RIP Tom Terrific

Former White Sox pitcher and Hall of Famer Tom Seaver passed away Monday at the age of 75.  Seaver won 311 games, had a 2.86 earned-run average and struck out 3,640 batters over a 20-year career that began in 1967.  The 12-time All-Star led the National League in wins three times, ERA three times and strikeouts five times.  He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1992, earning 98.8 percent of the vote, the highest voting percentage ever received at the time.

Seaver joined the White Sox at the end of his career, acquired in the free agent compensation draft in 1984.  He quickly made his mark on the south side, earning two wins in the same day by pitching the final inning of a suspended, 25 inning contest from the day before and then starting the regularly scheduled game against the Brewers.  On August 4, 1985, Seaver threw a complete game to earn his 300th career victory against the Yankees in New York.

Seaver is survived by his wife Nancy and daughters Sarah and Anne.

Hall Of Fame Batting Leaders


 

In normal times, today would have been the day former Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was joined by Expos and Rockies legend Larry Walker, Cardinal and Brewer backstop Ted Simmons, and union boss Marvin Miller in taking their place in Cooperstown.  However, thanks to the corona virus, the Hall of Fame Class of 2020 will need to wait until next year for induction.  But, with two new hitters who would have been joining the list of Hall of Famers I’ve seen play live, let’s check back in anyway with the new leaders on the offensive side of the ball amongst Hall of Famers for all of the games I’ve attended between 1984 and 2020.

Home Runs

Name Total
Jim Thome 35
Frank Thomas 15
Vladimir Guerrero 6
Ivan Rodriguez 4
Chipper Jones 3
Harold Baines 3
Carlton Fisk 3

Hits

Name Total
Jim Thome 110
Frank Thomas 54
Ken Griffey Jr 32
Continue reading →

All Time Team Records

What was planned to be the earliest non-international start in Major League Baseball history turned into the latest, thanks to a combination of the corona virus pandemic and pointless bickering between the MLBPA and team owners.  With the 2020 baseball season finally set to get underway today, although with no fans in the stands, it is time once again to look at the all-time team records for games that I have identified as having attended dating back to 1984.  Thanks to some eBaying of pocket schedules from the 80s, I was able to identify one additional game that I attended in 1988, a California Angels victory at Comiskey Park against the White Sox.

The Cubs look to bounce back from last year’s September collapse that kept them out of the postseason for the first time since 2014, while the White Sox hope their offseason additions push them towards contention as their young talent starts to blossom.  With only 60 games to make their mark, the 2020 season should be an interesting one on both sides of town.

All-Time Team Records
Team Name Won Loss Winning Pctg
California Angels 2 0 1.000
Arizona Diamondbacks 13 2 0.867
Florida Marlins 15 8 0.652
Colorado Rockies 10 6 0.625
Boston Red Sox 18 13 0.581
Toronto Blue Jays 15 11 0.577
New York Yankees 15 11 0.577
Los Angeles Angels 19 14 0.576
Cleveland Indians 28 24 0.538
Chicago Cubs 219 197 0.526
Philadelphia Phillies 10 9 0.526
Houston Astros 22 20 0.524
Chicago White Sox 306 287 0.516
Continue reading →

Looking Ahead To 2021

For reasons that I don’t entirely understand, Major League Baseball released their tentative 2021 schedule late last week, 3 weeks before the 2020 season begins. The local squads should have common goals in mind for 2021: competing for a title.  Assuming, of course, that the 2020 season goes off as planned and the pandemic winds down enough for 2021 to proceed as planned.  So, for one day, at least, let’s turn our attention to next summer for both teams.

The White Sox open their season against the Angels in (Los Angeles, California, Anaheim), the first time that has happened since 1993.  Which, I guess, is a decent sign if one’s looking for omens towards a division title.  They return home a week later, facing the Royals for the home opener.

The interleague schedule pits the White Sox against the NL Central, with trips to Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Milwaukee and home series against the Reds, Cardinals, and the Pirates. The rivalry with their north side foes continues with a series at Wrigley at the beginning of August and a follow-up at Guaranteed Rate Field at the end of the month.

The season ends with a 5 game homestand against the Reds and Tigers.

On the north side, the Cubs open their season up at home against the Pirates, which seems to be a familiar Opening Day foe.

The interleague schedule pits the Cubs against the AL Central, with trips to Cleveland, Detroit, and Minnesota and home series against the Indians, Royals, and the Twins.

The Cubs end the year with a 12 of their final 14 games against the NL Central, with 9 of those coming against the Brewers and the Cardinals, who are likely to challenge them for the NL Central crown.

