Friday, September 22, 2017

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Monday, June 12, 2017

Triple Crown Leaders

[Updated 6/11/2017, prompted by Aaron Judge leading the AL in the Triple Crown categories]

From the Bill James mailbag, May 11, 2012:
my boring question is one i don't know how to find the answer to myself: what is the latest in the season that a player has led mlb in these three categories through the years? how recently has someone come remotely close to doing this, particularly in the era of expansion? thanks.
Asked by: yorobert

Triple Crown league leaders at any point in the season, 1952-2016:

(last day)
Passed by 
(if post-April)
Al RosenCLEAL195235/10
Phil Rizzuto (avg)
Dom DiMaggio (a)
Hank SauerCHNNL1952125/30-5/31
Joe Adcock (a)
Jackie Robinson (a)
Al RosenCLEAL195318/23.325-33-116Mickey Vernon (a)Rosen lost the batting title by one hit to Vernon.
Sid GordonMLNNL195314/13.500-0-1Braves-Reds was the only NL game on Opening Day.
Roy CampanellaBRONL195384/14

Richie Ashburn (a)
Sammy WhiteBOSAL195424/15-4/17.750-2-5
Al RosenCLEAL195415/22.378-10-40Bobby Avila (a)
Stan MusialSLNNL1954105/9-5/15
Ray Jablonski (a)
Hank Sauer (hr)
Ray Jablonski (a)
Ray Jablonski (a)

Al KalineDETAL1955104/17-4/22

Ray Boone (rbi)

Bob NiemanCHAAL195514/23.500-5-14The White Sox won 29-6.
Mickey MantleNYAAL19561194/25

Yogi Berra (r)
Ted Williams (a)
Ted Williams (a)
Ted Williams (a)
Ted Williams (a)
Ted Williams (a)
Ted Williams (a)

Ray JablonskiCINNL195624/19-4/20.500-2-5
Dale LongPITNL195675/23-5/29.398-14-37Rip Repulski (a)Long hit homers in 8 consecutive games May 19-28.
Gus TriandosBALAL195714/15.500-1-4Orioles-Senators was the only AL game on Opening Day.
Mickey MantleNYAAL195717/13.371-24-60Bill Skowron (r)
Hank AaronMLNNL1957325/19-5/23
Frank Robinson (a)
Stan Musial (a)
Stan Musial (r)
 Stan Musial (a)
Musial hit .470 from August 16 on. 
Aaron finished 3rd in average behind Musial and Mays.
Jackie JensenBOSAL195814/14.500-1-2Red Sox-Senators was the only AL game on Opening Day
Bob CervKC1AL195824/30
.403-8-24Brooks Robinson (a)
Sherm Lollar (a)
Frank RobinsonCINNL195914/9.500-1-3Pirates-Reds was the only NL game on Opening Day
Roger MarisNYAAL196017/9.324-27-69Al Smith (a) & Pete Runnels (a)
Wally MoonLANNL1961144/19-4/29

Joe Cunningham (a)
Hank Aaron (r)
Bob JohnsonWS2AL196214/9.750-1-2Tigers-Senators was the only AL game on Opening Day
Al KalineDETAL196255/10-5/11
Mickey Mantle (a)
Manny Jimenez (a)
Leon WagnerLAAAL196336/1
Frank Malzone (a)
 Bob Allison (h)
Al KalineDETAL196316/13.352-15-48Bob Allison (h)
Willie MaysSFNNL1964314/23-5/20
Billy Williams (a)
Billy Williams (a)
Roberto Clemente (a)
Ernie BanksCHNNL196514/20.500-3-12
Frank RobinsonBALAL1966218/19-9/5
Boog Powell (r)
Robinson reclaimed the RBI lead on the 15th.
Tony Oliva took the average lead on the 9th.
Bill RobinsonNYAAL196714/10.500-1-2Yankees-Senators was the only AL game on Opening Day.
Bill FreehanDETAL196714/22.424-4-13
Al KalineDETAL1967195/5-5/18
Frank Robinson (h)
Frank Robinson (h)
Frank Robinson (h)
Frank RobinsonBALAL196756/10
Al Kaline (r)
Killebrew (h) & Yastrzemski (a)
Carl YastrzemskiBOSAL1967129/18
Frank Robinson (a)

