Daily Archives: October 2, 2011

’30-YOC Top Ten Lists’ – ‘Top Ten Surprises From The 2011 Baseball Season’

’30-YOC Top Ten Lists’ – ‘Top Ten Surprises From The 2011 Baseball Season’

Man, oh man – what a season it was!!!

Just days removed from the end of the 2011 major league baseball season and just days into the start of the playoffs, I am still very excited by all of the great action and performances we got to witness during the year.

So, here are my ‘Top Ten Surprises From The 2011 Baseball Season’:

Honorable Mention – Derek Jeter’s re-emergence as a star, Cliff Lee’s dominance, Ivan Nova’s success, Ryan Vogelsong’s future, Justin Masterson’s maturity, Eric Hosmer’s power, and Matt Morse’s play.

10 – Lance Berkman’s climb back to dominance and defensive presence after moving back to the outfield after many years as a first baseman.

9 – Roy Halladay’s ability to convert on a sacrifice.  In just his second season in the National League, Halladay converted 16 sacrifices, up from 2 in 2010.

8 – Ryan Braun’s chase for the batting title.  We all know that he is a superstar, and an all-around offensive weapon.  His .332 average is twenty points above his average – and his power numbers did not suffer one bit!!

7 – Matt Kemp’s emergence as a 5-tool player.  Kemp was the only real threat for the Triple Crown in 2011.  And when mixed with his success on the base paths and in the field, Kemp is building a solid career for himself.

6 – Victor Martinez’s ability to dominate.  On a roster full of young and incredible talent, it was V-Mart that rose to the occasion more often than his teammates.  With .330/12/103 on stat sheet, Martinez was the fuel to Detroit’s engine.

5 – Ian Kennedy’s 21-4 record.  Winning 84% of his starts, Kennedy makes a strong case for the Cy Young Award.  His 3.6:1 strikeout to walk ratio is unreal for a 26-year old in just his 2nd full season.

4 – Craig Kimbrel’s 46 saves – a rookie record.  Kimbrel was unreal for the Braves – and his 127 strikeouts in 77 innings pitched is the perfect recipe for a great closer.

3 – Dan Uggla’s 33-game hit streak.  It’s very rare that a slugger has the patience to put together a hit streak of this kind.  And while this was considered a ‘down’ year for Uggla as it relates to total hits and batting average, his 33-game hit streak was the league’s best of 2011.

2 – Curtis Granderson’s ability to compile stats like the big-boys.  We’ve all known that Granderson was a highly skilled player – but to do what he did in one season is remarkable.  1st in runs scored, 1st in RBI, 2nd in home runs, and 2nd in triples makes a strong argument for the AL MVP.

1 – James Shield’s 11 complete games.  Shields threw more complete games than 26 major league clubs – SERIOUSLY!!!  The last time a starting pitcher recorded double-digit complete games in one season?  1999.

And there you have it – my ‘Top Ten Surprises From The 2011 Baseball Season’.

Did I miss anything?  Let me hear it!!

And next week, we’ll take a look at my ‘Top Ten Disappointments From The 2011 Baseball Season’.

Thanks for reading!!

Reggie Jackson 2001 Upper Deck – UD Decades – 1970’s Super Powers

Reggie Jackson 2001 Upper Deck – UD Decades – 1970’s Super Powers

Upper Deck did some great work in 2001 with their ‘UD Decades’ line of baseball cards.  I have nabbed cards of Andre Dawson, Eddie Murray, Joe Morgan, and others from this series.

But no card that I have seen so far is as nice as this one of Reggie.

Take a look:

Captured in the backswing of what has to have been a monster home run, Jackson looks great on this card.

And then, when you add all of the flashy 1970’s graphic elements to it, you have a winner.  From the Purple & Pink starburst background to the font used for the ‘Super Powers’ title, this card screams 1970s!!!

Great job, Upper Deck!!!

Happy Anniversary Dwight ‘Doc’ Gooden!!!

Happy Anniversary Dwight ‘Doc’ Gooden!!!

On this day in 1986, Dwight Gooden recorded the 200th strikeout of his 1986 season.  And while there was a lengthy list of pitchers that had accomplished that feat prior to ‘Doc’, he was the first pitcher in major league history to collect more than 200 K’s in his first three big league seasons.

Amazingly, with all of the fireballers before his era, Gooden was the first.  Not Nolan Ryan or Tom Seaver or Bob Gibson or Jim Palmer.

Here is a closer look at those three historic years:

Season K’s
1984 276
1985 268
1985 200

Congratulations and Happy Anniversary to Dwight Gooden!!!

 

Happy Anniversary Bob Gibson!!!

Happy Anniversary Bob Gibson!!!

On this day in 1968, Bob Gibson struck out 17 batters in Game 1 of the World Series against the Detroit Tigers.  This is a World Series record that still stands today.

To be on the biggest stage in baseball and dominate the way he did shows how superior he was as a pitcher and competitor.

The full stat line from Gibson’s game looks like this – 9 innings pitched, 5 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk, 17 strikeout, WIN.

Happy Anniversary Mr. Gibson!!!

Happy Birthday Maury Wills!!!

Happy Birthday Maury Wills!!!

Maury Wills turns 79 years old today.

Wills was a player that arrived in the game one generation too early.  A speedy player with a knack for stealing bases and scoring runs, he was in a league of his own when it came to generating offense for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

He should certainly be credited for paving the way for the great runners that came after him.  He made the role of the base runner more important to a team’s roster, and he was rewarded for his efforts in 1962 by winning the MVP Award.

In ’62, he stole 104 bases, a major league record at the time.  Add to that his .299 batting average, 208 hits, and 130 runs scored and you have yourself a dynamic player.  He also was an All-Star in 1962; and he won a Gold Glove for his defensive work at shortstop.

For his career, Maury Wills stole 586 bases.  He completed his 14 years in the big leagues with a .281 average alongside 2,134 hits, 1,067 runs scored, 5 All-Star selections, 2 Gold Glove awards, and most important – 3 World Series championships!!!

Happy Birthday Mr. Wills!!!