Saturday, November 28, 2015

Tony Stark Is Cal Ripken, Jr.? 11/28/15

Hey baseball fans!

There aren't too many Hall of Fame shortstops compared to the other position players in the Hall of Fame. Sure, there's Ernie Banks, Pee Wee Reese, and a few others, but that's about it. Despite this, there is one shortstop in the Hall of Fame that made kids everywhere want to be a shortstop and his name is Cal Ripken, Jr.

Cal Ripken, Jr., the son of a coach who was in the Baltimore Orioles organization, Cal, Sr., and the brother of fellow big leaguer, Billy Ripken, played from 1981-2001 with the Baltimore Orioles. Many people recognize his name from his consecutive games played record, but I'll get to that in a bit because he did so much more during his career. A career .276 hitter, Ripken collected 3,184 career hits, 15th on the all-time list. The 19-time All Star and two-time AL MVP also smashed 431 home runs and drove in 1,695 runs during his time in Charm City. His best seasons were probably his Rookie of the Year and MVP years, '82 and '83, respectively. In those years, he hit 55 home runs, collected 195 RBIs, and batted .293. In those years he became the first player in MLB history to win the RoY and MVP in back-to-back seasons.

Even though Ripken did have amazing stats on the field, the fact that he played on the field so much was his greatest achievement. From May 30, 1982 to September 20, 1998, the star shortstop never missed a single game. On September 6, 1995, his consecutive games played streak broke Lou Gehrig's (aka, the Iron Horse's) 56-year-old record of 2,130 consecutive games played. Ripken's streak ended in '98 at 2,632 games. Because of his endurance, he was nicknamed "The Iron Man."

The streak made Cal one of the most respected players by fellow teammates, big leaguers, and fans across the world. This was on full display in the Iron Man's last All Star Game, 2001. He was scheduled to actually be the starting third baseman for the American League, but shortstop Alex Rodriguez thought that he should play shortstop. Cal thanked A-Rod and his All Star teammates for allowing him to switch to the position that made him famous, and the fans for watching him during his final All Star Game, and then proceeded to hit a home run! How cool is that! He ended up winning the 2001 All Star Game MVP Award.

Cal Ripken, Jr. is not just one of the greatest shortstops ever, but one of the greatest players ever. I'm so sad that I wasn't able to see him play live, because he seems like such an exciting player from watching him on baseball documentaries. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Lucky Date and Town for MLB Players 11/23/15

Hey baseball fans!

Here's a random question: what does Stan Musial have in common with Ken Griffey, Jr.? A lot of things, actually.

First of all, the two have the same birthday: November 21st. Musial was born in 1920 and Griffey, Jr. was born in 1969 (and Hall of Famer Freddie Lindstrom was also born on 11/21/1905). Oh, but it gets weirder. The two also share a hometown, Donora, Pennsylvania, a town with less than 5,000 residents. Oh, but it gets even weirder than that! Stan Musial's nickname is "Stan the Man" and Ken Griffey, Jr.'s nickname is "The Kid!" This must be the most coincidental piece of information in not just baseball history, but sports history! I can't believe that some little Pennsylvanian town gave the MLB two stars on the same date! Super crazy!

Well kids, if you want your child to be a baseball legend, make sure he's born on November 21 in Donora, Pennsylvania. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Great AL MVP Race of 1941 11/20/15

Hey baseball fans!

The MVPs for each league in the MLB were just announced, which means I can finally declare that I am the best predictor ever! Well, I actually only went six for eight this year in terms of predicting all eight main MLB awards, but I'm sure Red Sox fans would have gone zero for one if they tried to guess the 1941 AL MVP.

1941 was a big year for the Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees rivalry because the best players on each team were having arguably the best seasons of their careers. Ted Williams of the BoSox batted a league-leading .406 and has since been the last man ever to bat over .400. He also led the American League in home runs with 37 and his OBP was an astounding .553, the third-best single-season OBP in baseball history! Oh, and his 125 RBIs weren't too shabby, either.

