Baseball in the Navy


The U.S. Navy was established on October 13, 1775, when the Continental Congress authorized the creation of the Continental Navy. Baseball plays an important role in the Navy, as it does in other branches of the U.S. military. In fact, baseball has been associated with the Armed Forces at least since the Civil War.

In honor of the Navy’s birthday tomorrow, I’ve posted some footage of baseball being played aboard a naval battleship in the 1930s. Checkout the footage at about 1 minute, 40 seconds.

Enjoy!

~ baseballrebecca

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What If …


I know this is bad timing, given the results of last night’s game, but yesterday was the 22nd anniversary of “the incident.” You know, that time that the Yankees used a kid to steal the game 1 and the entire 1996 ALCS from the Orioles? This one:

It still makes me cry.

But what if that had never happened? Let your imagination run wild here:

  • Perhaps Rocky Coppinger, losing pitcher of game 4, would have instead gone on to have a long and successful MLB career, instead of being shuttled between the Orioles and their minor league affiliates for three and half more years, then being traded to Milwaukee in July 1999, where, after not playing at all in 2000 due to injuries, he made history by giving up the final home run of Mark McGwire’s ignominious career.
  • 800px-Mike_Mussina_on_September_28,_2007
  • Mussina with the Yankees – not the O’s – in 2007 (photo by Keith Allison, via Wikipedia)
  • Maybe Mike Mussina, El Traidor, wouldn’t have ended up signing with the Yankees 5 years later. (And maybe he’d have gotten into the Hall of Fame after a fabulous career with the Orioles.)
  • Maybe Todd Zeile would have stayed with the Orioles instead of bouncing around for eight more years with eight more teams before becoming an actor. (Where IS he now?)
  • Perhaps Manny Alexander wouldn’t have been traded before the start of the next season, ultimately ending up with the Boston Red Sox in 2000 where he loaned the bat boy his Mercedes who was then arrested for possession of steroid (found in the glove compartment of said Mercedes), thus destroying the bat boy’s baseball career. (The charges were later dropped, but the damage was done.)
  • Maybe, just maybe, the Orioles would have have gone on to the World Series, defeating the Atlanta Braves, and continuing to have winning season for the next 22 years, thus, not having the worst season in Orioles history this year.

Guess we’ll never know.

~ baseballrebecca

Stat-urday, 10/6/2018


Following up on Wednesday’s post on the worst Orioles team in history, below is a chart of the 25 worst MLB teams of all time. I guess its comforting to know that the 2018 Orioles are only #15 on the all-time worst list.

Rank Season Franchise League Wins Losses Pct. GB
1 1916 Philadelphia Athletics AL 36 117 0.235 54½
2 1935 Boston Braves NL 38 115 0.248 61½
3 1962 New York Mets NL 40 120 0.250 60½
4 1904 Washington Senators AL 38 113 0.252 55½
5 1919 Philadelphia Athletics AL 36 104 0.257 52
6 2003 Detroit Tigers AL 43 119 0.265 47
7 1952 Pittsburgh Pirates NL 42 112 0.273 54½
8 1909 Washington Senators AL 42 110 0.276 56
9 1942 Philadelphia Phillies NL 42 109 0.278 62½
10 1939 St. Louis Browns AL 43 111 0.279 64½
11 1932 Boston Red Sox AL 43 111 0.279 64
12 1941 Philadelphia Phillies NL 43 111 0.279 57
13 1915 Philadelphia Athletics AL 43 109 0.283 58½
14 1928 Philadelphia Phillies NL 43 109 0.283 51
15 2018 Baltimore Orioles AL 47 115 0.290 61
16 1911 Boston Rustlers NL 44 107 0.291 54
17 1909 Boston Doves NL 45 108 0.294 65½
18 1911 St. Louis Browns AL 45 107 0.296 56½
19 1939 Philadelphia Phillies NL 45 106 0.298 50½
20 1937 St. Louis Browns AL 46 108 0.299 56
21 1945 Philadelphia Phillies NL 46 108 0.299 52
22 1938 Philadelphia Phillies NL 45 105 0.300 43
23 2004 Arizona Diamondbacks NL 51 111 0.315 42
24 2013 Houston Astros AL 55 111 0.315 45
25 1988 Baltimore Orioles AL 54 107 0.335 34.5

Happy Stat-urday!

~ baseballrebecca

Films on Friday: Yamil Benitez


Do you remember Yamil Benitez? Me neither. But today is his birthday. Born on October 5, 1972, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Yamil Benitez was signed by the Montreal Expos in 1989. After six seasons in the minors he made his major league debut on September 16, 1995. Two years later he was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the expansion draft. After his MLB career, Benitez played two more seasons in the Mexican League. Today he is the president of the Asociación de Peloteros Profesionales de Puerto Rico (an organization I need to do more research on).

Benitez also hit the first walk-off home run for the Diamondbacks twenty years ago, on June 28, 1998:

 

Happy Birthday, Yamil! And Happy Friday, everyone!

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who to Root for this Postseason


708px-Jonathan_Schoop_on_September_26,_2013
Jonathan Schoop, 2013 (photo by Keith Allison, via Wikipedia)

So, the National League Division Series (NLDS) begins today. And the American League Division Series (ALDS) begins tomorrow. Even though my favorite teams might not be playing this postseason, I can always pretend.

