Shane Victorino is in my Hall of Fame

Shane Victorino Cubs Twitter

Shane Victorino signed minor league deal with the Cubs. A great signing, even though the Cubs are full of outfielders already. He’s the type of player that I really enjoy.

  1. He doesn’t strike out much
  2. Can steal bases
  3. Is good defensively

Those three pieces of criteria is what I use to determine who is in MY Hall of Fame. You have to be good with a baseball bat (and that doesn’t mean pure power, it means being able to put the bat on the ball consistently), be a good runner on the basepaths, and be good in the field. All three basic elements of being a baseball player.

To make it into my Hall of Fame, you have to be in the top 10 at least once for AB/SO, SB, and Def Zone Runs. Shane Victorino has done accomplished all three categories:

Twice for AB/SO

  • 2009 NL 8.7 (7th)
  • 2011 NL 8.2 (10th)

Five times for SB

  • 2007 NL 37 (6th)
  • 2008 NL 36 (6th)
  • 2009 NL 25 (9th)
  • 2010 NL 34 (3rd)
  • 2012 NL 39 (4th)

Once for Zone Runs

  • 2013 AL 18 (4th)

He’s been in the top 10 for those three categories a total of 8 times. That places him as #15 in my Hall of Fame. Just above Al Kaline and Hank Aaron.

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T206 baseball cards taped onto bedroom wall

Young man in dormitory room

Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-DIG-npcc-30803 via baseballresearcher.blogspot.com

Imagine rare 1911 tobacco cards taped up on a bedroom wall. Crazy, right? We expect T205 and T206 baseball cards from 1909 and 1911 to be encased inside plexiglass cases.

In this 1911 photo from the Library of Congress, there are over 50 cards hanging on this bedroom wall. Look around the guy’s head, you’ll see a rectangle grid. Those are 1909 and 1911 baseball cards.

Tom Shieber of baseballresearcher.blogspot.com outlines every single one of these cards and identifies the exact card. Really, you should click over and see his analysis. He does a cool animated gif that shows the original photo and the actual baseball card photoshopped on top.

Quite amazing to spend the time matching up the cards to ones in the background of this photo.

Also very amazing to see how some of the first baseball cards ever produced were used and displayed. Pinned or taped up on a wall. We all become so amazed to see these cards clustered together on a wall, when today they are sealed in plexiglass cases. In this photo, the cards are allowed to live. To breath.

A couple years ago, I bought a T206 card off eBay. I took the card out of its plastic sleeve; and kept it stored loose in a box of gum. The texture of the card is amazing. One of these days, I’ll find a photo of this card in my old kitchen, and post it here.

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Starlin Castro’s ranking among the all-time Chicago Cubs greats

With Starlin Castro traded to the Yankees, where does he stand among the all-time Chicago Cubs greats? Starlin played six seasons for the Cubs. His 3,524 at bats places him 28th among all Cubs. Therefore, we can use that 28th ranking as a benchmark for his other stats. Anything above 28 would be above what is expected. Anything below 28 would be worse.

Infographic showing Castro's stats for all-time Cubs

Rank:

  • 11th: Ground into double plays
  • 15th: Strikeouts
  • 19th: Caught stealing
  • 22nd: Sacrifice flies
  • 22nd: Hit by pitch
  • 26th: Doubles

28th: At bats

  • 29th: Hits
  • 29th: Singles
  • 32nd: Stolen bases
  • 38th: Games
  • 39th: Homeruns
  • 41st: Triples
  • 42nd: RBI
  • 48th: Runs
  • 71st: Walks
  • 394th: Sacrifice hits

While I’m sad to see the era of Starlin Castro end with the Cubs, he didn’t exactly perform all that great. Castro’s three highest rankings are for ground into double plays, strikeouts, and caught stealing.

He does a smidge better with doubles. His hits and singles are pretty much where they should be for his 28th position in at bats. Then the other offensive stats rather fall down after that.

End result? Castro should be a top-30 Cubs based on the number of his at bats; however, we should remember Starlin Castro as a top-40 Cub. That’s actually quite good for his six seasons aged 20 to 25. We wish Starlin the best of luck with the Yankees. I hope he can end up ranking among the all-time Yankee greats (I say that with a tongue in cheek). As Bleed Cubbie Blue points out, “one thing he’ll have to change with the Yankees is his uniform number. No. 13 is taken — by Alex Rodriguez.”

To be fair with Castro on the SO, GiDP, and Caught Stealing; most modern-day players rank high in those areas. Comparatively you have old-timers that never struck out. Guys with names you never heard of like, like Eddie Zeb Terry and Doc Casey. They stack the Cubs ranking for least strikeouts.

Take a player’s at bat ranking subtract it from their strikeout ranking. Castro’s at bat ranking is 28. His strikeout ranking is 15. That gives him a -13.

Beloved Cubs AB/SO ranking worse than Castro are:

  • Geovany Soto -51
  • Kosuke Fukudome -42
  • Rick Monday -37
  • Ron Cey -36
  • Jody Davis -22
  • Derrek Lee -21
  • Joe Girardi -19
  • Randy Hundley -19

No surprises:

  • Jose Hernandez -59
  • Corey Patterson -44
  • Anthony Rizzo -36
  • Alfonso Soriano -26

But check out how some of the Cubs classics did:

  • Stan Hack 19
  • Mark Grace 12
  • Ernie Banks 3
  • Billy Williams 3
  • Ryne Sandberg 0
  • Gabby Hartnett 0
  • Ron Santo -2
  • Sammy Sosa -6

These are the guys you want to rank up against. And check out Sosa! Sure he’s #1 all-time in strikeouts with the Cubs. But he’s also #7 in at bats. And then some of the Cubs had totally amazing AB/SO ranking ratio:

  • Bill Madlock 136
  • Bill Buckner 122
  • Larry Bowa 118
  • Glenn Beckert 62
  • Bob Dernier 44

For those curious, here are the top 50 Cubs with the most at-bats:

  1. Ernie Banks (1953-1971) 9421 at bats
  2. Billy Williams (1959-1974) 8479
  3. Ryne Sandberg (1982-1997) 8379
  4. Ron Santo (1960-1973) 7768
  5. Stan Hack (1932-1947) 7278
  6. Mark Grace (1988-2000) 7156
  7. Sammy Sosa (1992-2004) 6990
  8. Phil Cavarretta (1934-1953) 6592
  9. Don Kessinger (1964-1975) 6355
  10. Gabby Hartnett (1922-1940) 6282
  11. Frank Schulte (1904-1916) 5837
  12. Joe Tinker (1902-1916) 5554
  13. Billy Herman (1931-1941) 5532
  14. Glenn Beckert (1965-1973) 5020
  15. Charlie Grimm (1925-1936) 4917
  16. Johnny Evers (1902-1913) 4858
  17. Bill Nicholson (1939-1948) 4857
  18. Shawon Dunston (1985-1997) 4570
  19. Woody English (1927-1936) 4296
  20. Aramis Ramirez (2003-2011) 4232
  21. Bill Buckner (1977-1984) 3788
  22. Frank Chance (1901-1912) 3787
  23. Kiki Cuyler (1928-1935) 3687
  24. Heinie Zimmerman (1907-1916) 3661
  25. Billy Jurges (1931-1947) 3658
  26. Andy Pafko (1943-1951) 3567
  27. Jimmy Sheckard (1906-1912) 3530
  28. Starlin Castro (2010-2015) 3524
  29. Derrek Lee (2004-2010) 3514
  30. Johnny Kling (1901-1911) 3493
  31. Riggs Stephenson (1926-1934) 3474
  32. Alfonso Soriano (2007-2013) 3403
  33. Jimmy Slagle (1902-1908) 3394
  34. Jody Davis (1981-1988) 3318
  35. Augie Galan (1934-1941) 3297
  36. Andre Dawson (1987-1992) 3262
  37. Keith Moreland (1982-1987) 3240
  38. Leon Durham (1981-1988) 3215
  39. Hank Sauer (1949-1955) 3165
  40. Randy Hundley (1966-1977) 3158
  41. Hack Wilson (1926-1931) 3154
  42. Dee Fondy (1951-1957) 3055
  43. Solly Hofman (1904-1916) 3046
  44. Max Flack (1916-1922) 3005
  45. Charlie Hollocher (1918-1924) 2936
  46. Jose Cardenal (1972-1977) 2918
  47. Ivan de Jesus (1977-1981) 2900
  48. Vic Saier (1911-1917) 2782
  49. Manny Trillo (1975-1988) 2713 (yes, Manny Trillo is on this list!)
  50. Sparky Adams (1922-1927) 2671

Where would you rank Starlin Castro among the all-time Cubs? Please leave your thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below.

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My scorecard request to the Cubs

My request to the Cubs for scorecards to be sold online

The final question on the Cubs survey (of about 25 questions) is: Please share any other comments or feedback you have for the Chicago Cubs.

Given my moment to let them know my request, I wrote:

I would like purchase authentic Cubs scorecards online from any series. Best if sold through Amazon Prime, so I don’t have to pay for shipping.

The Amazon Prime part might be a stretch. But hey, they are asking me for any feedback. This is my desire.

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MLB twitter accounts ranked by followers

The great data folks over at fivethirtyeight put together a great chart of all the MLB teams and their twitter follower numbers. The Cubs rank 9th overall, but are second in growth! Only the Blue Jays saw more growth with 570,000 new followers this year.
Chart of MLB accounts and number of followers

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Awkward celebration photos

Let's hug, but not really

The Kansas City Star ran this awkward photo of the catcher Drew Butera and relief pitcher Wade Davis celebrating. They are in an awkward embrace, like, “uhhh, yeah, we’ll kinda hug, but not really.” The actual celebration isn’t that akward, it’s just the timing of that particular photo. Odd that the hometown paper of the Royals went with that frame.

Topps celebrated the Met’s National League Championship with this awkward photo of Jeurys Familia and Travis d’Arnaud in an uncomfortable embrace.

Familia and d'Arnaud aren't so sure

It would be fun to see a series of awkward celebration photos. If anyone has some, please tweet them out and at-reply to @57hits. I’ll update this blog post with your tweets.

Just for the record, THIS is how you do a celebration:

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Two Cubs players have not thanked the fans on Twitter

Sixteen Cubs are on Twitter. 14 of them have tweeted thanks to the Cubs fans for the great season (see all 14 tweets). That means two of the Cubs players with Twitter accounts have not thanked the fans yet for the great season.

Javier Báez (@javy23baez) and Fernando Rodney (@F_Rodney56)

1. Javier Báez (@javy23baez) has a fair amount of tweets with 1,398; but none for the fans. However, he did play just 28 games due to an injury and the death of his close sister. We are definitely looking forward to what Báez will do next year.

2. Fernando Rodney is another player who spent only a small portion of the season with the Cubs. He arrived to the team via a trade on August 27th. Having only been with the team for a little longer than a month, it’s understandable that he didn’t thank the Cubs fans. Plus factor in that his twitter account @F_Rodney56 has only 228 tweets–where he mostly retweets images of himself doing the Air Arrow.

Maybe Rodney and Baez are enjoying their time off from the long season. Hopefully as the World Series continues, Rodney and Baez will give a shoutout to the Cubs fans.

Follow the 16 Cubs players via this handy Twitter list, 2015 Chicago Cubs players. I plan on making a new Cubs list for every year.

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