Brothers of Baseball Hall of Famers

Hey baseball fans!

Some would say that the ability to make it onto a professional sports team comes from training hard, while others will say it’s hereditary. In the case of the ballplayers you’ll be reading about in today’s post, it’s definitely the latter. So, I’m sure that you’ve heard of Hank Aaron, Christy Mathewson, and Honus Wagner, right? Well, did you know that their brothers also played baseball? Yes, Tommie Aaron, Henry Mathewson, and Albert “Butts”  Wagner all had at least a little MLB experience, but they were nothing compared to their bros.Tommie Aaron had the most major league experience out of everyone I’m going to talk about in today’s post. In his seven years in the MLB, he batted .229 with 13 home runs and 94 RBIs. Just like the Alou Brothers, Tommie and Hank were actually teammates, as they played together in the Braves organization in all of Tommie’s seven years of big league ball. Although Hammerin’ Hank has better stats basically all across the board compared to his little brother, there’s one major statistic where Tappin’ Tommie (the alliteration doesn’t really work) has the Hall of Famer beat: fielding percentage. Hank’s lifetime fielding percentage is .982, while Tommie’s is .985.

Henry Mathewson only pitched two seasons in baseball, both years for the New York Giants, but at least he was on the same team as his brother, Hall of Fame pitcher Christy Mathewson. During those two years, 1906 and 1907, Henry started just a single game, but lost it. He appeared in two more contests during his career, but then that was it. Henry, who is six years younger than Christy, finished his very short career with an ERA of 4.91.

Albert “Butts” Wagner may have only played one year in baseball, 1898, but unlike Tommie Aaron and Henry Mathewson, Wagner’s younger brother, Honus, was the Hall of Famer in the family. In Butts’s 74 games in professional baseball, he batted .226 with a homer and 34 RBIs. To put that into perspective, Honus Wagner’s 1898 season was subpar, at least for his standards. The Flying Dutchman batted only .299 with only 176 hits. Momma Wagner must have been a very proud mom. While I couldn’t find the origin for Albert’s unique nickname, here’s an interesting poem that I found entitled, At Least You’re Not Butts Wagner, which was written by Theodore Geisel (better known as Dr. Seuss).

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

P.S. My next book signing is on April 26th at noon at the Barnes & Noble in Springfield, NJ. Hope some of you can make it.

My First NJ Book Signing

Hey baseball fans!

My book tour keeps on rolling along. Yesterday, I did my first book signing in my home State of New Jersey. It was held at the very cool Words bookstore in Maplewood, NJ.

Lots of family and friends came, as well as some people who I didn’t know but just wanted to read my book.

The afternoon started with a Q&A session by Walter Friedman, my publisher, and then some audience questions.

Following the Q&A, I sat down at a table they set up for me to sign books.  Overall, it was a great time.

 

For those of you who missed it, my next book signing is on April 26th at noon at the Barnes & Noble in Springfield, NJ.

And tune in again soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

10 Random Facts About the World Series

Hey baseball fans!

Are you ready for ten random facts about the World Series? Well, you better be, because here they come!

Fact #1: The first pinch-hit home run in World Series history was hit by Yogi Berra. He smacked the gonner in Game Three of the 1947 World Series against Dodgers pitcher, Ralph Branca. Yogi’s Yanks lost the game, but eventually won the Series in seven.

Fact #2: The teams with the most World Series championships without ever losing one are the Blue Jays and Marlins. Both teams have won two Fall Classics.

Fact #3: Whitey Ford holds the World Series record for the most consecutive scoreless innings pitched: 33. The previous record-holder was none other than Babe Ruth, who pitched 29 2/3 innings of scoreless World Series baseball.

Fact #4: Deacon Phillippe has a record for the most innings pitched in a single World Series: 44. He set this record in the 1903 Fall Classic while pitching for the Pirates, going 3-2 with an ERA of 3.07.

Fact #5: The Boston Red Sox made it to four World Series during their 86-year long World Series championship drought (1946, 1967, 1975, 1986) and every one of them went to seven games.

Fact #6: Former Yankee managers, Joe McCarthy and Casey Stengel, each won a record seven World Series during their managerial careers.

Fact #7: The Braves are the only baseball team to win the World Series while playing their home games in three different cities: Boston in 1914, Milwaukee in 1957, and Atlanta in 1995.

Fact #8: Only two teams have never gone to the Fall Classic: the Seattle Mariners and the Washington Nationals.

Fact #9: Out of the teams that have both won and lost at least one World Series, the Pittsburgh Pirates have the best winning percentage at .714, having won five Series and only losing two.

Fact #10: The World Series has been won by a Wild Card team six times. The Marlins have won both of their World Series (1997, 2003) as the National League Wild Card team.

Thanks for reading these ten World Series facts. I hope you enjoyed them and check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

Vander Meer Shines on Opening Day 1943

Hey baseball fans!

