(A weekly look at several sports stats you may not know)
- Over the past couple of weeks, the Milwaukee media has been writing about how the Brewers will be looking to make club history in the 2020 season by making the playoffs for the third season in a row, something that has never been done in the history of the team. It is true that the Brewers have never made the playoffs in three consecutive seasons, but they are one of 11 MLB teams that have never accomplished this feat. The other 10 MLB franchises that have never made it to the post-season in three straight years: Arizona, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati, Colorado, Miami, New York Mets, San Diego, Seattle, Tampa Bay and Washington. The Brew Crew is the only one of these 11 teams that could make it three in a row this season; Tampa Bay and Washington are the only other two teams on this list that made it to the post-season last season.
- In the past 20 seasons, which Chicago baseball team has won the most games in a season? In 2014, the Cubs and White Sox each won 73 games. In the other 19 seasons, the Cubs have won more games than the White Sox in 12 seasons. The White Sox won more games than the Cubs in seven seasons since 2000.
- Last year in the NFL (2019 season) about 45% of the TDs scored in the season were by players who were under the age of 25. In NFL history, there have been six players who scored 50 or more career TDs before they turned 25: Barry Sanders (57), Todd Gurley (56), Maurice Jones-Drew (56), Randy Moss (54), Jim Brown (53) and Emmitt Smith (53).
- Which NBA franchise has had the worst record this century? If you answered the New York Knicks, you are correct. The Knicks have a combined record of 693-997 (.410 winning percentage) from the 1999-2000 season until today. Three other teams have a cumulative winning percentage under .426 since 1999-2000: Washington (.423), Charlotte (.424) and Minnesota (.425).
- Terry Felton may not be a name that you are familiar with in baseball lore, but he holds a very dubious honor. Felton, a pitcher, was a second round pick of the Minnesota Twins in the 1976 draft. He played four seasons in the majors. In 1979 he was 0-0; in 1980, he was 0-3, in 1981 he was again 0-0; in 1982, however, he had a record of 0-13. After that 1982 season, he never again played in the majors. He ended his MLB career with a record of 0-16. He holds the record for most career losses without a win in the majors. Felton played two years in the minors in 1983 and 1984. In his minor league career he compiled a pitching record of 43 wins and 64 losses.
- It looks like we are less than two months away from the 2020 NFL regular season kicking off. Over the past 10 seasons, there are two teams that have compiled an 8-2 record in their opening week games… New England and Philadelphia. Five teams went 7-3 in their first game of the year from 2010-2019: Kansas City, Denver, Green Bay, Baltimore and San Francisco. The NFL’s worst opening game teams this past decade? Cleveland was 0-9-1, Indianapolis was 1-9, and the Giants were 2-8.
- The 2020 MLB season will consist of only 60 regular season games. In MLB history, the best record after the first 60 games of the year is 48-12 by the 1912 New York Giants. The 2001 Seattle Mariners, 1939 New York Yankees and 1907 Chicago Cubs tied for the next-best record after the first 60 games with a 47-13 record. Since 2010, there have been seven teams that won 40 or more games in the first 60 played in a season. Three of those teams won the World Series (the 2016 Cubs went 42-18; the 2017 Astros went 42-18 and the 2018 Red Sox went 41-19). For Brewers fans, the best the Brew Crew has done in the first 60 games of a season is 37-23 in 2018.
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp
No baseball in April. These teams can’t be happy!
We have turned the page on the calendar to May and the Major League Baseball standings show every team with a 0-0 record for 2020. While all teams and fans are upset that the season has not yet started, there may be a couple of teams and their fans who are a little bit more upset than the rest.
There are four MLB teams which won 60% or more of their games in the last two Aprils. The Arizona Diamondbacks have enjoyed the most success in the first month of the season over the past two years. They had a combined 37-21 record (.638 winning percentage) in April 2018 and April 2019, the best record in baseball of the 30 teams. The Houston Astros weren’t too far behind with a combined record of 38-22 (.633) in the last two Aprils.
Here is a look at the winning percentage of each of the MLB’s 30 teams in April of the past two seasons.
Arizona, .638… Houston, .633… N.Y. Yankees, .614…St. Louis, .607
Boston, .586… Chicago Cubs, .585… Tampa Bay, .582… N.Y Mets, .582… Seattle, .576… Cleveland, .564… Philadelphia, .561… Milwaukee, .557… Pittsburgh, .536… Atlanta, .536… L.A. Dodgers, .533, Toronto, .526… Minnesota, .510… Anaheim, .500
Colorado, .467… Oakland, .467… San Francisco, .458… San Diego, .450… Detroit, .444… Washington, .439… Texas, .431…Chicago White Sox, .385… Cincinnati, .328… Florida, .316… Baltimore, .310
Kansas City, .281
Things are not looking too promising for baseball’s opening pitch to happen in May either. There’s a good chance the Yankees and their faithful would not be happy if that was the case. The Yanks compiled a 37-15 record, .712 winning percentage in May 2018 and May 2019. Combining their record in April and May over the last two seasons, the Yankees were an impressive 72-37, a .661 winning percentage in the first two months of the last two seasons.