 Yastrzemski went 20 for 37 from September 20 on.
Lou BrockSLNNL1967114/18-4/19

Tony Gonzalez (a)
Frank HowardWS2AL1968235/15-6/1
Carl Yastrzemski (a)
Carl Yastrzemski (a)
Carl Yastrzemski (a)
Howard hit 10 HR in 6 games May 12-18.
Brant AlyeaMINAL197044/7-4/8
Hank AaronATLNL197024/10-4/11.500-2-8
Tony PerezCINNL1970154/19-5/1
Rico Carty (a)
Rico Carty (a)
Rico Carty (a)
Bobby DarwinMINAL1972114/19-4/25

Steve Braun (a)
Dick AllenCHAAL1972108/27-9/4
Rod Carew (a)
Rod Carew (a)

Allen hit .217 after the 8th and finished 9 points behind Carew.
Carlton FiskBOSAL197314/7.750-2-6
Cleon JonesNYNNL197314/61.000-2-3
Reggie JacksonOAKAL197415/12.385-11-30Rod Carew (a)
Gary CarterMONNL197514/7.750-1-4
Hank AaronMILAL197614/8.666-0-3Yankees-Brewers was the only AL game on Opening Day.
Jim SpencerCHAAL197614/91.000-1-3
Ron CeyLANNL197754/25-4/28

Ted Simmons (a)
Craig ReynoldsSEAAL197814/5.750-1-2
Jim RiceBOSAL197815/9.379-10-34Rod Carew (a)Rice finished 18 points behind Carew.
Joe MorganCINNL197814/6.750-1-5
Rick MondayLANNL197874/19-4/21

J. Morgan (r) & J. Burroughs (a)
Richie HebnerNYNNL197914/5.800-1-4
John MayberryTORAL198014/9.800-2-3
Keith MorelandCHNNL198214/5.750-1-2
George BrettKCAAL198314/26.481-5-19
Eddie MilnerCINNL198424/2-4/3.750-1-3
Mike MarshallLANNL198414/5.500-1-6
Pete RoseCINNL198514/8.666-0-3
Dale MurphyATLNL1985254/11

Tom Herr (a)
Kirk GibsonDETAL198624/7
Dave ParkerCINNL198614/15.480-4-9
Eric DavisCINNL198794/6

Andre Dawson (r)
Jeffrey Leonard (a)
George BellTORAL198814/6.888-3-5
Kal DanielsCINNL198844/9-4/12.481-4-12
Bobby BonillaPITNL198815/31.342-13-43Rafael Palmeiro (a)
Von HayesPHINL198934/10
Sam HornBALAL199014/11.666-2-6
Sammy SosaCHAAL199114/8.750-2-5
Dave HendersonOAKAL199125/11-5/12.360-9-26Wally Joyner (a)
Gary SheffieldSDNNL199228/22-8/23.338-27-87F. McGriff (h) & D. Daulton (r)
Barry BondsSFNNL199334/25

Matt Williams (h)
Dante BichetteCOLNL199444/11
Raul MondesiLANNL199514/25.750-2-4
Matt WilliamsSFNNL1995155/27-6/10.380-13-35Reggie Sanders (r)Williams broke a bone in his foot June 3 and missed 2-1/2 months.
Sandy AlomarCLEAL199714/15.564-6-14
Larry WalkerCOLNL1997314/10

Jeff Blauser (a)
Jeff Bagwell (h)
Chipper JonesATLNL199824/20-4/21.410-9-26
Vladimir GuerreroMONNL200054/5
Shannon StewartTORAL200114/1.600-1-2
Manny RamirezBOSAL200116/3.380-18-60Bret Boone (r)
Barry BondsSFNNL200234/3-4/5.636-5-11
Alfonso SorianoNYAAL200314/27.387-9-25
Reggie SandersPITNL200314/5.571-4-11
Dmitri YoungDETAL200514/41.000-3-5
Derrek LeeCHNNL2005254/27-4/28

Clint Barmes (a)
Clint Barmes (a)
Miguel Cabrera (a)
Carlos Lee (r)
 Andruw Jones (h) & C. Lee (r)
 Andruw Jones (h) & C. Lee (r)
Carlos Lee (r)
Chris SheltonDETAL200664/8
Albert PujolsSLNNL200614/31.000-2-4
Miguel CabreraFLONL200734/4-4/5
A.J. PierzynskiCHAAL200824/4-4/5.529-2-7
Josh HamiltonTEXAL200825/22
Joe Mauer (a)
Hideki Matsui (a)
Chipper JonesATLNL200814/18.454-6-18
Vernon WellsTORAL201014/7.714-3-6
Miguel CabreraDETAL201017/6.343-21-73Jose Bautista (h)
Andre EthierLANNL2010125/7-5/18.392-11-38Kelly Johnson (h)
J.P. ArencibiaTORAL201114/1.750-2-5
David FreeseSLNNL201214/4.600-0-2Cardinals-Marlins was the only NL game on Opening Day.
Josh HamiltonTEXAL2012174/17

Derek Jeter (a)
Paul Konerko (a)
Matt KempLANNL201294/21-4/26

Andre Ethier (r)
Miguel CabreraDETAL201279/22-9/23
Josh Hamilton (h)
Chris DavisBALAL201334/5-4/6
Scott Van SlykeLANNL201413/22.667-1-2Dodgers-Diamondbacks was the first series of the season.
Nolan ArenadoCOLNL201514/6.750-1-4
Adrian GonzalezLANNL201534/8-4/9
Nelson CruzSEAAL201535/15
Jose Iglesias (a)
Kendrys Morales (r)
Mark TrumboBALAL201624/17-4/18.386-5-11

* Only includes days in which at least one league game was played.

** Player must have met the minimum league standards for plate appearances per team game to qualify, as described here.

The information used here was obtained free of charge from and is copyrighted by Retrosheet. Interested parties may contact Retrosheet at "".

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Sunday, February 05, 2017

All in the Videos: Suge Knight, Defensive Lineman


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Sunday, January 15, 2017

NFL fair catch kick attempts

[Updated with Phil Dawson's missed fair catch kick.]

What is a fair catch kick?
After a fair catch, an NFL team has the right to take a free kick from the line of scrimmage on the next play. If the kick goes through the uprights, the kicking team scores 3 points. It is also known as a "free kick field goal."

What special rules apply?
1. There is no snap.
2. The defense must stand at least 10 yards from the line of scrimmage until the ball is kicked.
3. The kicking team may not use a tee. The ball must be placed or drop-kicked.
4. Even if time expired on the preceding play, the fair-catching team may still attempt the kick.

Is there a fair catch kick rule in college football?
Not since 1949. After that season, college football eliminated all fair catches, but that proved impractical. Following the 1950 season, college football restored the fair catch, but explicitly removed the fair catch kick rule. However, the rule still exists in high school football.

Why hasn't the fair catch kick been eliminated from the NFL rulebook, when it's clearly a remnant of pre-modern football?
I'm not sure, but inertia is the likely reason. Mac Percival's game-winning kick in 1968 sparked the NFL to re-evaluate the rule that offseason, but no change was made.

Who is the most visible proponent of the fair catch kick?
John Madden. Whenever a team is trapped deep in its own territory near the end of a half, Madden will mention the fair catch kick, and mention that he always wanted to try one, but never had the chance. Ironically, the Madden series of video games has never included the fair catch kick, though its sister franchise, NCAA Football, contains the equally-obscure one-point safety.

How many times has a fair catch kick been attempted in an NFL game?
Art McNally, the NFL assistant supervisor of officials, admitted in 2004 that the NFL has no idea. It's impossible to determine through box scores; a successful fair catch kick is recorded as a field goal, and an unsuccessful one is recorded as a missed field goal. The only possible way is through contemporary game reports, and some of those don't detail the specifics of a 2nd quarter field goal. Fred Cox's 1966 fair catch kick came in the 2nd quarter of a December game between the 1-10 Falcons and the 3-7-1 Vikings; game articles about the game in major newspapers are, understandably, one or two paragraphs long and make no mention of it. I originally found reference to it in a Cox quote after Cofer's 1989 fair catch kick, and later found confirmation in the Atlanta Journal game report.

(All games here have been 100% verified. The list is likely incomplete, but is definitely complete for 1964-1968 and 1986-2014.)

Regular season:

1. George Abramson, Green Bay vs. Chicago Cardinals, November 8, 1925.
Good from 35 in the 4th quarter. The kick gave the Packers a 6-0 lead, but the Cardinals would score on their next two drives to win 9-6. (For some reason, the Packers decided to kick off after the Cardinals scored the tying touchdown. The Cardinals promptly drove the field for the winning field goal.)

2. Ken Strong, New York Giants vs. Green Bay, November 26, 1933.
Good from 30 yards in the 3rd quarter.

3. Ben Agajanian, New York Giants vs. Pittsburgh, October 23, 1955.
Missed from 56 yards with about 30 seconds left in the first half.

4. Gordy Soltau, San Francisco vs. Detroit, November 2, 1958.
Wide right from 61 yards with 15 seconds left in the first half.

5. Sam Baker, Philadelphia vs. New York Giants, September 13, 1964.
Short from 47 yards at the end of the first half.

6. Paul Hornung, Green Bay vs. Chicago, September 13, 1964.
Good from 52 yards at the end of the first half.

7. Fred Cox, Minnesota vs. Atlanta, December 4, 1966.
Good from 40 yards at the end of the first half.

8. Bruce Gossett, Los Angeles Rams vs. Detroit, November 23, 1967.
Short from 55 yards with 3 seconds in the first half.

9. Mac Percival, Chicago vs. Green Bay, November 3, 1968.
Good from 43 yards with 20 seconds left (won 13-10).

10. Fred Cox, Minnesota vs. San Francisco, December 8, 1968.
Short from 47 yards at the end of the first half.

11. Curt Knight, Washington vs. San Francisco, October 5, 1969.
Wide left from 56 yards with 2 seconds left (tied 17-17).

12. Horst Muhlmann, Cincinnati vs. San Diego, September 21, 1969.
Short and wide from 60 yards at the end of the first half.

13. Tom Dempsey, New Orleans vs. San Francisco, November 23, 1969.
Short and wide left from 57 yards, likely at the end of the first half.

14. Jim Bakken, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh, November 30, 1969.
Short from 60 yards at the end of the first half.

15. Sam Baker, Philadelphia vs. San Francisco, December 21, 1969.
Wide from 46 yards near the end of the first half.

16. Curt Knight, Washington vs. Denver, November 1, 1970.
Wide left from 49 yards at the end of the first half.

17. David Ray, Los Angeles Rams vs. Baltimore Colts, November 8, 1971.
Missed from 45 yards at the end of the first half.

18. Horst Muhlmann, Cincinnati vs. Kansas City, October 21, 1973.
Short from 57 yards at the end of the first half.

19. Ray Wersching, San Diego vs. Buffalo, November 21, 1976.
Good from 45 at the end of the first half. This kick put the Chargers up 27-10, and so is missing from most brief recaps of the game. This, not Mac Percival's game-winner in 1968, is the last known successful NFL free kick.

