The Crime Dog

Hey baseball fans!

Lou Gehrig sure did play in a lot of consecutive games, 2,130 to be exact, and during that time, he hit a lot of home runs, 493 to be exact. Actually, Gehrig shares his spot on the all-time home run list with  a hitter who isn’t in the Hall of Fame, but scared pitchers to death when they faced him. His name is Fred McGriff.

Fred “Crime Dog” McGriff played for 19 years in the MLB from 1986-2004 with the Blue Jays, Padres, Braves, Cubs, Dodgers and Rays. The five-time All Star first baseman was feared by pitchers all across baseball for one reason and one reason only: his power. In 15 seasons, McGriff hit 20 or more home runs and, in ten of those years, hit 30 or more home runs, leading the league in the category in 1989 and 1992. But he wasn’t all about the long ball. McGriff scored 90 or more runs in four seasons and drove in 90+ runs in a season 12 times, with eight of those times being more than 100 RBIs. Of course, no hitter is complete without his ability to smack the ball all over the field, which Crime Dog could do as well. During his career, he collected 2,490 hits and batted .284 lifetime.

McGriff put up some great statistics, but what’s arguably more compelling about his career is the outcomes of the trades in which he was involved. First, after the 1990 season, the Blue Jays shipped him and Tony Fernandez to the Padres for future Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar and 1993 World Series hero Joe Carter. Without that trade, Alomar might not have a plaque in Cooperstown and the Jays wouldn’t have won the ’93 World Series. If you think I’m done with important trades involving the Tampa, Florida native, then you’re wrong! In July of 1993, Toronto traded McGriff to the Atlanta Braves. Without that trade, Atlanta probably wouldn’t have beaten out the San Francisco Giants in one of the tightest races for a divisional championship in baseball history. With the Braves in 1993, McGriff hit 19 home runs in 68 games and came in fourth in the MVP voting!

Like I mentioned before, Fred McGriff is not in the Hall of Fame, but hopefully, he will someday deservedly get into the Hall. I think he should get in because he was so close to 500 home runs and even if he didn’t make it to the big 5-0-0, he was still one of the best sluggers of his generation. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

The All-Time Home State MLB Standings (And Champion)

Hey baseball fans!

I recently saw this website that had the starting fielders, if the all-time greats of the game played for their home states. As I read this site (which you can access by clicking here), I thought to myself, “What would happen if these super-teams played each other in a 162-game season?” Well, I’m going to answer that question in this post. I’ve organized the 25 teams mentioned in the article into five divisions of five teams and predicted how each state would do based on the team listed in the article. So, without further ado, here are the All-Time Home State MLB Standings.

Northeast: 
Pennsylvania 99-63
Maryland 93-69
New York 89-73
New Jersey 86-76
Massachusetts 70-92

Southeast:
Alabama 102-60
Arkansas 85-77
Georgia 84-78
Florida 80-82
North Carolina 75-87

Midwest:
Ohio 95-67
Illinois 90-72
Minnesota 81-81
Michigan 73-89
Indiana 67-95

South:
West Virginia 85-77
Nebraska 83-79
Virginia 82-80
Oklahoma 81-81
Missouri 77-85

West:
California 104-58
Texas 93-69
Washington 80-82
Canada 75-87
Oregon 69-93

Now it’s time for the playoffs! The All-Time Home State MLB Playoffs will function like half of the regular MLB format. The five seed will play the four seed in a Wild Card round of one game and the winner of that game will face the number one seed in the best-of-five semi-finals. In the other semi-final, the two and three seeds will play and in the finals, the winners of the two semi-final series will face off in a best-of-seven series. The winner of the finals will be declared the champion.

Wild Card Round: 
Ohio beats West Virginia

Semi-Finals:
California beats Ohio in a sweep
Alabama beats Pennsylvania in five games

Finals: 
Alabama beats California in seven games

ALABAMA WINS!!!!!!

So why do I think that Alabama would win this league’s championship? It’s simple: Willie Mays and Hank Aaron. Enough said.
Do you agree with my predictions? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoy it. Check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

 

Some Very Punny Hall of Fame Surnames

Hey baseball fans!

