The Top 20 MLB Season Walk Leaders

February 6, 2016
Jimmy Wynn of the Astros is tied for 14th place on the list of MLB season walk leaders.

Jimmy Wynn of the Astros is tied for 14th place on the list of MLB season walk leaders. – Jeff Bagwell is tied for the 12th spot.

 

If there’s one idea that describes most of the men on the all time MLB list of Top 20 Season Walk Leaders, it is that all, but four of them had tremendous power. Only the three “Eddies” (Yost, Joost, and Stanky) and Jimmy Sheckard were simply little guys who knew both the strike zone and the arts of getting into the pitcher’s head about less explosive concerns. – Eddie Yost was so good at working the base on balls calls that he even drew his “the Walking Man” nickname from those skills.

The other guys on the list were bashers – and they all shared the ability to strike terror in the hearts of pitchers who knew darn well what probably would happen if they received a pitch too good to miss. As most of you know too, that fear of these batters grew with runners on base in a close game.

Barry Bonds and five others were the only men to ever receive the extreme strategic response to that fear of what might happen if they were allowed to hit with men in scoring position – but none of the others were on the top 20 season walk leader list. Bonds and company were given intentional walks with the bases loaded, a strategy dedicated to the idea that giving up one run for certain was preferable to the probability of giving up four with a grand slam. In chronological order, the six players given such passes are Abner Dalrymple (1881), Nap Lajoie (1901), Del Bissonette (1928), Bill Nicholson (1944), Barry Bonds (1998), and Josh Hamilton (2008). In all six cases, the pitching team went on to win the game with the help of this unorthodox strategy.

Here’s the list, thanks to Baseball Reference.Com:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/BB_season.shtml

The Top Twenty MLB Season Walk Leaders Table

# Player Bats Age Walks Year
1 Barry Bonds L 39 232 2004
2 Barry Bonds L 37 198 2002
3 Barry Bonds L 36 177 2001
4 Babe Ruth L 28 170 1923
5t Mark McGwire R 34 162 1998
5t Ted Williams L 28 162 1947
5t Ted Williams L 30 162 1949
8 Ted Williams L 27 156 1946
9t Barry Bonds L 31 151 1996
9t Eddie Yost R 29 151 1956
11 Babe Ruth L 25 150 1920
12t Jeff Bagwell R 31 149 1999
12t Eddie Joost R 33 149 1949
14t Barry Bonds R 38 148 2003
14t Eddie Stanky R 29 148 1945
14t Jimmy Wynn R 27 148 1969
17t Jimmy Sheckard L 32 147 1911
17t Ted Williams L 22 147 1941
19 Mickey Mantle B 25 146 1957
20t Barry Bonds L 32 145 1997
20t Harmon Killebrew R 33 145 1969
20t Babe Ruth L 26 145 1921
20t Ted Williams L 23 145 1942

 

Interesting to Note:

  • Barry Bonds leads all others in the Top 20 Season Walk list with six appearances – and he was over age 30 for each of those, achieving the all time record for season walks with 232 in 2004 at age 39.
  • Two former Houston Astros, Jeff Bagwell (12t in 1999) and Jimmy Wynn (14t in 1969) both made the Top 20 List.

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eagle

Culture of the Sandlot Grit and Grime

February 5, 2016
Eagle Field Former Home of The Pecan Park Eagles

Eagle Field
Post WWII Home of
The Pecan Park Eagles

 

We were just dirty, grimy little kids. Puberty had not yet knocked. We weren’t into “putting on social airs” for anybody in the sandlots of Houston’s east end. We just were “the way we were” at Eagle Field, that little quadruple house lot city tract of land that still exists today as Japonica Park. Besides, this was good old Houston in the late 1940s summertime. None of us had ever heard the term “air conditioning” in our part of town. Everybody we knew sweated normally in the Houston heat and humidity. Back in that day, those two qualities were the almost indistinguishable conditions of Houston indoor and outdoor air from late April to early October.

Heat? Humidity? Even those who showered in the morning prior to work or school couldn’t escape the facts. After a ten minute June ride in a car, even with all the windows down, you were going to start sweating and stinking again anyway by the time you reached your destination – so, we kids reasoned, what was the point of the bath in the first place?