Brewers All Time Leaders – Through 2019

With baseball shut down because of the corona virus, I thought it would be an interesting time to look at the all time leaders in both offensive and defensive categories for all 30 teams. We continue today with the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Brewers began life in 1969, joining the American League as the Seattle Pilots.  After one year, they moved to Milwaukee and were re-christened the Brewers.  In 1998, the Brewers became the first team to switch leagues when they moved to the National League as the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays joined the American League.  I’ve seen them play 41 times, first in 1993 battling the White Sox at their old home of Milwaukee County Stadium and most recently last July, battling the Cubs at Miller Park.

Home Runs

Name Total
Richie Sexson 4
Prince Fielder 4
Ryan Braun 4

Hits

Name Total
Ryan Braun 29
Prince Fielder 23
J.J. Hardy 19
Corey Hart 19

Runs

Name Total
Ryan Braun 14
Prince Fielder 14
J.J. Hardy 11
Rickie Weeks 11

RBI

Name Total
Ryan Braun 23
Prince Fielder 17
Richie Sexson 13

Doubles

Name Total
Prince Fielder 9
Corey Hart 6
Ryan Braun 6

Triples Continue reading →

Orioles All Time Leaders – Through 2019

oriolesWith baseball shut down because of the corona virus, I thought it would be an interesting time to look at the all time leaders in both offensive and defensive categories for all 30 teams. We continue today with the Baltimore Orioles.

The Orioles began life in 1901 as the Milwaukee Brewers, one of the charter members of the American League.  They moved to St. Louis the following year, becoming the Browns, before finally arriving in Baltimore in 1954.  I’ve seen them play 32 times in 6 different stadiums, first in 1985 at the original Comiskey Park and most recently last June at Camden Yards in Baltimore.

Home Runs

Name Total
Manny Machado 4
Brian Roberts 3
4 tied with 2

Hits

Name Total
Brian Roberts 31
Nick Markakis 17
Melvin Mora 14
Adam Jones 14

Runs

Name Total
Brian Roberts 17
Nick Markakis 8
Melvin Mora 8
Luke Scott 8
Adam Jones 8

RBI

Name Total
Brian Roberts 12
Manny Machado 9
Nick Markakis 8
Luke Scott 8

Doubles

Name Total
Brian Roberts 6
Adam Jones 5
Melvin Mora 4

Triples Continue reading →

It’s Still Been A While

Exactly 8 months since my last baseball game, the longest drought I’ve experienced since 1998 into 1999, I figured it was a good time to take another look at the last time I saw each of the 30 major league teams. For someone with season tickets to two teams, one in each league, you would think that I would cycle through each team every few years or so.  And, for the most part, that does seem to be the case.  I saw 21 of the 30 teams in 2019, going back to 2018, that number jumps to 23.  That’s nearly 77% of the league in the past 2 seasons.

What about those remaining 7 teams?  The Dodgers, Rays, Braves, and Padres last appeared in 2017, while 2016 takes care of the Reds.  I somehow haven’t seen the Diamondbacks since 2014, despite being inside their home ballpark more recently than that.  That leaves the Marlins, who I have somehow not managed to see in person since 2013.  Anyway, here’s a look at each team and the last time I saw them play.

Team Name Date
Miami Marlins 5/26/2013
Arizona Diamondbacks 5/10/2014
Cincinnati Reds 4/11/2016
San Diego Padres 5/13/2017
Atlanta Braves 9/2/2017
Tampa Bay Rays 9/3/2017
Los Angeles Dodgers 10/19/2017
Houston Astros 4/22/2018
Colorado Rockies 10/2/2018
Seattle Mariners 4/6/2019
Pittsburgh Pirates 4/8/2019
Kansas City Royals 4/15/2019
Boston Red Sox 5/5/2019
St. Louis Cardinals 5/5/2019
Continue reading →

Ballpark Tour: Brewers

Spring training is in full swing and opening day is about a month away, as we continue our tour of all of the baseball stadiums I’ve been to over the years. The closest city, outside of Chicago, for baseball, contains the homes of the Milwaukee Brewers. Between the two stadiums that have been located in the heart of cheeseland, I’ve seen 8 games. So, without further ado, let’s take a deeper look at my history with County Stadium and Miller Park.

Stadium Name: County Stadium

Years in Service: 1953 – 2000

Visits: 1

Milwaukee County Stadium was built with the intention of drawing a major league baseball team to Milwaukee, and it worked quicker than anybody would have expected, as the Braves announced they would be moving from Boston 3 weeks before the stadium, and the 1953 season, opened.  The Braves would call Milwaukee home for the next 13 seasons before leaving for Atlanta for the 1966 season.

During the 1968 and 1969 seasons, the struggling Chicago White Sox wound up playing 20 home games at County Stadium in an effort to keep the baseball fandom alive in Milwaukee.  In 1970, local businessman Bud Selig purchased the expansion Seattle Pilots out of bankruptcy court and moved them to Milwaukee and rechristened them the Brewers.  The Brewers would call County Stadium home until 2000, when they would move next door in to the newly built Miller Park.

I made one trip up to County Stadium for a White Sox/Brewers tilt on July 18, 1993.  The White Sox were victorious thank to a 2-run single by Bo Jackson in the 9th inning. I remember sitting out in the bleachers, but, beyond that, have no particular memory of the stadium or what amenities, if any, it offered.

Stadium Name: Miller Park

Years in Service: 2003 – Present

Visits: 7

The Brewers broke ground on a new stadium on November 9, 1996, in a parking lot behind County Stadium, with plans to open the park for the 2000 season.  Construction was delayed in 1999 after a crane collapsed while lifting a 400-ton roof section, killing three workers.  This caused the opening to be delayed for a year, and the new Miller Park did not open until April 6, 2001.  In 2007, the stadium hosted an Indians series against the Angels after snow storms in Cleveland forced the cancellation of the previous series against the Mariners.  The Astros called Miller Park home for two games in 2008 when Hurricane Ike stormed through Houston.

I made the first of my seven visits to Miller Park during the inaugural season of 2001.  That May 7th contest had the Cubs squeaking out a 7-6 victory against the hosting Brewers.  My most recent trip up north was this past summer, to once again see the Cubs battle (or destroy) the Brewers.  Miller Park was a vastly superior replacement over County Stadium, and I’ve enjoyed each of my subsequent trips up to Milwaukee to see the local ballclubs.

Turn On The Marquee

Tomorrow, the Marquee Sports Network, the new home of the Cubs, goes live as the team kicks off their slate of games in the 2020 Cactus League.  Unfortunately, for the majority of homes in the Chicagoland area, the network will not be available.

Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies will continue on as the main announcing team for Cubs games.  They will occasionally be joined by one of the roving band of analysts that have been announced to date: Lou Piniella, Rick Sutcliffe, Mark Grace, Carlos Peña, Mark DeRosa, Ryan Dempster, Doug Glanville, Dan Plesac, and Jason Hammel.  Cole Wright, formerly of NFL Network, will be the studio host for pre- and post-game coverage and Taylor McGregor will be the sideline reporter, a role she previously held with the Rockies.

The one thing Marquee doesn’t have is a carriage agreement with Comcast, the dominant cable operator in the Chicago metropolitan area.  Comcast has 1.5 million home subscribers in the area, more than all the other metro area operators combined.  The Cubs hope to avoid the fate of the Dodgers, who created their own network in 2014 and still have not gotten full clearance in the Los Angeles market, after 7 years and 2 World Series appearances.  Tomorrow was a soft deadline to get a deal done.  If nothing happened by March 26, when the Cubs open the season in Milwaukee against the Brewers.

Ballpark Tour: Rangers

With the offseason underway, we continue our tour of all of the different baseball stadiums I’ve been to over the years. This week, we look at the Texas Rangers, a team you would think I would have visited more often due to it’s proximity to my father. So, without further ado, let’s take a deeper look at my history with the originally-named Ballpark In Arlington, the now former home of the Rangers.

Stadium Name: The Ballpark In Arlington/Ameriquest Field/Rangers Ballpark In Arlington/Globe Life Park

Years in Service: 1994 – 2019

Visits: 7

After spending their entire history at nearby Arlington Stadium, the Texas Rangers broke ground on their new stadium on April 2, 1992 and held their first game there nearly two years later, on April 11, 1994 against the Brewers.  The stadium was known by the somewhat clunky moniker of The Ballpark in Arlington until May of 2004, when Ameriquest bought the naming rights.  That deal ended in March of 2007, and the stadium was renamed again, this time to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.  Corporate money came calling again in 2014, when Globe Life and Accident Insurance Company purchased the naming rights.  The stadium also features a Rangers Hall of Fame, which includes historical artifacts from the team along with visiting collections from Cooperstown.

I made my first trip to the Ballpark on May 22, 1998, to see the Rangers defeat the Royals during a visit to the Dallas area to see my dad.  I returned in 2001 for two games, against the Tigers and 2 days later against the White Sox.  In 2005, on my last trip to the area to date, I took in the entire 4 game series between the Rangers and the eventual World Series champion White Sox.

Having never been to Arlington Stadium, I can’t compare the two, but I would assume that the Ballpark is a vast improvement over its predecessor.  The only downside I noticed in the games I attended was a day game under the hot Texas sun.  The Rangers are addressing that, opening a new stadium next season with a retractable roof.