Top Single-Season Batting Among Catchers: 2009 Update

October 7, 2009

since 1900

1. mauer2.jpgJoe Mauer 2009 .365

2. piazza.jpgMike Piazza LA 1997 .362
3. dickey.jpgBill Dickey NYY 1936 .362*
4. cochrane.jpgMickey Cochrane PHA 1930 .357
5. davis.jpgSpud Davis PHN 1933 .349
6. Mickey Cochrane PHA 1931 .349
7. Joe Mauer MIN 2006 .347
8. Mike Piazza LA 1995 .346
9. lombardi.jpgErnie Lombardi CIN 1938 .342
10. hartnett.jpgGabby Hartnett CHC 1930 .339

*Bill Dickey was a few plate appearances  short of qualifying for the batting title in 1936 (3.1 PA’s per team game required; Dickey = 3.06 PA’s per game)


Top 10 Lists

September 24, 2009

Let the Metrodome nostalgia begin.

Chris Jaffe at Hardball Times started the week with “The 10 greatest games in Metrodome history.” The top two are probably no-brainers, but plenty of room to debate on the list.

Jaffe’s list places a high premium on drama and game quality, so you won’t find the September 27, 1987 game in which the Twins clinched a tie for their first division title in almost two decades.

The only glaring omission in my opinion is Johan Santana’s 17-K game against the Rangers in 2007. I might also include this game from 1991 which included a late comeback against a dominant closer in the thick of a pennant race. (I should note that I attended both of these games and still have the scorecards, so they are on top of my somewhat-biased list).

Brian Pietzrak has put together another similar list over at examiner.com (here is part two). This one seems to place less weight on game quality (#10 is the 11-7 loss the Twins took in the Metrodome opener), and includes the 1987 game referenced above.

Of course, the Twins continue their top 100 Metrodome Moments, which includes some of the more ridiculous moments in Metrodome history (roof collapsing, dome-rule double, etc).


Franchise All Time OBP

June 10, 2009

Fun with baseball-reference.com:

OBP – Player – Years w/franchise

1. .405 Joe Mauer 2004-2009
2. .393 Rod Carew 1967-1978
3. .393 Buddy Myer 1925-1927; 1929-1941
4. .392 John Stone 1934-1938
5. .391 Chuck Knoblauch 1991-1997
6. .389 Eddie Yost 1944; 1946-1958
7. .387 Joe Cronin 1928-1934
8. .386 Goose Goslin 1921-1930; 1933; 1938
9. .382 Muddy Ruel 1923-1930
10. .379 Matt Lawton 1995-2001

The top two were pretty easy to guess. I was surprised to find that Harmon Killebrew was not in the top 10 (he checks in at 12 with a .378 OBP). Among the names I didn’t expect to see on this list were John Stone and Matt Lawton. The only other active player in the top 50 is Justin Morneau – #38 with .353 OBP.


The All-Metrodome Team

June 4, 2009

The Twins are running fan voting for the All-Metrodome team to be announced in early August. Here is my two cents.

First, the no-brainers

1B
2B Chuck Knoblauch
SS Greg Gagne
3B
C Joe Mauer
OF1 Kirby Puckett
OF2 Torii Hunter
OF3
DH
SP1 Frank Viola
SP2 Johan Santana
SP3
RP1 Rick Aguilera
RP2
MAN Tom Kelly

The debate at first base is between Justin Morneau and Kent Hrbek. I lean towards Hrbek here because he played in the dome longer.

At 3B, I could see an argument for Corey Koskie, but Gary Gaetti was too good for too long and was close to being a no-brainer.

While the first two outfielders were easy picks, the third came between Tom Brunansky and Shane Mack. I’ll go with Mack because he we one of the team’s better hitters in the early 1990’s. I would bet that Dan Gladden will get a lot of votes because of his role on both World Championship teams, but Mack was a better all-around player.

While there are some nice names in the DH list, none of them really made a name as a Twin, and thinking in this category just makes me depressed about how the team has been lacking in the DH department for a long time (Jason Tyner might make the short list). I’ll go with Molitor and try not to think too much about it.

I originally had Bert Blyleven listed as a no-brainer in the pitcher department, but realized he only played four seasons at the dome: one great partial season in 1985, two good seasons in 1986 and 1987, and one sub-par season in 1988. While I am tempted to plug Brad Radke in here, I’ll stick with Blyleven, though it may be simply due to my desire to see him win a vote after years of Hall of Fame rejection.

The main candidates to join Aggie in the bullpen, in my opinion, are Eddie Guardado and Joe Nathan. While Guardado would get the nod for longevity, I think Nathan is the choice because he has been among the league’s elite closers since 2004. My guess is that Reardon will likely be the one that makes the team.

So, here is my vote:

1B Kent Hrbek
2B Chuck Knoblauch
SS Greg Gagne
3B Gary Gaetti
C Joe Mauer
OF1 Kirby Puckett
OF2 Torii Hunter
OF3 Shane Mack
DH Paul Molitor
SP1 Frank Viola
SP2 Johan Santana
SP3 Bert Blyleven
RP1 Rick Aguilera
RP2 Joe Nathan
MAN Tom Kelly

And, for fun, based on the finalists at the Twins’ website, here is what the team could look like:

1B Ron Coomer
2B Al Newman
SS Pat Meares
3B Nick Punto
C Tim Laudner
OF Mickey Hatcher, Jacque Jones, Matt Lawton
SP Allan Anderson, Mike Smithson
RP Ron Davis


Cycling Again

April 18, 2009

I, like many, had long checked out of the broadcast of the Twins’ game Friday night by the time Jason Kubel completed the cycle by hitting a grand slam, the shot that ended up being the game-winner. That’ll teach me.

Someday I may try and graph some of the other cycles, but based on the fangraphs.com, last night’s game was an instance of a player single-handedly winning a game.

Here is an updated list of players who have hit for the cycle in franchise history:

Otis Clymer – 10/2/1908
Goose Goslin – 8/28/1924
Joe Cronin
– 9/2/1929
Mickey Vernon – 5/19/1946
Rod Carew5/20/1970
Cesar Tovar9/19/1972
Larry Hisle6/4/1976
Lyman Bostock7/24/1976
Mike Cubbage7/27/1978
Gary Ward9/18/1980
Kirby Puckett8/1/1986
Carlos Gomez5/7/2008
Jason Kubel4/17/2009


Minnesota Twins Opening Day History

April 6, 2009

Date – Result – Starting Pitcher

4/11/1961 W @ NYY 6-0 Pedro Ramos
4/10/1962 L @ KCA 2-4 Jack Kralick
4/9/1963 L vs CLE 4-5 Mudcat Grant
4/14/1964 W @ CLE 7-6 Camilo Pascual
4/12/1965 W vs NYY 5-4 (11 innings) Jim Kaat
4/12/1966 W vs KCA 2-1 Mudcat Grant (2)
4/11/1967 L @ BAL 3-6 Jim Kaat (2)
4/10/1968 W @ WAS 2-0 Dean Chance
4/8/1969 L @ KCR 3-4 (12 innings) Tom Hall
4/7/1970 W @ CHW 12-0 Jim Perry
4/6/1971 L vs MIL 2-7 Jim Perry (2)
4/15/1972 L @ OAK 3-4 (11 innings) Bert Blyleven
4/6/1973 W @ OAK 8-3 Bert Blyleven
4/5/1974 W @ KCR 6-4 (11 innings) Bert Blyleven
4/8/1975 W @ TEX 11-4 Bert Blyleven (2)
4/9/1976 L @ TEX 1-2 (11 innings) Bert Blyleven (3)
4/9/1977 L @ OAK 4-7 Dave Goltz
4/5/1978 L @ SEA 2-3 Dave Goltz (2)
4/6/1979 W @ OAK 5-3 Dave Goltz (3)
4/10/1980 W @ OAK 9-7 (12 innings) Jerry Koosman
4/9/1981 L vs OAK 1-5 Jerry Koosman (2)
4/6/1982 L vs SEA 7-11 Pete Redfern
4/5/1983 L vs DET 3-11 Brad Havens
4/3/1984 L vs DET 1-8 Albert Williams
4/9/1985 W @ CAL 6-2 Frank Viola
4/8/1986 W @ OAK 3-2 Frank Viola (2)
4/7/1987 W vs OAK 5-4 (10 innings) Bert Blyleven (4)
4/5/1988 L @ NYY 0-8 Frank Viola (3)
4/4/1989 L vs NYY 2-4 Frank Viola (4)
4/9/1990 L @ OAK 3-8 Allan Anderson
4/9/1991 L @ OAK 2-7 Jack Morris
4/6/1992 W @ MIL 4-2 Scott Erickson
4/6/1993 W vs CHW 10-5 Kevin Tapani
4/5/1994 L vs CAL 2-8 Kevin Tapani (2)
4/26/1995 L @ BOS 0-9 Scott Erickson (2)
4/1/1996 W vs DET 8-6 Brad Radke
4/1/1997 W vs DET 7-5 Brad Radke (2)
4/1/1998 L @ TOR 2-3 Bob Tewksbury
4/6/1999 W vs TOR 6-1 Brad Radke (3)
4/3/2000 L vs TB 0-7 Brad Radke (4)
4/3/2001 W @ DET 3-2 Brad Radke (5)
4/1/2002 W @ KC 8-6 Brad Radke (6)
3/31/2003 W @ DET 3-1 Brad Radke (7)
4/5/2004 W vs CLE 7-4 (11 innings) Brad Radke (8)
4/4/2005 L @ SEA 1-5 Brad Radke (9)
4/4/2006 L @ TOR 3-6 Johan Santana
4/2/2007 W vs BAL 7-4 Johan Santana (2)
3/31/2008 W vs LAA 3-2 Livan Hernandez

Overall Record on Opening Day: 25-23


The All-Washington Team: Relief Pitcher

August 8, 2008

Firpo Marberry 1923-1932, 1936

1924
RP Firpo Marberry 11-12 3.09 ERA 1.33 WHIP 1.7 PW 17 WS 4.3 WARP3
Marberry joined the team in August 1923 and pitched in a handful of games towards the end of the season, but 1924 was his first full season in the majors. He appeared in 50 games, most in the AL and though the save was years away from becoming an official stat, Marberry led the league in that category with 15 (teammate Allen Russell was 2nd with 8). Frederick Marberry earned the nickname “Firpo” because he looked like the famous boxer Luis Firpo.

1925
RP Firpo Marberry 9-5 3.47 ERA 1.38 WHIP 1.0 PW 11 WS 2.8 WARP3
Marberry was once again a very good option out of the bullpen in just about any situation. For the second straight season he led the league with 15 saves.

1926
RP Firpo Marberry 12-7 3.00 ERA 1.35 WHIP 2.0 PW 16 WS 5.5 WARP3
Another good season for Marberry, who was just about as reliable as any reliever in the league. In 1926 he appeared in 64 games (59 relief appearances, besting his own record set a year earlier) and earned 22 saves. The saves mark would not be surpassed until 1949.

1927
RP Firpo Marberry 10-7 4.64 ERA 1.58 WHIP -1.4 PW 8 WS 1.8 WARP3
1927 was easily the worst season in Marberry’s career. He pitched better in 1928, but was used mostly as a starter for the rest of his career.

1928
RP Firpo Marberry 13-13 3.85 ERA 1.25 WHIP 0.1 PW 11 WS 3.6 WARP3
Marberry continued to be one of the better AL relievers, but was not as dominant as he had been a few years earlier. 1928 was the start of his transition to the starting rotation.

1929
SP Firpo Marberry 19-12 3.06 ERA 1.21 WHIP 4.0 PW 26 WS 9.8 WARP3
From 1924-1928 he was among the premier relief pitchers in baseball, and is still considered one of the first relief aces in history. At the age of 30, however, Marberry got his first chance to start, and he may have been the best starting pitcher in the American League in 1929. He was second only to Lefty Grove in ERA, and led the league in WHIP. Marberry was fourth in AL strikeouts, and still managed to lead the league in saves with 11.

1930
SP Firpo Marberry 15-5 4.09 ERA 1.31 WHIP 1.5 PW 3.9 WARP3
Though not as impressive as his 1929 season, Marberry’s solid numbers made Washington very deep in starting pitching.

1931
SP Firpo Marberry 16-4 3.45 ERA 1.25 WHIP 2.1 PW 20 WS 5.3 WARP3
Marberry’s W-L record was eye-popping, and earned him a mention on the MVP ballots. Of his 45 pitching appearances in 1931, 20 of them were in relief.

1932

RP Firpo Marberry 8-4 4.01 ERA 1.39 WHIP 0.3 PW 16 WS 3.3 WARP3
1932 would mark Firpo’s 10th, and really his final season in Washington (though he will return for five games in his final season of 1936). Marberry started as one of the first bullpen aces, and may have been one of the more valuable members of the franchise’s only World Championship so far. Later in his career he shifted to the starting rotation and had a lot of success there as well. His final line with Washington (including the five appearances in 1936):

117-71 3.59 ERA (117 ERA+) 11.8 PW 145 WS 41.8 WARP3

Firpo will be traded to Detroit after the season.

The rest of the team…

C Muddy Ruel

1B Joe Judge

2B Buddy Myer

SS Joe Cronin

3B Buddy Lewis

LF Goose Goslin

CF Clyde Milan

RF Sam Rice

SP Walter Johnson


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