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Archive for March, 2010

Pure Backstops Who Can Stick

Posted by Steve Lombardi on March 31, 2010

A simple list via Baseball-Reference.com's Play Index Batting Season Finder -

From 1901 to 2009,
Played 80% of games at C,
Requiring OPS+ >=100
At least 1500 career games

I like to think of this as "Guys who caught a long time, who didn't really play anywhere else in the field, who were league average offensive performers or better."

Rk Player OPS+ G From To Age PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO HBP SB BA OBP SLG Pos
1 Mike Piazza 142 1912 1992 2007 23-38 7745 6911 1048 2127 344 8 427 1335 759 1113 30 17 .308 .377 .545 *2D/3
2 Bill Dickey 127 1789 1928 1946 21-39 7060 6300 930 1969 343 72 202 1209 678 289 31 36 .313 .382 .486 *2
3 Johnny Bench 126 2158 1967 1983 19-35 8669 7658 1091 2048 381 24 389 1376 891 1278 19 68 .267 .342 .476 *253/798
4 Gabby Hartnett 126 1990 1922 1941 21-40 7297 6432 867 1912 396 64 236 1179 703 697 35 28 .297 .370 .489 *2/3
5 Yogi Berra 125 2120 1946 1965 21-40 8364 7555 1175 2150 321 49 358 1430 704 414 52 30 .285 .348 .482 *279/35
6 Ernie Lombardi 125 1853 1931 1947 23-39 6349 5855 601 1792 277 27 190 990 430 262 46 8 .306 .358 .460 *2
7 Jorge Posada 124 1594 1995 2009 23-37 6312 5365 817 1488 342 9 243 964 838 1278 65 17 .277 .379 .480 *2/D3
8 Carlton Fisk 117 2499 1969 1993 21-45 9853 8756 1276 2356 421 47 376 1330 849 1386 143 128 .269 .341 .457 *2D/735
9 Gary Carter 115 2295 1974 1992 20-38 9019 7971 1025 2092 371 31 324 1225 848 997 68 39 .262 .335 .439 *29/375
10 Darrell Porter 113 1782 1971 1987 19-35 6570 5539 765 1369 237 48 188 826 905 1025 45 39 .247 .354 .409 *2D/3
11 Javy Lopez 112 1503 1992 2006 21-35 5793 5319 674 1527 267 19 260 864 357 969 66 8 .287 .337 .491 *2D/3
12 Bill Freehan 112 1774 1961 1976 19-34 6899 6073 706 1591 241 35 200 758 626 753 114 24 .262 .340 .412 *23/D79
13 Ivan Rodriguez 108 2388 1991 2009 19-37 9712 9070 1308 2711 547 50 305 1264 487 1380 56 125 .299 .336 .471 *2/D34
14 Lance Parrish 106 1988 1977 1995 21-39 7797 7067 856 1782 305 27 324 1070 612 1527 37 28 .252 .313 .440 *2D/397
15 Sherm Lollar 104 1752 1946 1963 21-38 6218 5351 623 1415 244 14 155 808 671 453 115 20 .264 .357 .402 *2/35
16 Terry Steinbach 101 1546 1986 1999 24-37 5896 5369 638 1453 273 21 162 745 418 938 48 23 .271 .326 .420 *2/3D597
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 3/31/2010.

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How many of the top nine here, who are not already in Cooperstown, will make it to the Hall of Fame someday? Piazza is a lock. Posada? Now, that's an interesting debate.

15 Comments | Posted in Season Finders

Opening Day pitching streaks

Posted by Andy on March 31, 2010

I did some Game Finder searches using the team's first game of the season to find active streaks. As games start next week, let's see which of these streaks continue.

Most consecutive wins is 3, by Johan Santana:

Rk Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR Pit Str GSc IR IS BF AB 2B 3B IBB HBP SH SF GDP SB CS PO BK WP ERA WPA RE24 aLI
1 2007-04-02 MIN BAL W 7-4 GS-6 ,W 6.0 7 4 4 2 6 1 83 58 46 26 24 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 6.00 -0.093 -0.866 1.095
2 2008-03-31 NYM FLA W 7-2 GS-7 ,W 7.0 3 2 2 2 8 1 100 67 69 26 24 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2.57 0.225 1.610 .739
3 2009-04-06 NYM CIN W 2-1 GS-6 ,W 5.2 3 1 1 4 7 0 99 62 62 23 18 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.59 0.180 1.690 1.161
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 3/31/2010.

Santana is scheduled to start the Mets' first game so he has a shot at continuing the streak. Incidentally, Jake Peavy had a string of 3 straight opening day wins snapped last year.  No other pitcher has a streak going back any further than last year.

Roy Oswalt is on the other side of this equation, having lost on Opening Day each of the last 2 seasons:

Rk Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR Pit Str GSc IR IS BF AB 2B 3B IBB HBP SH SF GDP SB CS PO BK WP ERA WPA RE24 aLI
2 2008-03-31 HOU SDP L 0-4 GS-6 ,L 5.1 11 3 3 1 6 0 114 75 39 27 25 3 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 5.06 -0.115 -0.788 .894
3 2009-04-06 HOU CHC L 2-4 GS-7 ,L 7.0 7 3 3 1 2 2 93 64 52 28 26 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 3.86 -0.063 0.453 .651
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 3/31/2010.

Aaron Harang has done the same:

Rk Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR Pit Str GSc IR IS BF AB 2B 3B IBB HBP SH SF GDP SB CS PO BK WP ERA WPA RE24 aLI
2 2008-03-31 CIN ARI L 2-4 GS-6 ,L 6.0 3 3 2 2 6 2 99 65 60 24 22 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3.00 -0.015 0.121 .684
3 2009-04-06 CIN NYM L 1-2 GS-5 ,L 5.0 7 1 1 3 2 1 114 62 48 24 21 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 1.80 0.127 1.511 1.373
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 3/31/2010.

Kevin Millwood snapped a 3-year streak last season but more impressively Barry Zito snapped a 4-year streak. You've got to be pretty good to lose 4 straight Opening Day games, at least.

I'm not going to post line scores, but the only player with more than 1 consecutive Opening Day save is Jonathan Papelbon, who has saved the Red Sox openers in each of the last 2 years. Nobody has blown more than one straight save opportunity.

Taking a step back, the longest active streaks of starting on Opening Day are Roy Oswalt with 7, Roy Halladay with 7, and Carlos Zambrano with 5. The most consecutive Opening Day appearances by a reliever is 4 by Damaso Marte.

In my next post we'll look at Opening Day hitting streaks.

3 Comments | Posted in Game Finders, Streak Finders

Find Franchises with Most of Something – Play Index

Posted by Sean Forman on March 29, 2010

I've added another grouping option to the Batting and Pitching Season Finders, so you can now find things like the franchises with the most players with 2,000 hits.

To run this, set the option in the top yellow box to "Find Teams with Players Matching Criteria (career)" and then set your criteria to match in the lower right hand corner (in my case H >= 2,000). Enjoy.

I also fixed a number of bugs in the play index, so let me know if there are still things you find rattling around.

4 Comments | Posted in Announcements, Play Index, Season Finders

Subscribe to the Play Index!

Posted by Neil Paine on March 29, 2010

With the season starting in a week, it's time again to share with you some features of the Play Index (PI), a set of research tools that allow you to create customizable queries on our database, save the results, and share them with others. Using the PI, you can:

  • Search full-season or multi-year totals to find your own custom leaderboards - Look at the entire history of baseball from 1871-2010 with every year, team, and position available, or filter the results in a vast number of ways: by specific years, by age, by first six seasons or last ten seasons, by American League only, by Cubs only, by switch-hitters, by catchers, by outfielder or infielder, by year of debut, but active or retired, by Hall of Famer, by height and weight, by living or deceased, or by a range of common statistical categories. Then sort the results by any common statistic, by the teams with the most players matching that category, by players with the most seasons matching that category, or by most recent, youngest, oldest, final year, or year of debut, and others.
  • Search player game totals - Filtering on any of a dozen or more choices, search for games on a single player level, or on any batter from 1920-2010 (excluding 1940-1951), or on any pitcher. The same can be done for Team Batting or Team Pitching Totals.
  • Search player games looking for the most consecutive games matching a particular set of criteria - This can be done either on a single player level or on any batter in the last ninety years (excluding 1940-1951) or on any pitcher. The same can be done for Team Batting or Team Pitching Streaks.
  • Search the records of a specific player - Output a detailed summary and play-by-play list of all events of a specific type from a single year or an entire career. For example, you can see all of Harmon Killebrew's triples or even his outs to the second baseman.
  • Search Batter vs. Pitcher Matchups - This tool presents a complete sortable list of batter or pitcher with totals for every opponent they faced by career or by year. Clicking on the player's name will lead you to a detailed output of their head-to-head plate appearances.
  • ...And more!

Personal Subscriptions to the Play Index cost $36 for a year, $6 for a month, or $2 for 24 hours. Subscriptions may only be used by a single user, and there are discounts for users sponsoring at least $35 in pages.

Organizational Subscriptions can be set up for either an unlimited number of users ($600/year, this includes three hours of custom programming and reporting to be used at your discretion), or for up to five users ($125/year, this includes one hour of custom programming and reporting to be used at your discretion).

There are Two Steps to Subscribe to the Play Index:

  1. Login to or create a Sports-Reference.com account (the same account used to sponsor pages).
  2. Already logged in (or just created an account)? Go to our subscription page to sign up.

Our Always-Available Free Trial: Non-subscribers can use the PI's features as much as you like. However, your outputs will be restricted to a limited number of results.

The Play Index comes with a money back guarantee. We will gladly return the unused portion of any Play Index Subscription should you be dissatisfied with the Play Index.

So go ahead, give the Play Index a try -- we're confident that once you start using it, you'll wonder how you ever got along without it.

2 Comments | Posted in Announcements, Play Index, Site Features

Pitchers’ RBI late in games in 2009

Posted by Andy on March 29, 2010

These days, it's fairly rare for pitchers to get big at-bats in games. What I really mean is that when the score is close late in a game, especially when there are runners on base, in most cases the pitcher up at bat will be removed for a pinch-hitter. In the National League, these situations are often avoided altogether by use of double-switches late in games to ensure that the pitcher will not come to bat unless there has already been a significant rally.

Sometimes, however, pitchers do bat with runners on base late in games. Most often, this happens in cases where the pitcher is actually a good hitter and may be a better option than any of the bench players (when adding in the consideration that he'll return to the mound to pitch the next inning) or very late in a game when the manager is loathe to relieve the pitcher and would prefer to take his chances letting him hit.

Here are the instances in the 2009 season when a pitcher batted from the 7th inning onwards with at least one runner on base and produced an RBI for his team.

