This Web site is dedicated to the proposition that baseball is the social "glue" that keeps our fair republic united.

Stadium montage shadow

baseball fans!

Visit me on
(Please indicate that you are a baseball fan.)

But first, a word from
Our Sponsors:

Baseball blogs

General sports blogs

# = Not very current; few if any posts from the last few months.

Updated !

Baseball sites

Reference, etc.
Minor Leagues
Baseball politics


This web site has no connection to Major League Baseball or any of its affiliated franchises. The information contained herein is accurate as far as the author knows, and the opinions expressed are his alone.

Only 8 more days
until Opening Day!

March 15, 2019 [LINK / comment]

Olympic-sized Olympic Stadium update

Olympic Stadium

It took yet another sustained Herculean effort stretching over nearly two weeks, but I stuck with it and finally "got 'er done." Yes, the Olympic Stadium diagrams have been revised, on a massive scale befitting the massive size of the structure itself. The tragic, misbegotten former home of the Montreal Expos (who relocated and became the Washington Nationals in 2005) still stands as a monument to wishful thinking by public officials eager to establish a legacy. The public debt needed to finance construction of "the Big Owe" was not retired until after the Expos had departed. It still hosts occasional football and soccer games, as well as monster truck shows and assorted conventions, but for most intents and purposes, it is in a state of limbo.

Aside from minor corrections and detail enhancements, here are the more notable changes since the last diagram update in June 2012, nearly seven years ago:

Profile Olympic Stadium

The profile of Olympic Stadium, before and after today's diagram revision.

The photos I have seen suggest that the rear of the roof, which covers the concourses behind the grandstand, is not directly supported but is suspended by balancing tension in the structural members. I may have to check on that to make sure. Or maybe I'll just drive up to Montreal this summer! In any case, I replaced the old profile with the new one on the Stadium profiles page, which I'll update as soon as the three remaining diagrams are completed.

Note that, for the time being at least, I opted not to render the lights which are attached to the front of the permanent roof. Too much clutter. I may do that later, and I may do a "combined" diagram, showing the football gridiron and temporary seats superimposed on the baseball playing field. Finally, I may add a 1980s diagram, without the original wide Olympic track behind home plate and the bleachers in center field. (I estimate it was about 495 feet to those bleachers from home plate!)

Spring training notes

For what it's worth, the Washington Nationals have won four games in a row, with lopsided wins against the Twins yesterday and the Mets today. Adam Eaton and Ryan Zimmerman both homered in today's game, while Victor Robles and Juan Soto are continuing the slugging peformance that they exhibited as rookies last year. (Soto played for 116 games last year, whereas Robles has only played in 34 games total over two years.) Hot infield prospect Carter Kieboom has hit three home runs already, and may be ready to replace Brian Dozier at second base next year. Anthony Rendon, whose contract expires at the end of this year, had a slow start this spring, but went four for four at the plate today. Michael A. Taylor, who is fighting for the center field position, got hurt while making a diving catch today, but it doesn't appear to be too serious. On the mound, starting pitchers Jeremy Hellickson and Stephen Strasburg have been very impressive, while Patrick Corbin, Anibal Sanchez, and Max Scherzer are only fair to middling so far. Opening Day in Our Nation's Capital is now less than two weeks away!

There is much talk about which team will end up signing closing pitcher Craig Kimbrel to a contract. I was initially opposed to the Nats making him a big offer, partly because I think Sean Doolittle is more than satisfactory in that role already. But apparently "The Doctor" says he'd welcome Kimbrel joining the Nats bullpen, so maybe it would work out OK.

The new star slugger of the Philadelphia Phillies, Bryce Harper, has yet to get a hit in five at-bats this spring, but he has reached base a few times on walks.

The mail bag

Mike Zurawski informs me that the Oakland A's are trying to jazz up their aging Coliseum with a new "Fan Stomping Ground" located in the middle level of the outfield grandstand on the right field side. Apparently it's a family-friendly place to hang out and amuse each other when the action on the field slows down. See MLB.com.

