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Random Awesomeness (part 2019.15)

Random Awesomeness


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Fun Cards: 1982 Fleer Mike Trout

Mike Trout 1982 Fleer

Today is a league-wide day off in baseball. I wonder how many ballplayers are going fishing? I listened to the Baseball Beyond Batting Average Podcast over the weekend*, and the ‘casters made reference to a few players with fishy names. That got me to wondering if I could fill a team of players with fish-themed names. Sure enough, I came up with quite a roster that includes Hall of Famers, All-Stars, Gold Glovers, Silver Sluggers, Most Valuable Players, and even a Cy Young Award winner. Unfortunately, I don’t have any lefties in the bullpen.

Without further ado, here’s the fishiest team in major league history, complete with WAR and honors.

1B: Sid Bream 11.1 — No All-Star teams, but you remember the slide, right?
George “Catfish” Metkovich 4.9

2B: Johnny “Crab” Evers 47.7, MVP, HOF — Gonzalez-to-Evers-to-Chance doesn’t have quite the ring as the traditional Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance, does it?
Johnny Ray 24.2
Bob Fisher 6.8

3B: Melvin Mora 28.3, 2xAS, SS
Matt “Carp” Carpenter 26.2, 3xAS, SS — Is “Carp” really a nickname?

SS: Alex “Sea Bass” Gonzalez 9.2, 1xAS — I’ve never heard him called “Sea Bass,” but it’s on his Baseball-Reference page!
Bobby Sturgeon 1.3

LF: Jesse “Crab” Burkett 59.6, HOF
Ralph Garr 14.8 1xAS
Mike Carp 1.6
Showboat Fisher 1.4 — Low WAR, but what a name!

CF: Mike Trout 70.1, 8xAS, 2xMVP, ROY, 6xSS — Three Hall of Famers on the team, but this guy is by far the best and he’s not even done playing.
A.J. Pollock 19.5, 1xAS, GG
Lip Pike 14.3 — Could double as the team’s manager.
Snapper Kennedy -0.1

RF: Tim Salmon 40.6, ROY, SS — Never made an All-Star team. Unbelievable.
Oscar Gamble 22.9 — The ‘fro.
Kevin Bass 14.8, 1xAS
Oscar Mercado 0.8 — He’s the “Rated Rookie” of the bunch, the youngster is batting .281 in his first season with the Indians.

C: Oscar Stanage 4.0 — Catcher is truly the weakest position.
Ed Whiting 2.7
Hank Conger 2.1
Gus Fisher 0.4

RHP: Dizzy Trout 49.6, 2xAS
Jim “Catfish” Hunter 40.9, 8xAS, CY, HOF — If he didn’t already have a plaque in Cooperstown, I’m not positive I would support his induction. But I don’t go against the voters very often.
Ray Fisher 20.8
Cherokee Fisher 15.5
Jeff “Shark” Samardzija 12.6, 1xAS
George Haddock 9.9
Jack Fisher 4.4

LHP: Steve “RainbowTrout 13.3
Robbie Ray 8.9, 1xAS
Roger Salmon -0.4

RP: Eddie Fisher 10.1, 1xAS — He had a very good year in 1965 and finished 4th in AL MVP voting. Probably didn’t deserve quite that much support, though.
Art Herring 3.2
Brian Fisher 0.8
Brad Salmon 0.3
Anthony Bass 0.0

Down on the farm: Zander Clarke (1B, LF) — Currently in the Giants’ organization. He attended UCLA.
Zander Wiel (1B, LF) — A product of Vanderbilt, Wiel was a 12th round pick for the Twins and is currently in Rochester with the AAA Red Wings. He has a bit of pop in his bat; I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in Minnesota next year.

* If you don’t listen to the Baseball Beyond Batting Average Podcast, you’re missing out. A lot of great, entertaining baseball talk. They are currently doing some team “Mount Rushmore” themed shows, which is really fun to think about. The show is available on just about every podcast app, so search in whichever player you use.

The final nine

TWJ 2014

Barring unforeseen circumstances, the final nine 2014 TWJ baseball cards are in the books (the last two were uploaded this morning). The virtual set consists of 260 base cards, twenty-eight highlights, and an eighteen-card All-Star subset. The final nine were highlights, featuring each league’s Most Valuable Player (Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw), Cy Young (Corey Kluber and Kershaw), Manager of the Year (Matt Williams and Buck Showalter), and Rookie of the Year (Jacob deGrom and Jose Abreu) Award winners, and a special World Champions card for the San Francisco Giants featuring Series MVP Madison Bumgarner and his catcher Buster Posey.

I liked the 2014 TWJ set, and enjoyed producing these cards. I’m still tinkering with a design for 2015 and some possible subsets for the off-season. I hope you enjoyed it as well.

The full set (as well as previous years’ sets and subsets) can be viewed at TWJ cards on tumblr.

The BBBWARAOAAE congratulates Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw

Mike Trout MVP

The BBWAA finally got it right in the American League, unanimously crowning Mike Trout as the Most Valuable Player in 2014. In addition to his BBWAA hardware, the slugging outfielder takes home his second virtual trophy from the blogging community in 2014; he was named Rookie of the Year in 2012. He may have won an award in 2013 as well, had the chairman of the BBBWARAOAAE remembered to send out the ballots. Trout is only the tenth player ever to be listed first on all BBWAA ballots for the MVP; Albert Pujols was the last unanimous winner in 2009 for the St. Louis Cardinals. He was one vote away from unanimity from the BBBWARAOAAE as well; one voter listed Chicago rookie Jose Abreu above Trout.

Clayton Kershaw MVP

In the National League, the debate whether a pitcher should win MVP raged on, but in the end both the BBWAA and the BBBWARAOAAE selected Clayton Kershaw as the Most Valuable Player. Hotly contested until the very end of the season, Giancarlo Stanton‘s injuries may have cost him the award. Of course, the early season front-runner was Troy Tulowitzki; no BBBWARAOAAE listed the shortstop on their ballot, but one kind BBWAA member recognized Tulo and listed him in last place.

AMERICAN LEAGUE MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

NAME FIRST PLACE

VOTES

BBBWARAOAAE

POINTS

BBWAA (place)
1. Mike Trout 18 94 420 (1)
2. Victor Martinez 36 229 (2)
3. Jose Abreu 1 24 145 (4)
4. Robinson Cano 16 124 (6)
5. Michael Brantley 13 185 (3)
6. Nelson Cruz 12 102 (7)
7. Josh Donaldson 11 96 (8)
8. Felix Hernandez 10 48 (10)
9. Miguel Cabrera 7 82 (9)
10. Jose Altuve 6 41 (13)
11t. Corey Kluber 4 45 (11)
11t. Jose Bautista 4 128 (5)
13t. Alex Gordon 2 44 (12)
13t. Adam Jones 2 34 (14)
15t. Steve Pearce 1 n/a
15t. Kyle Seager 1 1 (20)
15t. Adrian Beltre 1 22 (15)
x. Greg Holland n/a 13 (16)
x. Albert Pujols n/a 5 (17)
x. Howie Kendrick n/a 3 (18t)
x. James Shields n/a 3 (18t)

NATIONAL LEAGUE MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

NAME FIRST PLACE

VOTES

BBBWARAOAAE

POINTS

BBWAA (place)
1. Clayton Kershaw 12 77 355 (1)
2. Giancarlo Stanton 5 56 298 (2)
3. Andrew McCutchen 1 53 271 (3)
4. Jonathan Lucroy 13 167 (4)
5. Anthony Rendon 7 155 (5)
6t. Johnny Cueto 3 22 (12)
6t. Anthony Rizzo 3 37 (10)
6t. Buster Posey 3 152 (6)
9t. Yasiel Puig 2 8 (19t)
9t. Justin Morneau 2 2 (23t)
9t. Carlos Gomez 2 13 (16)
12t. Devin Mesoraco 1 5 (21)
12t. Ben Revere 1 n/a
x. Adrian Gonzalez n/a 57 (7)
x. Adam Wainwright n/a 53 (8)
x. Josh Harrison n/a 52 (9)
x. Hunter Pence n/a 34 (11)
x. Russell Martin n/a 21 (13)
x. Matt Holliday n/a 17 (14t)
x. Jhonny Peralta n/a 17 (14t)
x. Justin Upton n/a 10 (17)
x. Jayson Werth n/a 9 (18)
x. Denard Span n/a 8 (19t)
x. Lucas Duda n/a 3 (22)
x. Freddie Freeman n/a 2 (23t)
x. Dee Gordon n/a 1 (25t)
x. Troy Tulowitzki n/a 1 (25t)

Fun Cards Submission: 1983 Fleer “Superstar Special” Jersey Boys

Jersey Boys Trout and Frazier 2014 MLB All-Star Game

Paying tribute to the “Superstar Specials” that appeared in Fleer sets from 1983 onward, TWJ contributor Patrick sent over this nice “Jersey Boys” card featuring Angels outfielder (and future Hall of Famer) Mike Trout and Reds third baseman Todd Frazier. Trout hails from Millville, NJ, while Frazier grew up over an hour away in Toms River. They were born about five and a half years apart, so I doubt they ever faced each other in competitions growing up, but the connection is still there. It was great seeing Frazier having so much fun in Minneapolis this year, and I hope he gets to experience that for many years to come.

While he was at it, Patrick had a little fun with one of the 2014 TWJ originals…

Trout Subway

Trout is a paid spokeman for Subway, and appears in this hilarious commercial for the restaurant chain:

Patrick’s “improvement” to my card definitely brought a smile to my face. Thanks again for all your great work, Patrick!

I see many MVP awards in this guy’s future

Trout MVP

Mike Trout is a beast.

Amazing Athletes: Mike Trout by Jon M. Fishman (2014)

Trout Amazing Athletes

Amazing Athletes: Mike Trout
by Jon M. Fishman
Lerner, 2014
32 pages

I fondly remember checking out small books from the library about my favorite athletes, from Michael Jordan to John Elway to Don Mattingly. Children today can do the same with the “Amazing Athletes” series of books published by Lerner. Baseball, football, basketball and other sports stars are the subjects of these books. I recently received a copy of the book dedicated to Mike Trout, and it is very similar to the books I enjoyed in my youth, with brief biographical information and several color photographs. The recommended age range is second to fifth grade, though most fifth graders would probably find the content a bit under their level. For younger sports fans, they are a nice introduction to terminology of the game and generally encourage the reader to work hard toward personal goals.

Learn more about Lerner.

Purchase Amazing Athletes: Mike Trout by Jon M. Fishman.

My 2014 MLB All-Star Ballot

2014 ballot

In the American League, I vote with my head for the most part. Who is having the best year at each position? There are a few exceptions to this:

  • Derek Jeter will always get my vote at shortstop. Especially this year, his last. He has been a classy individual during his entire career, and deserves to be honored at the All-Star Game just as Cal Ripken was in 2001 and Mike Schmidt was in 1989.
  • Mike Trout will likewise always get my vote in the outfield. He is hands-down my favorite non-Reds player.
  • I despise designated hitters, so I chose the one with the worst stats. Logan Morrison for the win!

In the National League, I’m Reds almost-all-the-way. I do not like Ryan Ludwick. Not even a little. So he will not ever get my support for the All-Star Game. Giancarlo Stanton is my third outfielder behind Jay Bruce and Billy Hamilton.

How many of these guys do I expect to actually get selected? On the American League side, I believe they all deserve it (except Morrison). On the National League side, not so much. As I mentioned yesterday, Todd Frazier and Devin Mesoraco are having career years so far. I would love to see them get the call. Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips might actually get voted in by the fans, and while they wouldn’t be the worst selections ever, there are others having better years.

Is Hamilton fever alive outside of Cincinnati? I have no idea. But it’s pretty hard to compete with Stanton, Justin Upton, and a handful of other outfielders that are drilling baseballs like Black & Decker are paying them. In all honesty, Hamilton’s stats don’t warrant an All-Star appearance this year, but he is a lot of fun to watch running around the bases when he can get on.

At shortstop, Troy Tulowitzki is having his best year ever, but will he be able to defeat the name recognition of Hanley Ramirez?

Who do you have on your ballot?

Announcing the BBBWARAOAAE American League Rookie of the Year…

It was a last-minute, but not altogether hare-brained idea. Tired of the pros always having the ultimate say in who is the best, I decided that the fans should have a say. And so the Base Ball Blog Writers And Readers Association Of America And Elsewhere was born. I sent out some e-mails and made an announcement here that I would take your votes and tabulate the winners for Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, and Cy Young Award in each league, as well as the best player not in the Hall of Fame. You were permitted to submit a top-five list for each category. The #1 name on your list received seven points, #2 four, #3 three, #4 two, and #1 one (the same scoring system used for the BBWAA MVP voting). This week we’ll begin looking at the results, starting with the one that really had no competition…

Trout

American League Rookie of the Year

NAME 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th TOTAL
Mike Trout 6 42
Yoenis Cespedes 5 20
Yu Darvish 1 2 2 14
Jarrod Parker 1 1 1 6
Jesus Montero 1 1 5
Will Middlebrooks 1 1 5
Matt Moore 1 3
Scott Diamond 1 1
Brent Lawrie 1 1
Tommy Milone 1 1
Ryan Cook 1 1

Ballots are revealed at each voter’s discretion. Justin’s World and Lifetime Topps Project each posted their picks on their respective sites.

While I was a little disappointed in the voter turnout, I do believe this award will probably line up well with the professionals’ picks. Perhaps next year I will organize the event a little better and more will respond to the call.

Come back tomorrow for the National League Rookie of the Year, which turned out to be a much closer race with what many may consider a surprise winner.

TWJ 2012: Mike Trout

The second card in the 2012 TWJ set is rookie sensation Mike Trout, outfielder for the team with the longest name in all of professional sports (someone should probably fact check the last part of that sentence). Have they already made his plaque for the Hall of Fame? He is a shoo-in for first ballot induction. Come back in twenty-five years and tell me if I was wrong about that.

rookie sensation

Large photo credit: Kelvin Kuo/US Presswire
Inset photo credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/US Presswire

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