The Minnesota Twins: A History of Home Runs

The 1965 Minnesota Twins hit 150 homers, with Harmon Killebrew leading the team with a low-for-him 25, six players with more than 15 homers, and four with 20 or more homers. This team’s 102 wins has the franchise record.

The 1987 Twins hit 196 homers, had three players hit more than 30 homers, and had a fourth player, Kirby Puckett, hit 28 homers.

The 1991 team hit 140 homers, and had one player hit 29 homers and another hit 20 homers.

In many seasons after 1987, the Twins had no 30-homer players. The 2006 team, which has the most regular season wins of any post-1991 Twins team, had two with 30+ homers: Torii Hunter and Justin Morneau.

The 2019 team, currently on pace for 98 wins, two more than the 2006 team, already has six players with 20 or more homers, and two with more than 30 homers. The team has 244 homers, and is on pace for about 310 for the season. It should wind up with the same 11 double-digit homer hitters it has currently; by comparison, the 1991 Twins had five double-digit homer hitters.

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Published in: Uncategorized on August 22, 2019 at 10:22 am  Leave a Comment  

The Diminishing Complete Game

The active MLB leader in complete games is CC Sabathia, with 38. No one else has more than 25. Once Sabathia retires, it’s quite likely that it will be some time before we see another active pitcher with 30 complete games. For a bit of perspective: in 1979, 10 different pitchers threw at least 15 complete games. Phil Niekro, the leader that year, wound up with 245 complete games in his career.

Published in: Uncategorized on July 15, 2019 at 11:20 am  Leave a Comment  

The Pitcher Steve Ontiveros

This is about the second MLB Steve Ontiveros, the pitcher who came up with Oakland. You know how he led the A.L. in ERA in 1994, then made the 1995 All-Star team? I see on Retrosheet that he then spent 4 years outside of MLB, then came back to pitch 3 games for the Red Sox in 2000. He had spent 1991 and 1992 outside of MLB. It is a very curious career to look over. He played for 13 different teams, pitched for only 4 of them in the majors, was in the majors in 10 of the 16 years, 1985-2000, but half of his career innings were in his first 3 years, 1985-1987. That’s what I remember him for, that first stint with the A’s.

Ontiveros is now a baseball coach in Scottsdale, Arizona, and claims to have successfully tutored David Aardsma, Huston Street, and other pitchers on the road to MLB.

Published in: Uncategorized on June 28, 2019 at 3:47 pm  Comments (1)  

A Few Comparisons Between Barry Bonds and Hank Aaron

Bonds’ fewest homers in a full season was 19, in 1989. His high was 73, in 2001. Aaron’s fewest homers in a full season was either 12, in 1975, or 13, in 1954, depending on what you consider to be the full season threshold. His high was 47, in 1971.

Bonds’ number of steals in a season peaked at 52, and declined to 5 in his last full season, 2007. Aaron’s number of steals in a season peaked at 31, and declined to 0 in his last two seasons. Bonds had 762 homers out of 2935 hits, and 2558 walks, and 688 intentional walks. His longest sustained homer slumps were hitting 3 from August 15, 1986, to the end of that season, and hitting 1 from August 27, 1989, to the end of that season. Aaron had 755 homers out of 3771 hits, and 1402 walks, and 293 intentional walks. His longest sustained homer slumps were hitting 3 from May 18, 1975, to July 3, 1975, and hitting 1 from August 12, 1975, to the end of that season, then hitting 1 from July 15, 1976, to the end of that season (but Aaron missed quite a bit of time in that span).

Bonds had 4 3-homer games, and 67 2-homer games; 4 games with 4 intentional walks, and 13 with 3 intentional walks. Bonds had 4 games with 4 strikeouts, and 32 games with 3 strikeouts. Aaron had 1 3-homer game, and 61 2-homer games; 1 game with 3 intentional walks, and 17 with 2 intentional walks. He had 20 games with 3 strikeouts.

Finally: Bonds was ejected 13 times as a player, usually for arguing balls and strikes, starting with once in 1987 and ending with once in 2006 (and once as a hitting coach, in 2016); Aaron was ejected once, on June 19, 1966, for arguing balls and strikes.

Published in: Uncategorized on May 23, 2019 at 2:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

Reggie Jackson, Mr. October?

Out of the 11 ALCS Reggie played, only 3 times did he have a slugging percentage above .400. His batting average was below .200 in 6 different ALCS. His overall ALCS slash line was .227/.298/.380. In his 5 World Series he did much better, with at least 1 homer in each one, never a batting average below .286, and a .357/.457/.755 overall slash line.