And speaking of Oakland Coliseum, the NFL Raiders are still not 100% certain where they will be playing football next fall. One possibility was Oracle Field (formerly called AT&T Park, home of the Giants), but the "San Francisco" (Santa Clara) 49ers vetoed that idea. The Raiders are being sued by the city of Oakland because of their plans to relocate to Las Vegas, once the new stadium is ready in 2020 or 2021. Awk-ward!

Terry Wallace sent me a photo of Forbes Field with temporary bleachers for the 1925 World Series; he seems eager for those diagrams to be updated, and I can't blame him!

And finally, Angel Amezquita sent me some images of the Canadian Football League Baltimore Stallions playing in Memorial Stadium in the 1990s, suggesting that I include a CFL gridiron diagram on that page. Anything is possible! smile

I'm going to take a short break from all the exhausting diagram work, and will try to get to other recent e-mail messages in the next few days. Thanks for your patience, as always!

March 2, 2019 [LINK / comment]

Assessing Harper's legacy in D.C.

Bryce Harper was with the Washington Nationals for exactly half the team's (reborn) existence: 2012-2018. You might think that he has dominated the team's offensive output during those seven years, but by most measures at least, you'd be wrong. Only once during those seven years (2015, when he was NL MVP) did he lead the Nationals in batting average: .330. Daniel Murphy did so twice, and only spent two and a half years with the Nats. What about Harper's specialty, home runs? Yes, he led the team twice in homers during that time, but so did both Adam LaRoche and Ryan Zimmerman. What's more, Zimmerman had the most homers (including one tie) twice during the team's first seven years, 2005-2011. Harper's peak year in terms of home runs (2015) was 42, which was four less than Alfonso Soriano hit during his one year with the Nationals in 2006. Finally, Harper led the team twice in runs batted in from 2012 to 2018, but Adam LaRoche did so as well. Ryan Zimmerman has had the most RBIs for the Nats four times in his career. But what is really striking is that in none of the four years in which the Nationals won the NL East Division (2012, 2014, 2016, 2017) did Harper lead in any of the main offensive categories. It's almost as if when he was at his best, the team was not -- and vice versa. See the Washington Nationals page, from which the following data are extracted.

Washington Nationals: best annual batting records (2012-2018)
Year Batting average Home runs RBIs
2012 Ian Desmond .292 Adam LaRoche 33 Adam LaRoche 100
2013 Jayson Werth .318 Ryan Zimmerman 26 Jayson Werth 82
2014 Denard Span .302 Adam LaRoche 26 Adam LaRoche 92
2015 Bryce Harper .330 Bryce Harper 42 Bryce Harper 99
2016 Daniel Murphy .347 Daniel Murphy 25 Daniel Murphy 104
2017 Daniel Murphy .322 Ryan Zimmerman 36 Ryan Zimmerman 108
2018 Anthony Rendon .308 Bryce Harper 34 Bryce Harper 100

Years with red borders: Nationals won the NL East Division.

None of the above is meant to detract from Harper's immense contribution to the Nationals in terms of pursuing championships and as a commercial franchise, however. Baseball is more than just winning and more than just money, it is a form of popular entertainment for the masses, and Harper gave Washington-area fans a thrill like none of their team's other players had done before. Yes, Harper has a tendency to be cocky sometimes, but with the talent he possesses, it's probably fitting. After all, sports fans love prima donnas!

Lerners defer salaries

In today's Washington Post, Barry Svrluga had a rather harsh column about the Lerner family's habit of deferring salaries paid to many of the Nationals' top stars. I mentioned this two days ago, but I put the blame on the tight cash situation created by the unfavorable TV rights contract with the Baltimore Orioles. (That was a key condition for owner Peter Angelos to approve the relocation of the former Montreal Expos to Washington in 2005.) Svrluga suggests that it's just the Lerners' way of doing business, and it's not good. We still don't know for sure how much of the compensation offered to Bryce Harper last fall consisted of deferred salaries, but if it was as big as some rumors have indicated, that might have been a blunder of historic proportions.

