By The Numbers – 59

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 continue our look at those players, picking our favorite, if not the best, player to wear each uniform number for both Chicago teams with #59.  15 players have donned #59 while playing in Chicago, 6 for the White Sox and 3 for the Cubs.

Acquired in 1984 from the Mariners for Salome Barojas, Gleaton put up good numbers in Triple A for the White Sox and was eventually called up to the big leagues, appearing in 11 games.  Gleaton again split the 1985 season between Triple A and the White Sox, with more success in Triple A.  He made it in to 31 games for the White Sox, but put up a 5.76 ERA.  He then spent all of 1986 in Triple A before leaving the White Sox organization as a free agent.

On the north side of town, Rodney Myers donned #59 from 1996 through 1999, putting up a 5-2 record with a 4.90 ERA, before being traded to the Padres for Gary Matthews Jr.

All Time Team Records

In a shocking development, the 2021 baseball season got underway last night without issue or delay.  With hopefully a full 162 game schedule on the docket, 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 contend in a weak NL Central with one final year of having the core of their World Series Championship team under contract, while the White Sox hope their offseason additions put them over the top and make them true World Series contenders.  The 2021 season should be an interesting one on both sides of town, even more interesting if we are able to see it in person.

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
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2021 Predictions

After a year of pandemic-related shut downs and a truncated 60-game schedule last year, the 2021 baseball season is scheduled to kick off on Thursday with a full slate of games and some percentage of fans back in the stands.  For the eleventh consecutive year, I’ve looked into the crystal ball to make my picks for the upcoming season.

American League

East: Yankees

Central: Twins

West: Astros

Wild Cards: White Sox, Blue Jays

AL Champion: Yankees

Cy Young: Lucas Giolito

MVP: Aaron Judge

National League

Continue reading →

By The Numbers – 61

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 continue our look at those players, picking our favorite, if not the best, player to wear each uniform number for both Chicago teams with #61.  18 players have donned #61 while playing in Chicago, 12 for the White Sox and 6 for the Cubs.

Joel McKeon was the White Sox first round pick in the 1982 draft and made his debut in 1986, where he appeared in 30 games out of the bullpen and had a rather successful 2.45 ERA.  His 1987 season, however, was much less successful, with his ERA jumping to 9.43 and, the following February, McKeon was shipped off to the Padres to complete an earlier trade.  While McKeon, the first #61 in White Sox history, did little to make himself memorable on a real baseball diamond, his 1986 appearance with Buffalo, the then Triple A affiliate of the White Sox, made him a superstar of our Micro League Baseball league, where he dominated as a stalwart of the team belonging to my friend Dave.

Backup catcher Babe Phelps, the first player to don #61 for the Cubs, hit .286 in his 2 seasons with the Cubs.  And no, I don’t mean his average across those 2 seasons was .286.  I mean he finished both seasons, 1933 and 1934, with a .286 average.  He would go on to more success with the Dodgers later in the decade, earning MVP votes in 1936 and earning three straight All Star nods from 1938-1940.

2020: The Year In Travel

In normal times, this is where I would take a look back at all of the different trips I took this past year and look ahead to what, if any. travel plans I already have for 2021.  Unfortunately, 2020 was far from normal times.  So let’s see, in early April, Michael and I went to Boston to see Angelina and the White Sox battle the Red Sox.  Oh wait, that was cancelled due to the corona virus.  Well, in May, I went to California to see the White Sox do battle against the Giants in San Francisco and then the Padres in San Diego.  Oh yeah, that was cancelled too.

As it turned out, I only ended up making one trip during the hell year that was 2020.  Labor Day weekend, I headed up to Holland, Michigan for a week of relaxation.  Other than a couple of trips to the lakes (both Macatawa and Michigan) and a day spent in Saugatuck, I didn’t see much of the sites, as the rona was still very much a concern.

So that was it.  With vaccines starting to become available, there is hope that 2021 will be different, but, at least at the start, we are still pretty much locked down.

Tearing It Down

A few years from now, we will look back and ask ourselves exactly when did the Cubs rebuild officially begin.  Was it when Theo Epstein decided to walk away from the last year on his contract, leaving $10 million on the table?  Was it a few weeks later when fan-favorite Kyle Schwarber was non-tendered?  Or, was it yesterday, when the Cubs sent Yu Darvish, Victor Caratini, and cash to the Padres in exchange for Zach Davies, Owen Caissie, Reginald Preciado, Yeison Santana, and Ismael Mena.

Darvish, who has three years and $59 million left on the deal he signed before the 2018 season, went 8-3 with a 2.01 ERA in 12 starts for during the COVID-shortened season, finishing in second place in NL Cy Young Award voting.  Caratini was his personal catcher and hit .241 with 16 RBIs last year.  After struggling upon his arrival in Chicago, Darvish started to regain his form midway through 2019 and continued on into 2020, helping the Cubs win the Central Division title and return to the post-season after a one year absence.

Davies, 27, will become a free agent after the 2021 season.  He went 7-4 with a 2.73 ERA in 12 starts for the Padres in 2020.  The prospect package will not be of much help to the Cubs in the immediate future.  Caissie, an 18-year-old outfielder, was the Padres second round pick in this year’s draft.  Preciado, a 17 year old switch hitting shortstop, signed with the Padres in July of 2019 out of Panama.  The 20 year old Santana, also a shortstop, made his pro debut in 2018 in the Dominican Summer League. Outfielder Mena, 18, is a left handed hitting Dominican also signed in 2019.

Given the state of the NL Central, the Cubs may still contend for a division title next year.  Obviously, Jed Hoyer and company would prefer to retool on the fly and build up the farm system while still trying to compete.  But, this move definitely makes the Cubs weaker heading into 2021.  And, barring extensions, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo, and Willson Contreras will all become free agents by the end of 2022.  It seems as though the Cubs contention window, which opened with a bang in 2015, closed with a whimper when they were swept out of the playoffs last October.  This trade did little to keep it open, but may have laid the groundwork for the next window.

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
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Changes In The Radio Booth

Now that the start of the baseball season is set, WGN and the White Sox have announced that Andy Masur would replace Ed Farmer in the radio booth for the 2020 season.  Masur, who was the pre-game host and had filled in for Farmer last season and was planned to fill in again when Farmer stepped away in spring training before the sport shut down because of the corona virus pandemic, spent 8 years at WGN, starting in 1999, before leaving to become the voice of the Padres in 2007.  He returned to the station in 2014 and started working with the White Sox when they moved to WGN in 2018.  He will join the returning Darrin Jackson, who has been the color man in the booth since 2009.

Farmer, who had spent 28 years in the White Sox radio booth and was the main play-by-play man since 2006, passed away following a long illness on April 2nd.

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
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Padres All Time Leaders – Through 2019

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

The Padres began life in 1969, joining the National League along with the Montreal Expos.  I’ve seen them play 19 times at 5 different ballparks, first in 1985 at Wrigley Field and, most recently, in 2017.  I was supposed to take in the 3 game series between them and the White Sox next month at PETCO Park.

Home Runs

Name Total
Adrian Gonzalez 2
Ramon Hernandez 2
Mike Cameron 2
Khalil Greene 2

Hits

Name Total
Ryan Klesko 9
Sean Burroughs 9
Brian Giles 8

Runs

Name Total
Adrian Gonzalez 7
Mark Loretta 5
Ramon Hernandez 4
Mike Cameron 4

RBI

Name Total
Khalil Greene 8
Ramon Hernandez 6
Ryan Klesko 6

Doubles

Name Total
Ryan Klesko 3
Adrian Gonzalez 3
Will Venable 3

Triples Continue reading →