Monthly Archives: October, 2011

‘Hey Skipper, thanks for the World Series ring… we’ll see ya later!’

Terry Francona

Terry Francona... Image via Wikipedia

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a biweekly blog published every Wednesday and Friday with a bonus “SIX STATS…” posting every Friday.

Terry Francona‘s departure as manager of the Boston Red Sox four seasons after Boston won the 2007 World Series got me thinking about other managers who had short managerial stints after winning a World Series. Francona’s leaving four years after Boston’s last championship is no where near the shortest stint for a manager after winning a World Series. In fact, while Francona lasted four seasons, or 648 games, eight major league managers lasted less than 100 games after winning a World Series.

The easy thing would be to just list the eight managers and be done with it. But the interesting thing (at least to me) about these eight men are the stories behind their short careers at the helms of the team they led to a title. So… here’s a look at the eight managers who had the shortest number of games managed after winning a World Series… and their (brief) stories of what transpired.

Billy Carrigan, Boston, 1916 World Series title… 0 games after that: Carrigan became player-manager of the Red Sox in 1913. After leading Boston to a World Series win in 1916, Carrigan left baseball to become a banker in his home state of Maine.

Rogers Hornsby, St. Louis, 1926 World Series title… 0 games after that: Another player-manager. After negotiations stalled on a new contract after the World Series title, Hornsby, a future Hall of Famer, was traded to the New York Giants.

Johnny Keane, St. Louis, 1964 World Series title… 0 games after that: In mid-August of 1964 the Cardinals front office began discussing a complete housecleaning of a team that was headed for another season of no playoffs. The front-running Phils began to falter in September and the Cardinals went on to surprisingly win the N.L. and the World Series that year. But shortly after the World Series, Keane stunned the Cards front office with his letter of resignation, which was written in late September, prior to the Cardinals title-winning finish. He eventually took over the team he had beaten for the ’64 crown, the Yankees, but lasted only a season and 20 games with the Bronx Bombers.

Dick Williams, Oakland, 1973 World Series title… 0 games after that: Tired of owner Charlie Finley’s meddling and the owner’s public humiliation of second baseman Mike Andrews in the ’73 World Series, Williams resigned after winning the title. He was set to take over the Yankees after his departure from Oakland, but that move was stopped (by Finley) and Williams eventually managed the California Angels the next season.

Bob Lemon, New York Yankees, 1978 World Series title… 65 games after that: When the 1979 Yanks struggled to a 34-31 record and fourth place, Lemon was fired by George Steinbrenner and replaced by Billy Martin.

Jake Stahl, Boston, 1912 World Series title… 80 games after that: Yet another player-manager. Stahl had a falling-out with teammates and resigned midway through the 1913 season. He was replaced by the aforementioned Billy Carrigan.

Dick Howser, Kansas City, 1985 World Series title… 88 games after that: After winning the ’85 World Series with the Royals and earning the right to manage the American League team in the ’86 All-Star Game, Howser was diagnosed with a brain tumor and underwent surgery. The ’86 All-Star Game was the last game he ever managed. He died June 17, 1987.

Billy Martin, New York Yankees, 1977 World Series title… 94 games after that: After a incident with star Reggie Jackson during the 1978 season, Martin told reporters, “They (Jackson and Steinbrenner) deserve each other. One’s a born liar (Jackson). The other’s convicted (Steinbrenner).” Martin resigned a few days later, reportedly under pressure from Steinbrenner. Martin came back to manage the Yankees in 1979.


NFL 2011 season… a stats potpourri after Week Five!

The Giants attempt an extra point in their wee...

Image via Wikipedia

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a biweekly blog published every Wednesday and Sunday with a bonus “SIX STATS…” posting every Friday.

We’ve made it through five weeks of the 2011 NFL season with Week Six kicking off today. Here’s a handful of stats looking back at the first five weeks.