Rockies keep Arenado

On Wednesday, two days before the news about Bryce Harper broke, the Colorado Rockies announced that their star Nelson Arenado had signed a new contract. He will be making $260 million over a period of eight years, a stupefying $32.5 million annually. It is the highest annual salary in history for an MLB position player. He can opt out of the contract after three years, but why in the heck would he? Having hit an average of 40 home runs and 126 RBIs over the last four seasons, he no doubt commands a high price on the market, but for a small-market team like the Rockies to be making that kind of commitment does raise eyebrows.

Off to the races!

The recent update to the Polo Grounds page included an auto racing diagram for the first time, corresponding to the 1958-1961 period following the New York Giants' departure and preceding the creation of the New York Mets. That reminded me that another MLB stadium once hosted auto racing events: Philadelphia's Baker Bowl, after the Phillies left in 1938. So I added a racetrack diagram to the Baker Bowl page just for fun.

Foro Sol update

Foro Sol

But wait, there's more! Auto racing also takes place in Mexico City's Foro Sol, a strange combination of a Grand Prix race track with a ballpark. So, I updated the Foro Sol diagrams for the first time since 2011; April 11 to be exact. The grandstand is now about 12 feet deeper than before all the way around, and details such as entry portals are included for the first time. There is also a new diagram showing details such as the press box underneath the roof. Diagrams for other "Miscellaneous" (non-MLB) stadiums will likewise will brought "up to standard" in the months to come...

Am I ever going to do diagrams showing stadiums in a configuration for "monster truck" rallies or moto-cross races? Not bloody likely! Eventually, however, I may need to indicate which stadiums featured such events. There's more than you might think...

February 28, 2019 [LINK / comment]

Mourning in D.C.: Bryce Harper picks Philadelphia frown

The worst-case scenario for fans of the Washington Nationals finally materialized late this afternoon: their superstar hero (and probable future Hall-of-Famer) Bryce Harper accepted a fat and juicy contract offer from the Philadelphia Phillies. He will be getting a total of $330 million over a period of 13 years, or $25.4 million a year. Significantly, the terms include a full no-trade clause and no opt-outs, so unless there is a mutual change of heart, Bryce will be playing in the City of Brotherly Love through the year 2031. (That's just too far in the future to even contemplate.) It is the biggest contract in MLB history, just barely surpassing the (then-) Florida Marlins' $325 million, 13-year contract with Giancarlo Stanton in November 2014. See MLB.com for more details.

One wonders, "Why would Bryce accept an annual salary that was $4.6 million less than what the Lerners offered him five months ago?" The reported terms back then were $300 million over ten years, which I thought was quite fair and competitive. Part of the answer has to do with the weaker-than-expected market for free agents (no collusion!), which has left several big stars such as Dallas Keuchel still looking for a job this year. Until the news today, it appeared that Harper's agent Scott Boras had served him poorly, and it seemed possible that he might have to settle for a shorter-term contract with the Dodgers or the Giants. But the terms he got from the Phillies were more than satisfactory. But the big difference between this contract and what the Nationals offered is that the latter's terms including a big chunk of "deferred salary," meaning that the team would in effect issue IOUs that would be redeemed for several years beyond the end of the contract. That might have been a deal-breaker for Bryce.

Just as a side note, the deferred salary is a rather cheap gimmick that the Nationals' front office has used more than once, and it reflects in part the financial constraint imposed by the unfair terms of the TV revenue rights deal with the Baltimore Orioles. MLB officials have worked to resolve that issue in recent months, so hopefully the Nats will be in a better money position before long.

Another factor favoring the Phillies may be the stadium, or more specifically, the size of the outfield. Citizens Bank Park has about 105,000 square feet of fair territory, about four percent less than the 109,100 square feet in Nationals Park. Indeed, the Phillies enjoy the most home-run friendly ballpark in the major leagues right now. Bryce has hit 184 homers during his seven years with the Nats (peaking at 42 during his MVP year, 2015), and if you figure that his career is only one-third over, he could end up with another 368 homers, for a total of 552. But if you add the ballpark factor over a period of 13 years, he could conceivably raise that home run total by 100 or more, which would put him in sixth place in the all-time list, just behind Willie Mays (660).

Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park outfields

The outfield portions of Citizens Bank Park, with Nationals Park superimposed. Balls hit into the areas colored pink would be home runs in the former but not the latter, and the converse would be true in the (much smaller) areas colored violet.

It wouldn't have been so bad if he had signed with the L.A. Dodgers or San Francisco Giants, but now we're going to have face him 19 times a year. Ugh. The Nats had an 11-8 record against the Phillies last year, but things will be a lot different this year. Indeed, with their other acquisitions and with the Atlanta Braves determined to repeat as division champions, the NL East will be fiercely contested this year. Bryce will make his first appearance with the Phillies in Washington on April 2. (If it were the day before, we could perhaps pretend that it was all just a gag.) How will D.C. fans greet him? I hope they show more class than fans in certain other cities. It's going to be hard as hell getting used to seeing Bryce in a Phillies uniform. I suppose the sooner we get this over with the better...

Bryce Harper fake Phillies hat

WARNING: FAKE PHOTO! A melancholy-looking Bryce Harper on September 21, during the one of the last home games he played as a National, with Ryan Howard's cap (from my visit to Philadelphia in 2016) artificially superimposed.

The first time I mentioned Bryce Harper was in June 2010, when the Nationals used their #1 pick to draft him. (I had almost forgotten that he was a catcher in his college days.) Two months later he signed a five-year contract totaling $9.9 million, a record for a rookie position player. After a year in the minors, he made a big splash in his debut with the Nationals in late April 2012, and in November he was chosen as National League Rookie of the Year. Three years later (November 2015) he was chosen as the National League Most Valuable Player. He has had his ups and downs in the years since then, but he was undoubtedly a crucial factor in the Nationals winning four divisional titles during his years in D.C. And so I say:

Thanks for seven GREAT years with the Nats, Bryce!
You'll be remembered well!

February 25, 2019 [LINK / comment]

At last: Spring training has begun!

Ignore that snow on the ground outside, baseball fans, because spring training is here! Pitchers and catchers reported for Spring training two Wednesdays ago, and the full squads reported last Monday. For most teams, the first practice games were held on Saturday, another sign that baseball is right around the corner. Opening Day for 28 teams will be Thursday March 28, about as early as baseball can start. For the Seattle Mariners and Oakland A's, the first game will take place at the Tokyo Dome in Japan on March 20; see the newly-updated Anomalous stadiums page.

The preseason game scores mean absolutely nothing, of course, but it is nonetheless worth pointing out that the Washington Nationals won their first two games: they beat the Houston on Saturday 7-6, on a walk-off double by Adrian Sanchez, and they beat the Cardinals 12-2 on Sunday. Today they lost to the Braves 9-4, but as mentioned above, practice games don't count.

Machado signs with Padres

The main drama throughout this off-season has centered upon two free agent slugging superstars: Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, who spent six and a half years with the Baltimore Orioles and was then traded to the L.A. Dodgers last July. It has been a strange, slow-moving spectacle full of whispers, like a kabuki theater. Well, last week the San Diego Padres announced that Machado had signed a $300 million, 10-year contract with them, the biggest free agent deal in Major League history. This followed many weeks of speculation about the Phillies and other teams. See MLB.com. Whether he proves to be worth that much money is anyone's guess. Machado has been a very consistent hitter over the past four years, with between 33 and 37 home runs and a batting average between .249 and .294 each year. He seems to have personality issues, however, and one wonders if he will be content playing on a team that is not as likely to make it to the postseason.

Harper mulls his options

Meanwhile, Bryce Harper continues to keep us all in nerve-wracking suspense as he weighs his options. Much as I despise recirculating rumors, it seems appropriate to mention that he met with Philadelphia Phillies over the weekend, and it seemed all but certain that he would sign with them. (The Phillies were scrambling after Machado signed with the Padres.) But today it was reported that the Dodgers are pursuing Harper once again, with meetings in Las Vegas. Meanwhile, Mark Lerner (son of the Nationals' principal owner Ted Lerner) said that his family had not even spoken with Harper in months. Eegads. The upshot is that the Nationals are no longer the team is he most likely to sign with.

