the top 20 for MVP voting ten times, winning the award in 1935. Hartnett always hit better in clutch situations and his home run for the Cubs at the end of the 1938 season that ultimately helped them win the NL pennant does nothing but prove my point. The “Homer in the Gloamin'” (as it was nicknamed because Gabby hit the home run in almost complete darkness) was not only his finest moment, but it was also one of the most iconic moments in Chicago sports history, cementing Old Tomato Face’s name in Cubs’ history forever.

The Cubs may not be the best team now, but at least they have a storied history of great ballplayers who loved the game of baseball, one of those players being Gabby Hartnett. Anyway, thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

An Interview with Former MLB Pitcher, Jim Abbott

Hey baseball fans!

I recently got the chance to interview former MLB pitcher, Jim Abbott! Some of you might know him from his no-hitter with the Yankees, while some might know him from his playing days with the Angels, White Sox, and Brewers. Nonetheless, I’m still going to tell you a little bit about him before I get to the interview.



Jim Abbott pitched in the majors from 1989-1999 with the aforementioned teams, despite being born without a right hand. Because of this, his pitching style was a little bit different than others but, ultimately, he was a great pitcher. During his collegiate pitching career at the University of Michigan from 1985-1988, Abbott led the Wolverines to two Big Ten championships. In 1987, he became the first baseball player ever to win the James E. Sullivan Award as the best nonprofessional athlete in the United States. He even helped the USA get the gold medal in baseball in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. That same year, he was drafted by the Angels as the eighth overall pick in the MLB Draft and didn’t pitch a single game in the minors.

During his MLB career, he went 87-108 with an ERA of 4.25. His best season was with California in 1991, when he placed third in the AL Cy Young Award voting and won 18 games. Abbott’s crowning achievement was a no-hitter with the Yankees against the Indians on September 4th, 1993; he didn’t allow a single Indian to reach second base. After his MLB career came to a close, he was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007 and is currently a motivational speaker.

Now, here is the interview with former star pitcher, Jim Abbott!

Matt: You were born without a right hand. How did you learn to play baseball? Did the game come naturally to you?
Jim: I just learned to play a little differently. I could always throw the ball pretty well and I worked pretty hard at learning how to play the game. But I didn’t consider it work as a kid, since I just loved playing baseball. I had some natural talent, but the key for me was practicing learning how to pitch.

Matt: Why didn’t you sign with the Blue Jays when they picked you in the 1985 MLB Draft and instead went to the University of Michigan?
Jim: I wasn’t ready for professional baseball and it was my dream to play for the University of Michigan. I figured if I could go to school and get some classes in, I could be a better prospect than I was before.

Matt: Did you expect that you would win the 1987 James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States?
Jim: I really didn’t expect it at all. I didn’t even expect to be invited to the award ceremony.

Matt: Did you feel that you were going to pitch well on the day you no-hit the Indians?
Jim: The no-hitter came somewhat out of the blue. I didn’t have a great start the start before and I didn’t go into the game too confident, but I think that added some focus for me.

Matt: When you were elected into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007, what emotions did you experience when this news was announced?
Jim: It was a very big honor. To be inducted into the same class as some of the great college baseball players of all time, it meant a lot and was very special.

Matt: You are currently a motivational speaker, but do you ever want to return to the major leagues as a coach, trainer, or maybe even an owner?
Jim: I don’t think I can ever be an owner, but I do miss the game sometimes. However, I really enjoy what I’m doing now and I like inspiring people.

Matt: Do you have any advice for kids with a handicap that want to play sports?
Jim: My advice is that you go and do something that you are really driven to do. I loved to play baseball and, because I loved it, I practiced it. Some of us have limitations, but if you are passionate about something and if you have the drive, then you can accomplish it.

Thanks to Jim for answering my questions. It really means a lot. And thanks to Nikki Warner at the MLBPAA for making the connection. Anyway, thanks so much for reading this interview. I hope you enjoyed it and check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

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