Sox-Yanks pitching matchups > Sox do it again > Wake Comments
were doctored > Robinson's legacy set in stone > Thumbs
'Tek good in pinch > Heckuva first game > Cora corralled >
Schilling offers a far-from-Curt response > Chamberlain to miss
Varitek's 9th inning homer fuels comeback > Ailing Cora could be
put on the DL > Schilling insists: I won't play for Yankees >
Farnsworth comes up big in Yankees win > ESPN settles with
Reynolds > Phillies beat Astros > Tigers rally past Twins
It's Red Sox vs. YankeeZZZzzzzz: Rivalry's Buzz Takes a Beating
38Pitches: 'Umm, no.' | Wilbur: Space Shot | Yankee Swap
Video: Big Papi Explains Reason for Hitting Woes
Mar 30, 2007:
No Amannycan Idol
(BDD Photo Illustration)
In Case You Missed It ...
Manny Got Booted from Idol on Wednesday,
But Sanjaya Malakar Inexplicably Survived Another Week
(Boston Globe Staff Photo / Jim Davis)
There's No I in Team, But There is One in Pierce
Jackie MacMullan: Scars Linger in a Painful Season
"It's another year I don't get recognized for the things I do. I'm the classic case of a great player on a bad team, and it stinks." ...
"I want to be recognized for what I've accomplished. That may sound selfish, but I've sacrificed a lot. I want to win. That's all I want. Most great players are selfish.
"We're not on a winning team, and as long as that's true, I don't get recognized as one of the top players in the league. We're never on TV. I wasn't part of the All-Star Game [this season]. We just don't get the benefit of so many other things that winning teams get."
-- 3.30.07, Paul Pierce to Jackie MacMullan, Boston Globe
RED SOX MUSINGS by Rick Swanson
Put Pesky Back
APR. 2, 2007 -- Baseball has done some pretty stupid things, but now they have gone too far, kicking Johnny Pesky out of the dugout. I thought they were ignorant last year, when they inducted 17 former “Negro League” players, and left off 94 year old Buck O’Neil last February, and he died in October. Now the Commissioner’s office has sent a stern memo to the Red Sox, threatening them with stiff fines, if they don’t comply with this edict. How does it help the Red Sox, and hurt other teams if Pesky is in the dugout?
What if Boston had a petition, and asked every other team in the league, if they had any objections to Johnny being in the dugout? How about if MLB just institutes a 50 year rule. If you are in baseball for 50 years, you can sit in uniform in the dugout, anytime you feel like it. Don Zimmer and Red Schoendienst would also qualify under this rule.
It is time baseball uses common sense when they make a decision. Johnny Pesky is 87 years old, and still likes to put it on his baseball pants “one leg at a time.”
Why doesn’t baseball get it, when it comes to the important things in life? Anyone who did not vote for Buck O’Neil should be banned from voting again.
The person that signed this memo on Pesky should be tossed out of office. I challenge all fans of baseball to unite! Write to Bud at Bud.Selig@mlb.com Let Johnny Pesky sit in the dugout in 2007! -- Rick Swanson, Around the Horn
Mar 29, 2007:
Big Papi Has Come Up Small | Numbers Don't Lie, Lugo Stinks
There Must Be Something in Roger's Water
Sorry Yankees Fans ... This Isn't 1978
"The Yankees are old, injury-prone and, in some cases, shadows of their former selves. Ron Guidry is a 56-year-old pitching coach, not a 27-year-old phenom in the midst of one of the greatest seasons in baseball history.
But the main reason the Yanks won't catch the Red Sox is Boston is built for the long haul in 2007, a perfect blend of starting pitching, relief pitching, hitting and defense."-- 5.31.07, Kevin Hench, special to FOXSports.com
Power, Pitching Will Put Sox Back on Top
Hench Furious | Francona Deserves Manager of the Year Votes
Lowell Shout Out, Beckett Slump | Why the Red Sox Keep Winning
Going Beyond the Box Score | Johnny Damon is the New Benedict Arnold
Pena-Arroyo Deal Not Working Out for Anyone | Beckett Has Red Sox Nation Optimistic
Grady's Brain Cramps: Not Just Pedro
'If You Ain't Got the Pitchin', Honey, St. Christopher Ain't Got the Time'
Hardball Archives | More 2004 | 2001 - 2004
Zimmer Goes Down Again!
(BDD Photo Illustration)
Dice-K Re-enacts Zimmer KO
Shaughnessy: Dice-K Coming to Plate
"The most exciting moment of lunch with Daisuke Matsuzaka? That would have to have been when he became unusually animated while answering a question regarding the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry. His arms were flying around and we didn't know what he was saying when suddenly his right forearm bumped hard into the wooden table in front of him. He winced. Only a little. He seemed to be OK.
And so we asked his interpreter, "What was he talking about?"
"He was talking about when Pedro Martínez threw Don Zimmer to the ground," said translator Masa Hoshino.
Media lunch with Dice-K was an idea put forth by Red Sox publicist John Blake and it took place yesterday in a quiet corner of the dining room of the Colonial Country Club, overlooking a man-made pond, a driving range, and multiple luxury condos in the gated community." -- 3.29.07, Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe
Edes Chat Wrap | Soxcast: Japanese Influence
Grossfeld: There Are Superstitions | Gallery
Eric Wilbur: Familiar Refrain -- The AL East
TC's Blog: Nine Things to Watch in 2007
Mar 28, 2007:
Tom's Trip to the Show
Tom Verducci's column in the April 2 Sports Illustrated (republished with SI's permission)
Two Springs after his cameo as a Blue Jays outfielder, SI’s Tom Verducci was back in the bigs, this time as an umpire for an Red Sox-Orioles game. All he had to be was perfect. (And what manager, player or fan would even believe that?)