Yr# Gm# Date Batter Tm Opp Pitcher Score   Inn RoB Out Pit(cnt) RBI Play Description
1 1 2009-04-18 Will Ohman LAD COL Ryan Speier ahead 8-3 1B b 7 1-3 2 5 (2-2) 1 Single to RF (Ground Ball thru 2B-1B); Kemp Scores/Team unER; Ausmus to 3B
2 1 2009-05-09 Eric Stults LAD SFG Osiris Matos ahead 6-0 1B b 8 -23 1 1 (0-0) 1 Single to RF (Line Drive to Short CF-RF); Blake Scores/unER; Castro to 3B
3 1 2009-05-11 Osiris Matos SFG WSN Joel Hanrahan ahead 10-4 1B b 8 1-3 2 3 (1-1) 1 Single to 2B (Ground Ball to 2B-1B); Rowand Scores; Lewis to 2B
4 1 2009-05-21 Aaron Cook COL @ATL James Parr ahead 8-0 Out t 7 --3 1 5 (0-2) 1 Flyball: CF/Sacrifice Fly (Deep CF); Barmes Scores
5 1 2009-06-05 Jorge de la Rosa COL @STL Dennys Reyes ahead 2-1 BB t 7 123 0 5 (3-1) 1 Walk; Stewart Scores; Smith to 3B; Phillips to 2B
6 1 2009-06-28 Mariano Rivera NYY @NYM Francisco Rodrig ahead 3-2 BB t 9 123 2 7 (3-2) 1 Walk; Cabrera Scores; Gardner to 3B; Jeter to 2B
8 2 2009-06-30 Jason Marquis COL @LAD Chad Billingsley ahead 1-0 1B t 7 123 2 2 (1-0) 2 Single to LF (Line Drive); Hawpe Scores; Stewart Scores; Iannetta out at 3B/LF-3B-SS
10 2 2009-07-05 Roy Oswalt HOU @SFG Merkin Valdez ahead 5-0 1B t 8 -23 2 6 (3-2) 2 Single to LF (Line Drive to LF-CF); Michaels Scores; Keppinger Scores; Oswalt out at 2B/P-2B
11 1 2009-07-11 Craig Stammen WSN @HOU Jeff Fulchino ahead 9-2 2B t 7 -2- 0 1 (0-0) 1 Double to RF (Ground Ball); Gonzalez Scores
12 1 2009-07-18 Dan Haren ARI @STL Josh Kinney ahead 2-1 BB t 8 123 2 5 (3-1) 1 Walk; Reynolds Scores; Montero to 3B; Young to 2B
13 1 2009-08-04 Guillermo Mota LAD MIL R.J. Swindle ahead 16-4 1B b 8 -2- 2 1 (0-0) 1 Single to RF (Line Drive to Deep CF-RF); Ethier Scores
14 1 2009-08-16 Randy Wolf LAD @ARI Blaine Boyer ahead 7-0 2B t 8 1-- 0 2 (0-1) 1 Double to RF (Ground Ball); Castro Scores
15 1 2009-08-24 Adam Eaton COL SFG Justin Miller down 1-4 BB b14 123 1 5 (3-1) 1 Walk; Fowler Scores; Iannetta to 3B; Tulowitzki to 2B
16 1 2009-09-06 Micah Owings CIN @ATL Kenshin Kawakami tied 2-2 HBP t12 123 1 2 (0-1) 1 Hit By Pitch; Votto Scores; Rolen to 3B; Balentien to 2B
17 1 2009-09-08 Ryan Dempster CHC @PIT Virgil Vasquez ahead 8-2 1B t 7 -23 1 1 (0-0) 1 Single to LF (Ground Ball); Soto Scores; Fukudome to 3B
18 1 2009-09-25 Carlos Zambrano CHC @SFG Tim Lincecum ahead 1-0 Out t 7 1-3 1 1 (0-0) 1 Groundout: SS-2B/Forceout at 2B (Weak SS); Scales Scores
19 2 2009-09-25 Carlos Zambrano CHC @SFG Randy Johnson ahead 2-0 2B t 9 1-- 2 2 (0-1) 1 Double to LF (Line Drive to Deep LF-CF); Fuld Scores
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/28/2010.

Because of the rarity of this event, as we might expect, we see some strange instances on this list.

Here are some observations on this group:

  • Indeed there are a number of good-hitting pitchers in this group, including Zambrando, Marquis, and Owings.
  • Zambrano is the only player to do it twice this season and he managed to do it twice in the same game, which is pretty amazing. That must be a pretty memorable game for Zambrano. He got RBIs off Tim Lincecum and Randy Johnson and pitched a 3-0 shutout. Nice.
  • Four of the RBI were bases-loaded walks, which can be blamed entirely on the pitcher (the one who was pitching, I mean, not the pitcher who was hitting.) The RBI walk by Mariano Rivera is especially egregious, given that it was only his 3rd career plate appearance.
  • Owings got hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the top of the 12th inning, a +19% WPA play, and batted in the eventual winning run.
  • Perhaps the weird entry of all on this list is Adam Eaton's. He came to bat in the bottom of the 14th inning after having given up 3 runs in the top of the inning. The Rockies came to bat in the bottom of the 14th with just a 5% chance to win by the Win Expectancy measure. With 2 singles and a walk sandwiching an out, the Rockies loaded the bases but increased their chances to just 21%. Eaton batted and walked, driving in a run and pushing the odds to 34%. The Ryan Spilborghs hit a walk-off grand slam, adding in the extra 66% and giving the win to the Rockies. That means that despite pitching only one inning, Eaton had a -31% contribution to the win but at the plate he had a +13%.

3 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

Gehrig, Stillman & Ryal – At Your Service

Posted by Steve Lombardi on March 27, 2010

One of my favorite sorts via Baseball-Reference.com's Play Index Batting Game Finder - left-handed throwing "shortstops" who batted lead-off in a game since 1920:

Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF ROE
1 Royle Stillman 1975-09-12 BAL DET W 6-4 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 Royle Stillman 1975-09-17 BAL BOS W 5-2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
3 Royle Stillman 1975-09-27 (1) BAL NYY L 2-3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 Mark Ryal 1987-09-04 CAL NYY L 4-8 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
5 Lou Gehrig 1934-07-14 NYY DET L 11-12 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0   0 0 0 0  
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 3/27/2010.

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It's a trick - where the visiting team lists a "SS" as their lead-off hitter in the game - and he's not really a "SS." And, after the player bats in the top of the first inning, when his team takes the field in the first inning, the real "SS" replaces him in the game. Lou Gehrig did this to extend his consecutive games played streak. And, Earl Weaver used it a few times to avoid one Mark Belanger PA in a given game. Gene Mauch picked it up and used it once too.

But, technically, for the record, because of the line-up card rules, yes, these left-handed throwing "shortstops" appeared in a game where they hit lead-off. Gehrig, Stillman and Ryal. How's that for a law firm? And, if you liked this list, here's another to check out.

8 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

Card of the Week: 1992 Donruss #3 Kyle Abbott

Posted by Andy on March 27, 2010

As promised here is the first Donruss card featured on this blog. Unfortunately, it's not a great example, as the 1992 set was pretty lousy. Perhaps the worst aspect is the large "DONRUSS 1992" banner running across the top, taking up way more space than necessary, especially given that it was on every card.

Note that Kyle Abbott was a Rated Rookie in 1992, as denoted by the logo of that name. Card collectors will recognize this logo as Donruss used it starting in 1985 (replacing an earlier style logo from 1984.) In 1993 the logo was similar but with new coloring and in 1995 the logo changed entirely.

If I can digress a little further with regards to the Rated Rookie logo, it's interesting to look up the trademark registration for that mark. According to that record, the mark was first used in December of 1983, which I assume would be the regular-issue 1984 Donruss cards, even though the logo was different on the cards that year. (To be clear, the trademark is on the term "rated rookie" and not on any of the specific logo variations.) The registrant was Leaf, Inc., the company that produced the Donruss brand of baseball cards. The application was filed in 1985 and after being granted the mark was eventually canceled in late 2006, almost certainly due to abandonment by Leaf. Since the company no longer produces baseball cards, it makes sense that they didn't want to continue to pay maintenance fees on a trademark they weren't going to use anymore.

Anyway, back to baseball:

Kyle Abbott comes to you today as a member of the following group of pitchers since 1901 to pitch enough to qualify for that season's W-L% title but finish with only 1 win. Nobody has ever pitched enough to qualify without winning a single game.

Rk Player W Year Tm G GS CG SHO GF L W-L% SV IP H R ER BB SO ERA ERA+ HR OPS+
1 Adam Bernero 1 2003 TOT 49 17 0 0 5 14 .067 0 133.1 137 90 87 54 80 5.87 76 19 112
2 Anthony Young 1 1993 NYM 39 10 1 0 19 16 .059 3 100.1 103 62 42 42 62 3.77 107 8 92
3 Kyle Abbott 1 1992 PHI 31 19 0 0 0 14 .067 0 133.1 147 80 76 45 88 5.13 68 20 131
4 Zane Smith 1 1989 TOT 48 17 0 0 10 13 .071 2 147.0 141 76 57 52 93 3.49 103 7 92
5 Pascual Perez 1 1985 ATL 22 22 0 0 0 13 .071 0 95.1 115 72 65 57 57 6.14 62 10 137
6 Dave Frost 1 1981 CAL 12 9 0 0 1 8 .111 0 47.1 44 30 29 19 16 5.51 66 3 103
7 Randy Jones 1 1981 NYM 13 12 0 0 0 8 .111 0 59.1 65 48 32 38 14 4.85 71 8 141
8 Mike Parrott 1 1980 SEA 27 16 1 0 8 16 .059 3 94.0 136 83 76 42 53 7.28 57 16 155
9 Steve Hargan 1 1971 CLE 37 16 1 0 6 13 .071 1 113.1 138 83 78 56 52 6.19 62 18 141
10 Troy Herriage 1 1956 KCA 31 16 1 0 7 13 .071 0 103.0 135 83 76 64 59 6.64 65 16 150
11 Carl Scheib 1 1951 PHA 46 11 3 0 34 12 .077 10 143.0 132 78 71 71 49 4.47 96 7
12 Howie Judson 1 1949 CHW 26 12 3 0 8 14 .067 1 108.0 114 65 55 70 36 4.58 91 13
13 George Gill 1 1939 TOT 30 12 5 0 11 13 .071 0 103.2 153 97 83 37 25 7.21 67 11
14 Jim Walkup 1 1938 SLB 18 13 1 0 4 12 .077 0 94.0 127 83 71 53 28 6.80 73 13
15 Wally Hebert 1 1932 SLB 35 15 2 0 10 12 .077 1 108.1 145 99 78 45 29 6.48 75 6
16 Roy Moore 1 1920 PHA 24 14 5 0 10 13 .071 0 132.2 161 89 69 64 45 4.68 86 6
17 Jack Nabors 1 1916 PHA 40 30 11 0 8 20 .048 1 212.2 206 110 82 95 74 3.47 82 2
18 Tom Sheehan 1 1916 PHA 38 17 8 0 15 16 .059 0 188.0 197 111 77 94 54 3.69 77 2
19 Walt Leverenz 1 1914 SLB 27 16 5 0 8 12 .077 0 111.1 107 67 47 63 41 3.80 71 5
20 Guy Morton 1 1914 CLE 25 13 5 0 9 13 .071 1 128.0 116 62 43 55 80 3.02 95 1
21 John McPherson 1 1904 PHI 15 12 11 1 3 12 .077 0 128.0 130 82 52 46 32 3.66 75 1
22 Jack McFetridge 1 1903 PHI 14 13 11 0 1 11 .083 0 103.0 120 71 56 49 31 4.89 63 2
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 3/23/2010.

Anthony Young's appearance here is quite memorable as most of it was part of his record-setting performance of consecutive games without a win. As you can see from his pitching line, he was incredibly unlucky. He pitched well with an above average ERA and still could barely win a game. The same can be said for Zane Smith.

Abbott, whose performance came with the Phillies in 1992, was far more deserving of his bad record, earning an ERA over 5.00 during an era when that was fairly uncommon. He didn't make it back to the majors until 1995 and didn't pitch much more but did have some success including picking up2 wins in relief. An interesting note on how Abbott moved from the Angels to the Phillies:

December 8, 1991: Traded by the California Angels with Ruben Amaro to the Philadelphia Phillies for Von Hayes.

That's current Phillies GM Ruben Amaro who joined the Phillies' organization on that day.

12 Comments | Posted in Card of the Week

Bloops: “Fantasyland”, the Movie

Posted by Neil Paine on March 26, 2010

If you're a fantasy baseball player (or a baseball fan in general) and you've never read Sam Walker's book Fantasyland, you should pick it up right away and dive into the author's (mis)adventures as a newbie in Tout Wars, one of the most competitive fantasy leagues on the planet. And if you're one of those people who needs a movie adaptation to get them into the original book (no shame there, btw, that was me for The Lord of the Rings), have no fear -- Endgame Entertainment has released a new documentary based on Walker's book:

"Based on the bestselling book by Sam Walker, Fantasyland, directed by Stephen Palgon, traces a single season in the expert baseball league Tout Wars. But this wasn’t any ordinary season. This season an outsider, a fan, a non expert, would compete against the greatest minds in fantasy baseball including the founder of Tout Wars and one of the icons of the industry Ron Shandler. To compete against the experts, Jed Latkin, a financial analyst from New York is willing to do anything and everything in his quest to win Tout Wars. Jed is more than just a fantasy baseball player, he puts the 'fanatic' in fantasy.

In order to beat the experts Jed attempts to play fantasy for real and hits the road to meet, motivate and plead with actual Major League Baseball players to perform well for his squad the Jedi Knights. He presents players like Gary Sheffield, Justin Verlander, Carl Crawford, JJ Putz, Ichiro with team jerseys in hopes of inspiring his players to lead the Jedi Knights to the top of the Tout Wars standings.

Fantasyland is NOT a film about statistics but rather a glimpse into the world of fantasy sports and the personalities, characters and stories that make up this billion dollar industry. It is a journey with Jed Latkin, one of the most wild and crazy, obsessed fantasy sports players you will ever meet."

The best news is that you can watch Fantasyland online, for free, via Hulu. So check it out, and be sure to support the filmmakers by visiting these links:

www.fantasylandfilm.com

www.snagfilms.com (site for the movie)

http://www.snagfilms.com/films/title/fantasyland

http://Facebook.com/fantasylandfilm

Twitter.com/fantasylandfilm

Youtube.com/fantasylandfilm

2 Comments | Posted in Announcements, Bloops

10 for 10: #4 Win Expectancy and Run Expectancy

Posted by Sean Forman on March 26, 2010

This is the fourth of ten features we are adding for our 10th anniversary.

The first place I saw Win Expectancy (WE) was when I was writing for the Big Baseball Annual back in the late 1990's. Doug Drinen, who has since moved on to become one of the leading NFL analysts and creator of Pro-Football-Reference.com, wrote a series of articles on reliever usage that built on the original Mills Brothers work on Win Expectancy (WE). Doug even included a WS Game WE Graph in one of the books. I always have thought it was an elegant measurement of what happened during the game and I'm excited to now have it on the site.

13 Comments | Posted in Announcements, Box Scores, Game Finders, Gamelogs, Play Index, Power Users, Sabermetrics, Site Features, Stats

Everybody hits! (plus introducing Readers Research)

Posted by Andy on March 26, 2010

I did a little digging to find the game where the most different players from one team got a hit in the same game, provided that every single player on the team who got a plate appearance got at least one hit.

First, here are the games with the most players getting a hit for one team:

Rk Tm Opp Date #Matching
1 STL NYM 1979-09-28 (2) 15
2 ATL FLA 1999-10-03 15
3 SFG SDP 1986-06-23 14
4 NYY KCR 1972-08-27 (2) 14
5 FLA ATL 1996-09-24 14
6 CHC CIN 1977-07-28 14
7 CHC COL 1995-08-18 14
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 3/25/2010.

If you click through to the box scores, only the Giants in 1986 had every one of their players who appeared at the plate get at least one hit. That included pitcher Mike LaCoss and pinch-hitters Harry Spilman and Joel Youngblood. It even included 3 different players who came in as defensive substitutions.

As a reminder, this type of box score search includes 1920-1939 and 1952-present.

I went to look for the record for both teams achieving the feat in the same game. Here is the leaderboard for most players by both teams getting a hit in the same game. The record for the years covered is 24 players. However I searched all the way down through games featuring 21 players and in no cases did every player with a plate appearance get a hit. Way down the list is this game, which is the closest I could find. Every single player for both teams who got a plate appearance also got a hit, with the lone exception of Kevin Romine, who entered as a pinch-hitter for Pat Dodson and then moved to right field.

So, I'd like to introduce a new segment called "Readers Research" to help with issues that either cannot be researched by the PI or require a prohibitive amount of time to research. Who knows the answer to the game featuring the most players to get a hit where every player with a PA got a hit? You might want to look even further down the leaderboard I linked above or perhaps you know another source for the answer? One caveat: should this info be available on another website, please be sure to provide a link to your source.

3 Comments | Posted in Game Finders

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