20. Mark Moseley, Washington vs. New York Giants, November 25, 1979.
Short from 74 (yes, 74) yards near the end of the game (the Redskins were trailing 14-6 and hoped to score quickly & recover the onside kick; there was no 2-point conversion rule until 1994).

21. Fred Steinfort, Denver vs. New England, September 29, 1980.
Short from 73 yards at the end of the first half. The game was in Foxboro.

22. Raul Allegre, Indianapolis vs. New England, November 18, 1984.
Short from 61 yards at the end of the first half. This is probably the only fair catch kick after a kickoff; the Patriots, up 26-10 right before halftime, tried to onside kick.

23. Rob Bironas, Tennessee vs. Houston Texans, October 9, 2005.
Short from 58 yards at the end of the first half.

24. Neil Rackers, Arizona vs. New York Giants, November 23, 2008.
Short and wide left from 68 yards at the end of the first half.

25. Mason Crosby, Green Bay vs. Detroit, December 29, 2008.
Just short from 69 yards at the end of the first half.

26. Phil Dawson, San Francisco vs. St. Louis, September 26, 2013.

Short and wide left from 71 yards at the end of the first half.


1. Lou Michaels, Baltimore Colts vs. Dallas, January 9, 1966 (NFL Playoff Bowl).
Wide from 57 yards at the end of the first half.

2. Mike Cofer, San Francisco vs. Minnesota, January 1, 1989 (NFC Divisional Playoff).
Short from 60 yards at the end of the first half.


1. Bobby Howfield, New York Jets vs. Oakland, August 14, 1971 (preseason).
Short from 52 yards at the end of the first half.

2. Chester Marcol, College All-Stars vs. Dallas, July 28, 1972 (preseason).
Short from 68 yards at the end of the first half.

3. Mac Percival, Chicago vs. Houston Oilers, August 9, 1972 (preseason).
Short from 60 yards with 15 seconds left.  The Bears recovered the loose ball on the Oilers' 1 and kicked the winning convential field goal on the next play.

4. Horst Muhlmann, Cincinnati vs. Atlanta, September 2, 1973 (preseason).
Wide right from 50 yards at the end of the first half.

5. Pepe Guzman, San Francisco vs. San Diego, August 16, 1974 (preseason).
Short from 60 yards with 3 seconds left in the first half.

6. Rafael Septien, Dallas vs. Houston Oilers, August 30, 1986 (preseason).
Missed from 53 yards with 24 seconds left at the end of the game (lost 17-14).

7. Chris Gardocki, Chicago vs. Philadelphia, August 8, 1993 (preseason).
Short from 63 yards at the end of the first half.

Opportunity for fair catch kick passed up (includes only fair catches made with no time remaining, or where the fair-catching team attempted a field goal on the next play):

1. Detroit vs. Baltimore Colts, November 25, 1965.

Tied at 24, the Lions fair caught a punt on the Baltimore 42 with 24 seconds left. However, they inexplicably decided to attempt a 50-yard FG from scrimmage rather than the 42-yard free kick; Wayne Walker's attempt was low, nearly blocked, and came up short. The game ended in a 24-24 tie.

2. Kansas City vs. Miami, December 25, 1971 (AFC Divisional Playoff).
Tied at 24, the Chiefs fair caught a punt at their own 32 near the end of regulation. Chiefs' coach Hank Stram feared a Mercury Morris return of a short miss of the 68-yard FG, and decided not to kick.

3. New England vs. New York Jets, October 12, 1986
Down 31-24, Irving Fryar inexplicably fair caught a punt deep in his own territory with no time left. The Patriots didn't request the kick, nor did the referees ask them if they wanted one; referee Jerry Seeman said after the game that "it's the player's responsibility to come and ask for the extension." For those interested, the Patriots were favored by 7, so a successful kick would have had no impact on the spread.

4. Dallas vs. Atlanta, September 20, 1999.
Wayne McGarity fair caught a punt on the Atlanta 47 with no time left in the first half. Dallas coach Chan Gailey knew of the rule, and had specifically instructed McGarity to fair catch the punt if it was inside the 50, but Gailey forgot that he would be able to attempt the kick with no time left on the clock. Instead, the Cowboys went to the locker room.