Injury. Blunt force trauma.
Estate planning. The mind quickly accelerates the possibility and the amplitude of catastrophe when you are standing on the infield grass, as I am, 75 feet in front of Boston Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez while he bats with a runner on first base. No infielder ever would be so foolish to put himself this close to the potential harm of a Ramirez line drive, not even armed with world-class hand-eye coordination, a fielder’s glove and a protective cup—all of which, as I am most acutely aware, I do not possess at this moment.
I am a major league umpire—for one day anyway, March 23, working a spring training matinee between the Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles in Fort Myers, Fla. Leaving the observational safety of sportswriting, I have been granted permission by Major League Baseball to experience the pressure, the difficulty and the thanklessness of risking life, limb and public humiliation in front of thousands of people conditioned to dislike you. I am assigned the same spring rotation as my full-time brethren:three innings at third base, followed by three at second and three at first.
The baseball we hold dear is a benign, leisurely sport, a “noncontact” pursuit in which we cherish its sweetly proportioned empty spaces. The interlude between pitches. The flanks in the alignment of fielders. The 90 feet between bases. The flight of a thrown or batted baseball offers elegant interruption to the spatial symmetry.
Working from the interior of the infield, however, reveals the power and speed of the game. It’s the difference between observing a funnel cloud from a safe distance on the ground and flying a research plane into the vortex of a tornado. “I tell all the young umpires that come up from the minors, ‘Expect a close play every time,’” says Tim Tschida, 46, my crew chief who is working home plate this game. “[The play’s] only routine here after it’s over. That ball three steps to the right of the shortstop? They don’t get to that ball in the minors and here they might throw the guy out. Middle infielders get to more balls up the middle that minor leaguers would never get to—and not only get to them, but turn them into double plays. I tell the young guys, ‘Don’t give up on anything.’”
My proximity to Ramirez, who is poised in that familiar asplike, coiled stance, is gripping, but the responsibilities of the job rattle around in my head, like marbles tumbling in a dryer. I’ve got to keep watch on the Orioles’ pitcher, Erik Bedard, for a possible balk, the Sasquatch of rules violations for its difficulty to observe. (I’ve already missed one by Boston starter Curt Schilling, but so, too, did the rest of the crew.) I must make all calls at second base, which is over my right shoulder (including a stolen base attempt or a force play, which is the most commonly missed call by umpires), and possibly at third base if the umpire there, Brian O’Nora, leaves his post to track a ball hit to the outfield.
I must also know the rule book and the grounds rules with absolute certainty, a weakness of mine exposed during a mild argument the previous half inning with Boston rightfielder J.D. Drew (who had no clue he was pleading his case to a sportswriter until I told him the next day). And one more thought—the mother of all marbles. Being an umpire is like being a jet pilot, a skydiver or a sword swallower: You’re expected to be perfect every time, and if you do screw up it’s obvious to everyone. Nothing less than flawless is acceptable. I must get it right.
“God knows if you don’t have the mental aptitude for this, you’d ask, ‘What are you doing?’” says Fieldin Culbreth, another crew member. “If you’re right, nobody’s coming in and patting you on the back. If there are 10 close plays and you get 10 exactly right, they’re booing you anyway. The only people who will say, ‘Good job’ are the other three guys in the [locker] room with you. The teams aren’t going to say, ‘Hell of a job.’ ESPN’s not going to say, ‘Watch this umpire!’ Here’s the difference: The players are trying to make a play to get on SportsCenter. We’re trying our damnedest to stay off it.”
I trained long (O.K., two days with Tschida and Culbreth) and hard (kicking back watching games in the Florida sun) for this gig. Ominously, the most important advice given to me by the umpires was to avoid utter disaster. My Umpire 101 syllabus looked like this:
1. Don’t blow out the knee of Baltimore shortstop Miguel Tejada by watching the flight of a pop-up near the third base line.
The fielder, who is also looking up, is likely to plow into the umpire, whose proper course of action is to first look for and avoid the fielders. “You getting hurt is one thing,” Culbreth says. “The player getting hurt? Now there’s a problem.”
2. Beware of balls that explode.
That’s umpire terminology for what happens when you try to track a ball as it passes directly over your head, causing you to lose sight of it.
Mar 27, 2007:
(BDD Photo Illustration)
Not All of the Commenters on 38Pitches Kiss Curt's Behind
Looks Like There's Intelligent Life Living in Someone's Mother's Basement:
"A perfect example of life imitating art can be seen in many of the preceding posts. Shaughnessy makes fun of goofy posting by people who just luv, luv, luv their pro athletes and the response is more of the same. A great column that has been more than vindicated by the response!
There was a time, from the 60s into the 70s, when sports commentary in Boston consisted largely of slavish devotion to the athletes. That broke down and coverage became more reporting and less hero worshiping, influenced by two major factors: the Globe sports pages under Jerry Nason and Ernie Roberts attracted journalists not afraid to bite the athletes when needed and who provided well-written insight into games that they realized more of the audience had watched than had been watching in previous generations. The second factor, believe it or not, was Andelman, who was the first to roast sportswriters and their cozy relationships with teams and players and whose barrage of such criticism clearly had sports editors and TV news directors taking a second look at the way they covered sports.
Now, I fear, some fans demand a swing back to those days of yore when the function of sportswriters was to adore and heap praise. I for one am glad for the likes of Shaughnessy who refused to check the way the wind is blowing before writing." -- 3.27.07, objectivebruce, comment No. 159 on 38Pitches.com
Verducci: Gyroball Not Part of Dice-K's Arsenal
Seattle Times: Whose Underwear is Manny Wearing?
He's Baaaack: Schilling Chimes in with Q&A IX
25-Man Roster Set: Boras Bonus Baby Back to Pawtucket; Snyder Stays
Dice-K Means Marketing Boon for Boston | Boston Prepares
Mar 25, 2007:
Burned Out to a Crisp?
(Boston Globe Staff Photo / Stan Grossfeld)
Edes: Conversation with Coco Goes Far Afield
"Looking forward to showing people in Boston the real Coco?
"I don't really care what the people think about me," Crisp said. "Or you guys or anything like that. I just go out there and play and have fun. Hope the rest of the people enjoy watching me.
"But as far as me wracking my brain about what anybody thinks, I don't do that. I hope they enjoy watching us play as a team, I do something, they enjoy that part of it. But I don't care if people think I suck, or they think I'm good. I just go out there and have fun, and hopefully the ball falls in."
"Don't get me wrong," he added. "I like the fans."
You really don't care if people think you "suck"?
"No. I don't care. I go out there and play hard. If people think I'm good, then thank you. If they think I suck, then thank you anyway. I don't really care. Go out there and play hard and try to do my job and have fun with it. Hopefully, I do well at it."
-- 3.25.07, Gordon Edes, Boston Globe
... That's Not Exactly the Message We Heard When He Was Selling Us Our Red Sox Nation Cards ...
But Getting Back to the Center Field Situation ...
(Boston Globe Staff Photo / Barry Chin)
The Up-and-Comer Could Mean Coco Goes
Maybe Jacoby Is Really the Reason Why Crisp Is So Jumpy?
The Oregonian: Jacoby's Speed Intrigues Sox
"If he [Jacoby] has a good first six weeks, he might be with the big club before you know it." -- Red Sox Legend Johnny Pesky
"Although Ellsbury says he's been told he will start the season with the Portland (Maine) Sea Dogs, Boston's Double A team, don't expect the Madras High School graduate to stay there.
Johnny Pesky, the former Red Sox infielder who grew up in Northwest Portland, doesn't think Ellsbury will linger for long by Casco Bay.
"If he has a good first six weeks, he might be with the big club before you know it," said Pesky, a Red Sox icon.
When you consider Ellsbury's blend of skill, speed and athleticism -- his vertical jump measured 39 inches in camp -- you have to dig through the Boston archives to find a comparable player.
Fenway Park's beckoning left field wall and hitter-friendly dimensions have dictated that power trumps speed in Boston. The dynamic instructs, why risk an out on an attempted steal when you are one pitch from a two-run homer?
But as the game changes in the post-steroid era, even power-laden lineups can't ignore the need for speed. Last season, Boston's outfield was perhaps the weakest defensive group in baseball. Ramirez is an adventure in left field; center fielder Coco Crisp had an off year. The team has lacked a true leadoff hitter since Johnny Damon left for the Yankees." -- 3.25.07, Brian Meehan, The Oregonian
Mar 23, 2007:
A Closer From the Start?
(8.18.06, Lowell Spinners Handout Photo)
Guess It Depends on When You Asked ...
Papelbon on March 3: 'I Just Feel I'm Better as a Starter'
"I just feel I'm better as a starter," Papelbon said. "The reason why this team drafted me in '04 was to be a starter. I'm going to take this opportunity and run with it..."
"I know that preparation is a huge part of it now," Papelbon said. "I know what it will take to be a starter in the big leagues, and, especially, in the American League East. I want to be able to say to the team, `Hey, I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing.' " -- 3.04.07, Bob Ryan, Boston Globe
Papelbon on Feb. 28: 'I'm Chomping at the Bit'
"It was the master plan from the start for the big righthander to be a front-line hurler anyway. Still, after a year's hiatus from that preparation, Papelbon occasionally struggles to exhibit the patience required to stretch him out.
"I'm chomping at the bit," he said. "In my very first meeting with Theo [Epstein] and Tito [Francona], the first thing out of their mouths was, 'We know you're ready to go, but we don't want you throwing 100 pitches right away.' They were a little worried, but they shouldn't be. I'm fine." ...
"We've talked about it multiple times," said Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell. "Jon's very driven. He wants to get out to a 5-0 start. I'm trying to get him away from that thought process and thinking about the execution of the pitch." -- 3.01.07, Jackie MacMullan, Boston Globe
Papelbon On Feb. 3: 'My Entire Makeup is to Be a Starting Pitcher'
"While it's always been Papelbon's goal to be a starter, he doesn't believe every pitcher shares that dream.
"There are a lot of pitchers I know whose goal it is to be a closer. Or to be a middle reliever," he said. "For me, my entire makeup is to be a starting pitcher. That's what I know. Since I've been in the Red Sox organization, I've been a starter until last year."
If he had to return to the bullpen?
"No, man, I wouldn't be disappointed. I'm just going to take it one day at a time. If the situation comes up and it's good for the team, I'll do it." -- 2.04.07, Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe
Bradford: They Said It (More Quotes That Need Clarification)
"One aspect of this baffles me: Word from Fort Myers was that the Boston brass insinuated Dr. Thomas Gill hadn't been asked to perform any additional check-ups of late. This was the person who supposedly had the ultimate say on the initial decision, and was quoted in The Eagle-Tribune back before Papelbon's first spring training appearance saying;
"You can't go to the literature and look at 200 pitchers who have had transient subluxations and say half are starters and half are relievers and this half did better than that half. That's where my job comes into play. Whether it's for baseball or something else, I have to figure out what physically and biologically makes the most sense.
"The question they asked me was which makes the most sense, pitching as a starter or as a reliever. Obviously, as a starter you have five days, you have time to strengthen during the season and you have a routine. We have a great pitching program for the starters. Josh Beckett pitched 200 innings and that was because he followed the program. ... It's a routine that gives a guy time to recover."
Maybe we can get some clarification in the coming days." -- 3.23.07, Rob Bradford, Eagle-Tribune
Eric Wilbur: Bon Voyage
"As stable as Boston’s bullpen looks now, the rotation looks all the less so. Curt Schilling has looked great so far this spring, but Daisuke Matsuzaka and Josh Beckett, for all the vast possibilities that exist, have yet to prove they can perform at the elite level the AL East demands. In a lot of ways, Papelbon stabilized the unknowns in the rotation with a potential dominant force at the back end, the glue that connected the dots between dominant and adequate. Now when you compare the pitching staff to last year's, Matsuzaka is all that has really changed it. That's not to deny his added importance, just a warning that at some point one of these guys is going to go down, and the rotation could be as ill-equipped as it was last year in plugging in guys to spot start throughout the season. Or did you block Jason Johnson from your memory?" -- 3.22.07, Eric Wilbur, Boston.com
McAdam on March 8: Starter Role a Natural for Papelbon
Mar 22, 2007:
Mar 21, 2007:
Mar 20, 2007:
He's Coming Right at You
Curt's Eliminating the Media Middle Man
Schilling on Blogging:
3.20.07, Curt Schilling on sports radio WEEI's Dennis and Callahan:
Schilling: “…When I feel like it, I knock it out. And I can type somewhat fast so it doesn’t take me nearly as long as some people might think. Partially (does it to answer all the questions that come his way), sure. I think there’s a level of unhappiness with the way sports media conducts itself. There are a lot of people that just suck at what they do. And as athletes, you pay the price for people like that and… a lot of different reasons (why he blogs), no one reason. But one of the things I thought was great was that the other day, I had written that lengthy post about my contract situation and the next day in The Boston Globe, there’s an article about my contract situation that just quoted the blog and I didn’t have to do anything for that.”
Q: So you kind of eliminate the middle man?
Schilling: “Not kinda, you do. You do. And that’s not a bad thing in a lot of cases. So, it’s been something… I wasn’t ready for the amount of traffic and the number of people. To have gotten over a half million people in 11 days was somewhat staggering to me… We don’t have to plug it (38pitches.com), it is what it is.
Q: You said half a million?
Schilling: “Yeah, 11 days.”
Q (Callahan): So how do you think they find out about it? They find out about it through those media people who suck. They’re the ones spreading the word…
Schilling: “No, no actually they don’t. They found out about it online, most of them. Boston Dirt Dogs. Yeah… the beauty of it is, it is what you make it. It’s an easy forum, and it’s a cool way to do the Q&A thing which is something I don’t mind doing every now and then.”
Mar 16, 2007:
See You Later?
Pedro Has No Idea When He'll Return,
But the Latecomer Left a Lasting Impression on Tito
Francona: Nobody Was Late Today
"Asked if he could see the mark of Pedro Martínez on the current edition of the Red Sox, Francona quipped, 'I mean, nobody was late today.' " -- 3.16.07, Boston Globe Red Sox notebook
When Will We See Him Again?
NY Post: Pedro Has No Idea When He'll Return
"Interestingly in yesterday's session, Martinez had four throws that were wide of Correnti. But the pitcher actually said his eyes were closed for them in part to check on "a good release point and a consistent release point."
Martinez is not slated to be back with the Mets until sometime in July or August. He's not sure which month is more likely for his comeback.
"I have no idea," he said. "I just know I'm going to complete this work, and I'll do my rehab the way I should. 'Whenever they tell me, 'Pedro, you're ready to go to pitch,' I'm going to go to pitch. I know that this team is going to need me somewhere around there. That's what I want to be. I want to be ready. I don't want to think about when they want to use me." -- 3.16.07, NY Post, Pedro Lengthens Tossing Distance
This Fiction is Stranger Than Truth ...
NY Newsday: 'Was Pedro Worth It? You Better Believe It'
"At this point, the Mets would love to deal with Martinez's many eccentricities, which wore thin in Boston. The thinnest thing about the Mets is their starting pitching, and they are crossing their fingers that the 35-year-old can return in the summer. But there is no guarantee Pedro ever can be Pedro again, having had rotator cuff surgery on top of a serious toe injury and problems with his calves and hip.
That would lead a reasonable person to wonder if the Mets got their money's worth for the four-year, $53-million contract they gave Martinez. It might turn out that they got only one solid season out of him.
Still, they got enough. The Mets became a new franchise. Fans had a new reason to buy tickets, teammates had a new reason to believe in themselves and free agents had a good reason to come." -- 3.16.07, Mark Herrmann, NY Newsday
Extra Bases Friday: Rain on His Parade; Dice-K's Bracket
Schill Checking in at 38Pitches.com: Why the Media Sucks...
Friday's Sox-Mets Photos | UMass Poised to Crash Party
Mar 15, 2007:
Pssst ... Hey Alex ...
(BDD Photo Illustration / PS)
Don't Die in New York. Do It Over Here.
"It's a do-or-die situation. Either New York is going to kick me out of New York this year, say, 'I've had enough of this guy, get him the hell out of here,' ... Or New York is going to say, 'Hey, we won a world championship, you had a big year, you were a part of it and we want you back.'" -- Alex Rodriguez, 3.13.07, WFAN New York radio
Top 11 Reasons Why Alex Rodriguez Should
Leave the Yankees and Make the Sox Great in '08
11. Coc0-for-4 Crisp isn't exactly setting the world on fire, again, so the old eighth spot in the batting order might be open for you.
10. Take it to the bank, Theo and John Henry simply love to feed the Scott Boras Money Machine.
9. Lucchino promises to zip it until the deal is signed, sealed, and delivered to the almighty Baseball Players Association.
8. Rumor has it our current overpaid superstar, Manny Ramirez, may be unhappy in Boston, and there are whispers that he may ask to be traded, which would free up some cash. Stay tuned... developing...
7. Current third baseman Mike Lowell is going to run out of Grecian Formula at some point.
6. Schill takes it all back. You'll see.
5. You and Jetes could kickstart those sleepovers again, meet halfway in Hartford, or something.
4. We're on schedule to change shortstops three times a year now, so you can have your old position back... for a few months anyway.
3. Pete Rose called and said he'd bet every day this season that you'll wind up in Boston.
2. We don't even go to the playoffs anymore, so that paltry little 4-for-41 (.098 batting average) with no RBI in the last 12 postseason games won't even be an issue.
1. Fans here very nice. You won't have any of those pesky appreciation problems in Boston. Sincerely, Keith Foulke
(with apologies to David Letterman)
Rosenthal: A-Rod Needs to Shut Up and Play
Newsday: Fans to Alex, Just Show Us
Mnookin: Theo, Larry, A-Rod, and the Sox
Mar 14, 2007:
Just How Good Is the Dynamite Duo of David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez?
BDD's Exclusive Excerpt of the Maple Street Press 2007 Red Sox Annual:
Since Big Papi was picked up off the scrap heap following the 2002 season, he and Manny Ramirez have ranked with some of the all-time great combinations from a New England perspective, rivaling Orr and Esposito, Russell and Cousy, even Lexington and Concord.
During their four years in the Sox lineup together, Ramirez and Ortiz have socked 333 homers, a sum eclipsed only by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig (359 for the 1927-1930 Yankees) and Ken Griffey, Jr. and Alex Rodriguez (352 for the 1996-99 Mariners) among teammates batting consecutively in the order. Their 1,005 runs batted in ranks fourth all-time behind the aforementioned pairs and the tandem of Al Simmons and Jimmie Foxx (1929-1932 Athletics).
In 2004, Ramirez and Ortiz were the first American League teammates since Ruth and Gehrig to each hit at least .300 with 40 home runs and 100 RBI. It would be simple to rest on those numbers, but digging deeper into the data uncovers a lot more about how fortunate Boston fans have been to watch these guys.
So, just how good are Ortiz and Ramirez as a one-two punch? How do they stack up with other great tandems in team and baseball history?
To obtain a baseline comparable to Ortiz and Ramirez, we’ll consider only those players that batted consecutively in the order for the majority of four straight seasons. A few exceptions can be made for injuries and for time missed serving military commitments, but the restriction rules out most platoon players. For those who played together longer than four seasons, we’ll look only at their most collectively productive stretch.
The teammates should also be somewhat balanced in their production. There have been countless lopsided pairings over baseball history that, taken in sum, might pass statistical muster. But to include duos such as Nap Lajoie and Bill Bradley (1903-06 Indians), or Tris Speaker and Larry Gardner (1919-22 Indians) would defeat the spirit of the study. Players’ achievements must stand out individually as well as collectively.
These criteria narrow the field substantially. In addition, 30 years of free agency has spurred players to jump ship in search of better deals, leaving team rosters far less stable. The pickings are made even slimmer by managers’ tendencies to shuffle lineups to play match-ups, hot streaks, or hunches.
The selected filters still leave 40 highly productive duos to consider. Nearly all include at least one present Hall-of-Famer or a strong candidate for future induction. Ranking the duos involves some subjectivity, which is the fun part of a study like this. There is really no reliable way to weight each of the metrics appropriately. An effort can be made to strike a balance between gross and rate-based production, and to note any disparities between the hitters in each pairing.
Once tabulated, the data generates a few surprises.
For one thing, the famed Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle didn’t crack the top 10. Due to injuries, they barely combined for a full season’s production in 1963. Had they remained healthy, they’d likely rank in the top five tandems. Still, Mantle created 10.2 runs every 27 outs and logged a 189 OPS+, while Maris put up 7.2 and 150 numbers. Their 295 combined homers ranks ninth despite the shortage in playing time.
The Top 10 shapes up like this:
10. Willie Mays and Orlando Cepeda, 1961-64 Giants
9. Edgar Martinez and Ken Griffey Jr., 1996-99 Mariners
8. David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, 2003-06 Red Sox
7. Jim Edmonds and Albert Pujols, 2002-05 Cardinals
6. Ty Cobb and Harry Heilmann, 1921-1924 Tigers
5. Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent, 1999-2002 Giants
4. Eddie Mathews and Hank Aaron, 1959-62 Braves
3. Al Simmons and Jimmie Foxx, 1929-32 Athletics
2. Ted Williams and Jimmie Foxx, 1939-42 Red Sox
1. Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, 1927-30 Yankees
-- Mark Brown is a reporter for the Falmouth Enterprise newspaper on Cape Cod and a member of Sons of Sam Horn.
Extra Bases: The Latest from Fort Myers
Schilling at 38 Pitches: B Game? More Q&A
Rotoworld.com Fantasy Red Sox Overview: BoSox Beef Up Their Bats
Survey Gallery: Closer Spot a Four-Gone Conclusion?
RedSox.com: Ortiz Mourns Soldier Lost in Iraq
Mar 13, 2007:
Manny Being Bozo
(BDD Photo Illustration)
Manny is Unveiling a Brand New Look This Season,
(He Wasn't Just Clowning Around with His Hair Last Night)
Photos: Sox-Yanks in Fort Myers
Sox Drop Yanks
Wake Gets Lit Up, But 'Pen Was Lights Out
J.D. HR: Drew's Starting to Look Like a Bargain
Youk Stays Hot at the Spring Plate
Even 'Belli Found His Stroke Against Bombers
Black Donnellys Bullpen Blows Them Away:
Brendan Knocks His ERA Down to 7.94
Romero and Delcarmen Stay Out of Trouble
And the Real Craig Hansen Finally Makes an Appearance
And Steps Up to Close It Out
Mar 12, 2007:
Meeting of the Mats
Season's Greetings: Dice-K Says Hello to Hideki
Boston's New Bullpen Drama
(Brendan Donnelly, Craig Hansen, Joel Pineiro, Julian Tavarez -- Boston Dirt Dogs Photo Illustration)
On Tonight's Episode of The Black Donnellys:
Someone's Got the Inside Track On the Closer Opening
"...one of the grittiest and most ambitious moves to hit Boston's bullpen in years." -- Entertainment Weekly
"Well-acted, poorly planned, this ensemble drama follows the Donnelly brothers as they struggle to stay on top of the Red Sox bullpen closer war." -- People Magazine
SF Chronicle: Benitez for Closer Opening?
Extra Bases: The Yankees are Coming!
Schilling at 38Pitches.com: Some Good Ones | Q&A III
Red Sox This Week: The Cookie-off
Is Belichick Checking Up on the Yankees?
Or Selling Boston's Secrets?
Mar 11, 2007:
Do You Have Tunnel Vision?
(Boston Globe Illustration)
Caption Contest: Name That 'Toon
Mar 10, 2007:
Mar 9, 2007:
Black Eyesore for MLB
(BDD Photo Illustration)
A Dish Served Cold: Bud Makes a Deal with the DirecTV Devil
Eric Wilbur: Dish Runs Off with MLB
"The New York Times’s Richard Sandomir has the $700 million question that is on everyone’s mind today:
But DuPuy acknowledged that baseball listened to the fans’ anger and adjusted, which makes one question why Commissioner Bud Selig showed such a lousy grasp on the art of customer relations in his recent declaration that the controversy over the potential loss of Extra Innings to DirecTV is “ridiculous.” If it was a silly tempest blown out of proportion by sportswriters, why adjust one’s negotiations for it? If devoted fans around the country willing to pay $179.95 are squawking loudly, why label it ridiculous?
Because if there needed to be just one more example as to just how ridiculously out of touch baseball is with its fan base, this is now the prime one. Nothing has changed in this process except some PR maven dashing in at the last moment with an idea that will put the onus on the cable companies. It’s the poison pill theory; make them an offer that doesn’t really exist so they can’t really match it and you look like the good guy. There should be “Selig for President” bumper stickers on Volvos across the land by May.
The bigger issue here is the quieter stipulation: Customers who cannot watch via satellite can sign up for MLB.tv. In its quest to rid the world of any other website but their own, mlb.com is setting itself up to be the biggest benefactor in all of this. Despite the numbers that Major League Baseball is spitting out about how few people this affects, the wide-ranging complaints dispute that. Enter mlb.com -- the Obi-Wan of this charade, more powerful than you could possibly imagine -- alleviating all your fears. Oh, and buy a hat while you’re at it. " -- 3.9.07, Eric Wilbur, Boston.com
Globe: MLB, DirecTV Reach Agreement
Closer Open Again: Timlin Goes Back on the Shelf
Schilling at 38Pitches: Random Answers | Rest in Peace, Vuk | 'B' Game
Mar 8, 2007:
Same Old, Same Old?
(Boston Globe Staff Photo / Jim Davis)
Are the Sox All Set Sticking Timlin In As Closer?
ProJo: Timlin Likely to Fill Opening to Close
”If the Sox narrow the job description somewhat and utilize Timlin solely to get the final three outs, he could lend them some stability to the back end of games. By limiting Timlin to three-out saves, they could reduce his workload and limit the stress on his shoulder. Worn down and perhaps thrown off by his appearance in the World Baseball Classic last spring, Timlin faltered in the second half of last season.
If Timlin could close as well as other journeyman veterans like Dustin Hermanson in 2005 with the White Sox or Todd Jones with the Tigers last year, the Sox would be more than happy.
The assignment, after all, would be temporary. By 2008, the Sox believe that either Craig Hansen or Bryce Cox — a third-round pick out of Rice last summer — will be able to assume the job long-term. If neither develops as hoped, the Sox could explore free-agent or trade options to fill the slot.” -- 3.8.07, Sean McAdam, Providence Journal
WEEI Dale and Holley Audio: New Sox Radio Voice Dave O'Brien
Thinks Timlin, Who Won't Debut Until Saturday, is Your Closer
”I think it’s going to be Timlin (as the Red Sox closer), and I would be stunned, if for the first couple of months of the season, that it doesn’t work out really well, but that remains to be seen. He has not been doing that job, he’s been a terrific guy in the seventh and the eighth innings of games, but now we have to wait and see if he can close.
I think that closing is not quite as difficult as people make it seem. You can find a closer. You can develop a closer over time. It really all hinges on the right mentality, and the guy who wants the ball, to get those last three outs, if he really does want the ball in that situation. In particular, when there are runners on base.
Almost anybody can close a game when you have a one or a two run lead in the ninth inning. That’s not difficult. It’s when you come into a situation when you have to get three outs and the tying run is standing at second or third base, that’s when you really find out what a guy is made of. Spring training is not really the time to figure that out. We won’t know until the regular season starts in April...
I think that’s (naming Timlin the closer) where the club is headed right now. Ideally, that’s the guy you want to have closing games.” -- 3.7.07, Red Sox radio voice Dave O’Brien on WEEI's Dale and Holley
Extra Bases: Sox Play Two in Fort Myers
Schilling Goes Four | Snyder Gives Up Two Homers
Trot's Higher Power: 'When my time's up, I want to be with God …
it's important for people to know that he's No. 1 in my life.' -- Trot Nixon
Wilmington Star: Nixon Happy for a Shot
"A lot of guys say, 'I want to play five years and retire.' I was one of those guys,' Nixon said. 'I'm going to play until God doesn't allow me to play again."
Nixon isn't shy about his faith. He says religion has been ingrained since he was knee-high, but he wasn't always so open. One question about the importance of faith yielded a nearly six-minute answer.
Nixon rededicated himself to Christianity when he reached the big leagues, and he says religion and fatherhood have grounded him.
"When my time's up, I want to be with God," he said. "I don't want to stand around and be someone who's lost. That's what I believe, and I know there's a lot of belief systems out there, but … it's important for people to know that he's No. 1 in my life."
"There are a lot of people out there that may believe in God, but they're like, 'Oh, well.' I used to be like that. You put money on a pedestal, your job on a pedestal, your car. You're worshiping that, and then once those things are gone, you're empty. Winning the World Series, I put that on a pedestal. We won one, and then it's over. All the games, all the rah-rah-rah stuff was over, and you put that on a pedestal. You achieve it, and that's it." -- 3.8.07, excerpted from Neil Amato's story in the Wilmington Star
Surviving Grady: He Walks Among Us
"Also, get NASA or NORAD or whoever's in charge of monitoring our national airwaves on notice: I'm guessing the ovation Trot gets in his Fenway return will be one of the loudest Fenway ovations ever." -- 3.8.07, Surviving Grady
Mar 7, 2007:
This Is Not Your Average
Mother's-Basement Blogger ...
Schilling Takes His Game Online:
We Have a Feeling He'll Update His Site More Than Manny Does
"...I don’t know that I’ll be changing my style, but I do know that getting ripped for something I say here will be getting ripped for something I actually said–with the entire contents of my comments included.
"That’s not to say I’ll be preaching from the pulpit–far from it. Being a major league baseball player does not give me keen insight into politics, education, or anything else for that matter. It does give me insight and knowledge about baseball, about being part of a team, about excelling at something not many people can. Beyond that my thoughts and beliefs are my own and for the most part pretty normal.
"The truth is, I’ve been wrong as many times, if not more, than I’ve been right in my life. I guess that’s part of the human package, something that makes me every bit as prone to mistakes as anyone. Like every other male on the planet I think I’m well informed on a lot of things, which usually lasts until I run into someone else who thinks he’s well informed but has a different opinion.
"Fortunately, I have zero problems being wrong. I don’t intend to make mistakes but it happens, which is part of the learning curve of life. I’m prone to having quick reactions which, in the world of baseball and media coverage–even when you might be right–can make you wrong." -- 3.7.07, Curt Schilling, 38pitches.com
Wake, Papelbon Look Strong in Mr. Rogers Neighborhood
(Gyro: Jim Stanfield Photo / Dice-K: AP Photo)
And Did Florida Get Fries With That Fish Story?
Eric Wilbur: Did He or Didn't He?
"I don't know if the gyro was what I was seeing, but I was seeing something that's kind of like a split-finger changeup. It's tough to describe. I just know I didn't pick up the spin." -- 3.6.07, Jeremy Hermida, Florida Marlins
Herald: Gyroball Makes ‘Debut’
“ 'It’s a pitch that’s somewhere between a changeup and a splitter but it’s got a sideways spin,” said Jason Stokes of the Marlins. 'It’s like a split, but it’s slower, more movement.'
Stokes had one at-bat against Matsuzaka, a seven-pitch plate appearance with the next to last pitch being the supposed gyroball.