Over in the Bronx, Joe DiMaggio was cooking up a season for the ages as well. Joltin' Joe broke the record for the most consecutive games with a hit at 56, a record that still stands today. DiMaggio led the league in RBIs with 125 and hit 30 home runs. The Yankee Clipper also batted .357, third in the AL only to Williams and Cecil Travis of the Washington Senators. The main point of me telling you all this is that Williams and DiMaggio were the top two in AL MVP voting in 1941, but who actually won the award?

The answer is the man who appeared in an All Star Game in every single season he played in the MLB: Joe DiMaggio! I know that Red Sox fans can't believe that the Splendid Splinter was victimized by the Bronx Bombers yet again, but DiMaggio had some good justification for winning this award: the Yankees won the World Series. Yes, the idea that the MVP must be on a good team to prove his value to the team is a bit controversial, but that has to be the reason that DiMaggio got the '41 MVP, because if the Yankees swapped records with the Red Sox, I guarantee that Williams would have  won the MVP. The Red Sox finished with a record of 84-70, 17 games back of the pennant-winning Yankees. Sorry, Boston, but I will admit that Williams probably deserved the award more than DiMaggio, because his 1941 batting average has not been topped since then.

What do you think? Who deserved the 1941 AL MVP? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Anyway, thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Sunday, November 15, 2015

My 400th Post on Baseball with Matt and My 2015 MLB Awards Predictions!! 11/15/15

Hey baseball fans!

This is my 400th post on Baseball with Matt! I'm so happy that I've done so many fun things in my blogging career and it's all thanks to you: the viewers.

To celebrate number 400, I put up a vlog on YouTube in which I try to predict the eight main MLB awards for the 2015 season and I also make a special prediction at the end of the video in honor of #400. If you want to watch the video, just click here.

Do you agree with my predictions? Do you disagree with them? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Anyway, thanks for watching the video and I hope you enjoyed it. Also, thanks so much for reading 400 posts on Baseball with Matt! Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

P.S.  One more thing. For those of you who have asked me how my book, Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers, is selling, so far it has sold about 5,000 copies. All of my proceeds are going to four charities: ALS, Turn 2, the HOF, and the Jackie Robinson Foundation. So if you haven't bought it yet, it's the perfect present for the upcoming holiday season.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The MLB's Changing Geography 11/11/15

Hey baseball fans!

Today is the four year anniversary of the official renaming of the Miami Marlins, who were known as the Florida Marlins before this date in 2011 going back to the team's inception in 1993. This got me thinking: what other teams have renamed themselves and/or moved? Well, the only way to find the answer to this question is research, which is exactly what I did.

The Dodgers changed their name many times. From 1884 to now, the Dodgers have been named the Atlantics, Grays, Bridgegrooms, Grooms, Superbas, Trolley Dodgers, and Robins. They were officially named the Dodgers in 1932. However, they weren't the Los Angeles Dodgers yet; they were the Brooklyn Dodgers. Brooklyn didn't move to California until after the 1957 season. Speaking of the Dodgers' move, the Giants also moved to Cali in order to keep their rivalry with LA alive. They used to be called the New York Giants, but then became the San Francisco Giants in 1958.

The Baltimore Orioles also changed their name. Prior to the 1954 season, the O's were actually called the St. Louis Browns. The Browns actually played in the same ballpark as the St. Louis Cardinals, Sportsman's Park. However, it's really the Cardinals who played in the Browns' park, as the AL St. Louis team occupied Sportsman's Park from 1902-1953, while the NL St. Louis team didn't start playing their until 1920. Actually, the Orioles had a different name in 1901 aside from the Browns. Believe it or not, in 1901, the Baltimore Orioles were the Milwaukee Brewers.