Following are the five teams with the best winning percentages in the last two Mays and the five that had the worst winning percentage in the last two Mays.
Best: N.Y. Yankees, .712… Houston, .643… Milwaukee, .630… L.A. Dodgers, .611… Boston, .607
Worst: Toronto, .286… Baltimore, .309… Arizona, .345… Florida, .389, San Francisco, .396.
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23 stats you may not know about… Ted Simmons
When he is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame later this year, Ted Simmons will become the seventh player to wear a Brewers jersey to become a Hall of Famer. The other Hall of Fame players with ties to the Brewers: Hank Aaron, Rollie Fingers, Trevor Hoffman, Paul Molitor, Don Sutton and Robin Yount.
Simmons was a member of the Milwaukee Brewers from 1981-85. He played in 665 games for the Brew Crew, collecting 666 hits, 66 HR, 394 RBI and batting .262.
Since he wore number 23 throughout his playing days, here are 23 stats you may not know about Simmons and his Hall of Fame career.
- Simmons ended his career with 2,472 hits and 248 home runs. He is one of 65 players in MLB history to have 2,400 hits and 240 HRs in a career. Of those 65 players, Simmons becomes the 39th to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
- He played 21 seasons in the majors, 13 with St. Louis, five with the Brewers and three with Atlanta.
- He was born in Highland Park, Michigan. Of all players born in Michigan who played in the majors, Simmons ranks second in career hits with 2,472 (behind fellow Hall of Famer Charlie Gehringer) and third in home runs with 248, behind Kirk Gibson and John Mayberry who each hit 255. He ranks first on the list of Michigan-born ballplayers in MLB career games played with 2,456.
- Simmons was an eight-time All-Star. He was 2-for-10 in those games with one RBI.
- Seven times in his career he finished in the Top 20 in league MVP voting. His highest finish was sixth in the voting for the 1975 National League MVP.
- Simmons had 2,472 career hits, but did not have a season where he hit 200. The most hits he had in a season were 193 in 1975 with the Cardinals.
- His career high for home runs was 26 in 1979 with the Cards. His second-best year was 23 he hit for the Brewers in 1982.
- The best year for RBIs was in 1983 when Simmons drove in 108 with the Brewers. Three times in his career he had 100 or more RBIs in a season.
- Simmons twice led the league in intentional walks… in 1976 and 1977 with the Cards.
- He never played in a post-season game during his career with the Cardinals. He appeared in 17 post-season games with the Brewers in 1981 and 1982.
- The only positions Simmons did not play in his MLB career were pitcher, second base, shortstop and centerfield.
- He made 233 pinch-hit appearances, but was never a pinch-runner in a game.
- Simmons had 2,472 hits in 2,456 career MLB games. Of all players who played in 2,400 or more career games in the majors, Simmons is one of only 65 players to have more hits than games played.
- Simmons played 1,218 home games and 1,238 away games in his career. He had more HRs (132-116) in road games and had a higher batting average (.291-.279) in road games.
- Simmons highest monthly career batting average was in July. He hit .298 in July during his 21-year career.
- When his team won, Simmons’ batting average was .338. When his team lost, his career average was .233.
- He batted .301 in extra innings.
- The most career homers he hit versus one team were 23 each against the Pirates and Cubs.
- Simmons batted .300 or better in seven seasons. He was one of 157 players to accomplish that in a career. Cap Anson tops the list with 24 seasons with a batting average of .300 or better. Ty Cobb is second with 21 seasons at .300 or better.
- Most of Simmons plate appearances took place when he was batting clean-up. Of his 9,685 career plate appearances, Simmons had 5,296 of them from the fourth spot in the batting order.
- Simmons batted only .216 in his first season with the Brewers (1981). He batted .214 in five games in 1969 and .196 in his final season (1988 with the Braves), the lowest batting average seasons in his career.
- A switch-hitter, he hit a HR from both sides of the plate in a game three times.
- Simmons was first eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994. He received less than 5% of the votes that year and was taken off the ballot. He was eventually voted in this year by the Veterans Committee.
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp
Inside the stats of Eric Rasmussen’s baseball career
In all my years of doing sports stats articles, columns and blogs, I have written about some of my fellow Racine, WI natives who went on to play professional sports. I have done stat pieces on Shane Rawley, Duane Kuiper, Caron Butler and Jim Chones, to name a few.
I recently realized that I have never written a sports stats piece on another Racine, WI athlete: baseball player Eric Rasmussen. He and I attended the same junior college (he was there a couple years before I got there) and played for the same JC coach, Pat Daugherty, as did Shane and Duane. Eric, a right-handed pitcher, had an eight-year Major League Baseball career from 1975-83. He had a 50-77 record with five career saves and a 3.85 ERA.