My point is that “Mr. October” isn’t a great nickname for Reggie. Mr. World Series is better. It’s surprising to see how bad a hitter he was in many ALCS. His total postseason batting average was .278, with 18 homers in 77 games. Did the nickname emerge in direct response to the four homers in a row in 1977? It seems so.

He was in the ALCS 11 of 16 years, 1971-1986, and 10 of 12 years, 1971-1982, so for a generation of fans, he was nearly always around in October. In that sense, he was Mr. October.

Published in: Uncategorized on May 2, 2019 at 3:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

Note on the 2018 Red Sox

Boston lost 7 of 12, 7 of 11, and 6 of 8 in different stretches of the 2018 season. This is just to say that we shouldn’t overreact to trends that have emerged early in the 2019 season.

Published in: Uncategorized on April 15, 2019 at 10:55 am  Leave a Comment  

The Chicago Cubs: 100,000 Runs Scored

Retrosheet says that in the franchise’s lifetime, the Chicago Cubs have scored 99,538 runs. They should hit 100,000 sometime in July (2019). It looks like the Cubs are the only franchise so close to 100,000, because they and the Braves are the only two that date back to 1871, and the Braves are at 98,116.

It’s a bit of interesting history there in Chicago. 360 feet for each run scored, times 99,538, is 35.768880 million feet worth of footsteps. The Cubs have allowed 96,120 runs. Retrosheet has them with a 10,975-10,403 w-l record, as well as 163 ties.

Published in: Uncategorized on March 6, 2019 at 1:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Michael Young and Ichiro

There is a pretty interesting comparison to make between these two, in terms of offensive stats alone. Here are Young’s stats, and here are Ichiro’s stats.

Young played a couple games in 2000, but his career effectively spanned 2001 to 2013. Like Ichiro, he was older than the average rookie in his first full season: Young was 24 and a half in April 2001. I’m not going to go through all of their stats here. Suffice to say that they were the two great hitters for average in the AL West during the 2000s decade, Young hitting for more power, Ichiro getting more singles and many more steals, both of them getting a fairly similar number of walks, both of them being very durable throughout the decade. For 2013, Young’s last season, he had better stats than Ichiro, but since 2013 Ichiro has added about 350 hits, for 3089 total, compared to Young’s 2375 total.

Considering just their MLB offensive stats, the great glaring difference between them, reputationally, is that Young got 2.1 percent of the Hall of Fame vote this year, while Ichiro is considered likely to be a first ballot inductee. My question, especially for those of you who are Rangers fans and followed his career closely, is whether Young is mistakenly underrated, both in absolute terms and vis a vis Ichiro.

Published in: Uncategorized on February 22, 2019 at 11:31 am  Leave a Comment  

The Underrated Phil Niekro

Niekro was a really good pitcher for a very long time. He didn’t get much acclaim during his career, judging from award voting, but looking at the incredible number of innings he pitched, year after year, I have to think he’s underrated. 280 or so innings each year, 1968 through 1980, with ERAs that were fairly close to the league leaders, is an awfully nice thing to bank on if you’re the GM or manager of a team.

For example, Niekro’s 1978: a 2.76 ERA for 334 1/3rd innings should be good for better than 6th place in the Cy Young voting. Baseball-reference has him leading the NL in WAR that year. Are Niekro’s stats unfairly discounted because he wasn’t a “great” pitcher (didn’t have the profile of Marichal or Seaver or Gibson), didn’t have an awesome strikeout rate, hardly ever got into the postseason, and threw a knuckleball? The obvious comparison is with Don Sutton, who benefited from pitching for the Dodgers while Niekro was pitching for the Braves.

Published in: Uncategorized on January 22, 2019 at 7:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

The 1938 to 1942 Philadelphia Phillies

These five teams reached a peak of 50 wins, in 1940. Here are some of their monthly win-loss tallies:
For 1938: 1-10; 5-20; 7-22
1939: 7-23; 6-27
1940: 9-21; 7-23; 11-24
1941: 7-22; 6-20; 7-22
1942: 4-12; 5;19; 8-20; 6-21

By September of 1942, Philadelphia was so tired of watching the Phillies play that on September 11, only 393 people got to Shibe Park for that day’s game vs. the Reds.

Published in: Uncategorized on December 29, 2018 at 1:10 pm  Leave a Comment