By The Numbers – 99

In 1929, uniform numbers appeared on the back of baseball jerseys for the first time, thanks to the Indians and the Yankees.  By 1937, numbers finally appeared across all uniforms, both home and away, across both major leagues.  Since that time, 81 distinct numbers have been worn by members of the White Sox, while the Cubs boast 76.

Today, we begin our look at those players, picking our favorite, if not the best, player to wear each uniform number for both Chicago teams, starting with #99.  A grand total of 3 players have donned #99 while playing in Chicago, 1 for the White Sox and 2 for the Cubs.

Manny Ramirez spent a little more than a month with the White Sox, acquired off waivers from the Dodgers at the end of August in 2010.  The White Sox were hoping there was still some life in the 38-year old slugger as they hoped to make up a 4 game deficit and overtake the Twins for the AL Central title, but he managed just a single home run and only 2 RBI.  Following the season, he became a free agent.

On the north side of town, of the two instances of a player wearing #99, the nod has to go to So Taguchi.  Appearing in 6 games in 2009, Taguchi hit .273 as he wound down his career.

All Time Playoff Team Records

For the first time since 2008, both the White Sox and the Cubs are in the post-season following this abbreviated 2020 season.  The expanded run to the World Series will start with the White Sox facing A’s in Oakland for a best of 3 series starting tonight, while the Cubs welcome the Marlins to Wrigley starting tomorrow.  Winners will advance to the LDS and enter a playoff bubble, with the AL moving to California and the NL to Texas.

With the AL Wild Card Series set to kick off today, it’s time to take an updated look at the team records for the now 30 playoff contests I have attended. These contests come from the 2018 Wild Card game, the ALDS in 2000, 2005, and 2008, the NLDS in 2003, 2007, 2008, 2015, 2016, and 2017, the NLCS in 2003, 2015, 2016, and 2017, the ALCS in 2005, and, of course, the 2005 and 2016 World Series.  Sadly, I won’t be adding any games to this list this year.  Thanks, corona virus.

Post-Season Team Records
Team Name Won Loss Winning Pctg
Florida Marlins 3 0 1.000
Seattle Mariners 2 0 1.000
New York Mets 2 0 1.000
Colorado Rockies 1 0 1.000
Arizona Diamondbacks 1 0 1.000
Chicago White Sox 5 4 0.556
Los Angeles Dodgers 3 3 0.500
Atlanta Braves 1 1 0.500
Cleveland Indians 1 1 0.500
Los Angeles Angels 1 1 0.500
Washington Nationals 1 1 0.500
Tampa Bay Rays 1 1 0.500
Chicago Cubs 9 13 0.409
San Francisco Giants 0 2 0.000
St. Louis Cardinals 0 1 0.000
Boston Red Sox 0 2 0.000
Houston Astros 0 1 0.000

2020 Predictions Revisited

The shortened 60 game 2020 baseball season wraps up today.  2 months ago, I made my annual predictions as to who would win what, not really knowing what a shortened season during a global pandemic would entail.  Now that the season has come to an end, it is time revisit those predictions and see what, if anything, I got right.

American League

East: Yankees

Well, that’s one down.  The Yankees looked to be on cruise control, until a plague of injuries knocked them off course.  The Rays, meanwhile, took home their first division crown since 2010.

Central: Twins

The Twins take their second consecutive division title, thanks in part to the White Sox crapping down their pants leg over the last week of the season.

West: Astros

The A’s came through in a big way, dethroning the Astros after their 3 year reign atop the division.

Wild Cards: White Sox, Rays

Well, these predictions were made before the current playoff structure was put in place.  The three second place teams are guaranteed a post-season slot, with the next two best records earning a wild card spot.

AL Champion: Yankees

While they didn’t win the division, the Yankees do seem primed to make a strong run.

Cy Young: Blake Snell

Indians ace Shane Bieber pretty much has this wrapped up.

MVP: Yoan Moncada

Moncada has struggled after contracting COVID-19 back during summer camp, but I think I was in the right ballpark.  Jose Abreu looks to be the clubhouse leader for this award.

National League

Continue reading →

Homer History

The White Sox have been on a historic home run streak over the past few days.  Sunday, versus the Cardinals, they notched the 10th occurrence in MLB history of 4 consecutive home runs when Yoan Moncada, Yasmani Grandal, Jose Abreu, and Eloy Jimenez went deep back to back to back to back in the 5th inning.  The first three home runs also became the first time a team had 3 Cuban-born players go back to back to back.

This was the second time the White Sox have accomplished this rare feat, joining the Nationals as the only franchise to do it more than once.  Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramírez, and Juan Uribe did the same on August 14, 2008 against the Royals.

The White Sox followed up on that with a little more history on Monday night.  Last week, in Detroit, Tim Anderson and Eloy Jimenez led off the game against starter Matthew Boyd with back to back home runs.  Boyd was back on the bump against the White Sox Monday night in Chicago, and again served up two home run balls to start the game, to Anderson again and Yoan Moncada.  This made the White Sox the first team to ever lead off a game with back to back home runs against the same pitcher twice.  They also halved the previous record of time between games with back to back home runs to start a game, down to 5.  The Dodgers held the previous record, at 10 games.

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 →

2020 Predictions

After months of delay due to the corona virus, the 2020 baseball season is finally scheduled to kick off today with two games, followed by a full slate of games featuring the remaining teams tomorrow.  For the tenth consecutive year, I’ve looked into the crystal ball to make my picks for the upcoming season.  Although, given the circumstances of this season, this is more of a fool’s errand than usual.

American League

East: Yankees

Central: Twins

West: Astros

Wild Cards: White Sox, Rays

AL Champion: Yankees

Cy Young: Blake Snell

MVP: Yoan Moncada

National League

Continue reading →

T-Minus 7

With the delayed start to the 2020 season only a week away, the Cubs new Marquee network is still without a carriage agreement with Comcast, the dominant cable operator in the Chicago metropolitan area.  While the expectation remains that a deal will be in place by Opening Day, nothing is guaranteed in these types of negotiations.  As has been pointed out many times before, the Dodgers, who created their own network in 2014, still have not gotten full clearance in the Los Angeles market after 7 years and 2 World Series appearances.

iTunes Top 200: #1

itunes_image4 years ago, we last counted down the Top 200 songs in my iTunes library. Since my iTunes stats are still intact, across multiple PCs, iPods, iPads, and iPhones, I figured it was time to take another look at my most listened to songs, based on number of plays as of January 1, 2020.

Today, we wrap things up with the two songs that are tied for the top spot, each with 224 plays since my stats began in late 2007.  While on their face, the two songs have nothing in common, they have been linked together on the south side of Chicago for many years.

#1: Captain Stubby and the Buccaneers – Let’s Go-Go-Go White Sox
iTunes stats: 224 plays, most recently on 9/29/2019
Previous ranking: #1

On June 18, 2005, the White Sox were hosting the Dodgers in inter-league play, the first time the two teams had faced each other in Chicago since the 1959 World Series.  The Saturday night tilt celebrated the occasion, with the Go-Go White Sox celebrated prior to the game and both teams wearing 1959 throwbacks.  During the game, the stadium crew dusted off a fight song that hadn’t been heard in nearly 50 years, creating a video montage with the words as part of the night’s festivities.  Down 3-1 in the bottom of the 9th, the White Sox rallied for 4 runs, capped off by A.J. Pierzynski’s two run shot to end the game, and a new tradition at US Cellular Field was born.

The song was written by former White Sox minor leaguer Al Trace and his friend Walter “Li’l Wally” Jagiello during the 1959 season as the White Sox battled for their first pennant since throwing the World Series in 1919.  They brought the song to Tom Fouts, leader of Captain Stubby and the Buccaneers, a popular local band best known for performing on WLS Prairie Farmer Radio and writing and performing advertising jingles.  The song and the team were both a success, as the White Sox did indeed win the pennant, but lost the World Series to the Dodgers in 6 games.

Following that June night, the song became a rallying point for the remainder of the 2005 season.  It received national exposure, as Fox included clips of it in their coverage of the team’s trek through the post-season.  WGN utilized it during their coverage of the World Series victory parade, over clips of highlights of both the 1959 and 2005 teams.  While not as ubiquitous today, the song does still show up on occasion at the ballpark, when the White Sox go on a big rally.

I managed to download an MP3 of the tune at some point, and it has had a place on every White Sox victory playlist I’ve created ever since.  A distinction it shares with our next entry.

#1: AC/DC – Thunderstruck
iTunes stats: 224 plays, most recently on 10/25/2019
Previous ranking: #3

The 12th studio album from AC/DC, The Razor’s Edge, was released in September of 1990, with Thunderstruck released as the first single.  It peaked at #5 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.

The White Sox started taking the field to the song during the 2004 season, and it has been used off and on ever since.  Because of that, it has held a place on every version of my victory playlist since.

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 →

Dodgers All Time Leaders – Through 2019

dodgersWith 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 Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Dodgers began life in Brooklyn in 1883, moving to their current home on the west coast , along with their rival Giants, in 1957.  I’ve seen them play 19 times, including the first two games of their 2008 NLDS sweep against the Cubs and their pennant-clinching victory in the 2017 NLCS.

Home Runs

Name Total
Kike Hernandez 5
Matt Kemp 2
James Loney 2
Manny Ramirez 2

Hits

Name Total
James Loney 20
Matt Kemp 14
Russell Martin 14

Runs

Name Total
James Loney 12
Russell Martin 8
Rafael Furcal 8

RBI

Name Total
James Loney 12
Matt Kemp 9
Kike Hernandez 9

Doubles

Name Total
James Loney 5
Matt Kemp 3
Juan Pierre 3

Triples Continue reading →