Posts Tagged ‘Chicago cubs’

Baseball Daily Digest Radio with Joel Henard and Albert Lang will air at 7:00 PM ET

Baseball Daily Digest Radio with Joel Henard and Albert Lang

We’ll talk the World Series, replay and umpires, the DH-rule, the Arizona Fall League, take a quick look ahead to 2012 and free agency, Ken Griffey Jr.’s historic award and Brooks Robinson’s statue, Theo to the Cubs, White Sox and Robin Ventura, the Red Sox locker room, and much much more.

Baseball Daily Digest Radio with Joel Henard and Albert Lang 08/22 by JoelHenard | Blog Talk Radio

Baseball Daily Digest Radio with Joel Henard and Albert Lang 08/22 by JoelHenard | Blog Talk Radio.

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Mike Bielecki

While Bielecki loved to collect records, he didn’t really like to collect base hits. Bielecki is tied for the 10th lowest batting average by a pitcher (min 200 abs) in MLB history. He hit .078. So did Bill Hands and Ben Sheets. Such notables as Aaron Harang (.066), Doug Davis (.071), Clem Labine (.075), and Ryan Dempster (.077) have all been worse.

But I want to focus on Loyola College Baltimore – My dad went there, so did Tom Clancy – I love Tom Clancy and am shocked his masterpieceWithout Remorse has not been made into a great Hollywood film yet. I was a philosophy minor in college (to go along with an English with an emphasis in creative writing major – can’t you tell?) and grew found of John Stuart Mill. Working my way through the greatest happiness principle and Bentham and reading Without Remorse, which, essentially, is about a highly trained ex-military person taking out his revenge on a group of drug dealers and pimps – kind of like McNulty. Anyway, it’s an interesting yarn that makes you think about what is and isn’t moral.

Oh well, that was a bizarre tangent. The reason Loyola College caught my eye is that, along with Memorial Stadium, my earliest sport memories are of watching soccer games at Loyola. It was always simple and fun. Their stadium was a lot like a high school’s so it was intimate, you could see all the action, kids could misbehave or play on the sidelines and it was cheap and it was in Baltimore. I love Baltimore – it’s just the way it is, kind of why I love the United States.

To date, I thought there was only one famous person to graduate from Loyola and now there are two (even if Bielecki gets no billing on Loyola’s wiki page).

For a guy worth just 6.8 WAR, Bielecki certainly had an interesting 14-season career. He finished inside the top-10 for Cy Young once (1989). He was worth 4.1 WAR that year (only two other times did he earn over 1 WAR), his sixth season and second with the Cubs. It was a magical season that saw him post an 18-7 record with a 3.14 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. There wasn’t much unique about that year (outside of him topping 200 IPs for the only time in his career), he allowed pretty much the same HR/9 that he always did, ditto for BB/9, K/9; however he somehow allowed far fewer hits per nine innings than he typically did. Well, he had a .272 BABip in 1989, which was well below his career line of .291.

Outside of his horrendous batting ability and his 1989 season, he was, unfortunately, most known for his connection to Little Lake Nellie. As the story goes, Bielecki was supposed to accompany Steve Olin, Tim Crews and Bob Ojeda on the un-Gilligan-like fateful voyage. The day after the incident occurred, Bielecki was picked up by Jim Thome and Roberto Alomar – yet he was unaware of the tragedy.

At that time, I was an avid listener of local sports talk radio (when it existed). I was as glued to the radio that day as I was later during Columbine (and I am by no means equating the two). It was a singular point in my life that I remember vividly – it occurred nine days after my 11th birthday. I had barely heard of the players involved but, by being major leaguers, they were heroes.

I’m glad the Bielecki wasn’t on the boat – this would be an even sadder “In Memmoriam”-esque flip side. Instead, hopefully this celebrates Bielecki’s ninth place Cy Young finish, his ineptitude with the bat, and his teammates who met a tragic end.

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h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Sammy Sosa

For the history of this series, check out this article: Check You Out On the Flip Side: Howard Johnson.

Sosa - 1991 Back
Sosa - 1991 FrontFortunately this card was printed before George W. Bush became the 43rd president. Otherwise the back of the card might read “President George W. Bush once traded Sammy Sosa to the Chicago White Sox!”

Thankfully, for these purposes (and many others), the people who write the backs of baseball cards aren’t prescient. If they were, we wouldn’t get the wonderful tidbit that Sosa was signed way back in 1985 by Omar Minya and Amado Dinzey. Now, the second name has absolutely no relevance for me and many of you.

The first name, however, is the guy in charge with screwing up the Mets. By most accounts Minya has a darn good scouting eye, especially with Latin-born ballplayers. I never gave that sentiment much thought.

Well, PEDs-or-not, Sosa was a terrific find. There have been many people in the history of baseball who saw a 16- or 17-year-old and decided he had to sign him. But how many of those players ended up with over 600 career home runs? I’m going to guess none. I hope Minya gets a tremendous amount of joy talking about the day he discovered Sosa – he and Dinzey deserve it.

That said some other baseball men messed up as Sosa was traded twice: once by the Rangers (with Wilson Alvarez) for Harold Baines; and three years later for George Bell. What’s funny (mostly to me) is that, as a youngster, going to games at Camden yards I’d call Harold Baines grandpa when he would ground into double play after double play for the Orioles. In fact, Baines grounded into 80 double plays while with the Orioles. That might be true, but a case could be made that he was every bit as much the offensive player as Tony Perez, Andre Dawson and Jim Rice.

One more interesting tidbit – Sosa was traded alongside Wilson Alvarez who no-hit the Baltimore Orioles in 1991. I was nine and in the stands. I’d never been so devastated watching baseball history…that is until 1996.

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h2h Corner ~ Back to the Future, Week VI h2h Preview

This column will predict how awesome/bad your team can be during next week’s contest. It will prove invaluable for those of you about to set your lineups in weekly leagues. Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ Katy Perry All-Stars II

Welcome to the latest installment of the weekly hot and cold fantasy trends update. Continue reading