* Is time of possession an important stat for success in the NFL? Consider this: There are six teams that have an average time of possession advantage of five minutes or more over their opponents after five weeks. The record of these six teams is 21-7. The San Diego Chargers top the list… they have a per-game average time of possession of 35:17 compared to their opposition’s 24:43 (a +10:34). Teams with the biggest per-game average time of possession advantage: San Diego (+10:34), Washington (+7:20), Houston (+6:50), Dallas (+6:22), New Orleans (+6:00), Green Bay (+5:36). The worst? Indianapolis (-10:58), Seattle (-9:14), Denver (-6:34), Tennessee (-5:50), St. Louis (-5:24), Kansas City (-5:16). The record of these six teams: 8-21.

* Seven players are averaging 19 or more yards per reception (minimum of 10 receptions this season). Leading the way is Carolina’s Steve Smith  with 22.6 yards per catch. Others on the list: Garcon (Indy) 21.1, Floyd (San Diego) 21.5, Henderson (N.O.) 21.2, Cruz (NY Giants) 20.3, D. Jackson (Phil.) 20.3, Ballard (N.Y. Giants) 19.2.

* You know you’re having trouble scoring when your kicker has almost half of your points. Four teams have kickers that have 40% or more of their points after Week 5. The teams (with percent of points by their kicker): Jacksonville (49.2%), Miami (47.8%), St. Louis (47.8%), Dallas (45.5%).

* Scoring “return TDs” (those TDs via a kick return, punt return, interception return, fumble return) has been a good omen for some teams. Five teams have three or more return TDs this season: Baltimore-4, Chicago-3, NY Jets-3, Buffalo-3, San Francisco-3. These teams are 15-9 this season. Four teams have given up three or more return TDs: Carolina-3, Dallas-3, NY Jets-3, St. Louis-3. These teams have combined for a 5-13 record.

* Need another indicator that the NFL is a quarterback-driven league? In looking at the team passer ratings, there’s an interesting stat when you compare how well a team’s QBs do and how well the team’s defense does in preventing the opposing QBs from having a good game. Case in point: Led by Aaron Rodgers 122.9 passer rating, the Packers team QB rating is 120.0; the Packer defense has held opposing QBs to a 83.1 passer rating, a difference of 36.9, which is tops in the NFL. Sixteen teams have a higher passer rating on offense than their opponents; 16 have a lower passer rating on offense than their opponents. The teams with the higher passer rating than their opponents have a record of 55-22 (.714 winning percentage); those with a lower passer rating than their opponents are 22-55.

WE INTERRUPT THIS BLOG FOR A TRIVIA QUESTION. Who had a better record in their first year coaching the Packers, Mike Sherman or Mike McCarthy? Answer at end of the blog.

* How well are the eight teams with new head coaches beginning their first full season doing after five weeks? San Francisco (Jim Harbaugh) 4-1, Tennessee (Mike Munchak) 3-2, Oakland (Hue Jackson) 3-2, Dallas (Jason Garrett) 2-2, Cleveland (Pat Shurmur) 2-2, Denver (John Fox) 1-4, Carolina (Ron Rivera) 1-4, Minnesota (Leslie Frazier) 1-4.

TRIVIA ANSWER. The Packers were 9-7 in Mike Sherman’s first season in 2000; the Pack were 8-8 in Mike McCarthy’s rookie season of 2006.

SIX STATS you might not know about… Baseball’s six most unlikely LCS MVPs

Craig Counsell

Craig Counsell... Image via Wikipedia

“SIX STATS…” is a bonus feature of Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ and is published every Friday.

Over the history of the American League Championship Series and the National League Championship Series, there have been many memorable moments and many memorable performances. Some of those performances have come from players who are currently enshrined in baseball’s Hall of Fame. Included in that group are seven Hall of Famers who were LCS MVPs in their career: Willie Stargell, Ozzie Smith, George Brett, Dennis Eckersley, Rickey Henderson, Kirby Puckett and Roberto Alomar.

Of the 65 players, however, who have received an LCS MVP honor, there have been a few players who were the unexpected stars of the series; players who, if you would have set odds at the beginning of the series on the possibility of them winning the ALCS or NLCS MVP, would not have received much consideration.

Here are my choices for the six most unlikely LCS MVPs. Let the debate begin…

1. Eddie Perez, Atlanta, 1999. Known as a defensive standout, Perez took over as the Braves starting catcher when Javy Lopez was injured in late July. He batted .249 with 30 RBI in 107 games. In the NLCS, Perez collected 10 hits in six games and batted .500 for the NLCS with two home runs and  five RBIs. He had only one hit in eight at-bats in the World Series. He had a career .253 batting average in 564 games.

2. Sterling Hitchcock, San Diego, 1998. A left-handed pitcher, Hitchcock had a very average career with 74 win and 76 losses and a 4.80 ERA. In 1998, he had a 9-7 record. In the NLCS, however, Hitchcock pitched two games against the Braves, winning both. He compiled a 0.90 ERA with 14 strikeouts in 10 innings of work. He got a no decision in one game of work in the ’98 World Series. He won Game Five of the 2001 World Series as a member of the New York Yankees.

3. Craig Counsell, Arizona, 2001. A two-time World Champion with the Marlins and Diamondbacks, Counsell is probably best known for scoring the winning run for Florida in Game Seven of the the 1997 World Series. A career .255 hitter, Counsell hit .275 in 141 games with Arizona during the 2001 regular season. In the NLCS he went 8-for-21, batting .381 and scored five runs while driving in four to earn NLCS MVP. He collected only two hits in 24 at-bats in the World Series that year, although he did hit a solo HR.

4. Mike Devereaux, Atlanta, 1995. A fleet-footed outfielder, Devereaux was a late-August trade acquisition of the Atlanta Braves in 1995. He hit only .255 with the Braves that season, but had the game-winning RBI in Game One of the NLCS and hit a three-run HR in Game Four leading the Braves to a sweep of Cincinnati on his way to MVP honors. He had only one hit in the 1995 World Series. He was a career .254 hitter with 105 home runs.

5. Adam Kennedy, Anaheim, 2002. Kennedy proved that one great game can make you a playoff series MVP. After hitting only seven home runs in the regular season, Kennedy hit three HRs in the deciding fifth game of the ALCS as the Angels beat the Twins four games to one to make it into the 2002 Fall Classic. Kennedy hit .357 in the ALCS with all of his RBIs coming in Game Five. He hit .280 in the 2002 World Series. He is a career .272 hitter

6. Marty Barrett, Boston, 1986. The Red Sox second baseman played 10 seasons in the majors compiling a .278 career average. Not only did he win the ALCS MVP after hitting .367 in the Red Sox seven-game series win over Anaheim, he also starred in the World Series by hitting .433. In that ’86 playoffs he set a major league record with 24 hits in 14 playoff games. He was known as an excellent bunter and led the A.L. in sacrifice bunts three consecutive years. Even though he hit .367 and .433 in those two ’86 series, Barrett hit over .300 in only one season.

Did you know? Kirk Gibson, MVP of the 1984 ALCS, never played in an All-Star Game.

Packers 5-0 start rare for Super Bowl champs

Green Bay Packers vs. Carolina Panthers - Lamb...

Image by eytonz via Flickr

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a biweekly blog published every Wednesday and Sunday with a bonus “SIX STATS…” posting every Friday.

With their 25-14 win over the Atlanta Falcons last Sunday night, the Green Bay Packers became the seventh Super Bowl champion in NFL history to start the following season 5-0. But let’s take it a step (or two) further…

When you consider that the Packers won the last two regular season games in their Super Bowl season, followed by their playoff wins and a 5-0 start this season, the Pack is only the fourth team in NFL history to accomplish that feat. Finally, with wins in their final two regular season games, four playoff wins and a 5-0 record so far this season, the Packers are the only team to accomplish that feat. The other three teams that won their last two regular season games in their Super Bowl season, won their playoff games and went 5-0 in the first five games the following season won just three playoff games whereas the Packers won four playoff games in their Super Bowl season.