The MLB season is officially under way and baseball’s home run leader so far is a rookie for the Colorado Rockies named Trevor Story. When I saw Story’s home run numbers skyrocket, I could already envision all of the puns that Rockies fans could make when he hits one out of the park, like “It’s Story time!” or “Boy, do I have a Story for you!” But what if all Hall of Famers had punny surnames? Well, I’ve come up with some pretty good ones. Take a look!
Original Name: George Herman “Babe” Ruth
Punny Name: George Herman “Babe” Kingsley
Why? Ruth was the all-time home run king for a very long time and I’m sure actor Ben Kingsley would be more than happy to share his last name with one of the all-time greats in baseball history.
Original Name: Hank Aaron
Punny Name: Hank Hammerschmidt
Why? For those of you non-House of Cards fans, Tom Hammerschmidt is a journalist on the Netflix political drama and was casually nicknamed “The Hammer.” Wouldn’t you know it that Hank Aaron’s nickname was “Hammerin’ Hank?”
Original Name: Willie Mays
Punny Name: Willie Smiles
Why? It is impossible to find a video of “The Say Hey Kid” not smiling. Also, with this new name, people could say, “He’s all Smiles.”
Original Name: Stan Musial
Punny Name: Stan Mann
Why? His nickname was Stan the Man. Take out the “the” and the new punny name works.
Original Name: Randy Johnson
Punny Name: Randy Rocket
Why? He’s got a rocket for an arm, so I think this name fits.
Original Name: Dennis Eckersley
Punny Name: Dennis Clutch
Why? You have to be able to pitch in the clutch in order to be one of the greatest closers of all time, which is exactly what Eck did for his entire career. Fans would say, “He’s so clutch!”
Honorable Mention: Vin Scully
Punny Name: Vin Angel
Why? He’s been a broadcaster in the city of angels since 1958 and if I could use one word to describe Scully’s voice for broadcasting, it would be heavenly.
What other names can you come up with? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

The New York Football Yankees

Hey baseball fans!

Besides baseball, I am a very big football fan and I’ve always wondered where some of the greatest Yankees of all time would play on the football field. In today’s post, I’m going to create a Yankees football team. If you’d like me to do this with other teams, let me know in the comments section.

Quarterback: Lou Gehrig

Why? Gehrig isn’t known for his arm, but his leadership is unparalleled in not only Yankee history, but also baseball history. He would be the best two-minute drill quarterback ever because of his calm attitude and his strong management skills. And he played football at Columbia.

Running Back: Joe DiMaggio

Why? DiMaggio would glide across the field as a RB. His speed and elusiveness would easily get him 1,000+ yards a season.

Wide Receiver: Mickey Mantle

Why? He’s basically a clone of DiMaggio, but his catching ability is just a little better than The Yankee Clipper. He would be hampered by injuries, but when he’s healthy, he would be a star.

Tight End: Dave Winfield

Why? He’s a 6’6″ Gold Glove outfielder. Enough said.

Offensive Lineman: Jorge Posada

Why? There aren’t many “offensive lineman-big” Yankees, but Posada is a catcher, a position that requires the ability to block the plate, much like how an OL must block the quarterback. Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra would be in the conversation if they weighed over 200 pounds.

Defensive Lineman: Babe Ruth

Why? Ruth was pretty big, powerful, and wild. Even if he didn’t sack the quarterback at all, he would draw so much attention from opposing offensive lines because of his reputation that his fellow defensive linemen would breeze past the offensive line.

Linebacker: Bernie Williams

Why? Linebackers need to be quick, have tackling ability, and lead the defense at its core. What better person to choose than Williams, who was a powerful, agile staple in the Yankees outfield for 16 seasons?

Cornerback: Willie Randolph

Why? Cornerbacks don’t have to be so tall; they just need to be fast. Randolph is 5’11”, which is around the quintessential height for a CB, and was one of the greatest base stealers in Yankee history.

Safety: Derek Jeter

Why? Jeter was fast and aggressive when he played at shortstop, two qualities that are very necessary to be a Hall of Fame-worthy safety. His leadership skills would also benefit him a lot.

