Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Gurriel’s 7 RBI are 2nd Best in Astros History

September 22, 2018

J.R. Towles set the Astros franchise record by banging out 8 RBI in an 18-1 win over the Cardinals on 9/20/2007. ~ Last night, Yuli Gurriel bagged 7 RBI in an 11-3 win over the Angels for the 2nd best one-game mark in team history.

Baseball is a game of almost all possibility ~ that we go to see in the hope of witnessing one of those great moments of supreme improbability as it materializes and comes to be ~ in the face of our watching ~ as it incredibly unfolds before our astonished-since-early-childhood eyes ~ and in ways that prompt reactions within us which range all the way from quiet simple pleasure to full-blown hysterical euphoria.

We Astros fans had one of those moments at Minute Maid Park Friday night, September 21, 2018. Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel had a 7-RBI night on a first inning grand slam, a third inning two-run homer, and a fifth inning single-run RBI of a runner from third base from a runners at first and third situation.

Those seven RBI were enough to plate all of the Astros’ first scores on their way to an 11-3 trouncing of the LA Angels on a night in which Gerrit Cole pitched great over a seven-inning course that also produced 12 strikeouts.

Had Gurriel managed the Ruthian-level improbable, and made that third trip to the plate a 3-run homer, he would have claimed 9 RBIs on the night – thus besting the current all time record of 8 one game RBIs, set by former short term Astros catcher J.R. Towles on September 20, 2007 – almost 11 years to this date earlier than the Gurriel new second place challenge record.

(See how it so often happens with these BIG improbables? – Even when they materialize, we continue to think of ways they might have been improved. Had Gurriel managed 4, 2, and 3 runner homers in his first three times up, we probably would have moved up the expectation dial just a tad and started hoping to see a bases-empty shot on his fourth AB – you know – just to be able to say that we had seen Gurriel hit for the cycle of all HR RBI possibilities in a single game.)

Back to planet earth. What follows is a brief AP clipping account of the J.R. Towles record game, plus a link to the box score of the Towles 8 RBI game, plus the usual up-to-date material we try to cover here about the current AL West title chase.

Have a great weekend, everybody, and don’t forget to watch today’s Angels @ Astros game because – “you never know.”

The J.R. Towles 8-RBI in One Game Record Moment:

September 21, 2007 (AP) Colorado Springs Gazette, Page 65:

Houston 18 St. Louis 1 (Thursday, September 20, 2007)

At St. Louis, Houston rookie Justin Towles went 4-for-4 with a franchise-record eight RBIs and the Astros reached season highs in runs and hits.

Behind a 23-hit attack, the Astros won for the fifth time in 15 games and surpassed their previous best for runs (15) and hits (22) established Sunday against the Pirates (September 16, 2007). The Cardinals, last year’s World Series champions, have lost 13 of 15 in a September swoon.

Link to Baseball Almanac.com Box Score of Houston 18 St. Louis 1 Game:

http://www.baseball-almanac.com/box-scores/boxscore.php?boxid=200709200SLN

********************

Top Ten AL Batting Averages 

Thru Games of Fri., 9/21/18: 

BATTING AVERAGE

1. Betts • BOS ~ .339

2. Martinez • BOS ~ .330

3. Trout • LAA ~ .316

4. Altuve • HOU ~ .314

********************

AL WEST SCORES, 

Thru Fri., 9/21/18:

Houston 11 – LA Angels 3.

Oakland 7 – Minnesota 6.

Texas 8 – Seattle 3.

 ********************

AL WEST STANDINGS

Morning of Sat., 9/22/18

TEAMS

WON

LOST

PCT.

GB

Houston

96

57

.628

 —-

Oakland

93

61

.604

   3.5

Seattle

84

69

.549

 12.0

LA Angels

75

79

.487

 21.5

Texas

65

88

.424

 31.0

********************

SCHEDULE BALANCE FOR

HOU, OAK & SEA:

DATE

HOU

OAK

SEA

9/22

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/23

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/24

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/25

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/26

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/27

@BAL

TEX

9/28

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

9/29

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

9/30

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Astros Take Boston Opener

September 8, 2018

Alex Bregman, Age 4
Albuquerque, New Mexico
“The Stare” had a more benign beginning.

The boys got it done late on Friday night at Fenway. Juiced again by the punch of Bregman, Kemp, Gurriel and White, the Astros came roaring back from a sawed off bat evening over the first 6 innings. Three in the 7th overturned a 2-0 Red Sox lead; three more in the 8th converted a 3-3 tie into a 6-3 Astros margin and signature on an important victory against the team in baseball currently with the best record.

A two-bagger by Bregman was his 48th of the year. That one, another double by Yuli Gurriel, and a clutch 2-RBI two-bagger by Tony Kemp in the 8th, plus a shut-your-mouths serial tandem pitching job by Rondon and Osuna of the Astros in the 8th and 9th settled the matter, allowing Houston to maintain their 3.5 game lead over Oakland, who later that same eve defeated the Texas Derangers out on the west coast.

********************

AUG27-2018-SAM-STARE

The Bregman Stare ~ As demonstrated by good friend and SABR colleague, Dr. Sam Quintero at Minute Maid Park, 9/27/2018. ~ Just in case this exposure to the  “el ojo malo” at the top of yesterday’s column is what helped do the Red Sox in Game One of their series with our Astros. ~ Indeed, if that is the case, let’s stare ’em a few in today’s Game Two! ~ Play It Again, Sam!

********************

A Peek at the AL Batting Average Race 

Through Games of Fri., 9/07/18: 

BATTING AVERAGE

1.

Betts • BOS

.339

2.

Martinez • BOS

.335

3.

Altuve • HOU

.317

4.

Segura • SEA

.314

5.

Trout • LAA

.306

6.

Merrifield • KCR

.303

7.

Brantley • CLE

.303

8.

Smith • TBR

.301

9.

Bregman • HOU

.300

10.

Wendle • TBR

.29

********************

AL WEST SCORES,

Thru Fri., 9/07/18:

Houston 6 – Boston 3.

Oakland 8 – Texas 4.

NY Yankees 4 – Seattle 0.

LA Angels 5 – Chicago WS 2.

********************

AL WEST STANDINGS

Morning of Sat., 9/08/18

TEAMS

WON

LOST

PCT.

GB

Houston

88

53

.624

 —-

Oakland

85

57

.599

   3.5

Seattle

78

63

.553

 10.0

LA Angels

69

72

.489

 19.0

Texas

61

80

.433

 27.0

********************

SCHEDULE BALANCE FOR

HOU, OAK & SEA:

DATE

HOU

OAK

SEA

9/08

@BOS

TEX

NYY

9/09

@BOS

TEX

NYY

9/10

@DET

9/11

@DET

@BAL

SD

9/12

@DET

@BAL

SD

9/13

@BAL

@LAA

9/14

@AZ

@TB

@LAA

9/15

@AZ

@TB

@LAA

9/16

@AZ

@TB

@LAA

9/17

SEA

@HOU

9/18

SEA

LAA

@HOU

9/19

SEA

LAA

@HOU

9/20

LAA

9/21

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/22

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/23

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/24

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/25

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/26

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/27

@BAL

TEX

9/28

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

9/29

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

9/30

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

 

“What Else Could Be Perfect For Us?”

September 1, 2018

“What Else Could the Three of Us Do Together That Would Be Perfect for Us?” ~ Asks Jose Altuve in the popular HEB Food TV Commercials.*

* Well, Jose, as we wrote about more generally this morning in our Thursday column, you three guys could get together and, just by being the actual talents you each already are, and solve the mystery of the missing hum in our batting order.

Forever Framber. The absence of early run support for rookie pitcher Framber Valdez, was sorely felt Friday and could not be overcome alone by his great talent and personal confidence in his own stuff. It got him through five scoreless innings and a yield of only two Angel hits, but a run charged to him in the sixth caught Valdez with his first MLB loss when veteran Colin McHugh couldn’t resist letting that runner score and adding a couple of extra runs from his own bag as his Astros reliever that same inning.

As our latest victimized starter to suffer from the lack of early run support, young Valdez deserved a better fate, but that’s not how it works in this era. In low early scoring games, the pitch count almost guarantees that at least one of the starters is going to receive a loss that’s more tied to his club’s lack of early hitting than it is his own quality mound work. It not only happens to the greats of Justin Verlander’s rarified ilk, but to rookies like Framber Valdez as well.

Unfortunately, Jose, you three HEB store stars did accomplish something in the bottom of the eighth that we hope to not see again too often. With the Astros trailing, 3-0, Josh Reddick led off the bottom of the eighth with a single to center and went to third on a sharp double down the right field line by Tony Kemp.

