Earlier this week the New York Yankees signed Boston Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury to a seven-year contract worth $153 million. Several media outlets and baseball pundits questioned whether or not it was a good move on the part of the Yankees. Many questioned either the length or value of the contract, while others opined that Ellsbury was just not the type of player that deserved that type of free-agent contract.
In defense of Ellsbury, he played a major role in the Red Sox winning the championship last year. He led the majors with 52 stolen bases and batted .298 while playing a solid center field. He has stolen 50 or more base in three of his seven seasons. But his speed on the basepaths was a bone of contention for some people who see Ellsbury as too one-dimensional of a player.
Maybe, however, the Yankees decision was a simple response to a need that has plagued the team for almost 25 years.
As mentioned above, Ellsbury led the majors last season with 52 stolen bases. He was the only player to steal 50 or more last season. Do you know the last Yankees player to steal 50 or more bases in a season? It happened in 1988. Rickey Henderson stole 93 in that season, the last time the Yanks had a player reach the 50-steal mark in a season.
Here’s a look at the last time each of the major league teams had a player who stole 50 or more bases in a season.
American League teams
1988: New York Yankees (Rickey Henderson, 93)
1995: Texas (Otis Nixon, 50)
1996: Kansas City (Tom Goodwin, 66)
1997: Minnesota (Chuck Knoblauch, 62)
1998: Cleveland (Kenny Lofton, 54)
1998: Toronto (Shannon Stewart, 51)
2001: Detroit (Roger Cedeno, 55)
2001: Seattle (Ichiro Suzuki, 56)
2006: L.A. Angels (Chone Figgins, 52)
2007: Baltimore (Brian Roberts, 50)
2009: Tampa Bay (Carl Crawford, 60)
2010: Chicago White Sox (Juan Pierre, 68)
2010: Houston (Michael Bourne, 52)
2010: Oakland (Rajai Davis, 50)
2013: Boston (Jacoby Ellsbury, 52)
National League teams
1985: Philadelphia (Juan Samuel, 53)
1987: San Diego (Tony Gwynn, 56)
1990: San Francisco (Brett Butler, 51)
1991: Atlanta (Otis Nixon, 72)
1993: Washington (Marquis Grissom, 53)
1997: Cincinnati (Deion Sanders, 56)
1997: St. Louis (Delino DeShields, 55)
1998: Pittsburgh (Tony Womack, 58)
2004: Milwaukee (Scott Podsednik, 70)
2006: Chicago Cubs (Juan Pierre, 58)
2007: Arizona (Eric Byrnes, 50)
2007: Los Angeles Dodgers (Juan Pierre, 64)
2007: Miami (Hanley Ramirez, 51)
2008: Colorado (Willy Taveras, 68)
2008: New York Mets (Jose Reyes, 56)
* Note: Did you notice that one player, Juan Pierre, is the last player to steal 50 or more bases for three different teams (Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs and L.A. Dodgers), and Otis Nixon is the last player to steal 50-plus bases for two teams (Texas and Atlanta).
Will a full season of Ellsbury stealing bases lead the Yankees to a World Championship? We’ll have a few months to see how well this free agent signing plays out. No doubt the Bronx Bombers are hoping Ellsbury’s stolen base skill will be a catalyst in that journey back to the World Series.
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Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published daily that focuses on stats that go beyond the numbers.
How important is the home run to a team’s success?
If you ask the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros this morning, they will tell you that the long-ball is very important. The Yankees got a walk-off home run from Russell Martin on their way to a sweep of the cross-town rival Mets in yesterday’s 5-4 win. For the Astros, they slugged four home runs in Sunday’s 11-9 win over the Chicago White Sox.
But let’s get back to the question above. For the Yankees, Martin’s game-winner was his second four-bagger of the game. It was also the 31st game of the season where the Yankees have hit two or more home runs in a game. They have a record of 26 wins and only five losses in those games, an .839 winning percentage. What makes that stat even more remarkable is that when the Yankees do not hit a home run in a game, their record is 0-12!
Through games of May 10, teams that have multiple home run games have won 340 and lost 131, a .722 winning percentage. Teams that do not homer in a game have won 238 and lost 477, a winning percentage of .333… that’s a difference of .389!
Here’s a look at each of the 3o MLB teams and how well they have played in games where they hit multiple home runs and those games where they went homerless.
