Saturday, February 20, 2016

1960, and the end of a time, and the beginning of something big...

            The 1960 baseball season was the last 'pure' season in major league baseball history. The geographic expansion of baseball was underway, with two teams now playing on the West Coast, the Boston Braves were now in Milwaukee, the Philadelphia A's were now in Kansas City, and the St. Louis Browns were now in Baltimore, as the Orioles. Rumors of the Griffith family moving their Senators from Washington, DC to Minneapolis-St. Paul were initially put to rest late in 1959.
            Then, expansion was approved.
            Beginning in 1961, the American League would grow by two teams, The Los Angeles Angels, and the Washington Senators. The Griffith's were in fact then allowed to move their franchise, and rename them the Minnesota Twins.
            The National League would follow seat the following season, adding the New York Mets and the Houston Astros.
            The expansion was brought on by the upstart Continental League, who was vying to become a third major league, and who intended to begin play in the 1960 season. Initially, the Continental was thought to act as an independent league, but with intention to fill their rosters with players from the Western Carolina League.
            Commissioner Ford Frick disallows this move, saying that it would violate the current agreement between the Major and Minor leagues. The Continental League will eventually disband, with the promise of four of the teams territories being included into each league.
            (For the record, the Continental League territories were: Denver, New York, Toronto, Minneapolis, Houston, Atlanta, Buffalo and Dallas/Ft. Worth)

            Ted Williams became just the fourth member of the 500 Home Run club, in his final season. Of course, he is remembered for (among other things) hitting a homer in his last big league at bat.

            Eddie Mathews and Mickey Mantle each join the 300 Home Run club.

            Chuck Essegian (the 2nd player to play in a World Series game AND a Rose Bowl game) hit a pinch hit homer in his first at bat of the 1960 season, essentially giving him three homers in a row. He had pinch homered in his last two at bats in the 1959 World Series.

          In an awards voting curiosity, the Baltimore Orioles dominated the Rookie of the Year ballot. The only three rookies that received votes for the AL award were Ron Hansen (the winner), Chuck Estrada and Jim Gentile. All three played for Baltimore.

            The Detroit Tiger and the Cleveland Indians traded managers, Joe Gordon to the Indians, Jimmy Dykes to the Tigers.
            Many of the great players were still active in 1960. Apart from Williams, Mantle and Matthews, Willie Mays, Henry Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Warren Spahn, Stan Musial and many more were key player this season. Sandy Koufax still hadn't fully mastered his curveball. Roger Maris debuted with the Yankkes and would go on to win the MVP Award. Bob Gibson was also still coming into his own, spending time with Rochester before making a permanent home in the Cardinals rotation.

            1960 saw the Pittsburg Pirates win their first League Title since 1927, when they went up against the "Murderer's Row" Yankees of Ruth and Gehrig. This time, the went up against the "Bronx Bomber" Yankees of Mantle and Maris. The results were a little different this time around, with the Pirates winning on an historic Series winning Home Run by Bill Mazeroski.

            But, to the season at hand. First, looking at the offensive performances, the straight up, raw numbers, we have these top 10, with slash numbers and post season voting:
  1. Eddie Mathews                       Braves             39  124  .277   MVP 10th
  2. Hank Aaron                            Braves             40  126  .292   MVP 11th
  3. Willie Mays                             Giants              29  103  .319   MVP  3rd
  4. Frank Robinson                       Reds                31    83  .297   MVP 20th
  5. Ernie Banks                             Cubs                41  117  .271   MVP  4th
  6. Ken Boyer                               Cardinals         32    97  .304   MVP  6th
  7. Roberto Clemente                   Pirates             16    94  .314   MVP  8th
  8. Del Crandall                            Braves             19    77  .294   MVP  13th
  9. Orlando Cepeda                      Giants              24    96  .297   no votes
  10.  Don Hoak                              Pirates             16    79  .282   MVP   2nd

1.      Roger Maris                          Yankees          39  112  .283   MVP  1st
2.      Roy Sievers                           White Sox       28    93  .295   MVP  7th
3.      Mickey Mantle                      Yankees          40    94  .275   MVP  2nd
4.      Minnie Minoso                      White Sox       20  105  .311   MVP  4th
5.      Harmon Killebrew                Senators          31    80  .276   no votes
6.      Ted Williams                         Red Sox          29    72  .316   MVP  13th
7.      Jim Gentile                            Orioles             21    98  .292   MVP  15th
8.      Jim Lemon                            Senators          38  100  .269   MVP  10th
9.      Tito Francona                        Indians                        17    79  .292   no votes
10.   Al Smith                               White Sox       12    72  .315   MVP 6th

Now, comparing them to their team's performances, we get:
  1. Willie Mays                             Giants              above
  2. Ernie Banks                             Cubs                above
  3. Frank Robinson                       Reds                above
  4. Pancho Herrera                       Phillies          17   71  .281    MVP 23rd, ROY 2nd
  5. Orlando Cepeda                      Giants              above
  6. Vada Pinson                            Reds                20   61  .287    MVP 18th
  7. Norm Larker                           Dodgers          5    78  .323    MVP 15th
  8. Wally Moon                            Dodgers          13   99  .269    no votes
  9. Ed Bailey                                Reds                13   67  .261    no votes
  10. Tony Taylor                             Phillies             4   35  .287    no votes

  1. Harmon Killebrew                  Senators          above
  2. Roy Sievers                             White Sox       above
  3. Jim Lemon                              Senators          above
  4. Norm Siebern                          A's                   19   69  .279    no votes
  5. Minnie Minoso                        White Sox       above
  6. Bob Allison                             Senators          15   69  .261    no votes
  7. Dick Williams                         A's                   12   65  .288    no votes
  8. Earl Battey                              Senators          15   60  .270    MVP 8th
  9. Al Smith                                  White Sox       above
  10. Jerry Lumpe                            A's                     8   53  .277    no votes

And finally, combing and averaging player performances, individually and against bot the league averages and their teams averages, we get the following lists:
  1. Willie Mays                             Giants
  2. Ernie Banks                             Cubs
  3. Frank Robinson                       Reds
  4. Eddie Mathews                       Braves
  5. Orlando Cepeda                      Giants
  6. Hank Aaron                            Braves
  7. Vada Pinson                            Reds
  8. Norm Larker                           Dodgers
  9. Wally Moon                            Dodgers
  10. Ken Boyer                               Cardinals

  1. Harmon Killebrew                  Senators
  2. Roy Sievers                             White Sox
  3. Minnie Minoso                        White Sox
  4. Jim Lemon                              Senators
  5. Roger Maris                            Yankees
  6. Mickey Mantle                        Yankees
  7. Norm Siebern                          A's
  8. Bob Allison                             Senators
  9. Al Smith                                  White Sox
  10. Ted Williams                           Red Sox

            The top 5 MVP vote getters in each league that year were:
  1. Dick Groat                              Pirates             2   50   .325
  2. Don Hoak                               Pirates             above
  3. Willie Mays                             Giants              above
  4. Ernie Banks                             Cubs                above
  5. Lindy McDaniel                      Cadinals          pitcher, see below

  1. Roger Maris                            Yankees          above
  2. Mickey Mantle                        Yankees          above
  3. Brooks Robinson                    Orioles             14  88   .294
  4. Minnie Minoso                        White Sox       above
  5. Ron Hansen                            Orioles             22  86   .285    Rookie of the Year

            So, with a big discrepancy between the actual voting, and my list compiled here, I thought I would look at one of the factors that weighs heaviest in my formula, a derivative of it anyway, which is runs created per game played. The top 5 highest averages in each league were:
NATIONAL LEAGUE                                 AMERICAN LEAGUE
  1. Eddie Mathews                                   Roger Maris
  2. Hank Aaron                                        Roy Sievers
  3. Willie Mays                                         Mickey Mantle
  4. Roberto Clemente                               Minnie Minoso
  5. Ernie Banks                                         Harmon Killebrew

            These players were the best at producing runs, which in turn, puts their teams in a better position to create wins.

            On to the pitching, which wasn't super stellar in 1960. Just three pitchers hit the 20-win plateau, and all of them were in the National League, including Warrren Spahn getting his twentieth win for the 11th time in his career. (he would do it twice more before retiring)
            In this era, there was just one Cy Young Award given between both leagues, and Vern Law of the Pirates was awarded it in 1960. 

     There were only four pitchers that received votes, and all of them were National Leaguers.
            So, best overall performer in 1960 were:
  1. Lindy McDaniel                      Cardinals         12- 4   2.09 27svs  MVP 5th CY 3rd
  2. Vern Law                                Pirates             20- 9   3.08             MVP 6th CY 1st
  3. Vinegar Bend Mizell               Pirates             13- 5   3.12                  no votes
  4. Bob Friend                              Pirates             18-12  3.00                  no votes
  5. Mike McCormick                    Giants              15-12  2.70                  no votes
  6. Warren Spahn                         Braves             21-10  3.50            MVP 14th CY2nd
  7. Ernie Broglio                           Cardnals          21- 9   2.74            MVP 9th CY 3rd
  8. Don Drysdale                          Dodgers          15-14  2.84                  no votes
  9. Sam Jones                               Giants              18-14  3.19                  no votes
  10. Bob Buhl                                 Brewers           16- 9   3.09                  no votes

