Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hardball Heroes: Ted Simmons

Hardball Heroes is More Hardball's version of the Hall of Fame. Players who qualify for this distinction must have demonstrated exceptional athleticism and sportsmanship on and off the field, however are not likely to be recognized by Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame. For September, we will celebrate the base-hitting longevity of Ted Simmons.

Ted Lyle Simmons was drafted in the 1st round (10th pick) in 1967 by the St. Louis Cardinals. One short year later he made his MLB debut, playing 2 games for the Red Birds in '68. He spent the next 13 years there, mostly behind the plate. The switch hitter, who stood 6 feet tall and weighed 200 pounds also played for the Milwaukee Brewers and Atlanta Braves, totaling 21 seasons. Most of his career was played from the receiving position, as Ted caught 1771 games. Aside from being a catcher, he also played some 1st and 3rd base, and outfield.

Career #'s: 2456 gm, 1074 r, 2472 h, 483 2b, 47 3b, 248 hr, 1389 rbi, 21 sb, .285/.348/.437.

Tidbits: Nicknamed "Simba", Simmons was on 8 all-star teams and was in the top 20 for MVP voting 7 times. Caught 2 no-hitters (Bob Gibson in 1971 and Bob Forsch in 1978). Was the general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates for 2 season (1992-1993). He's served as a bench coach, scout, and director of player development after his playing days were over as well.

Flatfoot 56- Pay Me A Dollar

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Zack Greinke for Cy Young

C.C. Sabathia, Roy Halladay, Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez, the list goes on. These are the names that come to mind in conversations about who will win the AL Cy Young Award for 2009. One name that often gets overlooked is a guy who pitches in a small market city for one of the worst teams in baseball...Zack Greinke of the Kansas City Royals.

For those of you who don't know it...this guy is a freak nasty! Let's take a closer look at what Greinke has done and see how his numbers rate against the other "favorites".

Greinke owns a 16-8 record in 32 starts that includes 6 complete games, 3 shutouts, and a sparkling, league leading 2.06 ERA in 223.1 innings pitched. He has whiffed 237 hitters to only 49 walks to go along with his 1.07 WHIP and .229 batting average against. Remember...he pitches for the Royals!

Sabathia has 19 wins against 7 losses w/ 2 complete games and 1 shutout in his 33 starts this season. His ERA is 3.21. In 227.1 innings pitched he has struck out 194 hitters and walked 62. His WHIP is a nice 1.10 and BAA is .227.

Halladay has fashioned a 16-10 record this season with 8 complete games including 3 shutouts in his 31 starts. His ERA is 2.90. He has struck out 202 batters against 33 walks in 230 innings pitched. His WHIP is 1.15 and his BAA is .260.

Verlander, in 33 starts, has gone 17-9 with 3 complete games and 1 shutout. He has 256 Ks, 51 walks, 3.41 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and a .243 BAA in 224.1 innings pitched.

Hernandez has gone 17-5 in his 32 starts this season. He has twirled 2 complete games with one shutout. In 224.1 innings he has K'ed 207 and walked 66. His ERA, WHIP, and BAA are 2.49, 1.14, and .229 respectively.

Sure, Greinke doesn't have the most wins and doesn't have the most strikeouts, what he does have is 16 wins for the Kansas City Royals. To put just how amazing that actually is into perspective, the Kansas City Royals have won 64 games all season. Greinke has accounted for 25% of the teams victories, by far the largest percentage of any pitcher on the list. I know the Royals aren't going to the playoffs, and if that is the criteria to win the Cy Young, then you can count Halladay and Hernandez out of the running too. But this award is supposed to go to the best pitcher in the league, not the pitcher who benefits from pitching behind the best lineup in the league (Sabathia), and the fact is that Greinke has been flat out dominant all season and in my opinion there is no pitcher more deserving of the award than he is.

The scary thing is, the guy only turns 26 in October. Finally something for Royals fans to look forward to. I think Sports Illustrated agrees!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Baseball By The Book

Remember back before the invention of the Internet, there were these things called books? You know - the things with covers, pages, and words? Did you know that they still made them? It's true! I am what is called a bibliophile, and before you go off and call the doctor because I have an unnatural love for a hefty tome, a bibliophile is someone who loves to read books.

At More Hardball, we are constantly recommending things like beer, key chains, contests, and other websites to you in the hopes that you will enjoy these things as much as we have, and your horizon will be broadened a bit. Today, I recommend three books that have been most enjoyable reads.