Just a couple of days ago was Opening Day for the 2015 Major League Baseball season! In honor of this, I want to tell you a little bit about one of the best Opening Day performances of all time. So, I invite you on a magical journey to 1943, where together we will witness the superhuman feats of Reds pitcher and master of the no-hitter, Johnny Vander Meer.

John Samuel Vander Meer had a very respectable pitching career with the Reds, Indians, and Cubs from 1937-1951 (he missed 1944-1945 due to the army). His claim to fame is that he is the only pitcher in history to throw two no-hitters in two consecutive starts, which he accomplished on June 11 and 15, 1938. However, those weren’t the only stellar starts he had during his 13-year career. In fact, his Opening Day start in 1943 against the Cardinals is ranked as one of the greatest performances on Opening Day in MLB history.

Vander Meer took the mound for the Cincinnati Reds on April 21, 1943 to face the St. Louis Cardinals and their starting pitcher, Mort Cooper (pictured below), at Crosley Field in Cinci in front of roughly 27,000 excited fans. Although the spectators probably wanted a slugfest, they got the complete opposite of it. Johnny was doing great after eleven straight innings of shutout baseball, but Mort was doing just the same, until he gave up a walk-off single to Reds right fielder Max Marshall that won the game for the Queen City, 1-0. It was a valiant effort on both sides, but it was Vander Meer who got the win, while Cooper was stuck with the loss. Besides not giving up a single earned run, Johnny Vander Meer also kept the Cards off the base paths, only giving up two hits and five walks to go along with his three strikeouts. Not a bad way to start the season!!

Johnny went on to have a pretty good season in 1943, going to the All Star Game and finishing the season with a record of 15-16 and a league-leading 174 strikeouts. 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 Babe

Hey baseball fans!

The Sultan of Swat. The Caliph of Clout. The Behemoth of Bust. The Bambino. The Babe. All of these nicknames are attributed to one man and one man only: George Herman “Babe” Ruth, perhaps the greatest hitter to ever play the game of baseball. But believe it or not, he actually started off as a pitcher. If you want to learn how he transitioned from the mound to the batter’s box, read ahead.

Babe Ruth was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He was a very mischievous kid and was forced by his parents to live and study in St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys. There, he learned how to play the game that would eventually make him famous: baseball. So, like I said before, Ruth started out as a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox in 1914 and actually wasn’t that bad. In his Sox pitching career, he went 89-46 with an ERA of 2.19 and even set a record (that has since been broken by Whitey Ford) for the most consecutive World Series scoreless innings pitched (29 and two thirds). However, due to a shortage of players on the Sox roster because of World War I, Ruth had to switch to the outfield, where Ruth did pretty well, leading the league in home runs in both seasons he was in Boston’s starting lineup. However, Red Sox owner Harry Frazee was not happy with the Babe’s loud and rambunctious personality and because of this, in 1920, he was shipped to the New York Yankees in exchange for $100,000, which at the time was a lot of money. Even though Frazee and the Red Sox did get a lot of money for their former pitching star, the Yankees got the better end of the deal by far. For 86 years, from 1918 until 2004, the Red Sox won exactly no World Series and the fans blame this on the Ruth deal, aka the “Curse of the Bambino.”

Ruth hit 54, 59, and 35 home runs, respectively, from 1920-1922, for the Yanks. In the two later years, the Yankees even reached the World Series, but lost both of them to the Giants. But everything changed in 1923. The Yankees opened up a new stadium, Yankee Stadium, and Ruth hit the first home run there. Eventually, the Yankees did get their first of 27 World Series wins by beating the Giants in the ’23 Fall Classic in six games. Babe continued to put up monster home runs year-after-year and it all came together for him and his team in 1927. Not only did the ’27 Yankees win 110 games and the World Series that year, but Babe Ruth also hit a then-record 60 home runs!!

The transcendent hitter continued to post excellent statistics all across the board for the next several years, but the most memorable and recognizable moment of his career was the “Called Shot.” In Game Three of the 1932 World Series versus the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, Ruth took two called strikes from pitcher Charlie Root, and then supposedly pointed to center field as if saying “I’m gonna hit the next pitch into those seats,” and miraculously, he did. It’s one of the most disputed gestures in baseball, but the “Called Shot” was said to be true by Ruth himself. Two years later, in the first ever All-Star Game in 1934 at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Ruth hit the first ever All-Star game homer!

Babe Ruth changed the game of baseball. He made home runs relevant because he hit so many of them, 714 to be exact, which is now third on the all-time list. He also batted an amazing .342 lifetime, drove in 2,214 career RBIs, and set the record for the highest slugging percentage in baseball history (a record that still stands today) at .690. Obviously, he was one of the first five players elected into the first Hall of Fame class in 1936 (along with Christy MathewsonTy CobbHonus Wagner, and Walter Johnson) and is considered one of the best players in baseball history. There will never be another Babe Ruth because the Bambino was just that great.

