London Calling

One of the casualties of the lockdown following the corona virus pandemic in 2020 was the cancellation of the series in London between the Cubs and the Cardinals.  While MLB returned in full force in 2021 and this year, the series in London did not.  Well, MLB announced yesterday that the series would return in 2023 with the Cubs and the Cardinals finally getting their chance to battle overseas.

MLB played in Europe for the first time in 2019, when the Yankees swept a pair of games from the Red Sox, and looked to further expand the game’s popularity throughout Europe by making it an annual excursion.  I imagine if next year’s tilt goes off without a hitch, the annual rollout will continue as originally planned.

Hall Of Fame Batting Leaders



The Hall of Fame Class of 2022, former Red Sox DH David Ortiz joins veterans committee choices Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Jim Kaat, Gil Hodges, Buck O’Neil, and Bud Fowler in enshrinement in Cooperstown.  With a new hitter joining the list of Hall of Famers I’ve seen play, let’s check back in with the leaders on the offensive side of the ball amongst Hall of Famers for all of the games I’ve attended between 1984 and 2021.

Home Runs

Name Total
Jim Thome 35
Frank Thomas 15
Vladimir Guerrero 6
David Ortiz 6
Ivan Rodriguez 4

Hits

Name Total
Jim Thome 110
Frank Thomas 54
Ken Griffey Jr 32
David Ortiz 23
Vladimir Guerrero 21

Runs

Name Total
Jim Thome 82
Frank Thomas 42
David Ortiz 16
Ken Griffey Jr 12
Vladimir Guerrero 11
Craig Biggio 11

RBI

Name Total
Jim Thome 84
Frank Thomas 38
David Ortiz 19
Ken Griffey Jr 17
Continue reading →

Last Run For Dallas

After nearly a seasons-worth of poor performances, the White Sox cut bait on Dallas Keuchel yesterday, designating the veteran left hander for assignment.  Keuchel, 34, had a 2-5 record with a 7.88 ERA in eight starts this season and finished his White Sox career 17-16 with a 4.79 ERA in 51 appearances, 49 of them starts.

Signed prior to the 2020 season, Keuchel looked like a steal during the pandemic shortened season.  He went 6-2 with a 1.99 ERA in 11 starts, finishing fifth in Cy Young Award voting.  He started strong in 2021, going 6-1 with a 3.78 ERA in his first 14 starts, but things went south quickly from there.  In his last 18 appearances, he put up a 3-8 record with a 6.70 ERA.  Things were bad enough that he was left off the playoff roster for the ALDS against the Astros.

Keuchel said during spring training that the end of 2021 left a “sour taste” in his mouth, so he started throwing earlier in the offseason than usual to in hopes of a rebound season.  Unfortunately, it didn’t produce the results he was hoping for.  He managed to go at least five innings in just half of his eight starts.  In his last two starts, against the Yankees and the Red Sox, he gave up a combined 12 earned runs in just 6 innings pitched.

Is this the end of the road for Keuchel?  It certainly seems possible, given not just his poor results but also how he’s been getting them.  His long-held ability to limit damage by not giving up free baserunners has left him, as he walked 20 batters in jut 32 innings this year.  But, injuries have a way of making teams desperate for pitching, so his phone may ring sometime over the next few months.

Throwback Thursday – Team Records Of The 2000s

It’s time for another trip in the wayback machine, as this week we move our focus to the start of the 21st century and see what my view of the baseball world looked like in the 2000s.  This was my first decade as a season ticket holder, starting in 2002 for the Cubs and 2005 for the White Sox.

I attended 518 contests during the 2000s, starting with my first trip to Cincinnati in April of 2000 and finishing with Daniel Hudson’s first major league victory in September of 2009.  I attended games at 13 stadiums from coast to coast and saw my first post-season action, with an ALDS in 2000, an NLCS in 2003, and a World Series game in 2005.

2021 Team Records
Team Name Won Loss Winning Pctg
Arizona Diamondbacks 11 1 0.917
Philadelphia Phillies 10 4 0.714
Toronto Blue Jays 6 3 0.667
Florida Marlins 12 7 0.632
Tampa Bay Rays 3 2 0.600
Texas Rangers 8 6 0.571
Los Angeles Dodgers 8 6 0.571
Chicago White Sox 130 107 0.549
Chicago Cubs 172 147 0.539
Baltimore Orioles 9 8 0.529
Cleveland Indians 10 9 0.526
Los Angeles Angels 10 9 0.526
Boston Red Sox 9 9 0.500
Colorado Rockies 6 6 0.500
Seattle Mariners 5 5 0.500
Anaheim Angels 1 1 0.500
Houston Astros Continue reading →

Throwback Thursday – Team Records Of The 1980s

With the 2022 season well underway, I thought it would be interesting to take a trip in the wayback machine and see what my view of the baseball world looked like in the long-ago period known as the 1980’s.

I’ve been able to identify 14 games I attended during the 80’s, starting with Luis Aparicio’s number retirement in 1984 through a September 1988 game at Wrigley Field, which turned out to be the second official night game.  There are more games that I remember something about attending, voting for the new White Sox uniform designs in 1981, Carlton Fisk bat day some point in the early 80s, getting a Cubs calendar in 1986,  and winning tickets from WGN radio for a game, but I haven’t been able to track down specifics about them as of yet.

1980s Team Records
Team Name Won Loss Winning Pctg
Toronto Blue Jays 1 0 1.000
San Diego Padres 1 0 1.000
Cleveland Indians 1 0 1.000
California Angels 1 0 1.000
Texas Rangers 1 1 0.500
Seattle Mariners 1 1 0.500
New York Mets 1 1 0.500
Baltimore Orioles 1 1 0.500
Chicago White Sox 5 6 0.455
Chicago Cubs 1 2 0.333
Kansas City Royals 0 1 0.000
Boston Red Sox 0 1 0.000

By The Numbers – 12

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 #12.  91 different players have donned #12 while playing in Chicago, 44 for the White Sox and 47 for the Cubs.

A.J. Pierzynski signed with the White Sox on January 6, 2005 and rewarded the organization with eight seasons of stability behind the plate that included one All-Star selection, two playoff appearances, and, of course, the 2005 World Series championship.  Over those 8 seasons, Pierzynski was involved in many key moments while wearing #12 that endeared him to the White Sox faithful, including:

  • The walk-off home run, and resulting bat flip (pictured above), against the Dodgers in 2005 while wearing 1959 throwbacks
  • The two home runs in a thrashing of the Red Sox in game one of the 2005 ALDS, the first White Sox home postseason victory since 1959
  • The controversial dropped third strike that led to a White Sox victory in game two of the 2005 ALCS against the Angels
  • The 2006 brawl against the Cubs where Michael Barrett sucker-punched him after Pierzynski enthusiastically scored a run against the crosstown rivals
  • Hanging on to the throw from Ken Griffey Jr. to preserve the shutout in the 2008 tie-breaker game that pushed the White Sox into the playoffs over the Twins
  • Being behind the plate for Mark Buehrle’s no-hitter in 2007 and Philip Humber’s perfect game in 2012

On the north side of town, a dynamic shortstop, the first player chosen in the 1982 draft, wore #12 when he made his major league debut in 1985.  Shawon Dunston quickly became a fan favorite.  In 1989, he entered the national consciousness thanks to the Shawon-O-Meter, a fan made sign that tracked Dunston’s batting average during each game.  The sign was seen in the Wrigley Field bleachers for a number of years and even made its way to San Francisco’s Candlestick Park for the 1989 NLCS.  Following the 1995 season, he left as a free agent before resigning with the team for the 1997 campaign.  He was traded to the Pirates at the end of August, ending his Cubs career for good.

Mornings With The Peacock

On the heels of last month’s announcement of an exclusive streaming deal with Apple TV+, MLB announced another streaming deal, this time with Peacock, owned by NBC.  Worth an estimated $30 million to the poor MLB owners, the deal gives Peacock an exclusive window on Sunday mornings through 12:30 PM CT.  Games will begin at 10:30 CT through June 12, then move to an 11 AM start time for the remainder of the season.  In addition, Peacock will be the exclusive home of the Futures Game during All Star festivities and will also feature classic MLB games, award-winning documentaries from the MLB Film & Video Archive, and highlight packages available on-demand in a new MLB hub.

The Peacock slate kicks off on May 8 with the White Sox visiting the Red Sox and will be simulcast on NBC.  The south siders make an additional appearance in August while visiting the Guardians.  The Cubs, meanwhile, make their sole appearance while visiting the Phillies in July.  It is a shame that all three of these games are on the road.  It would be interesting to attend a game with an 11:00 (or earlier) start.

As I said last month, I see MLB expanding its reach into the streaming world to be a good thing.  Some will say that with these new exclusive deals, MLB is spreading their product around a little too much and they do have a point.  In order to watch every White Sox game this season as it happens, one would have to have access to NBC Sports Chicago, FOX, FS1, ESPN, Apple TV+. and Peacock.  That’s a lot of different services.  But how many fans actually try to watch every single game?  For the casual fan, MLB having a wide footprint can only be a good thing as they try to build the next generation of hard-core fans.

All Time Team Records

After a long lockout and an abbreviated spring training, the 2022 baseball season finally gets underway today, so, to celebrate, 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.  Last year, I tied 2004 for my 5th highest game total of all time and managed to see 25 out of the 30 teams, so there should be some nice changes.  Thanks to a name change, the all-time record of the Cleveland Indians become static moving forward, forever stuck at 4 games over .500.

The White Sox look to once again lead an improving AL Central and move past the ALDS in the post-season, while the Cubs are neither contending nor rebuilding.  The 2022 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 14 2 0.875
Florida Marlins 15 8 0.652
Colorado Rockies 10 6 0.625
New York Yankees 17 11 0.607
Boston Red Sox 19 13 0.594
Los Angeles Angels 20 14 0.588
Toronto Blue Jays 15 11 0.577
Philadelphia Phillies 11 9 0.550
Washington Nationals 7 6 0.538
Cleveland Indians 31 27 0.534
Chicago White Sox 335 307 0.522
Chicago Cubs 224 206 0.521
Houston Astros Continue reading →

2022 Predictions

After 99-day lockout and a truncated spring training schedule, the 2022 baseball season is finally scheduled to kick off tomorrow with a slate of games.  For the twelfth consecutive year, I’ve looked into the crystal ball to make my picks for the upcoming season, including an additional Wild Card pick for each league.

American League

East: Blue Jays

Central: White Sox

West: Astros

Wild Cards: Yankees, Angels, Red Sox

AL Champion: Yankees

Cy Young: Lucas Giolito

MVP: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

National League

Continue reading →

Spring Fever

As we kick off Michael’s birthday month, we look back at a collage of him sleeping in cars during the previous year.  After contracting COVID late in 2020, his energy levels have been a bit off, and he has had a tendency to sleep way too many hours in the day.  Including on our way to the Museum of Science and Industry, a tilt between the White Sox and the Red Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field, and Purdue/Northwestern football game at Wrigley Field.