Multiple HR games/Homerless games (Pct. Difference)
N.Y. Yankees 26-5 .839/0-12 .000 (.839)
Boston 15-2 .882/4-17 .190 (.692)
Arizona 11-2 .846/6-18 .250 (.596)
Chicago White Sox 17-3 .850/4-11 .267 (.583)
St. Louis 18-6 .750/4-18 .182 (.568)
Cincinnati 16-5 .762/6-20 .231 (.531)
Texas 15-4 .789/4-11 .267 (.522)
Milwaukee 12-6 .667/3-16 .158 (.509)
Atlanta 15-3 .833/7-14 .333 (.500)
Minnesota 7-3 .700/6-22 .214 (.486)
Houston 10-3 .769/8-18 .308 (.461)
Baltimore 16-8 .667/3-11 .214 (.453)
Cleveland 10-3 .769/9-19 .321 (.448)
Pittsburgh 10-2 .833/12-17 .414 (.419)
Seattle 8-4 .667/6-17 .261 (.406)
Philadelphia 11-4 .733/9-18 .333 (.400)
Miami 11-4 .733/10-18 .357 (.376)
L.A. Angels 13-4 .765/9-12 .429 (.336)
Tampa Bay 13-4 .765/9-11 .450 (.315)
Toronto 17-7 .708/6-9 .400 (.308)
Kansas City 7-4 .636/9-18 .333 (.303)
Washington 11-2 .846/12-10 .545 (.301)
Oakland 8-5 .615/9-18 .333 (.282)
L.A. Dodgers 5-1 .833/16-12 .571 (.262)
Chicago Cubs 6-6 .500/8-21 .276 (.224)
Detroit 9-7 .563/9-14 .391 (.172)
Colorado 9-10 .474/7-14 .333 (.141)
N.Y. Mets 7-6 .538/13-17 .433 (.105)
San Francisco 5-3 .625/19-17 .528 (.097)
San Diego 2-5 .286/11-27 .289 (+.003)
Did you know?
* The Yankees have the most multi-HR games with 31. The Red Sox have the best winning percentage in multiple home run games with a .882 winning percentage (15-2)
* Colorado and San Diego are the only two teams that have a losing record in games where they hit two or more home runs. The Rockies are 9-10 and the Padres are 2-5 in multiple home run games.
* The Dodgers, Giants and Nationals are the only teams with winning records in games where they do not hit a home runs. The Padres have the most homerless games with 38.
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“SIX STATS…” is a bonus feature of Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ and is published every Friday.
2. The six teams that have played in the World Series but have never won are: Houston, Milwaukee (previously Seattle Pilots), San Diego, Colorado, Tampa Bay and Texas (could this be their year?). The two teams that have played in only one World Series but won that series are Arizona (2001) and Anaheim (2002).
3. The 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates are the last team to win a World Series Game Seven on the road. Game Seven has been won by the home team in the last eight World Series where a Game Seven has been played.
4. Eighteen of the 106 World Series have been four-game sweeps.
5. Two American League Wild Card teams have won the World Series: Anaheim (2002) and Boston (2004). Two National League Wild Card teams have won the World Series: Florida (1997) and Florida (2003).
6. The New York Yankees have played in 40 World Series, tops in the A.L. The St. Louis have now played in 18 World Series, tied with the Dodgers and Giants, for most appearances in the NL. The Yankees and the Cardinals have played against each other five times in the World Series (1926, 1928, 1942, 1943, 1964). Either the Yankees or the Cardinals (or both) have appeared in 53 of the 107 World Series.
Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a biweekly blog published every Wednesday and Friday with a bonus “SIX STATS…” posting every Friday.
Six of the eight teams that will play in the 2011 MLB postseason have been determined. The Wild Card berths are still up for grabs and we will have to wait until the final day of the season (and maybe longer!) to have a full compliment of playoff teams.
One thing is for certain… the New York Yankees are in the playoffs, a place they find themselves almost every year. In fact, the Yankees have played in 111 seasons since 1901 when the World Series began and they will be playing in their 50th postseason… a postseason appearance percentage of 45%. The surprise number two team in this stat are the Arizona Diamondbacks who have made the postseason in five of their 14 seasons (35.7%).
Here’s a look are what percentage of their franchise seasons each of the teams have played in the postseason since 1901.
Team Seasons in postseason Total seasons Pct
New York Yankees 50 111 45.0
Arizona 5 14 35.7
L.A. Dodgers 26 111 23.4
Oakland 23 111 20.7
San Francisco 23 111 20.7
Houston 9 50 18.0
L.A. Angels 9 51 17.6
Kansas City 7 43 16.3
Colorado 3 19 15.8
Chicago Cubs 16 111 14.4
Toronto 5 35 14.3
New York Mets 7 50 14.0
Philadelphia 14 111 12.6
Pittsburgh 14 111 12.6
Minnesota 14 111 12.6
Detroit 13 111 11.7
Cincinnati 13 111 11.7
San Diego 5 43 11.6
Seattle 4 35 11.4
Florida 2 19 10.5
Baltimore 11 111 9.9
Texas 5 51 9.8
Milwaukee 4 43 9.3
Cleveland 10 111 9.0
Chicago White Sox 9 111 8.1
Washington 1 43 2.3
The four teams fighting for the final two spots:
St. Louis 23 110 20.9
Atlanta 21 110 19.1
Boston 20 110 18.2
Tampa Bay 2 13 15.4
WE INTERRUPT THIS BLOG FOR A TRIVIA QUESTION. What team has the longest active streak of making the postseason? Answer at end of blog.
Here’s a question for you: Does the team that had the better regular season record have an advantage over its opponents in the postseason? In looking at the playoffs from 1995 to 2010, here’s what we found… In the League Division Series, the team with the better regular season record won 33 series, lost 28 series and three series were played by teams with the same regular season record. In the League Championship Series, the team with the better regular season record won 17 series, lost 13 series and two series were played by teams with the same regular season record. In the World Series, the team with the better regular season record won 7 series and lost 9 series.
TRIVIA ANSWER: The Philadelphia Phillies have the longest active playoff streak with five straight seasons in the postseason.