Clearing out the notebook
It’s amazing some of the things that you hear and find out at the ballpark. Earlier today I was flipping through my notebook and realized that most of the information that I discover getting ready for a game goes unused. Conversations in the clubhouse, chats in the dugout during BP, factoids gleaned from reading whatever I can find … all of that stuff frequently gets lost in the ether.
Well, not today. Today is the day that I clear out the notebook.
Russell Martin’s fingernails are painted white. Hong-Chih Kuo had a hard time seeing the signs on Monday, so Russell painted his nails white. It’s not nail polish … he found some White-Out in the clubhouse and is using that.
My buddy Ethan Cooperson of Stats.Inc came up with this beauty. Matt Kemp is third all-time in Batting Average – Balls in Play (minimum 1000 balls in play)… trailing only Ryan Howard and Babe Ruth. I know, its a quirky stat category .. but its still pretty cool to be just percentage points behind Babe Ruth in anything. BABIP is simply batting average with strikeouts taken out of the equation. Fundamentally it’s a gauge as to how hard a batter is hitting the ball. Entering Tuesday’s game, Ryan Howard was .414, Babe Ruth .406 and Matt Kemp .405. You can spin numbers a lot of ways, but this is still kind of neat.
Of the 50 active players in the Dodgers/Cardinals series this week, only two have homered in their first career big league at-bat. Stunningly both are pitchers. Adam Wainwright in 2006 off of SF LHP Noah Lowery and Guillermo Mota in 1999 while playing with the Expos. When I asked Guillermo about it he remembered it vividly, telling me that Orlando Cabrera was intentionally walked to get to him. Red Sox LHP Mark Guthrie threw him a fastball, a curve and then another fastball that he pounded for the homer. I checked his memory on Baseball-reference.com http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/MON/MON199906090.shtml, and he’s right on.
St. Louis pitcher Adam Wainwright grew up with and played middle school basketball with former Laker Kwame Brown. They both went to Glynn Academy in Brunswick, GA.
IF Mark Loretta came on to pitch for the second time in his career Tuesday in St. Louis. Loretta has not given up a run in 1.2 innings of work in career. When I asked him, he knew that he struck out Ruben Rivera and Chris Nichting back in 2001. I guess some things you don’t ever forget.
Loretta’s number at Northwestern University is not retired. But Joe Girardi’s is.
Speaking of retired numbers. The Cardinals have a bunch of numbers retired. Stan Musial, Enos Slaughter, Red Schoendienst, Bob Gibson, Dizzy Dean, Ozzie Smith, Bruce Sutter, Ken Boyer, Lou Brock and Rogers Hornsby but for some reason Joe “Ducky” Medwick hasn’t been honored. Medwick is the last National Leaguer to have a Triple Crown season. He’s a Hall of Famer and a Cardinal World Series Champion. I’m sure there is a reason for the omission, but I haven’t uncovered it yet.
James Loney tells me that he can still throw a 90-mph fastball. James was a big-time prospect as a left-handed pitcher coming out of high school. He thinks he still has it.
Joe Torre had a monster 1971 season here in St. Louis, winning the NL MVP with a .363 batting average, 230 hits and 137 RBI. Albert Pujols is a phenomenal player, but Joe’s BA and hit total are higher that anything Pujols has ever put up … and the 137 RBI are tied with Pujols’ best.
The notebook is now clear.
— Eric Collins