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Give me a White Sox fan any day... Do you hear them whining endlessly about how God wants them to suffer?
- Luke Appling

The tightest races in baseball at the moment are in the NL East, where Washington and Atlanta are still in a dead heat after winning yesterday, and the battle for the AL Wild Card, where the Twins now hold just a one game lead on Oakland.

The Padres lost their sixth straight game, and are looking to shake things up. Sean Burroughs was dispatched to the minors and Joe Randa was obtained to take over third base. The Padres are talking to the Orioles about trading 1B Phil Nevin to Baltimore for Sidney Ponson, but Nevin can veto the trade and does not want to leave the west coast. The Orioles would like to unload Ponson's contract before taking on another big one, but I'm not sure if the Padres can really use Ponson. Adam Eaton should be back soon enough, and would replace Pedro Astacio (who actually pitched very well yesterday.) Ponson would bump Tim Stauffer from the San Diego rotation, and I can't see why they'd want to do that. It only makes sense to me if Eaton's finger problem is going to keep him out longer than anyone expected. Ponson is probably an upgrade on Astacio.

Was anyone at all impressed by Sean Douglass while he was here? I did wonder, in the course of a very long post from the ball park one day, if Douglass had a chance to develop into... oh, Tom Henke? Can't remember what I was smoking that day, but I was impressed by Douglass' K rate, and a low opponents BAVG. I noted that Henke at the same age had the same positives, and the same inability to find home plate. And they were about the same size, too!

I was thinking that Douglass had a chance - just a chance - to possibly become a very effective short reliever, and certainly while he was in Toronto he was much, much more effective out of the pen (4.21 ERA, opponents batted just .211) than he was as a starter.

Obviously Detroit was willing to give Douglass a shot, but did they listen to me? Did they stick Douglass in short relief? No. They've insisted on using him as a starter. And in his five starts, he has... he's 3-0? With a 2.10 ERA? Really?

Never mind...

It's been 37 years since anyone won the Triple Crown. Derrek Lee is just one RBI short of leading the NL in all three categories. Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols are also both in their league's top five.

Time was, to win a Triple Crown, a hitter had to beat out all the hitters on his own team, and on seven other teams. Now he has to beat out all the hitters on his own team, plus all the hitters on as many as fifteen other teams.

Very few players have led the league in all three categories over the course of their careers, let alone during a single season. Barry Bonds, naturally, is one of them. But by the time Bonds won the first of his two batting championships, in 2002, he was no longer even among the leaders in RBIs as pitchers simply refused to pitch to him with men in base. Bonds did lead the NL in both RBI and HRs back in 1993, but his .336 average was only good enough for fourth behind Andres Galarraga. Despite hitting more than 700 home runs, Bonds has led the league just twice.

Manny Ramirez has led the AL in each category once: RBI in 1999, BAVG in 2002, and HRs in 2004. Alex Rodriguez led the AL in homers three times from 2001-2003, and in 2002 he led in RBI as well. But since leading the league with a .358 BAVG in 1996, he's only once even finished in the top 10. No other active player has led the league in all three categories at some point during their careers - not Walker (HR and BAVG), not Griffey (HR and RBI), not Helton (RBI and BAVG), not Thomas (BAVG), not Pujols (BAVG). Although Albert Pujols is still capable of just about anything before he's done...

As near as I can tell, just four men have led the both the AL and NL in home runs. Two of those men, Sam Crawford and Buck Freeman, started their careers in the NL before there even was an American League. Care to guess who the other two were? They have a number of things in common...

Today's games:

Seattle (Sele 6-10, 5.15) at Cleveland (Millwood 3-9, 3.34) 1:05
Minnesota (Lohse 7-8, 4.34) at Detroit (Bonderman 12-6, 4.05) 1:05
Oakland (Harden 7-4, 2.11) at Texas (Park 8-4, 5.33) 2:05
Toronto (Lilly 8-9, 5.38) at Kansas City (Carrasco 4-4, 4.09) 2:10
Baltimore (Bedard 5-1, 1.89) at Tampa Bay (Fossum 4-8, 4.01) 2:15
Boston (Arroyo 8-5, 4.05) at Chicago (Contreras 5-6, 4.34) 3:05
New York (Mussina 9-5, 3.95) at Los Angeles (Washburn 6-5, 3.27) 4:05

Houston (Rodriguez 5-4, 6.79) at Washington (Patterson 4-2, 2.69) 1:05
Los Angeles (Penny 5-5, 3.40) at New York (Benson 6-3, 3.40) 1:10
Milwaukee (Davis 9-7, 4.18) at Cincinnati (Hudson 1-5, 10.05) 1:15
San Diego (Lawrence 5-9, 4.13) at Philadelphia (Myers 7-5, 3.32) 1:35
Colorado (Chacon 1-6, 4.11) at Pittsburgh (Redman 4-10, 4.24) 1:35
Florida (Burnett 6-6, 3.68) at San Francisco (Correia 1-1, 5.79) 4:05
Atlanta (Ramirez 8-5, 4.62) at Arizona (Vazquez 8-9, 4.50) 4:40
Chicago (Prior 7-3, 3.15) at St.Louis (Suppan 9-7, 4.22) 8:05

This Day In Baseball: 24 July 2005 | 22 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Paul D - Sunday, July 24 2005 @ 12:39 PM EDT (#123667) #
Frank Robinson and... hm, I'm trying to think of other Hall of Famers who are managers..
Jefftown - Sunday, July 24 2005 @ 12:41 PM EDT (#123668) #
As for the other two, Frank Robinson and Mark McGwire?