'He threw four different pitches to me - a fastball, slider, gyro and curve,' said Stokes. On the gyro, 'He threw it up and in. I could see it was obviously a ball right away. I’m thinking ‘Get out of the way.’ It kind of backs up on you.' ” -- 3.7.07, Boston Herald
A Good Day for Dice-K | Sox 14, Marlins 6 | Photos
Moss and Ellsbury Continue to Shine in Florida
Hanley Hurts His Former Team Again
Pineiro, Runelvys Don't Implode in Relief, But Mike Burns Does
Mar 6, 2007:
Was Drew True Blue?
(Boston Globe Staff Photo / Jim Davis)
False. J.D. Jumped Ship and, Surprise,
LA Wouldn't Throw Him a Life Preserver
Eric Wilbur: Security Guarded
"Now we know what the J.D. Drew fiasco was all about over the winter.
'We were looking for some job security,' Drew told the Los Angeles Times yesterday.
"Oh, job security. Of course, aren’t we all. After all, who out there doesn’t have the freedom to spit at $33 million and somehow con someone else into giving you more than twice that?" -- 3.6.07, Eric Wilbur, Boston.com
LA Times: Drew's Departure from Dodgers Remains Hot Topic
" 'J.D. had a limited no-trade clause. The question was never asked of me, 'Would you give him a complete no-trade clause?' 'Dodger general manager Ned Colletti said. 'That was never a question that was ever asked. So it was never a point of negotiations.'...
"There had been speculation that Boras had already discussed Drew's availability with other teams but needed the Dodgers' participation to drive the price up. Drew and Boras denied those charges, and the Dodgers, after briefly considering filing tampering charges against Boston, let the matter drop.
"Colletti remains unconvinced.
" 'I'd rather not tell you my sense of whether or not he had already decided to go," the general manager said. 'I know very clearly that I wasn't going to increase the salary or increase the duration [of the contract] because he had the right to leave.
'The no-trade thing, it was never a point of discussion.' "
-- 3.6.07, Los Angeles Times
Herald: Drew Leaves LA Hurtful
“Absolutely. We told them up front when we opted out that they were on top of the list, and we wanted to keep the channels open and talk about re-signing there. But after I opted out, they really showed no interest.” -- 3.6.07, J.D. Drew, who can't seriously be wondering why the Dodgers might be gun shy about pursuing him after he opted out of his contract with them
Watch Your Step: Sox Are Monitoring the Players' Every Move
BP: How the Sox Can Win the World Series
Metro: Damon Comfortable in the Bronx
Hench: Beane Disciples Ditch Moneyball Ways
Wilbur: The DirecTV 'Small' Sampling
Enter, Stage Left
With Jon Back, the Rotation Looks Lesterrific
Globe: It's Easy as 1-2-3
"We'll just build from here and get stronger as camp goes on, and if the velocity's not there, we'll build it back up to normal. I was just trying to get a feel. It's hard early on when you're facing hitters, you try to do too much with your offspeed stuff. I was just trying to get a feel for it and loop a couple up there and see if they'll swing at them.
I think I'm still building it back up from last season, but I think I'm right about 85-90 percent. Getting close, starting to feel a little more comfortable with my body and how things are flowing." -- 3.5.07, Jon Lester after his comeback start
Mar 4, 2007:
Mar 2, 2007:
Dice Prepares Gyro!
(BDD Photo Illustration)
Breaking News: Matsuzaka Plans to Serve His
Famous Gyro to Boston College Tonight
The Workout Warrior
(Boston Dirt Dogs Photo Illustration)
Yes, We Know Manny Loves to Work Out Between Games,
But Will He Be Playing Games with Us Again in September?
Manny's Doesn't Like to Miss a Day... at the Gym
"I’ve been in baseball for nine years in the major leagues, and by far, Manny is the most consistent and most intense workout guy I’ve ever had. I think he enjoys it. He comes in in the morning, lifts and works out, goes home for some lunch and a nap, and then he’s back here, running with the pitchers every day and then batting practice.
“I know he doesn’t like to miss a day. If there’s a late game and we have a morning game the next day, he still has to do something. It’s as much of a mental thing for him than it is physical. He’s very loyal to his routine.”
-- 3.2.07, Red Sox strength and conditioning coach Dave Page, to the Herald's Michael Silverman
Eric Wilbur: Trick of the Trade for Manny
"Popular opinion will always back Manny, and this I find incredulous. But I won’t argue, and frankly, as I said, I could care less. I became ambivalent about all things Manny Ramirez on that July 31 trading deadline two seasons ago, when after a week of Ramirez whining and moaning about being dared asked to come off the bench in Tampa, he emerged from the Red Sox dugout to a rousing standing ovation from a crowd that was in the dark as to whether he had been traded.
"In a way, this was the official death of the Red Sox fan I used to be well-acquainted with, and the birth of pink-hat dominance.
"That’s not to say we don’t live in a sports world that isn’t without forgiveness and absolution, just a question of how popular opinion shifted so quickly in a matter of days. The Boston fan I used to know had a deep-rooted pride - often mistaken for negativity, one that wasn't easily swayed with a Neil Diamond ditty and a happy ending. Earlier in the week, Ramirez had heard some unfamiliar boos directed his way in left field. By Sunday, everything was fine. Manny, you know. Cue Tessie." -- 3.1.07, Eric Wilbur, Boston Sports Blog
Sox 11, Northeastern 0: Big Men Beat Campus Kids
Jays 4, Sox 1: Halladay Solid in Debut
Photos: Thursday in Fort Myers, Dunedin