Do you agree with my picks? Let me know in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

And if you’d like to read up some more on the Yankees, please check out my book on baseball history, Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers, which has a whole chapter on them. And all of my proceeds go to charity!! [Just click on the book name and it’ll take you right to its page on Amazon.]

My Award Predictions for the 2016 MLB Season

Hey baseball fans!

The 2016 MLB regular season has officially started, which means it’s time for my predictions for the major award winners for the 2016 MLB campaign.

AL MVP: Mike Trout, Angels

Why? He might not be on the best team in his division, but Trout has the numbers to be an MVP. In my opinion, Trout’s incredible stats will lead the Los Angeles Angels to a playoff spot, whether that be one of the two Wild Card spots or the AL West crown. I can see him batting over .300 with 40+ homers and 120+ RBIs.

NL MVP: Andrew McCutchen, Pirates

Why? One of the best all-around players in baseball, McCutchen should have a great, MVP-worthy 2016 season for two reasons. First, he’s the best outfielder out of the three outfielders that comprise arguably the best outfield in baseball (Cutch, Gregory Polanco, and Starling Marte). Second, he’s part of such a formidable lineup that even if he doesn’t lead the league in home runs, his RBIs, runs scored, batting average, and walks should all be up this year.

AL Cy Young Award: Felix Hernandez, Mariners

Why? King Felix has consistently been a Cy Young candidate over the past couple of seasons, but hasn’t gotten the run support to back him up. Now, with Robinson Cano having an awesome Spring Training and start to the season, as long as King Felix continues to perform like he has in the past, he should be a Cy Young Award finalist and, most likely, the winner of the award.

NL Cy Young Award: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers

Why? It’s plain and simple: he’s Clayton Kershaw. He’s the best pitcher in baseball. Period. And it doesn’t look like he’s slowing down any time soon.

AL Rookie of the Year: Byung-Ho Park, Twins

Why? Park, a designated hitter from Korea signed by the Twins this past offseason, is an experienced, slugging Korean superstar who hit 50+ home runs the last two season in the Korean Baseball Organization. If those stats don’t translate into MLB stardom, then I don’t know what will.

NL Rookie of the Year: Corey Seager, Dodgers

Why? Seager played in 27 games last season for LA and batted .337, which is not half bad. He has the MLB experience and the fans in Chavez Ravine love him, so he should do pretty well in 2016.

Do you agree with my picks? Let me know your thought in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

The Mexican Babe Ruth

Hey baseball fans!

Obviously you’ve heard of Babe Ruth, possibly the best hitter in MLB history. You may have also heard of Josh Gibson, who is considered by many to be the best hitter in Negro Leagues history. However, have you heard of Hector Espino, arguably the best hitter in Mexico’s baseball history? Neither did I until I did some research, and boy he put up some stats that Ruth would applaud.

Espino started his baseball career in Mexico in the Mexican League in 1962 with Monterrey, when he hit 23 homers and batted .358 en route to winning Rookie of the Year. He also played winter ball in the Mexican Pacific League and, that winter, batted .402, a record that stood until he broke it ten years later. He took home the league’s MVP honors that year and the year after. Espino won his first summer league batting title in ’64, when he batted .371 while homering 46 times and driving in 117 earned runs. He was so feared throughout the league that he was intentionally walked a record 30 times and his 332 total bases that year were second in league history. All of these accolades made him a target for the MLB’s St. Louis Cardinals, who signed him later that year and sent him to the Triple A team. He did just fine there, but that was the last time he played professional baseball outside of Mexico.

Espino continued to hit the ball at an alarming pace, batting over .330 in each summer season from 1965-1968, but had an “off” year in ’69 when he “only” batted .304. 1970 was one of his least productive years in the summer, but Espino had a killer winter, winning his eighth Mexican Pacific League batting title and third MPL MVP, becoming the first player in league history to win more than two MVPs (and he would go on to win three more MPL MVPs in his career). Espino only batted under .300 in the 1970s once and finished his career in 1984.

