CHANGES IN BASEBALL: In the last blog I mentioned how rare complete games are nowadays–only 42 were thrown in 2018. By way of contrast, consider this: in 1972, Steve Carlton racked up 30 CG on his own (during an incredible season for “Lefty.” Remember, this was the year his Phillies won just 59 times and he owned 27 of those wins, a staggeringly high percentage). After researching Carlton, I chose three pitchers who I figured had a lot of CG: Fergie Jenkins, Bob Gibson, and Juan Marichal and found that over a two-year span they had 54, 56, and 57 CG respectively. Sandy Koufax had 54 CG over his final two seasons. I’m sure if I dug more I would find even better totals for a pitcher, totals that would make the MLB total of a paltry 42 for all 30 teams combined look utterly ridiculous. And I’m not talking about ancient baseball–after all, the record for the most CG in a season is 48, set by Jack Chesbro in 1904, the year he also set the modern day record for the most wins, 41. Final note: “Iron Man” Joe McGinnity started both ends of three double headers in August of 1902, a month when many pitchers are wearing down. He won all six of the contests, and went the distance in each of the six games.
MORE ON CARLTON: His 1972 also included such glittering stats as his having worked 346 1/3 innings, a total never to be seen again with the way the game is now played, and his 310 K’s and 1.97 ERA.
MORE ON CHANGES: In the 2018 NLCS, Milwaukee pitcher logged 65 2/3 inning pitched in all. In days gone by, the amount of those IP which were worked by starters would have been quite high. This time, Brewers starters accounted for a mere 20 1/3 of that total meaning the bullpen provided the staff with 45 1/3 IP. Granted, the numbers are skewed some because one starter faced one batter, walked him, then departed from the game, officially working zero innings. Regardless, the actions of teams such as Milwaukee and Tampa make one wonder if this is a new trend or something which will die out.
NO NEED TO HUSTLE? Manny Machado was guilty of some dirty play according to many experts. Not only did he twice make questionable slides into second base to attempt to break up possible double plays (he was called out on one of the slides), but he also kicked Jesus Aguilar as he crossed the first base bag, infuriating some Brewers. On top of that, he didn’t run out a ground ball in Game #2 of the NLCS, stating that hustling was “not my cup of tea.” Here he is fighting to advance to the ultimate goal, the World Series, but the idea of simply running out a ground ball is not his style. Like Pete Rose or not, those words would never have been uttered by a man who truly wanted to win all of the time. Apparently, he doesn’t care about winning or even his teammates all that much. After his Dodgers clinched, he was asked if he felt as though he had the last laugh on the Milwaukee fans who had rained down boos on him for his dirty plays. Smugly, he shot back, “What do you think?” Can’t say I’m a fan of this guy.
QUIZ: Football has seen some great and/or colorful nicknames over the years (feel free to share your favorites by making a comment on this blog). We’ve had Billy White Shoes Johnson, Eugene Mercury Morris, Roger the Dodger Staubach, and many more. Your question is this–what was the real name of the 5′ 10″, 210 pound running back known as The Human Bowling Ball? He was from Ravenna, Ohio, and attended the nearby Kent State University. When Larry Csonka left the Dolphins and headed to the WFL, this runner stepped in and finished in the Top 10 in the NFL fo rushing TDs from 1974 through 1976.
TRIVIA: Walter Johnson was involved in 64 1-0 games over his career. He won 38 of them for what was often a poor Washington Senators team…In 1962, 1 out of every 76. stolen bases in the N.L. were rung up by Maury Wills who set a new record with his 104 steals…From a graphic I saw during the playoffs: the longest postseason game in Dodgers history (based on innings played) is 14, set back in 1916 when they lost to the Red Sox. In that contest Babe Ruth went the distance for a 2-1 victory. Now, how’s this for another change in baseball? That game took 2:32 to play. Contrast that to the 13 inning game the Dodgers (then called the Robins) played in the 2018 postseason–that one took more than twice as long at 5:15. No TV commercials back in 1916, of course, and only two pitchers appeared in that contest while 16 worked in the 2018 game.