Great Baseball Feats, Facts, & Firsts (2009) by David Nemec and Scott Flatow - Every time I pick up this book, I find something new to read. Part trivia, part history, and full of anecdotes, this book has everything for the casual baseball follower, to someone deeply in love with stats and trivia. The book is neatly divided into sections covering a specific era in baseball with an analysis of players, teams, and firsts for each time period. I could not adequately summarize all that is in this book, but I recommend articles like One-Year Wonders, the Most Interesting Teams for each section, Famous Brother Acts, and Firsts by Black Players.

The same two authors also penned This Day in Baseball: A Day-By-Day Record of the Events that Shaped the Game. As masters of minutiae, they have created a quick and easy reference guide to plays, firsts, lasts, and deaths that rocked the world of baseball. This guide covers the entire span of baseball's history and leaves no stone unturned. It is a great companion to their other masterwork.

Finally, I highly recommend Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Takes a Swing at Baseball. What better way to erm, pass the time spent doing your business than reading a humorous compendium of baseball quotes and oddities? Much more than a book of trivia, this book touches on everything from wacky promotions and stadium-specific hot dog names, to the oddest trades ever made and the creation of Magic Mud. The book itself may be thin, but there is no shortage of fun facts in between its water proof covers.

Next time, I will review Michael Shapiro's Bottom of the Ninth.

Sha Na Na - Book of Love
You gotta love those outfits.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Resurrection of Giambi

After a 7 year stint with the New York Yankees, along with tons of money ($120M) and much criticism (steroids scandal), Jason Giambi decided to return to his roots and play for the Oakland Athletics this season. He signed a relatively low risk contract (1 year/$5.25M) considering his credentials, but he simply didn't pan out and was let go by the A's this summer. It seemed that the veteran of 15 seasons was at the end of his MLB journey, until the playoff hungry Colorado Rockies came and picked him off the scrap heap.

Before his release, Giambi was splitting time at 1st base and DH for Oakland, but his bat was not producing anywhere close to even replacement level: .193/.332/.364, 39 r, 13 2B, 11 HR, 40 rbi, and 72 k's in 269 ab. This is after posting a .875 OPS and smacking 32 hr the season before in New York. Since being snatched up by the Rox he's been amazing (albeit a small sample size): .389/.560/.778, 4 r, 1 2B, 2 HR, and 11 rbi in 18 ab. It appears he may just be playing himself into a bench job for a NL club next season as a pinch hitter and spot starter at 1st base. I could see a 1 year $2M contract being thrown his way if he picks up a couple more hits to end the season here and helps Colorado in the playoffs. The question is- does the 38 year old Jason Giambi want to play a reserve role after being a starter his entire career and already collecting enough money to secure his future?

Bone Thugs N Harmony- Resurrection

Saturday, September 26, 2009

This Week in History: 9/20-9/26

First, I have to apologize for missing last week's post, I had to go out of town and did not have internet access until late Sunday night. Please forgive me. I am back however and ready to celebrate the kick off of This Week in History. Sit back, relax, and go for a trip through This Week In History.

9/20: 1968- Mickey Mantle hits his 536th career home run in the Yankees 4-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. The homer would be the last of Mantle's Hall of Fame career.

9/21: 2003- The Atlanta Braves beat the Florida Marlins 8-0 giving Greg Maddux his 15th win of the season. The win makes Maddux the first pitcher in history to win at least 15 games in 16 consecutive seasons, breaking Cy Young's record.

9/22: 1911- By beating the Pirates 1-0 Cy Young obtains the 511th and final victory of his storied career.

9/23: 1969- Little known John Miller of the Dodgers hits a home run in his final career at-bat making him the only player in Major League History to hit a homer in his first and last at-bats. Miller's career spans only 32 games he gets 61 at-bats, and he only collects 10 total hits.

9/24: 1974- In a 5-4 loss to the Orioles, the Tigers Al Kaline collects his 3,000th career hit. He reached the milestone off of Oriole hurler Dave McNally on a double down the right field line.

9/25: 1974- An unheard of operation is performed by Dr. Frank Jobe when he uses a tendon from the right wrist to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in the left elbow of a pitcher. The pitcher guessed it...Tommy John. John would go on to win 164 more games after the surgery.

9/26: 1961- Yankee Outfielder Roger Maris ties Babe Ruth's record for home runs in a season when he hits his 60th of the year off of Oriole Pitcher Jack Fisher.

Next Week: The Iron Horse, The Splendid Splinter, The Say Hey Kid, Clemente, and more...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Cracked nuts

For this week's post, I've decided to address a local story that's had my home city of Chicago buzzing.

Across town from my beloved White Sox, our rival Cubs have suspended for the rest of the season their local fucktard, Milton Bradley.

What set off this nut's latest suspension? Well, aside from the obviously crappy numbers he's put up all season, this nutjob has the nerve to accuse the fans of being racist towards him and lashed out at them during a postgame interview. Eventually, Bradley issued an apology by publishing a letter in the Chicago Tribune (you can read all about it here), but the damage was done and Bradley has driven the final nail into his coffin.

Cubs fans aren't racists. Long-suffering with semi-masochistic tendencies, given the Cubs' lack of postseason success? Yes. Racists? No. When I first started watching baseball, I was a Cubs fan. However, I eventually switched to the White Sox soon after the latter won the '05 World Series. I was tired of watching my former team choke time after time. Hell, one of the most popular players in Cubs history is Ernie Banks-who was black! If people hate Bradley, it's cuz he sucks at his job and is about as polite as Kanye West in the presence of Taylor Swift.

This last suspension has pretty much rung the death bell for Bradley's time in Chicago. Jim Hendry, the Cub's GM has said to the Tribune that teams who are interested in Bradley can start shopping now. Personally, I don't think Bradley has a snowball's chance in Hell of finding employment, given his diva personality.

And in other nutty news, my borderline-desperate GM Kenny Williams has awarded contract extensions to himself and just about all the coaches on our staff, but had the audacity to throw Jim Thome and Jose Contreras under the bus with Paul Konerko, Jermaine Dye, and Bobby Jenks likely to follow next. Well, most of the named were/are past their prime, but still! Most of our coaches are past their expiration dates, and we need replacements.
That's it for today!

Phillie Phanatic Love Child?

Does the Phillie Phanatic have a love child of the Asian persuasion? The original lovable green fuzzy mascot hails from Philly, this knockoff version comes from the Japanese baseball league's Hiroshima Toyo Carp.

And A Word From Our Sponsors...
*Rumors & Rants checks out Plaxico Burress' jail sentence.

*Bootlegger Sports has more on the Russian invasion of New Jersey.

*Sportress of Blogitude has scoop on boxer Evander Hollyfield going green, and no, I don't mean like the Hulk.

*Nick's Twins Blog wonders if Francisco Liriano deserves another shot in the rotation.

*Major League Jerk supplies reasons why some Mets fans have an unnatural love of Daniel Murphy.

*If you're a Mets fan, first off I pity you, and secondly go visit Hot Foot.

*We Should Be GMs tells a tale of a closer that blows saves for a living.

Arrested Development- Tennessee

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Messin' With the Mets

Normally, when I am putting together a post for my literal baseball cards series, I take a player who has a last name that would be humorous if thought of literally. Last week, I was going to do this for the Mets, but I was inspired to do a more accurate representation of the miserable Mets. This week, I will continue with the tradition of picking on players with nutty nomenclature.
From the Active Roster: Sean Green, Lance Broadway, Tobi Stoner, Angel Pagan
From the 40-Man Roster: Robinson Cancel, Andy Green

Quality 80's Goodness...

1986 - Let's Go Met's!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Photoshopped Phillies Phun

Here are some photoshopped gems from We Should Be GMs.

JC Romero practices submission holds.

Bring back Harry Kalas!!!

WSBGMs called upon a fallen hero to help bring some magic to the Phils.

Apparently Madea isn't the only one doing bad...

Sometimes Blanton is a real American hero, other times he just blows.

Brett Myers' bushy eyebrows and Eric Bruntlett's value.

Make sure to enter your favorite sports related phrase/quote in the Coin That Phrase Contest.

Chase F*cking Utley Tribute

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Joe Mauer...Best Catcher Ever???

As the regular season winds down and most division races have been all but wrapped up, fans turn their attention to the Awards Races, especially the Cy Young and MVP. In the middle of the American League MVP race is Joe Mauer, the catcher for the Minnesota Twins. Currently, Mauer is hitting .373 with 28 HRs, 88 RBI, and 88 runs scored, his OBP is .442, his OPS is a ridiculous 1.050, and in my opinion he is the most deserving of the AL MVP candidates, a list that includes the likes of Texieria, Jeter, Cabrera, and Ichiro.

Mauer, a career .328 hitter with the sweetest swing in baseball, owns a career fielding percentage of .996 and his performance in recent years begs the question, is he destined to be the best catcher ever? Lets take a look at five other greats and see how Mauer stacks up.

1. Yogi Berra- 19 seasons with the Yankees & Mets, 3x MVP ('51, '54, 55), 15x All-Star, 2,150 hits, .285 AVG, 358 HR, .989 Fielding Percentage, Hall of Fame Class of 1972.

2. Carlton Fisk- 24 seasons with the Red Sox and White Sox, 1972 Rookie of the Year, 11x All-Star, 1972 Gold Glove, 2,356 hits, .269 AVG, 376 HR, .988 Fielding Percentage, Hall of Fame Class of 2000.

3. Johnny Bench- 17 seasons with the Reds, 1968 Rookie of the Year, 2x MVP ('70, '72), 14x All-Star, 10x Gold Glove, 2,048 Hits, .267 AVG, 389 HR, .990 Fielding Percentage, Hall of Fame Class of 1989.

4. Mike Piazza- 16 season with the Dodgers, Marlins, Mets, Padres, A's, 1993 Rookie of the Year, 12x All-Star, 10x Silver Slugger, 2,127 Hits, .308 AVG, 427 HR, .989 Fielding Percentage.

5. Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez- in his 19th season, has played for Rangers, Marlins, Tigers, Yankees, and Astros, 14x All-Star, 13x Gold Glove, 7x Silver Slugger, 1999 AL MVP, 2,706 Hits, .299 AVG, 305 HR, .991 Fielding Percentage.

Joe Mauer-6 seasons with the Twins, 3x All-Star, 2x Silver Slugger, 2008 Gold Glove, 830 Hits, .328 AVG, 72 HR, .996 Fielding Percentage, Mauer has also won two batting titles and has all but locked up his third for this season.

Yes its true that Mauer's stats are taken from a small sample size, as he is in only his fifth full season, and I may be jumping the gun by anointing him as the greatest catcher ever. All of the players listed above played for at least 16 seasons in the bigs so we will have to check back in a few years when Mauer has had the time to further build up his credentials. I am also aware that I left a few catchers off of the list i.e. Carter, Munson, Campanella, and Torre. For now the debate rages on, if Mauer keeps winning batting titles and playing the best defense of all catchers in the game today, he just may find himself looking down at the competition when his time as a baseball player is up.

!!REMINDER!!! Don't forget to "Coin that Phrase".

Monday, September 21, 2009

MLB Keychains was nice enough to send the More Hardball bloggers some complementary keychains to try out. We went with the bottle-opener variety with our favorites teams on them (Braves- Burton, Phillies- Carson, Mets- Scotty, and White Sox- TamTam).

For 10% off your purchase use promo code: hardball.

Coin That Phrase sports phrase contest!!!

It's Coin That Phrase contest time! Coin That Phrase ( is the only place on the web where you can take ownership of your favorite lines and turn them into t-shirts, mugs, key chains, dog tags, and cash! Here’s your chance to do that for free…

Submit you favorite sports phrase from the weekend. Could be a sportscaster quote or maybe a newspaper headline. Perhaps Serena went nuts again or they mic’d up T.O. Whatever it is, email your favorite quote from the weekend of sports to for a chance to win. The contest runs through Wednesday night and finalist phrases and the winner will be posted right here on Friday. The winner will receive a free t-shirt with their phrase on it and a $25 gift card to Coin That Phrase to shop some more. The blog with the most entries and the blog that represents the winner will also win, so make sure you include the site you’re coming from in your email. Every phrase submitted will be posted at, so even if you don’t win you can still buy something sweet with your phrase on it. Good Luck!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The $51,750 Oven

The infamous Lenny Dykstra is back in the news again!
According to Deadspin, "Nails has been stealing anything not nailed down". One of his mansions in Ventura County, CA, was once owned by hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, and in light of Lenny's unfortunate financial situation, he's apparently been reduced to pawning whatever he can get his hands on for cash. A sad and desperate situation indeed. The writers at Deadspin say: He allegedly went to the property and removed lighting fixtures, wood flooring and a La Cornue oven and cook top - which the Gretzkys installed for $51,750 - according to a bankruptcy court filing. Dykstra could not be reached for comment, but according to the New York Daily News he acknowledged removing some items, but denied selling them. Given his unfortunate financial situation, one may empathize with Lenny, but even this is a little extreme. One typically sees such behavior in a vengeful foreclosed homeowners who destroy their former houses in a last-ditch attempt to raise hell with the insurance company.

My question is "who pays $51,750 for a stove and oven?!" Those better be made of solid gold if I'm gonna pay that much for a damn oven!

In regard to Lenny's lack of availability, one commenter named MarkKelsosMigrane said "Dykstra could not be reached for comment because in lieu of a phone he has been using a cup and string.

Before I sign off, I'd like to congratulate GM-Carson and his wife on the safe delivery of a brand new baby. Best wishes to the new parents and their newest little one!