Espino was eventually inducted into the Caribbean Hall of Fame, Salon de la Fama (Hall of Fame in Spanish) and was part of the first class of Latino Baseball Hall of Fame inductees in 2010. In total, the Mexican slugger hit over 453 home runs during his career in the Mexican League and is one of two players in the Mexican Pacific League to have a lifetime batting average of .300 or better. It would have been great to see him play in the Majors (maybe even team up with Lou Brock in St. Louis), but it was also great that he got to play in front of him home fans. Thanks so much for reading this and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

 

My Top Five Favorite Cubans in Baseball History

Hey baseball fans!

The Tampa Bay Rays took on the Cuban national baseball team the other day in an exhibition game, the first MLB game in Cuba since 1999. In honor of such a momentous occasion, here are my top five favorite Cubans in baseball history:

Number Five: Yoenis Céspedes

Why? Although he gets traded a lot, this power-hitting outfielder was the sole reason for the Mets’ 2015 NL pennant run. He has averaged 26.5 homers and 91.75 RBIs per season in four years in the MLB. He’s also got a very impressive collection of cars.

Number Four: Luis Tiant

Why? The man with the crazy windup was one of the best foreign pitchers of his era, with 229 wins from 1964-1982. The three-time All Star won 20 or more games four times and struck out 200+ batters three times.

Number Three: Minnie Minoso

Why? He may be more known for his five appearances at 50+ years old, but Minoso is much more than that. One of my grandpa’s favorite players ever, the seven-time All Star was the first big Latin MLB star and appeared in the MLB for the first time right after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. The speedster led the league in stolen bases and triples three times apiece and batted an astounding .298 lifetime.

Number Two: Bert Campaneris

Why? One of the catalysts for the A’s three championships from 1972-1974, Campaneris made a name for himself on the base paths, leading the league in steals in six seasons (four of them were consecutive). His 649 reported acts of larceny are 14th on the all-time list and he always seemed to be in the MVP race.

Number One: Tony Pérez

Why? It’s very simple: he’s the only Cuban-born MLB Hall of Famer. The seven-time All Star was the first baseman for Cincinnati’s “Big Red Machine” of the 1970s and Philadelphia’s “Wheeze Kids” of 1983. From 1964-1986, Pérez batted .279 lifetime with 379 homers and 1,652 RBIs. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000. And I even interviewed him! Here’s the link to my interview with Tony Perez.

Do you agree or disagree with my picks? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Anyway, thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

The New York Yankees March Madness Bracket and Results

Hey baseball fans!

March Madness is this Thursday! NCAA Basketball fans (including myself) are salivating over the start of the biggest and most exciting collegiate sporting tournament of the year! In honor of that, I’m going to do my own version of March Madness, but with the best Yankee teams in the franchise’s history. I’m only going to do four teams from four different eras in this tournament and try to predict the winner of each game. If you would like to see more of these types of posts throughout March Madness, write a comment in the comments section below with suggestions on which teams to use.

The Seeding:

#1 Seed: 1927 New York Yankees

Why? The team’s nickname is “Murderers’ Row,” which is pretty self-explanatory.

#2 Seed: 1998 New York Yankees

Why? They have the most combined single-season wins in the regular season and postseason in baseball history: 125

#3 Seed: 1961 New York Yankees

Why? How does a team with two of the best home run hitters of the era in Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris and a gaggle of other stars across the diamond not make this tournament?

#4 Seed: 2009 New York Yankees

Why? This team could hit for average, smack the ball out of the ballpark, and, most importantly, come up in the clutch.

The Games:

Game One: 2009 Yankees vs. 1927 Yankees

Winner: 1927 Yankees

Why? CC Sabathia was awesome in ’09, but there is no way he would be able to handle the bats of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and company. Derek Jeter and the gang would put up a fight, but they wouldn’t be able to defeat Hall of Famer Waite Hoyt.

Final Score: The 27 team wins 9-6.

Game Two: 1961 Yankees vs. 1998 Yankees

Winner: 1961 Yankees

Why? Whitey Ford isn’t a Hall of Famer for his friendship with the Mick; he was a pretty darn good pitcher. Yes, the ’98 squad could’ve put up a fight, but they would rely too much on just getting on base instead of focusing on the long ball like the ’61 team.

Final Score: The 61 team wins 5-1.

The Championship: 1961 Yankees vs. 1927 Yankees

Winner: 1927 Yankees

Why? It’s very simple: “Murderers’ Row” would pretty much destroy Ralph Terry and I’m sure Herb Pennock would survive the critical start against the M&M Boys. Ruth and Gehrig might not hit home runs, but hitters like Tony Lazzeri and Earl Combs would definitely help when it came down to the final innings.

Final Score: The 27 Yankees win it all 6-3!!

Do you think I’m right or am I completely off? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

And if you want to read up more on the Yankees of the past, please check out my book, Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers: An Introduction to Baseball History, which is still a top 20 bestseller in its category on Amazon a year after its initial release.

My Top Five Canadians in Baseball History

Hey baseball fans!

North American countries are represented throughout baseball, but a lot of people forget that Canada has produced some pretty amazing players. With that, here are my top five favorite Canadians in baseball history:

Number Five: Eric Gagne

Why? Gagne became the NL single-season leader in saves in 2003 when he saved 57 games. The three-time All Star also won the Cy Young Award that year, becoming just the fifth NL reliever to win the award. He finished his career with 187 saves.

Number Four: Russell Martin

Why? One of the best catchers of his generation, Martin is a four-time All Star and placed second in the MLB in 2015 in home runs by a catcher with 23. In ten years in the league he has hit 142 home runs and is projected to have a very decent 2016 season.

Number Three: Larry Walker

Why? This five-time All Star, seven-time Gold Glover in right field, and three-time Silver Slugger was one of the first great players of the Colorado Rockies franchise. He batted .313 lifetime while also homering 383 times in his career.

Number Two: Joey Votto

Why? The 2010 NL MVP and four-time All Star always seems to be in the Most Valuable Player conversation. He’s led the league in walks in four of the last five seasons and has batted .311 in his career. Oh, and his 192 career home runs aren’t too shabby, either.

Number One: Ferguson Jenkins

Why? Was there really any doubt that Jenkins would be #1? The Canadian-born pitcher is the only Canadian in the Baseball Hall of Fame and for good reason: 284 career wins, a lifetime 3.34 ERA, and 3,192 career strikeouts (12th all time). What a career!

What do you think of my list? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

 

Boggs’s (Tampa) Bay Blast

Hey baseball fans!

Spring Training is here, which means it’s time to discuss the history of baseball in Florida and Arizona! Today, I want to talk about a beloved former member of the Tampa Bay Rays and his 3,000th hit, which was a unique “first” in baseball history.

Wade Boggs was perhaps the best contact hitter in the American League in the 1980s. The third baseman won Gold Gloves and batting titles left and right for the Boston Red Sox from 1982-1992, but didn’t achieve arguably baseball’s most wanted award: a World Series ring. So, he took his talents to another AL East team, the New York Yankees. There, he was just a role player, but ended up winning his only World Series ring in 1996, when his Yankees beat the Braves in the Fall Classic. But the man known as the Chicken Man still hadn’t accomplished the goal for any contact hitter in baseball history: 3,000 hits. Naturally, one would think that the best team to be a part of when collecting hit number 3,000 is the Yankees, a historical juggernaut where the drama is bumped up by a ton. Well, that is exactly what Boggs did not do. Instead, during the offseason before the 1998 MLB season, he signed with the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

The Chicken Man wasn’t his old self in Tampa Bay, but he still was an exciting piece to the Floridian expansion franchise. He played with the team for two years to culminate his career and in the last year of his amazing career, 1999, he made history. The date was August 7, 1999 at Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field, where the struggling Rays hosted the superpower known as the Cleveland Indians. The game was a slugfest, as Cleveland won the game, 15-10, but Devil Rays fans didn’t care because their star reached the milestone of 3,000 hits.  Boggs went 3-4 that day with four RBIs and two of those RBIs were part of history. In the bottom of the sixth with Terrell Lowery on first base and Indians reliever Chris Haney on the mound, Boggs stepped up to plate with 2,999 career base hits. On a 2-2 count, he smacked a pitch to deep right field for his 3,000 career hit, becoming the first hitter in baseball history to achieve the feat on a home run!

Since then, two Yankees have reached 3,000 hits on home runs: Derek Jeter in 2011 and Alex Rodriguez in 2015. However, it was Wade Boggs who was the first to do it. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

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