In doing research on Eric’s career, I discovered some really interesting numbers. And it’s not a stretch to say that he pitched in a different era of baseball, and that he was certainly the last of a breed that no longer exists in baseball. Here’s a few stats on “Ras’s” career that you might find interesting:
- Eric in one of only 58 pitchers in MLB history that ended their careers with 10 or more shutouts in less than 150 starts. In fact, Eric is the last pitcher to retire with less than 150 starts and 10 or more shutouts. He had 12 shutouts in his career and 144 pitching starts. Only five pitchers since 1970 retired from the game with 10 or more shutouts and less than 150 starts. In addition to Eric, there was Jim Bouton (11 shutouts, 144 starts), Steve Arlin (11 shutouts, 123 starts), Tom Phoebus (11 shutouts, 149 starts) and Joe Sparma (10 shutouts, 142 starts).
- Eric is one of 496 pitchers in MLB history to have 12 or more shutouts in his career. Complete games and shutouts are much more of a rarity in today’s game. Consider this: Since 2000, only 15 pitchers have amassed 10 or more shutouts and all 15 started 200 or more games. The pitchers with the most shutouts since 2000: Roy Halladay, 19, Clayton Kershaw, 15 and Tim Hudson, 13.
- Eric is one of 411 pitchers who had 10 or more shutouts in his career and five or more career saves.
- In 1979, Eric had three shutouts and three saves on his end-of-the-year stat line. Since 1901, 285 pitchers have had three or more shutouts and three or more saves in the same season. The last time it happened, however, was 37 years ago. In 1983, Neal Heaton had seven saves and three shutouts, and Bryn Smith had three shutouts and three saves that same season.
- Eric pitched a shutout in his MLB debut on July 21, 1975. Since 1905, there have been 69 pitchers who tossed a complete game shutout in their debut start in the majors. The last pitcher to do this was Andy Van Hekken for the Detroit Tigers on September 3, 2002.
- Eric’s Wikipedia page states that he is the only pitcher in MLB history to pitch a shutout in both his American League and National League debuts. As noted above, he pitched a shutout in 1975 in his MLB debut with the St. Louis Cardinals against the San Diego Padres and then in his American League debut with the Kansas City Royals in 1983, Eric pitched a shutout.
- He is one of 30 MLB pitchers born on March 22. Of those 30, he is tied for fifth for most career wins with 50.
- He is one of 122 MLB pitchers born in Wisconsin. His 50 career wins is 18th most of the 122.
Some pretty interesting stuff!
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The quest to be a career .300 hitter in the majors can be tough
Baseball, more than any other sport, in my humble opinion, is more stats-oriented than the other professional sports. Numbers have always seemed to drive baseball and is a tool by which we evaluate the success or greatness of a player.
Baseball stats are used to label players. A pitcher who reaches 20 wins in a season has achieved a much-desired milestone. The same with a batter who reaches 100 RBI in a season. Even career numbers are a yardstick to how well of a season a player has had.
With that in mind, a .300 hitter in baseball is not only a season milestone to hope for, but a .300 career hitter has a special place in baseball.
But what about a player who plays several seasons in the majors but ends his career with a .299 career batting average… falling one point short of reaching that .300 milestone. How many hitters have experienced that?
Based on research on baseball-reference.com, there are a dozen batters who had 1,000 or more plate appearances in their careers and ended their time in the majors with a batting average one point short of .300.
Here are those players with a career .299 batting average (also noted is the years of their careers). Note: I researched stats from 1901 through 2019.
Harry Rice, 1923-33
Buck Jordan, 1927-38
Sam West, 1927-42
Frank Demaree, 1932-44
Frank McCormick, 1934-48
Carl Furillo, 1946-60
Rico Carty, 1963-79
Bake McBride, 1973-83
Shane Mack, 1987-98
Dante Bichette, 1988-2001
Kenny Lofton, 1991-2007
Matt Holliday, 2004-18
There was another player on this list… Dustin Pedroia. He currently holds a career .299 batting average, but was active in 2019. He has missed good portions of the last two seasons due to injury, but still remains under contract with the Red Sox through the 2021 season.
Let’s balance the “just missed it” list with those players who ended their MLB careers with exactly a .300 batting average. Of players who had 1,000 or more plate appearances, there have been 12 players whose career batting average is right at .300. They are:
Ted Easterly, 1909-15
Cliff Lee, 1919-26
Earl Sheely, 1921-31
Ethan Allen, 1926-38
Wally Berger, 1930-40
Enos Slaughter, 1938-59
Billy Goodman, 1947-62
Pedro Guerrero, 1978-92
John Kruk, 1986-95
Reggie Jefferson, 1991-99
Roberto Alomar, 1988-2004
Michael Young, 2000-13
Similar to the previous list, we had an additional name. Albert Pujols, who has played in the majors from 2001-19, has a career .300 batting average. He is considered a sure-fire Hall of Famer, and is still listed on the Angels roster. Will he end his career with a .300 average?
Taking a look at the Brewers, they have five players who have career .300 or better batting averages with the team (minimum of 1,000 plate appearances). Think you can name all five?
Well, Christian Yelich tops the list with a .327 career average in a Brewers uniform. He is followed by Jeff Cirillo (.307), Paul Molitor (.303), Cecil Cooper (.302) and Kevin Seitzer (.300). Current Brewer player Ryan Braun, who has played his entire career with Milwaukee, has a career batting average of .298. Chances are he would love to not only end his Brewers career above the .300 mark but also have a final career batting average of .300 or better.
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp