Last week the Buck O’Neil Education and Research Center was flooded after vandals cut a water pipe in the building. That got me thinking about O’Neil’s career and legacy. O’Neil played 12 seasons in the Negro Leagues, 11 with the Kansas City Monarchs. He paused his baseball career for military service with the U.S. Navy from 1943-1945. After playing and managing with the Kansas City Monarchs, O’Neil became a scout for the Chicago Cubs and later for the Kansas City Royals. In 1962 he became the first African American coach for the Cubs and MLB.
You can check out his baseball-related stats on Baseball Reference. Here is a list of O’Neil’s other accomplishments and honors:
2008: The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum introduces the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award to recognize individuals “whose extraordinary efforts enhanced baseball’s positive impact on society, broadened the game’s appeal, and whose character, integrity and dignity are comparable to the qualities exhibited by O’Neil.”
One day earlier this week I was watching the Washington Nationals on TV and not paying full attention, when I caught the end of the announcers talking about the stats on teenagers in Major League Baseball. They quickly showed some stats and made the case that Juan Soto was leading in several of those categories. Somehow, they managed to demonstrate that Soto was in the same category as players like Bryce Harper, Ty Cobb, and others.
I haven’t been able to track down those specific stats, but I did found some great sources of information on major league leaders under the age of 20:
Baseball Reference has several “Leader Boards,” one of which is “Batting Leaders Up to & Including Age 19.” This page includes players with a 310 plate appearances or more through the age of 19. Leaders in this category include: Mel Ott with a batting average of .318; Bryce Harper with 22 home runs (second only to Tony Conigliaro with 24); and Ty Cobb with 18 sacrifice hits.
MLB.com recently published an article on “MLB’s best seasons by teenagers.” This article referred to Soto as one of MLB’s “bright young talents” and highlighted the early careers of Bryce Harper; Ken Griffey, Jr.; Edgar Renteria; Ty Cobb; and several others.
If you want to compare Soto to those legends, here are just some of his stats so far – in the 28 games he’s played and his 108 plate appearances:
How many of those teenage leader boards and lists will he end up on?
The first half of the Carolina League season isn’t over until Sunday, but the first-half winners have already been determined. On Thursday, both the Potomac Nationals and the Winston-Salem Dash won their respective games, making them the Carolina League’s North Division and South Division first-half champions. The division winners of each half of the season qualify for the playoffs at the end of the season.
Six P-Nats players have been named to the All-Star roster: Tyler Mapes (P), Sterling Sharp (P), Wil Crowe (P), Tres Barrera (C), Carter Kieboom (SS), and Jake Noll (3B). Kieboom, who is the brother of Spencer Kieboom (who was recently promoted to the Washington Nationals), ranks ninth in the Carolina League in batting average, hitting .296. He also ranks third in home runs (10), second in RBIs (43), third in hits (67), second in runs scored (46), and third in walks (34).
The 2018 Carolina All-Star Game will be played on June 19 at Five County Stadium (in Zebulon, NC), home of the Carolina Mudcats. You can find more Carolina League stats on the MiLB website.
135 MiLB no-hitters since 2010 have been in games with 9 or more innings
86 had just one pitcher
33 had two pitchers
52 had three pitchers
23 had four pitchers
4 had 5 pitchers
1 had 6 pitchers
1 had 7 pitchers
13 pitchers have been involved in two minor league no-hitters
5 pitchers have pitched two no-hitters by themselves (Kyle Schepel, Victor Mateo, Travis Tingle, Tayler Mahle, and Matt Sergey)
5 no-hitters have been thrown by Orioles’ minor league pitchers:
Chris Tillman, Norfolk Tides, 4/28/2010
Nathan Moreau, Frederick Keys, 6/30/2010
Eddie Gamboa, Bowie Baysox, 6/30/2013
John Means, Delmarva Shorebirds, 7/31/2015
Ofelky Peralta, Delmarva Shorebirds, 7/8/2016
Since the 1800s, minor league baseball has seen 183 perfect games. Of those, 49 have been 9 innings or more, although we do not have full information on about 41 games so we don’t know how many innings they were. The most recent was last September, when Connor Grey of the Kane County Cougars pitched a perfect game against the Clinton LumberKings.
Continuing with my recent obsession with Mac Suzuki, I though I’d share some of his statistics. Suzuki’s career spanned from 1992 to 2010, beginning with one game with the class A Salinas Spurs and ending with Calgary Vipers of the independent Golden Baseball League. He played in at least five different countries: the United States, Japan, Canada, Mexico, and Venezuela.
During his career, Suzuki pitched in a total 1,638.1 innings in 571 games:
117 MLB games over 6 seasons;
197 minor league games in 9 seasons;
53 games in the Nissan Professional Baseball League in 2 seasons;
209 games in other foreign baseball leagues in a total of 7 seasons; and
48 games in other leagues across 3 seasons.
His lifetime ERA across all levels of baseball is 4.92, having won 77 games and lost 118 games. His lifetime batting average is .114.
In keeping with this week’s theme of baseball in Europe (or the lack thereof), just how many players have come from England, France, and Spain?
A total of 48 MLB players were born in the United Kingdom, starting with Hall of Famer Harry Wright in 1871. Twenty-two of these players played during the 18th Century, 23 during the 20th Century, and 3 in the 21st Century. These 48 players played a total of 11,903 games with a combined batting average of .252 with 457 home runs. The only All-Star among them is Bobby Thomson, who hit 264 of those 457 home runs.
Since 1875, there have been seven Major Leaguers from France: Larry Ressler (1875), Claude Gouzzie (1903), Paul Krichell (1911-12), Duke Markell (1951), Bruce Bochy (1978-87), Charlie Lea (1980-88), and Steve Jeltz (1983-90). In total, they played 1,333 games, amassed 664 hits, hit 31 homeruns, appeared in one All-Star Game, and have a cumulative batting average of .210. In addition, two of these players were pitchers (Lea and Markell) and have a combined ERA of 3.60 with a win-loss percentage of .563.
Just four players MLB players have been born in Spain. The first was Al Cabrera who played one game in 1913. Next was Bryan Oelkers who pitched in 45 games over two years (1983 and 1986). Next came Al Pardo a catcher who played in 53 games in fours years (1985-86 and 1988-89). The most recent Spanish-born Major Leaguer was Danny Rios who pitched in two games in 1997 and five games in 1998.