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

My First Ever Book Signing

Hey baseball fans!

A lot of you know that I recently had a baseball history introduction book published by Summer Game Books called Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers.  The book came out last September in e-book form, and is now coming out in paperback, just in time for baseball season.  Anyway, now that the book is finally “autographable,” I’ve started to get some book signings set up for me by my publisher (Walter Friedman) and by my dad.

Well, last Thursday, March 26th, I did my first ever book signing at the famous Bergino Baseball Clubhouse at 67 East 11th Street in New York City, which is owned by Jay Goldberg.  If you haven’t been there, and you love baseball, it’s a must-see place full of memorabilia, art, cool gifts, custom baseballs and much more.

I arrived at Bergino early around 5:45pm, so I had time to finish my language arts research paper. Jay said it was the first time that an author had ever done homework in the Clubhouse. By about 6:30pm, people started arriving for the 7pm event, so I started signing some books early.

Around 7:15pm, Jay sat down next to me, and did a twenty minute interview of me. Then he allowed the audience to ask questions for about another twenty minutes. Here’s a link to the actual post that Bergino Baseball Clubhouse put up about the signing including the podcast they recorded.  There were about 40 people sitting plus about ten more standing.

Probably one of the coolest things was seeing my book in the Clubhouse window, for sale.

The night ended around 8:30pm. By the time it was over, I had sold about 50 books, made a few new friends, and had the time of my life!! I want to really thank Jay Goldberg who gave me a chance and allowed me to come into the Clubhouse and do a signing. I will never forget that kindness or the experience itself.

I can’t wait for my next book signings!! So far, I have three set up, all in New Jersey.

Here’s the information, in case any of you would like to attend:

-Words, Maplewood, NJ, 4/12 @ 4pm
-Barnes & Noble, Springfield, NJ, 4/26 @ noon
-The Teaneck Doghouse, Teaneck, NJ, 5/3 @ 5:30pm

Hope a lot of you can come to my signings. And check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

Matt Nadel’s MLB 2015 Predictions

Hey baseball fans!

Officially, all of the teams in the MLB have pitchers and catchers in either Florida or Arizona for spring training. This can only mean one thing: the 2015 MLB season is just around the corner! Because of this, I made a video that I posted on my YouTube channel of my five predictions for the upcoming baseball season. If you want to check it out, just click here.

Thanks for watching the video. If you enjoyed it, like the video, share it, and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Check back here on Baseball with Matt in a few days for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

My First Ever Spring Training Game!!!

Hey baseball fans!

I want to tell you about my recent trip to Florida! No, it wasn’t just a regular trip; I took a trip to my first ever spring training game!

Spring training is a month-long period for players to prepare for the season by actually playing games. But the games aren’t held in the teams’ seasonal stadiums. Instead, the eastern teams go play their home games in Florida, while the more western teams play their preseason contests in Arizona (and no, the Diamondbacks, Rays, and Marlins don’t play at Chase Field, Tropicana Field, or Marlins Park, respectively, during spring training). So, this weekend, I took a trip down to Delray Beach, Florida (by myself on a plane for the first time ever) to visit my grandparents. My grandpa, who’s an avid baseball fan, took me to see a spring training matchup of the Atlanta Braves against the St. Louis Cardinals.

During the month of March, the Cardinals play their games at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida, about 45 minutes from my grandparents’ apartment in Delray Beach. So yesterday, on March 21st, my grandpa and I went to the Stadium located on the campus of Florida Atlantic University and watched the Cards host the Braves.

Roger Dean Stadium is beautiful, even though it has the capacity to hold only about 6,900 seats. The stadium was packed to the brim. I didn’t realize that there were so many Cardinals fans living in Jupiter. It was very hot. The game time temperature was 84˚!!! Anyway, the pitching matchup for the game couldn’t have been better. For St. Louis, Adam Wainwright (left) made his first spring training start after finishing 2014 with 20 wins, and pitching for the Braves was Chien-Ming Wang (right), a former Yankee starter.

Now, both teams have stacked lineups, but undoubtedly, the fan favorite was Cardinals catcher, Yadier Molina (pictured below). The All Star has won two World Series with the club and is one of the best catchers in baseball today.

Even with Yadi in St. Louis’ lineup and Freddie Freeman in Atlanta’s, the game was scoreless through eight-and-a-half innings. However, the Cardinals finally won it in the bottom of the ninth on a walk-off single by Dean Anna. Cardinals win, 1-0! The game was super fun and I can’t wait to go to another spring training game next year. I highly recommend going to one.

