Countdown to Spring Training: 31

This one here is straight out of left field…well, center field is more like it. In digging up stuff for this series, I wanted to try to touch on a lot of different Yankee players. The obvious choices for 31 were Hall of Famer Dave Winfield and (should be HOFer) Tim Raines. However, you’ve heard all about them. You know them and love them and respect them. instead, I’m going to touch on another great Yankee outfielder, Earle Combs. How did I arrive at Combs on day 31? I was looking up the Yankee leaderboards on B-R and I sort of shoehorned Combs in by finding out he’s #31 on the Yankees’ all time stolen base list with 98. I call this shoehorning because Combs was most definitely not a great base stealer in his career. He stole 98 bases, but he was also caught 71 times. Despite that, I wanted to take this time to touch on Combs’s career, as it definitely gets glossed over in terms of Yankee history.… Click here to read the rest

Countdown to Spring Training: 36

Welcome to a new feature I’m going to be running here at TYA. As we count down to Spring Training, I’m gong to be taking that day’s number and relate it to something significant in Yankee history. For today, with 36 days left until Spring Training begins, I’m going to take a look at the 1936 Yankees.

This team could define the word ‘dominant.’ They finished 102-51, beating out the second place Tigers by 19.5 games. They lead the league in runs scored per game (6.9) and runs allowed per game (4.7). Their 1,065 runs scored is the second most in modern (1900 and later) baseball history (the record is held by the 1931 Yankees with 1,067 runs). They led the league in OBP (.381); SLG (.483); OPS (.864); and HR (182). On the pitching side of things, they had the best ERA (4.17) and the most strikeouts (624) while allowing the fewest runs (731). Four of their batters–Lou Gehrig (1); Bill Dickey (7); Red Rolfe (8); and Joe DiMaggio (9)–finished in the top ten for bWAR.… Click here to read the rest

A retired number measuring stick

Yesterday, all of our rooms got a little dusty between 11 AM and noon as Jorge Posada announced his retirement from Major League Baseball. There is no doubt that Posada was a great Yankee. He gave us so many incredible memories and I cannot wait for the day when Jorge is brought back to Yankee Stadium and given the honor of a plaque in Monument Park. As I was driving to lunch, my iPod died (as it usually does) so I flipped on sports radio (yes it sucks, but it’s better than FM) and Joe Beningo and Evan Roberts were talking about the possibility of the retirement of Posada’s number. They alluded to the fact that Bruce Bowen, he of the defensive prowess, is getting his number retired by the San Antonio Spurs; both hosts found that a little ridiculous and had a quick discussion of the standards for number retirement. Part of this is obviously an emotional discussion, but the empirical side of me had a thought.… Click here to read the rest

Great Yankees By WAR: First Base

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This is the second in what will be an extended series of posts that will run over the summer. I will do one post covering the top 5 Yankees by WAR (Wins Above Replacement) at each position, plus a second profile piece on one player at each position. At the end of the summer, I’ll put together a post ranking the top 60 Yankees of all time. I will be using the career WAR found at baseballprojection.com, with only WAR garnered as a Yankee being included in the calculations.

1. Lou Gehrig (118.3 WAR as Yankee)
In a way, I think Gehrig has been a bit underrated over the years, always being mentioned second in a conversation about great players due to his sharing a field with Babe Ruth. Furthermore, his consecutive games streak of 2,130 games tends to overshadow his incredible on-field performance. Lou’s total career value places him at 13th all-time among position players, and he compiled a whopping 4 seasons of at least 10 WAR, and another 3 that exceeded 9 WAR.… Click here to read the rest

A Milestone that Will Attract Little Fanfare

2010 is going to be a big year for Alex Rodriguez. Coming off of his first World Series win, the focus will be shifted back to Alex’s personal accomplishments, as he has many looming for this season. He will be seeking his 13th straight season with at least 30 home runs and 100 runs batted in. As he’s going to be playing the whole season, he’ll be chasing his fourth MVP award, which would put him in second place all time behind Barry Bonds. Sitting at 583 homers, Rodriguez will almost undoubtedly reach 600 home runs in 2010. When he does, he’ll be just the seventh man all time to do so, though he has a better AB/HR ratio than all of them save for Bonds and Babe Ruth. If/when these accomplishments occur, they will get a lot of attention–as they should, because these are marvelous feats in baseball history.

There is, however, one accomplishment that will go unnoticed outside of the blogosphere.… Click here to read the rest

And you thought today’s MVP voters were bad!

Last night before I went to bed I took a look at Lou Gehrig’s stats on Baseball Reference. That’s the kind of guy I am. I’ve been obsessed with baseball history since I was about 5. Every now and then I like to take a look at some of the old-time greats, mostly to see how dominant they were. In Gehrig’s case, last night I saw something that would have made Ken Tremendous explode if the internet and FireJoeMorgan existed in 1934.

Baseball Reference highlights a player’s stat from a given year if that player led his league, or both, in the statistics. 1934 jumped out at me because Gehrig led all of baseball in BA, OBP and Slugging, with a .363/.465/.706 line, good for an OPS+ of 208. (Before I go any further I feel I should mention that I’ll turn into a puddle of warm goo if any one of the 2010 Yankees puts up an OPS+ of 208.) The reason this jumped out at me, aside from the fact that Lou was an absolute beast, is also because he came in 5th in the MVP voting in 1934.
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The Run Scoring of an All-Time Lineup

In his post yesterday about the potential batting order for 2010, Steve posted an image of a lineup card for what appears to be an All-Time Yankee team. Obviously, that team is just stacked. So stacked, in fact, that it got me thinking–what would my all time Yankee batting look like and how many runs could they score in a 162 game season?

For the first part, my team would look just like Steve’s, except I’d have Alex Rodriguez starting at third; don’t worry Nettles fans, he’d be on my bench. The rest of the bench would be rounded out by Jorge Posada (sorry, Thurman), Bernie Williams, and Don Mattingly. But, what we’re really concerned about here is the starting lineup and just how prolific it would be on offense.

Using the ever awesome Lineup Analysis tool from Baseball Musings, we can estimate how many runs this team would score by punching in each player’s OBP and SLG. Since this is an all-Yankee team, I’ll be using their Yankee numbers only.… Click here to read the rest

Is Jeter The Greatest YANKEE?

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Yes, the word Yankee is all caps on purpose. You see, this morning two brothers posted a guest article over at Lohud suggesting that Derek Jeter is the greatest Yankee of all time. They were soundly ripped in the comments, as most of the commenters rightly noted that Jeter really has no case for being a better player than Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, or Dimaggio, and may come in behind Berra as well. However, their post also discussed the off-field scrutiny and issues that Jeter faces, and within that discussion I believe there is the seed for an interesting debate. The question is, although Jeter is not the greatest baseball player to ever play for the Yankees, is he the greatest Yankee? Is he the perfect embodiment of what a Yankee should be?

He is driven by an incredible will to win, appreciates the history and tradition that the pinstripes represent, and is always respectful of those around him.… Click here to read the rest

Tex and A-Rod … Ruth and Gehrig?

In 2009 Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez combined for 69 home runs, 222 RBI and 181 runs scored. That they put up those numbers even though they only played 124 games together makes their performance all the more admirable. Just for the record, Teixeira put up an OPS+ of 149, which Alex nearly matched with a 147. Opposing pitchers beware.

Recently RAB looked at these two to see if they were the best 3-4 combo in the game. A-Rod and Tex were not the best pair of sluggers in 2009, nor were they 2nd best. The pole and runners-up positions went to Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder in Milwaukee, and Albert Pujols and Matt Holiday in St. Louis, respectively. As shocking as this may sound to some Yankee fans (including this one), poor Alex and Tex just had to settle for being the best 3-4 combo in the American League … and a pair of World Series rings.

The RAB post got me thinking, however, about where Tex and A-Rod stacked up against the best pairs of sluggers in Yankee history.
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