IIATMS Top Moment #20: Roger Clemens, Mike Piazza and a bat

Courtesy of MettaChronicles.com

Courtesy of MettaChronicles.com

I know it may be hard to believe but it has been nearly 15 years since Roger Clemens threw at Mike Piazza‘s head. The pitch, which knocked Piazza to the ground where he laid motionless for a few moments, not only gave the Mets catcher a concussion but it caused a new rivalry to be born. And that night, July 8, 2000, set the tone for our #20 Top Moment of the Derek Jeter Era.

After that incident, Roger Clemens was persona non grata in Queens. People were accusing him of being a headhunter and Mets manager Bobby Valentine said that he believed Clemens purposely threw at Piazza’s head because he (Piazza) had been successful against Clemens in the past. Clemens claimed that he just wanted to pitch Piazza inside, waist-high and that the ball got away from him. The incident caused quite a stir that summer and wouldn’t you know it? Three months later, the two teams from New York both made it to the World Series to face off in the first Subway Series (playoff edition) since 1956.…

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The IIATMS Top 20 Yankee Moments Countdown Starts Today

So you guys remember that vote we held for the top 20 moments of the Derek Jeter era (’96-’14) a few weeks ago?  Good news, we didn’t forget about that.  The votes have been tallied, the final top 20 has been ranked, the writing assignments for each individual moment have been divvied up, and we are kicking off the countdown with moment #20 today!  Like in a few hours today.

Hopefully you remembered what moments you voted for.  If not, well then this whole countdown is going to be an extra fun experience for you, because I’m not listing all 20 moments here.  There has to be some drama to this, as much drama as possible when the topic is things that have already happened.  What I will do is link back to the original list of 56 nominees, because I am a kind and fair man.

Our plan is to count down from 20 to 1 with a new post on the next moment every other day or so leading up to Opening Day.  …

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Update: Best Yankee Moments of the Derek Jeter Era

Earlier this week, we asked you to nominate the best moments in recent Yankee history. The response was massive: by my count, we have 54 nominations, even after consolidated some moments together. Our original plan was to just put all of the nominations on a spreadsheet and tell you to rank them all. Unfortunately, there are way too moments to do that. I tried ranking all 54 this morning, and it would have taken hours had I not given up.

So, we have a new game plan. The IIATMS team will narrow the list down to a more manageable ballot (probably 15 or 20, plus some honorable mentions), and ask you to rank them. This may take a few days, so I will be breaking my promise to put them all to a vote this week.

In the mean time, here is the pretty impressive list (my own typos included) that you put together. Good job, ya’ll.

2014 Regular Season: Derek Jeter Game-Winning Hit in Final Yankee Stadium Game
2013 Regular Season: Mariano Rivera Final Save
2012 ALDS Game 3: Raul Ibanez Game-tying Home Run in the 9th, Walk-off Home run in the 11th
2012 ALCS Game 1: Raul Ibanez Game-Tying, 2-Run Home Run in the 9th Inning
2011 Regular Season: Mariano Rivera Breaks the Save Record
2011 Regular Season: Jorge Posada Plays 1 Inning at 2nd Base
2011 Regular Season: Derek Jeter’s 3000th Hit
2011 Regular Season: Curtis Granderson Hits 3rd Grand Slam on Comeback Win
2009 WS Game 4: Johnny Damon ‘Mad Dash’ Double-Steal
2009 Regular Season: Mariano Rivera RBI Walk off KRod
2009 Regular Seaon: Alex Rodriguez Walk-Off Pop Up Against the Mets
2009 ALDS Game 2: Mark Teixeira Walk-off Home Run in the 11th Inning
2009 ALDS Game 2: David Robertson Works Out of Bases Loaded, No Out Jam
2009 ALDS Game 2: Alex Rodriguez Game-Tying 2-run HR off Joe Nathan
2009 ALCS Game 2: Jerry Hairston Jr.
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2015 Hall-of-Fame Quick Take: Half-Empty, Half-Full; the Hall of Screwed; & Ridiculously Predicting the Next Three Years

(1) The Hall is Half-Empty. I suppose last year’s voting was sillier; not only did a majority of voters think Jack Morris deserves the Hall, but over three times as many thought so than voted for Mike Mussina or Curt Schilling. The similar nonsense this year is over three times as many thinking John Smoltz deserving as thinking Mussina was, given that Mussina was far more clearly Hall-worthy, whether your metric is wins (even if Smoltz remained a starter in his four years as a reliever, he wouldn’t have Mussina’s 270 wins), career WAR (Mussina’s 82.7 is well above Hall-caliber and nearly 25% better than Smoltz’s kinda-Hall-caliber 66.5), or elite years (Mussina had a league-wide top-5 WAR seven times, including a #1; Smoltz had three, with no #1s).

Two Smoltzy thought experiments: (1) If Smoltz pitched instead for the Royals or Twins, and lacked the World Series aura and the Maddux/Glavine reflected glow, is there a shot in hell he’d be a first-ballot winner, or wouldn’t he be a weaker Bert Blyleven case, earning election only after many years of languishing and hand-wringing?…

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Career Value v. Peak Value for Hall of Fame: The Mike Mussina Case

mussina

Mike Mussina’s main Hall of Fame argument is his career value: he’s one of the top 20-30 starters of all time, whether by old-school numbers like wins (his 270 is 33rd, but 25th if you exclude folks from the 1800s), or newer stats like WAR (83.0, 23rd among SP). The argument against Mussina is his weaker peak value. He had two excellent, Cy-caliber seasons, 1992 (18-5, 2.54, 8.2 WAR) and 2001 (17-11, 3.15, 7.1 WAR). But those were far apart, and he never had a several-year span of dominance. He amassed career value mainly with (a) ten very-good-not-stellar seasons (4.4-6.6 WAR) plus (b) several average-to-pretty-good seasons (2-3ish WAR) that made him about what we remember: a #1-2 starter at his best; a #2-3 starter many years; almost never one of the league’s top few; and never a guy capable of 9-10 WAR seasons-for-the-ages like his contemporaries Pedro, Roger, Randy, and arguably Curt, who was similar but with a higher peak.

I respect peak value over career value because I don’t see compilers as all-time greats.…

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Happy Birthday Dave Righetti – remembering the no-hitter

Twitter is a dead zone for Yankee news right now. The Yankees are looking at a Cuban right-hander. Chase Headley will not get more than three years from the Yankees. CC Sabathia needs to bounce back. Why have the Yankees been so quiet. The Yankees need to respond to the Red Sox. Blah, blah, blah. But it is Dave Righetti‘s 56th birthday and that reminded me of his no-hitter against Boston on Independence Day of 1983. I watched it on television and it is a great memory.

The 24-year-old Righetti was off to a hot start in 1983. He was 9-3 at the end of June and finished that month with a complete-game shutout of the Baltimore Orioles. Typical of Billy Martin managed teams, the crusty manager wasn’t babying the young pitcher who was primed for a full season after tossing 187+ innings in 1982.

The Red Sox were not a great team in 1983. Boston ended up winning 78 games and looked tired under an equally tired Ralph Houk.…

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Seven best Yankee off season trades since 1975

Blockbuster trades do not happen that often for the New York Yankees. Most of the off season news concerns free agents and waiver pickups. What few trades made over the Steinbrenner years seem inconsequential and the players involved quickly sink into oblivion. The last big off season trade involved sending Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi to the Mariners for Michael Pineda and Jose Campos. The debates about that trade have been fun. The official tally so far is Pineda with 2.7 rWAR to Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi both at -0.4 since the trade occurred. We will have to give that one a little more time before the Yankees can be declared the winner. But what were the best trades?

I am just talking off season here or that period between the end of the season and the start of the next one. Obviously, the list will not include the most recent seasons because, again, time needs to occur before you can look at a long history of what happened after a trade.…

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Yankeemetrics: Jeter farewell edition

Derek Jeter's career is unmatched in baseball history.

Derek Jeter’s career is unmatched in baseball history.

As Derek Jeter‘s incredible career comes to an end, let’s celebrate the amazing accomplishments of the soon-to-be Hall of Famer with a list of my 10 favorite stats from Jeter’s 20 seasons with the New York Yankees. Special thanks to the Baseball-Reference.com Play Index and the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia for many of these notes.

1. Jeter is the only player in major-league baseball history with at least 3,000 hits, 350 stolen bases, 250 homers and 1,300 RBI. Nada, no one else has done it.

2. Jeter and Hank Aaron are the only two players in MLB history with 16-or-more seasons of at least 150 hits, 20 doubles and 10 homers.

3. Arguably Jeter’s most iconic hit was his 3,000th, a home run off David Price on July 9, 2011. The only other player to reach the 3,000-hit milestone with a homer was Wade Boggs on August 7, 1999.

4. He is one of two players all-time with at least 3,460 hits for one franchise and none with any other team, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.…

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VMart and Donnie Baseball

(Syndicated from The Flagrant Fan)

Victor Martinez is having a remarkable offensive season. And it isn’t just the 31 homers and 31 doubles and the .333 batting average. What is remarkable is that in the inglorious age of the strikeout, Martinez has only struck out 40 times all season. He is on pace to finish with 43 strikeouts. When considering that remarkable number, it made me curious as to how many times since 1961 someone has hit over 30 homers with less than 45 strikeouts. So I went to my trusty baseball-reference.com and checked it out.

First of all, why did I only go back to 1961? Good question. The answer is that 1961 was right around the first time when the strikeout rate averaged five strikeouts per team per game (1959 to be exact). And even going that far back is problematic. The average strikeout rate in 1961 was 13.2% compared to it being 20.3% this season. If you go back further than 1961, then a low strikeout rate with a lot of homers just wasn’t that remarkable.…

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