Thank you so much to my grandparents (who are pictured below at a sports bar where we went for dinner) for hosting me this weekend and for taking me to the game. I couldn’t be happier with how this weekend played out. Anyway, thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers: An Update

Hey baseball fans,

I thought I’d use this post to give you an update on my book, Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers – An Introduction to Baseball History, which is being published by Summer Game Books.

As you may know, the book has been out in e-book form since about September and I am donating all of my proceeds to the four baseball-related foundations below:

Anyway, I have some really big stuff to tell you. First, the book will be out in paperback form in about two weeks and can already be pre-ordered on Amazon at this link. So far, I have all 5 Star reviews on Amazon, by the way. The book is about 100 pages long and has over 50 of the most iconic pictures in baseball history, in addition to what I wrote in each of the 26 chapters.
Here’s a picture of the Table of Contents, so you can have a sneak peek of what’s in the book:
Here’s what others in the baseball world are saying:
 
“Matt is a serious student of the game with a great appreciation and respect for baseball history. It is wonderful to see this level of passion in such a young fan.  Matt’s insight serves as an inspiration to all of us who adore our National Pastime.”  Jeff Idelson, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum President
 
“You can enjoy  big league baseball for  just being a cool game, or you can latch onto its history and really appreciate it. Is Mike Trout the next Mickey Mantle? Was Willie Mays better than Joe DiMaggio? Matt Nadel gets it.  And now he’s delivered a terrific book to get every young fan all caught up.   This is a walk off winner.”  Marty Appel, Author of Pinstripe Empire and former NY Yankees P.R. Director
 
“Matt’s passion for baseball brings me back to my youth, and serves as a reminder of why I fell in love with the game in the first place.  It’s about the people and their stories, and Matt’s appreciation of the history of the sport will serve as a wonderful source for the next generation of fans.”  Ian Eagle, sports broadcaster
 
“All I can say is READ THIS BOOK!! Matt has poured the essential
points of 150 years of baseball history into it in a way that only a kid
could do. While this book will teach you a lot, I think what it may do
even better is inspire you to read even more about the game that I love
so much.”
 Jim Palmer, Baltimore Orioles pitcher and Baseball Hall of Famer, and Foreword author for Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers

The book has even gotten some press, including:

Ron Kaplan’s Baseball Bookshelf SI Kids

The New York Post

MLB

The second big piece of news is I already have three book signings set up:

Bergino Baseball Clubhouse
67 East 11th St., NYC
March 26th at 7PM



Barnes & Noble
240 US 22, Springfield, NJ
April 26th at noon


The Teaneck Dogouse (a cool sports bar)
1415 Palisade Ave., Teaneck, NJ
May 3rd at 5:30PM

I hope a lot of you can come out to one of my signings. If not, just buy a paperback and I promise to sign it when I see you!!  It’s only ten bucks.

That’s it for now.  Tune in soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”








 

Where Are These Hall of Famers From?

Hey baseball fans!

Today’s post is going to be a bit different. Here’s how it’s going to go:

1) I will write down the names of six baseball Hall of Famers

2) In your head or with friends, try to guess the hometowns of said HoFers

3) Scroll down to the bottom of the post to see the answers

If you get them all right, good for you! If you don’t get any of these right, don’t worry about it.

a) Bob Feller

b) Babe Ruth

c) Ferguson Jenkins

d) Jackie Robinson

e) Ozzie Smith

f) Bert Blyleven

Now see if you can come up with the answers all by yourself and then scroll down.

a) Bob Feller-Van Meter, Iowa
It’s pretty simple how you remember that Feller is from this town in Iowa; his nickname is the “Heater from Van Meter.”

b) Babe Ruth-Baltimore, Maryland
Ruth is pretty famous for being born in the Charm City. In fact, he actually has a museum there.

c) Ferguson Jenkins-Chatham, Ontario, Canada
It’s fine if you didn’t guess the exact town where Fergie was born.  However, Jenkins’ birth country is important because in 1991, he became the first Canadian inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

d) Jackie Robinson-Cario, Georgia
Even when he was first born, Robinson faced racist comments in the South. However, he eventually overcame them and became the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball. Fun fact about Cairo: it is also the hometown of Teresa Edwards, a former professional basketball player who won four gold medals with the United States’ Women’s Basketball team in the Olympics.

e) Ozzie Smith-Mobile, Alabama
Not only was the Wizard born here, but also fellow Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, Sacramento Kings center, DeMarcus Cousins, and Cleon Jones, the left fielder for the Mets who made the last out of the 1969 World Series.

f) Bert Blyleven-Zeist, Netherlands
I would not expect anyone to believe that Blyleven is from the Netherlands, but he didn’t stay there for long. Even though both of Bert’s parents are from the European country, the family moved to Canada when the eventual pitcher was two and to California when he was five.

I hope you enjoyed this quiz. What quiz should I do next? Let me know in the comments section below. Anyway, thanks for reading this post. Check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

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