Here are the seven Super Bowl champions that started the following season with at least a 5-0 record:

Team, Super Bowl season                 Wins to start the next season

Chicago Bears, 1985                                                                                 6-0

San Francisco 49ers, 1989                                                                     10-0

Denver Broncos, 1997                                                                             13-0

St. Louis Rams, 1999                                                                               6-0

New England Patriots, 2003                                                                  6-0

Indianapolis Colts, 2006                                                                        9-0

Green Bay Packers, 2010                                                                        5-0 (as of Oct. 9, 2011)

WE INTERRUPT THIS BLOG FOR A TRIVIA QUESTION. What do the 2009 Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints and the 1967 Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers have in common? Answer at end of the blog.

Here’s a few more stats looking at how well Super Bowl champions did through their first five games of the following season:

* Nine of the 45 Super Bowl champs had a losing record after their first five games the following season. One team, the 1987 New York Giants, were 0-5 after winning the Super Bowl the previous season.

* The 1999 Denver Broncos lost their first four games following their Super Bowl victory. They won Game Five.

* If you consider their two-game winning streak to end the 2010 regular season, their four wins in the 2010 playoffs and their five-game winning streak to start this season, the Packers are currently on a 11-game winning streak. The 2003 Super Bowl champion Patriots ended the 2003 regular season with 12 straight wins, won three playoff games and won their first six games of 2004 to have a 21-game winning streak. The Packers would have to finish with a 16-0 regular season record in 2011 to top the Patriots mark.

* In case you were wondering, the 1972 Miami Dolphins went 14-0 in the regular season, won three playoff games then lost their second game in the 1973 season for a streak of 18 straight wins. The 1971 Dolphins ended their season with a loss to the Dallas Cowboys in the Super Bowl.

TRIVIA ANSWER: The 2009 Saints and ’67 Packers are the only two teams in NFL history to lose their last two regular season games and go on to win the Super Bowl that same year.

‘Inside the stats’ for the Brewers-Cardinals N.L. LCS

2008 NLCS game 3 at Dodger Stadium between the...

2008 N.L. LCS at Dodger Stadium... Image via Wikipedia

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a biweekly blog published every Wednesday and Sunday with a bonus “SIX STATS…” posting every Friday.

Here’s a look at some stats that may determine who wins the National League Championship Series between division rivals the Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals. The seven-game League Championship Series format was first instituted in 1985 in both leagues. The stats below reflect only those seven-game series between 1985-2010 (a total of 25 N.L. LCS; there was no playoffs in 1994 due to the player strike).

*     Will the homefield advantage help the Brewers, who had the best home record in all of baseball in 2011? The home team has won 82 and lost 66 in the NL LCS. In 2004 LCS between the Cardinals and Astros, the home team won every game, the only time that has happened in the past 25 years.

*     Teams that have scored four or more runs in a N.L. LCS since 1985 have a record of 110-39, a .738 winning percentage.

*     The team that has won the series has won the first game 18 of the 25 times. The eventual N.L. LCS winner is 15-10 in Game Two… 16-9 in Game Three… 15-10 in Game Four… 14-9 in Game Five… and 14-3 in Game Six. They are undefeated in seven Game Sevens, but you knew that.

*     The team that scores first in the game is 87-61, a .588 winning percentage.

WE INTERRUPT THIS BLOG FOR A TRIVIA QUESTION: The last time the Cardinals won a N.L. LCS was in 2006. Who was the MVP of that series? Answer at end of the blog.

*     In the 10 series where one of the teams wins the first two games and takes a 2-0 lead in the series, the team with the 2-0 lead has won the series nine of those 10 times. The only time a team down 0-2 in a N.L. LCS won the series was in 1985 when the Dodgers won the first two games but then lost four in a row to the Cardinals.

*     In the 15 series where the two teams were tied at 1-1 after the first two games, the team that won Game Three has won the series 11 times and lost the series four times.

*     There have been 15 extra-inning games in the N.L. LCS since 1985. The home team is only 5-10 in those games. The team that eventually wins the series, however, is 12-3 in those extra inning games.

*     There have been three times when a team has lost three LCS games in a series and still won the series. It happened in 1996 (Atlanta), 2003 (Florida) and 2004 (St. Louis).

*     The Milwaukee are making their National League LCS debut this year. The Cardinals have played in nine N.L. LCS since 1969 compiling a record of 26-27.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Former Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Jeff Suppan was the MVP of the 2006 N.L. LCS.