5. Detroit vs. Chicago, October 30, 2005.
Tied at 13, Eddie Drummond fair caught a punt at his own 28 with no time left in regulation. The Lions reasonably declined the chance at making an 82-yard free kick, and the game went to overtime.

6. Arizona vs. St. Louis, September 24, 2006.
Down 16-14, Troy Walters fair caught a punt at his own 33 with no time left in regulation. Arizona's Robert Griffith was offside on the punt, but Rams coach Scott Linehan declined the penalty, thinking the game was over. Neil Rackers and the Cardinals' field goal unit lined up for the 77-yard free kick, but the Rams, given another chance to accept the penalty, did so, and took a knee on the final play of the game.

7. Dallas vs. Green Bay, January 15, 2017 (NFC Divisional Playoffs).
The Cowboys' Cole Beasley fair caught a punt at his own 38 with no time left in the first half.  Dallas headed straight for the locker room, and the FOX broadcast crew made no mention of the fair catch kick opportunity.

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Sunday, January 08, 2017

A Season in Eleven Transactions

August 31, 1978

September 1, 1978

early September, 1978

September 7, 1978

October 12, 1978

October 18, 1978

October 31, 1978

November 16, 1978

November 28, 1978

November 30, 1978

June 23, 1979

Monday, December 26, 2016

Simple NFC Tiebreaker Chart, 2016, After Week 16

Notes and assumptions:
  1. Tiebreaker winners are as they would be if the teams were tied at the end of the season, NOT as if the season ended right now.
  2. Tiebreakers that don't affect playoff berths or seeding are ignored.  (Example: If NYG and GB both finish 10-6, GB wins the NFC North, but NYG doesn't win the NFC East.)
  3. Division ties are broken first. 
  4. If three or more teams are tied, apply that tiebreaker, not the two-team tiebreaker.
  5. Strength of victory is the combined winning percentage (essentially, the number of wins) of the teams a team has beaten. It has nothing to do with point totals.
  6. Two ties equal one win and one loss.
  7. Clinched division and home-field advantage: DAL.
  8. Clinched division: SEA, ATL.
  9. Clinched wild card and #5 seed: NYG.
  10. Eliminated: SF, CHI, LA, PHI, ARI, NO, CAR, MIN, NO.
  11. Eliminated from division: WAS, TB.
  12. The complete tiebreaker rules are here.
NFC Division Tiebreakers after Week 16:
Tied TeamsRecordWinnerWhy?

NFC Wild Card and Seeding Tiebreakers after Week 16:
Tied TeamsRecordExtra conditions (all must occur)WinnerWhy?

WAS-GB8-6-2 v. 9-7
DETcommon opponents
DETcommon opponents
DET-SEA10-6 v. 9-5-2
DETconference record
GB-TB9-7DAL loses to PHI or
IND loses to JAX or
TEN loses to HOU or
SF loses to SEA
GBstrength of victory
GB-TB9-7DAL beats PHI
IND beats JAX
TEN beats HOU
SF beats SEA
GBstrength of schedule

GBconference record

DETWAS eliminated on conference record;
common opponents
WAS-GB-TB8-6-2 v. 9-7
v. 9-7
DAL loses to PHI or
IND loses to JAX or
TEN loses to HOU or
SF loses to SEA
GBWAS eliminated on conference record;
strength of victory
WAS-GB-TB8-6-2 v. 9-7
v. 9-7
DAL beats PHI
IND beats JAX
TEN beats HOU
SF beats SEA
TBWAS eliminated on conference record;
strength of victory
DET-ATL-SEA10-6 v. 10-6
v. 9-5-2

DETSEA eliminated on conference record;
common opponents
GB-ATL-SEA10-6 v. 10-6
v. 9-5-2

ATLSEA eliminated on conference record;

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