And nobody wore shoes, even to the Saturday kid double feature at the Avalon Theatre on 75th, just north of the Lawndale intersection. The Avalon provided one special wrinkle to our preferred barefoot state. You had to get used to walking on the melted candy that other kids had dropped in the aisles and seat rows for weeks upon weeks of summer fun. They never cleaned the floors. It filled every rodent way seat file in the joint. What a party the Avalon’s unofficial residents must have enjoyed once the Avalon home of Roy Rogers, the Bowery Boys, and Charlie Chan shut down each evening ’round midnight.

The Avalon, however, was no big challenge to our dressing or hygienic preferences. Our calloused feet were as hard as rocks and as tough as leather – and none us individually smelled any worse than anyone else. Everybody eventually gashed a foot, once or twice, as a result of broken class or tin cans in the weed patches we all traversed, but, beyond the blood, that was nothing serious. Everybody expected it to happen to them too, sooner or later. And we all healed up on our own and kept on playing.

Tee shirts, blue jeans, and underwear were our standard attire for us guys, except for Sundays, when bathing, dressing up, and wearing shoes were the Lord’s Day penalty our parents attached to the business of going to church. Dads also were home on Sundays, enforcing an ordered way of life that did not quite exist during the rest of the week.

Of course, Sundays also were fun, especially the ones in which our destination was Buff Stadium, but we also enjoyed Sunday family dinners at Weldon’s Cafeteria on South Main or a first suburban-run A-movie at the Santa Rosa, Wayside, Eastwood, or Broadway theaters. My younger brother John and I both understood too the grown-up way of thinking – that you had to clean up and wear shoes for those kinds of places.

Come Monday morning again, however, it was back to the sandlot, where down and dirty was our way of life. Beads of sweat were our adornments, like so many pools of body ornamentation, collecting the grass, grit, and grime we rolled in on the ground – making sensational catches – or sometimes griming together in the wrestling matches we seemed to need to use up the energy that remained from a full day of baseball.

Then, on various linear-lined days that descended upon all of us from that Houston era, everything changed. First, puberty hit us all. Then came affordable home air conditioning. We now had two compelling reasons in Pecan Park for cleaning up, caring about our attire, our personal hygiene, and wearing shoes.

Before home A/C, the relative comfort of being inside wasn’t that much of a relief from the heat and humidity of being outside. Once we had home A/C in one room, we wanted it in all rooms. Then we had to have it in our cars too. And it wasn’t too long from then that people seemed to only want to go places that were air conditioned. I even remember one time at Buff Stadium in the 1950s hearing this older woman saying to a man I presumed was her husband: “Wouldn’t it be great if they could figure out a way to air condition Buff Stadium?”

“That’ll never happen,” the man responded. “Unless they also can figure out a way to play baseball indoors, that ain’t going to happen.”

Ancient Greek philosopher Plato once said that “necessity is the mother of invention.” He might have added that puberty is the reason that boys start taking baths, and he also could have thrown in the not-far-fetched theory that our addiction to air conditioning in Houston is what inevitably necessitated the construction of the Astrodome.

____________________

pecan park

 

 

Houston Baseball Forever

February 4, 2016

Buffs Pennant

Near the low eight foot ceiling – on my kid bedroom wall,

Was the face of hope rising – and also its fall.

The black and white outcomes – in sin and sweet grace,

Were both in the box scores – Buffs gain or lose pace.

 

Larry Miggins

With heroes named Larry – Jerry, Solly, and Frank,

We were – the Gang Knothole – a Baseball Joy Bank.

We came early for BP – and infield – and fungo,

Want a name funny? – Try Van Lingle Mungo!

 

13

And out in left field – was an old Cub Named Lou,

Whose Russian surname – dubbed him Novikoff too.

He once left his game spot – when nature did call,

He got back too late – to field a fair ball,

And the Knothole Gang stands – had the best view of all.

 

television_set,_pic6

 

And TV Buff games – on those ten-inch home screens,

Played like baseball as “Pong” – if you know what that means.

The struck ball did scurry – like a blurry white light,

Til a fielder got to it – so far from our sight.

But with only one camera – and no replay view,

Radio remained – as the best mind’s eye brew.

 

Jerry Witte Models the Late 1950 Uniform Shorts.

Sometimes a sick season – hit the cellar door skids,

As losses in big piles – invariably did.

“L”s held up Buff fans – from coming to games,

To see the same stories – so old – and so lame.

So Prexy Allen Russell – dressed the Buffs out in shorts.

As Jerry Witte – at first – shows obligingly here,

The fad would fade faster – than that sad ’50 year.

 

Jerry Witte & Roy Oswalt, 2001.

51 years long past – the summer shorts ruse,

Jerry Witte wasn’t singing – the summertime blues,

He threw out a first pitch – for the Astros. – for fun.

And who was his catcher? – Roy Oswalt’s – the one.

 

Buff Medallion Blue

Buffalos, Colts, and Astros too – this one’s forever – because it’s all true.

Early Houston Baseball – we love you – soul deep,

With reams of real joy – and scads of sad weep.

Let the record show clearly – that your history – we keep.

For history needs warriors – not pastoral sheep.

____________________

eagle-0range

 By Bill McCurdy, February 3, 2016.

 

Nine Big Factors in a New MLB GM Job Offer

February 3, 2016
Baseball Season Thoughts on a Winter Day

Baseball Season Thoughts on a Winter Day

 

As a baseball fan student of the subject, it has occurred to me that certain factors are key to the decision any general manager candidate may need to consider before accepting a job with any major league club.

If you are such a candidate, consider accepting the General Manager job, if:

  1. The club is already on the way to getting younger, not older, at the time you will start.
  2. The minor league system talent pool you will inherit is not completely dry.
  3. Ownership wants you to develop a club that can win it all; not to merely do enough to make the fans only think the club is trying to win, while you really are trying only hard enough to help the club afford a lower cost team that wins enough to keep the gate healthy.
  4. Ownership of the club (most of the time) will let you run the ship and stay out of the way.
  5. Think long and hard about taking a job with a late George Steinbrenner prototype owner, unless you don’t mind being fired and rehired routinely anytime “the boss” is in a bad mood – and you clearly understand going into the job that eventually you will be fired for “cause” and gone for good.
  6. A reputation for winning is strong with the interviewing club; be wary of jobs with clubs that haven’t won a World Series since 1908.
  7. Your team salary budget is big enough to acquire or sign a few star players.
  8. You are free to hire a field manager who will not try to do your job or resent you for taking a lot of credit for any success the team enjoys on the field.
  9. The big bucks you get for doing your job well are big enough to float your life style requirements.

But that’s not all. – The Pecan Park Eagle would love for the rest of you to submit your own recommendations by comment below on what you think a GM candidate should consider on his or her way to a new MLB GM job.

____________________

Cows & Bulls & Bluebonnets.

1930: Year of the Liveliest Baseball

February 2, 2016
1931: The Rabbit is Pulled from the Baseball Habit Victoria Advocate February 22, 1931 Cartoon Found By Darrell Pittman

1931: The Rabbit is Pulled from the Baseball Habit
Victoria Advocate
February 22, 1931
Cartoon Found By
Darrell Pittman

 

1930 is remembered by most of the game’s historians as the year of the liveliest baseball ever used in the big leagues. It came and went, however, without anyone in baseball officially taking responsibility for its coming and going after one season, and without it ever being an event that simply happened suddenly and then disappeared completely in 1931. The evidence of power baseball history tells us that it came over time in the fifteen years or so that preceded 1930, and that it never truly disappeared from the game to this day in 2016.

Had powerball disappeared totally after 1930, it is unlikely that Hall of Fame managers like Earl Weaver would ever have succeeded on his path to greatness with his implicit, but clear advice to table-setter hitters: “Get on base. Don’t steal. Wait for one of the big fellows to hit a home run.”

Of course, the 1968 “Year of the Pitcher”, starring Hall of Fame great Bob Gibson, did serve strongly as a pause button on power hitting – enough to bring about change in the lowered height of the pitching mound as an aid to batters in 1969, but power wasn’t going away, even if all the pitchers showed up as clones of Gibson that year. Crushed extra base hits and home runs were the fodder that put fannies in the seats of big league parks – and not the, 1-0, 1968 All Star Game model that MLB rolled out in Houston in the Astrodome.

Back up. How bad was the offensive balance in 1930? We could be here all night. Or you could. By simply following the road map provided at this link, you will be able to see and read for yourself what it was like. For me, the always remembered fact that the last place National League team, the Philadelphia Phillies, put up a .315 team batting average in 1930 – and still finished in the cellar with 102 losses – always has served as my anchor to the identity of that bombastic, but crazy-results season.

http://www.thisgreatgame.com/1930-baseball-history.html

To the best of our knowledge, the big leaguers of 1930 had no HGH assistance or anything else from the biochemical future to aid them in their everyday bombings.

~ Hurry up, 2016 Baseball Season! Some of us are running out of windows to look out of in our wait for you!

____________________

Play Ball!

Play Ball!

 

 

 

A Baseball Ed Hock and a Vintage Ball Ad Hoc

January 31, 2016
Ed-Hock

Ed Hock, 3B-OF Houston Buffs 1927-1933

ED HOCK – A BASEBALL MAN

Former Houston Buffs third baseman (1927-33) Ed Hock (5’10”, 165 lbs.) played long enough earlier in the big leagues (Cardinals, 1920) and (Reds, 1923-24) to go 1 for 10 with only a measly single to show for his bat at the highest level of a limited opportunity. On the minor league level, however, Hock would rack up 3,424 hits in a 22-year career (1921-42) that found him anchoring 3rd base for both the 1928 and 1931 Texas League Champion Houston Buffs in both 1928 and 1931, the latter year teaming with future Cardinal greats Dizzy Dean and Joe Medwick. Ironically, Houston’s lesser publicized as talented 1928 Buffs, the first residents of the new Buff Stadium, would also win Houston’s first Dixie Series Championship, whereas, the neophyte “Gas House Gang” core of the 1931 Buffs would fail to do so.

We didn’t have much time this weekend because of an all weekend, 19-classroom hour continuing education seminar that is connected to my “day job” at The Daily Planet. It has temporarily depleted most of the Eagle’s time and energy, but we hope you enjoy these two links submitted over the weekend by our real-time good friend and regular Pecan Park Eagle contributor, the always amazing Darrell Pittman.

Darrell Pittman "The Texas Bulldog of Baseball Research"

Darrell Pittman
“The Texas Bulldog of Baseball Research”

The first link provides us with a wonderful now fifty-two year old perspective on Ed Hock from the May 29, 1964 Victoria (TX) Advocate, a tale which also covers an unassisted triple play that Ed Hock had performed 27 years earlier than the article in 1927:

https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=gM1NAAAAIBAJ&sjid=3koDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6439%2C3436188

The other link is to the Baseball reference site page on Ed Hock. This one also contains the only photo we have of the man, the one we are using here:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.cgi?id=hock–001edw

There is another aspect to Ed Hock that cries out for deeper coverage at another time. – Baseball Reference shows Hock as a rare “left-handed” 3rd baseman-outfielder. – How did that happen? – And how well could that have worked for quick throws to 1st base on bunt plays? – Either “B-R” has made a rare reporting error here (which is doubtful) or there’s a great story on this angle out there that is just waiting to be told in greater detail and more loudly. – If you know anything about this aspect, please leave a comment or reference to anything you’ve read elsewhere on this subject.

Thanks again, Darrell! ~ And have a great Sunday evening, everybody!

____________________

 AD HOC ~ A VINTAGE BALL SCRIMMAGE

COPUS_IMG_6083

The Vintage Base Ball seed is growing in the Greater Houston Area. Yesterday in Katy, Texas the veteran Houston Babies, managed by Bob Dorrill; the newbie Barker Red Sox, managed by Bob Copus; the newbie Motor City Strikers, managed by Bob Blair; and the veteran Katy Combine, managed by Dave and/or Tom (C’mon, Man! What about Bob Flores? Don’t you have a Bob Flores in the family?) Flores all got together with some to a gob of their players to hold a hold stove league scrimmage at Katy City Park yesterday, January 30, 2016, on one of the most beautiful days we’ve had in this town for months.

The Pecan Park Eagle couldn’t be there to both report and join in the fun this time due to the CEU seminar, but we know our boys pretty well as all out games. We know they made the most of the joy they found on green grass under blue skies on a perfect weather day.

Who are these guys?

Only two team uniforms are discernible in the photo and my eyes are too challenged to name everyone in the photo. Bob Copus is the only Red Sox player I know, but I do think he’s the tall and slim fellow in the front row (4th guy from the right. just after the 3 guys in “H” shirts.) And those three guys on the front row with the “H” on their jerseys are, from the far right end, moving in, ~ Phil Holland, Bob Stevens, and the ever friendly and always lovable Babies mentor, Bob Dorrill.

Am I right?As your eyes move left from the guy I’m thinking is Bob Copus, I do see a guy wearing a New York Knights jersey in the front row. Must be Roy Hobbs. I wasn’t sure if he was even still above ground, but I guess so. After all. Pictures don’t lie, do they? And I’m betting my Adobe hat for sure that this one doesn’t!

The gang was also supposed to have a small group of observers from Sealy, Texas driving over to observe and maybe even join in the scrimmage. Not sure how that worked out, but we hope they made it. Our whole “Gang of Four” Houston area clubs is planning on playing at the Sealy, Texas Spring Festival this coming April and we are hoping they will be able to get up and running with us in the tourney with a team of their own.

If you have any interest in playing vintage base ball by 1860s rules (with no gloves), or if you would like to sponsor or put together your own team in the fastest growing new/old sport in our part of Southeast Texas, we encourage you to reach out to Bob Dorrill to talk over your options for getting started.

If there is sufficient interest and growth in and around Houston, our plans include organizing our administrative body as “The Texas Vintage Base Ball Union” and making league play a possibility in the near future. We already play one pre-game contest every year at the home of the Sugar Land Skeeters, Constellation Field in Sugar Land.

Come join us.Vintage Base Ball is the greatest fun will have had with baseball since the sandlot days of your childhood.

Here’s the e-mail address for Bob Dorrill, again, you contact for more information.

bdorrill@aol.com

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No Neck Williams Passes on Jan. 23, 2016

January 29, 2016
Walt "No Neck" Williams

Walt “No Neck” Williams

Walt “No Neck” Williams, the stubby looking little outfielder from Brownwood, Texas who signed as a 20-year old free agent with the Houston Colt .45s in 1963 has died. According to his wife, Ester, Williams passed away of a heart attack on Saturday, January 23, 2016, at age 72 in Abilene.

Williams broke into the majors on April 21, 1964 with the Colt .45s as a late inning defensive replacement for Jim Beauchamp in a 10-5 home loss at Colt Stadium to the Cincinnati Reds. He had no plate appearances that day and he would have to wait another three years for his first MLB hit after going 0 for 9 in 10 games for the ’64 Houston club. That first hit would come for the Chicago White Sox (1967-72). After 6 seasons with the Pale Hose, 1 year with the Cleveland Indians (1973), and 2 final seasons with the New York Yankees (1974-75).

Walt Williams finished his MLB career with a BA of .270 and 33 HR. His best season was 1969, when he hit .304 in 135 games for the White Sox. He never hit for power or had enough speed to steal many bases, but he was a steady player and good enough to last ten seasons in the big leagues – and that’s far better than most aspiring baseball players ever achieve.

In an article by Bobbie Dittmeier of MLB.com explains how Williams got his “No Neck” nickname: “The nickname ‘No Neck’ was hung on the muscular 5-foot-6 Walt Williams because of his physical appearance. A typhus injection he received in his neck when he was very young, following a flood in Brownwood, caused his neck to shrink.”

Hard to fathom? Here’s a link to the source article, which also contains a short summary of Williams’ after life in baseball following his release from the Yankees as a player in January 1976:

http://m.yankees.mlb.com/news/article/162981092/walt-no-neck-williams-dies

Rest in Peace, Walt Williams! Your passing at age 72 is another sad reminder of how time flies, but your early fans in Houston still remember you. It’s kind of hard to forget a guy who both owns and looks like he deserves the nickname of “No Neck.” Also, if you get a chance to play again in whatever realm of afterlife existence you now find yourself, get a hit for Houston. You owe us one.

____________________

eagle-0range

 

 

Bill Gilbert: 2015 MLB Offense

January 28, 2016

 

Bill Gilbert 05

SABR Analyst and Pecan Park Eagle Contributor Bill Gilbert Reports on the 2015 MLB Offensive Production Leaders. ~ Thank you, Bill for the hard work.

Who Were the Most Productive Offensive Players in 2015?

 By Bill Gilbert

Numerous methods have been devised to measure offensive performance. The most common are batting average, on-base percentage and slugging average. Since none of these averages provides a complete picture by itself, a more comprehensive measure of offensive performance is useful. Such a measure would include the following elements:

  1. The ability to get on base.
  2. The ability to hit with power.
  3. The ability to add value through baserunning.

The first two elements are measured by on-base percentage and slugging average. A measure of offensive performance, which encompasses both as well as baserunning achievements, is Bases per Plate Appearance (BPA). This measure accounts for the net bases accumulated by a player per plate appearance. It is calculated as follows:

BPA = (TB + BB + HB + SB – CS – GIDP) / (AB + BB + HB + SF)

Where: BPA = Bases per Plate Appearance

TB   = Total Bases

BB   = Bases on Balls

HB   = Hit by Pitch

SB   = Stolen Bases

CS   = Caught Stealing

GIDP = Grounded into Double Plays

AB   = At Bats

SF   = Sacrifice Flies

The numerator accounts for all of the bases accumulated by a player, reduced by the number of times he is caught stealing or erases another runner by grounding into a double play. The denominator accounts for the plate appearances when the player is trying to generate bases for himself. Sacrifice hits are not included as plate appearances, since they represent the successful execution of the batter’s attempts to advance another runner.

Major league BPA for the past fifteen years is shown below along with the number of players with BPA over .550 and .600:

Year   2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

BPA .468 .457 .461 .468 .456 .470 .463 .458 .461 .446 .442 .447 .440 .426 .440

.550    46   39 42   33   34   46   34 41   42 19   25   12   14     9   20

.600   26   17 15   18   13   14   15 11   16 7   7   5     3     4     9

Offensive production peaked in 2000 before declining in the early years of this century. BPA declined significantly through 2014 before an uptick in 2015.

In the 1990s, there were 14 individual .700 BPA seasons. In the eight year period from 2000 to 2007, there were 18. The highest BPA in the 1990s was recorded by Mark McGwire in 1998 (.799). Barry Bonds shattered that with .907 in 2001, the highest figure ever recorded, topping Babe Ruth’s best two years (1920 and 1921). Bonds followed that with .869 in 2002, .818 in 2003 and .882 in 2004. There have not been any hitters with a BPA of .700 since 2007. The last player to make it was Alex Rodriguez (.702) in 2007. Surprisingly, Albert Pujols has not had a .700 BPA in his fifteen seasons. His highest was .696 in 2009.

The .700 BPA seasons in 2000-2015 are listed below:

Player              Team           Year       BPA

Barry Bonds         San Francisco 2001     .907

Barry Bonds         San Francisco 2004     .882

Barry Bonds         San Francisco 2002     .869

Barry Bonds         San Francisco 2003     .818

Sammy Sosa         Chicago Cubs   2001     .758

Barry Bonds         San Francisco 2000     .745

Jim Thome           Cleveland     2002     .728

Manny Ramirez       Cleveland     2000     .726

Todd Helton         Colorado       2000     .720

Luis Gonzalez       Arizona       2001     .713

Todd Helton         Colorado       2001     .709

Carlos Delgado     Toronto       2000     .707

Larry Walker       Colorado       2001     .707

Jason Giambi       Oakland       2000     .706

Travis Hafner       Cleveland     2006     .703

Alex Rodriguez     NY Yankees     2007     .702

Jason Giambi       Oakland       2001     .700

Ryan Howard         Philadelphia   2006     .700

 The yearly leaders since 1992 are as follows:

1992 Bonds        .734 1993 Bonds     .740 1994 Bagwell .768

1995 Belle        .692 1996 McGwire .765 1997 Walker  .770

1998 McGwire      .799 1999 McGwire   .735 2000 Bonds  .745

2001 Bonds       .907 2002 Bonds     .869 2003 Bonds    .818

2004 Bonds        .882 2005 D. Lee   .699 2006 Hafner   .703

2007 A. Rodriguez .702 2008 Pujols   .685 2009 Pujols   .696

2010 Bautista     .671 2011 Bautista .681 2012 Trout   .665

2013 C. Davis   .670 2014 Trout     .623 2015 Harper   .694

The benchmark for an outstanding individual season is .600. Following is a list of the only six players with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title and with a BPA of .600 in 2015. The list is topped by Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals with a BPA of .694, the highest since Albert Pujols recorded a .696 in 2009.

 Bases per Plate Appearance (BPA) of .600+ in 2015

————————————————-

 No. of 2014 2015    .600+

   Player           BPA  BPA LG Seasons Comments

  1. Bryce Harper     .464 .694   N   1   Breakout season.
  2. Paul Goldschmidt .594 .638   N   1   Does everything well.
  3. Mike Trout   .623 .636   A   4   Over .600 in each of his 4 full seasons.
  4. Joey Votto       .496 .633   N   3   On-Base Average of .459 in 2015.
  5. Chris Davis       .477 .607   A   2 Led majors in HR with 47.
  6. Nelson Cruz      .537 .600   A   1   Strong hitting year in a pitcher’s park.

If you are looking for AL MVP Josh Donaldson, he finished 7th with .594.

Three other players had a BPA over .600 in 2014 but failed to qualify in 2015.

No. of 2014   2015     .600+

   Player           BPA  BPA LG Seasons Comments

1 Giancarlo Stanton .614 .635  N   1   Failed to qualify due to injury.

2 Andrew McCutchen .613 .569   N   1   Bad start led to lower season numbers.

3.Jose Abreu       .600   .518   A   1   Didn’t quite measure up to rookie year.

Three active players have a BPA over .600 for their careers:

2015         Career

Player            Age            BPA           BPA   Comments

————-      —     —-       —-   —————————

Mike Trout           23     .636       .634   Quick rise to the top.

Alex Rodriguez       39     .534       .605   Strong recovery in 2015.

Albert Pujols       35      .502       .603   Power OK but averages declining.

Another list of interest is of players with a BPA of over .600 in 2015 who did not have enough plate appearances (PA) to qualify for the batting title.

Player           Age BPA   PA   Comments

————— —  —- —   —————————

Mikey Mahtook     25 .658 115   Strong finish after Tampa Bay call-up.

Giancarlo Stanton 29 .643 375   Season cut short by injury.

Franklin Gutierrez32 .624 189 Productive when healthy.

Corey Seager     21 .619 113 Dodgers top prospect.

Curt Casali       26 .607 113   Good power from TB backup catcher.

Looking at the other end of the spectrum, sixteen players who earned enough playing time to qualify for the batting title had a BPA less than .400 in 2015. Last year, twenty five players were on this list.

Player                         BPA   Team

—————–             —   —————

122 Jace Peterson                 .395   Braves

123 Chase Headley                 .394   Yankees

124 Jimmy Rollins                .393   Dodgers

125 Avisail Garcia                .388   White Sox

126 Pablo Sandoval                 .377   Red Sox

127 Freddy Galvis                 .374   Phillies

128 Alexei Ramirez               .374   White Sox

129 Starlin Castro                 .369   Cubs

130 Jean Segura                 .365   Brewers

131 Erick Aybar                  .361   Angels

132 Angel Pagan                   .361   Giants

133 Chris Owings                  .360   Diamondbacks

134 Andrelton Simmons            .359   Braves

135 Yadier Molina                .357   Cardinals

136 Alcides Escobar                .355   Royals

137 Wilson Ramos                  .347   Nationals

Four players compiled a batting average over .300, an on-base average over .400, a slugging percentage over .500 and bases per plate appearance over .600 in 2015.

Player             BAVG       OBA       SLG       BPA      OPS

Bryce Harper        .330     .460     .649     .694    1.109

Paul Goldschmidt     .321      .435     .570     .638     1.005

Joey Votto           .314     .459     .541     .633     1.000

Another means of measuring offensive performance is Bases per Out, also called Total Average. The top 10 players on both lists for 2015 are shown below.

Bases per Plate

Appearance             –                Bases per Out

1 Bryce Harper     .694   Nationals  – 1 Bryce Harper    1.274 Nationals

2 Paul Goldschmidt .638   Diamondbacks – 2 Joey Votto       1.162 Reds

3 Mike Trout        .636   Angels   –   3 Paul Goldschmidt 1.131 Diamondbacks

4 Joey Votto      .633   Reds  –      4 Mike Trout      1.057 Angels

5 Chris Davis      .607   Orioles   – 5 Miguel Cabrera   1.016 Tigers

6 Nelson Cruz     .600   Mariners –  6 Josh Donaldson     .967 Blue Jays

7 Josh Donaldson   .594  Blue Jays –  7 Jose Batista       .963 Blue Jays

8 Jose Bautista   .590   Blue Jays –  8 Edwin Encarnacion .957 Blue Jays

9 Edwin Encarnacion .588   Blue Jays –  9 Anthony Rizzo     .957 Cubs

10 Anthony Rizzo   .585   Cubs  –   10 Chris Davis        .956 Orioles

The lists are quite similar with nine players appearing on both lists. Harper is on top of both lists by a sizable margin and the same four players are on the top of both lists but in a different order. Votto and Cabrera rank higher on the Total Average list because they have high batting averages and draw a lot of walks while Davis and Cruz get much of their production from extra base hits but they make more outs.