Wow! Hope springs again! With runners on 2nd and 3rd, and nobody out, here comes George Springer to the plate with a chance to either make this a one-run deficit game with a hit that stays in the park ~ or maybe he even ties it up with one of his still famous “dingers” into the Crawford Boxes that also jars the nuts loose from the screws holding the rafters in place at MMP.

Doesn’t happen. After a spirited struggle with some serious heat from the 6’6″ Angels’ Ty Buttrey, George Springer fans for the first out. Alex Bregman then walks against the giant speedballer Angel to load the bases with one out.

“MVP! MVP! MVP!” becomes the crowd’s game soundtrack as you walk to the plate this time, Jose Altuve. Wow! Any Astros fan could write the movie version for Hollywood, We all know when the pregnant moment has arrived, And this is it: It’s our “Popeye” taking on their “Blutto” to the bittersweet resolution of all conflict.

But somebody forgot the spinach.

Jose Altuve goes down swinging hard for the second out. Now it’s up to Carlos Correa to do something about those three potential scoring starers at each base/ He give it his all, running the count all the way out, but there’s apparently too much rust left upon him as a result of the DL time away. Carlos Correa pops a feebly low pop fly down the first base line near the bag. It’s on its way to becoming out number three and the eighth inning rally’s final third failure.

We all witness the frustration in Correa. It is a perplex that we all share, by the way, in this latest moment of joy denied. Again. Carlos Correa tries to strangle the bat on his hapless trot to first during the short air flight of out number three. The ball is easily caught for the third out and the last call for any serious chance of winning this game dies unanswered..

OK, so most of us around here understand that baseball pretty much imitates everything about life, except for the pay scale, but let’s hope this business of you three special guys almost single handedly killing our best chance of winning a particular game in a single inning together doesn’t happen again ~ or, at least, anytime soon.

Just be something near your 2017 selves, if possible, and everything should be OK again.

********************

A Peek at the AL Batting Average Race 

Through Games of 8/31/18: 

BATTING AVERAGE

1. Mookie Betts

Boston Red Sox

.341

2. J.D. Martinez

Boston Red Sox

.333

3. Jose Altuve

Houston Astros

.326

4. Jean Segura

Seattle Mariners

.317

********************

AL WEST Contender Scores

Through Games of 8/31/18:

LA Angels 3 – Houston 0.

Oakland 7 – Seattle 5.

********************

AL WEST STANDINGS:

Morning of Sat., 9/01/18

TEAMS

WON

LOST

PCT.

GB

Houston

82

53

.607

 —-

Oakland

81

55

.596

   2.5

Seattle

75

60

.556

   7.0

LA Angels

66

69

.489

 16.0

Texas

58

77

.430

 24.0

********************

SEPTEMBER

1

LAA

SEA

@ OAK

2

LAA

SEA

@ OAK

3

MIN

NYY

BAL

4

MIN

NYY

BAL

5

MIN

NYY

BAL

6

7

@BOS

TEX

NYY

8

@BOS

TEX

NYY

9

@BOS

TEX

NYY

10

@DET

11

@DET

@BAL

SD

12

@DET

@BAL

SD

13

@BAL

@LAA

14

AZ

@TB

@LAA

15

AZ

@TB

@LAA

16

AZ

@TB

@LAA

17

SEA

@HOU

18

SEA

LAA

@HOU

19

SEA

LAA

@HOU

20

LAA

21

LAA

MIN

@TEX

22

LAA

MIN

@TEX

23

LAA

MIN

@TEX

24

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

25

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

26

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

27

@BAL

TEX

28

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

29

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

30

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

A 1″ Pitch Mistake = A 400′ Baseball Ride

August 29, 2018

“DAD GUMMIT! ~ WE CAN’T WIN ‘EM ALL, BUT…. WE LET GAME 2 IN THIS SERIES WITH THE A’S SLIP TOO EARLY AND AGAIN TOO LATE DOWN THE BAD TIMING PITCHES SIDE TO BE RECOVERED IN THE NAME OF VICTORY! ~ GO GET ‘EM IN GAME 3 THIS AFTERNOON, ASTROS!”

********************

A Peek at the AL Batting Average Race 

Through Games of 8/28/18: 

1. J.D. Martinez, BOS

.338

2. Mookie Betts, BOS

.336

3. Jose Altuve, HOU

.329

4. Jean Segura, SEA

.315

4. Manny Machado, BAL

.315

********************

AL WEST Contender Scores

Through Games of 8/28/18:

Oakland 4 – Houston 3.

San Diego 2 – Seattle 1.

********************

AL WEST STANDINGS:

Morning of Wed., 8/29/18

TEAMS

WON

LOST

PCT.

GB

Houston

81

51

.614

—-

Oakland

80

53

.602

1.5

Seattle

74

58

.561

7.0

LA Angels

64

69

.481

17.5

Texas

58

75

.436

23.5

********************

AUGUST

HOUSTON

0AKLAND

SEATTLE

29

OAK

@ HOU

@ SD

30

LAA

SEA

@ OAK

31

LAA

SEA

@ OAK

SEPTEMBER

1

LAA

SEA

@ OAK

2

LAA

SEA

@ OAK

3

MIN

NYY

BAL

4

MIN

NYY

BAL

5

MIN

NYY

BAL

6

7

@BOS

TEX

NYY

8

@BOS

TEX

NYY

9

@BOS

TEX

NYY

10

@DET

11

@DET

@BAL

SD

12

@DET

@BAL

SD

13

@BAL

@LAA

14

AZ

@TB

@LAA

15

AZ

@TB

@LAA

16

AZ

@TB

@LAA

17

SEA

@HOU

18

SEA

LAA

@HOU

19

SEA

LAA

@HOU

20

LAA

21

LAA

MIN

@TEX

22

LAA

MIN

@TEX

23

LAA

MIN

@TEX

24

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

25

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

26

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

27

@BAL

TEX

28

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

29

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

30

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Baseball Lifer Doc Edwards Passes

August 21, 2018

Doc Edwards passed away on Monday, August 20, 2018 at the age of 81. The former MLB catcher (1962-65, 1970) and the manager of the Cleveland Indians will be missed by all who benefited from his 57 year career in professional baseball at all levels of play. ~ May he never be forgotten and may his soul rest in peace.

Ira Liebman of the Sugar Land Skeeters has sent us a beautiful summary of Doc Edwards’ gift to the game and we quite gladly post it here for the readership of The Pecan Park Eagle.  Thank you, Ira, for good work generously shared.

********************

Baseball Lifer Doc Edwards Passes

San Angelo, TXToday we lost a great baseball man and an even better person, Doc Edwards. Doc, 81, spent over half a century of his life in baseball and was still managing up until 2014, finishing a career that last 57 years in the game. Edwards, who earned his nickname “Doc” after serving as a former Navy medic, was born Howard Rodney Edwards.

Doc Edwards

Former Cleveland Indians scout and Pirates Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner signed Doc as an amateur free agent in 1958. The Red Jacket, West Virginia, native made his Major League debut on April 21, 1962, in Yankee Stadium while playing for the Tribe. In his first plate appearance, he drew a walk against the legendary Whitey Ford, who would be a future teammate. Doc, who went on to hit .273 in his rookie year, also played for the Kansas City Athletics, New York Yankees, and Philadelphia Phillies.

Doc has always touched different parts of baseball history.  He was part of a few prominent trades featuring some well-known names, such as when he was sent to the A’s in 1963 for catcher Joe Azcue and shortstop Dick Howser (Howser would later become a Major League manager himself with the Royals and Yankees). In 1965, Doc was traded to the Yankees for Johnny Blanchard and Roland Sheldon, when Elston Howard was injured. While in New York, he played with such Yankees greats as Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, and Jim Bouton, who wrote the controversial book,“Ball Four,” amongst others. Doc would once again touch baseball history when he had the opportunity to catch the oldest rookie in baseball history in an old timer’s game, catching Negro League legend Satchel Paige.

After not playing in the bigs since 1965, Edwards came out of retirement after nearly five years and in 1970 finished his last season hitting .269 in 35 games, leaving the game as strong as when he started. Doc, also a solid defensive catcher, had a career fielding percentage of .985. Doc played his final game that year while with the Philadelphia Phillies on August 23, 1970.

Although it may have been the end of his playing career, his coaching and managerial careers were just beginning. Doc went on to coach for the Phillies (1970-1972), Indians (1985-1987) and the Mets (1990-1991) and managed in the minor league systems of the Yankees, Cubs, Expos, Phillies and Orioles, on several different levels. While in the Orioles organization he managed their Triple-A team, the Rochester Redwings in 1981. There, he would once again be part of baseball history, when he was at the helm for the longest game in professional baseball history, a 33-inning marathon against Pawtucket. On that Rochester team he managed future Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr., who was making his last stop in the minors, while the opposition featured another future Hall of Famer in Wade Boggs.

Just a few years later Edwards career would come full circle, when the Indians fired Pat Corales and Doc returned to the majors, getting his shot as a major league manager with Cleveland, the team in which he started his baseball career. It would make one of Doc’s more interesting claims to fame, come to fruition. He had become the real manager of the Cleveland Indians when the, now baseball movie classic, “Major League,” came out. Although he was no “Lou Brown,” (the fictional manager in the movie who vows to win despite the lack of support from his owner), in which Doc said there is no truth that the character was based off him. Doc always jokes though, that with the excitement that the movie generated for Indians fans, that the hit film may not have directly gotten him fired, it didn’t help. That was just the kind of fun loving sense of humor he had even when it was literally at his owns expense. His Indians went 65-78 the year the movie came out, and he was unable to finish the season as the season’s skipper.

He led Cleveland from 1987-1989, managing in 380 games and finishing with a record of 173-207 (.455). On those Indians squads were some very recognizable names such 300 game winners and Hall of Famers Steve Carlton, Phil Niekro, as well as Hall of Famer Eddie Murray. Other notables included World Series hero Joe Carter, former Texas Longhorns standout Greg Swindell who was drafted in the first round (2nd overall) in 1986, Astros Third Base Coach Dave Clark.  He also skippered future major league managers that included John Farrell (Blue Jays), Ron Washington (Rangers), Bud Black (Giants) and Terry Francona (Red Sox and Indians). Other notables Cleveland players on those Indians squads were the likes of Albert Belle, Cory Snyder, Brooks Jacoby, Julio Franco, Tony Bernazard, Mel Hall, Andre Thornton, Tom Candiotti, Willie Upshaw and Doug Jones.

Doc also had a significant effect on another future Hall of Famers during his career. One in particular, even mentioned him as a significant turning point of his career. During Bruce Sutter’s Hall of Fame Speech, one of the people he thanked for his success was one of his most influential coaches, Doc Edwards. While Sutter was in the minors working on his famous split-finger fastball and struggling with it at times, it was Edwards who encouraged him to throw it all the time until he could get the hang of it, the rest is baseball history.

After serving as a bench coach with the Mets in the early 1990s, Doc became a major league expansion scout for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was instrumental part of putting the original Diamondbacks team together with Buck Showalter and just handful of others during their 1997 expansion draft. The Diamondbacks went on to be the quickest team to win a World Series, in only their fourth season of existence as a franchise, in 2001.

In his final years he would manage in Independent Baseball and his accomplishments included managing the Atlantic City Surf to the championship during the inaugural season of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball in 1998. After other Indy ball stops he came to San Angelo, Texas. It would also be Doc’s final resting place, where he managed the independent league San Angelo Colts for nearly a decade from 2006-2014.  On September 2, 2009, Edwards was awarded the 2009 United League Baseball Manager of the Year award, as the Colts manager.

In all Doc was that rare person who was impossible not to like.  He treated everyone like family from his neighbors, front office staff, coaches, players, even the opposing team always had kind words to say about him.

Doc is survived by his wife, six children, Shirley, Michelle, Mickey, Jim, Carl, Eric, 16 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren, and will be missed by all who were truly honored to know him.

By Ira Liebman, “Voice of the Skeeters”

Senior Director of Broadcasting & Sr. Sales Manager

Sugar Land Skeeters Minor League Baseball Team

1 Stadium Drive, Sugar Land, TX 77498

Cell: 631-457-9421 

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Analytics and the Rules of Survival

August 18, 2018

Billy Beane didn’t exactly invent analytics,
but he did open the gate and let them in.

 

SABR friend Bob Dorrill sent me an interesting group mail article yesterday. It was entitled: “More Strikeouts Than Hits? Welcome to Baseball’s Latest Crisis.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/16/sports/baseball-mlb-strikeouts.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=mini-moth®ion=top-stories-below&WT.nav=top-stories-below

This apparent analytics-inspired crisis is that baseball may soon be reaching the point in which we shall see more strikeouts than hits in the game over the course of a season.

To that fearsome day, I say, “so what?”. Baseball has been moving in this direction, no matter how swiftly it now seems we go, since the 1920s and the introduction of power baseball as the tonic the game needed to help fans recover from the tedium of the dead ball game and the blow to the game’s integrity that generated from the Black Sox Scandal.

Of the few suggestions made in this brief small company of e-mail respondents, the one I liked best was the same one I offered ~ let it be. This well-known baseball figure said it best too. In words to the same effect as mine, but more particularly stated, he said let it be for five years then check again to see how the ratio was working. People adapt their hitting to changes that are hurting them. The smart ones will adapt to shifting defenses by learning how to “hitting where they ain’t” within all the broad surface of today’s park on the inside portion of the HR fence. ~ Then he adds, in so many words, if they haven’t adjusted in five years, re-examine the ball. A deader ball that will not clear fences easily will encourage a decline in power swinging and an increase is placement batting.

Whatever will be, will be. My point today is not this specific issue. The issue of SO/Hit ratios just shows how quickly analytics has found a link to all we do in baseball. The really important systems issue today is that we all ~ fans too ~ need to get up to speed on how Analytics got into the driver’s seat in some capacity with every big league team, or so it seems, by the year 2018. Am not sure how strong it is everywhere ~ or how long it’s been true ~ but it seems to be plain as day ~ that they are ~ everywhere.

A Little Systems Theory. I spent a few baseball unfriendly weekends in graduate school studying social systems theory because it was important to my interests in how mental health services in this country got so screwed up in the first place. In irony, it turns out that they got screwed up by the not so little dynamic that kicks in with the creation of every new government or non-profit organization.

They run straight into Social Systems Law #1 in the creation of every new government or non-profit organization. It’s the same systems law that was sociologically in place when the government created Social Security, Medicaire, Obamacare, HUD, U.S. Postal Service or what have you ~ and it works exactly like this, even if is never stated ~ and it works its way to the same end ~ whether the new action was created majorly by Democratic or Republican support:

Social Systems Law #1 (Gov’t/Non-Profit): Once a government or non-profit program or service entity is created, its original purpose is immediately replaced in priority by the new unit’s need for survival. The governing boards and administrative bodies will continue to espouse the creation goals of the new program, and may actually do some immeasurable good, but they will manage to find a niche in the bureaucracy of things that shields them from qualitative review or efficacious criticism. 

Social Systems Law #1 (For Profit Entities): Like all for-profit ventures, these entities hit the ground running with survival directly tied to the financial success of their entity in the marketplace. Irony knows no boundaries. The first publicly successful deployment of Analytics at Oakland was not terribly far from Silicon Valley ~ nor from Sutter’s Mill near Sacramento and, of course, the gold rush on analytic experts quietly was on after Billy Beane and Money Ball captured our public imagination.

But let’s keep in mind that analytic experts may sometimes ~ to often ~ or always be driven by their own career survival/advancement needs to give us one of those “the sky is falling” reports for their own purposes ~ even if it’s simply to see how baseball people are going to react to the “crisis” news that we may be soon seeing more strikeouts than hits at major league games.

After that heartbreaking 4-3 10th inning loss to Oakland in the Friday night opener, I’d just like to see the Astros get a few more homers with men on base. Get more men on base by hitting the ball to the opposite field that defenses are leaving open. Of course, if you want to help the analytics prove that we are in crisis, keep swinging from the heels at pitches that will get you.

If either the Bregman or Maldonado solo homers had come with one man on, the Astros would have won it 4-3 in nine ~ even with that disappointing, but possibly correct overturn of the out call on the A’s runner at the plate in the 9th.

Yeah, I know. If’s and buts and candy and nuts!

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pecan Park Eagle Trivia Contest Questions

August 2, 2018

 

1st Annual Pecan Park Eagle
Baseball Trivia Contest
By Maxwell Kates

Questions Today, Thursday, August 2, 2018.

Answers Tomorrow, Friday, August 3, 2018.

Note: Please do not post your answers in the Comment Section of today’s Question Phase of the quiz. We would like to keep this thing open and fun without help for all who wish to play. ~ Posting your answers or thoughts about the quiz tomorrow in the Answer Phase is both invited and encouraged.  ~ TPPE.

Sharpen your pencils, it’s time to play the first annual Pecan Park Eagle Trivia Contest. But first, some baseball nostalgia for you. Most of the questions relate in some way to columns I have written for the Pecan Park Eagle in the past year. Good luck to all those who play.

(1) Which Hall of Famer was the subject of a recent biography by Marty Appel?

(2) In what National League stadium did Willie Mays hit his 600th home run in 1969?

(3) Justin Verlander pitched two no-hitters for the Detroit Tigers. Who were the opponents?

(4) Which Astros player hit 53 leadoff home runs in his major league career?

(5) Roy Halladay was the third Toronto Blue Jays’ pitcher to win the Cy Young Award. Name the other two.

(6) Who won the American League Most Valuable Player Award in 1953?

(7) Five members of the 1982 Houston Astros, four in uniform and one broadcaster, also managed the team. Name them.

(8) According to Irish folk legend, what is the surname of the only man capable of killing a local man-eating sea serpent?

(9) What five Astros players represented the team at the 1994 All-Star Game?

(10) How many African American pitchers have won 20 games in a season? Which of the ‘Black Aces’ won 20 games one season for the Astros?

(11) What village in upstate New York hosted the first SABR convention in 1971?

12) Name two members of the Larry Dierker Chapter, both of Irish heritage, who played professional baseball before the formation of the Houston Colt .45s. (Note that I didn’t say MALE baseball players.)

(13) Who is the only living Hall of Famer to work as the director of a funeral home?

(14) What pitcher surrendered Rick Monday’s decisive home run in Game 5 of the 1981 National League Championship Series for the Los Angeles Dodgers?

(15) Who was the winner pitcher in Game 7 of the 1964 World Series?

Bonus Question:

“We DO have a bonus question for you ~ and we promise ~ it WON’T take much of your valuable time.”

What was the name of Bill McCurdy’s east end Houston 1950 sandlot baseball team?

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Call ‘Em All Shirley

July 30, 2018

Call ’em all Shirley because that’s who they are. They are the only five Shirley surname players, so far, to do time as big league ballplayers.

Here they are ~ from fair-to-middling as MLB talents ~ to worse:

                               1. Bart Shirley (1964, 1966-68)

Bart   Shirley

 

https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/shirlba01.shtml

 

 

 

 

2. Bob Shirley (1977-1987)

Bob   Shirley

 

https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/shirlbo01.shtml

 

 

 

 

3. Mule Shirley (1924-1925)

Mule Shirley                         

 

https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/shirlmu01.shtml

 

 

 

 

 

4. Steve Shirley (1982)

Steve
Shirley

 

https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/shirlst01.shtml

 

 

 

 

 

5. Tex Shirley (1941-42, 1944-46)

Tex
Shirley                                       

 

https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/shirlte01.shtml

 

 

 

 

Have a great week ~ and let’s hope the Astros get well and find their mojo working again in Seattle!

Let’s state that even stronger. ~ Surely they will get their act together again – and sometime very soon!

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

1962: Larker Finds Use for Colt .45 Bats

July 27, 2018

 

Another great research find by Darrell Pittman.

 

 

GGGGGGGGGGG

Bregman Stats Climbing at the Break

July 19, 2018

What Alex Bregman may look like someday when he’s too old to play any more baseball.

Well, he may not really be Paul Newman, but Alex Bregman is still playing a Cool Hand Luke brand of baseball these days. He works hard at his craft and he fights back fiercely at everything that fate and pitching dementia throws at him, apparently against all odds.

That first observation also begs for another Newman-driven movie title here to theorize why things first stuck in adversity so often bounce back Bregman’s way. ~ Maybe, yes, just maybe, ~ “Somebody Up There Likes Him.”

What happened Monday and Tuesday in Washington was typical of the snapback pattern this guy has in his determination to make something good happen. Monday night, as the only American League contestant in the Home Run contest, Alex had to beat out this mad grinning, much bigger Bluto of a guy from the Cubs in the first round. He pretty much came on like Popeye in the process. With time running out, Alex needed one more homer to force a tie that he probably could have then broken for a first round win in the bonus time he had earned en route.

Alas, the last long drive to deep left center fell about two feet short and Bregman was done. For Monday night, at least. As for how this low AL interest in the Monday Home Run Derby started, we may have gotten our answer Tuesday. Some of them apparently were saving their homers for the Tuesday game itself.

Maybe it just takes a guy like Alex Bregman to see and then take best advantage of every golden opportunity that comes his way. It also helps to be lucky – and also to have a manager like A.J. Hinch, a guy who knew that putting Bregman in the lineup as a sub at shortstop could make a difference at a critical moment late in the game. And wouldn’t you know it? The home boy NLs tied up the game at 5-5 through nine – forcing about the dreaded extra innings and a kid named Alex Bregman leading off the top of the tenth – and standing squarely in the way of the game reaching a player over-use crisis.

Bregman took the count to 2-2 – long enough for Joe Buck to start yakking about the problems of all-star games and player over-usage when – all of a sudden – it didn’t matter.

Remember, the pitcher had two strikes on Alex. ~ Bregman had him right where he wanted him. Alex drove the next ball over the left field fence and into the bullpen. The face and fire of joy took over the Bregman body and soul as he answered every slap of congratulations from his teammates with resounding force and deliriously happy fury.

Somewhere now standing from the best seat in the house, Commissioner Manfred had to be upright for as far as he can rise, applauding, and grinning his head off as he silently screamed his newfound mantra: “Thank God for Alex Bregman! ~ Now I’m off the hook for my own embarrassing Bud-Selig-All-Star-Game tie moment in the bottom of the 17th inning! ~ And, Oh YES!  Thank You too, George Springer! Why, I only had to rise once to see the Astros serve the turkey and dressing ~ and then they also quickly poured gravy on it too! What a beautiful, butt-saving, flying-frito deal this is turning out to be! ~ Don’t go far away, Mr. Alex Bregman! You don’t know it yet, but you just won the MVP award, if this lead holds!”

You just read what happened next in the Commissioner’s mind. There was barely time for Bregman to celebrate alone because Astros teammate George Springer then walked to the plate and took the very first pitch thrown since the last dinger went yard and crunched it even deeper to right for an opposite field homer.

The Bregman-Springer two-pitch back-to-backs would stand as a baseball version of the old one-two punch-out to both cheeks of the NL pitching face. The AL then used a series of hits to add the only run scored without homer aid as the game retired to the bottom of the tenth with an 8-5 AL lead looming large. The NL found a way to add their 5th HR for the 10th record homer of the game, but AL 8 – NL 6 would hold up as the final score.

Wow! And wouldn’t you know it! Mr. Bregman was named the game’s MVP. He even got to select a Chevy Camaro as part of the gift package. The rest of the gift was the fact that he got to be seen by millions as he gave the car in person to his mother, who happened to be at the game with his father.

Raise your hands if you have a kid who ever gave you a Camaro?

Yep. Tuesday came with all the character we Houston fans have come to enjoy. It toyed with all the elements we need around here for pleasant dreams from all the “walk-off” redemption wins we’ve enjoyed, courtesy of Alex Bergman. In fact, the first such game of note involving Alex Bregman that most us will remember forever is worth its weight in ways that go way beyond gold or the even lesser value of any new Chevy Camara or Chevy truck.

It was called Game 5 of the 2017 World Series.

Offense Leaders at the All Star Break

The following table shows where the Astros are relative to AL offensive categorical leadership at the 2018 All Star break. Jose Altuve remains the only Astros leader, but even Jose is off the mark in the important batting average category.

As for whose hanging close to the leaders in 2018, it is now Alex Bregman’s name that is appearing most often as the closest Astro in the chase. Bregman is also now hitting .288 and he seems to be on a steady climb from his earlier plateau around .260. If he keeps it up, he’s well on his way to the magical .300 mark gate.

2018 AL Offensive Category Leaders

And Astros Contenders in Each:

LEADER NAME TEAM STAT NEXT ASTRO RANK   STAT
BA MookieBetts BRS .359 Jose Altuve 2 .332
GAMES Jose Altuve Astros 99 Bregman/Springer 4t 96
HITS Jose Altuve Astros 129 no one close
1BH Jose Altuve Astros 95 no one close
2BH E. Escobar Twins 35 Alex Bregman 2 31
3BH Y. Sanchez CWS 9 Marwin Gonzalez 10t 3
HR JDMartinez

J. Rameriz

BRS Indians 29 (1t) Alex Bregman 12t 20
RUNS F. Lindor Indians 85 Alex Bregman 7 67
RBI JDMartinez BRS 80 Alex Bregman 6t 64
WALKS Mike Trout Angels 86 Alex Bregman 5t 56
SLG % MookieBetts BRS .691 Alex Bregman 8 .539
OB % Mike Trout Angels .454 Jose Altuve               Alex Bregman 5         8 .394 .389
OB+SLG% MookieBetts BRS 1.139 Alex Bregman 8 .928

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle