Sox in Seven? Not During the Curse

Hey baseball fans!

I found out that I have a Baseball Hall of Fame birthday buddy, but I won’t reveal who that is until my birthday, February 21st. But for my next couple of posts, I’ll be talking about things related to him. So, for this post, it’s time to talk about one of the greatest World Series droughts in history: the Boston Red Sox from 1918-2004.

In 1919, Babe Ruth was sold by the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees for $100,000. At the time, the exchange didn’t seem like the worst deal in the world, but it ended up being basically just that. You see, prior to the sale of Ruth, the Red Sox were arguably the best team in baseball history, winning five of the first 15 World Series, but after their fifth championship in 1918, the Sox did not win the big one for a whopping 86 years. Because of the coincidental timing of the Sox selling Ruth and the drought, the deal with the Yankees became known as the Curse of the Bambino.

However, Boston did make four World Series during the 86-year period: 1946, 1967, 1975, 1986. In 1946, Ted Williams and the BoSox squared off against Stan Musial and the St. Louis Cardinals. In what is considered one of the more heartbreaking Series of all time thanks to a fielding mishap by Sox shortstop Johnny Pesky in Game Seven, the Cards took the ’46 Fall Classic in seven games. In 1967, the Red Sox and Cardinals again met in the World Series, but Bob Gibson and the rest of the Cardinals’ squad were able to pitch their way to another World Series title in seven games.

In 1975, the Red Sox met the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series. Both clubs were full of All Stars and this Series is considered one of the best of all time. Like in 1946 and 1967, the Series came down to a seventh game, thanks to a walk-off, Series-tying 12th-inning homer by Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk in Game Six. Sadly for Bostonians, the Reds took Game Seven and the Series. 11 years later, the Red Sox and Mets faced off on baseball’s biggest stage. Boston was one strike away from winning their first championship in 68 years, but the Mets rallied and walked off in  Game Six because of a botched attempt to field a ground ball by Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner. With all the momentum on their side, New York took care of the Sox in Game Seven to keep the Curse of the Bambino alive.

So you know that my Hall of Fame birthday buddy was involved with the Red Sox. That’s all I will tell you for now. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

Ruth and Aaron: Different Era, Similar Careers

Hey baseball fans!

Today and tomorrow, baseball will be celebrating two very important birthdays: Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth! Aaron was born on February 5, 1934 and Ruth was born on February 6, 1895. Besides their birthdays, what is similar between these two great Hall of Famers? Ruth played in the ’20s and ’30s, while Aaron played in the ’50s and ’60s, so how alike could they be?








Power, Power, and more Power

Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth are second (755) and third (714), respectively, in career home runs and are two of three hitters in baseball history to collect over 700 of them. They are also back-to-back on the all time RBIs list at one (2,297) and two (2,214), respectively, and are only two of four hitters to drive in 2,000+ runs in a career.

The Leader of a Dynasty

Babe Ruth won three World Series with the Red Sox in 1915, 1916, and 1918, but he was the true catalyst for the Yankees’ World Series triumphs in 1923, 1927, 1928, and 1932. He led the team (and the league for that matter) in most offensive categories during the championship years and made each of his teammates a better ballplayer. A few decades later, Hank Aaron was leading his Braves to back-to-back World Series appearances in 1957 and 1958. The Milwaukee Braves’ 1957 pennant turned out to be their only World Series victory during the Aaron era, but those two years were still some of the best in Braves history.

The Stars of Their Eras

Ruth was absolutely the best hitter in baseball during the time when he smacked long balls in the Bronx, which explains why he was inducted in the first ever Baseball Hall of Fame class in 1936. Aaron, even though his era was dominated by hitters like Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Duke Snider, and Roberto Clemente, was probably also the best hitter in baseball during his time. These two titans on the diamond really flourished under the spotlight.

But the question still remains: which one of these great baseball players was better, Ruth or Aaron? 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.”

Piazza’s Healing Homer

Hey baseball fans!

Growing up in the suburbs of New York, 9/11 has always been an important day for me, my friends, and my family. For my young kid readers who aren’t familiar with why this date is significant, on September 11, 2001, four planes were hijacked by terrorists and flown directly into the Twin Towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and a field in Pennsylvania, killing thousands of people. The United States and especially the area surrounding the Big Apple was devastated. Professional baseball games in New York City were cancelled after the attack, but even when they resumed, it was hard to forget the events that people had just witnessed. One ballplayer needed to step up and bring the nation together. That player would turn out to be 2016 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, Mike Piazza.

Mike Piazza struck fear into any pitcher he faced throughout his 16-year career from 1992-2007 with the Dodgers, Marlins, Mets, Padres, and A’s. The 62nd-round pick by LA became a perennial All Star, with 10 Silver Slugger Awards, 427 career home runs, a .308 lifetime batting average, and a .545 slugging percentage. Arguably the best hitting catcher of all time, Piazza became a fan favorite in the Mets organization, thanks to him being one of the driving forces in the Mets’ 2000 National League pennant run, and he was still playing his home games in Shea Stadium when the terrorist attacks on 9/11/01 occurred.

Ten days after those attacks, baseball resumed with a game at Shea Stadium, pitting the Mets against the Atlanta Braves on an emotional night for the entire USA. Atlanta was leading 2-1 entering the bottom of the eighth, when Piazza stepped up to bat with one out and pinch-runner Desi Relaford at first base. At the second pitch he saw from Braves reliever Steve Karsay, Piazza crushed the ball into deep left-center field for a two-run, go-ahead home run! Click here to see the home run. All of New York and the United States rejoiced as the Mets, on the back of the Piazza homer, won the game, 3-2.

Congratulations, Mike Piazza, on your ticket to Cooperstown. You had a wonderful career, but to be honest, you could have had that one at-bat against the Braves and still made it into the Hall. That’s how huge that shot was for baseball and the United States. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

A Snow-y Savior in San Francisco

Hey baseball fans!

In honor of Snowzilla 2016, let’s discuss one of the wackiest moments in World Series history. The moment doesn’t have to do with snow, but it does have to do with J.T. Snow. You may not know who J.T. Snow is, but he was a solid player for 16 seasons in the 1990s and 2000s, but perhaps his most famous moment in baseball came when he wasn’t even at the plate.

The Angels were playing in San Francisco against the Giants in Game Five of the 2002 World Series. Entering the bottom of the seventh inning, San Fran was up, 8-4. With two runners on, one out, and reliever Ben Weber on the mound for the Angels, Kenny Lofton stepped to the plate. On a 2-1 count, Lofton crushed a pitch to deep right center field for an eventual triple. J.T. Snow scored first as Lofton continued to sprint across the bases.

Meanwhile, Giants’ manager Dusty Baker‘s three-year-old son and Giants’ bat boy, Darren, went to get Lofton’s bat, but didn’t realize that Giants’ third baseman David Bell was still running hard towards home from second base, trying to score. Snow, however, did realize that and, as soon as he touched home plate, grabbed the young and tiny Darren and swooped him out of Bell’s way, avoiding a collision that would have made Dusty Baker’s family not too happy. Everything turned out okay in the end, though, as the Giants won the game by a final score of 16-4 and took a 3-2 lead in the Series. However, the Angels came back and won their first World Series in franchise history in seven games.

Oh well, Giants fans. At least your bat boy was unhurt and Dusty Baker didn’t get yelled at by his family (too harshly). By the way, if you want to see the play I just described to you, click here. 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 Original Griffey

Hey baseball fans!

Ken Griffey, Jr. is going to the Hall of Fame! But wait, who’s Ken Griffey, Sr.? He may be overshadowed by his son, but George Kenneth Griffey, Sr. was a great hitter. During his 19-year career from 1973-1991 with the Reds, Yankees, Braves, and Mariners, Griffey collected 2,143 base hits, 152 home runs, and 859 RBIs. The three-time All Star outfielder was a driving force for Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine throughout the 1970s. He was part of their two World Series championships in 1975 and 1976 after having two fine regular seasons. Combined, Griffey, Sr. batted .322 with 330 hits in those two Reds championship years. He batted over .300 in five other seasons besides the aforementioned ones and scored over 100 times in 1976 and 1977.

Griffey, Sr. was by far the best Griffey in baseball history until his son hit 600+ home runs en route to the Hall of Fame. But there is one moment that links the two together that is absolutely magical. On September 14, 1990, the Mariners were playing the Angels in Los Angeles. Ken Griffey, Sr. and Jr. were batting in the two and three spots in the Mariners’ lineup. In the top of the first inning, after a Harold Reynolds walk, Senior came up and hit a home run to make the score 2-0. Then, Junior hit a home run! It was and still is the only time that a father and son duo hit back-to-back home runs in baseball history.

So even though Junior is going to Cooperstown, Senior still had a great career and got to enjoy some of it as his son’s teammate. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

How Well Do You Know the MLB World Series Winners?

Hey baseball fans!

So I recently got into Sporcle, a website with tons of quizzes on lots of different topics. Being myself, I’ve been hooked on the baseball quizzes. The one baseball quiz that I have done consistently well on is the one where you have to write down every single World Series winner. My record for completing this quiz is three minutes and 21 seconds.

So why am I telling you this? Well, it’s very simple: I challenge you to beat my record. Click right here to do the quiz and make sure to send me your high score either by tweeting me @BaseballwMatt or by commenting in the comments section below. I believe in you! You can beat my score! You just have to try hard enough!

Check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

If I Had A Hall of Fame Ballot 2016

Hey baseball fans!

Hall of Fame voting is this Wednesday for the Class of 2016! I’m so pumped to see who’s going to get in, who’s going to barely miss the cut, and who surprisingly won’t make it. In honor of Hall of Fame voting season, here are the players who I think should get into the Hall in 2016 in their first year of eligibility:

Player One: Ken Griffey, Jr.

Why? He was a member of the All-Century team of the 1900s and only played for just a single decade (the 90’s) in the 100-year span. The 13-time All Star and 1997 AL MVP’s 630 career home runs and 1,836 RBIs rank sixth and 15th all time, respectively.

Player Two: Trevor Hoffman

Why? It’s very simple: the seven-time All Star and two-time saves leader is one of only two pitchers in baseball history with over 600 saves (601 to be exact). That 2.87 career ERA isn’t too shabby, either. He also helped the Padres get to the franchise’s second World Series in its history in 1998 by saving a whopping 53 games with an ERA of 1.48.  [Bonus from Matt: If Hoffman gets in, he will be my 16th HOF’er interview. Here’s the interview I did of Hoffman in 2013.]

Player Three: Billy Wagner

Why? He’s no Trevor Hoffman, but the seven-time All Star has a great case for the Hall of Fame in 2016. He saved 422 games during his career while posting an ERA of 2.31. Oh, and those 422 saves rank fifth all time.

Just to clear things up, Griffey, Hoffman, and Wagner are not the only players I think deserve to be in the Hall. I also think that Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell, Edgar Martinez, Alan Trammell, Jeff Kent, Tim Raines, and Fred McGriff belong in Cooperstown. Anyway, do you agree with my opinions? Leave your thoughts in the comment section. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

Three Wins in Three Cities? Which Team Did That?

Hey baseball fans!

Two posts ago, I asked you the following questions: There’s only one baseball team to win a World Series while playing in three different cities. What was the team and in which cities did they play their home games in which years? For those who answered each question correct, good job! If you didn’t, here are the answers.

The Atlanta Braves have won three World Series in franchise history and won each of them while playing their home games in different cities! How funny is that? Their first championship came in 1914 against the juggernaut Boston Red Sox, who already had won two of the first ten Fall Classics up to the ’14 season. On the back of a 94-59 record, the Boston Braves took care of the Sox in a four-game sweep.

The next Braves championship came in 1957, while playing their home games in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Milwaukee Braves had a great team which included Hall of Famers Warren Spahn, Eddie Mathews, Red Schoendienst, and Hank Aaron. They took down the Mickey Mantle-led New York Yankees in a heated seven-game series.

The third and most recent Braves World Series win was as the Atlanta Braves in 1995. The ’90s Braves made it to five World Series during the decade, but won it all only in ’95. With the help of a pitching staff that included Hall of Famers Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, and Tom Glavine, Atlanta took down the powerful Cleveland Indians in six games.

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

The Minor Leagues’ Home Run King

Hey baseball fans!

Most baseball fans are familiar with Barry Bonds, also known as baseball’s all-time home run king. But he’s just the MLB’s leader in home runs. “Who leads the minors in career homers?” you ask. The answer? A man named Mike Hessman.

Hessman went to Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California and was a star on the school’s baseball team. He was so good that he was drafted right out of high school by the Atlanta Braves in the 15th round of the 1996 MLB Draft. Hessman did great for the Braves’ minor league affiliates during his time in the organization. During these years, 1996-2004, he averaged 19 home runs a season. After the ’04 campaign, Hessman became a free agent and decided to sign with the Detroit Tigers. Despite singing with Detroit, he spent most of the time in the Tigers’ organization in Toledo with the franchise’s Triple A affiliate, the Toledo Mud Hens. His power numbers rose even higher with Toledo, as he smacked 28 home runs a season with the minor league club from 2005-2009. In fact, his power numbers actually helped the Mud Hens win the 2005 and 2006 International League championships, the ’05 win being their first in 38 years. On September 4, 2009, Hessman played all nine positions for the Mud Hens. He started as the catcher for the day and ended as the pitcher.

After the 2009 season, Hessman signed a minor league deal with the New York Mets, but only hit 18 home runs for their minor league teams in 2010. After playing with the Orix Buffaloes, a Nippon Professional Baseball team in Japan, in 2011, he returned to the MLB and signed a contract with the Houston Astros. His 2012 minor league campaign featured his career-high in home runs with 35 while playing for Houston’s Triple A affiliate, the Oklahoma City RedHawks. Hessman then signed with the Cincinnati Reds prior to the 2013 season and hit 25 for the organization’s Triple A affiliate, the Louisville Bats. After signing with the Tigers once again and while playing for Toledo on June 30, 2014, Hessman hit his 259th International League home run, a now-career record for that league. On August 3, 2015, while still playing for the Mud Hens, Hessman hit his 433rd career home run, which just so happened to have been a grand slam, setting a new minor league baseball record for the most home runs in a career. He also had 1,207 RBIs in the minors. On November 28, 2015, at the age of 37, Hessman announced his retirement.

I know I’m telling you all these minor league stats, but what about the Majors? Surely the minor league leader in home runs has had some major league experience, right? Well, not really. He did play in the Majors, but only for 109 games over five seasons with three different teams. During his time in the Majors, he batted only .188 with just 14 homers.  It just goes to show you how unpredictable the MLB can be. You can be one of the greatest hitters in the minors, but just not get your chance in the Majors. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

The Second Baseball with Matt Quiz

Hey baseball fans!

It’s time for another Baseball with Matt Quiz! Here’s the deal: answer the following question in the comments section. In my next post, I will reveal the answer. Here we go!!!!

 

There’s only one baseball team to win a World Series while playing in three different cities. What was the team and in which cities did they play their home games  anin which years?

It’s an easy question if you look it up, so for a challenge, don’t use any source material.

Do you think you can get the question right? Prove your answer to me in the comments section below. I hope you enjoy this BwM Quiz and thanks for participating. Check back soon for the answer to my question and more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

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