Bill Gilbert

1/27/16

____________________

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Come On, Opening Day!

January 27, 2016

Crawford Blue Skies

Sunny spring skies – bring ’em bright on,

Won’t be long now – til old winter’s gone,

No more dumb staring – out the stupid-wish window,

Or wasting more time – on an ancient Nintendo.

 

Baseball the game – will be back in H-town,

Generating each smile – and killing each frown,

With Carlos Correa – and Altuve too,

Our future looks bright – as the skies turn to blue.

 

So grab up your tickets – and crank up the car,

If you spring forty bucks – your park won’t be far,

But don’t leave today – or you’ll feel like a dunce,

‘Cause the season won’t start – for another two months.

 

Just hang in there, ‘Stros fans – our day will soon come,

And this year feels special – no settling for crumbs,

Rangers and Royals – the rest of you too,

Better watch out – we’re gunning for you!

____________________

Come On, Opening Day!

2016 – the Year of the Houston Astros – is finally here!

In 2016 – let’s finally end the wait that began in 1962!

_____________________

Houston_Astros_2013-Pres_Jersey_Logo_iron_on_transfer_2

 

 

Rest in Triumphant Joy, Marie “Red” Mahoney

January 25, 2016
Red Mahoney had time to sign autographs for fans after the "women in baseball" panel discussion at the 44th Annual National SABR Convention in Houston. Summer of 2014

Red Mahoney had time to sign autographs for fans after the “women in baseball” panel discussion at the 44th Annual National SABR Convention in Houston.
Summer of 2014

The Game of Baseball, the City of Houston, and the State of Texas has surrendered one of its most precious citizens and, most importantly, America is now forced to say goodbye to one of the pioneer ground-breakers for women in competitive sports .

Emily Marie “Red” Mahoney passed away on Saturday, January 23, 2016 in Houston at 91, following a long period of several months in declining health. Until that time, “Red”Mahoney, one of the surviving former ground-breakers in the post World War II Women’s League ( the female baseball union that became so popular to contemporary movie audiences in “A League of Their Own” with Tom Hanks, had been an active participant in the Houston-based Larry Dierker Chapter of SABR, the Society for American Baseball Research.

Among numerous other honors, Red Mahoney was inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006. She also served importantly as a resource person on the history of women in baseball for our Houston SABR 2014 publication, “Houston Baseball: The Early Years, 1861-1961.”

For a more extensive history of her public accomplishments, please check out her current biography on Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_Mahoney

I first met Red Mahoney ten years ago during my term as Board President of the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame.

Marie “Red” Mahoney was a delightful person to be around. She was a person of great integrity and humble grounded bearings. I think she saw herself as an everyday person who never felt the need to hide behind a public celebrity face, even though she had done some extraordinary things, but that doesn’t mean she was unaware or dismissive of her athletic abilities. I once asked Red, who was cute as a bug in her youth too, if she ever came close to getting married. “Not really,” she smiled. “I think the ones I might have cared to date were afraid that I might be too much competition for them on the baseball diamond. Back in the day, a lot of men used to only want women who ‘knew their place’, so to speak.”

We are grateful that you took your talents and life choices where your passions for baseball, softball, and golf were major to your heart’s desires and abilities. No old school guy was going to put you in the kitchen and leave you there. You never allowed it to happen. As a result, the world, especially the world of baseball, is all the richer for it.

We shall miss you, Red Mahoney, but we shall treasure our memories and the love-for-the-game-and-life presence that you brought into our lives forever.

Red’s funeral is scheduled for Saturday, February 6, 2016, in the Heights. Stay tuned and check the newspapers for further details.

___________________

valentine-baseball-swoosh


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