  1. Camilio Pascual                       Senators          12- 8  3.03                   no votes
  2. Art Ditmar                              Yankees          15- 9  3.06                   no votes
  3. Milt Pappas                             Orioles             15-11 3.37                   no votes
  4. Chuck Estrada                         Orioles             18-11 3.58         MVP 12th ROY 2nd
  5. Gerry Staley                            White Sox       13- 8  2.42 9svs           MVP 23rd
  6. Hal Brown                              Orioles             12- 5  3.06                   no votes
  7. Frank Baumann                       White Sox       13- 6  2.67  4svs          no votes
  8. Jim Bunning                            Tigers              11-14 2.79                   MVP 24th
  9. Whitey Ford                            Yankees          12- 9  3.08                   no votes
  10. Ray Herbert                            A's                   14-15 3.28                   no votes

And against their teams:
  1. Turk Farrell                             Phillies           10- 6 2.70 11svs          no votes
  2. Lindy McDaniel                      Cardinals         above
  3. Glen Hobbie                            Cubs                16-20 3.97                   no votes
  4. Don Elston                              Cubs                8- 9   3.40                   no votes
  5. Mike McCormick                    Giants              above
  6. Robin Roberts                         Phillies            12-16 4.02                   no votes
  7. Bob Purkey                             Reds                17-11 3.60                   no votes
  8. Warren Spahn                         Braves             above
  9. Gene Conley                           Phillies             8-14  3.68                   no votes
  10. Vern Law                                Pirates             above

  1. Ray Herbert                            A's                   above
  2. Mike Fornieles                        Red Sox          10- 5  2.64 13svs         MVP 28th
  3. Bill Monboquette                    Red Sox          14-11 3.64                   no votes
  4. Camilio Pascual                       Senators          above
  5. Bud Daley                               A's                   16-16 4.56                   MVP 24th
  6. Dick Hall                                 A's                   8-13  4.05                   no votes
  7. Jim Bunning                            Tigers              above
  8. Jim Perry                                 Indians            18-10 3.62                   MVP 21st
  9. Frank Lary                              Tigers              15-15 3.51                   no votes
  10. Dave Sisler                              Tigers              7- 5   2.48                   no votes

And the overall average:
  1. Lindy McDaniel                      Cardinals         above
  2. Vern Law                                Pirates             above
  3. Turk Farrell                             Phillies            above
  4. Vinegar Bend Mizell               Pirates             above
  5. Mike McCormick                    Giants              above
  6. Warren Spahn                         Braves             above
  7. Ernie Broglio                           Cardinals         above
  8. Bob Friend                              Pirates             above
  9. Don Drysdale                          Dodgers          above
  10. Sam Jones                               Giants              above

  1. Ray Herbert                            A's                   above
  2. Camilio Pascual                       Senators          above
  3. Mike Fornieles                        Red Sox          above
  4. Bill Monboquette                    Red Sox          above
  5. Jim Bunning                            Tigers              above
  6. Milt Pappas                             Orioles             above
  7. Chuck Estrada                         Orioles             above
  8. Hal Brown                              Orioles             above
  9. Jim Perry                                 Indians             above
  10. Frank Baumann                       White Sox       bove

            As I mentioned earlier, this was not a stellar year for pitchers, and as such.there were no pitchers that cracked my overall top 5 in each league.  The top pitcher and players are as they are listed above:

NL pitcher

 Lindy McDaniel

NL offensive & overall

Willie Mays

AL pitcher

Ray Herbert

AL offensive and overall
Harmon Killebrew

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Book review time!

    I recently had the opportunity to review a couple of the forthcoming baseball books. The first of which is Baseball History for Kids: America at Bat from 1900 to Today, with 21 Activities by Richard Panchyk. It was very good, and don't be fooled by the title. There is more in the book for baseball fans of all ages.
     He covers the history of the game, through it's distinctive eras, and it is loaded with many 'How about that” tidbits. There a a few great stories, some you've already heard, but many more I'll bet you hadn't.
     Interspersed throughout the book are baseball experiments, for lack of a better term, for the younger readers to try out. Things like throwing a palm ball, figuring out batting averages, writing a baseball themed poem, or cooking up a batch of Cracker jacks.
     It was a fun read, and I definitely recommend it.

     The second book is When Shea Was Home: The Story of the 1975 Mets, Yankees, Giants, and Jets by Brett Topel. It covers the wacky circumstances behind the 1975 season, when Shea Stadium was home to the Mets, Yankees, Jets and Giants. All of the challenges faced by Pete Flynn, the Mets' head groundskeeper and his staff, as well as the four professional teams crammed into one shared space.
     He has interviews with several key players from the four teams, along with some of the reporters that covered the games. From the cannon blowing apart the centerfield wall, to Elliott Maddox and his knee injury to the awesome Oldtimer's Game featuring Wille, Mickey, the Duke and Joe D., it is almost a must read for any New York sports fan over a certain age, and a fun insightful read for everyone else.