For starters, if you’re an O’s fan looking for an excuse to root for the Brewers (and former Oriole Jonathan Schoop), the two teams share a common lineage. The Orioles were, in fact, “born” in Milwaukee. The 1901 Milwaukee Brewers, who finished eighth in the American League that year, moved to St. Louis in 1902 and became the St. Louis Browns. Five decades later the team moved again, this time to Baltimore, where they became the Baltimore Orioles. (Of course, the current Brewers team started out as the Seattle Pilots before moving to Milwaukee after the Milwaukee Braves departed in 1965 for Atlanta (after first moving from Boston to Milwaukee in 1953).

If that’s too complicated, just think about all of the former Orioles who will be playing in the NLDS. The series features the Dodgers v. the Braves and the Brewers v. Rockies. How many former Orioles will be playing? Quite a few, actually:

  1. 13 - Machado 2Matt Albers, P, Brewers
  2. Wade Miley, P, Brewers
  3. Jonathan Schoop, IF, Brewers
  4. Manny Machado, IF, Dodgers
  5. Justin Turner, IF, Dodgers
  6. Brad Brach, P, Braves
  7. Kevin Gausman, P, Braves
  8. Ryan Flaherty, IF, Braves
  9. Nick Markakis, OF, Braves

And let’s not forget about my other favorite team, the Washington Nationals. The Brewers have two former Nats, including one of my all-time favorite pitchers, Gio Gonzalez (the other being Matt Albers, who also is listed above as a former Oriole). In addition, the Dodgers have Ryan Madson, the Braves have Kurt Suzuki, and the Rockies have Ian Desmond.

For the ALDS it will be the Indians v. the Astros and the Red Sox v. the Yankees. A handful of former Orioles will be playing (Eduardo Rodriguez, former Orioles minor leaguer; Steve Pearce; Andrew Miller; and Zach Britton), as well as a few former Nats (Sandy Leon, former Nats minor leaguer; Oliver Perez; and A.J. Cole).

Even if you aren’t an O’s or Nats fan, you can use the same logic to determine which teams to root for this postseason if your favorite isn’t in the running. If that doesn’t work, you can always fall on classic reasons like rooting for a city you like, the team with the best uniform colors, the underdog, or even the team with the best players, best record, etc.

So, if your favorite teams aren’t playing this postseason, you have options for finding another team to root for.

Happy postseason!

~ baseballrebecca

The Worst Orioles Team in History


Memorial_Stadium_(Baltimore)
Memorial Stadium, home of the 1986 Baltimore Orioles (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

When looking up “This Date in Baseball History,” I saw the following entry for October 3: “1986 – Baltimore loses to Detroit 6-3, assuring the Orioles of their first last-place finish since moving from St. Louis in 1954.”

That got me wondering, how many last-place finishes have we had since moving from St. Louis? Further, how bad (or good) have the Orioles actually been throughout their history – particularly in light of this past horrific season?

For starters, the 2018 season was the absolute worst season the Orioles have ever had in their 65 years in Baltimore: the O’s won only 47 games and lost 115 (a win percentage of .290). The 1986 team — the historic first last-place season team since moving to Baltimore — was far better, winning 73 games and losing 89. In fact, in the franchise’s entire history, only the 1939 St. Louis Browns have a worse record with a .279 win percentage. Nonetheless, this year the Orioles still managed to lose more games than the 1939 Browns (the Browns lost 43 and won 111 in 1939; the 2018 winning percentage is higher only because they played fewer games in 1939).

The 2018 Orioles finished 61 games out of first place. Only the 1954 Orioles come anywhere close to that, finishing 57 games out. The St. Louis Browns finished more than 50 games out of first place four times (in 1910, 1911, 1927, and 1939). Again, only the 1939 Browns finished even worse than the 2018 Orioles, finishing their season 64.5 games out of first place.

638px-Oriole_Adam_Jones
Adam Jones, 2011 (photo by Keith Alison, via Wikipedia)

If it’s any consolation, when you look at the decade-by-decade breakdown (see table below), the Orioles were actually worse from 2000 to 2009, when they won only 698 games. With one year left to go in this decade, we’ve already improved upon that record. (Sure, a decade is an artificial breakdown, especially when comparing team performance, but at least it gives us a sense of how we are trending.)

Of course, worse than the number of games lost or the number of games we ended up out of first place is the number of favorite players traded and the number of favorite players likely to not be offered new contracts this off season.

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

Baltimore Orioles Record: 1954-2018

Decade Wins Losses Win Percent No. of Times in 1st Place* No. of Times in Last Place
2010-2018 701 757 0.481 1 4
2000s 698 920 0.431 0 2
1990s 794 757 0.512 1 0
1980s 800 761 0.512 1 2
1970s 944 656 0.590 5 0
1960s 911 698 0.566 2 0
1954-1959 404 517 0.439 0 0

*Refers to place in the division after 1969; divisions were created in 1969.

 

 

Best of the Week: 9/23/18 – 9/29/18


 

I haven’t found much to award the Best of the Week lately, but this is pretty much the Best of the Season – check out the video of the Kingsford Charcoal ad featuring Bartolo Colon:

Watch: Bartolo Colon Stays in Great Shape By Squatting Pigs, Curling Ribs

 

Below is the link to the original tweet from MLB:

 

~ baseballrebecca