The Bill Chuck Files of November 24, 2019

Each Sunday, in remembrance of my friend Nick Cafardo, I post “the Bill Chuck Files” (named by Nick in his Sunday Baseball Notes column)

With CC Sabathia‘s retirement, Justin Verlander assumes the mantle of the active pitcher with the most wins, JV has 225 (CC had 251). And with CC Sabathia’s retirement, Felix Hernandez has the distinction of being the active pitcher with the most losses; King Felix has 136 losses, CC had 161. There is also the possibility we have seen the last of Hernandez and in that case, Edwin Jackson is the pitcher leading with 133 losses. And there is the distinct possibility that we may have seen the end for Edwin as well, which means Justin Verlander would be the active pitcher with the most losses with 129.

From the home page of the Savannah Bananas

Instead of whacking minor league baseball, Rob Manfred should encourage teams to follow the lead of the Savannah Bananas of the Coastal Plain League and currently have an 88-game sellout streak at their ballpark. They describe Fans First Entertainment this way: We are not like your typical baseball team. We are different. We take chances. We toe the line. We test the rules. We challenge the way things are suppose to be.

With one out in the 1st inning on September 29, 2017, Joe Biagini of the Blue Jays gave up a single to Jacoby Ellsbury. It was the last regular-season hit for Ellsbury who stole second also his last regular-season steal.

I’m pretty fascinated with a player’s variance in play as the season progresses. For example, look at Hyun-Jin Ryu‘s season:

Ryu GS IP ERA WHIP
April/March 5 27.1 2.96 1.024
May 6 45.2 0.59 0.679
June 5 30.0 2.70 1.133
July 5 32.2 0.55 1.041
August 4 21.2 7.48 1.569
Sept/Oct 4 25.1 2.13 0.908

It has been suggested that if the Red Sox determine that they cannot get what they are hoping for in a Mookie Betts deal that they seek relief by trading one of their high-priced pitchers. When you look at their recent performance and their future contractual obligations it would seem that Boston would clearly need to be thinking “salary dump” in any deal in which these three starters are dealt. The best is yet to come for any of the three.

Name Age Yrs 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025
David Price 33 12 7-5, 4. 28 ERA 107.1 IP $32M $32M $32M FA
Chris Sale 30 10 6-11, 4.40 ERA 147.1 IP $30M $30M $30M $27.5M $27.5M $20.0M* [FA]
Nathan Eovaldi 29 8 2-1, 5.99 ERA 67.2 IP $17M $17M $17M FA

*Vesting option

Sonny Gray and Stephen Strasburg have each issued 377 walks in their careers, the difference is that Grays has faced 4476 batters and Strasburg has faced 5821.

August 12, 2018, was the date of Fernando Rodney‘s last win. He went 0-5 in 2019.

Fernando Rodney and his crooked cap

Speaking of Fernando Rodney, when I was a kid my favorite player wearing uniform number 56 was Jim Bouton. Over the years, he remained a favorite of mine for so many reasons. He was a big loss this past July. Mark Buehrle was also a really good pitcher who wore #56 throughout his 16-year MLB career pitching for the White Sox, Marlins, and Blue Jays. Up until 2019, nobody had ever worn #56 longer than Buehrle. Then along came Fernando and his crooked cap which he wears as a tribute to his father who died six days before Fernando made his first MLB appearance. His dad was a fisherman in the Dominican Republic who wore his cap tilted to the side to dodge the sun (Don’t ask me why he shoots an arrow in the air after a save).

Here are the teams that for whom Fernando Rodney has worn uniform #56 since he debuted in the majors since 2002:

Detroit Tigers (02, 03, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09) Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (10, 11) Tampa Bay Rays (12, 13) Seattle Mariners (14, 15) Miami Marlins (16) San Diego Padres (16) Arizona Diamondbacks (17) Minnesota Twins (18) Oakland Athletics (18, 19) Washington Nationals (19).

The first time Zack Wheeler faced batters in a game in the 2019 season, they hit .271 with a .697 OPS; the second time, they hit .238 with a .589 OPS; but the third time they faced Wheeler, batters hit .286 with an .873 OPS and hit 13 of the 22 homers Wheeler allowed this season.

From 2010-2019, Justin Verlander led all pitchers with nine 200+ innings pitched seasons. Tied for second with seven such seasons were Madison Bumgarner, James Shields, Cole Hamels, and Zack Greinke.

The record for the most pitchers who made at least 10 starts and had an ERA of at least 7.00 is 15 in 2000 (hmm). Second on the list, are the eight pitchers in 1999. Tied for third, were the seven pitchers in 1996, 2006, and in 2019 (Dylan Covey, Matt Harvey, David Hess, Edwin Jackson, Mitch Keller, Peter Lambert, and Jose Suarez).

Yogi Berra and Warren Spahn when they were player-coaches for the Mets

Warren Spahn passed away on this date in 2003. Two of my favorite Spahnie quotes:

From Spahn: “He was something like zero for twenty-one the first time I saw him. His first major league hit was a home run off me and I’ll never forgive myself. We might have gotten rid of Willie (Mays) forever if I’d only struck him out.”

About Spahn: “I don’t know if we’re the oldest battery, but we’re certainly the ugliest.” – Yogi Berra in 1965

Player of the week honors goes to Turkey Tyson who, at the age of 29, played for the Philadelphia Phillies on April 23, 1944, and went hitless in his only MLB appearance as Jim Tobin of the Braves pitched a one-hitter. On May 5, the Phils optioned him to Utica and he never returned to the Show. Cecil Washington Tyson (whose nickname was “Slim,” but he went by “Turkey”) was one of six players chosen in 1937 to play baseball in England and to teach the locals the game. Tyson was captain of the London Pirates, which won the local championship. Tyson said however that his personal highlight was witnessing the coronation of King George VI who took over the British throne after King Edward abdicated it to marry the woman he loved, Wallis Simpson. So now you have something to talk about this Thanksgiving as you slice your tofurky.

Thanks to all my readers, colleagues, supporters, friends, and especially my family who I love so much. Happy Thanksgiving.