As for San Diego, Eaton may not return to the rotation. He has an elbow problem that hinders his curve, so the Padres want him to be a fastball-changeup reliever. Hence it makes slightly more sense to acquire Ponson.

And to think a whole cornucopia of trades hinge on the "Yea" or "Nea" of Phil Nevin.
NDG - Sunday, July 24 2005 @ 12:46 PM EDT (#123669) #
Was anyone at all impressed by Sean Douglass while he was here?

Well I was somewhat. He's one of three pitchers that have been here in recent vintage that I've often wondered "Why can't they get people out with their stuff?

The second one is the man I loathe most, so much so that I refuse to refer to him as anything than "TenRun". We've seen some bad relief pitchers in the last few years (Adams, Lighter, Creek, Tam , etc, etc), but quite honestly these guys never really impressed me with their pitching ability. Sturtz though had some wicked stuff, mid 90's fastball and a very good splitter. He got a ton of swinging strikes, but could never seem to get three of them in one at-bat. A waste of talent, that finally seems to be doing something with the Yanks of all teams. Horrible.

The third guy? Kevin Frederick. I don't even know where he is now, and I know he wasn't here very long, but he was another guy that would throw two unhittable pitches, and then groove one. I sometimes really feel for guys like this, so much talent, but just can't put all together long enough to get any major league service time.

Magpie - Sunday, July 24 2005 @ 01:06 PM EDT (#123671) #
FRank Robinson is the only man to win the MVP in both leagues, I believe he's the only man to homer both leagues in an All-Star Game... but he never did league the NL in homers. The closest he came was in his rookie year, when he was second to Duke Snider. Otherwise there was always Ernie Banks, or Willie Mays, or Hank Aaron or someone.

Mark McGwire is one...

Mick Doherty - Sunday, July 24 2005 @ 03:22 PM EDT (#123679) #
They have a lot in common and McGwire is one? How about another temperamental 3B-turned-1B in Richie (Dick) Allen?
Magpie - Sunday, July 24 2005 @ 04:30 PM EDT (#123681) #
Not Dick Allen...
CeeBee - Sunday, July 24 2005 @ 05:04 PM EDT (#123682) #
Sam Crawford, 1901 Cincinnati(16hr) , 1908 Detroit(7hr)
Magpie - Sunday, July 24 2005 @ 05:22 PM EDT (#123683) #
I gave you Crawford and Freeman, Jefftown got McGwire, and I want one more...
Jim - Sunday, July 24 2005 @ 05:24 PM EDT (#123684) #
It's of course Blue Jays legend Fred McGriff. With the Pads in the NL.
Magpie - Sunday, July 24 2005 @ 05:30 PM EDT (#123685) #
Correct! Two first baseman who started out in the AL, making their debuts in 1986, and first playing regularly in 1987.

And neither of whom made the cut at 1B when Mick assembled his All-Mc Team.

CeeBee - Sunday, July 24 2005 @ 05:32 PM EDT (#123686) #
oops :/
CaramonLS - Sunday, July 24 2005 @ 07:19 PM EDT (#123693) #
I was saying it last season. Million dollar arm, 2 cent head.

Nice stuff last season, it was amazing how much his fastball could dance, but then he does something stupid. Oh I know, I'll throw him 4 straight fastballs which have the same movement over the middle of the plate. Batter takes strike 1&2, fouls off #3, then smashes #4 because he just saw it 4 times where ever the hell he wants to.

We'll see how long he keeps this up before a) he loses confidence, b) does something dumb.

But that being said, if he keeps his head on straight, lets Pudge guide him through the games, he can do great things.
Mick Doherty - Sunday, July 24 2005 @ 07:34 PM EDT (#123697) #
And neither of whom made the cut at 1B when Mick assembled his All-Mc Team.

Now be nice and tell everyone who beat McGwire and McGriff out ... it was Stretch, Willie McCovey, and it's hard to imagine anyone wanting McGwire or McGriff, as great as they each were, over Willie Mac in his prime.

And because we went with "true DH" selections, Hal McRae. one of the top five DHs of all time, beat out those guys, too.

The Bone - Sunday, July 24 2005 @ 11:35 PM EDT (#123729) #
Then there was the 1993 deadline. Gillick, the then-general manager of the world champion Blue Jays, had proposed a deal to Mariners GM Woody Woodward that would have sent Paul Spoljaric, Steve Karsay and Mike Timlin to Toronto for Randy Johnson. Unfortunately, Gillick didn't hear back from Woodward, and he eventually made a deal with Oakland's Sandy Alderson to acquire Rickey Henderson for Karsay. Then, when he was negotiating with Henderson to waive his no-trade clause, Gillick heard back from Woodward, who accepted the deal. Obviously, Gillick preferred the Seattle deal, but felt he owed Alderson. Henderson accepted the deal, and five years later Johnson went to the Astros in a trade that was a major strike for both teams.

That is from Gammons' latest - Anyone ever heard of this anecdote before?

Mick Doherty - Sunday, July 24 2005 @ 11:54 PM EDT (#123732) #
To say the Johnson-to-the-Astros deal was a major strike for both teams is typcial Gammons hindsight retrospect babble (unless he is meaning "strike" positively which would be weird in a baseball context).

The Astros got what they wanted, at least at first -- they went to the playoffs.

The Mariners got a starting shortstop in Carlos Guillen, a quality bullpen guy in John Halama and an All-Star lefty for their rotation in Freddy Garcia. That none of those guys is with the Mariners now and that the Astros didn't do what Arizona did and turn Johnson into a championship are wholly unrelated to the fact that it was a good trade for both teams, just like Smoltz for Alexander worked out for both Detroit and Atlanta.
Magpie - Monday, July 25 2005 @ 06:39 AM EDT (#123737) #
Anyone ever heard of this anecdote before?

The almost-trade-with Seattle? Fairly widely reported. Gillick was after a pitcher at that deadline, but Seattle had trouble making up their minds. Seattle also had a history of having been forced to back out of agreed deals because the owner sometimes took to meddling. This also made them hard to deal with.

Gillick started talking to Oakland instead. Oakland wouldn't do the deal without Karsay. Seattle heard about that, and jumped back into the bidding less than an hour before the deadline (everybody was nuts about Karsay at the time.) By this point, Gillick and Sandy Alderson had agreed on the trade (and neither of them would break the deal) - but if Henderson had refused to waive his no-trade, the deal would have collapsed, and the Seattle trade might have happened.

Mike Green - Monday, July 25 2005 @ 09:39 AM EDT (#123744) #
Judging a trade is a difficult enterprise. The Tigers did indeed win the division with Alexander in 87, but might have done so with Smoltz in 91 or 93 and would definitely have been a better team for a number of years.
Craig B - Monday, July 25 2005 @ 10:09 AM EDT (#123746) #
I seriously doubt that the Tigers would have won in '91 with Smoltz on board. They went out and signed Bill Gullickson to prop up a perceived weakness in the front end of the rotation, and he delivered 20 wins. There's no way they would have done that with Smoltz on the team after a solid rookie year. The '91 team finished seven games out because they couldn't buy a hit and their bullpen was completely terrible - I don't see Smoltz helping in either category.

In 1993, they finished a long way out - ten games out and in the middle of a bunch of other good teams. This time, the starters _were_ the problem and Smoltz would have helped a lot. They gave big money to Mike Moore, just like they had to Gullickson, and Moore wasn't all that good. They also signed Boomer for much less, and Wells was good. Smoltz would have helped, but maybe by three games over John Doherty, who was their #5 starter and actually pitched OK.

The year Smoltz actually might have helped them win a pennant was 1990, when he was a good rookie for a terrible team and the Tigers were a .500 team in a poor division that Boston won. They finished nine games back, a tall order, but their offense was great (51 ding-dongs for Big Cecil) and their pitching the worst in the AL, with terrible starters. Smoltz would have helped that team immensely.
costanza - Monday, July 25 2005 @ 11:06 AM EDT (#123750) #
To say the Johnson-to-the-Astros deal was a major strike for both teams is typcial Gammons hindsight retrospect babble (unless he is meaning "strike" positively which would be weird in a baseball context)

Hmm... well, when I read the quote I assumed he meant that it indeed was a positive -- that's the way it read to me. I'd guess that if he meant it to be negative, he'd have said it was a strike *against* both teams.

Pistol - Monday, July 25 2005 @ 11:14 AM EDT (#123751) #
I agree, strike is a positive in this instance. Johnson was quite dominant with the Astros after being traded going 10-1 in 11 starts with a 1.28 ERA, including 4 complete game shutouts.
Mike Green - Monday, July 25 2005 @ 11:20 AM EDT (#123752) #
Looking at it closely, Smoltz' really big years were '92, '96 and '97. In 20-20 hindsight, I doubt that the addition of Smoltz would have been enough on its own for any of the Tiger teams of the early nineties. The farm system just wasn't producing enough.
Craig B - Monday, July 25 2005 @ 11:31 AM EDT (#123755) #
Mike, it just goes to show, sometimes trading even a Hall of Fame prospect is worth it, if it delivers that one pennant. The problem is, of course, that most deadline deals don't make that difference!
This Day In Baseball: 24 July 2005 | 22 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.