On Saturday, Washington Post columnist Thomas Boswell wrote a rather harsh piece saying that Harper is on the verge of signing the "least satisfying nine-figure deal ever." He thinks that Harper probably wishes he had accepted the $300 million for 10 years offered to him by the Nats' owners at the end of the 2018 regular season. The fact that the market for free agent players has fizzled means that he will be lucky to get terms even slightly better than that deal, and it probably won't be on friendly terms. His agent Scott Boras certainly deserves some of the blame for that, but suspicions linger that the MLB owners tacitly cooperated to keep salaries down. "There was no collusion!" (Why does that sound familiar?)

Personally, I think Bryce has every right to bargain for the best terms he can get, but there's more to it than just money. If Harper is man enough to set aside his pride and sign a new contract with the Nationals, he will in all likelihood go down in history as one of the greatest players to ever spend the bulk of his career with one team, and he will retire as a happy, beloved, satisfied man. We'll see. This whole free agency thing is no picnic.

Could the Nationals get by without Harper this year? Absolutely, yes. But it sure would be easier to win a division title and go deep into the postseason with him on board.

A week or two ago, I also updated the Washington Nationals page with head-to-head win-loss records to include 2018. It shows the provisional starting pitcher rotation, which ought to rank at or near the top of all 30 MLB teams:

* New players

Scherzer bemoans baseball trends

Nats' ace pitcher Max Scherzer has been vocal about various problems he has observed in the sport. Last week he complained about the decline in competition among baseball teams, brought on by sky-high salaries that leave some smaller-market teams completely out of the loop. Something indeed needs to be done about that. Then over the weekend he argued against the proposed use of a pitch clock to speed up the pace of play; they are emperimenting with that in spring training games. To Max, it just ruins the fabric of the game. He pointed out that too many foul balls are a bigger reason why games drag on longer than they used to. See the Washington Post.

Another Polo Grounds update?!

Polo Grounds

(Stop me if you've heard this one before.) So, a few weeks ago I realized I needed to make a few small tweaks to the Polo Grounds diagrams, and before you knew it, yadda yadda yadda... Once again, I found myself deeply enmeshed in a new set of puzzles and mysteries that were finally solved, yielding big (for me at least) revelations. I guess that is to be expected when so much time (12 years) elapsed between the previous diagram update in 2007. There were a lot of needed improvements to catch up on!

For the record, here are the significant changes since the January 9 update:

Note that even though the center field distance marker changed from 483 to 475 when the Polo Grounds were fixed up for the arrival of the Mets in 1962, home plate did not move forward by eight feet as stated by Lowry in Green Cathedrals (2006). I checked several photographs very carefully, and it's clear that the foul line intersected the dugout at the same point during the Mets' stay there as it had previously. The longer distance (483) was probably to the wall at ground level, and the shorter distance (475) was to the front of the building 15 or so feet above the ground.

* This seems to be a significant discovery on my part. I have begun calculations to pinpoint the origin of the mistaken distances. Discrepancies of 5-7 feet are tolerable, but once you get to ten feet or more, it's a real problem. I have likewise indicated misleading distance markers for Tiger Stadium, Dolphin (Hard Rock) Stadium, and perhaps a couple others.

R.I.P. Don Newcombe

Brooklyn Dodgers' pitcher Don Newcombe passed away at the age of 92 last week. He was one of the first African-Americans to join the major leagues, following in the footsteps of Jackie Robinson. He debuted in 1949, and was named NL Rookie of the Year after winning 17 games. He remained with the Dodgers (aside from military service during the Korean War) until their move to Los Angeles (1958), soon after which he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds. He ended his career with the Cleveland Indians in 1960. Problems with alcohol and controlling his temper seemed to affect his performance. At the Polo Grounds (see above!) on October 3, 1951 he was the starting pitcher in the deciding game of the three-game playoff between the New York Giants and the Dodgers. He left the game in the bottom of the ninth inning with a 4-2 lead and one out. In from the bullpen came Ralph Branca, and then Bobby Thomson came up to bat for the Giants. The rest, as any baseball fan knows, is history...

In case you didn't know, the refrain in Terry Cashman's nostalgic song "Talkin' Baseball" referred to Newcombe:

The Scooter*, the Barber**, and the Newk***

* (the Yankees' Phil Rizzuto) ** (the Giants' Sal Maglie) *** (the Dodgers' Don Newcombe)

February 7, 2019 [LINK / comment]

R.I.P. Frank Robinson

Not long after reports circulated that Frank Robinson was suffering from a life-threatening condition, the 83-year old Hall of Famer passed away. He had bone cancer. Robinson was admired and liked by almost everyone he played with or against, and his character was shaped by the struggle against racism, which was still very strong in the early part of his career.

Over the course of his career as a player, Robinson hit 586 home runs, with 1,812 RBIs, and a .294 batting average. He played his first ten years with the Cincinnati Reds and then (after the 1965 season) was traded to the Baltimore Orioles, in what is widely regarded as one of the dumbest player transactions in MLB history. The next six years in Baltimore turned out to be some of the most productive of his career, including two World Series victories. [He was the only major league player to be named Most Valuable Player in both leagues: in 1961 with the Reds (the year they won the NL pennant) and in 1966 with the Orioles (their first AL pennant, as they swept the Dodgers in the World Series), as he won the Triple Crown award. In 1976] he ended his playing career with the Cleveland Indians, becoming the first African-American manager in MLB history in 1975. [He was a player-manager there for two years.] He later managed the San Francisco Giants, the Baltimore Orioles, and after a lapse during most of the 1990s, the Montreal Expos.

Robinson became manager of the Expos after Jeffrey Loria sold the struggling franchise to Major League Baseball in 2002. That transaction was a sign that the Expos were slated for relocation to Washington, D.C. and Robinson indeed became the "born-again" Washington Nationals' first manager three years later, in 2005. He remained as head of the team for two seasons, and was (rightly) a bit miffed that the Nationals' new owners, the Lerners, declined to offer him some kind of advisory position in the front office. I had the great fortune to see him up close before the next-to-last game of his career as a manager:

Frank Robinson

Frank Robinson, being interviewed before the Nats-Mets game at RFK Stadium, September 30, 2006.

Braves Field minor update

Braves Field

Prompted by some tips from Angel Amezquita about the precise timing of the reconfigurations of the home field of the Boston Braves after they moved to Milwaukee in 1953, I made a few minor corrections and enhancments to the Braves Field diagrams. (It's now called Nickerson Field, and I was there in September 2016.) There is one new diagram, for soccer, and the two football diagrams are now labeled according to the first years in which the given configuration was in effect: 1955 and 1972. The main change was that the huge roof is not quite as big as it was before, and that the peak of the roof where the structural beams were located is now about 10-12 feet farther from the field than before. Otherwise, the only changes are trivial in nature.

Games outside the U.S.A.

I already knew that the Oakland A's and Seattle Mariners are slated to play the first two official games of the 2019 season at the Tokyo Dome in Japan (on March 20-21), but I just learned that there will be four other games outside our borders this season, all of them at the Estadio Monterrey in Mexico. On April 13-14, the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds will play there, and on May 4-5, the Houston Astros and L.A. Angels will play there. I will update the text on those pages shortly. Finally, the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees will play in London Stadium (England, not Ontario!) on June 29-30. I'll have to make a diagram of that one, I guess. I don't mind occasional foreign series, but more than one per year is a bit problematic to me.

But wait, there'll be yet another MLB game at a "neutral" venue this year, in the United States: the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals will play at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska on June 13. That will come immediately after (or before) the College World Series, which is held there every year.

For the 28 teams other than Oakland and Seattle, Opening Day will be on March 28 -- exactly seven weeks from today!

Rangers choose fake turf

The Texas Rangers confirmed widespread rumors and announced that their new stadium ("Globe Life Park II") will have artificial turf, because of the difficulty of providing grass in retractable-roof stadiums with sufficient sunlight. It probably makes sense in economic terms, but it represents a big step backward for the sport, in terms of aesthetics and player safety. The last new MLB to open with artificial turf was Tropicana Field, 21 years ago. See dallasnews.com (hat tip to Mike Zurawski) and wfaa.com (hat tip to Bruce Orser). The renderings I have seen of the new stadium (scheduled to open in 2020) give me a mixed impression: There are at least four main decks with numerous, arbitrary quirks here and there, looking rather messy, and the dual-slanted roof (also featured in the new NFL stadiums in Minneapolis and Indianapolis) makes it look like a great big house.

January 31, 2019 [LINK / comment]

Four stars tapped for Hall of Fame

Last week the Baseball Writers Association of America announced that four former MLB players had received the necessary 75% of votes cast to qualify for induction into Cooperstown. One of them, Yankee closing pitcher Mariano Rivera, became the very first such player in history to receive unanimous approval! The other new Hall of Famers are Edgar Martinez, Roy Halladay, and Mike Mussina. In addition, Harold Baines was selected by the Veterans Committee.

Mariano Rivera, nicknamed "The Sandman," was born in Panama, came up with the New York Yankees in 1995 (along with famed team mates Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte), pitched spectacularly for 19 years, during which the Yankees won five World Series championship trophies. In September 2013 he retired in a special ceremony, complete with rocking chair. Over the course of his career, he saved 652 games, surpassing Trevor Hoffman for the all-time MLB record. He threw a total of 1,173 strikeouts (8.2 per nine innings) and finished with an ERA of just 2.21. (See baseball-reference.com.)

Mariano Rivera

Mariano Rivera, coming in to close the game at Kauffman Stadium on August 16 2011. The Yankees won that game, 9-7.

Edgar Martinez played for the Seattle Mariners from 1987 to 2004, his entire career. For the first six years, he was a third baseman, but from 1995 on he was the team's designated hitter. That probably delayed his Hall of Fame selection, as some traditionalists believe that only all-around players should qualify. He had a lifetime batting average of .312, with 309 home runs and 1,261 RBIs.

Roy Halladay began his career as a pitcher with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1998, but late in 2009, he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies, breaking hearts north of the border. In May 2010, he threw a perfect game against the Florida Marlins. For four straight years, he had an ERA under 3, but then in 2012 he started going downhill, and he retired after the 2013 season. In November 2017, he died in a plane crash off the coast of Florida. He was the first player to be chosen for the Hall of Fame posthumously since Roberto Clemente in 1973.

Mike Mussina pitched for nearly one decade each with the Baltimore Orioles (1991-1999) and with the New York Yankees (2000-2008). In his first full season with the O's (1992, when Camden Yards opened) he achieved an amazing 18-5 win-loss record with a 2.54 ERA. He remained steady and very reliable throughout his career, finishing with a 3.68 cumulative ERA, with 270 wins and 153 losses.

Finally, Harold Baines spent the 1980s with the Chicago White Sox, and then bounced around several teams from 1990 until 2001. He amassed 384 home runs and had a career .389 batting average.

New Hall of Famers, 2005 to date

I went back to my blog posts from the past 15 years to come up with an annual listing of new Hall of Fame inductees. Note that this list includes only the players selected by the BBWAA, and not the various special honorees such as the 17 Negro League players who were inducted in 2006. Managers, umpires, and executives are also chosen by special committees from time to time, but they are not included here.

2005Wade BoggsRyne Sandberg
2006Bruce Sutter
2007Cal Ripken Tony Gwynn
2008Rick "Goose" Gossage
2009Rickey HendersonJim Rice
2010Andre Dawson
2011Roberto Alomar Bert Blyleven
2012 Barry LarkinRon Santo
2013 NONE
2014Greg Maddux Tom Glavine Frank Thomas
2015Randy Johnson Pedro Martinez John Smoltz Craig Biggio
2016Ken Griffey, Jr. Mike Piazza
2017Jeff Bagwell Tim Raines Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez
2018Larry "Chipper" JonesJim ThomeVladimir GuerreroTrevor Hoffman
2019 Mariano Rivera Edgar Martinez Roy HalladayMike Mussina

NOTE: Bold face indicates players I have seen in person.
SOURCES: My blog posts each January or July; baseballhall.org

Jackie Robinson's 100th birthday

It was one hundred years ago today, on January 31, 1919, that Jackie Robinson was born. Major League Baseball will be honoring him throughout this season, and as our nation goes through some tough times in terms of race relations, it's good to remember what a wonderful effect he had on healing this nation's racial wounds. In December a Jackie Robinson Museum with open in Manhattan. I saw an interview with his daughter Sharon on TV today.

Ebbets Field correction

In the "Stadium upgrades: 1920s-1940s" section of my January 20 blog post, I indicated (erroneously) that the grandstand at Ebbets Field was expanded in 1932. That was based mainly on the stadium capacity data provided in the 2006 edition of Green Cathedrals. The outfield dimensions indicate that the big change took place in 1931, however, and I recently discovered a news article from April 1931 about the construction project that was nearly completed. So, I made a quick change on the Ebbets Field page, relabelling what had been the 1932 diagram "1931," and correcting the text likewise.

Stadium location "maps"

Finally, I've been making additional pseudo-map thumbnail diagrams to show the approximate relative location of different MLB stadiums in certain cities, such as Washington, D.C. Those diagrams show (in very crude form) rivers or other major bodies of water, other stadiums and arenas, as well as downtown or other significant reference points. I did that for Cincinnati (see below) when I updated the Crosley Field diagrams on January 20, and eventually I'll do likewise for all other MLB cities. The scale varies, depending on how far apart the stadiums were. They will be displayed on the respective stadium pages as well as the Stadium proximity page.

Cincinnati stadiums map

Micah Bowie is ailing

On Monday the Washington Post had a lengthy article about the tragic fate of Micah Bowie, who was a relief pitcher for the Washington Nationals in 2006 and 2007. On December 22, he suffered a ruptured thoracic diaphragm, which makes breathing extremely difficult. It was just the latest episode in a series of misfortunes. The doctors in Texas told him there is nothing more they can do for him, so he and his family packed up a bunch of oxygen tanks and headed to the Rocky Mountains to enjoy his final weeks or months of life. To make matters even worse, he fell just short of the number of innings needed to qualify for an MLB pension with health care, putting his family in desperate financial condition. According to my Nationals media guide, Bowie pitched 19 2/3 inings in 2006 and 57 1/3 innings in 2007, with a combined win-loss record of 4-4 and a 3.74 ERA. May his final days be spent in peace and comfort.

Frank Robinson is ailing

In addition, Hall of Famer (and former Nats manager) Frank Robinson is also said to be in grave condition, health-wise. This coming August 31 will be his 84th birthday...

From October through December, a table of all Postseason game scores is shown here.

HTML 5! HTML5 Powered Made with Macintosh Decorated with Graphic Converter

Number of visitors to this page since June 13, 2004: counter

Copyright © Andrew G. Clem. All rights reserved. Photographs taken by other persons (as indicated by credits) are used with permission. Use of this site indicates your agreement to abide by the Terms of Use.

March 2019
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
. . . . . 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31 . . . . . .

Baseball books:

See Sources for a brief description of the above books. Also see more specialized books on the Ebbets Field, Wrigley Field, and Yankee Stadium pages.

Coming Attractions

(Includes major revisions, minor revisions, pages with additional diagrams, and future stadiums that are under construction. This is only a rough guide; the sequence is subject to change.)

Stadium construction

Soon after the 2017 opening of the new home of the Atlanta Braves (SunTrust Park), construction began on the future home of the Texas Rangers, a very brief lapse. The last significant lapse occurred from March 2012 (when Marlins Park was completed), September 2014 (when construction on SunTrust Park began). Before that, there was at least one major league baseball stadium under construction continually from September 1986 until March 2012. Both the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays hope to get public funding for a new stadium, but near-term prospects are bleak.

NEW! Stadium construction page, with a chronology of the past 30 years.

Research department: