Girardi versus Torre in bullpen use

There is a common narrative when it comes to looking back on the two great Yankee managers over the last eighteen years. The narrative goes something like this: Joe Torre burned out his bullpens and Joe Girardi‘s use of his bullpen is one of his strengths as a manager. I have heard variations of those memes over the years and wondered if there was a way to measure the bullpen usage to see how true these narratives were. Once I put together all the numbers, the conclusion I came up with is that Torre really did not earn his reputation until the last five years of his tenure.

First, let’s look at the most basic of numbers, things like ERA, WHIP and bullpen losses. Each provides some insight to the conclusion.

Joe Girardi’s bullpens have beaten the average American League bullpen in ERA every season he has been the manager. His accumulative average bullpen is then higher than the league over that time period.…

Read more

On Don Mattingly’s HOF Worthiness

Don Mattingly

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

One of the most interesting things I read over the weekend was Bryan Hoch’s post on about Don Mattingly and his thoughts on his Hall Of Fame chances.  After 13 years of coming in way low on the voting percentages, Mattingly enters his 14th and second-to-last year of eligibility confident that he won’t get enough votes to make it this year.  Coming off last year’s vote, when he appeared on just 13.2% of the ballots, I’d say he has every reason to feel that way.

What really stood out to me in the post was how cool, calm and accepting Mattingly was of the fact that he almost certainly will never make the HOF.  Mattingly himself said, “”My first year of eligibility, I pretty much knew I wasn’t going to make it or anything.  I don’t pay that much attention to it, to be honest with you. It’s to the point now where it comes up and you’re like, ‘Oh, it’s over,’ and you go on.”  Mattingly understands that his injury problems and decision to retire at 34 cost him a chance at accumulating the stats he would have needed to get in and he’s cool with that.…

Read more

Jerry Coleman’s 1957 World Series

This post initially appeared on ESPN on January 6, 2014.

Jerry Coleman, who passed away on Sunday, became one of the most popular people in San Diego while broadcasting Padres games from 1972 to 2010, a career that earned him a place in the broadcasting wing of the Hall of Fame. But when a well-known Yankee player passes away, headlines often read something like, “Yankee Great Jerry Coleman Dies.”

The truth was that Jerry Coleman was not a great. He was pretty good and he had his moments and was very good at getting on base, but the Yankees often had someone they preferred better. There were Phil Rizzuto and Gil McDougald and later Tony Kubek and Bobby Richardson. And it did not help that Coleman basically lost five years flying combat missions in both World War II and the Korean War. The JAWS system of ranking players ranks Jerry Coleman as the 231st best second baseman in baseball history.…

Read more

Paul Blair – Yankee infielder and post season hero

In 1978, when Derek Jeter was four years old, another shortstop for the Yankees wore the number two on his uniform. That shortstop was Paul Blair. Yes, that is correct, Paul Blair. But before we get to that story, there is another story you should hear about Paul Blair’s Yankee tenure...

Read more

Reposting: The National Baseball Hall of Fame And Museum

Twas the day before Christmas and the baseball world was sleeping, waiting for ARod’s ruling and word of his cheating. So rather than waiting with little to do, here’s a old re-post of something I once wrote for you. (OK, so I’m no poet… shoot me!)

This originally appeared on ESPN back in April, 2011.  Reposted today, as reminded by Tim Keown’s posting this morning.


This past weekend, I visited baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. This was not my first time there, but it was my first trip with my two sons, now ages 11 and 8. I was curious to see the Hall in a different way, through the eyes of my children.

I left thinking about the official name of the building — the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. I left realizing that the official name of the building — the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum — has a very big word in the middle of it that most people seem to ignore: “and.” Mostly I write about the building from a distance, and when I do, I focus on the first part of the building’s name, about who should be admitted into the Hall and who should not.…

Read more

Measuring Joe Torre as a manager

In my long life of watching the New York Yankees, I feel like I have two Yankee uncles. There was Phil Rizzuto and there is Joe Torre. Since the better half of me is Sicilian, I guess the feeling is natural. My Uncle Joe was elected into the Hall of Fame this week. I want to celebrate. I really want to celebrate. My problem is that I have no idea how to rate managers. In other words, I don’t know if he belongs there any more than Mayo Smith. You cannot go to a stat site and see WAR or wOBA totals for managers. And if you think win-loss records for pitchers are fairly useless, what does that make the win-loss total of a manager? So how, then, do we measure Joe Torre?

The current way managers make the Hall of Fame is to hang around a long time and win at least one World Series or manage the Yankees.…

Read more

Evil empire all that tired jazz



When Twitter exploded with the news that the New York Yankees had signed Jacoby Ellsbury, the same old tired refrain resonated: “The Evil Empire is back.” Ugh. While some Yankee fans glory in such a moniker and revel at the anguished teeth gnashing behind it, there is a part of me that wishes the team could be feted instead as a great American success story.

It does not happen just in baseball. Sam Walton built his brand and Wal-Mart became so successful that the story turned to a negative. The funny thing about our people is that we want to believe in the American Dream and that a person can create a successful business out of nothing, just as long as it does not become too successful. In the past half-century there has been Gates of Microsoft and even Bezos of Amazon to carry on the tradition of Carnegie and Rockefeller before them.

George Steinbrenner, along with his initial minority partners: Michael Burke, Lester Crown, John DeLorean and Nelson Bunker Hunt purchased the Yankees from CBS in January of 1973 and it was not as if they started their new venture from scratch.…

Read more

Happy Anniversary, Aaron Boone!

Where were you the night of October 16, 2003?

I was in my apartment in Manhattan watching Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. I was alone in what I called my TV room. It was really my grandmother’s former dining room which I had turned into a makeshift office by placing my giant desktop computer – it was 2003 and flat screens weren’t the norm – onto the table which was still surrounded by a number of chairs. I lived alone, I didn’t cook, and I wan’t planning on throwing any dinner parties so the table was the perfect space for me to use as a writing space.

Back then, I was still a cocky Yankee fan. I believed that the Yankees were going to win because Boston couldn’t possibly win a Game 7 if they were up 10 runs in the bottom of the ninth with two outs.

I sure do miss those days, don’t you?

Anyway, after watching Roger Clemens lay an egg while at the same time watching Pedro Martinez making everyone, except Jason Giambi, look like fools at the plate, I began to wonder if the Yankee magic had indeed run out.…

Read more

Flashback Friday: Happy Anniversary, Don Zimmer!

Guess which game happened 10 years ago today?

I’ll give you a few seconds but the title of the post should give you a clue. That’s right! It’s the 10th anniversary of Game 3 of the 2003 ALCS. The game Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez started in Fenway. The one that featured a brouhaha after Pedro Martinez threw at Karim Garcia‘s head and after Roger Clemens threw nowhere near Manny Ramirez‘s head which led to Manny flipping out, overreacting and starting a kerfuffle that resulted in Pedro Martinez throwing Don Zimmer to the ground.

It was ugly, it was heated and it turned out to be a big win for the Yankees.

Here’s the boxscore and here’s a video of the whole game. (You gotta love YouTube) Enjoy!

Read more