Wanna win the World Series? Hire a former MLB catcher to be your manager!

 

World Series managers (and former MLB catchers) Bruce Bochy & Ned Yost

World Series managers (and former MLB catchers) Bruce Bochy & Ned Yost

With the 2014 World Series starting tonight, one thing is for certain: A former major league catcher will manage his team to a World Series title when the series is over.

Kansas City’s Ned Yost and San Francisco’s Bruce Bochy were both catchers during their playing days in the majors. Yost played six years in the majors (1980-85), four of those seasons with the Brewers. Bochy had a 10-year MLB career (1978-87) playing six seasons with the Padres.

This will be the second World Series since 2001 where the opposing managers were former MLB catchers. In 2001 Bob Brenly (Arizona) and Joe Torre (N.Y. Yankees) faced off in the series won by the Diamondbacks in seven games.

In the 15 World Series this century (including this year), 11 of the 30 managers in the Fall Classic were former catchers. Bochy and Torre each had three appearances in the World Series from 2000-2014; Mike Scioscia, Brenly, Joe Girardi, Mike Matheny and Yost are the other former MLB catchers who managed in the World Series since 2000. Since a former catcher will win the title this year, that will be seven times in the last 15 years for former catchers to manage a World Series champ since 2000.

From 1901-2013, there have been 66 different managers that won a World Series. Of those 66, seven never played in the majors. Of the other 59, there have been 13 catchers, most of any position player. Following is a breakdown of the former MLB player positions that have won a World Series. (Noted in parenthesis are the number of World Series titles won by each position.)

* Several of the World Series managers played multiple positions during their MLB careers. For the sake of this posting, the position noted is the position where they had the most games played.

Catchers: 13 different managers (won 23 titles)
Second Basemen: 10 different managers (won 18 titles)
First Basemen: 8 different managers (won 14 titles)
Left Fielders: 6 different managers (won 7 titles)
Third Basemen: 5 different managers (won 8 titles)
Pitchers: 5 different managers (won 6 titles)
Shortstops: 5 different managers (won 5 titles)
Right Fielders: 4 different managers (won 11 titles)
Center Fielders: 3 different managers (won 4 titles)
Managers with no MLB playing experience: 7 different managers (won 13 titles)

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Packers Numbers Notebook: Stats from their win over Carolina

PackTD

Here’s 11 interesting stats from the Packers 38-17 win over Carolina yesterday.

1. Aaron Rodgers completed 19 of 22 passes (an 86.4% completion rate) with 255 yards and three TD passes. It was the 27th time since 1966 that a QB had a completion rate above 85% with over 250 yards passing and three or more TD passes. For Rodgers it was his second time reaching these numbers in a game; he did it in the January 15, 2011 playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons. Rodgers became only the sixth QB to reach these numbers twice in a career (Tom Brady; Drew Brees; Peyton Manning, three times each; Craig Morton and Kurt Warner, twice). One other Packers QB reached these numbers… Lynn Dickey did it on September 4, 1983 in a game versus Houston. He completed 27 of 31 passes (an 87.1 completion rate) with 333 passing yards and five TD passes.

2. The Packers had one interception yesterday, their sixth straight game with a pick. Green Bay is 33-6 in games since the start of the 2011 season in games when their defense has at least one interception in a game.

3. For the fourth straight game the Packers scored 27 or more points. The last time they scored 27-plus in four straight games was in 2012 (weeks four through seven). The longest streak of games with 27 or more points for the Packers since the start of the Super Bowl era is seven. They did it in 2011 and 2007.

4. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb each had TD receptions in the contest. The Pack is 7-1 when those two each have at least one TD reception in a game.

5. Five different Packers scored a TD against the Panthers: Jordy Nelson, Eddie Lacy, James Starks, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams. The Pack had five different players score a TD in their win earlier this year over the Vikings (Adams, Cobb, Nelson, Lacy and Julius Peppers). The most Green Bay players to score a TD was six in their 55-7 win over Tennessee in 2012. In that game Cobb, Ryan Grant, DaJuan Haris, Greg Jennings, Aaron Rodgers and James Jones scored a TD.

6. The Packers defense held Carolina starting QB Cam Newton to a 72.6 QB Rating. The Packers defense has the lowest opposing QB Rating in the league this year at 74.0. The Detroit Lions are second at 76.4. The Packers defense has allowed only one opposing starting QB this year to have a QB Rating over 85; that was Russell Wilson in Week 1 (110.9).

7. The Packers led 28-3 at half in yesterday’s game. They are now 38-0 in games since 1966 when they have a lead of 20 or more at halftime.

8. Green Bay has won four straight games. It is the sixth consecutive year that they have had a winning streak of four or more games in a season.

9. The Packers had two rushing TDs in the game. Since 2000, the Packers are now 39-10-1 in games where they score two or more TDs on a running play.

10. Green Bay scored 21 points in the first quarter. It was the eighth time in the Super Bowl era that they scored 20 or more points in the first quarter. They are 8-0 in those games.

11. The Packers are one of three teams to have three players with four or more TDs this season. Cobb has eight, Nelson has six, and Lacy has four. The other teams are Chicago and Dallas.

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Royals finally get that return trip to the World Series

A celebration that was worth the 29-year wait

A celebration that was worth the 29-year wait

It took 29 years, but the Kansas City Royals are again headed back to the World Series. This year’s Fall Classic will begin on Tuesday in K.C.

Prior to the beginning of the 2014 MLB season, there were 15 of the 30 MLB teams that had not played in the World Series since the start of the century. The Royals were one of those teams. Can you name the current 14 MLB teams that have not played in the World Series since 2000? (The answer will appear later in this blog.)

Back to the Royals… their 29-year wait for a return trip to the World Series is not the longest in baseball history. That belongs to the Chicago White Sox. The Chicago southsiders played in the 1959 World Series and then did not appear again in the Fall Classic until 2005, a 46-year wait. Of course the Cubs, if they ever get back to the World Series, will eventually shatter this mark; the Cubs last played in the World Series in 1945, a 69-year wait… and counting.

Here’s a look at the longest wait between World Series appearances (current franchise name is listed).

Years between World Series appearances, franchise (World Series years)

46: Chicago White Sox (1959-2006)
41: Oakland (1931-72)
41: Cleveland (1954-95)
40: Chicago White Sox (1919-59)
35: Philadelphia (1915-50)
34: Atlanta (1914-48)
33: Pittsburgh (1927-60)
33: Atlanta (1958-91)
32: Minnesota (1933-65)
30: Philadelphia (1950-80)
29: Kansas City (1985-2014)
28: Boston (1918-46)
28: Cleveland (1920-48)
27: San Francisco (1962-89)
25: Detroit (1909-34)

Two of the current franchises have never played in the World Series: Seattle and Washington (previously the Montreal Expos). For the Washington Nationals franchise, that drought has been since 1969; for Seattle it has been since 1977.

Here’s the 14 franchises that have not played in the World Series since 2000. The year they last played in the World Series is noted first.

1945: Chicago Cubs
1969 (Never): Washington
1977 (Never): Seattle
1979: Pittsburgh
1982: Milwaukee
1983: Baltimore
1988: L.A. Dodgers
1990: Oakland, Cincinnati
1991: Minnesota
1993: Toronto
1995: Cleveland, Atlanta
1998: San Diego

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Which NFL games this season have been the most competitive?

Packers win a close AFC vs NFC contest against the Dolphins

Packers win a close AFC vs NFC contest against the Dolphins

The New England Patriots defeated the New York Jets, 27-25, in an AFC East contest last night. Thursday Night Football finally got another close game after five straight weeks of blowouts on Thursday nights.

Through the first six weeks of the 2014 NFL season, there have been 91 games played with 39 of them (42.9%) decided by one score (eight points or less). The average margin of victory in these 91 games has been 12.9 points.

Which games, however, have the closest?

Let’s break the 91 games down into five categories: Games played between two NFC teams within their division; games played between two AFC  teams within their division; games played between two NFC teams outside their division; games played between two AFC teams outside their division; and games played outside the conference (games between AFC and NFC teams).

Based on the first six weeks (91 games) the most competitive games have been the AFC vs. NFC contests. There have been 26 such games played, with the average margin of victory being 11.0 points.

Here’s a look at the average margin of victory in the five categories.

Type of game, average margin of victory

AFC vs. NFC….. 11.0

Two NFC teams playing outside their division….. 11.8

Two AFC teams playing within division….. 12.0

Two AFC teams playing outside their division….. 14.5

Two NFC teams playing within their division….. 16.9

As noted above, there have been 39 “close” games (decided by eight points or less) so far this season. The highest percentage of those games have been played in the AFC vs. NFC matchups; 14 of the 26 games (53.8%) were decided by eight points or less. Next were games played by two AFC teams within their division (seven of the 14 games, 50%). The other matchups: Two AFC teams playing outside their division (seven of 18, 38.9%); two NFC teams playing outside their division (seven of 20, 35%); and two NFC teams playing within their division (four of 13, 30.8%).

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Aaron Rodgers the king of ‘3 TD-0 Interceptions’ games since 2008

Rodgerspass

The Green Bay Packers have won three straight and it’s no surprise that QB Aaron Rodgers has been a roll in those last three contests. He has 10 TD passes and no interceptions in those three games, and he has thrown 14 TD passes with no interceptions in his last five games. During the Packers three-game winning streak, Rodgers has no interceptions and at least three TD passes in each of those games.

Since 2008, when Rodgers took over as the starting QB of the Pack, Rodgers has had 29 games with 3+ TD passes and no interceptions, most of any QB in the last six-plus years. With 29 games he also ranks fifth since 1966 in those games.

First, let’s look at the QBs that have had the most 3-TD (or more) passes with no interceptions games since 2008.

Games with 3-plus TD passes and no interceptions since 2008
29: Aaron Rodgers
25: Drew Brees
23: Peyton Manning
20: Tom Brady
16: Philip Rivers, Tony Romo
13: Matt Ryan
10: Joe Flacco, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger

Now let’s look at the list since 1966. To add another element, also noted is the record of the QB’s team in those games when they throw three or more TD passes in a contest with no interceptions.

Games with 3-plus TD passes and no interceptions sine 1966 (team’s winning percentage in such games)
51: Peyton Manning (.912)
42: Tom Brady (.976)
39: Brett Favre (.949)
35: Drew Brees 9.914)
29: Aaron Rodgers (.897)
21: Joe Montana (1.000)
20: Dan Marino (.750)
19: Philip Rivers (.895)
18: Steve Young (1.000)
17: Drew Bledsoe (1.000)
17: Donovan McNabb (1.000)
17: Ben Roethlisberger (.706)
17: Tony Romo (.647)
16: Ken Anderson (1.000)
16: Boomer Esiason (1.000)
15: Fran Tarkenton (.933)
15: Dan Fouts (.933)
15: John Elway (.867)

Of the six games played by Rodgers this year, four of them have been games where he had 3 or more TD passes and no interceptions, tops in the league. Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers have three such games, while Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan and Alex Smith have two. There are eight other QBs with one game apiece.

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