Here's an interesting story. The Washington Senators played in the DC from 1901-1960 and then from 1961-1971. Wait, why didn't I just say 1901-1971? The reason is simple: one Washington Senators team replaced the other! In 1960, the original Washington Senators packed their bags, moved to Minnesota, and renamed themselves the Twins. The next season, 1961, a new Washington Senators franchise played in the nation's capital. However, after the 1971 season, the second Washington Senators team moved to Texas and became the Rangers. Washington, D.C. would get an MLB team back in its city in 2005, when the Montreal Expos relocated to the land of the White House and rebranded themselves as the Washington Nationals.

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

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Awards: Who Won them the Most? 11/7/15

Hey baseball fans!

It's offseason time, which means it's also awards season, where we get to see who will win the AL and NL Rookie of the Year, Cy Young, and MVP Awards. But who has won each award the most in baseball history? Let's explore the facts, shall we?

Obviously, a player can only win the Rookie of the Year Award once in his career, but which team has had the most RoY winners? The Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers have had 16 Rookie of the Year Award winners, twice more than the teams in second place in this contest, the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia/Kansas City/Oakland Athletics. Those two AL teams have each had eight winners of this award. The award was first given out in 1947 and the first recipient of the award in baseball history was none other than Jackie Robinson of the Dodgers, for whom the award is named after today. Back then, the RoY was given to one player in all of baseball. The first year of the AL and NL Rookie of the Year Awards was 1949. The first Yankee to win the award was third baseman Gil McDougald in 1951. The first A's recipient was pitcher Harry Byrd in 1952.

The pitcher with the most Cy Young Awards ever is Roger Clemens with seven, winning six of them as a member of an AL team. The pitchers with the most National League Cy Young Awards are Randy Johnson, Steve Carlton, and Greg Maddux, who each won four apiece. Johnson won four consecutive Cy Young Awards with the Diamondbacks from 1999-2002 (and one with the AL Mariners in 1995), Carlton won four with the Phillies in 1972, 1977, 1980, and 1982, and Maddux won four straight from 1992-1995 with the Cubs (in 1992) and the Braves (for the next three years).

The most MVP Awards won by a single player is Barry Bonds, who won the NL MVP in 1990, 1992, 1993, and 2001-2004. He also holds the record for the most MVP's won consecutively with four. The most AL MVP's won is three. This was done by five players: Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, and Alex Rodriguez. Foxx was the first player to win the award multiple times and Frank Robinson is the only player to win the MVP Award in both leagues.

Thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and found it interesting to read. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Royal King 11/2/15

Hey baseball fans!

The Kansas City Royals have won the 2015 World Series and, in honor of that, I'm going to talk about arguably the greatest player in the franchise's history: George Brett!

George Howard Brett played his entire 21-year career in Kansas City from 1973-1993. The third baseman became a staple in Missouri sports for good reason. Brett batted .305 during his career and collected 3,154 base hits, 16th on the all-time hits list. He actually was picked off at first after he got hit number 3,000. He led the league in hits in three seasons and batting average in three seasons as well. In fact, Brett came just ten points from batting .400 in 1980, the year he won his only MVP Award! It would have been the first time someone batted at least .400 in a season since Ted Williams in 1941! Anyway, the 13-time All Star also slammed 317 pitches out of the park and drove in 1,596 runs.

Although Mike Schmidt was just a little better at fielding at the hot corner than Brett, both excellent third basemen are even when it comes to World Series rings. Yes, Schmidt and the Phillies beat Brett's Royals in 1980, but Brett and KC won the 1985 World Series for the Royals' first World Series championship. Brett did really well in the World Series he played in, batting .373 with 19 hits. Because of his exceptional leadership as a member of the Royals and the fact that he destroyed almost every single opposing pitcher he faced, George Brett was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999 with 98.2% of the vote, third among position players in terms of voting percentage, only behind Cal Ripken, Jr. and Ty Cobb.

I have a great nickname for Brett: "Mr. Royal." Why? He was just that important to his team's success. Anyway, thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."